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From the library of
Walter Colyer '
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PDBLICATION NO. 6 OF THE ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARI'
Illinois State Historical Society
FOR THE YEAR, 1901,
Published by Authority of the Board of Trustees
of the State Historical Library.
SPRINGFIELD. ILL :
Phillips Bros., State Printers.
I. Constitution of the Illinois State Historical Society.
II. List of OfiScers and Members of the Society.
III. Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the Society, January
IV. Annual report of the Secretary and Treasurer.
V. Suggestions. For Organization of the State Historical Society. By
Dr. J. F. Snyder.
VI. Annual Address. By Dr. Reuben S. Thwaites, Secretary of the
Wisconsin State Historical Society.
VII. The objects of the German-American Historical Society of Chicago,
by Hon. William Vocke, its President.
VIII. The influence of Government Land Grants for Educational Purposes
^ipon the Educational System of the State. Jonathan Baldwin Turner, by
Prof. Wm. L. Pillsbury.
IX. Old Peoria. By Hoi. David McCulloch.
X. Slavery in Illinois. By Hon. E. A. Snively.
XI. Early Reminiscences. By A. W. French, D. D. S.
XII. The Oldest Civil Record in the West. By Hon. J. N. Perrin.
XIII. Illinois During the Revolution. By Mrs. Laura Dayton Fessenden.
XIV. Hon. John M. Palmer. By Rev. Euclid B. Rogers.
- XV. Hon. John A. McClernand. By Gen. Alfred Orendorff.
XVI. General James M. Ruggles, By P. L. Diffenbacher, M. D.
The Wood River Massacre. By Volney P. Richmond.
The Bennett-Stuart Duel. By James Affleck.
Prof. John Russell. By S. G. Russell, Esq.
An Incident in the Settling of Morgan county, Illinois. By John Yaple.
Some Old Letters by, and Relating to Stephen A. Douglas. By Joseph
Wallace, A. M.
Discovery of the Graves of the Soldiers who fell at Stillman's defeat.
Constitution of the Illinois State Historical Society.
article i.— name and objects.
Section 1. The name of this society shall be the Illinois State Historical
Sec. 2. The objects to be sought by this society shall be;
(1) To search out and preserve in permanent form for the use of the people
of the State of Illinois facts and data in the history of the State, and of each
county thereof, including the prehistoric periods and the history of the
aboriginal inhabitants, together with biographies of distinguished persons
irho have rendered services to the people of the State.
(2) To accumulate and preserve for like use books, pamphlets, newspa-
pers and documents bearing upon the foregoing topics.
(3) To publish from time to time for like uses its own transactions as well
as such facts and documents bearing upon its objects as it may secure.
(4) To accumulate for like use such articles of historic interest as may
'bear upon the history of persons and places within the State.
(5) To receive by gift, grant, devise, bequest or purchase, books, libraries,
museums, monies and real property and other property in aid of the above
ARTICLE II.— MEMBERSHIP.
See. 1. Any person may become an active member of the society on pay-
ment of the initiation fee of one dollar.
Sec. 2. The annual fee for active members shall be one dollar.
Sec. 3. Any person eligible for active membership may become a life
member on payment of a fee of twenty-five dollars. Life members shall be
■exempt from the payment of annual membership fees.
Sec. 4. Honorary membership may be conferred upon any person wha
has distinguished himself or herself by services or contributions to the society
or to the cause of history, upon the nomination of the President and con-
firmation of the Board of Trustees.
ARTICLE III.— meetings.
Sec. 1. The annual meeting of the society shall be held at such time and
place in the month of January as may be designated by the Executive Com-
Sec. 2. Special meetings may be called by the President.
Sec. 3, At any meeting of the society the attendance of ten members en-
titled to vote shall be necessary to constitute a quorum.
ARTICLE IV.— OFFICERS.
Sec. 1. The officers of the society shall be a President, such Vice-Presidents-
as may be deemed best by the society, a Secretai-y, a Treasurer and an Exe-
cutive Committee consisting: of the President, the Secretary and five other
members of the society. This Executive Committee shall also constitute the
Board of Trustees of the society.
Sec. 2. All the officers of the society shall be elected by ballot annually at
the regular annual meeting in January, except that the society may designate
particular officers to be elected for an indeterminate period.
See. 3. The duties of the President, the Vice-Presidents, the Secretary
and the Treasurer shall be those usually appertaining to such officers. The
Secretary shall also act as Secretary of the Executive Committee.
It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to prepare the programs
for the annual meetings of the society and to perform such other functions as
may from time to time be entrusted to it by the society.
Sec, 4. The Executive Committee shall at each annual meeting present
through the Secretary a report on the finances of the society and on its work
during the preceding year, together with such recommendations as may
seem to them appropriate.
ARTICLE V. — INCORPORATION.— BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
The Board of Trustees shall at an early date cause the society to be legally
incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois; shall have general charge
and control of all the property of the society; shall make and approve all its
contracts; shall direct the Librarian in the selection and purchase of books
and other historical matter; shall see to the carrying out of all orders of the
society and shall perform all duties prescribed by the by-laws.
ARTICLE VI.— AMENDMENTS.
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members of
the society present at the annual meeting: Provided, that at least thirty days
prior to the holding of such annual meeting the Secretary shall send to the-
members of the society notice of such proposed amendments.
List of Officers and Members of the Illinois State
President, Hiram W. Beckwith, Danville; Vice-President, John F. Snyder,
Virginia; Honorary Vice-Presidents: John N. Jewett, Chicago (president
of the Chicago Historical Society); William Vocke, Chicago (president of the
German-American Historical Society of Illinois); J. 0. Cunningham, Urbana
(president of the Champaign County Historical Society); George P. Davis,
Bloomington (president of the McLean County Historical Society);
Harvey B. Hurd, Evanston (president of the Evanston Historical Society);
Secretary and Treasurer, Evarts B. Greene, University of Illinois; Ex-
ecutive Committee: The President; the Secretary; George N. Black,
Springfield; J. H. Burnham, Bloomington; McKendee H. Chamberlain, Leb-
anon; Edmund D. James, University of Chicago; David McCulloch, Peoria.
Dr. Robert Boal, Lacon; Judge James B. Bradwell, Chicago; Mrs. Ben-
jamin S. Edwards, Springfield; Hon. Charles P. Johnson, St. Louis; *Gen-
eral John A. McClernand, Mrs. John A. McClernand, Springfield; *GeneraI'
John M. Palmer, Mrs. John M. Palmer, Springfield; *General James M.
Euggles, Havana; *Mrs. John T. Stuart, Springfield; Mr. R. G. Thwaites,
Horace G. Anderson, Peoria; James S. Barclay, Oak Park; H. E. Barker,.
Springfield; H. W. Beckwith, Danville; George N. Black, Springfield; J. H.
Brevoort, Rutland; Mrs. C. C. Brown, Springfield; W. R. Brydges, Elgin;.
W. L. Burnap, Lake Forest University, Lake Forest; J. H. Burnham, Bloom-
ington; J. M. Bush, Pittsfield; Charles L. Capen, Bloomington; M. H.
Chamberlain, McKendee College, Lebanon; Clinton T. Conkling, Springfield;
J. S. Cook, Leroy; Mrs. Harriett Palmer Crabbe, Springfield: J. O. Cun-
ningham, Urbana; J. Seymour Currey, Evanston; J. P. Gushing, Knox Col-
lege, Galesburg; George P. Davis, Bloomington; J. McCan Davis, Spring-
field; Philip L. Dieffenbacher, Havana; Charles A. Dilg, Chicago; N. C.
Dougherty, Peoria; Mrs. Julia Mills Dunn, Moline; Richard Edwards,
Bloomington; Albert Judson Fisher, Chicago; Stephen A. Forbes, Univer-
sity of Illinois, Urbana; A. W. French, Springfield; D. M. Funk, Blooming-
ton; Hon. Lafayette Funk, Bloomington; T. M. Garrett, Chicago; Evarts B.
Greene, University of Illinois, Urbana; H. H.Greene, Bloomington; J. N.
Gridley, Virginia, 111.; W. L. Gross, Springfield; James Haines, Pekin, 111.;.
Logan Hay, Springfield; John G. Henderson, Chicago; E. J. James, Uni-
versity of Chicago, Chicago; J. A. James, Northwestern University, Evans-
ton; Dr. William Jayne, Springfield; Miss Emma F. Jones, Springfield;.
Charles P. Kane, Springfield; William F. Lodge, Monticello; Walter F^
TManny. Mt. Sterling; G. M. McConnel, Chieago; David McCulloch, Peoria:
E. L. Merritt, Springfield; Richard W. Mills, Virginia; John R. Moss, Mt.
Vernon; W. I. Norton, Alton; Alfred Orendorff, Springfteld; John B. Oren-
dorff,Bloomingtou;E. C.Page, Normal School, DeKalb; CM. Parker, Taylor-
ville: J. N. Perrin, Lebanon; Frederick C. Pierce, Chicago; Ezra M. Prince,
Bloomington; J. W. Putnam, Illinois College, Jacksonville; Dr. Otto L.
Schmidt, Chicago; Edgar S. Scott, Springfield; Paul Selby, Chicago; R. D.
Sheppard, Evanston; George W. Smith, State Normal School, Carbondale;
E. A. Snively, Springfield; Dr, J. F. Snyder. Virginia; E. E. Sparks, Uni-
versity of Chicago, Chicago; S. S. Spear, Springfield; Arthur K. Stearns,
Waukegan; F. E. Stevens, Chicago; Bernard Stuve, Springfield; Miss
Maude Thayer, Springfield: Mrs. Eliza F. H. Tomlin, Jacksonville; Hon.
Wm. Vocke, Chicago; Dr. H. N. Waite, Decatur; Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber,
Springfield; Simeon H. West, Monmouth; Mrs. Katherine Goss Wheeler,
Springfield; S. P. Wheeler, Springfield; G. F. Wightman, Lacon; E. S.
Wilcox, Peoria; Charles T. Wyckofif, Bradley Polytechnic Institute, Peoria.
Second Annual Meeting Held at Springfield, January
30 and 31, 1901.
journal of proceedings.
Executive Committee — The Executive Committee of the society
met on the morning of January 30. The following members were
present: Messrs. Beckwith, Black, McCulloch, Burnham and
Greene. On invitation of the committee. Dr. J. F. Snyder attended
and took part in the discussions.
The secretary presented his annual report, which together with a
paper presented by Dr. Snyder, formed the basis of the discussion.
The committe then voted to present to the society resolutions; (1)
urging more liberal provision for the State Historical Library; (2)
declaring the opinion of the society that some organic connection
between the State Historical Library and the State Historical
Society ought to be recognized by law and that the annual appro-
priation for the State Historical Library should include an item for
the expenses of the society; (3) authorizing the executive committee
to publish suitable matter in addition to the annual proceedings.
annual business meeting of the society.
The society held its annual meeting for the election of officers and
the transaction of other business on Wednesday, January 30, at 2
P. M. in the Supreme Court Room. President H. W. Beckwith
The annual report of the Secretary was read and accepted.
It was voted that the chair appoint a committee on nominations:
Messrs. Cunningham, Black and Perrin were named as members of
the committee and subsequently reported the following nominations:
President, H. W. Beckwith, Danville; Vice-President. Dr. J. F.
Snyder, Virginia; Secretary and Treasurer, E. B. Greene, University
Members of the Executive Committee: George N. Black, Spring-
field; J. H. Burnham, Bloomington; David McCulloch, Peoria; E.
J. James, University of Chicago; M. H. Chamberlin, McKendree
College; in addition to the President and Secretary, ex-officio mem-
bers under th© constitution.
The report of the committee on nominations was accepted, and
the persons named therein were unanimously elected.
Capt. J. H. Burnham presented the report of the committee on
auxiliary societies of which he was chairman. The report was ac-
After an informal discussion based upon the proposals of the Sec-
retary and the paper of Dr. Snyder presented by him to the Execu-
tive Committee and to the society, the following resolutions were
voted substantially as reported by the Executive Committee:
RESOLUTIONS PASSED BY THE ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
JANUARY 30, 1901.
(1) Resolved, That in the opinion of this society, the Legislature should
make more liberal provision for the State Historical Library.
(2) Resolved, That some orgfanic connection ougrht to be established be-
tween the State Historical Library and the State Historical Society; that the
annual State appropriations for the State Historical Library should include
an item for the expense of the society; and that a committee be appointed to
formulate a definite plan in accordance with these general principles, this
committee to consist of five persons including the trustees of the State His-
torical Library and two others to be named by the chair.
(3) Resolved, That the society authorize the Executive Committe, so far
as ways and means may be provided, to publish, in addition to the proceed-
ings of the society, such other matter as may be deemed worthy, whether
original material or the results of investigation.
Under the second resolution, Messrs. H. W. Beckwith, G. N. Black
and E. J. James were ex-officio members of the committee therein
provided for. The two other members of the committee subsequently
named by President Beckwith were Messrs. Lafayette Funk of Bloom-
ington and Alfred OrendorfP of Springfield,
The attention of the society was called to the bill, introduced by
Senator Stubblefield and now pending before the Greneral Assem-
bly, calling for an appropriation for the publication of documents
relating to the history of the State.
On motion, the matter was referred to the above-named commit-
The society voted its thanks to the President, Hon. H. W. Beck-
with, for his services to the organization.
The gift of Judge J. O. Cunningham, of Urbana, consisting of the
ballots cast by the Illinois Electors for President and Vice-President
of the United States in 1864, suitably framed, was accepted with
thanks. It was voted that with the concurrence of the Board of
Trustees, the gift be placed on the walls of the State Historical Li-
The thanks of the society were voted to Governor and Mrs. Richard
Yates for the hospitality extended by them to the Society.
E. B. Greene,
FORMAL OPENING SESSION.
The formal opening session was held on the evening of Januarys
30, in the Supreme Court room. President Beckwith presided. The
address of welcome was given by Governor Richard Yates, and the
response by President Beckwith.
The annual address was then delivered by Mr. Reuben G. Thwaites,
Secretary of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. At the close of
this address, Judge David McCtdloch, of Peoria, called attention to
the presence in the audience of Dr. Robert Boal, of Lacon, a resi-
dent of Illinois before the organization of the Illinois Territory. On
motion of Mr. McCulloch, Dr. Boal was then unanimously elected an-
honorary member of the Society.
The sessions of the society for the presentation of papers were
held on Thursday, January 31, in the Supreme Court room. The
program prepared for these sessions is to be found in the following
Program of Exercises.
wednesday, january 30.
10:30 a. m.
Meeting of the Executive Committee.
2 p. m.
Business meeting of the Society (Supreme Court room).
1. Secretary's report for the Executive Committee.
2. Reports of committees.
3. Election of officers for 1901.
4. Miscellaneous business.
5. Informal discussion of the future work of the Society.
8 p. m.
Formal opening session (Supreme Court room).
1. Address of welcome. By Governor Richard Yates.
2. Response. By Honorable Hiram W. Beckwith, President.
3. Annual address. By Reuben G, Thwaites, Secretary of the Wiscon&ini
State Historical Society.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31.
Literary sessions (Supreme Court room).
Papers are limited to thirty minutes. It is requested that this rule be
9:30 a. m.
1. Old Peoria. By Hon. David McCulloch, Peoria.
2. The Oldest Civil Record in the West. By Hon. J. N. Perrin, Lebanon.
3. Illinois During the American Revolution. By Mrs. Laura Daytort
Fessenden, Highland Park.
4. Slavery in Illinois, By Hon. E. A. Snively, Springfield.
5. Early Reminiscenses of Illinois. By Dr. A. W. French, Springfield.
2 p. m.
1. The Influence of Congressional Grants Upon Our School System Pro-
fessor Jonathan Baldwin Turner. By William L. Pillsbury, Esq., University
2. McKendree College. By Professor Edmund J. James, University of
3. The Objects of Historical Research. By Hon. William Vocke,
4. General John A. McClernand. By Hon. Alfred Orendorff, Springfield.
5. General John M. Palmer. By Rev. E. B. Rogers, Springfield.
8 p. m.
Reception by Governor and Mrs. Yates at the Executive Mansion.
The program was carried out, with the following changes: Pro-
fessor James was unable to be present and his paper was not read.
Mr. Snively's paper was read by Mrs. Snively. Mr. Perrin's paper
was transferred from the morning to the afternoon session. Captain
J. H. Burnham presented a communication from the Stillman Valley
Battle Monument Association at the morning session, and a paper by
Mr. J. Gr. Henderson, of Chicago, was read by title.
At the close of the afternoon session, the following business was
1. Mrs. John T. Stuart, Mrs. Benjamin S. Edwards, Mrs. John A.
McClernand, and Mrs. John M. Palmer, were unanimously elected honorary
members of the Society.
2. The following gentlemen were elected honorary vice-presidents of the
Society: Hon. John N. Jewett, of Chicago, President of the Chicago His-
torical Society; Hon. William Vocke, of Chicago, President of the German-
American Historical Society of Illinois; Hon. Harvey B. Hurd, of Evanstou,
President of the Evanston Historical Society; Judge J. O. Cunningham, of
Urbana, President of the Champaign County Historical Society; George P.
Davis, Esq., President of the McLean County Historical Society.
3. The thanks of the Society were voted to the local members of the
<Society and to the citizens of Springfield for their hospitality.
E. B. Greene,
Annual Report of the Secretary and Treasurer for the Year 1900.
During the year, 1900, the society held two meetings. The first annual
meeting was held at Peoria on Friday and Saturday, .lanuary 5 and 6, and
on the the call of the President, a special meeting was h^ld at Springfield,
May 23. The proceedings of both these meetings may be found in the pub-
lished transactions for 1900.
In accordance with votes of the Society, standing committees were ap-
pointed on Publication and on Auxiliary Societies. The former committee
has, through the courtesy of the Trustees of the State Historical Library,
been enabled to publish without cost to the Society, a volume of Iransac-
tions, including the papers read at the annual meeting in Peoria.
The Committee on Auxiliary Societies, Messrs. J, H. Burnham, of Bloom-
ington; J. O. Cunningham, of Urbana, and E. C. Page, of the Northern
Illinois Normal School at DeKalb, has been occupied with plans for correlat-
ing more effectively the work of local Historical Societies, and with this end
in view has issued a circular which has been widely distributed and has met
in many instances with a cordial response.
Throughout the year, the society has had evidence, in the form of con-
stantly increasing correspondence, of a very general interest in any organi-
zation occupied with the State and local history of Illinois. Many of the
leading members of other historical organizations within the State have in
one way or another expressed an active interest in our plans. The German-
American Historical Society is represented in our program by its president,
Mr. Vocke, and the Daughters of the Revolution by Mrs. Pessenden. We
have in our membership list representatives of the Chicago Historical Society
and of a number of county and other local historical societies. It is par-
ticularly pleasant to have such evidence of good will from the members of
so honorable an organization as the Chicago Society. There is reason for
congratulation in the general sympathy shown throughout the State with
this new enterprise.
Up to the present time, the finances of the society have been exceedingly
simple. Its income is derived wholly from membership fees. There were on
the rolls of the society prior to the date of this meeting the names of about
sixty members. Fortunately, the expenditures have also been small; they
have been chiefly for postage and the printing of circulars and programs.
The following is the financial statement for the year, 1900:
Treasurer's Report, Year Ending Dec. 31, 1900.
Initiation fees (50c and $1.00)
Bloomington Pantagraph Company— Printing...
Urbana Herald Company
Secretary of State— Filing fee for annual report.
Balance in the treasury, Dec. 31.
At the close of our first complete year of existence, what definite results
can we claim to have accomplished, what has been done to justify the creat-
ing of a new Society at a time when any needless organization may be re-
garded as a positive evil? In the first place, we have undertaken to hold
annual meetings for the presentation of papers and the exchange of ideas
among those who are interested in the same field. Such meetings, if care-
fully planned, certainly furnish a real stimulus to historical studies. In the
second place, through the courtesy of the Trustees of the State Historical
Library, the Society has in a very modest way entered the field of publica-
tion. In the third place, through its Committee on Auxiliary Societies, it is
doing something to stimulate local historical research. The Society should
aim in the future not only to stimulate such efforts, but also in a measure to
suggest their direction along intelligent lines.
These are lines of work already begun which in themselves may be urged
as a sufficient justification for the existence of a State society, especially if
they can be conservatively but steadily extended. Yet after all, we can not
rest content with these results. What then can we hope to do in the future?
The society ought in the first place, to serve as an instrument for shaping
public opinion in favor of more adequate provision by the State, through
existing agencies or otherwise, for collecting and preserving the materials of
its history. The State Historical Library has been in existence for several
years, but it has never had anything like adequate support, if we compare
its appropriations with those made for similar purposes in Wisconsin, May
we not, by formal resolution, urge upon the Legislature more liberal provis-
ion for the State Historical Library?
Secondly, the society may well, if the necessary ways and means can be
secured, extend somewhat its publications. So far we have published only
the papers presented at our annual meeting. It would seem to be desirable
that the Executive Committee, or the Secretary, should be given authority to
print such other matter as may seem worthy of a place in our collections.
This may be either original material deserving of preservation in print, or
the result of investigation.
Thirdly, there is undoubtedly scattered about this State a considerable
amount of manuscript material, private or documentary, which is in danger
of being lost altogether, and which ought, as soon as practicable, to be
brought together in safe public depositories. The society and its members
might well constitute themselves a committee for the purpose of bringing
such material to light and seeing that it is properly housed with a view to
ultimate publication in suitable form.
Fourthly, to do this and other work which needs to be done, the society
needs to be strengthened at least in two ways. It needs a larger income than
that now secured or likely to be secured, solely from membership fees, and
it needs one officer who can devote himself wholly to the direction of its
work. He should be some one who will not merely execute the orders of the
society, but will have the capacity to initiate new lines of useful activity.
Though primarily an officer of the society, he should aim to cooperate with
the governing board of the State Historical Library. He might well be made
a member of that board. To put the proposition concretely, Illinois ought to
have some one who can do for historical research and for historical collec-
tions in Illinois, a work comparable with that of Lyman C. Draper and
Reuben G. Thwaites in Wisconsin.
It is at this point that the question of State aid arises. It is doubtful
whether provision can be made for such an officer devoting his whole time
to these interests without financial aid from the State. Here again we are
bound to proceed very cautiously. The society can not afford to discredit its
cause by premature plans for large expenditure. The following propositions
are, however, submitted for consideration:
1. That the Legislature in making its appropriation for the State Histori-
cal Library, should include an item for the expenses of the Historical Society.
2. That of this a sufficient amount be paid to a competent expert who
should act as the Corresponding Secretary of the society and perform the
other functions outlined above, subject to the direction of the Executive Com-
3. That this Corresponding Secretary should be appointed by the Execu-
tive Committee of the Historical society, subject to the approval of the Board
of Trustees of the State Historical Library, and should be ex-officio a member
of that body.
4. That such an appointment once made should be held subject to the con-
ditions only of good behavior and efficient sei'vices.
In conclusion, it may be proper to emphasize the vital importance of care-
ful and conservative consideration of any plans for action which may come
before us. In this day of beginning, we are establishing precedents which
may tell strongly for better or worse in the future life of the society. Above
all, we must try to establish a reputation for work which is thoroughly sound
and accurate, preferring to lay the foundations slowly that they may be safe
EvARTS B. Greene.
The Organization of the Illinois State Historical Society.
[By Dr. J. Snyder.]
To the question, "'How can we secure a more effective organization of his-
torical research in Illinois?" My answer is, by making the Illinois State
Historical Society an effective agency for the prosecution of historical re-
How is this to be done?
1st. By constituting each member of the society a special agent to search
for, and, if possible, secure, any and all data accessible to him, or her, relat-
ing to the past and current history of the State.
2d. By appointing or employing one agent, or more, for this service in
each county in which no member of the society resides.
3rd. By soliciting donations of, or advertising for such data in newspa-
pers, or in printed circulars.
4th. By encouraging the organization of local historical societies in coun-
ties not having already such societies, and securing their cooperation with the
But as a necessary preliminary basis for this work, the State Historical So-
ciety must have a fixed local habitation. It can not succeed as a pereginat-
ing affair at home wherever the Secretary's journal happens to be. Nor can
it execute the purposes of its mission satisfactorily so long as it is a mere
tenant at will, or by sufferance, with no safe repository for its archives and
other historical collections, and no certain business headquarters.
To permanently locate the society in quarters of its own should therefore
claim our first attention.
How can that be attained?
To purchase a building for this use by individual subscriptions is, in the
present status of the society, out of the question.
There is, however, one of two other causes that may be considered. We
can perhaps pre\ail upon the State authorities to grant to the Historical So-
ciety, free of charge, the exclusive use of a room in the State house in which
to store our historical material and collections, and hold our business meet-
ings. The other course that may be pursued is the one I suggested at the
special meeting of the society in this place (Springfield), in June, 1899; and
which mature reflection has convinced me is the proper one to adopt — pro-
vided we can make it practicable. It is, to ask the General Assembly of Illi-
nois, now in session, to so amend the act creating the Illinois State Historical
Library as to give the State Historical Society legal recognition and standing
— as in other states — by making it an adjunct to, or collaborator with the
State Historical Library, and providing that the trustees of the Historical Li-
brary, appointed by the Governor, shall be — as they now in fact are — ex
officio, members of the executive committee of the State Historical Society.
This would coalesce the Historical Library and Historical Society, as co-
ordinate branches of the State's historical department.
By this simple amendment of the State Historical Library's organic law'
the library would be constituted — as it should be — the repository of the His-
torical Society's collections; and those collections, and contributions to the
history of Illinois, would become the property of the State in trust for the
benefit of members of the society and the public.
Such accessions to knowledge of the history of Illinois that might then be
acquired by the society, and deemed worthy, by its committee of supervision,
of publication, could appear as part of, or supplementary to, the annual re-
port of the Board of Library Trustees, or in a separate volume.
This course, if adopted, and sanctioned by legislative enactment, will place
the State Historical Society in the fostering care of the State, with no addi-
tional expense to the public but a" trifling amouut for annual publications.
And it will result in time in greatly enriching the State Historical Library by
the labors and accumulations of the Historical Society.
Pausing here in this discussion, let us briefly consider the objects for which
the State Historical Society was originated, commencing with the last of the
three propositions set forth in its articles of incorporation, namely: "To col-
lect and preserve all forms of historical data in any way connected with Illi-
nois and its people."
This is the paramount purpose of the society, underlying all others, involv-
ing a wide field of activity and a vast amount of labor. It comprises the col-
lection of a historical library of all accessible data, printed and in manuscript,
relating to early Illinois discoveries and explorations; to the history of primi-
tive and recent Indian tribes in this territory; to early setttements within the
limits of the State; to the evolution of the State's industries, commerce and
wealth, and the progress of its civilization and culture. This includes the
securing and preserving of biographies of prominent lUinoisans; accounts of
noted incidents and events; and rescuing from oblivion the relics of the ma-
terial agencies employed in the State's development, comprehending the tools
and appliances of the nation makers, and those of their aboriginal predeces-
sors; that is, a historical museum.
The essential part of this great work before us we have thus far evaded;
or, more properly, deferred consideration of upon the subterfuge that the
State Historical Library is here at hand; consequently, we need not bother
ourselves about buying historical books, or collecting historical data, the
State having already attended to that for us. And we beguile ourselves and
the public with the assertion that "the relations of the State Historical So-
ciety and the State Historical Library are very close;" when in fact our
present relations with the State Historical Library are simply the same as
are enjoyed by all citizens of the State and no more. We now have no legal
or official connection with that Library; no vested or acquired rights in it,
and no special privileges.
But should the logical relations of the Historical Society with the Historical
Library be defined and fixed by the Legislature, our labors would be simpli-
fied and could readily be reduced to a practical system. This legalized con-
nection of the Library and Society would be mutually beneficial, by relieving
the society of the labor and expense of collecting a historical library of its
own; and, instead, each member of the society would become an active agent
for increasing the State Historical Library.
Now then, supijosing this union of the two co-ordinate branches of the
State Historical Department to have been affected, let us for a moment con-
sider the two other objects the Historical Society has in view as specified in
its charter, i. e. "To excite and stimulate a general interest in the history
of Illinois," and "to encourage historical research and investigation, and
secure its promulgation."
To promote these objects, a base of operations having been secured, I
would suggest the creation by the society of a permanent "committee of su-
pervision" of three active, enthusiastic members, residing in, or near
the State capital, giving to said committee plenary power of supervision over
the affairs of the society. We already have, it is true, an Executive Com-
mittee having this power. But the members of our Executive Committee
reside at distant points in the State, each having private interests demanding
his time and attention to the exclusion of the immediate business of the
Society; so that they can not conviently come together more often than once
each year; and indeed have at no time all been present at any one meeting.
The less number composing the Committee of Supervision, and their prox-
imity to the society's headquarters, would enable them to meet every three
months, or oftener if necessary. The duties of this committee would be, in
a great measure, commensurate with the primary objects of the society;
namely, to receive and properly care for historical data sent to the society
by its members; to carefully examine, classify and catalogue historical contri-
butions received, and select such as may be most available for incorporation
in the society's annual publications; to supervise the printing and distribu-
tion of circulars, lectures, addresses, etc., to dictate press notices, and other
forms of advertising; to direct, by correspondence or otherwise, special lines
of research and investigation where the same may promise results of value;
to prepare programs for annual or special meetings of the society; to pre-
pare and issue invitations to the same when advisable; to suggest from time
to time, to the Executive Committee the adoption of such measures or ap-
pointment of such special committees or agents, as may be found indispens-
ible for the promotion and welfare of the society, and, finally, to report their
acts to the Executive Committee at the close of each year.
The plan here outlined, if feasible, will, in my opinion, undoubtedly
"secure a more effective organization of historical research in Illinois," and
make the historical society a credit to our State, and the peer of similar
institutions in other states of the Union.
Annual Addre.^s Before the Illinois State Historical Society, at
Springfield, January 30, 1901,
By Reuben Gold Thwaites, Secretary and Superintendent of the State Historical Society of
Love of city was one of the crowning virtues of the Greek. The upbuild-
ing of cities, the wresting of charters, struggles for liberty and inde-
pendence, are features of the local history of Europe. Local historic senti-
ment is ever strong in the old laud. The history of the locality is a source of
just pride to its inhabitants, and in them fosters civic patriotism.
State patriotism was one of the dominant characteristics of our own South,
before the war of secession; and it is still one of the charming features of
Southern life. Revulsion against the state-rights doctrine led the North, per-
haps, to the other extreme. But there is now noticeable a return of the old
sentiment — the growth of local historic consciousness, largely inspired by the
recurrence of historical anniversaries. One now notices, for instance, a con-
siderable output of local histories -always a feature of New England life, but
now spreading all over the United States and Canada.
We are coming to feel that the national domain is so enormous, and has
such diverse interests, often quite remote from the common people, that it
does not take hold of the imagination save in times of great popular excite-
ment. We are coming to feel that we must more closely cultivate the senti-
ment for state, country, city, village, town; that we must cultivate civic pa-
triotism, pride in the institutions of self-government, in the annals of our
community, in all attempts to better ourselves and to bring nearer to one's
home and neighbors the best things of earth.
Civic sentiment is at the foundation of true patriotism; and unless its people
are patriotic, no nation can long survive. You remember that in ancient days
each village fed and kept alive an eternal flame, handed down unquenched
from each generation to its successor. In Rome, the vestal virgins were ded-
icated to this service of maintaining the holy fire. In our day, civic patriot-
ism is that flame that must never be quenched; and our American youth are
the vestals who must feed it and carry it forward to succeeding generations.
Annually we receive into our life a great body of foreign-born, who flock to
our shores hoping to And a freer air and broader opportunities in the struggle
for existence. They can never become fitted as American citizens until they
know what our institutions stand for, what lessons to humanity our history
conveys. Away up in Northern Wisconsin, a public library was opened in a
community where there are many Poles. It was thought desirable to place
in the collection a number of books about Poland and in the Polish tongue.
One day a little Polish boy asked the librarian for some book that his parents
might like, and she gave him a popular history of Poland. Next day he came
back with it and said that his parents did not like this book — they wanted
"something that told about our country." Old and young, of whatever
nationality, are eager to learn of the new land within which they have cast
their lots; the old has been put away, they are yearning to take on the new.
The schools should, therefore, be permeated with this prevalent spirit of in-
quiry into our past; every opportunity should be seized to take an historic
retrospect, to teach lessons from the past, to take new hope for the future.
Europeans tell us that we have no history, and some Americans are prone
to echo them. This is but a superheiai view. In fact, we have a history
— you of lUiuois, we of Wisconsin— that thrusts its roots deep into the past,
for more than two and a half centuries.
Let us look at it. Only nine years ago we were celebrating the 400th anni-
versary of the coming of a man who found here a land dark in savagery.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific was an unbroken wilderness of alternating
mountains, forests and prairies. Then slowly crept in, a thin fringe of set-
tlement upon the Atlantic slope, and another entering the St. Lawrence like a
wedge— rivals keenly watching each other, meanwhile gathering strength for
their great struggle to the death, for the mastery of the continent.
In the far interior were wild beasts and wilder men. Up the Ottawa River
came Champlain as far as Lake Huron; came Radisson and Groseilliers to
discover Lake Superior; came Jogues and Raymbault to treat with the
tribesmen at Sault de Ste. Marie; came Perrot, Jolliet and Marquette. And
then there passed into and through our Northwest a motley procession of fur
traders, coureurs de bois, voyageurs, priests, soldiers, adventurers of every
The old regime of New France brought life, color, incident, to these West-
ern wilds. There was LaSalle, with visions of vast empire, who came by the
way of Chautauqua portage and the Ohio River; and again by the Great
Lakes and the Chicago portage — Marquette's ground, also. Think of the
Jesuit missions in the Illinois country, with their far-reaching influences, and
the picturesque careers of the little French towns of Peoria. Cahokia,
Prairie du Kocher, and of Kaskaskia, which was long the commercial entre-
pot of the West. Parkman has told it to us, in glowing pages, which no man
of Illinois can read without a thrill of pride that he is treading storied ground.
Then came the French and Indian War. French traders in Wisconsin and
Illinois were summoned to the defense of Montreal and Quebec. One of the
Wisconsin traders was a character worth remembering. His name was
De Corah. He had married the daughter of a village chief on Lake Winne-
bago, and had four half-breed sons. Hastening to the lower St. Lawrence to
help uphold the lilies of France against the final onslaught of the all-con-
quering English, he left his family behind, and returned not, for he fell on
the Plains of Abraham. The four dusky sons married tribeswomen in their
turn, and begat large families. So widespread is the De Corah family tree,
that today full half of the Winnebagoes — three thousand of them in all, in
Wisconsin and Nebraska — claim to be descendants of this fur trader who, a
century and a half ago, went forth to the front from Wisconsin, hoping to
save New France.
But the English won. New France became but a memory. At first.
Englishmen came in our West as fur traders, although they found that in
order to succeed with the savages, French methods must still prevail. They
temporized with savagery; and this temporizing led to the brilliant check-
mating exploit of George Rogers Clark, in the Revolutionary War — a lumin-
ous chapter in Illinois history.
Then came the Northwest Territory, and its division into smaller terri-
tories and states. There was at once a mighty pouring in of settlement by
way of the Ohio and the Great Lakes. This brings us to the picturesque
flatboat era wherein Shawneetown figured as the typical Western town.
Comparatively recent have been the lead mine excitement at Galeua, the
Black Hawk War, and the modern agricultural and industrial settlement of
the splendid empire of Illinois, which has for its commercial metropolis one
of the greatest cities of the world.
Thus have we seen the primeval wilderness tamed — Indian village sites
transformed into trading camps, they into forts for the protection of traders
and settlers, the trading hamlets at last developing into modern cities; the
old buffalo traces became Indian trails, the trails became the roads of the
backwoodsmen, and along many of these followed, in due course, the turn-
pike and the railway; forests were cleared for farms; portage swamps were
developed into canals. A mighty and multifarious commerce has succeeded
to the fur trade, the whir of great industries rends the air where once the
arrow makers pitched their wigwams— the American wilds are at last in the
full tide of modern life. The progress has been astonishingly rapid; history
furnishes no parallel.
American history, far from lacking coloring, is really wonderfully absorb-
ing and romantic. Here, in two hundred and fifty years we have run
through the gamut of ten centuries of European experience. Much of it,
indeed, is quite within the memory of men within the sound of my voice to-
night. From the historical point of view, time is merely relative. The old
settler of Illinois has seen, has experienced, has felt more of real life, has
done more, in the past six or seven decades, than Methuselah of old.
Here we are at the culmination of some of the most wonderful experiences
that have ever befallen men. What are we going to do about it? Are we to
let all these facts die with the pioneers? Are we to allow all the machinery
of modern methods of historical research and publication go unused in this
case? Are we to let all pass away with these old men, because the facts
which are to our hand are familiar and commonplace to us?
We should not belittle any thing because it is commonplace; the present is
ever commonplace. We are living in a changing world. Our ideas, our
methods, the machinery of our life, our experiences, are but a passing phase
of the world's history. We and ours will appear strange enough to posterity;
we owe it to them to preserve what we may of the records of our time. Do
we not bless the memories of old William of Maimesbury, of Froissart, of
Captain John Smith, of the authors of the Jesuit Relations, of Champlain, of
Hennepin, of Pepys, and of all the grand army of diarists and journalists
who have left to posterity their records of the times in which they dwelt? Yet
there is just as much need of record-writing today, if our posterity is to know
aught of us and of our origins.
The man who sat in the Illinois constitutional convention is just as impor-
tant and interesting a factor in history as the man who participated in the
meetings of a primitive Saxon tribe, or attended the Witenagemote in the
early days of Britain. Posterity will study this constitution maker of Illinois
quite as closely and curiously as we do our forebears of the long ago.
In the matter of letters and memoirs, we are in the habit of saying that
they are of a past generation. Yet we have frequent evidences that the let-
ters of today are quite as important as those of old— of Abigail Adams's, we
will say, or of Baroness Bunson's. Tennyson's or Robert Louis Stevenson's
please us quite as thoroughly as any thing in the past; in our own state of
Wisconsin the recent reminiscences of Mrs. Therese IBaird, or of Mrs. Morgan
L. Martin, or of Mrs. Charlotte Van Cleve have all the charm and flavor of
the olden day; Mrs. Kinzie's Wap-Bun is as interesting and informing in its
way as Caesar's Commentaries.
There is an abundance of historical material, and always will be, for those
who recognize material when they see it. Learn to know it, to find it, to pre-
serve it, to publish it, or to make it available for those who will — this is the
province of the historical society. Illinois is not lacking in local agencies for
the prosecution of this work— you have the Chicago, Evanston, German-
American, and McLean county societies, all of them constructed on excellent
lines, and engaged with considerable vigor in this business of investigation,
accumulation, and diffusion. You have an admirably conceived State His-
torical Library, large with promise. Just what part your State society is to
play is, apparently, as yet undetermined — whether it is to be itself an accu-
mulator of material, or to act as a central agency for infusing zeal and for
publication, the future will alone decide.
Conditions in Wisconsin are much different from those in Illinois. We have
there no local societies answering to the character of these Illinois organiza-
tions which I have named. Historical study and collection in Wisconsin was
early centralized in the State society, and has ever since remained practically
the monopoly of that body. I have been requested to tell the story of the
Wisconsin State Historical Society, in the hope, I am told, that the relation
may be useful at this time, when you are laying your plans for a more per-
fect organization and are still unsettled as to your programme. As I have
already said, the conditions in these two neighboring: states, as respect his-
torical work, differ greatly in some important essentials; we could not, there-
fore, advise you to follow explicitly in our footsteps — but some of our experi-
ences may at least be worthy of your consideration.
