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
SKETCHES OF EACH COUNTY IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Adams County is bounded north by Hancock, south by Pike, east by Schuyler and Pike counties, and west by the Mississippi river, which forms its boundary for about 36 miles; it was organized from Pike county in 1825, and contains about 800 square miles, or upwards of half a million acres, and is in length 30 miles, with an average breadth of about 25.
This county is well proportioned into prairie and timber land, and is inferior to none in the state in the quality and fertility of its soil. The population in 1835 was 7,042, and consists mostly of industrious and enterprizing farmers. Its streams are Bear creek and branches, M'Kee creek, Mill, Fall, and Pigeon creeks.
Its county town is Quincy, situated on a bluff of the Mississippi: it is the seat of the land office for the sale of public lands north and east of the Illinois river, and is a place of considerable business. The other places in Adams county are Columbus, Clayton, Guilford, Fairfield, and Payson, which are all small villages. The latter, about 15 miles south-east from Quincy, is a thriving place, surrounded by a well settled country; it contains several stores, which transact a considerable amount of business.
Alexander is the most southern county in the state, and comprises the peninsula situated between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. It is bounded north by Union, and east by Johnson county, on the west and south by the Mississippi, and south-east by the Ohio river; it is 24 miles long, with an average width of 18 miles; the area is about 378 square miles. This country is generally well timbered, and its soil fertile. It is watered by Cash river, a small stream emptying into the Ohio river seven miles above its junction with the Mississippi.
This county, although so favourably situated at the junction of two large and important rivers, derives from this circumstance little or no advantage. Here, where we should naturally expect to find a large and flourishing town, the entrepﾠof produce and merchandise passing to and from the north, east, south, and west, we have little else than the remains of a deserted warehouse. It unfortunately happens that at, and for a considerable distance above the junction of these streams, their banks are low, and subject to annual inundations; and such is the height to which the water rises on them, that they could not, without much expense, be made safe, and, far less, comfortable places of residence. The importance of a good town site immediately at the junction of these two streams, has for many years excited the attention of the enterprizing; and accordingly various plans have been suggested to accomplish this object by artificial means, but as yet without success. The population of this country in 1835, was 2,050.
Its seat of justice is Unity, a small place lately laid out on Cash river. Trinity, Caledonia, and Napoleon, are villages on the Ohio river.
Bond County is watered by the Kaskaskia river and its tributaries. Its surface is generally level or gently undulating, and duly proportioned into timber and prairie. This county was taken from Madison in 1817, and was formerly more extensive than at present; its area is 360 square miles; length 20, and breadth 18 miles: it is watered by Shoal creek and its branches, and is bounded on the north by Montgomery, east by Fayette, south by Clinton, and west by Madison county. The population in 1835, was 3,580.
Its seat of justice is Greenville, a pleasant village on the east fork of Shoal creek: it contains about 200 inhabitants. It has four stores, three taverns, three physicians, one lawyer, and mechanics of various trades.
Boone is one of the most northern counties in the state. It is bounded on the north by Rock and Walworth counties of Wisconsin territory, south by Kane, east by M'Henry, and west by Winnebago county. It contains an area of 504 square miles, and is in length 24, and in breadth 21 miles, and was formed in 1837 from portions of Winnebago and M'Henry counties, and contains a population estimated at 600.
Most of the land in this and the adjoining counties, is yet unsurveyed, and of course has not been offered for sale by the general government. It is, notwithstanding, rapidly settling up with an enterprizing population. The soil is fertile, and well adapted to raising all the different kinds of agricultural produce common to this part of the state: the surface is mostly a rich undulating prairie, with a considerable quantity of timber scattered over the county, principally in groves and oak openings, of which the chief of the former is Norwegian Grove. Boone county is, for judicial purposes, attached to Jo Daviess. Its county seat is not yet laid off.
The only town in the county in Belevidere, a small settlement on the stage road from Chicago to Galena. It is in the western part of the county, on Squaw prairie, and has a delightful appearance. Near the town site is a mound, fifty rods long and about thirty rods wide, elevated seventy feet above the bottom lands of Rock river. On the top of this mound is the cemetery of an Indian called Big Thunder. He died about the period of the Sauk war in 1831 or 1832, and was placed in a sitting posture on a flag mat, wrapped in blankets, his scalping-knife by his side to cut the plugs of tobacco that are offered him. Over the body is constructed a covering of wood and earth, with an opening in front, where Big Thunder may be seen sitting, with his tobacco lying before him. The Indians still visit the place to replenish his stores of tobacco, whiskey, &c.
The citizens of this region are about to erect a college edifice on this spot, in a vault under which the bones of Big Thunder will repose unmolested. A charter was granted for the purpose at the recent session of the legislature.
Calhoun County occupies the most southern part of the Military Bounty tract, and is a long narrow piece of land lying between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, about 37 miles in length, and from 4 to 12 miles in breadth, containing an area of about 264 square miles. On the rivers considerable tracts are subject to inundation, and in the interior are bluffs, ravines, and sink holes; still there are considerable portions of good land, and the bottoms furnish excellent range for stock. Cattle, beef, pork, corn, honey and beeswax are its exports. Coal in large bodies is found on the Mississippi in the southern part of the county.
Guilford, on the west side of the Illinois river, and about 15 miles from its mouth, is the seat of justice; it has been but lately settled, and is said to be well situated for business purposes. A company has been chartered to cut a canal from the Illinois river at Guilford, to the Mississippi, near Gilead; the distance does not exceed three miles, and by tunneling a short distance under the bluff, it is said the work can be accomplished, and a steamboat canal constructed at comparatively small expense. This communication would save fifty miles navigation from the Illinois river to the upper Mississippi; and as the latter is elevated considerably above the former, would create an immense water-power, which is the object of the company. The other towns are Gilead, the late seat of justice, three-fourths of a mile from, and Milan and Hamburg on the Mississippi, and Belleview on Bay river.
Cass County is, next to Wabash, the smallest in the state. It was laid off from the north part of Morgan county in 1837, and contains a little more than seven full townships, or about 260 square miles. It is 29 miles in extent from east to west, and averaging about 11 broad. It is bounded on the north by Sangamon county, from which it is separated from the river of the same name, south by Morgan, east by Sangamon, and west by Schuyler, the Illinois river forming the boundary. The land is about equally divided into timber and prairie, the surface undulating, and the soil generally very rich. It is well settled, the population being estimated at about 6,500.
The towns are Beardstown, Virginia, Monroe, and Richmond. The first is the seat of justice, and one of the most thriving places on the Illinois river; its commerce is extensive, and it is the depot for the produce of a large region of the country. Virginia is a town lately laid off, nearly in the center of the county, on the main road from Beardstown from Springfield, 12 miles from the former and 33 from the latter; the site is high and dry, partly prairie and partly timber, and very healthy. It contains already three stores, a tavern, a school for females, and another for boys a short distance from the town; a church, and several public improvements are in progress.
Champaign County is bounded on the north by the attached part of Vermillion, on the south by Coles, east by Vermillion, and on the west by Macon and M'Lean counties, and is 36 miles in length, by 30 in breadth; area 1,080 square miles. It is watered by the head streams of the Sangamon, Kaskaskia, and Big Vermillion. The county contains extensive prairies, indented with beautiful groves of fine timber, with a rich and fertile soil; it is well adapted to the growth of stock, and will prove undoubtedly a healthy region. This county was organized from Vermillion in 1833; inhabitants in 1835, 1,045.
The county town is Urbanna, a small village, situated on the Salt Fork of Vermillion river.
Clark County is bounded north by Edgar, south by Crawford, west by Coles county, and east by Wabash river and the state of Indiana. It is from 28 to 20 miles in extent from east to west, and 21 from north to south; area about 500 square miles. Its streams are, the north fork of the Embarras river, Miller Creek, and Big Creek. The surface is tolerably well proportioned into timber and prairie, with some first-rate soil, although the main part of it is but second-rate. This county was formed from Crawford, in 1819, and contained in 1835, 3,413 inhabitants.
Its seat of justice is Marshall, on the National Road. The other towns are Darwin, Livingston, Martinsville, and Melrose. Livingston is on the National Road, 112 miles north-east from Vandalia, and 14 south-west from Terre Haute. It has three stores, three groceries, three taverns, one physician, two ministers of the gospel, various mechanics, and about 150 inhabitants.
Clay County is bounded on the north by Jasper and Effingham, south by Wayne and Edwards, east by Lawrence, and west by Marion and Fayette counties. It is in length about 30 miles, and in breadth 21 miles, containing an area of about 620 square miles. Its streams are the Little Wabash and its tributaries. About two-thirds of the surface is prairie of an inferior quality. This county was formed from Wayne, Lawrence, Crawford, and Fayette, in 1824, and contained in 135, 1,648 inhabitants.
The towns are Maysville and Louisville. The former is the country town, and is situated in Twelve-mile Prairie, not far from the right bank of the Little Wabash river.
Clinton County is bounded north by Bond, south by Washington, east by Marion, and west by St. Clair and Madison counties. It is 30 miles long, and 18 wide, with an area of 504 square miles. The streams which water this county are the Kaskaskia river, and its tributaries, Crooked, Shoal, and Sugar creeks. It is about equally proportioned into prairie and timber land, with an undulating surface; the soil is mostly second-rate. Clinton was formed in 1824, from Washington and Bond counties, and contained in 1835, 2,648 inhabitants.
Its county town is Carlyle, a village of about 200 inhabitants, situated on the west bank of the Kaskaskia river, 100 miles from its mouth, and contains five stores, three taverns, and a grist and saw mill.
Coles County is situated in the eastern part of the state, and is bounded by Champaign, south by Jasper and Effingham, east by Edgar and Clark, and west by Shelby and Macon counties. It is 48 miles long, and from 28 to 24 ½ wide, containing 1,233 square miles. It is watered by the Kaskaskia and Embarras rivers and their branches; these generally run over a bed of sand, and afford many rivers and their branches; these generally run over a bed of sand, and afford many good mill-sites. Most part of the land is excellent, in some parts prairie predominates, but in general the surface is well proportioned into prairie and wood land. This county was formed in 1830, from Clark and Edgar, contained in 1835, 5,125 inhabitants. Most of the settlements are of recent formation; but its agricultural productions must soon exceed those of any county near the Wabash, and will find their way to that river for market.
The county town in Charleston, a village situated on the border of Grand Prairie, two and a half miles from, and on the west side of the Embarras river, containing about 200 inhabitants.
Cook County is bounded north by M'Henry, south by Will, east by lake Michigan and part of the state of Indiana, and west by Kane county; it extends from north to south 42 miles, and from east to west 33 miles, and contains an area of about 1,220 square miles. It is watered by the Des Planes, Calumet and Chicago rivers, and embraces a tract of country tolerably level, of a rich soil, with large prairies, and the timber mostly in groves. This county was organized in 1831, and has been settled with great rapidity, numbering in 1835, 9,826 inhabitants.
Its seat of justice is Chicago: The others towns have all been recently settled and are quite small; they are Canal Port, Napiersville, Des Planes, Keepotaw, and Thornton.
Crawford County is 21 miles long, and from 22 to 16 broad, and contains about 400 square miles. It is bounded north by Clark, south by Lawrence county, east by the Wabash river and the state of Indiana, and west by Jasper county. It contains a large proportion of prairie land, of which La Motte Prairie is a level and rich tract, well adapted to the growth of corn. The streams which water this county are tributaries of the Wabash and Embarras rivers; of the former are Raccoon, Hutson, Sugar, and La Motte creeks. Crawford county was laid off in 1816, and was formerly much more extensive than at present. It contained in 1835, 3,540 inhabitants.
The seat of justice is Palestine, situated about three miles west of the Wabash river. Here are the offices of the receiver and register for the land district of Palestine: the inhabitants are about 220 in number. The other towns in the county are Le Roy, Hutsonville, and York. York is situated on the west bank of the Wabash river, about 50 miles by the stream above Vincennes, and in the north-east corner of the county. It contains four stores, one steam saw and flouring mill, and a population of about 300 inhabitants. Its exports amount to $40,000.
Edgar County is bounded north by Vermillion, south by Clark, east by the state of Indiana, and west by Coles county. It extends from north to south 27 miles, and from east to west 25 miles; area, about 660 square miles. It contains much prairie land in the western and southern sections; the remainder is tolerably well timbered. The soil is in general fertile, and well adapted to the various productions of this state. Edgar was formed from Clark county in 1823, and continued in 1835, a population of 6,668.
The chief town is Paris, the county seat, a pleasant village on the borders of a rich prairie, surrounded with good farms, with a population of 200 inhabitants. The other towns are Grand View, and Bloomfield; the former is a small village 12 miles south-east from Paris; it is on, and surrounded by, a beautiful rolling rich prairie.
Edwards County is watered by the Little Wabash, Bon Pas, and their branches. It contains a considerable proportion of prairie land, most of which is very fertile. The prairies are principally small, high, undulating, and bounded by heavy timber; thus presenting every inducement to the agriculturist. It is on one of these that the English settlement formed by Messrs. Birkbeck and Flowers is located. This county is 22 miles long from north to south, and 16 from east to west, with an area of about 355 square miles. It was formed in 1814 from Gallatin, and is bounded north by Lawrence, south by White, east by Wabash, and west by Wayne county: inhabitants in 1835, 2,006.
The county-town, Albion, is situated on a high and healthy situation, being little subject to those diseases which are so prevalent in many parts of this state during the summer and autumn. The surrounding country is very fertile, and is handsomely diversified with woodland and prairie; it contains about 200 inhabitants.
Effingham County is bounded north by Shelby and Coles, south by Clay and Fayette, east of Jasper, and west by Fayette county. Area, 486 square miles; length 24 miles, and breadth 21. It is watered by the Little Wabash and its tributaries, and contains good second-rate land nearly level. The bottom lands on the Little Wabash are tolerably rich, and heavily timbered. This country was taken from Fayette in the year 1831: its inhabitants in 1835 numbered 1,055. Ewington, and the country town, is on the National Road, 29 miles north-east from Vandalia, and is situated on the west bank of the Little Wabash river, on an elevated site, surrounded with timber.
Fayette County was created in 1821, and at the time of its first formation was nearly 200 miles in length, but has since been divided into several counties. It is bounded north by Shelby, south by Marion and Clinton, east by Effingham, and west by Bond and Montgomery counties. It is from 33 to 27 miles long, and 24 broad; and contains 684 square miles. It is watered by the Kaskaskia river and its tributaries, the principal of which in this county are Hurricane Fork, Ramsey's, and Beck's, on the west, and Hickory and Big creeks on the east. The banks of the Kaskaskia are generally low, and subject to inundation: a rise in this stream is frequently occasioned by slight rains, in consequence of the numerous tributaries. This, however, is only of short duration. There is in this county a heavy growth of timber along the Kaskaskia river and Hurricane Fork; there is also a good portion of prairie land. The soil is mostly second-rate. In 1835, the population amounted to 3,638.
The Seminary Township is a settlement in the south-west corner of the county, being township five north and one west of the third principal meridian. It is a township of land, 36 miles square, granted by congress to Illinois for purposes of education. It has since been relinquished to the general government, and in place thereof, an equal quantity is to be selected from unsold lands within the state. The Kaskaskia river crosses its south-eastern part, and the Hurricane Fork runs through it near its western boundary.
It is proportioned into timber and prairie, contains much good land, and about 35 families.
The seat of justice is Vandalia, the present capital of the state.
Franklin County is situated in the southern part of the state, and is bounded north by Jefferson, south by Johnson and Union, east by Hamilton and Gallatin, and west by Jackson and Randolph counties. It is 36 miles in length, and 24 in breadth: its area is 864 square miles. This county is watered by Big Muddy river and the branches of Saline creek. It is well timbered; the prairies are generally small and fertile; sand predominates in the soil. The banks of the streams are low, and subject to annual inundations. Franklin is similar in character and productions to the neighbouring counties; and is capable of being made a rich agricultural district. This county was organized in 1818, and in 1835 contained 5,551 inhabitants. Frankfort, the county town, is a small village, situated on a tributary of the middle fork of Big Muddy creek, an elevated ground, on the main stage-road from Shawneetown to St. Louis
Fulton County is situated in the Military Bounty Tract, on the west bank of the Illinois river. It is bounded north by Knox and Peoria, south by Schuyler, east by Peoria, Tazewell, and Sangamon, and west by Warren, M'Donough, and Schuyler, counties. It is in the greatest length 36 miles, and greatest breadth, 30; containing an area of 864 square miles. The streams which water it are the Illinois and Spoon rivers, and Otter and Copperas creeks. About half of the county is heavily timbered; the residue is rich undulating prairie. This county was laid off the Pike in 1825, and contained in 1835 a population of 5,917. Lewistown, the seat of justice, is situated about six miles west of the Illinois river, and four miles north-east of Spoon river: it is surrounded with a heavy body of timber, and contains a population of about 200. The other towns are Tuscumbia, Middletown, Utica, Liverpool, Ellisville, Bernadotte, Farmington, and Canton: the latter is a thriving town, and the largest in the county. Liverpool is a small town recently laid out on the right bank of the Illinois, six miles above the mouth of Spoon river, and about twelve from Canton, of which it is the landing-place, and will be the commencing point for the Liverpool, Canton, and Knoxville rail-road.
Farmington is situated in the north-east corner of the county, 25 miles due west from Peoria: it was laid off in August 1835, and now contains between twenty and thirty houses, besides four stores, one physician, and a number of mechanics.
Gallatin County is situated in the south-western part of the state: its greatest length is about 37 miles, with a medium breadth of 25; and its area is 750 square miles. It is bounded north by White and Hamilton counties, south by Pope county, east by the states of Kentucky and Indiana, and west by Franklin county. Situated as it is at the junction of the Wabash and Ohio rivers, its eastern boundary is washed by those streams. The interior is watered by Saline creek and its tributaries.
This county contains a large proportion of timbered land, which is particularly valuable on account of its contiguity to the salt springs: these are situated on Saline creek, about 20 miles above its junction with the Ohio river. The principal spring was formerly possessed by the Indians, who valued it highly, and called it the Great Salt Spring; and it appears probably, from a variety of circumstances, that they had been long acquainted with the method of making salt. Large fragments of earthen-ware are continually found near the works, both on and under the surface of the earth. They have on them the impression of basket or wicker work. These salines now furnish large quantities of salt for home consumption, as well as for exportation.
In a treaty between the United States, and the Delaware, Shawnee, Pottawatomie, Eel River, Weea, Kickapoo, and Piankasaw tribes, at Fort Wayne, on the 7th of June, 1803, this sale was ceded to the United States, with a quantity of land, not exceeding four miles, surrounding it, in consideration of which, the United States engaged to deliver annually to the said Indians, a quantity of salt not exceeding 150 bushels, to be divided among the several tribes in such a manner as the general council of chiefs may determine. For a number of year, it was possessed by the United States, with a reservation of 161 sections of land in the vicinity, the whole of which were ceded in 1818 to the state of Illinois, by whom it was leased to different individuals for about 10,000 dollars per annum. The works are situated on section 20, township 9, south range 8, east of the third principal meridian. Saline creek is navigable to the works, and the surplus salt is thus shipped to southern markets.
This part of Illinois is well adapted to the growth of stock: large amounts of horses, beef, pork, cattle, lumber, and tobacco, are sent out of the country. Gallatin county was organized in 1812: its population in 1835 amounted to 8,660.
The seat of justice for this county is Equality, a town with a population of four or five hundred, on the east side of Saline creek. It is situated in the midst of the salt manufactories, fourteen miles north-east from Shawneetown. The latter is the principal commercial town in the southern part of the state. It is situated on the west bank of the Ohio river, about ten miles below the mouth of the Wabash.
Greene County, on the Illinois river, is 41 miles in length, and 24 in breadth; area, about 900 square miles. It is bounded north by Morgan, south by Madison and Calhoun counties and the state of Missouri, east by Macoupin, and west by Calhoun and Pike counties, from which it is separated by the Illinois river. This is one of the richest districts in the state. Fine water-courses, a fertile soil, and contiguity to navigable streams, are some of the many advantages which it possesses. It contains a larger portion of timbered land, and is diversified with gently undulating prairies, some of which are beautiful beyond description. The banks of the Mississippi, in the southerly parts of the county, are generally composed of perpendicular cliffs, varying in height from 80 to 100 feet, consisting of horizontal strata of lime and sandstone, frequently imbedded in coals. The latter does not show itself at the face of the cliffs, but is found in great abundance a short distances from it. These cliffs commence at Alton, and extend along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to the northern part of the county; sometimes, however, receding several miles east, leaving a low and fertile alluvion, which is usually timbered on the banks of the river, and prairie surface towards the bluffs. Greene county was erected from Madison in 1821. The inhabitants in 1835 numbered 12,274.
The Prairies in this county are generally very rich, fertile, and well settled: the principal of them are Sting, Macoupin, and Lorton's Prairies.
String Prairie lies between Macoupin and Apple creeks, commencing four miles west of Carrollton, and extending fifteen miles east, and from half a mile to three miles in width. It is a rich, level tract, and most of it in a state of cultivation.
Macoupin Prairie, in the southern part of the county, between the Piasau and Macoupin, is moderately undulating, rich, and rapidly settling. The road from Alton to Carrollton passes through this prairie.
Towards the Illinois river to the west, and the Macoupin creek on the east, are extensive bodies of fine timber. Emigrants from Vermont, and other northern and eastern states, are covering over this part of the county with fine farms. The settlement in the south part of this prairie is sometimes called South Greene.
