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Published semiannually by 

the University Libraries 

and the College of Arts and Sciences 

at Western Illinois University 

Macomb, Illinois 61455 




JOHN E. HALLWAS, Chairman 


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 
ARLIND. FENTEM, Western Illinois University 
MYRON J. FOGDE, Angus tana College 
FRANK W. GOUDY, Western Illinois University 
THOMAS E. HELM, Western Illinois University 
ROBERT JOHANNSEN, University of Illinois 
FREDERICK G. JONES, Western Illinois University 
JERRY KLEIN, "Peoria Journal Star" 
CHARLES W. MAYER, Western Illinois University 
DENNIS Q. McINERNY, College of St. Thomas 
RONALD E. NELSON, District Historian, 

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

' 'Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society ' ' 

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, Western Illinois Regional Studies, Western 
Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois 61455. Bibliographic and other information for 
the Notes and Documents section should be sent to Professor Gordana Rezab at the 
same address. 




Maps and Their Makers in Early Illinois: 
The Burr Map and the Peck-Messinger Map 

John V. Bergen 5 

Greenbush Vigilantes: An Organizational Document 

John Lee Allaman 32 

The Hennepin Canal as Community 

Donald W. Griffin 42 

Spoon River Anthology in Estonia: Mats Traat's 
"Henriette Vestrik" 
George Kurman 52 

Selected Letters of Virginia S. Eifert 

John E. Hallwas 56 

The Character of New Small Farms in 
Western Illinois 

Russell G. Swenson and Pamela Olson l\/liner 83 

Bibliography of McDonough County 

Gordana Rezab 94 

Reviews of Books 105 

Contributors 112 

Copyright 1987 by Western Illinois University 




By LaDonna Backmeyer 105 

By Roald D. Tweet 106 

By Rand Burnette 108 

By David Raizman 109 





John V. Bergen 

Maps in ever increasing detail became both desirable and necessary for 
an expanding nation in the nineteenth century. The first published state 
and territorial maps in the new nation were based on "actual surveys" 
carried out by federal and state land survey offices. Manuscript maps were 
prepared by surveyors of the new U.S. Public Land Survey, alternately 
known as the Congressional Survey, the Rectangular Survey, or the 
Township and Range Survey. The accumulated data in government land 
offices were available to enterprising map makers hoping to create and to 
market maps and guides for travellers and settlers. Map publishing during 
the first one hundred years in the United States was dominated by 
commercial cartographers, engravers, printers, and publishing houses. 
Even after the organization of federal mapping agencies, the maps were 
engraved and printed under contract with private firms. 

Several twentieth-century authorities on the history of cartography (the 
science and art of maps) have reviewed nineteenth-century commercial 
work. The late Erwin Raisz, one of America's most distinctive map makers, 
identified the period 1820 to 1840 as "The Golden Age of American 
Cartography," a time when surveyors were blanketing the landscape and 
when printers and engravers in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Baltimore, 
and several other cities were eagerly developing maps and atlases for the 
equally curious public' Ralph Ehrenberg, formerly archival map curator in 
the National Archives and currently in the Library of Congress, suggests 
that in the "first four decades [1800-1840] domestic mapping skills and 
printing techniques were developed and the economic and social 
conditions were laid for a burgeoning trade in domestic maps."^ Walter 
Ristow, long-time chief of the Geography and Map Division in the Library 
of Congress, elaborates in greater detail the "Golden Age" of mapping an 
expanding nation within his American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial 
Cartography in tlie Nineteentli Century, published in 1985.^ 




