1837 Illinois Gazetteer
Source: "1837 Illinois Gazetteer . . .," by J. M. Peck, A.M.; Philadelphia, Grigg & Elliott 1837;
transcribed by Genealogy Trails Transcription Team
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.;
By J. M. Peck, A. M. - Author of a New Guide for Emigrants, Etc.
The utility and importance of an accurate Gazetteer of Illinois to every class of citizens within the state, and to all other persons who desire full and particular information, are too obvious to need proof.
The first edition of this work was undertaken by the author more than four years since, at the suggestion and request of many of his fellow citizens, some of whom filled distinguished posts of honor in the state and nation. Four thousand two hundred copies of it were published by R. Goudy of Jacksonville, Illinois, a due proportion of which were sent to other states and have been extensively circulated.
In complying with the call for a new edition, it became necessary to make an entire revision of the work and add much new matter - so rapid had been changes and the progress of this state in three years. Ten new counties have been organized - Boone, Cass, Kane, Livingston, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will, and Winnebago - and a large addition to the descriptive list of names in part third.
No state in the "Great West" has been attracted so much attention, and elicited so many enquiries from those who desire to avail themselves of the advantages of a settlement in a new and rising country, as that of Illinois; and none is filling up so rapidly with an emigrating population from all parts of the United States and several kingdoms of England. Consequently, the call for correct information of all portions of the state has become pressing.
In preparing this work with special reference to this call, the author has kept one point constantly in view. Accuracy of description, or a registry of facts and things as they actually exist in every part of the start, has been a paramount object. How far he has succeeded will be submitted to the judgment of his fellow citizens in each country. That no imperfections or inaccuracies exist in the work, the author is not vain enough to imagine; but that as a whole, or as to its parts, it is sufficiently accurate for all useful purposes, will appear on reference to the labor bestowed to obtain correct information of every spot he attempts to describes.
To the facts and observations of many years' residence in the state, and traveling in all the older settlements, of which record was made for his own use, and that of his immediate friends may be added the following facilities for gaining correct topographical and historical information.
In the winter of 1832, '33, the author spent several weeks at Vandalia, during the session of the legislature, where the principal part of the work was written. Access was had through the polite attention of the governor, secretary of state, auditor, and other public officers, to all the public documents, state records and journals. Both houses of the legislature, with equal liberality, granted a copy of the laws and journals of that body, and likewise, (if duplicates existed), copies of all preceding laws, journals, and printed documents, of the territorial and state governments. These were carefully examined, and from them much valuable information obtained.
Personal intercourse was also had with the members of the legislature and other gentlemen, from each county, and from that source many of the facts in the general description of the counties in Part Second, and the particulars of each place in Part Third, were obtained. The course of the author, was, to spend two or three hours with gentlemen from a county, who were well acquainted with every part, and write a brief sketch of the same.
These were drawn off in the proper order the next day, and, in many instances, submitted to the same persons for instances, submitted to the same persons for inspection and revision. All the items for one county were thus finished before entering upon a survey of another.
By this method, no creek, prairie, or settlement, known by name amongst the people, would escape notice, and accuracy of description would be attained.
These accounts were then collated with the statements received from other sources and from the author's own notes of observation.
The same mode, including a more extensive correspondence with postmasters, and other gentlemen of intelligences in every county, has been pursued, together with a large stock of information gained while compiling with another gentleman, a "New Sectional Map of Illinois," published in New York by J. H. Colton.
No small pains have been taken to obtain the latest information, especially from the recently organized counties in the north, where new settlements are made every month, and villages spring up as the growth of a summer. Still, some settlements, planted within the present year, may not have come to the author's knowledge.
It would be rather invidious to name individuals from whom the author has received aid in this work, and to whom the author has received aid in this work, and to whom he is desirous of returning his humble and grateful acknowledgements. To the officers of state, the members of the legislature, postmasters, and other citizens, his thanks are due. Much of the real value of the work is from information they imparted, or from documents and records over which they had legal control.
The Appendix of the former volume containing a brief Gazetteer of the Wisconsin Territory has been left out of this work. That territory, having an organized government, and a great increase of its population, counties, settlements, etc. should have a Gazetteer of its own. For this purpose the author is aiming to collect materials.
It has caused the author no small trouble to decide upon the orthography of proper names. Many of those found in this work have never been published to any extent, so as to become settled in orthography. In offering new names to the pubic it is desirable to the spelling should conform to the pronunciation. While the author does not feel authorized to make innovations upon established usages, he is willing to contribute his humble mite to improve the orthography of the language, when custom has not fixed it.
Many aboriginal names in the west were first written in French, and after by persons of very inferior literary attainments. Some of these have already undergone changes. Thus we have Wabash for Oubache - Washitau for Ouchitta; and for similar reasons we ought to write Wisconsin for Quisconsin, - Mackinau for Michilimacinac, - Merodosia for Marais d'Ogee, etc.
Such aboriginal names as have not been printed, the author has spelled according to the pronunciation, and for the correctness of this he has relied upon information of persons accustomed to hear the sounds expressed by natives.
After all, several discrepancies will be discovered in different parts of the work.
In such names as have the French or broad sound of broad sound of a, he has preferred the termination of au to aw. The exceptions are in Wabash and a few others, where the a is sanctioned by custom, and the sound generally understood.
- Rock Spring, (Illinois), May 1837.
PART FIRST - GENERAL VIEW OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Situation, Boundaries and Extent - Face of the Country, and Qualities of Soil - Rivers and Lakes - Mineral, Animal, and Vegetable Productions - Manufactures - Natural Curiosities and Antiquities - Climate and Health - Civil Divisions - Government - Education - Religious Denominations - Public Lands - Plans of Internal Improvement - History - Miscellaneous Remarks.
SITUATION, BOUNDARIES, AND EXTENT
The state of Illinois is situated between 37 and 42 degrees, 30 minutes, north latitude, and between 10 degrees, 25 minutes, and 14 degrees, 30 minutes, west longitude from Washington city. It is bounded on the north by Wisconsin territory, north east by Lake Michigan, east by Indiana, south east and south by Kentucky, and west by the state of Missouri, and Territory of Wisconsin.
Its extreme length is 380 miles, and its extreme width, 220 miles - its average width, 150 miles, The area of the whole state, including the portion of Lake Michigan within its boundaries, is 59,300 square miles.
This result has been obtained after a careful estimate of the surveyed portions in the land districts, and calculating the remainder by the medium length and breadth. The exact length of its northern portion is now ascertained from the continuation of the fourth principal meridian, from the vicinity of Rock river to the northern boundary. The exact length of the northern boundary from the Mississippi at the northwestern corner of the state, to Lake Michigan, is 144 ? miles. The eastern boundary leaves the Wabash river at a point about 60 miles north of Vincennes, and continues due north to the northern boundary of Indiana. The northern boundary line extends into the middle of Lake Michigan.
The act of Congress authorizing the people of Illinois to form a state government, and the convention in framing the constitution, described the following as the boundaries of the state.
"Beginning at the mouth of the Wabash River, thence up the same, and with the line of Indiana, to the north western corner of said state; thence east with the line of that same state, to middle of Lake Michigan; thence north along the middle of said Lake, to north latitude 42 degrees and 30 minutes; thence west to the middle of the Mississippi River; and thence down along the middle of that river to its confluence with the Ohio River; and thence up the latter river along its northwestern shore to the beginning."
Within these described boundaries, allowing for the curves of the rivers, are not less than 59,300 square miles or 37,952,000 acres.
The water area of the state is computed at 3,750 square miles as follows:
Lake Michigan - 2,750 square miles
One half of the Mississippi, for 700 miles, including its meanderings, at the ordinary stage of water - 350 square miles
Half of the Wabash River - 50 square miles
Estimates for small lakes, ponds, and rivers within the state - 600 square miles
Total of 3,750 square miles
With this deduct 5,550 square miles for irreclaimable wastes, and there is left, in Illinois, 50,000 square miles or 32 millions of acres of arable land. In this estimate, inundated lands, submerged by high waters, but which may be reclaimed at a moderate expense are included.
PLACE OF THE COUNTRY, AND QUALITIES OF SOIL
The general surface is level, or moderately undulating, the northern and southern portions are broken, and somewhat hilly, but no portion of the state is traversed with ranges of hills or mountains. At the verge of the alluvial soil on the margins of rivers, there are ranges of "bluffs" intersected with ravines. The bluffs are usually from fifty to one hundred and fifty feet high, where an extended surface of table land commences, covered with prairies and forest of various shapes and sizes.
When examined minutely, there are several varieties in the surface of this state which will be briefly specified and described.
1. Inundated Lands. I apply this term to all those portions, which, for some part of the year, are under water. The term "bottom" is used throughout the west to denote the alluvial soil on the margin of rivers, usually called "intervals," in New England. Portions of this description of land are flowed for a longer or shorter period, when the rivers are full. Probably one tenth of the bottom lands are of this description; for though the water may not stand for any length of time, it prevents settlement and cultivation, though it does not interrupt the growth of timbre and vegetation. These tracts are on the bottom of the Wabash, Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, and all the interior rivers.
When the rivers rise about their ordinary height, the waters of the smaller streams which are backed up by the freshets of the former, break over their banks, and cover all the low grounds. Here they stand for a few days, or for many weeks, especially towards the bluffs; for it is a striking fact in the geology of the western country, that all the river bottoms are higher on the margins of the streams than at some distance back. Whenever increase of population shall create a demand for this species of soil, the most of it can be reclaimed at comparatively small expense. Its fertility will be inexhaustible, and if the waiters from the rivers could be shut out by dykes or levees, the soil would be perfectly dry. Most of the small lakes on the American bottom disappear in the summer, and leave a deposit of vegetable matter undergoing decomposition, or a luxuriant coat of weeds and grass.
As our prairies mostly lie between the streams that drain the country, the interior of the large ones is usually level. Here are formed small ponds and lakes after the winter and spring rains, which remain to be drawn off by evaporation, or absorbed by the soil. Hence the middle of our large, level prairies are wet, and for several weeks portions of them are covered with water. To remedy this inconvenience completely, and render all this portion of soil dry and productive, only requires a ditch or drain of two or three feet deep to be cut into the nearest ravine. In many instances a single furrow with the plough, would drain many acres. At present this species of inundated land offers no inconvenience to the people, except in the production of maims, and even that, perhaps, becomes too much diluted with the atmosphere to produce mischief before it reaches the settlements on the borders of the prairie. Hence the inference is correct that our inundated lands present fewer obstacles to the settlement and growth of the country, and can be reclaimed at much less expense, than swamps and salt marshes of the Atlantic states.
RIVER BOTTOMS, OR ALLUVION
The surface of our alluvial bottoms is not entirely level. In some places it resembles alternate waves of the ocean, and looks as though the waters had left their deposit in ridges, and retired.
The portion of bottom land capable of present cultivation, and on which the waters never stand, if, at an extreme freshet, it is covered, is a soil of exhaustless fertility; a soil that for ages past has been gradually deposited by the annual floods. Its average depth on the American bottom is from twenty to twenty-five feet. Logs of wood, and other indications, are found at that depth. The soil dug from wells on these bottoms, produces luxuriantly the first year.
The most extensive and fertile tract, of this description of soil, in this state, is the American Bottom, a name it received when it constituted the western boundary of the United States, and which it has retained ever since. It commences at the mouth of the Kaskaskia River, five miles below the town of Kaskaskia, and extends northwardly along the Mississippi to the bluffs at Alton, a distance of ninety miles. Its average width is five miles, and contains about 450 square miles, or 288,000 acres. Opposite St. Louis, in St. Clair county, the bluffs are seven miles from the river, and filled with inexhaustible beds of coal. The soil of this bottom is an argillaceous or a siliceous loam, accordingly as clay or sand happens to predominate in its formation.
On the margin of the river, and of some of its lakes, is a strip of heavy timber, with a thick undergrowth, which extends from half a mile to two miles in width, but from thence the bluffs, it is principally prairie. It is interspersed with sloughs, lakes, and ponds, the most of which become dry in the fall season.
The soil of the American bottom is inexhaustibly rich. About the French towns it has been cultivated, and produced corn in succession for more than a century, without exhausting its fertilizing powers. The only objection that can be offered to this tract is its unhealthy character. This, however, has diminished considerably within eight or ten years. The geological feature noticed in the last article - that all of our bottoms are higher on the margin of the streams than towards the bluffs, explains the cause whey so much standing water is on the bottom land, which, during the summer stagnates and throws off noxious effluvia. These lakes are usually full of vegetable matter undergoing decomposition, and which produces large quantities of miasma. Some of the lakes are clear and of a sandy bottom, but the most are of a different character. The French settled near a lake or a river, apparently in the most unhealthy places, and yet their constitutions are little affected, and they usually enjoy good health, though dwarfish and shriveled in their form and features.
"The villages of Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, and Cahokia, were built up by their industry in places where Americans would have perished. Cultivation has, no doubt, rendered this tract more salubrious than formerly; and an increase of it, together with the construction of drains and canals, will make it one of the most eligible in the states. The old inhabitants advise the emigrants not to plant corn in the immediate vicinity of their dwellings, as its rich and massy foliage prevents the sun from dispelling the deleterious vapours." [Beck]
These lakes and ponds could be drained at a small expense, and the soil would be susceptible of cultivation. The early settlements of the Americans were either on this bottom, or the contiguous bluffs.
Beside the American bottom, there are other that resemble it in its general character, but not in extent. In Union county there is an extensive bottom on the borders of the Mississippi. Above the mouth of the Illinois, and along the borders of the counties of Calhoun, Pike, and Adams, there is a series of bottoms, with much good and elevated land, but the inundated grounds around, present objections to a dense population at present.
The bottoms of Illinois, where not inundated, are equal in fertility, and the soil is less adhesive than most parts of the American bottom. This is likewise the character of the bottoms in the northern parts of the state.
The bottoms of the Kaskaskia are generally covered with a heavy growth of timber, and in many places inundated when the river is at its highest floods.
The extensive prairies adjoining will create a demand for all this timber. The bottom lands on the Wabash are of various qualities. Near the mouth, much of it is inundated. Higher up it overflows in high freshets.
These bottoms, especially the American, are the best regions in the United States for raising stock, particularly horses, cattle, and swine. Seventy-five bushels of corn to the acre is an ordinary crop. The roots and worms of the soil, the acorns and other fruits from the trees, and the fish of the lakes, accelerate the growth of swine. Horses and cattle find exhaustless supplies of grass in the prairies; and pea vines, buffalo grass, wild oats, and other herbage in the timber, for summer range; and often throughout most of the winter. In all the rush bottoms, they fatten during the severe weather on rushes. The bottom soil is not so well adapted to the production of small grain, as of maize or Indian corn, on account of its rank growth, and being more subject to blast or fall down before harvest, than on the uplands.
2. Prairies. A large part, probably two-thirds of the surface of the state, is covered with prairies. A common error has prevailed abroad that our prairie land is wet. Much of it is undulating and entirely dry. Prairie is a French word, signifying meadow, and is applied to any description of surface, that is destitute of timber and brushwood, and clothed with grass. Wet, dry, level, and undulating, are terms of description merely, and apply to prairies in the same sense as they do to forest lands.
Level prairie is sometimes wet, the water not running off freely is left to be absorbed by the soil, or evaporated by the sun. Crawfish throw up their hillocks in this soil, and the farmer who cultivates it, will find his labors impeded by the water.
In the southern part, that is, south of the national road leading from Terre Haute to the Mississippi, the prairies are comparatively small, varying in size from those of several miles in width, to those which contain only a few acres. As we go northward, they widen and extend on the more elevated ground between the water courses to a vast distance, and are frequently from six to twelve miles in width. Their borders are by no means uniform. Long points of timber project into the prairies, and line the banks of the streams, and points of prairie project into the banks and streams, and points of prairie project into the timber between these streams. In many instances are copses and groves of timber, from one hundred to two thousand acres, in the midst of prairies, like islands in the ocean. This is a common feature in the country between the Sangamon River and Lake Michigan, and in the northern parts of the state. The lead mine region, both in this state and the Wisconsin territory, abounds with these groves.
The origin of these prairies has caused much speculation. We might as well dispute about the origin of forests, upon the assumption that the natural covering of the earth was grass. Probably one half of the earth's surface, in a state of nature, was prairies or barrens. Much of it, like our western prairies, was covered with a luxuriant coat of grass and herbage. The steppes of Tartary, the pampas of South America, the savannas of the southern, and the prairies of the western states, designate the similar tracts of country. Mesopotamia, Syria, and Judea had their ancient prairies, on which the patriarchs fed their flocks. Missionaries in Burmah, and travelers in the interior of Africa, mention the same description of country. Where the tough sward of the prairie is once formed, timber will not take root. Destroy this by the plough, or by any other method, and it is soon converted into forest land. There are large tracts of country in the older settlements, where, thirty or forty years since, the farmers mowed their hay, that are now covered with a forest of young timber of rapid growth.
The fire annually sweeps over the prairies, destroying the grass and herbage, blackening the surface, and leaving a deposit of ashes to enrich the soil.
3. Barrens. This term, in the western dialect, does not indicate poor land, but a species of surface of a mixed character, uniting forest and prairie. These are called "openings" in Michigan.
The timber is generally scattering, of a rough and stunted appearance, interspersed with patches of hazle and brushwood, and where the contest between the fire and timber is kept up, each striving for the mastery.