Lorton's Prairie is on the north side of Apple creek, in the upper part of the county. It is a tract of excellent land, has good timber, and contains about eighty families.
Piper's Point settlement is 16 miles north-east from Carrollton, adjoining String Prairie, and the timber of Apple creek. The land is tolerably level, rich, and proportionally divided into timber and prairie. The are sixty or seventy families in this settlement.
Bluffdale is a flourishing settlement, ten miles west of Carrollton, and under the bluffs that overhang the Illinois bottom. The land is rich, dry, and beautifully situated for six miles in extent, under overhanging bluffs and precipices from which springs of "crystal waters" gush forth. The settlement is generally arranged along the bluffs from Apple creek to the Macoupin, from three to four miles from the Illinois river, and consists of fifty or sixty families. The settlement of Bluffdale has two stores, one grocery, one tavern, one minister of the gospel, and a Baptist congregation, one post-office, one school, and various mechanics.
Carrollton, the seat of justice, is situated nearly midway in the county. It is 35 miles from Alton, 106 north-west from Vandalia, and 887 from Washington City. It is surrounded by rich and fertile districts of country, densely populated. The other towns in the county are Whitehall, Albany, Newport, Bluffdale, Fayette, Greenfield, Jerseyville, Camden, and Grafton.
Hamilton County is bounded north by Wayne, south by Gallatin, east by White, and west by Franklin and Jefferson counties. It is in length 24, and in breadth 18 miles; area, 432 square miles. This county is watered by branches of Saline creek and Little Wabash river, and contains about an equal proportion of prairie and timbered land: the soil is mostly and third rate. Hamilton county was formed from White county in 1821, and contained in 1835 a population of 2,877.
M'Leansboro', the seat of justice, is a small village of 120 inhabitants, situated on high ground, on the head waters of the north fork of Saline Creek.
Hancock County is bounded on the north by Warren county and the Mississippi river, south by Adams county, east by M'Donough county, and west by the Mississippi. It contains near 800 square miles. It was formed from Pike county in 1825, but was not organized as a county for several years afterwards. In 1834, Hancock only gave 357 votes, and had a population of 1,785 inhabitants; now, its population cannot be much short of 5,000, and is steadily and rapidly increasing with enterprising farmers and industrious mechanics. Carthage, the county seat, was laid off about four years ago, on the borders of a large and beautiful prairie, known as Hancock Prairie, and about half a mile from the timber, skirting one of the head branches of Crooked creek. The population of Carthage must be now (July, 1837), 350 or 400, with 40 or 50 homes. There are four stores, two public houses, one saddler, several carpenters, one or two shoemakers, two practicing physicians, three lawyers, one wheelwright, two blacksmiths, two or three cabinet-makers, and three groceries. There are in Carthage a small society of Congregationalists, and one of Methodists, and one of Baptists in the vicinity; and, what is perhaps worthy of remark, they all hold meetings in the same house. There is a temperance society here, numbering forty or fifty members, and female benevolent society, numbering ten or fifteen. There is also a good school generally kept here.
There are several other towns of some importance in Hancock county, among which are the following: Warsaw, five miles below the foot of the rapids, on the Mississippi, is thriving rapidly, and is destined to attain a high rank among the towns of the west. The advantages of its situation are obvious, being opposite the mouth of the Des Moines river, and the point of termination for the contemplated rail-road connecting the Illinois with the Mississippi. It has a steam-mill, several stores, and about 300 inhabitants. St. Mary's Augusta, and La Harpe, are all flourishing towns, and are situated in the midst of excellent neighbourhoods. The other towns are, Montebello, Commerce, and Apanooce, all on the Mississippi river.
Henry County has been laid off, and the boundaries specified; but, for judicial purposes, it is attached to Knox county. It is bounded on the north by Rock river and Whiteside county, south by Knox, east by Putnam, and west by Mercer and Rock Island counties. It is thirty miles in extent from east to west, and the same in breadth, except at the north-west corner, where it touches Rock river: area, about 850 square miles. It is watered by Rock and Green rivers, and the head branches of Edward's, Pope's and Spoon rivers. This county contains some rich undulating prairies and groves, with a good deal of wet and swampy land; but generally it is not equal in fertility of soil to those around it. The population is small, amounting in 1835, only to 118 persons.
Andover, Lagrange, and Morristown, are small villages, recently settled.
Iroquois County is 42 miles long, and 34 broad, containing an area of 1,428 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Will county, south by Vermillion, east by the state of Indiana, and west by the attached part of Vermillion county. It is watered by the Iroquois river, and by Sugar and Spring creeks, and other tributaries of that stream. The surface of this county is mostly prairie, some of it very rich, where here and there sand ridges and plains. The timber is rather scanty, and is found chiefly in groves, and in strips along the water-courses. There are considerable settlements on the Iroquois river, and also along Sugar creek. The county was laid off in 1833, and contained in 1835, 1,164.
Its seat of justice is Montgomery, situated on the south bank of Iroquois river. The other villages are Concord on the opposite side of the river, and Plato on the left bank of the same stream, and about fifteen miles nearly west from the former. Iroquois City has been lately laid off, near the center of the county, and will probably become the seat of justice.
Jackson County is in the southern part of the state, and is bounded on the west by the Mississippi river and part of Randolph county, north by Perry and Randolph, east by Franklin, and south by Union county. Its length from north to south is 24 miles, and from east to west from 18 to 28 miles. The area is about 565 square miles. It is watered by the Big Muddy river and its tributaries. The surface of the county is mostly timbered, although it contains many prairies. Muddy river, which meanders through the interior of the county, is navigable for a considerable distance, and affords to the inhabitants every facility for exporting their surplus produce. On this stream there is a saline or salt spring, where considerable quantities of salt are manufactured. A large body of excellent coal exists about twenty-five miles up this stream. The bed is said to be inexhaustible, and it is worked to some extent. This county was formed in 1816, and contained in 1835 a population of 2,783 inhabitants.
The Fountain Bluff, frequently called the "Big Hill," in the south-west corner of the county, is a singularly formed eminence, or rocky bluff, on the river Mississippi, eight miles above the mouth of the Big Muddy river. It is of an oval shape, eight miles in circumference, and with an elevation of 300 feet. The western side is on the river, and the top is broken, full of sink holes, with shrubs and scattering timber. The north side is nearly perpendicular rock, but the south side is sloping, and ends in a fine rich tract of soil, covered with farms. East is an extensive and low bottom with lakes and swamps. Fine springs of limpid water gush out from the foot of this bluff on all sides.
North, and along the bank of the Mississippi, is dry and rich alluvion, with a line of farms known by the name of the "Settlement under the Bluff."
Brownsville, the seat of justice, is a small village, nearly in the center of the county, and on the north bank of the Big Muddy river. It is about twelve miles by land, and twenty-five by water, to the Mississippi river. The population is about 120 persons.
Jasper County is bounded north by Coles, south by Lawrence and Clay, east by Crawford, and west by Effingham and clay counties. It is in extent from north to south 22 miles, from east to west 23, and contains an area of 506 square miles. This county was formed in 1831, and in 1835 contained 415 inhabitants. It is watered by the Embarras river and its tributaries, and also the streams flowing into the Little Wabash. It contains some fertile tracts, but much of both the prairie and timber land is level, wet, and of an inferior quality.
Newton, the seat of justice, is a small place, on the right bank of the Embarras river.
Jefferson County is situated centrally between the Mississippi and Wabash rivers. It was organized in 1819, and forms a square of 24 miles, with an area of 576 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Marion, south by Franklin, east by Wayne and Hamilton, and west by Perry and Washington counties. It is watered chiefly by the branches of the Big Muddy river, and also by streams flowing into the Skillet fork of Little Wabash river. The surface of the country is about one-third prairie; the remainder, timber. The soil is tolerable second-rate land. It was organized in 1819, from Edwards and White counties. The inhabitants in 1835 amounted to 3,350.
There are several compact settlements in different parts of the county: the principal are, Moore's, Gun, Long, and Jordan's Prairie Settlements.
Moore's Prairie Settlement is from six to twelve miles south-east of Mount Vernon. It consists of about 75 families. The prairie is eight miles long, and from two to three miles wide. Some portions of it are flat and wet, and other parts dry and undulating.
Gun Prairie is six miles south of Mount Vernon. It is two miles long, and one wide. The land is good, and the settlement contains twenty families.
Long Prairie is five miles west of Mount Vernon. It lies between the Middle and West forks of Big Muddy river, is tolerably fertile, and is four miles long and one mile and a half wide. The settlement contains forty families.
Mount Vernon, the seat of justice, is near the center of the county, on a branch of the Big Muddy river. It is pleasantly situated, on the north side of Carey's Prairie, and surrounded with a considerable settlement. The population is about 150. It has six stores, three groceries, one tavern, two physicians, two ministers, a court-house and jail, a Methodist Episcopal and a Baptist society, besides various mechanical establishments.
Jo Daviess County occupies the north-west corner of the state, and includes the best settled part of the lead-mine region within the limits of Illinois. It is bounded on the north by Wisconsin Territory, south by Whiteside county, east by the counties of Stephenson and Ogle, and west by Wisconsin Territory, from which it is separated by the Missouri river. It comprised until lately all the country lying north-west of Rock river, but has been divided into several counties. It now extends from east to west from 34 to 15 miles, and from north to south 36, containing an area of about 950 square miles. Besides the Mississippi, it is watered by the Pekatonica, Fever, and Apple rivers, an Rush and Plum creeks, on which there are many good mill-sites. This is a rich county, both for agricultural and mining purposes. The surface is mostly undulating prairie, and occasionally hilly. Timber is scarce. Lead and copper are found in abundance, of which the first forms the chief staple and article of export. Jo Daviess county was laid off in 1827, and contained in 1835, 4,038 inhabitants.
About twelve miles east of Galena, the surrounding country rises to the height of seven or eight hundred feet above the general level of the mining district. From the center of this elevation, Mount St. Charles shoots up like a pyramid, 150 feet high. The base of the whole mount includes two or three square miles; the base of the pyramid is one-fourth of a mile in length, and 250 yards in breadth. Its top is long and quite narrow. The whole mound, as is the case with many smaller ones, is a natural formation.
Galena, the seat of justice of the county, is on the right bank of Fever river, a few miles from the Mississippi, and is the most important town in the lead-mine district.
The other towns are, Gratiot's Grove, about 15 miles north-east from Galena; Wapeto, at the falls of Apple river; and Savannah, on the east bank of the Mississippi river, at the mouth of Plum creek.
Johnson County is situated in the southern part of the state, and is bounded north by Franklin, south by the Ohio river, east by Pope, and west by Union and Alexander counties. It is from 31 to 25 miles in length, and in breadth 18, with an area of about 486 square miles. The interior of the county is watered by the heads of Cash river and Big Bay creek. The southern boundary is washed by the Ohio, the banks of which are generally fertile. Occasionally they consist of ledges of perpendicular rocks, which, by extending across the river, form what is called the Little and Grand Chain, so much dreaded by those who navigate this river. Near these, however, are pilots who are acquainted with the channel, and who generally conduct the boats through in safety. This county has a large proportion of level land, which is generally well wooded and inclining to a sandy soil. Some portions of it are but thinly populated, owing in some measure, no doubt, to the unhealthiness occasioned by the overflowing of the Ohio, and the marshes which exist near the southern boundary. Johnson county was organized in 1812, and in 1835 contained 2,166 occupants. On the dividing line between this and the adjoining county of Pope, and on the left bank of the Ohio river, about ten miles below the mouth of the Tennessee river, stood Fort Massac, a military post of some importance in the earlier settlement of the county. A fort was erected here by the French when in possession of the western country. The Indians, then at war with them, laid a curious stratagem to take it. A number of them appear in the day-time on the opposite side of the river, each of whom was covered with a bear-skin and walked on all fours. Supposing them to be bears, a party of the French crossed the river in pursuit of them. The remainder of the troops left their quarters to see the sport. In the meantime a large body of warriors, who were concealed in the woods near by, came silently behind the fort, entered it without opposition, and very few of the French escaped the massacre. They afterwards built another fort on the same ground, and called it Massac, in memory of this disastrous event. In 1750 they abandoned the position. After the revolutionary war the Americans repaired or rebuilt it, and kept a garrison here for several years. The buildings are now destroyed.
There are, in different parts of the county, compact settlements, chiefly agricultural: these are named, Bridge's, Elvira, M'Fatridge's, and Buncombe Settlements.
Bridge's Settlement is about ten miles west of Vienna: it contains some tolerably good land. Population, about 60 families.
Elvira Settlement is on Lick creek, a branch of Cash river. It is about 15 miles north-west from Vienna, and contains 30 or 40 families. The land is rich and level.
M'Fatridge's Settlement is about 8 miles north-east from Vienna, on the old road from Golconda to Kaskaskia, and on the waters of Cedar creek. The surface is rather broken, and the soil thin. The settlement contains 50 or 60 families.
Buncombe Settlement is about eight miles north-west from Vienna: it contains 40 families. The soil is rather thin, broken, and rocky.
Vienna, the seat of justice, is a small village, situated about 13 miles north of the Ohio river, on the east fork of Cash river, and in the main road fro Golconda to Jonesborough and Jackson, Missouri. It contains from 130 to 160 inhabitants.
Kane county is situated in the northern part of the state, and is bounded north by Boone and M'Henry, south by La Salle, east by Cook, and west by Ogle county. It was formed in 1836, and is estimated to contain a population of 1,500, although no part of it is yet surveyed, and consequently has not been sold by the government. It contains an area of 1,296 square miles, and is 36 miles in extent from north to south, and the same from east to west. Fox river extends through its eastern division, in a direction nearly south-west: the other streams are Mill, Blackberry, Rock, Somonauk, and Indian creeks, entering Fox river on the right-hand side; and Wabonsie and Morgan creeks on the opposite banks: on its western and north-western portion, it receives several smaller streams, and the south main branches of the Kishwaukee or Sycamore creek that enters Rock river. These are all good mill-streams, and already saw and flouring mills are built or in progress. The banks are usually skirted with pleasant groves of timber, occasionally interspersed with barrens only. There are for the most part contiguous settlements on all these streams; and in some places they are quite compact and pleasant.
A large proportion of the county is rich prairie, with some deficiency in the amount of timber, which is found mostly in groves: - the largest of these is the Big Woods. They lie on the east side, and adjoining Fox river, and are about 10 miles in length, and from two to four miles wide, containing about 30 sections of good timbered land. This tract (provided the surveys were run) would lie mostly in township 30 and 39 north, range 8 east from the third principal meridian. Its timber consists chiefly of white, black, yellow, and burr oaks, sugar maple, lynn or bass wood, black and white walnut or butternut, hickory, ash of various species, poplar, iron-wood, &c. The soil is generally a dark sandy loam, sometimes clay; generally a little undulating, but sometimes quite level. - The "Big Woods" is thickly settled on all sides, and the Four-mile Prairie, between that and Du Page river, is all claimed and considerably settled, as is the country opposite, betwixt Fox river and Blackberry creek, west.
The "Little Woods" is a tract of timber, about four miles north of Big Woods, also, on the east side and adjoining Fox river, divided from Big Woods by a gap of prairie, interspersed in places with little groves of small timber and barrens. It is about half the size of the latter; its timber and soil, similar; and is surrounded with compact settlements.
The whole range of Fox river in this county is thickly settled: towns and villages are springing up as if by magic. Commencing at the south end of Kane county, a few miles about the boundary, is the new village of Yorkville. The Fox river there, is to be dammed, and a saw and grist mill already contracted to be built. Opposite the Big Woods, dams are thrown across Fox river in five places, and saw-mills erected. At the prairie in the "Woods," three miles above the "Foot," at the Galena stage ford, is a pleasant village of Aurora. A flouring mill is here in operation. Lowell, at the "Head" of Big Woods, and Charleston, at the "Foot" of Little Woods, are growing business places; have saw0mills on Fox river, and flouring-mills going up at the present season. Geneva, on the west bank of Fox river, and nearly equidistant from Lowell and Charleston, is a pleasant place, and the county seat of this county. At the "Head" of Little Woods, and five miles farther up, is the new village of Elgin. Here is a dam, and mills are building. Eight miles further, is a flouring-mill, nearly ready to run. On the whole, Fox river is one of the best, if not the best stream in the state for extensive hydraulic operations. It can easily be rendered navigable by slack-water, abounds with excellent quarries of limestone for building purposes, and beds of coal have already been discovered some miles above its mouth. The first white man's cabin erected in this county, was built in the vicinity of Big Woods, on Fox river, but three years ago last fall; and the principal settlements and improvements have been made within the last two years, and by a population from most of the states in the union. The predominant character, however, is eastern. As in the countries from whence they emigrated, there is a diversity of religious sentiment. The Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist, are the most prevailing denominations; probably the former and latter are the most numerous.
Knox County is in the Military Bounty Tract, and nearly central between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. It is bounded north by Henry, east by Peoria and Putnam, south by Fulton, and west by Warren and Mercer counties. It is thirty miles long, and from thirty to thirty-four in breadth, containing 792 square miles. This county is watered by Spoon river and its tributaries, and also by the head streams of Henderson's and Pope's rivers. The surface is generally prairie, moderating undulating, and of first-rate quality of soil, with considerable tracts of excellent timber along the water-courses. The inhabitants amounted in 1835 to 1,600.
The seat of justice, Knoxville, is pleasantly situated at the head of Haw creek, a tributary of Spoon river, on a rich and elevated prairie. It was laid off a few years ago: it contains about 200 inhabitants, and bids fair to become a thriving inland town. The surrounding district is rich, and settling fast with industrious farmers. Hendersonville and Galesboro' are small villages, a few miles from Knoxville.
La Salle County comprises a fine tract of country, 48 miles in length, and from 48 to 36 in breadth, containing an area of 1,872 square miles. It is bounded north by Kane and Ogle, south by M'Lean and the attached part of Vermillion, east by Will, and west by Putnam county. It is watered by the Illinois river and its tributaries, the Big and Little Vermillion, and Fox and Au Sable rivers; also by Mason, Indian, and Rock creeks. These streams run generally on a bed of sand or limestone rock, and have but little alluvial bottom lands.
La Salle, like most of the counties in the northern part of the state, is deficient in timber, but contains abundance of rich undulating, dry prairie, fine mill-streams, and extensive coal-beds, and must eventually become a rich country. Its situation will enable the people to send off their produce either by the Illinois river to a southern market, or by the lakes to the Atlantic section of the union. This county was organized in 1831, and in 1835 contained a population of 4,754.
The Starved Rock, or Rock Fort, near the foot of the rapids, and on the right banks of the Illinois river, is a perpendicular mass of lime and sandstone, washed by the current at its base, and elevated 150 feet. Its perpendicular sides, arising from the river, are inaccessible. It is connected with a chain of heights that extend up the stream, by a narrow ledge, the only ascent to which is by a winding and precipitous path. The diameter of the top of the rock is about 100 feet: it is covered with a soil of some depth, which has produced a growth of young trees. The advantages which it affords as an impregnable retreat, induced a band of Illinois Indians, who sought a refuge from the fury of the Potawatomies, with whom they were at war, to intrench themselves here. They repulsed all the assaults of their besiegers, and would have remained masters of their high tower, but for the impossibility of obtaining supplies of water. They had secured provisions, but their only resource for the former was by letting down vessels with bark ropes to the river. Their enemies stationed themselves in canoes at the base of the cliffs, and cut off the ropes as fast as they were let down. The consequence of this was the entire extirpation of the band: many years afterwards, their bones were whitening on the summit. An intrenchment, corresponding to the edge of the precipice, is distinctly visible; and fragments of antique pottery, and other curious remains of the vanished race, are strewn around. From this elevated point, the Illinois may be traced as it winds through deep and solitary forests or outspread plains, onward to the Mississippi, until it disappears from the vision in the distance. In the opposite direction, a prairie stretches out and blends with the horizon.
On Indian creek, in the northern part of the county, a most horrible tragedy was enacted at the commencement of the Indian war of 1832. On the 20th of May of that year, fifteen persons belonging to the families of Messrs. Hall, Daviess, and Pettigrew, were barbarously massacred by the Indians. Two young ladies, Misses Halls, were taken prisoners, and afterwards redeemed, and two young lads made their escape. The bodies of men, women, and children, were shockingly mutilated, the houses of the settlers burned, their furniture destroyed, and their cattle killed - all in daylight, and within twenty miles of a large force of the militia. This was done by the Indians under the infamous Black Hawk. A portion of that band were exterminated during the same season by the combined forces of United States troops and Illinois militia, and the remainder dispersed over the prairies west of the Mississippi.
The seat of justice of La Salle county is Ottawa, at the junction of the Illinois and Fox rivers. This is considered a very eligible site for a commercial town. The canal now in progress of construction from lake Michigan to the Illinois river will pass through it, and add greatly to its prosperity. The other towns are Dresden and Kankakee, both at the junction of the Des Plaines and Kankakee rivers; Marseilles and Mechanicsville above, and Utica, Rockwell, Peru, and Enterprize, below, Ottawa: these are all on the Illinois. There are also Lowell on the Vermillion river, and Vermillionville, about a mile east of the same stream. Of these towns, Peru, on the north bank of the Illinois, and at the western termination of the Michigan and Illinois canal, bids fair to become of importance. Steamboats can reach it at all stages of the river; and on the completion of the canal, an easy and safe transmission to and from this place may be had at all times, except when the waters are bound with ice.
