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Published semiannually by 

the University Libraries 

and the College of Arts and Sciences 

at Western Illinois University 

Macomb, Illinois 61455 




JOHN E. HALLWAS, Chainnan 


DAVID D. ANDERSON, M/c/;/^fl/7 State University 
MICHAEL BECKES, ///mozs State Museum 
RICHARD W. CROCKETT, Western Illinois University 
RICHARD QKO^XyER, Purdue University 
JAMES E. DAVIS, Illinois College 
RODNEY DAVIS, Knox College 
ARLIN D. FENTEM, Western Illinois University 
MYRON J. FOGDE, Augustana College 
FRANK W. GOUDY, Western Illinois University 
PEARCE S. GROVE, Western Illinois University 
THOMAS E. HELM, Western Illinois University 
WALTER B. WEnDR\C¥.SO^, MacMurray College 
ROBERT JOHANNSEN, University of Illinois 
FREDERICK G. JONES, Western Illinois University 
JERRY KLEIN, "Peoria Journal Star" 
CHARLES W. MAYER, Western Illinois University 
DENNIS Q. McINERNY,5raJ/ey University 
RONALD E. n^LSO^, District' Historian, 

Illinois Department of Consen'ation 
RONALD E. NELSON, Western Illinois University 
RICHARD D. POLL, Westeni Illinois University 
STUART STRVEVER, Northwestern University 
ROALD D. TWEET, Augustana College 
WILLIAM L. URBAN, Monmouth College 
ELLEN M. WHITNEY, Editor emeritus, 

"Journal of the Illinois State Historical Societ\> " 

Subscription rates are $2.00 a year for individuals and $3.00 for institutions. Single 
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Correspondence about subscriptions, contributions, and books for review should be 
sent to the Chairman of the Board of Editors, Western Illinois Regional Studies, 
Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois 61455. 




Perception of Land Quality and the Settlement 
of Northern Pike County 1821-1836 5 

Siyoung Park 

Land Speculation in Fulton County 1817-1832 22 

Gordana Rezab 

Archeological Explorations 

at Jubilee College Historic Site 36 

Joan I. Unsicker 

Three Antislavery Leaders of Bureau County 46 

Karen Berfield 

The Men's Literary Clubs of Jacksonville 66 

Walter B. Hendrickson 
John N. Langfitt 

Notes and Documents 84 

Reviews of Books 89 

Contributors 97 

Copyright 1980 by Western Illinois University 


Dubofsky and Van Tine, JOHN L. LEWIS: A BIOGRAPHY 89 

By Victor Hicken 

Arrington and Bitton, THE MORMON EXPERIENCE: 


By Richard D. Poll 


By Jay Balderson 


By John E. Hallwas 



PIKE COUNTY 1821-1836 

Siyoiino; Park 

The initial evaluation of the Illinois prairie by early settlers has 
been a subject of some debate. One interpretation of this matter is 
that easterners and southerners who migrated to Illinois felt that 
the absence of trees indicated infertile soils and hence believed the 
prairie areas should be avoided because they were less productive 
than the timbered lands.^ Additionally, the absence of timber for 
buildings, fences, and fuel, the inaccessibility of prairies to 
navigable waterways, the difficulty of securing a dependable 
domestic water supply, the exposure to severe weather in winter, 
the dangers of infection thought to be associated with grassland 
areas, and the frequent grass fires have been presented as factors 
that delayed settlement of the prairie.^ 

The purpose of this study is to determine what early settlers 
regarded as good farmland by examining the prices they paid for 
prairie and forest land in a portion of Pike County, Illinois. The data 
on land prices were taken from Pike County deed records for 
1821-1836, which are located in the Archives and Special 
Collections Department at Western Illinois University Library. In 
addition to land prices, the deed records include information on the 
yeara parcel of land was sold, its location, and the buyer and seller. 

Pike County is part of the Illinois Military Tract, the area 
between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers that was set aside as 
bounty land for veterans of the War of 1812. Between 1821 and 1823, 
Pike County encompassed the entire Military Tract. Prior to that 
time, the Tract was part of Madison County, and in 1823, the area 
east of the Fourth Principal Meridian became Fulton County. The 
present boundaries of Pike County and the other counties in the 
Military Tract are shown in Figure 1 . The illustration also shows the 
location of that portion of Pike County which was selected as the 
focus for this investigation. 

The study area is a tier of seven townships between the 
Mississippi and Illinois rivers in northern Pike County (Fig. 2). It 
was selected as a geographic focus for two reasons: the contrasting 


4th Principal 

Base line\ 




local topography, which ranges from floodplains and sharp bluffs 
near the two rivers to flat and dissected upland areas, and the 
distance between upland prairie areas and navigable waterways.^ 
These contrasts were undoubtedly as vivid at the time of settlement 
as they are today. 


As mentioned previously, the data on land prices and 
transactions were taken from the Pike County deed records for a 
sixteen-year period between 1821 and 1836. The information was 
recorded on computer tapes by township, range, section, and 
quarter section, and a simple computer program was developed to 
retrieve the deed record information for northern Pike County. Next, 
the original vegetation of northern Pike County was reconstructed. 
Three sources were considered for the reconstruction — namely, the 
impressions of the early public land sun/eyors, the 1872 Atlas Map 
of Pike County, and the 1915 Pike County soils report.'* 

Initially, it was thought that the field notes of the public land 
surveyors would provide a reasonable portrayal of pre-settlement 
vegetation in the study area. However, these initial impressions 
were often subjective, and various adjectives were used to describe 
similar topography. Also, no maps were available to check the land 
descriptions. For these reasons, the early surveyors' perceptions of 
northern Pike County, while colorful, were discounted as a suitable 
basis for a map of original vegetation. 

The 1872 Atlas Map of Pike County shares many of the same 
shortcomings as the descriptions of the public land surveyors. 
While the individual township maps, plus the general Pike County 
map, indicate the location of wooded areas, the illustrations are 
hand-sketched with only a general reference to specific sections. 
Also, the symbols that are used to show the wooded areas can be 
interpreted as portraying either apple orchards or forests. Finally, it 
should be noted that the Atlas Map of Pike County, like other 
Illinois county atlases prepared at the time, was designed to extoll 
the most influential farmers, who financially supported its 
publication. Accurate geography was an accidental by-product. 

The 1915 Pike County soils report proved to be the best source 
for reconstructing the natural landscape as it probably existed in 
1821. One main advantage of the report as a data source is the 
identification of soils as having been formed under upland prairie, 
upland timber, and bottomland conditions. A second advantage is 
the series of detailed soils maps that accompany the text. Both the 
detailed descriptions of the soil types and their location were used 
to map the prairie and forest areas for the seven townships in the 


Burial Marker for a Veteran of thie War of 1812. 


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Gently Rolling Uplands. 




Study area. The result is shown in Figure 3. Upland forests were 
concentrated along the bluffs of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, 
while upland prairies were found primarily in the flat eastern 

The Settlement of Northern Pike County 

The settlennent of northern Pike County was similar to the 
settlement of the whole Military Tract. The details of this settlement 
have been treated elsewhere, notably by Carlson in The Illinois 
Military Tract, and so they will only be summarized here.^ 

Few veterans settled in the Military Tract. Most of the persons 
who were granted land remained in the East and transferred their 
deeds to other easterners. Land deeds were initiated in October, 
1817. By early 1819, some 17,000 deeds had been issued by the War 
Departnrient. The typical deed, or warrant, entitled the veteran to a 
quarter-section (160 acres) of land in the Tract. However, a limited 
number of 320-acre warrants were issued to officers. 

During the 1820s, most of the persons who bought or sold land 
in the Military Tract were from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, 
Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The names 
of several well-known early speculators, such as Romulus Riggs of 
Philadelphia and Stephen Munn of New York, appear repeatedly in 
the deed records as land buyers. 

Types of Deeds 

Four types of deeds are found in the land records for northern 
Pike County: conveyance, indenture, warranty, and quit-claim. A 
conveyance was any written instrument that involved the transfer of 
land, while an indenture was a deed that bound the seller and the 
buyer to the terms of a land transfer. A warranty deed guaranteed 
that ownership of the land was undisputed and the title was clear. 
Accordingly, a warranty deed commanded the highest price per acre 
in comparison with other deeds. Land obtained from the purchase 
of original land patents carried a warranty deed, and was termed a 
patent title. Land parcels were sold with a quit-claim deed when the 
seller did not have full title to the property. This was usually the 
case when the property was sold at public auction by the State 
Auditor in order to recover delinquent taxes. The new owner of such 
property held a "tax title" rather than a patent title, and the original 
owner had the right to reclaim the land within two years from the 
date of sale by paying twice the purchase price of the land parcel. 

















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Land Sales, 1821-1836 

Because there were relatively few land sales between 1821 and 
1824, that period is a starting point in identifying what early settlers 
in northern Pike County regarded as good quality land. Figure 4 
illustrates the average per-acre price for each quarter section that 
was sold between 1821 and 1824. Quarter sections commonly sold 
for $100, or $.62 per acre. Many of the quarter sections purchased 
were gently sloping stream terraces, or bottomland near the 
Mississippi River. Although not documented here, these areas were 
covered with woodland vegetation at the time of purchase. 

Furthermore, a comparison of Figure 4 and Figure 3 shows that 
most of the upland purchases during the 1821-1824 period were 
associated with forest areas; very few transactions were recorded 
for the prairie areas in the eastern townships. This early preference 
for stream terraces, bottomland, and upland forest areas suggests 
that timbered areas were regarded as desirable sites for either 
settlement or speculation. Proximity to waterways was probably a 
significant factor. 


A verage 










per sale 

per acre 

residen ts 





S .67 




















































































Source: Pike County Deed Records. 

Between 1824 and 1830, land sales and the average price per 
acre declined in northern Pike County (Table 1 ). Land sales during 
the period were concentrated either in the upland forest areas and 
bottomland in the western townships, or else they involved land 
sold previously. No prairie lands were sold during the 1824-1830 



After 1830, total land sales in northern Pike County steadily 
increased. Land prices, however, fluctuated greatly fronn year to 
year, just as they had in previous years. Much of this fluctuation 
was tied to the number of quit-claim sales, which, because of their 
low prices, depressed the average value of land. In contrast, by 
1836 land with warranty deeds was selling for more than $5 per 
acre. Finally, Table 1 shows the change in ownership from 
out-of-state purchasers to Illinois residents, many of whom had 
already settled in Pike County. 

100,000 r 









Public Land Sales 


UNIT: $1,000 




1814 1820 





Source : Carstensen, Public Land ( 1968) 


The trend of increased sales after 1830 was not unique to 
northern Pike County, but was taking place throughout the state 
and nation (Fig. 5).^ The active land sales in northern Pike County 
were triggered by the opening of the Land Office in Quincy in 1831 , 
through which over two million acres were offered for public sale. In 
contrast with bounty land purchases, settlers could secure clear 
title to parcels sold at public sales and were therefore more likely to 
make subsequent improvements. 

Previously, it was shown that the initial land sales in northern 
Pike County were in forest areas. A further indication of the kind of 
land that early settlers valued most highly was provided by plotting 




the number of sales to determine if the land that changed 
ownership most frequently was in upland forest or prairie areas. 
This information is presented in Figure 6. A visual comparison with 
Figure 3 shows that while there is some correlation between the 
location of upland forests and prairies and the number of sales 
recorded for a parcel of land, the relationship, at best, is quite 
general. Instead, the number of times that land was purchased and 
resold in northern Pike County appears related to two factors: the 
type of property deed, and the establishment of early communities. 

Between 1821 and 1836, land with quit-claim deeds changed 
owners more frequently than land held under other deeds. In 1836, 
for example, parcels with quit-claim deeds were heavily concen- 
trated in the upland forest areas of the western townships. Most of 
the forest areas were owned by absentee landowners who made 
little if any improvements to their properties. It is likely that the 
absentee landowners were primarily speculators who were more 
interested in short-term profits than in permanent settlement. It 
should be remembered that quit-claim deeds could be purchased 
for as low as the amount of delinquent taxes. To be sure, the 
previous owner had the option of re-purchasing the land within two 
years, but the odds that this would happen were so slim that 
quit-claim deeds could be bought with little financial risk to the new 
owner. Because there was a minimum of investment and the 
promise of a substantial profit if land prices increased, quit-claim 
deeds were highly speculative and, accordingly, had successive 

The establishment of new communities may have influenced the 
number of land sales as well. The largest concentration of 
successive land transfers shown in Figure 6 corresponds to the 
location of Griggsville, which was platted in 1834. It is possible, 
although by no means certain, that the number of times land was 
bought and resold in the Griggsville area was due to land 
speculation that often accompanied the founding of a new 
community. A lesser concentration of land transfers is found in the 
vicinity of Barry, which was platted in 1836. Here, the pattern 
appears related more to speculation associated with quit-claim 
deeds than with the founding of a new community. 

Figure 7 shows that land sales in 1836 were concentrated in both 
upland forest and prairie areas. It also illustrates that the price of 
prairie lands often exceeded $10 per acre, while forest areas were 
sold for as little as $.01 per acre. 

Several explanations may be given for this contrast in land 
prices. One is that most of the prairie areas were not entered for 
sale until after 1830, and so they automatically commanded higher 



































































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prices because there were relatively few parcels available for 
purcfiase. A second explanation is that prairie areas were more 
expensive because they were sold with a warranty deed while most 
of the forest areas were sold with quit-claim deeds. A third 
explanation is related to the parcel size of the prairie areas that were 
purchased. The most common warranty deed was for 40 acres, 
which suggests that the land was purchased for agriculture and not 
for speculation. 

A final step in tracing the pattern of settlement in northern Pike 
County involves determining how the initial entry of land sales 
varied over the 1821-1836 period of investigation. Figure 8 shows 
that land sales before 1830 were concentrated in the forest areas of 
the western townships. After 1830, other land parcels were 
purchased for the first time, notably the prairie areas in the eastern 
townships. Most of these parcels were bought by Pike County 

A closer examination of the post-1830 land entries indicates that 
the parcels sold and subsequently settled were mainly on the edge 
of the prairie where there was access to timber. Some scholars have 
argued that settlement on prairie land was due to population 
pressure— that is, as more people migrated into an area, the late 
arrivals were forced to settle on prairie areas. ^ The higher prices 
paid for prairie land in 1836 support this view. However, a counter 
argument is that the prairie lands were selected by preference. By 
locating on the prairies or on the prairie-forest margin,^ early 
settlers had reasonable access to both agricultural land and to 
timber for building materials, fences, and fuel. 


This study of land deed records from northern Pike County 
demonstrates that the earliest land transactions were concentrated 
in the forest areas of the western townships. These areas were often 
held in quit-claim deeds by absentee landowners and went through 
a succession of land transfers during the fifteen-year period under 
investigation. By 1836, the concentration of land sales had shifted 
to the prairie or prairie-forest margin areas of the eastern 
townships. The latter parcels carried warranty deeds; they were 
sold at a higher price than upland forest areas, and they were 
purchased primarily by Pike County residents. 

Of course, the founding of the first communities, such as 
Griggsville, influenced the early settlement of northern Pike 
County. While the platting of new towns undoubtedly encouraged 
speculation and ted to high land prices, their presence as early 
market centers made them focal points for permanent settlement 


around which farmland could be purchased, Improved, and made 
the basis of an agricultural economy. 

What, then, can be said about the pioneers' evaluation of good 
farmland in northern Pike County? The answer to this question is 
complicated by the initial sale of bounty land deeds to absentee 
owners, especially speculators. While these early land transactions 
were concentrated in forest areas, the evidence presented suggests 
that the parcels were purchased for speculation and not for 
agricultural settlement. In other words, speculators probably did 
not consider soil fertility or ease of cultivation, but availability of 
wood and access to water, as the prime factors in determining 
which parcels to purchase for resale. This may or may not have 
been the view of the earliest homesteaders. 

Later land transactions were in the prairie areas. Because most 
of the buyers were Pike County residents, it can be assumed that 
there was some first-hand knowledge of the parcels and that they 
were clearly regarded as good farmland. In short, later settlers did 
prefer prairie parcels for agricultural reasons. This pattern of land 
evaluation was probably repeated in the early history of other 
western Illinois counties where there was a similar diversity of 
timber and prairie, and where speculation and homestead 
purchases were both in evidence. 


' Douglas R. McMannis, The Initial Evaluation and Utilization of the Illinois 
Prairies, 1815-1840, Research Paper No. 94 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 
1964), p. 2. 

^ Carl O. Sauer, Geography of the Upper Illinois Valley and History of 
Development, Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin No. 27 (Urbana: Univ. of 
Illinois Press, 1916), pp. 153-56; Harland H. Barrows, Geography of the Middle 
Illinois Valley, Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin 15 (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois 
Press, 1910), pp. 76-80, and Ralph H. Brown, Historical Geography of the United 
States (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1946), pp. 206-11. 

^ Arlin D. Fentenn, "The Physical Environment," in Illinois: Land and Life in the 
Prairie State, ed. Ronald E. Nelson (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/ Hunt, for the Illinois 
Geographical Society, 1978), pp. 87-89. 

^ Atlas Map of Pike County, Illinois (Davenport, Iowa: Andreas Lyter and Co., 
1872); and Cyril G. Hopkins et al., Pike County Soils, Soil Report No. 11 (Urbana: 
Univ. of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station, 1915). 