Fifty two years ago tonight the Wisconsin Historical Society was born. A
hundred or more state officers, members of the legislature, — Wisconsin's first
state legislature, — and otherwise prominent citizens upon the thirtieth of
January, 184i), met in a hotel parlor in Madison and organized the society.
Some of them, men of culture and brains, had belonged to such societies in
the east; all wei-e imbued with the happy thought that history in this new
frontier state was now in the making, and ought to be recorded — that there
was a past history of Wisconsin also, coming down from the advent of the
French regime in 1634, that was worth hunting up and publishing; that the
pioneers ought to be interviewed while they were still in the vigor of life, that
letters and diaries ought to be collected and preserved, narratives written
And so they organized their historical society. But life upon the fron'ier
is strenuous; these men were too busy moulding a commonwealth and earn-
ing livelihoods, to give much time to such work, and it languished. In five
years, they had published two or three annual addresses and had accumulated
a library of fifty rather insignificant books. It was then seen that, if it was
to be a success, the enterprise should be placed in trained hands. Ljman
C. Draper, a young Philadelphia antiquarian, was imported as secretary and
geneial executive officer. As a consequence of his energetic and intelligent
labors, the library soon sprang into importance, the publications of the
society were well edited and regularly issued, and the institution came within
a few years to win a national renown. Its growth has ever since been uninter-
rupted, and today it occupies a building erected for it by the commonwealth
at a cost of $600,000.
Far removed from the centres of wealth and culture, the people of early
Wisconsin could not privately endow an institution of this character. State
aid was soon seen to be essential to its very existence. Such aid was given,
and in due time this circumstance wrought a profound change in the char-
acter of the society; in the first place, a state-aided organization could not
remain a close corporation of scholars, as are the great Eastern societies —
obviously, the gates must be open for all citizens to enter, who care suffi-
ciently for the objects sought to contribute their mite towai-ds its mainte-
nance; again, the society in consideration of being practically supported by
the state — for the sum of its membership fees is insignifficiant compared with
the cost of conducting the institution — surrendered all of its property to the
state, and became simply the state's trustee for the administration of this
enterprise, much the same as the board of regents of the State University.
The work of the Wisconsin society may properly be considered under
seven heads — field work, solicitation of historical material, the museum, the
hii-torical portrait gallery, the library, the society as a state information
bureau, and publications.
1. Field TForA;— This is what we call the interviewing of pioneers who
have valuable recollections, those who have memories of important public
affairs and men of note, who can give data of early social and economic con-
ditions, or who have had interesting experiences. It is always important to
remember that personal narratives are not always sound material for history;
but often they are the only obtainable sources, and in any event are worth
gathering, for the purpose of amplifying documentary material.
Getting into touch with and advising local historical societies, is also a
feature of our field work. We are. too, ever on the search for manuscripts
for our state archives, and inspiring archaeological investigations. Illinois
possesses much that is interesting, in this line — for example, pottery in the
river mounds, and the great mound at Cahokia. And you have an ever-
present inspiration in the splendid archaeological collections of the Field
Columbian Museum, in Chicago. We also endeavor, in Wisconsin, to in-
terest the newspapers and the teachers, and in general to awaken and keep
awake the historic consciousness within our state.
2. Solicitation of Historical Material— This is an ever-present duty. Private
persons are influenced, on grounds of public policy, to give to our state
historical library everything which may be classed as historical material.
And here one is met by the inquiry, what constitutes historical material?
History seeks to trace the development of man in society; in doing this, the
historian needs materials. The scientist takes the toe-nail of a silurian
monster, a piece of one of his ribs, one of his teeth, a hair of his tail, and
with the aid of these reconstructs the animal. Very much in the same sort
of a way, the historian takes the ephemera of the period which he desires to
put before you graphically. He takes these little odds and ends of record
and tradition, the stuff wliich we call historical material, and reconstructs the
stage, and reconstructs society upon that stage.
There is nothing more impressive to the historian, to the student of society,
politics, economics, than the great collection of documents in the British
Museum called the Thomason Tracts. Thomason was a bookseller about the
middle of the seventeenth century, who, for a period of something like twenty
years, went about gathering up the literary flotsam and jetsam of the great
city of London. He put a date upon each article thus collected, with the cir-
cumstances under wnich it was obtained. He e-athered programs, manuscript
notes and letters, posters, play bills — all sorts of odds and ends. This great
collection of material at last, after various adventures, came to the British
The historian of the Cromwellian period goes at once, of necessity, to the
Thomason Tracts for his material. In the light of the ephemera of that day
he sees move before him the people whom Cromwell knew. The stage of
London and of English society in that time of storm and stress, is recon-
structed for us, very largely from the Thomason Tracts, from those ill-con-
sidered trifles of his day that have become such largely-considered material
in our own. It was from the use of such materials as he found in the Thom-
ason Tracts that Macaulay formulated his celebrated dictum, "The literary
rubbish of one generation is the priceless treasure of the next."
It is for the Historical Society's library to perform this task of accumula-
tion, for the generations which are to follow us. Constantly, one hears the
inquiry, "What shall we of today save, for the historians of the future?"
Of course that requires some judgment and experience; and yet one will not
go far wrong, if practically everything is preserved. The Chinese have a
high veneration for everything that is printed. I was not much of a China-
man fifteen years ago, but those years of experience in my present position
have brought me almost to the Chinese attitude in this respect; even a patent
medicine label may adorn a tale, a hundred years hence; each memorial of
the present will find its user in the generations to come.
But to particularize. I would save, first of all, the newspapers. Patent in-
sides, plate matter, and Associated Press dispatches involve a great deal of
repetition; yet the little country cross-roads newspaper of fifteen or twenty
years ago we know to be of some value for local history purposes today. I
do not think 1 would carry the matter of collection of local newspapers to the
extent that it is carried in some states of the Union. I am not certain, if we
had the thing to do over again in Wisconsin, but what we would scratch off
our list many of the minor papers which we have been receiving for many
years past. Some of them are certainly very poor; the best of them, one or
two in each county, I would preserve as a mirror of the daily and weekly life
of the people. They are not perfect mirrors, nevertheless they are the best
we can obtain — distorted mirrors, nevertheless reflectors after a fashion.
I would also preserve everything that pertains to the religious life of the
people. Encourage the local public libraries to gather the church programs,
evidences of their methods of doing business, their methods of raising money,
their little year-books, the sermons which the minister has had printed;
everything about the church. So also, everything relating to the social life
of the community, the lodges, the clubs, all the current manifestations of
popular thought and action. Modes and tendencies in vogue today are far
different from those which will be in vogue twenty five or thirty years from
now; and the only memorials of those of the past may be these ephemeral
publications which you will have preserved in your State libraries. Nothing
changes so fast as these very matters. I would preserve everything relating
to art; everything relating to the schools in the community, such as com-
mencement programs; the State Historical Librarj"^ may well preserve the
commencement programs and catalogues of all the educational institutions in
the State, local or otherwise. Preserve all the books, pamphlets, reports,
and manuscripts of every sort pertaining to your State — all sorts of local
books and leaflets, diaries, journals, account books, surveyors' note and field
books, record books of every sort, letters and letter books. The State His-
torical Society should consider itself the proper custodian of the archives of
the Commonwealth, save such as are properly in the custody of the State
officers. Somebody has very well said that rubbish is but matter out of place.
Classify these seemingly heterogeneous collections according to the best
library methods, and you greatly dignify them, and make them worthy of
the attention of scholars.
In appealing to State and local librarians to collect local history material
we wish to arouse the same sort of missionary spirit that animates the man
who planti; a tree today for the edification and comfort of the generation that
is to come after him. Let us put ourselves in the attitude of posterity, re-
member our duty to that posterity, and rear for ourselves monuments such
as historians rear to the memory of that Cromwellian bookseller who has
left us the splendid heritage of the Thomason Tracts.
3. Ihe Museum. — A State historical society should certainly maintain a
museum, but it would be well to restrict it to history and anthropology.
Properly conducted, it can be made of importance as an educational feature.
It should not be allowed to degenerate into a curiosity shop.
4. Historical Portrait Gallery. — We aim in Wisconsin to make this the
Pantheon of the state. Certainly no feature of our work is more popular
than the great collection of portraiture, in oils, crayons, marble and plaster
which helps attract to our museum something like sixty thousand visitors
5. Ihe Library. — When all is told, this is, and will always remain, the
most important work of the Wisconsin society. Because amassed under the
administration of an historical society, many persons suppose that the library
is devoted exclusively to history — a still smaller number take it for granted
that the collection is wholly one of Wisconsin history. Viewing history as
simply the record of whatever man has thought and wrought the society has
accumulated a general reference library, in which the greatest stress has,
however, been laid upon American and English history and geography,
economics, and the political and social sciences.
On account of the proximity of the University of Wisconsin, about 95 per
cent of its readers are instructors and students from that institution, and in
purveying for the library their wants are taken into consideration. Univer-
sity students doing original work of some importance are, under certain re-
strictions, allowed access to the bookstack shelves, the same as other special
investigators. Members' of the University are, in fact, encouraged to use the
library as freely as they do that of the university itself, which is now under
the same roof, with the reading and delivery rooms in common.
In 1875, the miscellaneous books of the state library, in the capitol, were
transferred, by order of the legislature, to the society's library, leaving the
former purely a state law library, under the control of the justices of the
supreme court; while the latter became, to all intents and purposes, the
miscellaneous state library in charge of the historical society as the trustee
of the state. The relations between the two libraries, both the property of
the commonwealth, are most cordial, and they cooperate so far as possible.
The society's library now numbers 230,000 titles. In making purchases we
differentiate with the university library (of about 100,000 titles), leaving to
the latter the fields of science, belles lettres, philosophy, education, ana the
history of the continent of Europe. While both libraries are under the same
roof, they are separately administered; but the custody of the building rests
with the historical society, as the state's trustee. We often have from 350
to 400 readers in our rooms daily, and make loans, so far as practicable, to
local public libraries throughout the state.
6. Information Bureau — In recent years, particularly, the Wisconsin so-
ciety serves a useful public purpose as an information bureau for the state.
State officials, editors, and public speakers are continually referring to our
office for a great variety of data to be used in reports, speeches, and articles;
and the hundreds of letters which come annually to the state house, seeking
statistical or other information concerning the state, are almost invariably
forwarded to our society for reply. There is also hereafter to be maintained
at the state house, during legislative sessions, a branch reference library
with a competent attendant, to furnish assistance to members of the Legisla-
ture who are engaged in research.
7. Publications—In Wisconsin, our list has slowly grown. At present, we
publish annual Proceedings, biennial Collections, and occasional Class Cata-
logues and Bulletins of Information. But of course this feature of an histori-
cal society's work will depend entirely upon the extent of official support.
If a society cannot publish, it is seriously handicapped in the view of scholars
and the general public.
All this takes money; each year's progress requires an increasing appro-
priation. But the institution cannot stand still; it must either fall backwards
or go ahead. W^^^- however, lawmakers are assured of the high pur-
po.=e of an institution of this character, and can be made to appreciate its
possibilities, there will probably be small objection to granting it aid, for it
is one of the worthiest and most useful of educational enterprises.
A state historical society, in order to win state aid, should be popular in
organi:^ation and in methods; it should perpetually demonstrate it raison
d'etre by proving useful and inspiring to the public. Its directors must
heartily believe in the undertaking, and in its service spend freely of time
and effort. The salaried staff must be headed by men holding office for the
good they can do — experts, of sound business habits, knowledge of men, and
capacity to influence public opinion in a good cause. They must not be
mere dry-as-dust antiquarians, but be imbued with modern thought, be ac-
customed to modern methods. Some of our state and local historical so-
cieties, especially in the East, are fossilized organizations, lacking light or
the capacity for leading. Not upon such lines can progress be made, here in
the West. You need in your work earnest, practical men, in whom both
scholars and men of affairs may repose confidence.
The Illinois Society seems to be imbued with these ideals. Let us hope
that, whatever role it may play — that of an accumulator of material, or of a
central agency of publication and influence, it may be enabled, through
proper public support, to put its principles in practice, and become a light
shining afar from this State which enjoys so rich a heritage of historic deeds;
a State wherein , in two and one-half centuries, the experiences of a dozen centu-
ries of Europe have been condensed— the walls of savagery beaten down; the
tradeof the forests developed, with all its wealth of romantic episode; agricul-
tural pursuits at last perfected in a bountiful soil and fruitful clime; indus-
tries developed to a stage which in some directions distances every preceding
record; where cities have sprung into life, which challenge the admiration of
the world; and where today a united people from many lands, of many races,
even of the aboriginal race itself, are witnessing the splendid triumphs of
the most advanced civilization— peace, progress and prosperity.
We of the Wisconsin Society, upon this our fifty-second birthday, bid the
young Society of the Illinois— God speed!
The Objects of the German-American Historical Society.
As President of the German-American Historical Society of Illinois I have
been invited by your kindred organization to read a paper at your annual
meeting today. I have chosen the subject: "The Objects of Historical Re-
search," and fear that this high sounding title may have induced the belief
on your part that I intended to deliver a learned discourse on history in gen-
eral. In order to disabuse your minds I will therefore state at the outset that
my only purpose here is to explain briefly what objects the German-Ameri-
can Historical Society of Illinois aims at and how far its own research into
the history of our people is designed to extend.
Our countrj' is inhabited by a people composed of all the different nation-
alities of the Old World, some more numerous than others, but all endowed
with their own peculiar national characteristics springing from more or less
striking dissimilarities in speech, manners and and otherenvironments. Un-
der our free institutions we have, by reason of the vast elbowroom afforded
us upon our vast domain, admitted to our shores, from climes less favored
than ours, millions of people who have made this country their home and
have lent us a helping hand in the development of its resources. We are
here concerned with that element of our people which has come to us from
During the conquests which followed the discovery of America, Germany
was rent asunder by fierce internal strife, chiefly induced by religious dissen-
sions, and therefore unable as a power to take any part in the colonization
and political division of this continent. But since the incessant wars waged
upon her soil created a condition of indescribable misery among its people,
thousands of them were driven by dire necessity, without leadership or guid-
ance from their own governments, to leave their German homes and to brave
an unknown fate amid the savages of the forests beyond the sea. Hence we
find that in our early colonial settlements there landed upon our shores small
bodies of Germans, which by degrees assumed the proportions of an immense
array that spread over a vast extent of territory, chiefly in the states of New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas. In
the very nature of things these immigrants belonged to the humblest classes
of the people in the fatherland; they were with few exceptions modest me-
chanics, laborers and peasants, but withal pious and God-fearing people, and
since the most of them had left their homes not merely for economic reasons,
but also in search of freedom to worship God according to their own convic-
tions, they were not without spiritual guides, some of whom were men pos-
sessed of rare intellectual attainments as well as of the highest nobility of
character. From these settlers sprang a host of stalwart men who were not
only among the most daring of our early explorers, but also among the
bravest of the soldiers in the armies of George Washington during the Revo-
lution. Their speech and manners differed, however, from those of the more
numerous English speaking colonists, and hence they were but little under-
stood but rather looked upon as springing from an inferior race. This view
became so firmly rooted in the minds of the English colonists that only a lit-
tle over half a centui'y ago so learned a man as the New England historian,
Francis Parkman, stigmatized these German immigrants as '"dull and ignor-
ant boors," adding that ''their descendants for the most part maintain the
same character." Later historians, amoDgthem the illustrious Bancroft, how-
ever, have treated them more justly while our noble Quaker poet, John Gr. Whit-
tier, bears the following testimony to their high character and proud achieve-
"The pilgrims of Plymouth have not lacked historian and poet. Justice
has been done to their faith, courage and self-saerifiee, and to the mighty in-
fluence of their endeavors to establish righteousness on the earth. The Quaker
pilgrims of Pennsylvania, seeking the same object by different means, have
not been equally fortunate. The power of their testimony for truth and
holiness, peace and freedom, enforced only by what Milton calls 'the unre-
sistable might of meekness,' has been felt through two centuries in the
amelioration of penal severities, the abolition of slavery, the reform of the
erring, the relief of the poor and suffering — felt, in brief, in every step of
The correctness of this judgment is especially apparent in the abolition of
slavery. The first German settlers, who came to our shores in 1683, were the
founders of Germantown, now a part of Philadelphia. It has been indisput-
ably shown that their noble and accomplished leader, Francis Daniel Pas-
torioas, was the first man on this continent who sent forth a strong public
protest against the scourge of negro slavery. The humane sentiments con-
tained in this memorable document breathe the true German spirit, which
asserted itself so powerfully in the days of the anti-slavery agitation and the
civil war, and hence Samuel W. Pennypacker may well say, as he does with
reference to Pastorious and his freedom-loving followers: "A little rill there
started which further on became an immense torrent, and whenever here-
after men trace the causes which led to Shiloh, Gettysburg and Appomattox,^
they will begin with the tender consciences of the linen weavers and hus-
bandmen of Germantown."
But it can not be doubted that the diversity in speech and manner between
those of our people who trace their origin to Plymouth Rock and those who
have come to us from the fatherland, has tended to create between them a
condition of aloofness which has not been conducive to a proper appreciation
ef each other's virtues. The German immigrants, using their native speech
and forming as they do in many instances all over these broad states large
communities more or less distinctly separated from those of their native
Amerisan fellow-citizens, are to the latter, by reason of these facts, in a
great measure "a book with seven seals," and hence their inner life and the
part they have taken in all great public movements, as well as in the indus-
trial, commercial and agricultural development of our country, have not
found the attention which they deserve, although keen and impartial obser-
vers have at all times conceded that, notwithstanding the outer differences
between the two great elements of our people, their natural tendencies and
adaptabilities, as well as their common aspirations toward the betterment of
all human conditions, present strong and striking likenesses.
Among a people like ours, made up as it is of the most varied elements, i
is the duty of every good citizen to cultivate the utmost harmony between
them all and to labor faithfully in dispelling racial and national prejudices,
for the words of John Stuart Mill that "whatever really tends to the admix-
ture of nationalities and the blending of their attributes and peculiarities in a
common union is a benefit to the human race," apply to no people so forcibly
as to ours. It is. therefore, highly important that in sifting the material
needed in the making up of the history of a great people, or of any part of it,
ail those should be called upon to render effective aid who, owing to their
training and associations, have a more or less intimate acquaintance with the
special traits, talents and achievements of any particular class of our citizens.
Whoever may be thus situated should, therefore, esteem it a cheerful duty to
assist in securing accurate records from which history may be compiled for
future generations, for "Man changes and quits the stage; his opinions pass
away and change with him;, history alone remains upon the stage, as the im-
mortal citizen of all nations and ages."
But while in our colonial days we wrote upon this continent part of the his-
tory of European nations, we write here now only American history. It be-
hooves us, therefore, that we should determine as accurately as possible what
particular part the different elements of our people have had in shaping it.
True, in the great armies of colonization that marched over this continent to
conquer the wilderness, those who came from the fatherland formed only
part of the rank and file, their commanders hailing from those other coun-
tries whose governments were strong enough to undertake conquests. Never-
theless, it has to the studious mind always been an interesting inquiry,
whether these German colonists compared favorably with the others of equal
rank in their manly qualities as well as in all other respects, and what traces,
if any, they left upon our American civilization.
But the matter with which the German-American Historical Society of Illi-
nois is concerned first and foremost, is to determine what share the "German
immigrants of Illinois have had in the growth and development of our State.
About one hundred years ago human civilization had hardly gained a foot-
hold within its limits. Two military posts, Cahokia and Kaskaskia, were
found on its southeastern border and under their protection alone the first
settlers were enabled to maintain themselves against the red savages. Today
about four million people inhabit this State. Within a period of scarcely one
hundred years hundreds of flourishing communities have sprung from our
soil, our fields and orchards bear abundant grain and fruit, our mines yield
valuable minerals, our rivers and artificial highways are lined with innumer-
able industries, as well as with many other proud works of human industry
and ingenuity; trade and commerce are in a thriving condition, our citizens
enjoy a reasonable measure of welfare, many of them have distinguistied
themselves brilliantly in all spheres of human activity, and while not a few
achieved in the past the highest honors of State, it fell to the lot of some, at
a time when the blessings of our free institutions were trembling in the bal-
ance, to guide the destinies of the nation, and with God-given genius not only
to lead our economic conditions, but also the political and moral views of our
people, evolved as they were from these, into new and better channels.
It may be safely assumed that about 30 per cent of the population of this
State are of German origin. Making due allowance for the fact that the most
of the German immigrants came from the humblest classes of their people
and that in the struggle of life they labored in tne beginning under serious
disadvantages on account of their ignorance of the language and the general
conditions of the country, the questions neverthless arise: Have these immi-
grants and their descendants, by their industry and intelligence, contributed
approximately as much to the progress of our State as the other nationalities
have done which, together with them, constitute the bulk of our people?
Have their endeavors in church and school, in agriculture, in trade and com-
merce, in the industries, and in the arts and sciences been as rich in bless-
ings as those of their fellow citizens springing from other races? Were they
at all times to their adopted country loyal and patriotic citizens? Have they
cherished a proper appreciation of their public duties, and have they never
failed to show a full measure of love and devotion for our free institutions in
peace as well as in war? Did German immigration influence the character of
our people, and if so, in what respect and to what extent? Has it conferred
any special benefits upon our civilization, and if so, what? In what fields of
human activity have the Germans been most useful? What business branches
may be said to have more particularly been advanced by their special skill
These and other kindred inquiries address themselves especially to those
who by reason of their intimate acquaintance with the special traits of the
German element of our people, their knowledge of its language and their
constant intercourse with it, have greater facilities to study all the phases of
its intellectual and material existence. If men of that stamp do not render
the historian effective assistance in gathering the data upon which the true
history of our American people and its composite elements may be based,
then the German-Americans have only themselves to blame, in case they fail
to receive a fair share of recognition for the endeavors they put forth to pro-
mote the public weal, because thej' are the ones who by reason of their former
surroundings bring with them conditions which are the very cause of the
comparative remoteness between them and the English speaking elements of
our people. This same cause led to the estrangement which existed in colonial
days between the English colonists and the German and which tended to pro-
duce a long-lasting lack of appreciation of the latter's merits.
The welfare of our people demands that the most cordial intercourse be
cultivated and cherished among all its parts. It is essential to our normal
growth that all these parts meet each other at all times in a spirit of fairness
and mutual confidence, in order that a harmonious interchange of the best
traits of all may ultimately lead to the development of the strongest and
noblest national character in history.
The Historical Society of Illinois writes the history of the whole people of
this State; the German-American Historical Society of Illinois is engaged in
gathering historical data concerning one of the most numerous elements of
our people. The latter society is therefore a mere adjunct of the former and
cheerfully enrolls itself in its service, in order that from the German side
"not that which fancy shapes or the heart holds dear, but only that which
ripe reflection and a sound judgment have discerned to be the truth, be ad-
mitted through the sacred portals of history."
The Influenoe of Government Land Grants eor Educational Purposes
Upon the Educational System of the State.
Jonathan Baldwin Turner.
When I accepted the invitation of your program committee to read a paper
bef9re you upon such a topic related to the educational history of the State as
I might select, I did so with some reluctance; for I knew that I could not
come before you with fresh material, but must, for the most part, fall back
upon gleanings made some years ago, while an employe in the State Super-
intendent's office, much of which will, I fear, be ancient history to you.
In speaking of the government land grants to education in our State I
shall not dwell further upon what the grants were, how they were made, and
what has been realized from them than seems necessary to serve my chief
purpose — to call your attention to the part they have played in shaping our
In an act passed by Congress May 20, 1785, providing, among other things,
for the sale of lands in what is known as the Northwest Territory, it was
ordered that the land should be laid off into townships six miles square, that
each township shouid be divided into thirty-six tracts, each a mile square,
and that "there shall be reserved from sale the lot No. 16 of every township
for the maintenance of public schools within said township."
Most of the provisions of this act are credited to Thomas Jefferson, and
the clause with reference to education has commonly been attributed to his
well known zeal for education. But it clearly appears from a paper pub-
lished by the American Historical Association* that a bill containing many
of the features of the act of 1785 was prepared by Jefferson and considered
by Congress in 1784, that this bill did not contain any educational clause, that
Jefferson was not in Congress in 1785, and that the clause in question should
be attributed to the efforts of Col. Timothy Pickering, if, which is perhaps
doubtful, any one man should be credited therefor.
The ordinance of 1787 did not repeat the educational grant of 1785 in terms,
but did sanction it by the well-known article, "religion, morality, and
knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of man-
kind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged."
Pursuant to the act of 1785, and following the precedent set in the admis-
sion of Ohio and Indiana, Congress, in the act of April 18, 1818, "To enable
the people of Illinois Territory to form a constitution and state government,"
inserted the following: "Section numbered sixteen in every township
* * * shall be granted to the state for the use of the inhabitants of such
township for the use of schools." The phrase in the act of 1785 "for the
maintenance of public schools within said township," and the corresponding
phrase in the enabling act of 1818, "for the use of the inhabitants of such
township for the use of schools," have clearly restricted the proceeds of each
sixteenth section, whether from rents or from sales, to the use of the town-
ship in which it lies, and the restriction has been upheld in the courts.
What use was made of these lands prior to the admission of the state is not
known to the writer. It is possible that, under a law passed by the territor-
*Geo. W. Knight, Vol. 1, No. 3, Papers Am. Hiat. Aas'n.
ial legislature of Indiana and continued in force in the territory of Illinois
by an act of its legislature declaring the general laws of Indiana in force in
Illinois, some leases were made by the courts of common pleas.
The acts of Congress did not provide for the sale of these lands and our
first General Assembly, at its second session, in 1819, (it will be remembered
that there was no legislation at the session of 1818), authorized the county
commissioners to appoint in each township three substantial freeholders
trustees of the lands. They were to appoint a treasurer and were to lease
the lands, care for them, and collect the rents, which were for a time paid
into the county treasury to be disbursed by the county commissioners. The
lineal successors of these trustees are the township trustees of schools and
the township school treasurer of today.
It should be remembered in this connection that the word township has a
three fold meaning with us today: First, the coogressional township estab-
lished by the government survey; second, the school township, originally the
same as the congressional township, but now in many cases something differ-
ent through legislative action making or permitting changes in territory;
and, third, the civil townships in counties under township organization, which
may or may not have the same territory as congressional or school townships.
In 1825, a genuine free school act was passed, the schools to be supported
by State and local taxation. But the people were not ready for free schools
nor were they willing to be taxed for such a purpose then. State aid was
soon withdrawn, and the power to levy local taxes was made of no avail by
an amendment to the effect that no one should be taxed without his consent;
and no organized school system, worthy the name, was provided by law until
1837, and no free school act based upon taxation was passed until 1855.
Meanwhile, in 1831, a law had been enacted authorizing the sale of the school
lands, and the township trustees were required to make prior to such sale sur-
veys and appraisals of the lands.
By the act of 1837, the people of any congressional township, the only
township known at that time, were given the power to organize under the
lead of the trustees; and such organized townships became school townships,
elected school trustees who were made the successors of the trustees of school
lands, and were authorized to receive and loan through their treasurer any
funds which had been received from the sale of school lands. In addition to
this, the board of trustees was to lay off the township into school districts,
and the title of all school property was vested in them. They were also to
collect and report the school statistics for their township, and to apportion to
the several districts, in addition to interest on the school fund of the town-
ship, such other moneys as came to the township for school purposes. Their
treasurer was made the custodian of all township school funds and later of all
district funds, whether raised by taxation, or by the sale of bonds, or coming
from other sources, and through him all disbursements of school funds were
made, and by him all district accounts were kept. These powers these officers
have held till the present time, except in so far as they have been curtailed
by the granting of a few special charters and by modifications of the law in
regard to the formation of districts.
To this same grant of sixteenth section lands for school purposes, we may
trace directly another school office, which has been perhaps the most potent
single influence in the upbuilding of our school system. As has been said,
the act of Congress gave no authority for the sale of these lands. However,
assuming that it would be given to Illinois as it had already been given to
Ohio and Indiana, our Legislature, in 1831, passed an act for their sale, in
accordance with which the county commissioners in every county apoointed
a commissioner of sales and the selling began the same year. In 1843 con-
gressional authority for such sales was given and sales already made were
The commissioner of school lands at first had no direct connection with the
schools of his county; but when many sales had been made, so that the in-
terest on accumulated funds became considerable, it was provided that the
commissioner should pay the interest to teachers; and when, in 1835, the
State, which up to that time had used to meet its own expenses all school
funds which had come into the treasury, directed that interest should be paid
thereon, the school commissioners were made the agents by which these
funds were distributed to the townships in the several counties. But the of-
fice was not vitalized and made efficient as a school office until, by the act of
1845, it became elective, and the commissioner was made, ex-officio, county
superintendent and was required to visit schools and to advise in all matters
pertainintr thereto. It was also made his duty "with such person or persons
as he shall associate with him to examine all persons proposing to teach a
common school in any township in his county touching his or her qualifica-
tious properly to teach orthography, reading in English, penmanship, arith-
metic, English grammar, modern geography, and history of the United
States; and if he shall find such person qualified, he shall, on being satisfied
of his or her good moral character, give such person a certificate of qualifi-
cation, and no person who shall teach a school without first having obtained
such a certificate shall be entitled to receive any portion of the public fund.''
In these provisions of the law of 1845 we find the gist of the powers and du-
ties of the county superintendent of schools of today.
We may thus trace directly to the grant of the sixteenth section for schools,
our school township and the important school offices of township school trus-
tees, township school treasurer and county superintendent of schools.
We must not forget, too, that the establishment of schools for thirty years
after the admission of the State was, in the large majority of cases, in all
probability either made possible or hastened by the income from this grant.
The school report of 1850, submitted by the Secretary of State, (then ex officio
State Superintendent of Schools), shows that two-fifths of the amount ex-
pended for schools was interest from township funds.
These figures from the State Superintendent's report of 1899-1900 showing
the present condition of the fund may not be out of place here:
1. Totalof township funds
2. Total income of same
3. Township fund (Chicago)...
4. Lands of same
5. Total income of same
6. Income from rents of same.
900. 183 94
The second land grant to Illinois for school purposes was made in part in
1804 and in part in the enabling act of 1818. After the admission of Ohio the
rest of the Northwest Territory was divided into three land districts, and the
Secretary of the Treasury was directed to locate one entire township in each
for the use of a seminary of learning. The enabling act gave another town-
ship, or thirty-six sections, for the same purpose. Under the earlier act, T.
5 N., 1 W. 3d P. M. was located, but the location was a poor one and Con-
gress accepted its surrender and gave instead thirty- six sections.
The management of these choice lands was so unwise — one can hardly re-
frain from saying criminally unwise in view of the facts — that under an act
passed in 1829, fourteen years in advance of any authority from Congress for
their sale and almost thirty years before any provision was made to use legit-
imately the proceeds thereform, the sales were begun at $1.25 an acre and
but little more than the upset price was realized, the total being but $55,000.
Had the lands been held until 1857, when first the income was used in com-
pliance with the purpose of the grant, and the renrs accumulated, the pro-
ceeds of sales and rentals would have reached easily one and one-half and
possibly two million dollars. Did the State own the lands today their rental
would maintain handsomely all our State normal schools.
In the using, the seminary fund has always been coupled with another fund,
the college fund; accordingly let me recall to your minds briefly its origin.
Ohio and Indiana had been granted for road building five per cent of future
sales by the government of lands within their limits. The bill for the admis-
sion of Illinois contained, as introduced, a similar provision; but Mr. Nathan-
iel Pope, our delegate in congress, secured an amendment by which two per
cent was to be given for road building, "the residue," three per cent, "to be
appropriated by the legislature of the State for the eneouraereme'nt of learn-
ing, of which one-sixth part shall be exclusively bestowed on a college or
university." Probably one of Mr. Pope's arguments for the amendment,
that "nature had left "little to be done in the proposed State of Illinois, in
order to have the finest roads in the world," would be scouted by the good
roads advocates of today. The one-sixth of three per cent brought $156,613.32.
It is needless to recount in this connection the many efforts made to have
these two funds divided up among some or all the colleges of the State, or to
have them used in maintaining county seminaries. Suffice it to say, that an
attempt t® secure a charter in 1833 for an institution to be established in
Springfield and to be called Illinois University, failed; that schemes to divide
and scatter the funds were thwarted by a flank movement giving for the time
being the interest on them to the public schools; and that a bill for "An act
to incorporate the Trustees of Illinois University" was not passed.
As early as 1832, while as yet there was no school in the country, public or
private, distinctively for the education of teachers, it was proposed that such
a work should be undertaken in Illinois and that a part of the income of the
school funds should be used for this purpose. At an educational convention
held in Vandalia (at which Abraham Lincoln was a delegate and Stephen A.
Douglas a secretary) the same idea was advocated, and shortly after a bill
was introduced for an elaborate system of county seminaries in which the
tuition of such persons as would pledge themselves to teach in the public
schools of the State should be paid in whole or in part from the income of
the seminary fund, A proposition for a State normal school in Illinois, the
first so far as I have been able to learn was made by John S. Wright, of
Chicago, in 1840, in a paper he was just. starting, called at first the Union
Agriculturist and afterwards the Prairie Farmer. This school it was proposed
should be established at Springfield and should have for its suppoit the col-
lege and seminary funds.
The proposition for a normal school, once broached, was urged vigorously
jn other quarters. The Illinois Industrial League, organized through the
efforts of Professor J. B. Turner to promote the establishment of a State
university, at its convention held in Chicago, November 24, 1852, pi-oposed:
"That so much of the seminary fund as is needed for that purpose should be
immediately appropriated as designed for the endowment of a seminary or
normal school for the purpose of educating a full supply of competent and
well qualified common school teachers, for the direct benefit and use of the
common schools." The convention also named a normal school first in its
schedule of departments to be maintained in the university proposed. The
State Teachers' Institute, now the Illinois State Teachers' Association, at
its first meeting in 1853, declared " for the establishment and support of
normal schools." The State university bill of 1855 failed; but in 1857, after
a vigorous campaign, a bill for a normal school was passed, with but a
single vote to spare, in the House, and the income of both the college and
seminary funds was appropriated for its support. It was not until 1869 that
any additional appropriation was made for the maintenance of this school.
Thus we see that the existence of these funds constantly stimulated effort
for the establishment of a school of instruction for teachers; and I think it
is not too much to say that there is no probability that we should have secured
our first normal school until long after the civil war, had it not been for the
land grant for a seminary fund.
Before proceeding to the consideration of the third and last land grant
made to us by the government, that for a college, permit me to call your at-
tention to the Improbable, though wide-spread, story of a college in Illinois
early in the third decade of the eighteenth century. In most ancient times,
so the myth runs, the Jesuits brought higher education into Illinois. Many
allusions to a Jesuit college at Kaskaskia are to be found in historical writ-
Stoddard says: *"In the early part of the last century, when the French in
Upper Louisiana were at the apex of their glory, a college of priests was es-
tablished at Kaskaskia. The practice of most Catholic countries obtained
here; the poor were neglected while some of the most wealthy and consider-
able were permitted to quafif at this literary fountain. The liberal and use-
ful sciences were but little cultivated in this seminary. Scholastic divinity
afforded almost the only subjects of investigation. * * * Of what salutary
use was such a seminary to the people? * * * No regulations were offi-
cially made on the subject of general education."
Governor Reynolds, who came to Illinois in 1800, grew up in Kaskaskia,
and began practicing law in Cahokia in 1814, writes: t "In the year 1721 the
Jesuits erected a monastry and college in Kaskaskia, and in a few years it
was chartered by the government. * * * The Jesuit college at Kaskaskia
continued :o flourish until the war with England in 1754, was declared."
Brown writes as follows: f'While the French retained possession of Illi-
nois, Kaskaskia was their principal town, Charlevoix visited it in 1721. It
contained at that time a college of Jesuits and about one hundred families."
* * * "The Jesuits once had a college at Kaskaskia, and it is said, though
on doubtful authority, that the celebrated Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray,
* * * while a monk of the order of St. Sulspice, taught therein. Whether
he did so or not is immaterial. The Jesuit missionaries in this country were
learned men. They were educated, however, in Europe and we have no evi-
dence that the college at Kaskaskia produced any such. It has long been in
Davidson and Stuve, evidently following Reynolds, say: ?"A11 the settle-
ments between the rivers Mississippi and Kaskaskia became greatly extended
and increased in number, and in 1721 the Jesuits established a monastary and
college at Kaskaskia."
Maj. A. S. De Peyster. writing from Mackinac, under date of June 27, 1779,
to Gen. Haldimand, at Montreal, has the following: l"By creditable people
just arrived from the Illinois, I have the following accounts so late as 24th of
April." [Gen. Clark had captured Kaskaskia in the July before.] * * *
"The Kaskaskias no ways fortified. The Fort being a sorry pinchetted
[picketed] enclosure round the Jesuits' college, with two plank houses at op-
posite angles, mounting two four- pounders, each on the ground floor and a
few swivels mounted in a pidgeon house."
Rev. Father L. W. Ferland, writing me from Kaskaskia under date of
April 29, 1890, says: "In reply to your favor of the 22d inst. I wish to say
that tradition shows the place where once stood a Jesuit college." * * *
"The building must have been spacious for the times; if I can judge from
\ where stood the foundations, it was about 50 feet long." The novelists have
, copied the historians.
It would seen that such statements as these should conclusively prove that
there was for some thirty years of the first half of the 18th century an insti-
tution of a high grade in the old French settlement of Kaskaskia. Why a
. college at a missionary outpost, among a few hundred simple peasants and
traders, surrounded by scattering tribes of Indians, was, however, a question
not easy to solve; and not having the opportunity to investigate it with care
myself, I have sought information from others well known to be familiar with
the historical material which alone could give a satisfactory answer.
Mr. Douglas Brymner, archivist, Ottawa, Canada, wrote me May 23, 1890:
"I have looked over the papers connected with Kaskaskias, but none of these
contain any reference to the existence of a college, but this is no evidence
* Amos Stoddard.— Sketches, Historical and Descriptive, of Louisiana. [Phila. 1812.1
t John Reynolds.— The Pioneer History of Illinois. ( Belleville. 1848.] Pages 33-36.
1 Henry Brown. The history of Illinois from its First Discovery and Settlement to the
Present Time, [N. Y.. 1854J pp. 12, 447.
§ Davidson and Stuve. A Complete History of Illinois [Springfield, 1884,] p. 121.
3 Michigan Pioneer Collections, vol. 9, p. 338.
that none existed. The earliest manuscript I have does not go back further
than 1759, being the register oE the parish of iS^o^re Damede V Immaculate Con-
oepcion, Caseaskias. I can find nothing among printed works that would
throw any light on the subject."
From several letters from Oscar W. Collet, Librarian of the Missouri His-
torical Society, I make these extracts: "There never was, in French times,
a monastery, conventual establishment, college, or any institution in the na-
ture of a college, boarding school or like educational house outside New Or-
leans." * * * "That there may have been some attempt at a miserable
day school is possible. This is conjecture, however; for although somewhat
familiar with the history of the valley, I have no knowledge of any such
"When I said Stoddard started the Kaskaskia college romance, I meant
simply, not that he invented it, but was the first, as far as I knew, to put it
into print. He was in this region 1803-4 and after."
"The building to which DePeyster gives the name of Jesuit College, is
most certainly the Jesuit residence in Kaskaskia."