Marseilles is a post town on the north side of the Illinois river: at the Grand river, eight miles above Ottawa, a chartered company is engaged in constructing dams, mills, &c. Flour and lumber are made here, and the water-power is immense and easily commanded. The Illinois and Michigan canal will pass through it, and it already assumes the aspect of a bustling, enterprizing village.
Lawrence County, erected in 1821 from a part of Edwards and Crawford, is situated in the eastern part of the state, and adjoining Indiana, from which is separated by the Wabash river. It has on the north Crawford and Jasper, on the south Wabash and Edwards counties, on the east the Wabash river, and on the west Clay county. From east to west its greatest extent is 31, and from north to south 19 miles; containing an area of about 560 square miles. This county is watered by the Embarras river and its tributaries, as well as by the head waters on the Bon Pas, and the Fox river of the Little Wabash. The banks of all these streams are low and subject to inundations. This is the case particularly with respect to the Embarras and the branches of the Little Wabash. It not unfrequently occurs, that the bottoms of those streams, which are more than two miles in width, are covered with from four to eight feet of water, so as to render them entirely impassable; of course, travelling during these seasons is rendered difficult and unpleasant. In the low prairies near the Wabash, there are quagmires, call by the common people purgatory swamps, or devil's holes; the surface of these appears dry and level, but it generally rests on quicksands. Over some of these, bridges and levees are now constructed. In a dry season, the water evaporates, and the ground becomes firm. A great proportion of the land in the interior, and at a short distance from the stream, is prairie, most of which is fertile. The inhabitants of this county, in 1835, amounted to 4,450.
Lawrenceville, the county seat, is situated on the west bank of the Embarras river, about ten miles west of Vincennes, on the direct road to Vandalia, from which place it is distant eighty-four miles. It is on an elevated ridge, in the centre of a fertile and well-settled country, and contains three stores, two groceries, two taverns, and sixty or seventy families; the court-house is of brick, and is a respectable building. A saw and grist mill is in operation on the Embarras, adjoining the town. Lawrenceville exports annually to the value of about 50,000 dollars and imports 30,000 dollars.
The other towns in the county are Stringtown, on the Embarras river, above Lawrenceville; Russellville, on the Wabash, in the north-east corner of the county; and Smallsburg, a few miles below Lawrenceville, on the Embarras. There are several populous settlements in different parts of the county; such as, Allison's Prairie, French, Lukens' Prairie, and River Precinct settlements.
Allison's Prairie, five miles north-east from Lawrenceville, is ten miles long, and five broad. The eastern part, towards the Wabash, contains some wet land and purgatory swamps, but the principal part is a dry, sandy, and very rich soil, covered with well-cultivated farms. Few tracts in Illinois are better adapted for the culture of corn than this. The population is about 200 families. This prairie was settled in 1816 and 1817, by emigrants from Ohio and Kentucky, and mostly of the religious sect known in the west by the name of Christians; and the settlement is sometimes called by that name. In a few years, death had thinned their numbers. The purgatory swamps, as they are called, around the prairie, had a deleterious influence, and retarded the progress of population. In later years, but little sickness has existed; and this settlement furnishes one of many evidences that upon the subjugation of the luxuriant vegetation with which our rich prairies are clothed, and the cultivation of the soil, sickly places will be changed to healthy ones.
French settlement, in the south-east part of the county, is ten miles from Lawrenceville. It is a timbered tract, and rather broken. Of the population, which consists of about sixty families, one-half are French.
The Indian Creek settlement is on Indian creek, a branch of the Embarras river, which rises in the prairies west, runs south-east, and enters that stream five miles below Lawrenceville. It has much good land in its vicinity, both timber and prairie, and a population of one hundred and fifty families.
Lukens' Prairie Settlement is in the south-western part of the county, from twenty to twenty-five miles from Lawrenceville. It has a population of from seventy to eighty families.
The River Precinct Settlement extends along the Wabash river, opposite Vincennes. It is on a rich bottom heavily timbered, and contains sixty or seventy families.
Livingston County was formed in 1837 from La Salle, M'Lean, and part of the attached portion of Vermillion county. It is in extent from east to west from 30 to 36 miles, and from north to south 30, and contains an area of 1,152 square miles. It is watered by the Vermillion river of the Illinois, and its tributaries, which flow through the northern half of the country from south-east to north-west. This is a fine mill-stream of about 50 yards wide, and runs through extensive beds of bituminous coal. Its bluffs contain immense quarries of lime, sand, and some freestone excellent for grindstones. The other streams are, the Mackinaw and its branches, and some of the tributaries of Mason's creek. This county contains a large quantity of rich undulating prairie, and some fine tracts of valuable timber land, mostly oaks of various kinds, walnut, ash, sugar-maple, hickory, &c. The principal minerals are limestone and coal.
Its seat of justice is not yet laid off. The only towns in the country are Webster and Lexington: the former has been recently located in the north-west part of the county, about two miles south-west from Vermillion river. Lexington is situated about 18 miles north-east from Bloomington, on the road to Chicago.
The population of Livingston county is estimated from 700 to 800.
Macon County is bounded north by M'Lean, south by Shelby, east by Champaign and Coles, and west by Sangamon county. It extends from north to south 39 miles, and from east to west 36, forming an area 1,404 square miles. It is watered by the north fork of Sangamon river and its tributaries; also, by some of the head branches of Kaskaskia river, and by Salt creek. This county is mostly covered with prairies, some of which are extensive, and in the interior level and wet, but generally dry, rich, and undulating, near the timber. Macon county was formed from the attached part of Shelby in 1829, and in 1835 contained a population of 3,022 inhabitants.
Decatur, the seat of justice, is situated on the right bank of the North Fork of Sangamon river, and on the borders of an extensive, dry, and elevated prairie, about 70 miles north from Vandalia, and 770 from Washington City.
Clinton, 24 miles north of Decatur, and about half-way between that place and Bloomington, is a thriving town, and beautifully situated on the prairie, which overlooks a large district of country. The Salt creek timber approaches near the town on the south, from which it diverges in a north-eastern direction till it passes beyond the reach of vision. Both sides of the creek are well settled. The timber is excellent and sufficient, and the prairies beautifully rolling. The country adjacent will, of course, admit the dense settlement. Clinton is on the line of the Central rail-road, and probably in a short time it will become a county seat for a new country, comprising parts of the present counties of Macon and M'Lean. The convenience of the inhabitants of the country adjacent would seem to call, at a proper time, for such an arrangement. Of such importance has this town site been considered, that speculators from a distance have entered all the land in its neighbourhood. Clinton is among the few new towns which have started up in this town-speculating age, that will grow into importance. The site of the town, the heavy settlements around it, the beautiful, fertile, and healthy country adjacent, all seem to unite in demonstrating this truth.
Franklin, on Salt creek, about 20 miles in a north-north-west direction, and Murfreesborough, on the Sangamon river, 16 miles north-east from Decatur, are small towns, lately settled. Okau Settlement, in the south-eastern part of the county, 20 miles from Decatur, lies on the West Fork of the Kaskaskia, and contains 20 or 30 families. Salt creek Settlement, 20 miles north from Decatur, consists of about 100 families. The land is good, with plenty of prairie.
Madison County is situated in the western part of the state, and opposite the mouth of the Missouri river. It was organized in 1812, and at first was much more extensive than at present. It is bounded north by Greene, Macoupin, and Montgomery counties; south by St. Clair, east by Bond and Clinton, and west by the Mississippi river, which separates it from the state of Missouri. It extends in an east and west direction from 36 to 30 miles, and from north to south 24; area, about 760 square miles. This county, both on account of its soil and situation, possesses great advantages. Part of it lies in the American Bottom, which is a low alluvion of great fertility, but subject to inundation. It extends from the mouth of the Kaskaskia river to Alton, a few miles above the mouth of the Mississippi: above this, the bank is high, watered by fine springs, and contains building stone, and coal of the best quality. The interior of the county is generally elevated and undulating, though not hilly. On the banks of the Mississippi, below Alton, it is low and wet, and in many places very marshy. No soil, however, can exceed it in fertility. Upon ascending the bluff which bounds this bottom upon the east, there is a district of county which continues eastward to the Kaskaskia river, and is called the Table-Land. This is also very fertile, and is considered one of the most desirable tracts in the state. The banks of the streams which run through the interior of this county are generally well wooded, leaving between them prairies of considerable size, though very fertile, and very advantageously situated for settlement. Wheat, corn, beef, pork, horses, cattle, and almost every production of Illinois, are raised in this county, and find a ready market. Madison county, in 1835, contained 9,016 inhabitants.
Monk Hill, situated on the American Bottom, is eight miles north-easterly from St. Louis. The circumference at the base is about 600 yards, and its height about 90 feet. On the south side, about half-way down, is a broad step, or apron, about 15 feet wide. This hill, our mount, was the residence, for several years, of the monks of the order of La Trappe, the most rigid and austere of all the monkish orders. Their monastery was originally situated in the district of Perche, in France, in one of the most lonely spots that could be chosen. They fled from the commotions of that kingdom to America, lived for a time in Kentucky, and came to Illinois in 1806 or 1807, and settled on this mound. They cultivated a garden, repaired watches, and traded with the people, but were generally filthy in their habits, and extremely severe in their penances and discipline. In 1813, they sold off their personal property, and left the country for France.
Ridge Prairie commences near Edwardsville, and extends south to St. Clair county. It is on the dividing ridge, between the waters that fall into the Mississippi west, and those that flow to the Kaskaskia east. Originally this prairie extended into St. Clair county as far south as Belleville; but long since, where farms have not been made, it has been intersected by a luxuriant growth of timber. Its surface is gently undulating, the soil rich, and is surrounded and indented with many fine farms.
Marine Settlement, between the east and west forks of Silver Creek, and 12 miles east of Edwardsville, was commenced in 1819. The settlement is large, and spread over an undulating, rich, and beautiful prairie, and is healthful and well watered.
Paddock's Settlement is on the Springfield road, seven miles north of Edwardsville. The prairie is undulating, fertile, and healthy.
Edwardsville is the seat of justice of this county, and is situated in the centre of a fertile, well watered, and well timbered district, settled with enterprizing farmers. It is 21 miles north-east from St. Louis, and 12 miles south-east from Alton.
The other towns are, Alton, Upper Alton, Collinsville, Troy, Chippewa, Clifton, and Randolph. The latter is situated at the mouth of the Piasau, on the Mississippi, about equal distance between Alton and Grafton. It is laid out above the Piasau, and betwixt that stream and the Mississippi, on table-land, above the highest floods. Abundance of limestone and good timber, water privileges and never-failing springs, a good landing for steamboats, and other advantages, are found here. Lots to the value of $20,000 have been sold this spring, and buildings are in process of erection, especially a large hotel.
Clifton is on the bank of the Mississippi, four miles above Alton, and has been recently laid out. Collinsville is situated in the south part of the county. It contains a store, a large mill for sawing and grinding, and several mechanics. A meeting-house, and Presbyterian church of fifty members, a large Sabbath-school, and a body of sober, moral, and industrious citizens, render this an interesting settlement. Chippewa is directly opposite the mouth of the Missouri, two miles below Alton, and has been but lately laid out. A steam-mill, and several other buildings, are now erecting.
Macoupin County is bounded on the north by Sangamon and Morgan, south by Madison, east by Montgomery, and west by Greene. It is 36 miles in length, and 24 in breadth; area, 864 square miles. The county is watered by Macoupin creek and its branches, as well as by the head-waters of Apple, Cahohok, Silver, and Piasau creeks, and Wood river. This is a fine agricultural country, settled by enterprizing and industrious farmers. The surface consists mostly of prairies, slightly undulating, of which the chief part is of an excellent soil, and contains a due proportion of timber, mostly along the water-courses. Macoupin county was organized from the attached portion of Greene county in 1829, and in 1835 contained a population of 5,554 persons.
Carlinville, the seat of justice, is pleasantly situated in a handsome prairie, about two miles north-west from Macoupin creek: it is 35 miles north-east from Alton, and 55 miles north-west from Vandalia; containing about 350 inhabitants, with several stores, one grocery, two lawyers, and two physicians. The other towns are small, and but recently settled: they are, Girard, Staunton, Woodburn, and Brooklyn.
Marion County was formed from Jefferson and Fayette counties, in 1823: it is 24 miles square, and contains an area of 576 square miles: it is situated about midway between the Mississippi and Wabash rivers, and is bounded north by Fayette and Clay counties, south by Jefferson, east by Clay and Wayne, and west by Clinton and Fayette. Marion county is watered by the East Fork of Kaskaskia river and Crooked creek, also by the Skillet Fork of the Little Wabash and its tributaries. It embraces the southern part of the Grand Prairie, which constitutes about two-thirds of its surface: the remainder is timber, much of which is post oak. The soil is for the most part of second-rate quality, the surface slightly undulating, with some of the prairie level, and inclining to the west.
Walnut Hill Settlement is in the south-west part of the country, from 12 to 14 miles distant from Salem. It is on the Walnut Hill Prairie, and contains a population of about 75 families. Some parts of the prairie are tolerably good; others, rather flat and wet. It is about four miles long, and three broad. The population in 1835 amounted to 2,844.
Salem, the seat of justice, is situated on the eastern border of the Grand Prairie, on the Vincennes and St. Louis stage-road: it is in a pleasant village, of about 160 inhabitants.
M'Donough County is situated in the Military Bounty Tract, and at nearly an equal distance from the Mississippi and Illinois rivers: it forms a square territory of 24 miles each way, containing an area of 576 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Warren county, south by Schuyler, east by Fulton, and west by Hancock. The streams which water this county are Crooked creek and its branches, Drowning Fork, Troublesome creek, Turkey creek, and others: most of these have good mill-seats for a portion of the year. The soil is chiefly a rich and fertile prairie, not excelled by any in this region. About one half of the eastern and northern part of the county is prairie: the remainder is suitably proportioned into timber and prairie. M'Donough county was laid off from Pike in 1825, but was not organized till 1829: in 1835, it contained 2,883 inhabitants.
Macomb, the seat of justice, is pleasantly situated in a fertile prairie in the centre of the county, about two miles south of the Drowning Fork of Crooked creek. It contains a population of about 100 persons, and has three stores, and one grocery.
Carter's Settlement is near the south part of the county, 12 miles from Macomb, on the road to Rushville. The land is gently undulating, soil rich, timber and prairie proportioned, and an extensive settlement. It is in the south part of four north, two west, between the heads of Sugar creek and Grindstone fork. This is the oldest settlement in the county. Edmonson's Prairie, six miles south-west from Macomb, is from one to two miles wide, ten miles long, and contains 25 or 30 families.
M'Henry County occupies the north-eastern corner of the state, and is bounded on the north by Walworth and Racine counties of Wisconsin Territory, south by Cook and Kane counties, east by Lake Michigan, and west by Boone county. It contains an area of about 1,100 square miles, and is in extent from east to west from 47 to 42 miles, and from north to south 24. It is watered by the Fox, Des Plaines, and Chicago rivers and their branches, together with several small lakes, of which some have limpid waters in gravelly beds, with ridges of gravel and sand around them. Groves of fine timber are found along the lake shores and on the banks of the streams, and also distributed through the prairies. The county is well watered, the stream perennial, and the soil rich and covered with luxuriant herbage. The county is filling up rapidly with an enterprizing population, now estimated at from 1,000 to 1,200 souls. The seat of justice is not yet located. The only town in the county is M'Henry, situated on the west side of Fox river, and about 12 miles south of the northern boundary of the state. It is surrounded with excellent prairie and timber in groves, and oak openings or barrens.
M'Lean County was organized in 1830, and was until lately one of the largest counties in the state. It is in extent from north to south from 48 to 24 miles, and from east to west from 12 to 42, having an area of 1,296 square miles. It is bounded on the north by La Salle and Livingston counties, south by Macon and Sangamon, east by Champaign and the attached part of Vermillion, and west by Tazewell. The streams which flow through this county are the western branch of the north fork of Sangamon river, and the head-waters of Mackinaw, Sugar, Kickapoo, and Salt creeks; these all take their rise in the county, and furnish, when the waters are not too low, good mill-seats. A considerable portion of the eastern and northern part of the county is one vast prairie, with the surface elevated, moderately undulating, and the soil dry and fertile. Of the minerals, limestone and coal abound in several settlements; granite, in detached masses, or boulders, called by the settlers lost rocks, are plentifully scattered over the country, and are used for mill-stones. M'Lean county contained, in 1835, a population of 5,311 individuals.
From Salt creek, 26 miles south of Bloomington, following the road from Decatur to the former place, the country is beautifully undulating. Elegant elevations for farms and dwellings are constantly arresting the attention of the traveler; and he only regrets that the beautiful country around him should remain in its native wilderness, while thousands upon thousands of farmers in the eastern states, - intelligent, industrious, and most excellent citizens, - are expanding their best energies upon a comparatively sterile soil, for an almost bare support; while here, with the same application to business, they would secure competence and independence and lay the foundation for the future wealth and happiness of their children. To secure these advantages, however, enterprize is necessary, - sufficient, at least, to bring them hither. True, we cannot but appreciate the feelings which prompt them to remain on spots which are rendered almost sacred by the thousand associations which all generous hearts are sure to feel; but with the aspiring youth, or the father of a family, there are considerations of a still more elevated character, which might well lead them to seek to better their condition by emigrating to the west.
There are in the county several groves of timber, fertile and desirable tracts, well settled with an industrious and thriving population. The chief of them are Big, Blooming, Cheyney's, Dry, Funk's, and Randolph's groves.
Big Grove is formed of several groves of timber connected, for 12 miles in length, in the south-western part of the county, on the third principal meridian, and township 21 north. It is a fine tract of country, rich in soil and well timbered, on the Kickapoo creek. Bloomington, the county seat, is 18 miles from the heart of the settlement, which contains from 150 to 200 families.
Blooming Grove adjoins Bloomington. It is about six miles long from north-west to south-east, and varying in width from one to four miles, containing about 12 square miles of beautiful timber, with a large settlement of industrious farmers around it. Nearly all the land is already occupied with settlers, a majority of whom are from Ohio. Both timbered land and prairie are first-rate.
Cheyney's Grove settlement is near the head-waters of the Sangamon, in the east part of the county, twenty-three north, six east. This timber is an island in the great prairie of three or four square miles, 25 miles east of Bloomington, and on the road to Danville. The population is 24 families.
Dry Grove is in township twenty-four north, range one east, and about six miles north of west from Bloomington, and lies at the head of Sugar creek. It is about 10 miles long from east to west, high, dry, and undulating, and contains a settlement of about 50 families.
Funk's Grove settlement is 12 miles south-west from Bloomington. The grove is roundish in form, contains about eight square miles, and lies on the main branch of Sugar creek. It has an excellent soil, fine water, and is monopolized by a family connection of the name of Funk, from Ohio, who raise large numbers of cattle.
Randolph's Grove, on Kickapoo creek, above Big Grove, is about 12 miles south from Bloomington. In shape it is almost circular, and is a valuable tract of land, containing limestone, and a population of about 40 families. The grove comprises about 12 sections of timbered land.
Bloomington, the county town, occupies an elevated position on the margin of a fine prairie, 120 miles north from Vandalia, and 820 from Washington City. The other towns in the county have been but lately laid off, and are as yet inconderable: they are, Hudson, Le Roy, Lytleville, Charleston, and Waynesville. The latter is in the south-west corner of the county, on the road from Springfield to Bloomington, and on the south side of the timber of Kickapoo creek. It has six stores, two groceries, two physicians, a Methodist and a Presbyterian society, a good school, and a charter for a seminary of learning. It has a fine body of timber on the north, and a rich, undulating, and a beautiful prairie south. Population in the village, about 150.
Mercer County is situated in the northern part of the Military Bounty Tract. It lies north of Warren, south of Rock Island, west of Henry, and east of Louisa and Musquitine counties, Wisconsin Territory, from which it is separated by the Mississippi river. Edwards and Pope's rivers, and the north fork of Henderson's river, are the streams which water this county, along the Mississippi and the borders of its water-courses. There is a great abundance of excellent timber: its middle and eastern portions have extensive tracts of fertile prairies. Mercer was laid off in 1825, and contained in 1835 a population of 497 inhabitants.
The town of Mercer is located in the exact geographical centre, and with the express view of its becoming the county seat of Mercer county. It is situated mid-way between Pope's and Edwards rivers, which run through the county parallel to each other, and at this point are not more than five miles apart. The site is healthy and elevated, commanding a beautiful view of the surrounding country, which as rich and well adapted to the culture of wheat, and indeed all kinds of grain as any in the state. The county is settling rapidly with a moral, industrious, and enterprizing population. The water-power afforded by Pope's and Edwards rivers is equal to that of any county in the state; a circumstance of much importance, not only on account of furnishing lumber for building, but for the erection of grain and flouring mills. There is one saw-mill now in operation within two and half miles of Mercer, and several others will be built the approaching season, also within a few miles of the town. The situation of Mercer admits of convenient access to the timber, stone, and stone-coal, of both Pope's and Edwards rivers and their branches. Mercer is situated about 14 miles from New Boston, on the Mississippi; at which there is an excellent landing. It is also on the direct route from the latter place to Hennepin, and from Oquawka to Rock Island.
New Boston, the seat of justice, is the only other town in the county, and is situated at the Upper Yellow Bank, just above Edwards river, nearly opposite the mouth of the Lower Iowa, a considerable stream of the Wisconsin Territory, as extensive as the Illinois. This place has a good landing, and a fine harbour; and when the opposite territory becomes settled, it cannot fail to become a town of considerable importance, as it will be the commercial entrepﾠfor a large extent of fertile country.