In the early settlements of Kentucky, much of the country below and south of Green River presented a dwarfish and stunted growth of timber, scattered over the surface, or collected in clumps, with hazel and shrubbery intermixed. This appearance led the first explorers to the inference that the soil itself must necessarily be poor, to produce so scanty a growth of timber, and they gave the name of barrens to the whole tract of country. Long since it has been ascertained that this description of land is amongst the most productive soil in the state. The term barren has since received a very extensive application throughout the west. Like all other tracts of country, the barrens present a considerable diversity of soil. In general, however, the surface is more uneven or rolling than the prairies, and soon degenerates into ravines and sink-holes. Wherever timber barely sufficient for present purposes can be found, a person need not hesitate to settle in the barrens. These tracts are almost invariably healthy; they possess a greater abundance of pure springs of water, and the soil is better adapted for all kinds of produce, and all descriptions of seasons, wet and dry, than the deeper and richer mould of the bottoms and prairies.
When the fires are stopped, these barrens produce timber, at a rate of which no northern emigrant can have any just conception. Dwarfish shrubs and small trees of oak and hickory are scattered over the surface, where for years they have contended with the fires for a precarious existence, while a mass of roots, sufficient for the support of large trees, have accumulated in the earth. Soon as they are protected from the ravages of the annual fires, the more thrifty sprouts shoot forth, and in ten years are large enough for corn cribs and stables.
As the fires on the prairies become stopped by the surrounding settlements, and the wild grass is eaten out and trodden down by the stock, they begin to assume the character of barrens; first hazle and other shrubs, and finally a thicket of young timber, covers the surface.
5. Forest, or timbered land. In general, Illinois is abundantly supplied with timber, and were it equally distributed through the state there would be no part wanting. The apparent scarcity of timber where the prairie predominates, it not so great an obstacle to the settlement as has been supposed. For many of the purposes to which timber is applied, substitutes are round. The rapidity with which the young growth pushes itself forward, without a single effort on the part of man to accelerate it, and the readiness with which the prairie becomes converted into thickets, and then into a forest of young timber, shows that, in another generation, timber will not be wanting in any part of Illinois.
The kinds of timber most abundant are oaks of various species, black and white walnut, ash of several kinds, elm, sugar maple, honey locust, hackberry, linden, hickory, cotton wood, pecan, mulberry, buckeye, sycamore, wild cherry, box elder, sassafras, and persimmon. In the southern and eastern parts of the state are yellow poplar, and beech; near the Ohio are cypress, and in several counties are clumps of yellow pine and cedar. The undergrowth are redbud, pawpaw, sumac, plum, crab apple, grape vines, dogwood, spice bush, green brier, hazle, &c.
The alluvial soil of the rivers produces cotton wood and sycamore timber of amazing size.
For ordinary purposes there is now timber enough in most parts of the state, to say nothing about the artificial production of timber, which may be effected with little trouble and expense. The black locust, a native of Ohio and Kentucky, may be raised from the seed, with less labor than nursery of apple trees. It is of rapid growth, and as a valuable and lasting timber, claims the attention of our farmers. It forms one of the cleanliest and most beautiful shades, and when in blossom, gives a rich prospect, and sends abroad a delicious fragrance.
6. Knobs, Bluffs, Ravines, and Sink-holes. Under these heads are included tracts of uneven country found in various parts of the state.
Knobs are ridges of flint limestone, intermingled and covered with earth, and elevated one or two hundred feet above the common surface. This species of land is of little value for cultivation, and usually has a sprinkling of dwarfish, stunted lumber, like the barrens.
The steep hills and natural mounds that border the alluvions have obtained the name of bluffs. Some are in long, parallel ridges, others are in the form of cones and pyramids. In some places precipices of limestone rock, from fifty to one or two hundred feet high, form these bluffs.
Ravines are formed amongst the bluffs, and often near the borders of prairies, which lead down the streams.
Sink-holes are circular depressions in the surface like a basin. They are of various sizes, from ten to one or two hundred yards in circumference. Frequently they contain an outlet for the water received by the rains. Their existence shows that the substratum is secondary limestone, abounding in subterraneous cavities.
There are but few tracts of stony ground in the state; that is, where loose stones are scattered over the surface, and imbedded in the soil. Towards the northern part of the state, tracts of stony ground exist. Quarries of stone exist in the bluffs, and in the banks of the streams and ravines throughout the state.
The soil is porous, easy to cultivate, and exceedingly productive. A strong team is required to break up the prairies, on account of the firm, grassy sward which covers them. But when subdued they become fine, arable lands.
RIVERS AND LAKES
This state is bounded on three sides by the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash Rivers. The Illinois, Kaskaskia, Sangamon, and many smaller streams are entirely within its boundaries. Others, as the Kankasee, Rock River, and Vermillion of the Wabash, run part of their course within the state.
The Mississippi, which, in its meanderings, runs about 700 miles along its western border, takes its rise in Itasca Lake in latitude 45 degrees north.
From this to the falls of St. Anthony, a distance of about five hundred miles, it runs a devious coarse, first southeast; then southwest; and, finally, southeast again; which last it continues without much deviation till it reaches the Missouri. From thence its course is a few degrees east of south to the mouth of the Ohio.
The appearance and character of the Mississippi, above and below the mouth of the Missouri, are so distinctly marked as to lead to the general opinion that the former is but a branch of the latter. The average width of the Mississippi proper, is from one half to one mile; and its current generally is from two to four miles an hour, varying according to the height and volume of the water. The mean descent of this river is about six inches per mile. Its sources are estimated by Mr. Schoolcraft to be 1,330 feet above the level of tide water at the gulf of Mexico; the distance being computed at 3,000 miles. Below the mouth of the Missouri, the water of the Mississippi has the turbid appearance of the Missouri, and was formerly obstructed with snags and sawyers. These obstructions to the navigation have been partially removed by the enterprising Captain Shreve and his snag boat, in the employment of the general government and the trees that form these obstructions have been cut away from its banks.
The principal tributaries of the Mississippi, within the state of Illinois, are Rock, Illinois, Kaskaskia and Muddy Rivers. The aboriginal name is said to signify "Father of Waters," or "Great Waters."
The Ohio River, which washes the southern boundary of Illinois, is formed by the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers at Pittsburg, and after running a southwestern course 1,100 miles, unites with the Mississippi at the extreme south end of the state. At the confluence of these rivers, as is the case with most other rivers, in the west, there is an extensive and recently formed alluvion. Below the mouth of the Wabash, no large streams enter the Ohio from Illinois. Saline, Big Bay, and Cash are the largest.
The Wabash River rises in the northeastern part of Indiana, and running first a southwestern, and then a south course, it enters the Ohio about 200 miles above its mouth. It is a beautiful stream, and at high water is navigated by steam boats as far as Logansport in Indiana. Its head waters approach within a short distance of the waters of the Maumee of Lake Erie, with which a canal navigation is now being constructed under authority of the state of Indiana.
About twenty miles below Vincennes, and near the junction of White River, are considerable rapids, which obstruct the navigation in low water. Funds in part have been provided and measures are in train by the two states to improve the navigation at this place. The character of the lands and soil bordering on the Wabash does not differ materially from that on the Ohio and Mississippi; only there is more sandy soil, and its bottoms are more subject to inundation. In this region, and especially in Lawrence and Crawford counties, there are some swamps, called by travelers purgatories.
The principal tributaries of the Wabash within the state of Illinois, are the Vermillion, Embrass, and Little Wabash Rivers.
The Illinois, Rock, and other rivers within the state will be described under their respective names in the third part of this work. Lake Michigan is the only lake deserving special notice. There are several other lakes in different parts of the state, but they are small and unimportant, and rather deserve the name of ponds. A portion of Lake Michigan is included within the boundaries of the state, and affords a medium of communications with the northern states and Canada. It is about 280 miles long and its medium width is about 60 miles. About fifty five miles of its southwestern border is in Illinois. Its waters are cool and clear, and it affords fine navigation for schooners and steamboats for about eight months in the year. The plan of a canal to connect its commerce with the navigable waters of the Illinois will be found under the head of "Plans of Internal Improvement."
These are naturally classed into mineral, animal and vegetable.
Minerals. The northern portion of Illinois is inexhaustibly rich in mineral productions, while coal, secondary limestone, and sandstone, are found in every part.
Iron ore has been found in the southern parts of the state, and is said to exist in considerable quantities in the northern parts.
Native copper in small quantities has been found on Muddy River, in Jackson county, and back of Harrisonville, in the bluffs of Monroe county. One mass weighing seven pounds was found detached at the latter place. A shaft was sunk forty feet deep in 1817, in search of this metal, but without success. Red Oxide of iron and oxide of copper were dug out. Crystallized gypsum has been found in small quantities in St. Clair county. Quartz crystals exist in Gallatin county.
Silver is supposed to exist in St. Clair county, two miles from Rock Spring, from whence Silver Creek derives its name. In the early times, by the French, a shaft was sunk here, and tradition tells of large quantities of the precious metal being obtained. In 1828, many persons in this vicinity commenced digging, and began to dream of immense fortunes, which however vanished the following winter. They dug up considerable quantities of horne blende, the shining specula of which were mistaken for silver.
In the southern part of the state several sections of land have been reserved from sale, on account of the silver ore they are supposed to contain. Marble of a fine quality is found in Randolph county.
Lead is found in vast quantities in the northern part of Illinois, and the adjacent territory. Here are the richest lead mines hitherto discovered on the globe. This portion of country lies principally north of Rock River south of the Wisconsin River. Dubuque's, and other rich mines, are west of the Mississippi.
Native copper, in large quantities, exists in this region, especially at the mouth of Plum Creek, and on the Peekatonakee, marked on the map, above Rock River, which puts into the Mississippi. Peekatonakee is a branch of Rock River.
AMOUNT OF LEAD MANUFACTURED
For many years the Indians, and some of the French hunters and traders, had been accustomed to dig leg in these regions. They never penetrated much below the surface but obtained considerable quantities of the ore, which they sold to the traders.
In 1823, the late Col. James Johnson, of Great Crossings, Ky. and brother to the Hon. R. M. Johnson, obtained a lease from the United States government, and made arrangements to prosecute the business of smelting, with considerable force, which he did the following season. This attracted the attention of enterprising men in Illinois, Missouri, and other states. Some went on in 1826, more followed in 1827, and in 1828 the country was almost literally filled with miners, smelters, merchants, speculators, gamblers, and every description of character. Intelligence, enterprise, and virtue, were thrown in the midst of dissipation, gaming, and every species of vice. Such was the crowd of adventurers in 1829, to this hitherto almost unknown and desolate region, that the lead business was greatly overdone, and the market for awhile nearly destroyed. Fortunes were made almost upon a turn of the spade, and lost with equal facility. The business has revived and is prosecuted to a great extent. Exhaustless quantities of mineral exist here, over a tract of country two hundred miles in extent.
The following table shows the amount of lead made annually at these diggings from 1821 to September 30, 1833.
Lbs. of lead for 1821 to Sept. 1823 - 335,130
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1824 - 175,220
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1825 - 664,530
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1826 - 958,842
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1827 - 5,182,180
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1828 - 11,105,810
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1829 - 13,344,150
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1830 - 8,323,998
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1831 - 6,381,900
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1832 - 4,281,876
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1833 - 7,941,792
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1834 - 7,971,579
Lbs. of lead for the year ending Sept. 1835 - 3,754,290
Total - 70,421,297
The rent accruing to government for the same period, is a fraction short of six millions of pounds.
Formerly the government received 10 per cent in lead for rents. Now it is 6 per cent.
A part of the Mineral land in the Wisconsin Territory has been surveyed and brought into market, which will add greatly to the stability and prosperity of the mining business. It is expected that the Mineral lands in Illinois will soon be in market.
Coal. Bituminous coal abounds in this state and may be found in nearly every county. It is frequently perceived without excavation in the ravines and at the points of bluffs.
Exhaustless beds of this article exist in the bluffs adjacent to the American bottom in St. Clair county, of which large quantities are annually transported to St. Louis for fuel.
A Rail Road is now constructing by a private company, from the bluffs to the ferry, six miles, for the purpose of transporting coal to St. Louis.
A large vein of coal, several feet thick, and apparently exhaustless, has been struck in excavating the Illinois and Michigan Canal, a few miles below Ottawa.
A bed of Anthracite coal, it is said, has been discovered on Muddy River in Jackson county.
Agatized Wood. A petrified tree, of black walnut, was found in the bed of the River Des Plaines, about forty rods above its junction with the Kankakee, imbedded in a horizontal position, in a stratum of sandstone. There is fifty-one and a half feet of the trunk visible - eighteen inches in diameter at its smallest end, and probably three feet at the other end.
Muriate of Sods, or common sale. This is found in various parts of the state, held in solution in the springs. The manufacture of salt by boiling and evaporation is carried on in Gallatin county, twelve miles west-north-west from Shawneetown; in Jackson county, near Brownsville; and in Vermilion county, near Danville. The springs and land are owned by the state, and the works leased.
A coarse freestone, much used in building, is dug from quarries near Alton, on the Mississippi, where large bodies exist.
Scattered over the surface of our prairies, are large masses of rock, of granitic formation, roundish in form, usually called by the people "lost rocks." They will weigh from one thousand to ten or twelve thousand pounds, and are entirely detached, and frequently are found several miles distant from any quarry. Nor has there ever been a quarry of granite discovered in the state. These stones are denominated bowlders in mineralogy. That they exist in various parts of Illinois is an undoubted truth; and they are a species of granite is equally true, as I have specimens to show. They usually lie on the surface, or are partially imbedded in the soil of our prairies, which is unquestionably of diluvial formation. How they come here is a question of difficult solution.
Medicinal Waters are found in different parts of the state. These are chiefly sulphur springs and chalybeate waters. There is said to be one well in the southern part of the state strongly impregnated with the sulphate of magnesia or Epsom salts, from which considerable quantities have been made for sale, by simply evaporating the water, in a kettle, over a common fire.
There are several sulphur springs in Jefferson county, to which persons resort for health.
Vegetable Productions. The principal trees and shrubs of Illinois have been noticed under the head of "Forest or timbered land." Of oaks there are several species, as overcup, burr oak, swamp or water oak, white oak, red or spanish oak, and black oak of several varieties, with black jack, a dwarfish, knarled looking tree, excellent for fuel, but good for nothing else.
The black walnut is much used for building materials and cabinet works, and sustains a fine polish.
In most parts of the state, grape vines, indigenous to the country, are abundant, which yield grapes that might advantageously be made into excellent wine. Foreign vines are susceptible of easy cultivation. These are cultivated to a considerable extent at Vevay, Switzerland county, Indiana, and at New Harmony on the Wabash. The indigenous vines are prolific, and produce excellent fruit. They are found in every variety of soil; interwoven in every thicket in the prairies and barrens; and climbing to the tops of the very highest trees on the bottom. The French in early times made so much wine as to export some to France; upon which the proper authorities prohibited the introduction of wine from Illinois, lest it might injure the sale of that staple article of the kingdom. I think the act was passed by the board of trade, in 1774.
The editor of the Illinois Magazine remarks: "We know one gentleman who made twenty-seven barrels of wine in a single season, from the grapes gathered with but little labor in his immediate neighborhood."
The wild plum is found in every part of the state; but in most instances the fruit is too sour for use, unless for preserves. Crab apples are equally prolific, and make fine preserves with about double their bulk of sugar. Wild cherries are equally productive. The persimmon is a delicious fruit, after the frost has destroyed its astringent properties. The black mulberry grows in most parts, and is used for the feeding of silk works with success. They appear to thrive and spin as well as on the Italian mulberry. The gooseberry, strawberry, and blackberry grow wild and in great profusion. Of our nuts, the hickory, black walnut, and pecan deserve notice. The last is an oblong, thin shelled, delicious fruits, that grows on a large tree, a species of the hickory, (the Garya olivae formis of Nuttall.) The paupaw grows in the bottoms, and rich, timbered uplands, and produces a large, pulpy and luscious fruit. Of domestic fruits, the apple and peach are chiefly cultivated. Pears are tolerably plenty in the French settlements, and quinces are cultivated with some success by some Americans. Apples are easily cultivated, and are very productive. They can be made to bear fruit to considerable advantage in seven years from the seed. Many varieties are of fine flavor, and grow to a large size. I have measured apples, the growth of St. Clair county, that exceeded thirteen inches in circumference. Some of the early American settlers provided orchards. They now reap the advantages. But a large proportion of the population of the frontiers are content without this indispensable article in the comforts of a yankee farmer. Cider is made in small quantities in the old settlements. In a few years a supply of this beverage can be had in most parts of Illinois.
Peach trees grow with great rapidity, and decay proportionably soon. From ten to fifteen years may be considered the life of this tree. Our peaches are delicious, but they sometimes fail by being destroyed in the germ by winter frosts. The bud swells prematurely.
Garden Vegetables can be produced here in vast profusion , and of excellent quality.
That we have few of the elegant and well dressed gardens of gentlemen in the old states, is admitted; which is not owing to climate, or soil, but the want of leisure and means.
A cabbage head two or three feet in diameter including the leaves, is no wonder on this soil. Parsnips will penetrate our light, porous soil, to the depth of two or three feet.
