!T.T,TpyoiS HISTORICAL <???"•-* •
The Story of
by Virginia S. Eifert
Illustrations from the Bartlett Frost Dioramas in
THE ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM
STORY OF ILLINOIS— No. 1
STORY OF ILLINOIS SERIES
Story of Illinois : Indian and Pioneer, by V. S. Eif ert.
Mammals of Illinois Today and Yesterday, as shown in
the Illinois State Museum, by V. S. Eifert
Exploring for Mushrooms, by V. S. Eifert.
Flowers that Bloom in the Spring, by V. S. Eifert.
Invitation to Birds, by V. S. Eifert.
Man's Venture in Culture, by Thorne Deuel.
The Past Speaks to You, by Ann Livesay.
Common Insects of Illinois, by Gilbert Wright.
Ancient Ways of Life, by Thorne Deuel (In preparation).
Amphibians of Illinois, by Paul W. Parmalee.
Address all enquiries to the MUSEUM DIRECTOR,
ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM, Springfield, Illinois
STATE OF ILLINOIS
William G. Stratton, Governor
DEPT. REGISTRATION & EDUCATION • ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM
Hon. Vera M. Binks, Director - Thorne Deuel, Museum Director
STORY OF ILLINOIS SERIES, NO. 1
THE STORY OF ILLINOIS
INDIAN AND PIONEER
Virginia S. Eifert
Fourth Revised Edition
(Printed by authority of the State of Illinois)
SOME WORTHWHILE BOOKS ON ILLINOIS
HISTORY AND HISTORICAL PLACES
Alvord, Pease, Cole, and others. The Centennial History of Illinois.
5 Vols. Illinois Centennial Commission, Springfield, 111., 1920.
Angle, Paul M. 8b Beyer, Richard L. A Handbook of Illinois History.
The Illinois State Historical Society, Springfield, 111., 1941.
Brown, Richard G. 8b Pearson, Irving F. The Illinois Citizen. Mac-
millan, New York, 1939.
Federal writers' project, Illinois. Illinois, a Descriptive and Historical
Guide. A. C. McClurg, Chicago, 1947.
Gray, James. The Illinois. Farrar 8b Rinehart, New York, 1940.
Merwin, Blanche C, Nickell, V. L. 8s Merwin, B. W. Illinois, Cross-
roads of a Nation. Lyons 8b Carnahan, Chicago, 1943.
Monaghan, J. This is Illinois, a Pictorial History. University of
Chicago Press, Chicago, 1949.
Pease, Theodore C. The Story of Illinois. University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, 1949.
For additional titles, see
Illinois, a Bibliography. Illinois State Library, Springfield, 111., 1948.
The Story of Illinois is a series of booklets relating to the State,
on anthropology, art, botany, geology, history and zoology. They
are prepared by specialists in the fields and will be issued from
time to time as opportunity permits. Eight numbers, as indicated on
the inside of the front cover, have been issued to date. It is planned
to publish some two hundred titles and keep all available, with re-
vised reprintings as often as necessary.
They are written in direct, non-technical language for the
pleasure of young people from six to sixty and to interest them in
their surroundings, in present and past life forms, in places and in
happenings in Illinois. Much of the material offered is not available
elsewhere in a form appealing to the general reader. The specimens
featured in the natural history issues are almost invariably within
the range of the enquiring naturalist. Some life forms readily ac-
cessible to Illinoisians may be new to many readers. The things
most common are not always well-known.
The present volume presents sketches of incidents and practices
of periods in the history of Illinois commencing with the first re-
corded exploration party and continuing through the settlement and
industrialization of the state. We are much indebted to the late
Professor Theodore C. Pease, University of Illinois, for reading and
criticizing the manuscript.
At the back of this issue is added a map showing the location of
the Indian tribes in Illinois and a brief history of their movements
after 1650 by Wayne Temple. Since this contains some information
not generally available, footnotes with references have been included.
Criticism of these publications and suggestions for new volumes
November 1, 1954 THORNE DEUEL
The Story of Illinois
In the long ago before the Coal Age, Illinois most of the time
was covered by sea; in it, characteristic life of the times flourished
in great abundance. Here swam huge sharks and armored fishes,
and there were rainbow-colored beds of sea-lilies which covered
acres of the sea bottom. During the Coal Age, land areas rose and
fell repeatedly; there were vast coastal marshes with forests of
tall fern trees and giant relatives of our modern horsetails and
club mosses. Here the decaying vegetation fell into the black water,
piled up, pressed down, hardened, and was buried to become coal.
Ages later when the marshes, coal forests, and the last of the oceans
were gone from Illinois, out of the north came the glaciers. Grow-
ing masses of ice moved relentlessly southward.
Year by year the tropical climate of Illinois grew cooler ; birds
and animals went south, or they died; winters grew longer, sum-
mers shorter. At last the ice sheet moved across the borders of
Illinois and came crunching and grinding, year after year, south-
ward over the state until all but a few parts of Illinois were covered.
Several times the ice came, melted, and retreated, leaving behind
its load of gravel, silt, and boulders. And as the last glacier drew
back, it left its morainal hills in the flattened Illinois country.