^ Theodore L. Carlson, The Illinois Military Tract: A Study in Land Occupation, 
Utilization, and Tenure, (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1951), pp. 2-44. 


° Arthur N. Cole, "Cyclical and Sectional Variations in the Sales of Public 
Lands, 1816-1860," in The Public Lands: Studies in the History of Public Domain, 
ed. Vernon Carstensen (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1968), p. 241. 

^ William V. Pooley, The Settlement of Illinois from 1830 to 1850 (Madison: 
Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1908), p. 397. 

° Terry G. Jordan, "Between the Forest and the Prairie," in Geographic 
Perspectives on the American Past: Readings on the Historical Geography of the 
United States, ed. David Ward (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979), p. 60. 


Gordana Rezab 

When Congress voted to distribute free land to veterans of the 
War of 1812, it hoped to achieve two objectives: pay off its soldiers 
and encourage migration to the West. By granting land which was 
located in the nnost remote frontier sections of Ohio, Illinois, and 
Missouri, Congress sought to secure firmly those territories. It 
expected that the hardy veterans would become pioneer settlers in 
lands which the Indians still contested. But this second objective of 
Congress did not materialize. Theodore Carlson has given a 
thorough account of what actually happened.'' As land titles first 
were issued in October of 1817, they rapidly passed into the hands 
of speculators. Only a few veterans ventured west and even fewer 
actually settled on their lots. Thus, the lands which Congress 
meant to populate with sturdy pioneer stock instead became the 
investment properties of eastern businessmen. 

Research on Land Speculation 

In the early phases of midwestern land ownership, investors and 
speculators played an important role, not only in the Illinois Military 
Tract, but also throughout the frontier. Whenever new territories 
became available for purchase, speculators were among the most 
important prospective buyers. They commanded more money and 
political influence than either settlers or squatters and thus were 
able to compete successfully for any land they desired. At federal 
land sales they frequently acquired large unbroken tracts, which 
were easier to administer than scattered holdings. 

Speculators' purchases in the Illinois Military Tract differed from 
those at federal land sales. In the Tract, speculators had to buy in 
increments of 160 acres, the amount given to each individual 
soldier. They could not hope to build up large contiguous holdings 
because the locations of soldiers' grants were determined by 
lottery and thus were widely scattered. 

There has been considerable research devoted to nineteenth- 
century midwestern land speculation in general and that of the 




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Illinois Military Tract in particular. This research is characterized by 
three main points of view regarding early speculation activity on the 

Some scholars consider speculation a hindrance to the orderly 
development of pioneer communities. Their conclusions reflect 
settlers' complaints that withholding property from the market in 
anticipation of higher prices resulted in fewer farms and less 
population to bear the burden of taxes for supporting schools, 
roads, and local political offices.^ Settlers harbored particular 
resentment against out-of-state land owners, because taxes on land 
belonging to non-residents went to support state government while 
taxes owned by resident owners benefitted the local counties. 

A second group of scholars feel that speculators were 
indispensable to the money-tight frontier market because they 
frequently purchased land which was offered at auction by the state 
in order to collect delinquent taxes. In many instances, original 
owners re-purchased their lots when able to pay. Speculators thus 
extended a form of credit to frontiersmen which contributed to the 
survival of pioneer homesteads and communities."* 

The third major view regarding speculative activities concen- 
trates on profit margins. After examining land transactions by a 
number of speculators, Carlson concludes that only large 
landholders realized profits and that small investors almost always 
lost money. He explains the difference by the ability of large 
speculators to retain their holdings while they waited for land 
values to rise.^ Robert Swierenga, on the other hand, contends that 
speculators made profits less by holding land than by buying 
tax-defaulted properties and reselling them for amounts far in 
excess of standard interest rates. ^ 

Most scholarly literature on land speculation has bypassed the 
question of what type of land and what geographic locations 
speculators preferred. This lack of attention may have stemmed 
from contemporaneous nineteenth-century views on speculation. 
According to Michael Chevalier, land speculation was not confined 
to any class of real estate. Wild lands, swamp lands, improved 
agricultural lands, town lots, and city real estate were all included.^ 
Governor Robert Morris, America's foremost land boomer, is said to 
have preferred large tracts. He claimed they insured against 
mistakes and misrepresentations by surveyors and that even 
inferior land brought good prices when adjacent land was already 
developed.^ Allan G. Bogue maintains that the highest profits were 
realized by speculators who scattered their holdings enough so that 
they would benefit from the improvements of neighboring farmers 
but yet concentrated them sufficiently so that administration was 



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not too expensive. 9 Such generalizations about speculators' 
preferences did not encourage research which emphasized spatial 
aspects of speculation activities. 

Swierenga's studies of deed records in Iowa are a notable 
exception to the predonninantly econonnic treatment of land 
speculation. He specifically concentrates on the question of site 
and soil preferences. Based on land transactions from ten Iowa 
counties, his research concludes that speculators were more 
interested in good agricultural lands than in proximity to county 
seats, major towns, or important rivers.''^ 

This article will examine deeds from one county of the Illinois 
Military Tract in order to determine how land purchases by 
residents of that county differed from those made by speculators. 
Because land purchases in the Military Tract could be executed only 
in increments of up to 320 acres per holding, it is assumed that 
speculators purchased land here with more discrimination than 
when buying large unbroken tracts, thus revealing a more detailed 
pattern of soil and site preferences. 

Land Sales in the Military Tract 

It has been mentioned earlier that, rather than take possession 
of their land grants, most veterans were happy to sell their warrants 
for whatever price they could get. Carlson estimated that by 1825 
most land had passed into the hands of speculators who, in future 
years, became the main suppliers of land for settlers. ^^ 

The history of land transactions from speculators to settlers is 
far from simple. Land records indicate that properties often 
changed hands with no evidence that there was any change in the 
use of land. This was due to the system of taxes. If veterans owned 
their land, they were not required to pay taxes the first three years. 
Any owner who was not the original grantee was required to pay 
immediately. If taxes were not paid, the land was auctioned to the 
lowest bidder, usually for the amount of unpaid taxes. The original 
owner had the right of repossession within two years if he 
compensated the new owner for all taxes and in addition paid a stiff 
interest rate. If the land was not redeemed in this way, full title 
passed on to the new owner. In case the latter wanted to dispose of 
property for which he held the tax title prior to the expiration of the 
two-year redemption period, he could sell it with a quit-claim deed. 
The new owner, however, still did not possess full right to his land 
until the two years had passed. Land prices thus depended to a 
large measure on the type of deed. Tax deeds could be bought for 
less than one cent per acre, while quit-claim and warranty (full title) 
deeds ranged from one cent to $6.25 per acre. The price of a 


quit-claim deed was largely dependent on how "secure" the title 
was. Properties for which the two-year redemption period was 
about to expire brought more than recently auctioned ones. Resale 
of tax-defaulted properties occurred frequently. Land was some- 
times resold on the same day it was bought at auction, often for 
double the price. 

Another reason for frequent changes of land ownership resulted 
from the process of settlement. A pioneer farmer seldom settled on 
the first piece of land he acquired. Usually his family made several 
moves, most of which involved land purchases. Labor on the 
frontier was scarce and expensive; hence any type of improvement 
brought good returns. Farmers frequently settled on one lot, built a 
cabin and laid out fields, then sold it to buy another larger or better 
property. "Farms— somewhat improved, are almost daily exchang- 
ing owners, and a considerable spirit of enterprise has been 
awakened," wrote John M. Peck in his guide for emigrants.^^ Deed 
records, however, do not include information on any improvements, 
although these must have substantially affected sale prices.^^ 

Study Area and Methodology 

Fulton County was chosen for analysis because it was the 
earliest county in the Military Tract to develop sizeable towns. 
Lewistown, later to become the county seat, was platted and 
promoted as early as 1822. The founding of Canton followed three 
years later. Fulton County was also in the path of major migration 
routes into the Tract's northern and western prairie counties. By 
1839 the county had well-established roads connecting Lewistown 
with Canton, Knoxville and Peoria to the north, and Rushville, 
Quincy, and Springfield to the south and west. Havana, on the east 
side of the Illinois River opposite the mouth of Spoon River, served 
as a major connecting link with St. Louis. 

Fulton County is basically an eroded upland. Nearly one third of 
the county is rough land where narrow divides alternate with steep 
slopes. One fourth of the surface is bottom land along the Illinois 
and Spoon rivers. Prairies located in northern townships account 
for another seventeen percent of the area. It is estimated that at the 
time of settlement sixty percent of the county was timbered, 
covering primarily slopes and some bottom land. This mix of 
woodland and prairie was particularly conducive to early 
settlement. As Carlson has stated, any distance of more than one 
half mile from farm to timber was considered an intolerable 

As mentioned above, the purpose of this study is to analyze 
early land transactions in Fulton County in order to distinguish 















Figure 3. Fulton County Townships. 


between purchases made by county residents, those executed by 
local speculators, and those involving out-of-state investors. More 
specifically, this study is designed to answer questions as to who 
paid higher prices, what quality of land and location were preferred, 
and whether tinne affected choices. A computerized data set 
developed in conjunction with the West Central Illinois Land Deed 
Conversion Project was utilized. Data from Fulton County covered 
all transactions from 1823 to 1832 and a number of deeds from 1817 
to 1823.''^ This data set was analyzed with the SPSS program 
(Statistical Package for Social Sciences), a choice which made it 
possible to isolate and examine a number of elements: price, 
category of buyer, location of purchase, soil quality, and type of 

In order to arrive at a scale which would measure the desirability 
of land for each lot or quarter section, the study utilized one of the 
earliest published descriptions of the Military Tract. ""^ Nicholas 
Biddle Van Zandt's guide described every quarter section's capacity 
for agriculture, nature of soil, and vegetation. Occasionally, 
additional information was appended regarding navigability and 
velocity of streams, availability of milling stone, and the presence 
of coal. This volume and similar publications must have guided 
purchases by non-residents of the county. For this reason. Van 
Zandt's land descriptions, although somewhat loosely worded in 
comparison to modern soil evaluations, were utilized to construct a 
scale of land types (Table 1). 

Land Sales in Fulton County 1817-1832 

It was pointed out above that land purchases in the Military 
Tract could be executed with a warranty, a quit-claim, or a tax deed. 
Table 2 summarizes information on prices paid for these three types 
of deeds and the average land type purchased. In this tabulation 
several values stand out. Fulton County residents paid by far the 
highest average price for warranty deeds and bought the lowest 
land-type property. The high purchase price undoubtedly reflects 
improvements in which the other two kinds of buyers were not 
interested. The low land type probably reflects the fact that farms 
with poorer land changed hands more often than better types. By 
buying poor land, improving the property, and selling it, pioneers 
increased their equities. Once they were able to afford good quality 
land, they usually did not trade it. 

Purchases by the Ross family exemplify activities by local 
speculators. Ossian Ross was an army officer who received 320 
acres as a military bounty. Prior to coming to Fulton County in 
1821, the family acquired additional properties from soldiers at a 



Description Land type value 

Overflooded by branches 1 

Flooded by Spoon River 1 

Broken thin soil 2 

Rough broken land 2 

Poor broken land 2 

Third rate farming land 3 

Second rate land 4 

Good second rate farming land 5 

Good farming land 6 

Very good farming land 7 

Rich second rate soil 8 

Excellent second rate soil 8 

Rich first rate soil 9 

First rate rich land 9 

Source: Nicholas Biddle Van Zandt, A Full Description of the Soil, Water, Timber, 

and Prairies of Each Lot, or Quarter Section of the Military Lands between the 
Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, Washington, 1818. 

VALUES, 1817-1832 


Price (in cer 



nd type value 

War ran ty 

Quit claim 

Tax deed 


Quit claim 

Tax deed 

Fulton County 






Ossian Ross 















Source: Fulton County Deed Records. 

high price of $1 .48 per acre. In Fulton County, however, Ross was 
able to purchase warranty deeds considerably cheaper. This 
coincided with a temporary deflation of prices after the initial 
post-1817 land-sale boom. It should be noted that Ross paid almost 
the same average price as out-of-state speculators. 

The high prices paid by Ross for quit-claim deeds probably 
indicate these deeds were quite secure. The relatively high prices he 
paid for tax deeds may reflect his interest in partially improved 
property which would have been taxed higher. He also may have 
preferred to deal in good quality land. As can be seen from Table 2, 
Ossian Ross consistently bought property with higher land type 
values. Compared to out-of-state speculators, he appears to have 


been a much more discriminating buyer in regard to land quality. 

However, land quality did not seem to affect the price of 
warranty deeds to any great extent, nor was higher rated land 
purchased more often during the later years. Table 3 shows 
relationships between these variables for each category of 
buyers. It will be noted that the only conclusive correlation is 
between price and year of purchase. Thus, Fulton County residents 
paid more for their land in later years, while Ossian Ross and 
out-of-state speculators paid less. 

Lack of a conclusive relationship between price and type of land 
is particularly puzzling. Three explanations are possible, all of 
which would require data which were not available in deed records. 
It has been noted earlier that improvements raised the value of 
property considerably. In the case of Fulton County residents, the 
rise in value due to improvements could have effectively nullified 
the lower prices of inferior land types. 

Ross, on the other hand, probably did not purchase improved 
land, although his transactions also do not show a clear price and 
land type relationship. We know that Ross paid large sums for his 
early warranty purchases. In later years he acquired first hand 
knowledge of Fulton County properties and was able to purchase 
them at relatively lower prices. With his documented preference for 
better land types, he appears to have been in a position to pick up 

The third factor which might have contributed to the lack of 
proven relationship between price and land type is the presence of 


Price per acre Price per acre Land type 

Buyer Land type Year Year 

Fulton County 
























Pearson's correlation coefficient shows the extent to which two variables are 
related. The value fluctuates from 1 .0 to -1 .0. 1 .0 indicates a perfect relationship, 
indicates no relationship, and a negative value indicates an inverse relationship. 

Sig refers to significance level, which is the probability that a relationship is 
more than just by chance. Common accepted significance levels are 0.05 and 0.01 . 
Higher values indicate that the relationship could be explained by a chance factor 
and therefore could not be accepted as reliable. 

Source; Fulton County Deed Records. 













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coal. Van Zandt's guide mentions coal only a few times, yet 
according to state geologist Amos Worthen, coal outcroppings 
could be found "on all principal streams in the southern and 
western portions of the county . . . while the thickest and most 
valuable seams underlie the central and northeastern portions of 
the county."^'' He named numerous mines which were exploited on 
a commercial basis in 1859 and stated that some had been worked 
since the earliest settlement of the county. However, the slopes 
where coal occurred were generally regarded as the poorest 
agricultural land. It would be reasonable to assume that if such 
sites were considered profitable they would have brought good 
prices despite their marginal value for agriculture. 

Distribution of Purchases 

The spatial distribution of warranty deed purchases constitutes 
the third area of investigation. Table 4 presents these purchases by 
four major periods, and several facts stand out. By the end of 1825 
Ossian Ross had stopped buying warranty deeds. This is 
unfortunate because it prevents an analysis of his purchases in 
comparison to those of non-resident speculators during the 
remaining seven years. An examination of all transactions 
attributed to Ross indicates that from 1825 to 1832 he sold the 
greater part of his Fulton County holdings. He is known to have 
operated a ferry across the Illinois River, starting in 1823, and in 
1829 he moved to the present site of Havana, which he then platted. 
It is not known, however, why he moved from Lewistown, which he 
founded and named after his son, nor why he divested himself of 
most of his Fulton County holdings. 

Another fact that should be noted is the relatively large 
percentage of purchases by Fulton County residents in the same 
townships where Ross originally owned property. Lewistown, 
Cass, and Bernadotte Townships were particularly favored, and all 
three were considered to have large amounts of good quality land 
(Fig. 3). Ross invested also in Isabel and Waterford Townships. A 
site on the Spoon River several miles upstream from the river's 
mouth for a while promised to develop into a growing town, 
Waterford. As that name implies, the Spoon River could be forded 
at this particular location. The site also marked the point where 
corn and wheat were loaded on flat boats to be taken to St. Louis''^ 
and where immigrants left river transportation to proceed overland. 
Ross' ferry to Havana also operated from that point. Ross' holdings 
in Isabel Township did not belong to that general area. They were 
located several miles to the east on good agricultural land. 


Fulton County residents bought heavily in three townships 
which Ross apparently did not favor. These three townships, 
Putman, Buckheart, and Joshua, flank Canton Township and 
exhibited fairly extensive prairies. Lots purchased by county 
residents were frequently located in transitional zones between 
prairie and timber while most of Ross' holdings were located on 
broader divides. According to Worthen, Buckheart and Putman 
Townships were also early mining sites. However, there is no 
evidence that Fulton County residents at that time bought land with 
the intention of mining, although coal was used by the pioneers for 
domestic purposes. 

The third noteworthy fact in Table 4 is the remarkably even 
distribution of purchases by non-resident speculators. For any 
given period, the total percentage of their purchases in nine of the 
approximately twenty western townships does not exceed 
fifty-seven percent. Slight concentration of non-resident purchases 
seems to coincide with those of county residents. 