Monroe County, in the south-western part of the state, is situated north of Randolph, south of St. Clair, and west of the state of Missouri, from which it is separated by the Mississippi river. The interior of this county is watered by Prairie du Long, Horse, and l'Aigle creeks, and their branches. The western part, bordering on, and parallel to, the Mississippi river, is occupied by the American Bottom, a rich and fertile alluvion, subject to overflow from the river. East of this, the country is generally broken and hilly. On the eastern border of the county, there is a considerable proportion of good land, with a due mixture of timber and prairie. This is a rich county, and exports a considerable quantity of produce. Here is abundance of limestone, coal, and some copper.
Waterloo, the seat of justice of Monroe county, situated on elevated ground, about 12 miles east of the Mississippi river, is a small village of about 120 inhabitants. Columbia and Harrisonville are the only other villages. This county was formed out of Randolph and St. Clair in 1816, and in 1835 contained 2,660 inhabitants. English Settlement, in the eastern part of the county, contains about 40 families, among whom are a number of English Catholics. It is in township three south, and range eight west, on Prairie du Long creek.
Montgomery County is situated north of Bond and Fayette, south of Sangamon, east of Macoupin, and west of Shelby and Fayette counties, and exceeds in length from 36 to 21 miles, and in breadth from 30 to 24; containing an area of 954 square miles. This county is watered by branches of the north fork of the Sangamon river, also by Shoal, Macoupin, and Ramsey creeks, and their tributaries. It contains a considerable portion of prairie land, which is generally high and undulating. It was erected from Bond county in 1821, and in 1835 the inhabitants amounted to 3,740.
Hillsborough, the county town, is a healthful and thriving place, of about 300 inhabitants, on the main road from Vandalia to Springfield, 28 miles north-west from the former. It is situated in an elevated country, near the middle fork of Shoal creek.
Morgan is the most thickly settled county in Illinois, and contained in 1835, which then included the lately created county of Cass, 19,214 inhabitants: the population is now estimated at 16,500. The county was formed in 1823, and is bounded north by the new county of Cass, south by Greene and Macoupin, east by Sangamon, and west by Pike and Schuyler, from which it is separated by the Illinois river. It is in length from 34 to 27 miles, and in breadth 27, containing an area of about 800 square miles. The Illinois river washes the western borders of the county. The other streams are Indian, Mauvaiseterre, Apple, and Sandy creeks, and their branches: these furnish many good mill-seats. This county is duly proportioned into timber and prairie, is well watered, and contains many extensive and well cultivated farms. There are also numerous mills for sawing and grinding, propelled by animal or water power, besides several large stream-mills. Emigration, attended with industry and enterprize, in a few fleeting years, has changed a region, that was until lately seen in all the wilderness of uncultivated nature, into smiling villages and luxuriant fields, and rendered it the happy abode of intelligence and virtue.
Waterloo, the seat of justice of Monroe county, situated on elevated ground, about 12 miles east of the Mississippi river, is a small village of about 120 inhabitants. Columbia and Harrisonville are the only other villages. This county was formed out of Randolph and St. Clair in 1816, and in 1835 contained 2,660 inhabitants. English Settlement, in the eastern part of the county, contains about 40 families, among whom are a number of English Catholics. It is in township three south, and range eight west, on Prairie du Long creek.
Montgomery County is situated north of Bond and Fayette, south of Sangamon, east of Macoupin, and west of Shelby and Fayette counties, and extends in length from 36 to 21 miles, and in breadth of from 30 to 24; containing an area of 954 square miles. This county is watered by branches of the north fork of the Sangamon river, also by Shoal, Macoupin, and Ramsey creeks, and their tributaries. In contains a considerable proportion of prairie land, which is generally high and undulating. It was erected from Bond county in 1821, and in 1835 the inhabitants amounted to 3,740.
Hillsborough, the county town, is a healthful and thriving place, of about 300 inhabitants, on the main road from Vandalia to Springfield, 28 miles north-west from the former. It is situated in an elevated country, near the middle fork of Shoal creek.
The Diamond Grove is a most beautiful tract of timber, two miles south-west from Jacksonville. It is elevated above the surrounding prairie, contains 700 or 800 acres, and is surrounded with beautiful farms. Adjoining the above is Diamond Grove Prairie, south of, and adjacent to, Jacksonville. It is four miles in extent, with a rich soil, undulating, dry surface, and mostly covered over with fine farms. The English Settlement is situated west of Jacksonville, on Cadwell's Walnut, and Plum creeks. There about 100 families, mostly from Yorkshire, England, and farmers. They appear to be well pleased with the country, and to be accumulating property. The Jersey Prairie settlement is on a beautiful and rich prairie, in the northern part of the county, 10 miles from Jacksonville. The land is rich, timber adjoining excellent, the people moral and industrious, the settlement extensive, populous, and healthful.
Morgan county contains a number of towns. Of these, Jacksonville, the seat of justice, is the principal, and is one of the most thriving places in the state. The others are, Meridosia, Naples, and Brussels, on the Illinois river; Princeton, Lexington, Franklin, Waverley, Exeter, Geneva, Lynnville, Winchester, and Manchester.
Meridosia is a place of considerable business. It is six miles above Naples, and 22 from Jacksonville. It is situated on an elevated sand ridge, with a good landing, when the water is not too low. Here are two mills, several stores, and near 300 inhabitants. The great rail-road, extending from the Wabash river across the state of the Mississippi, will pass through this town.
Winchester, 16 miles south-west from Jacksonville, is a thriving village, with a population of nearly 400. It was laid off in 1831, on elevated ground, and is increasing rapidly. It has several stores, and a number of mechanics of various descriptions. The Baptists, Methodists, and Congregationalists, have societies here. There are excellent lime and freestone quarries in the vicinity, and several mills. A rail-road from Jacksonville through Lynnville and this place, will strike the Illinois river opposite Augusta, in Pike county.
Ogle County is situated on both sides of Rock River, in the northern part of the state, and is bounded on the north by Stephenson and Winnebago, south by Putnam, east by Kane, and west by Jo Daviess and Whiteside counties. It is from 36 to 42 miles in extent from north to south, and 36 from east to west, and contains an area of 1,440 square miles. It was formed in 1836 from Jo Daviess and a part of the attached portion of La Salle. Rock river passes diagonally through its north-western portion. Winnebago swamp and several other swamps are in its southern part. Pine, Leaf, Big Bend, and Dogs-head creeks, and several smaller streams, all of which empty themselves into Rock river, furnish good mill-seats. The timber is chiefly in groves, many of which are peculiarly beautiful, and of variously shapes and sizes. Much of the surface is undulating, the soil calcareous, deep and rich, and the country is rapidly settling.
Stillman's run, formerly called Mud creek, is a small stream that runs west and enters Rock river a few miles below Sycamore creek, where, on the 14th of May, 1832, a battalion of militia, consisting of about 275 men, under the command of Major Isaiah Stillman, of Fulton county, were attacked, defeated, and eleven men killed, by a portion of the Indian army under the celebrated Black Hawk.
This county has been surveyed by townships, but is not yet subdivided into sections; the land, consequently, not in market. The flow of emigration is very great from all the states north of Tennessee. First-rage claims are selling from $500 to 10,000. Second and third rate claims can yet be made in general numbers, the county containing 1,400 square miles, and two fifth only as yet taken up. About two-thirds of the land is prairie; the other, timber of superior quality. Population of county, 2,000. It is said that there is no better watered country on our continent. Scarcely a mile square of land can be found without one or more fine springs upon it. The soil is adapted to all kinds of grain; corn, 75 bushels to the acre, without tending; wheat, 35 to 40 bushels; oats, 100. Of potatoes, the crop is almost incredible. Of three acres planted last year, the hills about two feet apart, the growth was so abundant as to force the potatoes out of the ground nearly as large as a pint measure. The crop was a thousand bushels.
Ogle county is connected in its representation with Jo Daviess and several other counties: its seat of justice is Oregon city, a flourishing town, situated on the bank of Rock River, 100 miles above the mouth. It was laid out in July, 1836, and one house then erected. There are now eleven embracing three stores, one tavern, one grocery, and several mechanics' shops. Two saw-mills moved by water-power, are in the immediate vicinity, so that lumber may be readily obtained. All kinds, including pine, sell at the mills for 22 dollars a thousand. Pine creek, which contains a fine body of pine timber, is but three miles distant.
The following notice of Oregon city, and the country in its vicinity, is from the letter of a traveller, published in the New-York Star.
"This place of course (as well as others on Rock river) is in its very infancy; but a more lovely site for an important town could not have been selected, and soon the noise and clamour of steamboats and extensive traffic will give it life and animation. The bluff, which follows the river until it reaches the city, leaves it and falls back for a mile, forming the half of a circle, and meets it again just below in picturesque grandeur. The situation of Oregon itself has forcibly reminded me of Palermo, the capital of Sicily, surrounded on the land side by a chain of mountains, forming a complete amphitheatre, which has been poetically called the "Conco l'Ora," or Golden Shell. The banks of Rock river are not so high as those in the Sicilian landscape; but, contrasted with the wide expanse of country around, are quite as effective, and more rich in fertile charms. The swelling of the prairies, gemmed with wild flowers of every hue, - the stately forest, and valleys interspersed with shady groves on the opposite side of the river surrounding Hyde Park, from which we started the wild and bouncing deer in great number, - form features rarely to be met with in a single glance of the eye, either in this or any other country; and amidst all these beauties,
"The river nobly foams and flows, The charm of this enchanted ground, And all its thousand turns disclose Some fresher beauty varying round."
This fairy-land was the scene of the bloody atrocities and human slaughter during the war of 1832 and '33, with the Sac and Fox Indians and the United States, conducted by the celebrated chief Black Hawk and the prophet, who, after their capture, ceded the country east of the Mississippi to the United States, including the Rock river from its mouth, or nearly so, to the dividing line between Illinois and Wisconsin territory. Above this are scattered along the western shore of the river a line of mounds, more ancient than even the wild and fabulous traditions of the Indians. A hardy class of New-England settlers are now tilling these extensive plains. The Indian gardens are now grown up with tall rank weeds, and the war-cry is only heard beyond the Mississippi. The last of the savages left in May, 1836, and left a paradise indeed. Since I have seen this fair field, this noble river, I am no longer surprised that the Indian, whose eloquence is the poetry of nature, clung with such tenacity to this country, so passing lovely in itself, and containing their homes and the sepulchers of their dead warriors.
Dixonville is a town site at Dixon's ferry, on the south side of Rock river, about 90 miles from the Mississippi. It contains two stores, two taverns, one grocery, a steam saw-mill, ten or twelve families, and is a pleasant situation. Here, the stage-roads from Chicago by Napiersville, from Ottawa by Troy Grove, and from Peoria by Windsor and Princeton, all concentrate, and pass on to Galena. Rock river here is 206 yards wide, and is crossed by a rope-ferry-boat.
At the Grand Detour of Rock river, five miles above Dixonville, a town of the same name has been laid off; and by cutting a canal across the neck of the bend for a short distance, a valuable hydraulic power will be gained. An enterprising company is engaged in the project.
Peoria County - The following account was taken from the Peoria Register and North-western Gazetteer of April 8th, 1837; and, being written on the spot and inserted in one of the most respectable papers in the State, is in all probability an accurate representation. "This county holds a central position on the east side of the Bounty Tract, having Fulton and Knox on the west, Putnam on the north, and the Illinois river for its south-eastern boundary for a distance of 36 miles. It contains 13 entire, and 8 fractional townships of land, making in all a little less than 17 whole townships, 612 sections, 2,448 quarter sections, or 391,680 acres. Of the 2,448 quarters, 763 have been appropriated as 'bounty lands,' and mostly are held by speculators. A few are owned and occupied by actual settlers, and a very small part still remain in the hands of the original patentees. More than two-thirds of Peoria county is congress land (including what has been secured to settlers by pre-emption, as also the purchases made at the land sales), and subject to entry in the land office at Quincy, at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre.
"The proportion allotted to 'bounties,' taking the military tract together, is seven-tenths of the whole; and, from the mistaken policy of those into whose hands the ownership has generally fallen, these bounty lands may be considered as virtually out of market; consequently they must remain to a great extent unsettled, until the owners are willing to be known through disinterested agents, or disposed to treat the emigrant with the same liberality he receives from government. But, fortunately for Peoria, her proportion of military land is small, and we may safely calculate that the tide of emigration will continue to flow in upon us with undiminished strength, for years to come. To the man of industry and enterprise we extend a hearty welcome to our rich and salubrious county, not doubting but an application of his perseverance in any part of it will insure an abundant reward for his toil.
"Peoria is well divided into prairie and timber land of about equal quantities of each. To have a correct idea of the form, beauty, and peculiar adaptation of our prairies to farming purposes, the reader will recollect that five steams of no inconsiderable magnitude water this county, all of which, with the exception of French creek, run a southerly direction into the Illinois river. Snatchwine ("Elbow") passes through the north-east part of the county; Kickapoo, with its east, north and west forks, through the centre; and Lamarche and Copperas creeks through the west. Spoon river runs along near the northern border, and French creek has a westward course through the north part of the country. All of these streams are bordered by timber from one to two miles wide (save the interval bottoms); the prairies occupying the balance of the space between, and descending in delightful slopes towards the timber, from the dividing ridge in the center. Thus it will be seen at a glance that the whole county is admirably divided into alternate tracts of timber and prairie land. No county in the state has more facilities for speedily enriching the industrious farmer than Peoria.
"Snatchwine, French, and Lamarche creeks, are good mill-steams for two-thirds of the year. The balance of the time they are, in ordinary seasons, too dry. An excellent grist and saw mill has been put up on the Snatchwine, and preparations are making for mills on the Lamarche. Kickapoo is an invaluable mill-stream, and furnishes a sufficiency of water at all times to carry one run of stone - for nine months of the year it is sufficient for two run below the 'Forks." Some years since a flouring mill was erected on that stream, which is in successful operation still, within two and a half miles of Peoria village. Two saw-mills in the vicinity of the flouring-mill are in profitable business. There are two saw-mills above and one grist-mill below.
A very convenient bridge has been erected for some years across Kickapoo, four miles below the village. Three more bridges have been built where roads leading from Peoria westward and northward cross the Kickapoo. The stock for a bridge across the Illinois river at Peoria has been subscribed, amounting to fifty thousand dollars. Measures have been taken by the citizens of Peoria to erect it forthwith.
"Two steam saw-mills in this village, and one 12 miles below, in a finely timbered region, are in operation. A steam-mill six miles above here, and a saw-mill on Spoon river, in the north-west part of the county, are nearly completed.
"The constitute the mills and bridges of importance completed or in contemplation in the county of Peoria. They certainly indicate an increasing prosperity in this section of the country; a prosperity which the character of our soil, and the physical advantages we so eminently enjoy, are well calculated to sustain. Judging from personal observation in every corner of the county, the writer is of opinion that out of 2,448 quarter sections of land in Peoria county, not more than 500 are unfit for cultivation for being 'too wet, or broken and hilly.' Nor would even half this number be so considered in any other state than Illinois. What is here looked upon as hilly barrens, would, on the east side of the mountains, be esteemed excellent arable land. But admitting that we have 500 quarters unsusceptible of cultivation, still we have 1,948 which are tillable: these would support as many families in ease and comfort, or an agricultural population (allowing 10 persons to a family) of 19,480. It is not to be presumed that the farming interest of this county will ever comprise more than two thirds of its entire population; consequently, when we shall have settled all our good lands, and have 19,480 inhabitants engaged in agriculture, our whole population will amount to 30,000. In 1830, the number of inhabitants in this and Putnam counties, was 1,310. Probably our own number was about 500. The population at present, in Peoria county alone, is estimated at 7,000, consisting of emigrants from every state in the Union, from England, Ireland, Germany, and France. Nine-tenths of the whole are native-born citizens of the United States. Of these, probably a fourth are from New-England, the same proportion from New-York, a fourth from Pennsylvania and Ohio, and the remainder from other states. During the present season, we are receiving the greatest number of emigrants from Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New-York. Those from the later state come on generally by way of the lakes. From the other two states, emigrants usually reach here in steamboats by way of the rivers. At least two-third of the emigrants to this region, arrive by this last named route.
"In addition to the advantages of having an extremely well watered and fertile soil, we have inexhaustible beds of stone-coal, limestone and sandstone, in almost every part of the county. The Kickapoo and its branches, the Lamarche and Copperas creek bluffs, particularly abound in these important articles. Some of the stone on Kickapoo have, on trial, been found to make good grindstones, and a quarry has lately been discovered near the 'Forks,' which appears of superior quality. The stone-coal is said to be little inferior to that of Pittsburg, and is found in the bluffs of all the creeks and Illinois river. It is generally used for fuel at Peoria in winter; is hauled from one to three miles, and is worth 12 cents per bushel. The sandstone is of fair quality, and is used for the underpinning of buildings, for door and window sills, &c. Iron ore is also said to have been found in the country; and a 'floating' mineral, supposed to contain zinc, has been discovered in various places. From some recent discoveries, and other strong indications, it is quite probable that the mineral resources of this county have been but very partially developed.
"The principal productions of the soil are, wheat, corn, oats, rye, potatoes, beans, peas and flax, all of which arrive to great perfection. The average quantity of each, per acre, is as follows - wheat about 25 bushels, corn 65, oats 30, rye 35, and potatoes 300. Garden vegetables, of all kinds, attain a most luxuriant growth. Apples, pears, cherries, and plums, do well, but the winters are rather severe for the successful cultivation of the peach-tree. Wheat is worth, at this time, $175 cents per bushel, and very scarce. Corn, 50 cents; oats, 37 cents; potatoes, 33. Of the above named articles of produce, very little surplus for exportation is now raised in this county, owing principally to the unusual quantity required to supply the immense emigration constantly flowing in upon us. Nearly 140,000 pounds of pork, and 10,000 pounds of lard, over and above the amount required for home consumption, were shipped from this county, for the lower market, in February 1835. Besides the downward trade of the river, a considerable traffic in live cattle and hogs, was carried on with the Galena lead-mines.
"The landing places and places of deposit on the Illinois in Peoria county, are Peoria, Rome, Allentown, an Chillicothe. The three latter are inconsiderable points in the north-east part of the county, but possessing much natural beauty, and surrounded by a fine growing country. Peoria is situated at the outlet of lake Peoria, about equidistant from the north-east and south-west extremes of the county. This place has been so often described, and is so well known by every citizen of the state, that a particular notice of it here is deemed unnecessary. Suffice it to say, that had nature herself attempted to give any 'nice touches and finishings,' to what is already so perfect, she might have exhibited no additional evidence of skill.
"In concluding this description of Peoria county, the writer feels authorized to say, that in excellency of soil, abundance of water, timber, stone, stone-coal, lime-stone, freestone, &c. this county is unsurpassed by any portion of the Bounty Tract, and holds out, at this time, strong inducements to the emigrating farmer or mechanic to make this his permanent, his prosperous, his happy 'home.'"
The seat of justice is the town of Peoria, now the most important place in the Military Bounty Tract: the others are mostly small villages, lately settled: they are, Rome, containing 15 or 20 house, 18 miles north-east of Peoria, at the head of lake Peoria, on Illinois river; Chillicothe, 3 miles above Rome, on Illinois river, with about 30 houses and mills in the vicinity on Snatchwine creek; Detroit, on Illinois river, six miles above Peoria; Northampton, 25 miles north-east of Peoria, on the Galena and Chicago roads; Allentown, on Illinois river, between Rome and Chillicothe; Kickapoo, twelve miles west of Peoria; Hudson, nine miles west of Peoria; Kingston, twelve miles west of Peoria; Hudson, nine miles west of Peoria; Kingston, on Illinois river, with abundance of stone-coal and building stone in its vicinity; Harkness, having excellent limestone for building, splendid prairie, and first-rate timber, 20 miles west from Peoria; Wheeling, two miles east of Harkness; Calendonia, one mile south-east from Harkness; Aurora, on the head-waters of Copperas creek, four miles south-east of Harkness; Charlestown, 18 miles north-west of Peoria; Lower Peoria, three miles from Peoria, and half a mile from Illinois river.
Perry County is one of the smallest in the state, and is situated between Washington on the north, Jackson on the south, Jefferson and Franklin on the east, and Randolph county on the west. It is in extent from east to west 24, and from north to south 18 miles; containing an area of 432 square miles. The surface of the county is tolerably level, about one third prairie, and chiefly a good second-rate soil. It is watered mostly by the Beaucoup creek and its branches, and the Little Muddy creek which touches its eastern border: both these steams traverse the county from north to south. The agricultural products and exports are considerable for its population: they consist of the usual staples of this section of the state.
Elk Prairie lies between the little Muddy and Beaucoup creeks, and is about five miles in extent. It is dry and tolerable level; soil second-rate, and the settlement contains about 25 miles.
Lost Prairie, seven miles west of Pinckneyville, is three miles long, and one mile and a half wide. It has a rich soil, high undulating surface, and a good settlement.
Pinckneyville, the seat of justice, is a small village, situated at the head of Four-mile Prairie, on the wet side of Beaucoup creek. It is surrounded by a large settlement of industrious farmers, and contains a population of about 100 persons.
