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Full text of "Western Illinois regional studies"

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WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 



Published semiannually by 

the University Libraries 

and the College of Arts and Sciences 

at Western Illinois University 

Macomb, Illinois 61455 

BOARD OF EDITORS 

JAY R. BALDERSON GORDANA REZAB 

DONALD W. GRIFFIN ROBERT P. SUTTON 

JOHN E. HALLWAS, Chairman 

ADVISORY COMMITTEE 

DAVID D. ANDERSON, Michigan State University 
MICHAEL BECKES, United States Forest Service 
RICHARD W. CROCKETT, Western Illinois 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 
THOMAS E. HELM, Western Illinois University 
WALTER B. HENDRICKSON, 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. McINERY, Bradley University 
RONALD E. NELSON, District Historian, 

Illinois Department of Conservation 
RONALD E. NELSON, Western Illinois University 
FRED SOADY, Illinois Central College 
STUART STRUEVER, Northwestern University 
RONALD D. TWEET, Augustana College 
WILLIAM L. URBAN, Monmouth College 
ELLEN M. WHITNEY, Editor emeritus, 

"Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society" 
DOUGLAS WILSON, Knox College 



Subscription rates are $4.00 a year for individuals and $6.00 for institutions. Single 
issues are $2.00. Articles published in WIRS are listed in the MLA Bibliography, 
America: History and Life, and other appropriate bibliographies. 

Correspondence about subscriptions, contributions, and books for review should be 
sent to the Chairman of the Board of Editors, iVestern Illinois Regional Studies, 
Western lUinois University, Macomb, lUinois 61455. Bibliographic and other 
information for the Notes and Documents section should be sent to Professor 
Gordana Rezab at the same address. 



WESTERN ILLINOIS 
REGIONAL STUDIES 

VOLUME VII SPRING 1984 NUMBER 1 



CONTENTS 



Western Illinois in Charlevoix's History and Journal 

John Lee Allaman 5 

"Old Dick" Richardson, the Other Senator from Quincy 

Robert P. Howard 1 6 

John Hay and the Western School of Literature 

George Monteiro 28 

Edgar Lee Masters' Paternal Ancestry: A Pioneer 
Heritage and Influence 
Charles E. Burgess 32 

Wind Engines in Western Illinois 

Russell G. Swenson 61 

Notes and Documents 80 

Book Reviews 91 

Contributors 100 

Copyright 1 984 by Western Illinois University 



BOOK REVIEWS 



Vogel, IOWA PLACE NAMES OF INDIAN ORIGIN 

By Timothy Frazer 91 

Russo, PRAIRIE OF PROMISE: SPRINGFIELD 
AND SANGAMON COUNTY 

ByKeithA.Sculle 93 

Wrenn and Wrenn, EDGAR LEE MASTERS 

By James Hurt 95 

Mclnerny, A TRIBUTE TO DANIEL SMYTHE 
By Da vid Pichaske 97 



WESTERN ILUNOIS IN 

CHARLEVOIX'S 

fflSTORY AND JOURNAL 

John Lee Allaman 



Many published historical writings on western Illinois relate Anglo- 
American experiences, but French predecessors are largely ignored. Yet 
Reuben Gold Thwaites believed that "He who seeks rich color, will 
doubtless find the French regime the most entertaining epoch of 
Mississippi Valley history."' New World discoveries were popular 
reading in France during the 1600s and 1700s, when so many 
explorers and travelers published narratives of their trips— such as: 
Louis Hennepin's A Description of Louisiana (French edition 1683), Louis 
Armand de Lom d'Arce Baron de Lahontan's New Voyages to Nortti 
America, (1703), and Pierre F.X. de Charlevoix's History and General 
Description of New France and Journal of a Voyage to North America 
(French edition 1 744). Theodore Calvin Pease felt that these writings, "may 
still have their use. . . [but] They were censored" and did not tell "the whole 
truth. "2 Yet Hennepin, Lahontan, and Charlevoix in their English translations 
gave the English and English colonials their first glimpse of the Mississippi 
River system. No matter how distorted, these French writings document the 
primitive landscape and early Indian residents of western Illinois. 

Of the three authors, Charlevoix's perceptions of western Illinois were 
the most vivid and interpretive. His work was translated at the time English 
colonials were first starting to penetrate the Illinois River and Mississippi 
River systems. He is the only one who wrote more than a gazetteer of 
western Illinois. Charlevoix included references to western Illinois in his 
History and General Description of New France which utilized the 
methodology of the modern historian. ^ 

Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix was born October 29, 1682 in 
Saint-Quentin, France, the son of Francois de Charlevoix, deputy king's 
attorney, and Antoinette Forestier. On September 15, 1698, he entered 
the Society of Jesus in Paris. He entered College Louis-le-Grand in Paris 
in September 1700 where he studied philosophy until 1705. Charlevoix 



6 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

was then sent to the Jesuit college of Quebec, New France, to teach 
gramnnar. In 1709, he returned to Paris where he studied theology and 
was finally ordained as a priest in 1713. Charlevoix then taught 
literature, composition, and philosophy at the Jesuit College of Orleans 
fronn 1713 to 1717. His first published book was a three-volume 
Historire de restablissement, des progres et de la decadence du 
Christianisme dans I'empire du Japan (1715), an "expansion of an out- 
of-print work published in 1698." In 1718, he was sent to College 
Louis-le-Grand as an administrator and student chaplain." 

The French government in 1719 asked Charlevoix to recommend 
boundaries for Acadia (Nova Scotia) since it had been a sore point 
between France and England from the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. His 
resulting recommendation claimed that England had rights only to the 
Nova Scotian peninsula and that the French could continue to trade with 
the Abenaki Indians. As Charlevoix was doing the study, the regent of 
France, Phillipe, Due d'Orleans, asked him to investigate the existence 
and location of a western sea that reached "eastward into the area of 
present day Idaho and Montana." The thirty-seven-year-old Charlevoix left 
France in July 1720 and arrived at Quebec in September 1720. He 
stayed the winter and made preparations for his journey. The French 
government allowed him two canoes and eight voyagers for his 
expedition. 

Charlevoix began his journey to North America in the Spring of 1721. 
He started down the Saint Lawrence River through the Great Lakes and 
down Lake Michigan to the Kankakee River. Via the Kankakee, he 
entered the Illinois River. Charlevoix followed the course of the Illinois 
until it met the Mississippi River. Then he paddled and sailed down the 
Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. After reaching the gulf, he went 
aboard a ship and reached France late in 1 722. 

Back in France, Charlevoix recommended to the French government 
that the western sea was near the source of the Missouri River. He also 
suggested setting up a mission among the Sioux. Finally recovered from 
his arduous journey, Charlevoix once more took up the mantle of a 
scholar. 

In 1724, Charlevoix published his biography of Marie de I'lncarnation, 
a saintly nun of New France. The next years were spent in researching 
and writing his two-volume work, Histoire de I'lsle Espagnole ou de S. 
Domingue (1730-1731). In 1733 he was named to the editorial staff of 
the Jesuit cultural and scientific periodical Journal de Trevoux. He spent 
more than twenty years on the staff of the Journal. 

Over twenty years after he made his epic journey through New 
France and Louisiana, Charlevoix in 1744 published his Histoire et 
Description Generate de la Nouvelle France avec le Journal Historique 
d'un Voyage Fait par Ordre du Roi dans I'Amerique Septentrionale in 
three-volume and six-volume editions. Then, in 1756, he published his 



CHARLEVOIX'S HISTORY AND JOURNAL 




PIERRE FX DE CHARLEVOIX 



8 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

three-volume HIstoire du Paraguay. By 1758 Charlevoix began to have 
poor health that finally culminated in his death at La Fleche, France on 
February 1 , 1 761 at the age of seventy-nine. 

Charlevoix was a popular historian of his day. The French intellectual 
Voltaire is said to have bought every one of his books. Charlevoix 
seems to have been a thoughtful and serious scholar. His History and 
General Description of New France is probably his best work since he 
actually visited the scenes described. 

The History and General Description of New France and the Journal 
of a Voyage to North America are two interrelated parts. In actuality the 
Journal is a history of Charlevoix's journey through North America. He 
used his manuscript notes of the journey along with other materials to 
compose letters that were never sent to he Duchess de Lesdiguieres to 
make up the Journal. 

When Charlevoix wrote his history he did not rely entirely on his 
notes and memory. He searched through many of the published French 
and Spanish writings on the New World. He supplemented that by 
studying "original documents preserved at the Depot de la Marine," that 
contained dispatches and letters of the Governors of New France. 
Charlevoix's writing goal was that "I shall omit nothing essential, but I 
shall avoid useless details." He also felt "neither maps nor plans should 
be spared. . . . Nothing is more necessary in history, of which geography 
and chronology are the two eyes— especially in treating of countries not 
sufficiently known. "^ 

During his life and since then Charlevoix has had his critics. In his 
History and Journal, he made some mistakes and distortions but the 
majority of his narrative was fairly accurate. His writings on North 
America are still worthy of being read by people interested in an early 
contemporary non-English view of New France. Francis Parkman, even 
with his antipathy toward Jesuits, claimed that "Of all the early histories 
of French America it [Charlevoix's] is incomparably the best." 
Charlevoix's Journal also elicited great praise from Louise Phelps 
Kellogg, who said, "There is no other source which approaches his 
journal either for accuracy or discrimination; and none which gives so 
good a description of the posts, the routes, the missions, the tribes, and 
the conditions in the Mississippi Valley during the first quarter of the 
eighteenth century."' 

Charlevoix's History contained numerous maps engraved by Nicolas 
Bellin from Charlevoix's notes and official French naval maps of North 
America. Bellin copied from previous maps but tried to improve them 
with Charlevoix's knowledge. The inclusion of these maps reflected 
Charlevoix's interest in illustrating unknown topography. « 

The History and Journal have both been translated into English and 
printed in several editions. When the English colonials were just 
beginning to explore west of the Appalachian Mountains, the Journal 



CHARLEVOIX'S HISTORY AND JOURNAL 9 

was translated and three editions published in 1761, 1763, and 1766. A 
new edition of the Journal, translated and edited by Louise Phelps 
Kellogg, was published in 1923. The History was not translated for more 
than a century. Between 1866 and 1872 John Gilnnary Shea translated, 
edited, and published an English edition of the History that did not 
include the Journal, the lengthy essay on the origins of the Annerican 
Indian, Nicolas Bellin's essay on geography, and an extensive botanical 
appendix. A reprint of the 1 761 edition of the Journal was published in 
1966. So the modern reader had easy access to Charlevoix's writing on 
New France. A new French-English edited translation of the 1 744 edition 
is needed to include parts missing from previous English translations 
and rejoin the Journal with the History.^ 

More references to western Illinois appeared in the Journal than in 
the History. Charlevoix narrated the journeys of Marquette, Jolliet, and 
La Salle on the Illinois River and Mississippi River and briefly mentioned 
some of the French commanders of the forts on the Illinois River. Most 
of Charlevoix's western Illinois material centered around a description of 
the shores of the Illinois River and a lengthy essay on meeting two 
camps of the Peoria Band of the Illinois Indians. ^° 

Charlevoix's descriptions of the French explorers of Illinois are brief 
but include some personal opinions. He said nothing against Father 
Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet but criticized Robert Cavelier Sieur 
de la Salle's failure to establish a strong French influence in the 
Mississippi River valley. Charlevoix felt La Salle "could not win love nor 
manage those whom he needed, and as soon as he possessed authority 
he exercised it with severity and hauteur." But he wrote these words 
about La Salle's successors: Henri de Tonti, Francois Dauphin de la 
Forest, and Pierre de Liette "long commanded in the country of the 
Illinois [Indians], and acquired a great ascendency over their minds" by 
"the firmness of the Chevalier de Tonti, and the sagacious conduct of 
the Sieurs de la Foret and Delietto. . . ."'^ 

The French efforts to Christianize the Illinois Indians received strong 
praise from Charlevoix. He commented that the efforts of Tonti. La 
Forest, de Liette, and "Christianity, which they sincerely embraced. . . 
completely bound the Illinois nation to our interest." When Father James 
Gravier set up a mission near Starved Rock, Charlevoix claimed that 
before "long he gathered quite a numerous flock, and soon had the 
consolation of seeing among these Indians, hitherto so justly decried for 
their corrupt life, examples of virtue as striking as had been admired in 
the most flourishing missions in Canada, and the few survivors of that 
nation, formerly one of the most numerous on the continent, now 
profess Christianity. "^2 

Charlevoix lauded the great changes in the Christian Illinois Indians by 
giving descriptions of their pagan lifestyle. He wrote in his History that 
"They have always been mild and docile enough; but they were 



10 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 






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CHARLEVOIX'S HISTORY AND JOURNAL 11 

cowardly, treacherous, fickle, deceitful, thievish, brutal, destitute of faith 
or honor, selfish, addicted to gluttony and the most monstrous lust. . . ." 
In his Journal, Charlevoix described this monstrous lust of the men as 
being transvestism and homosexuality. He related, "that effeminacy and 
lubricity were carried to the greatest excess. . . ; men were seen to 
wear the dress of women without a blush, and to debase themselves so 
as to perform those occupations which are most peculiar to the sex, 
from whence followed a corruption of morals past all expression. . . ."^^ 

These were Charlevoix's general conclusions about the French and 
Indian presence In western Illinois, while his Journal is a specific 
narration of his trip down the Illinois River. On September 27, 1721, 
Charlevoix reached Starved Rock and said, "the Rock. . . is the point of 
a very high terras, stretching the space of two hundred paces, and 
bending or winding with the course of the river which is very broad in 
this place." He found remains of Fort Saint Louis built by La Salle in 
1682 but incorrectly identified them as an Indian fort. A village of the 
Illinois "stands at the foot of this rock [Starved Rock] in an island, 
which, together with several others, all of a wonderful fertility, divides 
the river in this place into two pretty large channels."'" 

In the afternoon, Charlevoix went ashore to the camp and met some 
Frenchmen who were trading with the Indians. He described "the chief 
of the village" as "a man of about forty years of age, well-made, of a 
mild temper, a good countenance, and very well spoken of by the 
French." He climbed up Starved Rock to get a view of the surrounding 
countryside and beheid "a spectacle which struck me with horror." 
Charlevoix had seen "the bodies of two Indians who had been burnt a 
few days before, and whom they had left according to custom, to be 
devoured by the birds. . . ." In his Journal he gave an extensive 
description of how the lllinos tortured and burned prisoners.'^ 

Charlevoix stayed "in a cabbin in the middle of the village" overnight 
while "all my guides encamped on the other side of the river." The 
reason for this was that these Indians were not sufficiently Christianized. 
He explained, "The Illinois have the character of bold and dexterous 
thieves, which is the reason why I caused transport all the baggage to 
the other side of the river;" still "when we came to set out we found a 
musquet and some other trifles wanting, which we could never. . . 
recover." As they floated down the river, Charlevoix commented that 
the Illinois River was "both in breadth and deepness equal to most great 
rivers in Europe." He thought the Illinois area "a charming country."'^ 

On October 3, 1721, Charlevoix and his companions "towards noon 
found ourselves at the entrance of Lake Pimiteouy; this is a widening of 
the river, which, for three leagues is a league in breadth." At the end of 
the lake, they found "on the right a second village of the Illinois, fifteen 
leagues distant from that of the rock." He believed this village was in a 
"delightful . . . situation" since "the lake and river swarm with fish, and 



7 2 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

the banks of both with game." Charlevoix met four French Canadians at 
the village who informed him of hostile Foxes above and below the 
encampment. '^ 

This news was reinforced by the fact that "thirty warriors of 
Pemiteouy" were out in the field and had captured one Fox a few days 
before. He had been burnt near the Illinois camp. The torture and 
execution of the prisoner had taken six hours. While Charlevoix was in 
the village, he met the "chief" whom he described as "a man of about 
forty years of age, of a good stature, a little thin, of a mild disposition, and 
extreme good sense" besides being "the best soldier of the nation." 
Charlevoix wrote a lengthy discourse about the crucifix the "chief" wore, 
not because he was a Christian but because he considered it a talisman of 
invulnerability.^^ 

The "chief" was evidently very partial to Christianity and the French 
because he asked Charlevoix to stay in his camp till the trouble with the 
Foxes ceased. But Charlevoix refused since he had persuaded two of 
the French Canadians he had met in the village to accompany him 
down the river. Just before he left, the Illinois "chief" asked him to 
baptize his dying infant child. Charlevoix later said that "this child would 
never have entered into the kingdom of heaven" if he had not 
fortunately been present to perform the baptism. ^^ 

After leaving the Illinois encampment, Charlevoix continued down the 
river in constant fear of being killed. He described the Illinois River by 
saying, "the course of this river is westward inclining a little to the 
south, but with several windings or circuits." The river had "islands 
scattered up and down in it." The banks of the river were "but low in 
several places. During the spring the meadows on the right and left are 
for the most part under water, and afterwards are covered with very tall 
grass." He wrote the "river abounds every where with fish" and some 
buffalo were seen. Charelvoix mentioned passing the mouths of the 
Sangamon River and Macoupin Creek and the "Machoutin" marsh 
between the two waterways. He revealed that Macoupin came from the 
word "Macopines. . . a large kind of root," poison when eaten raw but after 
roasting it was edible. 2° 

After passing along where "the river of the Illinois changes its course 
from west to south and by east," Charlevoix viewed the extremely high 
banks of the Mississippi River. On October 9, 1721, he entered the 
Mississippi River. He noticed on the right a large meadow with a small 
river that contained "a great quantity of copper." Charlevoix then 
continued on his journey south down the Mississippi.^' 

To ascertain further information besides his own observations, 
Charlevoix often interviewed Indians and French voyagers on his 
journey. His Journal contained a description of major rivers entering the 
Mississippi above the mouth of the Illinois. This material was probably 
collected from oral interviews and later research. 



CHARLEVOIX'S HISTORY AND JOURNAL 13 

Charlevoix first mentioned "the river of Buffaloes [Salt River], which is 
at the distance of twenty leagues from the. . ." mouth of the Illinois 
River "and comes from the westward; a fine salt-pit has been 
discovered in its neighbourhood." The next river on the left was the Des 
Moines: "about fifty leagues above the river of Buffaloes, the river 
t^oingona issues from the midst of an immense meadow, which swarms 
with Buffaloes and other wild beasts: at its entrance into the Mississippi, it is 
very shallow as well as narrow. . ." and it "is said to be two hundred and 
fifty leagues in length." Charlevoix reported above the Moingona River 
mouth that there were "two rapids or strong currents of a considerable 
length in the Mississippi, where passengers are obliged to unload and carry 
their pirogues. . . ." Another major river about sixty leagues from the Illinois 
was "the Assenesipi [Rock River], or river at the rock; because its mouth is 
directly opposite to a mountain placed in the river itself, where travellers 
affirm rock-chrystal is to be found."" 

The writings of Charlevoix on western Illinois are limited by the fact 
that he only observed the terrain from his canoe on the Illinois River. 
Yet from him one learns of the diverse wildlife and beautiful landscape 
of the region and also the violent male-oriented lifestyle of the Illinois 
Indian. Regardless of whatever shortcomings his writing possesses, 
Charlevoix has valid claim to the title of being western Illinois' earliest 
historian. 



NOTES 



^Reuben Gold Thwaites, "The Romance of Mississippi Valley History," in Proceedings of 
the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Constitution of Iowa, ed. Benjannin F. Shambaugh (Iowa City; 
State Historical Society of Iowa, 1907), p 122. 

^Theodore C. Pease, "The French Regime in Illinois; A Challenge to Historical Scholar- 
ship," Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society (Springfield; Illinois State Historical 
Society, 1936), p, 73, 

^John A. Jakle, Images of the Ohio Valley: A Historical Geography of Travel, 1740 to 
1860 (New York; Oxford Univ. Press, 1977), p. 163. 

*The most useful sources of biographical information are; John Francis Bannon, "Pierre 
Francois-Xavier de Charlevoix, S.J.; A Brief Biography of the Author and the Translator," in 
P.[ierre] F.X. de Charlevoix, History and General Description of New France trans. John 
Gilmary Shea, 6 vols. (New York; John Gilmary Shea, 1866-1872; reprinted ed.; Chicago; 
Loyola Univ. Press, [1962], I (no pagination); Dictionary of Canadian Biography, s.v 
"Charlevoix, Pierre-Francois-Xavier de," by David M. Hayne; Dictionary of American 
Biography, s.v. "Charlevoix Pierre Francois Xavier De," by L[ouise] P. [helps] K[ellog]; Charles 



14 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

O'Neill, Charlevoix's Louisiana: Selections from the History and the Journal (Baton Rouge; 
Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1977) pp. xiii-xxx; and Pierre Margry, ed., Memolres et 
Documents pour servir a I'histoire des origines francaises des pays d'outre-mer 6 vols (Paris; 
Maisonneuve, 1879-1888), VI, 521-80. 

^"Forward" in P.[ierre] de Charlevoix, Journal oi a Voyage to North America. 2 vols. (Lon- 
don: R, and J. Dodsley, 1 761 ; reprint ed.. New York and Ann Arbor; Readex Microprint and 
University Microfilnns, 1966), I (no pagination). 

^Charlevoix, History, I, 67-96, 6-7. 

^Raymond E. Hauser. "The Illinois Indian Tribe; From Autonomy and Self-Sufficiency to 
Dependency and Depopulation," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 69 (1 976), 1 32, 
[Francis Parkman], review of History and General Description of New France by P.[ierre] F.X. de 
Charlevoix, translator John Gilmary Shea, in Atlantic Monthly, April 1872, p. 499; and Pierre 
Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, Journal of a Voyage to North America, trans, and ed. Louise 
Phelps Kellogg, 2 vols. (Chicago; The Caxton Club, 1923), I, xxv-xxvi. 

^O'Neill, pp. xxiv-xxv; and Melburn D. Thurman, "Cartography of the Illinois Country; An 
Analysis of Middle Mississippi Maps Drawn During the British Regime," Journal of the Illinois 
State Historical Society 75 (1982), 277-78. 

^Jakle, p. 163. 

'°Hauser, 129-30, and Wayne C. Temple, Indian Villages of the Illinois Country: Historic 
Tribes, with an Introduction by Fred Eggan, rev. ed. (Springfield; Illinois State Museum, 1966), 
p. 39. 

'^Clarence Walworth Alvord, The Illinois Country, 1673-1818, The Centennial History of Il- 
linois, vol. I (Chicago; A. C. McClurg & Co., 1922; reprint ed., Chicago: Loyola Univ. Press, 
1965), pp. 80-81; Charlevoix, History, III, 197, V, 131; and Hauser, 130-31, note 13. 

^^Charlevoix, History, V, 131-33. 

■' 3|bid., V. 1 30; Charlevoix, Journal (1 761 ), II, 80; [Pierre de Liette], "Memoir of De Cannes 
Concerning the Illinois Country," in The French Foundations, 1680-1693, eds. Theodore 
Calvin Pease and Raymond C Werner, Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 
XXIII (Springfield; Illinois State Historical Library, 1934), p. 329; Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., 
The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit /Mis- 
sionaries in New France, 1610-1791, 129, 73 vols. (Cleveland; Burrows Bros. Company, 
1896-1901), LXIX, 129; U.S., Smithsonian Institution, Handbook of North American Indians. 
gen. ed. William C. Sturtevant, 20 vols (Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian Institution, 1978-), 
XV, 675; and John E. Hallwas, Western Illinois Heritage (Macomb, Illinois; Illinois Heritage 
Press, 1983), p. 10. 

'■'Charlevoix, Journal, (1761), II, 200, Jane F Babson, "The Architecture of Early Illinois 
Forts." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 61 (1968), 15-16, and Alvord, p. 88. 

^^Charlevoix, Journal, (1761), II, 200-04 

'^Ibid , II, 204-05 

''Ibid , II. 205; and Temple, pp. 39, 87-88. 

'^Charlevoix, Journal, (1761), II, 206-09. 

'^Ibid , II, 207. 211-12. 



CHARLEVOIX'S HISTORY AND JOURNAL 15 

^°lbid , II, 216-1 7: Virgil J Vogel, Indian Place Names in Illinois (Springfield: Illinois State 
Historical Library, 1963), pp, 58, 123-25: Sara Jones Tucker comp., Indian Villages of the Il- 
linois Country: Atlas (Springfield: Illinois State Museum, 1 942), plates XXIV, XL, XLVI: Wayne 

C Temple, comp . Indian Villages of the Illinois Country Atlas Supplement (SpungUeM- Il- 
linois Slate Museum, 1 975), plates LXXXI. LXXXVI: and W. Raymond Wood, comp.. An Atlas 
of Early Maps of the American Midwest (Springfield: Illinois State Museum, 1 983), plate 1 1 B 

2'Charlevoix, Journal. (1 761), II, 217-18 

^^Ibid., 11, 225-26; Vogel, p. 1 20; U.S., Department of Defense, Army A History of the Rock 
Island District Corps of Engineers 1866-1975, by Ronald Tweet (Rock Island, Illinois: US Ar- 
my Engineer District, Rock Island, 1975), pp. 34-44; U.S., Department of Defense, Navy, The 

American Revolution 1775-1783: An Atlas of 18th Century Maps and Charts, compiled by W. 
Bart Greenwood (Washington, D.C, Naval History Division, 1 972), map 2: Tucker, plates XV, 
XVII, XXIX. XXXIIB, XL. Temple, Atlas Supplement, plates LXVII, LXX, LXXII, LXXX, LXXXIII, 
and Wood, plates 1 0, 11 B and 1 3B. 



**OLD DICK" RICHARDSON, THE 
OTHER SENATOR FROM QUINCY 

Robert P. Howard 



The Illinois Military Bounty Tract, that bountiful triangle between the 
Illinois and Mississippi rivers, has always been politically deprived. Only 
seventeen men from that region have been elected to state offices or 
appointed to fill vacances in them. Voters in southern and central Illinois, 
and from the Chicago area, have been much more successful in sending 
their favorite sons to Springfield. 