Fulton County deed records were examined under the 
assumption that small land transactions would reveal a more 
detailed pattern of preference on the part of speculators than has 
been thus far documented by other studies. The performed 
analyses did not bear this out to the extent that was expected. 
Non-resident speculators, however, did exhibit a distinctly different 
pattern of land purchases than Ossian Ross, who resided in the 
area. Ross concentrated his purchases on sites which promised a 
quick return, sites such as the vicinity of Lewistown and Waterford 
and the numerous scattered holdings considered suitable to the 
agricultural techniques of the day. 

Out-of-state speculators seemed to purchase land as if 
immediate profit was of little concern. Their holdings were rather 
evenly distributed, and the quality of their land was significantly 
lower than that owned by Ross. Especially noteworthy was the 
extremely low land-type value of properties which non-resident 
speculators bought with tax deeds (Table 2). An average value of 
two implies that speculators frequently purchased land subject to 
flooding. Such land was usually not redeemed by former owners. 
Thus the speculators must be credited with foresight that was 
lacking in Ossian Ross. The land which Van Zandt, Ross, and 
Fulton County pioneers bypassed is today some of the most 
productive in the county. 



' Theodore L. Carlson, The Illinois Military Tract: A Study of Land Occupation, 
Utilization, and Tenure (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1951), pp. 1-9. 

^ Carlson, p. 54. 

^ Robert P. Swierenga, Acres for Cents: Delinquent Tax Auctions in Frontier 
Iowa (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1976), p. 106. 

^ Carlson, p. 41 . 

^ Carlson, p. 40. 

° Swierenga, p. 7. 

'^ Michael Chevalier, Society, /banners and Politics in the United States (1839), 
as quoted in A. M. Sakolski, The Great American Land Bubble (New York: Harpers, 
1932), p. 239. 

S Sakolski, pp. 170-71. 

^ Allan G. Bogue, From Prairie to Corn Belt, Farming on the Illinois and Iowa 
Prairies (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1963), p. 44. 

'^ Robert P. Swierenga, Pioneers and Profits: Land Speculation on the Iowa 
Frontier (Ames: Iowa State Univ. Press, 1968), p. 98. 

Carlson, p. 41 . 

'^ John M. Peck, A New Guide for Emigrants to the West, New edition (Boston: 

[no publisher], 1843), p. 317. 

1 ? 
"^ Data on land improvements can be found in county assessor's books of real 


^^ Carlson, p. 34. 

^ The project was initiated by Robert Sutton of the Western Illinois University 
History Department. Fulton County deeds were transcribed and keypunched by 
CETA personnel underthe supervision of the author. Deeds executed from 1817 to 
1823 were recorded in deed books of Madison and Pike Counties, of which Fulton 
County was part prior to its formation in 1823. In order, however, to bring titles up 
to date many transactions in later years were preceded by a record of all previous 
deeds involving those properties. For statistical pruposes, these 1817 to 1823 
deeds were considered a random sample of all transactions for those years. 

'° Nicholas Biddle Van Zandt, >A Full Description of the Soil. Water. Timber, and 
Prairies of Each Lot, or Quarter Section of the Military Lands between the 
Mississippi and Illinois Rivers (Washington: [no publisher], 1818). 

^^ A. H. Worthen, "Geology of Fulton County," Geological Survey of Illinois 
(Springfield: Published by the authority of the Legislature of Illinois, 1870), Vol. IV, 
103, see also pp. 90-103. 

'° Historic Fulton County: Sites and Scenes — Past and Present (Lewistown: 
Mid-County Press, 1973), p. 255. 


Joan I. Unsicker 

Historical archeology as a field of study attempts to enhance 
our understanding of cultural events that occurred during time 
periods for which written records are available. Interpretation of 
historical documents is an important part of historical archeology, 
for such studies give direction to research designs and aid in the 
identification and interpretation of the recovered archeological 
data. Conversely, archeological findings provide new perspectives 
from which to view documentary accounts. By articulating 
historical and archeological data (both of which often are 
incomplete), a more thorough and accurate view of the past may 

An ideal situation for the combined efforts of historians and 
archeologists recently presented itself at the Jubilee College 
Historic Site. That college, located in central Peoria County, was 
founded in 1839 by Bishop Philander Chase. An Episcopalian 
school and one of the earliest frontier institutions of higher learning 
in Illinois, Jubilee College faced many of the hardships associated 
with frontier existence— lack of financial support, isolation, and 
scarcity of materials and equipment. The school flourished until the 
early 1860's, but with the advent of the Civil War, student 
enrollment dropped and financial assistance from Episcopal 
dioceses in the South was withdrawn. By 1862 the burden of 
indebtedness became so great that the college was closed, and 
thus began a series of repeated failures for the institution. 

The school re-opened in 1867, only to close again in 1878. In 
1883 the Reverend Thomas Haskins of Alton again opened the 
doors, this time in an attempt to educate American Indian students, 
but financial difficulties forced its closing two years later. After 
1885 the chapel was used by local parishoners. However, around 
the turn of the century, the chapel too fell into disuse. The building 
sat vacant, suffering from neglect and vandalism until 1931 when 
the heirs of Bishop Chase sold the property to George A. Zeller, 
Managing Officer of the Peoria State Hospital. Since Mr. Zeller 



wanted to see his investment put to good use, he presented the 
land to the Boy Scouts as a pernnanent camp site and the chapel 
building to the parish of St. Paul's in Peoria. Unfortunately, the 
scout organization was unable to develop the property In 
accordance with the terms of the deed of trust, and so early in 1934 
the title was returned to Mr. Zeller. Later that same year, he donated 
the land and buildings to the State of Illinois.'' Presently, the 
original chapel and the attached dormitory wing (Fig. 1), both of 
which were constructed of hewn native sandstone, are the only 
remaining structures surviving from this early educational 

During the summer of 1979, the Illinois Department of 
Conservation contracted with Illinois State University to conduct 
exploratory archeological testing at the Jubilee College Historic 
Site, in order to obtain archeological information regarding the 
location of features and structures mentioned in archival 
documents. Two specific objectives were outlined by the 
Department of Conservation for these excavations: (1) to determine 
the original contour of the ground and record any features 
immediately north of the dormitory wing in anticipation of a 
planned construction project designed to correct a drainage 
problem there, and (2) to find the remains of a boarding house and 
the Samuel Chase residence, two former structures associated with 
the college. Regarding the first objective, test excavations revealed 
a very shallow stratum of topsoil underlain by loess (post-glacial 
windblown deposits) in the area adjacent to the building on the 
north. The stratigraphy indicates that the ground there has been 
scraped down and cut back, presumably to provide a level surface 
upon which to construct the building. This action resulted in the 
prominent rise which parallels the north and west sides of the 
dormitory wing. An eight-meter test trench, extending from the 
north edge of the building through the top of this rise, and several 
other smaller test holes to the north and west of the building were 
excavated, but no features were discovered there. It was 
determined, therefore, that the proposed construction project will 
destroy nothing of cultural significance. 

The second project goal— that of uncovering structural 
remains— also was accomplished. A difference in the vegetation 
pattern, frequently a good indicator of subsurface remains, was 
noticed in two large areas north of the existing building. These were 
thought to represent the locations of the two former structures, and 
initial explorations proved this assumption to be correct as the 
partial remains of both structures were found within the two areas. 
Figure 2 shows the position of the excavated building remains, as 





Pier of Samuel Chase residence 

Possible root cellar 



Ceramic tile drain 

Exposed portions of 
boarding house foundation 



Figure 2. Archeological base map showing several features un- 
earthed during the excavations. Graphics by James Baldoni. 



Figure 3. Building pier of the Samuel Chase residence. 



Figure 4. Brick cistern and cerannic tile drain associated with the 
boarding house. 


well as a number of other features, in relation to the extant chapel- 
dormitory building. The foundation of the former boarding house, a 
two-story frame structure which stood from 1840 until 1902,^ was 
found approximately twenty-five meters north of the chapel- 
dormitory building. Historical documents indicate that the boarding 
house measured forty-eight by thirty-two feet,^ and the unearthed 
portions of the foundation corresponded exactly with these 

Only one section of the west wall was completely excavated, 
and its foundation there extended from just beneath the sod to a 
depth of 2.1 meters below the ground surface. It was composed of 
large, irregular sandstone pieces which were laid up dry and 
shimmed with smaller, tapered pieces of sandstone— a relatively 
common construction method during the early and mid-nineteenth 
century.^ No other structural remains of the boarding house were 
found, but this was expected since the historical sources indicate 
that all usable material was sold when the building was razed early 
in this century. 5 

Approximately fourteen meters west of the boarding house 
researchers found a building pier twenty centimeters beneath the 
ground surface (Fig. 3). Presumably this was a corner support for 
the Chase residence. It measured approximately one meter square, 
was composed of sandstone, and was constructed in a similar 
fashion to the boarding house foundation. Seventy centimeters 
below the ground surface the pier rested upon a footing comprised 
of bricks held together with mortar binding. The other piers for this 
structure were not found, and so its exact orientation is not known. 

A number of other features were unearthed at the Jubilee Site, 
and three of these are particularly worthy of mention, for they 
appear to have been associated with the former structures. 
Unfortunately, these features could not be excavated because of 
time and monetary limitations inherent in the contract. Two 
features occurred very near the above-mentioned building pier. One 
was a plaster-lined brick cistern which measured one and a half 
meters in diameter (only the west half of this was exposed), and the 
other was a darkly stained area, two and a half meters across, which 
may represent the remains of a root cellar associated with the 
Chase residence. As these were not excavated, their depths were 
not determined. However, probing showed both to be at least one 
and a half meters deep. 

The last feature to be discussed was another plaster-lined brick 
cistern (Fig. 4), found in association with the boarding house. The 
top was located directly beneath the ground surface about ten 
meters north of this former structure and was joined to its 


northwest corner by a ceramic tile drain. The top of the cistern 
nneasured one meter in diameter, but as it was not excavated, its 
depth is unknown. Regrettably, a modern barbecue grill has been 
built almost directly over the center of this feature, prohibiting 
exploration into the cistern. As mentioned above, these features 
could not be excavated due to contract limitations, and so they 
were covered with heavy plastic in order to protect them before the 
test holes were backfilled. It is probable that the remains of other 
features (privies, wells, etc.) associated with the two structures still 
exist, but these must await further explorations. 

Artifacts from the site, currently in storage at the Archeology 
Laboratory at Illinois State University, range in time from the mid- 
nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Large amounts of 
building hardware and nails were collected near the boarding house 
foundation, and a great number of ceramic, glass, and 
miscellaneous items were found here and in other areas of the site. 
Several artifacts— a glass writing fluid bottle, a stoneware ink 
bottle, and slate pencils— clearly are Indicative of the site's 
educational focus. 

A number of typical mid-nineteenth-century decorations 
occurred on many of the ceramic pieces— for example, sponge/ 
spatter, shell-edging, mocha, and "worm" designs, as well as slip 
banding.^ Also found were examples of the Bennington and 
Rockingham glazes which typically were used on heavier, utilitarian 
tableware.^ One salt and lead-glazed stoneware ink bottle (Fig. 5a) 
and two glass bottles (Fig. 5b and 5c) were recovered in perfect 
condition. The glass bottles were mold blown, and both have a 
basal pontil mark, a reliable indicator of pre-1850 manufacture.^ A 
nearly complete ceramic pipe bowl (Fig. 5d) decorated with stars 
and displaying the letters "LF" probably was made by the French- 
based L. Foilet Company during the first quarter of the 19th 

The recent work at Jubilee College is of interest to both 
historians and archeologists because it provided the opportunity to 
obtain additional information about the college site as it appeared 
in the mid-nineteenth century and to develop a perspective on the 
residents which cannot be gained solely from the historical 
documents. Further exploration of the unexcavated features, as 
well as efforts to locate additional archeological remains 
associated with the main buildings, would certainly augment our 
understanding of frontier educational sites. 



Figure 5a. 
ink bottle. 

Figure 5b. 
Glass writing 
fluid bottle. 

Figure 5c. 
Glass medicine 

Figure 5d. 
pipe bowl, 



This article was adapted from a paper presented at the Midwest Archeological 
Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 13, 1979. 

^ Lorene Martin, "Old Jubilee College and its Founder, Bishop Chase," in 
Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society, Publication No. 41 (Spring- 
field: Illinois State Historical Library, 1934), pp. 133-46. 

^ Bishop Philander Chase, Journals of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
Diocese of Illinois 1835-1856, Report of the Bishop, June 1841. Available at the 
Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield. "Jubilee College Board of Trustees 
Minutes," November 1901 and August 1902. Originals held by the Episcopal 
Church Historical Society, Austin, Texas. Copies available from the Reverend 
Dibbert, Chicago Historiographer for the Illinois Episcopal Diocese. 

2 Samuel Chase and Bishop Philander Chase, "An Account of the Landed 
Estate, Houses, and Other Property of Jubilee College," April 1842. Available from 
the Citizen's Committee to Preserve Jubilee College Collection, Accession No. 
74.2/3. Bishop Philander Chase, Journals of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
Diocese of Illinois 1835-1856, Report of the Bishop, June 1841 . 

^ Henry Lionel Williams and Ottalie K. Williams, Old American Houses and 
How to Restore Them (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1946), pp. 52-53. 

^ "Jubilee College Board of Trustees Minutes," November 1901 and August 

^ Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel, Know Your Antiques (New York: Crown, 1973), 
pp. 27-29. 

'' Don Raycraft and Carol Raycraft, American Country Pottery (Des Moines, 
Iowa: Wallace-Homestead, 1975), pages opposite Plates 8 and 9. 

^ A pontil mark resulted from the attachment of a metal pontil rod to the bottle 
base so that the bottle could be held securely while the neck and lip were finished. 
When the rod was removed, the diagnostic "scar" remained on the base. William C. 
Ketchum, Jr., A Treasury of American Bottles (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1975), p. 

^ Richard V. Humphrey, "Clay Pipes From Old Sacramento," Historical 
Archaeology, 3 (1969), 26-30. Ivor Noel Hume, "Tobacco Pipes and Smoking 
Equipment," in Artifacts of Colonial America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), p. 
307. Rex L. Wilson, Clay Tobacco Pipes From Fort Laramie National Historic Site 
and Related Locations (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, 
National Park Service, Division of Archeology and Anthropology, 1971), pp. 17-18. 


Karen Ber field 

Owen Lovejoy is a familiar name to students of Illinois history, 
but few people know much about the antislavery activities of this 
abolitionist leader, especially as they relate to Bureau County, 
where he lived for most of his life. Even less well known is the fact 
that Lovejoy was not the only man from his county who was a leader 
in the struggle to free the slaves. John Howard Bryant was very 
active in antislavery activities, and his nephew, Julian Bryant, was a 
noted military commander, who led Negro soldiers in the Civil War. 
Through these men, the county made a remarkable contribution to 
the antislavery cause. 

One of the most influential families in pre-Civil War Bureau 
County was the Bryant family. Dr. Peter Bryant, a physician and 
state senator in Massachusetts, taught his five sons to believe in 
"the universal brotherhood of man," and in his home he hired both 
black and white sen/ants and treated them alike. Hence, a dislike for 
slavery became prominent in the political stands of both William 
Cullen and John Howard, the most well-known Bryant sons. The 
former was the only son who never lived in Bureau County. The 
others— Austin, Arthur, and Cyrus, as well as John Howard- 
moved there well before the Civil War."" 

The most prominent of these was the youngest, John Howard 
Bryant, who came to the Princeton area in 1831 and built a cabin on 
the land where, years later, his elegant mansion would stand. He 
was one of those responsible for the formation of Bureau County, 
and over the years, he held a number of local offices. In 1842 and 
1843, he was elected to the legislature for Bureau, Stark, and Peoria 
counties. Four years afterward, he became one of the editors of the 
first newspaper to be issued in Bureau County, the Bureau County 
Advocate, an antislavery publication. 

During the pre-Civil War years, Bryant worked with the Under- 
ground Railroad, thus assisting a number of slaves in their 
struggles to achieve freedom. Nor did his efforts diminish because 
of the legislation of 1850, which gave the South a more effective 




John Howard Bryant, 

Courtesy of the Bureau County Historical Society. 


fugitive slave law. In 1854, for example, he had as many as fifteen 
runaway slaves in his home at one time. Frequently, he was 
involved in episodes for which Owen Lovejoy is now fully credited. 

Bryant was also instrumental in organizing the Republican Party 
in Bureau County. On July 4, 1854, an antislavery celebration was 
held in his yard for that purpose, and in the next election, the 
county voted Republican and elected Owen Lovejoy to the state 
legislature. In 1856, Bryant (along with Lovejoy) was a delegate to 
the Republican convention in Pittsburgh, and in 1860 he was a 
delegate to the party's convention in Chicago, which nominated 
Lincoln for President. 

When the Civil War began, Bryant contributed time and money 
toward raising and equipping the Union armies. His efforts took 
him to Springfield and Washington. In addition, he spoke 
frequently for the purpose of encouraging appropriations to pay the 
military bounties and other expenses of the war.^ 

Although not as famous as his older brother, Bryant was also a 
poet, and his antislavery sentiment was occasionally expressed in 
his lyrics. For example, the opening stanzas of "A Tribute to the 
Memory of the Late Honorable Owen Lovejoy," written shortly after 
his friend's death in 1862, express his admiration for that famous 

Oh! Tis easy to stand for truth and for right 
When pride and oppression are yielding to might; 
Tis easy for freedom and justice to toil 
When the chain of the bondsman is ready to fall. 