Pike County is situated in the southern part of the Military Bounty Tract, and extends from the Mississippi to the Illinois river. At its first formation in 1821, it comprised not only the Military Bounty Tract, but likewise the whole of the state lying north of the Illinois river, and extending from the Mississippi to lake Michigan, and which is now divided into upwards of twenty counties. It is bounded north by Adams and Schuyler, south by Calhoun, east by Greene and Morgan counties, from which it is separated by the Illinois, and west by the Mississippi river. It varies in extent from east to west 17 to 36, and from north to south from 24 to 30 miles, and contains an area of about 780 square miles. Pike county is washed on its western boundary by the Mississippi river, and on the eastern by the Illinois; in the interior it has the Snicartee Slough, which runs parallel to the Mississippi through the whole of its western border: this affords a steamboat navigation to the town of Atlas, at full stage of water. It is also watered by Bay, Pigeon, Hadley, Key's, Black, Dutch Church, and Six-mile creeks, which fall into the Mississippi, and M'Kees, and others, which fall into the Illinois: these all furnish good mill-seats. The land in this county is various; much of it is gently undulating, with a good soil on the rivers. Considerable tracts are subject to inundulation at the spring floods, particularly between the Mississippi and the Snicartee Slough. In the interior are considerable tracts of table-land, high, rolling, and rich, with a due proportion of timber and prairie. In a pleasant vale on Key's creek, is a salt-spring, 20 feet in diameter, which boils from the earth, and throws off a stream of some size, forming a salt pond in its vicinity. Salt has been made here, though not in great quantities. This county contained in 1833 a population of 6,037 persons.
Pittsfield, the seat of justice, is situated on a high and healthful prairie, about 11 miles west of the Illinois river. The country around it is fertile, and proportionably distributed into timber and prairie, and is rapidly settling. The other towns are Montezuma and Augusta on Illinois river, Griggsville, Perry, Pleasant Vale, Kinderhook, and Atlas: these are all small villages, lately located.
Augusta is on the west bank of the Illinois river, 10 miles east of Pittsfield, and 22 miles from Jacksonville. It is opposite the termination of the Jacksonville, Lynnville, and Winchester rail-road, which is now under contract. Another company has been chartered to extend this line from Augusta, by Pittsfield and Atlas, to Louisiana, Mo., whence another line of rail-road has been projected, and a charter granted by the legislature of Missouri, across to Columbia and the Missouri river.
Perry is situated on section twenty-one, township three south, three west. It has two or three stores, several families, and is a pleasant village, surrounded with a fine country, diversified with time and prairie.
Pope County lies in the southern part of the state, and is washed on the south and east by the Ohio river, which separates it from the state of Kentucky; on the north, it is bounded by Gallatin, and on the west, by Johnson county. Its greatest length from north to south is 36 miles, and it varies in width from 30 to 11 miles. Its area is about 576 square miles. The interior of the county is watered by Big Bay, Lusk's, Grand Pierre, and Big creek. It is generally well timbered with all the variety of trees that abound in the southern part of the state. The surface is generally level, except on the banks of the Ohio. The soil is mostly sandy, but yields good crops. This county was formed from Gallatin and Johnson in 1816, and contained in 1835 a population of 3,756.
The natural curiosity, called the Cave in Rock, is well known to all the navigators of the Ohio river: it is situated on the bank of the Ohio, where the dividing line between Pope and Gallatin counties strikes the river, about 30 miles below the mouth of the Wabash. It is a large cave, supposed by the Indians to be the habitation of the Great Spirit.
The following description of this cave is given by Thaddeus M. Harris, an English tourist, who visited it in the spring of 1803, - a writer who has done justice to the West in his descriptions generally. "For about three or four miles before you come to this place, you are presented with a scene truly romantic. On the Illinois side of the river, you see large ponderous rocks piled one upon another, of different colours, shapes, and sizes. Some appear to have gone through the hands of the most skilful artist; some represent the ruins of ancient edifices: others thrown promiscuously in and out of the river, as if nature intended to show us with what she could handle those mountains of solid rock. In some places you see purling streams winding their course down their rugged front; while in others, the rocks project so far, that they seem almost disposed to leave their doubtful situations. After a short relief from this scene, you come to a second, which is something similar to the first; and here, with strict scrutiny, you can discover the cave. Before its mouth stands a delightful grove of cypress trees, arranged immediately on the bank of the river. They have a fine appearance, and add much to the cheerfulness of the place.
"The mouth of the cave is but a few feet above the ordinary level of the river, and is formed by a semicircular arch of about 80 feet at its base, and 25 feet in height, the top projecting considerably over, forming a regular concave. From the entrance to the extremity, which is about 180 feet, it has a regular and gradual ascent. On either side is a solid bench of rock; the arch coming to a point about the middle of the cave, where you discover an opening sufficiently large to receive the body of a man, through which comes a small stream of fine water, made use of by those who visit this place. From this hold, a second cave is discovered, whose dimensions, form, etc., are not known. The rock is of limestone. The sides of the cave are covered with inscriptions, names of persons, dates, etc." The trees have been cut down, and the entrance into the cave exposed to view.
In 1797, this cave was the place of resort and security to Mason, a notorious robber, and his gang, who were accustomed to plunder and murder the crews of boats, while descending the Ohio. It still serves as a temporary abode for those wanting shelter in case of shipwreck, or other accidents, which frequently happed to emigrants. Families have been known to reside here for a considerable space of time. The rock is of limestone, abounding with shells.
Irish Settlement is on the Ohio river, about 15 miles above Golconda: it is on a rich alluvial soil, and contains about 100 families.
Lewis's Settlement is in the southern part of the county, above and opposite the mouth of Cumberland river. This is the oldest settlement in this part of the state, and contains 60 or 70 families.
Whitesides' Settlement is 12 miles west of Golconda, on Big Bay creek and the state road, and contains a population of 100 families.
Golconda, the country town, is situated on the west bank of the Ohio, at the mouth of Lusk's creek, about 80 miles above the mouth of the Ohio: it contains several stores, the county buildings, &c., and about 150 inhabitants.
Putnam County is situated on both sides of the Illinois river, the greater portion being on the western side of that stream. It is among the largest counties in the state, comprising an area of about 43 full townships, or 1,548 square miles, and is 45 miles in extent from north to south on the eastern boundary, and 42 on the western, and from east to west 36 miles. The county is bounded north by Ogle and Whiteside, south by Tazewell and Peoria, east by La Salle, and west by Henry and Knox counties.
The streams which water this county are the Illinois and its branches, Bureau, Crow, and Sandy creeks, &c.; also, the head-waters of Spoon river, which traverse the western border: these furnish many excellent mill-seats. Some of the finest lands in the state are in this county: they are beautiful groves of timber, and rich undulating and dry prairies; a few tracts of prairie are level and wet, and there are some small lakes and ponds, and some swamps, in the northern part.
The timber comprises most of the varieties common to this part of the state: besides oaks of several species, there are black and white walnut, sugar-maple, blue, white, and hoop ash, elm, cherry, aspen, iron-wood, buck-eye, linden, locust, mulberry, &c. Various mineral productions exist, and are found in sufficient quantities: the chief are limestone, sandstone, freestone, and bituminous coal.
The religious denominations in Putnam county are Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Congregationalists: there is a county Bible society, a temperance society, a county Sunday School Union, a number of Sunday Schools, a county lyceum, and several other philanthropic societies. The towns are Hennepin, the seat of justice, for the county, Princeton, Windsor, Providence, Floria, Henry, Dorchester, Wyoming, and Lacon.
Hennepin is situated in the great bend of the Illinois, on the east side of the river: it is about 50 miles above Peoria. Its site is an elevated prairie, the surface gently ascending from the river, with an excellent body of rich land adjacent: steamboats ascend to Hennepin, at a moderate stage of the water. This place was laid out in 1831, and now contains ten stores, four groceries, three taverns, three lawyers, four physicians, a Presbyterian and a Methodist congregation, a court-house and jail, a good school, and about 500 inhabitants.
Lacon, on the east side of the Illinois, 30 miles above Peoria, and 20 below Hennepin, is a thriving little town, built on the second bank of the river, and contains four stores, a large steam flouring and steam saw mill, and 150 inhabitants. The country in its vicinity, especially on the east side of the Illinois river, is well settled, and is a fine agricultural district, of which Lacon will be the place of business. There is in the vicinity of the town an abundance of fine timber, building-stone, and stone-coal. The state legislature recently passed acts for the location of three state roads to and through this place; two to connect with the ferry, and one running from north to south; - and also chartered the Lacon academy, and the Lacon manufacturing company.
Windsor is a small town of Bureau creek 10 miles west from Hennepin, and on the main state road from Peoria by Princeton to Galena. It has two stores, two groceries, one tavern, one lawyer, one physician, one minister of the gospel, and about 100 inhabitants. A grist and saw mill are in the vicinity.
The subjoined notice of Putnam county is from a late number of the Hennepin Journal:
"Almost every county in the state has had its topography and history published to the world, in some one or more of the public journals of the day; while to ours, which is one of the most important in the northern part of the state, there has been nothing said; and at a distance, there are few who have heard that there is such a county in the state as Putnam. And in order to obviate this, and let the readers of the Journal at a distance know something of this region, and its progress of improvement, we will attempt a brief account of the history and topography of Putnam county.
"Putnam county was organized in the year 1831, but did not increase rapidly in population until after the termination of the Black Hawk war in 1832 and '33. But after the conclusion of hostilities, and when security was restored to the settler, immigrants came in from every quarter of the union, and spread over the country in every direction like a flood, so that nearly every grove of timber soon found an inhabitant of a very different stamp from the native red man, who, but a short time since, was lord of the grove and the prairie, and who roamed over these fair plains unmolested, having none to dispute his right to the soil, or disturb him in his scenes of pleasure at his wigwam, and enjoyments of the chase.
"And every year since has added large numbers to the enterprizing population who first planted themselves around the beautiful groves of Putnam; and so rapid has been the increase, that not only immediately around the groves is the settler found, but the large prairies to a very considerable extent are studded over with houses and farms, presenting to the eye of the beholder a scene of singular beauty and grandeur. Putnam county now contains about 1,500 voters, and will in a short time, in point of population and political strength, vie with any county in the state, except the county of Sangamon. Putnam county is situated on both sides of the Illinois river, and composed of rich and beautiful undulating prairies, interspersed with fine groves of excellent timber, and abounding in bituminous coal of good quality, together with a sufficient supply of rock for building purposes, and is watered by a number of fine streams, possessing a large amount of hydraulic power, which on several of them is now pretty well improved, particularly on Bureau and Crow creeks.
"We have no hesitation in saying that Putnam county possesses agricultural and commercial advantages equal to those of any county in the state, and that it has as beautiful a surface and as rich a soil, with as good a supply of timber, as is found anywhere in the west. The land being dry and rolling, is pleasant and easy to cultivate, and yields to the industrious farmer an abundant reward for his labour, producing every thing incident to the climate in the greatest profusion, and with an ease to the cultivator that would appear almost incredible to the people of the states farther east, who are accustomed to a hard and sterile soil, when compared with ours.
"The inhabitants of this county are enterprizing and intelligent, having emigrated mainly from Ohio, New-York, and New England, and coming here with their accustomed habits of industry, they soon succeed in subduing these fertile prairies to a state of high cultivation. And such is the comparative ease with which land can be brought into cultivation, that the farmer will accomplish here in three years, what could not be attained in the timbered parts of Ohio and Indiana, with the same labour, in ten; which circumstance alone, when duly considered by him who is about to emigrate to the west to find a home, is an inducement amply sufficient to give a decided preference to a prairie country. And we would be glad to see the enterprizing citizens of the older states, particularly farmers and mechanics, coming in amongst us by hundred, and purchasing the rich prairie, and spreading over them their luxuriant fields of grain, and herds of cattle and sheep, which will soon reward them amply for the labour and difficulties attending the settlement of a new country. On account of the great pressure in the eastern states, we anticipate a heavy emigration to the west this season, and as we have an abundance of room, we will welcome those who may come, hoping that they will find a desirable home amongst us."
Randolph County is bounded north by Monroe, St. Clair, and Washington; east by Perry and Jackson, and west by Monroe county and the Mississippi river. Its greatest length is 29 miles, and greatest breadth 26; but it is rendered irregular by the curvatures of the Mississippi river, and contains an area of 520 square miles. This county is traversed by the Kaskaskia river and its branches, Horse, Nine-mile, and Plum creeks; also by St. Mary's and Gagnic creeks. At the mouth of the Kaskaskia commences the American Bottom, which extends along the banks of the Mississippi northwardly upwards of 80 miles. It is the most fertile tract of land in the state. Upon this the first settlements were made by the French of Canada. The villages still retain much of their antique appearance. Below the mouth of the Kaskaskia, the bank of the Mississippi is generally high and rocky, affording good sites for towns. In the interior of the county, the surface is frequently undulating, and sometimes hilly. Randolph is one of the oldest counties in Illinois, having been formed in 1795; and it contained in 1835 a population of 5,695 individuals.
In the north-western part of the county are the ruins of Fort Chartres, a large stone fortification, erected by the French while possession of Illinois. It is situated half a mile from Prairie du Rocher.
It was originally built by the French in 1720, to defend themselves against the Spaniards, who were then taking possession of the country on the Mississippi. It was rebuilt in 1756. The circumstances, character, form, and history of this fort, are interesting, as it is intimately connected with the early history of this country. Once it was a most formidable piece of masonry, the materials of which were brought three or four miles from the bluffs. It was originally an irregular quadrangle, the exterior sides of which were 490 feet in circumference. Within the walls were the commandant's and commissary's houses, a magazine for stores, barracks, powder-magazine, bake-house, guard-house, and prison.
This prodigious military work is now a heap of ruins. Many of the hewn stones have been removed by the people to Kaskaskia. A slough from the Mississippi approached and undermined the wall on one side in 1772. Over the whole fort is a considerable growth of trees, and most of its walls and buildings have fallen down, and lie in one promiscuous ruin.
Kaskaskia, the seat of justice, was formerly the seat of government of the territory of Illinois: it is situated on the right bank of the Kaskaskia river, seven miles above its junction with the Mississippi. The other towns are Prairie due Rocher, Chester, Liberty, and Columbus.
Prairie du Rocher is an ancient French village, in the north-west part of the county, on the American Bottom, near the rocky bluffs, from which it derives its name, and 14 miles north-west of Kaskaskia. It is in a low, unhealthy situation, along a small creek of the same name, which rises in the bluffs, passes across the American Bottom, and enters the Mississippi. The houses are built in the French style, the streets very narrow, and the inhabitants preserve more of the simplicity of character and habits peculiar to early times, than any village in Illinois. Prairie du Rocher in 1766 contained 14 families; the population at present is estimated at 35 families.
Chester, just below the mouth of the Kaskaskia river, on the bank of the Mississippi, is situated on an elevated strip of bottomland at the foot of the bluffs, and is a commercial depot for the country back. Exports by steamboats for 1836, $150,000; imports, $130,000. It has five stores, three groceries, one tavern, one physician, two ministers of the gospel, four warehouses, one steam saw and grist mill, one castor-oil factory, and 280 inhabitants.
Liberty is on the left bank of the Mississippi, about 10 miles below the mouth of the Kaskaskia river: it contains 150 inhabitants, has a steam, saw, and flouring mill, six stores, three groceries, two taverns, one minister of the gospel, and two physicians.
Columbus is near the Flat Prairie, in the north-east part of the county, 18 miles from Kaskaskia: it contains an academy and a congregation of Reformed Presbyterians or Covenanters, who have a resident minister and a respectable society.
Rock Island County is situated in the north-west part of the state, on both sides of Rock river, and is an irregularly shaped district, extending along the Mississippi, following the current of the stream, for upwards of 60 miles. It was organized from parts of Jo Daviess and Mercer counties in 1831, and contains an area of about 432 square miles. Its population in 1835 amounted to 616 individuals, but is now estimated at from 1,200 to 1,500.
The interior of the county is watered by Rock river, Cooperas creek, Lake creek, &c. The soil along the Mississippi for 25 miles is alluvion, somewhat sandy, and rich: in the interior of the county, there is much good land between the water-courses, with some bluffs, knobs, ravines, and sink holes. South of Rock river, a portion of the county is rather inferior, with some wet prairie and swamps. Rock Island, in the Mississippi river, and is three miles long, and from one half to one mile wide, with limestone rock for its base. Fort Armstrong is on its south end: on two sides, the rock is twenty feet in perpendicular height above the river, and forms the foundation wall of the fort. A portion of the island is cultivated.
The towns in the county are Stephenson, the seat of justice, Rock Island City, Milan, Rockport, and Port Byron.
Stephenson is situated on the Mississippi, opposite the lower end of Rock Island, two miles above the mouth of Rock river, and about 330 above St. Louis. It has 20 or 30 families, and several stores, at which a considerable amount of business is transacted. The fine situation of this place, its natural commercial advantages, and the rapidly increasing population of the fertile country around it on both sides of the Mississippi, will no doubt render it in a short time one of the most considerable towns in this section of Illinois.
Rock Island city is laid out on a magnificent scale, at the junction and in the forks between Rock river and the Mississippi. In connexion, a company has been chartered to cut a canal from the Mississippi, near the head of the upper rapids, across to Rock river, by which, it is said, an immense hydraulic power will be grained. The town site, as surveyed, extends over a large area, and includes Stephenson the seat of justice.
Milan (formerly known as M'Neal's Landing) is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi, 12 miles above Fort Armstrong, and 90 below Galena. The town has a fine steamboat landing, and contains two stores, two taverns, a new one building, and a good school-house in progress of erection. There are four saw-mills within a short distance, and twelve within ten miles.
The country in the vicinity is abundantly supplied with timber, limestone, and coal. There have been several boat-loads of coal taken from there this season to Galena, it being the nearest coal to that point yet discovered. The company who own this site obtained a charter at the last session of the legislature for a canal to run from Rock river to the Mississippi, terminating at this point, leaving Rock river at the head of the rapids, avoiding the only serious obstacle to the navigation of that stream by a canal of only four miles in length. This will open through Milan all the trade of the Pekatonica and Rock river country, which is one of the best agricultural districts in that state. The transportation of coal alone would make the stock of this canal good property, there being inexhaustible beds along the whole length of it. It is also surrounded with an excellent farming country, which is rapidly filling up with an enterprising population. Four colonies have settled back in Henry county; and this is their nearest point on the river, and the commissioners of some of them are interested in Milan.
Rockport and Port Byron are both situated on the left bank of the Mississippi river, and are small and recently settled places: the latter is in the north part of the county, about 25 miles above the mouth of Rock river, and the former about seven miles below that stream.
Sangamon County was formed from Bond and Madison counties, in 1821; and although considerably reduced from its original dimensions, is the largest and most populous in the state: it is 48 miles in extent from north to south, 42 miles from east to west on its southern, and upwards of 60 on its north boundary; containing an area about equal to sixty full townships, or 2,160 square miles. The county is bounded north by Tazewell and a small part of M'Lean, east by Macon, south by Montgomery and Macoupin, and west by Morgan and Cass counties.
The county of Sangamon, ever since its first settlement, has been justly esteemed the most desirable tract in the state, and it consequently has been settled with great rapidity. Previous to 1819, there was not a single white inhabitant on the waters of the Sangamon river: at the last census, the inhabitants numbered 17,573: they doubtless now amount to upwards of 20,000. The county is watered by the Sangamon and its tributaries: the chief of these are the south fork of Sangamon, Salt creek and its branches, Sugar and Kickapoo creeks: these all rise without the limits of the county. In addition, there are a number of small and beautiful streams which have their rise and course within the county; these empty into the Sangamon on both sides of the river, and furnish the inhabitants not only with excellent water, but with numerous valuable mill-seats, besides being lined with extensive tracts of first-rate timbered land.
The whole territory, watered by the Sangamon river and its branches, is an Arcadian region, in which nature has delighted to bring together her happiest combinations of landscape. With the exception of the creek bottoms, and the interior of the large prairies, it has a beautiful undulating surface, sufficient to drain the surface of surplus water, and to render it one of the finest agricultural districts in the United States. The prairies are not so extensive as to be incapable of settlement from want of lumber. The Sangamon itself is a fine boatable stream of the Illinois, entering it on the east side, 100 miles above the mouth of the Illinois. All the tributaries that enter this beautiful river have sandy and pebbly bottoms, and pure and transparent waters. There is in this district a happy proportion of timber and prairie lands: the soil is of great fertility, being a rich calcareous loam, from one to three feet deep, intermixed with fine sand. The climate is not very different from that of the central parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the latitude being about the same. The summer range for cattle is inexhaustible. The growth of forest trees is similar to that of the rich lands in the western country in general. The proportion of locust, black walnut, pecan, and other trees that indicate the richest soils, is very great. All who have visited this fine trace of country admire the beauty of the landscape which nature has here painted in primeval freshness. So delightful a region was early selected by immigrants from New England, New-York, and North Carolina: more than 200 families had settled themselves here before it was surveyed. It now constitutes several populous counties, inhabited by thriving farmers.
"Arcadian vales, with vine-hung bowers,
And grassy nooks, 'neath beechen shade,
Where dance the never-resting hours,
To music of the bright cascade;
Skies softly beautiful, and blue,
As Italy's, with stars as bright;
Flowers rich as morning's sun-rise hue,
And gorgeous as the gemm'd mid-night.
Land of the West! green Forest-Land,
Thus hath Creation's bounteous hand
Upon thine ample bosom flung
Charms such as were her gift when the gray world was young!"
The prairies frequently contain fine groves of timber, some of which, from their appearance, have received the names of Elk-heart Grove, Buffalo-heart Grove, &c. These groves are generally elevated above the surrounding prairie, and are most advantageous situations for settlement. The inhabitants chiefly reside on the margins of the timber, extending their plantations to an distance into the prairie. Besides the groves above-mentioned, there are Irish Grove, Spring Island Grove, Sugar Grove, &c.