the State of ^ 

~~~^^ ( 'OMI^ILEn FROM THE^ 

^^^Iso erhtbilm^ the ^ 

JTE y-^R K. 


Ingraredbj B. Stile* ibCo. UTafk. 

Fig. 1. Title (Cartouche) for Peck-Me&singer Map (1838). [Reduced to 74% of original 


I Latf Tupogmp/ier to the Post Officf J 
Geographer to the House of Representatives of the U.S. 

Statute Miles 


4 Horse Mail Post Coach Roads 
2 B^ D^ Sta^e D" 

1 D? D° or Sulkey D^ 

(toss D? 

- Bail D? 

- Canals _ 

Fig. 2. Title (Cartouche) for Burr Map (r839). [Title reduced to 45% of original size. 
References (legend)at 100% of original size.] 


Fig. 3. Western Illinois on Peck-Messinger Map (1838). [Reduced to 65% of original 


Fig. 4. Western Illinois on Burr Map (1839) [Reduced to 65"/.; of original size.) 




Until the mid 1830s essentially all maps of the states and territories 
west of the Atlantic seaboard were published at scales no more detailed 
than one inch to twenty miles or even one inch to fifty miles, thus making 
it difficult to represent all the new settlements and the many names along 
creeks and rivers. State maps, in separate sheets and in atlases, dom- 
inated the map business until county landowner maps began to appear for 
scattered places in the late 1850s and in great numbers after the Civil War. 
The scale of one inch to ten miles for state maps is sufficient to permit 
study of place location (villages and towns, creeks and rivers, roads and 
township lines) but not names of landowners. State maps at this detailed 
scale were not suitable for the atlas format but were acceptable as wall- 
size maps, sometimes folded to go with guidebooks. 

The purpose of this paper is to examine two large maps of Illinois that 
represent the culmination of the period of expansion in indigenous 
American cartography. The first of these maps is often identified as Peck's 
New Sectional Map of Illinois and was first published in 1836 by the John 
H. Colton Company of New York City." At virtually the same scale, the 
second map is known as Burr's Map of Illinois & Missouri and was pre- 
pared and published by its "author. "^ In this paper, the two Illinois maps 
will be referred to as the Peck-Messinger map and the Burr map (see titles 
in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). 

The comparative examination of map content is based upon the area 
covered by the Military Tract, i.e., the township and range survey within the 
"Bounty Lands" of western Illinois (Figures 3 and 4). While differences 
between the Burr and the Peck-Messinger maps can be shown, there 
appear to be honest reasons for many of the "errors" critics and other 
users have detected. 

Figure 3 (Peck-Messinger map) and Figure 4 (Burr map) each show part 
of western Illinois reduced to approximately 65 percent of the original size 
of the respective state maps. Figure 5 (Peck-Messinger map) and Figure 6 
(Burr map), each focused upon McDonough and Hancock counties in 
western Illinois, provide examples of the two maps at their original scale. 
The complete Peck-Messinger map (1838) measures 41 x 27 inches (103 x 
69 cm.). The Burr map (1839), which includes Missouri with Illinois, is even 
larger at 38 x 49 inches (123 x 96 cm.). 

In the evaluation of maps, especially old maps, we should be mterested 
not only in the scientific accuracy of the content as we know it in 
retrospect but also in what information was available and who gathered it 
at that time. Before we render negative criticism of the Illinois maps of the 
1830s, we should know something about the people who "authored" the 
maps. The Burr map and the Peck-Messinger map offer fascinating con- 
trasts, not so much in the honesty and accuracy of the map compilation as 
in the varied training and experience that led to the making of these 
classic maps. 

Each map was developed from a somewhat different set of circum- 
stances and factual records. Even the purposes vary, since the Burr map 


was designed to be a post route map and the Peck-Messinger map was 
designed to show all one-mile square sections of the township and range 

What Is a Map? 

A map, like a book, tells a story and, if designed properly, contains 
several essential elements: title, scale, legend, grid or location indicators, 
authority, and date. Maps are commonly multipurpose communication 
devices, emphasizing graphic form (as contrasted to narrative and 
numerical forms) to serve the following functions: guides for navigation or 
travel: historical records about places at particular times; legal doc- 
uments; reports on research studies; tools for further research; planning 
aids; and even as works of art. In effect, the Burr map and the Peck- 
Messinger map already have served all of these functions, even though 
their original preparation may have had a much more singular purpose. 

Responsibility for creating an individual map may well be spread among 
several technical and professional occupations representing various 
stages in the production process. Certain individuals worked on various 
aspects of map making but rarely did anyone do the whole job. The 
principal contributors include: surveyor, cartographer, compiler, drafts- 
man or sculpter, map editor, engraver, printer, publisher, and distributor. 
Burr probably qualified to be all except the engraver, and doubtless he 
understood that process quite well. Some map compilers and car- 
tographers (map designers) did do engraving in the early nineteenth 
century, but they often sought a separate printer, publisher, and dis- 
tributor. On the other hand, publishers who may have known little about 
geography and cartography frequently contracted with map compilers, 
cartographers, and map editors to prepare a map. Such apparently was the 
case with J. H. Colton company which contracted with John Mason Peck 
and John Messinger to provide their expertise on the facts of Illinois 

By 1830, no less than a dozen map publishers were in business to 
produce state and regional maps for sale. During the 1830s, two new 
companies, J. H. Colton of New York City and Samuel Augustus Mitchell 
of Philadelphia, began family dynasties that lasted until late in the century 
when other new names, notably Rand McNally, were forging ahead in the 
continuing competition.^ About 1834 or 1835, both Burr and the Peck and 
Messinger partnership prepared smaller scale maps with much less detail 
than their larger, more innovative maps, in 1836, Peck and Messinger, as 
non-cartographers and non-publishers, cooperated with the J. H. Colton 
Company in preparing their New Sectional Map of Illinois. Burr, on the 
other hand, was fully responsible for arranging the compilation, engraving, 
and printing of maps including his Illinois & Missouri map. 


Peck and Messinger 

John Mason Peck and John Messinger offered experience, expertise, 
and name recognition for the most detailed Illinois map published up to 
1936. Although Peck was more widely travelled and better known in 
Illinois, Messinger may have contributed as much or more than Peck to 
this new venture in map publication. J. H. Colton and Company of New 
York was still a relative newcomer in the map business when it negotiated 
with Peck and Messinger to be compilers and editors for their state of 
Illinois map. Colton did the same with neighboring state maps. 

Peck's credentials for compiling a quality map of Illinois were well 
established by the mid-1830s when Colton sought a knowledgeable 
lllinoian to prepare a new map. Peck and Messinger had already prepared 
A New Map of Illinois and Part of Wisconsin Territory, a smaller map 
engraved and published in Cincinnati.^ More important perhaps, Peck had 
published in 1831 a successful Guide for Emigrants^ and in 1834 a popular 
Gazetteer of Illinois.^ 

The presence of Peck's name prominently displayed on the Colton map 
surely must have played an important role in the successful marketing of it 
through at least eighteen printings and/or revisions.'" In 1870, twelve years 
after Peck's death and twenty-four years after Messinger's death, the 
Colton company (G. W. & C. B. Colton & Co.) produced a much revised 
edition, no longer using any compiler's name.'' 

Talented as John Mason Peck was, he may have received more credit for 
the map than he should have in comparison to his surveyor-mathematician 
friend, John Messinger. That is a weakness in the dual author listing on 
title pages and library references. This is not to belittle Peck but to remind 
that Messinger must have been a major contributor to the reliability and 
accuracy of the Illinois map. Of course, by the mid 1830s, they had a great 
amount of factual information as well as manuscript maps to examine 
among government records. Nonetheless, their efforts and both of their 
names lend a deserved measure of authenticity to the New Sectional Map 
of Illinois published by Colton. 

John Mason Peck (1789-1858) was born in Litchfield, Connecticut and 
grew up with a strong background in the Puritan Congregational Church. 
In his early twenties, he became a Baptist, was re-baptized, and was 
ordained in that church. By 1871 he was serving as a missionary to the 
West, working for several years in Saint Louis and Saint Charles, Missouri, 
before settling in Rock Spring, located between Belleville and Lebanon in 
Saint Clair County, Illinois. Apart from being a widely travelled preacher, 
he was an agent in three states for the American Bible Society, a leader in 
establishing Sunday Schools, and an active campaigner against slavery. ^^ 
In his capacity as theologian and preacher, ". . . he played the role of 
religious mediator between the staid and respectable Puritan moralism of 
the eastern states and the frantic revivalism of the frontier," as Paul M. 
Harrison has pointed out.'^ 


Peck assumed a statewide leadership role in education when he 
established the Rock Spring Theological Seminary and High School as the 
first institution in Illinois teaching at a higher level than common school. 
Peck taught Christian theology, and John Messinger became a math- 
ematics and natural philosophy professor. The school closed briefly 
before it was moved to Upper Alton to open in 1832 as Alton Seminary, 
eventually to become Shurtleff College (1835-1956).^" 

As part of his life as preacher, missionary, teacher, writer, and emissary 
for the West, Peck continued for some years to campaign for funds to 
support the seminary and college. Several times he travelled for months 
among the eastern states, often preaching and often conferring with 
church leaders. '5 In conjunction with his educational contributions at 
Rock Spring, Peck edited and eventually bought The Pioneer, the second 
newspaper in Saint ClairCounty. In 1836 he edited, with his son-in-law, the 
Western Pioneer and Baptist Standard Bearer, later to be merged with the 
Baptist Observer \n Louisville, Kentucky,'^ 

Peck's contemporaries and his later biographers recognized the 
enormous energy and versatility of the man. Even with all his travels on 
behalf of religious and educational interests. Peck found time to spend 
with his family, including ten children, seven of whom lived well into 
adulthood. For most of his life, he carried out his research and writing at 
his rural home in Rock Spring. Hamilton submits that Peck was a real 
scholar with acute powers of social observation: "He understood the 
differences between scholarship and proselytizing and fully recognized 
that the purpose of both would be lost by carelessly blending them."'' 

During the 1830s, Peck published what could be called a series of 
historical and geographical treatises on Illinois and the West. The first of 
these. Guide for Emigrants, was published by a Boston firm in 1831.'^ 
Peck's little guide entitled A Gazetteer of Illinois was first published in 
1834 by a Jacksonville, Illinois printer. '» In 1837 it was revised, enlarged, 
and published in Philadelphia. 2° In the meantime, he produced the New 
Guide for Emigrants to ttie West (1836, 1837, and 1843). ^^ The research 
efforts for producing these guide books clearly established Peck as a 
scholar whose breadth of knowledge would prove valuable in the 
preparation of a detailed map of the state of Illinois. 

Following the publication of the New Sectional Map of Illinois (the Peck- 
Messinger map of 1836 and 1838), Peck created The Travellers Directory 
for Illinois, noting on the title page that the volume "is Intended as a 
Companion to the new sectional map of Illinois. "^^ Much of the infor- 
mation was developed from his gazetteers but reorganized by topics. 
Peck's reputation was clearly a selling point for J. H. Colton, publisher of 
both the map and its companion volume. 

Few references to Peck's map making activity are contained in his 
Memoirs or in biographical sketches. His original journals and diaries 
might have included some details about the map he did with Messinger in 
1834 as well as the larger sectional map they prepared in contract with 


Colton in 1836 and ensuing revisions. But Peck's personal library was 
partly destroyed and heavily damaged by a fire in his old senninary building 
at Rock Spring in 1853." Furthermore, his papers donated by Babcock as 
instructed by Peck to a Saint Louis library were inadvertently destroyed. ^^ 
Regarding the Peck-Messinger sectional map first produced by Colton in 
1836, Babcock makes the following statement: 

Early in January [1836] he was in Vandalia, the seat of government, mingling 
from necessity with politicians and legislators. Part of his object was to 
complete by the aid of a Mr. Messinger a larger and more accurate map of 
Illinois with the latest and most reliable accounts of counties, tov/ns, and 
improvements. . . . About this time, also, he was for several weeks very busy 
in revising, enlarging, and almost making anew his 'Guide for Emigrants,' a 
new edition of which was called for, and printed in Boston." 

Peck suffered a serious illness in late spring 1836 but recovered to move 
his printing office for his newspaper, the Western Pioneer and Baptist 
Standard Bearer. According to Rufus Babcock, "In the month of August, 
this year, he mentions giving a thorough revision and enlargement to his 
map of Illinois, adding roads and distances of principal places. . . ."^^ 

Much less has been written either by or about John Messinger (1771- 
1846) than John Mason Peck. Governor John Reynolds, who knew and 
worked with both Peck and Messinger, prepared a useful biographical 
sketch of Messinger in his Pioneer History of Illinois.^'' Born in West 
Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1771, John Messingerwas raised in a farm 
family which practiced not only the Puritan work ethic but also believed in 
studying and applying a scientific approach to agriculture. He early 
learned to work as a carpenter and millwright in Vermont before he moved 
in 1804 to the American Bottoms (near Belleville and St. Louis) where he 
purchased a mill. All the while, Messinger was obsessed with practical 
mathematics. Reynolds states: "His whole life seemed to be tinctured with 
mathematics and I believe for many years he was the most profound 
mathematician and best land-surveyor in Illinois."" 

According to Reynolds, Messinger in 1806 was one of the first — if not 
the first — to survey the public domain in St. Clair and Randolph counties. 
"In 1815, he was appointed deputy-surveyor under the surveyor-general, 
Edward Tiffin of the State of Ohio, and was authorized to survey the 
Military Tract in the forks of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers."" He did 
survey much of this tract and also worked on the northern limits of the 
state of Illinois. 

A Manual or Hand-Book, Intended for Convenience in Practical Sur- 
veying was published for Messinger in 1821 by William Orr of St. Louis. His 
manual contains a discussion of the science of practical surveying, 
together with practical aids for mathematical surveying. As Reynolds 
pointed out, "This book shows deep research by the author and 
established the fact that he was a profound mathematician. "3° From this 
background, Messinger frequently instructed young men in the art and 
science of surveying. 


His success as a surveyor, his experience in education, and his pen- 
chant for mathematics made him a logical choice to be one of the first 
three professors in the Theological Seminary and High School that John 
Mason Peck founded in 1827 at Rock Spring. Messinger was appointed 
Professor of mathematics and natural philosophy for the school that a few 
years later became Shurtleff College in Alton, Illinois.^' 

As a land surveyor, Messinger spent many years in the.field while at the 
same time participating in the functions of government and actively 
contributing to the cultural development of the new state. In 1808 he was 
elected from St. Clair County to the legislature of the Indiana Territory. 
When Illinois became a state, he was elected to be a member of the 
Constitutional Convention. Even though he appears not to have been 
ambitious for political power, he was chosen Speaker of the Illinois House 
of Representatives in 1818. According to Reynolds, Messinger was widely 
respected and known to be scrupulously honest. 

Surely, he gained many admirers through his unassuming dedication to 
improving the lives of neighbors on the Illinois frontier. Reynolds recounts 
that Messinger was a philanthropist and educator: 

. . . tho never a member of any church, [he] obtained subscribers for the 
quarto family Bibles, published by Matthew Carey of Philadelphia in 1814, 
and circulated copies in many families in St. Clair County. Mr. Messinger 
taught many young men the theory and practice of surveying and he 
frequently taught an evening-school for young and old; and it is no 
disparagement to some gentlemen, who have since been distinguished in 
the state, at the bar, and in the pulpit, to have it known that they received 
the ground-work of their education, after they had families, from Mr. 
Messinger. "52 

David H. Burr 

David H. Burr (1803-1875) was an accomplished surveyor and mapmaker 
who devoted much of his working life to a wide range of state and federal 
positions. Shortly after passing the bar exam in New York, he enlisted in 
the state militia where he became aide-de-camp for Governor DeWitt 
Clinton. In 1825, Burrwas named deputy surveyor in charge of a section of 
the New York state survey. While living in Albany from 1826 to 1832, he 
apparently worked for the state Surveyor General, Simeon DeWitt, who 
was not only a noted surveyor but a successful map maker in his own. 
Burr's proposal to use survey data on maps to compile a map and atlas of 
New York state was accepted by both the Surveyor General and the 
Governor. Whether or not Burr worked independently, he did acknowledge 
both the permission to use public documents and the fact that he received 
financial support for the preparation of his landmark Atlas of the State of 
New York dated 1829." At the same time. Burr's wall-size f\/lap of the State 
of New York and Surrounding Country was published by Simeon DeWitt, 
Surveyor General, pursuant to an act of the legislature. The fledgling J. H. 
Colton company acquired copyright and continued to revise, re-engrave 
and publish the map for about twenty years. 


The success of his New York map and atlas led Burr to compile maps for 
A New Universal Atlas completed and published by D. S. Stone in 1835.3" 
This atlas included Burr's first map of Illinois. In 1832, before he personally 
was able to complete the world atlas, Burr was appointed topographer for 
the U.S. Post Office Department. Using the volumes of data supplied by 
local postmasters. Burr began to compile a map of the United States and 
twelve large maps of individual states orgroups of states. 

Although Burr never lived or worked in Illinois, his 1839 map of Illinois 
and Missouri probably reflects the result of painstaking research and 
careful compilation. Obtainable evidence points to the fact that David Burr 
was a highly capable surveyor and geographer as well as mapmaker. No 
doubt Burr was aware of other published maps of Illinois including the 
Colton map prepared by Peck and Messinger in 1836 and 1838 as well as 
several other much less detailed maps of the state of Illinois. ^^ 

Burr was thoroughly familiar with the New York-based Colton company, 
having sold copyright to them for his New York state map and having 
permitted them to publish his map of the city of New York originally 
prepared for a guidebook to New York. Several other Colton maps seem to 
show the cartographic art of Burr's hand; an 1836 Colton map of Ohio 
clearly identified David H. Burr as the maker. ^^ 

The map of Illinois and Missouri (Figures 2, 4, 6) is part of his monu- 
mental set of postal maps sold either as separate sheets or folded into a 
folio atlas entitled The American Atlas: Exhibiting the Post Offices, Post 
Roads, Railroads, Canals, and the Physical & Political Divisions of the 
United States of America, Constructed From the Government Surveys & 
Other Official fvlaterials. Under the Direction of the Postmaster General, By 
David H. Burr, Geographer to the House of Representatives of the U.S. All 
the maps in the atlas series showed copyright by Burron July 10, 1839." 

The maps in Burr's rare postal atlas were designed to depict all post 
offices and the principal types of post routes. One must assume that every 
effort was made to locate each post office within the proper section and 
township. Errors noted may be more often attributed to local "reporters" 
(postmasters) than to the compiler who depended on the official records 
housed in Washington. 

Wheat credits Burr with a high level of research in the preparation of the 
large 1839 map of the United States and calls it "the most complete that 
had yet appeared. "^^ Wheat supports this belief in a discussion of the use 
of the travel accounts and manuscript map of the famous explorer, 
Jedidiah Smith. ^^ Herman Friis, on the other hand, cited the same Burr 
map as an example of "misinformation that was based on fancy rather 
than on fact. . . ."''° In reviewing the differing opinions of Wheat and Friis, 
Ristow prefers to recognize the positive contribution made by Burr to a 
new dimension in American cartography."' Commenting on the period 1820 
to 1840, Ehrenberg states; "The final contribution of 1839 was David H. 
Burr's exquisite atlas of postal maps which was engraved by the 


Arrowsmith firm in London. ""^ Single maps sold for $5.00 and the portfolio 
atlas set, folded and mounted on cloth, sold for $15.00. Never revised and 
probably not reprinted, these maps are relatively rare today. 

The cartouche (map title and explanation. Fig. 2) identified Burr as "Late 
Topographer to the Post Office" and "Geographer to the House of 
Representatives." Apparently he changed jobs in 1838 while the maps 
were being engraved by John Arrowsmith in London. Those who have 
searched the record of Burr's activities have identified him as one of the 
several most important commercial map publishers but have found it 
difficult to establish when and how he prepared his maps while working in 
his various government positions. Actually his American Atlas contains 
the first set of postal route maps ever produced. Although privately 
printed, they may be called semi-official because he had access to post 
■office records and official support for the preparation of the maps. 
Ehrenberg notes: "Despite the fact that these maps were prepared under 
the direction of the Postmaster General, each postmaster had to buy his 
own maps since they were privately produced and Congress had not 
authorized their purchase. ""^ 

Burr can be listed with several other commercial map companies of the 
period 1820 to 1840, the "Golden Age" of American cartography. Most 
users and reviewers are impressed with the quality and clarity of the 
engraving and printing of the Burr postal maps. Apparently he operated his 
map publishing business on a sporadic basis, for he sold many of his 
maps to others for publication and/or distribution. He seemed too 
dedicated to his work as surveyor, topographer, and geographer serving 
state and federal offices to be tied down to what might have been a 
lucrative publishing business. 

Map Analysis 

Table I compares the content of the mapped portion of western Illinois 
as portrayed by Burr and by Peck and Messinger (Figures 3 and 4). The 
purpose of the two maps differs as indicated in the titles (Figures 1 and 2). 
Burr's map is designed to emphasize post routes whereas the Peck- 
Messinger map was drawn up to identify the sections in the township and 
range survey system. Burr outlined the townships and the ranges but 
chose not to include the lines indicating the 36 sections in each township. 
Both maps, of course, mark the settlements and the roads connecting 
these towns and villages. Like most state maps, these two are similar in 
their identification of counties by boundary and by name. Most maps also 
were hand colored in order to distinguish even more clearly the county 

The two Illinois maps have been identified as the Burr map (copyright 
1839) and the Peck-Messinger map (dated 1836, 1838, and 1839). Each of 
these maps has a^ artistic cartouche that may be compared to the title 
page of a book (see Figures 1 and 2). Each of these "title pages" contains 
a main title indicating the geographical area covered (Illinois or Illinois & 


Missouri) and a subtitle indicating any special features depicted on the 
nnap. The New Sectional Map of Illinois by Peck and Messinger includes 
the adjective "Sectional" in the nnain title because the map seeks to 
emphasize the pattern of one square mile sections in the Township and 
Range Survey. The subtitle tells that the map exhibits internal im- 
provements, which in the 1830s meant almost exclusively the roads. The 
subtitle also states that "distances between Towns, Villages & Post Offi- 
ces" are depicted and "the outlines of Prairies, Woodlands, Marshes & 
etc." given. Other map essentials, such as names of the authors, pub- 
lishers and engravers, as well as dates and scales are usually provided 
within the cartouche. 

The "title page" or cartouche on the Burr map differs from that of the 
Peck-Messinger map; in fact. Burr's rare map was prepared as a special 
postal map by a versatile composer experienced in surveying, compiling, 
and publishing maps. Although the scale and legend are included within 
Burr's cartouche, the date (copyright) and the engraver's name are to be 
found only on the margin of the map. This dispersal of essential 
information was not uncommon on nineteenth-century maps. Today, vital 
information is often contained in various parts of the outer margin of 
modern maps which usually have less elaborate cartouches. 

Two kinds of place names provide a final interesting comparative 
analysis of the two maps: 1) settlement names and 2) river and creek 
names. Table 2 on town and village names is presented for those who may 
be interested in early place names as well as for showing differences in 
the date included by the map makers. Also, the dates for established post 
offices (Table 2) provide justification for dating the map contents, the 
information compiled on these maps of the late 1830s. Table 3 simply 
compares the river and creek names given on the map of the drainage 
system. The analysis of place names beyond the comparison of the two 
maps in ca. 1838 is not part of this study. However, maps such as these 
contribute to the analysis of changing place names."" 

Identification of dates is absolutely essential for a properly prepared 
map. The map reader, however, must be aware that two kinds of dates may 
be displayed, one indicating theitime when the information was compiled 
and the other the date of publication and/or copyright. Unfortunately, all 
too many maps include only the date of publication (or printing), often 
leaving the reader misinformed concerning the date represented by the 
contents of the map. Such was the case on many nineteenth-century 
maps, including both Burr(1839)and Peck-Messinger (1836, 1838, and later 
editions). Burr's Illinois & Missouri map was copyrighted July 10, 1839 
along with the twelve other maps that made up his American Atlas. Burr 
could not have compiled alt the information in 1839, although with help he 
may have gathered post office data within a short time span and 
super\^ised the drafting of maps during a period of a year. A com- 
prehensive analysis of post office place-names allows an estimation of 
early 1838 as the approximate date when the data on post offices were 


compiled. Table 2 lists all the post office settlements in western Illinois 
displayed on Burr's map and gives the date these post offices were 
established. Verification of dates is obtained from official post office 
records reprinted in A List of Illinois Place Names compiled by James N. 
Adams.*^ If we can accept Adam's historical listings as virtually identical 
to what Burr would have found in the Post Office Department where he 
worked, then Burr's map is remarkably complete. In only two or three 
places do Burr's mapped places differwith the post office list in 1838. 

Unlike the Burr map, which was a one-time publication with a specific 
purpose (to focus on post offices and post routes), the Peck-Messinger 
Sectional Map was published every two or three years for nearly thirty- 
three years as a business venture designed not only to serve the map 
reading public but also to make a profit. Again the dates may be more 
correct on some editions than on others, depending on the quality of 
revisions. Peck and Messinger apparently sought to emphasize the 
settlements that, on the local level or in their travel experiences, were 
important. As Table 2 indicates, they did not include all post offices on 
their 1838 map, but they did plot some places that existed as settlements 
without post offices. 

The 1838 Peck-Messinger map, the edition illustrated in this paper 
(Figures 1, 3, 5), was the first revision and does include a few changes 
since 1836. Reprintings were made from time to time not only because of 
changes in content but also because these maps appear to be copper 
engravings that render high quality but limited quantity. The relatively soft 
nature of copper necessitated that the maps be re-engraved every few 
years. And publishers of state maps were only beginning to shift over to 
newertechnology with wax engravings and the lithographic process."^ 

At first glance, the road networks represented on the two maps seem 
also to be similar. Roads seem to sweep across the landscape (i.e: the 
map) in straight lines or gentle curves connecting the various settlements. 
These maps, like others of the time, simply show the shortest distance 
between points. To have drafted the angular directions even of the main 
roads would have required a set of detailed county road maps not really 
available until after the Civil War. In truth, a number of early trails and 
roads followed the line of least resistance, avoiding rugged and marshy 
terrain and thereby disregarding the influence of section and township 
lines. By mid-century, after land claims were essentially complete, the 
prairies occupied, and field patterns developed, new roads were directed 
and old ones redirected along more angular pattern. But in 1838, Burr and 
Peck-Messinger could legitimately feature roads radiating in several di- 
rections from each of the county seats in western Illinois, inasmuch as 
settlers from all over the county needed to do official business and trade 
in the "county town." 

Clearly, no attempt was made on Burr's postal maps to draw the roads 
along exact lines, for it is the post route classification that is important 
and not the true location. The legend ("References" Fig. 2) on the car- 


touche for Burr's Map of Illinois & Missouri includes six classifications, 
the sanne as on all twelve of the state maps Burr copyrighted in 1839. Of 
course, two of the types — railroads and canals — did not yet exist in Illinois 
and Missouri. The important mail routes include the four-horse post coach 
road, the two-horse stage road, and the one horse or sulkey road. He also 
recognized important "cross roads" which apparently were not regular 
mail routes. By emphasizing the post routes rather than strict road lo- 
cation. Burr also "created bridges" over the Mississippi River at Warsaw 
and Quincy and over the Illinois River at Peoria, Havana, Beardstown, 
Meredosia, and other crossings (Figures 4 and 6). Obviously no such 
bridges existed, and Burr did not mean to imply that mail crossed the 
rivers other than by ferry. 

The natural features symbolized on the two maps differ noticeably. Peck 
and Messinger attempted to show land cover (vegetation) and drainage. 
Their map indicates by shaded symbol the vast amount of prairie land in 
the Military Tract (Figures 3 and 5). The unshaded areas are meant to 
represent predominantly wooded terrain. Both Burr and Peck-Messinger in- 
corporated a fairly complete drainage network — the rivers and streams in 
their intricate winding courses. The drainage pattern on the Burr map 