But oh! when the night is all starless and cold, 
When a stone o'er the grave of sad freedom is rolled, 
Then true is the spirit and noble and brave 
That fearlessly toils on behalf of the slave. ^ 

And in "Welcome to the Returned Veterans" and "Welcome to the 
Returned Soldiers, 1865" he celebrates the victory of Union 
soldiers, with special reference to those from Bureau County— as 
the opening stanzas of the former poem indicate: 

Welcome home our gallant brothers. 

Welcome home ye brave and true; 
Rebel hordes had trod these prairies 

But for you and such as you. 

Bureau boys at bloody Shiloh, 

Pea Ridge, Gibson, Donelson, 
Corinth, Vicksburg, Raymond, Jackson, 

Fought the rebel foe and won.'^ 

















One of Bryant's finest lyrics is a sonnet entitled "Death of Lincoln," 
in which he praises the martyred president as the Great 

"Make way for liberty," cried Winkelried, 

And gathered to his breast the Austrian spears. 
Fired with fresh valor at the glorious deed, 

O'er the dead hero rushed those mountaineers 
To victory and freedom. Even so 

Our dear, good Lincoln fell in freedom's cause. 
And while our hearts are pierced with keenest woe, 

Lo, the black night of slavery withdraws, 
And liberty's bright dawn breaks o'er the land: 

Four million bondsmen, held in helpless thrall, 
Loosed by his word, in nature's manhood stand. 

And the sweet sun of peace shines over all. 
The blood that stained the martyr's simple robe 

Woke the deep sympathies of half the globe. ^ 

Perhaps John Drury, in his history entitled Bureau County, 
Illinois, was thinking of this poem when he compared Bryant to 
Lincoln. Both men certainly had the same desire to free the slaves. 
Drury also mentioned that Bryant "was probably the most useful 
citizen in his community," which might also have been said about 
young Lincoln at New Salem. ^ 

Julian Bryant, the nephew of John Howard Bryant and son of 
Arthur Bryant, was born in 1836 in Princeton. It was only natural 
that the abolitionist sympathies of his father and his uncle should 
be instilled in him during his early years. Also, by the time he was 
born, his famous uncle, William Cullen, was editor of the New York 
Evening Post, and the latter was also speaking out against slavery. 

In his early twenties, Julian Bryant was primarily interested in 
drawing, and so, in 1859, he became an art instructor at the Normal 
School in Bloomington.'' When the Civil War began shortly 
afterward, he returned to Princeton and initiated a recruiting station 
for a teachers' brigade. It became Company E of the 33rd Illinois 
Volunteer Infantry Regiment, popularly called "the brain regiment," 
and was composed of both students and teachers from all over the 
state. Bryant was elected lieutenant of the company. 

Bryant's regiment was immediately moved to Missouri, and it 
was there that he was directly involved in action that was apparently 
the first time during the war that slaves were liberated and armed. 
The federal command had learned that Higginbotham Plantation 
was being used as a rendezvous for recruits who were entering the 
army of Confederate General Sterling Price. Being assigned to spy 
on these operations, Bryant and a friend posed as southern 



IP" -••»r 

Julian Bryant. 

Courtesy of the Bureau County Historical Society. 


sympathizers and were admitted as Confederate recruits. That 
night, the Union forces captured the plantation and armed some 
twenty blacks, who then marched their owners to the 33rd 
Regiment's camp. As a result of this episode, Bryant began 
considering the possibility of using blacks as soldiers, although 
official sanction was not given to this practice until November, 

In the early days of his Civil War activity, Bryant produced a 
graphic record of the Missouri-Arkansas region through which he 
marched. He had a special talent for quick pen-and-ink drawings, 
and so he drew many sketches of camp life, fortifications, marching 
troops. Union gunboats and river transports, flood refugees, and 
backwoods natives. These drawings are now preserved by the 
Bureau County Historical Society. After the Battle of Vicksburg, his 
increased command responsibilities forced him to discontinue his 

In 1863 Bryant was appointed major of the newly organized 1st 
Regiment, Mississippi Infantry African Descent, which was later 
designated the 51st United States Colored Infantry. Only superior 
white officers were chosen for this assignment since it was a 
formidable task to train slaves who had just been freed. Many 
people doubted that such blacks were capable of achieving military 
effectiveness, even with the best of leadership. 

Bryant's first assignment was to lead his regiment in the Battle 
of Millikin's Bend. Here, the policy of using blacks was tested. 
Located just above Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, the garrison 
was weak. It consisted of the 23rd Iowa Volunteer Infantry and the 
African Brigade, the latter being composed of the 9th Louisiana, the 
11th Louisiana, and the 1st Mississippi Negro regiments. The total 
number of Union defenders was approximately 1,000 men (160 
whites and 910 blacks). The Confederates, on the other hand, had 
1 ,500 well-trained troops. According to Donald M. Murray, author of 
"Colonel Julian E. Bryant: Champion of the Negro Soldier," Bryant 
was "conspicuous for his gallantry and energy in rallying and 
leading the troops after they had been driven to the brink of the 
river. "8 The black soldiers had been handed their weapons shortly 
before the battle, and so they knew little about them. However, they 
were determined fighters who were not afraid of the hand-to-hand 
combat that ensued. The best tribute to their bravery was a 
testimonial by Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana, who 
happened to be in the area at the time for the purpose of reporting 
on the Vicksburg campaign: "The Engagement at Millikin's Bend 
became famous from the conduct of the colored troops. General E. 
S. Dennis, who saw the battle, told me that it was the hardest 



■^ry-" *:-^^- 

Courtesy of the Bureau County Historical Society. 

Civil War Sketches by Julian Bryant. 


fought battle he had ever seen. It was fought mainly hand-to-hand. 
'It is impossible,' said General Dennis, 'for men to show greater 
gallantry than the Negro troops in that fight.' "^ 

Early in 1864, Bryant organized a new black regiment, the 46th 
United States Colored Infantry. Before assuming command, 
however, his concern about the treatment of these men led him to 
write the following letter to his uncle, William Cullen Bryant, on 
January 22, 1864: 

Dear Uncle: 

A short time ago you published in your paper a statement 
concerning the treatment received by colored troops at 
Charleston. The same state of affairs exists here, that is there 
complained of. For the past three months the colored regiments 
have been constantly at work upon the fortifications, doing 
common labour's duties at the landings, loading and unloading 
boats and barges, while white regiments are lying idle in camp, 
or are occupied only in soldierly duties. 

It is true that these duties must necessarily be performed, 
but if the colored troops are recognized as United States 
soldiers, it is not only an injustice but a violation of military 
regulations to show such partiality in assigning them to duty. 

I make these statements hoping that you may see fit to give 
this subject a ventilation. Of course, it is not my place to 
criticize the actions of my superiors, but if this matter were 
brought before the public, I think that it might influence the 
action of some of our officers, who have an eye to their own 
future political prosperity. 

Sincerely yours, 
Julian E. Bryant 
Lieut. Col. 1st Miss. Vol. Infty.""^ 

After receiving this letter, the famous poet-editor wrote a very 
heated editorial in the Evening Post on the mistreatment of black 
soldiers. None of his earlier editorials had criticized the government 
as strongly as that one, published on February 19, 1864. As a result. 
General Thomas called for a more careful selection of officers for 
the black regiments. A second event that was influenced by the 
editorial occurred on June 15 of that year, when Congress passed 
an act which authorized black soldiers to receive the same 
uniforms, arms, equipment, rations, medical assistance, and pay 
as white soldiers. 

In September, Julian Bryant was appointed colonel of the 46th 
United States Colored Infantry. In February of 1865, the regiment 
was sent to New Orleans and then on to Clarksville, Texas on the 
Rio Grande River. At Brazos Santiago, Texas, on May 14— just three 
days after he had arrived at his new post— Bryant was drowned 


while bathing in the Gulf of Mexico.'''' Thus ended the brief but 
active career of a soldier whose military acconnplishments were an 
outgrowth of his concern for blacks, as both enslaved workers and 
free soldiers. 

Of course, the most famous antislavery leader from Bureau 
County was Owen Lovejoy, the younger brother of abolitionist 
martyr Elijah Lovejoy, who was murdered at Alton in 1837. After 
that event, Owen moved to Jacksonville, where he was ordained an 
Episcopal minister. When he applied for a parish position, the 
bishop offered to secure him an assignment only if he would not 
preach the antislavery doctrine. His answer was that he would not 
have his right of free speech infringed upon, even by the church, 
and so he promptly offered himself to the Congregational Church, 
which was noted for its liberal tendencies. 

Hearing of two vacancies, one at Rock Island, and the other at 
Princeton, he decided to take the latter. Arriving in Princeton, and 
exhibiting his usual antislavery beliefs, he was soon warned by a 
local group that if he was ever seen on Main Street, he would be 
mobbed. ""^ Unconcerned, perhaps even stimulated, Lovejoy 
became the permanent minister of the Hampshire Congregational 
Church at Princeton. 

At this time, the town was a very religious community, but there 
had been little attempt to organize the populace against slavery. 
Because the two hundred residents were mostly from New England, 
Princeton was a fertile field for the growth of antislavery sentiment. 
In fact, certain individuals had already expressed that point of view, 
including Eli and Elijah Smith and Cyrus,. Arthur, and John Howard 
Bryant. However, they were in the minority, for most people had 
thought little about slavery and did not want to get involved in the 
controversy. Hence, it was something of a jolt when the new 
Congregational minister began to preach that slavery was cruel and 
unjustified and that a slave-catcher was the worst of criminals. ^^ 
But, as Matson says in Reminiscences of Bureau County, Princeton 
soon became famous for its abolitionist activity: 

From that time Princeton became a place of note; although 
containing but few inhabitants, and having but little commercial 
relation with other parts of the world, it was nevertheless the 
head center of abolitionism for the West. Newspapers of that 
day reported state conventions held here and great speeches 
made in favor of immediate emancipation, so that Princeton was 
known in abolitionist circles throughout the Union. Even slaves 
of the South heard of it, and many of them came to see it, which 
caused Colonel Barksdale, in a speech in Congress, to 
denounce Princeton as one of the greatest Negro stealing places 
in the West.'''* 



r »« 

Courtesy of the Bureau County Historical Society. 

Owen Lovejoy. 


Lovejoy married Eunice Starrs Dunham, a widow, whose former 
husband had built the house in which the Lovejoys and their nine 
children would live, and which came to be known as "The Owen 
Lovejoy Estate." Built on 1300 acres, mostly out of black walnut 
timber, the fifteen-room house hid many Negroes, who were on 
their way to Ottawa. Among the secret closets was a particularly 
spacious one on the first floor, where slaves could be kept for long 
periods of time in comparative comfort. ^^ 

In 1848, when Benjamin Lundy came to northern Illinois, he 
wanted to "fill the gap" left vacant by the collapse of the Alton 
Observer. With the help of Owen Lovejoy, he printed the last issues 
of the Genius of Universal Emancipation just a few miles from 
Princeton. After Lundy died, the new Genius of Liberty was 
established, continuing the same principles as its predecessor. In 
turn, it later became the Western Citizen, which was published until 
slavery was abolished. At the same time, Lovejoy was instigating 
the organization of antislavery societies all over northern Illinois. ""S 

In 1843 Lovejoy's antislavery sympathies were widely publicized 
when he was indicted for keeping a black woman called Agnes in 
his home. The purpose of this indictment was to bring him before 
the public as a lawbreaker. Since he had been in Princeton less than 
five years, it was hoped by his opponents that the episode would 
diminish his influence among the townspeople. The plan did not 

Next he was charged on a count involving a slave named Nancy, 
and that case came to trial on October 7, 1843. Lasting nearly a 
week, the proceeding pitted Lovejoy and his counsel, named 
Collins, against States Attorney Fridley. When Fridley became 
aware of the radical nature of Lovejoy's accusers, and developed an 
appreciation for the noble stand which the latter held, he answered 
the demands for imprisonment with the following retort: "Prison! 
Lovejoy to prison! Your prosecution will be a damned sight more 
likely to send him to Congress. "^^ Perhaps the trial contributed to 
that end, although Lovejoy was not elected to Congress until the 
next decade. 

It was established during the trial that the Denham home had 
been a shelter for escaped slaves, even before Lovejoy married 
Eunice Denham. However, the prosecution lost the case primarily 
because of an accidental disclosure on the part of Nancy's former 
owner, who stated that he had been taking the slave girl from 
Kentucky to Missouri through Illinois. He did not realize that if he 
brought a slave into a free state, the slave became free, according to 
law. 19 

Lovejoy also objected strenuously to a criminal code which 
considered certain acts illegal when committed against a white man 


but legal when committed against a black. One case in Princeton 
clearly illustrates this point of view. A well-dressed black man on a 
fine horse sought out Lovejoy one morning, explaining to him that 
he had spent the night in town, and when he had given his landlord 
a ten-dollar bill for a seventy-five-cent charge, the man would not 
give him the change. Lovejoy helped the wronged man bring his 
case to court, but when it became apparent that the case would be a 
mockery of justice, Lovejoy advised the black man to leave 
Princeton. A man named Davis attempted to detain him, but with 
Lovejoy's help, the black man escaped. Davis later brought charges 
against Lovejoy, stating that the latter had "interferred with 
justice." The famous abolitionist was fined fifty dollars, but he later 
had the decision reversed on appeal to the Circuit Court. ^° 

Lovejoy's next publicized court case occurred in September of 
1849, and it involved efforts to recapture and return a black named 
John, who had taken up residence in Princeton several months 
before. An eye witness indicated that John was seized while 
mowing grass, that his arms were tied behind him, and that he was 
put into a wagon. The two men who had seized him then stopped at 
a store for food, leaving John tied to a hitching post. Lovejoy, who 
was then an attorney, immediately swore out a warrant for the arrest 
of the slave-catchers, who were charged with kidnapping. 

At the trial which followed, bedlam was inevitable because of 
the clash of feelings on such matters among the local people. At 
the height of the trial, John was hustled out the door. Obeying 
Lovejoy's orders, he began to run down the street, and after him 
came Lovejoy, hatless and out of breath, crying, "Run, John." As 
the latter ran, someone tripped him, but he managed to pick himself 
up and get to Peru Street, where he was rescued by Lovejoy's hired 
man. When the hostile crowd arrived at the Lovejoy home, the 
famous abolitionist stood inside the gate, allowing none to enter. 
There are at least two versions of what happened next. One account 
indicates that the crowd was lured away by someone dressed like 
John, and then the former slave made his escape. Another story 
contends that a black woman came outside frequently, and when 
she (really John) finally left in a wagon, no one reacted. On the 
following Sunday, Lovejoy's sermon strongly reprimanded those 
who had shown no kindness to John.^^ 

On another occasion, Lovejoy kept a runaway slave and his wife 
and four children over night, sending them on to Ottawa the next 
morning, which resulted in an indictment being brought against 
him. This time the prosecution felt sure of conviction because they 
knew that John Porterfield, who worked for Lovejoy, had taken the 
black family to LaMoille, and they intended to put him on the stand. 
However, they did not know that John Porterfield had a twin, James 




Porterfield, who worked in the nearby town of Dover. Because 
Lovejoy could not ask John to lie on the witness stand, he secretly 
brought James to the court room to testify instead. Asked his 
name, he replied, "J. Porterfield." He was then asked if, on the 
specified day, he had seen the Negro family in question at Lovejoy's 
house. His truthful answer was, "No, sir." When asked if he had 
taken them to LaMoille, he replied that he knew nothing about it. 
The prosecution could not prove its case, and Lovejoy was 
discharged. 22 

In 1854, Lovejoy was elected to the Illinois Legislature, and two 
years later, he was elected to Congress. He remained in Congress 
from the day of his first election until the day he died, March 25, 
1864, in Brooklyn, New York.^^ During that time, his fame as an 
antislavery orator increased steadily. 

Lovejoy's speech at Neponset, located in western Bureau 
County, on September 26, 1856— shortly before his election to 
Congress— revolved around four points, which were to be 
repeatedly emphasized in later speeches. He spoke at some length 
on the principles of the Republican Party, stressing that "we are 
trying to advance the equality of all." Secondly, he reminded his 
audience that their duty to their children was the same as that of 
their ancestors to them, to keep the northern section of the United 
States free from slavery. In an attempt to emphasize the negative 
results of slavery, he gave an account of the outrages in Kansas, 
saying that in that state no man could be a witness in any suit 
unless he supported slavery. Finally, Lovejoy swore that if he was 
victorious in the upcoming congressional elections, he would vote 
against the "alien laws" which were coming up for consideration. 
The audience was no less than wildly enthusiastic.^"* 

In 1858, when receiving his second nomination to Congress, 
Lovejoy spoke to the members of his party at Joliet on the subject 
of slavery. He shouted (which was his most effective method of 
emphasis) in closing, "But if we cannot speed the ball to the brain 
and cause instant death, let us aim behind the shoulder where the 
heart throbs, and, if we may not do that, let us seize a club and give 
it a blow on its spinal column, so at least as to cripple it."^^ images 
of violence are present in other Lovejoy speeches as well, perhaps 
testifying to his intuition that a violent resolution to the problem 
was coming. 

