ILLINOIS IN 1837
A sketch descriptive of the Situation, Boundaries, Face of the Country.
Prominent Districts, Prairies, Rivers, Minerals, Animals, Agricultural Productions, Public Lands, Plans of Internal Improvement, Manufactures,
&c. of the STATE OF ILLINOIS
also, Suggestions to Emigrants, Sketches of the Counties, Cities, and Principal Towns in the State:
Together with A Letter on the Cultivation of the Prairies,
By the Hon. H. L. Ellsworth
Source: Illinois in 1837; by S. Augustus Mitchell, Published by S. Augustus Mitchell, and by
Grigg & Elliot, No. 9, North Fourth Street, 1837, Entered according to the act of congress, in the year 1837,
by S. Augustus Mitchell, in the office of the district court for the eastern district of Pennsylvania;
Transcribed by Genealogy Trails Transcription Team
Table of Contents
-- Grand Prairie
-- American Bottom
-- Situation and Extent
-- Rapid Settlement of
-- Wild and Cultivated Fruits
Table of the Area and Population of the Counties
-- System of Surveys
-- Colleges, &c
PRODUCTIONS OF THE SOIL
This state, having a vast extent of the most fertile land, must of course raise with great ease all the articles to which her soil and climate are favourable, to an amount far beyond her consumption. All the grains, fruits, and roots of the temperate regions of the earth grow luxuriantly: the wheat is of excellent quality, and there is no part of the Western Country where corn is raised with greater ease of abundance. Garden vegetables of all kinds succeed well. No country can exceed this, in its adaptedness for rearing the finest fruits and fruit-bearing shrubs. Wild fruits and berries are in many places abundant, and on some of the prairies the strawberries are remarkably fine.
In most parts of the state, grape-vines, indigenous to the country, are abundant, yielding 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 country, 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 bottoms. The French in early times made so much wine as to export some to France; upon which the proper authorities prohibited, about the year 1774, the introduction of wine from Illinois, lest it might injure the sale of that that staple article of the kingdom.
Plums, in the prairies of various sizes, and flavour somewhat tart, grow in great abundance; their colour is generally red, and their taste delicious. In some locations, acres of these trees exhibit a surface of the colour of rubies: the quantities of fruit are prodigious; by some, two bushels a tree are yielded.
Crab-apples are also very 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-worms 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 nuts, the hickory, black walnut, and peccan, deserve notice. The last is an oblong, thin-shelled, delicious nut that grows on a large tree, a species of the hickory. The pawpaw grows in the bottom, and rich timbered uplands, and produces a large, pulpy, and luscious fruit.
Of domestic fruits, the apple and peach are chiefly cultivated. Pears are tolerable plentiful in the French settlements, and quinces are cultivated with 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 flavour, and grow to a large size. Apples, the growth of St. Clair county, have been measured that exceeded thirteen inches in circumference. Some of the early American settlers provided orchards; and they are now reaping 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 as the duration of this tree. The peaches are delicious, but they sometimes fail by being destroyed in the germ by winter frosts. The bud swells prematurely.
The cultivated vegetable productions in the field are 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. Indian corn 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. Oftentimes the product amounts to seventy-five bushels to the acre, and in some instances has exceeded 100 hundred. Corn is planted about the first of May. The white and yellow flint are the best adapted to the climate. When ready to gather in, the ears are commonly plucked off by the hand, hauled to the vicinity of the crib, and the people in the settlement invited to the corn-shucking. Ordinarily these gatherings end in sobriety and good feelings, but occasionally (if whiskey is plenty) they prove scenes of unbridled merriment. In slave-holding states, these annual corn-shuckings are the seasons of fun and frolic to the negro. A fat ox or cow, and two or three shoats, are killed, pones of corn bread smoking hot are brought forward, the bottle of whiskey circulates, and the woods and hills are made to ring with negro songs and shouts of merriment. It is the real harvest-home of the slaves.
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.
Wheat is sowed about the middle of September; spring wheat, as soon as the ground can be ploughed in the spring. The harvest is about the middle of July, for winter wheat; for spring wheat, in August. Prairie ground is the best for this grain, the crop being sometimes 35 bushels; though about 25 is the average product in good seasons. The average price of wheat is one dollar to one dollar and twenty-five cents per bushel, varying a little according to the competition of mills and facilities to 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.
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 at from twenty to thirty cents the bushel. The demand for the use of stage and travellers' horses is 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 wherever tried, is found very productive, and of excellent quality. It might be made a staple of the country.
Tobacco can be produced in any quantity, and of the first quality, in Illinois; the soil and climate being in every respect congenial to its growth.
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 manufacturers 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 states. 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.
The cultivation of the sugar beet root, and the manufacture of the sugar, can without doubt be carried on to advantage in this state. Gentlemen who have had an opportunity of examining personally the land in France on which that root is grown, consider the prairie land of Illinois much superior for that purpose. In the former country, from eight to twelve dollars rent per acre is annually paid, and yet large profits are made. An acre of good land will produce 44,000 pounds of beet root, from which 2,400 pounds of sugar can be extracted, which, at 10 cents a pound, amounts to 240 dollars per acre. The annexed extracts on the cultivation of the sugar beet root, are from a letter written by D. L. Childs, Esq., who went to Europe under the auspices of a company incorporated by the legislature of Illinois, with a capital of 200,000 dollars, for the purpose of introducing the manufacture of beet sugar into this state. The letter is dated from Arras, in France, Jan. 9th, 1837.
The most interesting aspect of the beet sugar business, is its bearing upon agriculture and rural economy:
1. It enriches the land both as an excellent substitute for fallowing, and as producing an immense quantity of capital manure.
2. It has the latter effect in various ways, but principally by feeding a large number of cattle and sheep. The former are fatted in from three to three and a half months in a manner really superb. So fine specimens of beef-creatures are seldom seen in the United States, after six months of the best, pasturing and stall-feeding. The sheep are fatted in six weeks. At the manufactory where I have been, they pay on an average about six louis for cattle, and sell them for about eleven. A louis is about $4.37. I suppose that this branch of the business would be quite as lucrative in the United States, where stock animals may be bought somewhat cheaper. This you see is doubling capital three times a year, with the help however of the pulp or pumice of the beet. This can be kept good any desirable length of time. It is sold here at 10 cents the cwt.
3. The profit of raising the beets is very great, according to estimates which I have from intelligent sources. My data makes the net gain in France, after paying rent, ploughing, weeding, hoeing, digging, and preserving, 404 francs per hectare. This measure is a trifle over two English acres. Consequently the profit of cultivating beets on an acre, will be 202 francs, about $38. Can you wonder that land has risen from 50 to 150 per cent in the districts of the sugar manufactories? The wages of labour for cultivating and manufacturing the produce of a hectare, amount to $56.81. This would give for 100 acres $2,840 nearly; and for 400, which would be the quantity required for the largest establishments, $11,830, to say nothing of the proprietor or leaseholder, when he and the labourer are one and the same. In this case, besides getting pay for his labour, and the rent or interest of his land, he would receive the $38 profit per acre.