stands out clearly, in part because the map is not "cluttered" with section 
lines or with prairie land symbols. On the Peck-Messinger map, the 
combination of prairie-woodland symbols with drainage implies flat land, 
rough land, uplands, bottom lands. The drainage pattern on the superbly 
engraved Burr map also gives a reasonable impression of relief or terrain. 
As indicated in Table 1, neither elevation figures nor relief symbols are 
shown by Burr; and on the Peck-Messinger map only the bluffs symbolized 
along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers suggest distinctive terrain. Thus at 
this scale and in this time period, drainage patterns on the map offer by 
implication a partial picture of the land surface. 

Lakes and swamps add to the implied land surface. Both maps display 
large water bodies along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. In Fulton 
County, swamps are shown below the Illinois River bluffs by Peck and 
Messinger as are extensive swamps or marsh east of Havana in the Illinois 
Valley. Burr marks these same conditions by rendering lakes both in the 
Illinois River valley and in the broader flood plain to the east of the river. 
Incidentally, Burr has mislabelled the Illinois River as the Sangamon River 
just north of Beardstown. In the Mississippi Valley below Quincy, both 
maps indicate a river course paralleling the principal Mississippi channel. 
The Peck-Messinger map further emphasizes this flood plain feature by 
depicting bluffs about six miles east of the Mississippi and by naming the 
parallel stream the Snycaptee Slough — now known as the Sny. 

Table 3 compares names of rivers and creeks given on the two old maps 
with present day names in western Illinois. The labelling of most of the 
tributaries of the LaMoine River (Crooked Creek) on the Peck-Messinger 
map (Fig. 5) logically may be the result of Peck's travels into many local 
areas of the state of Illinois. Bradford (1879) provides an example from 


West-Central Illinois: "In an extensive preaching and exploring tour 
through the counties of Fulton, McDonough, Hancock, and Warren, III., 
which filled up the nnonth of June, 1832, he had various expe- 
riences — some of them by no means cheering — occasioned in part by the 
waralarms, and the Sunday musters. . . .""* 

On the subject of integrity of research, John Mason Peck himself 
recounted in his New Guide for Emigrants the time-consuming process of 
assembling accurate facts about the new West: 

It Is an easy task to a belles-lettre scholar, sitting at his desk, in an easy 
chair, and by a pleasant fire, to write 'Histories,' and 'Geographies,' and 
'Sketches,' and 'Recollections,' and 'Views,' and 'Tours,' of the Western 
Valley — but it is quite another concern to explore these regions, examine 
public documents, reconcile contradictory statements, correspond with 
hundreds of persons in public and private life, read all the histories, 
geographies, tours, sketches, and recollections that have been published, 
and correct their numerous errors — then collate, arrange, digest, and con- 
dense the facts of the country."' 

The above statement might well be applied to the monumental task of 
trying to produce a truly accurate map of even a single state the size of 
Illinois. Map makers in the 1830s, the "Golden Age of American Car- 
tography," did have relatively good data for creating accurate base maps 
of individual states. State and federal surveys were readily available and 
had been copied frequently at various scales. Some map makers were not 
averse to copying features from competitors' maps. And some willingly 
shared their work. The big problem remained, however, in preparing an 
accurate map with current and correct place names. 

How in the 1830s could a map publisher in New York or Philadelphia 
expect to make a good map without engaging the services of someone 
who had made an effort to collect systematically all the facts? Burr did the 
job by focusing upon the official post office records, which might be 
flawed in some cases by inaccurate or incomplete reporting by local 
postmasters. Colton prepared the map by engaging the best resource 
persons available on the local scene. John Mason Peck and John Mes- 
singer perhaps satisfied this legitimate need as well as anyone in the state 
of Illinois. 

The accuracy and authority of maps was strongly influenced by the 
quality of the cartographers or map compilers. Peck and Messinger fit the 
mold well: two men of the Illinois frontier who displayed remarkable 
intellectual leadership and complemented each other in their cooperative 
efforts not only to make maps but in bringing education to their Illinois 
neighbors. David H. Burr represented a different but equally talented 
type: an urban easterner who spent a lifetime as surveyor, geographer, 
topographer, cartographer, map publisher, first in New York and Wash- 
ington but later in such far flung places as Florida, Louisiana, and Utah. 

Western Illinois as well as the entire state have been well served by the 
efforts of such men to provide the best representation of the land possible 


under the prevailing circunnstances of 1838, Those who study the past in 
Illinois would do well to use both the Burr and Peck-Messinger maps in 
conjunction with narrative accounts of life in the 1830s. 


'Erwln Raisz, General Cartography, Second Edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Book 
Company, 1948), pp. 48-50. 

^Ralph E. Ehrenberg, "Mapping an Expanding Nation," chap. 8 in The Mapping of 
America by Seymour I. Schwartz and Ralph E. Ehrenberg (New York: Harry N. 
Abrams, 1980), p. 219. 

'Walter W. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in 
the Nineteenth Century (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985). 

"John Mason Peck and John Messinger, New Sectional Map of the State of 
Illinois. Compiled from the United States Surveys. Also Exhibiting the Internal 
Improvements: Distances Between Towns, Villages &c. Post Offices; The Outlines 
of Prairies, Woodlands. Marshes &c. Scale [1:633,600]. Engraved by S. Stiles & Co. 
and published by J. H. Colton & Co., New York, 1836. The map was revised in 1838, 
1839, and at least a dozen more times through 1869. 

'David H. Burr, Map of Illinois & Missouri Exhibiting the Post Offices, Post Roads, 
Canals, Rail Roads, &c. Scale [ca. 1:645,000]. Engraved by John Arrowsmith, [Lon- 
don]and copyrighted by David H. Burr, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1839. 

^Ristow, chap. 19, "The S. A. Mitchell and J. H. Colton Map Publishing Com- 
panies," pp. 303-326. Ristow, p. 315, explains the Colton company in the 1830s: 
"Like Mitchell, Colton appears to have had little or no education or training in 
geography or cartography. Their principal contributions to the success of their 
respective firms, therefore, was in administration, management, and distribution. 
Also in the pattern of Mitchell, Colton's initial cartographic publications were works 
prepared by other mapmakers. His first undertaking was the map of New York State, 
originally published in 1830 by David H. Burr. The map was re-engraved for Colton by 
Samuel Stiles of S. Stiles & Company in New York. Colton then copyrighted and 
published the map in 1833. It is the earliest Colton imprint to be identified. . . ." 

'J. M. Peck and J. Messinger, A New Map of Illinois and Part of the Wisconsin 
Territory. Scale [ca. 1:1,600,000]. Engraved and printed by Doolittle & Munson, 
Cincinnati, Ohio; copyright by J. M. Peck, 1835. 

'John Mason Peck, A Guide for Emigrants: Containing Sketches of Illinois, 
Missouri, and the Adjacent Parts (Boston: Lincoln & Edmunds, 1831), 336 p. 

'John Mason Peck, A Gazetteer of Illinois, in Three Parts: Containing a General 
View of the State, a General View of Each County, and a Particular Description of 
Each Town, Settlement, Stream, Prairie, Bottom. Bluff, Etc., Alphabetically Ar- 
ranged (Jacksonville, Illinois: R. Goudy, 1834). 

'°David A. Cobb, compiler, Illinois. Volume 4, Checklist of Printed Maps of the 
Middle West to 1900, ed. Robert W. Karrow, Jr. (Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1981) Part 
of a series of bibliographies in historical cartography sponsored by the Newberry 
Library (Chicago), this volume gives a chronological listing of Illinois maps 
cataloged in the Library of Congress and/or major Illinois libraries. 


''Colton's New Sectional Map of the State of Illinois (New York: G. W. & C. B. 
Colton, 1870). 

'^Rufus Babcock, editor, Memoir of Jotin Mason Peck: Forty Years of Pioneer Life, 
Edited from His Journals and Correspondence (Philadelphia; American Baptist 
Publication Society, 1864). Reprinted with "Introduction" by Paul M. Harrison 
(Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1965). See also: Coe Smith 
Hayne, Vanguard of the Caravans: A Life Story of John Mason Peck (Philadelphia: 
Judson Press, 1931) and Matthew Lawrence, John Mason Peck. The Pioneer 
Missionary {He\N York: Fortuny's, 1940). 

'spaul M. Harrison, "Introduction" to Babcock, Memoir, p. xxvii. 

'"The establishment by John Mason Peck of the Rock Spring (Illinois) Seminary, a 
forerunner to Shurtleff College, has been recounted in most histories of Illinois 
education and in biographical sketches of Peck. For example, see R. Carlyle Buley, 
The Old Northwest: Pioneer Period 1815-1840, Volume Two (Indianapolis: Indiana 
Historical Society, 1950), p. 407. See also Babcock (1965), chap. 19, pp. 225-233 and 
Judge J. Otis Humphrey, "Dr. John Mason Peck and Shurtleff College," Trans- 
actions of the Illinois State Historical Society, ^2 (1907), 145-163. Also: Hayne, pp. 
114-120with pictures. 

'^An example of Peck's travels in the East is given by Babcock (1965), pp. 212-224. 

'6John Reynolds, The Pioneer History of Illinois, Second Edition (Chicago: Fergus 
Printing Co., 1887), pp. 253-254. The original volume was published in 1852. 

''Harrison, p. xxviii. 

'speck, Guide for Emigrants (1831). Seefn. 8 above. 

'»Peck, Gazetteer (1834). See f n. 9 above. 

20John Mason Peck, A Gazetteer of Illinois . . . Second Edition (Philadelphia: Grigg 
& Elliot, 1837). With acknowledgement of Peck, much of the information was used in 
S. Augustus Mitchell, Illinois in 1837 [A Traveller's Guide] (Philadelphia: Gri^g & 
Elliot, 1837). Peck's gazetteers have not been reprinted in the twentieth century. 
Selected excerpts have been reprinted; see "John Mason Peck: [Excerpts] From A 
Gazetteer of Illinois," in John E, Hallwas, editor, Illinois Literature: The Nineteenth 
Century {Macomb. Illinois: Illinois Heritage Press, 1986), pp. 40-45. 

2'John Mason Peck, A New Guide For Emigrants to the West Containing Sketches 
of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan, With the Territories of Wisconsin, 
Arkansas, and the Adjacent Parts (Boston: Gould. Kendall & Lincoln, 1836, 1837, 
Revised 1843). 

22John Mason Peck, The Traveller's Directory for Illinois; Containing . . . Accurate 
Sketches of the State and a Particular Description of Each County, and Important 
Business Towns, A List of the Principal Roads. Stage and Steamboat Routes . . . the 
Whole Intended to be a Companion to the New Sectional Map of Illinois (New York: 
J. H. Colton & Co., 1839). Much of the text is derived from Peck's Gazetteer. 

"Babcock (1965), 349. 

^'Harrington, p. xiii. Quoted from Hayne, pp. 147-148. 


''Ibid., p. 269. 


"Reynolds, pp. 328-332 and p. 273. 

"/b/d., p. 330. 

2«/b/cy., p.331. 

^° I bid., p. 33^. 

^Ubid., pp. 254 and 331 . See also Robert P. Howard, Illinois: A History of the Prairie 
State (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972), p. J77 
and Buley, p. 335. 


"Ristow, pp. 103-106. Ristow reviews Burr's early work as a mapmaker in New 
York City (late 1820s and early 1830s). 

^'Ristow, p. 106. David H. Burr, A New Universal Atlas (New York: D. S. Stone, 
1835); maps engraved by lllman and Pilbrow, New York. 

"Cobb, pp. 217-227. Identifies state maps published from 1818through 1838. 

"Ristow, p. 316. Other maps Burr prepared for his A New Universal Atlas (1835) 
were revised and reprinted without Burr's name by various publishers in the 1840s 
and 1850s. 

"Ristow, p. 106. 

"Carl I. Wheat, "The Decade of the Thirties," chap. 19 in his Mapping the 
Transmississippi West, Volume 2: From Lewis and Clark to Fremont, 1804-1845 (San 
Francisco: Institute of Historical Cartography, 1958), p. 167. See also Ristow, p. 449. 

38Wheat,pp. 167-170. 

^"Herman R. Friis, "The Image of the American West at Mid-Century (1840-60): A 
Product of Scientific Geographical Exploration by the United States Government," 
in The Frontier Re-examined, ed. John Francis McDermott (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois 
Press, 1967), p. 50. 

"'Ristow, p. 447. 

"^Ehrenberg, p. 261. 

'y bid., p. 26^. 

"The task of analyzing place names historically is tedious, requiring the use of all 
types of source materials including manuscript records as well as newspapers, 
county histories, county atlases, and state, county, and town maps. A compre- 
hensive study of place names in McDonough County, Illinois, is in process by 
Gordana Rezab, Archives and Special Collections, Western Illinois University 

"^James N. Adams, A List of Illinois Place Names (Illinois Libraries, Vol. 50, Nos. 
4, 5, 6) (Springfield, Illinois State Library, 1958), 596 p. This is an excellent listing 
completed in 1961 by a long-time researcher on post offices; the guide includes 
official U.S. Post Office Department records to 1931. 

"^Ristow reviews the changing technology of mapmaking in his American Maps 
and Mapmakers. See fn. 3. 

"'Babcock, p. 251. 

"Teck (1837), p. viii. See also Harrington, pp. xxx-xxxi. 



Table 1. 


Types of Information Burr (1839) Peck-Messinger(1838) 

Administrative Boundaries 

Public Land Survey Yes Yes 

Township & Range Numbers Yes Yes 

Sections (1 mile squares) No Yes 

County Boundaries Yes Yes 

County Names Yes Yes 


County Towns (Courtf^ouse) Yes Yes 

Symbolized Yes Yes 

Capital Letters Yes Yes 

Post Offices Yes Part 

OtherVillages No Yes 

Transportation Routes 

Roads Yes Yes 

Post Roads Classified Yes No 

Other Roads Classified Yes No 

Mileage Between Towns Yes Some 

Railroads N.A. N.A. 

Canals N.A. N.A. 

Natural Features 

Prairie Lands No Yes 

Woodlands No Yes 

Swamps Some Yes 

Lakes Some Some 

Rivers, Creeks Yes Yes 

Names Given Many Many 

Drainage Pattern Yes Yes 

Relief (Terrain) No No 

Elevations Given No No 

Bluffs (Shown by Hachures) No Yes 

Table 2. 




Note: Counties listed are identified as shown on the maps. 

County seats are listed in CAPITAL LETTERS as on maps. 
All towns (settlements) listed are located by Township and Range co- 
Stark County is listed but was not separated from Putnam County until 3-2- 

Brown County (not listed) was organized 2-1-39; separated from Schuyler 
Mount Sterling (in caps 1980) is Brown's county seat. 



Henderson County (not listed)was organized 1-20-1841; separated from 

Warren County. Oquawka (in caps 1980) is Henderson's county seat. 
P.O. list includes only those existing ca. 1837 to 1839. 

Reference for Post Office Names; Adams, James N. (1968). A List of Illi- 
nois Place Names. Number 4, Volume 50 of Illinois Libraries. 

Pike County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab.- 




(6-20-36 Disc.) 



Pleasant Hill 


Pleasant Hill 













Highland P.O. 







(Not 1B30S) 




Clear Lake 










Pleasant Vale 


Pleasant Vale 

New Canton 












(7-20-41 Disc.) 

Clio P.O. 











Adams County 


P.O. Estab. 









(10-23-37 Disc.) 




(2-13-38 Disc.) 






Liberty P.O. 

(New Location) 


















Walnut Point P.O. 




Ursa P.O. 



(No P.O.) 














Lima P.O. 


Schuyler County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 




(No P.O.) 



Sugar Grove 




(Not 1830s) 





(9-7-39 Disc.) 


(No P.O.) 



Mt. Sterling 


Mount Sterling 



(No P.O.) 



TIN ,R.1E. 

Wilcox Creek 


(Pleasant View?) 

T.1N., R.2W. 






TIN., R.4W. 


(2-7-37 Trf.) 

Daviston P.O. 


(No P.O.) 









(9-10-38 Disc.) 











Hancock County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 








T.3N ,R.6W. 




Fort Edwards 



T.4N.,R 5W. 






St. Mary 


St. Mary's P.O. 

St Mary 


Green Plains 


Green Plains P.O. 

















Fountain Green 


Fountain Green P.O 

Fountain Green 







East Bend 


Dallas City 











McDonough Co. 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 






Brattleville P.O. 



Walkers Grove 


Walkers Grove P.O. 

T.5&6N.,R.2&3W. MACOMB 
T.5N.,R.4W. Wooster 

T.7N.,R.4W. Muddy Lane 

(5-5-37 Disc.) 


11-18-34 Worcester P.O. 

5-27-37 -- (Blandinsville?) 

Fulton County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 













(No. P.O.) 



(No P.O. 1830s) 









(No P.O.) 








(3-3-37 Disc.) 

Bennington P.O. 


Copperas Creek 



Jackson Grove 


Jackson Grove P.O. 






T.6N ,R.1E. 

(No P.O.) 





(2-25-35 Disc.) 












Middle Grove 


Middle Grove P.O. 

Middle Grove 








Peoria County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 









(No P.O.) 

P. Mills 






(No P.O.) 




(No P.O.) 




(name missing) 








Robins Nest 









French Creek 



North Hampton 








(See Knox Co.) 

(No P.O.) 



Warren County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 




Swan Creek 


Swan Creek 




Shockakoa P.O. 


Ellisons Creek 

(1-23-40 Disc.) 


Cold Brook 


(Cold Brook) 












Spring Grove 


Spring Grove P.O. 


T.12N ,R.3W. 



CedarCreek P 0. 


Knox County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 









(No P.O.) 

(See Peoria Co.) 

(Peoria Co.) 
















Henry County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 






(in Kewanee) 






Mercer County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 




Popes Cr. 






New Boston 


Farlows Grove 


(Near Boden or 

Stark County 

Burr (1839) 

P.O. Estab. 










(10-9-39 Disc.) 



(No P.O.) 




Table 3 


A. Drainage to Mississippi River 


Burr (1839) 




Edwards R, 

Edwards Riv. 

Edwards River 

Popes River 

Popes R. 

Pope Creek 


Henderson R. 

Hendersons R 

Henderson Creek 

(Cedar Creek) 

Cedar Fork 




South Henderson Creek 

Ellisons Cr. 


Ellisons Creek 


Honey Cr. 

Honey Creek 



Dugout Creek 


Bear Creek 

North Fork 







North Fork 



South Fork 

South Fork 



Snycaptee Slough 



Bay Creek 

Bay Creek 

B. Drainage to Illinois River 


Burr (1839) 



STARK (Putnam) 

Spoon River 

Spoon River 

Spoon River 


Spoon River 

Spoon River 

Spoon River 



Walnut Creek 



Haw Creek 





Kickapoo R. 

Kickapoo R. 

Kickapoo R. 


(Copperas Cr.) 

Copperas Cr. 

Copperas Creek 



Duck Creek 



Buckheart Creek 

Spoon River 

Spoon River 

Spoon River 

West Fork 

West Fork 

Swan Creek 



Put Creek 


Sheens C. 

Shaw Creek 


Big Creek 

Big Creek 

Otter Creek 

Otter Creek 



West Fork 

West Fork 

Swan Creek/Cedar Creek 



R. La Mine 

Crooked Creek 

LaMoine River 



LaMoine River 



South Branch 


Deckers Cr. 

LaHarpe Creek 


Job Or 

Baptist Creek 


R. La Mine 

Browning Fork 

LaMoine River-East Fork 



East Fork 


Spring Creek 

Spring Creek 


Town F. 

Killjordan Creek 

• • 





Camp Creek 





(Wilcox Cr.) 




Crooked Creek 



McKees Creek 

McKee Creek 



McKees Creek 

McKee Creek 

**— Creek on nnap 

but NO name g 



John Lee AUaman 

Vigilantes! The word immediately conjures up images of fast guns, mob 
law, and lynchings. It is almost always associated with the raw frontier 
mining camps of Montana, Nevada, and California in the late 1800s where 
no organized law existed. The basic justification for vigilance committees 
was given by early Montana historian Thomas J. Dimsdale in 1866, when 
he wrote, "society must be preserved from demoralization and anarchy; 
murder, arson and robbery must be prevented or punished. . . . Justice, and 
protection from wrong to person or property, are the birthright of every 
American citizen. . . ." Dimsdale claimed that a vigilance committee 
should be established "where justice is powerless as well as blind." 
Hubert H. Bancroft, writing in 1887, said that the people have a "bounden 
duty, to hold perpetual vigil in all matters relating to their governance, to 
guard their laws with circumspection, and sleeplessly to watch their 
servants chosen to execute them."^ 

Mob violence does not always equal vigilantism. Several studies have 
proven that vigilantism has many different levels of severity. Definitions of 
vigilantism can run the spectrum from illegal mob violence to any kind of 
policing action by a group other than the duly constituted governmental 
law enforcement agencies. Richard Maxwell Brown in Strain of Violence 
proved that vigilantes or regulators (as they were called before 1851) 
existed in most sections of the United States during the nineteenth 
century. He claimed that vigilante groups existed for only a short while 
and disappeared when the criminal actions that fostered their creation 
were eliminated. Brown classified organized anti-horse thief associations 
as non-vigilante policing groups, but Patrick B. Nolan, in "Vigilantes on 
the Middle Border," claimed that they were vigilante organizations. During 
1879, in Clark County, Missouri, an anti-horse thief association hanged 
one accused murderer after he had been declared not guilty in a court of 

Vigilantes have been defined in various ways. In this study, any semi- 
organized extra-legal group promoting law and order is viewed as a 
vigilante organization. This definition includes claim associations and 
anti-horse thief associations as well as acknowledged regulators and 



Without a doubt, mob and vigilante activities are hard to define. A mob 
can become an organized vigilante group, or organized vigilantes can be 
involved in mob actions. The distinct difference between a vigilante group 
and a mob group is supposed to be organization. Vigilantes are thought to 
be more ordered and controllable in their actions. But both mob violence 
andvigilantismare examples of a populace willing to take action against a 
perceived threat to their existence or lifestyle. 

Illinois has witnessed some vigilante and mob activities. Richard Brown 
listed sixteen counties in Illinois as having been scenes of vigilante 
activity in the 1800s. Both southern and northern Illinois are known for 
their vigilante activities. In the 1840s, regulators were active in Ogle 
County, "to free themselves from the dominion and presence of the law- 
defying, terror-inspiring and crime-stained" outlaws that seemed to con- 
trol the county government. In southern Illinois in the same period, in the 
counties of Johnson, Pope, and Massac, virtual civil war existed between 
two rival vigilante groups called the Regulators and the Flatheads. 
Incidents of vigilantism and violence in Illinois also existed in the late 
1800s. In the 1860s and 1870s, the Bloody Vendetta in Williamson County 
became a very well organized family feud with supporters on each side 
trying to exterminate the other side. In 1881, the central Illinois counties of 
Woodford and McLean recorded a lynching attempt by the Woodford 
County Protective Vigilance Committee and a mob hanging that occurred 
in downtown Bloomington.^ 

Western Illinois also had a record of violence and vigilantes. In Morgan 
and Scott counties in the 1820s, regulators were thought so highly of that 
the mythical character of Captain Slick, the regulator, became a part of 
local folklore. The word "slick" may have been a short word for slickering 
or whipping with a hickory stick. In the 1830s, Mercer County is known to 
have had an informal claim association that protected squatter rights. 
Some individuals who settled on public lands in Mercer County had never 
purchased their claims from the federal government. To protect their 
illegal land claims, some residents gathered together to intimidate legit- 
imate purchasers of federal lands from settling areas already occupied by 
the squatters. Mormon and anti-Mormon conflict in Hancock County in the 
1840s forced organized anti-Mormons at Carthage to publicly adopt in 
September, 1843, a resolution claiming "That when the Government 
ceases to afford protection, the citizens of course fall back upon their 
original inherent right of self-defense." The right of self defense ultimately 
ended in the 1844 mob murder of Joseph Smith. Two other examples of 
mob and vigilante activity occurred in the 1870s. In 1873, at Yates City in 
Knox County, a sex murderer was almost lynched by an enraged mob. In 
1876, a convicted murderer was legally hanged in Henderson County and 
members of the Henderson County Union Vigilance Committee had been 
present during his trial and incarceration to make sure justice was 


While many examples and stories of vigilantism seem to exist, little 
attention has been paid to the source documents of the vigilante 
commitees, such as minute books or constitutions. Only a small number 
of vigilante documents have been published over the years. ^ In Illinois, no 
modern scholarly writing has reprinted any old vigilante documents. There 
are two reasons for this: often the records have not survived, and usually 
vigilante activities were conducted in secrecy and no records were kept. 
However, local community newspapers often reported activities of the 
vigilante committees. 

One example is the constitution of the Greenbush Mutual Protecting 
Company in Warren County. The printed constitution appeared in both the 
Monmouth Atlas for September 6, 1850 and the Oquawka Spectator for 
September 18, 1850. This constitution is unique for two reasons. The 
existence of the document shows that rural non-river counties also had 
law enforcement problems just like the supposedly more violent river 
counties. Secondly, the constitution lists the names of several members of 
the organization so a determination can be made of the socio-economic 
status of some of them.« 

The major reasons for the creation of the Greenbush Mutual Protecting 
Company seems to have been a rash of horse-thievery, robbery, and 
counterfeiting in the area. The specific incident that evoked the company 
occurred a few weeks before in the town of Greenbush: during a funeral 
service, a grocery was entered and money was taken. The idea of vigilante 
justice must have been popular in Warren County because in the same 
issue of the Monmouth Atlas that carried the publication of the Greenbush 
constitution there was also an editorial praising the creation of the 
company. C. K. Smith, editor of the Monmouth Atlas, wrote, "We regard 
this movement [the Mutual Protecting Company] as a good one, and 
believe it to be perhaps the only manner in which the horde of thieves and 
counterfeiters now infecting this portion of the state, can be routed and 
driven away." He went on to write that "Hardly a day passes that we do 
not hear of stealing of some sort in our immediate vicinity or nearby."^ 

The Greenbush Mutual Protecting Company was organized to protect 
the residents of Greenbush and the surrounding area in southeastern 
Warren County from horse thieves and counterfeiters. The company was 
created twenty years after the first settler had arrived in the Greenbush 
area in 1830. The Greenbush Company was instituted along paramilitary 
lines with a captain as head of the outlaw pursuing company of seven 
individuals. The founders of the group believed they were a lawful and 
legal institution because they ordered that "a faithful record of all the 
proceedings of said company" should be kept. The company had some 
kind of pseudo legal legitimacy when it was claimed in the constitution 
that the "laws of the State allows fifty dollars for the apprehension and 
conviction of a horse thief." One would assume that since the company 
boldly advertised its creation that it received tacit approval of its existence 
from the Warren County sheriff and court system. It was planned that the 



group would meet every three months to conduct a business meeting and 
have a captain, treasurer, and secretary as officers." 

Usually, organized vigilance committees were made up of the pros- 
perous and property owning members of a community or locale. They had 
the most to lose so they wanted to protect their property from the 
unsavory elements of society. The membership list of the Greenbush 
Mutual Protecting Company, which appeared with the constitution, seems 
to reinforce the idea that a vigilance committee was made up of the pillars 
of society. The following table taken from the 1850 United States Census 
for Warren County shows that most of the members of the company were 
in their thirties and owned property. 

Occupa- Value of Place of 

Name Age tion Real Estate Birth 

Philip J. Karnes 35 Cooper 800 Germany 

Hezekiah Simmons 44 Farmer 1800 Mass. 

Alfred Osborn 36 Merchant 500 Maine 

Stephen Laurance 38 Farmer 1000 Ohio 

JohnA.Waugh 36 Farmer 500 Virginia 

Peyton A. Vaughnn 39 Farmer 2900 Virginia 

John C. Bond 50 Farmer 780 Tennessee 

John A. Butler 23 Farmer Ohio 

Wm. H.Pierce 34 Farmer 1320 Vermont 

Reuben Holeman 33 Farmer 1000 Indiana 

The major occupation listed was farmer, but a cooper and a merchant 
were also included. The place of birth for the members was almost equally 
divided between the northeastern, midwestern, and southern parts of the 
United States. Hence, the company was not made up entirely of 
supposedly violent southern-born hotheads who would rather settle 
problems with violence than negotiation. ^ 

The first officers of the company were prominent individuals of the 
Greenbush area. Captain John C. Bond (December 25, 1799-May 20, 1882) 
was a land owner, an Illinois militia major, and a Justice of the Peace for 
Greenbush. He had also served as an early V\/arren County Commissioner. 
Bond had been born in Tennessee but moved in the late 1820s to Morgan 
County, Illinois and then about 1834 he moved to Warren County. Qne 
wonders if Bond had gained a positive appreciation of vigilantism from the 
early settlers of Morgan County. Alfred Osborn, the treasurer, operated a 
mercantile store in the town of Greenbush for some years. William H. 
Pierce (January 23, 1816-February 25, 1880), the secretary of the company, 
was a school teacher, shoemaker, and land owning farmer. He had come 
to Greenbush in 1836. He was a fever medicine salesman in the 1840s and 
he happened to be in Carthage in Hancock County the day Joseph Smith 
was killed by a mob.'° 

Interestingly, the constitution of the Greenbush Mutual Protecting 
Company and the socio-economic level of its members compares favor- 


./^'O'^^x C^aJ cr^'/^>^. 


John C. Bond 



William H. Pieice 


ably with the famous San Francisco Connnriittee of Vigilance created on 
June 9, 1851. The 1851 and 1856 San Francisco Vigilance Connnnittees gave 
vigilantism a new respectability as well as a new name. Regulators 
became vigilantes. While the constitution of the 1851 Committee of 
Vigilance is a little more specific about security for life and prosperity, the 
San Francisco committee was somewhat similar to the Greenbush 
company in having a president, secretary, and treasurer as well as a 
sergeant at arms. The San Francisco committee was also composed of 
individuals with an economic stake in the community. Most of them were 
merchants, clerks, or tradesmen. While the San Francisco committee 
strongly claimed that it was "for the maintenance of the peace and good 
order of Society and the preservation of laws and property," the actual 
constitution was not as lengthy or detailed as the Greenbush con- 

The existence of the Greenbush Mutual Protecting Company con- 
stitution proves that vigilantism once existed in Warren County. The 
backgrounds of the members of the company show that they were not 
wild-eyed radicals but rather prosperous property owning citizens bent on 
retaining their conception of an orderly society. They believed that the 
Greenbush company was a legitimate legal institution. While the con- 
stitution seems to imply that the company was very law abiding and only 
existed to help enforce the laws of Illinois, the actual record of the 
vigilantes in capturing and punishing local lawbreakers is unknown. The 
organization probably did not survive through the Civil War era. 


At an adjourned meeting of the citizens of Green Bush and vicinity, they 
convened at the school-house in Green Bush, on Saturday the 24th of 
August, forthe purpose of organizing a 


Whereupon, Maj. John C. Bond was selected as chairman, Wm. H. Pierce 
chosen as secretary. The object of the meeting having been explained by 
Maj. Bond, he thereupon, on behalf of the committee appointed at a 
previous meeting, presented the following Constitution and by-laws, which 
were unanimously adopted: 

Article 1st. This company shall be called the Mutual Protecting Com- 
pany, and it shall be their duty to catch all horse-thieves and coun- 
terfeiters that commit any depredations upon said company. 

Art. 2d. This company shall consist of one Captain and such other 