Life had existed in the shadow of the glacier. Now plants
appeared, new kinds of trees ; and the hardier birds, which had come
with the intense cold, followed the ice northward and were replaced
by others from the south. The rivers of Illinois, swollen with the waters
that had been trapped in the Great Lakes basin, raced broadly to the
Gulf. When the rivers grew smaller, large lakes remained.
Then came a process which still goes on today : this is the
changing of a lake to a marsh and a marsh to a prairie. Thus the
Illinois prairie came to be. The miles of glacial lakes filled up with
cattails and willows that pushed out into the water until there was
a marsh. By and by these marshes were so filled with plants that
they became wet prairie land, waving with tall grasses, scented
with the rich ripeness of wild strawberries in summer, golden with
wild sunflowers in August, where in winter the coppery-pink stems
of turkey-foot grass thrust through the snow.
By and by the ancient forefathers of the American Indians
came to live along the rivers and to bury their dead in mounds in
the bottomlands or in natural hillocks on the high bluffs. Later
these peoples, largely of Mongolian stock, developed into those we
now know as Indians. One of these groups, some hundreds of
years ago, invaded Illinois from the south, established their chief
towns with their flat-topped, earthen pyramids along the larger
rivers. And buffalo came into the region from the west. So Indians
and buffalo lived along the River of the Illini in 1673 when the
King of France, wishing to annex new lands to bring profits to the
crown, sent explorers to claim the Illinois country for France.
It is at this point that the dioramas begin their story— those
vivid scenes of Illinois history created in miniature by Bartlett M.
Frost and on display in the Illinois State Museum.
Marquette and the Indians
It was a hot day late in the summer of 1673 when Father Mar-
quette and Louis Jolliet with their party, after a rigorous journey
down the Mississippi, came back up the Illinois River in canoes to
claim Illinois for the glory of France and to convert its heathen for
the glory of God. They had sighted an Indian village on the hill,
and as the canoes pushed into the black mud of the shore, a crowd
of Indians started down the path toward the river. At the front, far
ahead of the others, came a muscular brave, the young chief. Around
his feet was a tangle of snarling, snapping, barking mongrel dogs
which a well-directed kick or two from the moccasined toe sent to
a safe distance at the edge of the cornfield.
The handsome, splendidly built Indian stood with folded arms
and looked silently at the white men. The thin, black-garbed priest
climbed stiffly out of the canoe — he was ill but he would not stop his
work — stood before the Indian and raised his crucifix.
"Benedicite!" he intoned, and went on in the Indian tongue.
At the canoe, Jolliet was busily arranging the cheap knives and
trinkets which had been brought along to cajole the savages in case
the word of God failed in a crisis. The Indian's black eyes moved
from the priest, who was earnestly exhorting him to learn of the true
God and of salvation in the next world, and slid to the bright knives
and beads in the canoe.
The Indian said nothing; but his eyes stayed longer on the
knives than on the priest. And then the whole village was upon them,
and the men were kept busy distributing the trinketry where it would
do the most good. The voice of the priest could not be heard in the
"Another time," the weary Father Marquette said aloud, "An-
other time they will listen."
The Indians Fight for Illinois
France and England had been at war for seven years, and now
in 1763 it was over and the British had won. By their treaty they
demanded that French land east of the Mississippi should be given to
them without further fuss, and one by one the lily banners of France
came fluttering down and the flag of England went up. All, that is,
but at Fort de Chartres, where the French flag flew until 1765.
Meanwhile the Indians, led by the Ottawa chief, Pontiac, planned
vengeance on the British whom they hated for their harsh treatment.
Most of them liked the French who had behaved toward them with
dignity and respect, and who encouraged Pontiac and his plans for
an Indian confederacy. Suddenly, over a thousand-mile front, the
Indians attacked the British. For a while they were successful, but
at last were pushed back, after Pontiac 's defeat, into the Illinois
country. There remained Fort de Chartres where the last French
flag still flew, and this the Indians defended.
The British were on their way by boat to formally take over the
fort when they heard of the angry Indian warriors awaiting them.
Nervously, the British delayed the trip and finally sent a whole
flotilla of flatboats up the Mississippi to Fort de Chartres.
As they coasted along the shore near the present northern
boundary of Louisiana, the Indians from behind sycamores and
bushes opened fire ; the bewildered British lost many lives and had
to go back. When the French at last decided it was necessary to give
up the fort, the Indians, stubborn defenders of France in Illinois,
stopped fighting. In 1765 peace was made and the French flag went
From Kaskaskia to Vincennes
Hamilton, the "Hair-Buyer", was up to his old tricks again, and
George Rogers Clark in 1778 went to the Illinois country to stop him.
The Declaration of Independence had been signed, but out in the mid-
dle west General Hamilton, who paid Indians for scalps of white
colonists, still hired tribes to murder the settlers.
Clark easily took the British Kaskaskia and the other Illinois
villages. General Hamilton, hearing of Clark's successes, marched
south from Detroit and took Vincennes. Clark knew the situation
was grave. Late in the winter, when all the rivers were out of their
banks in southern Illinois, Clark and his famous Virginia Long Knives
set out from Kaskaskia to march across Illinois and attack Vincennes.
All went well until they reached the flooded valley of the Wabash
where in miles of drowned lowlands the men, with guns held high
over their heads, had to wade up to their arm pits. There came several
days of hard going through miles of water when there was nothing
at all to eat ; one morning the flood had frozen to a half-inch layer of
ice, and wet clothing was frozen to the men's weary bodies.