"The most material point in the culture of the beet root, is the manner of preparing the land. It must be ploughed eight inches deep at least, and this ought to be done in the month of August. Still, fine crops of beets have been obtained by breaking up grass-ground in the spring, immediately before the seeding. The land should be turned up handsomely, and all the grass and other vegetable matter fairly deposited underneath. Then it must be harrowed deep and fine, but the same way with the furrows. If the furrows be disturbed, it spoils or greatly injures the crop. The seed is to be sown in rows, 20 inches apart, on the top of the furrows, and the same way with them. No plough must enter after the sowing, but the land must be dressed from two to four times, according to its tendency to weediness, with the hand and hoe. The vegetable matters decay, and give their whole nourishment to the beets. I suppose these remarks may be of less consequence to the proprietors of rich prairies of the west, than to those of the lands in France, and in the northern and middle states of America. There can be no doubt, however, that the decomposition of fresh vegetable matter will afford a more active stimulus to vegetable life than old mould, however rich. The land for beets must be good, - but it may be too good. In this case, it will produce beets of an enormous size, but hollow and decayed, and affording less saccharine matter than smaller ones. Very poor land made rich by high manuring, is said to yield large beets, containing a great deal of potash and sal ammoniac, but very little sugar. At the first weeding, when the beets are about 1 or 1 1/2 inches high, they must be thinned so as to leave one plant to every 12 or 13 inches of row. If there be spaces where the seed has not come up, some of the plants pulled up should be transplanted into those spaces."
But little has been done to introduce cultivated grasses. The prairie grass looks coarse and unsavoury, and yet horses and cattle thrive well on it. It is well known 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. 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. There is but a little more labour 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 summer, blue grass pastures may be kept green and fresh till late 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 exists against it, as it was 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 side of old roads and paths. Clover pastures would be excellent for swine.
The climate of Illinois is such as would be naturally expected from the latitude. The thermometer does not range more widely here than in similar parallels east of the Allegheny mountains; nor perhaps as much so as in those districts beyond the influence of the sea-breeze. There is every day a breeze, from some quarter of the broad prairies, almost as refreshing as that from the ocean. The region is exempt, too, from the effects of the easterly winds, so chilling and so annoying along the Atlantic sea-board; but in lieu of them, there are frequently cold blasts from the prairies, sufficiently annoying to the traveller, when the mercury is at zero.
The winter commences with December, and ends the second week of February. Its duration and temperature are variable; sometimes warm, and at others cold. The winters generally exhibit a temperature of climate somewhat milder than that of the northern Atlantic states. Snow rarely falls to the depth of six inches, and as rarely remains more than ten or twelve days. There are, however, occasional short periods of very cold weather; but they seldom continue longer than three or four days at a time. The Mississippi is sometimes frozen over and passed on the ice at St. Louis, and occasionally for several weeks together. The year 1811 was remarkable for the river closing over twice, - a circumstance which had not occurred before within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. What may be considered winter weather does not usually continue longer than from ten to twelve weeks; during more than half of which period, the ground frequently remains unfrozen.
Near the Mississippi, the wind often blows alternately from the north and south, producing a succession of snow, neither deep nor of long continuance, frost, sleet, and a relaxing mildness; when the beautiful red bird, the cardinal grosbeak, shows himself, and in singing, his charming lays resemble the lofty notes of the fife, being nearly as loud and as sonorous. From actual observation, Fahrenheit's thermometer, both at St. Louis and Harmony on the Wabash river opposite the southern part of the state, the mercury has sometimes fallen below zero.
It may be noticed, that in making observations with the thermometer, they are made too often almost exclusively whilst the sun is above the horizon, and therefore do not give the mean of all the astronomical day, but that of daylight only; and consequently the far greater number of places are represented as having a mean temperature too high. It is doubtful whether any part of Illinois has in reality a mean temperature of more than 54 of Fahrenheit, and that the mean of the whole state is not over 51 . From a series of observations made at St. Louis during the years 1817-18-19, the mean temperature of the different seasons was as follows: winter 34.53, spring 54.17, summer 74.34, autumn 60.77: mean for the whole year, 56.09. This will form a criterion for the southern half of Illinois. July is invariably the hottest month, and in a few instances the thermometer has been known to rise for a short time to 100 , and sometimes in June and August to 96 .
The rains which succeed the breaking up of the Mississippi generally continue at intervals through the greater part of February and March, and constitute what is called the rainy months. The first spring months are therefore frequently disagreeable and cheerless; and the emigrant who arrives in Illinois during this time forms a most unfavourable opinion of its climate; but as soon as the rains subside, he is delighted with the contrast. The forests now put forth their foliage, the prairies are covered with their brilliant carpets, and all nature around him appears to smile: he is fanned by a gentler and more fragrant breeze, and is covered by a bluer and more beautiful sky than those to which he has been accustomed.
The summers are warm, though during the sultry months the intensity of heat is modified by a free course everywhere afforded to a fine genial breeze, constantly giving to the atmosphere a refreshing elasticity. During this season, the appearance of the country is gay and beautiful, being clothed with grass, foliage, and flowers.
Of all the seasons of the year, the autumn is the most delightful. The heat of the summer is over by the middle of August; and from that time till December, there is almost one continuous succession of bright, clear, delightful sunny days. Nothing can exceed the beauty of summer and autumn in this country, where, on one hand, we have the expansive prairie strewed with flowers still growing; and on the other, the forests which skirt it, presenting all the varieties of colour incident to the fading of foliage of a thousand different trees.
About the middle of October or beginning of November, the Indian summer commences, and continues from fifteen to twenty days. During this time, the weather is dull and cheerless, the atmosphere is smoky, and the sun and moon are sometimes almost totally obscured. It is generally supposed that this is caused by the burning of the withered grass and herbs on the extensive prairies of the north and west, which also accounts for its increased duration as we proceed westward.
Winds - During the spring, summer, and autumn, south-westerly winds are the most prevalent; these are sometimes warm and arid, at others cool and humid. They seldom, however, cause heavy rains. In the spring and during the rise of the Missouri, they are from a more westerly direction, and rains are often more frequent. Although these are generally dry and piercing, they frequently accompany storms of hail and snow. North and north-east winds are comparatively rare. The latter usually bring heavy rains.
The more common diseases of Illinois are intermittents, frequently accompanied with 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 of 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 invariably 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. There are but few causes of genuine consumption. Affection of the liver is more common. Pleurisies, and other inflammatory diseases, prevail in the winter and spring. Ophthalmia prevails at some seasons. Dysentery is not uncommon. Fewer died in infancy than in the old states.
In several parts of the west, and occasionally in Illinois, a disease prevails, which has received the appellation of "sick stomach," from its prominent symptoms, nausea and frequent vomiting, especially on taking exercise. It is also called "milk sickness," from the opinion that it is produced by the milk of cows, which have fed on some poisonous plant. It has likewise been ascribed to the water of certain springs, and to marshy exhalations. The cause, however, seems not to be exactly known, and the disease appears to be vanishing.
That the Western States are not unfavourable to human life, may be inferred from the unprecedented increase in their population. The number of inhabitants in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, is probably near four millions. Had they been unhealthy, it is quite incredible that in the short period of half a century, so great a number could have congregated within those commonwealths. Were the climate especially fatal to emigrants, the number cut off, and the number repelled, must have given a ratio of increase far beneath that which has actually existed. As to the seasoning or acclimation, it is doubtful whether in the temperate Mississippi states, it has any existence. At Cincinnati, it can seldom be perceived. When formidable and fatal diseases have prevailed, they have as often attacked those long resident in the city, as the 'new comers;' and nothing is more common, than to see persons arrive at all periods of the spring, summer, and early autumn, and still enjoy as good health as if they had entered its atmosphere at the winter solstice.
