The village of Griggsville is situated on the west side of the Illinois river, seventy five miles from Alton, in Pike county; there is a ferry established, which may be crossed at all times, and the road from the landing is excellent. The distance from the river is four miles, and the atmosphere is not affected by the miasma that arises from the low land on the banks of the river. It is surrounded by a rich fertile country, well settled; there is excellent limber, and a large number of saw mills within a few miles of the town. The population of the village is not far from 400, pure in. their morals, industrious in their habits, friends of free discussion, and warmly opposed to the spirit of anarchy and mob law which has been so prevalent in our country for some time past.
There are two churches erected, the Congregational and Baptist, and the Methodists are about erecting theirs. The mail stage from Jacksonville to Quincy, runs through this place three times a week. The location of the village is delightful, it is laid out on a large mound, on the edge of one of those beautiful prairies that so much adorn the west. Farms with improvements maybe had for 15 or 20 dollars, and good farming land from 3 to 10 dollars the acre; and one of the best places to dispose of produce, there is in the country. Lots in the town are worth from 50 to 1000 dollars, according to the location. Great attention is paid to learning here: there is an academy for young ladies, under the direction of a board of trustees; they have secured the assistance of able teachers, and it is in successful operation; the location for the young men's academy is fixed upon, and it will be erected in another year. This is a fine place for a summer residence, to gentlemen doing business in Alton or St. Louis; steam boats pass every day, one can step on board of a boat at either of those places, and arrive at this place in a few hours.
The prospect from the village is lovely; travelers speak of the beautiful places in the south of France; but said one, (who for many years has been a traveler in the old world,) "I cannot recollect a scene so lovely as this;" 'the scenery is of so exquisite, a character, so glowing, so rich, so full of contrasts, that the imagination is kindled, and we are led to exclaim, "These are thy works, Almighty Father, these" --- From my window, I view the prairie stretching far and wide, its green sward adorned with beautiful flowers, and mingling its green verdure, with the clear blue of the heavens. The farm houses, interspersed about the edge of the prairie; the timid deer flying rapidly by; all give it an appearance1 of quiet and loveliness, which' is not to be met with in any place other than the fair west.
Here, then, do we invite the industrious emigrant; him who has so long toiled on the barren soil of the East, do we way, Come, enjoy the beautiful productions of a rich, luxurious soil -- here can the Father of a family see his children rising up in comfort and affluence around him --- here. Can be enjoyed all the privileges which are so dear to sons of New England. The village church, Sacred, so dear to all; the Sabbath school which is casting its benign influence on the world; the seminaries of learning which have so much distinguished New England, these are all here; in those who prize these things, we say again welcome, come and participate with us in the good Things allotted us by our wise and heavenly Father.
How like a flood is emigration, rushing on; on the very place where I now stand, the red man, pursued his game, but a few years since, and the council fires of many tribes were lighted here. What shall we anticipate for the future? How stupendous the thought, that here is to exist (in the words of the distinguished Beecher) "if no calamity intervenes one hundred millions -- a day, which some of our children may live to see; and when fully peopled three hundred millions. Was there ever such a spectacle -- tde -- such a field in which to plant the seed of an immortal harvest!" What a responsibility rests upon us. Shall we not declare the truth! Shall we shrink back from the face of men? Shall sin be permitted to rear its huge head, and extend its Briarean arms until it has crushed all images of virtue and loveliness into the dust? No! your paper has answered, no! Then let the friends of freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, and freedom of discussion sustain you -- they have already responded to the call; they tell you, your cause is the cause of God, the cause of justice and of humanity, and in this cause they can will sustain you. Yours truly, S.P.
Personal recollections of John M. Palmer - the story of an earnest life
Cincinnati The Robert Clarke Company 1901, Pgs 22-24
Contributed by Delaine Donaldson
Business was reasonably good, and everything indicated life and thrift in all the counties we visited. My first three months were spent in Fulton county, from that to Pike, where I made some valuable friends ; thence to Greene, and after that to Hancock, I was at Griggsville, Pike county, in October, 1837. One day when I was absent from the town, I came into my boarding house after dark. Soon after a number of persons came into the public room, and I learned that during the evening a stranger had lectured upon the subject of slavery and had asked his audience to sign a petition to congress to prohibit the slave trade between the states and to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia.
I would probably have signed the petition if I had been present at the meeting, but as it was I listened to a very sharp discussion between James A. McDougall, afterwards attorney-general of the State of Illinois and senator from California, and a lawyer named John P. Jordan, both of whom lived in Griggsville ; one of them had come into the state from New York and the other from Virginia.
Mr. McDougall insisted upon the right of every citizen to petition congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and to prohibit the interstate slave trade, while Jordan argued that as congress had no right to do either, no citizen had a right to petition that either should be done. I went to bed leaving them in the midst of the dispute; I slept late, but when I came from my room I saw that the street in front of the hotel was crowded with people, and across the street a number of persons were kicking at and striking a man by the name of Trumbull, and was then told that several men had followed the stranger who had lectured the night before, pulled him off his horse and had taken his petition from him, and were then pursuing every man who had signed it to compel him to take his name off the paper.
I left the town soon after in pursuit of my business, returned in the afternoon about four o'clock, found the streets full of people, and learned that they had driven Mr. Ozias M. Hatch, afterwards secretary of the State of Illinois, into the belfry of the Baptist Church, in which he took refuge to avoid the mob, and that they were still in pursuit of others who had signed the petition. I was on the street but a short time when a man named Pollock came running pursued by a mob ; I hated mobs then as I do now, but at the time I only insisted that Pollock should have what was then called a "fair fight." I had in my pocket a steel-barrel rifled pistol, I offered it to him, but to the honor of the crowd my idea of a "fair fight," "man to man," was accepted, and the affair ended for the moment, to be revived upon the appearance of some other obnoxious person.
The town was under the control of the mob several days. Lovejoy was killed on November 7th following, which greatly added to the excitement. The local authorities were, as usual, overawed by the mob spirit, and did nothing to preserve the public peace.