But one night in February, 1779, George Rogers Clark and his
men marched grandly into Vincennes, and by a neat trick with flags
and plenty of shouting, confused the startled British. The garrison
surrendered, but not before Clark met some of Hamilton's Indians
returning with bloody American scalps to sell. Furiously, Clark could
not restrain himself. He killed the Indians in full view of Hamilton
and the fort, captured the general, and sent him as prisoner to
Now the Illinois country was free of British rule. Men and women
from the East soon would come down the rivers or over the Wilderness
Road to make their homes in this rich land which Clark had won.
- * - ^
T£e Circuit Rider
To the stooped woman who stands with her work-worn hands
clasped before her and a hungry look in her big eyes, the travelling
preacher and his words are the only touch she has with that outside
world from which she came by covered wagon a few years before. The
words take her away for a little while from the back-breaking cabin
drudgery, from ague and chills, from rattlesnakes crawling into the
cupboards, from a prairie wind that screams through the ill-chinked
logs all winter long.
These are frontier people who came to the prairie in the early
days of Illinois. They found the prairie sod too costly and difficult to
plow, so they cut the forests, used the wood for building cabins in the
clearings, and for firewood, or burned it in huge winter bonfires that
shot sparks to the stars, and they plowed the loose forest earth for
their gardens. Life on the Illinois prairie was never easy ; work was
hard and long and there were none of the conveniences we know. The
daily diet usually was cornbread dodgers and pork, with honey for
sweetening, and boiled wild greens in spring. Neighbors were too
far apart to be of much help ; people had to be their own doctors and
had to provide everything they needed for themselves. But they
could not provide religion and news, and that was what the travelling
preacher, the circuit rider, brought as he rode his horse through the
muddy roads from cabin to cabin. He preached; he gave out news;
he married the young folk and said the burial words over the dead;
he settled disputes; and he usually stayed for dinner and sometimes
for the night.
This was the circuit rider in Illinois. It was from his visits among
the prairie people that churches finally were built ; from hill-towns to
bottomland villages, year after year, the spires of churches arose.
The Indians Leave Illinois
The Black Hawk War was over, and all that remained were the
final treaties. So in 1833, eight thousand Indians swarmed into Chi-
cago for their last great gathering ever held in Illinois. From Wash-
ington had come word that the Great White Father was going to buy
their lands ; he had heard that they wanted to sell. So chiefs from all
the tribes of Potawatomi, Chippewas, and Ottawas came to the
treaty-making, and because the Government would feed them during
the treaty, they brought along their families and made a holiday of
it. Tents dotted the prairie for miles; horses grazed everywhere;
lean Indian dogs roamed the muddy streets of young Chicago and
snapped at the ankles of passersby. The Indians were much the worse
for bad whiskey which they eagerly had bought against orders from
But when they were finally assembled for the treaty, the Indians
said that the Great Father must have been listening to a bad bird
who had told him lies. They were satisfied with their lands in Illinois.
And the white man was easier to get along with than the surly Sioux
beyond the Mississippi.
After nine days of useless talk, orders were issued that the treaty
must be signed at once. The Indians must leave their lands between
Lake Michigan and the Mississippi; in exchange they would have
western lands, and would be fed and clothed for a year afterward. A
million dollars would be devoted to their welfare. That day the In-
dians must have known they were doomed. The treaty was signed,
and within a year they were gone from Illinois and never again re-
turned to live. Now settlers in Illinois could come without fear of
The diorama shows one of the old Chicago taverns where two
braves in a drunken state are being persuaded to sign a paper, while
an army officer doubtfully eyes the proceedings.
UNIVERSITY Of ILLINOIS
John Deere and the Prairie Plow
Out of the crowded East and over the Alleghenies to Illinois came
pioneers eager for new lands and open sky. But their old-fashioned
plows made of wood and iron were poorly fitted to plow the prairie.
The heavy muck resisted the blade and clung to the mold-board like
snow to a boot heel ; it cost as much to plow this soil as it did to buy
In 1837, however, a young man named John Deere, a blacksmith,
came from Vermont to Grand Detour at the great bend of the Rock
River. Blacksmiths were very important men in those days; and
John Deere was better than most. As he saw how the prairie resisted
the plow, he set his mind to work on the problem.
One day he found a broken circular-saw blade made of fine steel.
He cut off the saw teeth, shaped the metal on his forge, and made a
steel plow blade, fashioned a light-weight wood frame, got a pair of
horses, and was ready for the demonstration. A crowd of farmers and
people from Grand Detour followed the new plow and watched with
growing excitement as the steel blade bit into the heavy black soil and
turned it over. The horses pulled easily; the plow turned the fur-
row, came back ; the farmers crowded around to look at the steel blade.
It was as shiny as when it entered the soil ; it was clean ! This plow
would "scour"; never again would prairie muck clog and cling in
great sticky gobs until no living man could push it further.
And so young John Deere opened the way for Illinois agriculture.
Soon the railroads came, and the reaper and thresher took the place of
old-fashioned equipment. Because of these things there soon would
be great acres of waving wheat and tasseled corn in Illinois to supply
food not only for this state but for the nation and many peoples of
The Underground Railroad — 1850
There was the squeak of iron on leather, the crunch of a wheel by
the farmhouse door. Two figures in the darkness climbed down from
the wagon; the kitchen door opened, admitted them; inside, the
farmer's wife was hurrying with food.