The cultivated vegetable production in the field, are maize or Indian corn, wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rye for horse feed and distilleries, tobacco, cotton, hemp, flax, the castor bean, and every other production common to the middle states.
Maize is a staple production. No farmer can live without it, and hundreds raise little else. This is chiefly owing to the ease with which it is cultivated. Its average yield is fifty bushels to the acre. I have oftentimes seen it produce seventy-five bushels to the acre, and in a few instances, exceed one hundred.
Wheat yields a good and sure crop, especially in the counties bordering on the Illinois River, and through the northern parts of the state. It weighs upwards of 60 pounds per bushel; and flour from this region has preference in the New Orleans market, and passes better inspection than the same article from Ohio or Kentucky.
In 1825, the weavel, for the first time, made its appearance in St. Clair and the adjacent counties, and has occasionally renewed its visits since. Within the last two seasons, some fields have been injured by the fly.
A common but slovenly practice amongst our farmers, is, to sow wheat amongst the standing corn, in September, and cover it by running a few furrows with the plough between the rows of corn. The dry stalks are then cut down in the spring, and left on the ground. Even by this imperfect mode, fifteen or twenty bushels of wheat to the acre are produced. But where the ground is duly prepared by fallowing, and the seed put in at the proper time, a good crop, averaging from twenty-five to thirty-five bushels per acre, rarely fails to be procured.
The average price of wheat is one dollar to one dollar twenty-five cents per bushel, varying a little according the competition of mills and facilities to the market. In many instances a single crop of wheat will pay the expenses of purchasing the land, fencing, breaking the prairie, seed, putting in the crop, harvesting, threshing, and taking it to market. Wheat is now frequently sown on the prairie land as a first crop, and a good yield obtained.
Flouring mills are now in operation in many of the wheat growing counties. Steam power is getting into extensive use both for sawing and manufacturing flour.
It is to be regretted that so few of our farmers have erected barns for the security of their crops. No article is more profitable, and really more indispensable to a farmer, than a large barn.
Oats have not been much raised till lately. They are very productive, often yielding from forty to fifty-bushels on the acre, and usually sell from twenty to thirty cents the bushel. The demand for the use of stage and traveler's horses in increasing.
Hemp is an indigenous plant in the southern part of this state, as it is in Missouri. It has not been extensively cultivated, but whenever tried, is found very productive, and of an excellent quality. It might be made a staple of the country.
Tobacco, though a filthy and noxious weed, which no human being ought ever to use, can be produced in any quantity and of the first quality in Illinois.
Cotton, for many years, has been successfully cultivated in this state for domestic use, and some for exportation. Two or three spinning factories are in operation, and produce cotton yarn from the growth of the country with promising success. This branch of business admits of enlargement, and invites the attention of eastern manufactures with small capital. Much of the cloth made in families who have emigrated from states south of the Ohio is from the cotton of the country.
Flax is produced, and of a tolerable quality, but not equal to that of the northern counties. It is said to be productive and good in the northern counties. There is an oil mill to manufacture oil from the seed, in Sangamon county.
The palma christi, or castor oil bean, is produced in considerable quantities in Madison, Randolph, and other counties, and large quantities of oil are expressed and sent abroad.
Sweet Potatoes are a delicious root, and yield abundantly, especially on the American bottom, and rich sandy prairies.
But little has been done to introduce cultivated grasses. The prairie grass looks coarse and unsavory, and yet our horses and cattle will thrive well on it. It is already known to the reader that this grass disappears when the settlements extend round a prairie, and the cattle eat off the young growth in the spring. Consequently in a few years, the natural grass no longer exists.
It is to be regretted that so few have thought of providing themselves with natural meadows of fifty or more acres to each plantation, by a process so cheap as that of fencing in the prairie, before the cattle had subdued the natural grass, and preserving it with a very little care, in a perfectly natural state.
But this notion was entirely incorrect. To produce timothy with success, the ground must be well cultivated in the summer, either by an early crop, or by fallowing, and the seed sown about the 20th of September, at the rate of ten or twelve quarts of clean seed to the acre, and lightly brushed in.
If the season is in any way favourable, it will get a rapid start before winter. By the last week in June, it will produce two tons per acre, of the finest hay. It then requires a dressing of stable or yard manure, and occasionally the turf may be scratched with a harrow, to prevent the roots from binding too hard. By this process timothy meadows may be made and preserved. There are meadows in St. Clair county, which have yielded heavy crops of hay in succession, for several years, and bid fair to continue for an indefinite period. Cattle, and especially horses, should never be permitted to run in meadows in Illinois. The fall grass may be cropped down by calves and colts. The is but a little more labor required to produce a crop of timothy than a crop of oats, and as there is not a stone or pebble to interrupt, the soil may be turned up every third or fourth year for corn, and afterwards laid down to grass again.
A species of blue grass is cultivated by some farmers for pastures. If well set and not eaten down in the summer, blue grass pastures may be kept green and fresh till late in autumn, or even in the winter. The English spire grass has been cultivated with success in the Wabash country.
Of the trefoil, or clover, there is but little cultivated. A prejudice exits against it as it is imagined to injure horses by affecting the glands of the mouth, and causing them to slaver. It grows luxuriantly, and may be cut for hay early in June. The white clover comes in naturally, where the ground has been cultivated, and thrown by, or along the sides of old roads and paths. Clover pastures would be excellent for swine.
Animals. Of wild animals there are several species. The buffalo is not found on this side of the Mississippi, nor within several hundred miles of St. Louis. This animal once roamed at large over the prairies of Illinois, and was found in plenty thirty years since. Wolfes, Panthers, and wild cats are still numerous on the frontiers, and through the unsettled portions of the country. Wolves harbor in almost every county, and annoy the farmer by destroying his sheep and pigs. There are three species found in Illinois:
1. The large gray wolf, or canis lupus of Linneus, is not very plenty, and not commonly found in the older settlements.
2. The black wolf, or canis lycaon of Linneus, is scarce. Occasionally they are killed by our hunters.
3. The canis latrans of Say, or common prairie wolf, is the most common, and found in considerable numbers. This mischievous animal is but little larger than the common fox, burrows in the prairies, and comes forth in the night to attack sheep, pigs, poultry, &c. Many of the settlers keep hounds to guard against the depredations of this animal.
Panthers and wild cats are less common, but occasionally do mischief.
Deer are also very numerous, and are valuable, particularly to that class of our population which has been raised to frontier habits, the flesh affording them food and the skins, clothing. Fresh venison hams usually sell seventy-five cents, to one dollar fifty cents a pair, and when properly cured, are a most delicious article. Many of the frontier people dress their skins, and make them into pantaloons and hunting shirts. These articles are indispensable to all who have occasion to travel in viewing land, or for any purpose beyond the settlements, as cloth garments, in the shrubs and vines, would soon be in strings.
It is novel and pleasant sight to a stranger, to see the deer in flocks of eight, ten, or fifteen in number, feeing on the grass of the prairies, or bounding away at the sight of a traveller.
The brown bear is also an inhabitant of this state, although he is continually retreating before the advance of civilization.
Foxes, raccoons, opossums, gophers, and squirrels, are also numerous, as are muskrats, otters, and occasionally beaver, about our rivers and lakes. Raccoons are very common, and frequently do mischief in the fall to our corn. Opossums sometimes trouble the poultry. I have a few facts reported to me from sources entitled to great credit, that the production of the young of this singular and extraordinary animal, is different from the ordinary process of generation in viviparous animals. The foetus is found adhering to the teat, within the false belly, at the very first stage of existence.
The gopher is a singular little animal, about the size of a squirrel. It burrows in the ground, is seldom seen, but its works make it known. It labors during the night in digging subterranean passages in the rich soil of the prairies, and throws up billocks of fresh earth, within a few feet distance from each other, and from twelve to eighteen inches in height. I have seen a dozen of these hillocks, the production of one night's labor, and apparently from a single gopher. The passages are formed in such a labyrinth, that it is a difficult matter to find the animal by digging.
The gray and fox squirrels often do mischief in the corn fields, and the hunting of them makes fine sport for the boys. It is a rule amongst the Kentucky riflemen to shoot a squirrel only through his eyes, and that from the tops of the highest trees of the forest. It is evidence of a bad marksman, for a hunter to hit one in any other part.
Common Rabbits exist in every thicket. These animals annoy nurseries and young orchards exceedingly. The fence around a nursery must always be so close as to shut out rabbits, and young apple trees must be secured at the approach of winter, by tying straw or corn stalks around their bodies for two or three feet in height, or the bark will be stripped off by these mischievous animals.
Wild horses are found ranging the prairies and forests in some parts of the state. They are small in size, of the Indian or Canadian breed, and very hardy. They are caught in pens, or with ropes having nooses attached to them and broken to the saddle and harness. The French, who monopolize the business of catching, and breaking these horses, make them an article of traffic; their common price is from twenty to thirty dollars. They are found chiefly in the lower end of the American Bottom, near the junction of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers, called the Point. They are the offspring of the horses brought there by the first settlers, and which were suffered to run at large. The Indians of the West many such horses, which are commonly called Indian ponies.
Domestic Animals. These are the same as are found in other portions of the United States. But little has been done to improve the breed of horses amongst us. Our common riding or working horses average about fifteen hands in height. Horses are much more used here than in the eastern states, and many a farmer keeps half a dozen or more. Much of the travelling throughout the western country, both by men and women, is performed on horseback; and a large proportion of the land carriage is by means of large wagons, with from four to six stout horses for a team. A great proportion of the ploughing is performed by horse labor. Horses are more subject to diseases in this country than in the old states, which is thought to be occasioned by bad management, rather than climate. A good farm horse can be purchased for fifty dollars. Riding, or carriage horses, of a superior quality, cost about sixty, eighty, or a hundred dollars. Breeding mares are profitable stock for every farmer to keep, as their annual expense in keeping is but trifling, their labor is always needed, and their colts, when grown, find a ready market. Some farmers keep a stallion, and eight or ten brood mares.
Mules are raised in Missouri and are also brought from the Mexican dominions into Illinois. They are hardy animals, grow to a good size, and are used by some both for labor and riding.
Our neat cattle are usually inferior in size to those of the old states. This is owing entirely to bad management. Our cows are not penned up in pasture fields, but suffered to run at large over the commons. Hence all the calves are preserved, without respect to quality, to entice the cows homeward at evening. They are kept up through the day, and oftentimes without much pasture, and turned to the cows for a few minutes at night, and then permitted to graze through the night over the short and withered grass around the plantation.
In autumn their food is very scanty, and during the winter they are permitted to pick up a precarious subsistence amongst fifty or a hundred head of cattle. With such management, is it surprising that our cows and steers are much inferior to those of the old states?
And yet, our beef is the finest in the world. It bears the best inspection of any in the New Orleans market. By the first of June, and often by the middle of May, our young cattle on the prairies are fit for market. They do not yield large quantities of tallow, but the bat is well proportioned throughout the carcass, and the meat tender and delicious. by inferiority, then, I mean the size of our cattle in general, and the quantity and quality of the milk of cows.
Common cows, if suffered to lose their milk in August, become sufficiently fat for table use by October. Farrow heifers and steers, are good beef, and fit for the knife at any period after the middle of May. Nothing is more common than for an Illinois farmer to go among his stock, select, shoot down, and dress a fine beef, whenever fresh meat is needed. This is often divided out amongst the neighbors, who, in turn, kill and share likewise. It is common at camp and other large meetings, to kill a beef and three or four hogs for the subsistence of friends from a distance.
We can hardly place limits upon the amount of beef cattle that Illinois is capable of producing. A farmer calls himself poor, with a hundred head of horned cattle around him. A cow in the spring is worth from twelve to twenty dollars. Some of the best quality will sell higher. And let it be distinctly understood, once and for all, that a poor man can always purchase horses, cattle, hogs, and provisions, for labor, either by the day, month, or job.
Cows, in general, do not produce the same amount of milk, nor of as rich a quality as in older states. Something is to be attributed to the nature of our pastures, and the warmth of our climate, but more to causes already assigned. If ever a land was characterized justly as "flowing with milk and honey," it is Illinois and the adjacent states. From the springing of the grass till September, butter is made in great profusion. It sells at that season in market for about twenty cents, and in the interior of the state for twelve cents per pound. With proper care it can be preserved with tolerable sweetness for winter's use. Late in autumn and early in the winter, sometimes butter is not plenty. The feed becomes dry, the cows range further off, and do not come up readily for milking, and dry up. A very little trouble would enable a farmer to keep three or four good cows in fresh milk at the season most needed.
Cheese is made by many families, especially, in the counties bordering on the Illinois River. Good cheese sells for eight and sometimes ten cents, and finds a ready market. The most important arrangement for the dairy business in Illinois, and especially for cheese making is to persuade a few thousand families, from the dairy regions of New England, to emigrate, and continue their industrious habits after settling here.
Swine. This species of stock may be called a staple in the provision of Illinois. Thousands of hogs are raised without any expense, except a few breeders to start with, and a little attention in hunting them on the range, and keeping them tame.
This kind of pork is by no means equal to that raised and fatted on corn, and in a domestic way. It is soft, oily, and will not bear inspection at New Orleans. It usually sells for three dollars per hundred.
Pork that is made in a domestic way and fatted on corn, will sell for from four to five dollars, according to size, quality, and the time when it is delivered. With a pasture of clover or blue grass, a well filled corn crib, a dairy, and slop barrel, and the usual care that a New Englander bestows on his pigs, pork may be raised from the sow, fattened and killed, and weigh from two hundred to two hundred and fifty, within twelve months, and this method of raising pork would be profitable.
Few families in the west and south put up their pork in salt pickle. Their method is to salt it sufficiently to prepare it for smoking, and then make bacon of hams, shoulders, and middlings or broadsides. The price of bacon, taking the hog round, is about ten and twelve cents. Good hams command twelve cents in the market. Stock hogs, weighing from sixty to one hundred pounds, alive, usually sell for from two dollars to two dollars and fifty cents per head. Families consume much more meat in Illinois, in proportion to numbers, than in the old states.
Sheep do very well in this country, especially in the older settlements, where the grass has become short, and they are less molested by wolves. But few are kept. The people from the south are more accustomed to cotton for clothing, than to wool, which sells for fifty cents per pound. Little is said or done to improve the breed of sheep, or introduce the Merino, or Saxony breed. Mr. George Flower, at Albion, has a valuable flock of Saxony and Merino.
Poultry are raised in great profusion - and large numbers of fowl taken to market. It is no uncommon thing for some farmers' wives to raise three or four hundred fowls, besides geese, ducks, and turkeys, in a season. Young fowls, butter, and eggs, are the three articles usually mustered from every farm for the market. By these means many families provide their coffee, sugar, tea, and various articles of apparel.
Eggs, when plenty, as at the close of the winter and spring, sell for ten to twelve cents per dozen.
In noticing poultry, I ought not to pass over some of our wild fowl.
Ducks, geese, swans, and many other aquatic birds, visit our waters in the spring. The small lakes and sloughs are often literally covered with them. Ducks, and some of the rest, frequently stay through the summer and breed.
The prairie fowl is seen in great numbers on the prairies in the summer, and about the cornfields in the winter. This is the grouse of New York Market. They are easily taken in the winter.
Partridges, (the quail of New England) are taken with nets, in the winter, by hundreds in a day, and furnish no trifling item in the luxuries of the city market.
Bees. This laborious and useful insect is to be found in the trees of every forest. Many of the frontier people make it a prominent business after the frost has killed the vegetation, to hunt them for the honey and wax, both of which find a ready market. Bees are profitable stock for the farmer, and are kept to a considerable extent.
Silkworms are raised by a few persons. They are capable of being produced to any extent, and fed on the common black mulberry of the country.
In the infancy of a state, little can be expected in machinery and manufactures. An in a region so much deficient in water power as some parts of Illinois are, still less may be looked for. Yet Illinois is not entirely deficient in manufacturing enterprise.
The principal salines of this state have been mentioned under the head of minerals.
Steam Mills for flouring and sawing are becoming very common, and in general are profitable. Some are now in operation with four runs of stones and which manufacture one hundred barrels of flour in a day. Mills propelled by steam, water, and animal power, and constantly increasing. Steam mills will become numerous, particularly in the southern and middle portions of the state, and it is deserving remark that while these portions are not well supplied with durable water power, they contain, in the timber of the forest, and the inexhaustible bodies of bituminous coal, abundant supplies of fuel, while the northern portion, though deficient in fuel, has abundant water power.
A good steam saw-mill with two saws can be built for 2,000 dollars; and a steam flouring mill with two runs of stones, elevators and other apparatus complete, and of sufficient force in turn out forty or fifty barrels of flour per day, may be built for 6,000 dollars.
The northern half of the state will be most abundantly supplied with water power, and ordinary mills for sawing lumber and grinding grain are now in operation on the various streams. Probably in no part of the great west does there exist the capability of such immense water power, as is to be found naturally, and which will be created artificially along the rapids of the Illinois and Fox Rivers, and the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Incorporated companies with ample means are now constructing hydraulic works at Ottawa, Marseilles, and other points along the rapids of the Illinois. Fox River rapids have a descent of sixteen feet at Green's mills, four miles above Ottawa, with abundant supplies of water at its lowest stage; and the river itself, from thence to McHenry county, is a rapid stream with rocky banks, admirably suited for hydraulic purposes. On the Kankakee are some fine sites for water privileges. Rock River furnishes abundant facilities for hydraulic purposes especially at Grand Detour and Rockford. A company engaged in the establishment of a large town at the mouth of Rock River, has been recently chartered by the legislature for the purpose of cutting a canal from a point on the Mississippi at the upper rapids, to Rock River, by which they expect to gain eighteen feet fall and immense hydraulic power.