The only governor from west of the Illinois River was the venerable John 
Wood, the founder of Quincy. He was elected lieutenant governor and then 
filled the chief executive's office for ten quiet months in 1 860. 

Five United States senators resided in the Military Tract during parts of 
their careers. In the era of the first World War, Lawrence Y. Sherman, who 
looked like Lincoln, went to the Senate after he changed his address from 
Macomb to Springfield. Before the Civil War, Richard M. Young and 
Stephen A. Douglas were carpetbaggers in the Military Tract, where they 
set up temporary residence after being elevated to the Illinois Supreme 
Court and assigned the Quincy district. Both left at the first opportunity. As 
judge and congressman, Douglas lived at Quincy off and on for six years. 
As soon as he was elected senator, he moved to Chicago. Of the five 
senators, only Orville Hickman Browning and William Alexander 
Richardson returned to western Illinois when they retired from politics.^ 

Of the public men who permanently resided in the Military Tract, the best 
remembered is Orville H. Browning, whose Diary was a major bequest to 
historians. As an attorney, Whig legislator, platform drafter at the first 
Republican state convention, associate of Lincoln, successor of Douglas in 
the senate and Secretary of the Interior under Andrew Johnson, Browning 
served in high offices with intelligence and honor. He has the respect of the 
generations that followed. ^ 

Until the Civil War, however, "Old Dick" Richardson was more important 
than Browning, whom he defeated twice in Congressional elections. He 
entered politics as a Jacksonian Democrat and became the right-hand man 
of Douglas in Illinois, in Congress and in Democratic national conventions. 
In the watershed year of 1856 the tall and robust Richardson was the Little 



16 



■'OLD DICK '■ RICHARDSON 1 7 

Giant's personal bu; ur.successful candidate both for speaker of the national 
House of Representatives and for Governor of Illinois, in an anticlimax, 
during the last two years of the Civil War, he reached the United States 
Senate as Browning's replacement. There he faded into obscurity and from 
memory. 

Browning and Richardson were opposites in more ways than their 
political affiliations and philosophies. Browning is remembered as a 
socially-polished lawyer who dressed well and had courtly manners. Not so 
his friend and rival. In his recent biography of Douglas, Robert W. 
Johannsen described Richardson as "tall, slightly stooped and coarse 
featured."^ Maurice Baxter, biographer of Browning, was by no means 
flattering. He wrote: "Lacking polished manners and a well-informed mind, 
Richardson was a spirited and loyal worker. He laughed, drank, swore and 
fought with relish. His political strength was considerable, and he was 
seldom defeated in his many bids for public office."" 

There is a contemporary account of Richardson by Gustave Koerner, 
who turned from the Democractic to the Republican party in 1 856. In telling 
of a Richardson campaign speech at Belleville, Koerner wrote: "He was a 
big, powerful man, very uncouth in his manners but a man of great energy 
and force of will, being Douglas' lieutenant in the lower House of Congress. 
He had sense and fluency, but his language was anything but choice. I don't 
think he pleased the Belleville people very much."^ However, the less 
critical tend to concur with Shelby M. Culiom's judgment that Richardson 
was "a man of considerable ability."^ 

That Douglas and Richardson could be political partners is not surprising. 
The Little Giant was a vital and complex person who, when out of the 
spotlight, enjoyed carousing with the common man. He and "Old Dick" had 
much in common. 

At the same time Richardson and the dignified Browning were social 
friends. In both Quincy and Washington, the Diary reveals, the political 
rivals did personal favors for each other. More than that, they and their 
wives frequently had tea or dinner at each other's homes. 

Both young men were well equipped for professional careers in a frontier 
environment when they made separate journeys from Kentucky to Illinois in 
1831. Richardson was twenty and Browning five years older. Both had 
received college educations and been licensed to practice law. Browning 
went directly to Quincy while Richardson stopped at Shelbyville. Lincoln 
had been in Illinois a year. Douglas came two years later. 

While he read law, Richardson stayed in Shelbyville a year and a half. 
Why he left is uncertain. In Palmer's Bench and Bar there is a hint that he 
had a fist fight with a doctor who possibly was part of the establishment.^ 
The official reason, given in a biography presumably written by a family 
member, was that the young man had been impressed with the country 
around Rushville when he rode across the Military Tract during thirty-six 
days of mounted service in the Black Hawk War. He had enlisted in the 



18 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Shelbyville company which camped three miles east of Rushville on its first 
night out of Beardstown, nine miles away. Showing a talent for leadership, 
young Richardson was made assistant quartermaster sergeant. Like 
Lincoln, he returned home without seeing action.^ 

The frontier line of settlement had passed out of the Military Tract before 
Richardson, in November, 1834, began fifteen years of residence at 
Rushville, an important settlement in an area where litigation involving land 
titles would provide lawyers with a financial bonanza. The town was 
growing steadily, and some 400 persons lived in log cabins around five little 
stores. It had a wool carding factory and a few other primitive industries.® 
The Military Tract's first newspaper had just been established in Peoria. 
Rushville and Quincy would have their own papers the next year. 

The young man did not remain a stranger in western Illinois. Sixteen 
months after arrival he was secretary of a citizen's committee and his name 
was printed in the Sangamo Journal in far-away Springfield. ^° The next year 
he was fined three dollars for contempt of court. The legislature by a large 
majority elected him state's attorney of the Fifth Judicial District. The 
defeated Whig candidate was Browning. At Vandalia no one kept a roster of 
the self-appointed lobbyists who showed up there during legislative 
sessions, but it is probable that Richardson was there part of the time. 
Because of his political interests and instincts, it would have been difficult to 
keep him away. When the young prosecuting attorney reached Quincy, the 
metropolis of the Military Tract, the court house was a log structure. 

When the Tenth General Assembly convened at Vandalia in late 1836, 
Richardson took the oath of office as state representative and soon 
acquired the nickname of "Old Dick." It was bestowed by a senator who 
said he had never known a clever fellow whose name was not Dick.^' 
Douglas and Lincoln also were house members and Browning was a 
senator. On the key issue of the historic session, Richardson was the only 
one of the quartet who was on the right side. He voted against the 
disastrous internal improvements scheme that saddled the state with a 
mammoth debt.*' Like Lincoln and Browning, he voted to relocate the seat 
of government at Springfield. Douglas was loyal to Jacksonville, his home 
at the time. 

Richardson's political career was intermittent and raises a question about 
the fervor of his ambition to hold public office. After his house term, he 
served four years as state senator and then retired to his law practice. Two 
years later, in 1844, the Whig opposition entered a strong candidate for 
state representative and the Democrats called for their best man to save the 
day. "Old Dick" returned to politics, proved again that he could win a tough 
fight, and was rewarded by being made speaker of the House. Then he 
retired again. John Moses, one of the better historians of that era, praised 
his record as Speaker. '^ 

He was a superior politician-genial, magnetic, possessed of a fluent 
tongue and commanding voice. His understanding of human nature was 



'OLD DICK" RICHARDSON 19 




^ 



^4 '■;; 



WILLIAM A. RICHARDSON 



20 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

invaluable in campaigning and in courtrooms, but he was not a top-flight 
lawyer. The Schuyler County history went into considerable detail in a 
biographical sketch: 

As a lawyer, he was not especially brilliant, rather the opposite, 
yet withal sound and practical. His strong points were a 
consunnmate knowledge of human nature, skill in selecting a jury 
favorable to him or his client, and his forcible manner of 
presenting a case. He was large, well-formed, and possessed of 
much personal magnetism. His was rather an indolent mind. 
Consequently his law points and citations were not generally 
voluminous nor the statutes exhausted in fortifying his case. 
Outside the courtroom he was a most genial companion of easy, 
pleasant manner and fine social qualities whom everybody knew 
intimately and everybody liked.'" 

Richardson was an early arrival in an area where lawyers were in 
demand. As a result, his practice soon extended beyond Schuyler County. 
When five anti-Mormons were indicted at Carthage for the Joseph Smith 
murder, the four defense attorneys included Browning, the legal student, 
and Richardson, the manipulator. ^^ 

He entered the Mexican War as the captain of a volunteer company he 
had recruited, and on the Buena Vista battlefield he was promoted to major 
in the command changes that followed the death of Colonel John J. Hardin. 
While still in Mexico he was nominated for Congress. Douglas, who had 
pioneered in organizing and unifying his party, had been elected United 
States senator. He wanted to be succeeded by a man who could be 
depended upon to keep the district safely Democratic and who also would 
be of help in the political battles at Washington. For that role, his personal 
choice was Richardson, who deserved the advancement.^^ As a Douglas 
man, he had no difficulty winning election as Congressman five times 
before he resigned in 1 856. 

In the pattern of settlement, and consequently in early political behavior, 
the Military Tract resembled the rest of Illinois. The first arrivals were from 
the South, or at least had been exposed to the southern culture and its 
dependence upon the labor of Negro slaves. The majority considered 
themselves Democrats if for no other reason than that they wanted to belong 
to the party of Andrew Jackson, the political patron saint of the common man 
and the enemy of bankers. Richardson, who was both a Kentuckian and a 
Jacksonian, represented a congressional district that was centered on the 
Military Tract's southern counties and extended only into the fringes of the 
area in which the Whigs, and later Anti-Nebraska Democrats and 
Republicans, were successively strong. The political boundary was that 
Democrats polled majorities in Peoria, Fulton, McDonough, Hancock and all 
counties to the south. The opposition consistently turned out majorities in 
Knox, Warren and Henderson counties and others to the north. That 



■■OLD DICK" RICHARDSON 21 

demarcation held before and during the cannpaigns when Lincoln was a 
presidential candidate. 

Early in his congressional career, Richardson moved his family to 
Quincy, which had been the home of his wife. There he lived, when he 
was not in Washington, until he died in 1875. Like Douglas, he invested in 
Chicago real estate, and might have become wealthy if he had stayed in 
Illinois and supervised his holdings. That could have been one reason why 
he kept announcing that he would quit after one more term.^' 

In Congress he was not only a Douglas man; he was one of Douglas' best 
men. He effectively supported bills for preemption and for the Illinois 
Central Railroad's land grant. He backed the Compromise of 1850, which 
supposedly settled forever the question of how far slavery could extend into 
the western territories. He became chairman of the House Democratic 
Caucus and of the Committee on Territories, which was the same post 
Douglas held in the Senate. 

Unquestioning his loyalty, Richardson in 1854 was the hard-working 
House leader for the controversial Kansas-Nebraska bill that repealed the 
limits on the spread of slavery set in the Compromise of 1 850. The bill was 
Douglas' big mistake; in the storm that spread across the North, Richardson 
also suffered. ^^ 

For one thing, he was not elected Speaker of the House at the next 
session of Congress, which would have made Douglas even more 
influential. "Old Dick" was the caucus choice of a party that in the 1854 
election had been reduced to minority status as a result of the uproar over 
Kansas. ^^ Meanwhile his aggressive stand on the slavery expansion issue 
had made him personally unpopular with the men from the North who, in the 
meantime, could not agree upon their own candidate for speaker. In a 
deadlock that lasted for weeks, not one of the northerners would end the 
stalemate by voting for Richardson. After 122 ballots, he withdrew as a 
candidate in early 1 856. The later election of a Massachusetts man was the 
first significant victory for what became the Republican party. 

That summer Richardson resigned his Congressional seat, but the 
ambitious Douglas would not permit him to retire from Illinois politics. If the 
Democratic Party was to maintain its supremacy, the choice of a successor 
to Governor Joel A. Matteson was of vital importance. An unusually strong 
candidate was needed to face a coalition of Whigs, Anti-Nebraska 
Democrats, Know-Nothings and abolitionists. During the Democratic state 
convention, word reached the delegates that Douglas wanted the 
nomination to go to Richardson. 2° 

Under unusual circumstances, "Old Dick" opened his gubernatorial 
campaign with a speech in the Quincy courthouse. According to the 
Quincy Herald, the candidate spoke for two hours and received much 
applause from a big crowd. However, the Democratic paper was silent 
about the contents of his speech. "We were unable to gain an entrance into 
the room," it reported. "We cannot give the details, but we can say that no 



22 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 




STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 



■■OLD DICK" RICHARDSON 23 

speech ever delivered in our city gave better satisfaction or was received 
witii better applause."^' It is not believeable that Austin Brooks, the violent- 
tongued editor, could not be squeezed into the courtroom or could not 
deternnine later what were the main points of the main speech. It is more 
likely that the party leadership regarded Richardson as controversial and 
hesitated to have his remarks reprinted by other Democratic organs. The 
campaign-opener had a parallel two months earlier when Abraham Lincoln 
gave a "lost speech" at the first Republican state convention. 

In western Illinois, the intemperate Quincy Herald preached that a man 
should be a Democrat, a Douglas-Richardson supporter and a believer that 
Negroes are inferior. It was the party mouthpiece in the Military Tract, part 
of a journalistic network that took its signals from the Chicago Times and 
the lilinois State Register at Springfield. Brooks wrote that the political issue 
was "the white man against the Nigger." To him "abolitionists, black 
republicans and negro worshippers" were lumped together as grade A 
undesirables." 

The rival Quincy Whig, a smaller and less excitable publication, largely 
ignored Richardson while it contended that the chief issue was the efforts of 
slavery advocates to set up a government in Kansas. 

The l-lerald repeatedly insisted that its home-town candidate was a 
certain winner but it never gave even a brief outline of what Richardson was 
saying as he stumped Illinois. It seemed to assume that it was unnecessary to 
state his qualifications. It printed the texts of some Douglas speeches and it 
once carried a speech by Joshua Giddings, whom it identified as the "king 
of the abolitionists" in Ohio. Abolitionism was a dirty word in the l-lerald's 
circulation territory. 

Meanwhile the paper made repeated charges, originally developed by 
the Chicago Times, that William H. Bissell, a former Democratic 
congressman who was the Republican nominee for governor, had falsified 
his congressional expense accounts, had neglected the interest of his 
constituents in acting as a lobbyist for the Illinois Central railroad, and was 
ineligible constitutionally to become Governor of Illinois because he had 
accepted a challenge by Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi to fight a 
duel. At least some of those matters were legitimate campaign issues, but 
the paper continued with attacks that were both sensational and ethically 
questionable. It informed its readers that Bissell "did not deny" that he had 
been a slaveholder and that he had gone to Chicago in an effort to recover a 
fugutive slave. Those allegations were preposterous, in view of Bissell's 
Yankee nativity and long-time disagreements with southern Democrats. 
The IHerald, which circulated among men who had chased the Mormons out 
of Nauvoo, also contended that Bissell was a supporter of polygamy. That 
was based on a vote to seat a delegate from Utah, the new home of the 
Mormons. 

On election day, antislavery sentiment turned the tide. Richardson 
carried the southern counties of the Military Tract but lost the governorship 



24 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

by 4,787 votes. The long-range significance of Bissell's election was that 
the Republican victory in Illinois helped make Lincoln an authentic 
presidential candidate four years later. 

Richardson's status as a right-hand man of Douglas was confirmed at 
three Democratic national conventions, all the scenes of long deadlocks 
that ended with the denial to the Little Giant of his party's presidential 
nomination. At Baltimore in 1852, when Douglas was not yet forty years 
old, Richardson made the announcement, after a caucus, that the Illinois 
delegation joined a stampede to Franklin K. Pierce. At Cincinnati in 1856, 
while Douglas stayed at Washington, the center of attention was his chief 
lieutenant and floor manager. One of Richardson's qualifications was that 
his voice could be heard throughout the hall, but he also was the strategist 
for the Douglas forces. After a satisfactory platform had been adopted, 
Douglas sent a letter of withdrawal to his man-on-the-scene. Richardson 
nevertheless put the senator's name in nomination. When a deadlock 
persisted, in an emotional scene amid great excitement, he read the letter of 
withdrawal that insured the election of James Buchanan. 

At Charleston in 1860, where eight southern states seceded rather than 
permit the nomination of Douglas, Richardson was a conspicuous figure 
during fifty-seven inconclusive ballots. At a Baltimore convention later in the 
year, Douglas finally won a nomination from one wing of his divided party. 

When Buchanan became president in 1 857, Douglas did his best to get a 
cabinet post for his man Richardson. After several months "Old Dick" 
rejected and then accepted appointment as Governor of Nebraska 
Territory. He served approximately a year before he resigned because the 
senator and the president were quarreling. In 1858 and 1860 he made 
campaign speeches for Douglas. 

Richardson came out of retirement in 1860, when Douglas' presidential 
campaign needed local reinforcement. He ran for his old congressional seat 
in the Military Tract and again won. Then he was left without a leader when 
Douglas died at the beginning of the Civil War. For a time "Old Dick" 
remembered that the Little Giant had supported Lincoln in the secession 
crisis and had said that in wartime there can be patriots and traitors but no 
neutrals. 

Had Douglas lived to advise him, Richardson might have accepted the 
brigadier generalship Lincoln offered him. Mexican War officers were in 
demand for Union commands and under an informal patronage system 
state officials sent to the White House their recommendations for brigadier 
general of volunteers. Browning's Diary tells that on July 28, 1861, the 
members of the Illinois congressional delegation met in Senator Lyman 
Trumbull's room to agree upon seven names. Illinois was entitled to nine, 
but John Pope and Stephen A. Hurlbut had already been appointed. On 
Browning's list of the men whose recommendations were sent to President 
Lincoln, Richardson was third behind Ulysses S. Grant and John A. 
McClernand. The others were Eleazer A. Paine, Benjamin M. Prentiss, John 



"OLD DICK'' RICHARDSON 25 

M. Palmer and Leonard F. Ross. Browning did not mention whether 
Richardson had attended the bipartisan meeting." 

A detailed and sympathetic biographical sketch included in an Adams 
County history says that, back in Illinois, Richardson received an 
appointment as brigadier general dated September 3, 1861. He took no 
action until Mary 1 , 1 862, when he wrote to President Lincoln: "Some time 
since, without solicitation on my part, you did me the honor to tender me the 
appointment of brigadier general in the army. I signified then my 
determination to accept as soon as my health would permit. Not having 
accepted the position before, I deem it improper to do so now."^^ No other 
information about the health of Richardson has been located. Many army 
officers, regulars and volunteers alike, were sensitive about seniority of 
rank. 

Predominantly Richardson was a partisan, uncomfortable with the 
thought that his wartime allegiance should go to a man who was not a 
Democrat. He considered himself a loyalist, but he did not think force could 
be used constitutionally to prevent secession. The influence of the Quincy 
Herald was still strong, in the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation, 
when Richardson in a speech on the House floor denounced abolitionism 
and the concept of Negro equality." His conservative views never adjusted 
to the emergencies of wartime. 

He became the Illinois leader of the Peace Democrats or Copperheads 
who thrived during the mid-years of the Civil War. He was the dominating 
figure at Democratic home front mass meetings and, had there been an 
election of state officiais in 1862, undoubtedly he would have became 
governor. Instead, his followers elected him to the Senate to serve the last 
third of the Douglas term." 

In the Senate, the man who had been sword-bearer for Douglas was an 
ineffective opponent of the Lincoln administration. Before Appomattox, he 
believed that war could not be won. With peace, he was scorned by the 
Grand Army of the Republic members who had proven that it could be. 
They converted most of the Military Tract to Republicanism. 

Back in Quincy to stay, Richardson looked after his law practice. For a 
time he took over management of the Quincy Herald, which was one of the 
financial casualties of the war. He held office only one more time. In a 
courthouse relocation fight, to help his Quincy neighbors, he accepted 
appointment to the Adams County board of supervisors. 

Unlike Browning, "Qld Dick" Richardson never qualified as a statesman. 
He was a politician who reached high places when he stood at the side of 
Douglas but was a failure when his turn came for a leadership role. But in 
the century that has passed since his death, with the possible exception of 
Lawrence Y. Sherman, no one from the triangle between the Illinois and 
Mississippi rivers has advanced as far in Illinois and national politics as the 
other senator from Quincy. 



26 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

NOTES 



^Richardson's career deserves further research. His political prominence is documented 
by Robert W. Johannsen in Stephen A. Douglas (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1 973) and in 
"Douglas at Charleston," Politics and the Crisis of 1860, ed. Norman A, Graebner (Urbana; 
Univ. of Illinois Press, 1961). Inadequate is Robert D. Holt, "The Political Career of William A. 
Richardson," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 26(1933), 222-67. Informative 
biographical sketches are found in Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties 
(Philadelphia; W.R. Brink, 1 882) and William H. Collins and Cicero F. Perry, Past and Present 
of the City of Quincy and Adams County. (Chicago; S.J.Clarke, 1905), pp. 402-08 

^fvlaunce G. Baxter, Orville H. Browning, Lincoln's Friend and Critic (Bloomington; Indiana 
Univ. Press, 1957) and Theordore Calvin Pease and James G. Randall, The Diary of Orville 
Hickman Browning, 2 vols. (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1 925). 

^Johannsen, p. 517. 

"Baxter, pp. 69-70. 

^Memoirs of Gustave Koerner, (Cedar Rapids; The Torch Press, 1 909), II, 32. 

^Fifty Years of Public Service (Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1911), p. 52. 

^John M. Palmer, The Bench and Bar of Illinois, (Chicago; Lewis Pub. Co., 1899), I, 458. 

^Ellen M. Whitney, ed., The Black Hawk War, 1831-32, vol. 1, Illinois Volunteers. 
(Springfield; Illinois State Historical Library, 1 970), pp. 93, 209, 21 3. 

^William V. Pooley, The Settlement of Illinois from 1830 to 1850 (Madison, Wis., 1908), 
chap. 6. 

^"Collins and Perry, 402 

'^^ Journal, House of Representatives, February 28, 1837. 

^^John Moses, Illinois Historical and Statistcal {Chicago: Fergus, 1889), I, 459. 

^ '^Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, p. 1 49. 

^^Dallin H, Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy (Urbana; Univ. of Illinois Press, 
1975), pp. 79,82-83. 

'^Johannsen. p. 189. 

^^Richardson's career can be traced in Collins and Perry, and in Johannsen, to which the 
present discussion is indebted. See also Moses, and Alexander Davidson and Bernard Stuve, 
Complete History of Illinois (Springfield; D.L. Phillips, 1 874). 

'^Moses, pp. 573-75. 

^^Johannsen, p. 488. 

^°Moses, p. 669. 

^'Quincy Herald. 12 July 1856. 

^^Quincy Herald. 1 2 May 1 856. 

^^Pease and Randall, Browning Diary, I, 486-88. 



■OLD DICK" RICHARDSON 27 



^"Collins and Perry, p. 406, 
^^Quincy Herald. 1 9 May 1 862. 
^^Moses, II, 671. 



JOHN HAY AND THE 
WESTERN SCHOOL OF LITERATURE 



George Monteiro 



"Apparently," says the [New York] Tribune, "American literature must 
be grotesque in humour and fantastic in form, or it will not be 
accepted in England as having the racy virtues of the soil." This is 
perfectly true. American literature when it lacks these qualities often 
reads like nothing but imitation English literature, and we can hardly 
be expected to grow enthusiastic over that. No one denies the value 
of Col. Hay's Monumental work of Lincoln, but weighed against "Little 
Breeches" and "Jim Bludso" and "Tilmon Joy" and "The Mystery of 
Gilgal" it kicks the beam. 

- Academy (3 April 1897, p. 379). 

In December of 1870, two months after joining the staff of the New 
York Tribune, John Hay wrote an editorial calling attention to the 
unacknowledged antecedents of what he called the "Western School" of 
American literature newly arisen in the poems and stories of Bret Harte and 
Mark Twain. The importance of Hay's unsigned piece lay in his 
identification of the "Western" literary sources, not only of Harte and Twain, 
but of his own nascent "Pike County Ballads"— one of which, "Little 
Breeches," had recently appeared in the Tribune, and would be followed a 
few weeks later by "Jim Bludso."^ As such, he was declaring early on that 
his work was independent of Harte's yet, like Harte's (and Mark Twain's and 
William Dean Howells'), dependent on the work of common predecessors. 

The true source of the literature now coming from "the further side of the 
Alleghanies" (including his own), Hay finds to be "Lieut. Derby, whose 
Phoenixiana are even yet unrivalled in broad and genial absurdity" and 
"the spirit of grotesque," and Dr. J.W. Palmer. George Horatio Derby (1 823- 
1861), publishing under the pseudonym of "John Phoenix," was 
responsible for Plioenixiana; or Sl<etches and Burlesques (1865). Dr. John 
Williamson Palmer (1825-1906), who had been "the first appointed city- 
physician of San Francisco," wrote "a series of romantic and characteristic 
stories of life among the adventurers, miners and gamblers of California in 
1 849."^ In 1 859 he collected these skteches (along with his sketches of life 
in India, first published in the Atlantic Monthly) in a book: The Old and the 



28 



JOHN HAY AND THE WESTERN SCHOOL 29 

New, or California and India in Romantic Aspects. Hay's editorial notions 
anticipate by a quarter of a century the argument in the Literary Digest for 
Dr. Palnner's primacy in the treatment of California as a literary theme. "The 
Western School" is taken from the editorial page of the New York Tribune 
for December 27, 1 870 (page 4). Hay acknowledges authorship of the piece 
in his letter to William Dean Howells on December 29, 1 870. ^ 



THE WESTERN SCHOOL 

A vigorous and full-flavored literature is growing up in the West. The 
period of echoes, and imitations, of feeble reproductions of bad models, 
during which the Poet's Corner of The Louisville Journal was the delight 
of the reading youth of the South-West, has gone by, and a school of 
writers is now coming up on the further side of the Alleghanies who 
have a message of their own to deliver, and who are uttering it in a way 
distinctly their own. It was naturally to be expected that the new and 
vivid life of California, filled with the boldest and most adventurous 
elements of East and West, should be the first to inspire a characteristic 
literature. The spirit of the grotesque has so far greatly tinged the 
Pacific school. Its leader and founder was Lieut. Derby, whose 
Phoenixiana are even yet unrivaled in broad and genial absurdity. Dr. 
J.W. Palmer and the anonymous writers of the "Pioneer" made a 
hopeful beginning in that field of eccentric fiction which has since been 
so successfully worked by Mr. Francis Bret Harte and Mark Twain. 