" Welcome!" said the farmer. "Eat hearty, friends!"
Apologetically, frightened to dumb silence, the young mulatto
woman looked up from her baby and moved hungrily to the table.
The elderly colored man went, too, protectively, eyeing the farmer,
These were slaves. In the sad days of growing bitterness between
the states, men and women in the north spent time and money and
risked their reputations in helping these people to escape to safety
in Canada. From Cairo to Rockford, the length of Illinois, there were
secret shelters where slaves could hide until time to move on to an-
other point further north. This was the "underground railroad";
and the power that moved it was the northern hatred for slavery.
There was a scratching on the door.
"They're a-coming!" a boy whispered. "Paw sent me to tell
you. They've tracked 'em as far as the last station."
Again with that terror in their eyes, the Negroes followed the
farmer to the barn. And just in time. A clamor of men and dogs
in the yard — hurry — down the dark trap-door hole, with the lantern
for comfort — the door closed — hay forked over it. Quietly as a
shadow the farmer went to the small side door of his house. Already
men were hammering at the back door. There he met them.
There was no one in the house, he said with dignity. His word
as a church man could be trusted. And before those outraged blue
eyes, the man-hunters drew back, baffled, and went on.
rr A House Divided"
There was fighting in Kansas and hot words in Illinois as the old
Whig party died in 1854 and the new Republican party began. There
was unrest all over the country, for although the United States was
not yet a hundred years old, its unity was threatened.
In 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, as unlike in
personal appearance as in their views, both of them candidates for
United States senator, held a series of heated debates in Illinois on the
question of slavery. Douglas had long maintained that the people
of an area should decide whether or not they wanted slavery ; Lincoln
felt that slavery was morally wrong and should be prohibited by the
Government in the territories from which states would be formed.
People from miles around came to town whenever one of the
debates was announced, for there were few entertainments in
Illinois. The debater, with his elegant choice of words, his jibes and
jokes, was as good as a show; he provided fun, education, and a chance
to see one's friends. Rival parties vied for the best banners and the
prettiest girls in the torchlight processions which usually ended in a
fight. Everyone came and had an exciting time.
The debate which took place between Lincoln and Douglas in
Quincy on October 13th is shown in the diorama. Both men were
deadly serious. Both wanted to be senator; yet they were fighting
for something more than personal gain. Here were the two opposing
ideas in America, the old order, and the new which would not tolerate
human slavery. Douglas won the senatorship, but it was Abraham
Lincoln, his views made secure by these debates, who became presi-
dent in 1860.
And from his arguments in the Illinois campaign rose these words
which ever afterwards have been part of the tradition of America:
' * A house divided against itself cannot stand ; this government cannot
endure half slave and half free."
The Chicago Fire
The little girl watched the city burn. The sky was scarlet, and
there were clouds of smoke and great chunks of fire and sparks blow-
ing on the lake wind. The noise of burning buildings was deafening,
the crackling, hissing, roaring, the sweep of the flames from one street
to the next, licking up wooden houses like a great cat lapping cream,
people shouting, doing strange things. Caroline crouched against a
big barrel on the wharf, clutched her doll, watched how the fire ate
up everything across the river. The lantern which Dick had set there
to keep her company wasn 't much use now. There was plenty of light
to see by. But Dick hadn't come back after he went to find mother
and father — he'd said he would — and a growing sense of terror
mounted in the little girl's heart.
Day after day during the summer of 1871, the prairie sun that
beat down on the wooden city of Chicago had dried out every fiber
and every shingle. Chicago in a generation had grown up from a
frontier village to a city, but its growth was so rapid and so unplanned
that it sprawled along the lake and on the prairie, unformed and
crude. Since the first steam engine ended the isolation of Chicago, it
had expanded but there had been no time for permanence, no time
By October, Chicago was tinder dry, and when, on the 8th, the
fire started, it burned eagerly and without any stopping. In the de-
struction of the city, families became separated and some never found
each other again.
The child in this diorama may have been one of these lost chil-
dren. No one knows who she was, or if there was such a child. She
represents the Chicago fire in the story of Illinois; she is the youth
that helped build a beautiful, great city out of the overgrown frontier
town that burned in '71.
The Railroad Strikes
When the Civil War was ended, more than slavery had been
abolished. The old, slow way of life had died, and in the years that
followed, the whole country, north and south, knew the turmoil of
learning a new way of living. It was too great a wrench to leap from
the frontier ways of the first half of the century, through the blood
and upset of war, to the mechanical era that was about to open ahead.
In a few years, the enormous cost of war, uncertain currency, in-
flation, and too much railroad building, to name only a few of the
causes, came to a climax in the panic of 1873, which was much like that
of 1929. By 1877 the unrest and depression, made worse by poverty
and hunger, blazed into open war in the railroad strikes. Nothing
before or since in railroad history equalled the mob violence and riots
of '77. They were touched off when trainmen had a new cut in wages.