It is expected that the improvement of the Kaskaskia and Little Wabash Rivers, as provided for by the recent law of the state, will create valuable water privileges along these streams.
Certainly, in connection with the improvement of the Great Wabash River by the joint operations of Indiana and Illinois, hydraulic power to any desirable extent will be created. Such will be the effect, too, upon Sangamon and other rivers within the state. Des Plaines River, and also the Calumet, furnish extensive hydraulic privileges; and the surplus water provided by the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and which may be conveniently applied to manufacturing purposes, is estimated to be equal to that required for running 700 pairs of mill stones four and half feet in diameter.
Incorporations for companies for various manufacturing purposes have been granted by the legislature within the last four or five years, some of which have been organized and commenced operations. The conclusion is, that Illinois will furnish as great facilities for manufacturing purposes as soon as the circumstances and wants of the community shall call for their operation, as can be found in any western state.
Large quantities of castor oil are annually manufactured in Illinois from the palma christi, or castor bean. A number of presses are in operation in Madison, Greene, Macoupen, St. Clair, Randolph, Edwards, and perhaps other counties. The most extensive establishment is at Edwardsville, owned by Mr. John Adams, where from thirty to forty thousand gallons of oil are made annually.
Cotton Goods. A few factories for spinning cotton yarn have been put into operation in several counties on a small scale from one hundred to two hundred spindles each. They are carried by animal power on the inclined plane.
Coarse clothing from cotton is manufactured in the southern portion of the state, where the article is raised in small quantities. Woolen cloth, and jeans, a mixture of wool and cotton, is made for ordinary wear, as is cloth from flax.
Lead. In Jo Daviess county are eight or ten furnaces for smelting lead. The amount of this article made annually at the mines of the Upper Mississippi, has been given under the head of minerals.
Boat Building will soon become a branch of business in this state. Some steamboats have been constructed already within this state, along the Mississippi. It is thought that Alton and Chicago are convenient sites for this business.
There is in this state, as in all the western states, a large amount of domestic manufactures made by families. All the trades, needful to a new country, are in existence. Carpenters, wagon makers, cabinet makers, blacksmiths, tanneries, etc., may be found in every county and town. At Mount Carmel and Springfield, there are iron foundries for castings.
There has been a considerable falling off in the manufacture of whiskey within a few years, and it is sincerely hoped by thousands of citizens that this branch of business, so decidedly injurious to the morals and happiness of the community and of individuals, will entirely decline.
Ox mills on the inclined plane, and horse mills by draught, are common throughout the middle and southern parts of the state.
With the table of the census, taken in 1835, and published by authority of the legislature the succeeding winter, the following report was made.
This report is defective and imperfect. In some counties ordinary mechanics' shops, such as tinners, coopers, wheelwrights, &c., were reported under the head of manufactories; in other no distinction was made.
NATURAL CURIOSITIES AND ANTIQUITIES
On the banks of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and the bluffs that overhang the alluvions, are many singular appearances. These consist of ledges of rock, which exhibit the most fanciful forms, and in many places are penetrated by caverns of various dimensions. Of these the "Cave in Rock," on the Ohio will be described under its own name. The "Devil's Anvil," "Grand Tower," "Starved Rock," "Buffaloe Rock," "Mount Joliet," and many other singular appearances will be found under their respective names, in the third part of this work.
The Fossil Tree of the Des Plaines and to which allusion has been made already, is fully described by Mr. Schoolcraft, in a memoir read before the American Geological Society, in 1821.
It lies in a horizontal position, imbedded in a stratum if floetz sandstone, of a gray colour and close grain. The middle position of the trunk is fifty-one feet six inches in length, and is eighteen inches in diameter at the smallest end. It is a species of the juglan nigra, or black walnut, a tree common to the Illinois, and completely petrified. It lies in the bed of the Des Plaines about forty rods above its junction with the Kankakee.
Petrifications are very common in Illinois. The "lost rocks," or boulders scattered over a surface of an evident diluvial deposit, are a curiosity. They are in great numbers towards the he heads of the Kaskaskia and Sangamon Rivers, and become more numerous and are found at various depths in the soil, as the traveller passes northward along the great prairies. Indeed the geological formation of the whole state, presents a field for investigation in that science.
The antiquities of Illinois are similar to those of other western states. Indian graves are common, especially along the bluffs. Fragments of bones and not unfrequently whole skeletons, in a tolerable sate of preservation, are found deposited from two to three feet below the surface. In not a few instances they are found enclosed with stone slabs, undressed, and obtained from the neighboring cliffs. There are no proofs of a pigmy race of aborigines in the western states. Graves are not unfrequent where the length from the head to the foot stone, does not exceed our feet, and yet contain the skeleton of an adult of full structure. In such instances it will be found upon careful examination of the position of the bones, that the leg and thigh bones lie parallel, and that the corpse was inhumed with the knees bent into that position. Some bones of unusual size have been discovered, but I am not acquainted with facts to justify a supposition of a race of giants. Bones of a huge animal, but different from the Mammoth, have been recently found in St. Clair county.
About the Gallatin and Big Muddy salines, large fragments of earthenware, are very frequently found, under the surface of the earth. They appear to have been portions of large kettles, use, probably, by the natives for containing salt. Small fragments of earthenware, arrow and spear heads, stone axes and mallets, and other antiquities, are found in various parts of the state. Silver coins of ancient origin have been found at Kaskaskia. They were probably brought there by the Jesuits, or the early French emigrants.
Of one thing the writer is satisfied, that very imperfect and incorrect data have been relied upon and very erroneous conclusions drawn, upon western antiquities. Whoever has time and patience, and is in other respects qualified to explore this field of science, and will use his spade and eye together, and restrain his imagination from running riot amongst mounds, fortifications, horseshoes, medals, and whole cabinets of relics of the "olden time," will find very little more that the indications of rude savages, the ancestors of the present race of Indians.
Of ancient military works, I have long been convinced that not half a dozen such structures ever existed in the west before the visits of Europeans. Enclosures of various sizes, and perhaps for different purposes, with an embankment of earth, three or four feet high, and a trifling ditch out of which the earth was dug, undoubtedly were formed. In all probability some of these embankments enclosed their villages; others the residence of their chiefs or head men. But what people, savage, barbarous, civilized, or enlightened, ever constructed a fortification around or five six hundred acres, with a ditch in the inside!" Or what military people made twenty or thirty such forts, within two or three miles! At any rate I am confident these immense armies of military heroes never visited Illinois.
The remains of Fort Chartres, commenced by the French in 1720, to defend their infant settlements against the Spanish and Indians, is probably the most ancient military work within this state, of which any portion now remains.
Those who are particularly desirous of information concerning the millions of warriors, and the bloody battles in which more slain than ever fell in all the wars of Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon, with a particular description of their military works, would do well to read the "Book of Mormon," made out of the "golden plates" of that distinguished antiquarian Joe Smith!
It is far superior to some modern productions on western antiquities because it furnishes us with the names and biography of the principal men who were concerned in these enterprises, with many of the particulars of their wars for several centuries. But, seriously, the attention of scientific men is invited to this subject.
And as a starting question to such an investigation, it ought to be first settled how long human bones will retain their form and solidity without decomposition, when exposed to the air, earth, water, and other causes of decay, interred two or three feet deep in the earth. Will they preserve their form and soundness over two, or at the most three hundred years? Are not the relics of the early pilgrims of New England, and the first settlers of Jamestown mouldered entirely to dust? Will any one say that human skeletons, entombed as those are in the mounds of Illinois, but two or three feet below the surface, remain in a state of preservation five or six hundred years? A sober investigation of these questions would result in an entire overthrow of the hypothesis of existing races of men prior to the Indians, founded upon such remains.
The existence of "Mounds" in this and other western states has been assumed as substantial proof, amounting to demonstration, of a race of men of enterprising habits, and far more civilized than the present race of aborigines. But is now seriously questioned whether these mounds are the work of art. I know not that any writer ever ventured to attack this supposition till John Russell, Esq. sent forth is essay in the Illinois Magazine, of March, 1831. Mr. Russell is a citizen of this state, and well known as a writer of talents and literary acquirements. He has had an opportunity of examining for himself, many those mounds, of various dimensions. He maintains they are not are not artificial, and offers objections to their being productions of human art, not easily obviated. [In the summer of 1836, Mr. Russell made a most interesting and curious discovery, pertaining to the antiquities of Illinois, in the range of bluffs that overhang Bluffdale, Greene county, the place of his residence. At an elevation of 80 feet above the valley, in a projecting cliff and imbedded amongst a mass of loose rocks. Mr. Russell found on excavating, three shells, nearly similar, each of which exhibited the following characteristics: 1) They were univalve, and had been bisected, the edges worked off, and the inside excavated, so as to resemble somewhat in appearance the half of a slender, straight gourd with a neck tapering proportionally in size from the body. 2) Each had evidently been used as an article of furniture, and had been prepared for the purpose by some sharp instrument, and each holds about three pints. 3) They are unquestionably of salt water origin, and belong to a description of shells not found in the waters of the Atlantic, or on any other part of the American Continent. Similar shells are to be found in the South Pacific Ocean and about the Feejee islands. 4) They were most unquestionably deposited in these bluffs at the period of their formation. The position in which they were found would preclude the idea of their subsequent deposition by human or other means. They are not fossil remains, in the sense of having undergone any change in their structure, being purely natural shells, fashioned into ladles by the art of man. Very limited knowledge of the science of Conchology prevents me from defining the genus and species of these interesting remains. They are highly deserving the attention of the curious, and are yet in the possession of John Russell, Esq., Postmaster at Bluffdale, Illinois.]
But there are many mounds in the west, that exactly correspond in shape with these supposed antiquities, and yet from their size most evidently were not made by man.
Monk hill, in the American bottom, near the road from St. Louis to Edwardsville, is of the following dimensions. The circumference of its base is about eight hundred yards - its height 90 feet - its shape that of a parralelogram.
Mr. Flint, who has written some fine romances and considerable "History and Geography of the Western States," describes one in Ohio, between thirty and forty rods in circumference, and seventy feet high. It would be well to calculate, upon the ordinary labor of excavating canals, how many hands, with spades, wheelbarrows, and other necessary implements, it would take to throw up such a mound within any given time.
Mount Joliet on the Des Plaines, is about one mile in circumference, and 150 feet high, rising like a pyramid of sand. In the northwestern part of Illinois, and in the Wisconsin territory, are mounds much larger dimensions, and compared to which Monk hill is but a mole hill. Mount Charles, Sinsinewa, and the Blue Mounds are on a grand scale. The latter range is three or four hundred feet high, and has an area of several hundred acres of table land on its summit. Springs of water gush from its sides. Mr. Brigham has an elegant farm on one of these mounds. West of the Arkansas territory, in the Osage country, and near Clermont's village, are a number of large, regularly formed mounds, two hundred feet high, ranging with each other, and extending in a line for ten or twelve miles. They are level on the top, and contain from two to five acres of table land, and the sides are so steep as to be inaccessible excepting in one or two places. The country around is an immense prairie, nearly level.
These large mounds are of the same shape and proportions as the smaller ones. Who supposes these to be works of human art? Who will place these among the antiquities of a country?
If any one will account for the formation of these stupendous works of nature, in a country of unquestionably diluvial formation, these are men who make no pretentions to the rank of western antiquarians, who will account for the formation of the smaller ones, of a few feet elevation, without the aid of an extinguished race of men. Until further evidence of their being the work of men's hands, I shall close them among the natural curiosities curiosities of the country.
CLIMATE AND HEALTH
The state of Illinois, extending as it does, through five and half degrees of latitude, must possess some variety in its climate. Its extensive prairies, and its level surface, give greater scope to the winds, especially in winter. Snow frequently falls, but seldom lies long, during the three winter months, in the southern portion of the state. In the northern portion, the winters are nearly as severe as in the same parallel of latitude in the Atlantic states. The Mississippi at St. Louis is frequently frozen over and passed on the ice, and occasionally for several weeks. The hot season is longer, though not more intense, than occasionally for a day or two in New England.
During the years 1817-18-19, the Rev. Mr. Giddings, at St. Louis made a series of observations upon Fahrenheit's thermoses.
Mean temperature for 1817: 55 - 52
Mean temperature from the beginning of May 1818 to the end of April 1819: 56 - 98
Mean temperature for 1820: 57 - 18
The mean of these results is about fifty six degrees and a quarter.
A temperature of each month during the above years, is as follows:
January: 30 - 62
February: 38 - 65
March: 43 - 13
April: 58 - 47
May: 62 - 66
June: 74 - 47
July: 78 - 66
August: 72 - 88
September: 70 - 10
October: 59 - 0
November: 53 - 13
December: 34 - 33
The mean temperature of the different seasons is as follows:
Winter, 34.53 - Spring, 54.74 - Summer, 74.34 - Autumn, 60.77
The greatest extremes of heat and cold during my residence in the country for seventeen years, in the vicinity of St. Louis, is as follows:
The greatest heat in July 1820, and July 1833, 100 degrees.
Greatest cold January 3rd, 1834, 18 degrees below zero.
The foregoing facts will doubtless apply to about one half of Illinois. This climate also is subject to sudden changes from heat to cold; from west to dry, especially from November to May. The heat of the summer below the 40th degree of latitude is more enervating, and the system becomes more easily debilitated than in the bracing atmosphere of a more northerly region.
The putting forth of vegetation in the spring, furnishes data for the most correct conclusions according to climate of a country. Some facts gathered from the observations of a series of seasons, will be presented in the appendix.
Winds. Southwesterly winds prevail during the spring, summer and autumn, at least south of the forty-first degree of latitude. In the spring, and during the rise of the Missouri, they are from a more westerly direction, and rains are usually more frequent. During the latter part of summer and autumn the air is dry and elastic. In the months of December and January northwest and northerly winds often prevail. Northeast storms are extremely rare, unless towards Lake Michigan.
Weather. There is a great proportion of clear, pleasant days through the year. Dr. Beck, who resided at St. Louis during the year 1820, made observations upon the changes of the weather, and produced the following results.
Clear days, 245. - Cloudy, including all the variable days, 110.
The results of my own observations, kept for twelve years, with the exception of 1826, and with some irregularity, from travelling into different parts of Illinois and Missouri during the time, do not vary in any material degree from the above statement.
The putting forth of vegetation in the spring furnishes some evidence of the character of the climate of any country, though by no means entirely accurate. Other causes combine to advance or retard vegetation. Other causes combine to advance or retard vegetation. A wet or dry season, or a few days of heat or cold at a particular crisis, will produce material changes.
The following table is constructed from memoranda made at the various dates given, near the latitude of St. Louis, which is computed at 38o 30'. The observations of 1819 were made at St. Charles and vicinity, in the state of Missouri. Those of 1820 in St. Louis county 17 miles N.W. from the city of St. Louis. The remainder at Rock Spring, Illinois, 18 miles east from St. Louis. It will be perceived, the years are not consecutive. In 1826, the writer was absent to the eastern states, and for 1828 his notes were too imperfect to answer the purpose.
In the columns showing the times of the first snows, and the first and last frosts in the season, a little explanation may be necessary. A "light" snow means merely enough to whiten the earth, and which usually disappears in a few hours.
Many of the frosts recorded "light" were not severe enough to kill ordinary vegetation.
1819 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 4; Strawberries in blossom, Not noted; Blackberries in blossom, May 19; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 15; Apple trees in blossom, April 20; Grass green in prairies, April 18; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, half size May 19; First snow on approach of winter, Oct. 8 few flakes; Last frost in spring, May 18, very light; First frost in Autumn, Sept. 23.
1820 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 14, No peach B.; Strawberries in blossom, April 2; Blackberries in blossom, May 10, fall of May 17; Apple leaves begin to put forth, March 25; Apple trees in blossom, April 15; Grass green in prairies, April 10; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, half size April 22, full size May 7; First snow on approach of winter, Oct. 24 few flakes, Nov. 11, 3 inches; Last frost in spring, June 1; First frost in Autumn, Sept. 20, Oct. 8, ice.
1821 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 26, peach B; Strawberries in blossom, April 30; Blackberries in blossom, May 21; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 24; Apple trees in blossom, May 3; Grass green in prairies, April 26; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, April 26 to May 3, full grown May 22; First snow on approach of winter, Nov. 8, 2 ½ inches; Last frost in spring, April 18, severe, May 9, light; First frost in Autumn, Oct. 8.
1822 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 5; Strawberries in blossom, April 25; Blackberries in blossom, May 10; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 18; Apple trees in blossom, April 22; Grass green in prairies, April 10; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, April 29, full size May 14; First snow on approach of winter, Nov. 16, light; Last frost in spring, April 16. severe, ice, May 9, light; First frost in Autumn, Oct. 13.
1823 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 19; Strawberries in blossom, April 26; Blackberries in blossom, May 20; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 15; Apple trees in blossom, April 28; Grass green in prairies, April 10; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, half size April 23; First snow on approach of winter, Nov. 1, light; Last frost in spring, April 24; First frost in Autumn, Sept. 21-22. ice Sept. 23.