Another effective speech was related to Lovejoy's assistance of 
a slave named "Old Mose," whose owner, a Mr. Lombard, had 
brought him to Illinois, telling him that he would be freed. When 
Lombard decided that a trip to Mississippi was necessary first, 
Mose ran away. He spent the night at Lovejoy's home on his way to 


When Lombard found out, he was furious, and he wrote to 
Lovejoy, warning him that his unlawful activities would be brought 
before the House of Representatives— of which Lovejoy was then a 
member. In that letter, however, Lombard admitted that the black 
man was free. Furthermore, he claimed that he had just wanted to 
take Mose to Mississippi for a short visit, and he spoke of his 
attachment for the former slave. In any case, a short excerpt from 
Lombard's angry letter was read in Congress, and it referred to 
"rascally church members and thieving abolitionists."^^ 

Lombard turned over his grievances to O. R. Singleton, a 
member of Congress from Mississippi. The latter was a man who 
never did anything hurriedly, preferring to catch an enemy off 
guard. The occasion presented itself when Lovejoy proposed an 
amendment to a bill which appropriated public money for jail fees 
of fugitive slaves. When Singleton demanded that Lovejoy return to 
Lombard the slave he had stolen from him, the former replied that 
he had never stolen a slave since, in fact, Lombard had never owned 
one. However, he did admit that he had fed those who came to his 
door. Singleton answered that Lovejoy did not know the meaning of 
the word "stealing." "Stealing," replied Lovejoy, "is taking a man 
and holding him in slavery. "2'' Singleton came to his feet, 
sputtering angrily in his indignation and saying he had no doubt 
that Lovejoy's ancestors were engaged in stealing Negroes from 
Africa. Swelling to his full height, Lovejoy drew attention to 
Singleton's reference to stealing African Negroes and concluded 
that Singleton and all the slaveholders in the South were "the 
receivers of stolen goods." He closed his address by shouting a 
defiant admission of his Underground Railroad activity: 

I do assist fugitive slaves. Proclaim it then upon the 
housetops; write it upon every leaf that trennbles in the forest; 
nnake it blaze from the sun at high noon, and shine forth in the 
milder radiance of every star that bedecks the firmament of God; 
let it echo through all the arches of heaven, and reverberate and 
bellow along all the deep gorges of hell, where the slave 
catchers will be very likely to hear it. Owen Lovejoy lives at 
Princeton, Illinois; and he aids every slave that comes to his 
door and asks it. Thou invisible demon of slavery! Dost thou 
think to cross my humble threshold, and forbid me to give bread 
to the hungry and shelter to the houseless? I bid you defiance in 
the name of my God!^^ 

Lovejoy's most famous speech in Congress was given on April 
5, 1860. He began with his usual condemnation of slavery, and then 
he stated, "The theory is that if a man is old and weak, strike 
him— he can't strike back; if he is a child, deceive him."^^ In saying 
this, he was ridiculing the view that blacks should be enslaved 






















because they were of an inferior race. While not responding directly 
to the charge of inferiority, he indicated that even if blacks were not 
equal to whites, there would still be no nnoral basis for nnistreating 
them, for inferiority is no reason for abuse. Lovejoy's strong words 
were often emphasized with energetic gestures, his most frequent 
action being the raising of his clenched fist and shaking it at the 
slavery supporters. 

As the speech continued, members of Congress left their seats, 
running down the aisle, some calling for order and others 
denouncing Lovejoy. Congressman Barksdale of Mississippi and 
other Democrats (Crawford, Dejarnette, Burnett, and Singleton) 
rushed toward Lovejoy, but Republicans Farnsworth and Potter 
placed themselves between the southerners and the outspoken 
abolitionist, and then other supporters formed a circle around him 
as the chairman tried to restore order. When matters were finally 
brought under control, Lovejoy continued his condemnation of 
slavery, shouting to his opponents, "You cannot silence us either 
by threats or by violence. "30 This clearly reveals the courage and 
determination of the great abolitionist congressman. 

When Lovejoy died in 1864, his body was returned to Princeton 
by train, accompanied by floral tributes and a governmental 
committee. The subsequent procession which moved from the 
Congregational Church to Oakland Cemetery at the west edge of 
town was the most impressive that Princeton had ever known. 
Regardless of how controversial he was elsewhere, he was deeply 
respected and appreciated in Bureau County. And perhaps more 
importantly, he had made an impact on the one man who could 
bring about the result to which he had dedicated his life, as is 
indicated by the letter of condolence that Lincoln sent to the 
Lovejoy family: "My personal acquaintance with him . . . has been 
one of increasing respect and esteem, ending, with his life, in no 
less than affection on my part. . . . Throughout my heavy and 
perplexing responsibilities here, to the day of his death, it would 
scarcely wrong any other to say, he was my most generous 
friend. "31 

Owen Lovejoy alone would have brought recognition to 
Princeton and Bureau County in the antislavery movement, but the 
dedicated efforts of John Howard Bryant and Julian Bryant are also 
noteworthy contributions to that great cause. Of course, these 
three men had the support of numerous others in the county, but 
through their distinctive achievements, they emerged as leaders 
whose influence extended well beyond their home area. Because of 
them, no Illinois county has a more significant antislavery heritage 
than Bureau. 



George B. Harrington, Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois (Chicago: 
Pioneer Publishing Co., 1906), p. 174. 

^ H.C. Bradsby, History of Bureau County, Illinois (Chicago: World Publishing 
Co., 1885), pp. 158-68. 


^ George Owen Smith, The Lovejoy Stirine (Princeton: Tribune Printing Co., 
1949), p. 33. 

^ Life and Poems of John Howard Bryant, ed. E. R. Brown (Elmwood: [no 
publisher], 1894), p. 127. 

^ Life and Poems, p. 160. For a discussion of this and other poenns by Bryant, 
see John E. Hallwas, "The Poetry of John Howard Bryant," MidAmerica VII (1980), 

" John Drury, Bureau County, Illinois (Chicago: The Loree Company, 1955), 
p. 9. 

' Donald W. Murray, "Colonel Julian E. Bryant: Champion of the Negro 
Soldier," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 63 (1963), 257. See also 
"Sketch of the 52nd Illinois Volunteers" (paper on file in the Princeton Museum). 
^ Murray, p. 270. 
9 Murray, pp. 270-71. 
'^ As quoted in Murray, pp. 276-77. 
'''' Murray, pp. 278-80. 

^^ G. Smith, p. 9; Isaac B. Smith, Sketches and Statistics of Princeton 
(Princeton: Isaac B. Smith, 1857), p. 41, and Edward Magdol, Owen Lovejoy: 
Abolitionist in Congress (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1967), pp. 
35-36. Magdol's book is the only extensive study of Lovejoy. 

"■2 G. Smith, pp. 9-12; Bradsby, pp. 336-37. 

^'^ N. Matson, Reminiscences of Bureau County (Princeton: Republican Book 
and Job Office, 1872), p. 364. 

^^G. Smith, p. 24. See also Marcia Mall, "Princeton's Famous Preacher," 
Illinois History, 14 (1960), p. 61. 

'° Lundy Memorial Committee of the John Swaney School Alumni and Society 
of Friends, Memorial to Benjamin Lundy, Pioneer Quaker Abolitionist, 1789-1839 
(Princeton: Lundy Memorial Committee, 1939). See also Theodore Calvin Pease, 
The Story of Illinois (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1949), p. 149. 

'''' Bradsby, pp. 332-33; G. Smith, p. 17. 

"•^ Bradsby, pp. 333-34. 

"•^ Bradsby, pp. 333-34; G. Smith, p. 20. 

2^ Bradsby, pp. 337-38; Bureau County Court Record, vol. I, pp. 399, 407, and 

^' "S. P. Clark Present When Lovejoy Set Negro Slave Free," Bureau County 
Republican, 8 March 1923, p. 1; Bradsby, p. 338; G. Smith, pp. 20-23. See also the 
newspaper article collection at the Tiskilwa Library. 

^^ "Twins Save Lovejoy," Bureau County Republican, 8 Mar. 1923, p. 1. 

^^ Bradsby, p. 333. 

^^ "Lovejoy in Neponset," Princeton Post, 16 Oct. 1856, p. 2. 


2^ "Remarks of Mr. Lovejoy on Receiving the Nomination at the Convention 
Held at Joliet, June 30th," Bureau County Republican, 8 July 1858, p. 2. 

^^ "Lovejoy, Singleton, Lombard and 'Old Mose,' " Bureau County Republican, 
17 Feb. 1859, p. 2. 



28 Bradsby, pp. 334-35. 

2^ Aver J. Jeffrey, Antislavery Disunion (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), p. 

^^ "A Democratic Mob in the House," Bureau County Republican, 12 Apr. 1860, 
p. 1. 

^^ As quoted in Magdol, p. 410. 


Walter B. Hendrickson and John N. Langfitt 

In Jacksonville, Illinois, there are two men's literary societies. 
Others exist in the United States, but they are not numerous, and so 
little is known about them and there is such slight communication 
between them that many of these organizations suspect they are 
unique. Men's literary societies represent a significant social and 
intellectual movement in the United States, and each is of 
importance in its own community. 

The societies in Jacksonville are The Club, founded in 1861 , and 
The Jacksonville Literary Union, founded in 1864. Although these 
are not, and never have been, strictly concerned with "literary" 
matters, they are groups of about twenty men who meet twice a 
month, except in the summer, to discuss political, social, 
economic, educational and other current topics. The membership is 
made up of businessmen, college professors, school teachers, 
clergymen, lawyers, and doctors who represent the intellectual 
elements of the town. 

The Club and the Union carry on their affairs in much the same 
manner: at each meeting an appointed reader presents a paper, and 
each man in turn comments on it and often also comments on the 
remarks of those who precede him. The choice of a subject is left to 
the reader, but in the early years, the subjects were sometimes 
assigned. The members only discuss and comment on the subject 
of the evening, and no stand is taken by the group as a whole on any 
matter. However, there have been notable exceptions, as when 
Jonathan Baldwin Turner of The Club, in 1867, persuaded his 
fellows to adopt a resolution urging the people of Jacksonville to 
work to bring the proposed land grant university to the city. (The 
Club's action was ineffective, because the University of Illinois was 
established in Urbana.) Another instance occurred when the 
Literary Union, following its original constitution, proposed the 
establishment of a public library, but nothing came of it. 

Because the Jacksonville literary clubs are private, as are most 
of the others which the authors know about, the general public is 






Courtesy of Illinois College Library. 

Jonathan Baldwin Turner, early member of The Club. 


not conscious of their existence, although occasionally in the 
1870's the secretary of the Literary Union published condensed 
minutes in the local newspaper. Although the names of members 
were never given, the Union later passed a resolution forbidding the 
secretary to mal<e public the proceedings. Also, the 25th, 50th, and 
100th anniversaries were publicly noticed, and brief mention of the 
societies is found in local histories. It is probable that the private 
nature of the Jacksonville clubs is common to other similar 
organizations. But both The Club and the Union have distinguished 
histories, and since their minutes are conscientiously preserved, 
they constitute a unique historical record of the thinking of 
educated professional and business men on all kinds of topics that 
are of public concern.^ 

Many historians have remarked upon the tendency of men in 
Western society to draw together in groups to achieve some social 
purpose, and considering the rapidity with which voluntary groups 
of all kinds have spread across the United States, it would be 
remarkable if there were not organizations similar to the literary 
clubs of Jacksonville in other places. We all know that since the 
eighteenth century there has been a continuous effort on the part of 
the men of Western civilization to educate and inform themselves 
about all manner of subjects, not only through formal educational 
institutions, but through mutual self-help organizations. Two 
well-known examples are the club of literary lights that revolved 
around Samuel Johnson in London in the 1780's, and the Junto 
Club founded by Benjamin Franklin as a medium through which the 
members pursued their mutual education and improvement. 
Eventually, out of the Junto arose the American Philosophical 
Society, to which many of the intellectuals of both Philadelphia and 
the nation belonged. 

Other roots of the literary societies were in the many debating 
societies, library societies, and early lyceums, founded in the cities 
and town of the United States.^ In the case of the Jacksonville 
clubs, since many of the members were college graduates, there 
was an influence from the student literary societies of Illinois 
College in Jacksonville at the time that the clubs were 
organized— Sigma Pi and Phi Alpha. In such societies the purpose 
was mutual self-improvement as well as companionship, and at 
their meetings were debates and discussions on many subjects.^ 

More specialized than the Junto were the numerous scientific 
academies and natural history societies founded in American and 
European communities in the eighteenth and nineteenth cen- 
turies.'* Also, the Workingmen's Institutes fostered in the United 
States by William Maclure had elements of self-help. 5 


Among the several organizations similar to The Club and the 
Literary Union that have come to the attention of the authors are the 
Saturday Club of Concord, Massachusetts (1855-1956), the Social 
Circle, founded in 1791 and still meeting, and the Concord School 
of Philosophy (1879-1884), revived in 1977 (the latter two had both 
men and women as members). Concord, so long associated with 
American writers, had other clubs also.^ Jacksonville itself had a 
flourishing Plato Club (1880-1900), led by Hiram K. Jones, M.D., a 
member of the Literary Union, in which both sexes were members/ 
There was also the Roundtable, a club for young men, that existed 
in the latter part of the nineteenth century.^ 

A national organization, the Torch Club, founded in the 1920's, 
has chapters in several cities, including Youngstown, Ohio^ and 
Schenectady, New YorkJ^ Among local clubs are the QC 
(Quarter-Century) of Indianola, Iowa'"'' and the Guiatenon of Craw- 
fordsville, Indiana. The latter was founded in 1883, and it has 
fifty-five active and a number of honorary and associate members. 
Its programs are given by volunteers, and a single discussant is 
named; other discussion is voluntary. ""^ Also, Macomb, Illinois has 
The Macomb Philosophy Club, which was founded in 1926 with the 
encouragement of Western Illinois University's president at that 
time, Walter P. Morgan. 

In Montpelier, Vermont, is The Club, and at St. Albans, 
Vermont, is the Owls Club, the latter of a "convivial nature until 
recently, when it has become of more serious purpose. "^^ 
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, is the home of the Atheneum, with forty 
members, which meets monthly and hears two papers at each 
session. Discussion is voluntary.^'* On many college campuses 
there were, and are, faculty discussion groups such as that at 
Indiana University at Bloomington in the 1940's, which admitted 
only one person from each department. In Washington, D. C. were 
the Cosmos Club, composed entirely of men and still going, and 
the Literary Society of Washington, which included both men and 
women and is now defunct. That city has seen many clubs, often 
scientific or professional in nature. ^^ The Jacksonville Literary 
Union had a satellite at Redlands, California, which was founded in 
1895, and was called the Fortnightly Club. Whether it is still in 
existence is not known. 

The authors have discovered the above organizations by writing 
to libraries in likely towns and by conversations and cor- 
respondence with friends. Negative replies were received from 
Hamilton, New York, Boston, Massachusetts, Syracuse, New York, 
and Ann Arbor, Michigan. The following towns in Illinois were also 
written to, but negative answers were given: Bloomington, 


Carlinville, Decatur, Galesburg, Hamilton, Quincy, Rockford, Rock 
Island, and Springfield. In Chicago there were several societies, the 
oldest being the Chicago Literary Club, founded in 1875 and still 
meeting in the late 1970's.^^ 

From this limited evidence, we can conclude that the clubs of 
Jacksonville were alone in central and northwestern Illinois, except 
for those in Chicago and, after 1926, Macomb. The reason for this 
we are not able to determine, because the founders of The Club and 
the Literary Union never said anything about their sense of 
uniqueness. It is our guess that the matter never entered their 
heads, and that they thought of themselves as a sort of natural 
extension of the literary societies at Illinois College, where so many 
of their members were connected. One other place where there is a 
link with college literary societies is Oxford, Ohio. When the Miami 
University literary societies were replaced by fraternities, the names 
and traditions of those societies were carried on by adult town 

We also need to answer the question, "Why have the 
Jacksonville clubs existed for so long a time?" We think that the 
answer lies in the intellectual and educational life of the 
community. Jacksonville was, and is, an educational center, with 
Illinois College, MacMurray College, and state institutions for the 
blind, the deaf, and the developmentally handicapped being there. 
Also, Jacksonville, being the seat of a rich agricultural county, 
attracted many lawyers, and it has been a medical center for many 
years, ever since the first medical college in Illinois was founded by 
Illinois College before the Civil War. (The school lasted but a short 
time, but the doctors continued to be an important element in the 
community.) We have also pointed out above that Jacksonville, 
before the Civil War, had debating societies, lyceums, and other 
group activities that influenced the culture of the town. This matter 
is given full discussion in Don Harrison Doyle's The Social Order of 
a Frontier Community: Jacksonville, Illinois, 1825-1870.^^ Another 
factor is the pride that the city takes in its history. It had one of the 
early historical societies in the state, and its Old Settler 
organization held annual picnics that were well attended. There 
are many fine nineteenth-century mansions still preserved and lived 
in, and there is deep respect for tradition. Other communities have 
similar conditions, and yet there are no men's literary clubs, but we 
think that the particular mix in Jacksonville provided for the nurture 
of The Club and the Literary Union. 