In Chicago there was open fighting, shooting in the railroad yards,
men killed or wounded, armed soldiers guarding the mail trains that
would not pull out for many a day. The depression had reached its
lowest point of despair in 1877, and the railroad strikes came as a
But out of the labor unrest there grew the trade unions with their
higher standards of work and pay. Better hours, safer jobs, better
working conditions, organization of labor, and abolishment of child
labor came as a result of the terrible upsets of the 'Seventies. And it
had been proved, moreover, that Illinois was no longer just an agri-
cultural state, but that it had its great share of mining and manu-
facturing which was being carried throughout the nation by the rail-
roads. When the strikes were over, Illinois was headed squarely into
the coming era which would produce the airplane, the radio, the tele-
phone, and the age of electricity.
Meat Packer for the World
Out of the west in the 1870 's came long-horned cattle that plodded
in clouds of dust across their grazing lands on the Great Plains. Cow-
boys, yipping and swinging ropes, brought the steers hundreds of
miles to the railroads that were pushing into the unknown west, and
from here the cattle rode in slatted cars east to Boston and Albany and
Buffalo. Every community had its little, often unsanitary, slaughter-
house which was a mass of filth and flies, where cattle were slaugh-
tered when needed and sold before the meat spoiled.
In Chicago, G. F. Swift had a new idea in the meat business. He
knew that by the time live cattle reached the east they had lost weight,
often were bruised, and were expensive because they had to be fed.
And longhorns weren 't made to fit well in a cattle car.
Swift slaughtered western cattle at Chicago and sent the dressed
beef east, though only in winter; with the invention of refrigerator
cars, far greater quantities of dressed beef the year around could
travel in a cheaper way than live cattle. By and by few or no long-
horned western steers rode east of Chicago. Meat cattle were bred
to better form, were more tender and were meatier ; cattle with short
horns were developed. In Chicago, the Union Stockyards grew
mightily and put Chicago on the map of the nation and the world.
This diorama shows the stockyards in the 1880 's. A cowboy who
has accompanied a herd from the west stands on the fence while two
buyers dicker for the best price. It is a typical scene as it has been
enacted daily for many years in the vast, growing business of provid-
ing meat for the nation. Yet less than a century before, the only meat
one ate in Illinois was obtained with a squirrel rifle or shotgun in the
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
This is today, and the future lies grandly ahead. Here in the
final diorama in the Story of Illinois, the City of the Present looks
to the City of the Future, to the world of peace and wonderful things
which as yet lives only in men's minds.
In this diorama lies the background of Illinois. Marquette came
and brought the first Christian religious teaching; the British came
and held the area; George Rogers Clark completed the removal of
Illinois from foreign hands and gave it to America. He opened the
way to the pioneers who were finding the East too crowded. They
came and laid the foundations for the cities, for where a cabin grew
up and people lived, others by and by banded together for protection
and comfort, and soon there was a village, a town, a metropolis, de-
pending upon the whims of fortune.
The series of Indian treaties gave Illinois into the hands of white
people and paved the way for safe further settlement. John Deere
opened the way to agriculture on a large scale, helped make possible
the fields of corn and soybeans to supply America. Illinois became
part of the great conflict between the states, and Lincoln rose from the
prairie, left New Salem, left Springfield, and went to Washington as
the Illinois president who preserved the union. Then progress in the
form of fire struck the rambling city of Chicago, and made possible
the greater city which rose from the ashes and put Illinois on the map.
Labor and industry battled as they got their bearings in the machine
age, yet laid the way for unions and fairer wages and working condi-
tions. Now the railroads that criss-cross Illinois carry meat, coal, and
corn, and the Illinois stockyards feed the world.
Today all these things are part of our heritage. They all are
implied in this one diorama where the mind of man lays plans for a
MAP SHOWING APPROXIMATE TERRITORY OCCUPIED
BY INDIAN TRIBES IN ILLINOIS FROM 1650-1837
Historic Indians of Illinois
Wayne C. Temple
The state of Illinois derives its name from a historic group of
Indians who called themselves "mini," meaning "the men." 1 The
first written account of them was made by the Jesuit missionaries in
1640. At this time, at least part of the Illini were living near the
Winnebago in the vicinity of Lake Michigan. 2 However, their prin-
cipal locations were along both the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. A
study of their language indicates that they were a member of the
Algonquin family and closely associated with the Miami and Chip-
pewa (Ojibway) tribes.
Within the Illinois Country there were several tribes who were
called Illini (used in this study instead of Illinois to avoid confusion),
but each one had a name of its own. The Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michi-
gamea, Moingwena, Peoria, and Tamaroa were allied with one another
to form a confederation which is known today as the ' ' Illiniwek. "
In June of 1673, as Marquette descended the Mississippi River, he
found the Peoria and the Moingwena about five miles up the Iowa
River. 3 Here the Illini had three villages within a short distance of
each other. Apparently, it was a large group since Marquette related
that six hundred Indians returned with them to the Mississippi to
watch their embarkation. 4
Passing further down the Mississippi, Marquette found the Mich-
igamea living on the right bank, near the month of the St. Francis
River in Arkansas. They were the most southern tribe of the Illini
nation; however, they were part of the confederation and spoke the
same language as the Illini. 5 This would seem to indicate that they
previously had lived much farther north.
The Illini at this time were somewhat nomadic and seem to have
moved from place to place in search of game. When Marquette re-
turned he proceeded up the Illinois River instead of returning by way
of the Mississippi. The Peoria tribe had by this time removed to the
Illinois 6 from the Iowa River locations. They were probably near the
present city of Peoria. As he ascended beyond this point, he found
the Kaskaskia Indians residing in a village of seventy-four cabins
near the present town of Utica. 7 In this period, the Peoria and Kas-
1 Marquette's account, in Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Docu-
ments (Cleveland, 1896-1901), LIX, 125.