The well-earned and legitimate success of these two gentlemen has 
given occasion to those indolent and ill-informed reviewers who have 
read nothing of the earlier efforts of the Western school, and only the 
most recent sketches of the two clever Californians who have taken the 
public by storn, to imagine that these two writers have a monopoly of 
Western subjects, and that any hunting in the same preserve is arrant 
poaching. A writer in a daily paper of this city recently devoted an 
elaborate column to showing that a poem of Dr. Palmer's was a gross 
and clumsy imitation of Mr. Harte. We do not care that he was many 
years in advance of his brilliant competitor, as a delineator of the 
Western character. It is not less than fifteen years ago that he published 
a poem in Putnam's Monthly called "Used Up," which if reprinted to-day 
would be called, by all the languid reviewers who saw it was not taken 
from the Overland Monthly, a bold plagiarism from Truthful James.* 

There is nothing so easy or so clumsy as to say that when two works 
bear the natural resemblance arising from coincidence of time, place, 



*John W. Palmer's contributions to Putnam's Monthly included sketches such as "The 
Fate of the Farleighs" (October 1856; pp. 384-94), "The Old Adobe" (February 1857; pp. 
169-75), and "The Green Cloth" (May 1857; pp. 530-38). But there appears to be no 
poenn entitled "Used Up" in Putnam's in the 1850s. Bret Harte first published "Plain 
Language from Truthful James" in the Overland Monthly (September 1870; pp. 287-88). 



30 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 




JOHN HAY 



JOHN HAY AND THE WESTERN SCHOOL 31 

and local coloi, the one is stolen from the other. Of course, all writers 
who work in the same age more or less influence each other. If Dickens 
had never lived we should never have had the "Luck of Roaring Camp." 
If Thackery had not created Policeman X, it is doubtful if Mr. Harte 
would ever have imagined the immortal bard of Table Mountain. This 
detracts nothing from the rightful credit and fame of these exquisite 
creations. A true genius takes his property where he finds it. Milton 
used everybody, from Job to Tibullus, and Shakespeare robbed all 
literature with the sublime consciousness that he poured in more than 
he took out. it is only maniacs and idiots who have a style of their own, 
uninfluenced by the current literature and the spiritual atmosphere of 
the time. 

There are too many people in the valley of the Mississippi and 
beyond to give to any men or set of men the monopoly of the 
expression of their lives. There will not be many writers who will equal 
the contagious drollery of Mark Twain. It may be long before we find 
another that can touch so deftly the hidden sources of smiles and tears- 
that can give us so grahic a picture of Western living in a style so vivid 
and so pure that we may call it in praise and not in criticism "almost the 
true Dickens"— as Mr. Harte has done. But there are many good and 
honest literary workmen who have grown up in the great West, not 
unmindful of its strange and striking lessons. Some of them, Howells 
among the best, have already given some earnest of the promising 
future. Others are just rising into notice. Let them be received with 
candor and judged by what they say— not by what others have said. 



NOTES 



'"Little Breeches," New York Tribune. 19 November 1870, p, 5; "Jim Bludso, New 
York Tribune, 5 January 1871, p. 5. 

^"Which was the Pioneer'?" Literary Digest, 3 October 1896. 

^Letter to Howells, 29 December 1870, in John Hay-Howells Letters, ed. George 
Monteiro and Brenda Murphy (Boston: Twayne, 1980), p. 14. 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' 
PATERNAL ANCESTRY: 
A PIONEER 
HERITAGE AND INFLUENCE 



Charles E. Burgess 



The poetry, novels, and essays of Edgar Lee Masters were influenced 
significantly by the locales, kinsnnen, and experiences of regions of his 
boyhood and young manhood. Early comnnentators on his most significant 
work, Spoon River Anthology (1 91 5), were quick to point out the universal 
verisimilitude that regional realities gave to its art.' Masters' creative use of 
localism was a continuous aspect of his writings. His late prose, especially, 
turned again and again to the milieu of his youth. ^ 

Most frequently, his material drew on his earliest memories around 
Petersburg, a village in Menard County, Illinois, where he lived until nearly 
age twelve as the son of a struggling attorney. The hill of New Salem, with 
its lore of Lincoln, stretched to the south. A north-leading country lane went 
to the farm of his beloved grandparents, Squire Davis and Lucinda Masters. 
Almost as often, there is material reflecting Lewistown, fifty miles north in 
Fulton County, where young Masters lived with his parents for another 
dozen years. It was a more contentious scene of competing wets and drys, 
editors and lawyers, with the religious rigidity of ex-New Englanders 
clashing with convivial individuals of Southern origins. Chicago's blend of 
rough vitality, cultural stimulation, and urban complexities completed 
initiation for Masters as he worked as a bill collector and lawyer. ^ 

While his own writings and most studies of them have focused on these 
areas and their influences, there was another region of Illinois that also had 
a real although less direct stimulus. That was the area lying around 
Jacksonville, about forty miles southwest of Petersburg, southward about 
twenty more miles to White Hall. Masters' paternal grandparents were 
members of pioneer families that settled in this region in a progression of 
frontier experience that had included earlier soujourns in North Carolina, 
Virginia, and Tennessee. Masters' knowledge about his kin and the lore of 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PA TERNAL ANCESTRY 33 

the Jacksonville region, which includes portions of Morgan, Scott, and 
Greene counties, was limited. It was drawn chiefly from what his 
grandparents, who moved to Menard County in 1 846 or 1 847, had told him, 
and from a few childhood visits and adult excursions. The poet was nearly 
sixty, with his major works accomplished, before he investigated the 
Tennessee regions where the grandparents were children, and he relied on 
contradictory lore concerning the family's origins farther eastward. 

Still, the progress of the Masters family as it moved westward was 
representative to the poet of conditions of the nation's development, and 
provided some of the historical and philosophical color that enhanced 
Spoon River Anthology and other works. For example, the family bias- 
despite its general opposition to slavery— favored the agrarian mode of 
the South, and recognized little justice in the conquest by the northern 
states. We find that Masters prefers the southern usage "War Between 
the States" more frequently than "Civil War" when referring to the conflict." 

Masters' most creative use of family lore was drawn from the 
experiences of his grandmother, Lucinda, and her forebears, the Wasson 
branch. There was the trauma of Revolutionary War separation in North 
Carolina, the milieu of Jackson around Nashville, Tennessee, and the 
subsequent residence near Jacksonville where Lucinda "went to the 
dances at Chandlerville/ And played snap-out at Winchester." I have 
traced her line of the family and its influence on her grandson's art in a 
separate study. ^ Another facet in ancestral lore in the main Masters paternal 
line was the supposed kinship with a Knottley, or Notley, Masters. The 
suppositions of the Masters family members who remained in Tennessee 
were that this individual brought the line to America in the mid-eighteenth 
century, and that he was a direct ancestor of themselves and of the poet. I 
have investigated this theory in another analysis.^ 

The present study will focus on the facts and lore about individuals 
surnamed Masters who were paternal line ancestors of Edgar Lee Masters. 
The aim is twofold: to resolve some of the confusing allusions in Masters' 
autobiographical works for the benefit of future scholars, and to suggest 
some of the ways in which the experiences of the Masters family were 
sources in Edgar Lee Masters' poetry and fiction. In accumulating data, I 
have benefited considerably from the research and suggestions of several 
descendants of the family, especially Margaret Masters Buehrig of 
Bloomington, Indiana, Dero Darwin, Jr., of Cookeville, Tennessee, Genell 
Masters Wynn of Madison, Tennessee, the late Robert Eldridge of 
Livingston, Tennessee, and Melba Wood of Chesterfield, Illinois. Along with 
them, I have endeavored to apply the resources and techniques of 
genealogical research to the task. 

The genealogies of such well-traced Southern families as the Boones and 
the Lincolns show patterns of migration from eastern ports with successive 
residence in areas of Maryland, Pennsylvania, western Virginia, and the 
Carolinas. This gradual southward shifting was especially characteristic of 



34 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

such minorities as the Scotch-Irish, the Welsh, and the German immigrants. 
They had reached the colonies in search of land and opportunity, and to 
escape economic and religious oppression. In America, many of them 
preferred to have some distance between themselves and the silk- 
stockinged governmental and ecclesiastical authorities of the coastal 
capitals. They resisted tax levies and commercial restrictions with 
sometimes bloody belligerence. 

The back county of North Carolina in the 1 770s was becoming settled by 
diverse groups. There were elements from the tidewater counties, 
encouraged to move westward in the previous thirty years by the land 
terms made available by the foresighted Earl Granville. He also had sent 
emissaries into the Valley of Virginia to encourage emigration. By the late 
1740s, many families of Scotch-Irish origins moved from the valley, or 
through it from places in Maryland and Pennsylvania, to populate the North 
Carolina land between the Catawba and Yadkin Rivers. The next two 
decades brought an influx of the tolerant, communal Moravians to develop 
the region they called Wachovia. In 1 753, northwest North Carolina became 
Rowan County, which extended vaguely across the northern section of 
what would become Tennessee. In North Carolina, some fifteen counties 
eventually were formed from the original Rowan. Most of the divisions took 
place after the period with which this study of the passage of the Masters 
family is concerned. However, it is pertinent to note that Rowan's area 
nearest to Virginia was set off in 1 770 as Surry County, with Wilkes County 
taking over the western part of that region in 1 777.' 

Edgar Lee Masters was aware of a period of North Carolina residence in 
the ancestry of his grandmother, Lucinda, but referred to his grandfather's 
forebears as Virginians. In a 1 904 genealogy compiled by the poet's father- 
in-law are the statements "Hillory Masters emigrated from Wales and 
settled in Wythe County, Virginia. . . . Thomas Masters, son of Hillory, 
removed from Virginia to Tennessee early in the last century."^ In a 1926 
article. Masters wrote "My ancestor, Hillory Masters, was in the war of 
American Independence. Whether or not he was one of those who enlisted 
from Wythe County, Virginia, at any rate, that was his home after the war."^ 
In 1927, on a trip through Tennessee, Masters encountered in Livingston, 
county seat of Overton County, descendants of the brothers of his great- 
grandfather Thomas, who had left about 1830 for Morgan County, Illinois. 
From Robert Simon Masters, who apparently had done some tracing of 
lineage, the poet learned of the supposed earlier ancestor, "Knottley." This 
individual was said to have been driven from his home in Wales by a cruel 
stepmother; a ship rescued him from an island, taking him to Virginia. In his 
1936 autobiography, Edgar Lee Masters wrote that Robert Simon Masters 
"also wrote me about his grandfather Hillory, or Hilary, Masters, who was 
born in that part of Virginia which became in 1790 Wythe County; and this 
tallied with what my grandfather had told me as a youth, including what he 
said of Hilary's children and career. Hilary was a soldier in the Revolution. 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PATERNAL ANCESTRY 35 

He moved to Overton County in 1804 and died there. "'° The claim for 
Virginia ancestry was especially sweeping in Masters' last major work, The 
Sangamon (1942), where he said of his grandfather, Squire Davis Masters, 
"his father, hisfather'sfather and grandfather were born in Virginia."" 

There certainly was, as will be detailed, a period of residence for the 
Masters family in southwest Virgina, but the best evidence is of North 
Carolina locations for much of three decades before the move to Overton 
County. There were in Rowan County and its subsequent divisions, in the 
late eighteenth century, a number of Masterses of likely, though uncertain 
relationship to Hillery, the best-documented spelling for the name of the 
known ancestor. The family probably had nearly a century of prior 
residence in Maryland, as I have reviewed from substantial evidence 
elsewhere. ^2 In 1772 the Moravian scribes had recorded the arrival in the 
Wachovian settlement of Bethabara, North Carolina, of "Nodley Masters," 
who appears later in the Revolutionary War service and census records of 
South Carolina. '3 In the 1 780s and 1 790s, will, deed, and marriage records 
are documented in Surry County, set off from Rowan but still including 
portions of present-day Wilkes and Yadkin counties, showing activities of 
an interrelated group of Masterses. The elder, based on the evidence, was 
William. His 1793 will lists property totaling 640 acres. Names mentioned 
are that of his wife, Mary, sons Nicholas and James, and daughters 
Elizabeth Shaw, Ann Long, and Mary Davis. Another son, Joseph, 
apparently had died more than a decade earlier; in a will drawn June 14, 
1 781 , he named as beneficiaries brothers Nicholas and James, both under 
age 21. The 1790 federal census for Surry County lists William, Nicholas 
and James. James was bondsman for Nicholas' application September 22, 
1786, to wed Elizabeth McDaniel. James' bond to wed Elizabeth Poe is 
dated July 1 7, 1 792. The names of these two brothers appear in many other 
subsequent Surry County deed records; estate files indicate Nicholas and 
Elizabeth died in 1 81 and James in 1 838.^^ 

A relationship with Hillery is suggested by both his proximity in the period 
and by the given names. Evidence discovered by Mrs. Buehrig indicates 
Notley and Hillery were brothers, that their grandfather's name was William, 
and that there was a pattern of reoccurence of given names in descending 
and collateral branches.'^ Hillery was in residence in Surry County as late 
as 1800 as shown by census records; his bride in 1779 was surnamed 
"Davies," conjecturally a sister of the Davis who married William Masters' 
daughter; and Hillery had been bonded for the marriage in Salisbury in 
nearby Rowan County. 

The marriage bond, executed on December 23, 1779, is the earliest 
document located in this research that bears Hillery's name. The signature 
spelling appears to be "Hillery," although the notary's script spells it 
"Hilary." The latter form became the more common for descendants, 
including Edgar Lee Masters' younger son. The bride's name is given as 
"Mary Davies." She frequently was called Polly, a common substitution for 



36 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Mary in the period, according to lore possessed by the Overton County 
Masterses and also apparently by Squire Davis Masters.'^ The other 
signatures on the marriage bond have triggered much conjecture among 
genealogists who have tried to trace the family. These signers were Notley 
Masters as joint pledger of the required 500 pounds, and "B. Booth Boote" 
as the notarizing officialJ^ 

The Overton County Masters descendants consistently told researchers, 
including Edgar Lee Masters, as already noted, that Hillery and Notley had 
been Virginians. Although Robert S. Masters apparently knew something 
about the marriage bond, he did not place its origins in North Carolina. Dero 
Darwin Jr. discovered the document and some of the others pertaining to 
the Carolina Masterses in 1 958,'^ eight years after Edgar Lee Masters died. 
No contact of Notley with Hillery is documented other than the marriage 
bond; my separate study concludes the relationship was not father and son. 

While Notley had well-documented Revolutionary War service, proof to 
sustain the same for Hillery has not been located. The claim came down 
through several branches of the family. Edgar Lee Masters indicated he was 
told by both Square David Masters and Robert S. Masters that "Hilary was a 
soldier in the Revolution."'^ Researcher Mrs. Sidney Crockett, of Nashville, 
got essentially the same statement in extensive interviews with the Overton 
County Masterses in 1954. 2° In family correspondence possessed by Mrs. 
Buehrig from the 1920s, Robert S. Masters said "I think I have heard my 
father [Hillery's son John] say that he [Hillery] was a soldier in the 
Revolutionary War. "2' 

It is reasonable to suppose that, like many young men in the back 
country, Hillery did see militia service as the British advance passed 
through the Carolinas in the early 1780s. The "B. Booth Boote" signature 
on Hillery's marriage bond has intrigued some researchers. Benjamin 
Boote, or Booth, was persecuted early in the Revolutionary conflict by 
Rowan County safety committees on suspicion of loyalist sympathies." 
Some North Carolina Masterses were loyalists, but none with names 
common in Hillery's line, as far as is known, up to that time." In an 
unpublished family sketch, Robert Eldridge recorded, "it is family tradition 
that Hillery Masters secured a land grant in Tennessee from the State of 
North Carolina for 640 acres of land for his services as a soldier in the 
Revolutionary War.''^" While this has not been verified, it does support the 
lore of Hillery's participation in the American cause. 

The ancestry of Mary Davies (as the notary spelled the name) has not 
been discovered. The surname in that form and by its more common 
spelling is found frequently in North Carolina and western Virginia records 
of the late eighteenth century." The form "Davis" has been used as a 
given name in most generations of the descending branches of the family. 
For example, it was bestowed as the middle name for the poet's 
grandfather, an uncle, younger brother, and nephew. 

Rowan County historians have suggested that Davis families that came 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PA TERNAL ANCESTRY 37 

there early probably were Baptists or Quakers. ^^ A "Scotton Davis" was a 
captain in the county's militia in 1753." Between 1760 and 1787, Rowan 
County tax lists and other records show Davieses or Davises with the given 
names Benjamin, Charles, David, Myrick, Henry, Hugh, James, Joseph, 
and John.^^ The marriage of one of the daughters of a Surry County 
Masters to a man surnamed Davis already has been discussed. Links of 
the Davis, or Davies, family with Masterses seem to have continued after 
Hillery's family had become established in Overton County, Tennessee. In 
1 81 7 a William Davis of Surry County, North Carolina, gave William Masters 
(Hillery's son or brother) of Overton County power of attorney, as "my trusty 
friend," to sell 275 acres lying along Roaring River in Overton County. ^^ A 
William Davis also is mentioned in a state land grant deed for 225 acres in 
Overton County as having owned this land in 1809, two years before its 
transfer to Charles Matlock. 2° I will explore later in this study the links 
between the Matlocks and Masterses. 

However, a quarter-century and several moves in the northwest North 
Carolina, southwest Virginia, and eastern Tennessee region would come 
between the time of Hillery and Mary's marriage and the trek to what 
became Overton County. Tax lists for 1788 and 1789 show him liable for 
taxes for those years, on two and three horses respectively, while residing 
in the "Crooked Creek, Chestnut Creek" area of what then was 
Montgomery County, Virgina, near the border with North Carolina's Surry 
County.^' Late in 1789 this area became part of Wythe County. 
Subsequently it was included in Grayson County (1 792) and finally in Carroll 
County (1842). 

The location was near the trails by which Virginians and Carolinians were 
moving via the Watauga and Holston River valleys into what became 
Tennessee in 1796. Along the lower Holston, Hawkins County had been 
established as a North Carolina County in 1 787; its seat, Rogersville, dated 
from 1 772. This is where we next locate Hillery, as purchaser on September 
10, 1794 for $333 of 250 acres from John Thompson. It is possible Hillery 
never actually resided there. Less than a year later, on August 31, 1795, 
Hillery and "Mary Masters his wife" are recorded as selling the same land 
"on the South Side of Holston River on both sides of Beech Creek" to 
Andrew Smithers.^^ A census record locates Hillery back in Surry County, 
North Carolina, in 1800. 

Before reviewing that record, one other possible land acquisition by 
Hillery in eastern Tennessee can be noted. The deed has not been located 
in any record, but there is an indirect reference in a Roane County survey 
report of June 25, 1814, noting John Craig's acreage "joins line of Hillary 
Masters."" Other records about Hillery Masters located by me and other 
genealogists fit the pattern of life of one individual. The reference to land 
within the present boundaries of Roane County "on old Indian Fork of 
Poplar Creek" may be an exception. By 1814, the Hillery Masters we are 
pursuing had been in Overton County, some fifty miles northwest of 



38 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 



WESTERN OVERTON COUNTY, 
TENNESSEE 




A Site of Thomas Masters farm and U Hill 
spring at bluff above Flatt Creek 

D Site of John S. Masters fanm 



lillery Masters original burial site 

C Camp Ground; Site on Roaring River of 

Hillery Masters' first farm (1804) Jackson County 

C Mary Davles Masters burial site. F Davis Masters, uncle of Squire Davis 

Masters, farm c.1830 



Hillery's remains may have been 
moved there 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PATERNAL ANCESTRY 39 

Roane's northern border, for a decade. County boundaries had shifted in 
the period, and many records were lost or never fornnally recorded. The 
Roane County area, downstream along the Holston-Tennessee Valley, was 
on one of the routes used to reach the middle Tennessee area where 
Overton was created in 1806, so it is possible that the known Hillery 
Masters might have purchased land there. Also possible is that another 
individual by that name had reached maturity around the second decade of 
the nineteenth century, since not all the names of Hillery's brothers and their 
sons are known. 

As we have seen, Hillery appears to have been in the Montgomery- 
Wythe area of southwestern Virginia around 1790, when the first federal 
census was taken. The Virginia tabulation perished in the burning of 
Washington during the War of 1812. In 1800, Hillery's household was in 
Surry County, North Carolina. While this accounting (spelling the name 
"Hilery") and others prior to 1 850 listed only the head of the household by 
name, the 1800 enumeration of males and females by approximate age 
does give substantial evidence about the nature of Hillery's growing family. 
He and Mary had been married more than twenty years when it was taken. 
It tabulates two males under age ten, two ten to sixteen, two sixteen to 
twenty-six and one twenty-six to forty-five (Hillery). There is one female 
under ten, one ten to sixteen, and one twenty-six to forty-five (Mary).^* 

Based on evidence which will be documented below, the census 
accounts for seven of the nine known children of Hillery and Mary. Son 
James probably was born in 1800, after the census was taken, and son 
John a year later. The tabulated children, and ages they were at or near, 
would have been Robert, seventeen; Thomas (father of Squire Davis 
Masters), thirteen; William and Nancy (probably twins), twelve; Jesse, eight; 
Sarah, between five and seven; and Davis, four. The evidence compiled by 
descendants does not account for the additional male age sixteen to 
twenty-six. He probably was not a brother of Hillery, since "according to the 
tradition of the Masters family, Hilary was the youngest son. . . ."^^ Mrs. 
Buehrig suggests the unidentified youth may have been Martin Masters 
and that he may have been either a son or nephew of Hillery. Martin was a 
witness in 1823 in Overton County, along with John Masters, to a land 
transaction between William and Thomas Masters. ^^ The latter three are 
verified sons of Hillery. However, the unidentifed male could have been 
simply a "hired man." 

There is insufficient space or purpose for this study to follow at length the 
careers and descending lineage of children of Hillery and Mary, other than 
Thomas, the ancestor of the poet. Some tracing has been useful because of 
the facts thereby gleaned about Squire Davis Masters, Thomas and Hillery. 
In summary, here is what is known about the others: 

Robert was born March 9, 1783. A Bible entry located by Merry Ann 
Kinkaid Malcolm gives the birth place as Rowan County, North Carolina, 
which is evidence of Hillery's whereabouts four years after his marriage in 



40 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

the same county.^' The same record lists Robert's wife as Sarah Cain, born 
1 794 in Tennessee, with the marriage occuring in 1 81 1 in Overton County. 
They were parents of at least ten children born between 1812 and 1832, 
including sons named Hillery and Davis. ^^ Robert moved to Morgan County, 
Illinois, about 1834, where Thomas had moved four years earlier. Sarah 
died in late 1834 or early 1835. Robert died at age eighty-six on February 
1 9, 1 870, according to the research of descendants.^^ 

William and Nancy were born August 26, 1788, and apparently in what 
then was part of Montgomery County, Virginia. A number of land dealing 
records and slave transactions indicate William resided after maturity 
chiefly in Jackson County, parent and neighboring county to Overton, 
although the William Davis power-of-attorney lists William Masters as an 
Overton County resident in 1 81 7. A Jackson County census record of 1 850 
lists a William Masters as age sixty-two, which is consistent with the 1788 
birth year. By tradition, he was married twice. The first wife's name is 
thought to have been Nancy Alley (or Allen) born about 1803. William's 
"broken slate headstone," the date of death apparently illegible, is in Clay 
County, Tennessee, cemetery near the northern border of Overton and 
Jackson, according to family researchers. ''° 

Nancy, probably a twin of William, married Joseph Goodbar in Overton 
County on September 1 3, 1 808. Her death occurred October 27, 1 855, and 
Joseph's on December 9, 1859, in Overton County. Robert Eldridge 
located their burial place as the Pangle Cemetery there. "^ 

Jesse was born November 22, 1 791 . One source, a son's census listing, 
gives the birth state as North Carolina; others indicate Virginia, which would 
be consistent with the Hillery Masters tax record described supra. A Bible 
record located by the Darwins of Cookeville, Tennessee, shows that Jesse 
on January 16, 1817, married Hannah Byrd Gore, who was born 
September 5, 1795. They were parents of at least six daughters and one 
son, born between 1818 and 1830, according to information supplied by 
Genell Masters Wynn of Madison, Tennessee, a descendant of Jesse. He 
died November 1 9, 1 829, in Overton County. '^ 

Sarah Masters' dates of birth, marriage, and death are uncertain. A birth 
year from 1 792 to 1 795 is presumed, based on the 1 800 census tabulation. 
She may have wed more than once. Oscar Eldridge, one of the Overton 
County historians of the Masters family, suggested that "Tom Cain" and a 
man surnamed Draper (Christian name unknown) may have been the 
husbands."" Interestingly, a Draper lineage lists a "James Hillery Draper" 
birth of 1 866-a probable recurrence of the name of Sarah's father. "^ 

Davis Masters was born May 10, 1796, according to the Darwins, who 
are descendants. Sons, recorded in censuses between 1850 and 1880, 
gave Davis' birth state as North Carolina in two instances; Virginia in two 
others. He married Susanah Hinds in about 1 81 8. Her birth and death dates 
are April 1 5, 1 802, and August 1 6, 1 875, and he died November 23, 1 882. 
By tradition they are buried on a hill on the farm they occupied in Overton 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PATERNAL ANCESTRY 41 

County/^ 

James Masters' dates of birth, death, and marriage also are uncertain. 
The 1800 Surry County, North Carolina, census seems to not include him, 
so it is presumed that he was born in late 1800 or soon thereafter. 
Individuals named James Masters in two Overton County censuses fit this 
pattern: In 1820 one was eighteen to twenty-six, with a wife sixteen to 
twenty-six; in 1830 the listed James Masters was thirty to forty.'' 
Documents secured by Robert Eldridge from another Masters descendant 
indicate that in May, 1838, James, John, and Davis Masters were involved 
with "Mary Masters, relic and widow of Hilary Masters, deceased" in 
division of Hillery's property some twenty-four years after Hillery's death. '» 
James may have died or left Overton County prior to 1 840. Robert Eldridge 
identified his wife as Betsy Thompson; an Elizabeth Masters is head of an 
Overton County household in the 1840 and 1850 censuses. The James 
Masters who married Betsy Thompson probably was a son of William 
Masters, according to Dero Darwin, Jr's reasoning."^ 

John S. Masters, apparently the youngest son of Hillery and Mary, is the 
best-documented of the descendants and the last of their children-unless 
several speculative births are included.^" His family Bible data shows his 
birth as March 12, 1801, probably in Surry County, North Carolina. His 
marriage in Overton County to Judith Barbara Riley occurred September 
22, 1 827. She was born January 1 1 , 1 81 1 , and died November 30, 1 885. 
There were 14 children, including sons named Hilery, James, Jesse, John, 
Thomas, Issac (Mrs. Buehrig's grandfather), and Robert Simon, who was 
Edgar Lee Masters' informant and grandfather of the Eldridge brothers. ^^ I 
learned much of the lore of the family of the older John Masters in the early 
1 970s in interviews with three of his elderly grandsons. There is insufficient 
space to detail it, but his death on December 25, 1866, allegedly from 
pneumonia caught while burying gold obtained by distilling, is part of 
Tennessee folklore." 