The following brief histories of The Club and the Literary Union 
are adapted from duplicate copies of manuscripts that were 
deposited in a Time Capsule in Jacksonville in 1975, the year of the 


city's sesquicentennial, and not to be opened until 2025. Dr. 
Hendrickson is Professor Emeritus of History at MacMurray College 
and a member of The Club since 1943. Dr. Langfitt is Professor of 
Religion and Chaplain of Illinois College, and was the secretary of 
the Literary Union in 1975. The sources are the minutes of the 
respective organizations.^^ 

The Club, 1861-1980 

The first meeting of The Club was held on September 12, 1861 . 
The first secretary, Elizur Wolcott, a man of independent means 
who was interested in intellectual pursuits, recorded the initial 
meeting thus: "A number of gentlemen met at the residence of W. 

D. Sanders, Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Illinois 
College, for the purpose of forming a club." President Julian M. 
Sturtevant of Illinois College, who was also Professor of Intellectual 
and Moral Philosophy and Mathematics, was the chairman, and the 
sixteen men who were present were looked upon as the charter 
members. ^° In addition to Sturtevant, Sanders, and Wolcott, they 
were: Samuel Adams, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry 
and Natural History at Illinois College; R. C. Crampton, Professor 
of Mathematics and Astronomy at Illinois College; William C. 
Gallaher, Minister of the Presbyterian Church at Pisgah, Illinois; D. 

E. Hamilton, Minister of Westminster Presbyterian Church; C. M. 
Marshall, occupation unknown; Henry K. Jones, M.D., Professor of 
Obstetrics at Illinois College; David A. Smith, lawyer; M. F. Ayres, 
businessman and banker; Rufus Nutting, Professor of Latin and 
Greek at Illinois College; E. P. Kirby, lawyer and later county judge; 
Jonathan B. Turner, Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at 
Illinois college, also educator and horticulturist; and W. S. Russell, 
Minister of the Disciples of Christ Church. 

A few of these initial members were particularly notable men. 
President Sturtevant was a leading member of the community, 
having been one of the Yale Band that founded Illinois College in 
1829. During the Civil War he was sent to England by President 
Lincoln to speak out for United States policies toward the South. 
Another man whose broad interests transcended local concerns 
was Jonathan Baldwin Turner, who came to Jacksonville and 
Illinois College in 1833. He was a proponent of tax-supported 
schools, an advocate of improved agricultural methods, an early 
champion of the land grant college idea, and later the president of 
the Illinois Natural History Society. He retired from teaching at an 
early date and developed a lively horticultural business, one of the 
products of which was the osage orange tree hedge that made it 
possible to fence the prairies. In his later years, he turned to 



Courtesy of Illinois College Library. 

Julian Sturtevant, early member of The Club. 


philosophy and religion and often delivered long papers to The Club 
on those subjects. Professor William Sanders was also an 
important community leader. In the 1870's he founded a prosperous 
girls' school in Jacksonville that was entitled The Athenaeum. 

At the first meeting of The Club, David E. Hamilton presented a 
constitution which had been prepared for the occasion. It said that 
the purpose of The Club was "mutual entertainment and instruction 
of the members by conversation and discussion." Why "The Club" 
(always capitalized) was chosen as the organization's title is not 
known. An examination of the original constitution indicates that 
possibly the place for the name was left blank and later filled in as 
"The Club," perhaps because no one proposed a more precise 
name. And from that day forward, members have had to explain that 
The Club is the name of the organization. 

Membership was by nomination, and voting was by secret 
ballot. Then, as now, a unanimous affirmative vote was necessary 
for admittance. Meetings were held every two weeks for many 
years, even in the summer time, until 1896, when it was agreed that 
The Club year would begin with the second Monday in October, and 
would continue until the second Monday in May. This practice is 
still followed. 

There were no officers other than the secretary, who kept the 
minutes and collected the dues, which were mainly used to mail 
notices of meetings, including a postcard to be returned to the 
host. Dues ranged from twenty-five cents a year, when postcards 
were a penny, to three dollars in 1980, when postage was twenty 
cents a member for each meeting. Members frequently discussed 
the utility of sending notices with return postcards, because they 
often did not return the cards, but presented them to the host when 
they came to meeting! In 1976, it was decided, tradition 
notwithstanding, that only a notice would be sent, and that 
members would telephone the host if they could not attend. 

In the early days the discussion leader was selected at each 
meeting for the next. By the 1880's the secretary was working out a 
schedule and arranging in advance for a host and a reader for each 
meeting of the year. The host presided until 1941 , when a president 
was selected and, with the secretary, planned the year's program. 
The Rev. C. W. Meeker, who was a member from 1928 to 1943, said 
that the basis of such officer selection was a long-felt need, but The 
Club had never taken precipitous action on any matter. The 
question of having a president was long debated, and discussion on 
other matters went on for months, even years, before a vote was 
taken. Another change in organization was not made until 1960, 
when two secretaries were provided for— one to record the 


meetings, and a corresponding secretary and treasurer to send out 
notices and collect dues. 

The 1861 constitution has never been amended, and there are no 
formal bylaws. From time to time, committees have been named to 
make recommendations for action, which The Club may accept or 
not. One frequently discussed matter of policy was that of 
membership. Although sixteen members were present at the first 
meeting, and the total membership was placed at twenty in the 
constitution, sometimes there were no more than six or eight at a 
meeting. It was early recognized that the success of The Club 
depended on having an adequate number of members so that 
various occupations and professions would be represented. At 
three times in its history this matter was dealt with, and 
membership committees were set up to encourage recruitment by 
members. However, the right of any member to propose a man for 
an existing vacancy has not been limited. 

As has been noted, little time was ever spent on organizational 
matters, and it was only in 1969 that a sort of updated set of bylaws 
was accepted, which is still in effect in 1980. It defines the 
obligations of membership and gives a statement of the duties of 
the officers and creates a new class of associate members to take 
the place of men who can no longer attend regularly. 

During the 1940's and 1950's there were both May and October 
picnic dinners, many held at the country home of Mr. and Mrs. 
Charles Gibson. But such meetings were dropped because they 
made extra work for the wives. The matter of entertainment of wives 
was satisfactorily solved in 1954 when the practice of holding an 
annual joint meeting with the Literary Union began. The Union 
started it by asking The Club members to be paying guests at a May 
meeting. The Club reciprocated the next year, and the custom 
continues. Each organization arranges for the meeting of which it is 
the host, and secures an outside speaker, usually someone in 
politics, or who is knowledgeable about history or public affairs. 
The president of the host club presides and the president of the 
guest club makes remarks. The secretaries of each club give 
summaries of the year's meetings, usually with clever remarks. In 
1977, the secretary of The Club, Allan Metcalf, Associate Professor 
of English at MacMurray College, cast his report in the form of a 
long rhyming poem. The dinner is considered to be one of the 
highlights of the social season in Jacksonville. 

In 1961, The Club observed its one-hundredth anniversary by 
holding a dinner at the Dunlap Hotel. At that time, the members of 
Sorosis women's literary society presented The Club with a gavel, 
which has since been placed in a handsome walnut box, made and 


carved by Club members Lawrence Crawford and Howard Corey. 
The gavel is kept by the current president, and is used at the 
opening meeting of each year and on ceremonial occasions. 

The membership of The Club has always included men who play 
a leading part in the life of the community. Among the members are 
usually four or five faculty members each from Illinois College and 
MacMurray College. They are from all departments, but principally 
from the science, social science, history, English, and philosophy- 
religion departments. Among the town members are school 
teachers, bankers, lawyers, businessmen, and doctors. 

Although many men were members of The Club for twenty-five, 
thirty, or forty years, only two reached their fiftieth year— Judge 
Edwin P. Kirby, a charter member who had been a fledgling lawyer 
in 1861, and Victor H. Sheppard, Professor Emeritus of Education 
at MacMurray College, who entered in 1926 when he was a young 
teacher of history in the high school. 

What is it that makes such faithful and devoted members of The 
Club? The answer is found in the tribute to Jonathan Baldwin 
Turner, a member of thirty-eight years standing when he died in 
1899. Dr. J. E. Bradley, chairman of a committee to memorialize 
Turner, wrote: 

Professor Turner was one of thie founders and originators of The 
Club. Its pure intellectual atmosphere and freedom of belief and 
discussion well illustrated his high cast and independence of 
thought. He maintained in common with the other founders of 
this club, that its sole aim should be the improvement and 
enjoyment of its members, that carefully prepared papers 
should be presented for its consideration and deemed 
confidential, for the discovery of truth anql, not for publication or 
any other ulterior purposes. Professor Turner made its 
meetings, so far as it was in his power, a training not only in 
intellectual clearness and social courtesy, but also in open 
mindedness and its hospitality to the truth whatever it might be. 

It is impossible here to review the thousand and more papers, 
book reviews, travel talks, and so on that have been presented to 
The Club during its 119 years of meetings. These papers were the 
heart of The Club's life, for little attention was paid to 
organizational matters, and more often than not, the president 
announced, after the reading of the minutes of the previous 
meeting, "There being no business, we will turn our attention to the 
reader for the evening." The papers, for the most part, were related 
to current events, and so the minutes of the meetings are a 
reflection of the history of the United States— governmental 
policies, economic problems, religious controversies, educational 
matters, agricultural developments, etc. A great many papers came 


out of the personal experiences of members in their daily lives, as 
teachers, businessmen, or professionals. There were also reports 
of travels to various parts of the nation and the world. 

The flavor of the meetings during the early years of The Club is 
evident from the titles of some of the papers. On September 30, 
1861 , Sturtevant was the leading speaker on the topic "What Should 
be the Immediate Policy of the Government with Regard to the Slave 
Problem?" Other papers during the 1860's were also devoted to 
problems that arose out of the Civil War. The first of many papers 
on education was given in 1865: "Common School Education, and 
What Modification of our Present System is Desirable?" One of the 
rare literary evenings in The Club's history was on April 24, 1864, 
when Professor Samuel Adams led a session on poetry. He read 
two poems by Whittier, and then Turner followed with extracts from 
Scott's Marmion, and Dr. Jones recited Mrs. Hemans' "Treasure of 
the Days." The discussion centered around the question "What 
Constituted a True Poet?" At the end, a vote was taken to determine 
who was the greatest poet (other than Shakespeare), and Byron 
won with four votes out of the twelve cast. 

Meetings of The Club have traditionally been held in the homes 
of members. In the beginning there was a supper at 6:30, followed 
by the paper or presentation. Soon, however, meetings were held at 
7:30 p.m., to be followed by refreshments at 10:30. After the 
president, or the host, if the president is absent, calls the meeting 
to order, the minutes of the previous meeting are read. Throughout 
its history, with few exceptions. The Club had minutes that were 
kept by men who wrote with literary distinction, and so it is a 
pleasure to read them today. As they ended the minutes, 
secretaries made appreciative remarks about the refreshments 
served by the hostesses. Secretary Thomas Rogers, an English 
teacher at MacMurray College, reached the height of this literary 
from when he said in 1957, "Food came to man tonight, and kept on 
coming. Rolls and sweet rolls, chocolate and hot chocolate, and 
other good things beggar description of either their variety or their 
savoriness. Chaucer would have said, 'Weel weren essed atte 
beste,' and Mark Twain would have said, 'Its an elegant feed,' and 
Dr. Johnson would have said, 'It was a dinner to ask a man to.' They 
would all have been honoring Mrs. Hellerberg." Mrs. Arthyr 
Hellerberg, a former Home Economics teacher, was the hostess for 
that evening. 

The Club is not an action group, as we have noted, and with a 
few exceptions, has never tried to reach a consensus on any 
subject. Each man speaks for himself, and contributes what he can 
to the enlightenment of his fellows. Even on the most controversial 
subjects, there is never any attempt to change another man's mind. 


The Literary Union, 1864-1980 

The Literary Union was organized on April 14, 1864. The minutes 
report the event as follows: "Complying with the invitation of the 
Hon. William Brown, a number of gentlemen assembled at his 
home this evening to consider the propriety and practicability of 
forming a Literary Association." A committee was appointed to 
draw up "a simple form of constitution, and William Brown, 
chairman, L. Glover, William Dodd, and John Loomis were named 
to the task. At the same time. Brown, in the chair, appointed Glover 
to present the reasons for the formation of a library in connection 
with the association, to be followed by a full discussion of the 

At the second meeting, on April 21, the constitution was 
reported and adopted, the object of the Literary Union being "to 
provide useful knowledge and correct taste among its members, 
and to devise plans for the good of society." While this object is not 
incompatible with the formation of a library, there is no mention 
that Glover ever brought up the subject. 

The charter members of the Literary Union were: Rev. L. M. 
Glover, Pastor of the State Street Presbyterian Church; Professor 
B. F. Mitchell, Principal of the Jacksonville Female Academy; 
Clinton (Charles on some lists) Fisher, M.D.; William Brown, Jr., 
lawyer; Elisha W. Brown, cashier at the William Brown Bank; Hon. 
William Brown, lawyer, banker, and later judge; Hiram H. Jones, 
M.D., Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Illinois College; 
John Woods, bank clerk; Professor John Loomis, teacher and 
principal at the Illinois Institution for the Education of the Blind; 
Phillip G. Gillett, Superintendent of the Institution for the 
Education of the Deaf; William Dodd, Professor of Language and 
Mathematics at Illinois College; Rev. Theodore N. Morrison, Rector 
of Trinity Episcopal Church; Andrew McFarland, M.D., Superin- 
tendent of the Illinois State Asylum for the Insane; and E. R. Elliott, 
occupation unknown. Morrison, McFarland, and Elliott were con- 
sidered to be among the charter members by historians of the 
Literary Union, although their names do not appear among those 
present at the first meeting. Possibly they were invited but could 
not be present. 

The constitution, adopted on April 21, 1864, provided that the 
officers were to be the president, vice-president, secretary, and 
librarian, although the last of these was soon dispensed with. The 
number of members was set at twenty, and they were to be elected 
unanimously by written ballot. 

There have been few changes in the constitution, the most 
significant being a revised statement of purpose in a pamphlet 





Courtesy of Illinois College Library. 

S. M. Glover, early member of the Literary Union. 


printed in 1912: "The object of this Union shall be to pronnote useful 
knowledge among its own members, and to provide for the free and 
impartial discussion of literary, scientific, and civic questions." On 
March 24, 1930, a category of associate membership was 
established, but it has been irregularly implemented. 

The president and vice-president were at first elected to 
three-month terms, and other officers to one-year terms, but with 
the reduction of meetings from once a week to the current two a 
month for eight months, elections now take place in April and all 
three officers are elected for one-year terms. The secretary was 
frequently elected for several terms. An earlier historian. Professor 
Ernest G. Hildner, Jr., wrote, "Dr. H. W. Milligan, a teacher at the 
School for the Deaf and later Professor of History and English 
literature at Illinois College, and an amateur scientist with a large 
curiosity about everything, was perhaps the best secretary the 
Union ever had. His notes are comprehensive and give in detail the 
discussion which followed a presentation. ... In addition, he was 
ready with a program when the leader assigned for the evening was 
unable to attend. "^^ 

As we have noted, the original constitution was amended 
spasmodically, but in 1971 it was codified so as to include 
amendments that had been made over the years. At the same time, 
items that had been unwritten, or were in motions in the minutes, 
were brought together as "Customs and Usages of the 
Union"— serving, in effect, as bylaws. 

Like The Club, the Literary Union reflected various aspects of 
American and world culture in the early papers, and this pattern has 
been followed ever since. For example, "Punishment of Rebel 
(Confederate) Leaders," "Payment of the National Debt," "The Love 
of Money, the Prominent Defect in the American Character," and 
"Ancient and Modern Eloquence" were all subjects for debate in the 
early years. And after the debate format was dropped, such papers 
as these were given: "Negro Suffrage," "Origin of the Races," 
"Cemeteries," "Spriitualism," and "Andrew Johnson and His 

For some time the programs followed one of four formats: 
conversation, debate, essay, or selected readings. Time and use, 
however, revealed the defects of a fixed formula, and gradually it 
evolved that members may choose their own subjects, and their 
own way of presenting them. Occasionally, and with decreasing 
frequency, a member is asked to consider a given subject, but the 
resolve to follow the suggestion rests with the member himself. The 
manner of presentation seems to vary in relation to the habits and 
peculiarities of the reader. William W. Wood, a member of the 
Union for many years, wrote: 


Freedom in choosing a subject, freedom in handling it, and 
freedom on the part of the members in discussing it have 
together operated to make interesting and spirited meetings. 
With science and religion, politics and business never absent, 
and with doctors and preachers, lawyers and businessmen 
always present, sharp differences are clearly inevitable, though 
in fact with an amount of bitterness so slight as to be negligible. 
. . . The membership of the Union has not been so like-minded 
as to make the proceedings tame nor so otherwise-minded as to 
make them turbulent. The rule of give and take has prevailed, but 
with limitations prompted by toleration and liberty, said to be 
the essence of liberalism. The observance of both sections of 
the rule hasn't always been found to be an easy matter, and 
some have not been equal to having their own asservations 
questioned or denied, and have gradually withdrawn. In general, 
new members conform to the unwritten code of which they are 
soon made aware; and in the matter of new mernbers youth has 
been no bar to admission or advancement. . 