2 Ibid., XVIII, 231.
3 L. G. Weld, Jolliet and Marquette in Iowa (Iowa City, 1903), 16. After a careful study,
Weld indicates that it was the Iowa River and not the Des Moines as previously thought.
4 Jesuit Relations, LIX, 125.
6 Ibid., LIX, 151, 153, 313 n. ; Marquette's Map of 1673-1674, in Sara Jones Tucker, comp.,
Indian Villages of the Illinois Country (Springfield, 1942), Part I, Atlas, plate V. After much
careful study, Jean Delanglez identifies this village as Quapaw and not Michigamea. Mid-America,
XXVII (O.S.), 47 (Jan., 1945).
8 Jesuit Relations, LIX, 163.
7 Ibid., LIX, 161.
kaskia tribes were closely associated with this region. It was not until
1700 that the Kaskaskia separated from the Peoria tribe and settled
shortly afterward near the mouth of the river in southern Illinois
which now bears their name. 8
The Tamaroa and the Cahokia were mentioned by La Salle in
1680.° These two tribes of the confederacy were close together and
seem to have hunted on both sides of the Mississippi River from the
mouth of the Illinois southward. The site of Cahokia came to be
associated with the one tribe, although both frequented this area. In
1700 St. Cosme discovered that the Michigamea intended to winter
with the Tamaroa in the region of Bast St. Louis. Their early
enemies were the Shawnee and Chickasaw who occasionally came up
from the Tennessee region and inflicted severe losses upon them. 10
An early foe of the northern Illini tribes was the Iroquois Confedera-
tion which constantly sent war parties into their territory. LaSalle
complained of these attacks in 1680. 11 Other enemies quickly appeared.
By 1714, the Fox Indians of Wisconsin, together with their allies, the
Mascoutin (Potawatomi ?) and Kickapoo, were driving the Illini
south. 12 They had grown so bold that in 1723 they raided close to
Fort Chartres and killed some of the Kaskaskia and enslaved many
others. 13 Gradually the Fox, Sauk, Kickapoo. and Potawatomi forced
the remaining Illini to seek refuge with the French at Kaskaskia where
they dwindled to a few families. By 1832 they held only 350 acres
Among the eighteenth-century invaders who drove the Illini from
northern Illinois were the Sauk and Fox of Wisconsin. Prior to this
movement they had lived first on the Fox and later on the Wisconsin
River. Peter Pond found their villages on the Wisconsin River as
late as 1773 ;" four years after this date, however, the Spanish at
St. Louis declared that the Fox Indians, who came there to trade,
were living on the shores of the Mississippi River. This indicates
that they were at that time expanding south into Illinois. 1 ' 1 It is cer-
tain that by 1780 they were firmly established along the Rock River
of northwest Illinois. In this year Colonel John Montgomery marched
into this country and destroyed the crops and villages of the Sauk and
Fox tribes who were thought to be a constant threat to the United
States. 17 In spite of this defeat, the Sauk and Fox returned to the
Rock River. Their main villages were near Rock Island or along the
Rock River, near its mouth. In addition to these sites, there were
Sauk and Fox settlements across the Mississippi in Iowa. And they
continued to occupy this area until after the Black Hawk War in
1832 when they were driven from Illinois.
Another intruder from the north was the Kickapoo who were
closely associated with the Sauk and Fox and spoke nearly the same
s Journal of Father Gravier (17001, in John Gilmary Shea, ed., Early Voyages Up and
Down, the Mississippi, by Cavelier, St. Cosine, he Sueur, Gravier, and Guignas (Albany, 1801),
"LaSalle on the Illinois Country, 1680," in Theodore Calvin Pease and Raymond C.
Werner, eds., The French Foundations 1680-1698 (Springfield, 1934), 5.
11 Shea, ed., Early Voyages Up and Down the Mississippi, by Cavelier, St. Cosine, he Sueur,
Gravier, and Guignas, 61, 67, IIS.
11 l'ease and Werner, eds.. The French Foundations 16S0-1693, 11.
12 Claude de Kamezay to the Minister, Sept. 18, 1714, in Collections of State Hist. Soc. Wis..
'"Statement of Illini taken by C. C. du Tisne, Fort Chartres, Jan. 14, 172 3, in ibid.. XVI. 461.
14 William Clark to Gov. Reynolds, Castor Hill (near St. Louis), Oct. 31, 1*3-2. in Evarts
Houtell Greene and Clarence Walworth Alvord, eds., The Governors' Letter-Books ISIS- ISA', (Spring-
field, 1909), 216.
'"'"Journal of Peter Pond," Collections of State Hist. Soc. Wis.. XVIII, 335, 337.
10 MS, dated "San Luis Oe Ylinneses, November 15, 1777," in General Archives of the
Indies. Seville and pub. in ibid., 36".
1T Calendar of Virginia State Papers (Richmond, 1875-1893), III, 442-443.
language. 18 After the power of the Illini was destroyed, they moved
south to the present site of Peoria and then divided into two groups.