In a 1927 letter to Mrs. Buehrig's father, Robert S. Masters, son of John 
and grandson of Hillery, wrote that "Grandfather moved to Overton County 
when my father was only three years old."" That would be in 1 804 or early 
1 805; the year Edgar Lee Masters gives is 1 804. Oscar and Robert Eldridge 
give 1803 as the year of arrival of Hillery and his family in a portion of 
Jackson County that would become Overton County in 1806. By tradition, 
according to Oscar Eldridge, Hillery's first farm was in the southwest portion 
of present-day Overton County "near Roaring River, on what is now known 
as the M.A. Hardy old home place. I think he moved later to near Flat[t] 
Creek in the Mt. Gilead community, about four miles south-east of Hilham 
and about 5 or 6 miles west of Livingston." The Flatt Creek location was 
near the "Jackson Old Courthouse" site, where county business had been 
transacted before the Jackson seat was moved to Gainesboro. Notes by 
Robert Eldridge recount that the trek from North Carolina was, by tradition, 
at least partially over mountain routes across the Smokies and Cumberland 



42 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

ranges before the Hillery Masters family first located near what now is the 
community of Windle.^" 

Records of land holdings or other activities mentioning Hillery himself- 
except for the 1 838 estate settlement-have not been located. The Eldridges 
believed they may have perished in a fire at the Jackson County 
courthouse. Hillery's year of death is approximated as 1814 because sale 
deeds for property in the Flatt Creek area bear the name of Mary Masters, 
presumably Hillery's widow, as early as January 12, 1815." Actually, she 
had acquired land in July, 1814, in her own name, in a deed witnessed by 
William Masters." The federal census of Overton County in 1820 lists 
"Mary Masters" as over age forty-five and head of a household of one other 
member, a male age eighteen to twenty-six, probably son John. Other sons 
Robert, William, Jesse, Davis, Thomas, and James are listed separately in 
the same census with their age ranges corresponding to the reasoning 
already detailed." 

A meat fork possessed by a descendant in Livingston appears to be the 
only surviving relic of Hillery's household." A few traditions of the domestic 
style of Hillery and his wife have survived, summarized by Oscar Eldridge: 
"Hilary Masters was a kind old man and was agreeable to get along with. 
His wife was said to have been a high tempered woman." John S. Masters 
would have just entered his teens in 1 81 4, presumably the year of Hillery's 
death. His account of the domestic discord passed down through Robert S. 
Masters to Riley Masters, who was ninety-two when I interviewed him In 
1 971 : "They said-my daddy's told me-that she [Mary] was awful mean to 
him [Hillery]. They didn't get along. She was just as mean to him as she 
could be and when he died she had him buried over there on the Graveyard 
Hill. . . . She didn't want to be buried by him. She told 'em never to take 
her over there, said she wanted to be buried up in the Masters graveyard, 
and they buried here there."" 

The site of Hillery's burial, by the 1 970s, was a tangle of overgrowth on a 
bluff on the Charles Allred farm, overlooking Flatt Creek. Descendants 
could recall no marker; the site had been farmed over, with some stones 
pushed into an earthen dam, according to several accounts. ^° 

Census data shows a female fifty to sixty years old in 1 830 in the John S. 
Masters household, and one eighty to ninety in 1840.^^ The former was 
probably a mismark, for Mary, assuming she married in 1 779 at about age 
twenty, would have been in her mid-eighties on June 15, 1845. This death 
date is recorded in the John S. Masters family Bible. Her burial place, with 
other Masterses who lived in Overton County in the early nineteenth 
century, is in an overgrown hillside plot on the Edd Long farm, reachable by 
a back road from the route to Mount Gilead Church. Riley Masters identified 
the site of Mary's grave as close to that of his grandmother, Barbara, where 
a marker was placed in 1967 by Riley and his brothers. An historian of 
neighborhood families, the Rev. Oscar Nolen, told me that Hillery's remains 
had been moved to the site after Mary's death. ^^ oscar Eldridge's account 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PATERNAL ANCESTRY 43 

is that "they dug into the grave and found that the coffin and body was 
decayed so badly that they filled the grave up and let hinn stay where he 
was." 

In contrast to the puzzling and often conjectural information about his 
parents, brothers, and sisters, the career of Thomas fvlasters, great- 
grandfather of Edgar Lee Masters, is quite well documented. The dates 
inscribed on his stone in Bethel Cemetery near Murrayville, Illinois, indicate 
a birthdate of August 1, 1787. By the tradition so frequently mentioned, it 
was in an area of Montgomery County, Virginia, that two years later 
became part of Wythe County. 

Overton County records show Thomas as a landowner, juryman, 
militiaman and slaveowner. In 1813, on October 26, Thomas and Jesse 
Masters were among petitioners to the Tennessee General Assembly for 
raising of "a force of 500 mounted men" to fight Indians. Thomas may have 
taken part, with Jesse, in the expedition against the Creeks early in the 
following year." Thomas received a grant of twenty-five acres on March 
30, 1 81 3, signed by Willie Blount, Tennessee governor. s" Thirty acres were 
conveyed to Thomas by his brother William on January 13, 1823. An 
extensive purchase of 329 acres was made by Thomas Masters on October 
11,1 826, from Abraham Goodpasture, who was a member of a family that 
maintained ties of friendship and intermarriage with the Masterses later in 
Morgan and Menard counties in Illinois. Thomas sold the same land on 
December 26, 1829, to Samuel Mitchell^^ just prior to the move of the 
Thomas Masters family to Morgan County. It was a financial loss for 
Thomas Masters, since he received only $560 in comparison to the $700 
he had paid to Goodpasture. 

The site of Thomas Masters' farm was pointed out to me in 1971 by 
Robert Eldridge. About three miles southwest of Livingston it lies along Flatt 
Creek and the road to Hilham. The farm later was part of a Civil War training 
ground called Camp Zollicoffer. A small stream emerges from a bluff in a 
picturesque spring that apparently had been described to the poet by his 
grandfather. Squire Davis Masters. Springs had provided more than 
aesthetic enjoyment to the Masterses in Overton County. The elderly 
Masters brothers told me they were the source of the pure water John S. 
Masters used in distilling. Riley Masters recalled that in Edgar Lee Masters' 
letters to Robert S. Masters "he was asking him about a lot of springs that 
they was in this country. . . ."^^ Squire Davis Masters, born November 28, 
1812, spent his first seventeen years in this hilly, yellow-clay region of 
small cleared fields amid stands of pine and rockstrewn creeks including 
"the brook which ran across his father's farm into which he put pebbles to 
be rolled over by the water until they were made into round marbles." When 
the grandfather spoke of the area, it was with "melancholy accents," the 
poet recalled; about 1877 Squire Davis Masters "had made a trip to 
Overton County, Tennessee, which he had not seen since 1 829, nearly fifty 
years. He found that every trace of his father's house was gone. . . ."^^The 



44 



WESTERN ILLINOIS RELjIONAL STUDIES 




EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PA TERNAL ANCESTRY 45 

doleful accounting of the changes in the region of the grandfather's youth 
made a deep impression on the poet, not yet ten. In Spoon River Anthology, 
there is imagery that recalls the description of the brook on Thomas 
Masters' farm as the photographer "Rutherford McDowell" scans 
ambrotypes of the old pioneers: 

That mystical pattios of dropped eyelids, 
And the serene sorrow of their eyes. 
It was like a pool of water, 
Amid oak trees at the edge of a forest, 
Where the leaves fall " 

Although an antipathy toward slavery came to be considered as a 
principal reason for Thomas Masters' departure from Tennessee, the lure of 
the rich, cheap lands in Illinois probably played a larger part. A Menard 
County history's sketch of Squire Davis Masters' background, mentioning 
his father, is characteristic of the anti-slavery sentiment of Illinois, rather 
than that of north central Tennessee: "slavery prevailing, and he [Thomas] 
having seen enough of its workings, he resolved to go north, and, in the 
year 1830, went to Morgan Co., not far from what is now Jacksonville."^^ 
Edgar Lee Masters echoed this passage in writing that Thomas "hated 
slavery, and on coming to Illinois in 1829 emancipated his one slave. The 
deed of emanicaption may be read at the courthouse in Livingston, Overton 
County, Tennessee, to this day."^° This document would have been one, 
certainly, that Edgar Lee Masters sought in his one day in Livingston in 
1927. I have not located it, nor did Robert Eldridge, the most assiduous 
compiler of Masters-related records in the county before his death April 28, 
1979. There is a record of Thomas' purchase from Drusis Riggs for $500 
on September 1 5, 1 81 9 of "a certain Negro girl named 'Viney' about twelve 
years old. . . .'"'^ There is no tabulation indicating the girl's presence in 
Thomas Masters' household in either the 1820 Overton County census or 
that of 1 830 in Morgan County, Illinois, so her length of stay with the family 
is uncertain. 

A Bible record that Edgar Lee Masters discovered in a 1917 trip to 
Morgan County gives the date of Thomas' marriage to "Elizabeth Matlock 
daughter of Charles and Susanne Matlock" as December 15, 1811, 
Elizabeth's birth date as May 10, 1796, and her date of death as July 26, 
1845.^2 This tallies with the tombstone information in Bethel Cemetery 
showing she died at age "49 years, 2 months." The Matlock surname 
carried sturdy agrarian connotations pleasing to her poet great-grandson. It 
was adapted for the Spoon River characters, "Lucinda Matlock" and "Davis 
Matlock," who reflect Squire Davis and Lucinda Masters, and further in 
"Madison Matlock" and "Rita Matlock Gruenberg" of The New Spoon 
River. These two troubled cosmopolitans are, in part, portraits of Masters 
himself and of his sister, with their lives contrasted with the rural placidity of 



46 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

the grandparents." 

Numerous Matlocks, including those with given names of Charles, 
William, George, John, and Moore, were listed in pre-1 830 Overton County 
records/" However, Matlock family researchers including Mrs. Melba 
Wood of Illinois and Mrs. Jess Armstrong of Nacogoches, Texas, point to a 
Charles Matlock of Grainger County, Tennessee, as the probable father of 
Elizabeth. The chief evidence is an indenture made September 1 3, 1 796, by 
Jacob Kennedy in behalf of "the heirs of Charles Matlock deceased." His 
widow, "Susanah Matlock" is named as executor." Grainger County, set 
off from Knox and Hawkins in 1796, was in eastern Tennessee along the 
route where settlers were migrating to central and western parts of the 
state, as the Masters family had done. The Matlock researchers have 
discovered a common pattern of names extending from Virginia counties 
into the Carolinas, Tennessee and Kentucky. However, the actual forebears 
of Charles Matlock of Grainger County and his wife Susanah have not been 
identified positively. Susanah, or Suzanne, probably was a relatively young 
woman with an infant (Elizabeth) at the time of Charles' death, and 
remarriage to someone who settled in Overton County is one likelihood." 

Thomas Masters, as a member of Hillery's family, had come to the 
Jackson-Overton County area at age sixteen or seventeen when 
settlements were new. Not until 1806 was the threat of Indian resistance 
removed by a cession that included what became the western part of 
Overton County. At age twenty-four, Thomas had married Elizabeth, then 
fifteen. He seems to have been reasonably prosperous, and his family grew 
rapidly. By 1820, as the census records, there were two sons and two 
daughters.'^ Another son and three more daughters would be born before 
the move to Illinois in late 1829 or early 1830. Thomas probably had 
opportunities for his children as a motive for the move. The potential of thin- 
soiled hills and bottoms of Overton County was limited, compared to the 
expanses of Illinois lands that Thomas probably observed in 1 829 before he 
sold the Tennessee acreage. Even well into the late nineteenth century, the 
forests and canebrakes of Overton County were formidable obstacles, and 
the cleared land was quickly exhausted, according to Ridley Masters. One 
of the family members who remained in the Flatt Creek area, he was ninety- 
five when I interviewed him in 1 972: "The land was good, when it was first 
cleared up. They 'us a lot of good land, and right smart of bottom land on 
these creeks and around. It 'us good. It made a sight of stuff, but people 
kind of butchered over it, 'til they wore it out."" 

Morgan County, Illinois, had been established in 1823 and until 1839 
included the area that became Scott County. It appears that Thomas was 
the first of the Overton County Masterses to move there, although Morgan's 
records show several other individuals with the same surname before 1 830. 
Thus there is a possibility that some relatives may have preceded him. A 
sketch of James Madison Masters, a son of Thomas, in a 1906 Morgan 
County history, notes the assertion by the son "that the family entered the 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PA TERNAL ANCESTRY 47 

State in 1 81 8. . . . Other accounts are to the effect that they did not arrive in 
Illinois until 1830."'^ According to family tradition, which would agree with 
the evidence of a move in the winter of 1829-1830, the move was by ox- 
drawn wagons when roads were frozen sufficiently for traveling. ^° 

A fictional treatment of the migration by Edgar Lee Masters uses some 
elements of the real move, but alters others. In The Nuptial Flight (1 923), 
the "Thomas Houghton" family leaves the Louisville, Kentucky, area in 
1849, traveling by steamboat on the Ohio and Mississippi and by stage to 
"Whitehall," Illinois. There, with money inherited from his father who has 
just died in Virginia, Thomas purchases land in Greene County, which is 
immediately below Morgan County. Before leaving Kentucky, William-the 
novel's counterpart to Squire Davis Masters-"takes a parting look at the 
brook where he had made marbles by leaving pebbles to be turned by the 
tumbling water." Besides eldest son William, widower Thomas has two 
other children, Madison and Elvira. William supplements his income by 
hauling brick for building in Whitehall.^' 

Much of the responsiblity during the actual overland trek, and during 
Thomas Masters' presumed absence from Overton County, must have 
fallen on the deep-eyed, serious son. Squire Davis Masters, who was 
seventeen when the change was made. His given name reflected the 
admiration of pioneers of the time for the Boone family. Daniel Boone's 
father had borne the given name of "Squire. "^^ Another son, James 
Madison Masters, named in admiration of the Federalist president, was 
twelve at the time of the move. His life bears little resemblance to that of the 
hard-drinking, irresponsible "Madison Houghton" of the novel. 

The Thomas Masters family apparently stayed only briefly on their first 
claim in Morgan County. Tne sketch of James Madison Masters recounts 
that the "first location was on a tract of unimproved land situated about 
three miles northwest of the site of the city of Jacksonville. Shortly 
afterward the father brought his family to a log cabin which stood on the site 
of what is now the campus of Illinois College. In the fall of 1830 they again 
removed to a tract of land about a mile and a half west of Murrayville, which 
had been entered as a Government claim; and this was the home of James 
Madison Masters during the remaining years of his active life."" 

Jacksonville was something of a boom town by 1830, according to 
descriptions left by travelers such as poet-editor William Cullen Bryant, 
whose brothers farmed nearby. In a novel called Children of the Market 
Place, Edgar Lee Masters caught the aura of its early days. The narrator. 
Englishman James Miles, has been escorted to Jacksonville by ex- 
Tennessean Reverdy Clayton, also a fictional verson of Squire Davis 
Masters. Miles' description: "As I walked along I could see that the 
boundless prairie was around me. I inhaled the spaciousness of the scene. I 
could see the deep woods which stood beyond the rich prairies of tall and 
heavy grass. The town was built roughly of hewn logs. It was like a camp of 
hastily constructed shacks. But a college had already been founded. It had 



48 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

two buildings, one of logs and one of brick. "«' New England nninisters had 
founded Illinois College in 1829. It began holding classes in January 1830, 
and Squire Davis Masters had earned subsistence for his fannily by hauling 
bricks for "Beecher Hall," which still stands. He did not attend it, but two of 
his sons did as did other descendants of Thomas, several of whom taught 
there.«^ 

Deed records at the Morgan County courthouse verify the family's 
moves. Their first residence was a 160-acre tract in Concord Township on 
hilly land that may have appealed to Thomas because of its resemblance to 
Tennessee land. But the advantages of prairie residence were obvious; on 
September 1 0, 1 830, he sold the Concord tract to Joseph Duncan for $500. 
A ledger recording the taking up of government claims shows Thomas 
acquiring 160 acres on September 14, 1830, the southeast quarter of 
Section 13 North, Range 11 West, in what is now extreme southwest 
Morgan County. ^^ At the time Manchester, now in Scott County, was the 
nearest village. Murrayville, the village now nearest the site of the Thomas 
Masters property, was not laid out until a railroad was constructed in the late 
1860s. Descendants of Thomas, including James Madison Masters, had a 
hand in its growth. It has a Masters street and a Masters addition. In time, 
Thomas' holdings or those of his descendants extended west into Scott 
County and south into Greene County. The successive owners of the basic 
Masters farm were Thomas, James Madison Masters until his death April 3 
1 898; James' son Squire Davis Masters (1 848-1 904), who had been named 
for his uncle who moved on to Menard County and also died in 1904; 
and Arthur Masters, who guided Edgar Lee Masters and his father, Hardin 
Wallace Masters, on a day's visit to the area in 1917. Today the Masters 
name is virtually extinct in Morgan County, although descendants named 
Newcomb still own part of the land near Murrayville.^' 

On October 20, 1 848, three months before his death on January 9, 1 849 
(not 1 847 as Edgar Lee Masters says in Across Spoon River), Thomas drew 
the will which was probated on January 6. Squire Davis Masters and James 
Madison Masters were named executors. Tax receipts show that, at the 
time of his death, Thomas owned 465 acres. ^^ Thomas apparently made 
some division of his property before his death, since eighty acres was 
recorded as being received by Squire Davis Masters January 16, 1848." 
According to Edgar Lee Masters, Thomas bequeathed $600 to Squire Davis 
Masters which he used to expand his holdings in Menard County where he 
had moved in late 1 845 or early 1 846.^° The cash may have represented a 
settlement with James Madison Masters for the property in Morgan County. 
They were the only sons of age; the will had named them guardians of 
Thomas' "infant [minor] sons Robert Masters, William Masters and 
Wilbourne Masters." 

As one drives along Illinois Highway 267 about a mile southwest of 
Murrayville, old Bethel Cemetery is visible to the north. A tall, dignified shaft 
marks the grave of James Madison Masters and his children. Nearby are 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PATERNAL ANCESTRY 49 

short, rounded markers that Edgar Lee Masters and his father failed to find 
on the 1917 trip. They read: "Thomas Masters died Jan. 9, 1849 age 61 
years, 5 months, 9 days" and "Elizabeth Wife of Thomas Masters died July 
26, 1 845 age 49 years, 2 months." 

Thomas and Elizabeth were parents of at least twelve children. A basic 
source of information about them is the copy Edgar Lee Masters made 
during the 1 91 7 trip of entries in a Bible inscribed "Thomas Masters bought 
of H. Wallace April 7, 1 846." The Rev. Hardin Wallace, for whom Edgar Lee 
Masters' father was named, was an early Methodist minister in central 
Illinois.^' When the data was copied by the poet, the Bible was possessed 
by Wilbur Edgar Masters. Whether it still exists is unknown. Some 
miscopying of dates and given names by Edgar Lee Masters or his typist 
are apparent when comparisons are made with tombstone information and 
other Morgan County records and research of several family genealogists. 
The composition of Thomas' family is given from a combination of these 
sources: 

1. Squire Davis, born November 28, 1812; married Lucinda Wasson 
March 6, 1 834; died February 2, 1 904. 1 have described the circumstances 
of the marriage in the study of the Wasson family. 

2. Polly D. (miswritten as Paul in the birth section of Edgar Lee Masters' 
transcription), born February 14, 1815; married Hiram H. Lemon in Morgan 
County about November 8, 1 831 ; died February 22, 1 843. 

3. James Madison, born April 3, 1817, according to his tombstone and 
the county history sketch. The poet's transcription says February 14, 
probably picking up the month and day of Polly's birth incorrectly. He 
married Rebecca Ann Dinwiddle in Morgan County June 15 or 16, 1841, 
and died April 3, 1 898, his eighty-first birthday. 

4. William, died in infancy in Tennessee, 1 81 9. 

5. Nancy Officer, born May 20, 1 820; married James Watson or Wilson^^ 
January 7, 1 836; death date not located. 

6. Sarah McClenahan, born May 19, 1822; married the Rev. William 
Gannaway August 29, 1 839. Death date not located. 

7. Susanne, born October 25, 1 824; married John Orr in Morgan County 
February 15, 1843; death date not located. Susanah is the spelling in 
Morgan County marriage records. ^^ 

8. Emmeline Jane Summers, born April 12, 1827; married Hercules 
(spelled "Harclus" in the Bible transcription) McLaughlin in Morgan County 
December 26, 1 844; died July 30, 1 845. 

9. Thomas Burley, born June 14, 1829. He may have died in youth, 
since no Thomas is among minor sons listed in the will of the father in 1 848. 
The younger Thomas probably is the male under age five listed in the 1 830 
federal census of the Thomas Masters household in Morgan County, and 
one of the four under age ten in the 1835 state census.®" Or the younger 
Thomas may have married young and left the household. Morgan County 
marriage records show a Thomas B. Masters marrying Elizabeth Bowland, 



50 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

or Berland, in 1847, and a Thomas Masters wedding Mary MaGanis in 
1 848. The state census of nearby Peoria County in 1 855 (page 32) shows a 
Thonnas Masters, born in Tennessee. 

1 0. Robert Milton, born in May 30, 1 831 ; no marriage record discovered. 
The Bible transcription shows his death as June 14, 1832, which conflicts 
with the will information showing him alive in 1848, as well as the 1835 
census tabulation. The correct death year was probably 1 852 or 1 882. 

11-12. Twins William (the second son so named) Lafayette and 
Wilbourne J. (often spelled Wilbur), born January 4, 1835. "Thomas' wife 
had prayed all her married life for twins, and always said these were an 
answer to prayer," according to descendant of William. ^^ He married 
Cornelia Hesser October, 1856; his death date has not been located. 
Wilbourne (the tombstone spelling in Jacksonville East Cemetary) died 
September 7, 1875. The Bible Transcript lists his marriage to Miriam E. 
Humphrey December 21 , 1 870. The tombstone inscription with Wilbourne's 
gives her name as Miriam Masters Hewett, which could indicate a second 
marriage before her death April 20, 1 906.^® 

Only James Madison Masters and Wilbourne J. Masters, among these 
siblings of his grandfather, appear to have played any part in Edgar Lee 
Masters' creative use of family lore. Card file indexes of Civil War service by 
lllinoisians in the state archives indicate that four of Thomas' sons-Thomas, 
Robert, William L. and Wilbourne-may have seen Civil War service, but 
only Wilbourne's is plainly documented. He "was a Union soldier and was 
severely wounded in the battle of Missionary Ridge, so much so that he was 
invalid until his death in 1 876 [sic]," Edgar Lee Masters wrote in Days in the 
Lincoln County.^'' Perhaps the poet had this relative and his injury in mind 
when, for Spoon River Anthology, he wrote the epitaph of the naive country- 
boy soldier, "Knowit Hoheimer": 

I was the first fruits of the battle of Missionary Ridge. . . 
And this granite pedestal 
Bearing the worlds, "Pro Patria. " 
What do they mean, anyway";"* 

The 1917 visit to Morgan County revived for the poet some of the lore 
about "Uncle Matt," James Madison Masters. Some of it certainly had been 
conveyed earlier by both the poet's grandfather Squire Davis Masters, and 
by Hardin Wallace Masters, who visited James Madison Masters' home in 
Murrayville "approximately about 1859."^^ In 1917, the house, with 
Murrayville grown around it, was vacant and "in these rooms there was a 
psychology of terrible dreariness, a feeling and sense of sickness and 
death." The guide, Arthur Masters, grandson of James Madison Masters, 
reminded the visitors of how "his grandfather used to sit and smoke" his 
clay pipes in the house "thirty or more years after his wife died." The old 
man also would "sit alone and smoke" in the rooms that were kept as they 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PA TERNAL ANCESTRY 51 

were when his children were living. "Every one of thenn died of 
tuberculosis, no one reaching a nnuch greater age than thirty years," Edgar 
Lee Masters wrote, with some exaggeration of what was tragic enough. '°° 
He had, three years before, used the sense of such a death-pervaded 
dwelling in the drannatic Spoon River epitaph, "Nancy Knapp": 

the dreadfulest smells infested the rooms. 
So I set lire to the beds and the old witch-house 
Wont up in a roar of flame, 
As I danced m the yard with waving arms, 
Wh:le he wept iike a freezing steer."" 