officers as the company may see fit to elect. 

Art. 3d. The Captain shall preside as chairman at all meetings of said 
company if present, and if not, the company to appoint one of their 
members chairman pro tem. 


Art. 4th. There shall be one Treasurer elected by said company, whose 
duty it shall be to safe keep all moneys that may come into his hands 
belonging to said company, and pay the same out when called for. 

Art. 5th. There shall be a committee of vigilance consisting of seven, 
who shall be elected by said company, whose duty it shall be when 
anything is stolen, or any counterfeit money passed, to draw on the 
treasurer for money and select men to follow said thief or counterfeiter, 
and the one that lost the property, or had the counterfeit money passed on 
him, if not too old or sick to be one that goes. 

Art. 6th. Each member of the company, shall at the time he joins said 
company, pay into the treasury fifty cents, subject to be called upon for 
fifty cents more in case it is needed. 

Art. 7th. No man can become a member of this company after he has 
had his property stolen for the purpose of drawing money out of the 
treasury to gain it. 

Art. 8th. There shall be one secretary elected by the company whose 
duty it shall be to keep a faithful record of all the proceedings of said 
company, and it shall be the duty of the treasurer to report to the secretary 
every three months of all the money in his hands belonging to said 

Art. 9th. The officers of this company shall hold their office for one year, 
and until their successors are elected. 

Art. 10th. This company shall meet every three months, at such time and 
place as said company may determine, but they cannot transact business 
unless there is a majority of said members present. 

Art. 11th. This company may dissolve at any regular meeting, by two- 
thirds of said company voting for the same, and if the money in the hands 
of the treasurer has not been appropriated to be returned to the person 
who gave it. 

Art. 12th. It is not expected that the men who follow the thief and catch 
him, will receive anything from the company more than their expenses, as 
the laws of the State allows fifty dollars for the apprehension and 
conviction of a horse thief. 

Art. 13th. All persons wishing to become members of this company, can 
do so, by paying their money to one of the officers of said company, if they 
have a good moral character, and that officer paying it over to the 
treasurer, or pay it over to the treasurer themselves. 

After the adoption of the above constitution, upon motion, Reuben 
Holeman, Stephen Lieurance, Hezekiah Simmons, John Butler, Philip 
Karnes, Peyton A. Vaughan and John A. Waugh, were elected a committee 
of vigilance. 

Also upon motion, Maj. Bond was elected Captain of said company, 
Alfred Osborn, Esq., Treasurer, and William H. Pierce, Secretary. 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meetmg be signed by the 
Chairman and Secretary, and the Secretary forward the same to the 
editors of the Atlas and Spectator for publication 


Resolved, That this company adjourn to meet at the school house in 
Greenbush, on the first Monday in November next. 

JOHN C. BOND, Pres't. 
Wm. H. Pierce, Sec'y. 


'Thomas J. Dimsdale, The Vigilantes of Montana or Popular Justice in the Rocky 
Mountains . . . (Virginia City, MT.; Montana Post Press, D. W. Tilton & Co , Book and 
and Job Printers, 1866; reprint ed., n.p.; Time Life Books, Inc., 1981), p 15. and 
Hubert Howe Bancroft, Popular Tribunals, 2 vols.. The Works of Hubert Howe 
Bancroft, vols. 36, 37 (San Francisco: The History Company, Publishers, 1887), 1,9. 

^Richard Maxwell Brown, Strain of Violence: Historical Studies of American Vio- 
lence and Vigilantism (New York; Oxford Univ. Press, 1975), pp. 95-133: Craig B. 
Little and Christopher P. Sheffield, "Frontiers and Criminal Justice: English Private 
Prosecution Societies and American Vigilantism in the Eighteen and Nineteenth 
Centuries," American Sociological Review, 48 (1983), 786-808; Patrick Bates Nolan, 
"Vigilantes on the Middle Border; A Study of Self-Appointed Law Enforcement in the 
States of the Upper Mississippi from 1840 to 1880" (Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of 
Minnesota, 1971), pp. 150-165; Philip D. Jordan, Frontier Law and Order: Ten Essays 
(Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1970), pp. 93-95; and J. W. Murphy, Outlaws of the 
Fox River Country: Story of the Whiteford and Spencer Tragedies (Hannibal, Mo.: 
Hannibal Printing Company, 1882), pp. 109-14. 

^Brown, p. 309; Rodney O. Davis, "Judge Ford and ttie Regulators, 1841-1842," in 
Selected Papers in Illinois History 1981, ed. Bruce D. Cody (Springfield: Illinois State 
Historical Society, 1982), pp. 25-36; Thre History of Ogle County. Illinois . (Chicago: 
H. F. Kett & Co., 1878), p. 369; James A. Rose, "The Regulators and Flatheads in 
Southern Illinois," in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for the 
Year 7906(1906), 108-121; Paul M. Angle, Bloody Williamson: A Chapter in American 
Lawlessness (New York; Alfred A. Knopf, 1952), pp. 72-88; Milo Erwin, The History of 
Williamson County, Illinois . . . (Marion, Illinois: n.p., 1876; reprint ed,, Marion, Illi- 
nois; Williamson County Historical Society, 1976), pp. 114-233; George W Young, 
"The Williamson County Vendetta," in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical 
Society for the Year 1914 (1915), 122-129; "The Vigilantes,' Bloomington 
Pantagraph, 4 March 1881, p. 1; "Missed His Hanging," Bloomington Pantagraph. 8 
March 1881, p. 4; H. Clay Tate, The Way It Was in McLean County 1972-1822 
(Bloomington, Illinois: McLean County History '72 Association, 1972), pp. 58-61; and 
Robert S. Johnston, "Early Crime and Punishment in Illinois," Illinois State 
Genealogical Society Quarterly. 18(1986), 3 

"Jacksonville Illinois Patriot. 31 August 1833, p. 2: 7 September 1833, p 2; John E 
Hallwas, Western Illinois Heritage (Macomb, Illinois; Illinois Heritage Press, 1983) 
pp. 29-31; Don Harrison Doyle, The Social Order of a Frontier Community 
Jacksonville. Illinois 1825-70 (Urbane. Univ. of Illinois Press, 1978), pp. 209-210 
Clarke Thomas and Jack Glendenning, The Slicker War (Aldrich, Missouri: Bona 
Publishing Company, 19h4), p. 1, Rodney 0. Davis, "Coming to Terms witfi County 
Histories," Western Illinois Regional Studies 2 (1979), 150, 155: History of Mercer 
and Henderson Counties . . (Chicago H. H. Hill and Company. 1882), pp 80, 279-81, 
707. 747, Joseph Smith. Jr., History of the Chinch ol ./ Christ of Latter Day 


Saints, ed B H. Roberts, 2nd ed , rev., 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book 
Company. 1976. paperback ed., 1978), 6:7; A. M. Swan, Life. Trial. Conviction. 
Confession and Execution of Jotin Marion Osborne . . . (Peoria, III.: National 
Democrat Print, 1873), pp. 10-13; and John Lee Allaman, "The Crime, Trial, and 
Execution of William W. Lee of East Burlington, Illinois," Western Illinois Regional 
Studies 6 (^983). 34. 56,58,61. 

""See Porter Garnett, ed., Papers of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 
1851 I. Publications of the Academy of Pacific Coast History, vol. 1, no 7 (Berkeley: 
Univ. of California, 1910), pp. 291-92; Benjamin F. Shambaugh, ed.. Constitution and 
Records of the Claim Association of Johnson County Iowa (Iowa City: State 
Historical Society of Iowa, 1894; reprint ed., New York; Arno Press, 1979), pp. 3-16; 
Charles W. Shull, ed., "Ivlinutes of Vigilance Committee, Florence Nebraska, May 
29-July 30. 1857," Nebrasl<a History 58 (1977). 73-87; "Roxbury Committee of 
Vigilance, 1834-1835." fVlassachusetts Historical Society Proceedings 53 (1920), 325- 
331; and "Thieves Beware," The Palimpsest 13(1932). 487-94. 

^"f^ulual Protecting Company," Monmouth Atlas. 6 September 1850, p. 2, "fy/iutuai 
Protecting Company," Oquawka Spectator, 18 September 1850, p. 2, and Nclan, p. 

'"Protection Against Horse Thieves and Counterfeiters," Monmouth Atlas, 6 
September 1850, p. 2 

^Monmouth Atlas. 6 September 1850, p. 2; and Oquawka Spectator. 18 September 
1850. p. 2. 

^Brown, p. 97, U.S. National Archives, 1850 Census, Population Schedule for 
Warren County, Illinois, and Richard Maxwell Brown, "Southern Violence — 
Regional Problem or National Nemesis?: Legal Attitudes Toward Southern Homi- 
cide in National Perspective," Vanderbilt Law Review 32 (1979). 225-50. 

'"William L. Snapp, Early Days in Greenbush with Biographical Sketches of the 
Old Settlers (Springfield, III.: H. W. Rokker Co., Printers and Binders, 1905; reprint 
ed., Roseville, Illinois: Carlberg Printing Co., n.d), pp. 49-52. 12. 154-155; and Portrait 
and Biographical Album of Warren County, Illinois . . (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 
1886; reprint ed.; [Roseville, Illinois: Carlberg Publishing Co., 1979]), pp. 189-90 

''Mary Floyd Williams, History of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 
1851 . . . (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1921; reprint ed.. New York: Da Capo 
Press, 1969), pp. 186-207. For other studies see Brown, Strain of Violence, pp 134- 
143; Bancroft, Popular Tribunals: David A. Johnson, "Vigilance and the Law: The 
Moral Authority of Popular Justice in the Far West." American Quarterly 33 (1981). 
558-586; Joseph M. Kelly, "Shifting Interpretation of the San Francisco Vigilantes," 
Journal of the West 24 (1985), 39-46; and Robert M. Senkewicz, Vigilantes m Gold 
Rush San Francisco (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1985). 


Donald W. Griffin 

A previous article in this journal emphasized the influence of the 
Hennepin Canal in creating a sense of place for people in the waterway's 
vicinity who were associated with its history over several decades.' 
Equally significant is how the canal functioned as a community — or even 
possibly a "company town" — for the overseers, locktenders, and patrol- 
men and their families because of a single employer, defined work styles, 
and a common life style which, however, featured different degrees of 
status. Further, limited evidence suggests that son followed father as 
canal employees, and both father and son were often employed on the 
canal during the same span of years. ^ 

The main line of the Hennepin Canal was a seventy-five mile route from 
the great bend of the Illinois River west to the fvlississippi River. A twenty- 
nine mile canal feeder from Rock Falls on the Rock River to a point 
between Sheffield and Mineral supplied water to the main line; the water 
then flowed east and west through a series of pools and locks. Con- 
struction of the waterway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began in 
1892 and was completed in 1907. The first ship through on November 8, 
1907, was the U.S. Marlon. Commercial traffic on the canal ceased July 1, 
1951, and on August 1, 1970, the ownership deed was transferred from the 
federal government to the state of Illinois.^ 

There were thirty-two locks on the canal's main line. From Lock 1 on the 
Illinois River, the canal ascended 196 feet in eighteen miles to the summit 
at Lock 21 west of Wyanet. (Canal locks were numbered consecutively 
from the Illinois River.) The summit between Lock 21 and Lock 22 was 
eleven miles in length. From Lock 22 the canal descended to the Rock 
River northeast of Moline and then to Milan and the Mississippi River at 
Lock 32. A guard lock (Lock 33) at the head of the feeder controlled the 
flow of water from a dam on the Rock River. The entire canal right-of-way 
was delimited by wire strung on 165-pound fence posts manufactured by 
the Corps of Engineers at a post factory just west of Lock 17. 

During the more than forty years of commercial operation the corps 
employed fifty or more men full-time to operate and maintain the canal." 
This labor force, all civilians, was under the supervision of the corps' Rock 
Island district office; the engineer-in-charge lived at Lock 33. 


In addition to locktenders, the full-time labor force included overseers 
and patrolmen. The overseers administered sections of the canal, which 
varied in length from four to twelve miles. Each overseer supervised the 
locktenders and patrolmen in his section, and was responsible for hiring 
part-time employees during the summer months for maintenance work. 
Overseers were provided with motor launches. Patrolmen were respon- 
sible for maintaining their sections of the canal, particularly in regard to 
preventing breaks from occurring in the canal banks. 

All full-time civilian employees lived in corps-owned houses whose rent 
was deducted from their salaries. Each house was provided with a large 
garden plot and, in some cases, an orchard. The corps encouraged each 
employee to keep stock which were allowed to graze on the canal right-of- 
way. The corps also granted locktenders and patrolmen exclusive trapping 
rights in the area adjacent to their homes. ^ In addition to supplementing 
income, the grazing stock helped control the grass cover, while trapping, 
especially of muskrat, reduced the threat of breaks in the canal banks.® 

Each house on the canal was connected by telephone. As with the fence 
posts that marked the canal right-of-way, the telephone poles were of 
concrete, each weighing 750 pounds, and manufactured at the post 
factory west of Lock 17. The main purpose of the telephone system was to 
alert locktenders in advance of an approaching boat so that the lock could 
be readied for entering. Undoubtedly, the telephone system had a sec- 
ondary, social function in that it allowed each employee (and their fam- 
ilies) to maintain close, personal contact, even during the winter months 
when the canal was closed to navigation. 

The Hennepin Canal was open to navigation for an average of eight 
months a year. During this eight-month period, barges were locked, banks 
were patrolled and strengthened, boats repaired, and otherwise general 
maintenance performed. In addition, locktenders were responsible for 
keeping the grass cover mowed 500 feet above and below each lock; in 
some cases, flower beds were planted along the sides of the locks.' 

The common, but slightly different life styles of the canal community 
can be seen in the types of houses constructed by the Corps of Engineers. 
The largest house on the canal, which was built of concrete blocks, was 
the residence of the engineer-in-charge at Lock 33. The houses of the 
civilian employees, while smaller in size than the residence at Lock 33, 
featured some notable differences. 

Thirteen of fourteen overseers' houses were built by the corps. Seven of 
the corps-built houses were of common design, being two-story frame 
structures with eight rooms on a foundation twenty-four feet by thirty 
feet.* Each overseers' house had indoor plumbing, which was a mark of 
social status during the first half of the century. 

The corps also constructed thirty-eight houses for locktenders and 
patrolmen. Somewhat smaller than the overseers' houses, thirty were 
identical two-story frame structures with gambrel roofs containing seven 
rooms on a foundation twenty-two feet by twenty-eight feet.« The lock- 



Residence of the engineer-in-charge at the head of the feeder (Lock 33). (Photograph 
courtesy of Hennepin Canal Parkway.) 


Fronn left, overseers Claik Abbott, George F Echert, Jr., W. H. Murphy, George F. 
Echert, Sr., and Engineer Patrick Walton, fall, 1907. (Photograph courtesy of 
Hennepin Canal Parkway.) 


Overseer's house at Mile 26 from the Illinois River north of Sheffield. (Photograph 
courtesy of Hennepin Canal Parkway.) 

The Locktender's houseboat at Lock 1. (Photograph courtesy 

1 Canal 


^ '' 




Patrolman's house on the feeder, 3.9 miles north of the summit. (Photograph 
courtesy of Hennepin Canal Parkway.) 







^^^^ ,^ 


^^BK^ „,ji„»~.. ^M 



||! IiihPwB 


Overseer's and locktender's houses at Lock 22. (Photograph courtesy of Hennepin 

Canal Parkway.) 




Locktender's house at Lock 19 immediately south of Wyanet. (Photograph courtesy 
of Hennepin Canal Parkway.) 

Partially restored locktender's house at Lock 19, 


Overseer's house at Lock 24 north of Geneseo. (Phot( 
Canal Parkway.) 

raph courtesy of Hennepin 

The post factory west of Lock 17 where cunciele Ifnue pObiy and telephone poies 
were manufactured, c. 1970 All that remains today are the factory's foundations. 
(Photograph courtesy of Hennepin Canal Parkway ) 



Partially restored overseer's house at Mile 20. (Photograph courtesy of Hennepin 
Canal Parkway.) 

* :-i 

i stSiib. W..: 

•*"--• ^5fc*e^ 


Former locktender's house directly north of Lock 11 and now a private residence. 
The house was moved from south of the lock to its present location in the 1960s. 


tender's residence at Lock 1 also consisted of seven rooms, but was a 
houseboat which was moved during the winter months and put into dry 
dock. All of these houses lacked indoor plumbing. 

In 1961 the Army Corps of Engineers began rehabilitation work as part of 
an agreement with the state that would ultimately transfer the canal right- 
of-way to the Illinois Department of Conservation. Also at this time, the 
corps tried to find buyers for most of the canal houses rather than 
demolishing the structures. Unfortunately, in most instances there are no 
records which indicate who purchased the houses and where they are now 
located. Several other houses that remained on canal property were 
allowed to deteriorate, but are currently being restored. 

Of the fifty-four original houses, eight remain, five of them on canal 
property. The residence of the engineer-in-charge at Lock 33 is occupied 
by an employee of the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of 
Water Resources, and the overseer's house at Mile 26 from the Illinois 
River is rented to a private citizen. 

The overseer's house at Mile 20 is vacant as are the locktenders' houses 
at Lock 19 and Lock 33. The locktender's house at Lock 17 was moved 
from its original site to canal property on Canal Street southeast of 
Wyanet, and is occupied by a Department of Conservation police officer. 
Finally, the locktenders' houses at Lock 11 and Lock 22 were moved just 
off canal property at those locations, and are now private residences. 

Thus, little remains of what was once a well-defined and even distinctive 
community of people bound by a common purpose. Still, enough elements 
of the canal's cultural landscape are present to convey a sense of place 
from a former era of state history. 


I wish to thank Judy DeRycke of the Hennepin Canal Parkway Visitor Center for 
her help in providing the historic photographs used in this article. 

'Donald W. Griffin, "Recollections of the Hennepin Canal," Western Illinois 
Regional Studies, 4 (^9^^), 50-76. 

^Glenn E. Philpott, "The I. and M. Canal," in Jerrilee Cain, John E. Hallwas, and 
Victor Hicken, eds., Tales From Two Rivers, II (Macomb: Two Rivers Arts Council 
and College of Fine Arts Development, Western Illinois University, 1982), p. 223. 

'For a more detailed discussion of the canal's construction and commercial 
operation phases, see Griffin, pp. 50-51, 55-57; Ruth J. Armstrong, "The Illinois and 
Mississippi (Hennepin) Canal," unpublished master's thesis, Illinois State Uni- 
versity, 1961, pp. 19-44; John Joseph Steinbach, "History of the Illinois and Missis- 
sippi Canal," unpublished master's thesis, Illinois State University, 1965, pp. 33-92; 
Mary M. Yeater, "The Hennepin Canal, parts three-five," Bulletin of the American 
Canal Society, nos. 20-22 (November, 1976-February, 1978). (Reprint); and Gerald A. 
Newton, "National Heritage Corridor Criteria: The Hennepin Canal as a Case 
Study," unpublished master's thesis. Western Illinois University, 1985, pp. 69-80. All 


Of these materials are on file in the Archives and Special Collections section of the 
Western Illinois University Library. 

The history of the Hennepin Canal from its closing as a commercial waterway in 
1951 to ownership by the state of Illinois in 1970 may be found in Newton, pp. 80-87, 
and Gerald A. Newton, John A. McFarland, and Donald W. Griffin, "The Hennepin 
Canal: New Life for an Old Waterway," Western Illinois Regional Studies, 7 (1984), 

'"Hennepin Canal Historic District, National Register of Historic Places Inventory 
Nomination Form," July 29, 1977 (Archives and Special Collections, Western Illinois 
University Library), p. 17. (Prepared by Mary M. Yeater.) 

^Ibid.,p. 18. 


'Ibid., p. 58. 

^"Hennepin Canal Historic District " p. 10. 

«lbid.,p. 11. 




George Kurman 

In 1985, three volumes of Mats Traat's selected works were published on 
the eve of the writer's fiftieth birthday, thereby confirming Traat's position 
as one of the leading Estonian authors of the last quarter century. In 1986, 
Traat followed with a new collection of verse, remarkable for — among 
other things — the continuation of a cycle with which he has been 
identified since 1961: the so-called "Harala Biographies." This cycle, open- 
ended and numbering well over fifty pieces by now, consists of free-verse 
poems in the speaking voice of a deceased, fictional individual, whose 
name usually also provides the piece's title. The poems' collective tone is 
decidedly elegiac, though muted: local personalities emerge as characters 
in brief, autobiographical sketches that almost always include a de- 
scription of the way the speaker died. 

Taken collectively, these brief poems, ranging from three to over twenty- 
five lines, begin to offer a composite portrait of a place and a time: in 
Traat's case they portray a village in southern Estonia between about 1930 
and 1980. Indeed, several of the most recent "Harala Biographies" also 
function as social criticism of recent conditions. 

Now fairly soon after the publication of the first batch of Traat's 
"Biographies" in the 1960's, it was pointed out that they were remarkably 
similar to those in Edgar Lee Masters' well-known volume. Spoon River 
Anthology. In fact, it became a commonplace in discussions of Traat's 
poetry to comment, in passing, on his apparent indebtedness to Masters. 
Traat, on his part, responded — surprisingly, in 1973 — with an allusion to 
"Spoon River" in a poem whose translation follows: 


I'm really buried in America, at Spoon River. ^ 

In Harala,^ our family burial plot 

hasastonewithonlymynameand year of birth, 1907, 

and my spirit flies here" from faraway, but 

I am not really here — I'm in Spoon River, 

where my sister and her husband invited me to visit. ^ 



Mats Traat 


It happened the evening when President Nixon 

made a speech on television which I didn't understand a bit, 

and I even thought what a pretty smile 

the president had, and how happy the wife 

of such a man must be, when I suffered the heart attack. 

At first neither Hilda nor Arthur noticed 

what had happened to me, 

but when the speech was overand it was time to go to bed, 

Hilda tapped my shoulder and asked why I 

was sitting with my head drooping like that, but 

I didn't hear her any more — I was already in the next world. 

It's indescribably sad to rest in foreign soil; 

my sister and brother-in-law, too old and sick, were not able 

to send me home in a galvanized iron coffin, 

and now I must remain away, for all time, 

for ever, and when my sister and her husband follow 

me, even that last memory of me will disappear 

from the earth, because no one needs a solitary 

woman, an old maid, who never even got to know 

what carnal joy is about. 

Clearly, A minor American writer whose best-known work was published 
in 1915 and who himself died in 1950 has been echoed in a remote lan- 
guage. Like Masters, Traat was a country boy who got to know the metrop- 
olis all too well, but never forgot where he came from, or where we all, 
apparently, are fated to go. The. art of both poets, in other words, was 
nurtured by their native soil, even as both addressed mortality. Spoon 
River Anthology was Masters' greatest artistic success. When Mats Traat 
encountered those poems in the late 1950's, at a removal of some five 
thousand miles and almost half a century, he must have realized that here 
was a splendid technique for casting in verse his own sense of place and 
history, of transience and memory. Indeed "Henriette Vestrik" might be 
thought of as the quintessential piece in Traat's "Harala Biographies" 
cycle: not only does it acknowledge the debt to "Spoon River," it also 
employs the "uprooted" Hilda and Arthur to refer to recent Estonian 
history; not only does it suggest the unease of Henriette's mortal remains 
resting forever far from home, it also shows how the fictional — and 
fictionally deceased — Ms. Vestrik continues to live in art, even as the 
present brief note is her (parthenogenetic — pace M. Traat!) first and 
perhaps sole offspring. 


'The first and last name of a fictional person. The poem is reprinted in Traat's 
Valitud teosed ("Selected works"), Vol. 3 (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1985), pp. 263-64. 
(The English translation is by the author of the present note.) 


^Traat apparently construes Spoon River as a town (the toponym is in the inessive 
case in the original Estonian, as it would be if a town or city were referred to. 

'The poet's nanne for a fictional village. The entire cycle of poems is known by this 
name as well, which evokes Arula — Treat's actual birthplace. 

"The poem is of course set in an Estonian graveyard. Hence "here" refers to 
Harala, in Estonia. 

*A formal, written invitation to visit next of kin (along with other documentation, a 
tax, etc.) sometimes persuades the Soviet authorities who today illegally govern 
Estonia to allow certain older people to leave the "Republic" temporarily. (The sister 
and her husband represent two of the tens of thousands of Estonian refugees from 
communism who fled the country in 1944, many of whom settled in the United 


John E. Hallwas 

Virginia S. Eifert was an Illinois nature writer who achieved a con- 
siderable reputation through books like River World (1959), Land of the 
Snowshoe Hare (1960), and Journeys in Green Places (1963). She also 
wrote works of popular history, the most noted of which was an award- 
winning five-volume life of Lincoln for young readers. A Springfield native, 
she became a nature columnist for the Illinois State Journal in 1930 and 
later, in 1939, became the founding editor of Tlie Living Museum, pub- 
lished by the Illinois State Museum. Until her death in 1966, she provided 
some of her finest writing for that monthly periodical, in the form of 
descriptive nature essays.' In recent years, she has been the subject of an 
extensive article and a bibliography. ^ 

Eifert was a dedicated and talented letter writer. Her most extensive and 
revealing sequences of letters were addressed to Mertha Fulkerson of 
Ellison Bay, Wisconsin and Gilbert and Hazel Princell of Normandy, 
Missouri. That correspondence is now part of the Virginia S. Eifert Col- 
lection at Western Illinois University, which was developed through the 
effort of her long-time friend, Orvetta M. Robinson.^ Fulkerson and the 
Princells were nature enthusiasts, as were all of Eifert's close friends. 

The following letters have been selected from both sets of cor- 
respondence. They are significant for two reasons: they provide insight 
into the life of a remarkably talented nature writer and popular historian, 
and they are very well written. The natural world was Eifert's dominant 
interest throughout her life, and that is apparent in her correspondence, 
which often includes descriptive nature writing. Rivers were especially 
fascinating to her, and that is clear in the letters which follow, as she 
describes periods of observation and relaxation aboard the Mississippi 
River towboat Cape Zephyr and the riverboat Delta Queen. The former 
experience led to the writing of River World and, later. Wonders of the 
Rivers (1962); the latter was the basis for Delta Queen: The Story of a 
Steamboat (1960), as well as two cruise guides for that famous riverboat. 

Two locations in Wisconsin were of great importance to Eifert. One was 
the area near Three Lakes in the far northern part of the state, where she 



frequently vacationed. In 1949 Eifert, along with her husband Herman and 
son Larry, rented a cabin at Meadow Ruh, the home of Sidney and Emma 
Fell, near Long Lake. That initiated a lasting friendship with the Fells and 
started an association with the area that led to the writing of Land of the 
Snowshoe Hare. The opening letter in this selection of her correspondence 
records her initial experience with that part of the state. The other 
Wisconsin place was called The Clearing, an adult-education center at 
Ellison Bay, in Door County, which Eifert first visited in 1957. It was 
established by Chicago landscape architect Jens Jensen in 1935. Eifert 
was invited to teach there, and her nature classes soon became a 
mainstay of the educational program. In a letter to Mertha Fuikerson, 
dated January 2, 1958 — and not printed here — she reveals the importance 
of that place in her life: 

Just a year ago today. January 2. I first learned about The Clearingi This 
was the day on which I received Rutherford Platfs' letter asking me if I 
could come up tor a day or two as a guest naturalist . . . and novs/ see what it 
has developed into' I well remember how welcome that letter was. coming 
as it did on a heavy round of entertaining and Christmasing, when the 
prospect of a trip, any trip, had a most lovely sound And upper Wisconsin in 
May sounded superb, and was. At the time the letter came, I had a very 
certain feeling that it was the beginning of a great many new and fine 
experiences, and I was not wrong. I feel that I belong to The Clearing, and 
always have and that it belongs to me ... as much as it can belong to any 
one individual. Since it also belongs to you, thanks for letting me share it ' 

The Clearing became one of the great loves of her life — a place of 
spiritual renewal, where she could observe plants and animals in a 
superbly beautiful, quiet setting, in the company of other nature en- 
thusiasts. She taught there for a few weeks every year, until her death ten 
years later. Her nature observations there and elsewhere in Door County 
were the basis ior Journeys in Green Places. 

Eifert was a quiet, modest, rather shy individual who was not adept at 
promoting herself or anxious to be with groups of people. But she made 
friends quickly with those who shared her love for the natural world, and 
she valued those friendships enormously. As a result of such attachments 
and her writing talent, her personal letters are warm, revealing, vivid self- 
portrayals. If the best letters can be regarded as a kind of literary art— a 
performance of the self for another individual — some of hers surely 

The eight letters printed here were selected from both the Fuikerson 
correspondence, which includes ninety-eight items by Eifert, written from 
1957 to 1966, and the Prin cell correspondence, which includes seventy-two 
items by Eifert, written from 1949 to 1965. These letters were chosen 
because they display Eifert's enthusiasm for northern Wisconsin, her 
experience with rivers, her love for The Clearing, and her developing career 
as a writer. 



Virginia S, Eifert photographed herself in a mirror with the camera she used for 
nature photography, c. 1950. 


705 West Vine Street 
Springfield, Illinois 
October 19, 1949 
Dear Hazel, 

It was grand to hear fronn you in the mail this morning— I've been 
wondering what you planned on doing this fall, and was hoping that 
somehow we could wait till later! With all my gadding lately, I need to stay 
home a while, and Herman is busier than ever, and is even teaching 
Saturday mornings now, much against my own wishes! And I had heard 
about the full schedule of Elizabeth and Elinor. ^ But what's to stop you and 
Gilbert from coming up here for a weekend — or a day, or a day-and-night, 
whatever is best for you? We expect to be here indefinitely the rest of the 
fall and winter, and we are hungry for the sight of you. 

As for that dinner invitation at your house — I think we can work it out 
some time, when it's convenient for you. We expect to come to St. Louis 
some Saturday next month, or perhaps early in December, to pick up an 
order of Christmas ornaments from Mr. Frohse, and since we can't stay 
over Saturday night anyway, it would be a time to see you briefly. We could 
have an early dinner and not stay too late. Think about it, anyway. And 
think also about a trip up here. Elizabeth and Elinor can't come up for 
geese this year, but what's to stop you and Gilbert? 

Elizabeth wrote and suggested that we come to St. Louis the last 
weekend in October, Friday and Saturday, staying at her house, going 
back Saturday night. Besides not feeling that it is right for four people to 
camp with the Goltermans while her mother is in such bad shape, we 
decided we couldn't manage the weekend as suggested. Then Herman 
came up with the idea of moving his Saturday pupils to another time, so 
that we could all get an early start and drive to Elsah, meet Elizabeth, 