"Of one thing you may be certain; had there been a college, mention of
the fact would assuredly be found in some contemporaneous authority, or at
least reference to it. But positively there is none. If you will read IBossu,
the part that relates to his sojourn in Illinois, Father Vivier's two letters from
the Illinois, and Carayon's Bannissement , the conviction will come to you that
the college was an impossibility."
In the Bannissement des Jesuits, written late in 17G4, or during 1765,
Carayon, who was one of the Jesuit Fathers, sets out methodically, one by one,
the different works in which the society was engaged, during the century up
to its expulsion in 1763; and to suppose that he would have omitted, as he
was putting forth a justification of the Jesuits in Louisiana, even a reference
to a college or school anywhere, had one existed, is to set him down as a
Two letters from John Gilmary Shea, the eminent historian of Catholicism
in America, are as follows: The Jesuits had their mission at Kaskaskia;
priests from the Seminary of Quebec had a mission at Cohokia or Tamoroa;
there was occasionally a Recollect or Reformed Franciscan at Fort Chartres
acting as a chaplain. There are many letters from all these, and in none is
there the slighest allusion to any educational establishment. There is no
trace of any charter for such an institution."
"My own impression is that such a story was made up from some misun-
derstanding. There is in many minds such an absurd jumble in regard to the
secular and regular clergy of the Catholic church that we meet all manner of
side-splitting comicalities. One writer on the Mississippi Valley speaks of
Hennepin as a Jesuit monk of the Franciscan ojder! To make one man
monk, prior and regular clerk would be like classifying a man as cavalry-
man, marine and Indian scout. I think some such addle-pated fellow met an
allusion to priests of the Seminary in the Illinois country and with the fixed
idea tha-t there were none but Jesuits there, supposed these to be Jesuits be-
longing to a Seminary in Illinois; whereas they were secular priests sent
from the Theological Seminary in Quebec, who were not on very good terms
with the Jesuits.
I can not see any other way in which the story originated; but it is very
certain the Jesuits never had a college in Illinois in French days."
"Your reference to a Jesuit college is certainly early (De Peyster letter
cited above) ; but at that time, 1779, there could have been no Jesuit institu-
tion there at all, as their property at Kaskaskia, though on British soil, was
seized under authority of the Louisiana council Sept. 22, 1763, and the Jesuits
carried off. The property was than sold and the French authorities pretended
to give title,
"The mission at the present Kaskaskia began about 1700, after the removal
of the tribe. Catalogues exist of the French Jesuits in Canada, etc., and in
none is there any allusion made to any college except at Quebec. In the
lists of missionaries during all the period 1700-1763, in which the address and
employment of each member are given, no one is ever given as president or
professor except at Quebec. Charlevoix's Journal shows that there was no
college in 1721. The letters in Letters Edifiantes, coming down to 1750 are
silent as to auy college; and none is mentioned at the time the Jesuit property
was seized in 1763."
I submit that upon this testimony we must conclude that the story of a col-
lege at Kaskaskia, though told in our histories and repeated in fiction, has
no foundation in fact.
I have already alluded to efforts made to establish a State university be-
ginning in 1833 and continuing at intervals until 1855. For the endowment
of this institution, the Legislature was asked to appropriate the college fund
"exclusively bestowed," in the words of the act of Congress for this purpose;
but we have seen that the income of the fund was devoted in 1857 to the sup-
port of the State normal school established at Normal. While this was a
perversion of the fund, we may not perhaps conclude that it was unfortunate
either that the fund was so used or that the State university waited for the
richer endowment of the congressional grant of 1862.
In 1852 Congress was memorialized from Illinois for "a grant of public
lands to establish and endow industrial institutions in each and every state in
the Union." Similar memorials followed from other states, but it was not
until the Morrill bill for this purpose was introduced in 1857, that the subject
was seriously considered. The bill was passed in 1859, but was vetoed by
President Buchanan. It was again introduced in 1861, was passed, and re-
ceived the approval of President Lincoln July 2, 1862.
By this act 30,000 acres of public land for each member of congress were
granted to each state for the endowment, support, and maintenance of, at
least, one college, where the leading object shall be, without excluding other
scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such
branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in
such manner as the legislatures of the states may respectively prescribe, ia
order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes
in the several pursuits and professions in life.
There being no public lands in Illinois subject to entry at the" price named
in the act, $1.25 an acre, the State received scrip for 480,000 acres of land.
The legislature by act of February 28, 1867, chartered the Illinois ludusti-ial
University and located it in Qrbana. The scrip was assigned to the trustees
of the university who located scrip for 25,000 acres and sold the rest for
$319,178.87. Sales of lands located have increased the fund to about $625,000
and will probably swell it still further to $625,000. In 1885 the legislature
changed the name to the University of Illinois. The institution is controlled
by a board of twelve trustees, of which the Governor, the President of the
State Board of Agriculture, and the State Superintendent of Public In-
struction are members ex-officio. The other members are chosen, three at
each general election, and hold office for six years. I need not detail to you
the history of the university. When it was opened in 1868 there were already
twenty-six chartered colleges and universities in the State and naturallj'^ its
growth at first was slow. For years State appropriations were meager, but
of late they have been more liberal. Its buildings and their equipment
represent an investment by the State of over $1,000,000.
The organization of the university embraces a college of agriculture, a col-
lege of engineering, with departments of architecture, civil engineering,
municipal and sanitary engineering, mechanical engineering and electri-
cal engineering, a college of science, a college of literature and arts, a
graduate school, a school of art and design, a school of library science, and
a school of household science, a biological experiment station, and the State
water survey. Its professional departments are a school of pharmacy, a col-
lege of law, and a college of medicine. The State Laboratory of Natural
History, supported by legislative appropriations and the Agricultural Exper-
iment Station supported by congressional appropriations are under the con-
trol of its board of trustees. It has been found desirable to maintain a
preparatory school of the grade of a high school. The State entomologist's
ofldce is at the university and one of its professors is State entomologist.
The university has always sought to maintain a close connection with the
public schools, and a much larger number of our high school graduates go to
the university for college or professional study than to any other institution.
The fees for undergraduate courses are very low — $111.00 for the four
years — and besides there are offered annually 116 free scholarships in these
courses, good for four years, and 108 scholarships, good for two years, in the
college of agriculture and the school of household science.
There were 377 students enrolled in 1887-8; the enrollment this year will
reach 2,500. Its roll of professors, instructors and assistants, has 267 names.
You see how broad a foundation has been laid. The future seems secure
and full of promise, for the university is under the fostering care of the im-
perial commonwealth of the Mississippi valley.
The congressional land grant of 1862 made possible the State University as
the fit head of the public school system, and without the grant there is no
probability that such an institution would ever have been established in Illi-
JONATHAN BALDWIN TURNER.
The name of one man is indissolubly connected with the educational devel-
opment of our State for a third of a century. Jonathan Baldwin Turner was
born and reared on a farm in Templeton, Mass. He grew to be a tall, strong
man with an iron constitution. About a year before his death, when ninety-
two years old, he told a friend that he had never in his life lost a meal of
victuals through sickness.
In 1827, when 22 years of age, he entered the preparatory department of
Yale College and supported himself in part by manual labor and by giving
instruction in the gymnasium. He was graduated from the classical course
of the college in 1833, and at once came to Illinois, to the Yale colony which
had opened Illinois College in Jacksonville, in 1830. His connection with the
college continued for fourteen years, his professorship being that of English
Literature and Rhetoric, but his teaching was not confined to these subjects.
From the first Professor Turner was, with his associates, a strong and indefatiga-
ble advocate of free public schools. He told me that he spent his summer vaca-
tion in 1834 traveling through half a dozen or more counties at his own ex-
pense delivering addresses in advocacy of common schools, wherever he eou»ld
find an audience. One incident of this trip was lying senseless upon the
prairie for nearly a day where he had been thrown by a vicious horse bought
of an honest farmer to replace his own horse which had gone hopelessly
Late in the first half of this century the idea had become prevalent that an
education beyond that of the common school, but different from that of the
academy and college of the times, was desirable for the so-called "industrial,"
as distinguished from the "professional," classes. Agricultural and technical
schools, as well as normal schools, had been established in some of the states
of continental Europe; but in the United States the Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, founded in 1824, at which a few young men received instruction in
civil engineering, and three of the Massachusetts normal schools, started in
the late thirties, were the pioneers. Sheffield Scientific School, at Yale, and
Lawrence Scientific School, at Harvard, were opened just at the close of the
The Buel Institute, an agricultural society of Putnam county, in this State,
at its fair in the fall of 1851, decided to call a Farmers' Convention at Gran-
ville in November, "to take * * * * steps toward the establishment of
an Agricultural University.'' Professor Turner, who had resigned his pro-
fessorship in 1847, and who was already recognized as one of the strongest
advocates of "industrial" education, was invited to attend the convention
and to deliver an address. What the attitude of the convention toward higher
education was and what its leaders were seeking to obtain through the pro-
posed university will best appear from the following resolutions, adopted
aapon the report of a committee of which Professor Turner was chairman:
Resolved, That we greatly rejoice in the deprree of perfection to which our
various institutions for the education of our brethren engaged in professional,
scientific and literary pursuits, have already attained, and in the mental and
moral elevation which those institutions have given them, and in their conse-
quent preparation and capacity for the great duties in the spheres of life in
which they are engaged; and that we will aid, in all ways consistent, for the
still greater perfection of such institutions.
Resolved, That, as the representatives of the industrial classes, including
all cultivators of the soil, artisans, mechanics, and merchants, we desire the
same privileges and advantages for ourselves, our fellows, and our posterity
in each of our several callings as our professional brethren enjoy in theirs;
and we admit that it is our own fault that we do not also enjoy them.
Resolved, That in our opinion the institutions originally and primarily de-
signed to meet the wants of the professional classes, as such, can not, in the
nature of things, meet ours, no more than the institutions we desire to es-
tablish for ourselves could meet theirs; therefore,
Resolved, That we take immediate measures for the establishment of a uni-
versity in the State of Illinois expressly to meet those felt wants of each and
all the industrial classes of our State; and that we recommend the founda-
tion of high schools, lyceums, institutes, etc., in each of our counties, on
similar principles, so soon as they may find it practicable to do so.
Resolved, That in our opinion such institutions can never impede, but must
greatly promote the best interests of all those existing institutions.
Professor Turner's address was entitled, "A Plan for an Industrial Uni-
versity for the State of Illinois."
Two questions were propounded:
What do the industrial classes want?
How can that want be supplied?
His answer to the first was: "They want, and they ought to have, the
same facilities for understanding the true philosophy — the science and the
art — of their several pursuits, (their life business), and of efficiently applying
existing knowledge thereto and widening its domain, which the professional
classes have long enjoyed in their pursuits."
In answer to the second question he advocated — (1) a National Institute of
Science (and this he hoped would be supplied by the Smithsonian Institute,
then just established); and (2), to cooperate with this institute, a "Univer-
sity of the Industrial Classes in each of the States, with their consequent
subordinate institutes, lyceums, and high schools in each of the counties and
towns.'' From the State university he proposed that "no species of know-
ledge should be excluded," but said further that "whether a distinct classical
department should be added or not would depend on expediency,'' as it
might be best to leave that department to existing colleges. It was also in
his plan that a considerable part of the work of the university should be in-
vestigation and experimentation.
The address was widely circulated through the press of the country, and
many copies were sent out in pamphlet form. It attracted much attention,
and seems to have given just the impulse needed to start the movement which
has resulted in establishing a state university in every state and territory of
A year later (November, 1852), at 'a third convention held in Chicago, the
Industrial League of the State of Illinois was organized, with Professor
Turner as chief director, and it was '^Resolved, That this convention memori-
alize Congress for the purpose of obtaining a grant of public lands to estab-
lish and endow industrial institutions in each and every state in the Union. "^
The Legislature, which met January 4, 1853, was urged by a fourth conven-
tion to memorialize Congress for a grant to each state of public lands to the
value of not less than $500,000 for the endowment in each of an industrial col-
lege, and joint resolutions to tnis effect were unanimously adopted by the
The question of Congressional aid for such schools had already been raised
in the east, and Michigan had, in 1850, asked for itself an endowment for
a distinctively agricultural coUegre; but to Profess jr Turner and his friends
belongs, 1 believe, the honor of first securing the formal presentation to Con-
gress of the propositioa to endow state universities to be established on the
broad lines of the Granville address; and this proposition is the central idea
of the beneficent land grant act of 1862 — an act which has so changed our sys-
tem of higher education and so enlarged its scope and made the State so pow-
erful an ally of the university that we as yet hardly realize its full significance
The character of the institution desired by Professor Turner and his co-
workers in Illinois may be seen by the following extract from a bill prepared
by them at a convention held January 1, 1855, and considered but not passed
by the General Assembly of that year.
The object of the institution shall be to impart instruction in all depart-
ments of useful knowledge, science, and art, commencing with those depart-
ments now most needed by the citizens of the state, to-wit:
1. A teachers' seminary, or a normal school department, for the improve-
ment and education of common school teachers.
2. An agricultural department for the benefit and instruction of farmers,
and the sons of farmers, and of all others interested in the science or arts of
agriculture and horticulture.
3. A mechanical department for the benefit and instruction of mechanics
and the sons of mechanics, and for all others interested in, and desirous of
acquiring knowledge of, architectural and mechanical science and the me-
chanic arts, and the use and application of mechanical power.
To these departments others may be added from time to time, as the wants
of the people require, and the funds and means of the university will justify,
so that, finally, the university may become a place of resort for acquiring an
accomplished and finished education in all useful, practical, literary, and sci-
1 have spoken of the passage of the Morrill act of 1862, of the land grant
made thereby, and of the charter granted the Illinois Industrial University in
1867. With the opening of the university in 1868 the struggle was over. In
an address delivered on inauguration day, by Dr. Newton Bateman (himself
a pupil of Professor Turner's), are to be found these vivid words, which, bet-
ter than my meager story, tell of Professor Turner's part in the struggle:
"In the West, the man whose voice rang out earliest, loudest, and clearest
in this great movement, whose words pealed and thundered through the
minds and hearts of the people, and the roundshot of whose tremendous
broadsides of irrefragible facts and logic and fiery rhetoric, plowed and
plunged and ricochetted through these prairies with an energy and
vehemence that no bulwarks of ignorance or apathy could withstand, and
which brought nearly every farmer and artisan hurrying to his standard from
far and near, and put in motion the imperial columns of our freeborn yeo-
manry; the man who threw into the struggle not only the best energies of
his mind, but the unwavering faith of his soul and the deepest longings of
his heart, and who plead for the uplifting and regeneration of the masses and
for the "millenium of labor." as the patriot pleads for his country, and the
christian for the salvation of God; the man whose able reports, instructive
addresses, and thrillingly eloquent speeches were caught up and re-echoed
by the enlightened press of the whole country, and which furnished at once
the material and inspiration of auxiliary and cooperative movements and or-
ganizations in many other states; and the man who, as I believe, through all
these multiplied and overwhelming labors, was animated not by considera-
tions of self aggrandizement or sordid gain, but by the loftier purpose of
saving his race and honoring God by uplifting and blessing the toiling mil-
lions of his children — that man was -Jonathan Baldwin Turner."
On the facade of the central of the five buildings just erected at the Uni-
versity for the College of Agriculture, are inscribed tnese words of Professor
Turner's: "Industrial education prepares the way for the millenium of
r," »rwi on oae side of th-e main eatrmitee is a bronze tablet thus in-
•erflwd: "T"--^- ^•-■-^- ", - reeteii " "'^ Memory of Jonathan Baldwin Tur-
■er: to h^s r - as a . . >as adfo«&te of seientine pdueation
the Batio' . -. -^nmi viu^a .&;d the foowdarioB of this University
aad of al . ist eoUeires.'*
I Teorare here to renew a suggestioB made by oae aone years ago in a re-
port of tt^ " ^ — -- adaat of Pablie InstmetioB:' "Wo aid it not be
BttT??. w -3«Totmda of tke State hoose are to be filled
V-' ' jn ewe i i e c e i<e honor, beeaase in ves
thr. ; __._____. r.^ple aad ti»e State, to set in one .: —rm a
■arbie statue of this man?"
BntaiB m the jexr 1SI2, iNimiaa Edvxrds, G&vetsar oi rae
qf a bo^ ot I^ais ■
ke^ of I^Jke Pka^
i - f_ a S 1 -*f
a £Dct at Peoua a inJE< _
ArrrriBs at tks keai mt Lalce Fbd^
he beat ^hmOj letica
Ifyrtw da^&a^ ttr
BaptktB Maaet. U»i^
- : • - 1 _
>■=•-.. jk^«C .
The lands upon which thej' were supposed to be located were allowed to be
entered only subject thereto, and patents were issued accordingly. This was
the origin of the so-called French Claims of Peoria, in relation to which liti-
gation raged in great fury for twenty years, ending about the year 1865.
In his report, the Register characterized the inhabitants as Indian traders,
hunters and voyagers who had formed a link of connection between the
French residing on the waters of the great lakes and those of the Mississippi
river, and who, from that happy faculty of adapting themselves to their
situation and associates, for which the French are remarkable, had lived
generally in harmony with their savage neighbors. This statement might be
somewhat misleading unless it be borne in mind that the three occupations
mentioned were the leading industries of the eountrj% often requiring large
amounts of capital and ripe business experience to carry them on.
In addition to the town lots and outlots appearing upon the map of the
village made by the Register as part of his report, there were a number of
claims to improved farm lands in the vicinity of the village, some of them
lying in the bottoms adjacent to the Kickapoo creek three miles distant.
Among the principal inhabitants of Le Ville de Maillet were Thomas For-
sythe who for many j'ears occupied a prominent position in the confidence of
Governor Edwards and other government officials; Antoine Le Clair, who after-
wards became one of the founders of the city of Davenport, Iowa; Michael
La Croix, an extensive trader whose widow afterwards became the wife of
Gov. John Reynolds; William Arundel, another merchant who afterwards
removed to Cahokia where he became a leading citizen and Recorder of
Deeds for St. Clair county; Isaac Darneille, a brilliant but profligate young
lawyer, the second one in the State, whose memory has been embalmed by
Governor Reynolds; Antoine Des Champ, a justice of the peace and afterwards
manager of the American Fur Company's interests on the Illinois; Jean
Baptiste Maillet the founder of the village, all of whom have a place in the
history of the State.
In the course of the investigation made by Edward Coles it was made to
appear that prior to the founding of Le Ville de Maillet there had existed on
the west bank of Peoria lake on older French village, located about one and
one-half miles from the former. Claims for lots in this older village were
also lodged with the Register, the proof of which he embodied in his report,
and when the village was surveyed these lots were also surveyed and a plat
thereof made as in the former case.
As this paper has to do chiefly with this older village, a brief reference ta
the topographical features of the locality may be useful to a proper under-
standing of what is to follow. Peoria Lake, in early times known as Lake-
Pimiteoui, in reality consists of two lakes, the combined length of which is
about seventeen or eighteen miles. The upper lake, which consists of a mere
widening of the river, begins at the foot of an island opposite the city of
Chillicothe. The land on its westerly shore rises gradually from the water's
edge, and for a considerable distance slopes back into a gently rolling prairie,,
varying in width from two to three miles, where it is bounded by the ordi-
nary wooded bluffs. This is LaSalle Prairie. For one half the distance from
Chillicothe to Peoria the course of the lake is to the southwest. Near the
village of Mossville it changes its course to almost due south, in whieh direc-
tion it continues to flow for a distance of about sIk miles. At the distance of
five miles from this change of course the lake contracts into a narrow and
deep channel through which it flows for the distance of nearly one mile.
This is known as the "Narrows." At its southern extremity this narrows is
spanned by a wagon road bridge. Near its northern extremity it was former-
ly crossed by a ferry. At the bridge the lake or river resumes its southwest-
erly course, and at that point again expands in width forming a lower lake
about three miles in length, and as wide as the upper lake at its widest part.
At the mouth of this lower lake LeVille de Maillet was located,
about one-half of it being above, and one-half below the present
location of another wagon road bridge crossing the river close to the
mouth of the lake at the foot of Bridge street in the city of Peoria.
This is called the lower bridge. Near the upper end of the village
site, Fort Clark was erected in the year 1813. Near the center of the village
had been a French fort, which is not to be confounded with Fort Clark, nor-
with a still older fort at the Old Village.
The new village had two streets running parallel with the river, the first
of which, closely hugged the declivity of the river bank, which at that point
was about thirty feet higher than low water mark, as it was known before
the construction of the Copperas Creek Dam in the Illinois river. At Main
street, in the now city of Peoria, this break of the embankment was one
hundred and ten feet from the upper side of Water street as it now exists.
Following this declivity of the river bank to the northeast, it gradually in-
creases in height, until at Caroline and Mary streets, a distance of nearly one
and one-half miles, it reaches its greatest altitude, the same being about fifty
feet above low water mark. Soon after passing Mary street it begins to curve
to the northwest, forming the southern bank of a small creek which takes its
rise in Springdale Cemetery about one and one-half miles to the north. This
little stream comes down through a charming little vale, known as Birket's
Hollow, and at its mouth there is a point of low land covering several acres
extending out into the lake several hundred feet further than the regular
shore line. This point was formerly known as Plum Point. South of Plum
Point IS a little cove or bay formerly known as Turtle Bay now partly filled
up, on the margin of which several ice houses are located, while the high
ground in their rear is occupied with railroad tracks, the buildings of the
Peoria Pottery Company, the Peoria Steam Marble Works, with many dwell-
ings and business houses.
The government surveyors located the " Old Village " near the foot of
Caroline street in the city of Peoria, directly facing Turtle Bay. Charles
Ballance, Esq., a lawyer and surveyor was here at the time of the survey
and had abundant opportunity for testing the accuracy of this location, for
many of the former French inhabitants were still living at that time and con-
tinued to live long afterwards. Mr. Ballance had also much to do with the
litigation 'concerning the French Claims and could have learned the facts as
to the location of the Old Village if he had suspected the accuracy of this
location. He wrote a history of the city of Peoria about the year 1870, in
which he not only confirms the location of the Old Village as given by the
surveyors, but further says that the " Old Fort " was located about one hun-
dred and fifty feet north-east of the buildings of the Peoria Pottery Company, .
which would place it on prominent ground at the curvature, and at the
highest point of the river bank as already mentioned.
Commencing at that point and extending back to the bluffs a distance of
about one-half mile, and to the south-west about four or five miles, varying
in width from one-half mile to a mile and a half and surrounded by a vast
amphitheatre of wooded blu|^two hundred feet high, was a beautiful prairie
on which the city of Peor^jJBjr stands.
When the first Americau'^Hers came to Peoria the narrows were by the
Indians called Cock-a-Mink, evidently a corruption of Ke-kauk-kem-ke, a
word which Governor Reynolds says was used by the Indians to designate a
straight, and was the same which they applied to the river connecting Lakes
Erie and St. Clair. It has its equivalent in the French word detroit. So fit-
ting was this latter name to the locality that the early settlers called a village
which they had laid out just above the narrows, by the name of " Detroit, "
while on the easterly side of the river just opposite was a country postof&ce
called " Little Detroit. "
The first settlers also found the name " Opa, " attached to the locality about
Peoria which is evidently a corrupt abbreviation of the French term " au pied'
dw iac" or " ajt piec? "(the foot.) The name "Opa" was by the American
Fur Companygiven to their station established in the year iSlS, at Wesley
City three miles below the lake, and the city o2 Peoria barely escaped being
being alflicted with that name instead of its present euphonious title.
About the year 1778, Jean Baptiste Maillet, who then resided in the old vil-
lage, removed his residence to the foot of the lake and there started a new
village which he called Le Ville de Maillet. One reason given for this change
of location is that he found better water there than at the old village, a rea-
son which from our standpoint seems to be somewhat far fetched. During
the Revolutionary war, in consequence of insutfieient protection, both loca-
tions were abandoned from 1781 to 1783. From the testimony taken before
Edward Coles, it seems that by the year 1790, the "old village" had been
practically abandoned, and the inhabitants had all taken up their residences
in the new one. Yet we find that five years later the old village and the fort
obtained distinct recognition in the treaty of Greenville, where a tract of
land six miles square is ceded to the United States, as one of the sixteen
posts ceded by the Indians Three of these posts were within the limits of
the State of Illinois; one, six miles square, at the mouth of the Chicago river,
one, twelve miles square, at the mouth of the Illinois river, and one, six miles
square, at "the Old Peorias Fort and Village," near the south end of the
Illinois lake, on the said Illinois river.
Contrary to the assertions made by some that the inhabitants of this village
constantly maintained a hostile attitude towards the government, or that they
considered themselves to all intents and purposes a foreign people, it appears
conclusively they were loyal citizens of the United States. So far as the in-
habitants of Le Yille de Maillet were concerned, this subject underwent a
thorough examination at the hands of Congress before their claims were con-
firmed. As to the inhabitants of the "old village," prior to the conquest of
the Northwest Territory by General Clark, they must have been subjects of
Great Britain,' for by the treaty between France and England, none of the
French were allowed to remain who refused to take the oath of allegiance to
the British Crown. The story of how General Clark induced the French of Vin-
cennes to take the oath of allegiance to Virginia is familiar to all.
But there is much better evidence not only of the citizenship, but of the
character and extent of the possessions of the inhabitants of both villages.
In order to carry into effect the stipulations contained in the deed of ces-
sion of the Northwestern Territory by Virginia to the United States, the
Congress 0£ the Confederacy on August 29, 1788, passed a resolution provid-
ing for the confirmation in their possessions and titles, of the French and
Canadian settlers about Kaskaskia and Vincennes, who on or before the year
1783, had professed themselves citizens of the United States or any of them,
and also donating a tract of four hundred acres of land to each head of a
family of the same description of settlers. The resolution also required the
Governor of the Territory to make lists of the persons entitled to lands and
to have them surveyed.
By act of Congress of the United States of March 3d, 1791, the provisions
of the said resolution were extended so as to cover what was known as the
Illinois country, which is understood to have embraced the country once oc-
cupied by the Illinois tribes, and so designated by the early missionaries.
The act further provided that when lands had actually been improved and
cultivated within the limits mentioned, under presumably valid grants of the
same by any commandant or court claiming authority to make such grants,
the Governor was empowered to confirm the same, not exceeding in area,
four hundred acres, also that the Governor be authorized to make a grant or
land not exceeding one hundred acres to each person who had not obtained
any grant of land from the United States, and who on the first day of August
1790, was enrolled in the militia at Vincennes, the Illinois Country, and had
done military duty.
The provisions of these enactments having proved ineffectual for the pur-
poses intended, Congress on March 6, 1804, passed an act establishing land
offices at Vincennes and Kaskaskia, under which MichaelJones was appointed
register and Elijah Backus receiver at Kaskaskia, with authority as special
commissioners to take proofs and adjudicate all claims coming within the
provisions of the former acts.
This commission under various modifications and changes continued in ex-
istence until the year 1815, during which time it reported many claims for
By a liberal construction of the provisions of the act of 1791, these commist
sioners classified the claims coming' under it as follows: (1.) Ancien-
grants. (Of which there were none claimed at Peoria.) (2.) Donations of
400 acres to heads of families, citizens of the United States or some one of
them in 1783. (3.) Donations on account of actual improvements and culti-
vation at or before the specified time in 1783. (4.) Donations to militia men
coming within the designated requirements.
It must be observed that Le Ville de Maillet was founded, not earlier than
1778; that the inhabitants had abandoned both villages from 1781 to 1783,
about which latter date a considerable number of them returned. It is fair
to presume therefore that the proofs of occupancy and of improvements by
actual cultivation had reference to the inhabitants of the "Old Village"
rather than those of the new, although some of the latter are included.
At various sittings of said commission from 1804 to 1815, twenty-one claims
of persons who had lived at Peoria were proved up and reported for confirma-
tion; sixteen for four hundred acres each on account of improvements made;
thirteen for four hundred acres each on account of the claimants or their
ancestors or grantors having been heads of families residing at Peoria in
1783, and seven of them claiming 100 acres each as militia men. One of the
latter was William Arundel who having received his militia donation was
confirmed in only 300 acres each in the two other classes. Two were con-
firmed in 400 acres for improvements made, and not as heads of families
or nailitia men; all who claimed as heads of families also claimed on account
of improvments; four claimed only as militia men, while four claimed under
all three classes.
In the foregoing enumeration, although the names of the original claim-
ants are given, most of the claims had, before then been sold to speculators
in whose names the confirmations were made. A limited number of these
transfers will be noticed by a deed from Jean Baptiste Maillet to Isaac Dar-
neille dated July 6, 1801, the original of which is still in existence, the grantor
conveys to the grantee all that tract or parcel of land lying and being upon
the Illinois river adjoining the village of Peoria, containing 800 acres, being
a donation of 400 acres as a head of a family, and an improvement right of
400 acres which the grantor held under the act of Congress of March 3. 1791,
described as follows: "Beginning at a stone below the gate of the said
Isaac Darneille in his lot in said village and running thence south-west to the
corner of the stable of the said Maillet, thence west — and from the said stone
north and west so as to include the said quantity of four hundered acres of su
donation right, and four hundred acres of an improvement right, in all the
qua,ntity of eight hundred acres of land." From this deed it appears that
Maillet had located his claims at the new village, where both he and Dar-
neille lived at the period of its execution.
On the 5th day of October, 1807, Darneille conveyed this claim to William
Russell, presumed to be Col. William Russell, who figured largely in the war
of 1812. The deed containing the conveyance of this land with many other
tracts is also still in existence, and sheds much light upon these old grants.
The first tract therein described was located on the western shore of the Illi-
nois River, on the River Cartineaux (now called the Kickapoo Creek) about
one league below the town of Peoria, seven hundred poles in length by three
hundred and twenty, or one mile in width and containing 1.400 acres.* The
tract lay on both sides of the Cartineaux. The next one is the tract conveyed
by Maillet to Darneille which needs no further description. The next is a
donation and improvement right of 800 acres purchased of one Baptiste Pel-
letier, but no other description is given and it has not been ascertained
whether Pelletier was an inhabitant of Peoria or not. The next is a donation
right of 400 acres purchased of Pierre Verbois alias Blondereau. The land is
*Although it is stated above that no claims based upon ancient grants had been made at
Peoria, later research has revealed the original application of William Russell for confirm-
ation of tbis claim, in which it is stated that it had been granted to Jean Baptiste Maillet by
the British Government on account of improvements made by him, and that he had con-
veyed the same to Isaac Darneille, and Isaac Darneille had conveyed it to William Russell..
■not described, But inasmuch as Blondereau was one of those in whose name
a militia right only had been proved up, it may be presumed this claim was
rejected by the commissioners. But Blondereau was nevertheless proved
to have been a citizen else he could not have obtained the militia right. The
next is a donation and improvement right of eight hundred acres, not
described, purchased of Francis Buche, attorney for Louis Chattelereaux, in
whose name two claims located at Peoria were proved up by William Rus-
sell. The next is a tract of three arpens in front by forty arpens deep, situ-
ated in the common field near the town of Peoria, purchased of Francis Wil-
lette, assignee of Pierre Lavasseur, containing one hundred and twenty
arpens of land. This, it may be remarked, is the only mention yet dis-
covered of a common field at Peoria. There is nothing improbable in the
supposition that this tract may have included the 100 acre tract proved up by
William Russell, in the name of Lavasseur, otherwise called Chamberlain, as
his military right.
One of the most significant, however, is yet to be mentioned. Two claims
of 400 acres each were proved up by William Russell as successor of Jean
'Baptiste Point de Saible, sometimes called Pointstable. The proof showed
that Point de Saible had been the head of a family residing at Peoria before
and after the year 1783, having a house in the "Old Village" and about
thirty acres of land in cultivation at a place between the old and new vil-
lages. The deed from Darneille to Russell is for one lot of land and a house
at the "Old Peorias Fort" and a tract of land near said "Peorias Old Fort,"
quantity unknown, purchased of Jean Baptiste Point de Saible, assignee of
Jean Baptiste Maillet, by deed dated March 13, 1773. That this man. Point
de Saible, was a very early inhabitant of Old Peoria is shown by the further
fact that he was a witness to one of the claims proved up before the commis-
sioners dating as early as 1780. Here we find that as early as March 13,
1773, he had purchased from Maillet the property which he afterward sold to
Darneille, and Darneille to Russell.
This man. Point de Saible, has become famous as the first white settler of
Chicago, although he was a colored man from San Domingo. Hence the say-
ing that "the first white man in Chicago was a nigger." The historians of
Chicago claim to have traces of his residence there as early as 1779, six years
after his purchase from Maillet. Others say he came there in 1796. The
sworn testimony before the commissioners located him as a resident head of
a familj' at Peoria before and after 1783. These accounts may all be true.
After locating in Peoria he may have gone to Chicago during the time the
village was abandoned, and after peace had been restored returned and re-
mained here until about the time of his second appearance at Chicago.
There he is said to have laid the foundation of the great city by erecting a
cabin which he afterwards sold to one Mai, from whom it was purchased by
John Kinzie, through whom it obtained its celebrity as the Kinzie Cottage.
It is said that Point de Saible represented himself to the Indians as having
been a great man among those living further south, and had some aspirations
of becoming the chief of the Pottawattamies at Chicago. Mr. Matson, in his
"Pioneers of Illinois." takes some of the romance out of the story by saying
he was a runaway negro slave from Kentucky, a fact which he had learned
from some of his descendants. This story, however, needs confirmation,
from the fact that he places the date of De Saible's leaving Kentucky in the
year 1790, seventeen years after his purchase from Maillet, eleven years after
his first appearance in Chicago and seven years after his residence is proved
to have been in Peoria. It is also related of him that after leaving Chicago
he returned to Peoria where he died at the house of his friend, Glamorgan, a
man who was well to do financially and was a large landholder in that vicin-
ity. Research fails to connect the name of Glamorgan with any lands at
Peoria, but there was a man in St. Louis by the name of Glamorgan who
claimed a large tract of land donated him by the Spanish authorities. This
man may have been the friend of Point de Saible at whose house he died.*
♦There is in the library of the Historical Society of Chicago a copy of the journal of one.
Hugh Heyward of his journey to the Illinois country in 1790. He found Point de Saible at
'Chicago on May 10. of that year, six years earlier than the time of his arrival as mentioned
■by the author of Waubun. seven years later than he is shown to have been a resident of Peoria
Little can be gleaned from the ofl&cial records as to the manners, customs
and mode of life of these ancient villagers, but it may be assumed they dif-
fered little from those inhabiting the other French villages. They raised cat-
tle and hogs, cultivated wheat and corn, they were hunters and trappers,
sending their surplus products down the lakes and in return obtaining arti-
cles of merchandise brought by the traders.
In the proof of the claim of Louis Chattelreaux it appears there was a horse
mill upon his premises near the "Old Fort." Mr. Matson in his "Pioneers
of Illinois,-' says they had a church, a wind-mill and a wine press, all of
which may well be believed.
Of the antiquity of the old fort and village little is known. The oldest
claim proved before the commissioners was that of Pierre Troge, who claimed
in the right of his wife Charlotte, the daughter of Antoine St. Francois, who
lived in" Peoria in the year 1765 — the same year the British government ac-
quired possession of the country. The claim was proved by the testimony of
one Louis Pilette, who with St. Francois and his wife, Troge and his wife,
fills up the number of five known residents at that early date. Mr. Matson
also gives the names of a Father Buche and one Felix LaPance as residents
as early, if not earlier than that year. He also speaks of one Patrick Ken-
nedy who visited the place in 1773, and found the stockades burned, but the
block-houses still standing* He also mentions a tradition that one Father
Senat had built the chapel, which he thinks must have have been as early as
1736. Governor Reynolds says there was a tradition among the French that
the old fort was the one built by LaSalle, and that this was the general under-
standing among them, a supposition that might well be accepted as the truth
were it not for the fact that contemporaneous historians seem to locate Fort
<Jreve Coeur on the easterly side of the lake or river.
When LaSalle first visited the place in January, 1680, he found no Indian
villages between that of the Kaskaskias near Starved Rock and the place of
his debarkation after having passed through Lake Peoria. The Indians he
first met there were those who had come down from Kaskaskia, whose camp
was on both sides of the river. This camp is not to be confounded with the
village of the Peorias, which is frequently mentioned in the narratives of
Hennepin, Membre and Tonti. Many of the Peorias were at that time absent
on their annual hunt. Nicanape, who made a feast for LaSalle, was the son
of Chattagousse, one of the Peoria chiefs who was then also absent. Before
LaSalle had left Fort Creve Coeur on his return to Fort Frontinac, Chief
Oumahoua of the Kaskaskias, had returned to his village, taking with him
Father Membre, whom he had adopted as his son. Two days earlier, when
Hennepin started on his voyage down the river, and during his first day's
journey, he met the Peorias on their return to their village with the products
of their hunt. Assuming that the Kaskaskias would not have occupied the
village of the Peorias, the conclusion is reached that the latter was located
below but very near the spot where LaSalle landed.
On LaSalle's second (possibly third) visit nearly two years later, no men-
tion is made of the village of the Peorias, but Fort Creve Coeur is spoken of
as being then in good condition.
In 1687 or 88, Father Gravier assumed control of the mission of the Immacu-
late Conception at Kaskaskia, and may have made annual visits to Peoria
Lake during the hunting seasons, but of these we have no account. On Feb-
ruary 15, 1694, he wrote a long account of his missionary operations during
the preceding year. Some antiquarians have located the mission at that time
at Peoria Lake, probably on account of the frequent mention of the Peoria
Indians and their chiefs living with or in close proximity to the Kaskaskias,
but this is evidently an erroneous conclusion. Tonti was then alive, there
was a military post at Fort St. Louis and the mission there was called the
Immaculate Conception, a name which the mission at Peoria never bore.
■Gravier called upon the commandant of the fort to settle a difficulty between
♦Patrick Kennedy's journal may be found in the State Historical Library, from which it
appears he arrived at "Old Peorias Fort'' on August 7. 1773, where he says "We found the
stockades of this Peorias Fort destroyed by fire, but the houses standing-."
mm and some of the Indians. This the commandant declined doing. These
circumstances with others seem very inconsistent with the supposed location
of the mission at that time on Peoria Lake,
In September, 1698, Gravier is found at Mackinaw, where he met Montigny,
St. Cosme and Davion, three priests of different order, on their way to estab-
lish missions near the mouth of the Ohio. On their way and when near Chi-
cago, these three men met with Father Pinet, who had charge of a mission
there, and Father Buineteau, who had charge at the Immaculate Conception.
These two missionaries preceded the three newly arrived ones and reached
Peoria Lake some days in advance of their arrival. On the 15th day of No-
vember these new comers reached a place called the Old Fort, a rock about
one hundred feet high on the bank of the river, where LaSalle had built a
fort which he had abandoned. This was evidently Fort St. Louis. There
they found the Indians had gone about twenty-five leagues lower down. In
his account of this expedition, St. Cosme writes as follows: "From Chicago
to the fort they reckoned thirty leagues. Here navigation begins which con-
tinues uninterrupted to the Fort Permavevvi, where the Indians now are.
We arrived there on the Wth of November (four days from the Old Fort)."^
There they overtook Pinet and Buineteau, who were on their way south, and
also found Marest in charge of the mission at that place. On November 22d
they were obliged to break the ice for two or three arpens to get out of the
Lake of (Pimiteoui).* As Tonti was a member of this party, if the fort here
mentioned had been Fort Creve Coeur, it is reasonable to suppose it would
have been so called. Any one who has seen the ice form in Lake Peoria
could be easily convinced that the place of their moorage was in Turtle Bay,
opposite the site of the "Old Fort" at Peoria.