Travellers and 'movers' should be cautious against much journeying in September and early October, when bilious fevers prevail; for, however secure they might be, if they could be transferred, without a journey, to a western town, the usual process of reaching it in autumn, over land, the necessary mode when the waters are low, is apt to generate serious diseases.
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 according to the state census of 1835 (with the estimation of certain counties since formed, marked thus *), and seats of justice, are given the following table.
|Counties||Date||Square Miles||Population in 1835||Seats of Justice|
The present population of Illinois (September 1837) may be estimated at 400,000. For the purpose of electing representatives to Congress, the state is divided into three districts, each of which sends one representative. For judiciary purposes the state is divided into seven circuits, in each of which a circuit judge is appointed. Counties are not subdivided into townships, and in Indiana, Ohio, and the more eastern states. For the convenience of holding elections, the county commissioners' court is required to divide the county into "precincts," and designate the house or place in each district 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 elected 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 became a law by the vote of the majority of all the members elected to both houses.
The right of suffrage is universal. All white male inhabitants, twenty-one years of age, who have resided within the state six months next preceding the elections, enjoy the right of electors. Votes are given viva voce. The introduction of slavery is prohibited. The constitution can be altered only by a convention.
The whole ordinary annual expenditurse of the state are bout 53,700 dollars. 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 the lands of non-residents goes into the state treasury for state purposes. The quantity 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 ... 5,902,127
In 1839 ... 6,262,367
In 1840 ... 6,616,380
In 1841 ... 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.
The greater portion of the unoccupied lands of the United States constitute the national domain, and is of course under the control of the general government. These lands consist of tracts of country ceded to the nation by the several states; of the lands in the territory of Louisiana purchased from France, and of those in Florida obtained by purchase from Spain. After thus acquiring a claim to wild lands, from the individual states or foreign powers, the Indian title to the soil is next extinguished, by purchasing it from the native tribes by whom it is respectively occupied.
The lands are then surveyed on an accurate plan, and according to a general system; afterwards they are offered for sale by proclamation of the President, and, by law, must be sold by public action, the minimum price being one dollar twenty-five cents an acre, ready money. One section in each township is reserved for the support of schools in the township, and all salt-springs and lead-mines are reserved from sale, unless by special order of the President. The minimum price of the public lands was at first fixed at two dollars per acre, one-half to be paid within thirty days, the residue one year after the sale; in 1800, the term of credit was very much extended, and in 1820 the purchasers were in debt to the government more than 22,000,000 dollars. At that period the present system of cash payments was adopted, under which the annual proceeds of the sales have increased from 1,167,225 dollars to 6,099,981 in 1834, to upwards of 12,000,000 in 1835, and in 1836 they had increased to the astonishing sum of 24,000,000 dollars. The increase in population in the Western States, the extensive introduction of steam-vessels on the rivers and lakes, and the increased facilities of intercourse and transportation by rail-roads and canals, have concurred with the extraordinary high price of cotton, in producing this wonderful result.
The surveys of the public lands of the United States are founded upon a series of true meridians which run north principally from the mouth of some noted river. These are intersected at right angles with lines running from east to west, called base lines. There are five principal meridians in the land surveys of the west. The "first principal meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Miami river, which also forms the boundary line between the states of Ohio and Indiana. The "second principal meridian" is a line north from a point on the Ohio river ten miles below the mouth of the 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 White river in Arkansas.
Each of these meridians has its own base line, which forms the base of a series of surveys of which lines are made to correspond, so that the whole country is at last divided into squares of one mile each, and townships of six miles each, and these subdivisions are distributed with mathematical accuracy into parallel ranges.
The greatest divisions of land marked out by the survey is called a township, and contains 23,040 acres, being six miles square. The township is subdivided into thirty-six equal portions or square miles, by lines crossing each other at right angles. These portions are called sections, each containing 640 acres, which are subdivided into four equal parts called quarter-sections, each of which, of course, contains one hundred and sixty acres. The quarter-sections are finally divided into two parts, called half-quarter-sections, of eighty acres each; these again are under certain conditions sold in equal subdivisions of forty acres each; these again are under certain conditions sold in equal subdivisions of forty acres each, which is the smaller amount of the public lands disposed of by the general government. Any person, whether a native-born citizen or a foreigner, may thus purchase forty acres of the richest soil, and receive an indisputable title, for fifty dollars. The sectional and quarter-sectional divisions are designated by appropriate marks in the field, which are of a character to be easily distinguished from each other. 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 drawn north and south, and into quarters by a transverse line. The half-quarter and quarter-quarter-sections are not marked in the field, but are designated on the plot of the survey by the Surveyor-General marking the distance on one of the ascertained lines, in order to get the quantity of such half-quarter-sections as exhibited by his plot of survey.
Fractional sections are parts of quarter-sections intersected by streams, confirmed claims, or Indian boundaries.
The parts of townships, sections, quarters, &c. made at the lines of either townships or meridians, are called
excesses or deficiencies. The fractional sections which contain less than 160 acres are not subdivided. The fractional
sections, which contain 160 acres and upwards, are subdivided in such manner as to preserve the most compact and
convenient forms. A series of contiguous townships, laid off from east to west, is called a range. These are numbered
east and west from the principal meridian running due north and south. Townships are counted either north or south
from their respective base lines. Sections, or miles square, are numbered, beginning in the north-east corner
of the township, progressively west to the range line, and then progressively east to the range line, alternately,
terminating at the south-east corner of the township, form one to thirty-six, as in the annexed diagram:
The following will serve as a specimen of he nomenclature by which lots of land may be indicated in the system of the public land surveys: - The north-east division in the larger diagram would be designated as Section one, say of Township four, in Range three, east from the third principal meridian, and would contain 640 acres. The smaller diagrams numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4, represent sections divided into portions of 320, 160, 80, and 40 acres each, respectively. The darkened division in No. 1 would be designated as the east half of Section one, of Township four, in Range three east from the third principal meridian, and would contain 320 acres; the darkened division in No. 2 would be the north-east quarter of Section 1, Township and Range as before, and would be a tract of 160 acres. The darkened division in No. 3 would be styled the east half of the north-east quarter of Section one, Township and Range as before, and would contain 80 acres; the darkened division in No. 4 would be the north-east quarter of the north-east quarter of Section one, Township and Range as before, and would be a tract of 40 acres. This is the smallest portion to the public lands sold by the general government.
The foregoing explanation will serve 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.
By this admirable system, all the townships and subdivisions are in regular mathematical forms, precluding the fruitful source of litigation, arising from the uncertainty of butts and bounds, in forms with curve, meandering or zigzag lines. These forms, so universal in farms of the old settlements, are not only difficult matters of adjustment between contiguous owners, and exceedingly inconvenient for fencing, but are unsightly and offensive to the eye. It is inconceivable that the beautiful square forms of the present land system should not have been suggested to the first settlers of the United States.
The land sales unite three essential objects; the right of selection by the highest bidder at the public sales, extreme cheapness at the private sales, and a title of clearness and unquestionable surety commensurate with the stability of the government. The convenience and excellence of this system constitute an essential element in the rapid population of the new states. 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 14 miles distant), to a point in the channel of the river, 72 miles from its mouth. Here its base line commences and extends across the peninsula to the Mississippi, a short distance above Qunicy. 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 18 north, and about 12 or 15 miles above Rock Island. It here crosses and passes up the west side of the Mississippi river 53 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 territory, while the northern boundary line of the state is constituted its base line for that region. A large tract of country in the north and north-eastern 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.