One, the Prairie Band, remained in the north central area of Illinois
and the other, the Vermilion Band, established themselves on the
Vermilion and Wabash rivers. As early as 1765 there was a large
village of Kiekapoo called Ouiatenon (Wea town) near the present
location of Lafayette, Indiana. 10 Their main strength was concen-
trated on either the Vermilion or the Wabash, but there were groups
srattered throughout northern Illinois. Thomas Forsyth reported in
1814 that there was a Kiekapoo village on the Pecatonica River, north
of Rock River. 20 In 1809 and 1819 they ceded their territory along
the Vermilion and Wabash to the United States, but did not leave
Illinois. When Catlin journeyed through Illinois in the 1830 's he
found the remnants of this tribe residing near the southern tip of
Lake Michigan. Their numbers had been reduced to 600 or 800. 21
The Mascouten tribe is sometimes identified as being a part of
the Potawatomi group, but generally the name refers to the Peoria
Illini who were closely associated with the Kiekapoo. 22 The Bowen and
Gibson Map of North America (1763) places the Mascouten in the
upper region of the Rock River close to the Kiekapoo. The Spanish
officials at St. Louis stated that in 1787 the ''principal chief of the
Mascouten nation, named Tanclel" had attacked the Kaskaskia Indians
on the American side of the Mississippi and killed eleven. 2 ' 1 Evidently,
this party of warriors came from the region of the Wabash River, for
the Spanish who traded with these Indians, located the Mascouten
there and estimated their strength as 200 warriors. Their village was
said to be close to Vincennes and very near that of the Kiekapoo. 24
This Spanish report is confirmed by George Croghan who was cap-
lured near the mouth of the Wabash River in 1765 by a hunting party
of Mascouten and Kiekapoo. 25
y The Miami tribe at one time occupied the present site of Chicago.
St. Cosine found two large villages of Miami in this area in 1699.
Each village contained about 150 cabins. 2 ' 1 Their main sphere of occu-
pation, however, Avas in the State of Ohio and in the Wabash River
Valley. The Potawatomi replaced them in the Chicago area after the
Illini were driven out of northern Illinois. The Piankashaw, Wea,
and Eel River bands or tribes were also part of the Miami nation.
When La Salle established his fort at Starved Rock on the Illinois
River in 1682, some of the Piankashaw gathered there. Seventeen
years later they were found on the Kankakee River 27 and eventually
they established themselves along the Wabash River as far south as
Vincennes. 28 By 1775 they claimed the land on both sides of the
Wabash and also had villages on the Vermilion River. 29 When Colonel
ls George Catlin, North American Indians (London, 184.")), II, 98.
10 George Croghan to William Murray, Weotanan [Ouiatenon], Julv 12, 1765, in The Papers
of Sir William Johnson (Albany, 1921), XI, 841.
20 Thomas Forsyth to Ninian Edwards, Fort Clark (Peoria), Julv 31. 1S14, in Collections of
Stat,- Hist. Soc. Wis., XI, 325.
21 Catlin, North American Indians, II, 97.
22 John R. Swanton, The. Indian Tribes of North America (Washington, 1952), 254. Bullet h.
145 of Bureau of American Ethnology.
-'■ Manuel Peres to Don Estevan Miro, St. Louis, Feb. 27, 1788, in Lawrence Kinnaird, ed.,
Spain in the Mississippi Valley, 1765-179-j (Washington, 1946-1949), II, 244-245. Ann. Rep. \m.
Hist. Assoc, 1945.
24 MS, dated "San Luis de Ylinneses, November 15, 1777," in General Archives of the Indies,
Seville and pub. in Collections of State Hist. Soc. Wis., XVIII, 366-367.
25 Journal of Col. George Croghan, in E. B. O'Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative to the
Colonial History of the State of Netv York (Albany. 1853-1887), VII, 780.
26 Shea, ed., Early Voyages Up and Down the Mississippi, by Cavelier, St. Cosine, Le Sueur.
Gravier, and Guignas, 53.
2T Ibid., 58.
2S Journal of Col. George Croghan, in O'Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial
History of the State of New York, VII, 780.
-"•' Calendar of Virginia State Papers, I, 314.
Croghan held a conference with the Indians at Ouiatenon, on the
Wabash, in 1765, he found the area held by Wea, Piankashaw, Kicka-
poo, and Mascouten. 30
In the early part of the eighteenth century the Potawatomi moved
into the Chicago area. They continued to occupy this country and
were the ones who massacred the garrison of Fort Dearborn in 1812. 31
An estimate made in 1820 placed the number of Potawatomi living
in the Chicago neighborhood at about 1000. 32 They were the last large
group of Indians to leave Illinois. It was not until July 4, 1837, that
the final contract was let by the government for their removal beyond
the Mississippi River. 33
Living in the Rock River country were also the Winnebago. As
early as 1777 one report placed their village about six miles from the
Mississippi on the banks of the Rock. Their strength was estimated
at 150 warriors who were led by a chief called Lepy. 34 The Winne-
bago inhabited this territory for many years and were in the habit
of hunting in northwest Illinois. 35 Their principal settlement was
called Prophetstown and here they were living as late as 1831. 36
From time to time there were Shawnee groups in Illinois. There
were Shawnee among the Indians whom LaSalle settled about his fort
in 1682, but in later years most of them stayed in southern Illinois.
