Peoria County, Illinois
Reminiscence of Early Peoria Including
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
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
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,
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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