The public lands are laid off into districts, in each of which there is a land-office under the superintendence of two officers appointed by the President and Senate, called the Register of the land-office, and the Receiver of public moneys. The Register and Receiver each receive a salary of 500 dollars per annum, and a commission of one per cent on the moneys paid into their office. In the state of Illinois there are ten land-offices 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 at 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 dividing line between Townships sixteen and seventeenth 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 twelve and thirteen 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 third meridian, and east of Springfield district.
North-west District is in the north-western 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.
North-east District is in the north-east 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 the state. Land-office at Chicago.
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 $1.25 per acre or upwards, it is subject to private entry at any time after, upon payment at 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 $1.25 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, and not exempted as above, are divided by law into two classes for taxation, called "first and second rates." First-rate lands are taxed $3.20 per quarter-section of 160 acres per annum. Second-rate lands are taxed $2.40 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 of 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 county 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 of said heirs shall become of lawful age.
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. Every non-resident landholder should employ an agent within the state to pay his taxes, and take the oversight of his property. 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. 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.
The project of uniting the waters of Lake Michigan and the Illinois, by a canal, was conceived soon after the commencement of the Erie canal of New-York; and a board of commissioners, with engineers, explored the route and estimated the cost, in 1823. Provision, by a grant of each alternate section of land within five miles of the route, having been granted by Congress, another board of commissioners was appointed in 1829, a new survey was made, and the towns of Chicago and Ottawa laid off, and some lots sold in 1830. Various movements have since been made, but nothing effectually done.
At a special session of the legislature held in the winter of 1835-6, 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, not 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. The dimensions of the canal were fixed as follow: 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.
The great work commences on the north fork of the south branch of Chicago river, four miles to the south-west of the city of Chicago (the river itself forming a deep and natural canal from this point to the harbour), and from thence extends to the Des Plaines river seven and a half miles, at a place called "the Point of Oaks." From thence down the valley of the Des Plaines to the running out of the lake level, 25 miles. 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 to be 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 the canal proceeds down the valley of the Des Plaines to Juliet, 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 Fox 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 of the Little Vermillion, and enters the Illinois river, in the corner of fractional section 21, in township 33, north Range one, east of the third principal meridian. To this point the Illinois is navigable for steamboats at all states of water. A steamboat basin, or harbour, is to be constructed, and a large town laid off on 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, and it gives 105 miles and 72 chains for the entire length of the navigable line. The canal is estimated to cost 8,654,337 dollars.
The legislature, at its last 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.
The resources of the state to meet the cost of this stupendous work arise from the sale 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 last year, 375 lots were sold in Chicago for 1,355,755 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 sales for lands and town lots previous to 1833, $18,798.08 ½ . 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 twenty dollars per acre.
The project of this canal is a vast enterprize for so young a state, but truly national in its character, and will constitute one of the main arteries in eastern and western communication. 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 opened 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 canal, estimating the speed at three miles per 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 on this route can be made in twenty days.
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 honour and credit of Illinois are pledged for the success of this enterprize.
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 court. 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; to receive, manage, deposit, and apply all sums of money, and to 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 be undertaken by the state (except the Illinois and Michigan canal, which is managed by a distinct board). Each member has specific charge of that portion of the works that falls within his own district. They are required to execute the work 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.
The following are the 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 river, $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 rail-road from a point 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 to Galena - appropriated $3,500,000.
8. A southern cross rail-road from Alton, via Edwardsville, Carlyle, Salem, Fairfield, and Albion, to Mount Carmel; whence it is expected a line will be extended through Indiana to New Albany, and become connected with the great rail-road chartered and surveyed from the Ohio river to Charleston, South Carolina. Also a rail-road from Alton to Shawneetown, to diverge from the aforesaid southern cross rail-road at Edwardsville, and pass through Lebanon, Nashville, Pinckneyville, Frankfort, and Equality. And further, a rail-road 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 rail-road from Qunicy on the Mississippi river, 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 rail-road from Alton, via Upper Alton, Hillsboro, Shelbyville, Charleston, Paris, and then to the state line in the direction of Terre Haute, Indiana, where it will be connected with rail-road and canal communications through that state, both in an eastern and southern direction - appropriated, $1,250,000.
11. A rail-road from Peoria, via Canton, Macomb, &c., to Warsaw, on the Mississippi, at the foot of the Des Moines rapids - appropriated, $700,000.
12. A rail-road from Bloomington to Mackinaw, and 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 rail-road or canal is made at the cost of the state, to be in a rateable proportion to the census of 1835, and to be applied in the improvements of roads, bridges, and other public works, by the counties.
The funds to meet the expenses of these plans are as follow: - The special fund for the 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 corporation; - a portion of the proceeds of the surplus fund distributed by Congress; together with the net proceeds all bank and other stocks subscribed and owned by the state, after liquidating the interest on loans contracted for the purchase of such bank or other stocks. A subsequent enactment authorized the fund commissioners to subscribe 2,000,000 dollars stock to the State Bank of Illinois, and 1,400,000 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 pledged 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 rail-roads 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 twenty-five feet five inches in 11 miles. The other commences at Rock Island, and extends about 15 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 harbour 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 harbours 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. It runs from Vincennes in a south-westerly course to Vandalia, a distance of 90 miles. The road is established 80 feet wide. 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 that 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, rail-roads, and turnpike roads. A rail-road from Naples to Jacksonville, now undergoing construction; - another rail-road from Jacksonville, via Lynnville and Winchester, to the Illinois river opposite Augusta. A third railway has been commenced from Chicago to the Des Plaines, 12 miles over level prairies, and designed to extend across the state to Galena. Another rail-road is now under contract and working from the Mississippi, opposite to St. Louis, across the American Bottom to the coal-mines in the bluffs of St. Clair county.
No state in the Union possesses such facilities for intercommunication by canals and railways, at so cheap a rate, and which can be so equally distributed to its population, as Illinois.
In the infancy of a state, little can be expected in machinery and manufactures; and 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 enterprize. 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, are 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 to turn out forty 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 such an 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 M'Henry 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, 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 connexion with the improvement of the Great Wabash river by the joint operation 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 for expressing the oil are in operation in Madison, Greene, Macoupin, St. Clair, Randolph, Edwards, and perhaps other counties. The most extensive establishment is at Edwardsville, where for thirty to forty thousand gallons are made annually.
A few factories for spinning cotton yarn have been put into operation in several counties on a small scale of from one hundred or two hundred spindles each. They are carried on 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. Woollen cloth, and jeans, a mixture of wool and cotton, is made for ordinary wear, as is cloth from flax.
Boat building will soon become a branch of business in this state. Some steam-boats have already been constructed within its limits, 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, &c., 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.
The Congress of the United States, in the act for admitting the state of Illinois into the Union, 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 recent act of the legislature, a moiety of the "surplus fund," received from the national treasure, 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 probable that this immense domain will not all be sold at its present price; averaging it, therefore, at 75 cents per acre, it would amount to $13,500,000, of which three per cent belonging to this state, would give $405,000 for education 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 dollars; but as it is liable to be demanded by the general government, it has not been considered as any portion of the permanent school fund. The funds and claims of Illinois for education purposes may be estimated at $3,000,000.