Elinor, and you, and maybe others, have a cook-out at noon, and some 
hikes, and then go home again by dark. Think you could do it? I'm writing 
to Elizabeth tonight to suggest it to her, and I hope it works out because 
that was her last free Saturday for a while, it seemed. Or we could meet 
out at Dardenne or somewhere, unless the hunting season was on. We'll 
see. But do try to manage a visit with us up here, too. We do want to see 
you and tell you about the north in autumn. 

Yes, you should play hookey, you and Gilbert and the Lyons, and all the 
others who love the north, and go up there the end of September. I have 
never seen anything to equal it — I've marveled at autumn colors in lllmois 
and Indiana and Missouri, and thought we had the fmest show anywhere 
In the land. But that was before I came to the color-country of the north. I 
felt more deeply touched by natural beauty than I can ever remember 
before, and felt, with Edna St. Vincent Millay — 

"Thou 'St made the world too beautiful this year. 

Here such a glory is as teareth me apart. 

Lord, let fall no burning leaf. 

Let no bird call."^ 


I haven't remembered this correctly, I know, but the sense of it is there, 
and it expresses what that country was. The colors are so pure, so 
undiluted, so crisp and amazing, so vital, like the pigments in a color chart. 
The aspens off across the country were like canary-colored plumes. 
Seeing them across the level fields or down a road, they seemed unlike 
trees, and when one drove or walked beneath them, it was like traveling in 
a golden atmosphere which was almost tangible upon one's skin. The little 
roads in sugar maple country were like that, too, especially the road 
around past the boat dam and up the hills and down, on the way to 
Clearwater Lake. And when a grey deer leaps across the road, in all that 
golden light, the picture is complete. The deer have all changed to their 
grey coats now, and I can't decide which dress I prefer them in. 

There was a heavy white frost several mornings after we arrived and it 
burned off most of the scarlet-pink red maple leaves. But the oaks turned 
color early this year (for our benefit) and so there came a deeper, richer red 
and a wonderful purple. Even the tamaracks changed color far earlier than 
normally, so that our big bog was full of slender pale yellow tamaracks 
against the blue-green of the spruces. And one bright, blindingly beautiful 
day, I went down into that bog and picked wild cranberries — little ruby 
jewels against the sphagnum hummocks of the muskeg. And made sauce 
to bring home. That's one reason why you must come up here to din- 
ner — wild cranberry sauce and wild red cranberry jam from Wisconsin! 

I even did some painting! Larry was content to play at the Fells," under 
Mrs. Fell's kindly, watchful eye, so several mornings I took the car and 
went down the roads, rambling, exploring, and settled down for three 
paintings. One isn't bad; the others, poor. But it was fun to get into paint 
again. My color photos, I think, were a trifle underexposed. They haven't all 
the brillance which I saw. I wish Gilbert could have been there to take 
some really good ones. I suppose he's been busy, as usual, this fall, with 
picture-taking and picture-instruction. 

The whole thing was a spendid experience — the chill early morning (4:30 
a.m.) when we had to change trains at Monico, and saw the dawn come 
over the bogs, then, as we moved toward Eagle River, caught our first 
glimpse of stupendous color. And Mrs. Fell's big buckwheat pancakes to 
revive us! . . . Lakes margined with pure color, and a long flock of Canada 
geese slowly flapping south down the length of Long Lake ... a porcupine 
asleep highupinaslimred maple whose few remaining leaves were bright 
pink against the blue . . . Grey deer beside the golden roads, grey deer 
along the forest trials . . . ruffed grouse in full plumage, walking under the 
frosted brackens, or flying across the road, or "frozen" up in a hemlock 
while we circled below — and got a picture . . . the silent mirrored beauty of 
Lower Nine Mile at the Box Car Dam, and all those golden birches made 
doubly beautiful by their reflections in the still water ... the hysterical 
yammering of a pileaied woodpecker in the complete silence of the forest 
— such silence here, it rings in the ears and presses in on all sides. The 
single voice of a bird or the sound of its wings in flight is loud and stands 


out sharply in the color and the silence . . . red leaves patterning the trail 
through the Big Woods . . . purple asters all along the roads . . . the osprey 
nest dunnped upside down on the ground ... a picnic every day . . . white 
frost, almost as thick as snow, over the uplands at Meadow Ruh . . . the 
aspen leaves falling like confetti . . . aspens and maples bare and ready for 
winter . . . these were some of the things which you would have so much 
enjoyed. Let's all go back next fall! 

Let us know what you can work out about a trip up here and to Elsah on 
the 29th. 



[In the margin:] Did you see "A Lake for the Lincoln Country" in the July- 
August "Audubon"? If not, I'll send you one— you'll find much that is 
familiar to you because it was inspired by last autumn's geese and your 
visit. ^ 

[In the top border:] Will you send these clippings back — please? 

March 16, 1955 

Dear Hazel and Gilbert, 

Looks like you've sent me two letters, hopefully, and I've been mighty 
silent! I've loved hearing from you, and really have meant to write before 
this, but I've been up to my ears in Out of the Wilderness, and other writing 
simply hasn't taken place. 

How are you both, and how is Carol, and is Buddy back?« If he is, then 
you're getting back to living normally again, aren't you? How about a trip 
to Elsah some soon Sunday or Saturday? Ora jaunt up here?? Or ... ? 

The river trip, as always, was wonderful fun.' It wasn't as beautiful a trip 
from the standpoint of the shores, but in its own way it was fascinating. I'll 
begin at the beginning: 

The Captain was to telephone me six hours before getting to Alton; Mr. 
Huffman said the Cape wouldn't stop at the terminal, so it would be better 
to get on at Alton. However, they did stop at the terminal, and Captain 
Houchin telephoned from there at 6 a.m. Sunday — only five hours before 
Alton. It was entirely the wrong time of day for me to get to Alton! Herman 
had to be back for a nine o'clock service, and there wasn't time for him to 
drive me and get back. There was no train, no bus, no interurban. Sunday 
morning was a bad time to impose on one of several friends. So I drove 
down myself and left the car at Alton locks, and Herman and Larry came 
down on the train in the afternoon, picked up the car, and drove home! Life 
is always complicated when Mamagetsonaboat. I never knew it to fail. 

Anyway, I got down there much too early, and was thankful I had the car 
to sit in because there was a raw, cold wind blowing. The Cape finally 
came into the lock shortly after noon — very pitifully I had missed Sunday 
dinner. I waited till the water had risen so there wouldn't be quite so many 
steps to go down, and then went down the lock ladder to the barges. Bill 


Milam and Russell Kirkpatrick were on duty and helped the old lady down, 
bags and baggage; Al Milam, Bill's older brother, was the mate. Captain 
Griffin was up in the pilot-house, doing the second watch on this run 
because Captain Houchin was aboard; the two aren't such good friends, 
which is an unhappy situation. Captain Joseph quit because of Captain 
Houchin and is on the Trade Winds. Well, it was like Old Home Week. It 
warmed my heart, liar Wilson got up to welcome me aboard. The 
deckhands were cordial. Captain Griffin was glad to see me, then told me 
to hurry down and see the Todds, who had just got on that morning (lucky 
me!) and get something to eat. Mrs. Todd knew I was coming aboard at 
Alton so she had saved out three nice pieces of the Sunday fried chicken 
and other items, and I ate and talked till I was stuffed— the usual Todd 
dinner after-effect. Then I paid a visit to the engineroom to see Andy 
McCave and Ed Sasseen— Whitie and Howard were on the other watch. 
Sammy wasn't on; he'd got off at Cape Girardeau on the way up. And Joe 
Melvin quit; he just walked off one midnight and never came back. There 
was a new deckhand (they were short one), named Max Fridell, a nice 
Arkansas boy with some sense. 

They were all so glad to have the Todds back. Apparently the relief 
cooks, the Nelsons of Hamburg, Illinois, didn't know much about cooking, 
and overcooked everything shamefully, even the breakfast eggs and 
bacon. The crowning joke, hbwever, one which will stay with the Cape for 
some time, I'm sure, was when they were down at the shipyard. Captain 
Griffin and Captain Brazie went out in the yawl and the outboard and 
explored some nearby bayous, and came back with a hank of Spanish 
moss. Captain Griffin took it to Mrs. Nelson and told her it was Louisiana 
saurkraut, and told her to fix it for dinner. Mrs. N. looked at it, smelled It 
and commented, "I don't smell very good," put it in a pan of water and 
soused it up and down, every now and then taking a sniff and liking it less 
all the time. Of course, all the boys were in stitches by that time and had to 
let her know it was a joke. I wish they'd let her alone— I'd love to have 
known how she would have cooked "Louisiana saurkraut"! 

As we went up past Alton, etc. the pool was simply alive with thousands 
of ducks, mainly canvasbacks; I've never seen so many, ever. We saw 
quantities of eagles, too, common as crows. And more boats on this trip 
than on any other. 

We went fast. Twelve miles an hour, shoving 4000 tons of gasoline in the 
usual two barges. Night closed down thick and got thicker by morning; 
morning was foggy, dense enough to gather up in a bucket, but the Cape 
seemed Hell Bent For Havana, and plowed straight up the middle of the 
Illinois River, navigating mainly by radar as the air got so thick you 
couldn't see more than a couple of yards in front of the first barge. We 
were rushing along through all that soup at twelve miles an hour, the 
Captain with his face stuck down in the radar hood and his hand on the 
steering lever, running blind, and somehow not hitting anything. More 
prudent tows were tied up on shore — we passed eight in five miles, big 


things like the F. D. Roosevelt, the Valvoline, the Stanolind A. and the Tom 
Sawyer. We heard a connment, via short-wave, as we went past in a flurry 
of suds before and aft; 

"Man, did you see that crazy Cape Zephan goin' by? Like a nnad dog with 
a bone in his teeth, foamin' at both ends!" 

That was us. It was the most hair-raising ride I've ever had, bar none. We 
got to Havana Monday and left the two barges to be pumped out and then 
went on up to near Peoria to get an empty. It was on this little jaunt, with 
the fog thinning out somewhat, that they let me steer the Cape Zephyr for 
two miles or so, around curves and everything! A dream come true. Didn't 
run aground, hit the shore, run over a buoy, or anything. 

The barges were not finished being pumped out till Tuesday morning. 
The sky cleared, and we headed south into a beautiful bright crisp day with 
lots of ducks on the river, wild geese flying north, redwings in the willows, 
and a feeling of excitement in the air. The excitement was heightened at 
five when the short-wave sent us news of the Cape's next orders. Up till 
then no one knew where they were going next. Captain Griffin was due to 
go home the 5th, and Whitie wanted to get off, if they could only round up 
Bill Johnson, who was hiding out. 

Bill Milam wanted to get off at Cape Girardeau because his wife was 
having her baby in a week. And now word came that they were to proceed 
to Lake Charles, no less, get a cargo and haul it in to LeMont. Little was 
done by Captain Houchin to work out a relief plan, so some of them were 
stuck. When I left, Whitie was still trying to track down Bill Johnson, and 
was pretty bitter about it, since he had been on the boat for a long time 
and was in on the engineroom tear-down at the shipyard. 

I surely wanted to stay on. Spring was in the air, and the thought of 
Louisiana was lovely. But Mr. Huffman hadn't said that was my trip; I knew 
you'd never forgive me if I stayed on; and anyway I hadn't left my family 
arranged for for that length of time. And my autographing party at Coe's 
Book Store was the 7th. I just had to get off. I neverwant to. 

We got to St. Louis and the terminal at 11 p.m. and went ashore around 
midnight — up the big ladder. Captain Griffin went with me, and I phoned 
Elizabeth, and he borrowed Whitie's car and drove me to her house, and 
she invited him up for something to eat. He loved it, especially the 
quiet — none of that rumbling. He hated to leave, especially after he got a 
glimpse of her books. But the boat was going to leave about 1 a.m. or so, 
and he had to scoot. Elizabeth and I talked till 1:30, and she amazingly 
stayed awake! There wasn't time to call you in the morning when we left; I 

I have no idea if or when we'll get the Lake Charles trip. When I called 
Mr. H. I was so involved in the Hanava trip, and where I should get on and 
how I would be notified, I didn't even think of later trips. I wrote to him and 
to Mr. Baker, but haven't heard from either. So we wait ... if you hear 
anything, let me know. 


I'm going to Bloomington for an autographing Friday, the 18th, and to 
Decatur April 23, and am leaving the space between for the river. Mean- 
while, The Buffalo Trace seems to be going fairly well, for this time of year. 
We have the original illustrations here on display — beautiful thmgs. I wish 
you could see them before they go back to New York. I'm glad you like the 
looks of the book; I like it, too. Hope we can get Mr. Lee to illustrate the 
next; I've had some nice letters from him.^ 

Herman and Larry are as usual, busy all the time. Our boy, Don,^ was 
back on leave from the navy (left yesterday) and Sunday we took him on a 
last trip — Elsah. It was beautiful there and enough boats coming and 
going to be interesting. We wished you could have met us there and had 
lunch; chilly, but pretty nice, anyway, with a hint of spring. 

Let me hear from you — especially after you've finished the book! I'd 
like to work out something, picnic, party, or whatever, so I can get to visit 
with all of you soon. 

Love from 

Maybe St. Louis would like a look at the original illustrations? 

October 7, 1957 

Dear Mertha, 

Well, we made it — with all our cheese, apples, gull feathers, fossils, 
terrarium plants, balsam twigs, colored leaves, school books and other 
items which crammed our car. It seemed that we must have condensed the 
whole autumn into one week, one of the most memorable and astonishing 
weeks I have ever known. The Clearing and its friends were glorious as 
always, and it was difficult to tear ourselves away. There is something 
about that place which reaches out and holds on to one; even Orvetta felt 
it — Larry, too — but despairs of ever trying to explain it at home or at the 
Museum. That is the futile thing we meet — trying to really explain The 
Clearing, not to mention the transcendent colors of autumn, the ultra- 
violent light, the clarity of water and sky! I wish we could have been 
permitted to reimburse you for the food we ate, because in spite of what 
you said I am sure you must have spent a good deal to feed nine people. 
Maybe wecanmakeitupsomeway,someday. 

Our trip northwest was glad. When we slanted into the Menominee 
Indian Reservation we really got into color, even though we had felt it to be 
superb in Door County. But even this did not prepare us for the 
unbelievable glory which we found up in the wild back country of Nicolet 
National Forest. Such pure pigments — cadmium, scarlet, orange, gold, 
accented by the chalk-white of birch and aspen trunks, the dark green of 
the conifers, the blue sky and bluer lakes! How I wished that you might 
have run away with us. We packed our time full ... a long hike through my 
favorite woods, via the deer trail, and saw three deer watching us, then 
high-tailing it gaily off among the hemlocks up the hill ... a visit to a 


cranberry marsh to watch the harvest . . . walks along creek and lake, trips 
into the forests . . . suppers under the twelve white pines on the hill above 
Meadow Ruh where the creek boiled up white nnist at dusk . . . evenings 
watching the fat raccoons and skunks coming to the feeding place at the 
Fells', and seeing the shy but determined fox slipping in to carry off meat 
to her kits . . . and the frosty nights and mornings, the brilliant sunshine . . . 
until Sunday morning when we left in a misty, moist, cool, cloudy, leaf- 
fragrant morning with leaves falling fast in no wind. We saw the gray 
Canada jays slipping along through the woods ahead of us; heard the grim 
cawking of ravens flying over; heard a coyote yipping with a marvelous 
wildness . . . and would have liked to have stayed longer. How I wish that 
both The Clearing and our cabin were half their distance away from 

A letter from Rutherford Piatt tells me that he has decided to commit 
himself to coming back to The Clearing in June. I'm glad. And especially 
glad that he will be the 'head guy' and not I. I'm afraid I'm not a good 
leader. Strong-minded people like Harriet Piatt can lead and direct me in 
changing hike plans, etc. with so great an ease that I realize now that 
leading a group is just not my forte. But at assisting Ithinklshine! 

Mertha, you were truly wonderful to take us in, feed and house us, and 
let us have our days at The Clearing even though for a while it appeared 
that it was not for us. It was with some difficulty that Larry tackled school 

Love from 

March 3, 1958 

Dear Hazel and Gilbert, 

How wonderful to have had those snowy days in the North 
Woods— Larry and I were really envious, and Larry couldn't see why we 
couldn't just take off and go, too. It was fun having the picture of you 
two— but you didn't sleep in the little cabin, did you? Sounds frigid! But 
did you ever see anything like that northern snow, and the woods in winter, 
and the lakes and all! There's nothing quite like it. 

I wish we could have come to St. Louis for the river ta^k, but I just 
couldn't make it. The combination of an extra load of writing, plus the tail- 
end of something that must have been a touch of the flu, plus the 
uncertainty of weather: so we stayed home. But I thought about you on 
February 22, too. Know where? Elsah, but that isn't all. 

You remember, Washington's birthday was that uncommonly lovely 
Saturday after all the below-zero cold. When I got up, I knew I was going to 
have to get out and away on a day like that, so I hurried up with the 
weekend grocery-shopping, came home and packed up a lunch, gathered 
up my family and a friend of Larry's, and we were off to see the ice at 
Elsah. We had been reading about the big ice gorge down near Cairo and I 


pined to see it, but we got too late a start for a trip that long. But Elsah was 
lovely. It was one of the few tinnes there when the temperature was perfect; 
it's usually too hot or too cold. There was no wind, and the tennperature 
was up in the sixties. The boys made a fire and cooked lunch, and then 
headed for the cliffs like a couple of rabbits, to risk life and limb on the 
ledges. Meanwhile, Herman and I roamed along by the river. 

The ice was covering the whole river, all but a narrow channel which 
evidently had been cut through by a boat not more than an hour before. We 
watched the Cindy Jo come upstream, pushing one barge and pulling 
(actually pulling) three big loaded oil barges, something we've never seen 
before. It shoved up through the moving ice and was on its way up toward 
Grafton, and after it the ice floes moved rapidly in the cut-open channel. 
An hour later the ice had stopped moving and was solidifying again, 
though the temperature was not low at all. We walked down on the shore 
ice and down there we could hear the low rumbling and talking of the river 
ice, a strange, eerie sort of subterranean sound, with now and then a 
splitting sound, as if the ice was cracking all the way across. We could 
hear the shoving sound of the broken ice running, and then the whistling 
of wings as flocks of goldeneyes whished overhead to an open pool near 
the Missouri shore. All day, we saw red-tailed hawks evidently migrating. 
They were coming up-river, following the cliffs, circling, floating, the 
reflecting light from the white limestone and the dazzle of the October- 
blue sky making the big birds almost translucent. I had no idea hawks 
migrated so early, did you? Seemed to me I always remembered flights like 
that in April over Elsah. It was one of those unforgettable combinations for 
Elsah and the Mississippi. 

With some difficulty we rounded up the boys and drove by ihe back road 
down to Alton, where there were large numbers of canvasbacks, golden- 
eyes, redheads and scaups in open places of the backwater up by Clifton 
Terrace. We paused there for a while to watch, then, at sight of what 
looked like boats, we moved on down nearer Alton. The ice was big across 
there, very choppy because of traffic, and there were more boats than we 
have seen in some time — the big Codrington with a long tow, stuck 
crosswise in the ice and shoving around with some difficulty; the Davy 
Crockett about to take off, the Midcontinent Queen, the Fort Dearborn, the 
Gulf Coast . . . and the Cape Zephyr! 

I hadn't laid eyes on the Cape since I got off in the rain at Havana two 
years ago in April, and never have seen that boat on the river at any time I 
wasn't on it! It was a delightful surprise. She was tied up, waiting for 
barges to be brought through the locks, because the water was only seven 
feet in the locks, the Cape is nine feet, and it was simpler to have a smaller 
boat lock the barges through. She had just come down from the Illinois 
River, having taken eight days for a trip which should take half the time, 
and was stuck in the ice several times — the kind of trip I pined to have 
several years ago but got on too late for the ice. 


Bill Milam was on the foredeck and spotted the boys and nne, and 
waved. He laid the usual ladder from the deck to the bank, and laid the 
usual plank on the ladder, and invited us to come aboard. Herman was 
also persuaded to follow, the first time he had been on the Cape. The boys 
were shown everything from engineroom to pilot house and had a lovely, 
excited time. Captain Brazie was on, with a half-inch growth of scraggly 
beard he claimed he grew for warmth up in the ice, but Captain Griffin was 
gone — he was fired, they told me, early in the year after he ran into the 
Memphis bridge (though that wasn't the only reason) and is now on the 
Baby Lere hauling coal in the Ohio River. In his place was a tall young 
captain named (I think) Axel Swalstrum. You know how river men mumble 
their words; I'm not sure what the man's real name is, but it's something 
like that! Very pleasant, educated, college and all. Down in the engine- 
room was young Bill Johnson (not the tablecloth-crocheter) and Howard 
Terlin; a new deckhand was on with Bill Milam, and the Todds were off at 
the time, their son being seriously ill with cancer. Two lady cooks were in 
the galley, very pleasant. Some of our other friends were asleep. 

Well, we stayed on far too long, had coffee, and talked, and watched the 
ice go by, and I wished I could stay on and go up the Illinois River with 
them, and then go down to the Waterway to see the snow geese and blue 
geese in the marshes before they go north. But with various commitments 
I have in March, I can't get away for the uncertainty of a boat trip, much as 
I long to have one. (Don't you???) 

Writing is really heaping high, which is what I want, really. After dallying 
and giving no concrete reply on the outline for the Mississippi wildlife 
book which I sent to my editor some time ago (and which just wasn't for 
young people), I had a sudden, bang-bang result. Mr. Dodd, the president, 
has resigned and in his place is Raymond Bond, former wildlife editor (still 
is, I guess). Anyway, he got hold of my outline and wants to publish 
Mississippi Year'° next spring, and must have it by September 1st, and I 
can make the illustrations. He sent the contract and an advance royalty, 
even before the book is finished, which is flattering if disconcerting. 

I had been working on the fifth Lincoln book, New Birth of Freedom 
when all this happened, so, since none of my Lincoln books have managed 
to hit Lincoln's birthday, I thought I wouldn't even try with this one, and, 
since the wildlife book is due out in spring, the other could be timed for 
fall, 1959. But now Mr. B. reminds me that since 1959 is the 150th 
anniversary of Lincoln's birth, they want to bring out this book late in 
January, which means the manuscript must be in by May 1st . . . which is 
appallingly close. 

However, both books are quite far along. The Lincoln book, today, was 
finished, by which I mean it is all written, but is too long and needs 
quantities of paring and polishing and about 12,000words cut. I have never 
worked so hard on a book, nor found the writing as absorbing as this, nor 
as tough to dig out and put on paper. It means digesting the whole civil 
war and what led up to it, plus the Lincoln family's private life, plus the 


Washington scene, and condensing it in readable style in about 70,000 
words. It is quite unlike the others and I don't think it will exactly fit with 
them, yet there isn't much else you can do with the presidential war years, 
is there? 

With a Task Before Me comes out in April, they tell me. I would like to 
get up to Lake Itasca when the spring is just beginning up there, for an 
opening chapter in the wildlife book, but can't quite figure when to go. 
Easter holidays are the ideal time, but a bit too early. Of course, I'd like to 
drive to New Orleans and go out Route 23 on the Delta to about ten miles 
from the mouth ... I think you're both going to like that wildlife book — I 

It's too bad all of you have been unwell, but it's been a rough winter and 
a rougher February. Maybe we'll have a perfect spring to make up for it. 
Did Elizabeth wear herself down too much with all her honors? I would so 
much have liked to come down for the luncheon, as well as the tea at the 
Audio-Visual, but just could not. 

Let's try to go to Elsah some time soon, shall we? Of course, it is hard to 
plan very far ahead. The balmy days so suddenly appear and then 
disappear. The next two Saturdays are out of the question, I suppose, 
though both our dates are for evening, and we could make it a noon picnic 
and get back in plenty of time. Maybe we can. Robertsons'^ have been 
wanting us to come down for a picnic since last summer, but we never 
could make it when they were there. 

Well, after this lengthy report, I must stop and back away on some 
revision on the fall of Fort Sumter. I have owed you for several letters and 
just had to take time out for a long talk. Thanks again for writing and for 
the picture of you two in the show, and do let's get together soon. 

Love from 

Give my love to your mother. 

May 7, 1959 

Dear Mertha, 

How I have wished we could have a capacity class when I come in May! 
I wanted to prove to the Farm Bureau, I suppose, that we need more nature 
groups at The Clearing, and I still think we do, but we need them when 
people can come. And May isn't a good time, or even a possible time, for a 
lot of people, teachers for instance. I know at least twelve people who 
have either signed up for July (two in September) or are about to do so, all 
of whom would love to come in May but can't get away then. The July 
class ought to be a sell-out because I am sure there will be a good many 
more than just those I know about who have decided to come, from The 
Living Museum 's article. Ah me! And spring is so beautiful. I can only hope 
we get the bare minimum to hold the class at all. And I don't know who to 
drag along at this late date! Orvetta Robinson'^" from the Museum is going 


to come either in July or September, whichever time her room-mate can 
come with her. Schultzes'^ are coming, but not in May. My St. Louis friends 
are coming, but in July and September. As I said before, ah me! 

I have my program pretty well worked out and will enclose it here so that 
if you have suggestions for changes along the way we can tackle them 
later, or even before I come. It is very flexible, and the day we do a 
particular thing isn't really important. I thought it would be better to have a 
talk, and either films or slides, in the evening before we go to a particular 
place, serving instead of the briefing in the school in the morning, which 
always delays us when we go to some far spot like The Ridges or Miss 

Evening: I will give a talk on the orderly pattern of springtime and its 
relationship to the rest of the year and to the landscape. I have just seen 
some 1,300 miles of spring, from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Wis- 
consin, and will bring in some of this as comparison with what we hav-3 
at the moment in DoorCounty. 

Films: Spring Comes to the Subarctic 
Life in the Forest 

perhaps play the wonderful recording of birds and frogs of a spring pond 
— "Sapsucker Woods." Have you heard it? 

(Is the record-player repaired and workable?) 

Meet at the school after breakfast. I will talk briefly on what we will look 
for, then take a hike in The Clearing woods. 

Afternoon: perhaps the bluff trail and down on the beach. 

Evening: tell the story of the Ridges' ecological background. Show 
wildf lower slides. I will bring a slide projector. 

Go to the Ridges. Would it be possible to take a simple lunch along and 
stay all day? 
If not, we might go back afterdinner. 

Evening: Films — Birds of the Marshes, Marsh Waters, White Splendor 
(egrets), talk on marshes as special areas for plants and animals, birds 
of marshes, secrets of the marsh. Repeat record: "Sapsucker Woods." 

Go to a marsh, either North Bay or to that nice one in Peninsula State 

Afternoon: to Miss Emma's (her marsh and the lake shore). 

Evening: Films: Birds of the Dooryard, Duck Hunter's Dilemma, Prairie 
Chicken, and tell the story of Newport, old farm, fern swamp. 



Morning: Go to Newport, fern swamp, etc. 

Afternoon: Hike on Clearing road. 

Evening: Bird slides and perhaps also use films: Butterfly Botanists, 
Bobolink and Blue Jay. 

Morning: Hike long road (exit) in Clearing and whatever plans you may 
have for us: 

Evening: Program by students. 
and that's that. 

The films are more-or-less makeshift. I tried too late to reserve them for 
this period. They are usually reserved in the fall, so that I was really lucky 
to get what I did. I had no trouble getting some good ones for July and 
September. The slides are quite nice, though. 

Now all we need are students and I hope we make it! Did you have the 
hot weather we did, and how has spring progressed? Any sign of trill iums? 
Our great whites are beautiful under fountains of ostrich ferns, but the 
ninety-degree heat really hastened everything. There have been tre- 
mendous flights of migrant birds all night long going over — I have lain out 
in a deck chair listening until one o'clock in the morning, trying to identify 
some of the sounds, but only the thrushes, sandpipers and cuckoos seem 
reasonably like themselves; and I think the warblers are skipping over us, 

I will enclose the Chicago Tribune's review of River World to whet your 
appetite for the "out-door lunch" I shall bring to you. 

With love, 

September 28, 1960 
Dear Mertha, 

Somehow time and space and obligations simply lose their perspective 
when I am on the river. I am an escapist from way back and could gladly 
just stay on the boat and migrate up and down the rivers until they freeze 
up! But now I am home, whether I want to be or not, and have been 
tackling a great mountain of "must" mail and friendly mail; yours comes in 
both categories, but it must have gotten disarranged at the bottom of the 
pile because I've just come to it and it seems to me I've been writing 
letters for three days, interspersed with laundry, cooking, and mooning 
about the river. I have a hard time getting myself focussed on what is at 
hand, and keep seeing the river landscape. The result of this revery is the 
piece I wrote between laundry and letters, and is included here. 

I feel perfectly marvelous and doubt if I have ever had more real fun 
anywhere than I had on this trip. By the beginning of the second week it 


Virginia S. E if ert at The Ridges in Door County. Wisconsin, 1964. 


seemed that I was suddenly filled with a sense of well-being and new 
aliveness. I caught myself running up the stairs, once, and laughed to 
myself because I had been dragging around like a stuck balloon for so 
long, there was no temptation to run anywhere, much less upstairs. I think 
I am really getting well at last, and though I still get tired finally, there is 