1824 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 20; Strawberries in blossom, April 28; Blackberries in blossom, May 18; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 20; Apple trees in blossom, April 29; Grass green in prairies, April 14; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves April 30; First snow on approach of winter, Nov. 7; Last frost in spring, May 5; First frost in Autumn, Oct. 21, hard freeze.
1825 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, March 25; Strawberries in blossom, April 3, ripe May 17; Blackberries in blossom, May 8; Apple leaves begin to put forth, March 30; Apple trees in blossom, April 5; Grass green in prairies, March 10; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves April 3; First snow on approach of winter, Dec. 11, .3 inches; Last frost in spring, Feb. 22. Next April 20, ice; First frost in Autumn, Oct. 2-3, with ice.
1827 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 10; Strawberries in blossom, April 10; Blackberries in blossom, May 15; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 4; Apple trees in blossom, April 13; Grass green in prairies, March 25; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, April 10, full grown April 30; First snow on approach of winter, Nov. 5, light; Last frost in spring, May 7, light; First frost in Autumn, Sept. 17, light.
1829 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 20; Strawberries in blossom, April 24; Blackberries in blossom, May 20; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 20; Apple trees in blossom, April 26; Grass green in prairies, April 24; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, April 27; First snow on approach of winter, Nov. 12, 4 inches, sleet; Last frost in spring, Not noted; First frost in Autumn, Sept. 17.
1830 - Peach and Redbud in bloom, April 1; Strawberries in blossom, April 5; Blackberries in blossom, May 9; Apple leaves begin to put forth, April 14; Apple trees in blossom, April 9; Grass green in prairies, April 24; Oaks and other forest trees put forth leaves, begin April 5, full size May 1.
The following observations were made at Augusta, Hancock county, and kindly furnished by S. B. Mead, M. D.
1834 - 1835 - 1836
Gooseberries leaved out April 11 April 25
Crab apple April 13 April 30 April 28
Thorn April 14 April 30 April 28
Black Hare April 14 April 28
Elm April 28
Forest green April 22 May 15 May 5
Prairies green April 9, 15 April 30 April 23, 25
First killing frost Sept. 11 Sept. 23 Oct. 4
First snow Dec. 2 Nov. 20 Nov. 21
Gooseberry in blossom April 13 April 20 April 24
Crab apple April 25 May 9 May 7
Wild plum April 13 April 29 April 29
Shadbush April 12 April 25 May 5
Redbud April 19 May 6 May 1, 15, 20
The dates are at the time Dr. M. first observed this progress of vegetation. Augusta is 108 miles, (according to the land surveys) north of St. Louis, and is near equidistant from the northern and southern extremities of the state.
I have before me also from Dr. Mead, a table of Meteorological observations taken during the years 1834, 1835, and 1836, a mere epitome of which I have room to give in this place, including the mean temperature for each month. The observations were made half an hour after sunrise, at two o'clock p.m., and half an hour after sunset, from Fahrenheit's Thermometer.
1834 Deg. Hund.
January 20 88
February 44 48
March 45 30
April 57 90
May 61 95
June 71 10
July 77 59
August 77 40
September 64 03
October 56 25
November 48 09
December 36 75
Annual mean 55 32
1835 Deg. Hund.
Annual mean 52 02
1836 Deg. Hund.
Annual mean 51.01
Fair days - Cloudy - Rainy - Snow
1834: 246 - 74 - 42 - 3
1835: 250 - 67 - 43 - 5
1836: 229 - 78 - 48 - 10
Diseases. The more common diseases of Illinois are intermittents, frequently accompanied with bilious symptoms. Those which prove fatal in sickly seasons are bilious symptoms. Those which prove fatal in sickly seasons are bilious remittents. More than one half of the sickness endured by the people is cause by imprudence, bad management, and the want to proper nursing. Emigrants from the northern states or from Europe, will find it advantageous to protect themselves from the cool and humid atmosphere at night, to provide close dwellings, yet, when the atmosphere is clear, to have their rooms, and especially their sleeping rooms, well ventilated, and invariable wear thin clothing in the day, and put on thicker apparel at night or when exposed to wet.
Families are seldom sick who live in comfortable houses with tight floors and well ventilated rooms, and who upon a change of weather, and especially in a time of rain, make a little fire in the chimney, though it may be in the midst of summer.
I have seen but few cases of genuine consumption. Affection of the liver is more common. Pleurisies, and other inflammatory diseases, prevail in the winter and spring. Ophthalmic prevails in some seasons. Dysentery is not uncommon. Fewer die in infancy than in the old states.
Finally, I am prepared to speak decidedly in favor of the general health of Illinois.
There are seventy counties within the state, in sixty of which courts are held. In the others the judge of the circuit where they lie, is authorized to organize them by appointing an election for county officers whenever in his opinion there are three hundred and fifty inhabitants within their boundaries. Their names, dates of formation, number of square miles, population of the state census of 1835, (with the estimation of certain new counties since formed), and seats of justice are given in the appendix.
For the purpose of electing representatives to congress, the state is divided into three districts, each of which sends one representative.
The first district is composed of the counties of Gallatin, Pope, Johnson, Alexander, Union, Jackson, Franklin, Perry, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Washington, Clinton, Bond, Madison, and Macoupen.
The second district includes the counties of White, Hamilton, Jefferson, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, Lawrence, Clay, Marion, Fayette, Montgomery, Shelby, Vermilion, Champaign, Edgar, Coles, Clark, Iroquois, Crawford, Effingham and Jasper.
The third district is composed of the following counties: Greene, Morgan, Sangamon, Tazewell, Macon, McLean, La Salle, Cook, Putnam, Peoria, Henry, Jo Daviess, Rock Island, Mercer, Warren, Hancock, McDonough, Fulton, Knox, Schuyler, Adams, Pike, Calhoun, Will, McHenry, Benton, Boone, Kane, Ogle, Whiteside, Stephenson, Winnebago, Coffee, Bureau, and Livingston.
For judiciary purposes the state is divided into seven circuits, in each of which a circuit judge is appointed.
The First Judicial Circuit includes the counties of Sangamon, Morgan, Greene, Macoupen, Macon, McLean, Tazewell.
The Second Judicial Circuit includes the counties of Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Washington, Clinton, Bond, Shelby, Fayette, Montgomery, and Effingham.
The Third Judicial Circuit includes the counties of Gallatin, Pope, Johnson, Alexander, Union, Jackson, Perry, Franklin, Marion, Jefferson, and Hamilton.
The Fourth Judicial Circuit includes the counties of Edgar, Vermilion, Champaign, Coles, Jasper, Clay, Wayne, White, Edwards and Wabash.
The Fifth Judicial Circuit embraces the counties of Calhoun, Pike, Adams, Schuyler, Hancock, Warren, Knox, McDonough and Fulton.
The Sixth Judicial Circuit includes the counties of Jo Daviess, Rock Island, Mercer, Henry, Putnam, Peoria, Ogle, and Winnebago. Whiteside is in this circuit; but for judicial purposes attached to Ogle county, as are also the counties of Stephenson and Boone, formed at the recent session of the legislature, attached to Winnebago county. The judge of the circuit has authority by law to authorize them to be organized whenever petition and proof is offered that a county contains three hundred and fifty inhabitants.
The Seventh Judicial Circuit includes the counties of Iroquois, Cook, Will, La Salle, Kane, and McHenry.
Counties are not subdivided into townships as in Indiana, Ohio, and other more eastern states. For the convenience of holding elections, the county commissioner's court is required to divide the county into "precincts," and designate the house or place in each precinct where the polls shall be opened.
Electors throughout the county vote at which precinct they please.
The constitution of Illinois was formed by a convention held at Kaskaskia, in August, 1818. It provides for the distribution of the powers of government into three distinct departments. - The legislative, executive, and judiciary. The legislative authority is vested in a general assembly, consisting of a senate and house of representatives. Elections are held biennially, as are the ordinary sessions of the legislature. Senators are elected for four years.
The executive power is vested in the governor, who is chosen every fourth year by the electors for representatives, but the same person is ineligible for the next succeeding four years. The lieutenant governor is also chosen every four years.
The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, and such inferior courts as the general assembly from time to time shall establish. The supreme court consists of a chief justice and three associate judges.
The governor and judges of the supreme court constitute a council of revision, to which all bills that have passed the assembly must be submitted. If objected to by the council of revision, the same may become a law by the vote of a majority of all the members elected to both houses.
SYNOPSIS OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS, TERMS OF SERVICE, MANNER OF APPOINTMENT, AND COMPENSATION
Governor - Elected by the people, for four years; Salary $1,000 per annum; eligible for one term only in successions. Salary cannot be diminished during his continuance in office.
Lieutenant Governor - Elected by the people, for four years, paid per day during the session of the legislature; $6 per day during the last session. He is speaker of the senate, and becomes Governor in case of a vacancy in the latter office.
Secretary of State - Appointed by the Governor and Senate during pleasure. Salary $1,100 per annum, including clerk hire; and $300 per annum, for additional clerk hire for 1837 and 1838. Office at Vandalia.
Auditor of Public Accounts - Elected by the legislature biennially. Salary $800; two clerks, $400 each; with additional clerk hire during 1837 and 1838, $400 per annum. Office at Vandalia.
Treasurer - Elected by the legislature biennially. Salary $800, clerk hire $800 per annum. Office at Vandalia.
Adjutant General - Appointed by the Governor during pleasure. Salary $100. Office at Vandalia.
Supreme Judges - Elected by the legislature during good behaviour. Salary $800, with an extra compensation for 1837 and 1838 of $200.
Clerk of the Supreme Judge - Appointed by the count during good behaviour; fees. Office at Vandalia.
Circuit Judges - Elected by the legislature during good behaviour; salaries $750, with an additional allowance of $250, during 1837 and 1838, excepting the judge of the sixth judicial circuit.
Clerks of the Circuit Courts - Appointed by the courts, during food behaviour; fees. Offices at the respective seats of justice.
Attorney General - Elected by the legislature biennially; salary $350 and fees. Office to be kept at Vandalia.
Six State's Attorneys - Elected by the legislature biennially; salaries $250, and fees.
Agent for the Sale of Saline Lands - Elected by the legislature biennially; salary $200.
Three Canal Commissioners - Elected by the legislature biennially. Compensation $5 per diem, while engaged in actual business.
Three Fund Commissioners on Internal Improvements - Elected biennially by the legislature; pay $5 per diem while actually employed.
Seven Commissioners of the Board of Public Works - Elected biennially by the legislature; pay $5 per diem while in actual service.
Warden of the Penitentiary - Elected by the legislature biennially; salary $800.
Three Inspector of the Penitentiary - Elected by the legislature biennially; compensation per diem $2; but not to exceed $50 per annum.
Number of Senators - 40 - elected for four years.
Number of Representative - 91 - elected biennially; compensation regulation by the law each session; $4 per day last session.
OFFICERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Lieutenant Governor (Speaker of the Senate) - pay last session $6 per day.
Secretary of the Senate - pay at last session, $6 per day, and $350 for furnishing a copy of his Journal for the press.
Assistant Secretary of the Senate - pay at last session, $5 per day.
Enrolling and Engrossing Clerk of the Senate - pay at last session $5 per day.
Doorkeeper of the Senate - pay at last session $4 per day.
Speaker of the House of Representatives - pay at the last session, $6 per day.
Principal Clerk of the House of Representatives - pay at the last session $6 per day, and $350 for preparing his Journal for the press.
Assistant Clerk of the House of Representatives - pay at last session $5 per day.
Enrolling and Engrossing Clerk of the House of Representatives - pay at last session, $5 per day.
Doorkeeper of the House of Representatives - pay $4 per day.
There is some variation in compensation each session. From 20 to 25 cent, was added by the late legislature to former rates, which does not equal the increased value of labor in every other branch of business within the last two years. The legislature usually sits from 70 to 90 days. Last session continued 93 days.
The amount of pay of the legislature, with the present number of members, at the session of 90 days, at $4 per day, is $46,080.
Officers and Clerks of the legislature - $5,380.
Contingent expenses per session, for fuel, stationary, repairs, furniture, etc., $6,000.
Public printing of various kinds, including binding and distributing the law journals, etc., $12,000.
Making the biennial expenses for legislation, about $70,000, or $35,000 per annum.
The appropriations for the contingent fund for 1837, 1838, are $400 per annum.
Salaries of the Executive and Judicial officers, $18,700; making the whole ordinary annual expenditures of the state about $53,700.
The revenue of the state is derived principally from land taxes. The tax on lands of residents goes into the county treasuries, for county purposes, while the tax on lands of non-residents goes into the state treasure for state purposes.
The quality of land subject to taxation on the first of August, 1836, was 5,335,041 acres. And the quantity subject to taxation.
In 1837 will be 5,674,452
In 1838 will be 5,902,127
In 1839 will be 6,252,367
In 1840 will be 6,616,380
In 1841 will be 7,837,218
And in 1842 about 12,000,000
Lands sold by the general government are not subject to taxation under five years after purchase.
Judges of Probate - Formerly elected by the legislature, during good behaviour; hereafter to be elected by the people; fees.
Sheriffs - Elected by the people, biennially; fees.
Coroners - Elected by the people, biennially; fees.
County Commissioners - Three in each county, to manage county concerns. Elected by the people biennially, $150 per day while employed in court. Regular sessions, first Mondays in March, June, September, and December.
County Clerk - Elected by the people; collector of taxes on non-residents' lands, fees; and per diem allowance while attending court.
County Treasurer - Hereafter elected by the people, biennially; percentage and per diem allowance, on moneys received and services performed.
County Surveyors - Elected by the people quadrennially; fees.
County Records - Elected by the people quadrennially; fees.
Justices of the Peace - Elected by the people quadrennially; fees.
Constables - Elected by the people quadrennially; fees.
Notaries Public - Appointed by the Governor and Senate, during good behaviour; fees.
Supervisor of Roads - Appointed by the county commissioners annually; exempt from military duty and serving on juries, but receive no other compensation.
Public Administrator - Appointed by the Governor and Senate; term indefinite; fees.
Commissioner of the school funds arising from the sale of the sections numbered sixteen; appointed by the county commissioners, who fix his compensation.
The right of suffrage is universal. All white male inhabitants, twenty-one years of age, who have resided within the six state months next preceding the elections, enjoy to right of electors.
Votes are given viva voce. The introduction of slavery is prohibited. The constitution can be altered only by a convention.
PLANS OF INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT
Those undertaken by the state are embraced in two divisions. The Illinois and Michigan Canal, and the internal improvement system adopted by the legislature last winter.
The project uniting the waters of the Illinois River with Lake Michigan was conceived soon after the commencement of the grand canal of New York. It was brought before the legislature of Illinois, at its first session after the state government was organized by Governor Bond. The legislature, in February 1823, appointed a board of commissioners to survey the route and estimate the cost, and make report to the next legislature, which was done. These commissioners employed Col. Post and Col. Paul of Missouri as engineers. They examined five different routes for a portion of the distance, and estimated the expense of each route. They varied from about $640,000 to $716,000. The estimate of the fifth route was upon the project of using Lake Michigan alone for a feeder by directing a portion of its waters to the Illinois River, and was a fraction short of $690,000.
Upon the report of these surveys the legislature passed a bill to incorporate the "Illinois and Michigan Canal Company," in January 1825. No stock having been taken, the legislature, at a special session, the next winter, repealed the law chartering the company.
The embarrassments of the state in its finances, growing out of the ruinous policy of the state bank without capital, prevented any thing further from being done until January 1829, when the legislature passed an act to organize a board of commissioners, with power to employ agents, engineers, surveyors, draftsmen, and other persons, to explore, examine, fix, and determine the route of the canal.
The congress of the United States had made provision by an act passed March 2nd, 1827, to give the state each alternate section of land, within five miles of the contemplated canal.
The commissioners were authorized to be sell this land, to lay off town sites and sell lots, and apply the funds.
Accordingly they laid off Chicago near the lake; and Ottawa, at the junction of Fox River and the Illinois. Town lots and tracts of land were sold, a skilful engineers employed, surveys were made with more particularity, the surface of the earth perforated, the waters at a low state examined, and estimates of the expense made. It was not ascertained that a supply of water in dry seasons, from the streams on its route, was doubtful, and that the rock approached so near the surface on the summit level between the Chicago, and Des Plaines, as to present a serious obstacle to using the lake for a feeder.
The subsequent legislature authorized a re-examination to be made with a view to a railway, and to ascertain whether the waters of the Calamic could not be obtained in sufficient quantities for a feeder.
The result was in the report of the engineer to the commissioners; and by them to the legislature, decidedly in flavor of a railway. To this project congress has given its assent.
Two estimates of the expense of a canal were submitted. The first was on the plan of following the summit ten feet above the level of Lake Michigan and depend on streams for feeders.
Total cost of the entire line of 95 ¾ miles $1,601,965.83. Cost on the same location by obtaining a supply of water from Lake Michigan, but cutting through the dividing ridge between the lake and the head waters of the Illinois River, much of it rock excavation, $4,043,086.50.
The estimated cost of a railway with a single track laid, distance 96 miles, is $1,052,428.19.
During the summer of 1832, the late Mr. Pugh, visited New York, to obtain information of the relative cost and value of canal and railways, and to ascertain whether funds could be obtained, and on what terms, to complete this work.