Provisions now exists by law for the 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 qualification 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, and where three or four of the leading families unite and exert their influence in favour 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 schools 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 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 over-looking the town, and a vast extent of beautiful prairie country, now covered with well-cultivated farms. 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. To this main building are attached two wings, each 38 feet long and 28 feet wide, three stories high, including the basement; for the accommodation 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 labour, 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 labour, either upon the farm or in the workshop. Some individuals earn $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. The Faculty of Illinois College consists of a Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and Political Economy, who is also President of the Institution; a Professor of Mathematics and National Philosophy, and lecturer on chemistry; a Professor of the Greek and Latin languages, a Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, and an Instructor in the preparatory department. The pupils in the different classes are as follows: 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 College 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; two stories high with stone basement, 40 feet long, and 32 feet wide. A large stone building for a Refractory, and for Professors' and Students' rooms, has since been erected. A Preparatory school was commenced 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 dollars is to be appropriated towards a College building, and 5,000 dollars towards the endowment of a Professorship of Oratory, Rhetoric, and Belles-Lettres. Regular college classes are not yet organized. The Preparatory department is in regular progress and contains about 60 students. Measures are in progress 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, and is under the charge of a Theological Professor, with seven or eight students, licentiates of Baptist churches.
M'Kendreean 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.
M'Donough 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 with 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. 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.
Belevidere 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 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 at 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, 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 project of establishing a seminary for the education of teachers, at Waverley in the south-eastern 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 Illinois for the promotion of education. Several lyceums and literary associations exist in this state, and there is in almost every county a dedicated expression of popular opinion in favour 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, eight Presbyteries, and about 80 churches, 60 ministers, and 2,500 members.
There are 12 or 15 Congregationalist churches, united in an association, and several ministers.
The Methodist Protestant denomination has one conference, 22 ministers, and 344 members.
The Reformers, as they term themselves, or "Campbellites," as other 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 two or three Presbyteries, twelve or fifteen preachers, and several hundred communicants.
There are two churches of Reformed Presbyterians, or Covenanters, one mister, 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 M'Lean 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 as an organized diocese, eight or ten congregations, and seven or eight 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, eight or ten 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 about the old French villages, and the labourers 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 but few advantages in acquiring either literary or theological information, and
yet are good speakers and useful men.
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.
SUGGESTIONS TO EMIGRANTS
Extracted from Mr. Peck's "Emigrant's Guide."
Canal, Steam-Boat and Stage Routes - Other Modes of Travel - Expenses - Roads, Dispatches, &c. &c.
Persons in moderate circumstances, or who would save time and expense, need not make a visit to the West, to ascertain particulars previous to removal. A few general facts, easily collected from a hundred sources, will enable persons to decide the great question, whether they will emigrate to the Valley. By the same means, emigrants may determine to what state, and to what part of that state, their course shall be directed. There are many things that a person of plain common sense will take for granted without inquiry, - such as facilities for obtaining all the necessaries of life, the readiness with which property of any description may be obtained for a fair value, and especially farms and wild land, that they can live where hundreds of thousands of others of similar habits and feelings live; and above all, they should take it for granted, that there are difficulties to be encountered in every country, and in all business; - that these difficulties can be surmounted with reasonable effort, patience, and perseverance; and that, in every country, people stricken and die.
Having decided to what state, and part of the state, an emigrant will remove, let him then conclude to take as little furniture and other luggage as he can do with, especially if he comes by public conveyances. Those who reside within convenient distance of a sea-port, would find it both safe and economical to ship by New-Orleans, in boxes, such articles are not wanted on the road, especially if they steer for the navigable waters of the Mississippi. Bed and other clothing, books, &c. packed in boxes, like merchants' goods, will go much safer and cheaper by New-Orleans, than by any of the inland routes. I have received more than 100 packages and boxes from eastern ports, by that route, within 20 years, and never lost one. Boxes should be marked to the owner or his agent at the river port where destined, and to the charge of some forwarding house in New-Orleans. The freight and charges may be paid when the boxes are received.
If a person designs to remove to the north part of Ohio and Indiana, to Chicago and vicinity, or to Michigan or Green Bay, his course should be by the New-York canal, and the lakes. The following table, showing the time of the opening of the canal at Albany and Buffalo, and the opening of the lake, from 1827 to 1835, is from a report of a committee at Buffalo to the common council of that city. It will be of use to those who wish to take the northern route in the spring.
Canal opened at Buffalo
Canal opened at Albany
Lake Erie opened at Buffalo
The same route will carry emigrants to Cleveland, and by the Ohio canal, to Columbus, or to the Ohio river,
at Portsmouth; whence, by steamboat, direct communications will offer to any river port in the Western States.
From Buffalo, steamboats run constantly (when the lake is open) to Detroit, stopping at Erie, Ashtabula, Cleveland,
Sandusky, and many other ports, whence stages run to every prominent town. Transportation wagons are employed in
Route from Buffalo to Detroit, by water
|Dunkirk, N. Y.||39||Cleveland, Ohio||30||193|
|Portland, N. Y.||18||57||Sandusky, Ohio||54||247|
|Erie, Pa.||35||92||Amherstburg, U. C.||52||299|
|Ashtabula, Ohio||39||131||Detroit, Mich.||18||317|
|From Detroit to Chicago, Illinois|
|St. Clair river, Mich.||40||Mackinaw||58||329|
|Fort Gratiot||14||71||Fort Howard,||100||504|
|White Rock||40||111||Wisconsin Ter.|
|Thunder Island||70||181||Milwaukee, W. T.||310||814|
|Middle Island||25||206||Chicago, Ill.||90||904|
|From Cleveland to Portsmouth, via the Ohio Canal|
|New Portage||5||43||Licking Summit||5||186|
|Newcomers' town||22||115||Portsmouth (Ohio river)||13||307|
The most expeditious, pleasant, and direct route for travellers to the southern parts of Ohio and Indiana; to the Illinois river, as far north as Peoria; to the Upper Mississippi as far as Quincy, Rock Island, Galena and Prairie du Chien; to Missouri, and to Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Natchez, and New-Orleans, is one of the southern routes. These are, - 1. From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, by rail-roads and the Pennsylvania canal; 2. By the Baltimore and Ohio rail-road and stages to Wheeling; or, 3. For the people living to the south of Washington, by stage, by the way of Charlottesville (Virginia), Staunton, the Hot, Warm, and White-Sulphur Springs, Lewisburg, Charlestown, to Guyandotte, whence a regular line of steamboats runs three times a week to Cincinnati. Intermediate routes from Washington city to Wheeling, or to Harper's Ferry, to Fredericksburg, and intersect the route through Virginia, at Charlottesville.
|From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, by rail-road and canal.|
|Columbia, on the Susquehanna
river,by rail-road, daily By canal packets to
Thence, by rail-road, across the mountain, to
|Juniata river||15||144||Johnstown By canal, to||38||285|
The Pioneer line, on this route, is exclusively for passengers, and professes to reach Pittsburgh in four days, but is sometimes behind, several hours. Fare though, $10. Passengers pay for meals.
The Good Intent line is also for passengers only, and runs in competition with the Pioneer Line.