In a letter of Buineteau written in January, 1699, from the Illinois Country,
he speaks of the wonderful talent of Father G-abriel Marest who had been
laboring there for several months. Pinet and Buineteau had accompanied
the St. Cosme party down the river, and during their journey they had
passed three or four villages, one of which was that of Rouenzas, the most
considerable of the Illinois chiefs. Marest was probably not far from Caho-
kia when Buineteau wrote.
Gravier having returned from Mackinaw, he set out on September 8, 1700,
for the gulf to ascertain the condition of affairs in that region. In the ac-
count of his trip, written February 16, 1701, he says, "I arrived too late at
the Illinois du Detroit of which Father Marest has charge, to prevent the
transmigration of the village of the Kaskaskias, which was too precipitously
made on vague news of the establishment on the Mississippi. I do not be-
lieve that the Kaskaskias would have separated from the Peorias and
their Illinois du Detroit had I arrived sooner. * * * God grant that
the road from Chicago to the Strait (du Detroit) be not closed and the whole
Illinois Mission suffer greatly." These passages mark the time, the place
and the occasion of the separation of the Kaskaskias from the Peorias, after
which time the mission of the Immaculate Conception became located on the
Mississippi. In a letter written by Father Mermet from Kaskaskia in 1706,
mentions the Illinois of Detroit, otherwise the Peorias— where Father Gravier
had nearly lost his life on two occasions. The conclusion from these state-
ments is that the st^paration of the Kaskaskias from the Peorias took place
at the Detroit or Narrows of Peoria Lake in September or October A. D.
1700. Marest went with the Kaskaskias, leaving the Peorias for the time
being without a missionary. Gravier continued his journey to the gulf, from
which point he wrote the foregoing account, in which mention is also made
of a church in the village but not of a fort.
On April 29, 1699, soon after the visit of the St. Cosme party to Lake
Peoria, Father Marest wrote a letter to another of the same order in which
he describes the village as being one- half league in length with a chapel at
each end, one of which had been recently erected to accommodate the increas-
ing number of converts. This was the year before the separation of the Kas-
*The name of this lake is left blank in the printed copy of this expedition. I have sup-
plied the name Pimiteoui, as the only one fitting the narrative.
kaskias from the Peorias. This separatioQ may have taken place when the
Kaskaskias were on their annual hunt, but it is possible both tribes may have
been located there at that time. From other sources it is learned that the
population of the village numbered from one to three thousand, but the time
allowed will not permit a discussion of that point.
In the summer of 1705, Gravierwas again among the Illinois where he was
attacked by an Indian who shot five arrows at him, one of which left its point
imbedded in the tendons of his elbow, which afterwards resulted in his death,
but not until after a visit to Paris and his return to America. Father Mermet
in a letter dated March 2, 1706, gives a minute account of this transaction.
Concerning the condition of the affairs of the Illinois he says: "It is
good from this village (Kaskaskia) except that they threaten to leave
us at the first word. It is bad, as regards both spiritual and temporal
matters among the Illinois of Detroit— otherwise the Peorias — where Father
Gravier nearly lost his life on two occasions, and he is not yet out of
danger." After suffering for three months at that place, but having learned
the Indians were hostile to his leaving, Gravier planned a secret departure
at night, but when he was about ready to embark he was greatly surprised
to learn that his house was surrounded by about 200 Indians who had taken
down a portion of his palisade in order to get in. But through the interpo-
sition of a friendly chief he was permitted to proceed, and after arriving at
Kaskaskia was sent to Mobile whence he sailed for France.
The mission house surrounded by a palisade may possibly be all that is
meant by the word fort in these early narratives.
On November 9, 1712, Father Marest wrote to Father German, another
Jesuit, a long account of the Missions among the Illinois in the course of
which he says: "I worked with these missionaries (Pinet and Buineteau),
and, after their deaths, I alone remained charged with all the labors of the
mission until the arrival of Father Mermot. Previously I was in the large
village of the Peorias, where Father Gravier, who had returned there for the
second time received a wound which caused his death."
Having planned a journey to Mackinaw, in which it would be necessary to
go by way of the village of the Peorias, Marest on Friday of Easter Week in
1711, set out on foot from Kaskaskia, stopping one night at Cahokia. After
several days travel during which he endured intense suffering in his feet, he
reached the Illinois river 25 leagues below the village of the Peorias. There
he dispatched one of his Indians to inform the Frenchmen at the village of
his sad plight, and after two days, was met by them and taken into their
Up to this time we have heard of no Frenchmen residing at Peoria, and it
is a question whether these were such. He hoped they, on their return,
would take him with them to his destination at the Straits of Mackinac, but,
there having been as yet no spring rains, they could not go by the river, so
he proceeded on his way by St, Josepb, going partly by water and partly by
land. It is to be fairly inferred that the reason why the Frenchmen could
not go likewise was that they were traders and were waiting for a rise in the
upper streams so they could carry their furs and peltries by water to the lake.
They may not therefore have been residents but merely temporary traders at
After the lapse of several months Marest returned by the same route he had
gone. In describing his entrance into the village he says: "The greater
part of the men ascended to the fort, which is placed upon a rock on the
bank of the river." Here occurs a grave enigma. Marest had said in the
first part of his letter that there were then only three villages of the Illinois,
one at Kaskaskia, one twenty-five leagues distant (Cahokia) and a third one
hundred leagues distant. This one at which he halted on his return must
therefore have been the same village at which he had stopped on his way
north. Yet there is not a rock on the shores of Lake Peoria nor on the river
bank for miles above and below upon which a fort could have been erected.
The statement that the fort was placed upon a rock on the bank of the river
raises a doubt which is very difficult of solution. May not the word translated
rock admit of a wider interpretation than the English word "rock," so as to
include a "mound" or "hillock" such as that upon which Fort Creve Coeur
had been erected by La Salle? It must be admitted this passage is enveloped
For the next ten years little is heard of the Peorias. That they were solely
beset by hostile tribes is very apparent. Soon after the return of Marest to
Kaskaskia, Father de Ville was sent to them as a missionary, but how long
he remained does not appear.
In the beginning of October of the year 1721, Father Charlevoix made a
voyage down the Illinois River and found a village on the west bank of Lake
Peoria, which he terms a second village of the Illinois, the first having been
found at the rock; but his estimate of distances and the courses of streams
is so very unreliable as to render its exact location impossible. His descrip-
tion of the surrounding scenery, however, corresponds quite well with that at
the old French village of Peoria. The most important statements made by
him are that the village was called Pimiteoui, the same name the lake haS
borne from the time of LaSalle; that the Peorias were then at war with
neighboring tribes, and that he found there four French Canadians apparently
living with the Indians, if there had been more he would have certainly
mentioned them, for he was sorely in need of their assistance. There the
chief of the village invited him to a conference at a house where one of the
missionaries had lodged some years before, and where probably they used to
hold council. This account was written on the spot, at Pimiteoui. Nothing
is said about a church or a fort or the number or character of the inhabitants.
It is a matter of history that during the next year, 1722, the Peorias, being
harrassed on all sides by their enemies, took their departure from the Illinois
country and followed the Kaskaskias. ^We, therefore, hear nothing further
of the mission at Peoria.
But information of a very popular kind comes from another source. The
company of the Indies, the successor of the celebrated company of the west,
having assumed jurisdiction over the Illinois Country, Philip Francis Ren-
ault, the director of its mines, pushed his explorations as far as Peoria. On
June 14, 1723, two years after Charlevoix's visit, "in order to make his es-
tablishment upon the mines," as its preamble declares, he obtained a grant
from the Commandant of Illinois as well as from the chief director of the
company, of a tract of land described as follows: "One league in front at
Pimitoui on the River Illinois, facing the east and adjoining the lake bearing
the name of the village, and on the other side to the banks opposite the vil-
lage, for a half league above it with a depth of five leagues, the point
of the compass following the Illinois River down the same upon one
side and ascending by the river of Arcary which forms the middle through
the rest of the depth."
This is the origin of the famous Renault claim which has been several
times before Congress for confirmation, but which has always failed. If not
wholly impossible, it is at least exceedingly difficult of location; the latest
•claim of the Renault heirs being that it commences at the foot of the lower
lake, and extends three miles down the river to a point about a mile below
the mouth of the Kickapoo, which stream they claim forms its middle line tor
the greater portion of the depth. The historical significance of the grant lies
in the fact that the village of Pimiteoui, which Charlevoix liad mentioned by
that name, was situated on Lake Pimiteoui, or Peoria, and not on the river
below it; that the River Arcary, (called in other English and French copies
of the grant Arescy and Arcoury; in the deed from Darneille to Russell Car-
tineaux; in the Commissioners report Coteneau and Mallet's River; in the
report of Edward Coles Gatinan, and in recent times Red Bud and its Indian
equivalent, Kickapoo) was none other than the Kickapoo, for there is no other
stream in that vicinity of sufficient length to answer the call of the grant.
From the time of this grant until the year 17G5, a period of fortj' years or
more, a gap occurs in the history of "Old Peoria" which has never yet been
filled. It is very evident that at the date of Renault's grant there were few.
if any, Frenchmea residing at the village. What influence that grant may
have had in attracting a French population is not known, but it is certain
that within that period of forty years, such a French population had centered
there as to make it one of the principal trading posts in the Mississippi Val-
Slavery in Illinois.
By Ethan A. Snively.
As we look out from the north windows of the capitol and see, standing-
higfh above the surrounding forest trees, the monument erected to the memory
of Abraham Lincoln; as we remember that less than three weeks ago there
was inaugurated as our chief executive the son of Illinois' great war governor
at whose call more than a quarter of a million sons of our Prairie State rallied
to the defense of the Union in a war brought on by the slaveholders of the
South; as we reflect that, with the present generation, the name Illinois has
ever been a synonym of liberty, enterprise and progress, we can scarcely
realize that our own State once tolerated slavery — that for more than a
quarter of a century Illinois was as absolutely a slave State as was Mississippi.
Cobb, in his most excellent work on slavery, defines it as the " condition of
that individual over whose life, liberty and property another has unlimited
control." That our State was, for years, cursed with the sin which the
great lawyer so concisely defines will be new to many of those who have
failed to make a study of the early history of our commonwealth.
In discussing the subject assigned me, I do not expect to offer anything
new to the student of our State history. The field has been closely gleaned
by the various historians — by some much more than others. All that I shall
do will be to begin at the beginning and endeavor to present in chronological
order, and in as concise a manner as possible the historicul facts relating to
the establishment of slavery in both the Territory and State of Illinois, and
the efforts to perpetuate the curse upon our soil.
On April 23, 1615, Louis XIII issued an edict recognizing slavery in the
French possessions in America, and the early French settlers who came to
this couutry from Canada brought their slaves with them. In March, 1724,
Louis XV published an ordinance re-enacting the edict of Louis XIII, which
among other things provided for the regulation of the traffic in Negro slaves
in the province of Louisiana, of which lllioois then formed a part. African
slaves, so far as it is known, were first brought into that part of the territory
which comprises our State in 1720, by a Frenchman named Renault. This
man was the agent of a company which was possessed of a concession from
the French government to come to this country and deal with the inhabitants,
in the belief that the wealth of the western world consisted in its pearl
fisheries, its gold and silver and the wool of its wild cattle. Renault, on his
way to America, stopped at San Domingo and purchased five hundred slaves.
It is not known just how many of these slaves he brought to the territory
comprising our State. He founded a village, called St. Phillips, in what is
now the southeast corner of Monroe county, and from this point he sent out
exploring parties into the adjacent country to prospect for precious metals.
These slaves bought by Renault and those coming from Canada are known in
history as the French slaves.
By the treaty of peace concluded at Paris, February 10, 1763, this country,
as a dependency of Canada, was ceded to Great Britain, and when General
Gage took possession of the territory he promised that those who chose to
retain their lands and become subjects of Great Britain, should enjoy the
same rights and privileges and the same securities for their persons and
effects as the old subjects of the king. And at this period England recognized
-slavery in all her American colonies. In 1778 Virginia, by virtue of the suc-
cessful expedition of George Rogers Clark in his conquest of Illinois, de-
clared the entire northwestern territory within her chartered limits. Other
states came forward with charter claims, but that of Virginia was equal to
theirs while in addition she asserted the claim of conquest. Finally, on De-
cember 20, 1783, Virginia ceded the northwestern territory to the United
States. The deed of cession contained the following:
"The French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers of the Kaskius,
St. Vincents, and neighboring villages who have professed themselves citi-
zens of the state of Virginia, shall have their possessions and titles confirmed
to them and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties."
An attempt was made to have Congress accept the deed of cession with a
proviso that after 1800 there should be neither slavery nor involuntary servi-
tude in any of the states to be formed out of the territory. This effort failed
as it only received the vote of six states, whereas it required the vote of nine.
Subsequently, on the 1st of March, 1784, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy,
Arthur Lee and James Monroe, on behalf of the state of Virginia, conveyed
and made over to the United States all the right, title, and claim of the state
to the territory lying northwest of the Ohio river, for the purposes and on
conditions recited in the deed of cession. On the same day Congress accepted
On the 13th of July, 1787, Congress passed an ordinance "for the govern-
ment of territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio river." Article
6 of that ordinance provided:
"There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in said territory,
otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been
The apparent conflict between the proviso in the deed of cession, which
confirmed to the citizens their possessions, and the 6th article of the ordinance
passed for the government of the territory, was a matter of great contention.
One party claimed that the provision of the ordinance was invalid because it
contravened the direct provision upon which the territory was ceded to the
general government. The other party claimed that the United States, hav-
ing come into possession of the territory, it was the duty of Congress to pass
laws for the government of the same, and whatever laws were necessary must
be blading upon the people and would supersede the conditions embraced in
the deed of cession.
On May 7, 1800, the northwestern territory was divided into two separate
governments and the parts embracing what is now the State of Illinois and
Indiana were organized into a territory known as Indiana Territory. As the
contention in regard to slavery continued, William Henry Harrison, the ter-
ritorial governor, in November, 1802, issued a proclamation calling a conven-
tion for the purpose of memorializing Congress to suspend article 6 of the
ordinance of 1787 and thereby end all controversy.
Delegates to this convention were elected, in accordance with the call, and
on the 20th of December following, the convention met at Vincennes. Its
deliberations resulted in the preparition of a memorial to Congress to repeal
or suspend the operation of the offensive article. The memorial was as in-
genously prepared as the use of language would permit. It was contended
that a suspension of the prohibiting clause would not increase the number of
slaves; would meet with the approval of nine- tenths of the people of the ter-
ritory; that the real question of slavery was in no way involved, but the in-
troduction of slavery into the territory, where labor was scarce, and thus re-
ducing the number of laborers where it was abundant, would be equally ad-
"vantageous to both sections. As a crowning reason for the repeal or suspen-
sion of the clause, emphasis was placed on the fact that the ordinance was
passed at a time when the territory was not represented in Congress — that
the people of the territory had not been consulted, and the enforcement of
the provision as to the northwestern territory, while slavery was allowed in
other territories, was a discrimination that was alike unjust and injurious to
the material progress of the territory.
Congress referred the memorial to a special committee, of which John Ran-
dolph, of Virginia, was chairman. In March following, Mr. Randolph, as-
chairman of the committee, reported adversely to the prayer of the memor-
ialists. In submitting the report, Mr. Randolph must have been endowed
with the spirit of prophecy, as he said:
"The rapidly increasing population of the state of Ohio sufficiently evinces
in the opinion of your committee that the labor of slaves is not necessary to
promote the growth and the settlement of colonies in that region. That this
labor, demonstratably the dearest of any, can only be employed to advantage
in the cultivation of products more valuable than any known to that quarter
of the United States. The committee deem it highly dangerous and inexpe-
dient to impair a provision wisely calculated to promote the happiness and
prosperity of the northwestern country, and to give strength and security to
that extensive frontier. In the salutary operation of this sagacious and bene-
volent restraint, it is believed that the inhabitants will, at no very distant
day, find ample remuneration for a temporary privation of labor and emigra-
No action, however, was taken on the report of the committee, but at the
next session, the memorial was referred to another committee. This com-
mittee reported in favor of suspending the article for ten years, and allowing
the importation of slaves from the states only, and providing the male
descendants should be free at the age of twenty-five years, and the females
at the age of twenty-one. No action was taken on this report, and a like
fate was meted out to subsequent memorials.
The majority of the people were pro-slavery. They desired immigration
from the slave states — they recognized slavery and wealth as synonymous
terms. So long as there was uncertainty as to property right in slaves, so-
Ion? there would be no immigration from slave states. It was evident Con-
gress did not intend to give them any relief. They then resorted to legisla-
tive strategy and proceeded to do in an indirect way that which they could
not do directly.
The territorial legislature on the 17th of September, 1807, passed a law pro-
viding that any person, being the owner of any negroes or mulattoes of and
above the age of fifteen years, and owing service and labor as slaves in any
of the states and territories of the United States, or any person purchasing
negroes or mulattoes, might bring the same into the territory; provided, the
owner or master within thirty days should take them before the clerk of the
court and have an indenture between the slave and his owner entered upon
record specifying the time which the slave was compelled to serve his master.
If, however, the negro or mulatto was under fifteen years, the owner was
given power to hold the males' until they were thirty-five years of age and the
females until they were thirty-two. Children born of a parent who owed
service of labor, by indenture, were required to serve, the males until the age
of thirty, and the females until the age of twenty-eight. The law further
provided that when a slave was brought into the territory and refused to be
indentured, the owner had sixty days in which to remove such slave to any
state where such property could be legally held. The period of indenture
was generally ninety- nine years.
On February 3, 1809, congress passed a law dividing Indiana Territory by
creating the territory of Illinois. The governor and judges who constituted
the first territorial council, adopted the laws of Indiana Territory in regard
to the indenture of slaves. The first territorial legislature, on the 13th of
December, 1812, readopted the law.
At the session of the territorial legislature in 1817, an act was passed re-
pealing so much of the law as authorized the bringing of negroes and mulat-
toes into the territory. The preamble to the repealing act declared that the
law was intended to introduce and tolerate slavery, under pretense of volun-
tary servitude in contravention of the permanent law of the land and the
ordinance of 1787.
This act was vetoed by Gov. Ninian Edwards, the territorial governor.
Though opposed to the principle of slavery, yet himself a slave-holder, he-
eontended that eongfress could not violate the deed of cession by which Vir-
fifinia ceded the northwestern territory to the Uuited States. And he further
eontended that the indenture sjstem was founded upon the principles of law
as well as common honesty.
It may not be out of place here, even at the risk of breaking: the thread of
the narrative to quote two advertisements. The first is signed by John Rey-
nolds, who was subsequently a jud^e of the supreme court and governor of
the State. It is dated May 14, 1815, and is as follows:
"Fifty dollars reward will be given to any person who will deliver to me in
Cahokia a negro boy named 'Moses,' who ran away from me in Cahokia about
two months since. He is about 16 years old, well made, and did belong to
McKnight and Brady, in St. Louis, where he has been seen frequently, and
is supposed to be harbored there or about there. He had on a hunting shirt
when he left me."
The second advertisement is signed by Ninian Edwards, then territorial
governor, and third governor of the State. It is dated Oct. 1, 1815, and is as
"Notice: I have for sale twenty-two slaves, among them are several o^
both sexes between the years of ten and seventeen; if not shortly sold, I shaP
wish to hire them in Missouri territory. I have also for sale a full blooded
horse, a very large English bull and several young ones."
Apropos of this latter advertisement, under date of Aug. 19, 1825, I find a
letter from Gov. Edwards, written to Col. A. G. S. Wright, a prominent man
in his day, and at that time, no doubt, a resident of Galena. The letter suffi-
ciently explains itself, and is as follows:
"I have just received your letter of the 4th'inst., and lose not a moment in
replying to it.
"Whatever may have been the conceptions you had formed from my de-
scription, at Vandalia last winter, of the servants I have since sold you, I
well know there was no intention on my part of deceiving you or any one
else, and I should suppose your finding Charles so much better than you ex-
pected, sufficient to free me from any such suspicion, since, as he was cap-
able of being the most valuable, if I had intended to deceive, I must have
acted most strangely in representing him so much worse, and the others so
much better than they respectively deserved. The truth is, that 1 said nothing
then, which I did not at that time, and which I do not now, believe to be true.
"You remark that 'you are sorry to say also that Maria by no means tallies
with the description you had of her; she is not a first-class cook, neither is
she any part of a seamstress.' I have read this part of your letter to several
ladies now at my house, all well acquainted with her, who are equally, with
myself, surprised at it. She had been my only cook for seven years before
I sold her to you, during which time I have lived pretty well and entertained
much company, all of whom, I believe, would agree with me that she de-
serves to be considered, in this part of the world, at least, as a first-class
cook. The ladies insist upon it that she is an excellent seamstress, and I
know she has made and ruffled my shirts as well as I have ever been able to
find any other person capable of doing. I can also prove that she has done
almost all kinds of fine work, and that she can cut out and make her own
dresses as well as any lady in this part of the country. It is true she has not
done much sewing for the last seven years, and it is probable her present
situation may prevent her from discharging her duties with her usual ability.
She is, however, a faithful and valuable seivant, whom no money could have
got from me, if she had chosen to separate from her husband, and so far
from having endeavored to enhance her value by any erroneous description,
she has ten more years to serve than I represented to you at Vandalia.
"I could have had no motive to deceive by any description I gave of those
servants, because I did not suppose anyone would have purchased them with-
out seeing them and judging for himself.
"As, however, the situation of your family prevented your coming your-
self for that purnose, and you say you are disappointed in your expectations
and would not, if you could have come yourself, have been a purchaser, be:.
cause these servants 'by no means suited you,' I can not think of holding
you to your bargain. 1 would rather lose myself than insist upon a contract,
under such circumstances, with any man, more especially with a gentleman
and friend whom I so highly esteem and respect, If, therefore, you choose
to transmit to me by the return mail the transfers I made to you of those
servants, I will promptly return to you the consideration I received for
them, and in the meantime you may hold them in your possession as security
for my compliance with this proposition.
"1 would far rather return to you the whole consideration I received than
accede to your proposal of transferring to you Nelson and Ellen upon the
grounds you urge, because by doing so it would be a tacit admission, at
least, that I had intended to impose on you, which is a thing I am incapable
of doing with any man upon this earth."
When Illinois was admitted into the Union, article 6 of the Constitution, in
its first section, provided that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude should
thereafter be introduced in the State except for the punishment of crimes;
and that no male person of the age of twenty-one years, or female of the age
of eighteen years, should be held to serve any person as a servant under any
indenture thereafter made. It also rendered invalid any indenture thereafter
made of any negro or mulatto where the term of service exceeded one year.
The third section of article 6 of the Constitution provided:
"Each and every person who has been bound to service by contract or in-
denture in virtue of the laws of Illinois territory heretofore existing, and in
conformity to the provisions of the same, without fraud or collusion, shall be
held to a specific performance of their contracts or indentures; and such
negroes and mulattoes as have registered in conformity with the aforesaid
laws shall serve out the time appointed by said laws: Provided, however, that
the children hereafter born of such persons, negroes and mulattoes, shall be-
come free, the males at the age of twenty-one years; the females at the age
of eighteen years."
On the 30th day of March, 1819, the first General Assembly of the State
passed what was known as the "Black Laws." They provided that no negro
or mulatto should settle in the State until he had first produced a certificate
of freedom under seal of a court of record, which, together with a description
of the person producing it, and also his family, if he had one, was to be duly
recorded in the county in which he proposed to settle. The overseers of the
poor were empowered to expel such negroes or mulattoes whenever they de-
sired. Any person bringing slaves into the State with a view of emancipating
them was required to execute a bond in the sum of one thousand dollars as a
guaranty that the person emancipated would not become a county charge,
and if he neglected to execute the bond, he was liable to a fine of two hun-
dred dollars. All resident free negroes and mulattoes, before the first day of
June following, were to enter their names and every member of their families
with the clerk of the circuit court, together with their evidence of freedom^
No person was permitted to employ a negro or mulatto without such evidence
of freedom under penalty of one dollar and fifty cents per day for each day
employed. To harbor any slave or servant, or to hinder the owner in retak-
ing any slave was made a felony punishable by a fine two- fold the value of
the slave and a whipping not to exceed thirty stripes. Any negro or mulatto
not having a proper certificate of his freedom was deemed a runaway slave
subject to arrest; he was to be advertised for six weeks by the sheriff and if
no owner appeared, he was sold for one year, at the end of which time he
was entitled to a certificate of his freedom, which was good unless an owner ap-
peared and claimed him. No person was permitted to trade with a servant
or slave without the consent of the master. A slave found ten miles from
home was subject to arrest and to be punished by thirty-five stripes; or, if
he appeared at any dwelling without leave of his master, the owner of the
dwelling was permitted to give him ten stripes. Unlawful assemblies by
slaves or servants were punished by thirty-nine stripes, while in all cases
where free persons were punished by a fine, slaves were to be punished by
whipping at the rate of twenty stripes for each eight dollars of fine, with the
proviso that not more than forty lashes be given at any one time.
At the election in 1822, Edward Coles was elected as the second governor
of the State. Four candidates stood for the suffrage of the people. The pro-
slavery men brought out Joseph Phillips, who was then chief justice of the
supreme court; and subsequently, with a view to keeping Governor Coles
from receiving a large number of votes in the southeast part of the State,
Judge Thomas C. Browns, of the supreme court, became a candidate. And
Major Greneral James B. Moore, of the State militia, also announced his con-
didacy. Phillips received 2,760 votes; Browns, 2,534; Coles, 2,810, and Moore,
522. Coles had only fifty more than Phillips. It was understood that Phillips
and Brown, with a combined vote of 5,303, represented the pro-slavery
strength of the State, while Coles and Moore, with a combined vote of 3,332,
represented the opposite.
Governor Coles had been private secretary to President Madison and had
held a number of important positions. Desiring to come west, on the 5th of
March, 1819, he was appointed register of the land office, at Edwardsville.
He was the owner of a number of slaves, but upon coming to the State, he
gave them their freedom and provided them with homes, but omitted to have
them registered as was required by the laws of March 30, 1819.
The legislature convened at Vandalia, on the first Monday in December,
1822. On account of the division of the pro-slavery vote between Phillips and
Brown, the anamoly was presented of a legislature containing a large ma-
jority in favor of slavery and a governor opposed to the institution. When
the Governor delivered his inaugural address before the legislature, he called
attention to the fact that slavery really existed in Illinois notwithstanding the
provisions of the ordinance of 1787, and urged upon the legislature such rem-
edial legislation as would lead to the emancipation of the slaves, a repeal or
revision of the "black laws," and such legislation as would make Illinois a
free State in fact.
In the senate this part of his message was referred to a special committee
consisting of Beaird, of Monroe; Boone, of Jackson; Ladd, of Johnson; Kin-
ney, of St. Clair, and White, of White.
This committee reported to the senate, going over the entire history of the
slavery question, stating facts as I have given them. They concluded their
report by the statement that "the people of Illinois have now the same right
to alter their constitution as the people of the State of Virginia, or any other
of the original states, and may make any disposition of Negro slaves they
choose, without any breach of. faith or violation of compact, ordinance or
acts of congress; and if the reasoning employed be correct, there is no other
course left by which to accomplish the object of this portion of the
Governor's message, than to call a convention to alter the constitution."
This was a most surprising turn of affairs for Governor Coles. In his
earnest efforts to make Illinois a free State, he now saw the danger that he
might ha:ye been the means of laying the foundation for a plan whereby
slavery might be fastened upon the State. In the preceding election, it was
fully demonstrated that a very large majority of the voters of the State were
pro-slavery, and it seemed certain, if a constitutional convention was held, it
would undoubtedly frame a pro-slavery constitution.
. The Senate committee submitted, with their report, a joint resolution call-
ing a convention. It required a two-thirds vote in each house to pass this
resolution. The requisite two-thirds vote was at hand in the Senate, but
when the resolution was presented in the House it lacked one vote of the
To secure the requisite two-thirds in the House, the convention partizans
resorted to proceedings which will, for all time, stand out in history as the
most infamous ever known. When the Legislature convened, Nicholas Han-
sen appeared holding a certificate of election from the counties of Pike and
Fulton. His seat was contested by John Shaw, both men being residents
of Pike county. The contest was referred to the proper committee, and one
week from the day the Legislature convened, the committee unanimously re-
ported, awarding Hansen the seat, and the report was adopted by the House
and Shaw returned to his home.
The Senate resolution was permitted to lie quietly on the table in the House
because there was uncertainty as to the result in that body. Finally, an
original resolution was introduced in the House and received twenty-three
votes, one less than was necessary, but Hansen voted for it. One of those
who voted against the resolution was won over, and on the 11th of February
the Senate resolution was placed on its passage, but, to the consternation of
those favoring a convention, Hansen voted against it. The indignation of
the convention men knew no bounds. In order to secure the necessary vote,
a motion was made to reconsider the vote by which Hansen was awarded a
seat. This motion was adopted and the resolution was once more before the
House. A member arose and presented to the House an affidavit made on
the 28th day of January, in which the affiant gave it as his opinion that
Shaw received twenty-nine more votes than Hansen. The majority of the
House then struck out the name of Hansen and inserted the name of Shaw in
the resolution which had awarded the former the seat. At this time Shaw
was at his home in Pike county, utterly oblivious to the fact that he had
been made a member of the House by virtue of an exparte affidavit, which
merely expressed the opinion of one of his friends. A messenger was at once
sent for Shaw, as the distance to his home was great, and the time prior to
the adjournment of the Legislature was short. Shaw appeared in the House,
was sworn in as a member, voted for the Senate resolution to call a conven-
tion. The pro- slavery men were wild over their victory — they resorted to
every means then known to make public manifestation of their joy. As
Governor Reynolds says, "there was at the seat of government a wild and
indecorous procession by torchlight and liquor."
Governor John Reynolds, who was a pro-slavery man, in his history says:
"This proceeding in the General Assembly looked revolutionary, and was
condemned by all honest and reflecting men. This outrage was a death blow
to the convention."
Under the Constitution, the vote for and against the convention could not
take place until August, 1824. A can! paign lasting for eighteen months was
at once entered upon. It was not only the longest, but the most bitterly
fought of any campaign in the history of Illinois. It was started by each
party holding a public meeting at the State capital and issuing an address to
There were only five newspapers in the State, and four of these were in
favor of the convention. But the anti-convention people had raised the enor-
mous sum of one thousand dollars to conduct the campaign, and thej' pur-
chased one of the four papers, and also established two others. Governor
Ford says "the contest was mixed up with a perfect lava of detraction. News-
papers, hand bills and pamphlets were scattered broadcast. These missive
weapons of a fiery contest were scattered everywhere, and everywhere they
scorched and scathed as they flew. Almost every stump in every countj- Had
its bellowing, indignant orator, on one side or the other, and the whole peo-
ple, for the space of eighteen months, did scarcely anything but read news-
papers, hand bills and pamphlets, quarrel, wi-angle and argue with each
other whenever they met together to hear the violent harangues of their ora-
Governor Reynolds said: "The convention question gave rise to two years
of the most furious and boisterous excitement and contest that ever visited
Illinois. Men, women and children entered the arena of party warfare and
strife, and the families and neighborhoods were so divided and furious and
bitter against one another that it seemed a regular civil war might be the re-
sult. Many personal combats were indulged in on the question, and the
whole country seemed at times to be ready and willing to resort to physical
force to decide the contest. All the means known to man to convey ideas to
one another were resorted to, and practiced with energy. The press teemed
with publications on the subject. The stump orators were invoked, and the
pulpit thundered anathemas against the introduction'of slavery."
1 have quoted from these two ex-governors and State historians in order to
sh<)w the intensity and bitterness of the strife. One of the greatest agencies
in the contest was the pulpit, and the leader, Rev. Dr. Peck, a Baptist clergy-
man, who rode over all the southern half of the State, and for seven days in
the week, raised his voice in favor of freedom and in opposition to the con-
When the election occurred in Angust, 1824, it was found there were 4,950
votes cast for the convention, and 6,822 votes cast against it.
The strongest evidence as to the feeling on this question is found in the
fact that the total vote for and against a convention, aggregated 11,612, and
at the presidential election in the following November, only 4,707 votes were
The convention men, however, secured some little revenge. As has been
noted. Governor Coles had freed his slaves, but had omitted to have them
registered. As a result he was sued for violation of the Black Laws, and
fined two thousand dollars. Before this suit was finally disposed of, the
legislature passed an act releasing all penalties incurred under the act of 1819»
and this act the supreme court upheld.
The question now presents itself, why did not the anti-slavery men make a
test of the indenture laws in the courts. I presume the reason was that the
judges, having been appointed by the legislature, which was pro-slavery,,
were presumed to hold the same views and would be controlled in their judg-
ment by their political prejudices. However, at the December term, 18i^,
of the supreme court, that tribunal was called upon to pass upon the validity
of the indenture law of 1S07. The opinion of the court was delivered by Mr.
Justice Samuel D. Lockwood, and it was held that the law of 1807 was void
as being repugnant to the ordinance of 1787; but indentures executed under
that law are made valid by the third section of the sixth article of the consti-
tution. The court held that the constitution was supreme — that the people,
represented in a constitutional convention, and in framing an organic law,
could legally do that which a legislature could not do. It was held that ac-
cepting the constitution, and admitting the State into the union by Congress,
abrogated so much of the ordinance of 1787 as was repugnant to the constitu-
tion. In another case at this same term the court decided that registered
servants were goods and chatties and could be sold on execution. At the
December term, 1831, of the supreme court, that tribunal decreed that the
children of negroes and mulattoes registered under the laws of the territory
of Indiana and Illinois were free.
At the May term; 1827, of the supreme court of the state of Missouri, that
court decided that children of negro slaves in Illinois, born after the ordi-
nance of 1787, were free. Subsequently, another case was decided by the
supreme court of Missouri in which the same doctrine was held. This last
case was removed to the supreme court of the United States by writ of error.
The latter court delivered a very elaborate opinion to show that it had no
jurisdiction, but reading between the lines it was easy to see that the majority
of the court agreed with the holding of the lower tribunal.
The last legal struggle came before the supreme court of Illinois at the De-
cember term, 1845, and the majority of the court decided that the descendants
of the old French slaves, born since the adoption of the ordinance of 1787,
and before or since the adoption of the constitution of lUinois could not be
held in slavery.
The census of 1830 showed 747 slaves in the State, while the census of 1840
showed only 331.
When the constitution of 1848 was adopted, section 16 of the declaration of
rights was as follows:
"There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the State, ex-
cept as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly con-
The adoption of the constitution with this section sounded the death knell
to slavery, and from that hour Illinois for the first time became, in fact, a.
(By A. W. French.)
The remarks I have thought to make to the Historical Society will perhaps
he not well pointed, not relevant to one another, possibly not intrinsically in-
terestins:, but may serve to beguile a few moments and, it may be, leave
something which will cling to the memory as part of our early history.
Some of the reminiscences of my early life in Illinois grow brighter and
fresher in memory as they recede in the distance, and recur to the mind un-
bidden, but not always unwelcome. In 1847 I took steamboat at Buffalo for
Sandusky, from that place by stage to Mansfield, then by stage after a few
days' stay, to Columbus, a few days at Columbus, and then by stage to
Springfield, O., to which a little spur of railroad had reached from Cincin-
nati — by this railroad to the then ambitious emporium of Ohio. On Sunday
evening I took passage on a small steamboat for St. Louis. As was usual
•with the Ohio in October, it was more easily navigable on foot than by any
craft larger than a canoe. There was little depth of water, and at frequent
intervals the patient laborers on the deck had to get out the spars and apply
the power of the capstan to drag the vessel over the often recurring shallows
to a little deeper water, on which it would float along a few miles until the
laborious operation had to be repeated.
The Mississippi after passing Cairo, was little better, and on one occasion,
while lying stranded, diagonally across the stream, another boat, seeking the
channel and coming too close to us, swept away our guard, on which three or
four of our passengers were standing, dropping them into the river, where
they were left to float away with the guard and rail. It was while so looking
over the side of a stranded steamboat that Mr. Lincoln conceived the idea of
lifting the boat temporarily till it should pass the bar. He would place an
expansible contrivance beneath the boat on the water that should give a lift
equal to the occasion and send the vessel on her way; but neither natural
philosophy nor mechanics was Mr. Lincoln's "best hold," and he had not
provided any power to expand the bag which was to do the lifting with a
power equal to the weight of boat and cargo. Mr. Lincoln had, however,
sufficient faith in his invention, to take out a patent on it.
What he claimed, was, "a combination of expansible buoyant chambers
placed at the sides of the vessel with the main shaft or shafts C, by means
of the sliding spurs or shafts D, which pass down through the buoyant cham-
bers and be made fast to their bottoms and the series of ropes and pullies,
or their equivalents in such a manner that by turning the shaft or shafts in
one direction, the buoyant chambers will be forced downwards into the water
and at the same time expanded and filled with air for buoying up the vessel
by displacement of water, and by turning the shaft in an opposite direction
the buoyant chambers will be contracted into small space, and secured
Mr. Lincoln had a small model of his contrivance made and I saw him in-
1850 trying its working in the horse trough which then stood at ihe south-
west corner of the square within a few steps of my office.
The next Sunday evening brought St. Louis into view, seven days and twa
hours on the trip. As we neared the city the lead was constantly east to
give warning of shoals, and here I first learned the words which afterwards
became the nom de plume now known throughout the civilized world to desig-
nate one of America's most pleasing and popular authors, " Mark Twain "
alternating with the most dismal and depressing words, " no bottom " — " no
bottom, " as the lead sunk two fathoms or much more, screamed from the
lower deck for the instruction of the pilot aloft, Mr. Clemens was at that
time, I think, piloting boats up and down the river. The next day I took
passage to go up the river to stop at a place made somewhat famous by
tales of another distinguished writer, Mr. Hay, in his "Jim Bledso " and
called Gilgal. The island, so called made by the Smy Cante Slough which
comes out of the Mississippi above Hannibal and returns to it near Clarksburg,
a distance of about 30 miles, was the home of many deer, and I saw them very
often. A spot on these swampy plains would raise tens of thousands of
geese and ducks — enough to darken the sky for a few moments.
In the spring of 1848 I spent a week or two in Beardstown. This was an
ambitious place — had a brick tavern and a landing, and was the entrepot and
the outlet of nearly all of the saleable products of a large part of the State,
A traveler between Springfield and Beardstown would rarely be out of sight
of heavily loaded wagons carrying out the productions or bringing in the
merchants' goods. Several religious societies existed in the town of Beards-
town and as many efforts had been made to erect places for worship but
none of them had been brought sufficiently near completion to be used. So
by common consent each church in turn used the courthouse as a place of
worship. The Episcopalians would meet in the morning, have their spon-
taneous singing, responses, united oral prayer while sitting, responsive
reading, etc. In the afternoon the Presbyterians would assemble, sing
formal hymns first, read to them, rise for prayer, and sit during the singing
and enjoy a formal and well studied sermon all with marked due solemnity.
In the evening, the Methodists took their turn in the use of the public build-
ing, kneeled during prayers, stood in singing and as was their custom ia
those days relieved any dullness which an observer might feel by individually
injecting into the ceremonies a little spontaneity by more than one speaking
at the same time in the form ejaculatory agreement with sentiments uttered,
Now, the queerest part of all this is, that with a half dozen exceptions in a
full house, exactly the same men and women filled the seats and participated
in the worship morning, afternoon and night, adapting themselves so well to
what was expected of them by the man in the pulpit, or rather on the ros-
trum, and fulfilling the requirements of each mode of worship.