Elk-heart Grove lies north of Sangamon river, and about 20 miles north-east from Springfield, in eighteen north, three west. It is a beautiful grove of timer, containing 600 or 700 acres, on the right hand of the great road leading to Peoria, Ottawa, and Chicago. The timber is oak, walnut, linden, hickory, sugar-tree, etc. The prairie adjoining is rich soil, rather wet, and furnishes fine summer and winter range for cattle. Several families are settled here.
Buffalo-heart Grove lies 14 miles north-east from Springfield, and six miles south-easterly from Elk-heart Grove, which it resembles. It is about three miles long, and one mile and a half wide, containing about four sections of timber, and 25 or 30 families. The rushes, which cover the prairies around, furnish winter food for cattle.
Irish Grove is on the road from Springfield to Peoria, 18 miles from the former place. It is two miles from Salt creek, and is three miles long, and one mile and a half wide, and contains a settlement of about 50 families. The land is good and the timber is chiefly oak of various kinds.
Spring Island Grove is from 14 to 20 miles west of Springfield, on the road to Jacksonville. It lies at the head of Spring creek, and is an excellent timbered tract, surrounded with rich prairie, from six to ten miles long, and from two to three miles wide, and has a flourishing settlement. Many excellent springs are found in this tract of country.
Sugar Grove, in the north part of the county, is about 20 miles north of Springfield. It is a fine tract of timber surrounded with fertile prairie, about three miles long, and one mile wide, with a respectable settlement.
On the head-waters of Richland creek is a fine settlement of 50 or 60 families, in township seventeen north, seven west, and fourteen miles north-west from Springfield. The land is high, dry, undulating, and rich. Here is an excellent flouring-mill by ox-power, and a carding machine and clothier's works, for dressing cloth.
The products of Sangamon county are beef, cattle, pork, wheat, flour, corn-meal, butter, cheese, &c.; and soon will include almost every article of a rich agricultural country. The principal part of the surplus produce is sent from Beardstown; but much of its imports will be received, and its exports sent off by its own river, which has already been navigated by stream to the vicinity of Springfield, and when some of its obstructions are removed, will afford convenient navigation for steamboats of the smaller class.
The county seat of Sangamon is Springfield, one of the most thriving towns in Illinois, and recently selected by the legislature as the permanent capital of the state after the year 1840. The other towns are, Huron, Petersburg, New Salem, Salisbury, Athens, Sangamon, Berlin, Auburn, Edinburg, Rochester, Mechanicsburg, George Town, Mount Pulaski, and Postville. Of these, after Springfield, the most important are Athens and Petersburg: the former is about fifteen miles west of north from Springfield, and two from the Sangamon river; it contains several stores, one steam-mill for sawing and flouring, and about 75 families. Petersburg, situated on a beautiful dry prairie on the west bank of the Sangamon river, and 22 miles from Springfield, contains seven stores and one grocery, a steam, saw, and grist mill, and 150 inhabitants. The river is navigable to this point for steamboats of 100 tons burthen, two such having already been navigated thus far. The natural advantages of Petersburg will no doubt make it in time a town of importance, and the place of export and import for Sangamon county. The first sale of lots took place in 1835, and these have in many cases been resold at an advance of from 100 to 600 per cent. New Salem, on the west side of the Sangamon, and 19 or 20 miles north-west from Springfield, has three or four stores, a grist and saw mill, and about 30 families.
It is proposed to erect a new county from the north-western part of Sangamon. This will contain about 15 full townships, or 540 square miles of surface, and will include within its boundaries 60 miles of the lower part of Sangamon river, with a part of Salt creek. It will be bounded north by Tazewell, south by part of Sangamon, and on the north-west by the north-east corner of Schuyler and the extreme south-east corner of Fulton county: from the two last it will be separated by the Illinois river. Its towns will be Huron, Petersburg, New Salem, and Athens, before noticed. No legislative action has yet taken place in relation to the above; but the great extent and rapidly increasing population of Sangamon county, will, no doubt, render a division of its territory necessary in a short time.
Schuyler County lies west of the Illinois river, which forms its eastern boundary, and separates it from Morgan and Cass counties; on the north are Fulton and M'Donough, on the south and on the west, Adams and Hancock counties. It extends from north to south 30 miles, and from east to west from 36 to 18; containing about 830 square miles. It is watered by the Illinois river, and by Crooked, M'Kee's, and Sugar creeks. Along the Illinois river is a considerable amount of land inundated at high floods, generally heavily timbered, which is the case with more than one-half the county. Along the Illinois river is a considerable amount of land inundated at high floods, generally heavily timbered, which is the case with more than one-half the county. The middle and northern portions are divided into timber and prairie of an excellent quality. Along Crooked creek is an extensive body of fine timber. Sugar creek also furnishes another body of timber, eight or ten miles wide. Rich mines of iron ore have lately been discovered on Crooked creek. The towns in this county are Rushville, Mount Sterling, Erie, La Grange, Brooklyn, and Schuyler.
The county seat is Rushville, which is situated on a beautiful prairie, ten miles from the Illinois river, and bout north-west from Beardstown.
Mount Sterling, 12 miles from the Illinois and 17 south-west from Rushville, is a thriving village of about 50 houses. It was laid off in the fall of 1833, but did not improve much until 1836: it now contains five stores, 3 taverns, a church, a school-house, a number of mechanics, and about 200 inhabitants. Coal of a good quality is found within one mile of the town.
Shelby County extends 36 miles from east to west, and 30 from north to south, containing 1,080 square miles; and lies north of Fayette and Effingham counties, south of Macon, east of Coles, and west of Montgomery and Sangamon counties. The population is now estimated at 6,500. It is watered by the Kaskaskia and its branches, also by the head streams of the south fork of the Sangamon and Little Wabash rivers. This county has a large amount of excellent land, both timber and prairie, with a good soil, and the surface moderately undulating.
Shelbyville, the County Town, is situated near the centre of the county, on an elevated site, on the west bank of the Kaskaskia river, 40 miles north-east of Vandalia, and about 60 south-east of Springfield. It contains several stores and groceries, and a population of about 250 inhabitants. The settlements around it are extensive, and the county fertile and productive.
St. Clair County is bounded north by Madison county, south by Randolph and Monroe, east by Clinton and Washington, and west by Monroe county and the Mississippi river. It is from 12 to 30 miles in length and the same in breadth, and contains an area of about 684 square miles. This county is watered by the Kaskaskia river, and Silver, Richland, and Cahokia creeks; on the west, it is washed by the Mississippi. The surface is generally undulating, and sometimes hilly. The soil is various; much of it is first-rate, and is proportionably divided into timber, prairie, and barrens. On the banks of the Mississippi, the low and fertile alluvion of the American Bottom extends through the country, parallel to the river. Extensive coal-banks exist along the bluffs, from which St. Louis is partially supplied with fuel. This is the oldest county in the state, and was formed by the legislature of the North-Western territory in 1794: it then included all the settlements on the eastern side of the Mississippi. Its inhabitants in 1835 amounted to 9,055.
Looking-Glass Prairie is a large, rich, beautiful, and undulating tract, lying between Silver and Sugar creeks, and on the eastern border of the county. It commences near the base line, in range six west, and extends northward about twenty miles into Madison county, and is from six to ten miles in width. Few prairies in state present more eligible situations for farms than this. Extensive settlements are on its borders, and project into its interior.
Ogle's Prairie, five miles north of Belleville, is about five miles long, and from one to two miles wide, surrounded, and partly covered, with a flourishing settlement and fine farms. It is a rich, rolling, and fertile tract.
Union Grove is on the borders of Looking-Glass Prairie, and on the east side of Silver creek. The land is excellent, and the settlement extensive. It is sometimes called, Padfield's Settlement.
Belleville, the seat of justice, is a neat and thriving village, situated on elevated ground, 13 miles south-east from St. Louis. The other towns are, Lebanon, Illinois Town, Cahokia, and Prairie du Pont.
Stephenson County extends along the northern boundary of the state and its length from east to west 27, and from north to south 21 miles in extent; containing an area of 567 square miles. It was formed in 1837 from Jo Daviess and Winnebago counties, and is bounded north by Wisconsin Territory, south by Jo Daviess and Ogle, east by Winnebago, and west by Jo Daviess county. It is traversed by the Pekatonica (a fine navigable water, of about 80 yards in width) and its branches on the north, and the heads of Plum creek and other small streams in the south-west. The surface of the county is mostly a rich and undulating prairie, with tracts of hilly barrens and oak openings. The population is estimated at from 400 to 500, and is rapidly increasing. Its county seat is not yet established.
Tazewell County is bounded on the north by Putnam, south by Sangamon, east by M'Lean, and west by Peoria and Fulton counties, from which it is separated by the Illinois river. Its extent from north to south is 48 miles; from east to west, on the southern boundary, 45, and on the northern, 10 miles. Area in square miles, about 1,220. Much of the soil is rich, with the surface undulating, in which prairie land predominates. On the bluffs of the Mackinaw and other streams, the land is broken, and the timber mostly oak. Tazewell is watered on the west by the Illinois river, and the creeks which flow into it; in the central and northern parts of the county, by the Mackinaw river and its branches; and on the south-east by Sugar creek, a tributary of the Sangamon river.
Tremont is the seat of justice, and is pleasantly situated in a beautiful prairie, almost half-way between Pekin and Mackinaw, ten miles from the Illinois river, and nearly in the centre of the county. It was laid off in 1835, and now contains several stores, about 70 houses, and upwards of 300 inhabitants. The other towns are Pekin, Wesley City, Havanna, Mackinaw, Dillon, Bloomingdale, Washington, Little Detroit, and Hanover.
Mackinaw, formerly the seat of justice of the county, is situated about eight miles east of Tremont. The situation is beautiful, and the scenery about the town highly picturesque. Mackinaw river, half a mile distant, furnishes a permanent and extensive water-power. The town contains about 100 inhabitants, and has five stores. The advantages which Mackinaw possesses have attracted the attention of speculators to this place, and large investments have been made in the town and its vicinity. The excellent and well-settled country around, the eligibility of the site, its important position on the great chain of internal improvements, - and, above all, its valuable water-power, so much needed in this section of the state, - must ultimately render this town a place of importance.
Havanna is on the Illinois, opposite the mouth of Spoon river. It has an eligible situation on a high sand ridge, fifty feet above the highest floods of the river, and is well situated to receive the trade of a pretty extensive country on both sides of the Illinois, it being on the great thoroughfare from Indiana, by Danville and Springfield, to the counties that lie to the west and north.
Washington is a handsome village in township twenty-six north, three west, and 14 miles north of Tremont. It is situated on the south side of Holland's Grove, on the border of a delightful prairie, and contains five stores, two groceries, four physicians, various mechanics, a steam saw-mill, and about 300 inhabitants.
Union County is situated in the southern part of the state, and is bounded north by the counties of Jackson and Franklin, east by Jackson, south by Alexander, and west by the Mississippi river. Its greatest length is 24 miles, and its breadth 18; area, 396 square miles. This county is washed on the west by the Mississippi river; the interior is watered by Big Muddy river, Clear creek, and the sources of Cash river. Much of this county is high rolling timber land - the soil is mostly second and third rate, with some rich and fertile alluvial bottom. It was formed from Johnson in 1818, and in 1835 contained 4,146 inhabitants.
The Grand Tower is a perpendicular sand rock, rising from the bed of the Mississippi in the north-west corner of the county, and a short distance above the mouth of the Big Muddy river. The top is level, seventy or eighty feet high, and supports a stratum of soil on which are found a few stunted cedars and shrubs. Here are indications that a barrier of rock once extended across the Mississippi, and formed a great cataract. The bed of the river, at a low stage of water, still exhibits a chain of sunken rocks. The "Devil's Oven," "Tea Table," "Back Bone," &c., are names given by boatmen of the Mississippi to the singularly formed, abrupt, and romantic precipices that line the banks of that river in the vicinity of the Grand Tower.
Evan's Settlement is on the north side, and near the head of Cash river, and on the eastern border of the county. It has about forty families. Ridge Settlement lies on the road to Brownsville, and extends into Jackson county. It is a high, hilly, timbered tract of good land, well watered, and has from one hundred families. The surface of the land is rolling, and the soil good.
Jonesborough, the seat of justice, is situated in a high, rolling tract of country, nine miles from the Mississippi river. The surrounding country is undulating and healthful, containing several good settlements. It contains the county buildings, several stores, &c., and about one hundred and twenty inhabitants.
Vermillion County lies in the eastern part of the state, and adjoining the neighbouring state of Indiana. It is situated north of Edgar, south of Iroquois, east of Champaign county, and west of the state of Indiana. Its extent from north to south is 42 miles, and from east to west 24; area, 1,008 square miles. The Big Vermillion river, with its North, Middle and Saline Forks, and Little Vermillion river, water the county. There are large bodies of excellent timber along the streams, and rich prairies between them, the surface of which is undulating and dry, and the soil rich prairies between them, the surface of which is undulating and dry, and the soil rich, deep, and calcareous. Large amounts of the agricultural produce common to Illinois are exported to the towns on the Wabash, and thence to New-Orleans. Salt, manufactured at the salt-works on the Saline fork of Big Vermillion, and six miles west of Danville, is also exported to the adjacent districts.
This county was organized in 1826, and in 1835 numbered 8,103 inhabitants. Between this county and Iroquois on the east, and M'Lean on the west, and north of Champaign, extends a strip of territory mostly 18 miles wide and 48 in length, and comprising an area of 780 square miles, which has not yet received any distinctive appellation, but is at present attached to Vermillion county: it is nearly all prairie, some of it wet and marshy, containing the ponds and swamps giving rise to the Vermillion river of Illinois, the north fork of Sangamon, the middle fork of Saline river, and others. It is but thinly settled, and will probably remain so for some time to come.
Danville, the county seat of Vermillion, is situated on the left bank of the Big Vermillion river, on a dry, sandy, and elevated surface, surrounded with heavy timber on the east, north, and west, but open to the prairie on the south. The country around is populous, and the land rich. It contains a number of stores and groceries, several professional men, various mechanics, and the land-office for the Danville Land District; together with Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches, and about 350 inhabitants. It is a thriving town, and, on the completion of the Wabash and Mississippi rail-road, which will pass through it, will no doubt receive a great accession of business and population.
The other towns in Vermillion county are all small, having been but lately settled: they are George Town, Chillicothe, Greenville, Shepherds Town, and Salem.
Wabash County, the smallest in Illinois, is situated in the south-eastern section of the state, on the Wabash river. It was formed from Edwards in 1824, and lies south of Lawrence, east of Edwards county, and west of the state of Indiana. Its greatest length is about 22 miles, and breadth from 10 to 18 miles; area, about 180 square miles. This county is watered by the Wabash river of its eastern, and Bon Pas creek on its western border, and several small creeks in the central parts. It contains a considerable amount of good land, both timber and prairie, and a full proportion of industrious and thriving farmers. The inhabitants, in 1835, amounted to 3,010.
Long Prairie settlement is 13 miles north-west from Mount Carmel. The land is undulating, and the soil second-rate. The Timbered Settlement includes the north-east quarter of the county, and is ten miles from Mount Carmel. It contains 60 or 70 families. The timber is excellent.
The county seat, Mount Carmel, is situated on the west bank of the Wabash river, a short distance below the Grand Rapids, and nearly opposite to the mouths of the White and Patoka rivers of Indiana. It is 109 miles south-west from Vandalia, and 716 from Washington City.
Selma, adjoining Mount Carmel, is a new town, lately laid out. A number of lots have been sold, and some improvements have taken place.
Warren County is in the western part of the Military Bounty Tract. It lies on the Mississippi river, north of Hancock and M'Donough counties, south of Mercer, east of Knox and Schuyler, west of Des Moines and Louisa counties, Wisconsin Territory. It is from 36 to 26 miles in extent from east to west, and 30 from north to south; and contains about 900 square miles.
The county was formed from Pike in 1825, and in 1835 contained 2,623 inhabitants. It has a large amount of first-rate land, both prairie and timbered: the latter is supposed to comprise about one-fifth of the whole, and is generally well distributed. The most extensive forests are found on the Mississippi, and on Henderson river; but timber exists more or less on all the streams in the county. Much of the bottom-land that lies on the Mississippi is low, subject to inundation, and has a series of sand ridges back of it, with bold and pointed bluffs further in the rear.
The streams which water the interior of the county are Henderson river and its branches, also Ellison, Honey, and Camp creeks, which flow into the Mississippi and the South and Cedar forks of Spoon river. Limestone exists in great abundance, and extensive beds of good stone-coal have been found in the eastern parts of the county. About five miles north-west from Monmouth, there has been discovered, and worked to some extent, a quarry of freestone, which is susceptible of a handsome polish, and answers well for the sills of doors and windows, tombstones, &c. Two or three grindstone quarries have been discovered, and are now all successfully worked.
Monmouth, the seat of justice, is situated in the prairie, two and a half miles south of Cedar fork on Henderson's river. It was laid off in 1831, but advanced so slowly that until 1835 only seven buildings had been erected. It now contains 80 houses, and about 400 inhabitants. The land in the vicinity is very fertile and produces abundantly all the staples of this region.
The other towns are Oquawka or Yellow Banks, Benton, and Shokokon, all on the Mississippi; Little York, Savannah, Bowling Green, Greenfield, Geneva, New Lancaster, and Olean.
Oquawka, or Yellow Banks, is a town recently settled. It is situated on the Mississippi river, about midway between the Des Moines and Rock Island Rapids, and is the principal depot for freight between those points. The town is laid out in two sections, on an extensive scale. The soil is sandy; and the surface, gently undulating, is sparsely covered with a stinted growth of oaks, extending to the bluff, two miles back. Henderson river, a fine stream for milling purposes, passes along the foot of these, and is crossed by a neat and substantial bridge. There are two large ware-houses in the town, one stone, one grocery, two taverns, and several dwelling-houses. There is a good flouring and saw-mill about two miles distant; and a steam-mill is about to be erected.
The site of this place was sold by the original to the present proprietor for 200 dollars, by whom a fourth part of it was transferred last autumn to an enterprizing land dealer for 24,000 dollars, who has since realized from the sale of individual lots the full amount paid for the whole, and yet has parted with only a small part of his purchase. The lots sold a year ago have in many cases changed hands at an advance of one hundred per cent. The proprietors of the town purpose making a rail-road from hence to Peoria, on the Illinois river. By far the greater portion of this distance is over a nearly level prairie, admitting of the contemplated construction at a very moderate expense.
Washington County is situated between Clinton county on the north, Perry and Randolph on the south, Jefferson on the east, and St. Clair on the west. It forms a parallelogram of 30 miles in length and 18 in breadth, with an area of 560 square miles. This county is watered by the Kaskaskia river (which traverses its extreme north-west quarter), and its tributaries Crooked, Elkhorn, and Mud creeks; also by Beaucoup and Muddy creeks, which flow into Big Muddy river. The banks of all these streams are generally well timbered; but in the interior the prairies are extensive, and sometimes sterile. The surface is generally level, and the soil mostly second-rate. Some of the southern points of the Grand Prairie pass through the north-east corner of the county. It was organized in 1818, and in 1835 contained 3,292 inhabitants.
Nashville, the seat of justice, is a pleasant village, 48 miles nearly south-east from St. Louis, and on the main road to Shawneetown. It is situated on a beautiful and elevated prairie, near the head of Little Crooked creek, two and a half miles south-east from the centre of the county. It has several stores and mechanics, a steam-mill, and a population of from 100 to 120.
The Grant Point settlement is on a creek about six miles north-east from Nashville, and contains about 20 families. The creek runs north, and enters Crooked creek.
Wayne County forms a square of 24 miles each way, and contains an area of 576 square miles. On the north it is bounded by Clay county, south by Hamilton and White, east by Edwards, and west by Jefferson and Marion. The streams which water this county are Elm creek and Skillet Fork, both tributaries of the Little Wabash river. It is handsomely interspersed with woodland and prairie, and contains several saline springs. The soil is mostly second-rate. This county was organized from Edwards in 1819, and contained in 1835 a population of 2,939 individuals.
Hargrave's Settlement is on the Prairie adjoining Fairfield, which is about seven miles long and two wide; rolling, and thin soil. Population about 100 families.
Herrington's Settlement, about eleven miles north-west from Fairfield, is on Herrington's Prairie, which is eight miles long and from two to four miles wide; surface rolling, soil second-rate; population about 50 families.
Hickory Hill Settlement is 18 miles west from Fairfield, and on the west side of the Skillet Fork. The land is a mixture of timber and prairie, soil second quality, and a population of about 50 families.
Indian Prairie lies ten miles north-westerly from Fairfield; surface level, soil of an inferior quality, with a scattering settlement of 15 or 20 families.
Martin's Creek Settlement is situated on a creek of the same name, five miles north of Fairfield. The settlement consists of 50 or 60 families. The creek is a branch of Elm river.
Fairfield, the seat of justice of Wayne county, is on the border of Hargrave's Prairie, 69 miles south-east from Vandalia, and 36 west from Mount Carmel. It contains several stores, a handsome court-house, and about 160 inhabitants.
White County is situated in the south-eastern part of the state. It extends from east to west from 27 to 22 miles, and from north to south 23 ½ miles; containing a superficies of about 476 square miles. It is bounded north by Edwards and Wayne counties, south by Gallatin, east by the Wabash river, which separates it from the state of Indiana, and west by Hamilton county. The Wabash river washes the eastern boundary of this county, and the interior is watered by the Little Wabash and its tributaries. The banks of all these are generally well timbered; in the interior are many prairies, most of which are now well cultivated. A large amount of agricultural produce is annually exported from this and the adjoining counties to the southern parts of the Mississippi valley. White county was organized from Gallatin in 1815, and in 1835 contained 6,489 inhabitants.