From time to time, some members have protested against this 
passive attitude, and have said that any organization in a 
community should take a stand on current matters and attempt to 
do something to change them. On the other hand, throughout its 
life, Literary Union members were and are individually active in the 
affairs of the city as businessmen, public office holders, directors 
of church activities, or as members of public committees. We have 
no way of knowing whether men have used the ideas gained 
through Union meetings, but it does seem almost certain that there 
is such influence. If men did not welcome the "give and take," they 
would not be such steadfast attendants at Union meetings, as many 
are. Also, the organization might not have lasted all these years if 
there were not an opportunity to have informal conversation during 
the social hour that follows the meeting, in which the host's wife 
serves refreshments. 

For the last forty years, the programs, for the most part, have 
been in the form of book reviews. These have not been short 
critiques, but thirty or forty-minute summaries of books, along with 
comments by the reader. Thus a subject is opened up so that it 
stimulates comments. When the reader has made his presentation, 
each member is required to make a five-minute comment on the 
subject. Then visitors are asked to comment, and finally the leader 
has a short time for rebuttal, if he wishes. The custom of allowing 
members to pick topics of interest to themselves has had the effect 
of widening the horizons of the group. 

The routine has at times and places been broken for good cause. 
As Dr. Carl E. Black wrote, "Often over the objection of some 
'hide-bound' member, such as Professor Milligan, who did not 
allow the Fourth of July, Christmas, New Years or any other 



^ ,« 



Courtesy of Illinois College Library. 

Hiram Jones, early member of the Literary Union. 


ephemeral excuse to interfere with constitutional regularity . . . the 
Union did adjourn occasionally for lectures such as that of 
Frederick Douglass, or in deference to the Week of Prayer, or the 
State Sunday School Convention." 

Rarely were other events scheduled in Jacksonville on Monday 
nights when both the Union and The Club held their meetings. 
Notable exceptions were the visits to the city of the famous lieder 
singer, Lottie Lehmann, and the leader of the first revolutionary 
government in Russia, Alexander Kerensky. On some occasions, 
well-known pubic figures— like William Jennings Bryan, three 
times the Democratic candidate for President and a graduate of 
Illinois College, and William Henry Milburn, the noted blind lecturer 
and Chaplain of the United States Senate, whose family were early 
Jacksonville settlers— spoke at one of the organizations while 
visiting the town. 

Throughout the history of the Union and The Club there has 
been a friendly rivalry, which in recent years has been carried on at 
an annual meeting. This has resulted in a wider acquaintance 
between the members of each group and broader cultural 
stimulation for all. 

Although length of existence is not the only way to measure the 
value or appeal of an organization. The Club has lasted for 119 years 
and the Literary Union for 116. Both societies can claim a certain 
vitality for having resisted disintegrating influences and remained 
sane and solvent over the years. Other groups in Jacksonville have 
had their day and are now simply a part of local history. As 
organizations which possess open forums and offer worthwhile 
adult education, The Club and the Literary Union are not unmindful 
of their past experience or their potential for the future. 


' The minutes of each society are microfilmed and deposited in the Illinois 
State Historical Library, and the originals are in the care of the Illinois College 

^ Carl Bode, The American Lyceum, Town Meeting of the Mind (New York: 
Oxford Univ. Press, 1956) is the authority on the subject. 

^ See Thomas Harding, College Literary Societies: Their Contribution to High 
Education in the United States (New York: Pageant Press, n. d. [1970?]), pp. 19, 
24, 25, 317. 

^ Walter B. Hendricksen, "Science and Culture in the Middle West," Isis, 60 
(1973), 326-40. 


^ William E. Wilson, The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony 
(Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1964), pp. 188-89. See also Bruce Sinclair, 
Philadelphia's Pholosopher Mechanics: A History of the Franklin Institute 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1974), pp. 1-27, for a discussion of other 
self-help societies. 

^ Marcia E. Stone, Reference Librarian, Concord Free Public Library, Concord, 
Mass., to Walter B. Hendrickson, Nov. 24, 1977. 

^ Paul Russell Anderson, "Hiram K. Jones and Philosophy in Jacksonville," 
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 23 (1940), 469-520. 

^ William F. Short, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Morgan 
County, ed. Paul Selby and Newton Bateman (Chicago: Munsell Publishers, 1896), 
p. 742. 

" Alvin W. Skardon, Professor of Urban History, Youngstown, Ohio, to Walter 
B. Hendrickson, Jan. 5, 1977. 

^^ Dorothy C. Neff, Librarian, Reference Department, Schenectady County 
Library, Schectady, N.Y., to Walter B. Hendrickson, Nov. 23, 1976. 

^^ Charles J. Ginter, Public Library, Indianola, la., to Walter B. Hendrickson, 
Oct. 23, 1976. 

^^ James E. Ayers, Crawfordsville, Ind., to Walter B. Hendrickson, Oct. 4, 1977. 

^^ Seymour Bassett, Archivist, University of Vermont, Montpelier, Vt., to Walter 
B. Hendrickson, Feb. 24, 1977. 

^'^ Norman Lazare, Synnymede Farm, Pembroke, Ky., to Walter B. Hendrickson, 
Apr. 23, 1977. 

^^ Kirkpatrick Flack, Desideratum in Washington: The Intellectual Community 
in the Capital City. 1870-1900 (Cambridge: Schenkan Publishing Co., 1975), pp. 
38-40, 82, 83. 

^^ Thomas A. Orlando, Curator of Special Collections, Chicago Public Library, 
to Walter B. Hendrickson, Dec. 11 , 1979. 

^^ Conversation with Walter E. Havighurst, Professor Emeritus of History at 
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, May, 1979. 

^^ The Social Order of a Frontier Community: Jacksonville, Illinois, 1825-1870 
(Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1978), pp. 156-93. 

^^ See also these two brief histories: Ensley Moore, "The Club," and William D. 
Wood, "The Literary Union," in Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 18 
(1925), 201-04 and 205-08. 

^^ It should be noted that there were no members associated with Illinois 
Female College, now MacMurray College, because at the time there were no men 
on the faculty except the president and the head of the music department. 

^^ Ernest G. Hildner, "Centennial: The Literary Union," a paper read at the 
annual meeting of The Club, April 27, 1964. 

^^ W. D. Wood, "After Seventy Years," a paper read at the annual meeting of The 
Club, April, 1934. 


Since our last issue we have received several communications 
which prove that western Illinois is an unmined field of historical 
and literary material. The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams 
County (Caroline Sexauer, Acquisitions Chairperson) writes that it 
is presently inventorying its collection of manuscripts and is unable 
to present a full summary of its holdings. However, the Society 
does house some Orville H. Browning letters, at least one Lincoln 
letter, various manuscripts pertaining to local history, letters and 
diaries of local historical and regional figures, and almost 2,000 
volumes containing historical and genealogical information about 
Quincy and Adams County. The Society is also restoring the home 
of Governor John Wood, a Greek revival structure built in the early 
1800's, and it also retains control over the papers and memorabilia 
of that early Illinois political leader. 

We have also received a rather astounding listing of documents 
and materials recently catalogued at the First Presbyterian Church 
of Jacksonville, Illinois. There, in its vault, are the session records 
and minutes dating back to 1827, the various minutes and actions 
of the trustees of the First Presbyterian, the session minutes and 
records of the Westminster Church (1860-1952), the session 
minutes and records of the Annual Congregational Meetings of the 
State Street Church (1885-1952), and materials relating to the 
merger of the First Presbyterian and other Jacksonville churches in 
1887. Mr. M. F. Stewart of Jacksonville, who sends us this 
information, also details items ranging from record books to copies 
of sermons and printed histories of church activities in Morgan 
County. The list is too long to enumerate specifically, but we 
should mention the following: a history of the Exiles Church written 
in 1902; a typewritten history of Westminster Church, 1899; copies 
of semi-centennial proceedings of First Presbyterian, 1878; and a 
handwritten document entitled "History of Presbyterianism in 
Morgan County." 



Also included in the information forwarded by Mr. Stewart is a 
brief printed history of the First Presbyterian Church covering the 
period from 1827 to 1977. One of the more interesting aspects of the 
pamphlet is a detailing of the care extended by the Presbyterians of 
Jacksonville to Portuguese refugees from the island of Madeira in 
1849. Under the leadership of President Julian Sturtevant of Illinois 
College, numbers of Portuguese people were brought to 
Jacksonville, while others were settled in Waverly and in 
Springfield. This must have been a remarkable effort for, it should 
be added, Jacksonville Presbyterians were also deeply involved at 
the same time in activities of the Underground Railroad. 

Our thanks go to the First Presbyterian Church for its efforts in 
attempting to preserve its own valuable records. Perhaps other 
churches in western Illinois will follow its lead. 

While we have no indication that St. Paul's Roman Catholic 
Parish of Macomb is cataloguing and organizing its records, we 
have an indication that the members of that church are attempting 
to compile a history of the parish. A small eight-page pamphlet 
listing major events in the history of Macomb Catholics was 
published in 1979, and therein one may find that the parish was 
established in 1854 by Father O'Neil and six area families. Three 
years later the small congregation managed to buy property on 
Washington Street in Macomb, and the house there was used for 
services. The first true church building was constructed in 1867 and 
that lasted until 1925 when it was razed to make way for the present 
brick structure. Priests for the parish over the years have included 
Fathers O'Neil, Libert, Lentz, Ryan, Coffey, Haddigan, and 
Buttgen— the last passing away in 1977. The present pastor of the 
parish is Father Pricco, and he heads the history committee which 
has been established to commit the story of St. Paul's into print. 

A most interesting letter has been received from Professor 
Charles Frey, the Special Collections Librarian at Bradley 
University. Professor Frey has provided information on holdings at 
Bradley which again serves to demonstrate the amount of historical 
materials to be found in western Illinois. 

Frey heads the Virginius H. Chase Special Collections Center at 
Bradley, and his letter points up four areas of specific interest to 
possible researchers in Illinois history. The Center maintains a 
"Bradleyana" collection, a mass of archival materials relevant to the 
history of Bradley University and to Peoria as a whole. In the 
collection are complete runs of the school newspaper, yearbooks, 
and catalogues of the institution. In addition to a vertical file 


covering people and events of significance to Bradley, there are a 
number of complementary institutional histories compiled by 
former faculty members. Part of the "Bradleyana" collection 
consists of books once owned by Lydia Moss Bradley as well as 
artifacts pertaining to the Bradley family and to the founding of the 
Polytechnic Institute. 

A second important collection at Bradley is that created by 
Charles Alpheus Bennett, the founder of the Manual Arts Press, 
presently the Charles A. Bennett Company. In the late 1930's 
Bennett donated his personal library to the school, a largesse of 
about 1,000 books and 6,000 pamphlets. Altogether, the total 
collection can be divided into four categories: (1 ) books purchased 
by Bennett to complete research into his own publications, the 
History of Manual and Industrial Education Up to 1870 and the 
History of Manual and Industrial Education, 1870-1917; (2) 
materials gathered during Bennett's forty years as editor of the 
Industrial Education Magazine; (3) technical books and course 
outlines published during the early years of the manual training 
movement in Sweden, England, France, Germany, and the United 
States; (4) and books on art instruction published prior to the 
mid-Nineteenth Century. Professor Frey claims that the Charles 
Alpheus Bennett library "represents one of the finest retrospective 
collections of its type in the Midwest." 

Also in the Bradley University Special Collections Center are 
some 2,500 items relating to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. 
Most of these came from the Martin L. Houser Collection of 1 ,300 
volumes and pamphlets given to the University some time ago. 
Houser was an authority on books which the self-educated Lincoln 
read during his formative years, and he collected duplicates of every 
volume Lincoln was purported to have studied. One of the books is 
documented as having been owned by the Great Emancipator 

A second part of the Lincoln materials consists of 650 items on 
twenty-one reels of microfilm. Ranging from broadsides to books, 
these are drawn from the Lincoln Collection at Lincoln Memorial 
University and are almost impossible to view in their original form. 

Of all of the materials housed in the Special Collections Center 
at Bradley, we find the Chase Collection to be most unique, and in a 
sense, it fits in with the slightly religious emphasis of this segment 
of "Notes and Documents." Philander Chase was the first Episcopal 
bishop of Ohio, a relative of the more famous Salmon Philander 
Chase, and the founder of Kenyon and Jubilee Colleges in the 
middle third of the nineteenth century. 

The Chase Collection is the result of a broad based effort 
involving gifts to the Bradley Library, purchases of special items, 


and efforts by the Citizens Committee to Preserve Jubilee College. 
At the heart of the collection is a group of over 1,300 manuscript 
letters from and to Bishop Chase and his family. Also in the 
collection are numbers of books, pamphlets, images, and artifacts. 
There is a rare edition of Chase's Reminiscences published serially 
in Peoria in 1841, and a unique two-volume second edition of the 
same work that originally belonged to James Dow, who was its 
publisher. Of special interest, too, is a copy of a memorial sermon 
preached by the Rev. Dudley Chase at Jubilee College in 1852. 

We owe a special thanks to Professor Frey for his informative 
letter. Perhaps it will lead some young researcher into a further 
study of the remarkable Bishop Chase and his works. 

Further still along the religious line, it is worth noting that the 
Rev. L. Eugene Clements, minister to the Mcintosh, Florida, 
Presbyterian Church, has donated a collection of materials valued 
at $1,800. The collection, given to the Library at Western Illinois 
University, includes a complete set of Hastings Commentary on 
sermon topic. There are thirty-six of these volumes in all. 

The University Library in Macomb has also received an original 
edition of Early Western Travels, a series of annotated reprints of 
some of the best and rarest descriptions of travel in the Middle and 
Far West during the period from 1748 to 1846. Published circa 1905 
to 1910, the edition was the gift of Martin M. Love and his wife of 
Lewistown, Illinois. 

Certainly not in the religious vein were the gifts and donations 
to the University Library in Macomb by Burl Ives, noted actor and 
folksinger. The Ives Collection consists of seventeen boxes of 
correspondence, fifty-eight manuscripts, 229 books, over 1,000 
recording masters (some of a religious nature), phonograph records 
and tape recordings, costumes, props, and personal belongings, 
including a fine painting of Ives himself. Together with other 
donations from television and screen comedian Red Skelton, 
Western's new additions offer insights into aspects of theatre, folk 
music, and radio-television entertainment as they have developed 
over the last thirty years. 

Back to religion, but only briefly, we note that Historic Illinois, a 
publication of the Illinois Department of Conservation, has 
discovered the rare architectural beauty of the Table Grove, Illinois 
Community Church (see the August, 1979 issue). We always 
appreciate visits by state officials to what some people call 


Other issues of Historic Illinois during 1979 have listed various 
sites approved for nomination to the National Register of Historic 
Places. Those in western Illinois include the William S. Warfield 
House and the State Savings Loan and Trust Company of Quincy; 
the aforementioned Table Grove Community Church, the J. Newton 
Conger House in Oneida, the George Stickney House in Fulton 
County, the Golden Eagle-Toppmeyer Site and Schudel No. 2 Site 
in Calhoun County, and the Robert W. Gardner House in Adams 

The Western Illinois University Museum Newsletter, wrongly 
dated Fall, 1980, also contains a little note about "Forgottonia." 
There is, believe it or not, a Forgottonia Depression Glass Club. We 
would never have supposed that such an organization existed. Also 
included in the issue is a short but interesting piece about the 
partial restoration of Hills Grove Cemetery, southwest of 
Tennessee, Illinois. Particular attention has been given to the 
restoration of the Roswell Tyrrell monument, so the article states. 
Tyrrell was the first settler in Tennessee township. 

Two interesting historical finds have been made lately in 
McDonough and Hancock Counties. Dr. John Hallwas, the 
peripatetic Director of Regional Collections at Western Illinois 
University Library, recently discovered that the Warsaw, Illinois 
Public Library possesses a John Hay scrapbook. Whoever brought 
the material together was diligent enough to include a long 
genealogical study of the Hay family as well as a collection of 
newspaper clippings. Also in the scrapbook are some items of 
correspondence from Hay, including one penciled note to a 
Hancock County inhabitant. The library also has four scrapbooks of 
newspaper clippings about the history of Warsaw. Dr. Hallwas 
recently published an article entitled "Warsaw: An Old Mississippi 
River Village" in Illinois Magazine (the December, 1979 issue). 

Individuals working on the restoration of the McDonough 
County courthouse have found an interesting Civil War lithograph. 
Hidden in the recesses of the attic for over a century, the lithograph 
details aspects of the 16th Illinois Infantry camp life near Nashville, 
Tennessee. If one looks closely at the picture, however, he will note 
that the camp is being visited by a cluster of generals on horseback. 
One of them, a bearded officer looking much like General Grant, is 
being welcomed by a private soldier who, in conformity with both 
fact and tradition, is offering the general a bottle of white lightning. 
No branch water was included. 

Victor Hicken 

Western Illinois University 


JOHN L. LEWIS: A BIOGRAPHY. By Melvyn Dubofsky and Warren 
Van Tine. New York: Quadrangle/ The New York Times Book Club, 
1977. Pp. xvii, 619. $20.00. 

How different is this biography from that written almost thirty 
years earlier by Saul Alinsky! In his John L. Lewis, Alinsky 
constructed a man who never was, a character whose possessions 
and artifacts might have eventually filled the reliquaries of the 
United States. Dubofsky and Van Tine's Lewis is more of what he 
really was, a labor czar, part labor goon and part labor hero, and a 
man whose noble rhetoric was often belied by his ignoble deeds. 