The state not having means at its disposal, and the session having drawn toward a close, and whole business was postponed, by abolishing the office of canal commissioners.
At a special session of the legislature held in the winter of 1835-36, an act was passed for the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Governor was authorized to negotiate a loan on the faith and credit of the state, no exceeding $500,000, a board of three commissioners was organized, with full power to employ engineers, let contracts, dispose of property and carry on the whole business on behalf of the state. One is styled the "acting commissioner" with a salary of twelve hundred dollars per annum; the others style "President" and "Treasurer," and to receive compensation for the time of their services at the rate of three dollars per day. The law specified that said "Canal shall commence at or near the town of Chicago, and terminate near the mouth of Little Vermillion in La Salle county, and on land owned by the state. The law furthermore provided that "said canal should not be less than forty-five feet wide at the surface, thirty feet at the base, and of sufficient depth to surface, thirty feet at the base, and of sufficient depth to ensure a navigation of at least four feet, to be suitable for ordinary canal boat navigation, to be supplied with water from Lake Michigan, and such other sources as the canal commissioners may think proper, and to be constructed in the manner best calculated to promote the permanent interest of the country; reserving ninety feet on each side on the canal to enlarge its capacity, whenever in the opinion of the board of land commissioners, the public good shall require it."
The commissioners, after a re-examination of the route, and obtaining due information from all sources, "determined to adopt the recommendation of the chief engineer, and construct it of the following dimensions; to wit: - sixty feet wide at the top water line; thirty six feet wide at the bottom; and six feet deep. The irregular fluctuations, or tides in the lakes, occasioned by the action of high winds, rendered the depth agreed upon, indispensably necessary to insure a navigation of at least four feet."
This stupendous work commences on the North Fork of the South branch of Chicago River, four miles to the southwest of the City of Chicago, (the river itself forming a deep and natural canal from this point to the harbor), and from thence extends to the Des Plaines River seven and half miles, at a place called "the Point of Oaks." This division presents a cutting 18 feet deep, through a substratum of stiff blue clay. From thence down the valley of the Des Plaines to the running out of the lake level, 25 miles, the cutting is from 16 to 18 feet deep, principally through stratified limestone, in strata from two to six inches thick. On section 23, T, 36 N. R. 70, E. of the third principal division, the commissioners have laid out a town on state property, one mile square, called Lockport. Here are the two locks, ten feet lift each, placed in conjunction, so as to create twenty feet fall, and an immense water power from the surplus water drawn from Lake Michigan. Here, also, will be constructed a basin for three fourths of a mile, and 120 feet wide. From Lockport to the canal proceeds down the valley of Des Plaines, to Joliet where it crosses by a dam, its line runs past Marseilles, and crosses Fox River by an aqueduct betwixt the main bluff and Ottawa. A navigable feeder, will connect it with the rapids of Fax River four miles above Ottawa and extend through the town to the Illinois River, where a natural basin, of deep water, is at the mouth of Fox River. Below Ottawa, the canal passes down the right bank of the Illinois, near the bluffs, crosses the Pe-cum-saugan, and Little Vermillion, and enters the Illinois River, in the corner of fractional section 21, in township 33, N. Rindge one, east of the third principal meridian. To this point the Illinois is navigable for steamboats at all stages of water. A steamboat basin, or harbor, is to be constructed, and a large town laid off n section 15, near the termination of the canal.
The whole length of the canal including Fox River feeder, will be 100 miles, and 28 chains, to which add Chicago River, of 5 miles and 44 chains, gives 105 miles and 72 chains for the entire length of the navigable line.
The work has been arranged by the board of commissioners into three divisions, as given in the following
1. Summit Division, including Chicago River, 34 miles, 35, 78-100 chains, estimated cost by the Engineer. $ 5,871,324. 97
2. Middle Division, 37 miles, 55, 80-100 chains, estimated cost 1,510,957.46
3. Western Division, and Fox River feeder, 33 miles, 61 20-100 chains, cost 1,2742,055.08
Total estimated cost $8,654,337.51
The legislature, at its late session, authorized a survey of the Calumet, and the Sauga-nas-ke valley with the view of constructing a lateral canal, to open a navigable communication from the main canal to the Calumet, from which it is expected a water communication will be made in the state of Indiana to the Wabash and Erie canal.
Resources. The resources of the state to meet the cost of this stupendous work, which will connect the navigable waters of the Mississippi and Illinois, with the latkes of Canada, the gulf of St. Lawrence, and the canals and other lines of communication in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, arise from the sales of town lots and lands along the line of this work.
Each alternate section, along the line of the canal, and ten miles in width, has been granted by congress for the purpose. During the last year, 375 lots were sold in Chicago, for the gross amount of one million, three hundred and fifty-five thousand, seven hundred and fifty-five dollars. In Ottawa, 78 lots sold for 21,358 dollars. The unsold lands for canal purposes, belonging to the state amount to 270,182 acres, which, including the town lots laid off, are estimated equal to the expense of the canal.
Amount of the sales for lands and town lots previous to 1833, $18,798.08½.
Sale of lots at Chicago in June 1836, after deducting forfeitures, $1,355,755.
Sale of lots in Ottawa, September 1836, $21,358.
The estimated value of the lots in the town of Lockport, and the town laid off at the termination of the canal is one million and a half dollars. The remainder of the canal lands may be estimated at 20 dollars per acre.
The project of this canal is a vast enterprise for so young a state, but truly national in its character, and will constitute one of the main arteries in eastern and western communications. The work is going forward, and from five to eight years is the period estimated for its completion.
Already commerce, in no small extent, is passing along that line. Merchants from St. Louis, from along the Illinois River, from Galena and the Wisconsin territory, and especially from the Wabash River as far south as Terre Haute, bring their goods that way.
Were a communication open between the navigable waters, the distance from New York to St. Louis would be passed in from sixteen to twenty days.
The following result is founded upon information gathered by the commissioners.
From New York to Buffalo, 5 days. From Buffalo to Chicago, by steamboats fitted for lake navigation, 8 days. From Chicago to the foot of the rapids on the railway, estimating the speed at 3 miles an hour, 33 hours. From the foot of the rapids to St. Louis by steamboats, 48 hours.
The whole distance can be passed over in sixteen days, but giving four days additional time, and the transportation of this route can be made in twenty days.
The shipments through Chicago in 1832, amounted to 300,000 dollars. In 1833, from April 8 to September 10, 70 schooners and 2 steamboats had discharged their cargoes.
In 1835, the arrivals were 9 steamboats, 267 schooners and brigs, with 5,015 tons of merchandise, and 9,400 barrels of sale, besides lumber, provisions, etc.
In 1836, from April 18th to December 1st, the arrivals at Chicago were 40 steamboats, 10 ships and barques, 26 brigs, 363 schooners, and 8 sloops equal to 60,000 tons.
The commercial and consequently the agricultural interests of the whole valley of the Mississippi, are concerned in the result of this undertaking. For whatever amount of produce is thrown off through this channel to the Canadas and New York, it increases the advantages of a market for the commerce that floats down the Mississippi. The Missouri, and the Wisconsin territory are no less interested in opening this communication. In accepting the donation of land made by the general government, the honor and credit of Illinois is really pledged for the success of this enterprise. The is then no ground for retreat.
I regret the prescribed limits of this work will not permit me to exhibit the important bearing that the success of this project will have upon the future business, the lead manufacture, the Indian trade, the rapid settlement and improvement of all the northern portion of the state, and the adjacent territory, and upon the prosperity of the farming community throughout our whole interior.
It ought to be noticed that a project is now in progress in Michigan to construct a railway across the peninsula from Detroit to the mouth of the St. Joseph's River, which enters Lake Michigan nearly opposite and east from Chicago. This would save the circuitous route by water, and greatly lessen the distance and risk.
GREAT INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT SYSTEM
At the late session of the legislature, (1836-7) an act was passed to establish and maintain a general system of Internal Improvement.
It provides for a "Board of Fund Commissioners," of three persons, and a "Board of Commissioners of Public Works," of seven persons one in each judicial circuit.
The Board of Fund Commissioners are authorized to negotiate all loans, authorized by the legislature, on the faith and credit of the state for objects of Internal Improvement; receive, manage, deposit, and apply all sums of money, and manage the whole fiscal concerns of the improvement system.
The Board of Public Works are authorized and required to locate, superintend, direct, and construct on behalf of the state all works of internal improvement, which are or shall be authorized to the undertaken by the state (except the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which is managed by a distinct Board.) This Board is required to hold semiannual meetings in June and December. Each member has specific charge of that portion of the works that falls within his own district. They are required to execute the works by letting out contracts, except in special cases.
The Fund Commissioners are authorized to contract loans by issuing state stock at a rate not exceeding six per centum per annum, and to an amount not exceeding eight millions of dollars, redeemable after 1870.
WORKS OF IMPROVEMENT PROVIDED FOR
1. The Great Wabash River in co-operation with the state of Indiana, in that part over which both states have concurrent jurisdiction; appropriated $100,000.
2. Illinois Rivers - $100,000.
3. Rock River - $100,000.
4. Kaskaskia River -$50,000.
5. Little Wabash River - $50,000.
6. On the Great Western Mail Route leading from Vincennes to St. Louis - $250,000.
7. A railroad from the City of Cairo, at or near the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, via Vandalia, Shelbyville, Decatur and Bloomington - to cross the Illinois River, at the termination of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and from thence, via Savanna to Galena - appropriated $3,500,000.
This is called the "Central Rail Road," by the people.
8. A southern cross railroad from Alton, via Edwardsville, Carlyle, Salem, Fairfield, Albion to Mount Carmel; from whence it is expected a line will be extended through Indiana to New Albany, and become connected with the great railroad chartered and surveyed from the Ohio River to Charleston, South Carolina.
Also a railroad from Alton to Shawneetown, to diverge from the aforesaid southern cross railroad at Edwardsville, and pass through Lebanon, Nashville, Pinckneyville, Frankfort and Equality.
And further, a railroad from Belleville via Lebanon, and to intersect the road from Alton to Mount Carmel. This last will pass near Rock Spring. Appropriated $1,750,000.
9. A northern cross railroad from Quincy on the Mississippi River, via Columbus, Clayton, Mount Sterling, to cross the Illinois River at Meredosia, and to Jacksonville, Springfield, Decatur, Sydney, Danville, and thence to the state line in the direction of Lafayette, Indiana, and thus form a line of communication with the great works in Indiana, and to the eastern states. Appropriated $1,850,000.
10. A railroad from Alton via Upper Alton, Hillsboro, Shelbyville, Charleston, Paris, and from thence to the state line in the direction of Terre Haute, Indiana, where it will be connected with railroad and canal communications through that state, both in an eastern and southern direction. Appropriated $1,250,000.
11. A railroad from Peoria, via Canton, Macomb and Carthage to Warsaw, on the Mississippi, at the foot of the Des Moines rapids. Appropriated $700,000.
12. A railroad from Bloomington, to Mackinau, and from thence two branches to the Illinois River - one through Tremont to Pekin; the other to Peoria. Appropriated $350,000.
An appropriation of $200,000 was made to those counties through which no railroad or canal is made at the cost of the state, to be in a ratable proportion to the census of 1835, and to be applied in the improvement of roads, bridges and other public works by the counties.
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT FUND
The special fund for this purpose shall consist of all moneys raised from state bonds, or stock, or other loans, authorized by law - all appropriations made from time to time out of the revenue of the state arising from land taxes - all tolls and rents of water privileges and other tolls from the works when constructed - all rents, profits and issues from lands to be purchased on the routes - the proceeds of all donations of lands from the general government, or from individuals, companies, or corporations - a portion of the proceeds of the surplus fund distributed by congress - together with the net proceeds of all blank and other stock subscribed and owned by the state after liquidating the interest on loans contracts for the purchase of such bank or other stocks.
A subsequent enactment authorized the Fund Commissioners to subscribe two millions of dollars stock to the State Bank of Illinois, and one million four hundred thousand dollars to the Illinois bank at Shawneetown, by the creation of six per cent stock. The net proceeds of this stock, after paying interest on the loans will equal six per centum per annum, or produce an annual revenue to the Internal Improvement fund of $180,000.
The interest of the state in all these works, all their proceeds, with the faith of the state, are irrevocably pledges for the payment of the interest and the redemption of the principal of all stock and loans for Internal Improvement.
The improvement of the great western mail route from Vincennes to St. Louis and the special appropriation to the counties, are to be provided for from the first loans made.
The improvement of the rivers is to be for steam, keel and flat boats; to be commenced at their mouths and continued up as far as the appropriations admit.
The railroads are to be commenced at their intersection with navigable rivers, and commercial towns, and as soon as five miles of any one line is completed the commissioners are required to place thereon locomotives and facilities of transportation, to establish tolls, etc.
Congress has made an appropriation to improve the navigation of the Mississippi at the rapids - a work of immense importance to the northern part of this state, and the Wisconsin Territory.
The improvement of the navigation of the Mississippi should be regarded and urged as strictly a national work. There are two rapids in the Mississippi River, which, in times of low water impede the progress of steamboats. One is near the mouth of the Des Moines, and adjoining Hancock county, where the water descends over sand rocks 25 feet 5 inches in about 11 miles. The other commences at Rock Island and extends about fifteen miles. The descent of the water in that distance is 21 feet 10 inches. In both of these rapids there are ledges of rocks, with intervals of deep water, extending across the river.
The harbor at Chicago, nearly completed by the general government will be of immense benefit to that place and all the northern portion of the state. It will form one of the finest harbors in all the northern lake country.
The National Road is in progress through this state, and considerable improvement has been made on that portion which lies between Vandalia and the boundary of Indiana. This road enters Illinois at the northeast corner of Clark county, and passes diagonally through Coles and Effingham counties in a southwesterly course to Vandalia, a distance of 90 miles. The road is established 80 feet wide, the central part, 30 feet wide, raised above standing water, and not to exceed three degrees from a level. The base of the all the abutments of bridges must be equal in thickness to one third of the height of the abutment.
But little has been done on this road during the last two years. About $220,000 of appropriated funds now remain on hand, and arrangements are in progress to work out this fund during the present season.
From Vandalia, westward, the road is not yet located, but the legislature of Illinois with great unanimity have consented to its passage through the state, only on the contingency it shall pass Alton and cross the Mississippi, above the mouth of the Missouri.
Many companies have been incorporated for the construction of short canals, railroads and turnpike roads, some of which will be noticed in connection with towns, etc.
A railroad from Naples to Jacksonville, now undergoing construction - another railroad from Jacksonville via Lynnville and Winchester to the Illinois River opposite Augusta. A third railway has been commenced from Chicago to the Des Plaines, twelve miles over legal prairies and designed to extend across the state to Galena.
Another railroad is now under contract and working from the Mississippi, opposite St. Louis, across the American Bottom to the coal mines in the bluffs of St. Clair county. Governor John Reynolds, George E. Walker, Vital Jarrot, S. B. Chandler and Louis Boismenu own the land and have commenced this railroad, six miles long, which will be completed before the close of the present year. They own a strip of land along the bluffs for three miles in extent, filled with exhaustless beds of bituminous coal, from which it is expected that not less than one million of bushels of coal will be transported annually to the river.
No state in the union possesses such facilities for inter-communication by canals and railways, at so cheap a rate and which can be so equally distributed to its population, as Illinois.
The Congress of the United States, in the act for admitting the state of Illinois into the union upon equal footing with the other western states, granted to it the section numbered sixteen in every township, or one thirty-sixth part of all the public lands within the state, for the use of schools. The avails of this section are understood to constitute a fund for the benefit of the families living within the surveyed township, and not the portion of a common fund to be applied by the state for the general purposes of education.
Three per cent of the net proceeds of all the public lands, lying within this state, which shall be sold after the 1st of January 1819, is to be paid over by the general government, and constitute a common fund for education under the direction of the state authority. One sixth of this three per cent fund, is to be exclusively bestowed upon a college, or university.
Two entire townships, or 46,080 acres selected from choice portions of the public lands, have likewise been given to education. Part of this land has been sold by state authority and the avails funded at six per cent interest.
The amount of funds realized from these sources, and under charge of the state (independent of the sixteenth sections), is about $384,183, the interest of which is now distributed annually to such schools as make due returns to the proper authority.
By a resent act of the legislature, a moiety of the "surplus fund," received from the national treasury, is to be converted into bank stock, and the income to be distributed to common schools. The income of the three per centum from the sales of public lands, will continue as long as there are public lands to be sold.
The unsold lands in this state belonging to the general government, may be estimated at 18,000,000 of acres. Were this sold at the present minimum price, it would produce $22,500,000, of which three per cent would be 675,000 dollars.
But it is highly probably that this immense domain will not all be sold at its present price; we will put the average value at 75 cents per acre, or $13,500,000, of which three percent, belonging to this state, would give $405,000 for educational purposes.
The amount of the sections numbered sixteen, and reserved for schools in the respective townships, was estimated by the commissioner of public lands, and reported to Congress in April 1832, at 977,457 acres in Illinois.
This tract is not usually sold until the township in which it lies is somewhat populated, and hence commands a higher price than other lands. The section in the vicinity of Chicago was sold in November 1833 (after reserving twelve acres) for $38,705. Other tracts in settled portions of the state have been sold for from five to ten dollars per acre.