John J. Audubon found about fifty families encamped at the mouth
of the Cache River in 1810. They seem to have been on their winter
hunt. 37 As a rule, the Shawnee 's domain was Tennessee.
Although the Delaware Indians never were closely associated with
Illinois, they did pass through this State as they were gradually
pushed westward. Now and then parties of them were reported liv-
ing near Vincennes on the Illinois bank of the Wabash. Here, they
traded their furs. An encampment of forty was found in this vicinity
in 1818. 3S
The Ottawa for a time were in northeastern Illinois too. Tbe
famous chief, Pontiac, was an Ottawa and frequented Illinois until he
was killed at Cahokia in 1769 by a Kaskaskia Indian.
30 Journal of Col. George Croghan, in O'Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial
History of the State of New York, VII, 780.
31 "Capt. Heald's letter, dated Pittsburg, Oct. 23, 1812, in Niles Register, III, 155 (Nov. 7,
32 Jedidiah Morse, A Report to the Secretary of War of the Unite States, on Indiana Affairs . . .
1820 (New Haven, 1822) Appendix, p. 103.
3 - ; Contract between Lt. E. S. Sibley (for the U. S.) and Christian B. Dodson, July 4, 1837.
Original document in the Chicago Historical Society.
34 MS, dated "San Luis De Ylinneses, November 15, 1777" in General Archives of the Indies,
Seville and pub. in Collections of State Hist. Soc. Wis., XVII 1, 3G5-36G.
35 J. W. Spencer, Reminiscences of Pioneer Life in the Mississippi Valley, ed. by Milo Milton
Quaife and pub. as The Early Day of Rock Island and Davenport (Chicago, 1942), 18. Originally
pub. at Davenport in 1872.
30 George A. McCall, Letters from the Frontiers (Philadelphia, 1868), 240 (entry of July 1,
37 John Francis McDermott, ed., "Audubon's 'Journey up the Mississippi,' " Jour. III. State
Hist. Soc. XXXV, 151-153 (June. 1942).
38 Marie George Wind ell, ed., "The Road W T est in 1818: The Diary of Henry Vest Bingham,"
Mo. Hist. Rev., XL, ;'>2 (Oct., 1945).
This Is Illinois
Illinois is hilly at both ends and flat in the middle, but there is
much more to it than that. It is about 400 miles long and its northern
boundary is the same as that of southern Vermont and New Hamp-
shire ; its tip extends to the latitude of Richmond, Virginia. Here is a
remarkable range in plants, birds, landscape, and human pursuits
equalled by that between New England and Virginia. In northern
Illinois there are white birches, tamarack bogs, and a northern atmos-
phere much like Wisconsin. Yet in southern Illinois there are cotton-
fields and cypress swamps, and an appearance much like Kentucky
and Tennessee. There are western meadowlarks, western wild flowers,
and western cattle brought here to be fattened on Illinois corn ; and
on our lakes are sea-birds from the Atlantic Ocean and Labrador.
In the north near Rockford, on the rolling hills left by the last
glacier, there is dairying country and the surging acres of the military
reservation at Camp Grant. Westward in the hilly JoDaviess County
is Charles Mound, 1,241 feet high, a small mountain in Illinois. Nearby
are the last battlegrounds of the Sauk and the Fox. Eastward is
Chicago, tall and grand, with the ocean-like Lake Michigan sparkling
in the sun. Here are the cultural centers — the universities, the mu-
seums, zoos, aquarium, planetarium, art galleries, great skyscrapers,
businesses, and a large foreign-born population.
On the flat prairie there are coal mines, fields of corn, wheat, oats
and soybeans, and many hogs and cattle. Along the rivers are the
fishing towns, and down the flat part of the state are the artificial
lakes which were built after men found that draining the prairie
was not always a good thing.
Here is Springfield, the capital, home of Abraham Lincoln, the
Prairie President; this is a cultural center in middle Illinois, sur-
rounded by college towns, as well as by coal mines and big fields of
corn. Near the congested St. Louis area rise the great flat-topped
mounds in the midst of other remains of the ancient Cahokia religi-
ous center where Middle Mississippi People lived in considerable
On the rising bulk of the Ozark foothills there are neat apple
and peach orchards that are glorious in spring and scented with ripe-
ness in late summer. There are the coal mines of Harrisburg and
Herrin, the fluorspar mines of Rosiclare, the oil wells of south-
eastern Illinois. Here are the national forests with yellow pines on
the hilltops, and below the line from St. Louis to Vincennes lies Egypt
where the Mississippi rolls slowly past the haven for wild geese on
Horseshoe Lake, past cotton fields, and the green magnolias of Thebes.
Mockingbirds sing in the old southern city of Cairo, with its south-
ern traditions and way of life. And beyond is the great junction of
the Ohio and the Mississippi.
This is Illinois. Its towns and villages are made up of a varied
population which has come from many nations of the world, from
the old New England towns, from the south and the north and the
far west. And the towns vary with the pursuits of the inhabitants,
from fruit growing to fishing, from farming to oil wells, from mining
to educating. Through the state run the highways and country lanes,
the railroads, and airplanes. This is Illinois. Behind these dioramas
in the Illinois State Museum lies a part of its story.
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA
STORY OF ILLINOIS SERIES. SPRINGFIELD
1 REV. 1954