But, with his nnemory refreshed as to the lore of Jannes Madison Masters, 
the epitaph "Morgan Oakley," first published in 1 923, appears to be a nnore 
direct reflection of the great-uncle's stoic acceptance of his losses. The 
given name is, of course, that of the county where James Madison Masters 
lived: 



There is a time for vine leaves in the hair, 

And a tim,e for thorns on the brow. 

Even as life is both ecstasy and agony, 

And as Nature grov;s both leaves and thorns. 

In youth I knew love and victory; 

in age loneliness and pain. 

But life IS to be lived neither as leaves. 

Nor as thorns, but through both 

I came to the wisdom of barren boughs. 

And the desolation of unleaved thorns, 

Which remembered the leaves''"^ 

On the 1917 trip, too, Edgar Lee Masters observed the bleakness of 
some of the villages that had grown up along the railroad that passed 
through southern Morgan and Greene counties. In The Nuptial Flight the 
characters Walter Scott Houghton and his wife Fanny, whose antagonisms 
resemble those of the poet's parents, pass a tense wedding night in a seedy 
hotel in Roodhouse, an actual village about halfway between White Hall and 
Manchester.'"^ 

In the sixteen years he spent in Morgan County after the move from 
Tennessee, Squire Davis Masters seems to have acted the responsible role 
of tenant and manager for his father's holdings. I have not located any deed 
transactions in Squire Davis Masters' own name, except that already 
described near the time of the father's death. Squire Davis Masters' service 
in the Black Hawk War and hidden commission as a militia captain— It 
conflicted with his anti-war sentiments-became part of family lore.'°^ Both 
"Reverdy Clayton" of Children of the Market Place and "Squire Atterberry" 
of Masters' last novel, The Tide of Time, had experiences in the campaign 



52 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

against the Indian chief who refused to leave northern Illinois. In the latter 
novel, Squire Atterberry's son, Leonard Westerfield Atterberry, is sent on 
the eve of the Civil War to a small college, "Northern University" in 
"Charlesville," as Squire Davis Masters sent his sons, Hardin Wallace and 
Thomas Henry, to Illinois College in Jacksonville. However, Edgar Lee 
Masters drew most of the color for "Northern University" from his own 
experiences in 1 889-1 890 at Knox College in Galesburg.'°^ 

With little property in his own name in Morgan County, Squire Davis 
Masters, for all family affection, was really in the position of a hired man with 
a wife and four children by the mid-1 840s. The move to Menard County was 
"on account of the cheapness of land," his grandson would write. ^°^ The 
county also was being populated by other settlers who had Tennessee or 
Kentucky roots and Democratic Party sentiments, and may have seemed 
more congenial to Squire Davis Masters than the Whig-dominated Morgan 
County which "attracted so many Yankees during its early years that by the 
1830s it was more New England in character than any other community in 
the State," according to a regional guide. '°' 

Squire Davis Masters purchased 280 acres on Menard County's Sand 
Ridge in a deed dated June 2, 1 846, reserving $267 of the $1 ,200 payment 
to be satisfied by delivery of "a good span of horses and a good Waggon" 
before December 1 .^°^ Late that year or early in 1 847 he brought his family, 
including his infant Hardin Wallace, who was born September 1 1 , 1845, to 
the rude cabin on the Menard County land. According to a tradition 
recounted by the poet, Lucinda wept at the sight, remembering the 
comforts of her Morgan County Home.^°^ Then she and Squire Davis 
Masters began the nearly sixty years of residence together on Sand Ridge 
that would be celebrated in the various Spoon River epitaphs, including 
"Lucinda Matlock.": 

i hpi::'!, I ■/JOMe. I kept the house. I nursed the sick, 

i prado 'he garden, a^^.d for holiday 

F-iafri&led over the fields where sang the larks, 

And by Spoon River gathering many a shell. 

And ri'any a flower ?nd rriedicinal weed — 

SfioiJt:ng to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys. 



With the move to Menard County, perhaps two centuries of frontier 
pioneering experience ended for the Masters family. The barriers its 
offspring would face henceforth would be in the complexities of 
commerce, the law, social development, and intellectual pursuits. It is a 
logical breaking point for this study, since within another full century would 
pass the remainder of the lives of the poet's grandparents and parents, and 
his own life and career. It was in Menard County that the poet first became 
aware of the rich lore of the lives of his kin and their neighbors. The example 
to him of those in his family who, with passion, persistence, and grace had 



53 EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PATERNAL ANCESTRY 

coped with the fundamentals of frontier experience, became a constant 
point of reference for his writings. 



NOTES 



^Reactions are summarized by John T. Flanagan, Edgar Lee Masters: The Spoon River 
Poet and His Critics (Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1 974), pp. 21 -35. 

^Most extensively in his autobiography, Across Spoon fl/Ver(New York; Holt, Rinehart and 
Winston, 1936), and The Sangamon (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1942), a volume of the 
Rivers of America series edited by Stephen Vincent Benet and Carl Carmer. 

^General biographical information about the poet, unless otherwise credited, is from 
Across Spoon River. 

*For example. Across Spoon River, p. 4, The Sangamon, p. 14, Lincoln: The Man (New 
York: Dodd Mead & Company, 1931), p. 1. 

^Citations from Spoon River Anthology are from the expanded edition (New York: Mac- 
Millan, 1 91 6); see "Lucinda Matlock," p. 230. My study of the Wasson family, "Ancestral Lore 
in Spoon River Anthology: Fact and Fancy, is in Papers on Language and Literature, 20 
(Spring, 1984). 

^"Maryland-Carolina Ancestry of Edgar Lee Masters," The Great Lakes Review, 8-9 (Fall 
1982-Spring1983),51-80. 

^Sources on the settlement and division of Rowan County include Samuel J, Ervin, Jr., >4 
Colonial History of Rowan County, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Publications, 
1917), and David Leroy Corbitt, Formation of the North Carolina Counties Raleigh: North 
Carolina State Department of Archives and History, 1969). 

^Robert Jenkins, The Jenkins Family Book (Chicago: LaSalle Printing Co., 1904), p. 183. 

^"Days in the Lincoln Country," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 1 8 (1 926), p. 
779. 

^°Across Spoon River, pp. 3-4; "Edgar Lee Masters Pays Visit to Shrine of Andrew 
Jackson," Nashville Tennessean, 3 April 1927, p. 1 , p. 5. 

^ V. 26. With some geographical imprecision Masters credited "Virginia" with much of the 
settlement of the nation beyond New England and the Middle Atlantic states in The New World 
(New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1937), p. 67: "Virginia went south to the Carolinas/And 
crossing the Blue Ridge/Found the wilds of buffalo in Kentucky and Illinois." 

^^''Maryland-Carolina Ancestry of Edgar Lee Masters." 

'^Ibid., and Adelaide L. Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, II (Raleigh: 
North Carolina State Department of Archives and History, 1968), pp. 719-723, p. 742. 

^ "Surry County Wills, Book 1, p. 153; Book 3, pp. 11-12. Deed Book C, p. 239; Book I, p. 
124; Book Y, p. 291. File of Estate Inventories, Accounts and Settlements, cases nos. 1090, 
1115, 1114, 2G7-A, 277-A. Marriage Bonds, p. 1 56. 1 inspected and obtained copies of these 



54 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 



records at the Surry County courthouse in Dobson; there are nunnerous other indexed 
references to those Masterses who are mentioned in my text^ The 1 790 federal census listings 
for them are on pp. 184-185; in 1800 Nicholas p. 708. and James p. 677. 

'^Summarized in "The Maryland-Carolina Ancestry of Edgar Lee Masters." The grand- 
father died c, 1776 in Maryland. The presumed father of Notley and Hillery was Robert (d. 
1 770), also the given name of their great-grandfather (d. 1 71 6). Hillery's sons, it will be noted, 
included Robert, James and William. 

'^Jenkins, p. 1 83, mistakenly lists a "Susan — " as Hillery's bride. "Polly" is the name used 
by Edgar Lee Masters in "Days in the Lincoln County," 779. In 1 91 7, he had discovered a fami- 
ly Bible, to be discussed post, listing his great-grandfather Thomas Masters as the "son of 
Hillery and Polly Masters." 

'^The bond is recorded in Rowan County Marriage Bonds II, p. 296, in the courthouse at 
Salisbury. A copy of the actual bond was provided by the North Carolina Department of Ar- 
chives and History, Raleigh. 

'^Mrs. Dero Darwin, Sr., to Robert Eldridge, 8 June 1958. Both the Darvv'ns and Eldridge 
made their files available for my research in 1971-1972, and added suggestions later. Robert 
S. Masters died in 1940 at age eighty-nine. The information he gave to his descendants and 
Edgar Lee Masters indicates a knowledge of Notley's role in the marriage of Hillery and Mary. 
However, by 1954 when Mrs. Sidney Crockett researched the poet's ancestry in Overton 
County, the name of Hillery's wife apparently had been forgotten. It is not included in notes she 
copied from the files of Robert and Oscar Eldridge, grandsons of Robert S. Her research is fil- 
ed at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. Oscar Eldridge's six-page 
typescript, "The Masters Family," dated 21 July 1954, does not name Hillery's wife, and says 
"he came from Wiles County, Virginia " No county by that name has existed in Virginia, North 
Carolina, or Tennessee; the error was probably a miscopying of Wythe County, Virginia, or 
possibly nearby Wilkes County, North Carolina. 

^^Across Spoon River, p. 4; "Days in the Lincoln Country," p. 779. 

^°Mrs. Crockett was employed by Kimball Flaccus, who planned but never completed a 
biography of the poet, She reported to him in a letter 13 July 1954 after a visit to Ridley 
Masters in Overton County: "Got the same story as is generally and traditionally told. . . Name- 
ly that the Emigrant was Nottley, his son Hilary came from Wythe Co., Va., after having served 
in the Rev. War." 

^'Mrs. Buehrig to Charles E. Burgess, 20 May 1982. 

^^Robert 0. DeMond, The Loyalists in North Carolina During the Revolution (Durham: Duke 
University Press, 1940), pp. 64-75. 

^^The given names of Masterses active in the Loyalist cause were Henry, Samuel, George 
and Thomas, according to indexed references in Murtie June Clark's Loyalists in the Southern 
Campaign of the Revolutionary War (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1981). 

^"In "John S. Masters," 4-page undated typescript. 

^^E.g. indexed listings in Lyman Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in 
Virginia, 3 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980 reprint of 1912 edition). 

^^Robert W. Ramsey, Carolina Cradle: Settlement of the Northwest Carolina Frontier, 
1747-1762 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1964), p. 130. 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PA TERNAL ANCESTRY 55 

2'Ervin, p. 31 . 

^^Eugene H. Bean, "Rowan County (N,C.) Records. Early Settlers," 9-page photocopy sup- 
plied by a genealogical service without publication data. "Morgan Davies" is listed as the bride 
of John Frohock by bond executed 1 9 January 1 763 in Rowan County Marriage Bonds I, p. 91 . 

"Overton County Deed Book D, pp. 278-279, 

2°Overton County Deed Book B, p. 209. 

^'Netti Scheimer Yantis, Montgomery County Virginia Tax Lists A B C for the Year 1788 
(Springfield, Virginia, n.p., 1972), p. 2, and Yantis, Montgomery County Virginia-Circa 1790 
(Springfield, Virginia, n.p., 1972), p. 9, p. 86, where a notation indicates Hillery appeared in a 
1793 Wythe County Tax list. 

32Hawkins County Deed Book 2, p. 171, p. 282. 

^^Willis Hitcherson, Tennessee Homesteader & Land Owners (Kingston [?], Tennessee; 
n.p., 1964), p. 89. 

^'P. 679. 

^^Oscar Eldridge, "The Masters Family." 

^^Overton County Deed Book F, p. 69. A younger Martin Masters, born in 1 81 0, is listed as 
age forty and as a son of William Masters in the Overton County census of 1850 (Mrs. 
Buehrig letters to Charles E. Burgess, 20 May 1982). 

^^The "Carter Bible" information was obtained by Merry Ann Kinkaid Malcolm of Kewanee, 
III., from Norma Luallen of Alexandria, Louisiana, a descendant of Robert's daughter Nancy 
who married Nathan Carter in Morgan County in 1 846. Transcription furnished by Mrs. Buehrig 
to Charles E. Burgess in letter 31 January 1979. The John S. Masters Bible record, located by 
Robert Eldridge, also lists 9 March 1793 as Robert's birthdate. 

^^Some researchers have confused several of these children with those of Robert's father 
Hillery, and brother Thomas. Robert's children, by the best evidence, were Margaret L. 
1812-1862, m. Jefferson Goodpasture; Hillery C. 1814-1893, m. Martha Williard; Matilda 
1816-7, m. Benjamin Ferguson; Mary c. 1821-?, m. David R. Angelow; Nancy 1822-'', m. 
Nathan Carter; Davis c. 1825-?, m. Elizabeth Whorton; Robert S. c. 1828-1865, m. Margaret 
Walker; Sarah c. 1832-?, m. Samuel Frazee; and two unidentified males, born c. 1819 and 
1829. The known marriages occured in Morgan County, Illinois, except for Margaret's (pro- 
bably Overton County in 1831) and Robert S. (Greene County, Illinois). 

^®The year of arrival in Illinois of the Robert Masters family and his death date are given in a 
sketch of Benjamin Ferguson, Directory of Morgan County, Illinois: Its Past and Present 
(Chicago; Donnelly, Lloyd & Co., 1878), pp. 680-81. Margaret was a great-grandmother of 
Mrs. Buehrig. 

■•"Family sheets and correspondence from Mrs. Buehrig and Robert Eldridge. 

^Mbid. 

^^Transcript from the Gore family Bible in Darwin papers. In 1 958 it was possessed by Miss 
Carrie Gore of Gainesboro, Tennessee. 

"^Mrs. Wynn to Charles E. Burgess, 23 February 1 972 and 29 January 1973; the only son 
was named Isaac. 



56 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

''''■'The Masters Family." 

"^The Draper lineage, from a "Geneva Anderson Bible," is transcripted in Jeannette Tillot- 
son Acklen, Tennessee Records: Bible Records and Marriage Bonds, II (Baltimore; 
Genealogical Publishing Co , 1967 reprint of 1933 edition), p. 104. 

"•^Family sheets and correspondence from Mrs. Buehrig and Dero Darwin, Jr. 

"''1820 census, p. 19: 1830 census, p. 199. 

"•^Robert Eldridge file, from copies provided by Fred Kenneth Masters of Wichita, Kansas. 
Mary Masters signed by mark, as she did on earlier documents. One portion of the 1 838 docu- 
ment spells her late husband's name "Hillery." 

''^Darwin notes dated 30 May 1958. 

^"Robert Eldridge lists Margaret Masters as a daughter of Hillery, but Mary probably would 
have been past child-bearing age in 1 81 2. Females tabulated in the 1 820 and 1 830 censuses 
of the Robert Masters household in Overton County include indviduals of Margaret's approx- 
imate age in those years. Darwin lists include as Hillery's daughters a Debbie, Elizabeth who 
married Jack Kitchens, and Delony who married a George Cain. Dero Darwin, Jr., 
acknowledges there is no documentation "only a guess by an elderly descendant of Hillery's 
some years ago" for including Elizabeth and Delony (letter to Charles E. Burgess 4 February 
1 982). The Gore Bible shows a Deborah, born in 1 81 8, as the daughter of Jesse Masters. The 
Elizabeth possibly was the wife of Thomas or James Masters. Overton 1850 census reports 
analyzed by Mrs Buehrig show a Delony Cain, born in 1806 in Virginia, which was several 
years after the Hillery Masters family left the state. 

^^ Robert Eldridge, "John S. Masters." Isaac came to Illinois in 1868 and married a cousin, 
Mary Ellen, daughter of Jefferson and Margaret Masters Goodpasture. The Jefferson Good- 
pasture and Isaac Masters homes, for most of the period of Illinois residence, were near Irish 
Grove in Menard County (Buehrig correspondence and family sheets). This was a few miles 
from where Squire Davis Masters settled; Isaac may be the "Uncle Isaac" of Spoon River's 
"The Hill" (p. 2). The Overton County Masterses maintained closer contacts with the Isaac 
Masters family. As young men, Riley and Grover, sons of Robert S of Overton County, work- 
ed for Isaac and neighboring farmers during summers in Menard County (my interview with 
Riley Masters, 9 June 1971) 

^^Interviews with Grover and Riley Masters, 9 June 1971 and Ridley Masters, 14 August 
1 972; Crockett file notes, 1 July 1 954; Charles E. Burgess, "Edgar Masters, Author of Spoon 
River Anthology,' Made Pilgrimage Here in 1920's," Livingston (Tennessee (Enterprise, May 
6, 1976, p. 9, p. 17. 

"Mrs, Buehrig to Charles E. Burgess, 20 May 1982. 

^''"The Masters Family," "John S. Masters" and undated notes in Robert Eldridge file 

"Overton County Deed Book B, pp. 314-15. 

"The deed registered 24 July 1 81 5 in Book B, pp. 31 6-1 7, shows that she purchased the 
sixty acres by proxy through Samuel H. Laughen almost a year before. 

'^William p. 5, Davis p. 6, Jesse p. 9, Thomas and Robert p. 14. Mary and James p. 19. 

^^1 photographed the long, two-tined fork in 1971. In 1982 it remained in Livingston in the 
possession of May Masters, widow of Joseph, youngest son of Robert S Masters. 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PATERNAL ANCESTRY 57 



^^"The Masters Family;" interview of 9 June 1971^ 

^°The approximate site was pointed out to me 1 4 August 1 972 by Mrs^ Robert Eldridge and 
Oscar Nolen. Mrs, Wynn (letter to Charles E. Burgess, 23 February 1972) described the 
removal of markers for the dam. 

^'1830, p. 199; 1840, p. 22. 

^^Mrs. Eldridge showed me the site of graves of John, Barbara and Mary Masters, 14 
August 1972. Photocopies of the family listings In the John S. Masters Bible (American Bible 
Society, 1854) were provided in 1971 by Its owner, Raymond Masters of Smithville, Ten- 
nessee. 

^^"A History of Hillary Masters and Family," undated three-page typescript of Robert 
Eldridge; the petition is printed In full In Robert L. and Mary Eldridge, Bicentennial Echoes of 
the History of Overton County Tennessee 1776-1976 (Livingston: Enterprise Printing Co., 
1976), pp. 31-32. 

^''Undocumented note in Robert Eldridge file; the award probably was for militia service. 

^^Overton County Deed Book F, pp. 69-70 and pp. 166-167. Thomas Masters' jury duty in 
1820 is recorded in Overton County Reference Docket 1818-1822, p. 268. 

^^Interview 9 June 1971 . The spring In August, 1972, was on land owned by Perry Wendl 
and was probably little changed in 1 50 years except for addition of a pipe system used to feed 
a nearby recreational lake, I was led to the spring by a neighborhood youth, Lloyd Greenwood. 

^''Across Spoon River, p. 18, pp. 43-4. 

68p 228, 

^^The IHistory of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois (Chicago; O.L. Baskin & Co., 1 879), 
p. 747. 

^°The Sangamon, p. 26. 

''^Overton County Deed Book E, p. 89 

'^Masters, "Record of the Trip to Morgan County Illinois, October 5, 1917," ten-page 
typescript in the Masters Collection, University of Texas at Austin. 

''^Spoon River Anthology, pp. 230-231; The New Spoon River (New York: Boni and 
Liveright, 1924), p. 93, p. 97. 

^"Some researchers believe Charles, prominent In Overton County c. 1807-1819, was the 
father of Elizabeth Matlock Masters. However, his 1 81 9 will, probated In 1 831 , gives his own 
wife's name as Elizabeth but no Elizabeth is listed among his five daughters; Overton County 
Deed Book F, pp. 1 85-86, 233-34. Overton's 1 820 census lists Elizabeth Matlock (p. 1 4) as six- 
teen to twenty-six, head of a household with four females under ten. 

'^Grainger County Deed Book A, p. 20; Charles E. Burgess, "Masters-Matlock," They 
Multiplied: A Story of the Matlocks-Medlocks, I (Autumn 1 974), 1 31 -33, with notes 1 34-35 by 
the editor, Mrs. Jess Armstrong. 

^^Mrs. Wood on 17 February 1974 and Mrs. Armstrong, December 1976 in letters to 
Charles E. Burgess suggest a probable, though not certain progression; Immigrant John 
Matlock died in 1718 in New Kent County, Virginia, wife Margaret died 1718. Son William, 
born 1702, resided Goochland and Albemarle counties, Virginia, wife Elizabeth died 1767; 
their son William, born 1734, married Beulah Rice, daughter of William and Hannah Graves 



58 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Rice^ This William died in Bedford County, Virginia, c, 1768, Among the children of William 
and Beulah were John and Charles Matlock of Grainger County, Tennessee, formerly of 
Botecourt County, Virginia, The complex documentation on these individuals is in various 
issues of They Multiplied. 

^'Age ranges of twenty-six to forty-five for the oldest male and sixteen to twenty-six for the 
oldest female in the household are consistent with the documented birth dates for Thomas and 
Elizabeth, 

''^Interview 14 August 1972, 

^^William F, Short, "History of Morgan County," in Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and 
History of Morgan County, eds Newton Bateman and Paul Selby (Chicago: Munsell, 1906), 
pp. 883-84. Morgan County Marriage Book A, 1828-1837, p, 1, shows an Elizabeth Masters 
licensed to wed Josiah Smith, 10 March 1828, 

®°Profile of Robert L, Masters, a son of James Madison Masters, History of Morgan County. 
Illinois (Chicago: Donnelly, Lcyd & Co,, 1878), p. 608 

^^The Nuptial Flight {New York: Bom and Liveright, 1923), pp 1-3 

^^The Boone family resiaed in Rowan County, North Carolina, in some of the same years 
when the poet's Masters and Wasson ancestors were there. 

"Short, p, 833, 

^"Children of the Market Place (New York: MacMillan, 1922), p, 32. 

^^"Days in the Lincoln Country," 780; Charles Henry Rammelkamp, Illinois College: A 
Centennial History 1829-1929 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1928), pp, 39, 554, 

^^Morgan County Deed Record Book C, p, 101; Morgan County Land Book No, 1 , p, 1 33; 
on the same page a "P. Masters," possibly Thomas' daughter Polly, who would marry in 1 831 , 
is listed as acquiring forty acres in Section 1 3N, Range 1 1 W on 1 4 December 1 830. 

^'My interview with Edith Masters, cousin of Edgar Lee Masters, in Petersburg, Illinois, 10 
April 1 970; interview with Cloyd Perce, a former neighbor of Arthur Masters, in Murrayville, 1 5 
June 1 971 For a perspective on landholdings of the Masters family, see plat maps in Atlas 
Map of Morgan County. Illinois (Davenport, Iowa: Andreas, Lyten, 1872), p, 32 

^^Across Spoon River, p, 4; Thomas Masters estate file, Morgan County courthouse, 
Jacksonville, 

^^Deed Book Z, p, 91, 

^°"Days in the Lincoln Country," 784, correctly giving the death year of Thomas as 1849. 

^^He served a Jacksonville parish as late as the 1860's:" John Edward Young 1859-1866," 
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 26 (1933), 107; "Directory of Morgan County. . 
.," p. 375. 

^^The Bible transcript says Watson; the Morgan County Marriage Record Index Book B, p. 
38, says Wilson as does Mrs. J.N. Masters, whose husband was a descendant of Nancy's 
brother William L., in a letter 14 March 1943 to Robert Eldridge. The unusual middle names for 
Nancy, Sarah, and Emmeline are as recorded in the Bible transcript. 

""Morgan County, HI., Marriages, Book A 1828-1837 - Book B 1837-1860," typescript in 
the Illinois State Historical Society Library, Springfield, p. 36. Other Masters marriages were 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS' PA TERNAL ANCESTRY 59 



checked In this or the original index at the courthouse in Jacksonville. 

^"Federal census, p. 118, state census, p. 99. An unidentified male, age twenty to thirty, 
was in the 1830 household but apparently had departed by 1835 

^^Mrs. J.N. Masters to Robert Eldridge, 14 March 1943. 

^^Wilbur Edgar Masters apparently was the son of Wilbourne. The entries for the father 
(Wilbur J. in the Bible transcript) are the last by date. The entries probably were made by his 
wife, Miriam. 

^'P. 788. The battle, fought 23-24 November 1863, did not result in injury sufficient for 
discharge for Wilbourne. Military records of Company E. 8th Illinois Infantry, show him 
reenlisting 5 January 1 864 and mustered out as a corporal 4 May 1 866: J.N. Reece, Report of 
the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, I (Springfield: Phillips Bros. ,1900), p. 404-7. For- 
mation of the company began in Peoria County in April, 1 861 ; Wilbourne enlisted 25 July 1 861 
while it was encamped for training near Springfield. See James M. Rice, Peoria City and Coun- 
ty. I (Chicago: S, J, Clarke, 1 91 2), p. 215, roster carrying Wilbourne's name as "William J." 

98p. 27. 

^^'■Record of the Trip to Morgan County Illinois." Edgar Lee Masters at age twenty had 
visited, with his parents, the home of Jacksonville in 1888 of Squire Davis Masters, son of 
James Madison Masters, according to the document. 

^°°lbid. The tombstone in Bethel Cemetary shows James Madison Masters' wife, Rebecca, 
died 25 February 1873, age 55. Tombstone inscriptions there and at other Morgan County 
cemeteries show only Squire Davis (8 August 1 848 - 29 March 1 904) surviving beyond thirty. 
The others located; William T., 23 June 1 842 - 20 October 1 865; John Henry, 1 2 January 1 844 
- 1 2 July 1 845; James D., 8 March 1 846 - 1 7 October 1 872; Mary Elizabeth, 1 5 March 1 851 - 5 
March 1 880; Robert Lafayette, 20 March 1 854 - 7 June 1 880; Annie L., 8 February 1 856 - 25 
December 1874; and Edwin M., 4 October 1859-6 April 1882. 