Estimating the whole at two dollars per acre, the value is $1,954,914
Present fund at interest $384,183
Value of Seminary lands unsold $20,000
Value of sections numbered sixteen $1,954,914
Estimate of the three per cent fund on all public land now unsold in the state, at 75 cents per acre $ 405,000
To this add the moiety of the surplus fund to be invested in bank stock and the income to be distributed with the interest on the school fund, equal to $318,500 but as it is liable to be demanded by the general government, I have not considered it any portion of the permanent school fund.
The funds and claims of Illinois for education purposes may be estimated at three millions of dollars.
But it is sincerely and ardently hoped that the patriotism, foresight, intelligence, and liberality of congress, after reducing the price of the public lands to the actual settler and cultivator, will be manifested in applying all future proceeds to the object of common schools, by some equitable apportionment amongst the several states of the Union. Hitherto these lands have been pledged for the payment of the national debt. That being now accomplished, I cannot but hope this question will be settled to the entire satisfaction of all parties, by a consecration of the net proceeds to the noble, beneficent, and truly national purpose of educating every child in this Union. Such a disposition of the public domain would reflect more honor on this nation, and tend more to its aggrandizement, than a hundred wars or a thousand victories. It would provide for a triumphant conquest of human ignorance, and carry joy and gladness to millions of hearts.
Notwithstanding the liberal provision in funds and lands for education, little has yet been done by the legislature in providing a system for common schools. A law was framed in 1825, providing for school districts to become incorporated, by the action of the county commissioners' courts, upon a petition of a majority of the qualified voters of any settlement. The voters in each district, by a majority of votes, could levy a tax not exceeding one half per centum on property, and appoint trustees and other officers to manage the business.
This feature of the law was soon made unpopular, and a subsequent legislature repealed that portion that authorized the levying of a tax, and made other modifications, by which it remains on the statute book as a matter of very little value.
The preamble to this law establishes beyond controversy, the great principles for legislative authority and aid for common schools. It reads thus -
"To enjoy our rights and liberties, we must understand them - their security and protection ought to be the first object of a free people - and it is a well established fact that no nation has ever continued long in the enjoyment of civil and political freedom, which was not both virtuous and enlightened - and believing that the advancement of literature always has been, and ever will be the means of developing more fully the rights of man; that the mind of every citizen of every republic, is the common property of society, and constitutes the basis of its strength and happiness - it is considered the peculiar duty of a free government, like ours, to encourage and extend the improvement and cultivation of the intellectual energies of the whole: Therefore,
"Be it enacted, etc."
Provisions now exists by law for people to organize themselves into school districts, and to conduct the affairs of the school in a corporate capacity by trustees, and they can derive aid from public funds under control of the state.
Upon petition from the inhabitants of a township, the section numbered sixteen can be sold, and the proceeds funded, the interest of which may be applied annually to the teachers of such schools within the township as conform to the requisites of the law. To some extent the people have availed themselves of these provisions and receive the interest of the fund.
A material defect in all the laws that have been framed in this state, on this subject, has been in not requiring the necessary qualifications on the part of teachers, and a previous examination before a competent board or committee.
Without such a provision no school law will be of much real service. The people have suffered much already, and common school education has been greatly retarded by the imposition of unqualified and worthless persons under the name of school teachers; and were funds ever so liberally bestowed, they would prove of little real service, without the requisites of sobriety, morality, and sufficient ability to teach well on the part of those who get the pay.
A complete common school system must be organized, sooner or later, and will be sustained by the people. The lands, education funds, and wants of the country, call for it.
Many good primary schools now exist, where whence three or four of the leading families unite and exert their influence in favor of the measure, it is not difficult to have a good school.
In each county a school commissioner is appointed, to superintend the sales of the sixteenth sections, loan the money, receive and apportion the interest received from this fund and from the state funds, receive schedule returns of the number of scholars that attend each school, and make report annually to the secretary of state.
The people in any settlement can organize themselves into a school district, employ a teacher, and obtain their proportion of the income from the school funds, provided the teacher keeps a schedule of the number of scholars who attend, the number of days each one is present, and the number of days each scholar is absent, a copy of which must be certified by the trustees of the district, and returned to the school commissioners of the county semi-annually.
If the school is made up from parts of two or more townships, a separate schedule of the scholars from each township must be made out.
The term "township" in the school laws merely expresses the surveys of 36 sections, and not a civil organization.
Several seminaries, and institutions for colleges, have been established and promise success.
Illinois College. This institution is located in the vicinity of Jacksonville, and one mile west of the town. Its situation is on a delightful eminence, fronting the east, and overlooking the town, and a vast extent of beautiful prairie country now covered with well cultivated farms.
This institution owes its existence and prosperity, under God, to the pious enterprise of several young men, formerly members of Yale College, Connecticut. Most of its funds have been realized from the generous donations of the liberal and philanthropic abroad.
The buildings are as follows: a brick edifice, 104 feet in length, 40 feet in width, five stories high, including the basement; containing 32 apartments for the accommodation of officers and students. Each apartment consists of a sitting room, or study, 14 feet by 12, two bedrooms, each eight feet square, two dress closets, and one wood closet. The basement store embraces a boarding hall, kitchen, store rooms, etc. for the general accomodation.
To this main building are attached two wings, each 38 feet long, and 28 feet wide, three stories high, including the basement; for the accommodations of the families of the Faculty.
The chapel is a separate building, 65 feet long, and 36 feet wide, two stories high, including rooms for public worship, lectures, recitations, library, etc., and eight rooms for students.
There are also upon the premises a farm house, barn, workshops for students who wish to perform manual labor, and other out buildings.
The farm consists of 300 acres of land, all under fence. The improvements and stock on the farm are valued at several thousand dollars.
Students who choose are allowed to employ a portion of each day in manual labor, either upon the farm or in the workshop. Some individuals earned $150 each during the year.
The library consists of about 1,500 volumes. There is also a valuable chemical and philosophical apparatus.
The year is divided into two terms, of twenty weeks each. The first term commences eight weeks after the third Wednesday in September. The second term commences on the Wednesday previous to the 5th of May; leaving eight weeks vacation in the fall and four in the spring.
There are 42 students connected with the college classes, and 22 students in the preparatory department. Of this number, several are beneficiaries, who are aided by education societies, with a view to the gospel ministry. A considerable number more are pious.
The trustees of the college are Rev. Edward Beecher, President; Hon. Samuel D. Lockwood, John P. Wilkinson, Esq., William C. Posey, Esq., Rev. Messrs. Theron Baldwin, John F. Brooks, Elisha Jenney, William Kirby, Asa Turner, John G. Bergen, and John Tillson, Esq., Rev. Gideon Blackburn, D. D., Gov. Joseph Duncan, Col. Thomas Mather, Winthrop S. Gilman, Esq., Frederick Collins, Esq., Nathaniel Coffin, Esq., Treasurer and Agent, Rev. J. M. Sturtevant, Secretary, Jeremiah Graves, Superintendant of the Farm.
Faculty. Rev. Edward Beecher, A. M. President, and Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and Political Economy.
Rev. J. M. Sturtevant, A. M. Professor of Mathematics and National Philosophy, and lecturer on Chemistry.
Truman M. Post, A. M. Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages.
Jonathan Baldwin Turner, A. M. Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Letters.
Reuben Gaylord, A. B. Instructor in the preparatory department.
Classes - Senior - 3, Junior - 11, Sophomore - 12, Freshman - 16. Total Collegiate department - 42. In the Preparatory department 22. Total 64
The course of Instruction is intended to be equal to the first rate colleges in the eastern states.
Shurtleff Collect of Alton, Illinois, is pleasantly situated at Upper Alton. It originated in the establishment of a Seminary at Rock Spring, in 1827, and which was subsequently removed.
At a meeting held June 4th, 1832, seven gentlemen formed a written compact, and agreed to advance funds for the purchase of about 360 acres of land, and put up an academical building of brick, 2 stories with a stone basement, 40 feet long and 32 feet wide. A large stone building for a Refectory, and for Professors' and Students' rooms has since been erected. The Rev. Hubbel Loomis commenced a Preparatory school in 1833. In 1835 building lots were laid off within the corporate bounds of the town, a part of which was sold and a valuable property still remains for future sale.
The same year funds to some extent were obtained in the eastern states, of which the liberal donation of ten thousand dollars was received from Benjamin Shurtleff M. D. of Boston, which gives name to the institution. Of this fund $5,000 is to be appropriated towards a College building, and $5,000 towards the endowment of a Professorship of Oratory, Rhetoric and Bellesletters.
Regular College classes are not yet organized. The Preparatory department is in regular progress and contains about 60 students.
Rev. Washington Leverett, A. M. Professor of Mathematics, and Natural Philosophy.
Rev. Zenas B. Newman, A. M. Principal of the Preparatory Department. Measures are progressing to put up a large college building, and to complete the organization of the College Faculty.
Alton Theological Seminary is an organization distinct from Shurtleff College. Rev. Lewis Colby, A. M. is Theological Professor, with seven or eight students, licentiates of Baptist churches, under his charge.
McKendreean College, under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is located at Lebanon, St. Clair county. It has a commodious framed building, and about 50 Students in the Preparatory Department, under the charge of two competent instructors.
McDonough College, at Macomb, has just commenced operations. It is identified with the interests of the "old school" Presbyterians, as the Illinois college at Jacksonville is the "New School" Presbyterians.
Canton College in Fulton county has recently been chartered as a college by the legislature, and is a respectable academical Institution, and has 70 or 80 students. Rev. G. B. Perry A. M. formerly pastor of the Spruce street Baptist Church Philadelphia, has recently been elected president of this Institution.
A Literary Institution, modeled somewhat after the plan of the Oneida Institute in the state of New York, is in progress at Galesboro, Knox county, under the supervision of the Rev. Mr. Gale and other gentlemen.
Belvidere College, in Winnebago county, has been recently chartered, and an effort is about being made to establish a respectable literary institution in this new and interesting portion of the state.
Several respectable academies and seminaries are also in operation, established chiefly by individual effort, where good schools are taught. Amongst these we notice the following, though some of equal importance may be overlooked.
The Jacksonville Academy conducted by Messrs. Charles E. Blood, and Charles B. Barton A. B. is established for the convenience of those whose studies are not sufficiently advanced to enter the Preparatory Department of Illinois College.
The Jacksonville Female Academy is a flourishing institution.
A respectable Academy is in operation at Springfield, another Princeton, Putnam county, a third at Griggsville, and a fourth at Quincy.
The Alton Female Seminary is an institution projected for a full and useful course of instruction, on a large scale, towards the establishment of which Benjamin Godfrey, Esq., will contribute fifteen or twenty thousand dollars.
It is located at Monticello, a little more than four miles from Alton on the borders of a delightful, elevated prairie, and is designed wholly as a boarding school. The business of instruction will be in the hands of competent ladies. The system of instruction will be extensive. The Rev. Theron Baldwin will exercise a general supervision over the institution, and lecture on scientific and religious subjects.
The project of establishing a Seminary, for the education of teachers at Waverley in the southeastern part of Morgan county, is entertained by several gentlemen.
A Seminary is about being established in a settlement of Reformed Presbyterians in the eastern part of Randolph county.
The "Reformers," or Campbellites, as some term them, have a charter and contemplate establishing a college at Hanover, in Tazewell county.
Thus a broad and deep foundation is about being laid in this state for the promotion of education.
Several lyceums and literary associations exist in this state, and there is almost every county a decided expression of popular opinion in favor of education.
The Methodist Episcopal Church is the most numerous. The Illinois Conference, which embraces this state and a portion of Wisconsin Territory, in 1835 had 61 circuit preachers, 308 local preachers, and 15,097 members of society. They sustain preaching in every county, and in a large number of the settlements.
The Baptist Denomination includes 22 Associations, 260 churches, 160 preachers and 7,350 communicants.
The Presbyterians have one Synod, 8 Presbyteries, and about 80 churches, 60 ministers, and 2,500 members.
There are 12 or 15 Congregationalist churches united in an association, and 344 members.
The Reformers, as they term themselves, or "Campbellites," as others call them, have several large, and a number of small societies, a number of preachers, and several hundred members, including the Christian body with which they are in union. They immerse all who profess to believe in Christ for the remission of sins, but differ widely from orthodox baptists on some points of doctrine.
The Cumberland Presbyterians have 2 or 3 Presbyteries, 12 or 15 preachers, and several hundred communicants.
There are two churches of Reformed Presbyterians, or Covenanters, 1 minister, and about 280 communicants, with a few families scattered in other parts of the state. There are also two or three societies of Associate Reformed Presbyterians, or Seceders.
In McLean county is a society of United Brethren, or as some call them, Dutch Methodists.
The Dunkards have five or six societies and some preachers in this state.
There are several Lutheran congregations with preachers.
The Protestant Episcopal Church has an organized diocese, 8 or 10 congregations, and 7 or 8 ministers.
There are small societies of Friends or Quakers in Tazewell and Crawford counties; and a few Mormons, scattered through the state.
The Roman Catholics are not numerous. They have a dozen congregations, 8 or 10 priests, and a population between five and six thousand including old and young. A convent and boarding school for young ladies is in operation at Kaskaskia. The Roman Catholics are mostly the old French villages, and the laborers along the line of the canal.
There is considerable expression of good feeling amongst the different religious denominations, and the members frequently hear the preachers of each other, as there are but few congregations that are supplied every Sabbath. The qualifications of the clergymen are various. A number of them are men of talents, learning, influence, and unblemished piety. Others have had but few advantages in acquiring either literary or theological information, and yet are good speakers and useful men.
Some are very illiterate, and make utter confusion of the word of God. Such persons are usually proud, conceited, fanatical, and influenced by a spirit far removed from the meek, docile, benevolent, and charitable spirit of the gospel.
In general there are as many professors of religion, of some description, in proportion to the population, as in most of the states. The number will not vary far from 40,000, or one to ten.
In all the new states and territories, the lands which are owned by the general government, are surveyed and sold under one general system. In the surveys, "meridian" lines are first established, running north from the mouth of some noted river. These are intersected with "base" lines.
There are five principal meridians in the land surveys in the west.
The "First Principal Meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Miami.
The "Second Principal Meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of Little Blue River, in Indiana.
The "Third Principal Meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Ohio.
The "Fourth Principal Meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Illinois.
The "Fifth Principal Meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Arkansas. Each of these meridians has its own base line.
The surveys connected with the third and fourth meridians, and a small portion of the second, embrace the state of Illinois.
The base line for both the second and third principal meridians commences at Diamond Island, in the Ohio, opposite Indiana, and runs due west till it strikes the Mississippi, a few miles below St. Louis.
All the townships in Illinois, south and east of the Illinois River, are numbered from this base line either north or south.
The third principal meridian terminates with the northern boundary of the state.
The fourth principal meridian commences on the right bank, and at the mouth of the Illinois River, but immediately crosses to the east shore, and passes up on that side, (and at one place nearly fourteen miles distant), to a point in the channel of the river, seventy-two miles from its mouth. Here its base line commences and extends across the peninsula to the Mississippi, a short distance above Quincy. The fourth principal meridian is continued northward through the military tract, and across Rock River, to a curve in the Mississippi at the upper rapids, in township eighteen north, and about twelve or fifteen miles above Rock Island. It here crosses and passes up the west side of the Mississippi River fifty-three miles, and recrosses into Illinois, and passes through the town of Galena to the northern boundary of the state. It is thence continued to the Wisconsin River and made the principal meridian for the surveys of the surveys, while the northern boundary line of the state is constituted its base line for that region.
Having formed a principal meridian with its corresponding base line, for a district of country, the next operation of the surveyor is to divide this into tracts of six miles squares, called "townships."
In numbering the townships east or west from the principal meridian, they are called "ranges," meaning a range of townships; but in numbering north or south from a base line, they are called "townships." Thus a tract of land is said to be situated in township four north, in range three east, from the third principal meridian; or as the case may be.
Townships are subdivided into square miles, or tracts of 640 acres each, called "sections." If near timber, trees are marked and numbered with the section, township, and range, near each sectional corner. If in a large prairie, a mound is raised to designate the corner, and a billet of charred wood buried, if no rock is near. Sections are divided into halves by a line north and south, and into quarters by a transverse line. In sales, under certain conditions, quarters are sold in equal subdivisions of forty acres each, at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. Any person, whether a native born citizen, or a foreigner, may purchase forty acres of the richest acres of the richest soil, and receive any indisputable title, for fifty dollars.
Ranges are townships counted either east or west from meridians.
Townships are counted either north or south from their respective base lines.
Fractions are parts of quarter sections intersected by streams or confirmed claims.
The parts of townships, sections, quarters, etc. made at the lines of either townships or meridians are called excesses or deficiencies.
Sections, or miles square, are numbered, beginning in the northeast corner of the township, progressively west to the range line, and then progressively east to the range line, alternately, terminating at the southeast corner of the township from one to thirty-six, as the following diagram:
6 5 4 3 2 1
7 8 9 10 11 12
18 17 16* 15 14 13
19 20 21 22 23 24
30 29 28 27 26 25
31 31 33 34 35 36
*Appropriated for schools in the township
I have been thus particular in this account of the surveys of public lands, to exhibit the simplicity of a system, that to strangers, unacquainted with the method of numbering the sections, and the various subdivisions, appears perplexing and confused.
A large tract of country in the north, and northeastern portion of this state is yet unsurveyed. This does not prevent the hardy pioneers of the west from taking possession, where the Indian title is extinct, as it is now to all lands within this state. They risk the chance of purchasing it when brought into market.