In the north-eastern part of the county is a bayou called Fox River that puts out from the Big Wabash, runs a few miles, and again enters that river. The late Morris Birkbeck, Esq., known as one of the English emigrants to Edwards county, and author of "Letters from Illinois," was unfortunately drowned in attempting to swim this stream on horseback.
The county seat, Carmi, is situated nearly in the centre of the county, on the west bank of the Little Wabash river, about 20 miles about its mouth, and 80 miles south-east from Vandalia. It is surrounded by land of a good quality, and is a flourishing village, containing several stores, &c., a neat court-house, and about 250 inhabitants.
Whiteside County was formed from Jo Daviess in 1836, and lies south of that county, north of Henry, west of Ogle, and east of Rock Island county and the Mississippi river. It extends from north to south 24 miles, and from east to west from 27 to 36 miles; containing an area of about 712 square miles. It is watered by Rock river, which passes through it from north-east to south-west, Little rock river, Wood creek, &c. It has some tracts of heavy timber along Rock river and Little Rock, besides groves, copses, and bushy swamps. Some of its prairie land is flat, while other portions are beautifully undulating and rich.
One mile below Albany, the Marais de Ogee, or the Meridosia, puts into the Mississippi, or rather, as is the fact at present, the Mississippi runs through the Meridosia into Rock river. The Meridosia is a portion of bottom-land, from five rods to five miles in width, running from the Mississippi to Rock river in a direction nearly south, with a deep channel some part of the way. To the east of it, the bluff is covered with beautiful groves. The country in the vicinity of Albany, and along Rock river, is well known as being unsurpassed. Indeed, the whole country, except the swamps, is destined to support a dense population. Two years since, it was not known, and there were but a few individuals within its present boundary: now, it is estimated to contain a population of 1,500 persons, a large majority of whom have been here but a few months.
The towns, or rather villages, in this county, have been only recently laid off, and are hardly yet settled. They are Illinois City on Little Rock river, and Van Buren and Albany, both on the Mississippi. Albany was laid out last October, on the Great Eastern Bend of the Mississippi, thirty-five miles from Stephenson, and sixty from Galena. The town site, and the county in the immediate vicinity, are highly picturesque and beautiful, in some parts quite romantic. The landing is good, the water increasing in depth from the shore as half to one, until it is from twelve to twenty-five feet. From the river the ground rises at an angle of some twenty to thirty degrees, until it reaches the height of the surrounding country. One hundred and thirty-three blocks of lots have been laid off. Thirteen streets, in width from 66 to 100 feet, run at nearly right angles from the river. Liberal reserves are made for public benefit, for churches, and schools. There are now built and building some fifteen dwelling-houses, stores, &c., and twice that number under contract. A steam saw-mill, now erecting, will soon be completed, which will much facilitate building.
Will County is situated in the north-eastern part of the state, and is bounded north by Cook, south by Iroquois, and west by La Salle county; on the east it has Lake and Newton counties, Indiana, from which it is separated by the eastern boundary of the state. It is in length from north to south on the western side 42, on the east 30 miles, and varies in breadth from east to west from 12 to 38 miles; and containing an area of 1,320 square miles. It was formed in 1836, and is estimated to contain 3,500 inhabitants.
The streams which water this county are the Kankakee and its tributaries, also the Des Plaines and Du Page, together with some branches of the Calumet river and Mason creek. Much of the land is of first-rate quality: there are prairies of considerable extent, and a good deal of timber in many parts, lying chiefly in groves, and along the banks of the rivers and creeks. The Illinois and Michigan canal will pass through the county in a south-westerly direction along the valley of, and parallel to, the Des Plaines river.
In the north-west part of the county, on the west bank of the Des Plaines river, and about 16 miles above its junction with the Kankakee, is Mount Joliet. It is in the midst of a large plain, covered in summer with short, thin grass, and which bears striking marks of having been once inundated. Its size is variously estimated. Beck, in his Gazetteer, states, "It is three or four hundred yards in length, north and south, and two or three hundred in breadth, east and west, and is in the form of a pyramid." Several gentlemen, who have passed this mound without stopping particularly to measure it, have estimated its length one mile, its breadth, at the base, half a mile, and its height one hundred and fifty feet. It appears to be an immense pile of sand and pebbles, similar to the sand ridges along the Illinois river. This name was given by the companions of Joliet, who visited this county in 1673.
About two miles below Mount Juliet, and on the same side of the river, there is a similar elevation called Mount Flathead. It extends near two miles in length; the north end is rounded - the south end irregularly shaped - its contents sand, gravel, and coarse pebbles, worn smooth by water frictions.
The towns in Will county are all of recent origin, and mostly small: they are, Juliet, the seat of justice, Plainfield, Lockport, Winchester, Lancaster, &c.
Plainfield is in the north-west part of the county, about nine miles from Juliet, and on the direct mail road, nearly half-way between Chicago and Ottawa. It is beautifully situated on the east side of the Du Page river, on a fine and undulating prairie, and contains about 400 inhabitants. It has two stores, two taverns, several mechanical trades, a Methodist and a Baptist congregation.
Lockport is a town site lately laid off on the Illinois and Michigan canal, at the termination of the lake level, thirty-four and a half miles from Chicago. Here will be two locks established, each of ten feet lift, which will give twenty feet fall for the immense quantity of surplus water that can be brought from Lake Michigan, equal to 10,000 cubic feet every minute, after supplying the canal, and making full allowance for leakage, evaporation, &c., enough to drive 234 pairs of millstones, four and a half feet diameter. A large town, and extensive manufacturing operations, will doubtless arise here, as soon as the canal is completed. Near this place, the Des Plaines river has fifteen feet fall. Adjoining to Lockport, the town of East Lockport has been lately laid off.
Winchester is on the right bank of the Kankakee river, about nine miles from its mouth, and eighteen nearly south from Juliet. It is at the junction of Fork creek with the Kankakee, and is a lately settle town, containing only a few houses, a store, a tavern, two saw-mills, &c. Yankee Settlement is in the north-east part of the county, from six to eight miles north-east from Joliet. It is in a rich undulating prairie, and contains a considerable population of thriving and industrious New England farmers. Emmettsburg is on the left bank of the Des Plaines river, and on the line of the Illinois and Michigan canal, a few miles south of Juliet. It is a settlement inhabited by Irish and German Roman Catholics.
Winnebago County is one of the most northern counties of Illinois, lying immediately south of the state line. It is bounded north by Rock and Iowa counties of Wisconsin Territory, south by Ogle, east by Boone, and west by Stephenson county. It extends from east to west 24, and from north to south 21 miles, containing an area of 504 square miles. It was formed from Jo Daviess and the attached portion of La Salle county, in January 1836; from which parts of Stephenson and Boone counties have since been detached.
The county extends on both sides of Rock river, which traverses it nearly from north to south, and furnishes an immense water-power, especially at the rapids, where the town of Rockford, or Midway, is laid off: here there are mills, store-houses, and dwellings erecting. The other streams are the Pekatonica or the Peekatonokee and its branches, which also abound in good mill-seats. The lands granted to the Polish emigrants by Congress are situated in this county. There is much excellent land here: the timer is in groves and detached portions, and the prairies undulating and abundantly rich. This, in common with all the northern counties, is filling up rapidly with an industrious and enterprizing population. The inhabitants of Winnebago county are estimated at from 1,200 to 1,500.
Its seat of justice is not yet established, but will probably be fixed at the town of Winnebago, just laid out. This town is on the west bank of Rock River, on a beautiful, high, and dry prairie, about half-way between Galena and Chicago. The river is navigable to this place for steamboats, and a free ferry is established. Some buildings are now in progress of erection.
In addition to the foregoing counties, noticed in alphabetical order, provision was conditionally made by law, at the last session of the state legislature, for the organization of several new counties, provided that, at an election to be held subsequently, a majority of the votes of the people belonging to the counties from which they were detached should be given in favour of such formation. The proposed new counties are Bureau, Coffee, De Kalb, and Michigan.
Bureau County, to be formed from the northern part of Putnam county, will be bounded north by Whiteside and Ogle, south by Putnam and Coffee, east by La Salle, and west by Henry county. The streams which traverse this district are the head branches of Spoon river, and Bureau and Little Bureau creeks: these are all beautiful clear streams, and furnish excellent mill-seats. It contains fine tracts of land, beautiful groves of timber, and rich, undulating, and dry prairies. There are several considerable settlements in this region of country, inhabited by industrious and thriving and farmers.
The county seat will probably be at Princeton: this place is about ten miles north-west from Hennepin, the seat of justice of Putnam county: it was located by colonists from Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1833; contains a post-office of the same name, and is in the heart of the Bureau Settlement, which is in a flourishing condition, and surrounded by a considerable body of rich and fertile land.
Coffee County will be formed from Putnam, Knox, and Henry counties, chiefly from the former: it will be bounded north by Bureau and Henry, south by Peoria, east of Putnam, and west by Henry county. This district consists chiefly of beautiful rolling prairies, which contain a great amount of excellent land, with much valuable timber, scattered in groves and along the banks of the larger streams. It is watered by the main and western branches of the Spoon river, and their tributaries.
The towns, which are both quite recent and small, are La Fayette and Wyoming: the latter, situated on the east bank of Spoon river, will probably be the seat of justice. It is about 35 miles north-north-west from Peoria, on the road from that place to the mouth of Rock river.
De Kalb will contain the western part of Kane county. This tract is mostly a fine undulating prairie country, with a rich soil, and but sparingly wooded. The timber is chiefly in groves and scattered portions of oak openings; resembling that of the adjacent counties, of which oaks of various kinds, sugar-maple, Walnut, white and black, hickory and ash of different species, are the principal varieties. The streams all furnish excellent mill-seats, and in some of them saw and flouring mills are already built. They are Rock, Somonauk and Indian creeks, all branches of Fox river, and the southern tributaries of Sycamore or Kishwaukee creek, which runs into Rock river. The county will be bounded by Boone on the north, and La Salle on the south, Kane east, and Ogle west.
Michigan County, to be formed from the western part of Cook, will be situated north of Will, south of M'Henry, east of Kane, and west of Cook counties. The rivers which run through this district are the Des Planes and its branches on the east side, and the Du Page on the west. It is a fine region of country, in which the streams are perennial, and the soil rich and covered with luxuriant herbage. The surface is tolerably level, with large prairies, and the timber in groves scattered through them and along the banks of the streams.
The towns in this district are small, and of recent formation: they are, Napiersville, Warrenton, and Lyons. The first-named place is situated about 24 miles west-south-west from Chicago, and contains about 250 inhabitants, four stores, a saw and grist mill, and a school. The country around is dry, with an undulating surface and rich soil. Warrenton is four miles north of Napiersville. Lyons is on the Des Plaines river, about twelve miles north-west from Chicago: it contains a tavern, saw-mill, and a few dwelling-houses.
SKETCHES OF THE CITIES AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
The City of Alton is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, two miles above the Missouri, 18 miles below the Illinois river, and about 1,200 from New Orleans. This place was laid out in 1818, but it is only within the last three or four years that public attention has been turned to it as an emporium of trade.
Up to the year 1832, it contained only two or three dozens houses and a steam-mill: in that year the State Penitentiary was erected here. The population is now estimated at 2,500, and the number of houses is 300. Since the spirit of improvement began, it has met with nothing to retard it: but employment has been given to every building mechanic that could be procured. A large proportion of the buildings are the most substantial kind - massive stone ware-houses. Many of the private residences are of finely wrought stone or brick, and highly ornamental, though the larger portion of both business and dwelling-houses are temporary frames of one story. The streets are generally 40 and 60 feet wide, and State street (the principal one running at right angles from the river) is 80. The rates of buildings are as high, probably, as in any part of the union; yet rents are much higher in proportion; every houses bringing from 15 to 30 per cent upon its cost, including the price of the lot.
The following enumeration will give some idea of the business of the place: There are 20 wholesale stores, one of which imports directly from Europe, besides 32 retail stores, some of which sell also at wholesale. The various branches of the mechanic arts are also carried on, though the greater portion of the articles used is brought from abroad. There are here eight attorneys, seven physicians, and eight clergymen, attached to the following denominations, viz: three Protestant Methodist, two Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Episcopal, and one Episcopal Methodist. These have a church for each denomination, some of which, in their appearance, would do credit to the oldest towns in the west. There are four hotels, and two other building; one of which, of stone, will be 60 feet by 175. Besides there, there are nine boarding-houses, all of which are crowded with sojourners, either temporary or permanent. The public institutions are a bank (branch of the State Bank of Illinois), insurance office, lyceum, Masonic lodge, lodge of independent odd fellows, and two schools. The lyceum attracts the greater portion of the young men of the town, who engage in the public discussion of questions, and hear lecturers from gentlemen of science, who are also its members.
There are two temperance societies, one of the total abstinence plan, which is the most popular, and is daily becoming more so. There are four newspapers, viz: The Alton Spectator, Alton Telegraph, Alton Observer, Temperance Herald.
The legislature of Illinois have memorialized Congress repeatedly to have the great national road, now constructing through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, cross the Mississippi at this place; and sanguine hopes are entertained that the wishes of Illinois in this particular will be duly regarded.
Building mechanics of all kinds are constantly wanted. The following wages are paid: bricklayers, 2.50 to 3 dollars per day; stone-masons, 2 to 2.50; labourers, 1.50. Where the men are boarded by the employer, a deduction of 50 cents per day is made from these rates. Board at the hotels is 3 to 4 dollars per week, without lodging; for lodging, 1 to 1.50 additional: at the boarding-houses, 2.50 to 3, lodging included. Brick at the kiln sell for 7 to 9 dollars per 1,000; pine boards, 25 to 40 per 1,000 (they are brought from the Ohio river); wood for fuel, $3 per cord; coal, 20 cents per bushel. The latter is obtained from the hills, one mile in the rear of the town; and both wood and coal can be got for very little more than the cost of cutting, digging, and hauling. The comparatively high price at which both sell, will furnish another evidence of the high prices of labour, and assure eastern labourers, who are working at this season of the year for 40 cents a day, that here they may soon realize a little fortune.
The city is surrounded for several miles in extent with one of the finest bodies of timber in the state, from which vast quantities of lumber may be produced. Bituminous coal exists in great abundance at only a short distance from the town. Inexhaustible beds of limestone for building purposes, and easily quarried, are within its precincts. A species of freestone, easily dressed, and used for monuments and architectural purposes, and that peculiar species of lime, used for water cement, are found in great abundance in the vicinity. The corporate bounds extend two miles along the river, and half a mile back. The city plat is laid out by the proprietors upon a liberal scale. There are five squares reserved for public purposes; and a large reservation is made on the river for a public landing and promenade.
The prices of lots in Alton depend upon their location. Best business stands command 400 dollars a front foot; lots more retired, for private dwellings, from 100 to 50, and 25. Stores rent from 1,500 to 400; dwelling-houses, from 600 to 200. Some of the stores do a very large business, their transactions amounting to half a million dollars a year: others sell to the amount of 200,000 dollars. Clerks and professional men only are not wanted. Of all these, there seems to be no scarcity in any part of the west.
Eight steamboats are owned here in whole or in part, and some of them are heavily freighted at such departure with the exports of the town alone. These exports must increase as the back country continues to fill up. To add to its resources, two rail-roads will shortly be made, one leading to Springfield, 70 miles, the stock of which has been subscribed; the other leading to Mount Carmel, on the Wabash, the stock of which has been taken in part. Land, five miles back of the town, sells at from 10 to 40 dollars per acre, according to the improvements. At a greater distance, it is much cheaper, and settling rapidly. The productions are wheat, corn, beef, port, horses, and cattle. Real estate has risen in Alton more than 1,000 per cent within two years. The inhabitants are principally from New York and New England; and this may be said of all the business men, with two or three exceptions. Next to these in number, are Virginians. The natural surface of much of the town site of Alton is broken by bluffs and ravines; but the enterprise of its citizens and the corporation is fast removing these inconveniences, by grading down its hills, and filling up its ravines. A contract of 60,000 dollars has recently been entered upon to construct a culvert over the Little Piasau creek that passes through the center of the town, over which will soon be built one of the most capacious and pleasant streets. Since its settlement, the citizens of Alton have enjoyed as good health as those of any river town in the west.
The market is well supplied with provisions from the back country; prices, those of St. Louis. The meats and vegetables are excellent, and cultivated fruit is pretty abundant. The wild fruits are plums, crab-apples, persimmons, pawpaws, hickory nuts, and pecons. Wild game is also abundant, viz: deer, pheasants, prairie hens, partridges, with the various kinds of water-fowl. The fish are cat, perch, and buffalo.
Such is a hasty view of Alton as it now is. Its rapid growth is evidence of what enterprise can effect in contending against Nature herself. Scarcely a town site could have been selected on the Mississippi originally more unpromising in its appearance; and yet in five years, probably, it will attract the admiration of every beholder. Already the "little hills have fallen on every side;" the valleys have been raised; and within the time mentioned, the city will present to the spectator from the river the idea of a vast amphitheatre, the streets ranging above each other in exact uniformity, while from each mountain top in the distance will glitter the abodes of wealth and independence. The foundations of its prosperity are laid on the broad basis of public morals and Christian benevolence. Its churches are its most prominent and costly edifices, and claim the tribute of praise from every beholder.
'These temples of His grace, How beautiful they stand !
The honours of our native place, And bulwarks of our land.'
No people cherish the sentiment conveyed in these lines more than do those of Alton: not a town in the Union, of its population, has been so liberal in its contributions to every measure of Christian benevolence. The amount subscribed the present year probably exceeds 10,000 dollars; one item in which is the subscription, by two gentlemen, of 1,000 dollars each, to employ a temperance lecturer for this portion of the state. In addition to this, one of the same gentlemen has given 10,000 dollars towards the erection and endowment of a female seminary at Monticello, five miles north of the town, to the superintendence of which a most accomplished lady has been called from the celebrated institute at Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Beardstown, the seat of justice for Cass county, is situated on the east bank of the Illinois, and about 90 miles from the mouth of the river. It is one of the chief places of import and export on that stream, and is at the head of navigation for the largest class of New-Orleans steamboats. It is never overflowed, and the landing is excellent.
The town, which was laid off in 1829, and then contained but one log cabin, has now 200 dwelling-houses, frame and brick, and a population estimated at 1,000. It has thirteen stores, eight groceries, one drug-shop, two tanneries, two forwarding houses, two steam flouring-mills, one distillery, one brewery, and three pork establishments. Of master mechanics there are four house-carpenters, one cabinet maker, two blacksmiths, one silversmith, three tailors, one baker, one turner, one bricklayer, stonemason and plasterer, one wagon maker, one shoemaker, three coopers, and one barber. It has one church only, which is occupied by the Methodists, though there is sometimes Presbyterian worship in town. There is an insurance company here. A fair proportion of the houses are two stories high, and all, with three exceptions, are frame, mostly painted white; - the exceptions are those of brick. The streets are 80 and 60 feet wide.
The exports are considerable, and consist of corn, pork, hides, and whiskey. Flour was exported a few years ago; but is now as high here as at New-Orleans, all that can be made being required for home consumption. The chief article of export is pork, of which, in the winter of 1835-6, 12,000 head were put up; in the succeeding winter (the last), 15,000. Two hundred were frequently slaughtered in a day. Corn, about seven years ago, sold generally at 12 ½ cents per bushel; the price now is 30 cents.
The navigation of the river is obstructed by ice, from one to two and a half months in winter. During the last season, the suspension continued the latter period. The last boat left, Dec. 5th; the first arrived, Feb. 21st. The departures and arrivals of steamboats in the year 1836 amount to 450. The prices of freight from St. Louis and Alton vary from 25 to 75 cents per 100 lbs., according to the state of navigation.
Of the inhabitants, the much greater portion are males. From its situation on the Illinois river, and very nearly in the center of the state, families collect here in the winter and remain till the spring, when they scatter throughout the country. As a winter residence it is very agreeable, the soil being sandy, and of course never muddy; but in the summer and fall, the fever and ague prevails to some extent. Since 1834, however, the health of the place has improved considerably. The inhabitants are from all the states in the union.
The following enumeration will give some idea of the business of the place: There are 20 wholesale stores, one of which imports directly from Europe, besides 32 retail stores, some of which sell also at wholesale. The various branches of the mechanic arts are also carried on, though the greater portion of the articles used is brought from abroad. There are here eight attorneys, seven physicians, and eight clergymen, attached to the following denominations, viz.: three Protestant Methodist, two Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Episcopal, and one Episcopal Methodist. These have a church for each denomination, some of which, in their appearance, would do credit to the oldest towns in the west. There are four hotels, and two others building; one of which, of stone, will be 60 feet by 175. Besides these, there are nine boarding-houses, all of which are crowded with sojourners, either temporary or permanent. The public institutions are a bank (branch of the State Bank of Illinois), insurance office, lyceum, Masonic lodge of independent odd fellows, and two schools. The lyceum attracts the greater portion of the young men of the town, who engage in the public discussion of questions, and hear lectures from gentlemen of science, who are also its members.
There are two temperance societies, one on the total abstinence plan, which is the most popular, and is daily becoming more so. There are four newspapers, viz.: the Alton Spectator, Alton Telegraph, Alton Observer, Temperance Herald.