still that lovely, bubbly feeling of living again. It took the river to do it. If I 
continue like this I certainly won't invest in that silly oxygen tank,'^ and 
shouldn't even have mentioned it to you, it sounds so terrible. It is really a 
very comfortable thing, I found, but really don't need it now, and likely 
never will. The main reason I felt I ought not to come to The Clearing next 
year is simply this: Herman is never too happy about it when I go. He can't 
see what I find in it which is so satisfying. But after my brief period of 
being sacrificial, in which I decided I would stay home next year — no 
Clearing, no boat trips — I find myself weakening, and know I must come to 
The Clearing, and must go back on the river. 

Let's leave it still a bit tentative, though, if you don't mind, and give me 
just one class this time, preferably in May, probably the 20th to 26th, 
because I will take a Delta Queen trip up the Tennessee to Chattanooga 
April 21 for two weeks, and will take Larry to Reelfoot Lake, leaving June 2. 
On second thought, that really crowds things, doesn't it? Maybe it would 
be better to put it a week earlier, the 13th, and hope that the spring isn't a 
late one. What do you think? I do hate to run things too close; I need to be 
home to gather myself together and catch up on things in between trips. 
As for September, there is a great possibility that I will be on the boat 
again on the St. Paul trip, since we are changing the itinerary somewhat 
and I will want very much to be along to see how it works out. You notice 
that possesive "we." It isn't every day I have a chance to get my hands on 
a real live steamboat and mold its course, and I do have right now, and it's 
wonderful. I just may have to take a sabatical from The Clearing and take 
care of my boat! Give me your ideas, anyway, and we'll see what we can 
work out, though I'm sure The Clearing will survive very well without my 
tender care — it did all right before I came, didn't it? 

This was a remarkable trip mainly because Jay Quinby, one of the new 
owners, was aboard for the entire trip — or at least as far as St. Louis on 
the return, where we both had to tear ourselves away and not look back. 
Jay is sixty-six, but has the energy, enthusiasm and delight of a much 
younger person, and it is this aliveness which sparked people all over the 
boat. They all had a better time because he was along. The calliope 
recently installed is his baby. He located the pipes which had been sunk in 
the Kanawha River in 1937, fitted them up along the top of the stern 
sundeck roof, and created a new little keyboard enclosed in red steel, 
below with twin golden angels he designed himself. The old-time calliopist 
played in a bath of steam, but Jay sits at ease, his keyboard far below the 
steam. Then to make it finer, he placed colored lights at the base of each 
pipe so that, at night, the steam blows in an aurora of pastel colors. This is 
a magnificient thing to see, and the music itself is superb, not at all the 


brassy, raucous racket some calliopes made. This is music, played by a 
man who is an accomplished organist and musician, as well as calliopist. 
His music traveled down the Ohio and up the Mississippi, playing at shore 
stops and going through locks, and something I shall never forget is the 
effect that pied-piper music had on the people. I watched it for twelve 
hundred miles and back — people gathered on locks and levees to watch 
the steamboat come in. Then as the music began their faces blossomed 
into the most beautiful smiles, and, at night, when the colored steam 
plumed itself against the stars, and the great sternwheel revolved with 
foam and fuss, and the boat moved slowly and inexorably away from the 
landing, the music casting echoes against the cliffs, the faces held awe 
and longing and a certain exalted look. I shall never forget it, and I 
watched it all along the way. 

At Guttenberg, Iowa, the locks lie alongside the school grounds — of all 
the awful places to put school and locks! As we moved into the locks, 
some of the classroom windows showed a double row of heads, but when 
the calliope broke into "School Days, School Days," that school erupted 
suddenly with a torrent of kids and teachers streaming down to the lock 
fence to stand and listen and watch transfixed. I wish you could have seen 
it. And to Jay Quinby, this is a whole new and lovely life, and he brings to it 
a dedication which is fine to see. Although he has had a successful navy 
career and one as an electronics engineer, this role of steamboat owner 
and calliope player is his favorite career, and his whole thought now is of 
the welfare of the boat and how it can best serve the people. 

He has done wonders for my book. It is sold in the boat's gift shop — 400 
had been sold before this trip, and they stocked 400 more. It was a heady 
experience to walk down a line of deck chairs and see every person 
reading a copy of Delta Queen. I had a captive market and audience, and 
oh boy, what fun it was! They, in turn, seemed pleased to have a real live 
author aboard, so I suppose it was mutually fun. At shore stops, we 
entertained the press, TV and radio people, and always it was to publicize 
boat, calliope and book — wonderful, expensive publicity which cost us 
nothing. I hope Dodd, Mead appreciates what Jay has done for them. He 
feels that the book is the best piece of publicity the company ever had, 
and is grateful to the point of letting me ride anytime I wish, which is a 
dangerous privilege, because I already feel as if it is partly my boat. I seem 
to be a self-invited, unsilent partner whose word sometimes has 
weight — at least in changing the up-river itinerary, etc. Just give me half a 
grip on a life preserver, and I take over the whole boat! 

But they are all so lovely about it and seem to feel I belong there. I rode 
often in the pilothouse, the sacrosanct holy-of-holies where only the elect 
may ride, and one day Captain Craig asked if I wouldn't like to take over 
the controls so I could say I had navigated my boat! This was a terrifying 
suggestion — after all, the Delta Queen! But I had a pilot close at each 
hand, so I'm sure the boat was not in too much danger, though I spent a 
palpitant ten minutes trying to keep her on a mark up ahead, and finding 


the rudders didn't respond as easily as ttiose of the Cape Zephyr. In the 
latter, I had the long tow out ahead, but with the Delta Queen everything 
was behind. I don't see how those boys navigate that big craft so steadily, 
day and night — though Captain Kelly did miss a channel marker one day 
and banged and rasped against the bottom. I also played the calliope, 
going past Chester, and own a fancy certificate saying I am now a licensed 
calliope player! Herman earned one when he came on at St. Louis 
Saturday — and played far better than I — but since there are only three 
boats still carrying a steam piano, I doubt if either of us will change our 
occupations for that of calliopist. But what fun to do it anyway! The 
appalling thing about a calliope is that if you lightly touch a key, the blast 
is heard in the next county. No quiet practice with that instrument! But oh, 
when it is played beautifully, I melt at the sound. 

To keep in the spirit of the past, Jay Quinby appeared in a sleek gray 
suit, ancient high gray topper, ebony cane with silver head, and gloves. 
Since he is six feet three inches, this made him about seven feet high, and 
very elegant indeed. It became our custom, when the boat made a landing, 
to be the first off. I really felt the lack of a proper Scarlet O'Hara costume 
to match my escort's courtly elegance. Draped on his arm, I paraded off 
the landing stage, and we walked into town, around the main street, were 
looked at with amazement, no doubt, and then back to the boat to greet 
visitors. I always felt that we ought to beat a drum and come back and sell 
snake-oil to the customers. But it was such real fun. At Dubuque the large, 
amiable purser. Bob McCann, went ashore with us, a startling contrast 
indeed. We found the incline railway going up Fenelon Hill, climbed 
in — Jay and the Hat drove me, Bob and his billowing plumpness below, a 
nice pillow if the car dropped to the bottom. Sit down, pull the cord, be 
hauled up the extremely steep incline to the top, get out, pay five cents 
each, look at the view of the river far below, get in, pay another five cents, 
and be taken down — and the down trip was worse than the up, if you had 
to look down. What a picture we would have made, we three silly thmgs, all 
much, much old enough to know better, and having a marvelous time here 
where none knew us. 

Somehow the trip went too fast; it always does. The up-river trip was 
slow against the current, and we were delayed many hours in beautiful 
fog, and had wonderful landscapes along the way, a tremendous mirroring 
of light on the marshes; a storm crossing Lake Pepin; nights of stars 
reflected in the black river; sunsets, lovely mornings, rains, everything. But 
the trip down was the current and there were no delays. It seemed we were 
being precipitated too fast to St. Louis, and then on Saturday, there we 
were. Herman and Larry met us there and had luncheon on the boat. We 
were invited to dinner with friends that evening, so we stayed part of the 
afternoon, but neither Jay Quinby not I wanted to stick around until the 
boat pulled out without us. That would be too hard to take. So, we parted 
company, and Herman, Larry and I went to the botanical garden to see the 


topical waterlillies. then at last out to Princells, and were home at 
midnight, tired out. 

Work awaited; it always does But I still see the river. And here is the 
poem (or whatever you want to call it) which resulted from the yearning.'* 
Andnowlmustfinishthis off — you've had a session, haven't you! 

With my love, 

Isabel McDonald came down to meet the boat at LaCrosse. Lorii and 
Jim Nelson rode from Fort Madison to St. Louis. Ebba Lind rode from St. 
Louis to St. Paul, Natalie Nelson took the whole trip. My propaganda is 
paying off P' 

January 18, 1961 

Dear Mertha, 

I think of you so often, and half a dozen times have rather wished I could 
suddenly take off in the car and drive up to see you. The weather has been 
so mild and beautiful — we are frequently noted for our spring-like 
Januarys — that driving would be no problem. There is always the over- 
night snowstorm . . . but, anyway, I stay home. I have wanted to ask you 
when Farm Bureau meetings take place. If I could have several dates when 
you might like best for me to come and "meet the family," then when good 
weather and physical well-being decree "let's go somewhere," I would 
know when would be best. If I put it off until March, we may have 
something like last year when March surely had six weeks in it, all very 
deep in unprecedented Springfield snow. I have several speaking commit- 
ments next month — February 1 1-12 at the University of Illinois, Feb. 16 for 
a book club here — they want to see my Wisconsin slides — a Lincoln talk 
on the 21st, and the Lion's Club on March 7th. Except for a date at 
Principia College which as yet hasn't been decided, that is all I want to get 
involved in. After all, I do have a book to finish and I'm not going to do it if I 
dash around talking.'^ i do look forward to showing you those slides. 
Herman, who is a perfectionist, calls them superb, and the few who have 
seem them are breathless. There is something about these large, full- 
screen pictures of intimate views of the North — bog plants, deep woods. 
Indian pipe, mushrooms, animals, pines, water plants which seem to "do" 
something to their viewers. I didn't know I had what I have, I suppose, until 
Herman got me the new projector and screen. The Clearing people are 
going to love them. And, knowing you, you will, too. 

The October 8-15 date for me is quite all right. I leave it to you to choose 
the time when the color may possibly be at its best. Of course this can't 
always be judged, but you've been uptherelongenoughtobefairlysureof 
it. I only hope we can get enough people at that time. Still, R. Piatt and I 
did several years ago; maybe VSE can do it alone! 


Have you had a chance to read Snowshoe Hare? Like it? Recognize 
Sonne things in it? Especially Mrs. Partridge? I haven't heard from Paul 
Schulze/^ but I'm sure he will appreciate that chapter especially. 

The book I'm working on now — far, far beyond the dreaming state — is all 
on paper and being reworked and retyped so that next week Herman can 
begin to read. This is the biography of Louis Jolliet, my favorite explorer 
and northwoods-man. It gives me a chance to get back to the rivers — the 
Wisconsin, the Mississippi, the Illinois, the St. Lawrence, and to the Great 
Lakes, Canada and the northwoods. Strangely enough, no one has ever 
written a readable biography of this man. A French account published 
1902; a dissertation by Father Jean Delanglez, Institute of Jesuit Relations 
and History — and no more. Nothing for someone to sit down and read with 
excitement and pleasure, as I surely hope they will with mine. At least, I 
feel excited and pleased with it, and I think you will, too. Not a nature 
book, but nature always gets into anything I write, and this is made to 
order, of course. 

By the way, did you read "To See the Year" in the January Living 
Museum lately?2° We have had more letters about that one article than any 
other in the L.M., I do believe. It is a theme I'd like to follow up at The 
Clearing. Of course we really do anyway, "seeing" being my special 

Time to get dinner started Larry is practicing his flute and Herman has 
gone to get groceries for my mother. They're going to be hungry soon. 
Wish you could come and have dinner with us! 

Love from 

[In the margin, referring to the Farm Bureau meetings:] I'd like to hear 
from you soon — about meeting dates — just in case. 

June 24, 1962 

Dear Hazel and Gilbert, 

When I came back from the Northern springtime I intended to write you 
immediately, but everything else got in the way, including the galley 
proofs of the new book. Men, Birds, and Adventure. Now you are almost 
ready to go to Majorca, I suppose, and perhaps a letter is not exactly the 
thing you'd most want to bother with now, especially those longish things 
that come off this typewriter. But, like it or not, here it is. 

First of all, I hope you both are feeling wonderful and eager to get on 
your way to new and lovely lands — islands, I should say. It sounds like a 
pretty special adventure. That is all the more reason to relate my own far 
more minor adventures in woods and bogs, before you have tales to top 
mine a mile! And before I forget it, when you go to the little cabin, take a 
look around indoors and see if you can find a small note I left. I was over 
there one morning just before I departed— such a splendid Wisconsin 


morning after a white frost had glittered on everything earlier that 
day — and felt the urge to leave a note for you. I tucked it in the door crack, 
and the chance that it v\/ill survive the summer until you come is of course 
very slight. But I thought it might be fun for you to find. Not that there is 
anything very vital, inscribed therein— just a comment on the day, the 
season, the bog. (The cabin ought to have a mailbox.) 

But before I get to that point I must go back and make it chronological. 
Less confusing that way. As you know, summer came in May and it was 
broiling hot and more than ninety degrees when I took off on f^ay 17th for 
Door County. It was difficult to get in the notion of packing such 
nonsensical essentials as warm jackets, a sweater, even mittens, but I 
managed it. I have never had a hotter day to drive north; I might as well 
have been going across Kansas in July. Spent the night in a cabin on the 
shores of Green Lake, where it was somewhat cooler, but nothing like 
what I have grown accustomed to expect of Wisconsin. Next morning I 
started early — it was cool and sparkling, in the approved Wisconsin 
way — and because there was no hurry at all I did some minor exploring 
before going to The Clearing. Thinking I might by chance find bog laurel in 
that first landmark bog near Poy Sippi, I decided to go that far and no 
farther. But the idea of turning away from a northward direction, when I 
knew that Three Lakes lay that way, was painful and took strong will. But 
although I found no laurel, I did find skunk cabbage leaves in a most 
elegant bright green, spiral-curved stage, and, cutting across country on 
back roads, came to the edge of a fern swamp which had tall cinnamon, 
interrupted and royal ferns just uncurling — exactly what I wanted for some 
pictures. The cinnamon fern spore stalks were incredible, tall orange and 
white things. A wet and weedy moat lay between me and the ferns. I wasn't 
dressed for bog-trotting, but a picture is a picture and at the time I didn't 
know I would find more and better uncurling ferns near f\/leadow Ruh (that 
part was all unplanned then). So the only thing to do was to shuck the 
shoes and stockings and wade across. And get the picture. Simple. I took 
roads that led me around the top of Lake Winnebago, then up at last to the 
peninsula. It was still hot. But as I rounded the crest of the hill outside 
Sturgeon Bay, and saw miles of cherry orchards in full bloom ahead of me, 
a cool, clear, clean wind blew suddenly through the car. It was spring 
again, the north was cool and wonderful, and everything was going to be 
all right. I have never seen the peninsula look more spectacularly 
beautiful. Orchards, beaches, bays, woods, flowers — the flowers! 

The trilliums were surely never more abundant in The Clearing woods, 
nor the yellow lady's slippers, of which there are now hundreds. In one 
sunny patch of woods we counted 274 of them, of great size, color, and 
rather unbelievable abundance. Seeing them, you simply stand and try to 
get your breath and say something sensible, only it just comes out in a 
series of silly gurgles and platitudes. Just what do you say to nearly 300 
golden orchids? There were many other things, too — dwarf ginseng. 


yellow and long-spurred violets, bellwort, the last of the hepaticas, 
corydalis, gaywings, Trientalis. Naturally, I used up a great deal of film — 

The group, as I usually declare, was the best of all. This is an example of 
a short-sighted mind and a poor memory, like saying of autumn— "this is 
the most beautiful autumn of all!" Still, you would have loved them as I 
did. There wasn't a "queer" in the bunch. They averaged somewhat 
younger than usually, with consequent enthusiasm and vigor. They leaped 
like trout to a fly when Teacher suggested something to look for, and went 
all-out to find it if possible, wading bogs and tramping forests with 
unending joy. They were botanical-minded this time. Perhaps because the 
leaves had come out earlier than usual, birds were very difficult to see, 
while the flowers were everywhere and in a state of magnificence which 
would have spurred even the uninterested to begin botanizing. They really 
wanted to learn, too. Simply absorbing, finding an appreciation and an 
understanding of the woods and waters, is good, and I never stress 
learning names of things until they themselves want to. It was rather 
astonishing to see how much they learned, too; I wonder if I could have 
done half as well, starting cold as some of them did. Then after a hike I 
often saw some of them out together, going over and over the things they 
wanted to remember. It was pleasant to see. 

We did the usual things— Clearing woods, the rocks, stars in the 
meadow; the Ridges; Emma Toft's Maine-coast shore and virgin forest; the 
Newport beach where the Niagara escarpment slants off into the lake; and 
the ghost town and deserted farm back in the woods; the fern swamp; the 
Door of Death. By request we went back to the Ridges; it was exciting 
there, with the hundreds of little dwarf iris, the fairy primroses, star- 
flowers, goldthread, gaywings, paintbrush, bearberry, Canadian carpet 
areas, sundew, pitcher plant, ferns, buckbean (never saw so much of this; 
it was standing like white hyacinths in quiet swales.) Ram's head lady's 
slippers were in bloom, but the moccasins and showy lady's slippers were 
not. It is much later on the lake side of the county. In fact, one day the next 
week, we were there with a cold wind blowing in the fog, and the 
temperature was around 50 degrees. Well jacketed and bundled up, some 
of us went to the bay side, and in Sister Bay found the temperature 85 
degrees and people in their shorts and shirt-sleeves. We looked rather silly 
and felt considerably over-dressed and overheated. 

Saturday when the class broke up, I went with three of my people that 
afternoon over to Emma Toft's woods where we took over some of her 
cabins and stayed the next week so we could explore the Ridges. This 
sounded like an excellent idea and I still think it was, but I needed a couple 
of months for the job, not a few days. The area is now 900 acres, little of it 
with trials and a good deal of it underwater in spring. Still, we got into 
parts I had never seen before, and I came out with a list of 204 plants, 
which is a start, though farfrom complete, I know. 

We met Murl Deusing^' in there one day, clip-board in hand and busily 
listing plants, too. He is now president of the Ridges Association and is 


trying to make it more accessible and interesting to the public. Some of 
this is good, but the Ridges will always be— or should always be— a 
special study area, not a public hiking ground. Anyway, he has now 
worked out a nature trail which must be taken with a guide booklet (in 
mimeographed form just now) which leads you from Station to Station, 
indicated by numbers. The booklet explains the story of the Ridges and 
why certain things grow where they do. It is very good, as far as it goes. 
When I can get some extra copies, I'll see that you have one. You might be 
mterested. Murl came over to Miss Emma's several evenings and saw 
some of our slides. 

One of the guests I indicated to my group of eager-hunters was to find 
the Calypso and Arethusa orchids. I was sure they must be in the Ridges, 
and still think so, but we didn't find them. But when we four were at 
Emma's we had a great thrill. She serves two meals a day, thus leaving you 
on your own for the evening meal. We didn't want to go in to a restaurant 
(heaven forbid) and decided to take turns on the cooking. Sunday was my 
day. It turned drizzly and cold, so instead of concocting my stew in the 
dutch oven down on the rocks of the beach, I commandeered Emma's 
wood-burning stove, as the next best thing. The others went off on a hike 
(we had some guests, too), while one stayed to make conversation with the 
cook and keep the fire stoked. The stew was all finished when they came 
back. They had stars in their eyes and a hint of hysteria in their voices. 
They had been walking the trail in the old arbor vitae forest when they had 
noticed where a pileated woodpecker had evidently had the temerity to try 
to chop down a large tree. The hacked-out places really looked as if 
someone had used an axe at the base of the arbor vitae. And there, just 
around the curve of the roots, they saw that small pink orchid looking at 
them. They were sure it was looking at them. Calypso has a strange, 
almost supernatural stance, a listening look — something — which sets it 
apart. There it was, pink with purple and gold lines and white fur, the 
flower poised on a slender stem curved over at the top, with one oval leaf 
at the base. Such perfect simplicity and complexity, both in one plant! 
They ranged around and found two more, but the light was almost gone 
and they knew supper was waiting and they couldn't take pictures till 
tomorrow anyway. Dorothy said she couldn't sleep much that night, 
worrying about the chance that a deer would eat the Calypsos. After 
supper they took me back by flashlight to show me this wonder. Next day 
they were all there, and we found several more. Light was still poor, but I 
have three slides which please me very much. 

I finally decided that the Ridges were too extensive for me to cover 
much more, and besides I wanted to go to Meadow Ruh. So I left on 
Thursday, dropped in on Mrs. Fell unexpectedly, and was taken in like a 
long-awaited child. Next day I ranged our favorite woods and bogs, got 
pictures of the bog laurel, Labrador tea, cottony sedge, pink moccasins, 
fern croziers, and other confections. A thick, cloudy day, but the Rolleiflex 
behaved well. Then on Saturday to Baraboo to be shown the works— bogs, 


marshes, and woods — for two days, as guests of Ronald and Lou Rich," 
the people who came up to Shady Shore last summer to see sundews. 

This was strenuous — a few more days at that pace would have laid me 
out!— but interesting because it was largely new country for me. Visited 
Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac" shack, and found Hudsonia in 
bloom on a sand blow-out; went to Black Hawk Island in the Wisconsin 
River (private, but we were given permission and a boat), and found 
quantities of pink moccasins and saxifrage. To French Greek marshes, 
hunting white lady's slippers, but didn't find them; and to John Muir's 
Fountain Lake, still with no luck on the white slippers. Looking back, I 
don't see how we covered as much ground (and water)as we did. 

The Riches, and Arthur and Adaire Meeks" — the latter are from Wausau 
and came to The Clearing, the kind that will go into a bog at the drop of a 
suggestion — think we ought to form a secret organization called Bog 
Trotters of America (or Bog Trotters Anonymous, since it becomes a sort 
of disease), because there are only certain people who love to have wet 
feet and who adore any terrain that looks sloppy and might have orchids or 
sundews in it. Both the Riches and the Meeks (who are friends) think they 
will have to come up to Shady Shore when we are there, to have a crack at 
some of the bogs I know about. Mrs. Fell wrote last week that Art and 
Adaire had been to her house asking the way to "the bog in Land of the 
Showshoe Hare. "They have a sailboat, but say that they haven't had time 
for it since I introduced them to the joys of bog-trotting! What a life — what 
an influence! What a mission in life — inducing people to get their feet 
wet ! ! 

The Three Lakes News had two reviews of Eifert books last week, which 
sets some sort of record, I'm sure. Walt Goldsworthy reviewed Wonders of 
the Rivers, and one of the editors, Dan Satran (know him?) suddenly 
discovered the Hare, because someone in Milwaukee pointed out to him 
the fact that it was written about that area. 

Herman has been year-booking since school was out, then had a 
breather when it was finished, so he could catch up on garden work, but 
now has the galleys to read. Larry is in summer school all morning, sails 
every afternoon, and studies in the evening. He finds the summer alarm- 
ingly full and very fast. He actually looks forward to coming to the cabin 
and "relaxing". David ^* and his family are moving back to Evanston, which 
is too bad, really; David is, besides, in summer school in Salisbury, 
Connecticut, so won't be coming with us. Larry says he is just as glad not 
to have another kid along this time— give him time to "enjoy himself, relax, 
fish when he wants to, and not feel he has to entertain someone!" New 
thought. Growing up, maybe. 

Since returning from the North June 5, I've had the usual catching up on 
correspondence, which has been heavy; a Living Museum to write, laundry 
and cleaning, etc., and now have just finished the galley proofs on Men, 
Birds and Adventure. This brings you up to date on Eifert doings, and we 


expect to have something to fill us in on yours before long. Perhaps when 
you get back from that wonderful trip. 

Have a good time, see everything, enjoy everything, and tell us about it 
when you get back. 

With love from 


Will start tomorrow on the final 2 Cruise Guides for The D. Queen." 


The author wishes to thank Orvetta Robinson and Ernestine Snider of Springfield 
for invaluable help with the notes to the letters. 

'Rutherford Piatt was a noted American naturalist and the author This Green 
World 0942). American Trees (1952), and other books. 

^Elizabeth Golterman and Elinor Hayward were friends from St. Louis. They were 
also nature enthusiasts. 

^Eifert is recalling "God's World," in which the speaker looks at an autumn woods 
and says approximately what she quotes. The actual lines are; 

Here such a passion is 
As stretcheth me apart,— Lord, I do fear 
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year; 
fvly soul is all but out of me. — letfall 
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call. 

*Emma and Sidney Fell owned Meadow Ruh, near Three Lakes, where the Eiferts 
often vacationed, starting in 1946. The Fells and the Eiferts became good friends. 

^Eifert is referring to her latest article, "A Lake for the Lincoln Country," Audubon 
Magazine, 51 (July-Aug., 1949). 218-25. 

*Carol and Buddy were apparently children of the Princells. 

'She is describing a trip on the Cape Zepliyr. Her experiences on board that 
towboat led to the writing of River World, fvlr. Huffman, mentioned in the letter, was 
apparently an owner of the towboat. 

^fvlanning de V. Lee illustrated several of Eiferts books, including The Buffalo 
Trace and the three other Lincoln books which followed it. 

*Don was not a son but apparently a young man who stayed with the Eiferts for a 
time. His last name is unknown. 

^°"Mississippi Year" was finally entitled River World. 

"f\/1r. and f\/lrs. Percival E. Robertson of Elsah. Mr. Robertson was a geology 
professor at Principia College and was on the Illinois State Museum Board of 

'^Orvetta M. Robinson, Eifert's long-time friend and the Illinois State Museum 
Librarian. Robinson frequently accompanied Eifert on visits to The Clearing, and 
since the latter's death she has been associated with Friends of The Clearing. 


'^Ramona and Ed Schultz were students in Eifert's classes at The Clearing. They 
lived in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and Eifert often stopped overnight with them 
while traveling to or from The Clearing. 

'■•Emma Toft lived at Bailey's Harbor in Door County until her death in 1982, at age 
91. A staunch conservationist, she was one of the founders of The Ridges Sanctuary 
at that location. Eifert knew her well, and everyone called her "Miss Emma." 

'^Eifert had a heart problem, and during the last several years of her life she tired 
easily and occasionally took oxygen. 

'^The poem, never published, was called "Return from the River": 
You must give me time to come home from the river, 
Time — just a little more time! 

Time to forget, if I can, 

Where my heart still lies. 

"The people mentioned in the postscript were all students that she had at The 

'^She was writing Louis Jolliet: Explorerof Rivers (1961) at that time. 

'«Paul Schuize is a Chicagoan who used to attend classes at The Clearing and 
was a great admirer of Virginia Eifert. He has been associated with the Illinois 
Audubon Society for many years. 

2°"To See the Year," The Living Museum, January, 1961, pp. 546-47; reprinted in 
Essays on /Vafure (Springfield: Illinois State Museum, 1967), pp. 209-10. 

2'Murl Deusing worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum and was later a National 
Audubon Screen Tour speaker. He was a talented nature photographer. 

^^Ronald and Lou Rich were among Eifert's students at The Clearing. They lived 
near Baraboo. 

"Arthur and Adaire Meeks were also among Eifert's students at The Clearing. 

2*David Childs, a friend of Larry Eifert. 

"Only two cruise guides were published: Log of the S.S. Delta Queen, Cincinnati 
to Kentucky Lake and Kentucky Lake to Chattanooga (Cincinnati: Greene Line 
Steamers, 1961) and Log of the Steamboat Delta Queen, Cincinnati to New Orleans 
(Cincinnati: Greene Line Steamers, 1964?). 




Russell G. Swenson and Pamela Olson Miner 

Good news about farming is rare today. Recent changes in the number 
of small farms in Illinois and across the United States, though, are very 
positive. Far from disappearing, small farms of ten to fifty acres have, 
since 1970, been resurgent.' The viability of small farms hinges on con- 
tinued off-farm employment for owners, but the central fact remains that 
small farm units have become increasingly abundant in most areas. 

The structure of farm unit sizes is traced by the U.S. Census of Agri- 
culture (Fig. 1). The proportion of farmland in all but two size categories 
has shrunk this century. Those units of under fifty or over 500 acres are 
alone in maintaining or increasing their share of total land in farms. The 
future does appear bleak for farms of medium size. If trends on Figure 1 
were to continue, all units from fifty to 500 acres would disappear by about 
the year 2000. That is unlikely to happen because, in fact, twenty-six 
percent of Illinois farmers in these size categories are "part-time" farmers 
