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Reminiscence of Early Peoria Including Indian Stories


Transcribed by: Candi Horton, 2006This book is located at the Peoria Public Library.
-Source: Odillion B. Slane, Reminiscences of Early Peoria, Including Indian Stories, Peoria, Illinois, 1933, Privately Printed: Chapter I


Reminiscence of Early Peoria Including Indian Stories

My grandfather, Benjamin Slane, came to Fort Clark, Peoria, from Virginia, November 1831. The family consisted of the wife and three children, Benjamin F., (father of the writer), John Z. and Elizabeth Ann Slane. With him from Virginia came the Jonathan Nixon family, and two families occupied log cabins of the type common in the village at that time.

The Slane cabin stood about half way between where the Rock Island depot stands today and the edge of Peoria Lake. Many are the thrilling stories of pioneer life and adventure that I have listened to as a boy at the old home and fireside. Indian stories that were true were told by the pioneer himself. 

My father saw deer running up Main Street; he watched wolves slink about where the Court House now stands. The ruins of Fort Clark were still standing at that time. It was located near the foot of Liberty street. There were more Indians than whites in this region at that time, but the Indians were, for the most part, very friendly. The Indian boys and white boys played together and each came to learn the language of the other. 

Among the sub-chiefs whom my father knew were Kickapoo, Charcose, Ishnobly, Senachwine, and Shabbona. Charcose was a great friend of the Nixon family and used to dine there, and drink a little bit of liquor, etc.; but the hospitality was not forgotten, for whenever Charcose killed a deer, or wild turkeys, he was sure to share the meat with the Nixons.

Sometimes his squaw wife would visit Mrs. Nixon, always staying for dinner, of course. 

Jonathan Nixon was a carpenter, and the task of making coffins for any members of the small community who died, soon devolved upon him. I remember a couple of tales my father told me in this connection.



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