Early in the biography, the authors trace Lewis's Welsh heritage, 
his childhood in Iowa, and his crucial move in 1908 to the little town 
of Panama in Montgomery County, Illinois. There Lewis, with his 
many brothers and his father, quickly seized control of the local 
union. Using that position as a catapult, he extended his power 
across the county line into Macoupin County, described by the 
authors as the most "organized and militant county of coal miners 
in the state" (p. 21). 

Soon Lewis moved his base of operations of Springfield, where, 
as the strongest force in the crucial District 12 of the United Mine 
Workers of America, he attracted about himself a mixed bag of both 
gangsters and dedicated labor organizers. Among this strange 
assortment of characters were such men as Frank Farrington from 
Fairbury, Illinois, and Allan Haywood of Witt in Montgomery 
County, and later Taylorville, in Christian County. After he attained 
the presidency of the United Mine Workers, Lewis quarreled with 
almost every one of his subordinates, including the ordinarily loyal 
Haywood. As the authors point out, the reasons for such 
dissensions were clear. They included both the worsening 
economic condition of mine workers throughout the nation, and 
Lewis's inordinate ambition to completely dominate the mine labor 
union movement. Votes were stolen by Lewis lieutenants, and the 
man himself appeared willing to use any choice bit of information 
as blackmail against his opponents whenever necessary. 



By the time of Pearl Harbor, he had both reconciled himself to 
his main opposition (except the small but militant Progressive 
Miners of America), and he had further extended his influence over 
American labor with the organization of the Committee of Industrial 
Organization. Allan Haywood went with him in that venture, being 
installed by Lewis as the national director of the C.I.O. 

The authors detail Lewis's wartime struggles with President 
Roosevelt, his peacetime quarrels with President Truman, and his 
eventual death. In this later portion of the book, Dubofsky and Van 
Tine make a horrendous error in proofreading by entitling the last 
chapter "From Resistance to Resignation, 1941-1969." (Lewis died 
in 1959, as they point out in the chapter.) 

All in all, the new Lewis biography is excellent, and is 
particularly relevant to Illinois because of its circumspect coverage 
of Lewis's early years in Montgomery and Sangamon Counties. 
Macoupin County also receives a good deal of attention by reason 
of its special place in the radical aspects of the mine labor union 

Victor Hicken 

Western Illinois University 

SAINTS. By Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton. New York: 
Alfred A. Knopf, 1979. Pp. xiv, 404. $15.00. 

This is the much-needed and long-awaited volume to which 
textbook writers and general readers can turn with reasonable 
confidence for facts and perspectives on Mormon history. Leonard 
Arrington is not only the most prolific and esteemed writer among 
the growing crop of historians of Mormonism, but as head of the 
History Division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
since 1972, he has helped launch an archives management and 
utilization program of revolutionary proportions. Davis Bitton 
divides his time between the History Division and a professorship in 
European history at the University of Utah. Both men are active 
Mormons, but this book is not church sponsored. 

The sixteen chapters of The Mormon Experience are divided into 
three parts: "The Early Church," "The Kingdom in the West," and 
"The Modern Church." The treatment of church beginnings is 
interpretive and sophisticated; Joseph Smith emerges as a very 
human "prophet," capable of remarkable insights and surprising 
quirks. Extensive recent research is incorporated in the sections on 
Missouri and Illinois. One can admire and sympathize with the 


Saints and still understand why sonne of their Gentile neighbors 
found them intolerable. The Brigham Young years are handled in 
conventional narrative fashion, with more emphasis on social 
history than some of the conflict-centered books which this one will 
supersede. Polygamy is presented in only slightly defensive terms. 
The authors estimate that up to 5 percent of married men, 12 
percent of married women, and 10 percent of Mormon children were 
involved in "the principle" between its public promulgation in 1852 
and its official abandoment in 1890. 

The chapters on the twentieth century are topical, and some of 
the material will be new to Mormon as well as non-Mormon readers. 
"Mormon Sisterhood: Charting the Changes" concludes on this 
intriguing note: ". . . their own past is complex enough and 
populated with enough strong, achieving female personalities that 
they are able to continue pushing on the boundaries, trying 
different options, and resisting an excessively narrow conception of 
their role." (p. 240) "The Temporal Foundation" deals with 
economics and politics; like other chapters, it confronts the 
questions usually raised by outside critics, and among tenable 
answers it prefers those which are compatible with institutional 
allegiance. On the other hand. The Mormon Experience contains 
both information and judgments which will distress those whose 
faith is in infallible prophets or an unerring church. 

The volume is attractively printed, with two helpful maps and a 
pictorial section. The back-of-the-book notes contain informational 
tidbits as well as source citations; they would be more helpful if 
they were cross-references to pages in the text. The selective 
bibliography is up-to-date and contains both unfriendly and friendly 
works. Editorial and indexing lapses have already been mostly 
corrected in the second printing. 

The Tabernacle Choir, Readers Digest inserts, Sonia Johnson 
and 28,000 full-time missionaries have given the Latter-day Saints 
high visibility in recent months. The Mormon Experience is 
recommended to anyone who wants to find out what it's all about. 

Richard D. Poll 

Western Illinois University 

LETTERS OF VACHEL LINDSAY. Edited by Marc Chenetier. New 
York: Burt Franklin & Co., 1979. Pp. xxx, 474. $21.95. 

The centenary of Lindsay's birth was most notably marked by a 
festival in his home town and by the publication of these Letters of 
Vachel Lindsay. The three-day festival had a spirit about it which 


would have earned Lindsay's approval. There was no stuffiness, no 
trumped-up reverence, no ladies' literary club gushiness. Those 
who planned, participated in, or attended the conference seemed to 
do so out of genuine affection for Lindsay and his work. They were 
friends. The absence, though, of a larger public suggests how we 
regard Vachel Lindsay today. 

Lindsay has been dead for almost half of the hundred years 
since his birth, and his reputation has not fared well. Indeed, these 
letters make clear that no sooner had Lindsay achieved fame with 
the publication of General William Booth and Other Poems (1913) 
and The Congo and Other Poems (1914) than he was beset with the 
problem of literary reputation. As soon as he hit the world of poetry 
with a "boomlay," he became famous and typecast as a "jazz poet." 
He struggled for the remainder of his life against that sobriquet, 
and that struggle, I believe, emerges as the dominant theme which 
both gives a sense of continuity to these letters and reveals a 
pattern in Lindsay's life that ultimately led to his suicide. The 
portrait of the American artist is here in these letters— a man 
crushed by the hostility of a materialistic culture to art. It's a 
familiar enough theme, and perhaps most succinctly stated in 
Sherwood Anderson's review of Edgar Lee Masters' biography of 
Lindsay {New Republic, Dec. 25, 1935), but painful and moving to 
read in an extended first-person narration. 

After the first flash of adulation, Lindsay never felt that he had 
the respect that was due him. He wanted to be taken seriously and 
to convert as many people as possible to his ideas for achieving a 
good society. His audiences, however, only wanted him to recite 
"General William Booth" and "The Congo," and this incessant 
demand made him hate performing those poems because that act 
reinforced the image of the jazz poet. Thus, the public's prejudices 
would not allow them to see Lindsay as he wanted to be 
perceived— as a serious social reformer and a poet who could speak 
in a variety of voices. 

In order to hear what he wanted to hear, Lindsay wrote most 
frequently to those critics, such as Harriet Monroe and Louis 
Untermeyer, who understood his need for supportiveness and were 
sympathetic toward new directions in his art. The development of 
Lindsay's career after the initial success of General William Booth 
and The Congo is recorded in his published and unpublished 
writings, and the energy he devoted to articulating his vision of the 
good society, such as in The Golden Book of Springfield, is 
recorded in many of the letters in this volume. Neither the weight of 
Lindsay's non-jazz poems nor the force of his pronouncements 
could, however, triumph over public and critical opinion in his own 


day; and those judgments have not been significantly revised since 
Lindsay's death. Today readers and critics may view Lindsay's work 
with great sympathy but still not find more than a handful of poems 
of enduring interest— among which are those Lindsay grew to 
despise reciting. What, then, do these selected Letters of Vachel 
Lindsay contribute to our view of the man and the poet? 

First, a word on the superb format of this book. The editing by 
Marc Chenetier is a first-rate job. The letters are arranged 
chronologically, conveniently numbered throughout the text, and 
listed in a table of contents which is a model of clarity. Chenetier 
has provided a brief but provocative Introduction, a marvelous 
Foreward by Lindsay's son, a very handy Chronology, and an Index 
admirable for its inclusiveness. The List of Sources, which 
indentifies the location of each letter, will be especially appreciated 
by researchers. All in all, the care with which this volume has been 
put together makes it an indispensible reference work for any one 
who wishes to know more about Lindsay. Furthermore, Chenetier's 
exemplary footnoting provides in itself a cogent record of the 
significant shaping forces and events in Lindsay's life. 

Chenetier has chosen 199 letters "out of the thousands 
available." Obviously, Lindsay was a prolific letter writer. Near the 
end of his life he even felt with some regret that if he hadn't put so 
much energy into letter writing, he may have written a few more 
good poems or pages of prose. Letter writing was, nevertheless, as 
Chenetier remarks, "a part of Lindsay's vision of life." Given such 
bountiful resources, the crux of the editing process becomes the 
principles of selection that have led Chenetier to include these 199 
letters and omit others. 

He includes only a few of the important letters to A. J. 
Armstrong since those were published in 1940 and only one to Sara 
Teasdale since those are expected to be published as a separate 
correspondence. Stylistic quality, variety, and coherence were 
other critieria that Chenetier used, but his "general approach has 
consisted of including those letters that seemed most appropriate 
both for an in-depth grasp of Vachel Lindsay's poetic explorations 
and imagination and for a clear, practical overall view of his life." 
Chenetier's selection of these specific letters does not, I feel, 
achieve the first half of his expressed intention as fully as it does 
the second. In these letters Lindsay does comment extensively 
about his poetry, but his remarks are more useful for clarifying his 
purpose in particular poems than they are for insights into his 
poetics, which are more carefully explained elsewhere by critics 
writing on Lindsay. 

The real value of these Letters of Vachel Lindsay lies in the 
splendid manner in which Chenetier's judicious selection has 


realized the second half of his purpose in presenting an "overall 
view" of Lindsay's life. These letters, with their illuminating 
footnotes, may constitute the best biography of Lindsay now 
available. The major book-length studies by Masters, Mark Harris, 
and Eleanor Ruggles are illuminating, but each is a decidedly 
partial — in both senses— portrait. Lindsay's own words are 
freighted with implications about his own life and are one of the 
best sources for capturing its essence. 

Though these letters, then, cannot be expected to substantially 
revise our estimation of Lindsay's poetry or to salvage his 
reputation, they will, I hope, enable us to appreciate and better 
understand the richness, variety, and expanse of Lindsay's life and 
work. His place in American letters is more important and his 
significance greater than current critical evaluations acknowledge. 
He deserves more recognition for his many and various 
achievements, and the publication of these letters is a welcome 
step in that direction. 

A principal aim of Chenetier in preparing this volume was to 
attempt to efface our view of Lindsay as the jazz poet and to draw 
more attention to Lindsay's "less well-known preoccupations." 
Lindsay merits this kind of revision of the standard image of him, 
but these letters in and of themselves are not sufficiently 
compelling to either erase that image or to replace it with a different 
one. Perhaps if the letters were more consistently interesting in 
their presentation of Lindsay's preoccupations, we would more 
readily be persuaded of their claims and might even enjoy the 
writing qua writing more. Instead, the letters often seem 
repetitious. What they repeat, building an incremental power 
reminiscent of Lindsay's most rhythmic poetry, are Lindsay's 
frustrations with audiences who would not take him for what he 
wanted to be. He needed friends that the dialectic of his own 
culture could not or would not supply. Thus, unfortunately and 
perhaps inevitably, the power that comes through these letters 
shows how, in Chenetier's words, "a man of insight is fashioned 
into a freak and ultimately destroyed." 

Jay Balderson 

Western Illinois University 

Metuchen: N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1979. Pp. vii, 304. $12.50. 

William A. Sutton's Carl Sandburg Remembered is not so much 
a book as a published scrapbook, filled with letters, journal 
excerpts, interviews, and periodical articles about the famous poet, 


biographer, folksinger, journalist, and American personality. 
Indeed, the volume is not really "by" Sutton, for he contributes only 
two short introductory paragraphs, a one-page Foreword, and a 
six-page account of his meeting with Sandburg in 1967. Rather, it is 
written by more than seventy-five people who knew, met, or saw the 
famous man of letters, and whose accounts were gathered by 
Sutton over a ten-year period. 

The book is divided into two unequal sections, the first of which 
is entitled "Excerpts from the Perry Manuscript." Mrs. Lilla Perry, 
who lived in Los Angeles, was a friend of Sandburg's, and over 
many years she kept a diary that included information about the 
poet, which she compiled into a manuscript after he died. As a 
whole, the excerpts are disappointing, for they offer little insight 
into Sandburg and are essentially focused on trivial matters— the 
kind of thing that no biographer would feel obligated to mention. 
However, some passages are of interest— such as those which 
reveal the poet's admiration for Charlie Chaplin (p. 11), his 
encouragement to a young novelist, Kenneth Dodson (pp. 17-18, 
30), and his intention to write a play called "The Laughter of 
Lincoln" (p. 28). 

The second part of the book, "A Host of Encounters," contains 
some 200 pages of accounts by people who generally had very brief 
experiences with Sandburg. As a result, most of the items offer 
only surface impressions — however vivid some of those may be. 
Since many accounts center around public appearances, there is 
much celebration of Sandburg, as "The greatest figure in the field of 
American letters" (p. 102), "America's troubadour" (p. 145). and so 
on. Of course, from such appearances, .and such comments, the 
Sandburg legend was created. 

While most of the accounts do not offer very perceptive 
comments about the man, a few of them do. For example, Alfred 
Frankenstein, who wrote down the music for The American 
Songbag, said of Sandburg in an interview, "He had a great 
mystical feeling about the Middle West. It shows up in everything 
he does, even the children's stories. It involves the effort of the 
immigrant to prove that he belonged in America" (p. 149). Even 
more important is the occasional significant remark by Sandburg 
himself that was taken down by some listener— such as the 
following one recorded by Cyril Clemens in the 1930's: " The kind 
of poem most congenial to me is neither the etching nor the 
symbolic poem of industrialism, but a kind of condensed fable, a 
snapshot of some scene or action, so written as to set in motion in 
my reader's mind some trail of reflections; I like very much to invest 
the single incident with cosmic significance' " (p. 139). 


Carl Sandburg Remembered makes no claim to be anything 
other than a compilation of accounts, and as such, it is useful for 
scholars who want to search for helpful tidbits of information. The 
Index should be of value to some who have that purpose. 
Otherwise, the book is tedious to read. The accounts in part two are 
not only unconnected, but also unorganized by the editor. They 
might have been presented in chronological order, or even grouped 
by general content— Sandburg at home, public appearances, 
friendships, etc. — but they were not. 

This disorganization, combined with the inherent limitations 
that first-person accounts by acquaintances and strangers are likely 
to exhibit, makes the book a poor place in which to search for an 
understanding of Sandburg. Indeed, one could argue that Carl 
Sandburg Remembered is not so much a book about the man as 
about the American people who so deeply responded to him, as to 
some admirable and articulate aspect of themselves. As one man 
said of a poetry and folksong performance, "Mr. Sandburg's hearers 
felt that they were listening to authentic America. His voice, they 
were convinced, is from the soul of the country. . ." (p. 143). 

John E. Hallwas 
Western Illinois University 


KAREN BERFIELD received her master's degree in history from 
Western Illinois University in 1965. Her thesis was about Bureau 
County, where she has lived for the past twenty years. Since 
completing her work at Western, she has taught at three different 
high schools in that area. 

WALTER B. HENDRICKSEN, Professor of History, Emeritus, at 
MacMurray College, is the author of books and articles on various 
aspects of American intellectual and cultural history. He has 
written extensively on the history of science and is the author of a 
short history of MacMurray College. Presently, he is a volunteer 
historian and archivist at the Illinois School for the Visually 
Impaired in Jacksonville, and he has written a history of that 
institution as well. 

JOHN W. LANGFITT, Associate Professor of Religion and Chaplain 
at Illinois College, has published articles on the church's ministry 
in higher education as well as a guidebook entitled "Looking 
Toward Marriage: A Guide for Creating Your Own Wedding 
Service." He is the co-author of a recent book, The College 1 
Experience: Integrating Work, Leisure and Service (1980). 

SIYOUNG PARK is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Western 
Illinois University. She received her Ph.D. in 1977 from the 
University of Minnesota. 

GORDANA REZAB is Archives and Special Collections Librarian at 
Western Illinois University. She recently completed her second 
master's degree, which is in the field of geography, at the University 
of Illinois. 

JOAN I. UNSICKER is a Research Associate in Archeology at 
Illinois State University, and she has worked extensively at the 
Cahokia Courthouse Site, the Mt. Pulaski Historic Site, and the 
Jubilee College Historic Site. At the last of these, she has been the 
principal investigator and field supervisor. She is also the managing 
editor of the new publication series in archeology at ISU.