'°^P. 78. 

' ""The New Spoon River," Vanity Fair, 20 (July, 1 923), 45, 1 1 0; also in the collected 1 924 
volume, p. 1 44. 

''°Hhe Nuptial Flight, p. 88-95. 

'"•""Days in the Lincoln Country," pp. 780, 787. Squire Davis Masters enlisted from Morgan 
County, 30 April 1 832, at age nineteen on the muster role of Captain William Gillham and was 
attached to the First Regiment, Third Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General James D. 
Henry: Ellen Whitney, The Black Hawk War: Vol. I, Illinois Volunteers (Springfield: Illinois 
State Library, 1970), pp. 366-67. The frequently anthologized "Achilles Deatheridge" from 
Masters' The Great Valley (New York: MacMillan, 1 91 7), p. 93, must have been based on the 
name of an acquaintance of Squire Davis Masters in the early Morgan County years although 
the poem concerns a Civil War incident. The tombstone of Black Hawk War veteran Achilles 
Deatheridge is in Rogers Cemetery, Waverly, in Morgan County, Waverly Journal, April 8, 
1 983. In the poem, Achilles, who challenges Gen. Grant while on sentry duty, is "sixteen past" 
and from "Athens, Illinois," a Menard County village. 

^°^ Across Spoon River, pp. 109-120; The Tide of Time (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 
1 937), p. 1 1 , pp. 21 3-1 4. Hardin Wallace Masters was in the preparatory department at Illinois 
College in 1862-1863; Catalogue of the Officers and Students at Illinois College for the 



60 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 



Academic Year 1862-1863 (Jacksonville: Journal Job Office, 1 862), p 8 He rennained only a 
year or less Other catalogues and alumni lists consulted at the Illinois College Library show 
Hardin's brother, Thomas Henry, attended 1860-1861; of James Madison Masters' sons. 
William T 1 860-1 861 and taught Latin 1 864-1 865; James D. 1 863-1 864 and the following year 
when he also is listed as a "tutor;" both Squire Davis and James were enrolled 1865-66. 

'°^"Days in the Lincoln Country," p. 780 

'°'///;nc/s.- A Descriptive and Historical Guide (Chicago; A.C McClurg, 1939). p. 482. 

'°^Menard County Deed Book 3. pp. 65-66, An analysis of Squire Davis Masters' early land 
transactions in the county is in "Days in the Lincoln Country." 

'°^Masters, "I Call Her Dorcas." The Rotarian. 62 (May 1943), p. 8-9. 



WIND ENGINES IN 
WESTERN ILUNOIS 



Russell G. Swenson 



Wind engines, or windmills, as they are popularly known, have been in 
use in western Illinois since 1870. Their main use has been to pump water 
on farms and in towns. This study focuses on the occurrence and uses of 
windmills in twenty-seven counties of the western Illinois region (Figure 
1). Illustrated atlases from the 1870s and aerial atlases of the 1950s 
provide a glimpse of the growth and decline of the windmill numbers in 
the region. Interviews with farmers supplement the data compiled from 
these pictorial sources. 

The main contribution of this machine has been in pumping water, but an 
alternative use of the wind engine, which the name "windmill" implies, is to 
grind grain or perform other chores on a limited scale. This alternative use 
of a wind engine was probably not common in this region. The advent of 
rural electrification by the 1930s ended the widespread dependence on 
wind engines, as electric motors replaced the less reliable wind energy. 
Small-scale, ornamental windmills appear widely in the region today, and 
their display recalls the romantic appeal of their full-size, water-pumping 
forerunners. 



THE NATURE OF THE MACHINES 

A large market for windmills existed in the United States after the Civil 
War. Agricultural machines had relieved labor shortages in the northern 
states during the war, and windmills were another element in the 
mechanization of repetitive tasks. Most windmills on farms pumped water 
for livestock, even though water could also be stored and piped to a farm 
house or to a house in a small town. Irrigation on a small scale could also be 
done. In response to the demand, a large number of patents were issued for 
increasingly efficient windmill designs before, during, and after the war. A 
further response to the windmill market was the proliferation of 
manufacturers in Illinois, fvlichigan, and Wisconsin in the 1870s, along with 
the early relocation of the pre-eminent Halladay company from Connecticut 
to Illinois in 1863.' 



61 



62 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 




25 50 

1 I I 



Figure 1 



Western Illinois counties included in this study. 



WIND ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 63 

The water-lifting windmill of the United States evolved from the European 
type of grist mill, which was built along the Atlantic coast of New York and 
New Jersey early in the seventeenth century. European-style grist mills 
operated on flat land near the ocean where water-powered mills were 
precluded. In 1854 Daniel Halladay, a mechanic in Ellington, Connecticut, 
developed the prototype of the American windmill. This machine differed 
from Its European relative in having an open, wood-frame tower, rather 
than an enclosed and substantial building at its base. Further, Halladay's 
mill was designed to lift water rather than to grind grain. Rather than being 
revolutionary, his idea represented a further evolution of the brine pump 
windmill which had been in use since the Revolutionary War to lift sea water 
to salt works. Halladay's contributions lay in making his mill self-adjusting to 
changes in wind direction and self-governing in speed of operation. ^ 

Later modifications of the American windmill included governing and 
self-lubrication mechanisms; iron, then steel, towers and wheels; and by 
1888, manufacture with zinc-coated (galvanized) steel. Several of these 
modifications were developed by Illinois windmill firms. ^ Both wooden and 
steel wheels were commonly used through the 1870s and 1880s, and 
towers were often of wood and homemade until early in the twentieth 
century. The machines were available through local retail outlets and could 
also be purchased directly from manufacturers. 

As late as the 1960s, some individuals in western Illinois were still 
engaged in the business of oiling and repairing windmills." By this time, 
however, more business activity in the region was directed at 
manufacturing and selling ornamental, rather than working, windmills for 
both a rural and urban market. A span of eighty years, from 1870 to 1950, 
encompassed the introduction of functional windmills to western Illinois and 
saw their widespread use. 

WINDMILLS APPEAR AND FLOURISH 

The first mention of a windmill in the Prairie Farmer was in 1859, when 
engravings and accompanying stories began to appear. Other widely 
circulating farm magazines also carried ads for patented windmills by the 
late 1 860s. Several manufacturers vied for space in these magazines in the 
1870s, at a time when a new advertising account would encourage the 
publisher to print a feature article on the newly available wind engine.^ 

If a person was convinced to buy a manufactured windmill by a magazine 
ad, or more likely, by a neighbor's good experience with one, he could 
expect to pay from forty-five to one hundred dollars. If a tower were also 
purchased, the price would rise by another fifty dollars. Large "power" 
windmills, with sixteen-foot wheels and gearing for chores such as grinding 
grain or sawing wood, cost at least $350 in the 1 870s. « 

The decision to buy a windmill could be justified in a number of ways. 
With increasing numbers of livestock in the counties of the Military Tract 



64 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

during the 1 870s, windmills could help guarantee water at the right time and 
at the right place on a farm.' Pumping water by hand from even a shallow 
well was a laborious task, when many livestock had to be watered. In the 
farm magazines of the 1870s, there was often mention of "harnessing the 
power of the wind" to the benefit of husbandry, and no doubt the idea of 
taking advantage of this free source of energy was appealing. Recounting 
the story of his parents' life on a Kansas homestead of the 1 880s, John Ise 
presents the following intricate justification for buying a one hundred-dollar 
windmill: 



"Oh, it would be fine if it would really pay. Sometimes we draw water 
when we wouldn't be doing anything else that counts; but sometimes the 
hired hand does it, and that costs money, right out of our pockets. We 
wouldn't need to hire so much, would we, if we had a windmill?" 

Rosie's eyes lighted up with genuine enthusiasm as she saw a 
possibility of release from the chore of drawing water— release that 
could be justified financially. 

"And if we didn't have to hire so much," she continued, "we 
wouldn't need to spend quite so much for sugar and coffee and stuff. 
We always have to cook more when we have a hand. Just how would 
all that balance up''" 

Rosie got a pencil and a piece of paper, and with Henry's expert help 
made rough calculations of interest and principal, against savings in labor 
and food; and she was finally convinced that the windmill would at least 
be no extravagance.' 

Residents of western Illinois could count on sufficient winds to power their 
machines, as this part of the state shares with the Central Plains a high 
average wind speed, coupled with relatively high wind-energy potential. 
Further, back-gearing, which allows several revolutions of the wheel for one 
stroke of the pump, appeared by the 1880s. This innovation allowed 
windmills to lift water even in light winds. ^ 

Windmills were erected in towns by the 1870s, but for different reasons 
than on farms. These machines were used to supply water to small-scale 
factories and for dooryard gardens. A windmill which watered a garden In 
the summer could also pump water to an elevated storage tank and provide 
running water and an indoor bathroom for the lucky residents. A windmill 
could be a ticket to higher social status. '° By 1870, at least two windmills 
were operating in Galesburg, and a Halladay windmill supplied running 
water for the Vishnu Springs resort in McDonough County in 1889.^^ Small 
towns which lacked a municipal water supply, and which therefore could 
not support indoor plumbing facilities, were especially likely to sprout 
copies of this machine. 

Still another justification applied to both farmers and townsmen. Surface 
water was generally available in the region, especially in the poorly drained 



V^IND ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 



65 




THE HALLADAY STANDARD WaND-MILL. 



From Robert L. Ardrey, American Agricultural Implements, New York, Arno Press, 
1 972, p. 1 40 (reprint of the 1 894 edition). 



66 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIEt 



4: - 



,-^_r:^mi. 




I : 



A power windmill, probably used for sawing nnarble, in Henry County, 1875. 








^^y^^' ^''^i^^ ^ -^W- ..Mill 




A Halladay windmill head on what is likely a homemade tower, Henry County, 1 875. 



VV/A/D ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 



67 



*V *€^ T I i I 



f^k 




A busy farm scene, typical of the 
views presented in illustrated 
atlases. This scene is in Henry 
County, 1875. The tower is 
evidently of wood. 



This view from the 1875 atlas of 
^Henry County shows an early metal 
tower. 



m 



^ 




A "power" windmill mounted on a barn, Tazewell County, 1873. 



f ri 'tlwfi 



68 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 




:i 



'^M^ 

'-^%%^ 



A windmill with storage tank in Pekin, 1873. The windmill probably irrigated the 
garden and supplied the house with running water. 








'\\ 



4 



M 



A short windmill in Tazewell County, 1873. A hand pump and water trough can be 
seen 



W/A/D ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 



69 




^AU^% 






A view of a homemade, patented windmill on a farm in McDonough County from 
Atlas Map of McDonough County, 1 871 . 







A "power" windmill on a farm in Jersey County, 1872. 



70 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 






A twenty-foot working windmill on a farm in McDonough County. This mill was 
recently moved to a roadside location, where it serves an ornamental function. 
The head is thought to be seventy-five years old, and it has been painted in bright 
colors. 



WIND ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 



I 1/ 







.«ar\ 



'^^^f^ 



^%£ 



An ornamental windmill, with an old working windmill in background Good Hooe 
Illinois. ' ' 



72 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

glaciated areas. Nonetheless, a windmill could provide uncontaminated 
water, whether fronn a shallow, thirty-foot, or much deeper well. Wells 
became popular in part because a prevailing hypothesis linked one's 
drinking surface water with subsequent development of "the shakes" or 
malarial fever. '^ Though hand dug or driven wells without a wind-powered 
pump might have supplied uncontaminated water for household uses, the 
urge to make use of power "as free as the wind" probably contributed to the 
adoption of the windmill even for preexisting hand dug wells. 

Homemade windmills were common in the 1870s. They had the great 
advantage of low cost. A windmill head could be made of appropriately 
shaped boards, and power could be transmitted to the pump by gears 
pirated from other machines. By 1871, a homemade windmill in 
McDonough County had been patented. '^ Later, homemade windmills 
became common in the Plains states. In Nebraska, along the Platte River, 
where wells are shallow, homemade windmills were abundant.'" 

Illustrated atlases make it possible to gauge the level of windmill adoption 
in western Illinois in the early 1870s. Early atlases with lithographed 
sketches of farms, businesses, town and suburban residences exist for 
nineteen of the twenty-seven counties in this study of western Illinois. The 
views drawn by itinerant artists are panoramic, encompassing whole 
farmsteads, and often some surrounding fields as well.'^ The western 
Illinois atlases each contain an average of fifty-eight views. 

Because many views present idyllic, adorned, and well-ordered scenes, 
it is commonly thought that their accuracy is questionable. On the contrary, 
by comparing sketches with existent farmsteads, the author has found that 
the atlases faithfully represent landscapes, and the major structures, 
including windmills, that dominate them. In the western Illinois atlases, all of 
which were published between 1 870 and 1 875, windmill adoption rates are 
highest in the northern counties (Table 1). This pattern coincides with the 
location of livestock concentrations by 1870, which were predominantly in 
the prairie counties of the northern Military Tract. ^^ 

After 1870, livestock numbers grew rapidly throughout western Illinois. 
The decline of corn and wheat prices, accompanying economic depression 
in the 1870s, led to an increase in the importance of marketable livestock 
which could consume grain. This development was undoubtedly propitious 
for the adoption of windmills, as their main use was in pumping water for 
livestock. Bogue notes that by the late 1860s, windmills were attracting the 
attention of Illinois farmers, but were still considered expensive.'' 
Expensive or not, several manufacturers were in business in Illinois by 
1870. For example, the Woodmanse Windmill and Pump factory of 
Freeport was founded in 1868; and the even more popular Halladay mill 
was produced at Batavia from the mid-1 860s. By 1880, Illinois had more 
windmill manufacturers than any other state— twenty-three of the nation's 
total of sixty-nine (Table 2).'^ 

There appears to be no alternative to relying on first-hand accounts by 



WIND ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 



73 



TABLE 1 
FARMS WITH WINDMILLS IN ILLINOIS 







187075 Atlases 


1955 Drury Atlases 


County 


Windmills 


Views 


% w/Windmllls 


% w/WJndmills< 


Adams 





105 





5 


Brown 


- 


- 


* 


2 


Bureau 


30 


79 


38 


18 


Cass 





27 





3 


Fulton 


1 


88 


1 


8 


Hancock 


5 


44 


11 


10 


Henry 


35 


68 


51 


8 


Jersey 


1 


43 


2 


* 


Knox 


6 


102 


6 


11 


McDonough 


1 


77 


1 


5 


Mason 


7 


35 


20 


11 


Menard 


4 


34 


12 


7 


Morgan 


3 


55 


5 


* 


Peoria 


5 


97 


5 


8 


Pike 


1 


63 


2 


5 


Schuyler 





26 





5 


Scott 


2 


18 


11 


* 


Stark 


9 


42 


21 


17 


Tazewell 


7 


89 


8 


9 


Woodford 


5 


12 


42 


15 



Sources: Illustrated atlases by various connpanies published from 1870 through 
1 875. Available as part of the Microfilm Collection of County and Regional History 
of the "Old Northwest," Series 4, Illinois. Also, the American Aerial County 
History Series for Illinois, by John Drury, which has identical volume titles, except 
for the county's name. For example: This Is Adams County, Illinois (Chicago: The 
Loree Company, 1 955). 

* No atlas published. 

'Based on visual examination of a sample of 300 farmstead photographs in each 
atlas. 



WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 



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76 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

"old-timers" to determine the degree to whicli windmills flourished on farms 
in western Illinois. Interviews with two individuals suggest that "at least 
half" to "nearly all" farms in the region sported windmills early in the 
twentieth century. ^^ By 1955, however, the number of these impressive 
machines on farms had declined to a level lower than that of the early 1 870s 
(Table 1). 

DISMANTLING OF WINDMILLS 

The diffusion of electrical power in the United States placed windmills on 
a short road to oblivion. Windmills had been supplanted in towns early in the 
twentieth century by a combination of electrical service and public water 
supply systems. Electrical transmission lines were extended to farms on the 
periphery of small towns in western Illinois by 1 930. In 1 936, the passage of 
the Rural Electrification Act initiated the connection of even very isolated 
farmsteads to the power grid. The connections progressed quickly, 
interrupted somewhat by World War II. By 1952, over eighty percent of all 
farms in the United States had electric power. 2° In western Illinois, a large 
share of farms were connected in the late 1 940s. ^^ 

In retrospect, windmills did not necessarily have to disappear at a 
dramatic rate because of rural electrification, but they did so nevertheless. 
Granted that a television antenna was not commonly found on a farm by 
1950, so that a windmill tower could serve as a handy support (as many 
remaining towers now do), there seem to be two arguments for leaving a 
windmill intact, even if an electric motor is used to drive the water pump. 
First, if towers are left to stand, the job of seasonally "pulling the pump" to 
lower the water level in the well pipe to prevent freezing would be 
facilitated, as the tower could support a pulley to anchor a block and tackle. 
Second, a tower could support a dooryard electrical light (again, as many 
remaining towers now do). These were not reasons enough, though, as 
windmill heads and towers alike were dismantled at a high rate until the mid- 
1950s. 

In the mid-1950s, the American Aerial Survey series of atlases by John 
Drury showed that few windmills remained on the farms of western Illinois. 
These atleses feature oblique aerial photographs of nearly all farms in a 
county, at a scale large enough to allow an assessment of major farmstead 
structures. Unfortunately, many farmsteads are partially hidden by trees, 
and some photographs are blurred. In corroboration of these somewhat 
suspect visual data from Drury's atlases, only 10,000 windmills were sold 
by manufacturers in the United States in 1956, versus 99,000 units in 
1929." The windmill was well on its way to oblivion. They have not yet 
disappeared completely, though, as a field survey by the author in 1982 
revealed. In that year, seven percent of farms in Pike County had working 
windmills; in McDonough County, five percent; and in Stark County, twelve 
percent. 



V^IND ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 77 



ORNAMENTAL WINDMILLS 



Hardly had these majestic, large-scale machines been dismantled when, 
quietly, they returned in non-functional, ornamental form. Today, farms and 
towns of western Illinois are frequently decorated with small, ornamental 
windmills. In 1961 , a major manufacturer of working windmills in Nebraska 
ceased operation. Just before closing, however, it produced a run of "mini- 
mills"— one of the forerunners of the now-widely manufactured 
ornamental windmill." Kermit Hart of Bushnell, Illinois, made and sold over 
250 four-foot ornamental windmills between 1970 and 1975. Most of his 
homemade products were sold locally. 

The ornamental windmill appears in some concentration in the smaller 
communities of the region, where many retired farmers and the sons and 
daughters of farmers have acquired them as a relatively expensive 
memento. Owners often paint the small machines; a measure which, sur- 
prisingly, was also taken by at least some nineteenth-century owners of 
large, working windmills." 

EPILOGUE 

The memory of the working windmill is preserved by its ornamental 
relative. But is there a possibility of its rising again, phoenix-like, from the 
scrap pile? If there is a working wind engine in the future of western Illinois, 
this machine will enjoy poetic revenge upon its arch-enemy, the centralized 
supply of electrical energy. It will be an electricity-generating turbine, 
mounted, perhaps, on a windmill-like tower. Wind-powered generators 
were a common feature of rural America from the 1930s until the full ex- 
tension of rural electrification. Storage batteries powered radios, small 
electrical appliances, and an occasional light bulb. Thus, the concept of 
wind-powered electrical generation is not a new one to farmers. Current 
experimentation with efficient production of electricity from wind generators 
contains a promise of the wind engine's return. A resurgence of the number 
of water-pumping windmills is also not quite beyond belief, as aficionados 
continue to suggest." Manufacturers still survive in Illinois, Kansas, 
Nebraska, and Ohio. 



NOTES 

^ A. Clyde Eide, "Free as the Wind," Nebraska History. 51 (1 970), 25-47. 

^Terry G. Jordan, "Evolution of the American Windmill; A Study in Diffusion and Modifica- 
tion," P/oneer /A mer/ca, 5 (July, 1973), 3-12, and T.Lindsay Baker, Curator Panhandle- 
Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas, personal correspondence. 



78 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

'Robert L. Ardrey, American Agricultural Implements (New York: Arno Press, 1972; 
reprinted from the 1 894 edition, published by the author in Chicago), pp. 1 55-56; Volta Torrey, 
Wind-Catchers (Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1976), pp. 104-113; T. 
Lindsay Baker, "Turbine-Type Windmills of the Great Plains and Midwest," Agricultural 
H/story, 54(1980), 38-51. 

^Interview with C.J. Bradford, McDonough County farmer. 

^Prairie Farmer, illustration inside front cover of index to vol. 4 (July-December, 1 859); also 
5 (February 23, 1860), p. 1 1 ; 5 (March 22, 1860), p. 180; 13 (May 7, 1864), p. 328; and 
"Morgan's Portable Mill," illustrated in 43 (April 6, 1872), p. 105; advertised in 43 (May 7, 
1 864), p. 328. Also see Kansas Farmer, 1 (August 1 , 1 873), 240. 

®The editors of The Country Gentleman, 3 (November 6, 1856), 304, reported that the 
smallest size Haliaday mill sold for seventy-five dollars. E.E. Garfield, "Twenty Years with 
Windmills," The Cultivator and Country Gentleman 54 (March 28, 1889), 245, of Kane 
County, Illinois, declared that his first windmill was purchased in 1 869 for forty-five dollars. See 
Prairie Farmer, 46 (August 1 4, 1 875), 257, for the price of a power windmill. 

^Theodore L. Carlson, The Illinois Military Tract (New York: The Arno Press, 1979; 
reprinted from the University of Illinois Press edition of 1 951 ), pp. 1 34-35. 

^John Ise, Socf and Stubble (Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press, 1 967), pp. 1 96-97. 

^Roger Hamilton, "Can We Harness the Wind," National Geographic 148 (1975), 819; 
Baker, op. cit., p. 46. 

'°Eide, op. cit., pp. 30-31 , Torrey, op. cit., p. 97. 

' 'Andreas Lyter and Company, Atlas Map of Knox County, Illinois (Davenport, Iowa: 
Andreas Lyter and Company, 1870); John Hallwas, "The Village That Hicks Built," Macomb 
Sunday Journal, (November 21 , 1 982), sec. 1 , p. 5. 

'^M.A. Barber, "The History of Malaria in the United States, Public Health Reports 44 
(1929), 2582,2584. 

'^Andreas Lyter and Company, Atlas Map of McDonough County, Illinois (Davenport, 
Iowa: Andreas Lyter and Company, 1 871 ), p. 21 . 

'^Erwin Hinckley Barbour, "Wells and Windmills in Nebraska," Water Supply and Irrigation 
Papers of the U.S. Geological Survey. No. 29 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 1899), pp. 35-78. 

'^Microfilm copies of these atlases are available at the Western Illinois University Library. 
They are part of the Microfilm Collection of County and Regional History of the "Old 
Northwest," Series 4, Illinois. 

'®Carlson,op. cit., p. 135. 

'^Allan G. Bogue, From Prairie to Cornbelt (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 
1963), p. 70. 

'^U.S. Bureau of the Census, Tenth Census of the U.S., 1880: Manufactures, Housfe of 
Representatives Miscellaneous Document 42 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 
1883). 

'®C.J. Bradford and Donald Lantz, McDonough County farmers. 



WIND ENGINES IN WESTERN ILLINOIS 79 



^"Marquis Childs, The Farmer Takes a Hand (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and 
Company, 1952), p. 11 . 

^^Interview with Robert Pendell, manager of McDonough Power Cooperative. 

^^U.S. Department of Commerce, Facts for Industry, Series M31B-86 (Washington, D.C.: 
Government Printing Office, 1957), p. 3; and U.S. Department of Commerce, Manufacturers. 
1929 Industry Series: Agricultural Implements (Washington, DC: Government Printing 
Office, 1932), p. 1113. 

^^ Eide, op. cit., p. 43. 

^^Russell G. Swenson, "The Windmill Moves to Town, or Small is Beautiful," Bulletin of the 
Illinois Geographical Society 23 (Spring, 1 981 ), 31 -40. 

^^Gary Hirshberg, The New Alchemy Water-Pumping Windmill Book (Andover, Massa- 
chusetts: Brick House Publishing Company, 1 982), p. 1 3. 



NOTES AND DOCUMENTS 



Historical Publications: Bibliography of Adams County 

This bibliography is the fourth in the series started in the Spring of 1 981 . 
Thus far, Fulton, Mercer, Henderson, Calhoun and Pike counties have been 
featured. Entries consist of separately published monographs, pamphlets, 
typescripts which were duplicated for limited private distribution, and maps. 
The bibliographies do not include periodical or newpaper articles, 
scrapbooks, manuscripts, or genealogical studies on individual families. 
Biographies of individuals were included only if they contained significant 
information about the counties or towns. 

Indexes to more important articles are maintained in the Illinois Historical 
Survey at the University of Illinois and at the Illinois State Historical Library 
in Springfield. Quincy Public Library has a special section called the Illinois 
Room which contains materials on Quincy and Adams County. Quincy 
College Library and the manuscripts library of the Historical Society of 
Quincy and Adams County Museum also house items useful in the study of 
the county. The Special Collections unit of the Western Illinois University 
Library also has Adams County materials, the most important of which are 
photographs and local government records housed in the IRAD Center. 

This bibliography was compiled by Betty Albsmeyer, reference librarian 
at the Quincy Public Library, and edited by Gordana Rezab, special 
collections librarian at the WIU library. 

Because of the limited distribution of locally produced publications, 
bibliographic coverage of items included in this list is often incomplete. 
Therefore, all additions and corrections will be welcome. Please address 
correspondence to: Gordana Rezab, Editor of WIRS Notes and Documents, 
Western Illinois University Library, Macomb, IL 61 455. 

ADAMS COUNTY 

General County Histories 

Collins, William H. and Cicero F. Perry. Past and Present of the City of Quincy and 
Adanns County, Illinois, Including John Tillson's History of Quincy Together with 
Biographical Sketches of t\/!any of Its Leading Citizens. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 
1905. 11 24 p. 