Land Offices and Districts. There are ten land offices in Illinois, in as many districts, open for the sale or entry of public lands.
The Land District of Shawneetown embraces that portion of the state, bounded north by the base line, east and south by the boundaries of the state, and west by the third principal meridian.
Office for the entry and sale of lands of Shawneetown.
The Land District of Kaskaskia is bounded north by the base line, and comprehends all that part of the state that lies between the third principal meridian and the Mississippi.
Land office at Kaskaskia.
The Land District of Edwardsville extends south to the base line, east to the third principal meridian, north to the line that separates the thirteenth and fourteenth townships north, and west to the Mississippi.
Land office at Edwardsville.
The Land District of Vandalia extends south to the base line, east to the line between ranges eight and nine, east of the third principal meridian, north to the south line of Springfield, district and west to the range line between ranges second and third west of the third principal meridian.
Land office at Vandalia.
The Land District of Palestine extends south to the northern boundary of the Shawneetown district, west to the eastern boundary of Vandalia district, north to the dividing line between townships sixteen and seventeen north; and east to the boundary of Indiana.
The Land District of Springfield extends south to Edwardsville district, east to the Palestine and Danville districts, and north and west to the Illinois River.
The Land District of Quincy embraces all the tract of country between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to the line between townships 12 and 13 north and west of the third principal meridian.
The Land District of Danville includes that part of the state to its northern boundary, which lies north of Palestine, to the line between T. 30 and 31 N. of the 3rd meridian and east of Springfield district.
Northwest District is in the northwestern portion of the state, and bounded south by the line between townships twelve and thirteen north, on the military tract, and east by the line between ranges three and four east of the third principal meridian, and north by the northern boundary of the state.
Land office at Galena.
Northeast District is in the northeast portion of the state, and bounded south by the line between townships thirty and thirty-one, on the third principal meridian, east by Lake Michigan, and north by the boundary of this state.
Land office at Chicago.
The officers in each land district are a register and receiver, appointed by the president and senate, and paid by the general government.
The land, by proclamation of the president, is first offered for sale at auction, by half quarter sections. If no one bids for it at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre or upwards, it is subject to private entry at any time after, upon payment at the time of entry. No credit is allowed.
In special cases congress has granted pre-emption rights, where settlements and improvements have been made on public lands previous to the public sale.
Pre-emption Rights confer the privilege only of purchasing the tract containing improvements at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, by the possessor, without the risk of a public sale.
All lands in this state, purchased of the general government, are exempted from taxation for five years after purchase.
All lands owned by private citizens or corporate bodies, are not exempted as above, are divided by law into two classes for taxation, called "first and second rates." First rate lands are taxed three dollars and twenty cents per quarter section of one hundred and sixty acres, per annum. Second rate lands are taxed two dollars and forty cents per quarter section, besides a county tax for roads. Resident and non resident landholders are taxed equally.
Residents owning lands in the different counties may list the same and pay taxes in the counties where they reside, or in the auditor's office, at their option.
Non residents must list their lands in the auditor's office.
Taxes of non residents are required to be paid into the state treasury, annually, on or before the first August. If not paid at that time, a delinquent list of all lands, owned by non residents, on which taxes have not been paid, is sent to the clerk of the country commissioners' court of the county where the land lies, and a transcript of this list is to be published in some newspaper, printed within the state, at least sixty days previous to sale.
If the taxes are not paid to the clerk of the county by the first Monday in March, so much of the land, as is necessary to pay taxes and costs, is sold at the seat of justice of the county.
Lands sold for taxes may be redeemed within two years from the time of sale, by paying to the clerk of the county for the use of the purchaser, double the amount of taxes, interest, and costs for which the same may have been sold.
Lands belonging to minor heirs may be redeemed at any time before the expiration of one year from the time the youngest of said heirs shall become of lawful age.
Military Bounty Lands. The lands which constitute the Illinois military tract, given as bounty to the soldiers in the last war with Great Britain, are included within the peninsula of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, and extend on the fourth principal meridian, from the mouth of the Illinois, one hundred and sixty miles north. This tract embraces the counties of Calhoun, Pike, Adams, Schuyler, McDonough, Warren, Mercer, Knox, Henry, Fulton, Peoria, and a portion of Putnam.
For a particular description, reference may be had at each of these counties in part second.
In general terms however, this tract contains as much good land, both timber and prairie, as any portion of the state of equal extent. About three fifths of the quarter sections have been appropriated as military bounties. The remainder is to be disposed of in the same manner as other public lands. South of the base line, which passes across through Schuyler and Adams counties, the public lands have been offered for sale. North of that line there is much excellent land yet for sale.
The disposition of so much of this fine country for military purposes has very much retarded its settlement. Most of the titles have long since departed from the soldiers for whose benefits the donations were made. Many thousand quarter sections have been sold by the state for taxes, and are past redemption. Much of it is in the hands of non residents, who hold it at prices too exorbitant to command sale. Some have doubted the legality of these sales at auction for taxes, but able lawyers, and those who have investigated the business, have expressed the opinion, that "tax titles," are valid. Within the last two years the military tract has received a great accession to its population. A large quantity of the military lands are now owned by a company, who have land office, open at Quincy, and offer tracts from three to ten dollars per acre.
The following particulars may be of use to non resident landholders:
1. If persons have held lands in the military tract, or in the state, and have not attended to paying taxes for more than two years, the land is sold and past redemption, unless there are minor heirs.
2. Every non resident landholder should employ an agent within the state to pay his taxes, and take the oversight of his property.
3. All deeds, conveyances, mortgages, or title papers whatsoever, must be recorded in the "recorder's office," in the county where the land is situated. Deeds and title papers are not in force until filed in the recorder's office.
4. The words "grant, bargain and sell," whatever may be the specific form of the instrument in other respects, convey a full and bona fide title, to warrant and defend, unless express provision is made to the contrary in the instrument.
[See revised laws of Illinois, of 1833, art. "recorder," page 510.]
About 1670, the notion prevailed amongst the French that visited Canada, that a western passage to the Pacific ocean existed. They learned from the Indians that far in the west there was a great river; but of its course or termination they could learn nothing. They supposed that this river communicated with the western ocean.
To investigate this question, P. Marquette, a jesuit, and Joliet, were appointed by M. Talon, the intendant of New France. Marquette was well acquainted with the Canadas, and had great influence with the Indian tribes. They conducted an expedition through the lakes, up Green bay and Fox River, to the Portage, where it approaches the Wisconsin, to which they passed, and descended that river to the Mississippi, which they reached the 17th of June 1673. These were the first Europeans that ever visited the "father of waters." They found a river much larger and deeper than it had been represented by the Indians. Their regular journal was lost on their return to Canada, but from the account afterwards given by Joliet, they found the natives friendly, and that a tradition existed amongst them of the residence of the "Mon-e-to," or spirit, near the mouth of the Missouri, which they could not pass. They turned their course up the Illinois, and were highly delighted with the placid stream, and woodlands and prairies through which it flowed. They were hospitably received and kindly treated by the Indians, a numerous nation of Indians who were destitute of the cruelty to savages. [The word "Illim," from whence is derived the name "Oillinois," or "Illinois," as it was variously written by the French explorers, is said by Hennepin to signify "a full grown man." This nation, or confederacy, appears to have possessed originally, the Illinois country. The confederacy was formed of seven tribe - the Illinois, Michigamies, Mascotans, Kaskaskiss, Kahokias, Peorias, and Tau-mar-waus. Their country was subjugated by the Iroquois or Mohawks about the close of the seventeenth century, who held dominion over the soil by right of conquest. In 1701 the Iroquois ceded all that part of Illinois that lies south and east of the Illinois river, to the British government.]
Marquette continued amongst these Indians with a view to Christianise them; but Joliet returned to Canada and reported the discoveries he had made.
Several years elapsed before any one attempted to follow up the discoveries of Marquette and Joliet. M. de La Salle, a native of Normandy, but who had resided many years in Canada, was the first to extend these early discoveries. He was a man of intelligence, talents, enterprise, and perseverance. After obtaining the sanction of the king of France, he set out on his projected expedition, in 1678, from Frontenac, with Chevalier Fonti, his lieutenant, and father Hennepin, a jesuit missionary, and thirty or forty men.
He spent about one year in exploring the country bordering on the lakes, and in selected positions for forts and trading posts, to secure the Indiana trade to the French. After he had built a fort at Niagara, and fitted out a small vessel, he sailed through the lakes to Green Bay, then called the "Bay of Puants." From thence he proceeded with his men in canoes towards the south end of Lake Michigan, and in canoes towards the south end of Lake Michigan, and arrived at the mouth of the "river of the Miamis" in November, 1679. This is thought to be Chicago. Here he built a fort, left eight or ten men, and passed with the rest of his company across the country to the waters of the Illinois River, and descended that river a considerable distance, when he was stopped for want of supplies. This was occasioned by the loss of a boat which had been sent from his post on Green Bay. He was not compelled by necessity to build a fort, which, on account of the anxiety of mind he experienced, was called Creve-coeur, or broken heart.
The position of this fort cannot now be ascertained, but from some appearances, it is thought to have been near Spring Bay, in the northeast part of Tazewell county.
At this period the Illinois were engaged in a war with the Iroquois, a numerous, warlike, and cruel nation, with whom La Salle had traded, while on the borders of Canada. The former, according to Indian notions of friendship, expected assistance from the French; but the interest and safety of La Salle depended upon terminating this warfare, and to this object he directed his strenuous efforts. The suspicious Illinois construed this into treachery, which was strengthened by the malicious and perfidious conduct of some of his own men, and pronounced upon him the sentence of death. Immediately he formed and executed the bold and hazardous project of going alone and unarmed to the camp of the Illinois, and vindicating his conduct. He declared his innocence of the charges, and demanded the author. He urged that the war should be terminated, and that the hostile nations should live in peace.
The coolness, bravery, and eloquence of La Salle filled the Indians with the astonishment and entirely changed their purposes. The calumet was smoked, presents mutually exchanged, and a treaty of amity concluded.
The original project of discovery was now pursued. Father Hennepin started on the 28th of February, 1680, and having passed down the Illinois, ascended the Mississippi to the falls of St. Anthony. Here he was taken prisoner, robbed, and carried to the Indian villages, from which he made his escape, returned to Canada by the way of Wisconsin, and from thence to France, where he published an account of his travels.
La Salle visited Canada to obtain supplies, returned to Creve-coeur, and shortly after descended the Illinois, and then the Mississippi, where he built one or two forts on its banks, and took possession of the country in the name of the king of France, and in honor of him called it Louisiana.
After descending the Mississippi to its mouth, he returned to the Illinois, and on his way back left some of his companions to occupy the country. This is supposed to have been the commencement of the villages of Kaskaskia and Cahokia in 1683, La Salle went to France, fitted out an expedition to form a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi, sailed to the gulf of Mexico, but not being able to find the mouths of that river, he commenced an overland journey to his fort on the Illinois. On this journey he was basely assassinated by two of his own men. [La Salle appears to have been discovered the Bay of St. Bernard, and formed a settlement on the western side of the Colorado, in 1685. This fact constitutes our claim to Texas. See J. Q. Adam's Correspondence with Don Onis. Pub. Doc. first session 15th Congress, 1818.]
After the death of La Salle, no attempts to discover the mouth of the Mississippi, were made till about 1699; but the settlements in the Illinois country were gradually increased by emigrants from Canada.
In 1712, the king of France, by letters patent, gave the whole country of Louisiana to M. Crosat, with the commerce of the country, with the profits of all the mines, reserving for his own use one fifth of the gold and silver. After expending large sums in digging and exploring for the precious metals without success, Crosat gave up his privilege to the king, in 1717. Soon after, the colony was granted to the Mississippi company, projected by Mr. Law, which took possession of Louisiana, and appointed M. Bienville governor. In 1719, La Harp commanded a Fort with French troops not far from the mouth of the Missouri River.
Shortly after, several forts were built within the present limits of Illinois, of which Fort Chartres was the most considerable. By these means a chain of communication was formed from Canada to the mouth of the Mississippi.
The oldest record or document in the state is at Kaskaskia, dated 1725. It is a petition to Louis XV, king of France, asking a grant of common fields, commons, etc.; stating their great sufferings the preceding year (1724) from the great flood which swept away all their improvements and obliged the people to flee to the bluffs opposite the village, and across the Kaskaskia River.
At the termination of hostilities between the French and English, in 1763, the Illinois country, with Canada, was ceded to the British government; and in 1765, Capt. Sterling, of the royal Highlanders, took possession of Illinois. He was succeeded by Major Farmer, who was relieved by Col. Reed, in 1766. The principal military post and seat of government during these changes, was at Fort Chartres. The administration of Col. Reed was extremely unpopular with the inhabitants, and is said to have been a course of military oppression. In 1768 he was succeeded by Lieut. Col. Wilkins, who established a court of justice amongst the people, and appointed seven judges to settle all matters relating to debts and property.
They met for the first time at Fort Chartres in December following, and continued to meet for business monthly. Still the people were dissatisfied, and demanded the right of trial by jury, which was denied them.
Affairs continued in this posture till the revolutionary war, when the Virginia militia, under command of Gen. George Rodgers Clarke, made an excursion through the Indian country, subjugated Fort Chartres, Kaskaskia, and other posts on the Mississippi, and then conducted a successful expedition against Port Vincent, now Vincennes. This was in 1778.
The same year the legislature of Virginia organized a county in this remote region, called "Illinois," and appointed a magistrate over it with extensive powers styled lieutenant governor. Timothy Demonbrun was appointed to this office.
This territory was afterwards ceded by Virginia to the United States, and formed a portion of the Northwestern Territory, by whose authority the county of Illinois was divided, and the name of St. Clair and Randolph given. In 1800, it was included within the limits of Indiana territory, and at that time the country that forms the present state of Illinois contained about 3,000 inhabitants.
Many of the officers and soldiers that accompanied General Clarke in his expedition became enamored with the country, returned with their families and formed the early American settlements. Other persons settled in Kaskaskia about the same time, to engage in the Indian trade.
In 1786, the Kickapoo, and other bands of Indians, commenced their predatory warfare, which greatly harassed the American settlers for the succeeding ten years.
After 1800, the population increased considerably from emigration. In 1809, a territorial government was formed, and the population the next year amounted to 12,282.
During the last war between Great Britain and the United States, Illinois, in common with other frontier districts, felt the calamities of warfare. The defense of the long line of frontier from the mouth of the Missouri, across the territory to Shawneetown, depended upon the energy and vigilance of the citizens, under the able and indefatigable governor, the late Ninian Edwards.
In 1812, the territory which had been under the government of the governor and judges, entered upon the second grade of territorial government, with a legislature, and a delegate in congress.
In 1818, the constitution was framed and Illinois was received into the Union as the twenty-second state.
1. This state presents many inducements to those who are emigrating to the west. It is now receiving large accessions from the north, the south, and from Europe. Many Germans have already entered it, and many more are shortly expected. An English colony was formed at Albion, in Edwards county, by Messrs. Birbeck and Flowers in 1818.
Morgan County contains many English families, who came three of four years since. In general they have purchased lands and are doing well.
Emigrants from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, pour into the middle and northern countries.
From the southern states there are hundreds visiting Illinois monthly, to find convenient residences, and a retreat from the inconveniences of slaveholding.
2. Farms, partially cultivated may be purchased, at a reasonable price, in almost every county. The prices vary from local situation, or factions circumstances. From three to ten dollars per acre, including improvements, is the common range of prices.
3. In no part of the United States can uncultivated land be made into farms with less labor than in Illinois. An emigrant may purchase a quarter section for $200, a proportionate supply of timbered and prairie land, and have a large farm under cultivation in a short time. His cattle, horses, and hogs will run upon the range around him, and find feed nine months of the year, and a small amount of labor will provide a supply of winter food. Hundreds of families, who have not the means to purchase, settle on public lands, make their farms and live unmolested. Any laboring man, with reasonable industry and economy with a family, may arrive here without any capital, and in half a dozen years be the owner of a good farm, with stock in abundance. The prairies and woodland would furnish range until his farm was made.
Those who have one or two thousand dollars to commence with, have peculiar advantages.
4. Mechanics of every description, for the ordinary purposes of life, find abundant encouragement.
I could name common mechanics, whom I knew when apprentices, and who commenced business without a cent of capital, but who now own property valued from ten to twenty thousand dollars. They have gained it by steady, persevering industry. And yet, no one make money rapidly, and grows rich suddenly. The great secret of the accumulation of property in any part of the "West," consists in the gradual rise of property, by the advantageous application of manual labor. As a general principle, with exceptions to particular places, this rise of property in Illinois, the last ten years, has equaled from twenty-five to thirty per cent per annum. About some of our rising towns the rise has been 1,000 per cent in three years.
5. Good school teachers, who will follow the employment, are much needed. The usual method is to pay by the scholar per quarter. Prices for ordinary branches in the county settlements, including board $2.50, and $3 per scholar. Female teachers for schools, are inquired after.
6. The people of the West, and of Illinois, have much plain, blunt, but sincere hospitality. Emigrants who come amongst them with a disposition to be pleased with the people and the country - to make no invidious comparisons - to assume no airs of distinction - but to become amalgamated with the people, where, of course every thing is different to what they have been accustomed, will be welcome.
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