Leech's line, called the "Western Transportation line," takes both freight and passengers. The pack-boats advertise to go through, to Pittsburg, in five days, for $7. Midship and steerage passengers in the transportation line, in six and a half days; - merchandise delivered in eight days. Generally, however, there is some delay. Emigrants must not expect to carry more than a small trunk or two, on the packet-lines. Those who take goods or furniture, and wish to keep with it, had better take the transportation lines, with more delay. The price of meals on board the boats is about thirty-seven and a half cents.
In all the steamboats on the western waters, no additional charge is made to cabin passengers for meals; - and the tables are usually profusely supplied. Strict order is observed, and the waiters and officers are attentive.
Steamboat route from Pittsburg to the mouth of the Ohio:
|Middletown, Pa.||11||Aurora, Ind.||2||491|
|Economy, Pa.||8||19||Petersburg, Ky.||2||493|
|Beaver, Pa.||10||29||Bellevue, Ky.||8||501|
|Georgetown, Pa.||13||42||Rising Sun, Ind.||2||503|
|Steubenville, Ohio||27||69||Fredericksburg, Ky.||18||521|
|Wellsburgh, Va.||7||76||Vevay, Ind., and||11||532|
|Warren, Ohio||6||82||Ghent, Ky.|
|Wheeling, Va.||10||92||Port William, Ky.||8||540|
|Elizabethtown, Va.||11||103||Madison, Ind.||15||555|
|Sistersville, Va.||34||137||New London, Ind.||12||567|
|Newport, Ohio||27||164||Bethlehem, Ind.||8||575|
|Marietta, Ohio||14||178||Westport, Ky.||7||582|
|Parkersburg, Va.||11||189||Transylvania, Ky.||15||595|
|Belpre and Blannerhasset's Island, Ohio||4||193||Louisville, Ky.||12||609|
|Shippingport, through the canal||2 1/2||611 1/2|
|Belleville, Va.||7||210||New Albany, Ind.||1 1/2||613|
|Letart's Rapids, Va.||37||247||Salt River, Ky.||23||636|
|Point Pleasant, Va.||27||274||Northampton, Ind.||18||654|
|Gallipolis, Ohio||4||278||Leavenworth, Ind.||17||671|
|Guyandotte, Va.||27||305||Fredonia, Ind.||2||673|
|Burlington, Ohio||10||315||Rome, Ind.||32||705|
|Greensburg, Ky.||19||334||Troy, Ind.||25||730|
|Concord, Ohio||12||346||Rockport, Ind.||16||746|
|Portsmouth (Ohio canal)||7||353||Owenburg, Ky.||12||758|
|Vanceburg, Ky.||20||373||Evansville, Ind.||36||794|
|Manchester, Ohio||16||389||Henderson, Ky.||12||806|
|Maysville, Ky.||11||400||Mount Vernon, Ind.||28||834|
|Charleston, Ky.||4||404||Carthage, Ky.||12||846|
|Ripley, Ohio||6||410||Wabash river, Ky.||7||853|
|Augusta, Ky.||8||418||Shawneetown, Ill.||11||864|
|Neville, Ohio||7||425||Mouth of Saline, Ill.||12||876|
|Moscow, Ohio||7||432||Cave in Rock, Ill.||10||886|
|Point Pleasant, Ohio||4||436||Golconda, Ill.||19||905|
|New Richmond, Ohio||7||443||Smithland, mouth of the Cumberland river, Ky.||10||915|
|Columbia, Ohio||15||458||Paducah, mouth of the Tennessee river, Ky.||13||928|
|Fulton, Ohio||6||564||Caledonia, Ill.||31||959|
|Cincinnati, Ohio||2||466||Trinity, mouth of Cash river, Ill.||10||969|
|North Bend, Ohio||15||481||mouth of the Ohio River||6||975|
|Lawrenceburg, Ind. and mouth of the Miami||8||489|
Persons who wish to visit Indianapolis will stop at Madison, Indiana, and take the stage conveyance. From Louisville, by the way of Vincennes, to St. Louis by stage, every alternate day, 273 miles, through in three days and a half. Fare, seventeen dollars. Stages run from Vincennes to Terre Haute and other towns up the Wabash river. At Evansville, Indiana, stage lines are connected with Vincennes and Terre Haute; and at Shawneetown twice a week to Carlyle, Illinois, where it intersects the line from Louisville to St. Louis. From Louisville to Nashville by steamboats, passengers land at Smithland at the mouth of Cumberland river, unless they embark direct for Nashville. In the winter, both stage and steamboat lines are uncertain and irregular. Ice in the rivers frequently obstructs navigation, and high waters and bad roads sometimes prevent stages from running regularly.
Farmers who remove to the west from the northern and middle states, will find it advantages, in many instances, to remove with their own teams and wagons. These they will need upon their arrival. Autumn, or from September till November, is the favourable season for this mode of emigration. The roads are then in good order, the weather usually favourable, and feed plenty. People of all classes, from the states south of the Ohio river, remove with large wagons, carry and cook their own provisions, purchase their feed by the bushel, and invariably encamp out at night.
Individuals who wish to travel through the interior of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, &c., will find that the most convenient, sure, economical, and independent mode, is on horseback. Their expenses will be from seventy-five cents to one dollar fifty cents per day, and they can always consult their own convenience and please, as to time and place.
Stage fare is usually 6 cts. a mile, in the west. Meals, at stage-houses, 37 1/2 cts.
Steamboat Fare, including Meals
From Pittsburg to Cincinnati ... $10
From Cincinnati to Louisville ... 4
From Louisville to St. Louis ... 12
And frequently the same from Cincinnati to St. Louis, - varying a little however.
A deck passage, is it is called, may be rated as follows:
From Pittsburg to Cincinnati ... $ 3
From Cincinnati to Louisville ... 1
From Louisville to St. Louis ... 4
The deck for such passengers is usually in the midship, forward of the engine, and is protected from the weather. Passengers furnish their own provisions and bedding. They often take their meals at the cabin-table, with the boat hands, and pay twenty-five cents a meal. Thousands pass up and down the rivers as deck passengers, especially emigrating families, who have their bedding, provisions, and cooking utensils, on board.
The whole expense of a single person from New-York to St. Louis, by the way of Philadelphia and Pittsburg, with cabin passage on the river, will range between $40 and $45; - time, from twelve to fifteen days. Taking the transportation line on the Pennsylvania canal, and a deck passage in the steamboat, and the expenses will range between $20 to $25, supposing the person buys his meals at twenty-five cents, and eats twice a day. If he carry his own provisions, the passage, &c. will be from $15 to $18.
The following is from an advertisement of the Western Transportation, or Leech's line, from Philadelphia:
Miles ... Days ... Fare
Fare to Pittsburg ... 400 ... 6 ½ ... $ 6.00
Fare to Cincinnati ... 900 ... 8 ½ ... 8.50
Fare to Louisville ... 1,050 ... 9 ½ ... 9.00
Fare to Nashville ... 1,650 ... 13 ½ ... 13.00
Fare to St. Louis ... 1,750 ...14 .... 13.00
The above does not include meals.
Packet-boats for Cabin Passengers (same line)
Miles ... Days ... Fare
Fare to Pittsburg - 400 ... 5 ... $ 7.00
Fare to Cincinnati - 900 ... 8 ... 17.00
Fare to Louisville - 1,050 ... 9 ... 19.00
Fare to Nashville - 1,650 ... 13 ... 27.00
Fare to St. Louis - 1,750 ... 13 ... 27.00
Emigrants and travelers will find it to their interest always to be a little skeptical relative to statements of stage, steamboat, and canal-boat agents; to make some allowance in their own calculations for delays, difficulties, and expenses; and above all, to feel perfectly patient and in good humour with themselves, the officers, company, and the world, even if they do not move quite as rapidly, and fare quite as well, as they desire.