80 



NOTES AND DOCUMENTS 81 

Genosky, Landry. People's History of Quincy and Adams County. A 
Sesqulcentennial History. . .. Quincy, III?: Jost and Kiefer, 1 974. 840 p. 

Tlie History of Adams County, Illinois. Containing a History of the County. . . Its 
Cities. . . a Biographical Directory. . .. Chicago; Murray, Williannson and Phelps, 
1 879. 971 p. Also, 1 977 ed. by Unigraphic, Evansville, Ind. 

Portrait and Biographical Record of Adams County, Illinois, Containing Biographical 
Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens together with Biographies and 
Portraits of all the Presidents of the United States. Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 
1892. 598 p. 

Ward, Thad W. Quincy and Adams County, Illinois. The First Business and 
Professional Men. . .. Quincy, III.: The Author, 1 936. 1 59 p. 

Wilcox, David F. Quincy and Adams County History and Representative Men, 
Chicago and New York: The Lewis Publishing, 1 91 9. 2 vols. 

Special Aspects of the County History 

Adams County Bible Society. Report of the Annual meeting of the Adams County 
Bible Society. Quincy, III.: Geiger and Miller, 1 860. 

Adams County, Illinois, Directory. Algona, Iowa: Directory Service, 1974-78. Title 
varies: 1977 Rural Resident Directory. 

Bushue, Lester J. So/7 Survey of Adams County, Illinois. Springfield, III.: Soil 
Conservation Service, 1 979. 1 43 p. 

Drury, John. This is Adams County, Illinois. An Up-to-date Historical Narrative with 
County and Township ivlaps and Ivlany Unique Aerial Photographs of Cities, 
Towns, Villages and Farmsteads. Chicago: Loree, 1 955. 61 8 p. 

Dunn, Bob. Adams County Surface Water Resources. Springfield, III.: Illinois Dept. 
of Conservation, Div. of Fisheries, 1 976. 1 43 p. 

Hyatt, Harry M. Folklore from Adams County, Illinois. New York: The Alma Egan 
Hyatt Foundation, 1 935. 723 p. 

Illinois Historic Landmark Survey. Inventory of Historic Landmarks in Adams County: 
Interim Report, n.p., 1 975. 1 8 leaves. 

Illinois Historical Structures Survey. Inventory of Historic Structures in Adams 
County: Interim Report, n.p., 1 972, 28 leaves. 

Inventory of the County Archives of Illinois. No. 1. Adams County. Chicago: 
Historical Records Survey, 1 939. 21 p. 

Langdon, Add L. and John S. Cruttenden. A Directory of the County of Adams 
Containing the Names and Post Office Addresses of Every Property Owner; Also 
the Various Post Offices In Each Township Alphabetically Arranged. Quincy, III.: 
T.M.Rogers, 1881,81 p. 

Mosier, Jeremiah G, Adams County Soils. Urbana, III.: University of Illinois 
Agricultural Experiment Station, 1 922. 62 p, 

Prairie Farmers Directory of Adams County. Chicago: Prairie Farmer Publishing 
Company, 1 91 8. 295 p. Also, 1 979 ed. by Unigraphic, Evansville, Ind. 



82 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Quincy Society of Fine Arts. Rediscovering German Cookery in Adams County. 
Quincy, Hi.: The Society, 1974? 1 21 p. 

Stone, Henry N. Stone's Adams County Directory. . . .Quincy, III.; Cadogan and 
Hatcher, 1886. 116 p. 

Wilkey, Harry L. "The Industrial Development of Adams County, 1836-1856." fvl.A. 
Thesis. University of Illinois 1 938. 

County Atlases, Maps and Plat Books 

(listed in order of publication) 

Atlas Map of Adams county, Illinois. Davenport, Iowa: Andreas Lyter, 1872. 169 p. 
Index to Names, 1872 Atlas Map of Adams Co. Illinois. . .. Compiled by Mr. and 
Mrs. Joseph J. Beals. Cherokee, Iowa: The Authors, 1 975. 1 75 leaves. 

Edwards, John P. [Land Ownersfiip Map]. Quincy, III.: The Author, 1889. 6 parts. 

Standard Atlas of Adams County, Illinois. Including a Plat Book of the Villages, Cities 
and Townships of the County. . . . Chicago: George A. Ogle, 1 901 . 1 1 7 p. 

Quincy Daily Journal. Latest Revised Atlas. Quincy, III.'?': The Journal, 1913. 

Complete Survey and Atlas in Colors of Adams County. . ..Chicago: H.C. Maiey, 
191 3. 64 p. 

Plat Book of Adams County, Illinois. Rockford, III.: W.W. Hixson, 192-. 51 p. 

Plat Book of Adams County, Illinois. Rockford, III.: W.W. Hixson, 1932?. 24 leaves. 

Adams County Farm Directory. Rockford, 111.: G.H. Hansen, 1 939. 60, 20 p. 

Adams County, Illinois Atlas. Quincy, 111.: Artcraft, 1 946. 52 p. 

Farm Plat Book and Business Guide. Adams County. Rockford, 111.: Rockford Map 
Publishers, 1952. 48 p. 

Standard Atlas of Adams County. Illinois 1957-58. Quincy, 111.: Artcraft, 1958. 69 p. 

Farm Plat Book, With Index to Owners. Adams County. Rockford, 111.: Rockford Map 
Publishers, 1961. 

Tri-annual Atlas and Plat Book, Adams County. Illinos. Rockford, III.: Rockford Map 
Publishers, 1964. 

Farmers Atlas and Resident Directory, Adams County, Illinois. Rockford, III.: 
Rockford Map Publishers, 1 967. 65 p. 

Tri-annial Atlas and Plat Book. Adams County, Illinois. Rockford, III.: Rockford Map 
Publishers, 1970. 54 p. 

7 974 Ownership Atlas of Adams County. Quincy, III.: Artcraft, 1974.68 p. 

1 977 Plat Book Adams County. Illinois. Quincy, 111.: Artcraft, 1977. 70 p. 

The Land Atlas and Plat Book. Adams County, Illinois. 1979. Rockford, III.: Rockford 
Map Publishers, 1979. 58 p. 



I 



NOTES AND DOCUMENTS 83 

Adams County, Illinois, JAM Service: Township Maps, Locating Rosters, 
Alphabetical Locater, Mailing List. Harlan, Iowa; Booth (R.C.) Enterprises, n.d. 



Censuses and General Genealogical Information 

(census publications are listed first in chronological order) 

Nelson, Thomas S. The Census of Adams County, Illinois for the Year 1850 by 
Townships. Quincy, 111.; The Author, 1 972. 494 p. 

Great River Genealogical Society. 1960 Census, Adams County, Illinois. Quincy, III.; 
TheSociety, 1982.6 V. in 2. 

Great River Genealogical Society. Marriages of Adams County, Illinois. Quincy, III.; 
The Society, 1 979. 3 v. Volunnes cover years 1 825-1 890. 



Publications onTowns and Townships 

(listed alphabetically by town name) 

Beverly Township 

Centennial CommiLtee. History of Beverly Community and the Beverly Methodist 
Church. 1834-1952. n.p., n.d. 

Camp Point 

Camp Point Area Centennial: Camp Point, Coatsburg, La Prairie, July 1, 2, 3, 4, 
1955. Camp Point, 111.; Camp Point Area Centennial, Inc., 1 955? 80 p. 

Sanborn-Perris Map Company. Camp Point, Adams County, III. New York; The 
Company, 1 893. 2 sheets; 1 898. 3 sheets; 1910.3 sheets; 1 924. 6 sheets. 

Clayton 

Sanborn-Perris Map Company. Clayton, Adams County, III. New York; The 

Company, 1 885. 1 sheet; 1 893. 2 sheets; 1 898. 2 sheets; 1 91 0. 3 sheets; 1 924. 3 

sheets; 1 924-1 934. 3 sheets. 

Golden 

Centennial Story of Trinity Lutheran Church, Golden, Illinois, 1875-1975. n.p., 1976? 
117 p. 

110 Golden Years: Brief History of Golden, n.p., 1 963. 

Sanborn-Perris Map Company. Golden, Adams County, III. New York; The 
Company, 1919.2 sheets; 1 929. 4 sheets. 

Wienke, Anna. When the Wind Blows. Golden, III.; Taylor Publishing 1980? 219 p. 

Liberty 

Hartsfield, Merle D. This is Liberty, III.: A History of the Village of Liberty, n.p.; The 
Author, 1963. 102 p. 

Wallace, Henry J. Historic Morrison Mill (Liberty) Burnt Prairie (III): 151 Year of Illinois 
History, 181 8-1 969. Crossv\\\e,\\\.: The Author, 1969? 36 p. 

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. 100th Anniversary. . . 1854-1954. Liberty, III.; 



84 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL SI UDIES 



n.p.,1954.18p. 

Melrose Township 

Saint Anthony's Church, Melrose Township. Adams County, Illinois, 1859-1959. 
Quincy, III.: P AM Printers, 1959. 80 p. 

Mendon 

Baldwin, John H. Mendon's First 100 Years, 1834-1934. n. p. ,1975. 16 p. First 
published in 1 934 by Dispatch Times. 

Beals, Joseph J. Marriages and Related Items Taken from Mendon Dispatch 
Newspaper, Mendon, Adams County. Illinois: 1877-1905. Cherokee, Iowa: The 
Author, 1982. 229 p. 

Beals, Joseph J. Obituaries and Death Related Items Taken from Mendon Dispatch 
Newspaper of Mendon. Adams County, Illinois: 1877-1905. n.p., 1982. 410 p. 

First Congregational Church, Mendon, Illinois. 125th Anniversary. 1833-1959. n.p., 
1959? 

Sanborn-Perris Map Company. Mendon, Adams County, III. New York: The 
Company, 1 893. 1 sheet; 1 905. 2 sheets; 1 91 0. 2 sheets; 1 929. 8 sheets. 

Paloma 

Wilkey, Harry L. The Story of a Little Town, n.p., 1 934. 

Payson 

Congregational Church of Payson, Illinois. 125th Anniversary, 1836-1961. n.p., 
1961? 38 p. 

A History of Payson, Illinois, 1835-1976. Payson, III.?: Payson Bicentennial Book 
Committee and Payson Old Settlers Association, 1 976. 92 p. 

Scarborough, Joel W. "History of Payson, Illinois, 1835-1865. A Study of the 
Settlement of the Western Illinois Frontier." M.A. Thesis. Georgetown University 
1951. 133 p. 

Plainville 

Buffington, Florence K. and Katherine M. Klassing. History of Plainville United 
Methodist Church, n.p.. ^976. 

Qu i ncy - General Histories 

Asbury, Henry. Reminiscences of Quincy, Illinois, Containing Historical Events, 

Anecdotes, Matters Concerning Old Settlers and Old Times. Quincy, 111.: D. 

Wilcox & sons, 1882. 224 p. 

Fifer, C. Arthur. Do You Remember? Quincy, III.: The Author, 1 951 . 1 49 p. 

Genosky, Landry. "The Story of Quincy, III. 1 81 9-1 860." Thesis. Catholic University 
of America 1949. 

Illinois Quest, 1 937-1 940. Contains 40 articles about Quincy. 

Keyes, Willard. History of Quincy. Bound with Quincy Directory. 1864-1865. 

Landrum, Carl A. Historical Sketches of Quincy: The First One Hundred Years. 
Quincy, III.: n.p., 1972? 190 p. 



NOTES AND DOCUMENTS 85 

The Quincy Herald Whig. Centennial Edition of the Quincy Herald Whig Dec. 29, 
1935. Quincy, III.: The Herald Whig, 1 935. Various pagings. 

Redmond, Patrick H. History of Quincy and Its Men of Mark; Or, Facts and Figures 
Exhibiting Its Advantages and Resources, Manufactures and Commerce. Quincy, 
III.: Heirs and Russell, 1 869. 302 p. 

Saint, Bernard J. / Remember You: Or Quincy Men Who Are Doers for the Good of 
Quincy as Seen by Others. Privately printed, 1 91 2. 

Tilson, John, History of the City of Quincy. Ed. William H. Collins. Chicago: S.J. 
Clarke, n.d., 175 p. 

Wilcox, David F. Representative Men and Homes, Quincy, Illinois. Quincy: Volk, 
Jones & McMein, 1 899. 1 33 p. 

Quincy- Pictorial and Promotional Publications 

Board of Commerce. Beautiful Quincy. Quincy, III.: The Board, 1 881 ? 84 p. 

Board of Commerce. The City of Quincy, Illinois, Its Trade and Manufactures, Its 
Many Advantages as a Place of Residence, and as a Growing and Prosperous 
Business Center. Quincy, ill.: The Board, 1 881 . 46 p. 

Chamber of Commerce. 7^e Advantages and Attractions of Quincy, Illinois, n.p.: 
James Handley, 1899. 23 p. 

Chamber of Commerce. Quincy, Illinois, in the Heart of the Great Valley. Quincy?: 
Jost&Kiefer, 1926. 90 p. 

Chamber of Commerce. Quincy, Illinois. . . on the Mississippi, n.p., 1 964. 1 28 p. 

Chamber of Commerce. Quincy, Illinois: The Gem City in the Heart of the Great 
Mississippi Valley; An Ideal Site for the Location of Factories, Distributing Plants, 
& Commercial Enterprises of Every Kind. . . . Quincy, III.: The Chaniber;-1944? 
20 p. 

Chamber of Commerce. Quincy, Illinois, Tally-ho, 1933. n.p., 1 933? 88 p. 

Chamber of Commerce. Souvenir. Quincy, Illinois, the Largest City between 
Chicago and St. Louis and St. Paul. Quincy, III.: n.p., n.d. 32 p. 

Citizens Association. Quincy, Illinois. Its Advantages as a Manfacturing and 
Commercial Point. Quincy, III.: n.p., 1 871 . 32 p. 

Head, Emmet and Willis H. Hazelwood. Pictorial Quincy, Past and Present, 
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Lincoln Douglas Debate. Sixty View 
of Quincy, III. Quincy, III.: Monarch Press, 1908. 

Holmes, Joseph T. Quincy in 1857. Or, Facts and Figures Exhibiting Its Advantages, 
Resources, Manufactures and Commerce. Quincy, III.: Herald Book and Job 
Printing, 1857. 59 p. 

An Illustrative Chapter of Representative Men and Residences of Quincy, Illinois, the 
Most Beautiful of All Western Cities, n.p.: Addison, Langdon, 1888. 144 p. 

News of Quincy, Illinois: Containing Twenty-five Places of the Principal Buildings, 
Streets, Chicago: Enoch Rost, n.d. 

Quincy. Quincy, III.: J.M. Irvin Printing, n.d. 64 p. 



86 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Quincy Daily Journal. Quincy Illustrated, a Sketch of Early Quincy and a Description 
of the Quincy of Today. Quincy, III.: H.R. Page, 1 889. 1 20 p. Also 1 893 ed. 

Quincy, Illinois, a Model City: Its Industrial, Commercial, and Social Interests, 
Growth, and Prosperity, n.p., 1 905? 32 p. 

Quincy, Illinois, on the t\/!ississippi. n.p., 1 964? 1 28 p. 

Quincy Photo Engraving Connpany. Beautiful Quincy. Quincy?: Jost & Kiefer 
Printing, n.d. 

Thad. W. Ward's Souvenir Views of the Principal Public and Private Buildings of 
Quincy, Illinois. Quincy, III.: T.W. Ward, 1892. 36 p. Also, by same publisher 
1896 edition. 38 p. 

Quincy - Directories (listed in order of publication) 

Ware, J. S. /A Directory for theCity of Quincy. Quincy, III.: The Author, 1848. 

Eye(han, J. Quincy City Directory for 1855-1856. Quincy, III.: n.p. 1855. 143 p. 

McEvoy and Beatty. Quincy City Directory and Business Mirror for 1857-1858. 
Quincy, III.: Whig Office, 1857. 

Williams, C.S. Quincy Directory, City Guide and Business Mirror. Quincy, III.: The 
Author, 1859. 

A. Bailey Quincy Directory and Business Advertiser, for 1861 . Quincy, III.: Press of 
the Quincy Whig and Republican, 1 861 ? 1 88 p. 

Campbell & Richardson's Quincy City Directory and Business Mirror, for 1863. 
Quincy, III.: Camp & Rich, 1 863, 1 76 p. 

Root, O.E. Root's Quincy City Directory. Quincy, III.: The Author, 1 866, 1 868, 1 869. 

Langdon, Addison. Langdon's Quincy City Directory, 1875-1876. Quincy, III.: T.fvl. 
Rogers Printing, 1876. 

Edmondson't Quincy Directory. Quincy, III.: Cadogan & Gardner, 1 879. 

Quincy - Special Aspects 

Altgilbers, Frank L. St. Anthony Cemetery Records, 1862-1981. Quincy, III.: n.p., 
1981. 58 p. 

Anti-Slavery Concert for Prayer, 1842. Quincy, Illinois. Narrative of Facts Respecting 
A Hanson Work, Jas. E. Burr & Geo. Thompson. Prisoners in the Missoun 
Penitentiary, for the Alleged Crimed of Negro Stealing. Quincy, III.: Quincy Whig 
Office, 1842. 37 p. 

Barthalomew (Harland) and Assoc. The Downtown Redevelopment Plan, Central 
Business District -Quincy, III. St. Louis: Barthalomew, 1 965. 49 p. 

Barthalomew (Harland) and Assoc. A Report upon the 1960 Official Comprehensive 
Plan, Quincy, III. St. Louis: Barthalomew, 1960. 53 p. 

Blackwood, James F. "Quincyans and the Crusade Against Slavery: The First Two 
Decades, 1 824-1 844," M.A. Thesis. Western Illinois University 1 972. 1 1 5 leaves. 

Boulevard and Park Association. History of the Park System of Quincy, Illinois, 1888 
to 191 7. Quincy, III.?: The Association, 1 91 7? 1 02 p. 



NOTES AND DOCUMENTS 87 

Bowman, Paul H. In Memoriam. Charles Frederick Bradley, Minister of the Second 
Congregational (Unitarian) Church, Quincy, Illinois, 1887-1896. n.p., 1897. 52 p. 

Bruener, Theodor. Katholische Kirchengeschichte Ouincy's im Staate Illinois mit 
Streiflichtern ueber ganz Illinois und die Nachbarstaaten. Quincy, III.: Volk, Jones 
&McMein, 1887. 362 p. 

Charitable Aid and Hospital Associaiton. The Work and Aims of Blessing Hospital, 
Quincy, Illinois, n.p., 1 894. 1 4 p. 

City Guards. Constitution and By-Laws of the Quincy City Guards, Organized July 
23, 1855. Quincy, III.: Whig Book and Job Office, 1 856. 1 3 p. 

Clarke, Thonnas C. An Account of the Iron Railway Bridge Across the Mississippi 
River at Quincy, Illinois. New York: Van Nostrand, 1869. 70 p. 

Condron, Harry D. "History of the Knapheide Wagon Company." M.A. Thesis. 
University of Missouri 1 941 . 

Corbyn, William B. Historical Sermon Preached by the Rev. Wm. B. Corbyn. . . in the 
Church of the Good Shepherd, Quincy, Illinois. . . . Quincy, III.: Cadogan and 
Gardner, 1883. 1 6 p. 

Congregational Church. Regulations, Articles of Faith and Convenant, of the 
Congregational Church at Quincy, Adams County, Illinois. Quincy, III.: C.C. 
Wood, 1835? 

Decker, Judy J. "History of the Quincy Public Library and Reading Room, Quincy, 
Illinois, 1 841 -1 930." M.A. Thesis. University of Missouri 1 974. 50 p. 

Earel, Raleigh. My Life, 1883-1968. Quincy, III.: Royal Printing, 19687 255 p. 

Earel, Raleigh. My Sixty Years in Pharmacy. Quincy, III.: Royal Printing, 1 963. 33 p. 

Evangelisch-Lutherische St. Jacobi Gemeinde. Fine kurzgefasste Geschichte ueber 
Anfang und Gedeihen der Deutschen. . . Gemeinde. Quincy, III.: n.p., 1 901 . 32 p. 

First Congregational Church. Manual of the First Congregational Church of Quincy, 
Illinois; Containing Historical Notice. . . Catalog of Surviving Members. Quincy, III.: 
Whig and Republican Office, 1 865. 28 p. 

First Presbyterian Church. Centennial Anniversary, First Presbyterian Church, 
Quincy. Illinois, 1840-1940. Quincy, III.: n.p., 1940, 

First Union Congregational Church of Quincy. Confession of Faith, Convenant 
Forms of Admission, History of the Church, Ecclesiastical Principles and Rules, 
and List of Members for 1 873. n.p., 18737 31 p. 

Fry, Lillian H. Woodland Cemetary Early Lot Owners. Quincy, HI.: Great River 
Genealogical Society, 1 979. 26 p. 

Genosky, Landry. Quincy House, n.p., 1 960. 1 4 p. 

Great River Genealogical Society. Deaths and Marriages from Early Quincy Papers, 
1835-1 850. Qu\ucY,\\\.: The Society, 1979. 52 p. 

Grubb, Anna B. Adventure in Enterprise; a Story of Leaton Irwin and the Company 
He Founded. Quincy, III.: Irwin Paper Co., 1 947. 75 p. 



88 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Heller, John A. Two Years Inside History of the So-called Chamber of Commerce. 
Quincy, III.: n.p., 1 91 7. Bound with his Let there be Light. 33 p. 

Hemesath, Caroline. From Slave to Priest: A Biography of the Rev. Augustine 
Tolton (1854-1897). First Afro-American Priest of the United States. Chicago: 
Franciscan Herald Press, 1 973. 1 74 p. 

Herrit, Sarah D. A Keepsake: Dedicated to My Friends. Cincinnati: Elm Street 
Printing Co., 1876. 158 p. 

Hoefer, H. Lebensbild von Simon Kuhlenhoelter, von 1860 bis 1882, Pastor der 
Evang. Salemsgemeinde in Quincy, III. St. Louis: A. Wiebusch, 1 886. 

In Appreciation of the Character and Service of Joseph Robbins, Past Grand 
Master Chicago: Grand Lodge of Illinois, 1916.1 63 p. 

Jackson, Nicki. B'Nai Shalom Temple, Quincy. Illinois, Centennial Anniversary, 
1870-1 970. Qu\ncy,\\\.: The Temple, 1970. 41 p. 

Landrum, Carl A. A History of Music in Quincy, Illinois, n.p., 1961. 212 leaves. 
Mimeographed copy. 

Landrum, Carl A. Quincy in the Civil War. Quincy, III.: Historical Society of Quincy 
and Adams County, 1 966. 1 29 p. 

Lang, Titus. A Century of Grace: St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1851- 
7957. n.p., 1951? 

Lock, Larry J. "Quincy, Illinois During the First World War." M.A. Thesis. Western 
Illinois University 1 968. 1 50 leaves. 

McKinley, Joyce A. "A Study of Occupational and Residential Pattern for Quincy, 
Illinois, 1 848-1 878." M.A. Thesis. Western Illinois University 1 973. 92 leaves. 

Miller, Nona E. History and Architecture of the Lawndale Addition, n.p., 1983. 100 p. 

Montgomery, E.B. 100th Anniversary. Unitarian Church, Quincy. Illinois, History. 
1839-1939. n.p., 1939. 20 p. 

Notre Dame High School Centennial. Quincy, III.: n.p. 1 967? 

Official Dedication. 1952, County-City Buildings. County of Adams. City of Quincy in 
Illinois. Souvenir. Quincy, III.:? n.p,, 1 952. 56 p. 

Public Library. Catalogue of Books. Pamphlets. Apparatus, etc. of the Quincy Public 
Library. . . to Which is Prefixed, the Constitution and By-Lav\/s of the Association. 
Quincy, III.: The Library, 1 848. 23 p. 

Public Library. Catalogue of the Quincy Library. . . to Which is Prefixed the Charter. 
Constitution and By-Laws of the Association. Quincy, III.: Herald Book and Job 
Office, 1 868-1 872. 3 parts in 1 v. 

Quincy Daily Herald. Quincy, III. Quincy, III.: The Herald, 1 888. 24 p. 

Quincy Gas Light and Coke Company. The Charter of the Quincy Gas, Light, and 
Coke Company. . ..St. Louis: Republican Office, 1 853. 1 2 p. 

Quincy Herald Whig. A Decade of Progress. Quincy, 111.: Quincy Newspaper Inc., 
1958. Edition of July 13, 1958. 



NOTES AND DOCUMENTS 89 



Quincy Herald Whig. Quincy College Centennial History, 1860-1960, n.p., 1960? 
32 p. 

Quincy Historical Society. Officers, Members, Constitution, By-Laws. Organized 
1896, Incorporated 1896. Quincy, III.; n.p., 1 901 . 1 5 p. 

Quincy Historical Society. Revised Rules and Membership List, October 22, 1908. 
n.p., 1908'^ 20 p. 

Quincy Society of Fine Arts. Community Rediscovery 76. Quincy, III.; n.p. 1976. 
62 p. 

Quincy Society of Fine Arts. Quincy Architecture Community. Tour Quincy 
Architecture. Quincy, III.; n.p., 1976. 5 pannphlets. 

Rev. Francis Borgia Steck, O.F.M., His Golden Religious Jubilee Celebration at 
Quincy College, Quincy, III., May 4, 1954. n.p., 1954. 

Revised Ordinaces of Quincy. 1 852, 1 856, 1 885, 1 91 3, 1 956, 1 980. 

Roepke, Howard. Industrial Survey of Quincy, Illinois, n.p., 1958. 

St. Francis Solanus Parish and Franciscan Fathers, Quincy. Illinois: Souvenir Golden 
Jubilee Celebrated Nov. 20, 21, 22, 1910. Quincy, III.; n.p., 1910. 212 p. 