who work off the farm for 200 or more days each year and can supplement 
their farm income.^ Income from off-farm employment is significant for 
medium-scale operators, and even more important for small-scale farmers. 
Fully fifty-seven percent of those who operate from ten to forty-nine acres 
in Illinois are part-time farmers. Given a relatively small capital investment 
(in land at least,) these small-scale farmers are well insulated from market 
fluctuations, and can be expected to survive indefinitely even if their farm 
income is negative. 

The character of new small farms has not been thoroughly explored. 
This study examines data on new small farms from two western Illinois 
counties. Farms classified as "new" are those units of from ten to fifty 
acres with a resident owner-operator that have appeared since 1970 as 
subdivisions or combinations of previously larger or smaller parcels. 
These small farms do not all produce agricultural commodities. Land 
ownership maps and county tax records were examined to locate new 
small farms in Fulton and f\/lcDonough Counties. Parcels smaller than ten 
acres are unlikely to be able to produce a significant amount of crops or 
livestock, except as a market gardening operation, a land use not common 
in western Illinois. 







140-179 ■ 1 



10 - 


,,^ 500 or more 

I ' r 

600 - 






'^ 50"^ 


220^^159 -2. 

300 - 




500 or more 

• 1 


■ 1 ■ 1 

McDonough County 

Fig. 1. The structure of farm unit sizes, based on tfie U.S. 
Census of Agriculture. 



New small farms in Fulton and McDonough Counties are shown in 
Figures 2 and 3. In Fulton County, these farms are evenly distributed 
throughout the area, whereas in McDonough County, there is some 
tendency for the small farms to be near Macomb. When the locations with 
respect to the slope of the land were examined, it was clear that new small 
farmsaresituatedontherougherlandin both counties (Table 1). 

Table 1 

% of Farms on % of County with 
8% or Greater 8% or Greater Roughness' 

County Slope Slope Ratio 

Fulton 30 7 4,3 

McDonough 48 17 2.8 

Source; Compiled by authors. 

'Degree of likelihood that a new small farm will be located on rough land (1.0 would 
indicate that as many are found on rough land as would be expected by chance). 

The roughness ratio for these two counties has some interesting 
implications. One suggestion from this finding is that the owners of new 
small farms may not have competed directly with expansion-minded, 
larger-scale farmers for the land. Rough land is less desirable for field crop 
agriculture as found in the Corn Belt, and in their search for land, the new 
small operators probably have not exerted much upward pressure on 
cropland prices. Another implication is that larger-scale farmers who are 
pressed for cash may find a ready market among new small farmers for 
parcels of land that are less productive because of rough terrain. 


Fulton and McDonough Counties are alike in population size and level 
of agricultural employment. ^ Fulton County contains a considerable 
acreage that has been surface-mined for coal, but because Fulton County 
is larger in area than McDonough County, the two counties have a similar 
amount of quality cropland." 

Census of Agriculture data on the number of farms of ten to forty-nine 
acres are not precise. In the 1978 census, for example, more of these units 
were found than in the preceding or subsequent census year. That 
happened because the 1978 census used a "local area sample" to identify 
small farm units not found on the census mailing list. This procedure has 
not been used in any other census year, making 1978 data for small farms 
less comparable to other years. Still more perplexingly, the number of 
Fulton County and McDonough County small farms change erratically 


FULTON COUNTY, ILLINOIS: New Small Farms, 1970-1985 

Fig. 2. 

with respect to what would be expected from the 1978 local area sample 
anomaly (Table 2). Given the unpredictable census numbers, it is striking 
that new small farms as defined here constitute exactly the same 
proportion (thirty-two percent) of the 1982 count of ten-to-forty-nine acre 
farms in both counties. There is no doubt, in fact, that the actual number 



New Small Farms, 1970-1985 


: 1 • -: I -?-,k;..:--"r»^^.-t--*rrJ 


^. 1 „)"'f%rr;::fc3 


.,.|^^..^w„-^-^.-— l-^- 

— M- i^M^-^ f^.^; T-,k f-'-f I }. 




2 3 4 5 Miles 



• New Small Farm Location 

01 2345678 Kilometers 

Fig. 3. 

of new small farm operators is greater than our count of new small farm 
units because some operators fiave obtained already-existing (pre-1970) 
small units. The number of new small farms created in Fulton and 
McDonough Counties has declined steadily from 1970; fifty percent were 
started between 1970 and 1975; thirty-six percent between 1975 and 1980; 
and the remaining fourteen percent between 1980 and 1985. 


Table 2 



Fulton County 

McDonough County 




































New Small 





Source: Authors and U.S. Censuses of Agriculture, State of Illinois, 1969, 1978 and 

A questionnaire was mailed to the resident owners of new small farms 
in both counties. Many operators returned the questionnaire, and their 
responses provide a glimpse of their background, answering such 
questions as how they chose to live where they do and whether they can 
be considered farmers in a traditional sense. 

The general qualities of small farm operators in western Illinois are 
reflected in Table 3. In both counties surveyed, more operators reported 
working off the farm than is true for the same size of farm across Illinois. 
But like other small farmers in Illinois, the most common occupations of 
informants are in craft and operative categories.^ In McDonough County, 
probably because of the influence of Western Illinois University, there is a 
large share of professionally employed operators. A significant share of 
the respondents are retired, and because all of these small farms came 
into existence only after 1970, retirement on the farm must have been an 
objective of their relocation decision. 

Like other part-time farmers in the United States, a large majority of the 
informants have lived most recently in a town or city. Despite this recent 
background, and again like their counterparts elsewhere, a large share of 
the operators have remained in or returned to their county of birth.* Among 
reasons given by the operators for choosing their particular parcel, 
economic justifications were outweighed by social and aesthetic con- 
siderations. The main reason reported for the choice of rural over an urban 
lifestyle (to get away from urban living) reflects the continuing lure of the 
agrarian ideal in the United States.' 


Table 3 

Percent of Operators' 

Characteristics Fulton County McDonough County 

Having Off-Farm Employment 69 81 

Employment Category: 

Professional/Technical 43 

fvlanagement/Administrative/Sales ... 18 7 


Craft or Trade 35 29 

Operative/Laborer 47 14 

Services 7 

Retired (and as % of respondents who 

indicated no off-farm employment) .. . 23(75) 13(100) 

Last Residence in: 

City 28 25 

Town 36 44 

Farm 36 31 

Born in Present County 44 69 

Reasons forChoosing Farm Location: 

Purchased from Relative 9 13 

On Good Road 6 13 

Inexpensive Parcel 6 8 

Inherited Parcel 3 

Scenic View 50 

Reasons forChoosing Rural Living: 

To Raise Children 31 25 

ToGet Away from Urban Place 46 42 

Grew Up on a Farm 60 69 

Spouse Did 36 60 


Under 40 (Spouse) 31(26) 31(43) 

40-60 (Spouse) 54(61) 25(21) 

Over 60 (Spouse) 15(13) 44(36) 

Consider Self a Farmer 38 50 

Income from Farming: 

Income Loss 46 40 

None to Half 46 47 

Half 13 

Over Half 8 

SampleSize 26 16 

Source: Authors. 

'Some percentages may not add to 100 because of incomplete responses to 
question, or because the question was not applicable to all informants. 



Not surprisingly, most new small farm operators have a farm back- 
ground. What is somewhat surprising is that the informants are spread 
rather equally among age divisions. Younger owners probably guarantee 
that overall small farm numbers will remain fairly stable in the future 
because few are expected either to expand or give up their operations.^ 
Over one-third of Fulton County and one-half of McDonough County 
residents consider themselves to be farmers, even though most earn little 
or no income from the sale of agricultural commodities. Some reasons 
commonly given to justify the claim to be a farmer are: having a lifelong 
association with agriculture, considering farming to be a "second" 
occupation, and being proud of the designation. On the other hand, those 
who do not claim to be a farmergenerally emphasize that they earn little or 
no income from agricultural activity. 

The landscape associated with new small farms in western Illinois is 
somewhat distinct from that of the general run of small farms in Illinois 
(Table 4). The most notable tendency that new small farms exhibit is to 
raise hay crops (usually alfalfa) more frequently than other small farms. 
Hay is probably used to feed animals kept on the new small farms. Al- 
though informants were not asked what kinds of animals they raised, it is 
evident from Table 4 that new small farms specialize in raising livestock to 
a much greaterdegree than small farms in general. 

Table 4 


Category Fulton County McDonough County 

Raising Crops 65 69 

Corn 35 19 

Soybeans 8 25 

Hay 35 50 

Vegetables 4 

Fruits, Berries 4 

Nursery Products 

Having Garden 85 75 

Selling Garden Produce 14 

Raising Livestock 50 67 

Selling Livestock or Products 23 60 

Poultry and Poultry Products * * 

Dairy Products * * 

Cattleand Calves * * 

Hogs and Pigs * * 

Sheep, Lambs, and Wool * * 

Sources: Authors and U.S. Census of Agriculture, State of Illinois, 1982. 
*Data not available. 



Moral, technical, and even financial support for new small farms comes 
from federal and state governments, from private companies, and from 
interested individuals. Perhaps the most direct support is from the income 
tax policy of the federal government, that allows anyone who is involved in 
agriculture with a profit motive to enjoy considerable advantages. A new, 
small farmer can depreciate the cost of equipment and buildings, for 
example, with few questions asked. With substantial income from off-farm 
employment, many small farmers can fare quite well by using this tax 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a "small farm" by the value 
of commodities sold from it, rather than by acreage owned or harvested. A 
farm that sells from $2,500 to $20,000 of agricultural products is a small 
farm; a "mini farm" grosses less than $2,500 annually. The Department of 
Agriculture has written off mini-farms as examples of "resource transfer 
out of agriculture."^ 

The federal government began to support the concept of small-scale 
farming in earnest in 1972, with the passage of the Rural Development Act. 
By 1978, the Department of Agriculture had hosted a small-farm workshop 
that called for a new focus on the farm family as a production, social, and 
income-earning unit, and had published its yearbook. Living on a Few 
Acres.''° A director of small farms research was named in 1982, but wav- 
ering support for small farms was demonstrated two years later when the 
directorwas reassigned.'^ 

At the state government level, support for small-scale farms has become 
more widespread, but is not as direct as the income tax break granted by 
the federal government. In some states, notably f»«1issouri, Pennsylvania, 
and California, but not Illinois, land grant universities disseminate infor- 
mation oriented toward small-scale agriculturalists through newsletters, 
workshops, and experimental farms. To a limited degree, these measures 
offset the criticism that land grant institutions have emphasized research 
benefitting mainly large-scale farmers. '^ An agricultural economist has 
noted that research focusing on techniques or machines to replace labor 
do not benefit small farms that already tend to have an adequate supply of 
that production factor. '^ 

Agribusiness companies have taken notice of the rise of new small 
farms; notable among them is John Deere. For several years now, John 
Deere's customer magazine. The Furrow, has been published in two edi- 
tions, one for large-scale and one for small-scale operators. At the same 
time, the company has expanded its line of small tractors and tools to tap 
the large market that exists because of the repopulation of the 
countryside. Not to be outdone, the Ford Tractor Company offers a line of 
scaled-down tractors and equipment, along with its own Enterprise Farm- 
ing magazine for smaller producers. Farmers in Western Illinois have 
taken advantage of the products and services of both of these companies. 


The Rodale Press, long known for its interest in organic farming, has 
since 1979 published The New Farm, a magazine for small-scale pro- 
ducers. Its format is much like that of the Farm Journal, and about 500 of 
Its 60,000 subscribers live in Western Illinois counties.'" 

A few private individuals have also made impressive contributions to- 
ward promoting and ensuring the economic viability of small farms. 
Booker T. Whatley, a retired professor of Horticulture from Tuskegee In- 
stitute, recommends through his Small Farm Technical Newsletter that 
small farms of up to fifty acres be established within twenty-five miles of a 
direct market outlet. Intensive cultivation of fruits and vegetables, he sug- 
gests, can gross $3,000 per acre on a small farm that follows his recom- 
mendations. Whatley has gained considerable notoriety through his 
strong advocacy of small-scale agriculture.'^ Although Whatley's ideas are 
most applicable to the South, he would insist that for best results, his 
style of small farm should be distributed across the country, including the 
heart of the Corn Belt. 


The significance of small farms created since 1970 includes these 
points: they bring more people into the countryside, increasing the vested 
interest in the well-being of the rural farm population; they bring people 
with a relatively high level of education into the countryside, further 
enhancing the possibilities for improved social and economic uplift;'^ and 
disproportionately to their total acreage, the new small farmers add great 
potential wealth in the form of practical experience gained in raising crops 
and livestock. 

Because virtually all new small farmers work off the farm, they should 
have considerable control over the management of their operation. There 
is little chance, agricultural economists point out, that a small farm, or 
"dispersed proprietary unit,'' will become an "industrial" farm, or what is 
often loosely termed a "corporate" farm.'^ On an industrial farm, labor, 
management, and landownership are separate. On such a farm, neitherthe 
laborer, nor even the landowner would be the manager or decisionmaker. 
Larger farms, more vulnerable to commodity price changes, are more 
subject to becoming an industrial farm because of their reliance on 
outside financing. Because our cherished image of a "family farm" 
includes a resident laborer, owner, and decisionmaker rolled into one, new 
small farms are, already, an incarnation of the family farm ideal. 


'Emily Harper, Frederick C. Fliegel, and J. C. Van Es, "Growing Numbers of Small 
Farms in the North Central States," Rural Sociology, 45 (1980), 608-620; Ralph E. 
Reynolds, "Small Farms: A Surprising Revival," The Furrow. 86 (October, 1981), 6-9; 
Fred Zahradnik, Small Farms on the Rise," The New Farm, 4 (January, 1982), 42-43; 


J, Tevere MacFadyen, Gaining Ground: The Renewal of America's Small Farms 
(New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1984). 

''U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1982 Census of Agriculture. Vol 1, Part 51, U.S. 
Sumnnary and State Data (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984). 

'D. W. Griffin and D. L. Chicoine, West-Central lllinc*^: A Regional Profile. Special 
Publication 31 (Champaign-Urbana: Cooperative Extension Service, 1974). 

'U.S. Bureau of the Census, op. cit. 

^J. C. Van Es, Frederick C. Fliegel, C. Erickson, H. Bakus and Emily Harper, 
Clioosing tlie Best of Two Worlds: Small. Fart-Time Farms in Illinois. Agricultural 
Economics Report Number 185 (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois, 1982), 22- 

*Alvin L. Bertrand, "Research on Part-Time Farming m the United States," So- 
ciologia Rural is. 7 (1967), 300. 

'William L. Bowers, The Country Life t\/lovement in Arvvrica. 1900-1920 (Port 
Washington, New York; Kennikat Press, 1975). 

^Reynolds, op. cit., p. 9. 

'Nora L. Brooks, Minifarms: Farm Business or Rural Residence? Economic 
Research Service Agricultural Information Bulletin Number 480 (Washington, D.C.: 
Government Printing Office, 1984). 

'"Thomas Carlin, "Small-Farm Component of U.S. Farm Structure," Structure Is- 
sues of American Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Eco- 
nomics Report 438 (Washington, D.C.; Government Printing Office, 1979) 274-277; 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Small-Farm Issues: Proceedings of the ESCS Small- 
Farm Workshop, Economics, Statistics, and Cooperative Service Report 60 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978). 

''Sara Edenreck, "USDA Funds Small Farms Research," The New Farm, 3 
(January, 1981), 57; Fred Zahradnik, "USDA Reassigns 'Mr. Small Farms', "TAje New 
Farm, 6 {January. 1984), 26-27, 32. 

'^Ingolf Vogeler, The l^yth of the Family Farm: Agribusiness Dominance of U.S. 
Agr/cu/fu/-e (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1981), 201-208. 

'^Frederick Humphries, "U.S. Small Farm Policy Scenarios for the Eighties," 
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 62(1980), 879-888. 

"Compiled by the authors from circulation data supplied by The New Farm, 
Emmaus, Pennsylvania. 

'5"Small Farms," The New Yorker. 57 (December 21, 1981), 34-36; Barbara H. 
Seeber, "The Producer," Sc/ence 84, 5 (July/August, 1984), 40-47. 

'^William D. Heffernan. et al, "Part-Time Farming and the Rural Community," 
Rural Sociology. 46(1981), 258. 

'^William L. Flinn and Frederick H. Buttel, "Sociological Aspects of Farm Size: 
Ideological and Social Consequences of Scale in Agriculture," American Journal of 
Agricultural Economics. 65 (1980), 946-953; Gene Logsdon and Jim Ritchie, "Can the 
Family Farm Survive the Eighties? Decade of Decision," The New Farm. 3 (January, 
1981), 46-51. 


Gordana Rezab 

This bibliography is the seventh in a series started in 1981 and 
appearing in spring issues of Western Illinois Regional Studies. Thus far 
bibliographies of the following West-central Illinois counties have been 
published: Fulton, Mercer, Henderson, Calhoun, Pike, Adams, Warren, 
Schuyler and Brown. Entries in these bibliographies consist of separately 
published monographs, pamphlets, typescripts duplicated for limited 
private distribution, and maps. The bibliographies do not include peri- 
odical or newspaper articles, scrapbooks, manuscripts, or genealogical 
studies on single families. Biographies of individuals are included only if 
they contain a significant amount of information on the county. Entries are 
arranged by major categories. 

Several libraries have sizeable collections of materials on McDonough 
County. The most comprehensive collection is housed in the Western 
Illinois University Libraries. This collection consists of printed and manu- 
script materials and photographs. It is supplemented by an extensive 
vertical file, and by county and municipal records housed in the IRAD 
Center, also located in the Libraries. Macomb Public Library, the Illinois 
Historical Society in the University of Illinois Library in Urbana, and the 
Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield also contain good col- 
lections on McDonough County. 

The form of entry in this bibliography closely approximates the present 
standard guides for cataloging in the National Union Catalog and the on- 
line bibliographic data bases. However, since local publications often do 
not contain all bibliographic elements, the form of entry may not always 

Local publications are generally issued in small editions and distributed 
in small geographic areas. This frequently results in few surviving copies. 
If such a publication has been overlooked and has not been included in 
this listing, the compiler would greatly appreciate a note to that effect. 
Please address correspondence to Gordana Rezab, Western Illinois 
Regional Studies, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455. 


General County Histories 

Clarke, S. J. History of McDonough County, Illinois, Its Cities, Towns and 
Villages, With Early Reminiscences, Personal Incidents and Anecdotes, 
and a Complete Business Directory of the County. Springfield, III.: D. W. 
Lusk, 1878. 692 p. 

Overton, Albert G. Index of Personal Names Found in the History of t\/lc- 
Donough County, Illinois by S. J. Clarke, Springfield, Illinois, 1878. St. 
Louis, Missouri: Micro-Records Pub. Co., 1974. 63 p. 

History of fVlcDonough County, Illinois, Together With Sketches of the 
Towns, Villages and Townships, Educational, Civil, Military and Political 
History, Portraits of Prominent Individuals, and Biographies of the 
Representative Citizens. Springfield, III.: Continental Historical Co., 
1885. 1158 p. Also 1980 reprint by Unigraphic Inc., Evansville, Ind. 

Pickett, Eve and Louise Myers. Index of Personal Names Found in the 
History of McDonough County, Illinois, 1885. Maconnb, III.: McDonough 
County Genealogical Society, 1983. 188 p. 

McLean, Alexander. History of McDonough County, (v. 2 of Historical 
Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Batennan and Paul Selby). 
Chicago: Munsell, 1907. p. 618-1055. 

Portrait and Biographical Record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson 
Counties, Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and 
Representative Citizens of the County. Chicago: Lake City Pub. Co., 
1894. 598 p. Also 1982 reprint by Ross and Evans, Gladstone, III. 

Shadwick, George W. History of McDonough County, Illinois, a Record of 
Events and Personalities in McDonough County's History. Moline, III.: 
Desaulniers, 1968. 156 p. 

Special Aspects of the County 

Badger, David A. The Barn Architecture of McDonough County. Havana, 

III.: D. A. Badger, 1984. 49p. 
Bement, Mary E. Developing Tourism in McDonough County, Illinois 

Through Historic Resources, n.p., 1972. 19 p. 
Blazer, D. N. History of the Underground Railroad of McDonough County, 

Illinois. Medo, III.: D. N. Blazer, 1922. 20 p. 
Camp Creek Presbyterian Church (McDonough County, III.). 125th 

Anniversary, 1839-1964. n.p., 1964. 20 p. 
Cernocky, John F. An Oral History Approach to the Effects of the 

Depression, 1929-1941, in McDonough County, Illinois. Thesis (M.A.) — 

Western Illinois University, 1973. 177 p. 
Drury, John. This is McDonough County, Illinois, an Up-to-date Historical 

Narrative With County Map and Many Unigue Aerial Photographs of 

Cities, Towns, Villages, and Farmsteads. Chicago: Loree Company, 

1955. 402 p. 


Ebenezer Presbyterian Church. One Hundredth Anniversary of Ebenezer 
Presbyterian Church, 1861-1961. n.p., 1961. 20 p. 

General Planning and Resource Consultants. A Comprehensive Long- 
range Development Plan, McDonough County, Illinois. St. Louis, Mis- 
souri: The Consultants, 1972. 234 p. 

Graff, Thomas O. The Functions of Small Communities in West Central 
Illinois. Thesis (M.A.) — Western Illinois University, 1970. 96 p. 

Griffin, D. W. l\/lcDonough County Land Use Suitability Manual. Urbana, III.: 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Agriculture, 1978. 
21 p. 

Hallwas, John E. McDonough County Heritage. Macomb, III.: Illinois 
Heritage Press, 1984. 189 p. 

History of McDonough County, Addresses Delivered in Macomb, Illinois, 
on the Occasion of the One Hundreth Anniversary of the Founding of 
McDonough County, January Twenty-fifth 1926. [typescript] Macomb, III.: 
McDonough County Historical Society, 1926. 63 p. 

The History of West Prairie Presbyterian Church, n.p., 1955. 23 p. 

Illinois Historic Landmarks Survey. Inventory of Historic Landmarks In 
McDonough County, Interim Report, n.p., 1975. 6 p. 

Illinois Historic Structures Survey. Inventory of Historic Structures in 
McDonough County, Interim Report, n.p., 1972. 3 p. 

League of Women Voters of Macomb, Illinois. Spotlight on McDonough 
County. Macomb, III.: The League, 1970. 41 p. 

League of Women Voters of McDonough County, Illinois. McDonough 
County, 1826-1976. n.p., 1976. 61 p. 

Lehner, Walter H. A Geographic Study of Clay Mining in McDonough 
County, Illinois. Thesis (M.A.) — Western Illinois University, 1969. 93 p. 

Lester, Duane. Rural Cemeteries of McDonough County, Illinois. Rushville 
III.: Schuyler-Brown Historical and Genealogical Society and The 
Schuyler Jail Museum, 1976-1980. 18v. 

McDonough County, Illinois, 1826-1976 Sesguicentennial. Colchester, III.: 
Colchester Lions Club, 1976. 64p. 

McDonough County School Survey Committee. Final Report, n.p., 1947. 
23 p. 

McDonough County (Illinois) Superintendent of Schools. School Directory 
of McDonough County Public Schools. School Year 1925-1926. Macomb, 
III. :The Superintendent, 1925. 23p. 

McDonough County (lllinois)Superintendent of Schools. A Directory of the 
Public Schools of McDonough County. Macomb, III.: The Superinten- 
dent, 1941-1969(scattered editions). 

McDonough County Soils, by Cyril G. Hopkins et al. (Soil Report, no. 7) 
Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois. College of Agriculture. Coop- 
erative Extension Service, 1913. 46 p. 


Neal, Elden E. A Floristic Survey of Lake Vermont Park, McDonough 
County. Illinois. Thesis (M.S.)— Western Illinois University, 1969. 

One Hundredth Anniversary of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church. Macomb, 
lll.:n.p., 1961. 20p. 

Original Records of the Old Bedford Christian Church. Section 6. Bland- 
insville, Township. f\/lcDonough County. Illinois. Kalamazoo, Mich.: 
Huston, 1983. 74 p. 

Original Records of the Old Bedford Christian Church . . . 1880-1900 (Ad- 
denda). Kalamazoo, Mich.: Huston, 1983. 

Powers, A. Sunshine and Shadows, or the Life and Early Adventures of A. 
Powers. Bardolph, III.: s.n., 1895. 101 p. 

Still, John B. The Silt Problem at Spring Lake, t^acomb. Urbana, III.: Illinois 
Water Survey, 1949. 

Trotter, Dale. The History of V^est Prairie Presbyterian Church. Adair, III.: 
n.p., 1955. 19p. 

Walzer, Norman C. and Edward Struck. Economic Base Analysis of Mc- 
Donough County. Macomb, III.: Center for Business and Economic Re- 
search, Western Illinois University, 1973. 12p. 

Walzer, Norman C. Economic Characteristics of tvlcDonough County. Ma- 
comb, III.: Centerfor Business and Economic Research, Western Illinois 
University, 1972. 26 p. 

Walzer, Norman C. Population Movements in McDonough County. Ma- 
comb, III.: Western Illinois University. Center for Business and Economic 
Research, 1972. 28 p. 

Watson, Clarence. My Memoirs, n.p., 1967. 44 p. 

Watson, Charles Clarence. My Memoirs Number Two and Other Gems Too. 
1970. 106 p. 

County Directories 
(listed in chronological order) 

Hampton's Directory of McDonough County. Macomb, III.: Hampton 

Directory, 1898. 112 p. 
Prairie Farmer's Directory of McDonough County, Illinois. Chicago: Prairie 

Farmer Publishing Co., 1917. 176p. 
McDonough County, Illinois County Directory, n.p.: Johnson Publishing 

Co., 1974— 

County Atlases, Maps and Plat Books 
(listed in chronological order) 

Andreas, Lyter & Co. Atlas Map of McDonough County. Illinois. Davenport, 
Iowa: The Company, 1871. 75 p. Also reprint in Atlases of McDonough 
County. III.. 1871-1913. Evansville. Ind : Unigraphic. Inc.. 1976. 


Occidental Publishing Company. Plat Book of McDonough County, Illinois. 

Chicago: TheCompany, 1893. 91 p. 
Geo. A. Ogle. Standard Atlas of t\/\cDonougt) County, Illinois, Including a 

Plat Book of the Villages, Cities, and Townships of the County. Chicago: 

G. A. Ogle, 1913. 86 p. Also reprint in Atlases of f\/lcDonough County. III., 

1871-1913. Evansville, Ind.: Unigraphic, Inc., 1976. 
United States Geological Survey. Topographic Map of McDonough County, 

Illinois. Baltimore, Maryland: A. Hoen &Co., 1919. 72 x 93 cm. 
Hixson, (W. W.) and Co. Plat Book of l\/lcDonough County, Illinois. 

Rockford, III.: The Company, 1931. 20 p. 
Chestnut Map Company. 1940 McDonough County Atlas, Farms Platted 

and Directory. Mt. Sterling, III.: The Company, 1940. 54 p. 
Terrill Abstract Company. Plat Book of Farm Ownership of McDonough 

County, Illinois. Macomb, III.: The Company, 1945. 18 p. 
Chestnut, John M. Plat Book, Atlas and Directory, McDonough County, 

Illinois. Mt. Sterling, III.: J. M. Chestnut, 1948. 62 p. 
Rockford Map Publishers. Farm Plat Book and Business Guide, Mc- 
Donough County, Illinois. Rockford, III.: The Publishers, 1954. 51 p. 

Central Illinois Farm Directories. McDonough County Plat Book and Farm 
Directory. Springfield, III.: The Directories, 1955. 30 p. 

Farm Plat Book Publishing Company. Official County Plat Book and Rural 
Directory of McDonough County, Illinois. Mankato, III.: The Company, 

R. C. Booth Enterprises. McDonough County, Illinois TAM Service. Harlan, 
Iowa: The Enterprises, 1962. 44 p.; 1976. 46 p.; 1978. 45 p.; 1986. 47 p. 

Rockford Map Publishers, Farm Plat Book With Index to Owners, Mc- 
Donough County, Illinois. Rockford, III.: The Publishers, 1962. 47 p. 

Rockford Map Publishers. Triannual Atlas & Plat Book, McDonough Coun- 
ty, Illinois. Rockford, III.: The Publishers, 1966. 54 p. 

Rockford Map Publishers. Triennial Atlas & Plat Book, McDonough Coun- 
ty, Illinois. Rockford, III.: The Publishers, 1969. 45 p. 

Rockford Map Publishers. Atlas & Plat Book, McDonough County, Illinois. 
Rockford, 111.: The Publishers, 1972. 48 p.; 1974. 48 p. 

1974 McDonough County Directory. Tuscola, III.: Local Area Directory Co., 
1974. unpaged. 

Rockford Map Publishers. Land Atlas & Plat Book, . . . McDonough County, 
Illinois. Rockford, III.: The Publishers 1976. 46 p.; 1979. 46 p.; 1981. 46 p.; 
1983. 44 p. 

Directory Service Company. McDonough County, Illinois Rural Resident 
Directory. Algona, Iowa: TheCompany, 1977. 44 p; 1978. 40 p. 


Censuses and General Genealogical Information 

(census publications are listed first 

in chronological order) 

1830 Census of McDonough County Portion of Schuyler County. Illinois. 

Macomb, III.. McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1980. 5 p. 
Grimm, Libby. 1840 Census of United States for McDonough County. 

Illinois. Macomb, III.: McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1982. 

24 p. 

Bates, Minnie M. and Geraldine H. Mayhugh. l\/fcDonough County, Illinois, 
1850 Federal Census With Complete Index. Owensboro, Kenn.: Mc- 
Dowell, 1981. 216p. 

1860 United States Census of McDonough County, Illinois. Macomb, III.: 

McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1981. p. 361-879. 
Solomon, Eileen. Illinois, McDonough County 1870 Census. Macomb, III.: 

McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1985. 520 p. 
Solomon, Eileen. Illinois, McDonough County 1880 Census. Macomb, III.: 

McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1983. 549 p. 
Abstracts of Wills in McDonough County, Illinois. 1834-1857. Macomb, III.: 

McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1980. 37 p. 
Allen, Margaret. 1850 Illinois Mortality Schedule: McDonough County. 

Macomb, III,: McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1883. 58 p. 
McDonough County Marriages, prepared by McDonough County 

Genealogical Society. Macomb, III.: The Society, 1980-198 . 3 v. 

Publications on Towns and Townships 
(listed alphabetically by town name) 


Pontius, L. F. History of Adair, Illinois, n.p., 1970. 46 p. 


"The Bardolph News" Abstracts, Septennber 1893 to September 1912. 
Macomb, III.: McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1981. 139 p. 

Bardolph Cemetery at Bardolph, Illinois. Macomb, III.: McDonough County 
Genealogical Society, 1981. 54 p. 

History of Bardolph, Illinois. Bardolph: n.p., 191 1. 136 p. 


Glade City Cemetery, Blandinsville. Illinois. Macomb, III.: McDonough 
County Historical Society, 1983. 74 p. 

Souvenier Book of 89th Blandinsville Farmer's Picnic. 1887-1976. Bland- 
insville, III.: n.p., 1976. 48p. 

Souvenir of Blandinsville. Illinois n.p.: John H. Bayless. 1906. 1 14 p 


Rolofson, Helen and Blanche E. Hainllne. The Story of Blandinsville and 
Hire Townships. Blandinsville, III.: Rolofson Printing Service, 1968. 64 p. 

Sanborn Map Connpany. Blandinsville, McDonough County, Illinois. New 
York: The-Connpany, 1893. 1 sheet; 1898. 2 sheets; 1906. 3 sheets; 1912. 4 
sheets; 1926. 4 sheets. 


Bushnell Board of Education (Bushnell, III.). Rules, Regulations and 

Course of Study. Bushnell, lll.:n.p., 1900. 
Bushnell Cemetery at Bushnell, Illinois. Macomb, III.: McDonough County 

Genealogical Society, 1982. 210 p. 
Bushnell City Directory, January 1940. Galesburg, III.: Kisor Directory 

Service, 1940. 26 p. 