While in Beardstown I saw erected two tall masts on either side of the Illi-
nois river for the purpose of conveying the telegraph wires across the river,
it not yet having been learned that the current could be carried under as well
as over the water. The telegraph was then being built across the State, for
the first time and when I arrived in Springfield the first dispatch had been
received and been paid for by a collection on the square.
On my way across Cass county I saw in a little place with a rather preten-
tious name, one of the numerous churches which had little hope of ever be-
ing completed. In my eastern home I had often heard from the pulpit ap-
peals for aid for western, particularly Illinois churches, and there was a
pretty steady flow of contributions for that purpose and here was one of the
products. The building had got itself inclosed, but if doors or windows had
been used they were now gone, and a flock of real sheep sought within a
shade from the summer sun. A purer congregation is not conceivable, for
not a goat was there.
Mr. Ruggles, in his interesting paper read at the last meeting of the So-
•ciety, alluded to the nomination of Richard Yates to (Congress in 1850. The
■districts in those days were so large, and the means of traveling so primitive
and meagre, that it required some patriotism or some other powerful motive
to bring a convention together.
The place which had been selected for the convention was Pekin, sixty long
miles from Springfield. The delegation from Sangamon county was com-
posed of ten men. There was a sort of carryall in the city, a cheap vehicle
with seats running along the sides like those in an omnibus, but far enough
from possessing any of the comforts of that conveyance. This, supplied with
four horses, was furnished us, and in it we were to spend three long days in
the annual hot spell of July, and to travel one hundred and twenty miles.
With an early morning start we arrived at Delavan, forty miles, in the even-
ing. With the forecast which first settlers nearly always possess, someone
had built at Delavan a large wooden tavern, in the fond expectation of seeing
a great city grow up around it. Here we met the delegation from Morgan
and another from Logan counties.
Here were men enough to cover the floor of the house, as each laid down
where he could. Early the next morning we were on the road to Pekin, 25
miles away, where we arrived before noon. The convention was called to
order and the business was soon dispatched by the unanimous nomination of
Mr. Yates, that great man, for Congress, who, in another and more respon-
sible office, undoubtedly saved this State from the shame and horror of pass-
ing an act of secession from the Union.
Dr. Boal, of Pekin, was the only other candidate mentioned, though there
was some expectation that the then last member, Mr. Lincoln, might be
named. By the close of the day we had returned to Delavan, where the
same agreeable experiences were enjoyed as on the previous night, and by
four o'clock on the next day, we were on our way home. The prairie we
were now crossing was one of the largest in the State. Grass formed the
horizon. Not a tree or a shrub obstructed the view as far as the eye could
reach. The beaten path was the width of the wagon and the tall grass
whipped the wheels as they passed. About a half hour after sunrise, as our
team was trotting slowly along, one of our number who had chosen to ride on
the top of the vehicle with the driver, discovered running along before us
one of those pretty (to look at) black and white little animals known as
mephitis mustela (the English name is shorter), so adapting his pace to the
speed of our team as to keep out of the way. This gentleman never was
lacking in valor or in personal vigor, but had often given his friends reason
to question his discretion. The inspiration of a most glorious morning and
of the charming scenes with which we were surrounded, together with a
fondness for the pursuit of game, disquieted him, and he sprang off and
gave chase to the little animal, which kept the path rather than enter the
dew laden grass. As missels are entirely wanting on the prairie, when he
got near enough to his game he would throw his hat at it, then pick it up
and cast again. This pursuit lasted till the tired creature took refuge in the
grass and then our hunter came on board again. I need not draw out the
story — the hat was left in the road, and our gentleman was requestsd to ride
on deck the rest of the way home. Middletown was able to furnish a hat.
The delegation arrived in Springfield late in the evening.
The nomination of Mr. Yates was in accordance with an agreement among
the Whig politicians of the district made some years before, on the removal
of Gen. E. D. Baker to another district, that the succession should be, after
Baker, Lincoln, then Stephen T. Logan, and next Yates.
Major Harris, democrat, of Menard, coming into the field at this time
covered with fresh laurels from the war in Mexico, defeated Judge Logan
and interfered with the succession, but not with the whig nominations.
The Oldest Civil Record in the West,
By J. Nick Perrin.
While it may come to pass that in the course of time a nationality will be
established iu "America that shall be characterized by a preponderating ele-
ment of homos:eneity, yet it is too soon to forget that we are the offshoot of
European parentage; and in the midst of our national pride let us ciierish at
least a kindly memory for the European pioneer and immigrant who helped
to build the foundation for our magnificent American superstructure.
Three great European streams entered into the discovery, settlement, colo-
nization and civilization of North America: The Spanish in the Southland,
the English along the Eastern seaboard, the French in the Northeast. Of
these, the French and Spanish influences, constituting the Latin factor, have
almost entirely disappeared beneath the weight of the paramount Anglo-
Saxon influence, which has very largely impressed itself upon our institutions,
in the shape of language, customs and laws supplemented and modified
however to a great extent (and salutary extent too) by healthy Germanic and
Celtic reinforcement. No matter what reasons we may attribute for this
survival, the present fact is patent, that the survival has been accomplished;
and the historic fact remains, that in the early stages of our history, those
infl:uences which are now scarcely discernible, were potent contributors to
the march of progress. Hence it is a matter of historic fairness to render
due credit to the Frenchman who in 1535 set foot in the Northeast and dis-
covered the St. Lawrence River; for through this discovery, Canada was
peopled by a branch of the world's dominant race; and the great water-
way furnished a means to reach the great chain of lakes and thus the North-
west, as it was formerly termed, was opened up and Illinois became an off-
spring of the new creation. Tracing our historic ancestry through this
lineage, we would be remiss in our historic devotions if we did not worship,
in a sensible way of course, at the shrine whereon we find engraved the
names of Cartier and Champlain, of Marquette and Joliet and LaSalle.
More than a hundred years had passed and the French domination was
recognized in the Northeast where Jacques Cartier had planted the regal
arms. In 1670 a treaty was made between the Indians of the Northwest and
the French in Canada by which the great Northwest passed to France in
consideration of the protection furnished to those northwestern tribes against
the encroachments of their eastern hostile neighbors. In this Indian cession
was embraced the " Illinois country. " Three years later (1673) Marquette
and Joliet and their companions made the discovery of the " Illinois country "
and planted a mission station among the Kaskaskias in the present LaSalle
In 1682 LaSalle descended the Illinois River and the Mississippi to its
mouth where he took possession in the name of France, and thus completed
the chain of title to the French possessions in North America. LaSalle
called the country extending along the Mississippi and its tributaries —
" Louisiana. " The " Illinois country " then became a part of Louisiana.
In 1718 New Orleans was established and shortly thereafter a French ma-
rine station was established there and a marine oflSicer was intrusted with the
management of civil affairs. This officer had oversight of the territory
within his jurisdiction in which was included the "Illinois country." The
villag:e of the Kaskaskias had been removed from the upper Illinois river to
its present site at the junction of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia rivers.
At Fort Chartres and Kaskaskia a notary was stationed whose business it
was to look after the civil affairs of the "Illinois country." He kept a regfis-
ter in French. Some years a^o I stumbled across this precious historic
treasure in the archives of St. Clair county, where it had been buried for a
century beneath a mass of documents, and I believe was never consulted by
any historian except perhaps Governor Reynolds, whose "Pioneer History"
indicates a possibility that he might have had access to this record fifty years
In 1890 I was looking for matter from which to prepare a paper for the St.
Clair County Centennial Celebration. St. Clair county was established in
1790 by the Governor of the Northwest Territory — Arthur St. Clair. It em-
braced all that part of Illinois which extends from Pekin to Cairo and from
the Mississippi to the "banks of the Wabash far away." In October, 1795^
the county was divided by running a line east and west through the present
county ot Monroe and all south became Randolph and the north remained St.
Clair until later divisions took place. In sorting out the papers, documents
and records, this record seems to have been allotted to St. Clair and has evi-
dently remained in the possession of the successive clerks, though possibly
without receiving any attention from any except the first clerk who received
it, and the present gentlemanly and efficient clerk, who since its rediscovery,
shows it with pride to the visiting stranger.
It dates back to 1737 and its entries cover a period from 1737 to 1769. It is
bound in hog-hide, the cover having the appearance of being the skin of a
pig, shaved and dried. The ends of the bristles are plainly discernible. In
niy judgment it is the oldest official record in the west containing civil entries.
It contains a record of gifts by will, marriage contracts and otherwise. While
the entries are not numerous, the book was well kept by the notary and was
inspected from time to time by a marine officer who added his approval after
examination. The writing is in a remarkable state of preservation. Some of
the leaves, however, have been gnawed by the rats. It contains one hundred
and forty- six pages and is called Registre des Insinuations des Donations auar
Siege des Illinois. The first entry is a marriage contract between Louis Nor-
mand Labriere and Catherine Clement. There were six entries for the year
1737. The notary was Bertlot Barroir and he signed each one, attesting its
genuineness after the French style by simply signing Barroir. There is an
approval at the end of each year by Louis Auguste Delalcere Flancour, clerk
of the marine department under the French government.
The record is exceedingly interesting in showing the existence of slavery
in Illinois in the very earliest times. Thus by entry of September 25, 1751,
Paul Bizet gave to Francoise Dizie, the wife of Josephus Braseau (a cousin
of Bizet's), at whose house he had been sick, for her services, an Indian
slave named Marianne. On November 18, 1751, Mr. and Mrs. Bourbonnais
gave to Pierre Aubuchon, who was their son-in-law, an old negro slave, who
in the language of the transfer, could only do the ordinary kitchen work and
chores. On June 15, 1755, Francois Lacroix gave his property to his children
on condition that they maintain him. He enumerates his slaves as one
Indian man, two Indian women and one little Indian girl aged seven years.
March 14, 1757, Joseph Guignon willed to Mr. Forget his house and negroes
except a little negro named Francois aged about ten years.
This in brief is a synopsis of our venerable historic friend, who, a hundred
years ago, was buried in his hog-hide, but has recently been resurrected and
now claims priority of rank, on account of age, over the civil records of the
west. True, the baptismal records at Kaskaskia date back to 1695, and there
may be religious and military records which antedate 1737, but among the
civil entries where are there any that antedate our hog-hide record? While
waiting for competitors to present their claims we shall insist on the proud
distinction of having the oldest western civil record right here in Illinois,
where we have everything that is great in every material, mental and moral
sense. Where we have a domain which in its extent dwarfs the states and
principalities of the old world into mere track patches; on which domain'
there have sprung np in the short space of two centuries and a quarter
enough cities and villages to dot our hills and valleys as thickly as the stars
dot the heavens on a clear December night; where we have prairie farms
under the highest state of cultivation, whose beauty can not be surpassed by
any dream of the hanging gardens of Babylon; where we have rich alluvial
bottom soil along our great rivers which can not be equalled by the vulleys
of the Nile, the Rhine, the Seine, the Danube and the Thames put together;
where we have a teeming, pushing population of five millions of energetic
people who have built up a commerce whose continuing growth shall outstrip
the rest of the world in the next decade; where we have magnificent forests
and inexhaustible coal beds; where, in the midst of our harvests, nature
smiles upon our prolific grain fields, and upon our orchards and our gardens
with their choicest fruits resembling in their beauty that garden which was
planted eastward in Eden as the climax of creation; where the God of nature
himself looks with favor upon the JUinoisans as his chosen people; and
where this chosen people has made a record which will fill the brightest page
in universal history; for as we search the register wherein the records of the
acts of men are placed we find this page with its vast array of facts which
appeals to pride of home and state and whereon are written deeds of men of Illi-
nois. The deeds of such as Lovejoy, who died for freedom's cause; Shields,
who buckled on his sword, and wounded fell on Cerro Gordo's field, but rose
again, and then in later years rode through the Shenandoah vale for his
adopted country's weal; Douglas, who was called the "little giant;" Lincoln,
the martyr president; Grant and Logan, who fought the country's battles in
its time of greatest need; and Eugene Field, whose tender notes are luUabys
in every home wnere childish forms are rocked to sleep at night.
Illinois During the Revolution.
'By Mrs. Laura Dayton Fessenden.)
While the revolting colonies were sending- "committees of gentlemen" to
"assist in adjusting, and framing certain articles of confederation," that por-
tion of the North American continent now bordered by Wisconsin, Lake
Michigan, Indiana, the Ohio river, Missouri and Iowa (then part of the
Northwestern Territory; now the State of Illinois), was for the most made
up of stretches of praire land broken here and there with forests, and
touched by a great inland sea.
The inhabitants were aborigines and a few French and English settlers;
the latter — the French and the English — had in several localities formed vil-
lages, and established trading posts. The flag of Great Britain flauntpd its
colors over block house and stockade; and the Governor was a French-En-
glish gentleman, Chevalier de Rocheblaue by name; and he held office for
the English crown in the Illinois and elsewhere from 1775 to 1781, when upon
his retirement he received from His Gracious Majesty, King George, twelve
hundred pounds sterling for his services.
During his services in the Northwestern Territory, Chevalier Rocheblaue
occupied, with his wife and children, a large log house within the stockade at
Kaskaskia was founded in 1682 as a mission station. In 1721 the Jesuits
established a college and monastery there, and, by reason of liberal grants
from France to the religious establishment mentioned, Kaskaskia soon be-
came the trade center of the central Mississippi valley.
In the year 1778 — the year that brought our Illinois into the colonies, or
states, of North America — Kaskaskia had two hundred and fifty dwellings
and a Roman Catholic church. The college was even at that time becoming
a memory — a memorial to those pious ones who, in Christ's name, and for
His dear sake, had come to the new world wilderness to seek and to save
We all realize iiow much of purpose lives on when individual effort has
ceased to be; we all know that "all houses wherein men have lived and died
are haunted houses;" that "owners and occupants of earlier date from graves
forgotten stretch their dusty hands, and hold in mortmain still their old es-
tates." 'Tis thus our little lives are kept in equipoise, by opposite attrac-
tions, from and through the influence of unseen stars, that form for us a
bridge of light on which wander our thoughts.
Marquette had tarried long in these solitudes teaching the only lesson
Heaven has ever asked earth to learn, the Fatherhood of God, and the
Brotherhood of man. Paul Alloues had left preferment and many honors in
sunny France that he might lift from a dying saint's shoulder the mantle of
self-denial, and take from the bared head the crown of self-sacrifice. May
not these consecrations have yielded untold, uncaleulated spiritual harvests?
However that may be, the spirit of Kaskaskia was kindly enlightened and
generous. The children attended a school, and any Indian thirsting for
knowledge was cordially welcomed by the master — the priest of the settle-
ment, and was faithfully instructed. The Kaskaskians were not content to
take as the limit of their life the happenings within the stockade about their
town; they were eager for news from beyond, and enjoyed discussing all that
came to their knowledge of distant transpiring events with interest and intel-
This attitude finally succeeded in alarming Monsieur the Governor, and he
made it his dutj^ mirthful, scornfully mirthful, when reverting to the so-called
Federal uprising to the eastward. This in the beginning had some effect; for
the Northwestern Territory was so remote from the revolting colonies that
for a year or more after the actual beginning of the American Revolution,
the people of Kaskaskia were content to accept Chevalier Rocheblaue's state-
ments, such as that the Virginians were cannibals, and worthy the title of
*'Long Knives," and that the rest of the rebel crew were but a scattered com-
pany of ragged curs speedily to be whipped, by the English, into cringing
With a certain amount of belief, but by degrees the truth began to dawn
upon their minds, through narrations brought to them by new settlers, hunt-
ers, traders and trappers, they came to know that there were grievous causes,
in many given directions, calling upon the colonists for vengeance, and then
it came to pass that the younger men of the settlement were missing.
At this juncture it seemed best to Chevalier Rocheblaue to call the white
men and the Indian chiefs together for a conference. When all were assem-
bled they were bidden to renew their individual oath of allegiance to King
George. This done, the white men were allowed to depart; the braves were
detained until the Governor should offer them gold for successful depratory
incursions upon any border settlement known to be friendly to the American
cause. The Governor also offered a separate and much larger allowance, or
reward, for all the scalps of men, women and children secured during these
slaughtering, pillaging and burning excursions.
It is written that the Indians listened in silence to the Governor until his
conclusion; that then the chief sachem arose and made this reply: "My
English brother with a French name and title who calls himself in the French
tongue, an Englishman, has made his offer to us too late; for the American
colonists will give us a much larger reward for live, unscalped English pris-
The year 1778 was a memorable one. as our American histories show; let
us most briefly recall the incidents. In February of 1778, the English parlia-
ment passed two bills virtually conceding to the colonies all that had before
been refused them; and commissioners were appointed to be sent across the
Atlantic to make many concessions, and, if possible to adjust the existing
differences. It was in February of 1778, that France acknowledged the inde-
pendence of America, and concluded the treaty of commerce and alliance
with the revolted colonies. It was in June of that year, that the British army
evacuated Philadelphia and retreated to New York, followed cautiously by
Washington with the main body of his army. In the same month the com-
tnissioners arranged for in February, in London, met with such a cool recep-
tion in the new world.
On the 21st of June the battle of Monmouth was fought, and disastrous as
was our failure at the outset, the British finally met with signal defeat, and
with great loss retreated to Sandy Hook; and it was in and through that vic-
tory the tattered army of the Continentals took heart of grace and stirred up
reserves of courage with which lo meet the bitter losses of Wyoming and
Savannah that were to knell out the year. But there is still another incident
of 1778 to recall. On the 4th day of July of that year our Illinois was born.
Her birth cry was the shout the American soldiers gave when the English
flag was lowered, and Colonel Geerge Rogers Clark assumed command of the
town of Kaskaskia.
In order to understand the detail of Clark's eampaig:n, we must go back to
the beginning of 1777, when it chanced that Virginia's attention was drawn
to the fact that through some forgotten charter, now unearthed, she was
entitled to claim, as part of her territory, all that is now the State of Illinois
— and much more beside.
Following the example of Israel's great law giver, Patrick Henry, governor
of the province of Virginia, said: "We will send men before us, and they
shall search out the land and bring us word again which way we shall go up,
and possess this new Hebron." And the men went up and searched, and
brought word again, saying: "It is a jjoodly land of forests and prairies.
Rivers like silver ribbons thread the earth, and within its borders there is a
great inland ocean. The prairies are treeless, save where one here and
there comes upon a grove like an island in an emerald sea. The air is redo-
lent with the fragrance of violets; thenas summer comes follows a train of
brilliant blossoms; and when the flower queen abdicates her throne, and
autumn stoops to secure the crown from nature's hands, the tall prairie
grasses — often growing to the height of nine feet — turn to a dull yellow, and
then, as far as the eye can reaah, one looks upon an endless tield of undulat-
ing gold. Birds sing, bees hum, and through the glade wild things, both
men and beasts, wander at will."
This was in substance the report that the trappers brought back to Vir-
ginia, and in consequence thereof, on the 10th day of December, 1777, Gover-
nor Patrick Henry beld grave converse with George Wythe, George Mason
and Thomas Jefferson; the subject in question being, shall we, or shall we
not, as the State of Virginia, and at our individual and personal expense, as
a state, send out a regiment into the Northwestern Territorj' to capture, and
then to hold, the town of Kaskaskia, and such other small settlements as shall
be named; and proving successful in this encounter, shall we not then pro-
claim Virginia the rightful owner of the entire territory?
The decision was unanimously affirmative; and it was then resolved to
make their intentions publicly known and to report it in such plain and simple
wording that all would understand that the regiment to be raised waa for the
specified purpose thereof. It was not to be listed into the already too
heavily burdened Continental army; and its officers and men were to be im-
pressed with the fact that no pension could ever come to them, or to their
legal survivors, for military services, from the United States government.
Governor Henry and his associates were pleased to consider that "the pros-
pects attending upon the adventure were encouraging because of the fact of
Burgoyne's failure," and it seemed to them "that the proposed regiment
might, with comparative safety, carry war into the enemy's country at a
point so remote and so feebly guarded."
The man selected as leader of this expedition, as we have said, was George
Rogers Clark. Like Washington, Clark had been in his younger manhood a
surveyor; then, with Boone and Crawford, he had seen active service during
the western border warfare of 1775, '76 and '77, and perhaps more than any
other Indian fighter, he realized what success in conquest would come in
time to mean to the United States of America. In an old manuscript we find
these words: "George Rogers Clark may compare with any general of our
Revolution, except the 'Matchless One,' for he has decision, intrepidity,
energy, forethought and good sense; he is the best soldier that ever led
troops against the Indians, and he knows better than any other man living how to
control these uncontrollable beings." And never before in all border war-
fare, had the Indians been so bard to manage. You see, for a century and a
half they had been fighting the power of Great Britain; now the redcoats
were with them, offering the tribes protection, lands and gold in exchange for
the scalp of ever3' white brother who wore the buff and blue.
In their bewilderment the Indians often mistrusted the Redcoats — as they
called the British — and inclined to the "Bostonians," as they called the
Americans. Thus they wavered, now towards the one, then towards the
other. The cause of this was the loss of integrity of the tribes. Pontiac was
dead. Tecumseh was a little child, and Brand lacked something in training,
inheritance and tone to constitute him an efficient leader. It was this lack of
guidance that Clark recognized and took advantage of.
Colonel Clark was ordered to recruit seven companies, of fifty men each;
and was to be allowed provisions for three months' service, and to be fur-
nished with six hundred dollars in money. He was only able to obtain four
companies. (You can easily understand why, when you rpcall how many
Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution claim Virginia as their
mother State.) The captains of these four companies were Joseph Brown,
John Montgfomery, William Harrod and Leonard Helm, On the 24th of June,
1778, with 180 private soldiers, this unlisted regiment set out from Louisville
and ascended the falls of the Ohio. This was done in keel boats with double
manned oars, and by having relays of ruwers; and so, not stopping night or
day, they reached, on the 28th of June, an island at the mouth of the Ten-
nessee, upon which Clark landed his men.
On that island they found a party of American hunters under the leader-
ship of a man named John Duff. These men had only left Kaskaskia three
days previous to this meeting with Clarke's regiment, and much valuable
information in many directions was elicited from them; and Col. Clark was
glad to accept the offer of one of the hunters, John Saunders, to guide them
to the town. So, on this same night Clark ran all his boats into a small
creek, about a mile from the then Fort Massac, and after a few hours rest,
without horses, baggage, wagons, or artillery, he began the march across the
country to Kaskaskia, 120 miles distant.
The way lay through swamps and wilderness, but "wandering on by fra-
grant tangle and drift-choked streams," came the pioneer guard, scorching
the trees as they marched for the old bazed road, that settlers might follow,
and following, so come with their wives and their worldly gear to live, to
labor, to plant and to rear a solid base for our future State — small worth m
the "gear," but hope made it great. They frightened the deer from his
noonday lair; they scared the fox to his gloomy den; they ruffled the temper
of the wolf and bear, and echoed the catamount's scream again; but midway
on the journey Saunders lost the trail! Col. Clark's men, and most of his
officers, believed Saunders to be a British spy, and declared that he was
decoying them into a trap; but Clark, a student of human nature, laughed at
these theories and would not listen to a majority suggestion of hanging
Saunders on the first convenient limb. Happily tor all concerned, Saunders
proved not unworthy of Col. Clark's confidence, for, after much marching
and counter-marching, the guide recognized a familiar object in the land-
scape and rediscovered the trail.
So it came to pass, that after a six days' tramp, with only four days pro-
visions to subsist upon, the command arrived within three miles of Kaskaskia
on the late afternoon of July 4, 1778. Little did Chevalier Rochablaue dream
that his power would so soon be a thing of the past as he sat beside bistable,
ink horn, drying sand, quill and paper before him, pouring out his woes to
the Governor General at Quebec. His letter held such bits as these: "I am,
monsieur, discouraged. No words in English can fittingly express my dis-
pair. These settlers — Mon Dieul what settlers they are! There is not one
among them loyal to our great and good Majesty, King George; and they are
bold; they converse much concerning the Colonial troubles — majois, it is a
bad trouble; but for all that, our young men are running away to join Mr.
Washington's army, helped thither by the Indians and traders. Why! this
very day, Governor, I heard with my own ears my daughter singing a rebel
song as she sat at her wheel. And when I questioned her as to where she
got the ballad she made answer that it had been writ by the priest and then
by him set to a meloHy. Now if the shepard is so minded, what will the
sheep do? Viola! The sheep they follow, and that my Governor may be-
hold the spirit of Kaskaskia 1 copy the song.
'Twas a day in May. the sky was fair,
A wealth of fragrance filled the air.
From wildwood blossoms on bush and tree
All the birds were singing; the drowsy bee
Was abroad and taking his hoard
From the deep-throated flowers of Kaskaskia.
In a trapper's but in a forest glade
Beside her wheel sat a litle maid;
She was singing a ballad quaint and sweet,
And these are the words she did repeat.
That morning in Kaskaskia.
Dear heart, sweetheart, where e'er thou be
'Tis dreaming ever I am of thee.
Praying that love, like a guiditig star
May hear you this message where e'er you are
'Tis this, sweetheart. I loved you here
Here, in the woods of Kaskaskia.
' 'Dear heart, sweetheart, where e'er thou be,
'Tis dreaming ever I am of thee.
Praying that love like a guiding star
Will bear you this message wherever you are:
'Tis this, sweetheart, 1 love you dear.
Love you there as I loved you here.
Here in the woods of Kaskaskia."
"Oh, Monsieur, there is, I fear me, more than billet cfamour in this sing-
ing. It comes to me that when sweethearts march to meet a foe to such love-
love-ladened encouragement that God alone can save those they go to do bat-
tle with. I must have more troops here to save my people; for, hark you, it
is said the Spanish threaten Kaskaskia, and that Chevalier Willing, of Phila-
delphia, is somewhere on the Mississippi shouting for Liberty; and his fol-
lowers are constantly increasing."
As Roeheblaue thus wrote the twilight fell, and then deepened, and ere
long faded into a night amid whose protecting shadows Colonel Clark and his
little band came to the river bank where stood the ferry house with its empty
anchored boats — the ferry house just one mile above Kaskaskia. The ferry-
man and his family were taken prisoners, and in two hours frona that time,
the Colonel and his four companies had crossed the river and gained posses-
sion of the town. Let us hear Colonel Clark's owh description of the encoun-
ter: "Upon landing I divided my regiment into two divisions, ordering half
to surround the town; with the rest 1 broke into the Fort and secured the
Governor. In less than fifteen minutes after our arrival the place was ours.
My men went from house to house securing all firearms, and forbidding peo-
ple, on penalty of instant death, to come to either doors or windows. Before
daylight we had possession of every implement of warfare that the town pos-
sessed. Early in the morning I commanded all persons not bed-ridden to as-
semble in the college, and then I told them the story of the American Revo-
lution, and in conclusion said: 'Virginia is giving her bravest and best to
the cause; the Virginia to whom from this hour you owe allegiance. Through
me she bids you welcome; not as captives, but as brethren; through me she
holds out the hand of fellowship to the Northwestern Territory.' Then the
Kaskaskians flocked about me, striving with one another who should be first
to take the oath of allegiance to Virginia. Thus we Americans have gained
a bloodless victory. I next sent a courteous note to his Honor, the Governor,
asking him to dine with me; but he was so deficient and wanting in courtesy
that it seemed best in the interests of good government that the gentlemen in
question be sent at once from Kaskaskia to Williamsburg as a hostage of
George Rogers Clark, the maker of Illinois, had no honor shown him on
his victorious return to Virginia. This leader; this master spirit; this man
of geut rous energy and enterprise; this man who first saw the great benefit
it would be to the cause to meet the British beyond the mountains instead of
suffering them to unite and concentrate the whole power of the Indians north
and south upon the scattered positions along the mountain range, and by so
doing create a powerful diversion for the English troops who were then hunt-
ing the bleeding Continentals from Long Island to Germantown. This man
was set aside to give temporary place to many little lights long since blown
out and individually forgotten.
it had been authoriravely stated that his lack of public appreciation was a
bitter sorrow to Clark. Late in his life when the shadows of age were falling
thick and fast; when he stood upon the sands of time that border the eternal
ocean, when his life tide was going out, Virginia awoke to a realizing sense
of what this soldier had done for her, and, througrh her, for the United States
of America. The legislature of Virginia voted him a splendid gold-hilted
sword in recognition of his services, which he declined. To the messenger
who bore it to him, and found him in squalid poverty, the old hero said:
"Tell Virginia that when she needed a sword I furnished it. Now, I want no
sword, I want bread."
George Rogers Clark did not live to know that his regiment was listed into
the Continental army; that his officers and men were enrolled upon the pen-
sion lists. He could not dream that after many years there would be words
of praise, and statues to his memory. The recalling of heroic men; of heroic
times; heroic deeds, can only be useful when considered from Emerson's
standpoint. "The past," he says, "is for us; but the sole terms on which it
can become ours is through its application to our present needs."
Life axd Public Services of Hoy. John- M. Palmer.
By Euclid B. Rogers.
It was once claimed that the genius of a nation was the creation of a single
life: that remarkable ages were the outcome to remarkable individuals. To a
certain extent that claim was true, but this is no less true, that the individual
of mark represents, as well as creates, a state, a people, an age. John M.
Palmer was not only creator, generator, cause, but he was also fruit, effect,
result. There are books that nourish and strengthen: "pasturage of noble
minds" they have been called. Life is a great thing, to be a man is a big
thing, and that man who has been so much of a man as to have mastered the
art of living becomes leader, inspirer, helper. Intellectual freedom and
spiritual insight can only go and grow as they are lighted and guided. All
ambitious spirits need men who hold lights close down upon the pathwaj-s of
life; not soaring geniuses like Shakespeare, not philosophical giants like
Spencer, but lives that beget such practical stuff as courage and force and
nobility and common honesty. Such a man was John M. Palmer, and the
service of his life in vitalization, inspiration and sustaining power of the
largest and best in life is beyond expression. The subject is so large as to
require no decking out, no working up. About him as the central figure
there will cluster men, events, principles, history. It requires a large canvas
on which to paint his life. A plain, simple recitation of fact, a condensed
biographical sketch, with here and there a glance at conspiring cause and
natural result is the pleasant task of this hour.
John McAuley Palmer, coming from Scotch Irish stock on his father's and
English- Welch on his mother's side, was born in Scott county, Kentucky, on
the 13th day of September, 1817. His parents were poor, pious and strong,
and they wanted their boys to grow up good, strong men. In 1819 the family
moved to Christian county, Kentucky. In 1829 or 1830 the neighborhood was
greatly excited over what was called a "rising of the negroes," and patrols
were appointed to hunt them and chastise them. If found on any man's
premises without a pass signed by his owner the slave could be taken and
flogged. Saturday night was chosen by patrols for their visitation, as this
was the time selected by negro men to visit their wives and sweethearts. The
Palmer family had a negro woman bj' the name of "America" whose husband
"Abram" came one Saturday night to visit her. and about 9 o'clock the patrol
surrounded the house to which the kitchen was attached and prepared to
force the door. Mr. Louis U. Palmer, the father of the house, met them and
objected to their entering his premises, and he was so firm and decided that
they left the house threatening him with the law. The next morning he de-
clared that he wouldn't live in a state where such scenes could occur, and
announced his determination to leave Keotucky and remove to the free state
of Illinois. In April of 1831 arrangements were perfected, and the family,
consisting of seven boys and one girl, started for Illinois, John M. waiting
until the fall of that year, and settled in Madison county, north of Edwards-
ville, on Paddock's Prairie, about ten miles east of Alton.
At 15 years of age young Palmer accepted General Sample's offer to accom-
pany him on his campaign in the Black Hawk war, subject to the approval of
his father. His father said "No," and that settled it; John didn't go. In the
spring of 1S33 he drove a prairie team, four yokes of oxen attached to a 24
inch plow, at eight dollars per month, In 18^ the subject of his education
came up and his father told him that he would "give him his time," and he
might go and get an education. That thrilled his heart and he was so ex-
cited with the thought that he had to leave the room. (That's a sacred
fiour and that a hallowed spot where an aspiring young heart begins to sprout
its wings for flight.) After recovering his composure he returned to the
room where his father sat. There was silence for a time — (who knows what
thoughts went through that father's mind, and what prayers went up from
that father's heart?) — and then with tears in his eyes the father said: "I
have no money to expend for your education but a healthy boy as you are
needs no help. You may go tomorrow morning: I give you your time.
Don't disgrace me: may God bless you." The student, the teacher, the
lawyer, the judge, the general, the governor, the senator, never forgot that
day and that place and that scene.
Next morning he started on foot, without money or change of clothes. The
brothers and the dogs went with him to the top of the hill a mile away, and
yonder on the bluff stood the father, watching hi? seventeen-year-old bo\ as
he goes out to face the world. What prayers, what God bless yous. what
benedictions were showered on the boy who was leaving home — you fathers
and mothers know full well.
A manual labor school had been started at Upper Alton and that was his
destination. On entering the town he saw a new house going up and the
plastering was being done. He applied for the job of mixing and carrying
mortar. He got it, and when he had finished the work he bought a shirr and
pair of socks and had five dollars left, and so he entered Shurtleff College,
paying his way for two years by cutting down and grubbing out a long row
of trees, coopering, and doing odd jobs on Saturdays.
In May, 1837, he began selling clocks for a Connecticut firm, and in Octo-
ber, in Hancock county, while pursuing tiis business as a clock peddler, he
first met Stephen A. Douglas. You'll be interested in knowing how it hap-
pened. After Mr. Breed, his partner, and 3Jr. Palmer had retired to their
room, with two beds, the landlord went to the room with two. gentlemen and
introduced them as "Mr. Stewart" and "Mr. Douglas, opposing candidates
for Congress." The landlord told Messrs. Palmer and Breed that they would
have to occupy one bed and these gentlemen the other. Douglas then asked
Palmer and Breed their polities. Breed was a Whig, Palmer a Democrat.
Douglas replied. "Stewarr, you are a Whig, you sleep with the Whig, and
I'll sleep with the Democrat." an arrangement which was pleasing to all con-
cerned. The next day Palmer heard Douglas speak, and in the August fol-
lowin^g cast his first vote for him, and was his devoted political friend until
the Nebraska bill separation.
On the 2t)th of March he arrived in Carlinville. then a village of four hun-
dred inhabitants, where his brother. Rev. Elihu J. Palmer, was pastor of the
Baptist church. He had intended settling in Bloomington, but was persuaded
by his brother to remain in Macoupin county. He began the study of the
law; Blaekstone and Coke on Littleton, with Hargrave and Butler's notes
were his text-books. Never wonder at the accomplishment of men with so
meagre outward furniture. Some men are more of a college than any col-
lege. They carry a university with a thousand doois and windows all wide
open on their shoulders. In speaking of Daniel Webster. Theodore Parker
once said: "It takes time and the sweat of oxen and the shouting of drivers,
goading and whipping, to get a cart load of eider to the top of Mt. Washing-
ton: but the eagle flies there on his own wide wings and asks no help.
Daniel Webster had little academic furniture to help him — he had the moun-
tains of New Hampshire and his own great mountain of a head.'" Not a bad
outfit. John M. Palmer had common sense, a brave heart and a big head,
qualifications that no college can supply and no millionaire buy for his booby
son. His education did not depend on text-book and master. The world was
his text-book and his own will his master. Thus equipped he entered the law
office of Mr. John S. Greathouse. Wbile a student he ran for county clerk
agfainst the late John A. Chestnut, of our cily, but was defeated. December
11, 1839, he was admitted to the bar, his license to practice in the courts be-
ing signed by Thomas C. Brown and Theophilus W. Smith, the then justices
of the Supreme Court. While here in Springfield at that time, he saw for the
first time Lincoln, Baker, Alexander P. Field and O. H. Browning, all giants
of that gigantic era. His first cause in the circuit court was tried before
Judge Sidney Breese, who afterwards played so distinguished a part in the
political and judicial annals of the State.
Then came on the bitter political contest of 1840, when General Harrison
and VanBuren were pitted against each other, with such leading Whigs as
E. D. Baker, Lincoln, Browning, John Hogan, a Methodist preacher, while
Douglas, Breese, Lamborn and Calhoun championed the Democracy. No
fight was ever more strongly contested. Young Palmer was a Democrat
from principle and voted for VanBuren.
In 1842, December 20, Mr. Palmer married Malinda Ann Neely and they be-
gan housekeeping in a hewed log house which stood upon the ground now
occupied by the Macoupin county court house. Ten children were born to
them, and on the 9th of May, 1885, the wife and mother died. In that early
day law and politics were part and parcel of each olher. Every lawyer was
a politician, and after court had adjourned speeches were made. The people
expected it and demanded it, and there were always plenty of lawyer-politi-
cians to fill the bill. Popularity at the bar depended not so much on legal
lore as on the ability to make a stump speech. In 1843 Mr. Palmer was
elected "probate justice of the peace," an office which was abolished by the
Constitution of 1848. In June of 1847 he was a member of the constitutional
revision convention and offered resolutions that showed he was a thinker on
great public questions. Banks, courts, education and other paraphernalia of
state, on ail of which matters Mr. Palmer had a well digested opinion. On
the 25th of June a resolution was offered directing the committee on the "Bill
of Rights" to report a clause for the new Constitution prohibiting free ne-
groes from hereafter settling in this State and to prevent owners of slaves
from bringing them here and freeing them. Mr. Palmer opposed any con-
stitutional provision whatever in regard to negroes, on the ground that it
would raise objection on the part of many men to the Constitution as a whole.
"Why," said he in his opposing speech, "why unnecessarily provoke a bat-
tle against the Constitution? Intemperance on one side is as objectionable as
intemperance on the other. Every impulse of my heart and every feeling is
in opposition to slavery, and if my acts or votes here would do anything to
ameliorate the condition of those held in bondage, no man would exert him-
self more zealously than I; no one would do more to remove the great stain
of moral guilt now upon this great republic." That speech had more of heat
and heart in it than anything that was said during that session. He dared to
take his stand on the rock of right back there in 1847. That speech cost him
his re-election for probate justice of the peace, but manly eyes began to be
turned toward John M. Palmer, and manly hearts began to feel that John M.
Palmer was on the road to fame.
In May of 1848, Mr. Palmer was elected to the vacancy of probate justice
of the peace, and under the new Constitution he was elected county judge of
Macoupin county. In 1851 he was elected to the State Senate and his name
appears on several committees and as the introducer of bill-; of importance.
In caucus and in joint session he voted for Douglas for United States sena-
tor. It was at this session of the General Assembly that John A. Logan in-
troduced "An act to prevent the immigration of negroes into this State," the
provisions of which Mr. Palmer characterized as an example of barbarity
which could only be excused by the prejudices of the people of Southern Illi-
Now we're in the midst of exciting days. Great questions are on and they
must be grappled and settled by great minds. We are living in the year 1851.
A year ago last January Henry Clay submitted to the United States Senate a
series of resolutions relating to slavery. On Thursday, the 7th of March, the
Senate chamber was packed. Walker, of Wisconsin, and Seward, of New
York, yielded the floor to their colleague from Massachusetts. They knew
and everybody knew that every man in that great audience was there to hear
the Massachusetts senator. Mr. Webster rose and began: "Mr. President.