LOCATION, METHOD OF FARMING, BUILDING, &c.
Upon emigrating to this country, it would be well for an eastern farmer to throw off and forget many of his former habits and practices, and be prepared to accommodate himself to the nature of the soil, and the circumstances of the country; else he will throw away much labour uselessly, and expend money unprofitably. The first object is to find a suitable situation; or, in the language of the country, to locate himself. An entire stranger can hardly be expected to judge correctly in relation to soil, and the advantages and disadvantages of location. If he arrives in the dry season of autumn, he will be likely to select a level spot of prairie, with a deep black soil, determined to have rich land at any rate, and perhaps in the spring find himself ploughing in mud and water. If he looks at the appearance of the timber, he will probably be deceived, and overlook some of the best tracts. Advice from those who have long been residents in the country, would save many inconveniences in location.
No emigrant need deceive himself with the notion that he can find a spot which will combine all the advantages, and none of the disadvantages, of the country. On every spot he examines, some indispensable thing will appear to be wanting. On every spot he examines, some indispensable thing will appear to be wanting. Nor is it of any use for a man to travel the country to any great extent, to find as many natural advantages as may satisfy moderate desires. The best policy for an emigrant, after arriving in the Western Country, and fixing upon the district or county in which he intends to reside, is to settle himself on the first spot he finds that he thinks may answer his purpose, and resolve to abide there contentedly.
Let an emigrant purchase no more cattle, horses, hogs, &c., than those for which he has immediate use, unless it is for breeders, and calves, in the fall, at eight or nine months old: these are profitable stock to purchase. If an emigrant locate on the frontiers, or in the newly settled portions of the country, his first object will be to provide cabins for his family; and the less labour and expense in preparing these, the better. Let a man and family go into any of the frontier settlements, get a shelter, or even encamp out, call upon the people to aid him, and in three days from the start he will have a comfortable cabin, and become identified as a settler. No matter how poor he may be, or how much an entire stranger, if he makes no apologies, does not show a niggardly spirit by contending about trifles, and especially if he does not begin to dole out complaints about the country, and the manners and habits of the people, and tell them the difference and superiority of these things in the place whence he came, he will be received with blunt frankness and unaffected hospitality. But if a man begins by affecting superior intelligence and virtue, and catechizing the people for their habits of plainness and simplicity, and their apparent want of those things which he imagines indispensable to comfort, he may expect to be marked, shunned, and called in the way of sarcastic reproach, a Yankee.
A principal characteristic of the western population is a blunt, unaffected, hospitality. They will make every stranger welcome, provided he will accept of it in their own way. But he must make no complaints, throw out no insinuations, and manifest an equal readiness to be frank and hospitable in turn. Enter whatever house or cabin you may, if it is the time of meals, you are invited to share a portion; but you must eat what is set before you, asking no questions, and making on invidious comparisons. Nor must you offer remarks on the accommodations you have had, or the unpleasant things you may have encountered at other places where you have tarried; as such remarks are considered as reflections upon the people, and those by whom you are now hospitably entertained will infer that you will thus slander them when you have departed.
When an emigrant has fixed his location, he next selects his building spot. Much will depend upon a judicious choice, in regard to health. An elevated spot of ground, remote from lakes and marshes, and where the air circulates freely from all points of the compass, is desirable. If a river bottom is chosen, the house should be as near the stream, on the highest ground, as is possible, without risk from the washing in of the banks. Settlements directly on the margins of the Mississippi and Missouri are healthy, compared with situations a few hundred yards distance, in the interior of the bottom. Where all other circumstances are equal, the south or south-west side of the timber is the most desirable, as throughout the heat of summer the winds are usually from the south-west and west, and the timber affords protection from the cold north-winds of winter. But an exposure to the north or north-west is far less disagreeable than would be imagined. In a very few years, by means of orchards and shade trees, sufficient protection can be had.
All confined places should be avoided, such as ravines, and even coves, or points of prairie surrounded by dense timber, unless an opening can be made immediately. The currents in the atmosphere appear to act on the same principles as currents in the water. Where eddies and counter-currents are formed, there impure vapour will concentrate. This is not only true in theory, but holds good in practical observation. When sickness prevails in a family, or a little settlement, the intelligent and observing physician immediately looks about for the cause; and if he detects nothing in the immediate vicinity to generate miasmata, he will probably discover circumstances that cause an eddy or a current of impure air, around the dwelling. The remark has been made by observant physicians that severe sickness has prevailed in a family located at the head of a small ravine, while other families at a few rods' distance have entirely escaped. Physicians and philosophers have not yet determined the nature of that miasma which invariably produces yellow, bilious, intermittent, and other summer and autumnal fevers; but if it is a species of carbonic gas, as some think, it is heavier than the surrounding atmosphere, is more dense on low grounds and bottoms, and in ravines, and naturally concentrates in confined places. But whatever may be its nature as a remote cause of disease, it is enough for practical purposes to know, that any spot where the air is confined, as a cove in the timber or bluff, or where it is forced through a passage, as the head of a ravine, is always less healthy than a spot freely ventilated or on elevated grounds.
Having fixed on the spot, the next stop is to provide cabins or temporary building. These, and all other dwellings, should be so arranged as to promote ventilation in the summer. The door and other apertures should be opposite each other, the chimney at the end; and if a double cabin or one of two rooms is designed, a space of 10 or 12 feet between them should be left, and roofed over. Forks may be set in the ground, and porches or sheds may be made on the sides, eight feet in width. The cost is trifling, and they add greatly to the coolness of the dwelling in summer, and its warmth in winter, besides protecting the body of the house from rains. Hundreds of cabins are made without a nail or particle of iron about them, or a single piece of sawed plank.
The first buildings put up are cabins made of logs, which are constructed after the following manner: Straight trees are felled of a size that a common team can draw, or, as the phrase is, 'snake' them to the intended spot. The common form of a large cabin is that called a 'double cabin;' that is, two square pens, with an open space between, connected by a roof above and a floor below, so as to form a parallelogram of nearly triple the length of its depth. In the open space the family take their meals, during the pleasant weather; and it serves the threefold purpose of kitchen, lumber-room, and dining-room. The logs of which it is composed are notched on to one another in the form of a square. The roof is covered with thin splits of oak, not unlike staves. Sometimes they are made of ash, and in the lower country, of cypress; and they are called clapboards. Instead of being nailed, they are generally confined in their place by heavy timber, laid at right angles across them. This gives the roof of a cabin a unique and shaggy appearance; but if the clapboards have been carefully prepared from good timber, they form a roof sufficiently impervious to common rains. The floors are made from short and thick plank, split from the yellow poplar, cottonwood, black walnut, and sometimes oak. They are confined with wooden pins, and are technically called 'puncheons.' If an emigrant can furnish a few pounds of nails, and a dozen panes of glass, he may add to his comforts; and if a saw-mill is near, and plank or boards cheap, he may save himself the labour of splitting puncheons or slabs for floors and doors. In addition to the cabin, he will need a meat-house, a corn-crib, and stables, all built of logs in the same rough manner. If an emigrant has plenty of money, and sawed lumber can be gotten conveniently, he may put up a frame barn as soon as he pleases. If he has not the advantage of a good spring, he should dig a well immediately, which will cost four or five days' labour, and will stand some time without walling. In making all these improvements, all cash expenditures should be avoided as much as possible, unless a man has money to spend freely. The next step is to prepare a farm. If the settler locate himself in barrens, or in timbered land, he has to grub out the small growth, preparatory to ploughing; that is, dig them up by the roots with an instrument called a mattock. It is true, that land covered with bushes can be ploughed, and the stumps left in the ground, as well or better than in the north; but it will require more labour in the end to subdue the sprouts that will strive for the mystery, than to clear the land at once. It usually requires from three to six days' labour to grub an acre. The small growth in timbered lands is taken out in the same manner. If a settler has located himself in a timbered tract, which in this prairie country is wretched, policy, he grubs up the small growth, girdles the trees, and puts in the plough.