Bushnell, Illinois, Centennial, 1854-1954. n.p., 1954. Also 1976 reprint. 
Bushnell Prairie City Schools (Bushnell, III.). Citizens' Survey Connmittee. 

Facts and Recommendations of the Citizens' Survey Committee of the 

Bushnell-Prairie City Schools. Urbana, III.: n.p., 1957. 
Lewis, Albert W. Bushnell, McDonough County, Illinois: Interesting Views 

of Public Buildings, Schools, Churches, Clubs, Parks, Street Scenes, 

Residences and Industries of the City, n.p., 1914. 22 p. 
Organization of the Western Normal College, Bushnell, Illinois. Bushnell, 

III. :Char.C. Chain, 1899. 60p. 
United Methodist Church of Bushnell. Illinois, 1976. n.p., 1976. 39 p. 
Sanborn Map Company. Bushnell; McDonough County, Illinois. New York: 

The Company, 1886. 3 sheets; 1893. 4 sheets; 1898. 4 sheets; 1906. 5 

sheets. 1912. 8sheets; 1924-1932. 13sheets. 


Cordell, Vera. Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Colchester Township, Colchester, 

Illinois. Macomb, III.: McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1987. 

123 p. 
Monteith, Dean D. The Changing Situation and Function of Colchester, 

Illinois, the Nineteenth Century to the Present. Thesis (M.A.) — Western 

Illinois University, 1976. 112p. 
Moon, June. "Multum in Parvo, Much in Little," a History of Colchester, 

Illinois. Colchester, III.: Colchester Chronicle, 1956. 68 p. 
Colchester— Maps (listed in order of publication) 
Sanborn Map Company. Colchester, McDonough County, Illinois. New 

York: The Company, 1893. 2 sheets; 1898. 3 sheets; 1906. 3 sheets; 1912. 

4 sheets; 1924. 4 sheets; 1924-1942. 4 sheets. 
Colchester, n.p.: F.S. Norton, 1961. 1 sheet. 42 x 52 cm. 
Englebright, Allen C. The Impact of Oil Upon the Colmar-Plymouth, Illinois, 

Area. Thesis (M.S.) — Western Illinois University, 1968. 93 p. 


Good Hope 

Good Hope Cemetery at Good Hope. Illinois. Macomb, III.: McDonough 
County Genealogical Society, 1982. 78p. 

Hills Grove 

Rinehart, Elva Gilchrist. Hills Grove, Illinois, Its Early History. Carthage. 

III.:S.C. Davidson, 1925. 49p. 
Mavis, Edith F. The Country Church Grows at Hills Grove. Tennessee, III.: 

E. F. Mavis, 1953. 12p. Also 1966 ed. 11 p. 


Grimm, Libby. Industry Cemetery, Industry, lllinos. Macomb, III.: 

McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1984. 292 p. 
Industry Methodist Church. Industry Methodist Church, Industry, Illinois. 

n.p., 1966. 9p. 
United Methodist Church. History, United Methodist Church, Industry, 

Illinois. 1855-1976. n.p., 1976. 19 p. 
Sanborn Map Company. Industry, McDonough County, Illinois. New York: 

TheCompany, 1914. 1 sheet; 1928. 2sheets. 


Blaha, Thomas R. The Future of Manufacturing Expansion in Macomb. 

Illinois. From the Standpoint of Housing Availability. Thesis (M.A.) 

— Western Illinois University, 1971. 55 p. 
Haeger Potteries Inc. Haeger, The Craftsmen for a Century . . . 1871-1971. 

Dundee, III.: n.p., 1971. 6p. 
Hallwas, John E. "A Short History of Macomb" in Macomb Heritage Days 

Souvenir Book, Macomb, ML: Macomb Heritage Days, 1982. 40 p. 
Harris, Marjorie Guy. Burials in St. Paul's Catholic Cemetery, Macomb, 

Illinois. Macomb, III.: McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1983. 

201 p. 
Harris, Marge Guy. Old Cemetery, Macomb, Illinois. Macomb, III.: 

McDonough County Genealogical Society, 1984. 145 p. 
Hartnett, John. The City of Macomb, Western Illinois State Teachers 

College and Camp Ellis During World War II. Thesis (M.A.)— Western 

Illinois University, 1978. 
Holmes, Alex. History and Reminiscences of Alex Holmes, Macomb, 

Illinois. Macomb, III.: By-Stander Press, 1923. 1 14 p. 
Industrial Survey of Macomb, Illinois. Springfield, III.: Central Illinois 

Public Service Company, 1929. 58 p. 
Jenkins, William R. A Souvenir of Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois, 

"The Hub of the Military Tract. " Macomb, III,: W. R. Jenkins, 1922. 78 p. 
Lewis, Albert W. Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois: Interesting Viev^s 

of Public Buildings, Schools, Clubs, Churches, Residences, Parks, 

Street Scenes and Industries of the City. Macomb, III.: Macomb Club, 



Macomb CBD Environmental Development Project. Urbana, III.: Dept. of 
Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1976. 85 p. 

Macomb, Illinois, Public Schools. Board of School Inspectors. Rules and 
Regulations of the Public Schools of the City of Macomb, Illinois. 
Macomb, III.: Journal Steam Printing House, 1879. 36 p. 

Macomb, Illinois, Public Schools. Board of Education. Rules and Regula- 
tions and Course of Study of the Public Schools, n.p., 1902/03; 1904/05; 

Scruggs and Hammond, Inc. Official Plan of City of Macomb, Illinois. 
Peoria, III.: Scruggs and Hammond, 1957. 98p. 

Scruggs and Hammond, Inc. A Comprehensive Plan for the City of 
Macomb, Illinois. Peoria, III.: Scruggs and Hammond, 1966. various 

Weaver, George C. An Environmental Approach to Land Use Planning in 
Macomb, ////no/s. Thesis (M. A.)— Western Illinois University, 1977. 105 p. 

Macomb — Churches 

First Baptist Church (Macomb, III.). Our One Hundred and First Anni- 
versary, 1857-1958. n.p., 1958. 14 p. 

First Baptist Church (Macomb, III.). Our One Hundred and Twenty-fifth 
Anniversary, 1857-1982. n.p., 1982. 16 p. 

Jones, Jeffery G. The History of Brown's Chapel of the African Methodist 
Episcopal Church: 1876-1965, Macomb, Illinois. Thesis (M .A.) — Western 
Illinois University, 1983. 76 p. 

First Christian Church (Macomb, III.). One Hundred Years of Service, 1845- 
1945. n.p., 1945. 39 p. 

[First Presbyterian Church] 

United Presbyterian Church (Macomb, III.). Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the 

Macomb Presbyterian Church, Macomb, III., June 9, 1907. Macomb, III.: 

By-Stander Press, 1907. 32 p. 

First Presbyterian Church (Macomb, III.) Dedication of Church Auditorium. 
Macomb, lll.:The Dudman Printery, 1940. 20p. 

[First Presbyterian Church] 

Russell, Annie W. The First One Hundred Years, a Book of Remembrance. 
Macomb, III.: Yeast Offset Printing, 1966. 71 p. 

Watkins, Sharon and Sheila Nollen. The Past Fifty Years: a History of the 
First United Presbyterian Church of Macomb, Illinois, 1932-1982. n.p., 
1982. 60 p. 

A History of St. Paul Church, 1857-1986, by Alice A. Krauser et al. Macomb, 

lll,:St.PaulChurch, 1986. 163p. 
40th Anniversary of the Reorganization of the Trinity Lutheran Church, 

Macomb, Illinois, 1924-1964. n.p., 1964. 8p. 


Waldrep, Reef. Macomb and Its Methodists: Wesley United Methodist 
Church From Its Beginning. Macomb, III.: Wesley United Methodist 
Church FellheimerTrust, 1977. 123p. 

Macomb— Ordinances (Listed in chronological order) 

Digest of Ordinances of the City of Macomb, Illinois. Together With the 
City Charter and Such Other Legal Enactments as Affect the Interests of 
the City. Macomb, III.; Abbott & Michel! Printers, 1857. 154 p. 
The Municipal Code of Macomb. Illinois Comprising the Special Acts . . . 
Relating to the City of Macomb and the Ordinances of the City Council. 
Macomb, III.: The Journal Printing Co., 1897. 228p. 
Municipal Code of Macomb of 1964, revised, compiled and edited by Edwin 

L. Harris, n.p., 1964. 201 p. 
Municipal Code, City of Macomb, Illinois, General Ordinances of the 
City. Tallahassee, Florida: Municipal Code Corporation, 1972. various 
Macomb — Directories (listed in chronological order) 
Beasley's Macomb Directory for 1876-7. n.p.: James W. Beasley, 1876. 

Macomb City Directory, 1891. Peoria, III.: J. P. Ross, 1891. b^ p. 
Macomb City Directory for 1893-94. Macomb, III.: E. J. Clarke, 1893. 1 14 p. 
Hampton's Directory of Macomb for 1898 .... Macomb, III.: Hampton 

Directory, 1898. 110 p. 
Shaffer, Secor & Co.'s Macomb City Directory. Rock Island, III.: The 

Company, 1900. 
The By-Stander Macomb City Directory. Macomb, III.: publisher varies, 

1904; 1907. 275; 1910. 320; 1913. 354. 
R. E. Hackman & Co.'s Macomb, Illinois City Directory. Quincy, III.: R. E. 

Hackman, 1920. 
Leshnick's Macomb City Directory. 1922-1923. Peoria, III.: Leshnick 

Directory Co., 1922. 296 p. 
Smith's Macomb City Directory, 1924. Peoria Heights, III.: Smith Directory 

Co., 1924. 345 p. 
Smith-Baumann Macomb City Directory, 1926. Peoria Heights, III.: Smith- 

Baumann Directory Company, 1926. 364 p. 
W. H. Hoffman's City Directory of Macomb, Illinois, 1928. Quincy, III.: The 

Hoffman Directories, 1928. 387 p. 
Macomb. City Directory. Macomb, III.: Macomb Directory Company, 1930- 

1966. annual. 
Macomb Con Survey City Di.ectory. Imprint varies. 1968- 
Macomb— Western Illinois University 

Campus and Building Views. Macomb, III.: Western Illinois State Normal 
School, 1918. unpaged. 


Golden Anniversary. Macomb, III.: Western Illinois State College, 1949. 

63 p. 
Hicken, Victor. The Purple and the Gold, the Story of Western Illinois 

University. Maconnb, III.: Western Illinois University Foundation, 1970. 

224 p. 

Macomb— Maps 

Sanborn Map Company. Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois. New York: 
The Company, 1886. 4 sheets; 1892. 5 sheets; 1898. 7 sheets; 1906. 8 
sheets; 1910. lOsheets; 1924. 15sheets; 1931. 26sheets. 

Macomb Chamber of Commerce. Map and Guide of Macomb. Macomb, III.: 
The Chambers, 1947. 34 x 36 cm. 

Tiernan Engineering Co. City of Macomb. Macomb, 111.: The Company, 
1954; 1961; 1967; 1968; 1973. 

Macomb Township 

Yesterdays of Jerusalem Community, compiled by Wanda Thorman. n.p., 
1977. 62 p. 

Prairie City 

Prairie City Cemetery, Prairie City, Illinois. Macomb, 111.: McDonough 

County Genealogical Society, 1984. 109 p. 
Stoneking, Dorothy M. and Shirley M. Yocum. History of Prairie City. 

Lewistown, III.: Mid-county Press, 1976. 122 p. 

Sanborn Map Company. Prairie City, McDonough County, Illinois. New 
York: The Company, 1893. 1 sheet; 1893. 2 sheets; 1898. 2 sheets; 1906. 2 
sheets, 1912. 3sheets; 1931. Ssheets; 


History of Sciota United Methodist Church, 1883-1976. n.p., 1976. 27 p. 


[Tennessee Methodist Church] 

The Church. Marceline, Mo.: Walsworth, 1950. 37 p. 


1960, by William Roba. Quad Cities: The Hesperian Press, 1986. Pp. 157. 

William Roba's book is a narrative history of the Quad Cities of Illinois 
and Iowa. He states his objective in the opening chapter: ". . . for a century 
and a half, the settlers and citizens of [the Quad Cities] on either side of 
the Mississippi River have lacked a common identity. The result is an 
identity problem unique in American history: continued neglect of a 
regionally important urban area. . . . This study of a neighborhood com- 
munity goes to the heart of Quad City autonomy: local politics." 

In part, the weakness of Roba's book lies in its scope, which includes 
far more than politics. In 157 pages, including illustrations, he attempts to 
present a complete history of the Quad Cities, a metropolitan area in 
which the principal cities now carry a population exceeding 250,000. His 
narrative includes a partial account of writers, scholars, businessmen, 
educators, scientists, and immigrants, most of whom are not mentioned 
within the context of their political affiliations. There are no graphs or 
charts showing political breakdown, although a breakdown of the vote in 
percentages or numbers is occasionally offered. The political portion of 
each chapter is not located at the chapter's beginning, but is rather 
confined to a small amount of space near the closing remarks, thus 
detracting from the impact of this information, if any. 

Although politics may be partially responsible for the lack of a common 
identity within the Quad Cities, one other factor, which Roba ignores, is of 
far greater significance. The Quad Cities began as distinct villages 
separated by five or more miles of unsettled land and, in some cases, the 
unspanned breadth of the Mississippi. Two of the initial cities were in the 
state of Illinois; the other was in Iowa. By the time the river was laced by 
bridges, and towns and cities were physically joined by tree-framed 
avenues, the pride and allegiance to each individual city ran deep in the 
hearts of its citizens. 

Roba, too, displays pride and allegiance. Davenport dominates the text, 
as does Roba's German-American heritage. A reader from the Illinois side 
of the river feels slighted. Ethnic groups not- or seldom-mentioned are 
overwhelmed by their apparent invisibility. Roba would have done far 
better had he written a book centered upon the German-American heritage 
of the Quad Cities. Quad Citians need to know their ethnic heritage. They 
also need translations of texts, including newspaper copy, related to those 
histories. Or perhaps he should have written a book centered deeply within 
the socialistic politics of the early 20th century, another of his favorite 



In closing, Quad Citians need histories which are thoroughly researched 
and deeply centered upon specific topics, but they did not and do not need 
another narrative, popular history. 

The River and the Prairie is not indexed and does not contain a 
bibliography. However, it does contain footnotes, most of which note 
newspaper sources reflecting Roba's twelve years of study. The book's 
major value lies in its information related to the German-American com- 
munity and its possible ability to spark an interest in several fields related 
to religion or politics in the Quad City area. 
LaDonna Backmeyer 
Rock Island, III. 

Hallwas. Macomb, Illinois: Illinois Heritage Press, 1986. Pp. 286. $15.95. 

When my copy of Illinois Literature: The Nineteenth Century V\rs\ arrived, 
I opened it for a cursory examination to see what I had agreed to review. 
Late that afternoon I was still lost among the entrees of this smorgasbord 
of a volume, renewing old acquaintances and making new ones. I suspect 
that any reader interested in Illinois history will be apt to succumb in the 
same way. 

Editor John Hallwas has collected some one hundred and sixteen se- 
lections by 41 writers ranging from 1817 (the year before Illinois became a 
state) to the early 20th century. Among the collection are voices such as 
Abraham Lincoln, familiar to all; voices once in high fashion such as 
Eugene Field, Robert Ingersoll, and Finley Peter Dunne; and voices such 
as Eliza R. Snow and John Hay who were never household names, but who 
represent the voices of the people of Illinois. It is this last group of 
selections which make the book especially valuable, for few of these 
writers remain alive anywhere else, either in American literature an- 
thologies or in Illinois history courses. And even where the writer is still 
known, Hallwas has taken care to expand our understanding by publishing 
new material. My casual typing of Eugene Field as a sentimental news- 
paper poet, for instance, was at least challenged by the selections here. 

In choosing selections for this book, Hallwas has chosen to focus on 
what he perceives to be one of the enduring and important questions for 
Illinois writers: the "struggle for a good and just society." From Black 
Hawk's plea to understand the Indian way to Henry Blake Fuller's urban 
Cliff-Dwellers and Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class, the 
book reflects the growth of both rural and urban Illinois culture. This 
question of how to live the good life in community, of course, goes back to 
Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, and followed settlers west, but it found 
an especially good stage for debate in nineteenth-century Illinois. Illinois' 
first settlers came down the Ohio River from such states as Kentucky and 
Tennessee, and moved up the Mississippi. They brought with them a 
southern idea of community. By mid-century, another wave of immigrants 


were coming into Illinois, this time Yankees from New England and New 
York, with new ideas of community. These were followed by immigrants 
from Germany and Scandanivia and elsewhere in Europe, searching for 
community in ways that ranged from conservative to revolutionary. It is 
this vigorous clash of ideas that Hallwas' collection captures. 

One of the results of this emphasis in the collection on the struggle for a 
good and just society is that most of the selections are non-fiction. There 
are enough poems, stories, and selections of novels to indicate that the 
arts were alive in nineteenth-century Illinois, but the most lively sections 
are the newspaper editorials, sermons, speeches, autobiographies, 
diaries, letters and political tracts through which the search for a just 
society was carried on. It is in these impassioned voices that one finds the 
echoes and antecedents of much twentiety-century Illinois literature. One 
understands better the cantankerous, pleading, idealistic, cynical voices 
that haunt Masters' Spoon River or spill out from the Chicago writers of 
the 1920s and 30s. 

Hallwas has supplemented the selections with an introduction which 
provides a brief but quite specific history of nineteenth-century Illinois 
literature, placing each of the writers in a broader context. In addition, he 
has provided a biographical note at the head of each selection, and a 
selected bibliography of additional works by and about each writer. As 
often as not, these entries reveal how little critical attention has been paid 
to many of these important figures in Illinois literature, and ought to whet 
the appetite of scholars on the lookout for new directions. 

In addition, the book ought to serve well as a resource for high school 
and college classes in Illinois history or literature. Although not complete 
enough to serve as a text by itself — the longer works are of necessity 
represented by only a chapter or two — the variety of selections should 
provide an almost endless impetus for paper, project, and research topics. 

As comprehensive as the selections in this anthology might be, given 
the limitations of space, I would like to have seen several areas given more 
attention. First, of the 41 writers, only three are women. That seems a low 
percentage, even for nineteenth-century Illinois. My own feeling also is 
that the Mississippi River and the military presence in Illinois are both 
somewhat more important than the selections in this volume would in- 
dicate. More important, in a volume that documents the "struggle for a 
good and just society," there seems to be too little attention paid to the 
many Utopian communities which dotted the 19th century Illinois 
landscape as they tried to put their preaching into practice. These visions 
could have used more space. 

Nevertheless, these are minor complaints about a problem inherent in 
any anthology. John Hallwas is to be commended for this addition to his 
previous works dealing with Illinois history and culture. Each new volume 
has made life easierfor those of us who teach regional studies. 
Roald Tweet 
Augustana College 


INGS. By Jo Anne Beard. Jacksonville, IL. The Historic Preservation 
Connmission, 1986. Pp. ix + 156. $5 from City Clerk, Municipal Building. 

The Legacy of Historic Jacksonyiiie. which was financed in part with a 
federal grant administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 
covers fifty-three historic homes and sites in Jacksonville in a large format 
(8 1/2" by 11") paperbound volume. Included is a fold out map with an 
itinerary to guide the reader to the fifty-three structures for first-hand 
observation of their architectural features. All but seven of the individual 
essays were written by Jo Anne Beard, with members of the Historic 
Preservation Commission of the City of Jacksonville writing the others. 
Resources consulted are listed on pages 154-55 and some are also 
included in the body of the text. Considering the number of names men- 
tioned in the descriptions, genealogists and others will be disappointed 
that the volume lacks an index. The volume is printed in sepia on white 
which works well enough for the maps and line drawings, but repro- 
ductions of photographs are so dark that architectural features are 
unidentifiable in many of the illustrations. It is indeed unfortunate that the 
quality of the photographs is so poor in a volume whose purpose "is to 
acquaint the reader with the history and architectural styles of some 
homes and buildings within the confines of historic Jacksonville." (vi) At 
least the price is right: $5. 

The bulk of the volume deals with the people who bought the land, 
erected buildings on it, and lived in (or are still living in) the structures 
discussed. Jo Anne Beard has done a tremendous amount of good, solid 
research to ferret out a vast amount of information about these buildings. 
The reader discovers how frequently land and homes changed hands and 
learns about the achievements of various owners and their family 
members and where they are buried. Among the more interesting people 
encountered in these short biographies are: Dr. Owen M. Long, a friend of 
Lincoln, Douglas, and Grant; Rev. William H, Milburn, "the blind preacher" 
and a chaplain of both the U.S House and Senate; John J. Hardin, an 
exceedingly popular political figure who was killed at age 37 at the Battle 
of Buena Vista in the Mexican War; Peter Cartwright, the famed Methodist 
circuit rider; Alexander Piatt, a contractor; and Jonathan Baldwin Turner, 
father of the land grand university. These vignettes are the greatest 
strength of the volume and are interesting enough to keep the reader's 
attention through some rather drab information about lot measurements, 
selling prices, and probable construction dates. Since each description is 
intended to be complete in itself, repetition becomes a problem. The 
information in pages 74, 79, and 86 is, for example, identical except for the 
addresses of the houses. Also, identical maps are repeated on three 
different pages, four different times in the volume (47, 52, and 62; 75, 80, 


and 87; 76, 81, and 88; and 139, 142, and 145); identical photographs are 
likewise found on pages 54 and 56 and pages 108 and 110. 

The chief shortcoming of the volume is that it lacks a consistent design 
The author provides detailed descriptions of the architectural features o 
some houses but says nothing on this subject when discussing others 
There are excellent, lengthy descriptions of the fvlorgan County Court 
house (ten pages) and the home which serves as the presidential resi 
dence for fvlacfvlurray College (thirteen pages), while several other ac 
counts run less than one full page. There are only a few minor typograph 
leal mistakes. One factual error worth correcting is the statement tha 
Illinois College is "the oldest college west of the Alleghenies" (p. 129). In 
spite of the problems already mentioned, lllinoisians certainly owe a debt 
of gratitude to Jo Anne Beard for bringing together the most information 
evercollected in one place on the historic structures of Jacksonville. 

Rand Burnette 
MacMurray College 

WILL. By Shirley J. Burton. Western Illinois Monograph Series, Number 7, 
Macomb: Western Illinois University, 1986. Pp. 93. $3.95. 

Shirley Burton's biography of Adelaide Johnson (1859-1955) investigates 
the extraordinary career of an American sculptor and ardent feminist who 
was born and raised in the town of Plymouth in west-central Illinois. Ms. 
Johnson was among a small number of women who struggled to achieve 
independent professional status as fine artists during a time when most 
women artists sought careers in the less prestigious 'decorative arts.' Self- 
avowed sculptor of the women's movement in the early twentieth century, 
she is perhaps best known for her marble portrait busts of leading 
feminists of her time like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and 
Lucretia Mott. Ms. Johnson's idealistic feminism, her recovery from a 
debilitating accident early in her career, her unconventional marriage to a 
man twelve years her junior, and her resourcefulness amid frequent 
financial worries and professional disappointments, make her a deserving 
subject for biography. Indeed, the conflicts many modern women feel 
between career goals and more traditional roles as mothers and wives 
were keenly felt by Adelaide Johnson, and these issues make her life of 
considerable interest for a contemporary audience. 

Ms. Burton's biography is the first published study devoted to Adelaide 
Johnson, but it follows by five years a comprehensive doctoral dis- 
sertation on the professional life of the artist by Ann Henderson ("Ade- 
laide Johnson. Issues of Professionalism for a Woman Artist," George 
Washington University, 1981). This dissertation contains a complete and 
illustrated catalogue of the seventy known works of Adelaide Johnson, 
refers substantially to the artist's voluminous diaries and notes, and Is a 


valuable resource for anyone interested in a nnore detailed account of the 
artist's career. 

Burton's book is not an exhaustive chronological biography of Adelaide 
Johnson; rather it selects certain events or periods in the artist's life for 
investigation. The most dramatic of these events (as well as the focus of 
the book's first chapter) is the artist's accidental fall into an elevator shaft 
while working in Chicago as an interior decorator and art teacher. After 
nearly two years of recuperation from a fractured hip and other injuries, 
Ms. Johnson received an insurance settlement of $15,000 dollars which 
enabled her to travel to Europe to study sculpture and quite literally 
change the course of her life. Other events and experiences include 
Johnson's "pioneer roots" in Plymouth, Illinois, her artistic training and 
feminist indoctrination at the St. Louis School of Design under the 
school's founder and state suffrage organizer Mary Foote Henderson, her 
later training as a sculptor in Rome, her struggle for recognition as an 
artist during the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1892, and her 
marriage to Alexander Jenkins early in 1896, which ended in divorce in 
1907 following a long period of separation. In 1921 Johnson completed 
a large marble monument entitled "The Woman's Movement" which 
featured the busts of Anthony, Stanton, and Mott. The work, com- 
missioned by the National Women's Party, was unveiled at the United 
States Capitol in Washington, D.C., though it is no longer on public 
display. "The Woman's Movement" fulfilled Johnson's hope for rec- 
ognition both as an artist and as a humanitarian idealist, but these dual 
hopes were not always happily combined during her long and often 
frustrating career. 

The theme which Burton stresses throughout her biography is the 
artist's determination and confidence. For instance, the information 
gleaned from local records about Johnson's father, a restless pioneer who 
traveled to California during the Gold Rush, is later brought to bear in 
tracing Johnson's determined spirit to her pioneer roots: "No less a 
pioneer than her father, Adelaide Johnson was equally unafraid to take an 
untried path or stake an unproved claim. While Christopher Johnson tried 
his hand at panning for gold and town building, his daughter chose a 
broader and more subtle frontier. She went armed not with a miner's pick, 
but a sculptor's mallet" (p. 70). 

Courage and determination also figure strongly in the author's account 
of Johnson's recovery from her accident, in her pursuit of a profession in 
which few women participated, and in her effort to combine the need for 
companionship in a marital relation with the equally strong desire for 
freedom and independence as an artist. 

While the importance of courage and self-confidence should not be 
overlooked in any account of Adelaide Johnson, there are other traits and 
circumstances, less emphasized by Burton, which seem to provide a 
broader understanding of the artist's character. First, Burton makes little 
effort to analyze the frequent problems the artist had with commissions 


and contracts. Virtually all of her major commissions involved mis- 
understandings, bitterness (on more than one occasion this led to 
litigation), and frustration. One such misunderstanding took place be- 
tween Johnson and Susan B. Anthony concerning the disputed ownership 
of portraits of feminist leaders, as the Henderson dissertation points out. 
Such a record indicates that Adelaide Johnson overestimated both the 
interest of her idealistically minded audience in seeing their thoughts put 
in visible form as well as the rhetorical power of art in her own day. 
Although Burton recognizes that Johnson's art was essentially political in 
the sense of being a means towards an (humanitarian) end, she seems to 
have chosen not to admit that such a view regarding the purpose of art 
was neither financially practical nor professionally rewarding. In pursuing 
a single-minded ideal throughout her long life, Johnson finally found 
solace in suffering, self-pity, and the hope that history would vindicate her. 
A discussion of these attitudes, moreover, would have provided an insight 
into the artist's intellectual development and the spiritual climate of the 
late nineteenth century. In short, a more sobering view of Johnson's de- 
termination might have been developed together with the more conven- 
tional associations with courage in the face of adversity or an heroic spirit. 
Indeed, Henderson, in her dissertation, is more equivocal in her estimation 
of the artist: "Adelaide Johnson never resolved her dilemma over 
professional goals. Dedicating her art to the woman's revolution, she 
adopted a typically feminine professional commitment to broader social 
goals; by insisting on financial recognition of her art, she also accepted 
the values of her artistic, mostly male, professional contemporaries. This 
ambivalence over professional goals created an unhappy, frustrated 
professional artist who ended her life as a professional martyr" (pp. 225- 

Although Burton's study is a biography rather than an art historical 
monograph, the lack of more and better illustrations is disappointing. The 
artist completed more than seventy works, but only three portrait busts are 
illustrated, and the photograph of "The Woman's Movement" is poor. Only 
the illustrated portrait by Mary Whiting numbers among Johnson's more 
successful character studies, and there is a lack of comparative material 
for the reader to sense the meaning of relative terms like realism and 
idealism. Certainly better illustrations and reference to works by other 
contemporary artists of the period would have helped to improve the 
chapters on artistic training and expression. 

I did not find Adelaide Johnson: To Make Immortal Their Adventurous 
Will entirely satisfying either as biography or as art history. In only 
seventy-four pages of text, it is difficult to vividly re-create the subject's 
personality or to fully provide an appreciation of an artist's production 
over an active career of almost thirty years. But if the faults in the book 
stem in part from its brevity, they also are the result of the over- 
simplification of complex issues and of questionable judgment in the se- 
lection and presentation of source material. Still. Burton's book, her first, 


succeeds in introducing the reader to a talented and strong-willed wonnan 
whose life elucidates many of the significant social and political struggles 
of women in her time, and in ours. 

David Raizman 

Western Illinois University 


JOHN LEE ALLAMAN is pursuing a Doctor of Arts Degree at Illinois State 
University. His articles on Henderson County and the western Illinois 
frontier have appeared in several previous issues of WIRS. 

JOHN V. BERGEN is Professor of Geography and Curator of the Map 
Library at Western Illinois University. Among his publications is the Atlas 
of Johnson County, Indiana 1820-1 900 098A). 

DONALD W. GRIFFIN, Professor of Geography at WIU, is Director of the 
University's Institute for Regional, Rural, and Community Studies. His 
publications include West-Central Illinois: A Regional Profile (1974) and A 
Profile of the Two Rivers Region (1975), as well as earlier articles on the 
Hennepin Canal. 

JOHN E. HALLWAS is Professor of English and Director of Regional 
Collections at the WIU Library. His most recent book is Illinois Literature: 
The Nineteenth Century (1986). His study of Virginia S. Eifert's life and 
work appeared in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society in 
1978. He chairs the WIRS editorial committee. 

GEORGE KURMAN is Professor of English at Western Illinois University. 
His English translation of Kalevipoeg, the Estonian national epic, has 
recently appeared. 

PAMELA OLSON MINER received a Master of Arts degree in Geography 
from Western Illinois University in 1986, and she now works for the 
extension program at the university. 

GORDANA REZAB is Archives and Special Collections Librarian at WIU, 
and she has published articles on the Western Illinois frontier and the 
history of the university. Her series of bibliographies on western Illinois 
counties has been appearing in spring issues of WIRS since 1981. 

RUSSELL G. SWENSON is a research analyst in geography with the 
Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. 
A former WIU Geography professor, he has previously published several 
articles on agricultural landscapes.