I wish to speak today not as a Massachusetts man, not as a northern man, but
as an American, and a member of the Senate of the United States," and then
followed that great oration which has been titled a speech "For the Constitu-
tion and the Union," Peaceable secession was in all the air, and Mr. Webster's
desire was to drive it out. His claim was that it was poison to freedom, and
that eventually it would choke the Union to death. Who will ever forget his
words? "Peaceable secession! Peaceable secession! The concurrent agree-
ment of all the members of this great republic to separate! A voluntary
separation with alimony on one side and on the other! What would be the
result? Where is the line to be drawn? What states are to secede? What
is to remain American? What am 1 to be? An American no longer? Am I
to become a sectional man, a local man, a separatist, with no country in com-
mon with the gentlemen who sit around me here, and who fill the other house
of Congress? Heaven forbid! Where is the flag of the republic to remain?
Where is the eagle still to tower? or is he to cower and shrink and fail to the
ground? Why, sir, our ancestors, our fathers and our grandfathers, those of
them that are yet living amongst us with prolonged lives, would rebuke and
reproach us, and our children and our g-randchildren would cry out shame
upon us if we of this generation should dishonor these ensigns of the power
of government, and the harmony of that union which is daily felt among us
with so much joy and gratitude." Noble words from a noble mind! But
the speech as a whole was a disappointment. The south applauded, but
brave hearts at the north felt that the Massachusetts Samson had been shorn
of his locks. From that time on Daniel Webster was looked upon with sus-
picion by many men whose watchword was "liberty for all." Men felt that
this native king had become somebody's peasant. They felt that social wells
had been poisoned by his compromise measures, and the imperial scepter
wielded by the Massachusetts Jupiter shriveled into a common stick. For
days a silent, solemn sadness brooded over all. Men pitied, men wept, men
thought and thought deeply, but felt
"Dumb be passion's stormy rage.
When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age
Falls back in night."
For days, I say, there was a hush, and then the storm broke out. Faneuil
hall spoke on the 25th of March, and then the great question was propounded,
"Shall we extend slavery or shall we shut it up?"
Let's go back and rehearse our national history on the subject. In 1774 an
agreement was made forbiddiog further importation of slaves. In 1776 we
promulgated our vital tenet that all men are created equal. In 1778 came the
Confederacy with no provision for the surrender of fugitive slaves. In 1787
Mr. Jefferson's celebrated proviso forever shut out slavery from the North-
west Territory. In 1788 the Constitution with its guarantees. In 1800 the
seat of government was transferred from Philadelphia to the District of Co-
lumbia. Congress moved south and our federal government has its head-
quarters on slave soil. Through all the years that change meant much. In
1820 slavery was legally established in the territory west of the Mississippi,
south of 36 degrees, 30 minutes. In 1845 Texas came into the Union as a
slave state. In 1848, by conquest and treaty we acquired California and New
Mexico with 204,383 square miles south of the slave line. And then in 1850,
when the author of the Missouri compromise of 1820 proposed to consolidate
all past compromises involving slavery, covering disputed subjects of terri-
tory, partial abolition in the District of Columbia and the rendition of fugi-
tive slaves, into oue "omnibus bill" of thirty-nine sections, the excitement
grew intense. Hearts began to beat fast; blood began to boil and lips to
' flame. Abolitionism began to take on flesh; lights began to kindle all through
the north and east, and they blazed like stars in all our sky.
Some modern historians are wont to speak slightingly of the efforts of the
abolitionists of that elder day. Wendell Phillips, at Faneuil hall, and wher-
ever he could get free speech, with heart of mercy and lips that had been
touched by coals from off the altar of liberty's great God, was thundering
and lightning against the governmental sin. Lloyd Garrison was publishing
the Liberator, defying mobs and using a trip-hammer that drove his senti-
ments home to the hearts of men. Theodore Parker rocked New England
from the rostrum of the Melodeon, and Henry Ward Beecher preached to the
continent from the pulpit of Plymouth church. No influence in shaping poli-
cies? Halo too bright and too wide about their sacred forms? Never. The
agitation of those days agitated, the movers of that era moved things and
moved men. They felt and made others feel that "They enslave their chil-
dren's children, who compromise with sin." Some men in Illinois were be-
ginning to say "Amen" to that sentiment. Neither nations nor eras are cre-
ated by acts of parliament or congress, nor are they made by treaties. Na-
tions grow and ages grow from men, and out of the awful travail of the moral
forces of these days in the '50's sprung men to form heroic purposes and do
noble deeds. John M. Palmer heard the torrent and the storm, drew near,
and about it all there was something large and sublime that appealed to some
thing large and sublime within. Instead of shrinking before the majesty of
the occasion his mind and heart dilated — instead of fear he'll be a hero when
the hour strikes.
Eighteen hundred fifty-four and the Kansas-Nebraska bill came on apace.
"Let the citizens of the territory settle ttie question: if they want slavery let
them have it. If not, let it be prohibited." That was the gist of "squatter
sovereignty," audits chief champion was Mr. Palmer's political idol, Stephen
A. Douglas. At the special session of the Legislature, on the 9th day of Feb-
ruary, 1854. a resolution endorsing Douglas' action in the United States Sen-
ate was introduced. Mr. Palmer was present and heard the resolution. He
was a Democrat, and so much of a Democrat as that he'd follow no man, not
even Douglas, and no party, not even his own Democratic party, against his
convictions of right and duty. That was John M. Palmer in 1854, and that
was John M. Palmer to the day of his death. The time had come to act and
he acted; he always took opportunities as vessels take the tides, as swimmers
take the surf, and at once you see him on the very crest of the occasion. He
prepares and presents a resolution as a substitute wherein he condemned any
restrictions upon the introduction of slaverv in the new territories imposed
thereon by the Missouri compromise. Mr. Palmer's resolution was lost, and
differing from his party in regard to important measures, he held himself
aloof from its councils.
But I must hasten. Events thicken. The months are packed with historic
interest. Palmer, as an independent candidate, had beaten the regular.
Major Burke, for the Senate and was one of the Democrats who helped to
defeat Shields and Matteson and elect Judge Trumbull to the United States
Senate. Then came the "anti-slavery extension convention" at Blooming-
ton, where all sorts of big men got together and aired big views — Whigs and
Democrats and Abolitionists. In June of 1856, Mr. Palmer was present as a
delegate to the first national Republican convention, held in Philadelphia, and
placed in nomination for the vice-presidency the candidate who received the
largest number of votes given to any man except the successful nominee,
William L. Dayton-, of New Jer.«ey. That candidate's name? Abraham Lin-
The Democrat of Democrats was now a black, black Republican, and from
this time on his history is an open book. By his personal influence he con-
tributed to the nomination of Mr. Lincoln for the presidency in 1860. Then
came the great division among men. Americans were divided into two parts,
those who wanted slavery and wanted it to last, and those who hated it and
meant it to die. The nation became a boiling gulf in which was perpetual
conflict of acid and alkali, and the bubbles on the surface were men. An
awful era. Men and principles were ground to powder, while other men and
principles waxed sturdy and strong. Our sky grew black as night and then
came Fort Sumter and the next morning, the sublimest hour in history — 1640
in England, 1791 in France, 1775 in Colonial America were proud moments,
but they meant their own freedom, there was self in them all, but 18GI meant
utter and exact justice to an enslaved, helpless, hated race. Judge Palmer's
valued and valuable assistance to Governor Yates in raising troops, his record
as a warrior, his love for his men and his men's love for their general, are
matters of common knowledge. They're written in the history of our State
and nation, and written large. Stone River, Lookout Mountain and CLieka-
mauga will forever keep his military career green in the memory of his coun-
In 1867 General Palmer removed to this city and began the practice of
law in partnership with Hon. Milton Hay, In '68 he was
elected Governor and set himself to the herculean task of re-estab-
lishing and maintaining orderly, constitutional government throughout the
State. He opposed many bills enacted by the Legislature on the ground of
their extravagance and recklessness, and his book of vetoes has become a
classic in that sort of literature. The Chicago fire and the subsequent friction
between himself, as governor, and Gen. Grant, as president, are incidents
that show the make-up of the man. He never contended for contention's
sake, but when principle was involved he saw something worth fighting for
and he fought.
In 1876 Governor Palmer, although favoring the resumption of specie pay-
ment, felt that "tariff reform*' was the prominent issue, and he accordingly
supported Samuel J, Tilden for the presidency. On the 4th of April, 1888, he
was married to Mrs. Hannah L. Kimball, and their beautiful devotion to
each other during these years has been remarked and admired by all their
His nomination for Governor by the democrats and his defeat by Gov. Fi-
fer, although he ran 10.000 ahead of his ticket: his canvas for the senatorial
office in 1890, and his subsequent election, are matters of recent history,
known to all. It took courage that was nothing shore of heroic to take his
stand in "96 and permit his name to head the ticket for the Gold Democrats.
And so his life was passed at work, busy to the last. Mr. Beecher in his ser-
mon on "A Completed Year," said: "I love those streams that run full
clear to the ocean. Some men there are who are like mountain streams, tor-
rent fed, that boom in the spring with wondrous glory and fullness of power
and go rushing through the earlier months, but slacken their speed and by
midsummer are only a trickling reminiscence of the river. I like to think of
streams like the old Merrimae. that begin work up near their headwaters and
never run a league without turnins' some mighty wheel of industry, and have
no vacation to the end. but go into the sea with the very foam on their sur-
face.'* That was Senator Palmer, full-hearted and full-handed to the verv
Now let us take a stern, careful, critical look at this life. In the first place
he was a man and kept himself Antaeuslike full stretched along the ground
of common things. The well-known line ot Terence well fitted him: "I am
a man, and nothing that concerns a man do I deem a matter of indifference
to me." He was a real man and real men are rare. Most men are like other
men. Only now and then does a man appear to be himself, and such a man
is always subject to remark, that is, he is remarkable — worth a second look.
Have you heard Senator Palmer called politically inconsistent? What does
"consistent*'' mean? It means "to stand with;" with whom? the crowd? The
crowd doesn't stand — it wavers, vaccillates, oscillates, tosses and tumbles
like the sea. About consistency there is the idea of fixedness, compacted-
ness. It means to stand firm with one's self. In the spirit of defiance Pope
"Show me one that has it in his power
To act consistent with himself an hour."
I accept the challenge and point to John M. Palmer as the man who was
consistent with himself for a life-time. He never trimmed, he never knuckled,
he never rhymed with unstable men. but was always and everj^where pre-
eminently himself. He was the sworn friend of clean politics and manly
positions, and the instinctive and inveterate foe of sham and pretense. He
was so genuinelj- generous because he was so generously genuine.
As a lawyer he was true to his clients and tried each cause for all there was
in it. He went to the bottom of things. In his preparation he pitted hiuiself
against himself. He was like the German badger dog. he'd hunt reason to
its hole and there he'd sit until the reason showed itself or else he'd burrow
in after it and get it. To Jolin M. Palmer law was law. His interpretations
were not so much in accordance with its literal language as to rightly con-
strue its purpos3s for the public good. He believed that constitutions were
made to promote the general welfare. He held with Rufus Choatethat "The
law is not the transient and arbitrary creation of the major will, it is not the
offspring of will at all, it is the absolute justice of the state, enlightened by
the perfect reason of the state." Law to this great lawyer was perfect justice
helping social nature to perfect itself by the social life.
In the realm of eloquence he did not disport lightly and airily but he de-
ported himself grandly. His orations are noted for their saneness. Shall I
cite you some? His address to the colored people of Springfield on the 7th
anniversary of Emancipation; at the re-iutermeut at Oak Ridge of Gov. Bis-
sell. May 31, 1871. His address of welcome to your city of Gen. Grant, May
5, 1880; his address on the "Life and Services of Gen. John A. Logan" de-
livered in the hall of the House of Representatives early in 1887; his speeches
in the Senate of the United States on such great questions as the "Election
of Senators by the People," "The Homestead Act," and "Against the Alter-
ation of the Constitution by Construction," are well worth the careful and
prolonged study of men who are seeking parliamentary honors. There's
landscape in them and a sweep of vision that writes him down a statesman.
His speech at Snodgrass Hill, September 19. 1895. on the dedication of
Chickamauga Park, and his oration at Galesburg, October 7, 1896, just four
years ago today, the 38th anniversary of their great debate, contrasting Lin-
coln and Douglas, are models of platform effort. No man who is a student
of the art of expression can afford to let them pass unread and unpored.
Was Senator Palmer an orator? Yes— not glib of tongue. He thought his
subject through and ideas laid all about his mind like crystals. He remem-
bered that "a straight line is the shortest distance between two points," and
spoke accordingly; he fed his hearers on bread and meat. He was not like
Clay of the past, nor like Depew of the present; he was like Luther— he de
fled the conventional; in aright burly way he bluntly spoke his mind, and
when occasion required he was as bold as an arch-angel. He was not an
actor; self conscious pose he detested, and he loathed anything that savored
of mere mob-hyptonization. He was always actually eloquent because he
was always factually strong. In some of his sentences there's enough politi-
cal wisdom to construct a political system from base to highest stone. His
words will live long after the speeches of men who have been intoxicated
with their own phraseology have faded from the minds of men.
John M. Palmer was a man of strong religious convictions. In nature he
saw a revelation of God's thought, and in Jesus Christ he saw a revelation of
God's heart. He studied the lower revelation for what it was designed to
teach and he studied the higher revelation for what it was designed. God
speaks in varied voices, and Mr, Palmer heard them all, and to his heart the
blended utterances made up a harmony that was beautiful and complete. He
heard God the Creator speak in the majesty of the thunder, and he heard
God the Father speak in the pity of the Cross. He lived and grew to great-
ness in compliance with the Higher Law.
John M. Palmer was a Baptist, as he was what he was, from conviction,
and he united with the Central Baptist church by letter from Carliaville, in
You'll be interested in these words of his former pastor, Dr. Fletcher: "He
gave me cheer by his words of encouragement, and a completer view of life
by his own outlook upon it. I always felt mentally exhilarated and morefar-
visioned after conversation with him. He contributed more to me than he
ever knew or I could tell."
He held tenaciously to the Baptist tenets that make for freedom. He
yielded every man the right to worship God according to the dictates of his.
own conscience. Theology to him was a matter of the head— heads may go
wrong, and he gave men the right to go wrong; religion is a matter of
the heart, and he believed that the essential thing was all in the heart and
not at all in the head. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
Did the time permit I could cite you instance after instance of his loyalty to
friends, of perfect freedom from ail malice, of his sympathy and help -why,
all our air is full of stories of his kindly deeds.
Were 1 asked to point out just the qualities that made John M. Palmer and
made him gfreat, I'd put my right hand on his conscience and fay, "By this
he walked," and my left hand on his heart and say "With this he felt and
General John A. McClernand.
By Alfred OrendorfE.
When it is considered that without the wondrous story of Illinois, our
country's history could not be properly written, a potent reason is shown for
the existence of the State Historical Society, and emphasis is given to its im-
portant feature of collecting and preserving all that relates to the public lives
of those whose achievements are inseparably connected with the history of
this commonwealth and nation.
This importance is augmented when we find that the well-written biog-
raphies of Lincoln, Grant, Douglas, Trumbull, McClernand and Palmer
would deal with most of the important civil and military events that have
transpired in the United States since Illinois' admission to the Union.
The limitations of this occasion preclude me from presenting more than an
outline of the life and services of John Alexander McClernand. The value
that may attach to this paper will be largely in the pointing out of the sources
from which a biography of this distinguished citizen, jurist, statesman and
soldier could be written.
To those who would pursue the various matters referred to further, 1 refer
them to Wheeler's Biography of Congress, Moses' History of Illinois, the
History of Sangamon County, Blaine's Thirty Years of Congress, The Records
of the War of the Rebellion. Gen. McClernand left comprehensive manu-
scripts of his life and services which should be published.
The McClernand family can be traced back to the reign of Malcomb the
First of Scotland, and was then one of the stoutest clans, and the leader for
his daring deeds obtained the name of Mac of the Clearlands, having cut his
way to victory through the possessions of some of the most formidable chiefs.
His crest was a hand, a dagger, and a bird in flight, signifying faithfulness,
bravery and promptitude in action. These characteristics, so emphasized in
the subject of this sketch, are striking proof of the law of heredity. From
Scotland the family emigrated to the county of Antrim, Ireland, but being
more fond of war and adventure than of rural life, and disliking the forms of
the British government, after becoming involved in the civil disturbances of
that period, bade farwell to the land of their nativity and cast their lot with
and gave their allegiance to the then new republic in America.
The name of Mac of the Clearlands by gradual processes was contracted
and changed to McClearnand. •
John Alexander McClearnand was born near Hardinsburg, in Breeken-
ridge county. Kentucky, on May I'S, 1812. His parents, when he was four
years old. removed from Kentucky to Illinois and engaged in farming near
Shawneetown, that place being the metropolis of this State.
At the age of eight his father died, and, being the only child, at an early
age much responsibility was placed on him. He commenced the study of
law at sixteen and was admitted to practice before his majority. At the time
of his death he was the oldest lawyer in the State. At the age of twenty
years he exhibited his natural fondness for military life by volunteering in
the Black Hawk war, and served honorably until its close. As an aid-de-
camp to the general in command, he carried a dispatch over one hundred
miles through the country occupied by the hostile Indians.
In 1835 he established the first democratic newspaper ever published ia
Shawneetown and edited it with conspicuous ability.
IN THE LEGISLATURE.
The followirig year he was elected a representative in the General Assembly.
His chief service at this session was securing the adoption of a report vin-
dicating President Jackson from an attack made by Governor Duncan, and
the advocacy of that mode of constructing the Hlinois and Michigan canal
known as the "deep cut" plan, which was finalh' adopted. The Legislature
elected him a canal commissioner, a position he acceptably filled.
During this session the disastrous system of internal improvement by the
State was adopted. McClernand, although opposed to it, was under instruc-
tions from his constituents to favor it, and felt that he should execute the
will of the people who elected him or resign. In this dilemma he concluded
that it involved a matter of policy rather than principle, and reluctantly
voted for the measure. It is a remarkable coincident that in this General
Assembly Lincoln, Douglas, Baker and McClernand sat side by side and
often supported the same measures. A quarter of a century afterwards
found them at Washington, at the inauguration of Lincoln as president.
Baker introduced him, and Douglas and McClernand joined in courteous
consideration, the former holding the hat of his successful opponent while he
read his address.
In ISiO he was elected a second time to the Legislature from the county of
Gallatin. On account of some remarks by McClernand on the reform of the
judiciary. Judge Smith, of the Supreme Court, sent him a challenge for a
duel, which was promptly accepted. He went to the appointed place but the
judge failing to appear no hostile meeting took place. At this time Gov.
Carlin had been elected chief executive and claimed the right to appoint the
Secretary of State and named McClernand, who was rejected by the Senate.
After the adjournment of the General Assembly, he was again appointed,
and on the refusal of the Secretary to vacate the ofliee and transfer the State
seal a writ of quo warranto was sent out, and, on hearing. Judge Breese in an
elaborate opinion, ousted the Secretary from office. An appeal was talcen to
the Supreme Court, where the decision was reversed. The two whig judges
sustained the whig secretary, one of the democratic judges sustained Mc-
Clernand, while the other took no part on account of his relationship to
McClernand. The decision caused great excitement, was discussed in the
newspapers and at public meetings, and resulted in the reorganization of the
Supreme Court and laid the foundation for the sentiment that secured the
election of the judiciary by popular vote. Ford's History of Illinois, and an
address of Hon. I. N. Arnold, before the Illinois State Bar Association,
treat of this matter with the accuracy and detail that its importance demands.
McClernand was one of the leaders in the first formal organization of the
democratic party at Vandalia in 1837.
A VAN BUREX ELECTOR.
He was nominated as a Van Buren elector and made an active canvass
which was protracted for months. He was elected by about nineteen hun-
dred majority. Afterwards he made a speech reviewing this contest, from
which I quote a few sentences to illustrate his declamatory eloquence. He
"If there ever was a time that tried men's souls, that was one. The chaff
was winnowed from the wheat, the dross was purged from the pure gold.
Thousands and tens of thousands, professing the noble cause of Democracy
went over to the tents of the enemy to swell the siren peans of a chieftain, or
to secure on the side of numbers what they could not expect from the defeat
of principles. Where was I then? Did I not stand firm? Was not my voice
heard loud and distinct, cheering on Democracy to duty and to combat? Did
I not fif?ht the good fight and keep the faith to the end? It is for you, fellow
citizens, not me, to answer. Illinois, I am proud to say, stood unscathed and
unshaken in that terrible conflict. She loomed up amid the infernal chaos
that rolled around a sturdy and towering rock upon which the scanty but
dauntless legions of Democracy have since rallied for renewed and victorious
When McClernand entered the Legislature for the third time, he found the
State laboring under the embarrassments resulting from the collapse of the
internal improvement system, the failure of the chartered banks, and the sus-
pension of the work on the Illinois and Michigan canal. Governor Ford rec-
omme'nded drastic measures, and McClernand, as chairman of the Committee
on Finance, introduced and succeeded in passing the remedial legislation
which enabled the State to emerge from its financial difi&culties.
EIGHT YEARS IN CONGRESS.
During this term he was elected a Representative in the Congress of the
United States, and made his first speech in support of a bill to remit the fine
that had been imposed on General Jackson, growing out of the proclamation
of martial law at New Orleans.
He remained in Congress for eight years. During this time he took high
rank and his name is connected with many important measures. He remained
in Congress during the Mexican war at the personal request of the President.
He voted in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war by granting the requi-
site men and means and portrayed the benefits therefrom in an able and elo-
The paramount issue at that time was the slavery question. He introduced
a compromise measure, but the one supported by Mr. Clay in the Senate hav-
ing passed that body, he was made chairman of the Committee of the Whole
during its consideration in the House, and delivered an able speech on that
He introduced and aided in the passage of several bills affecting the public
lands, making their entrance more easily secured, and bringing the mineral
lands about Lake Superior subject to purchase.
He drafted a bill granting land to secure the building of the Illinois Cen-
tral railroad and its Chicago branch. Senator Douglas being furnished a
copy, introduced it in the Senate and, with amendments, it passed both
houses and became a law.
In 1856. having declined to be a candidate for re-election, he removed to
Jacksonville, and from there to Springfield, and practiced law with great suc-
On the death of Hon. Thomas L. Harris, Representative in Congress from
this district, he was elected to fill the vacancy.
He regarded polygamy in Utah as a relic of barbarism, and during this ses-
sion of Congress he introduced a bill repealing the law creating Utah and
merging that territory into the surrounding territories. His idea was that by
dividing the territory over which the Mormons had control they would be un-
able to dominate the government of several territories, and thus he would
have solved the problem of Mormom polygamy.
FAMOUS SPEECH IN CONGRESS.
He was re-elected to Congress, hi? opponent being Hon. John M. Palmer.
In January, 1861, he delivered in the House of Representatives a speech on
"The Union and the Phantom of No Coercion." The speech had a marked
effect on the country, and especially in Illinois it aroused the people without
distinction of party to the importance of the issue involved. Only two para-
graphs can be quoted, but the whole is commended as one of the most bril-
liant and conclusive arguments in favor of the preservation of the Union by
military force. He said:
"No, the Mississippi valley is a geographical unit. Its grand river with its
intersecting tributaries reaching out in every direction to its utmost limits is
the hand of Almighty God binding it together in one homogeneous and com-
plete whole. * * * _^ higher law than the slave law must
control the destiny of the Mississipi valley, the law of mutual attraction and
"Sir, is it coercion of a state for us to do that we are sworn to do — to sup-
port the Constitution and the laws and treaties of the United States? Is it
coercion for us to maintain possession of the treasures and other property of
United States? To stay the violent and lawless that would tear down the
noble structure of our government? Is it coercion for us to let the flag of the
Union stand upon the bosom of our country where our fathers planted it? To
let the eagle of America sweep with buoyant wing the entire domain of this
great nation? Is this coercion? Why, sir, it is a perversion of all language,
a mocking of all ideas to say so. Rather is it coercion for a state to require
us to submit to her spoliation of the posts, arsenals, dock yards, custom
houses, postofl&ces, and the arms and munitions of the United States.
"Such admission, sir, in my opinion, would be in the last degree reprehen-
sible and disgraceful. Utter imbecility alone can tolerate it, and if that be
the condition of our government, let us at once abolish it and proclaim to the
world the sad fact that the last and most auspicious experiment of free gov-
ernment has signally failed."
AT OUTBREAK OF WAS.
While still a member of Congress, at the request of Governor Yates, he ac-
companied an armed volunteer force from Springfield to Cairo, and occupied
that place. While there, the steamers from St. Louis, Louisville and from
intermediate points in Kentucky, were brought to at Cairo, and thus pre-
vented delivery to the Confederate agents large quantities of munitions and
arras. While there he learned that there was no Confederate force at Mem-
phis, Columbus or Madrid, and that the people in those localities were unde-
cided as to their course on the pending conflict, and he believed that an op-
portunity was still open to strike a decisive blow in favor of the Union.
He promptly returned to Springfield and laid the facts before Governor
Yates, and he and the Governor proceeded at once to Washington to lay this
plan of operation before the President, and at Mr. Lincoln's sugp:estion, be-
fore General Scott. The neutrality of Kentucky seemed to have stood in the
way of this strategic movement, and the delay gave time for the Confederates
to garrison these impoi'tant points from which they were only removed after
In July, 1861, he took his seat in Congress, and was active in sustaining the
President and preparing the nation for the conflict, which he recognized would
be of 'vast proportions and long duration.
In the following month he and his colleagues were called upon by the Presi-
dent to recommend a list of persons to be appointed Brigadiers, and to fix
their rank. His colleagues united in recommending him for appointment,
but, refusing to recommend himself, and joining with the others in recom-
mending Grant, the latter thus gained seniority of rank.
RAISES A BRIGADE,
He resigned his seat in Congress, returned home, and with written author-
ity to raise a brigade, more regiments were offered than he could accept, and
during the same month he was ordered to Cairo, and within two hours of his
arrival there he provided the outfit and transports, which resulted in the
occupation of Paducah by General Grant.
His war record in the main is within the common knowledge of us all, and
can be found in every history of the civil war. No more gallant leader ever
marshaled more gallant men than composed the brigade and the corps com-
manded by McClernand. He participated in many battles. After the battle
of Fort Donelson, he was promoted to the rank of Major creneral.
After an interview with the President, in which he urged the importance of
opening the Mississippi river to commerce, he was authorized to organize in
the west a force for that purpose.
Men rallied around the man who had distins'uished himself in the halls of
Congress as their representative and who had recently won well merited
glory on the battlefields of his country. In thirty- five days he raised forty
He returned to the front and found that Gen. Grant had been placed in
general command of the expedition and that he was to have the immediate
command of the forces composing the same. He resolved to strike a blow at
the enemy near the mouth of the Arkansas river, which resulted in the cap-
ture of Arkansas Post. It was McClernand's intention to follow up the vic-
tory by an attack on Little Rock, bat General Grant peremptorily ordered
him to Young's Point to dig canals.
A SIEGE OF VICKSBURG.
General McClernand participated in the siege of Vicksburg, and undoubt-
edly a portion of his command carried the ditch, slope and bastion of the
fort; some of the men rusJied into the fort, and the colors of the 130th Illinois
were planted on the counterscarp of the ditch; those of the 48th Ohio and
77th Illinois waved from the bastion.
He asked for reinforcements but failed to receive them in time, and dark-
ness coming on terminated the battle.
Gen. Grant says that he did not see the invasion of the fort, although he
claimed he occupied a better position for doing so than did McClernand.
On the 30th of May General McClernand issued a congratulatory order
which was inadvertantly not furnished by the adjutant to Gen. Grant. It
found its way into the newspapers of the north and on the I8th of June this
order was made the cause of the removal of Gen McClernand from his com-
mand. Gen. McClernand demanded an investigation with much persistency,
but failed to obtain it, the alleged cause being that the necessary officers
could not be spared to form a court of inquiry. In a letter to the president
^ CONTROVERSY WITH GRANT.
"I challenge an investigation both of General Grant's conduct and my own.
If I was worthy to be trusted in leading the advance to Belmont, to Fort
Henry, to Donelson, to Port Gibson, to Champion Hill and to Big Block; if I
planned the successful battles of Arkansas Post, Port Gibson, Champion
Hill, and Big Black and gained the largest, perhaps the only measure of suc-
cess at Vicksburg on the 22d; if in all these battles I either bore the brunt
or a material part; if only two days before my dismissal and banishment,
Gen. Grant deemed himself justified in adding one division certainly and two
other divisions contingently to my command, making it larger than the two
others in my corps combined, why should I be prescribed at the moment
when it was supposed Vicksburg must fall and the Mississippi river expedi-
tion, which I had early advocated, if not originated, would soon be crowned
The controverted points between Gen. Grant and Gen. McClernand seem
to be the importance or non-importance of the victories of Donelson and Ar-
kansas Post and the justice or injustice of McClernand's dismissal.
Gen. Grant's memoirs present his position fully and are accessible to all.
Two letters to McClernand give the views of President Lincoln and Gover-
Mr. Lincoln, after expressing his thanks to Gen. McClernand and his
brave troops "for this great victory gained at a time when disaster after
disaster was befalling our armies," closed his letter of gratitude with this re
markable declaration: "Your success on the Arkansas was both brilliant
and valuable, and is fully appreciated by the country and the government."
Gov. Yates said: "I regard the victory of Arkansas Post gained under the
energetic generalship of a distinguished officer and citizen of Illinois as
second in importance and consequence to that of Fort Donelson, in which
that officer also participated. Fort Donelson and Arkansas Post, my dear
general, I regard as the two great positive victories of the war in the west,"
A letter from Senator Lyman Trumbull to McClernand said: "The presi-
dent is aware that you have been unjustly treated and in reply to my sug-
gestion that he do something for you, stated that when he got another matter
off of his hands (alluding to the Missouri trouble) he would see what could
be done for you."
Gen. McClernand then tendered his resignation which was not accepted,
but he was soon afterwards, by order of President Lincoln restored to com-
mand of his old 13th army corps.
He reported in person to Gen. Banks at New Orleans, and remained in the
service until his resignation was accepted in November, 1864.
AFTER THE WAR.
He resumed the practice of law in Springfield, and, in 1870, was elected
Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District.
He was president of the Democratic National Convention in 1876. In 1882
he was appointed a member of the Utah Commission, and his valuable ser-
vices in this capacity secured his retention during a succeeding administration
not of his political faith.
He advocated the Spanish war and encouraged the enlistment of soldiers in
the cause of Cuban independence.
He took an active interest in political affairs, and was the president and a
regular attendant at the meetings of the Democratic Veteran Club of this
city until within a few days of his death, which took place in Springfield on
the 20th day of September, 1900. His wife and children, excepting his son,
Col. Edward McClernand, of the regular army, in active service in the
Philippines, were with him when full of years and honors, the great volun-
teer general of the civil war passed from earth. The old general who never
surrendered to any human foe, at last was overcome by that inevitable fate,
that no antagonism can successfullj' resist.
While General McClernand was an able lawyer and a profound statesman,
I am persuaded that his fame will largely rest upon his military genius and
The controlling element in his character was intense love of country. He
was ever ready to fight for. and if need be, die in its defense. He was a
fighter. He marched and fought and fought and marched to other fights.
He was a volunteer soldier, and recognized no higher appellation.
So long as loyalty and courage are appreciated and liberty held sacred, the
deeds of McClernand in defense of the integrity of the Union will be
cherished by all lovers of our free institutions.
The Life and Services of General James M. Kuggles.
(By P.'L. Di£fenbacher. M. D.)
Since the last annual meeting of the Illinois State Historical Society, one
of its best known and most highly esteemed honorary members, General
James M. Ruggles, has gone to his last I'est in the fullness of years and plen-
titude of honors. At the annual meeting of this Society at Peoria, in Janu-
ary, 1900, he was present and entertained the assembled audience with a brief
but intensely interesting paper of reminiscences, recounting some of the im-
portant political events in this State in which he had been a conspicuous par-
ticipant. He had then almost reached the eighty-second mile post on life's
journey; and though enfeebled by the decrepitudes of passing time, his in-
tellect was still luminous, and his memory wonderfully retentive.
His physical powers failed somewhat during the following year, and until
near its close, when he fell a victim to the prevailing epidemic of catarrhal
influenza. While the annual meeting of this Society was in progress in
Springfield, in the closing days of January last, the life of General Ruggles
was slowly ebbing away at the Hopping Sanitarium in Havana, Mason county;
and there his spirit took its flight in the morning of the 9th of February,
1901, terminating his earthly career of 82 years, 11 months and 2 days dura-
From a biographical sketch of James Monroe Ruggles, dictated by himself,
and published in a history of Mason county some years ago, it is learned that
he was born in Mansfield, Richland county, Ohio, on March 7, 1818, and came
to Illinois in 1837. In casting around for a life avocation, at the age of fifteen,
he chose "the art preservative of all arts," and learned to be a practical
printer, and that art he practiced in country printing offices, in Winchester,
and other towns, for some years after his arrival in Illinois.
He was fairly well educated in the elementary studies, in the common
schools of his native state; and while engaged in the printing business in
this State continued to store his active mind with a wide range of useful
knowledge by continuous reading and observation. In the meantime he com-
menced the study of law, which he prosecuted vigorously, and was in time
examined and admitted to the bar.
In 1846 he settled in the town of Bath, then the seat of justice of Mason
county; but did not then undertake the- practice of his profession. Prefer-
ing a more active — and lucrative — pursuit, he embarked in general mer-
chandising, and became a popular and prosperous merchant.
All through the acrimonious contest waged by Havana to gain possession
of the county seat, by its removal to that place, General Ruggles stood firm
in defense of the claims of Bath, and contended against the strongest in-
fluences in Mason county, until at last he was compelled, by a majority vote
of the people, to capitulate to Havana. In political principles he was a
Whig, and deeply interested in the questions of public policy then agitating
the people, and by them generally discussed. In 1852 he was elected State
Senator in the district composed of the counties of Sangamon, Menard and
Mason, and served through his term of four years with marked credit.
Among his contemporaries in the Senate were John M. Palmer, Norman B.
Judd, Burton C. Cook, Joseph Gillespie, John Wood, Ashel Grridley and J.
L. D. Morrison; and in the House, at the same time, were Ex Governor
John Reynolds, Wm. R. Morrison, James W. Singleton, John A. Logan,
Chauncy L. Higbee, Owen Lovejoy and Stephen T. Logan — men of superior
talents, and famed in their day as able leaders of public opinion.
Mr. Ruggles was an ardent partisan, and always loyal to its principles and
candidates. In the second session of his Senatorial term there occurred an
election, by joint ballot of the Legislature, of a United States Senator to
succeed General James Shields. Lyman Trumbull was the candidate of the
Democrats, and Abraham Lincoln that of the Whig party. At the date of
that election Senator Ruggles was confined to his bed by a severe attack of
sickness; but such was his personal friendship fcr Mr. Lincoln, and the
ardor of his political enthusiasm, that he caused himself to be carried, on a
cot, into the hall of representatives, and there east his vote for his party
leader, Mr. Lincoln, for whom he always entertained the warmest friendship
and admiration. General Ruggles is entitled to the honor of having, alone
and unaided, drafted the first platform upon which the Republican party in
Illinois was founded. As a delegate to the convention of Whigs and anti-
Douglass Democrats, in February, 1856, himself, Abraham Lincoln and
Ebenezer C. Peck, were appointed a committee on resolutions. The con-
vention was held at Snringfield before the close of the session of the Legis-
lature. Messrs. Peck and Lincoln being otherwise engaged, the resolutions
were written and reported by Mr. Ruggles, and unanimously adopted. They
formed tlie basis of the platform of principles promulgated by the first
Republican State convention held in Illinois, at Bloomington, in the month
of May following. At that convention Mr. Ruggles was offered the nomina-
tion for Lieutenant Governor, but declined it.
Upon making Bath his home, or probably a few years later, Mr. Ruggles
commenced agitating the construction of the Illinois River Railroad, from
Pekin, in Tazewell county, down the river valley on its eastern side, to Alton.
After his election to the Senate he wrote the bill providing for the incorpora-
tion of a company to build that road, and succeeded in having it adopted by
both houses of the Legislature. He did not stop at that; but as one of the
incorporators, continued his efforts for the enterprise until the requisite
amount of stock was subscribed to put the road in operation as far as his
town. The influence and exertions of Dr. Charles Chandler, of Chandler-
ville, on the south side of the Sangamon, then effected a deflection of the
original route, and the road was built on a line southward from Bath, through
Chandlerville, to Jacksonville instead of to Alton.
Prona the time of its inception until the rails were laid to Bath there was no
relaxation of Mr. Ruggles' interest in the road. He was consulted about it in
every stage of its progress; and even dictated the names of all the way sta-
tions between Pekin and Havana, declining, with characteristic modesty, to
give to either one of them his own name.
When the report of the rebel shot fired upon Fort Sumter reverberated
through Illinois in 1861, it stirred the patriotic zeal of Mr. Ruggles; and, at
the first opportunity, he offered his services in defense of the insulted flag.
He volunteered in the First Illinois Cavalry, and was appointed, by Governor
Yates, its Quartermaster with rank of Lieutenant. This regiment was sent
to Missouri early in the war, and was for some time employed upon guard
duty. Dissatisfied with the inactivity of that service, by his earnest solicita-
tion. Lieutenant Ruggles was transferred to the front, and, by order of Gen-
eral Grant, was promoted to the position of Major in the Third Illinois Vol-
unteer Cavalry. For bravery displayed at the battle of Pea Ridge, in March,
1862, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and for a time com-
manded the regiment. For faithful service and gallantry on the field he was
breveted Brigadier General, and, with his regiment, was mustered out of ser-
vice in 1864. The only public position he afterwards held was that of Master
in Chancery of his county.
He several times, when urged to do so, led the forlorn hope of his party
in the face of overwhelming democratic majorities, not prompted by aspira-
tions for public service, but to maintain the integrity of the organization to
which he belonged and believed to be right in principles. When publishing
a paper in Winchester, Scott county, in 1844, the whig members of the
Legislature voted for him for Public Printer; and in later years he accepted
the nomination of his party for high offices where no prospect of election
General Kuggles had broad, comprehensive views on all subjects; was
active and energetic, enterprising and public spirited. The improvement of
the countrj' and bettering of the people's condition always commanded his
best and untiring efforts. In making wagon roads and building bridges in
pioneer days, and constructing railroads in later times. General Ruggles was
always found in advance of the community in which he lived. He was the
author of the first drainage law enacted in Illinois, designed for reclaiming
the swamp and overflowed lands of Havana and Bath townships in Mason
county. This measure for local purposes was the model for the general
.drainage laws of the State now upon our statute books.
The record of General Ruggles' life well sustains the distinction of his an-
cestral lineage. His father. Judge Spooner Ruggles, ably represented Ogle
and Winnebago counties in the Illinois Senate in the fourteenth General As-
sembly, 1844 1846, and was conspicuous for his strong, clear mind and integ-
rity of character, both in Ohio and this State. The brother of General
Ruggles' grandfather. Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles, of sturdy Puritan
stock, was president of the first American Congress that met in the city of
New York in 1765, and was one of the most noted men of New England be-
fore the Revolutionary war. John Ruggles, another parental relative, was
three times elected to the United States Senate in the State of Maine; and
Benjamin Ruggles was first elected United States Senator in Ohio in 1818, in
which body he served for eighteen years.
General Ruggles was always deeply interested in the political issues of the
day, and sought to support those lines of policy that he thought would be
most conducive to the welfare of the country and people. He was sincere
and conscientious in hi> convictions, as he was in the discharge of all his
duties and obligations. His kind, gentle nature and affable disposition at-
tracted friendships in spite of the most radical differences of opinion, and the
purity ot' his character, and probity of his every day life, commanded the
respect and confidence of all.