Prairie land requires a strong team, and a large plough kept very sharp, to break it up thoroughly. This must be done well, and every particle of the sward turned over; or it had better be let alone.
Farms somewhat improved are almost daily exchanging owners, and a considerable spirit of enterprize has been awakened within a year or two past. The prices of farms and improvements vary greatly, and are influenced much by factitious and local circumstances. From St. Clair county northward, they average probably from five to ten dollars per acre, and are rising in value. In some counties, farms will cost from two to five dollars per acre. A farm in Illinois, however, means a tract of land; much of it is in a state of nature, with some cheap and frequently log buildings, with 20, 40, 60, 80, or 100 acres, fenced and cultivated. Good dwellings of brick, stone, or wood, begin to be erected. Amongst the older residents there have been but few barns made.
The want of adequate supplies of lumber, and of mechanics, renders good buildings more expensive than in the country parts of New-England or New-York.
Merchants' goods, groceries, household-furniture, and almost every necessary and comfort in housekeeping, can be purchased here; and many articles retail at about he same prices as in the Atlantic States.
The following table will exhibit the cost of 320 acres of land, at Congress price, and preparing 160 acres for cultivation or prairie land:
Cost of 320 acres, at $1.25 per acre ..... $ 400
Breaking up 160 acres prairie, at $2 per acre ..... 320
Fencing into four fields, with a Kentucky fence of eight rails high, with cross stakes ..... 175
Add cost of cabins, corn-cribs, stable, &c. ..... 250
Making the cost of the farm ..... $1,145
In many instances, a single crop of wheat will pay for the land, for fencing, breaking up, cultivating, harvesting, threshing, and taking to market. All kinds of mechanical labour, especially those in the building line, are in great demand; and workmen, even very course and common workmen, get almost any price they ask. Journeyman mechanics get two dollars per day. A carpenter, bricklayer, or mason, wants no other capital to do a first-rate business, and soon become independent, than a set of tools, and habits of industry, sobriety, economy, and enterprize.
Common labourers on the farm obtain from twelve to fifteen dollars per month, including board. Any young man, with industrious habits, can begin here without a dollar, and in a very few years become a substantial farmer. A good cradler in the harvest-field will earn from one dollar and a half to two dollars per day.
The most affectionate counsel (says Mr. Flint) we would give an immigrant, after an acquaintance with all the districts of the Western Country of sixteen years, is to regard the salubrity of the spot selected, as a consideration of more importance than its fertility, or vicinity to a market; to supply himself with a good manual of domestic medicine, if such a manual is to be found; still more, to obtain simple and precise notions of the more obvious aspects of disease, - an acquisition worth a hundred times its cost; and, more than all to a backwoodsman, to have a lancet and sufficient experience and firmness of hand to open a vein; to have a small but well-labelled and well-supplied medicine chest; and to be, after all, very cautious about either taking or administering its contents, reserving them for emergencies, and for a choice of evils; to depend for health, on temperance, moderation in all things, a careful conformity in food and dress to circumstances and the climate, and particularly let him observe a rigid and undeviating abstinence from that loathsome and murderous western poison, whiskey, which may be pronounced the prevalent miasm of the country. Let every immigrant learn the mystery and provide the materials to make good beer. Let him also, during the season of acclimation, especially in the sultry months, take medicine by way of prevention, twice or thrice, with abstinence from labour a day or two afterwards. Let him have a Bible for a constant counselor, and a few good books for instruction and amusement. Let him have the dignity and good sense to train his family religiously, and not to be blown about by every wind of doctrine in religion, politics, or opinions. Let his rifle rust, and let the game, unless it comes into his field, live on. Let him cultivate a garden of choice fruit, as well as a fine orchard. Let him keep bees, for their management unites pleasure and profit. Let him prepare for silk-making on a small and gradual scale. Let him cultivate grapes by way of experiment. Let him banish unreal wants, and learn the master secret of self-possession, and be content with such things as he has, aware that every position in life has advantages and trials. Let him assure himself that if an independent farmer cannot be happy, no man can. Let him magnify his calling, respect himself, envy no one, and raise to the Author of all good constant aspirations of thankfulness as he eats the bread of peace and privacy."
The name which now belongs exclusively to this state was, during a great part of the last century, bestowed upon all that vast tract of country which lies north and west of the Ohio, and was derived from the Illini or Illinois, a tribe which appears to have possessed the country situated on the banks of the Illinois river. They were noted for their hospitality, generosity, and kind treatment of strangers. The name is said by Hennepin to signify a full-grown man. The first settlements within the present limits of Illinois, were, like those of Indians, made by the French, and were the consequence of the adventurous enterprize of M. De la Salle, in search of the Mississippi. This traveller set out from Canada, in the year 1670, in company with Father Hennepin and a few followers, and, passing up the lakes to the head of Lake Michigan, descended the Illinois river. After remaining some time, he returned to Canada; from whence he set out with a number of volunteers in 1673, for Illinois, and shortly afterwards founded the settlements of Kaskaskia and Cahobia. Here La Salle left his colony, and descended the Mississippi to its mouth. At the commencement of the eighteenth century, the settlements in Illinois are represented to have been in a flourishing situation. The descriptions given by French writers of the country at this time, were of the most captivating kind; its beautiful scenery, fertile prairies, and supposed mineral wealth, were painted in glowing colours, and a new paradise seemed to open to Frenchmen on the banks of the Illinois.
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 relative to debts and property.
During the revolutionary war, the Virginia militia, under command of General 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 country 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 North-western Territory, by whose authority the county of Illinois was divided, and the names 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 enamoured 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.
After the year 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 defence 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.
The constitution of this state does not admit involuntary servitude, or the tenure by which masters hold slaves. Some unsuccessful efforts were made by the immigrants from the slave-holding states to have it amended to admit of slavery. The question was casually agitated in the papers, and a convention for the purpose was proposed. But the moderation and good sense of the people allowed this irritating investigation to sleep undisturbed. This great state, with unoccupied this irritating investigation to sleep undisturbed. This great state, with unoccupied and fertile soil, to support millions of agriculturalists in affluence, must ultimately become populous and powerful.
But different treaties the Indians have ceded the whole of their territorial claim to lands in Illinois to the general government. The country experienced almost entire freedom from their depredations after the late war with Great Britain, until 1832. In that year the savages, under their celebrated chief, Black Hawk, committed many cruel murders, and for at time excited considerable alarm in the northern parts of the state; but being effectually reduced, the remnant have been since settled in the country west of the Mississippi river, and all apprehensions of danger from the same cause in future entirely removed.
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