Sisters of the Good Samaritan. Constitution and By-laws of the Sisters of the Good 
Samaritan, together with Reports of the Officers, 1863. Quincy, III.; Whig and 
Republican Press Print, 1 863? 1 2 p. 

Skinner, James. Sketches of Pioneer Life. Quincy, III.; J. Hall, 1917. 430 p. 

Sondregoth, Donna R. "German Immigration and Assimilation into Quincy, Illinois, 
1 840-1 870." M.A. Thesis. Western Illinois University 1 979. 66 leaves. 

Souvenir of Sixteen Anniversary St. Anthony's Parish, 1859-1919. Quincy, III.; Jost 
&Kiefer, 1919?85p. 

Suvenir der goldenen Jubileumsfeier des St. Aloysius Weisenvereins, Quincy, 
Illinois, n.p., 1912. 83. p. 

Tillson, John. Commemorative Address on Decoration Day, May 30, 1872 at 
Quincy, III. Quincy, III.; Whig Co., 1 872. 

Turner, Julia. History of the Women's City Club of Quincy, Illinois, n.p., n.d. 15 p. 

Woodland Cemetary Records. Salt Lake City; n.p., 1 960-1 961 . 2 v. in 1 . 

Woodworth, Patricia. Leadership Pattern of a Frontier City, a Study of Mayoral and 
Aldermanic Elections in Quincy, Illinois, 1840-1860. Quincy, III.; The Author, 
1979. 50 p. 

Zurbonsen, Anthony. Golden Jubilee, St. Mary's Congregation of Quincy, Illinois. 
Quincy, III.; n.p., 1917, 48 p. 

Quincy - Maps (listed in order of publication) 

Sanborn-Perry Map Company. Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois. New York; The 

Company, 1 883. 22 sheets; 1 888. 37 sheets; 1 898. 89 sheets; 1 927. 2 vol.; 1 927- 

1950.2 vol. 



90 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Quincy in 1888. Quincy, III.; Doying, Hinrichsen & Case, 1888. 1 sheet (24x38). 
Bird's eye view. 

Brinks, Oscar Henry. Complete Map of Quincy and Greater Quincy, Illinois, n.p., 
1 949. 1 sheet (54x41 cm); 1 954. 1 sheet (37x27 cm). 

Stacy (Allen) Map Publishers. Plat Book of the City of Quincy and Environs. 
Rockford, III.; Stacy Map Publishers, 1 956. 

Artcraft Company. Quincy, Illinois. Quincy, ill.; The Company, 1969; 1972; 1973; 
1 975. 1 sheet (55x42 cm) each. 

Chamber of Commerce, Quincy, Illinois. l\/lap of Quincy, Illinois. Quincy, III.; n.p., n.d. 
1 sheet (50x40 cm). 

View of the City of Quincy, III. n.p.; Haerting and Qrtloff, n.d. Bird's eye view. 

Quincy, III. Milwaukee; Beck and Pauli, n.d. Bird's eye view. 



BOOK REVIEWS 



IOWA PLACE NAMES OF INDIAN ORIGIN. By Virgil J. Vogel. Iowa City: 
University of Iowa Press, 1 983. 

Place names, like artifacts, connect us to the past. On the American 
landscape, change is a way of life, and memory of other times, other 
people, is frequently obliterated. But names have a way of enduring. In this 
book, Virgil J. Vogel treats over two hundred Iowa place names of real or 
fancied Indian origin, including not only topographic and political 
appellations but even parks, post offices and railway junctions. While many 
of the names in this book are still in current use, Vogel includes as well 
names given to villages, post offices and other entities which have long 
since vanished. 

What to classify as an "Indian" place name is problematical, since many 
of Iowa's names originate with tribes who still reside there or were present 
during the period of White settlement — these include the Sacs. Fox, lowas 
and Otoes — while still others, though genuine aboriginal names, were 
actually brought by White settlers from the East. The Fox — or Mesquakie, 
as the tribal remmants in Tama county call themselves — contributed, for 
example, Amaqua, Appanoose, Chicaqua, Makawhee, Maquoketa, 
Mesquakie, Ottumwa, Poweshiek, Pymosa, Quasqueton, Tama, Wapello, 
Wapsipinicon. (Still other Fox contributions are English translations from the 
Fox language: Beaver Creak is from the Fox word ame'kwa, "beaver," 
while Turkey River is a translation of Sac/Fox panekai seepi). But Allaway 
Creek is named for a Delaware chief in New Jersey, and both Chatauqua 
and Geneseo, imported from New York State, were derived from Senecan 
words. 

The list of names imported from the East is in fact quite long, and a 
consideration of their sources says much about White settlement 
demography. Iowa has Chillicothe (Ohio), Juniata (Pennsylvania), Kanawha 
(West Virginia), Kennebec (Maine), Lehigh (Pennsylvania), Nahant 
(Massachusetts), Nashua (New Hampshire — from several Algonquian 
words, Naishe, Massawi and others, all of which mean "midway, 
between"), Niagara (New York — given in Iowa to a cave with a sixty-foot 
waterfall), Norwalk (Connecticut, anglicized from one of several Indian 



92 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

words meaning "point of land"), Ohio, Ontario, Orono (Maine), 
Slienandoah, Ticonic (New York, New England and Pennsylvania) and 
Toronto. Of particular interest on this list are What Cheer and Yankee. What 
Cheer, an English greeting documented as early as the fourteenth century, 
was adopted by the Narragansett Indians and used by them to greet Roger 
Williams on his arrival in New England; it was given to the Iowa town by a 
Rhode Island Civil War veteran. Yankee, of obvious New England origin, is 
claimed by some scholars to have Indian origins, while others ascribe it to 
the White settlement history in Iowa. All of these names are from the 
northeastern or Middle Atlantic states except those of Ohio, itself settled 
largely by Pennsylvanians, or Canada, which absorbed a high number of 
New England Tories. Of particular interest is the predominance of New York 
or New England names. As I have elsewhere noted about Illinois, "Yankee" 
place names appear in numbers well out of proportion to the number of 
settlers from this area, signaling the Northeasterners' economic dominance 
in the towns of the early midwestern frontier. 

Still other "Indian" names have less to do with Iowa's history than with White 
America's romance of an aboriginal past. Both Hiawatha and Nokomis 
commemorate the popularity of Longfellow's 1 855 poem, as does the creek 
named Minnehaha. Osceola was a Seminole chief who fought against his 
tribe's removal from Florida, and Apache recalls the fierce southwestern 
tribe. The preoccupation, moreover, goes even beyond the 
commemoration of historic or literary Indian heroes. Monona was originally 
the name of an evil male character in an 1821 play by Lewis Deffenbach, 
but popular legend has confused the name with Winona, a legendary Indian 
girl who slew herself in grief over her lover. Osage does not come from the 
plains tribe with that name, but rather from Orrin Sage of Massachusetts, a 
banker whose representative filed the town's first plat. 

One of the stickiest problems Vogel faces is in the mistaken "folk 
etymologies" of place names, a problem to which names of aboriginal 
origin are especially susceptible. Early European settlers and mapmakers 
had no systematic method for recording Indian words, leading to frequent 
misspellings and simplifications. Thus Raccoon, the name of an Iowa river, 
has two possible Virginia Algonquian sources with affixes, arrathcune and 
arathkone. Frequently this leads to Europeanized meanings and false 
origins, so that Norwalk, whose source we have already seen, was thought 
by Americans to come from "North-walk." An even more interesting crux is 
the name Des Moines, now the state capital and also a major river. Vogel 
believes the French named this river for the now-vanishing Moingwena 
tribe. Marquette ascended the river in the seventeenth century and found a 
tribe recorded as "Moingena" (sic). A gradual evolution appears over the 
next century and a half: R. des Maingoana, 1 684; le Moingona R., 171 8; La 
Riviere des Moins or Moingona, 1721; Riviere du Moine, 1778; River de 
Moin, 1806 des Moin, 1816. (In 1815 it even appeared Le Moin, which, since 
the Des Moines River was mistakently placed in Illinois on the 1684 map, 



BOOK REVIEWS 93 

and since the Moingwenas were later moved to Illinois, suggests a possible 
origin for the name of western Illinois' La Moine River). Since then, putative 
origins of the name have come from efforts to translate the apparent 
Standard French, hence "River of Monks," "River of Means," "River of 
Mines," "the Lesser," "the Middle" and others. 

This last example illustrates the depth of Vogel's scholarship and 
explains why this book has been almost thirty years in the making. He has 
consulted every map and early document available; he has examined the 
vocabularies of every relevant Indian language; he has written the locations 
all over Iowa and interviewed several residents (including Tama Mesquakie 
Chief Edward Davenport, a descendant of the founder of the city with that 
name) as well as consulting dozens of books and articles. His book — like 
his companion piece on Indian place names in Illinois — stands as a model 
for names scholars, although few can hope to equal his achievement. 

Timothy Frazer 
Western Illinois University 



PRAIRIE OF PROMISE: SPRINGFIELD AND SANGAMON COUNTY. By 
Edward J. Russo. Windsor Hills, California: Windsor Publications, 1983. 
Pp. 111. $19.95. 

Prefaced only with acknowledgements, one must induce from the text 
that this history of Springfield and Sangamon County is intended largely as 
a synthesis of the voluminous literature about those places to characterize, 
rather than analyze, their past periods. Chapter one, entitled, "The Garden 
Spot," is opened with a statement of the underlying agricultural potential 
which attracted settlement of the area until the end of its pioneer era in 
1 849 and proceeds to a recitation of famous pioneer names in a narrative of 
their deeds. And so it continues through five more chapters, 
characterization then facts: industrialization, 1850-1889; wealth, vice, and 
reform, 1890-1911; civic pride and material progress, 1912-1929; 
depression and world war, 1930-1945; and recent change, 1 946-present. 
Many contemporary photographs of the city, of a few historical posters 
and of a few drawings comprise the section of twenty-four color illustrations 
which follow. Karen Graff's brief restatement of Springfield's economic 
development introduces the last chapter, a sketch of each of the book's 
eleven primary patrons. A bibliography ends the book. 

Russo is well-qualified to write this book by education in history, 
authorship of historical feature articles for Illinois Times, and directorship of 
the Springfield public library's local history collection. The book's pluses 
and minuses derive mostly from its author's intimacy with his locale's 
historical literature. 

The large body of Springfield and Sangamon County historical writing 



94 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

beginning in the nineteenth century provides an extensive factual base to 
which principally the Sangamon County Historical Society has recently 
added good monographs (the Bicentennial series). Russo's effort extends 
the tradition of readable, honest, and balanced accounts. For example, turn- 
of-the-century Springfield is properly noted for its reputation statewide as 
politically corrupt and nationally as the scene of the 1908 race riot. Such 
candor is commonly lacking in community-sponsored community histories. 
Nor does Lincoln swell to mythic proportions in the seven references which 
portray him instead as a local notable. 

Indeed, Russo is best in rare reinterpretations of the literature. Six 
biographical vignettes introduce generally unknown local figures. For 
example, Colonel John Williams is "a metaphor for Sangamon County's 
progress from a wilderness settlement to a wealthy agricultural and 
industrial area" (p. 25). And, the keen eye of Russo's architectural history 
specialty is aimed in scattered judgments of Springfield's often poor 
landscape aesthetics, a theme generally absent from even the best 
commiunity histories. "Springfield was scarcely a town which could be 
described as beautiful" at its beginning, for example (p. 21 ). 

These virtues outweight the general failure to relate the city and county to 
larger trends, a generic deficiency of community history. Perhaps the 
meager mention of other towns in the county can be justified by its 
urbanization, best exemplified in Springfield, but other themes rely too 
heavily on the myopic local literature. Although the county's national rank 
as a coal producer by World War I is appreciated, Springfield's niche in the 
national network of urban industrial specialties developing after the Civil 
War is not delineated. Springfield's "levee" is also not appreciated as an 
archetypal American red-light district at the turn-of-the-century. Without 
reference to the "levee" partly as a symptom of urbanization, the reader is 
left to infer the "levee's" cause as the original sin against which many 
Springfield reformers claimed to crusade at the time. The ethical concern 
underlying this treatment of the "levee" probably reflects the influence of 
the quality-of-life question inspiring several of the best recent studies on 
which Russo relied. Lastly, ethnicity has merely anecdotal value in this 
narrative. An entire paragraph is alloted to the 300 Portuguese settlers in 
mid-nineteenth century Springfield, while the Irish, German, Italian, Russian, 
and Lithuanian immigrants to the city are left to scattered references 
incommensurate with their far greater numbers and influence. Springfield's 
ethnicity, however, is a subject for which the early oral history program at 
Sangamon State University offers the only significant remedy; but its 
primary sources have yet to be researched for the publications convenient 
to Russo's synthesis. 

Prairie of Promise nonetheless deserves the attention of anyone 
interested in the history of Springfield and Sangamon County. 

Keith A Sculle 

Historic Sites Division, Illinois Department of Conservation 



BOOK REVIEWS 95 



EDGAR LEE MASTERS. By John H. Wrenn and Margaret M. Wrenn. 
Twayne's United States Authors Series, No. 456. Boston: Twayne Pub- 
lishers, 1983. Pp. vii, 144. 



The Twayne United States Authors Series has finally got around to Edgar 
Lee Masters, now fixed as number 456 in the TUSAS's rather inclusive 
canon. It is not hard to figure out why Masters had to wait in line behind 455 
other authors before he got his moment in the Twayne sun. Surely few 
American writers are less appealing as a subject of a critical book than he. 
What is to be done with a writer who wrote one satisfying book of poetry 
and then followed it up with two dozen collections of largely wretched 
verse, seven clumsy and unreadable novels, five careless and inaccurate 
biographies, and masses of other miscellaneous matter? And not even 
Spoon River Anthology is unequivocally inviting to a critic. A cranky, 
eccentric production, it was flung up by the tides of literary history for a 
moment and then flung into the backwaters again to live on in a murky 
world between art and popular culture, aging on the poetry shelves of a 
thousand chain book outlets between the collected poems of Carl Sandburg 
and Best-Loved Poems of the American People. 

The Wrenns, father and daughter, do their best to make a unified book 
out of this radically disunified career. Of their ten chapters, they devote four 
mainly to biography, two to Spoon River Anthology, and one each to the 
rest of the poetry, the novels, the biographies, and the autobiographical 
Across Spoon River. The shape of the book thus wisely does not reflect that 
actual shape of Masters' career but rather emphasizes what now, in 
retrospect, seems most valuable and minimizes the rest. The result is a 
book that does at least part of what the Twayne books are supposed to do: 
provide an elementary introduction to an author and his works. We are 
given a sketch of his life, a complete list of his works, and brief summaries 
and commentaries on the most important of them. 

The Wrenns do not succeed so well in providing the introductory student 
with a consistent critical view of Masters. In one of the best sections of the 
book, they quote Masters' call for a "real critic" of his work and comment 
perceptively that such a real critic of a given author is "one who can, where 
others cannot, discern the true merit of that artist's best work." Throughout 
the book, the Wrenns seem to be shopping around for some way of getting 
at the "true merit" of Masters' best work, but they never find it. They begin 
by emphasizing Masters' mysticism, even quoting Masters' horoscope, as 
cast by "a professional astrologer of Boulder, Colorado." Elsewhere, they 
offer some sketchy psychological speculations about Masters, some 
observations on Masters' relation to the "macrocosm" of intellectual 
history, and some comments on Masters as a Midwestern writer. But none 
of these lines of thought is carried through, and in a rather lame conclusion, 



96 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

the Wrenns merely locate Masters conventionally in the "revolt from the 
village" tradition and identify his message as being "that we must love the 
land, man's only home, and that, in the words of another poet, we must love 
one another or die." 

This critical indecisiveness also damages badly the Wrenns' reading of 
Spoon River Anthology, a serious weakness in a book that emphasizes this 
one work so heavily. They find in the Anthology what they refer to as 
Masters' "three R's," romanticism, realism and reformism, trace the themes 
of sex, social repression, and fate through the book, and come to the 
unstartling conclusion that "freedom is the central theme of Spoon River 
Anthology, and sex as its central metaphor." 

The Anthology is not a complex book, but it is considerably more 
complex than the Wrenns seem to realize. A critical approach somewhat 
more rigorous than their narrowly thematic one might have revealed more 
of the book's inner tensions and conflicts. It might have led them, for 
example, to revise their hasty misreading of the important final "Webster 
Ford" epitaph, which they see only as a celebration of the "Delphic Apollo" 
who has guided Masters, missing entirely the poem's note of terrible self- 
judgment and yearning for death, as Apollo's laurel leaves become the 
leaves of the Anthology itself, found "too sere for coronal wreaths, and fit 
alone/For urns of memory." 

The Wrenns are as reductive in their treatment of Masters as they are of 
his work, calling him "a proponent of traditional Jeffersonian values, strictly 
heterosexual relationships, and Christian love, all based in a fundamental 
individualism which includes a belief in personal immortality and a salvation 
determined by one's conduct in this life." One might quarrel with several 
items in this summary, but even more troublesome is what it leaves out, 
including Masters' approval of Negro slavery, his hatred of immigrants, and 
his complex misogyny. Masters had fixed, passionately held notions of 
American history and politics, and a close examination of what he 
understood to be "traditional Jeffersonian values" might have been more 
valuable as intellectual background than the brief survey of Darwin, Mill, 
Tennyson, and other such comparatively remote figures that the Wrenns 
offer s the intellectual "macrocosm." 

The thinnes of the Wrenns' critical and biographical treatment of Masters 
may be partially the result of their neglect of recent scholarship. Their list of 
secondary sources is innocent of any work on Masters from the past ten 
years except for Hardin Masters' reminiscence of his father and an article 
on Tennessee Mitchell by the Wrenns themselves. Hilary Masters' 
important Last Stands makes it into a footnote but not into the bibliography; 
otherwise the notes are as dated as the bibliography. This flaw may be 
more the fault of the publishers than of the authors; Twayne is notoriously 
slow in getting its manuscripts out. But it seriously limits the usefulness fo 
the book. 



BOOK REVIEWS 97 

One cannot fault the Wrennsfor writing an introduction to Masters rather 
than the more ambitious critical work that is still needed. Their book is 
useful, as far as it goes, and will perhaps help others to go further. 

James Hurt 
University of Illinois 



A TRIBUTE TO DANIEL SMYTHE. Ed. Dennis Q. Mclnerny. Peoria: 
Bradley University, 1983. 



Of the many reasons books get published, probably the least common is 
that the author has something compelling to say. Axiomatic in the world of 
paperback novels, this is also, alas, true in scholarship. 

Dr. Johnson, of course, maintained that only a blockhead wrote for any 
purpose other than to make money, whatever ideas were or were not 
fighting their way out of his head; however, unless we count increasingly 
negligible raises or the dubious privilege of being allowed to continue as 
field hands in the cotton fields of composition, English professors do not 
normally write for money any more than they write for ideas. Mostly they 
write from habit, from respect for the Word, and with an eye toward their list 
of publications— a little something for the PMLA bibliography and the vita— 
a modest monument against the winds of time, lest it be said at their 
retirement dinner, "The world will little note, nor long remember." 

Let us be honest about it: like most of our actions, books spring from a 
mixture of motivations: money, habit, ideas, vanity. . . sometimes, even, 
the impulse to elbow an old enemy, memorialize an old friend. The book at 
hand is, to some extend, just such a book, "a collection of critical essays 
and reminiscences written about and in honor of Daniel Smythe, poet and 
teacher" by alumni and members of the English department at Bradley 
Polytechnical Institute, where Smythe taught as poet-in-residence from 
1955 to 1973. 

It need not be said that Smythe was not a Big Name poet of the twentieth 
century. He was essentially a formalist writing in an age which preferred 
content-a polite poet, a Poetry Society poet, perhaps even a parlor poet 
writing in rambunctious times. The selective bibliography prepared for this 
volume by librarian Charles Frey lists perhaps two dozen poems first 
published in places like Poetry, Harper's, Scribner's and the New Yorker; 
most of these appeared in the middle 1930s. The bulk of Smythe's work, 
especially his later work, appeared first in places like Nature Magazine, 



98 WESTERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL STUDIES 

Scientific Monthly and the Saturday Evening Post, then in volumes 
published in Golden Quill Press. 

In his worthy and up-front introduction to this book, Dennis Mclnerny 
makes precisely this point, argues the case (and it is an American Studies 
argument, not an English Department argument) for paying at least some 
critical attention to "poets who give a lifetime of loyalty to (their craft), who 
produce a substantial body of work which, besides its intrinsic merits, 
reflects important aspects of the development of American culture and 
which is very much part of the large phenomenon which, in any time period, 
we designate as 'American poetry'." One of the more interesting features of 
this book is the various ways each writer comes to grips with the fact that 
Smythe was, and will probably always remain, a silver or even a copper 
poet, a displaced New Englander who lived in Peoria without ever coming 
to terms with the Midwest as a literary or geographic landscape. 

Whether the critical pieces herein contained make in fact the case argued 
in principle by Mclnerny's introduction, I am not sure; they are certainly 
more successful in what they attempt than the reminiscences, the "pieces 
which would serve to accentuate Daniel Smythe's personal qualities." 
These last are at best trivia, which in the case of Ginsberg or Berryman 
might prove interesting, if insignificant, but in Smythe's case come off (like 
so much from the small press world) as bad parodies of literary gossip. At 
their worst, these pieces degenerate into abstract and pious cliches ("he 
cared about [students] as writers and, more importantly, as people"; "one 
of those very special professors who gave more of himself back to you in 
his critiques of your papers than you had put into the original productions") 
which demonstrate that either Smythe was a very bad teacher of writing or 
his students learned less from him than they imagined. 

The critical essays are mixed. Some are more about Frost (Smythe's 
mentor) or Pope than about Smythe. Some make such weak arguments as 
to condemn with faint praise, and others are more or less explicitly critical: 
"Dan's inability to penetrate the Frostian mask had a deleterious effect on 
Dr. Smythe, the man and the poet .... A comparison between Smythe's 
'The Side Road' and Frost's 'The Road Not Taken' might be instructive"; "it 
shows on his part an independence of mind usually unlocked for." Is this 
a vestige of what Ed Chapman mentions in his essay as "cruelty and 
ridicule" which had taught Smythe "wariness"? (A second interesting 
feature of this book is the portrait it paints, consciously or unconsciously, of 
the meanness with which academia hosts living creative writers.) 

Or were the critics themselves unconvinced? Paul Sawyer admits at the 
outset of his close reading of five Smythe poems that he embarked upon the 
project with doubt and reservations as to Dan's worth as a poet. The poems 
Sawyer discusses, and some others he chose not to explicate, convinced him 
that Smythe was "a poet and a good one," and Sawyer's explications 
convince a reader of the same thing, fvlclnerny's own critical essay-a close 
look at Only !\/lore Sure (1946), Smythe's second volume and, as I recall 



BOOKREVIEV^S 99 

from my own perusal of Smythe's work when selecting poems for Beowulf 
to Beatles (1 972), his best book, the book in which he came closest to 
discovering a compelling subject and his own voice-implies a complexity 
to Smythe's work that commends it to our attention, although a more 
generous quotation of actual poems would have strengthened the 
argument. Both Mclnerny's and Sawyer's pieces are tributes, as the 
book's title implies. 

By far the most ambitious essay in the collection is Ed Chapman's 29- 
page "Dan Smythe and the New England Poetic Tradition." It is the full 
scholarly treatment, and despite tendencies toward excessive equivocation 
("in my view," "it seems to me"), self-congratulation, and parody, it is in the 
last analysis enlightening, entertaining, carefully documented and well 
written. It may even be a critique of Smythe's work that gives back more 
than was there in the original productions. 

The conspicuous absence from this volume of two of Dan's former 
colleagues is puzzling, especially since two of those who did contribute 
arrived at the university after Smythe's teaching days were over and never 
really knew the man. George Chambers, of course, has an enormous 
international reputation (he is, nevertheless, still a creative writer hosted by 
academia) and Jim Ballowe's name still commands an audience, especially in 
Illinois. Both are on record in fvlclnerny's preface as having "contributed 
much" to the making of the book; Ballowe, full professor-turned-associate 
provost, is credited with having arranged financial backing. Words would 
have been more appreciated, however, from one or both, and would have 
lent more credibility and stature to the project. Perhaps they were otherwise 
occupied, but I can't help being reminded of a Phil Ochs line, "I'll send all 
the money you ask for, but don't ask me to come on along, so love me, I'm 
a liberal." 

As it stands, the book leaves us with the same ambivalencies with which 
we came to it. As an artifact the book is a tribute, but the case for Dan 
Smythe as "a poet and a good one" has not been made fully. 

David R. Pichaske 
Southwest State University 



CONTRIBUTORS 



JOHN LEE ALLAMAN recently received his M.A. degree in history from 
Western Illinois University. His article on a fannous Henderson County 
murder case appeared last year in WIRS. 

CHARLES E. BURGESS has been a reporter and editor for Peoria and St. 
Louis newspapers since 1957. He has published several other articles on 
Edgar Lee Masters, in Papers on Language and Literature, The Vision of 
This LandO 976) and other publications. 

ROBERT P. HOWARD was the Springfield correspondent of the Chicago 
Tribune for many years, until his retirement in 1 970. A past President of the 
Illinois State Historical Society, he is most well known for his book Illinois: A 
History of the Prairie State (1 972). 

GEORGE MONTEIRO, Professor of English at Brown University, is the 
author of Henry James and John Hay: The Record of a Friendship (1 965), 
as well as various articles on Hay. He is co-editor of The John Hay-Howells 
Letters (1 980) and editor of John Hay's Pike County (1 984). 

RUSSELL G. SWENSON, Associate Professor of Geography at Western 
Illinois University, has published articles in Geographical Perspectives, The 
Bulletin of the Illinois Geographical Society, The Kansas Geographer, and 
Pioneer America Society Transactions. One of his chief research interests 
is agricultural landscapes. 



100