The bent of the General's mind and tastes was in the direction of literature.
He was an incessant reader, and fluent writer; preferring, however, the
lighter and more fascinating field of newspaper work, to which he had de-
voted several years, and in it achieved flattering success. A history of
Mason county from his pen, published some years ago, bears intrinsic evi-
dence of his ability in the higher literary paths that require the inspiration
of concentrated thought and serious application.
General Ruggles' bright intellect was fortified with an exhaustless store of
general information and varied knowledge. He was a fair public speaker,
an entertaining talker, and social, genial companion; but was singularly
devoid of ambition in those spheres of intellectual activity in which his
mental powers and natural aptitude would have enabled him to excel; namely,
In the law and in literature. While well equipped for both, neither vocation
tempted his aspirations, and he preferred the drudgery of active business to
either. Love of justice, benevolence and charity were his prominent traits,
and the suffering and misery of humanity, in all forms, elicited his heartfelt
By the death of General Ruggles Illinois lost one of her sturdy, honored
pioneers who acted well his part in the upbuilding of the State, and left upon
the page of her history the enviable record of a long, useful life and un-
This inadequate tribute to the memory of our venerable departed friend
may very appropriately be supplemented by the notice of his death and
burial that appeared in the paper published at his home, the Havana Bepuh-
lican, of February 15, 1901, as follows:
"A student and soldier, General J. M. Ruggles died at the Hopping
Sanitarium, on Saturday, February 9, 1901, at the age of eighty-two years,
eleven months and two days.
" It had been noticed by the General's nearest friends that for a year, or
more, he had been gradually failing; and some weeks ago he was taken ill
with la grippe, and was then removed for treatment to the sanitarium,
where he remained until his death.
" The General was a remarkable man in many respects. He was a student,
a statesman and a soldier. In earlier life he was the colleague of such men
as Lincoln, Trumbull, Yates and Palmer; and stood, apparently as well, in
the Republican party, of which he was one of the founders, as any of those
great leaders. Had he been aggressive in pushing his claims for supremacy,
he would undoubtedly have mounted the ladder of fame, and stood as high
in the councils of the nation as did his early associates, who passed from
power and position to the grave years before he answered the last bugle call.
" The General's burial was as unostentatious as was his life. A small com-
pany of his former Grand Army comrades, with a few others, gathered at
the soldiers' headquarters, and after a short religious service conducted by
the Rev. Mr. Britton, the coffin covered by the American flag, was placed in
the hearse, and accompanied to the train, thence to Bath, where it was laid
away amidst the scenes of the General's early activities.
"The General leaves four sons and two daughters, viz.: Henry C.
Ruggles, druggist, at Kilbourn, 111.; A. S. Ruggles, druggist, at Peoria, 111.;
Mrs. Eloise R. Holmes, Bloomington, 111.; Mrs. Lucy M. Settle, Kansas
City, Mo.; T. W. Ruggles, Chicago, 111., and Captain James Ruggles, of the
United States Army, now stationed at Manila, P. I. "
Original Papers Relating to Illinois History and Biography,
Contributed to the Illinois State Historical Society.
The Wood River Massacre.
(By Volney P. Richmond, of Liberty Prairie, Madison county, Illinois.)
Since my earliest recollection I have heard and read of the Wood river mas-
sscre, by the Indians, and have often had the place pointed out to me where
it occurred. I was early acquainted with Captain Abel Moore, and with sev-
eral of Captain Moore's children. Major Prank Moore can not tell when he
did not know me. I often stopped to hear his father tell pioneer stories. I
knew, but was not intimately acquaihted with, the other members of the
Some years ago some one published an account of the Wood river massacre
so very incorrect that I answered it and told what I knew about it. In that
paper the scene was laid near where the two railways and wagon road cross
Wood river, at a place called Milton, some two miles or more from where 1
knew it to have taken place. Not long after I met Major Moore, and after
thanking me for making the correction, said that I was nearer to it than any
one who had written before me; but that I was still somewhat off. i said I
would try again, and with his help, and his sister's, Mrs. Lydia Williams, I
thought I could get a correct history of it. There has been no account of it
heretofore written (not even my own), that is perfectly reliable; as this,
being a part of the early history of Madison county, should be. Of course,
there is no one who can personally vouch for the facts of this Indian massa-
cre, in 1814, during the last war with England; but the remaining children
of Captain Abel Moore would be able to come nearer to it than any one else.
They have often heard the story from their father and mother; and I too,
have heard it from their father.
This Indian massacre occurred on the southwest quarter of section 5, in
Wood River township, Madison county, Illinois, on the 10th day of July,
1814. The persons killed were Mrs. Rachael Reagan and her two children,
Elizabeth (or Betsey) aged seven, and Timothy, aged three years; two chil-
dren of Captain Abel Moore's, William, aged ten, and Joel, aged eight years;
and two children of William Moore's, John, aged ten, and George, aged three
years. Mrs. Reagan and children went to spend the day at the house of
William Moore, on the farm now owned by Mrs. William Badley. Returning
in the afternoon by way of Captain Abel Moore's farm, now the property of
George Cartwright, two of whose children, William and Joel, started home
with them to get some green beans. Miss Hannah Bates, Mrs. Abel Moore's
sister, visiting there, also started to accompany them to remain at Mrs. Rea-
gan's; but after going a part of the way, she suddenly changed her mind, as
if warned by some presentment, and against the earnest entreaties of Mrs.
Reagan, retraced her steps and hastened back to Captain Moore's. At the
point where she turned back she could not have been more than two or three
hundred yards from where the dead body of Mrs. Reagan was found. Mrs.
Reagan and the six children were all tomahawked and scalped, and they re-
mained on the ground where they were murdered all night; the Indians
stripped them of all their clothing, as well as scalping them.
William Moore having returned that day from Fort Butler, near the site
of the present village of St. Jacob, where he was on military duty, to look
after the women and children at home, became alarmed as night approached
and the children not returned, and went in search of them, first going to his
brother's, Abel Moore's, place to see if they were there. His wife, who was
Mrs. Reagan's sister, also started to look for them on horseback, taking a
different route from the one her husband went. Althougrh they did not meet
until they both returned home, they both found the lifeless bodies in the
darkness, lying by the wayside, and each placed a hand upon the bare
shoulder of Mrs. Reagan. Mr. Moore returned as he went, by Abel's house,
to notify the family there of the massacre, and warn them of possible danger
that night. When Mrs. Wm. Moore found the children lying by the road she
thought they had become tired and laid down to sleep. She got down from
her horse to pick up the youngest child, but just then a crackling noise and
flash of light from a burning hickory tree near by alarmed her, and fearing
Indians might be in ambush there, she sprang on her horse and reached
home in advance of her husband. Mrs. Reagan and her two children were
killed nearest Capt. Abel Moore's place: the other children were found lying
farther on, two at a place. One, the youngest child, three years old, when
found was still alive. A messenger was sent for the nearest physician, who
came and dressed the wounds of the little one, but it did not survive the
John Harris, a young man living at Capt. Abel Moore's, was sent that night
to Fort Russell, near the present city of Edwardsville, where Captain Moore
was in command, and to Fort Butler, commanded by Captain Whitesides, to
notify them of the massacre. Leaving the latter post about one o'clock that
same night, about seventy rangers from both forts, among whom were James
and Solomon Preuitt, arrived at Moore's block house (on the farm owned by
the late Wm. Gill, and now by a German named Klopmeyer), just as the sun
was rising and proceeded on to the scene of the massacre. They soon found
the trail of the Indians marked by broken bushes and trampled grass, with
some stains of blood, made probably by the fresh scalps. In hot pursuit the
rangers pressed upon the fleeing red devils, and overtook them about sunset
upon a small stream in the northern part of Morgan county. One of the In-
dians hid in the top of a fallen tree and was shot by James Preuitt; of the
other nine (they being ten in number) but one escaped, and he got away by
diving in the water. (The stream mentioned was called by the early French
traders La Belleause, but after the occurrence narrated it has been known as
Indian creek, and the spot where the Indian escaped is now known as
Cracker's Bend.) The rangers, who were led by Capt. Whitesides, camped
on the creek that night and returned to their forts next day.
The morning after the massacre the friends and relatives prepared to bury
the dead; and that was no small undertaking. There was nothing like any
sawed lumber in the whole country; and besides axes and hoes they had but
few tools of any description. They decided to bury the dead bodies where a
few of the early settlers, who had died some time before, were buried, on
Section 24, four miles east of the Moore settlement; and that was the first
burying ground in that part of the country. Their only means to convey the
bodies to the burying ground was on rough sleds drawn by oxen. The graves
were dug with coffin shaped vaults at the bottom, which were lined with
slabs split from trees near by as nearly like plank as possible; and after the
bodies weie placed in the vaults they were covered over with the same kind
of split slabs. The seven were buried in three graves; Mrs. Reagan and her
two children in one grave; Captain Moore's two children in another, and
William Moore's two children in the third.
When I first visited that grave yard, which was situated in a heavy growth
of timber, there was an old church near by, built by setting poles in the
ground and siding up with rough split boards, and covered with the same.
" Moore's Settlement" in the forks of Wood river was commenced in 1808,
by George, William and Abel Moore, William Bates, Ransom Reagan, Mr.
Wright, Samuel Williams, Mr. Vickery, and a few others, and their families.
On George Moore's farm was a block house fort where the settlers assembled
when apprehensive of Indian attacks. At the time of the massacre of Mrs.
Reagan and the children there was but one man in that fort. He was George
Moore, a gunsmith, who made and repaired rifles, tor the settlement. Of
those who took refuge in the fort that night there is now (1898j probably but
one living, Mrs. Nancy Hedden, a daughter of Captain Abel Moore's. She
resides at San Diego, Cal., and was at that time about a year and a half old.
Such is the true history of the Wood river massacre. I. have taken much
time to trace out all the facts here stated, and I believe them to be correct. I
have often been over the ground where it occurred and well acquainted with
the Moores and their descendents ail of my life.
(The writer of the foregoing sketch, Mr. Volney P. Richmond, who re-
sided in Madison county from his early boyhood, died on the 14th of January,
1901, at the age of eighty-four.— Eo.j
THE STUART -BENNETT DUEL.
The First Duel Fought in Illinois, at Belleville, in St. Clair
County, on February 8, 1819.
By James Afideck.la citizen of Belleville at the time of its occurrence.
The origin of the quarrel between the two men was a very trivial matter,
growing out of Bennett's horse trespassing on Stuart's cornfield. The horso
was a "breacby" animal, and repeatedly broke into Stuart's cornfield, which
greatly enraged the latter, and he told Bennett if he didn't keep his horse
out of his field he would shoot the horse. This threat was disregarded by
Bennett, and the horse continued to break into the field, until one day Stuart
carried his threat into execution — that is, he induced his hired man to shoot
the horse with a gan loaded with powder and coarse salt, which he did, and
the animal ran home bleeding and smarting with pain. Bennett became
greatly enraged over the shooting of his horse, though the wound was but
slight, and when he learned that Stuart was responsible for the shooting he
was disposed to seek revenge. The animal was a great favorite with Bennett
and the more he thought of how it had been treated the more his anger grew.
While in this frame of mind he met with Jacob Short and Nathaniel Pike, a
pair of young Bacchanalians, who made their haunt, and hibernated, at Tan-
nehill's tavern, which then occupied the southwest corner of the public
square on Main street, the site of the present National Hotel.
Short and Fike, thinking to have some sport out of the affair, advised Ben-
nett to seek satisfaction from Stuart by challenging him to mortal combat.
They told him that Stuart had greviously injured and insulted him, and that
the only proper course for him to pursue was to challenge him to fight a duel.
Bennett readily assented to this, and the challenge was sent. In the mean-
time Short and Fike saw Stuart and told him of their plan to have some sport
out of Bennett, and they at once arranged for a sham duel. Short and Fike,
who were to act as seconds, promised Stuart that the guns should be loaded
with powder only. Although Stuart understood that it was to be a sham duel,
and was only intended to enliven the monotony of life in the then small vil-
lage, Bennett did not so understand it, and with him it was to be no mockery,
as the sequel proved.
The arrangements for the duel were made in the court house, where the
parties all met. The court house was then located on the southwest corner
of Main and Illinois streets, in front of James Tannehill's tavern, with whom
the writer was then living and continued to live for eight or nine years
thereafter. The young men of the town teased and plagued Bennett a good
deal about the proposed duel by telling him that he would take the "buck
ague" and couldn't shoot with accuracy; and Bennett, to show them that he
was a sure shot, loaded his rifle and shot the head off a chicken that was in
the yard close by.
After the parties had made all arrangements for the duel, and were pretty
full of Tannehill's whiskey, they repaired to the duelling ground, which was
located about midway between Main street and the present mansion of the
late Adam W. Snyder. The ground in that vicinity was all vacant then with
only a few scattering trees. The principals were placed about twenty five
steps apart, and just as the word "Fire," which was agreed on as the signal,
was uttered, Bennett fired and Stuart fell, face downward, to the ground,
shot in the region of the heart. He fell on his gun and immediately expired.
Fike, his second, went to him, and turning: him over, took the rifle he h&d
dropped and discharged it in the air, so that it was never known whether it
contained a ball or not. There was a suspicion with many that the crack o£
the gun was that of one containing a ball. Bennett and both seconds were
arrested immediately and committed to jail, the latter, however, soon being
released on bail. The State had but lately (in 1818) been admitted into the
Union, and, it appears from the records, that the State had neither law, nor
oflBcials, to try prisoners in St. Clair county. The Legislature being in ses-
sion at the time, it proceeded at once to enact laws for the emergency and to
appoint officials. A special term of court was called, and a bill of indictment
was returned against all three for murder. On the eve of the trial Bennett
succeeded in escaping from the jail, a log structure, by boring a series of
holes in one of the logs, which he forced from its place and thus made his
way out. Such was the sheriff's report when directed to bring the prisoner
into court. Bennett fled into the wilds of Arkansas Territory, and was not
heard from by the authorities for two and a half years. At the end of that
time it was learned that he had been in communication with his wife; that he
was at St. Genevieve, Missouri, and that he had arranged for her to meet and
join him there, having sent a team and wagon for her and the children. A
reward was still standing for his apprehension at that time.
James Tannehill and others fbllowed the team and family, and on arriving
at the Mississippi river met Bennett, and arresting him brought him back to
Belleville. He was again indicted, tried and convicted, and sentenced to
death by hanging. The execution took place on September 3, 1821, in a
vacant field on which a part of West Belleville is now located. The execution
was public, and was witnessed by one of the largest assemblages ever brought
together in this county.
Poor Bennett! he lost his life for the love he had for his family. He'stated
on the scaffold that he was willing to risk his life for the pleasure of once
more greeting [his wife and children. He also denied that he had put the
bullet in the gun that killed Stuart.
Bennett owned a lot and log cabin on North Illinois street (adjoining the
present residence of Mr. Emil Feigenbutz) on the north, and was buried
there. It was the current opinion on the street, however, that his body had
been turned over to the doctors, and had been used to advance knowledge in
medicine and surgery. Soon after Bennett's escape from the jail, the sec-
onds had their trial, and were aequited by the testimony of Rachael Tanne-
hill, a girl of nine or ten years, who was looking out of an upper window in
the Tannehill tavern at the time the party was starting for the duelling
ground. She saw Bennett come around the court house, distant about seventy or
eighty feet from her, and saw him put something into his gun which she and
the jury construed to be a bullet. This testimony, together with their own,
cleared the two seconds and went far to convict Bennett. Stuart and Bennett
were both young men in the prime of life, each having a family. Alfonso C.
Stuart was an educated man, from the state of New York, and a lawyer by
profession, but unfortunately, his practice was more frequent at Tannehill's
bar than at that of Judge Reynolds. He was buried about a hundred yards
from where he fell, northwest.
John Reynolds, then residing in Cahokia, the then metropolis of the west, was
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, and acting circuit judge;
John Hay also of Cahokia, was circuit (as well as county) clerk, and VVilliam
Anderson Baird, a bachelor farmer, was sheriff. Samuel D. Lockwood, at-
torney general, discharged the duties of prosecuting attorney, and Bennett
was ably defended by Hon. Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri. All the officials
in this case were specially appointed by the Legislature to try these prisoners.
Lockwood, before entering upon the trial, took the following oath: "I do
solemnly swear that I will, to the best of my judgment, execute the duties
imposed upon me by the act for the suppression of dueling, so help me God.'^
Scipio Baird, a younger brother of Sheriff Baird, was deputy sheriff, and
performed the duty of executing poor Bennett, of which I was an eye wit-
ness, and of which I never wish to see the like again.
Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, December 26, 1899.
COURT RECORDS OP THE CASE,
State op Illinocs, \ j,„
St. Clair County. J ^*-
In pursuance of an act of the Legislature of the said State of Illinois, now
in session, passed the 24 of February, 1819, entitled "An act authorizing a
special term of the circuit in St. Clair county, for the trial of certain prison-
ers," be it remembered, that on Monday, the 8th day of March, being a day
fixed upon by said statute of the said State, for holding a special circuit for
the said county of St. Clair, John Reynolds, one of the Justices of the
Supreme Court of the said State, by arrangement made to attend the said
special circuit at the court house in the said county; and John Hay, by the
said law, is authorized to act as clerk to the said court. And in pursuance of
an act of the said Legislature passed the 2d of Marcti, 1819, entitled "An act
supplemental to an act entitled, 'An act authorizing a special term of the
circuit court in St. Clair county for the trial of certain prisoners,' " William
Baird is authorized to act as sheriff for the said special court.
Monday, the 8th of March, 1819. Members present: the Honorable John
Reynolds, Justice; John Hay, Clerk; Wm. A. Beaird, Sheriff.
Names of the Grand Inquest: Benj. Watts, foreman; Solomon Teator,
Robert Abernathy, James Marney, Francis Swares, Jacob Ogle, Jr., Wm.
Padfield, Robert Lemen, Henry Hutton, Joshua Oglesby, Marshal Duncan,
Cintes Moore, George Pricket, Wm. Bridges, Sam Everitt, Joseph Penn,
John Leach, Theophelus M. Nicholas, James Walker, Odian Castleberry,
William T". Kincade, Jeremiah Ham, — 23,— who all appeared and received
their charge and retired to consult of presentments. Persons sworn to go
before the grand jury, to- wit: Reuben Anderson, James Parks, James Kin-
cade, James Read, Andrew Million, Benj. Million, Peter Sprinkle and Rachel
Tannehill. Nicholas Horner excused from serving on the traverse jury.
The grand jury returned from their retirement and presented a bill of indict-
ment against Timothy Bennett, Jacob Short and Nathan Fike, for murder.
The People &c.. )
vs. \ Murder.
Timothy Bennett, Jacob Short and Nathan Fike. j
And thereupon by order of the court, the clerk issued his process, directed
to the sheriff of this county, to bring forth the body of the said Timothy
Bennett; and thereupon the sheriff returns the following, to-wit: "The
within named Timothy Bennett, has made his escape by breaking the jail, of
St. Clair county; therefore, I cannot bring his body in the court as 1 am
Wm. a. Beaird,
Sheriff of St. Clair county.
Ordered that the court adjourn sine die.
(Signed.) John Reynolds.
(The case was ca^.ed again at the next term, Tuesday, June 15, 1819, and
the recognizances of James and Rachael Tannehill, witnesses, taken in the
sum of $100 each for their appearance on the following day to testify.)
Wednesday, June 16th. The case against Jacob Short and Nathan Fike
called. And thereupon comes as well the said defendants, to-wit: Jacob
Short and Nathan Fike. As the Attorney General and the said defendants
say, they are not guilty in the manner and form as in the indictment against
them is alleged, and of this they put themselves upon the country, and the
Attorney General doth the like. Therefore it is commanded that a jury of
twelve good and lawful men who neither is, etc., because etc., and the jurors
of the jury of which mention is within made, being called, to-wit: Isaac
Clark, Eli Hart, Isaac Bairey, Daniel Phillips, Henry Stout, Patrick John-
son, David Coons, Andrew Maurer, Peter Hill, William McNeal, Brice
Virgin and John Cotton, who being duly elected, tried and swore the truth
of and upon the premises to speak.
Ordered that the court adjourn to tomorrow morning, 8 o'clock, Thursday,
June 17, 1819, Trial had and the following order entered up: Upon their
oaths do say, that the said defendants are not guilty in manner and form as
in the said indictment against them is alleged; therefore it is considered by
the court that the said defendants be acquitted and discharged of the charge
aforesaid, and go thereof without a day, etc.
State op Illinois, \„<j
St. Clair county. / ^^•
At a special circuit court called and held in -the court house in Belleville,
for and within the county of St. Clair, on Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of
July, in the year of Our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-One, were
present the Honorable John Rej-nolds. justice; Wm. A. Beaird, Esq.,sheriflE;
John Hay, clerk. Names of grand inquest, William Glasgow, foreman,
James Cohen, William L. Whiteside, Hosea Rigg, Richard W. Chandler,
John Thomas, Archibald Allen, Henry Stout, John Leach, Thomas Gillham,
John Scott, John Redei, David Sparks, Daniel Burky, James Marney, Jacob
Whiteside, Daniel Phillips, James Puliiam, Joseph Willbanks, Daniel
Million, Tilghman West, George Harris, John Glass, who all appeared and
were sworn. Thereupon the grand jury having received their charge from
the bench , retired to consider of presentments. The grand jury returned from
their retirement, and presented the following bill of indictment:
The People )
vs. y Indictment for Murder.
Timothy Bennett. J
Thereupon it was ordered that process issue, to the Sheriff of St. Clair
county commanding him that he have the body of Timothy Bennett a prisoner
now in gaol of the county aforesaid, under safe and secure conduct, before
the court here immediately, to answer an indictment against him for murder.
The Sheriff of St. Clair county, agreeable to a process to him directed, com-
manding him to have the body of Timothy Bennett a prisoner, confined in the
gaol of the county aforesaid, brings into court here the said Timothy Ben-
nett accordingly; and being demanded of him, whether he is guily of the fel-
ony aforesaid or not guilty: says he is not guilty; thereof, and for his trial
puts himself, upon God and his country. And the Attorney General, in be-
half of the People of the State of Illinois likewise. And thereupon it is or-
dered by the court, that a iury come instanter, who neither is &c as well as
&c and the jurors of the jury of which mention is within made being called
to-wit: Noah Mathany, John A. Mauzy, James Simmons, Bunill Hill, John
Ordered that the court adjourn to tomorrow 9 o'clock. John Reynolds.
Friday, the 27th July, 1821. Court opened according to adjournment.
Present as before.
James C. Work, George W. Jack, James Wilson, Joel R. Small, Elijah
Davis, James Fox, and Zachariah Stephenson who being duly elected, tried
and sworn the truth to speak of and upon the premises and having heard the
Ordered that the court adjourn to tomorrow morning 7 o'clock. John Rey-
Saturday, the 28th July, 1821. Court opened according to adjournment.
Present as before.
Upon their oath do say that Timothy Bennett, is guilty of the felony afore-
said, in manner and form as in the indictment against him is alleged; and it
being demanded of him, if anything for himself tie had or knew to say why
the court, here to judgment and execution against him, if and upon the prem-
ises should not proceed; he said he had nothing, but what he had before
said: Therefore it is considered by the court, that he be hanged by the neck,
until he be dead and that the Sheriff of this county, do cause execution of
this iudprment, to be done and performed on him the said Timothy Bennett
on Monday, the third day of September, next, between the hours of ten in
the forenoon and four in the afternoon, at or near the town of Belleville, &c.
Samuel D. Lockwood, came into court, and took the following oath: "I
do solemnly swear, that 1 will to the best of my judgment, execute the duties
imposed on me by the act for suppressing duelling, so help me God."
Ordered that the court adjourn sine die.
JAMES AFFLECK, OF BELLE \riLLE, ILLINOIS.
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
I was born of Scotch parents, David and Ann (Gillespie) Affleck, at Dum-
fries, Scotland, August 15, 1813. My father was a navigator, commander of
a sailing vessel, and traded between Glasgow, Scotland, and Kingston,
Jamaica, West Indies. In 1814 my parents emigrated to the United
States, landing at Wilmington, North Carolina, and after a short sojourn
there he removed to Tennessee and settled on Stone river, not far from
where Murfreesboro is now located. Here my father taught school for some
time. When the Illinois Territory began to loom up and everybody was em-
igrating to that land of milk and honey, my parents followed the throng,
coming to St. Clair county, where they purchased land and resided until their
My mother's death occurred in 1818, and my father's the following year.
A younger brother and I were left orphans at a tender age in a new country
far from kindred ties. The probate court appointed guardians for us. I was
placed with James Tannehill, who was to learn me a trade, with the essential
branches of a common school education. He didn't give much attention to
the culture of his own children, much less to that of a bound boy. After re-
maining with Tannehill until I was eighteen years of age, my guardian com-
plained to the court and had me released from the contract. I was again
indentured, to learn the art and trade of a cabinet or furniture maker, where
I remained until I was twenty-one years of age.
November 12, 1835, I married a daughter of Wesley Coleman — Hester Ann.
Five children were born of that union, but only ;two daughters remain, the
eldest the wife of Edwin Park, a well-known lawyer of Decatur, Illinois, and
the second the wife of Ex-Judge S. A. Wilderman of Belleville. After the
death of my first wife, which occurred in 1857, I married again in 1863, my
present wife. The children of this union are Cora, wife of Prank L. Stewart,
a druggist of Carmi, Illinois; Estelle, wife of John A. Logan, of Carmi, a
relative of the renowned soldier and statesman; Benjamin P., in business in
St. Louis; Edward G., a machinist in the navy and who was on the flag ship
New York during the war with Spain in Cuba; and Susie, the youngest
daughter, at home.
Early in the spring of 1837 I visited my kindred in Scotland, and spent the
summer with them. While there the king, William IV, died, and Queen
Victoria ascended the throne of the British realm, on the 20th of June, 1837.
Oh! what a harvest, lady, now is yours. Empire and fame and a universe's
love. I attended the meeting in the Scotch kirk at this time with friends
and assisted in singing some of David's psalms, and listened to the eulogy of
the life of the king by the minister. He made no reference, however, to the
five sons and five daughters, illegitimate children by his mistress, the cele-
brated actress, Mrs. Jordan.
After the services a Scotch toddy was served near by and all drank more
than once to the health and longevity of the young queen, with little thought
at the time her reign would reach January, 1900.
From 1852 to 1858 1 served as alderman for the southeast quarter of Belle-
ville. 1 have served several years as a school director, both before and
since the free school law was in force. The lessons of my younger days were
object lessons, observed in Tannehill's bar room, taught by experts, one of
which I shall never forget. It was a terrible threshing Tannehill gave me
for stealing whiskey for his wife. The old lady had an unquenchable thirst
for liquor, so that it was necessary to keep the liquors locked in a small en-
closure with a small opening for passing the drinks to the customers outside.
I was a small boj' of nine or ten years then. When the old lady's thirst
could stand it no longer, she would poke me through that hole and I would
after getting inside draw a teapot full of whiskey for her. Tannehill had
forbid me, and threatened to whip me if I did that any more: but with the
old lady's coaxing and bribing I still disregarded Tannehill's injunction until
I was caught in the act and punished with a severity I shall always remember.
Still, it did not entirely cure me; for I filled the teapot for the old lady
several times afterward.
After I became of age and accumulated a little money I attended school a
little while with Rev. John F. Brooks, who taught school here for some
time. I finally turned my attention to following a permanent occupation for
life: and worked as a journeymen cabinetmaker for a time; then commenced
housebuilding as a contractor, which I followed until 1860, during which
time I erected more houses in Belleville than any other builder here. I drove
the first and last nail in the Harrison mill when it was rebuilt in 18-14. In
1860 I was employed by the Harrison Machine Works, where i remained for
thirty-six years, eighteen years of which I was foreman of the woodworking
department, and the latter eighteen years was a patternmaker for the
I am a member of the Scotch-Irish society of America. The late Robbert,
of New York, was the president of the society, and the late Judge John M.
Scott, of Bloomington, 111., was the vice-president for Illinois.
I have outlived every improvement that was in Belleville when I came
here. The whipping post and pillory were in successful operation for some
time after I came. The third court house and fifth jail are now in use
since I saw the first of each. Two epidemics of that dread scourge, the
cholera, that of 1833 and of 1849, visited here and carried off many citizens,
for some of whom I made coffins and assisted in their burial. Some were
covered up, while yet warm, such was the dread of that fearful plague.
I have long been a member of the Presbyterian church, as were my
parents in their native land.
In conclusion, being in good health, I am thankful to a kind Providence
and trust I may be spared to see the one hundredth anniversary of Jefferson's
Louisiana purchase, now near at hand.
Belleville, St. Clair county, Illinois, January 18, 1900.
John Eussell. of Bluffdale. Illinois.
By S. G. Russell.
Among the many that the tide of emigration swept from Vermont to the
"far west,'' was John Rassell, of Blaffdale. Greene eoanty. Illinois.
He was born at Cavendish. Windsor county, Vermont, on the thirty-first
day of July. 1(9.3. He was the son of John Eas^ell and Lucretia Preston. His
father was an old-fashioned Baptist preacher, severely Calvinistie in his be-
lief and paritanie in practice. His mother, like Dorcas of old, was renowned
for her piety and good works. He had one brother older than himself. Bliss
by name, and one younger, Elias, and three sisters, all of whom he survived,
save one sister, Sally, who married David Perkins. Polly married Levi Jack-
man, Eunice married Dr. Joseph Gray. His parents were in very moderate
circumstances, and could give their children no educational advantages, save
what they could gather at the common schools during the winter months.
John, however, had an inordinate thirst for knowledge, as most of his ances-
tors had been college graduates, teachers, preachers and writers; he deter-
mined to try for a better life than that of a small-fisted farmer, on the moun-
tain slopes and huckleberry hills of old Vermont. So. contrary to parental
advice, and almost contrarv to parental command, he entered Middleburv
College, March 25, 1814.
He had already commenced authorship, in order to acquire the needful
funds for his collegiate education. His first literary venture was "The Au-
thentic History of the Vermont State's Prison,'" "a duodecimo volume of
ninety pages: only one copy of which is known to be in existence, and that
is in the archives of of the Vermont State Historical Society. In the preface
of his modest volume, he says: "It is not the unpardonable vanity of becom-
ing an author bat necessity, the mother of invention, that produces the pres-
ent volume." The sale of the copyright of this book, materially aided him in
his first year in college. Without any parental assistance, aided by only a
few benevolent hands and by the feeble efforts of his pen. he encountered
difliculties and obstacles, which very few would have had the persistence and
hardihood to have resisted. This little book was published at Cavendish.
Vermont, in 1S12. by Preston Merrifield. with whom he had m earlier years,
served an apprenticeship at the bookbinder's trade.
This book binding experience he very rarely referred to in after life,
though he became a proficient in the business. Merrifield had a cow, and
father said, "when the cow came up. they had mush and milk, and when the
cow did not come up. they had mush." "Yet his remembrance of Merrifield
was always of the kindest"
The sale of his book, and the never failing recourse of indigent students —
school teaching, carried him through the freshman and sophomore classes.
Through the other two classes, he was assisted by William Slade, a young
lawyer of Middlebury. and for whom father alwayscherished the most fate-
ful feelings. Slade afterwards became the Gov"emor of the state. Many
years afterwards, while father was living in St. Louis county. Missouri, and
in prosperous circumstances, he repaid Slade both interest and principad for
all of his timely assistance.
During: the interval between the junior and senior classes he taught school
at Vergennes, Vt., where he not only became acquainted with my mother,
but made a profession of religion and united with the Baptist church. He
had hitherto been atheistic in his belief, led thereto by the rigid Calvinistic
faith and stern puritanical practice of his father.
Upon his return to college he found himself the only Baptist student con-
nected with the college.
He graduated in 1818. Soon after, he went to Mcintosh county, Georgia,
and commenced a school, but on account of his anti-slavery views he ended
his school rather abruptly.
He had, during his teaching at Vergennes, Vt., become engaged to my
mother, in fact, she was one of his scholars. On leaving Georgia he started
after my grandfather and family, who were emigrating to the "far west,"
and overtook them at Whitewater, Harrison county, Indiana, where they had
encamped for the winter, and here he was married to Laura Ann Spencer, on
the 2oth day of October, 1818, by one Mainwaring, who was a justice of the
peace and a minister of the gospel. In the spring of 1819, he removed with
his young wife to the Missouri Territory. Here, in St. Louis county, he be-
came tutor to Augustus aad Marcus Post, sons of Justus Post, then "a prom-
inent man in Missouri, for which service he received a salary of five hundred
dollars per annum. Here he wrote his immortal "Venomous Worm," which,
a few years after, John Pierpont, of Boston, Mass., introduced into his
National Reader, as also did the McGuffies in their series of readers. After
his tutorship had expired, which was about 1825, he taught school in the city
of St. Louis, then only a small French town. In 1832 he taught a high school
at Vaudalia, 111., then the capital of the State. Here he became intimately
associated with James Hall, author of "Harp's Head" and many other lit-
erary works. Hall was then the editor of the Illinois Monthly Magazine, for
which father contributed some of his best literary productions.
In 1833 and '34 he taught in the Alton Academy, which afterwards, by the
endeavors of John Mason Peck, became Shurtleff College.
While living in " Bonhommie Bottom," Mo., he became intimately ac-
quainted with John M. Peck, who was at that time at the head of the Baptist
denomination in the west. The friendship was closely and warmly cherished
during their whole lives.
In 1828 he removed from Missouri to a farm in Illinois (now occupied by
the writer of this sketch), to which he gave the beautiful name of Bluffdale,
and in the following year, Oct. 9, 1829, he was appointed postmaster by Post-
master General McLain, which ofl&ce has continued on his farm ever since,
decending from father to son (now 1900).
On the 9th day of February, 1833, father was licensed to preach. His
license is signed by Elijah Dodson and Sears Crane, ministers, and David
Woolley, clerk. His natural timidity and retiring disposition prevented him
from ever being ordained; he had no confidence in himself— only in his pen.
In 1837, '38 and '39 he edited The Backwoodsman, at Grafton, Illinois, of
which Paris Mason was the publisher and proprietor. For this paper he
wrote " The Specter Hunter," "Cahokia," " EUwood, the Outlaw," and
" Sir William Dean; or, the Magic of Wealth."
In 1841 and '42 he was editor of The Louisville Advertiser; here he be-
came intimately acquainted with Richard M. Johnson and George D. Pren-
tice, the poet. At first he and Prentice were bitter political enemies. Pren-
tice was editor of the Louisville Courier, which was intensely whig, while the
Advertiser was democratic. Prentice threatened several times to challenge
"Old Bluff," as he called father, but mutual friends interfered and he and
Prentice became, as long as life, literary friends.
Father was principal of Spring Hill Academy, at Clinton, Parish of East
Feliciana, La., for about six years, also superintendent of public schools.
For two years, (1849-50) he taught the High School in Carrollton, 111., when
be retired from public life to his farm, and devoted himself exclusively to
writing for the press.
For the Baptist Publication Society of Philadelphia, he wrote, "Alice
Wade, " " Going to Mill, " " Lame Isaac " and " Little Granite. "" for the
copyright of which, he received quite a sum of money. All of these have
been stereotyped and may be found in a catalogue of their publications.
About this time he also wrote " Clandine Lavolle" and " The Mormoness, "
*' The Drama of Human Life," " The Emegrant " and " The Lost Patent, "
besides fllling the Baptist papers week after week and year after year, with
articles on all subjects, for which he hardly received thanks.
From his early manhood he was a bitter opponent of African slavery and
some of his vainest efforts were leveled at the "divine institution," His
letters to " John Kelly, born in Massachusetts. " attracted national attention.
John Kelly was a " Missouri Border Ruffian " in the Kansas troubles, and
one of the most insanely devilish, of all of the cut-throats of that trying
time; and publicly boasted that he was born in Massachusetts. Father more
than " skinned hi'm alive, " along with others of his ilk. His articles were
published in the St. Louis Intelligencer. Many attempts were made to dis-
cover the author, but in vain, the editor kept the secret well.
In 1843, he returned home from Louisville, Ky., and found that the " wolf
of hell, " in the form of one Chandler a half Atheistic, half Universalist
preacher, had broken into the little fold of the Baptist church, and badly
scattered the flock. He began preaching to the remnant of the flock, and
finally, preached a sermon against the Universalist Salvation, from the text
" Thou Shalt Not Surely Die, " so hot and caustic that it made him so many
bitter enemies, of those whom he had been accustomed to call brother, that
he gave up preaching and went back to Louisiana, and went once rnore to
teaching. I. M. Peck was at our house soon after the sermon was delivered,
and father showed him the manuscript; Peck put the MSS. in his pocket, and
its subsequent publication, with Peck as editor, was the outcome. The liitle
book is entitled " The Serpent Uncoiled." It went through three editions
and was in its time popular. In Little Granite, he had Governor Bissell as
his hero. Bissell and he had long been friends.
About 1831, he wrote for the Illinois Monthly Magazine an article entitled
" Three Hundred Tears Hence." It was in the form of a dream and set
forth what this country would be, three hundred years hence. Among other
predictions, he dreamed that the river at St. Louis was spanned by a bridge.
He ends his dream by saying, that if any one did not like his dreaming, he
gave them full right to do their own dreaming.
Thomas Lippencot, who wrote under the nom de plume of "Salem," as my
father did under that of "Bluffdale," in a criticism says, that he thinks that
Bluffdale rather overdone the thing even for a dream, in dreaming a bridge
across the turbulent, boiling Mississippi at St. Louis!
After that the Eads bridge became a foregone conclusion. Judge N. Ranny
wrote to me to enquire if a copy of that dream was yet in existence, and if
so, requested a copy for publication.
I answered by sending him a copy. It was reprinted in the Missouri Re-
publican and read at the dedication of the bridge.
When the Mormons were driven out of Missouri in 1838, by mob violence,
Sidney Rigdon, Parley Pratt and a number of fugitives stopped at our house
for shelter and hospitality. Father heard from them the heartrending stories
and barbarity of the cut-throat Missourians, hence came the story of "Mary
Maverick, the Mormoness." In this book he has not overstated or exagger-
ated a single fact. The Rev. Mr. Merrick was a Baptist preacher and
preached in Missouri and Illinois in early times, but was finally led astray,
and went over to the Mormom faith (the wife of whom was the 5lary Maver-
ick of the story.) In their retreat from Missouri, he and others being closely
pressed, took refuge ia a blacksmith's shop, but they were betrayed, and
captured, and shot down like dogs. His only son, a lad of eight years of age,
had hidden under the bellows, but was dragged out by a ruffian: the boy
bravely cried out, "I am an American citizen! I am an American citizen! !"
but the Missouri barbarian put the muzzle of his gun to the brave boy's head
and blew his brains out; the -women they let go, and Mrs. Merrick came
back to Illinois to her friends, and not to Nauvoo, for she was not herself a
verj' bigoted Mormon.
Now. to relieve the sadness of the story, I will relate an anecdote of this
same Merrick. Like a great many at the present time, he was very boister-
ous in his declamation, making much more noise than was absolutely neces-
sary. Mother said, that one time after father had heard him preach, that he
got up in the night and wrote something on a slip of paper. It was this:
Good Brother Merrick may screech and may holler.
As if his lungs wasn't worth more'n six bits or a dollar;
But of his throat and his lungs he'd best have a care.
For his church is too stingy to buy a new pair!
In 1832 and '33 father was Sunday school agent, employed by some eastern
society. He planted Sunday schools iri almost all the counties in Southern
My father was a small man, about 5 feet 6 inches in stature, with dark au-
burn hair, large, deep blue eyes, and of a very light complexion; he was of
a cheerful, jovial disposition, very fond of a good joke well told; some of his
best productions were of a humorous nature. Only a few of his most inti-
mate friends knew the whole worth of his generous heart, his pure manhood,
his patriotism, and more than loyal friendship. His intercourse with the
world was marked by the most childlike gentleness. His simple reliance
upon Providence, his unshaken faith in tne power and efficacy of prayer,
have marked with a ray of Divine light, his pathway down the rugged ways
of life. His love for children was more than womanly in its tenderness; he
never saw a child however humble and obscure, however unkempt or un-
washed, but that he had a pat on the head for him, and a kind and cheerful
word. He was the beloved playmate of all the ragged urchins in the neigh-
borhood, and his kindness had left its mark upon their hearts; for many of
them as they gathered around his coffin to take their last look upon a face
that never met them without a smile— wept with a sorrow that would not be
Kind hearted as a woman, he would not have needlessly set his foot upon
a worm. The poor and unfortunate, whatever might be their character, he
never turned empty away from his door. He was generous to a fault, im-
poverishing himself that "he might east plenty into the lap of those he loved.
Putting implicit confidence in the integrity of all mankind, he was over-
reached in almost every pecuniary transaction, as careless of worldly wealth
as he was grasping after the wealth of science.
Few have been more ardently devoted to the welfare of the whole world,
more earnestly striving for the liberty and education of all that bear the
image of God.
He died on the 21st day of January, 1863. He died of old age; his close
application to books and book making had worn him out prematurely.
Though his illness was severe, yet his death was calm and sereue,like flow-
ers at set of sun. He died with all the confident hope of a true Christian; he
was not afraid to trust that God whom he had loved and served for fifty years.
His last spoken words were "confidence! confidence!!" After he could no
longer speak, he wrote upon a slate, "see that Brother Bulkley's children
have some apples.'" Justus Bulkley, D, D., preached the funeral sermon
from Ecclesiastes chapter 2, first and second verses.
Bluflfdale, Greene county, Illinois, May, 1900.
P. S.— I should have said in this sketch that the old Chicago University
conferred upon John Russell the degree of LL. D., with which he was in his
old age much more gratified than he would have been in his younger days.
Father told me that for a long time he had had the idea of the "Venomous
Worm" in his head, but had not yet committed a line of it to writing. That
he had agreed with the editor of the "Columbian" to write two or three
articles for his paper, in payment of his subscription, and that the editor had
called upon him for one of the promised articles, and that he sat down and in
less than the quarter of an hour he committed "The Venomous Worm" to^
paper; that it was but once copied from the original draft, and that at that
time he had no idea that he had written an article that would outlive all else
that he had written or would write. Mr. Brown, editor of the Alton Courier,
told me that he read "The Venomous Worm" when a school boy in the High-
lands of Scotland. It has been rendered into poetry several times, and the
authorship attributed to several different ones; and it has been published in
all the temperance almanacs, and many temperance papers, both in England
and America. John Knapp, editor of the Missouri Republican, was very
anxious that I should say that it was first published in his paper, and offered
me a life subscription if I would so assert. The Columbian was a smarll paper
published at St. Charles, Missouri, in early days. S, S. R.
An I^jcident in the EARLr History of Morgan County, Illinois.
By John Yaple.
When I was a small boy, about five years of age, 1 witnessed an event that
made a deep impression on my childish mind; and although more than
seventy years have passed since it occurred, it is still retained vividly in my
A few months before that time my father, Jacob Yaple, and his brother,
John Yaple, had moved into the northeastern part of Morgan county, and
taken up land on the headwaters of Indian Creek, that runs through the
southern part of what is now Cass county, and empties into the Illinois river.
They made improvements on the land, and each family (of the two brothers)
occupied a cabin not far apart (in the present limits of Cass county), one on
each side of the little branch, in order that they might use water from the
We children of both families played together and had all things for our use
or amusement in common. One day late in the fail, in the year of 1827, I
think it was, while playing in the woods a few hundred yards from our
cabins, we children were suddenly greatly frightened by seeing a lot of
Indians coming through the woods and making straight for our homes.
There was quite a number of them, men, women and children, with a few
horses and some dogs. On one of their horses they had several wild turkeys
they had killed that morning; and going to my father's cabin, after all
hands drinking out of the spring, they proposed to my mother swapping the
turkeys for her chickens. My mother, I remember, was not inclined to part
with her much-prized fowls, on which she partly depended for the support of
the family; but the Indians, seeing that no men were about, caught several
of the chickens, and left in their stead an equal number of turkeys, and then
proceeded on their way to the northward. These Indians were not on the
war path, having their families along, and were very good humored and
friendly. They were a party of Sacs who had left their tribe encamped on,
or above, Peoria lake, and had gone down the Illinois river on a hunting ex-
cursion, and were now on their return, traveling along the edge of the
At the time they arrived at our place father and Uncle John were gone to a
neighbors, eight miles away, to assist in a "house raising," as was customary
in those days. The house to be raised was a log cabin, such as ours, to be
raised by '"notching down" the corners as it was built up. We had no near
neighbors, and my aunt had gone, a little while before, on horseback out
into the prairie to look for the cows, leaving her baby, a few months old,
asleep in its cradle. And I remember that cradle well — it was made of the
bark of a large walnut tree with split board ends and rockers.
We children were very much afraid of the Indians, and we ran to our house
on seeing them, and huddled together in the corner under the bed. Mother
went out and shut the cabin door to keep them from coming in, and we
watched her with great anxiety from our hiding place, through the cracks
between the logs. After the Indians left we felt greatly relieved at their
departure and crawled out. We were running around, looking over the
ground and watching to see if our unwelcome visitors might be coming back
again, when a noise in the direction of Uncle's cabin attracted our attention
that way. We had not seen my aunt get back, but just then I saw her come
out of her cabin door, and screaming to my mother to come there, she fell to
the ground as if shot. I ran into our house and told mother that Aunt Ellice
had called her and then fell down dead. Mother rushed out and ran to her
and caught hold of her, and seeing that she was not dead, went into her
cabin for some spirits of camphor; and there she at once discovered the
cause of aunt's distress. The cradle was empty, the Indians having stolen
Of course nothing could be done until the return of the men folks, which
could not be expected until about midnight; and neither mother or aunt
knew just where they had gone, and if they had known, there was no one to
send for them; and aunt was too much prostrated to go, and mother couldn't
leave her. So they could do nothing but cry and wring their hands. On the
arrival of father and uncle, late in the night, they were soon informed of
what had occurred.
They were both resolute and fearless pioneers, and began right away to
make arrangements to follow the Indians. Uncle John went for their two
nearest neighbors, Daniel and Alex. Robertson, who saddled their horses,
and getting their rifles and ammunition, came with him. The four men,
mounted on good horses, and Aunt Ellice on another one, with an extra
horse to carry bedding and provisions required for the expedition, started
about daybreak, taking a due north course. There were then neither roads,
ferries or bridges in this part of the State; and the sun was their guide by
day to the direction they desired to follow. It soon began raining, and when
they got to the Sangamon river the water was up, and they were delayed
some little time in finding a suitable place for swimming their horses across.
Though the Indians were all afoot, with two or three horses to carry their
traps, they traveled fast, and the rain made their trail hard to follow. Father
and his party pushed on all the day time, and camped wherever night over-
took them, when they would build a big tire, and dry their clothes and cook
supper; then be off again before day light next morning. The high water in
the Mackinaw gave them considerable trouble; but they got across it too by
swimming; and continuing the chase they finally came to the main camp of
the Indians at the lower end of Peoria Lake. Going at once to the chief's
lodge they soon told him, by aid of a half-breed who could speak English a
little, what they had come for. The chief said he knew nothing about it,
and did not know that the band that went down the river hunting had yet re-
turned; and if they had returned he could not tell where they were, as the
Indians of his tribe were scattered on both sides of the river from that point —
at the foot the lake — to where Joliet now stands. He told them to hunt
through the different camps, and if they could find the child to take it, and
he sent an Indian with them for their protection. Then commenced the
search in earnest. They crossed and recrossed the Illinois river several
times, paddling over in canoes and leading the swimming horses behind
them. The child was stolen from its cradle by a young squaw who had,
while down the river, lost her babe, by death, of about the same age as this
one. Seeing the white baby asleep in the cabin, with no one about the
place, her motherly feelings overcame her and she carried the child off. It
had replaced her dead babe in her affections, and she did not want to part
with it; so, when she heard that its parents were in pursuit of it she hid it
in a dark corner of one of the lodges. Father and Uncle John were very
diligent in their search; and having the chief's authority, they looked into
every place about the Indian camps where the child could possibly be se-
creted. At length their perseverance was rewarded. Looking in one of the
lodges behind a stack of dry deer skins they found the lost child securely
strapped to a board after the Indian method of cradling their children. The
squaw-mother parted with the baby she had stolen very reluctantly, and
wept piteously when its white mother took it away.
The captured child, while showing great need of a white woman's care, ap-
peared rugged and healthy. As a boy he was always conspicuous for his
erect figure; and we used to say that his straight back was the result of hav-
ing been strapped to a board while in the hands of his Indian-mother. The
party, having the additional care of the baby, and bad weather, had a rough
trip back home; but arrived all well and very tired, much to they relief of
my mo<^her, who had remained in the cabin alone with the children of both
families. The stolen babe mentioned is now, December 30, 1899, an old
man, residing in Hancock county, in this State; and often tells of his infant
experience — not from memory of course; but as narrated to him by his
Virginia, Cass Co., Illinois, December 30, 1899.
Written by Dr. J. F. Snyder from the account given by him orrally by
Mr. John Yaple.
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS.
Some Old Letters by, and Relating to, the Distinguished
(By Joseph Wallace, A. M.)
The political history of Mr. Douglas is more widely known than that of any
other public man of Illinois, living or dead, with the single exception of Mr.
Lincoln. But the beginnings of his remarkable career are not so familiar to
the reading public; and it is for the purpose of throwing some additional
light upon the earlier portion of his history that the writer hereof presents
this series of letters. The first of these was written and addressed by Mr.
Douglas to the editor of the "Illinois Patriot" (a Whigorgan at Jacksonville)
under date of March 8, 1837, and it is a very spirited defense of his course as
a member of the Legislature from Morgan county, particularly with refer-
ence to the question of the removal of the seat of government of the State
from Vandalia to Springfield. The letter reads as follows:
"Mr. Editor: — In your paper of the 22d of February last, there appears an
editorial in which you make the specific charge that I had made an arrange-
ment with the Sangamon delegation by which they were to use their influence
to secure my appointment as Register of the Land OflBice [at Springfield], and
that in consideration of their services I had abandoned the interests of my
own constituents and was acting in concert with the Sangamon delegation in
supporting Springfield for the seat of government.
"Whilst I freely admit that the Representative who would be guilty of so
flagrant an abuse of the trust reposed in him by a generous people would
justly merit, as he would certainly receive, the execration of every honest
man, I also hold that the man who would make and publish a false charge of
that magnitude for the purpose of blasting the character of a political oppo-
nent who was absent on public duty, and consequently unable to defend him-
self, should meet with the same scorn and indignation of a virtuous people.
Having made the charge, one which impeaches my integrity as a man and
my fidelity as a Representative, you are bound by every principle of honor
and honesty to exhibit the evidence to substantiate its truth, or publicly re-
tract the slander, and the failure on your part to do so must be taken as con-
clusive evidence of the falsity of the charge and malice in which it had its
origin. Conscious of my own innocence and of the rectitude of my conduct,
1 am impelled to demand the proof, so that the people may see whether I
have been the traitor or you the slanderer.
" It is not true that any arrangement was made or any understanding ex-
isted between the Sangamon delegation and myself in relation to a land office,
the seat of government, or any other measure, it is not true that one solitary
member of that delegation signed a recommendation in my favor, or was in
any way concerned in it. That recommendation was got up by my
friends without my solicitation or knowledge, and when the fact was com-
municated to me I told them that I did not desire that or any other appoint-
ment under the gfoverument, that 1 looked to the people and not the govern-
ment for any favor I might ask. So far from there being any arrangement
or concert of action between the Sangamon delegation and myself, it was my
misfortune to differ on almost every important question that came before the
Legislature, and more especially on the location of the seat of government.
That was the all-absorbing topic with them, and with that view they used
every exertion and made every necessary sacrifice to secure the passage of
the bill, which recently became a law, on that subject. To that bill I was
opposed in every form and shape it assumed, from its first appearance in the
House up to its final passage. My decided and uncompromising opposition
to that bill, and to the object intended to be accomplished by its passage, ar-
rayed the Sangamon delegation en masse against me. So notorious was this
fact at the seat of government at the time your paper containing the above
charge was received that no person of any political party who hesitated for
an instant to pronounce it a base slander. I defy you to find any one of my
colleagues, or any member of either branch of the Legislature, or any in-
dividual who will, in the slightest degree, confirm the charge and become
responsible for its truth. I make the statement with the more assurance and
fearlessness, because I feel confident that each and all of them must know
and will do me the justice to say that the whole charge is a mere fabrication,
false as the heart that conceived it and the hand that penned it. I therefore
call upon you to establish its truth or admit its falsity.
"In relation to your remark that you had, 'before the last August election,,
told the people that S. A. Douglas was an ofl&ce hunter,' I will only say that
when I shall have applied for and accepted an office at the hands of the gov-
ernment, it will then be time enough for you to talk about office hunters.
"S. A. Douglas.
"Jacksonville, March 8, 1837."
This vigorous and virile epistle is one among the earliest printed effusions
from Mr. Douglas' pen, and for this reason it has a special significance for
the reader. Considered with reference to his age at the time (he was a little
under twenty-four), the letter shows uncommon maturity of mind as well as
(jommand of language, and it is otherwise marked by certain of those excel-
lencies and defects of style which distinguish his later published utterances^
whether written or spoken.
Having taken up his residence in Springfield, Mr. Douglas, in April, 1840^
was nominated by the Democrats of Sangamon county as a candidate for Rep-
resentative in the State General Assembly; but the great presidential cam-
paign of that year, in which he took a prominent part, being then in active
progress, he declined the nomination in the subjoined gracefal letter:
^'Colonel Bobert Allen.
"Sir: — Your note, as president of the late Democratic county convention,
informing me of my nomination as a candidate for Representative in our
Legislature is received. I feel grateful to the Democracy of Sangamon for
their continued confidence and esteem. Considerations of a private nature,
however, constrain me to decline the nomination, and leave the field to those
whose avocations and private affairs will enable them to devote the requisite
portion of their time to the canvass. You will accept my thanks for the very
complimentary manner in which you have pleased to communicate the result
of the deliberations of the convention.
"I am, sir, very respectfully,
"Your fellow citizen,
"S. A. Douglas.
"Springfield, 111., April 29, 1840."
The following private and hitherto unpublished letter, written by Mr
Douglas while he was a member of the Lower House of Congress to Col.
Archer G. Herndon, of Springfield, (father of the late Hon, Wm. Herndon,)
may be perused with interest, as it contains an allusion to the Oregon bon-
dary dispute, which was at that time a burning issue in Congress:
♦' Washington, [D. C] April 14, 1845.
" My Dear Sir: — I have delayed answering your several letters partly for
want of time, and partly because I could not say with any certainty what
would be done. But by this morning's 'Union' I see that you have been
re-appointed, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. I claim no
credit for this appointment, for it was made without my knowedge. I had
not supposed that it would be decided upon by the President for some time
to come, and for this reason had never spoken to him or the cabinet on the
subject. This statement is due to you, as well as to others to whom you are
indebted for the appointment.
" We are now engaged in the discussion of the bill to extend the laws over
Oregon. The bill will pass in some shape on Thursday. I hope it will pass
in a satisfactoey shape.
" I shall be glad to hear from you often.
'Col. A. G. Herndon."
"S. A. Douglas."
ANCESTRY OF SENATOR DOUGLAS.
In April, 1878, in answer to a letter of inquiry concerning the family and
ancestry of Mr. Douglas, the writer of this paper received from Mr. Eugene
J. Granger, of Clifton Springs, N. Y. (a nephew of Senator Douglas) an in-
eresting letter, of which the following is the principal portion:
"Cltfton Springs, Ontario Co., N. Y., April 21, 1878.
'•Dear Sir:— In reply to your letter of the 17th I would state: 1st. That
Senator Douglas' sister, who married my father, Julius N. Granger, was
named Sarah Arnold Douglas, and she was married Feb. 14, 1830. There
were three children — myself, sister Emma, now Mrs. Sidney D. Jackson, and
Adelaide, afterward Mrs. J . F. Hoyt. Mrs. Hoyt died the 12th of April, 1860.
"2d. The christian name of my grandfather Granger was Gehazi. He was
married to Mrs. Sally Douglas, mother of Sarah A. and Stephen A. Doualas,
Nov, 27, 1830.
"Third — The occupation of Benajah Douglass (grandfather of the senator)
was farming, after he came to Brandon, Vt., and he died there. Cannot say
whether he was a soldier iu the Revolutionary War.
"Fourth — Both of the grandmothers of Senator Douglass were named
Arnold, and not known to be in anywise related.
" Fifth— My mother's knowledge of matters embraced in your fifth inquiry
consists of ancient memoranda, as follows: William Douglass (the first) was
born in Scotland in 1610, and emigrated to America, date not known: but the
birth of his son, William, is recorded in Boston, Mass., in March 1645. Wm.
Douglas, born in 1610. was married in 1640 to Mary Ann, daughter of
Thomas Marble, of Northampton, England. He died July 26, 1682, in his
"William Douglass (2d) born March 1, 1645, was married December 16,
1667, to Abiah, daughter of William Hugh, of New London, Conn., where
the father and family had removed from Boston. William Douglass (the
second) had two sons and five daughters. His oldest son (also William by
name) was born April 19, 1672, and removed to Plainfield, Connecticut. By
his wife, Sarah, he had eight sons and three daughters. The youngest of
these eight sons was Asa, born December 15, 1715, and died November 12,
1792, ^ He married Rebecca Wheeler, who was born Aug. 26, 1718, and died
June 12, 1809. Asa Doug'ass had thirteen children, seven sons and six daughters.
Benajah Douglass (the youngest of these sons and the maternal great grand-
father of E. J. Granger), was born December 15, 17G0, and died October 2,
" My mother has no means of informing you when my great grandfather
came to Brandon, Vt. Our records sbow that the first William known to us,
resided in Boston, Mass., and moved from there to New London, Conn.,
with his family, — the second William afterwards removing to Plainfleld,
" I believe I have replied substantially to your inquiries, but will be glad to
give you any further information in our power. * * * «
" Yours sincerely,
"E. J. Granger. "
It appears from the foregoing genealogical record that Mr. Douglas was of
mixed Scotch and English blood, but with a predominance of the latter. It
further appears from this record, as also from inscriptions on the old family
tombstones in the cemetery at Brandon, Vermont, that the paternal ances-
tors of the Senator spelled their surname with a double s, but he himself
dropped the final s from his signature after coming to Illinois.
A VISIT TO THE BIRTHPLACE OF STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS.
In the spring of 1871, in passing by rail through western Vermont, the
writer of this paper stopped for a short time at Brandon, the natal place and
first home of Senator Douglas, and from that sequestered town he wrote and
addressed to the "Illinois State Register" the following descriptive letter:
"Brandon, Vt., April 14, 1871.
"To the Editor of State Register:— The readers of the Register are mostly
aware of the fact that the late Senator Douglas was born in Brandon, but
few of them, perhaps, have any definite knowledge of the place. Having
spent some hours in rambling about through this picturesque old town, 1
thought the result of my observations might be of interest to your many
"Brandon lies on the Rutland and Burlington division of the Vermont Cen-
tral Railway, seventeen miles north of Rutland (the county seat), in a beau-
tiful valley on the western slope of the ever green Green Mountains. It was
first settled in 1787, and now numbers a population of 3,500 souls. The
streets cross each other at all possible angles, and are ornamented by grand
old shade trees, which must render the place a delightful resort in the sum-
"In this vicinity, and all along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, are
extensive quarries of Vermont marble, of which the new wings of the capitol
at Washington were built. In fact marble is so plentiful and so cheap, that
it is used for almost every building purpose. i was shown today the pulpit
in the old Congregational church here, which is built of the purest white
marble, highly polished, and was presented to the church by the owners of
one of the quarries. It cost two thousand dollars.
" There are two hotels in the place, one called the Brandon House and the
other the Douglas Hotel, at either of which the traveler will find good ac-
"The greatest curiosity in the town is its "frozen well," the only one of
its kind, perhaps, in the whole country. Its depth to the surface of the
water is twenty-eight feet, and it remains frozen for eleven months in the
year. Scientific mem from Boston and elsewhere have examined this well,
but have not been able to satisfactorily explain the secret of its almost per-
" But to the Illinoisan Brandon is only of special interest from its connec-
tion with the early life of Stephen A. Douglas. I strolled through the old
cemetery adjoining the Congregational church where the father of the sena-
tor was buried. On a plain stone of bluish marble at the head of his grave
is this simple inscription: "Dr. Stephen A. Douglass, Died July 1, 1813, in
the 32d year of his age." By his side lie the remains o£ his father and mother,
the former of whom deceased in 1829, aged 69, and the latter in 1818, in the
56th year of her age. Benajah Douglass, the grandfather of the senator,
was one of the earliest settlers of the village. He was a farmer by occupa-
pation and accumulated considerable property for his day and place. I am
told, however, by an old and well-informed resident of this town, that the
senator's talents were supposed to be mainly inherited from his grandmother,
Martha (Arnold) Douglass, who is said to have been a woman of more than
ordinary intellect and force of character.
" I also visited the house where Stephen A. was born, and w^here his father
died. It is a plain little brown frame, one and one-half stories high, and has
been owned and occupied by a family of the name of Hyatt for about forty
years. The front portion of the house has undergone but little alteration
since the time of Mr. Douglas' birth. It will be remembered that the widow
of Doctor Douglass, soon after his death, removed to a farm a few miles in
the country, which she and her brother had jointly inherited from their
father, and there lived until her second marriage, in 1830, when the family
removed to Ontario county. New York.
"As I stood here in this quiet New England town, before the modest cottage
where Senator Douglas first saw the light of day, I thought of the wonderful life
of this wonderful little man, — how he was cradled and passed his childhood
in obscuritj^ among these verdant hills and mountains; of his transition hence
to Canandaigua, New York, and schooling in the academy there; of his sub-
sequent removal to Cleveland, Ohio, and entrance upon the study of law; of
his tedious journey southward and westward, down the Ohio and up the
Mississippi to St. Louis, and thence to Jacksonville, Illinois; of his advent in
Winchester in the character of a village pedagogue; of the commencement of
his marvelous public career at the early age of twenty-two; of the rapidity
with which he ascended the rounds of the ladder of political distinction until
he reached a seat in the Senate of the United States, and there, from that
theatre of his great fame, for fourteen years, spoke to the toiling millions of
his admiring countrymen with a power, eloquence and efifect rarely equalled
or surpassed. I thought, too, of his many journeys back and forth oyer the
land; of the peculiar magnetism of his personal presence, and the talismanic
touch of his hand; of his memorable senatorial campaign against his great
rival, Lincoln, in 1858, and of his still more memorable canvass for the
presidency in 1860; of his last great efforts in favor of peace and union in the
Senate; of his return to his loyed Illinois in the spring of 1861, and his
speeches (in Springfield and Chicago) on the eve of a gigantic civil war; of
his final illness and death in the commercial capital of the State, which he
had helped to make great and famous, and of the sorrowing multitude that
followed him to an honored grave.
"A decade has now elapsed since the dauntless spirit of the 'Little Giant'
passed from time to eternity. During that brief period great events have
followed each other in quick succession, and great political changes have
come over this and other and distant lands, the full influence of which can
as yet be only conjectured. Many of the Senator's contemporaries sleep in
the house appointed for all living. Other men now stride across the public
stage, where he once moved with the proud and self-reliant air of a master.
Another man now occupies his seat, though he may not fill his place in the
Senate chamber. In the hurry of this advancing age, many of the incidents
of his checkered life are fading from the recollections of men; his great
political speeches are comparatively seldom read or quoted; even his unfin-
ished monument, emblematic of his unfinished career, is a ruin.* But, still,
the name of Douglas will live in the story of his country's history, a bright
exemplar for aspiring youth, and be transmitted with increased luster to
THE DOUGLAS MONUMENT.
*N0TE— Shortly after the lamented demise of Mr. Douglas, in June, 1861,
an association was formed and chartered in Chicago for the purpose of rais-
ing monej' with which to erect a fitting monument to his memory. The cor-
ner stone of this monument was laid on the lake shore at Chicago with im-
posing ceremonies, September 6, 18G6, and work on the same was continued
until the sub-structure and vault were built. After this, for want of funds,
the mausoleum was permitted to remain in an unfinished state for ten j'ears.
At length, in 1877, the Illinois Legislature appropriated fifty thousand dollars
to complete the monument, and in 1879 a further appropriation of nine thou-
sand dollars was made for that purpose. But it was not until some time in
1881 that the Douglas monument was finally completed. The total cost of
the structure, including the cost of the large lot of ground on which it stands
(which was purchased by the State under an act passed in 1865, and appro-
priating twenty-five thousand dollars for the purpose), must have amounted
to something over one hundred thousand dollars. More recently the General
Assembly, at the session of 1901, appropriated thirty-five hundred dollars for
making needed repairs upon the monument.
THE BLACK HAWK WAR.
An Account of the Discovery of the Graves of the Men Who Fell
IN the "Battle of Stillman's Run," on May 14, 1862.
By Rev. R. W. Newlands, of Stillman Valley, Illinois.
Illinois has always been ready to give of her sons for the defense of her
country, yet unlike many other states, she has seen but few battles on her own
soil. Not merely because Major Stillman's fight was one of those few, but
because of its far-reaching results, do I feel that the State should aid in
commemorating an event, the importance of which is not appreciated as it
ought to be. For it is undoubtedly true that in this engagement the blood of
American soldiers was shed for the first time in the Black Hawk war. It is
also true that the wild alarm that spread over Illinois on the defeat of Still-
man and his small force, because of the exaggerated reports as to the num-
ber of Indians engaged, caused the calling out of several thousand of men,
(Abraham Lincoln being one of them), and the final result was the complete
overthrow and expulsion of the red man, and the opening of the beautiful and
fertile Rock River valley for the settlement by the whites. The whole of
northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin was profoundly affected by this
Having lived in Black Hawk's country for nearly six years, most of that
time within twenty miles of what was once the chief town of the Sac nation,
I have since been interested in the struggles of that great chief to retain the
land of his fathers, and I have at different times examined the chief author-
ities on the subject. Coming to Stillman Valley nearly two years ago, I at
once resumed my study of the Sac warrior, and particularly the part he
played in the battle, if such it may be called, of " Stillman's Run," rutting
together accounts in histories, and reliable statements made by some of our
oldest settlers, I became convinced that it would not be difficult to get at the
facts in the case. My interest naturally centered around the hill on which
the fight took place, and where it was generally believed the dead were
buried. But opinions varied as to the real place of burial, while some held
they were not buried on the hill at all, but some distance to the south of it.
And the number said to be buried there varied from five to eleven. It was
generally believed, however, that the spot has been regarded as the place of
sepulture by Joshua White, who received the land from the government, and
had on that account refused to have the virgin soil broken by the plow.
A few years ago this ground was platted — Joshua White having died— and
the property four years ago was bought by Dr. E. P. Allan, who, fifteen
months ago, offered it for sale at public auction. Feeling that it might
be bought by some one for buildicg purposes, the sacred spot desecrated,
and perhaps finally forgotten, I determined, if possible, to locate beyond a
peradventure, the exact spot where the volunteers were laid.
On Tuesday afternoon, November 14, 1899, J. A. Atwood and I started for
the hill, spade in hand. We first examined the stratification of the hill as re-
vealed in the cut made for the road running east across the brow of the hill.
The strata, as expected, were clearly marked. A loamy superficial soil about
ten inches deep, then a yellowish sandy sub-soil of about the same depth, fol-
lowed by a pea-gravel running into coarser gravel. With this information,
we telt that if we located the graves, the spot would be identified by the
mixed earth, sand and gravel, and particularly by the presence of gravel on
the surface. We tested the ground at every place where the grave was sup-
posed to be, but we found only the pure black loam in every case. I presume
we tried from forty to fifty different spots without a clue. Then I went over
to the western slope of the hill and tried in several places there, although no
one supposed the graves to be on that side. I noticed a little gravel on the
surface at one place, but fancied it had fallen off some passing wagon, as
wagon tracks were plainly visible, and the ground seemed somewhat uneven.
In attempting to scrape the gravel off, I found it ran deeper, so, diirging a
hole some eighteen or twenty inches deep, and finding gravel still present, I
was convinced that the ground here had been disturbed, and that in all prob-
abilitj' this was the long lost grave we sought. As evening was upon us, we
decided to continue our excavations the next day. On the following morn-
ing, November 15th, we were on the ground again. Enlarging the hole al-
ready made, by scraping toward the south, I soon came to the end of the
mixed earth. I judged that point to be the limit of the grave or trench, and
proceeded to dig a hole about three feet square. After going down about two
feet, 1 decided to take the earth out in thin layers, lest the bones might be
broken. At a depth of about three feet I unearthed one of the phalanges of
the right hand, then others, then the thigh bones immediately below, and I
saw that we had alighted on the middle of the body of the man who had been
laid at the end of the row in the trench. Every bone was carefully removed
one by one without breaking. The suggestion that it might be the skeleton
of an Indian was quickly set aside when several buttons and a vsst buckle
were discovered, and a minute later the skull was taken out, showing every
tooth present, and without a single sign of decay. The skull had not the
prominent cheekbones, nor the retreating forehead of the Indian. But the
lower limbs and feet, which were removed last, dispelled any doubt that may
have remained in the minds of the crowd of spectators who had by this time
assembled; for it was found that the cavalry boots which the soldiers wore
when killed, were still intact, and the blanket in which he had been \vrapped
for burial was plainly seen, although it had rotted too much to permit of its
being removed from the grave even in very small pieces. The skeleton was
evidently that of a man over six feet in height, as the femur measured
twenty-two inches in length. The body had been buried on its back, but the
face was turned downward, showing that he had been decapitated. For a
skeleton that had been in the grave for over sixty-seven years, it was in a re-
markably well preserved /condition, doubtless owing to the sandy nature of
the soil and the dry location. The bones were all replaced in a suitable box.
and reinterred in the same spot. The other bodies were not disturbed, but
the extent of the trench was determined and the limits marked by posts.
Since then the property has been bought by the "Battleground Memorial
Association" which was organized immediately after the recovery of the
graves, and duly incorporated under the laws of the State. The sacred spot
was decorated for the first time last Memorial Day.
It may not be inappropriate to recall the circumstances under which those
men lost their lives.
The treaty of 1804, by which certain chiefs of the Sac and Fox Indians
ceded to the United States government their lands on Rock River and else-
where, was confirmed by other chiefs of the same nations in 1815, but Black
Hawk, who was a leader by nature but not a chief by birth, bitterly opposed
the sale, and always declared that the Indians who ceded the lands had been
intoxicated and bribed by the whites, and insisted that the lands were not
sold with the consent of the nation as a whole. Black Hawk with his people
were, laowever, compelled to leave the Rock River valley for a government
reservation in Iowa. In 1832, egged on by the false promises of the Prophet
Neapope, of support from the Pottawottamies and Winnebagoes, Black
Hawk recrossed the Mississippi with his women and children and three hun-
dred braves, and took possession of the old cornfields. He was warned by
Governor Atkinson to return to Iowa, but he refused. A call was made for
volunteers, and these, under General's Atkinson and Whiteside, marched to
Dixon's Ferry, where a reconnoisance was decided upon. Two officers,
Majors Stillman aud Bailey, neither of whom had ever seen any fighting,
begged to be put forward on some difficult service. To gratify them, they^
with their two battalions or mounted volunteers consisting of 275 men all told,
were ordered up Rock River to spy out the Indians. Pursuing his way on the
€ast side of the river, Major Stillman came to what is now called Stillman
creek, on May 14, 1832, and encamped at nightfall in the timber on the north
side of the stream. As the volunteers were preparing for supper, three In-
dians appeared coming from the north, one of them carrying a white flag.
They were met on approaching the camp, and one was ruthlessly shot, while
the other two escaped. Another party of five Indians who had been sent to
watch the truce party, on hearing the shots and seeing the others fleeing,
started back with all haste to the camp of Black Hawk on the Kishwaukee
river to give the alarm. A party of fifteen or twenty whites, chiefly of Cap-
tain Ead's company, without orders or commander, started in hot pursnit,
and succeeded in overtaking and killing two of the fleeing Indians. Nearing
the Indian camp the war whoop was raised, and Black Hawk, with about
forty of his warriors— all that were in camp at that time, advanced to meet
the whites. Ead's men, doubtless judging by the yells that they were greatly
outnumbered, immediately turned and fled, followed by ttie Sacs on their
ponies. Instead of drawing rein when they regained their camp, the terri-
fied whites gave the alarm that hundreds of savages were at their heels. They
could easily have formed in the timber and defeated ten times the number of
those pursuing, but, panic-struck, the men sprang to their horses, many of
them cutting the hitching straps after they had mounted, an1 in disorderly
rabble crossed the ford and dashed southward. On reaching the rising
ground on the south side of the creek, an attempt was made to rally the men
but it was of no avail. Many of them never stopped until they reached
Dixon, twenty-five miles away. Captain John G. Adams, with a dozen or so
others, heroically covered the retreat of their companions and checked the
career of the Indians, and many thereby escaped who would otherwise have
fallen. But Adams himself, with three of his own company and five others,
paid the price with their lives.
On the arrival of the routed soldiers at the camp at Dixon's Ferry, with ex-
aggerated stories of the numbers of their pursuers, a council of war was held
in the night, and early the next morning 2,000 men marched to the scene of
the disaster and buried the dead. The nine who died on the hill were found
scalped and fearfully mutilated, while Captain Adams and Major Perkins
were also decapitated. These nine were laid in one trench. It is generally
believed that eleven whites fell in the stampede but only ten names are to be
found in the Adjutant General's report, and these are as follows:
Captain John G. Adams, Pekin, 111.
Major Isaac Perkins, Pekin.
Sergeant John Walters, Fulton county.
Corporal Bird W. Ellis, Fulton county.
Corporal James Milton, Decatur.
Private Joseph Draper, Bloomington.
Private David Kreeps, Pekin.
Private Zadock Mendinall, Pekin.
Private Tyrus M. Childs, Fulton county.
Private Joseph B. Farris, Fulton county.
This report is, however, admittedly incomplete and inaccurate. The records
were not collected and published until fifty years after the battle occurred.
The early settlers of Stillman Valley, (a few of whom still survive) found
evidences of Stillman's camp in the remains of baggage wagons, whisky bar-
rels, tents, tin cups and parts of hitching straps tied to trees.
No one can read the history of our Indian wars without feeling that many
of them were far from being a credit to the nation. And the Black Hawk
war in particular, was characterized by many acts, happily seldom heard of
in civilized warfare. From the shameless shooting down of the bearer of a
flag of truce, which shooting led to the utter routing of Stillman's men and
undoubtedly precipitated the war, down to the final corraling and massacre-
ing of a worn-out handful of braves, on the eastern bank of the Mississippi,
between an overwhelming force of whites on the shore, and the armed steam-
ship "Warrior" on the river, the white man appears oftenest as the savage,
and perhaps it is well that full official details have not been preserved.
Nevertheless, there were many brave men who shouldered a musket at the
call of Governor Reynolds, and who shortly thereafter — in one case only six-
teen days — yielded their lives that the white settler might live in peace and
happiness in the beautiful country of the Sacs and Winnebagoes. And the
student of history will feel that the remains of some of those heroes lie on the
hillock in Stillman Valley, now happily in known and marked graves.
Robert W. Newlands,
Stillman Valley, ill., 15 Jan., 1901. Pastor Congregational Church.
[Note. — In 1901 the Forty-second General Assembly of Illinois appropriated
the sum of $5,000 for the erection of a monument near Stillman Valley, in
Ogle county, in memory of the ten soldiersof Major Josiah Stillman's command
slain by Black Hawk's Indians near the head of Old Man's creek, on the 14th
of May, 1832, whose remains were discovered in 1900, as related in the fore-
PUBLICATIONS OF THE ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL
No. 1 — A Biblioprraphy of Newsipapers Published in Illinois prior to 1880.
Prepared by Edmund J. James, Ph. D., Professor in the University of Chi-
cagro, assisied by Milo J. Loveless, graduate student in the University of
Chicago. 94 pages. 8°. Springfield, 1899.
Publication No. 2 — Information Relating to the Territorial Laws of Illinois
passed from 1809-1812. Prepared py Edmund J. James, Ph. D., Professor
in the University of Chicago. 15 pages. 8°. Springfield, 1899.
Publication No. 3— The Territorial Records of Illinois. Edited by Edmund
J. James, Ph. D., Professor in the University of Chicago. 143 pages. 8°.
Publication No. 4 — Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for
the year 1900. Edited by E. B. Greene, Ph. D., Secretary of the Society.
55 pages. 8°. Springfield, 1900.
Publication No. 5 — Alphabetic catalog of the books, manuscripts, pictures
and curios of the Illinois State Historical Library, Authors, titles and sub-
jects. Compiled under the direction of the Board of Trustees of the library,
by the librarian, Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber. 363 pages. Springfield, 1900.
I. Constitution of the Illinois State Historical Society 5-6
II. List of Officers and members of the Society 7-8
III. Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the Society, January 30-31, 1901 9-12
IV. Annual report of the Secretary and Treasurer 13-15
V. Suggestions. For organization of State Historical Society. By Dr. J. F- Snyder 16-18
VI. Annual Address. By Dr. Reuben S. Thwaites. Secretary of the Wisconsin State
Historical Society 19-25
VII. The objects of the German-American Historical Society, of Chicago, by Hon.
William Vocke, its President 26-29
VIII. The Influence of Government Land Grants for Educational Purposes upon
the Educational System of the State. Jonuthau Baldwin Turner, by Prof. Win.
L. Pillsbury 30-40
IX. Old Peoria. By Hon. David McCulloch 41-51
X. Slavery in Illinois. By Hon. E. A. Snively 52-59
XL Early reminiscences By A. W. French, D. D. S 60-62
XII. The Oldest Civil Record in the West. By Hon. J. N. Perrin 63-65
XIII. Illinois During the Revolution. By Mrs. Laura Dayton Fessenden 66-71
XIV. Hon John M. Palmer. By Rev. Euclid B. Rogers 72-79
XV. Hon. John A. McClernand. By Gen. Alfred Orendorflf 80-85
XVI. General James M. Ruggles. By P. L. Diffenbacher, M. D 86-89
The Wood River Massacre. By Volney P. Richmond 93-95
The Bennett-Stuart Duel. By James Affleck 96-102
Prof. John Russell. By 5. G. Russell, Esq 103-107
An Incident in the Settling of Morgan County, Illinois. By John Yaple 108-UO
Some Old Letters by, and Relating to Stephen A. Douglas. By Joseph Wallace, A.M. 111-116
Discovery of the Graves of the soldiers Who Fell at .Stillman's Defeat 117-121
List of Publications of Illinois State Historical Library 122
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA
'«'!' 977.3IL65 C003
•; PAPERS IN ILLINOIS HISTORY AND TRANSACTI
: 6 1901
3 0112 025381