The legislature of Illinois have memorialized Congress repeatedly to have the great national road, now constructing through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, cross the Mississippi at this place; and sanguine hopes are entertained that the wishes of Illinois in this particular will be duly regarded.
Building mechanics of all kinds are constantly wanted. The following wages are paid: bricklayers, 2.50 to 3 per day; stone-masons, 2 to 2.50; labourers, 1.50. Where the men are boarded by the employer, a deduction of 50 cents per day is made from these rates. Board at the hotels is 3 to 4 dollars per week, without lodging; for lodging, 1 to 1.50 additional: at the boarding-houses, 2.50 to 3, lodging included. Brick at the kiln sell for 7 to 9 dollars per 1000, pine boards, 25 to 40 per 1000, (they are brought from the Ohio river); wood for fuel, $3 per cord; coal, 20 cents per bushel. The latter is obtained from the hills, one mile in the rear of the town; and both wood and coal can be got for very little more than the cost of cutting, digging, and hauling. The comparatively high price at which both sell, will furnish another evidence of the high prices of labour, and assure eastern labourers, who are working at this season of the year for 40 cents a day, that here they may soon realize a little fortune.
This city is surrounded for several miles in extent with one of the finest bodies of timber in the state, from which vast quantities of lumber may be produced. Bituminous coal exists in great abundance at only a short distance from the town. Inexhaustible beds of limestone for building purposes, and easily quarried, are within its precincts. A species of freestone, easily dressed, and used for monuments and architectural purposes, and that peculiar species of lime, used for water cement, are found in great abundance in the vicinity. The corporate bounds extend two miles along the river, and half a mile back. The city plat is laid out by the proprietors upon a liberal scale. There are five square miles reserved for public purposes; and a large reservation is made on the river for a public landing and promenade.
The prices of lots in Alton depend upon their location. Best business stands command 400 dollars a front foot; lots more retired, for private dwellings, from 100 to 50, and 25. Stores rent from 1500 to 400; dwelling-houses, from 600 to 200. Some of the stores do a very large business, their transactions amounting to half a million dollars a year; other sell to the amount of 200,000 dollars. Clerks and professional men only are not wanted. Of all these, there seems to be no scarcity in any part of the west.
Eight steamboats are owned here in whole or in part, and some of them are heavily freighted at each departure with the exports of the town alone. These exports must increase as the back country continues to fill up. To add to its resources, two rail-roads will shortly be made, one leading to Springfield, 70 miles, the stock of which has been subscribed; the other leading to Mount Carmel, on the Wabash, the stock of which has been taken in part. Land, five miles back of the town, sells at from 10 to 40 dollars per acre, according to the improvements. At a greater distance, it is much cheaper, and settling rapidly. The productions are wheat, corn, beef, pork, horses, and cattle. Real estate has risen in Alton more than 1000 per cent. within two years. The inhabitants are principally from New York and New England; and this may be said of all the business men, with two or three exceptions. Next to these in number, are Virginians. The natural surface of much of the town site of Alton is broken by bluffs and ravines; but the enterprise of its citizens and the corporation is fast removing these inconveniences, by grading down its hills, and filling up its ravines. A contract of 60,000 dollars has recently been entered upon to construct a culvert over the Little Piasau creek that passes through the centre of the town, over which will soon be built one of the most capacious and pleasant streets. Since its settlement, the citizens of Alton have enjoyed as good health as those of any river town in the west.
The market is well supplied with provisions from the back country; prices, those of St, Louis. The meats and vegetables are excellent, and cultivated fruit is pretty abundant. The wild fruits are plums, crab-apples, persimmons, pawpaws, hickory nuts, and pecons. Wild game is also abundant, viz.: deer, pheasants, prairie hens, partridges, with the various kinds of water-fowl. The fish are cat, perch, and buffalo.
Such is a hasty view of Alton as it now is. Its rapid growth is an evidence of what enterprize can effect in contending against Nature herself. Scarcely a town site could have been selected on the Mississippi originally more unpromising in its appearance; and yet in five years, probably, it will attract the admiration of every beholder. Already the "little hills have fallen on every side;" the valleys have been raised; and within the time mentioned, the city will present to the spectator from the river the idea of a vast amphitheatre, the streets ranging above each other in exact uniformity, while from each mountain top in the distance will glitter the abodes of wealth and independence. The foundations of its prosperity are laid on the broad basis of public morals and Christian benevolence. Its churches are its most prominent and costly edifices, and claim the tribute of praise from every beholder.
'These temples of His grace, How beautiful they stand! The honours of our native place, And bulwarks of our land.'
No people cherish the sentiment conveyed in these lines more than do those of Alton: not a town in the Union, of its population, has been so liberal in its contributions to every measure of Christian benevolence. The amount subscribed the present year probably exceeds 10,000 dollars; one item in which is the subscription, by two gentlemen, of 1000 dollars each, to employ a temperance lecturer for this portion of the state. In addition to this, one of the same gentlemen has given 10,000 dollars towards the erection and endowment of a female seminary at Monticello, five miles north of the town, to the superintendence of which a most accomplished lady has been called from the celebrated institute at Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Beardstown, the seat of justice for Cass county, is situated on the east bank of the Illinois, and about 90 miles from the mouth of the river. It is one of the chief places of import and export on that stream, and is at the head of navigation for the largest class of New-Orleans steamboats. It is never overflowed, and the landing is excellent.
The town, which was laid off in 1829, and then contained but one log cabin, has now 200 dwelling-houses, frame and brick, and a population estimated at 1000. It has thirteen stores, eight groceries, one drug-shop, two tanneries, two forwarding houses, two steam f1ouring-mills, one distillery, one brewery, and three pork establishments. Of master mechanics there are four house-carpenters, one cabinet maker, two blacksmiths, one silversmith, three tailors, one baker, one turner, one bricklayer, stonemason and plasterer, one wagon maker, one shoemaker, three coopers, and one barber. It has one church only, which is occupied by the Methodists, though there is sometimes Presbyterian worship in town. There is an insurance company here. A fair proportion of the houses are two stories high and all, with three exceptions, are frame, mostly painted white; - the exceptions are those of brick. The streets are 80 and 60 feet wide.
The exports are considerable, and consist of corn, pork, hides, and whiskey. Flour was exported a few years ago; but is now as high here as at New-Orleans, all that can be made being required for home consumption. The chief article of export is pork, of which, in the winter of 1835-6, 12,000 head were put up; in the succeeding winter (the last), 15,000. Two hundred were frequently slaughtered in a day. Corn, about seven years ago, sold generally at I2 ½ cents per bushel the price now is 30 cents.
The navigation of the river is obstructed by ice, from one to two and a half months in winter. During the last season, the suspension continued the latter period. The last boat left, Dec. 5th; the first arrived, Feb. 21st. The departures and arrivals of steamboats in the year 1836 amounted to 450. The prices of freight from St. Louis and Alton vary from 25 to 75 cents per 100 lbs., according to the state of navigation.
Of the inhabitants, the much greater portion are males. From its situation on the Illinois river, and very nearly in the centre of the state, families collect here in the winter and remain till the spring, when they scatter throughout the country. As a winter residence it is very agreeable, the soil being sandy, and of course never muddy; but in the summer and fall, the fever and ague prevails to some extent. Since 1834, however, the health of the place has improved considerably. The inhabitants are from all the states of the union.
* * * * *
Dwelling-houses, containing two rooms and a kitchen, rent for one hundred dollars a year. The cost of building them is about $500. To this may be added the cost of the lot, which is from 200 to 500 more. Lots fronting the river sell at about 30 dollars per front foot; on Main street, from 18 to 20.
The view from the river is imposing, and the general appearance of the town exceedingly attractive. The river bank, for two or three miles in length, and one in width, is eight or ten feet above high-water mark. Beyond this is a narrow slough, or sloo, which is about to be drained by an incorporated company; two and a half miles further, commences a fine, rich, cultivated prairie, which extends five miles to the bluffs. Some farms upon it have been sold at forty dollars per acre, and sixty has been offered for others and refused. The price of improved farms is beyond the bluffs is from ten to twenty dollars per acre.
Beardstown is the terminating point of the contemplated Beardstown and Springfield rail-road, and the Beardstown and Sangamon canal.
Belleville is a flourishing town, and the seat of justice of St. Clair county. It is situated on the east bank of Richland creek, four miles east of the banks which bound the American Bottom, and 15 miles east of St. Louis, 71 miles south-west from Vandalia, and 843 from Washington. It is surrounded with a rich and extensive agricultural country, and a fine body of timber. It is in the centre of the Turkey Hill Settlement, which is one of the most flourishing in the state.
Belleville is a place of considerable business, and contains a number of stores and groceries. The public buildings are, a handsome court-house of brick finished in a superior style, a brick jail, a clerk's office, a public hall which belongs to a library company, and a framed Methodist house of worship. It has two select schools; one for boarders, half a mile distant.
There are two large merchant steam flouring-mills, with six pairs of stones, a brewery, a steam distillery, a wool carding machine, eight carpenters, one cabinet maker, five blacksmith's shops, one tinner's shop, two silversmiths, three wagon makers, one turner and wheelwright, two shoemaker's shops, one millwright, two coopers, two saddlers, two tailors, one bakery, one high school, one common school, a Presbyterian, a Baptist, and a Methodist congregation, and about 700 inhabitants, of whom about one hundred are Germans, twenty French, and the residue Americans. There are three lawyers, four physicians, four resident ministers of the gospel,
and a printing-office, which issues the "St. Clair Gazette."
Bloomington, the seat of justice for M'Lean county, is situated on the margin of a fine prairie, in the midst of a beautiful and fertile district. The town is en the north side of Blooming Grove, which comprises a largo and valuable tract of timber, of all the varieties of the country desirable for building, consisting chiefly of lime, maple, ash, oak, and black and white walnut.
Bloomington has eight or ten stores, which do a general and extensive business, three groceries, two taverns, two lawyers, three physicians, an academy for young gentlemen, which is highly commended, and an institution for the education of young ladies; also two steam-mills, a Presbyterian and a Methodist meeting-house and ministers, a number of various mechanics, and an intelligent population of about 700.
This town is a point on the great central rail-road, &c.; and, surrounded as it is by a most desirable farming country, must increase in importance with its age. The facilities for building furnished by the steam saw-mills situated in the town, must be felt in the rapid growth of the place. It can scarcely be considered a compliment to say of Bloomington, that it is among the most beautiful towns in Illinois.
Cahokia is a post-town in St. Clair county, three-fourths of a mile east of the Mississippi river, and five miles south of St. Louis. It is one of the oldest settlements in the State. The Caoquias, a considerable tribe of the Illinois, had, for a long time previous to the discovery of the Mississippi, made it a resting place, probably on account of the game with which the river and the ponds in the vicinity abounded. We have no distinct account of the first settlement of this place by the French; but it is probable that it occurred shortly after La Salle descended the Mississippi in 1683. Pleased as some of his followers were with the apparent ease and happiness which the savages enjoyed, it is probable that they chose rather to remain among them, than return to their own country. Instances of this kind are frequently mentioned by Tonti and Hennepin; and as the object of the adventurous La Salle was to settle and civilize the country, their choice seldom met with opposition. Father Charlevoix, who visited this place in 1721, observes: - "I was astonished that they had pitched upon so inconvenient a situation (being so far from the river), especially as they had so many better places in their choice; but I was told the Mississippi washed the foot of that village when it was built; that in three years it has lost half a league of its breadth, and that they were thinking of seeking out another habitation." - The Indians gradually abandoned Cahokia, as the French settlers increased: they were, however, always on the most friendly terms with them.
In 1776, Cahokia contained forty families; and at the commencement of the revolution, their number had increased to about fifty, which is about their present number. The majority of the houses are built of pickets, one story high: they generally have piazzas on every side, and, being whitewashed on the outside, have a lively appearance. Here is also a Roman Catholic chapel, in which service is regularly performed. The inhabitants are principally French. These preserve all their ancient manners and customs; with few exceptions, they are poor, indolent, and illiterate. The utmost extent of their industry is to raise a few acres of corn, and procure a few loads of prairie hay.
By an act of Congress passed in 1788, 400 acres of land adjoining the village was granted to each family; and by a subsequent act, the lands used by the inhabitants of Cahokia and Prairie du Pont in common, were appropriated to the use of said inhabitants, until otherwise directed by law.
Both the Spanish and French governments, in forming settlements on the Mississippi, had special regard to convenience of social intercourse, and protection from the Indians. All their settlements were required to be in the form of villages or towns; and lots of a convenient size for a door-yard, garden, and stable-yard, were provided for each family. To each village were granted two tracts of land at convenient distances, for "common fields," and "commons."
A "common field" is a tract of land, of several hundred acres, enclosed in common by the villagers, each person furnishing his proportion of labour, and each family possessing individual interest in a portion of the field, marked off, and bounded from the rest. Ordinances were made to regulate the repairs of fences, the time of excluding cattle in the spring, and the time of gathering the crop and; opening the field for the range of cattle in the fall. Each plat of ground in the common field was owned in fee-simple by the person to whom granted, subject to sale and conveyance, the same as any landed property.
A "common" is a tract of land granted to the town for wood and pasture, in which each owner of a village lot has a common, but not an individual right. In some cases, this tract embraced several thousand acres. The "common" attached to Cahokia, extends up the prairie opposite St. Louis. This place formerly enjoyed, on account of its proximity to the Indians, an extensive and valuable fur trade; but at present it has few or no advantages, and from the number of decayed and deserted houses appears to be on the decline. The situation, although somewhat elevated, is damp and disagreeable: in high water, it is frequently inundated. The Americans seldom pass a season without suffering from the effects of the miasma arising from the ponds in the vicinity. The French, whether on account of their being inured to the climate, their manner of living, or from their possessing more hardy constitutions, are little affected by it, but generally enjoy good health. Coal is found in the vicinity of this place. Its discovery was singular, and is thus noticed in Breckenridge's View of Louisiana: "Some years since, a tree, taking fire, communicated to its roots, which continued burning for some time. Upon examination, they were found to have passed through a bed of coal. The fire continued burning until it was completely smothered by the falling in of large masses of incumbent earth."
Canton is a pleasant and thriving town in the north-east part of Fulton county, on the main road from Lewistown to Peoria, 15 miles north-north-east of the former, and 25 south-west from the latter, and about 10 miles from the nearest point on the Illinois river. The town is situated on the borders of a large prairie, and has eight or ten stores, a number of industrious mechanics, and a due proportion of professional men; also, a large academy, recently chartered by the legislature as a college: this is a respectable institution, under the direction of competent officers, and contains 70 or 80 students. The population of Canton amounts to from 500 to 600. The country around is high, undulating, fertile, and healthful, with a proper mixture of limber and prairie.
This town will be intersected by two rail-roads; one of which will extend from Peoria on the Illinois, to Warsaw on the Mississippi river, opposite the mouth of the Des Moines river: length, upwards of 100 miles. The other will commence at Liverpool, on the Illinois river, 12 miles from Canton, pass through the latter, and terminate at Knoxville, the county seat of Knox county. Extent, about 40 miles. The completion of either or both of these public improvements will add greatly to the prosperity and importance of Canton. The prairie on which the town is located commences near Spoon river, and runs northward, dividing the waters that fall into Spoon river on the west, from those that enter the Illinois on the east, till it becomes lost in the interminable prairies on Rock river. At Canton it is from two to three miles in width, dry, undulating, and inexhaustibly rich. Further north, it becomes inferior.
Carrollton, the seat of justice of Greene county, was laid out in 1821, and is situated about half-way between Alton and Jacksonville, being 35 miles from the former and 36 from the latter place, and 10 miles east from the Illinois river. This is a flourishing and pleasant town, lying on the borders of String Prairie, between Macoupin and Apple creeks, in the midst of a beautiful level country, with a rich soil, suitably proportioned into timber and prairie, and densely populated with industrious and thriving farmers. Improved farms around Carrollton sell for ten, fifteen, and twenty dollars per acre. The houses are framed or of brick, built in a plain but convenient style.
Carrollton has a population of about 1000 inhabitants, with seventeen stores, six groceries, two taverns, seven lawyers, six physicians, four ministers of the gospel, two male and two female schools, two steam flouring-mills, two steam saw-mills, and one tannery. The court-house is neatly built of brick, forty-four by forty-six feet, two stories, with a handsome spire. The religious denominations are Baptists, Methodists, Reformers, and Presbyterians. The first three have houses of worship, and the latter are preparing to build.
The city of Chicago is the largest place in the state of Illinois, and has grown up almost entirely within the last seven years. It is the seat of justice for Cook county, and is situated on the west side of lake Michigan, at the mouth of Chicago river, and at the eastern end of the Illinois and Michigan canal. Its growth, even for western cities, has been unexampled. In Dr. Beck's Gazetteer, published in 1823, Chicago is described as a village of 10 or 12 houses, and 60 or 70 inhabitants. In 1832, it contained five small stores, and 250 inhabitants; and now (1837) the population amounts to 8000, with 120 stores, besides a number of groceries; of the former, twenty sell by wholesale. It has also twelve public houses, three newspapers, near fifty lawyers, and upwards of thirty physicians.
Chicago is connected by means of the numerous steamboats, ships, brigs, schooner's, &c., that navigate the great fresh water seas of the north, with all the different trading ports on lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie, and especially with Buffalo, to and from which city various lines of regular packets are constantly departing and arriving. Some of the steamboats are of great power and burthen. The James Madison built last winter at Erie, Pennsylvania, expressly for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Buffalo trade, on her first trip in May of the present year, carried over 4000 barrels freight, and upwards of 900 adult passengers, besides a large number of children; and the receipts for the voyage were estimated at 18,000 dollars. It is intended to have this vessel leave Chicago and Buffalo every 18 days. The James Madison is 185 feet in length, 31 feet beam, and 45 feet in width on deck including the guards, 12 feet depth of hold, 720 tons burthen, and propelled by a high-pressure horizontal engine of 180 horse power.
The merchandize imported into Chicago in the year 1836 amounted in weight to 28,000 tons, and in value to upwards of three millions of dollars, beside a vast number of immigrants with their families, provisions, &c. There arrived in the same year 456 vessels, including 49 steamboats, 10 ships and barques; the rest, brigs, schooners, and sloops. During the last winter, 127 teams, loaded with merchandize for the country, were counted in the street in one day.
The Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics, each have houses of worship. There are likewise one or more insurance companies, fire companies, waterworks for the supply of water from the lake, several good schools, and a respectable academy. A large ship-yard has been commenced near the city. An extensive brewery, a steam saw and grist mill, and a large furnace, are all in successful operation. The building of an Academy of Fine Arts is likewise contemplated, and measures are about being taken to obtain for it a collection of paintings. The care which the original surveyors took to give the prairie winds a full sweep through this city, has distinguished it as the most healthful place in the western country, and has made it the resort of a large number of people during the sickly season. The natural advantages of the place, and the enterprize and capital that will concentrate here, with the favourable prospects for health, must soon make this the emporium of trade and business for all the northern country. The completion of the canal will give Chicago a water communication with all the principal cities in the country: the high prices given for produce, and the ready market, will make it the grand resort of the western farmers.
Chicago is built on level ground, but sufficiently elevated above the highest floods to prevent overflow; and on both sides of the river, for a mile in width, along the shore of the lake, the land is a sand-bank: but back of the city, towards the Des Plaines river, is a rich and fertile prairie, and for the first three or four miles dry and elevated. The following description of the country in the vicinity of this place is from the pen of Mr. Schoolcraft:
"The country around Chicago is the most fertile and beautiful that can be imagined. It consists of an intermixture of woods and prairies, diversified with gentle slopes, sometimes attaining the elevation of hills, and irrigated with a number of clear streams and rivers, which throw their waters partly into lake Michigan, and partly into the Mississippi river. - As a farming country, it unites the fertile soil of the finest lowland prairies, with an elevation which exempts it from the influence of stagnant waters, and a summer climate of delightful serenity; while its natural meadows present all the advantages for raising stock, of the most favoured part of the valley of the Mississippi. It is already the seat of several flourishing plantations, and only requires the extinguishment of the Indian title to the lands, to become one of the most attractive fields for the emigrant. To the ordinary advantages of an agricultural market-town, it must hereafter add that of a depot for the inland commerce between the northern and southern sections of the union, and a great thoroughfare for strangers, merchants, and travellers."
Along the north branch of the Chicago, and the lake shore, are extensive bodies of fine timber. Large quantities of winter pine exist in the regions towards Green Bay, and about Grand river in Michigan, from which lumber in any quantities is obtained, and conveyed by shipping to Chicago. Yellow poplar boards and plank are brought across the lake from the St. Joseph's river. The mail in post-coaches from Detroit, arrives here tri-weekly, and departs for Galena, for Springfield, Alton, and St. Louis, and for Danville and Vincennes.
The United States has a strip of elevated ground between the town and lake, about half a mile in width, on which Fort Dearborn and the light-house are situated, but which is now claimed as a pre-emption right, and is now in a course of judicial investigation.
Fort Dearborn was for a considerable period occupied as a military station by the United States, and garrisoned generally by about three companies of regular troops; but the expulsion of the Indians, and the rapid increase of settlements at all parts of this region, have rendered its further occupancy as a military post unnecessary: in consequence, the troops have been recently withdrawn. It consists of a square stockade, inclosing barracks, quarters for the officers, a magazine, provision store, &c., and is defended by bastions at the northern and south-east angles.
During the last war with Great Britain, this place was the scene of a most foul and bloody tragedy. In 1812, in consequence of the disgraceful surrender of general Hull at Detroit, it was determined to abandon the fort. A number of the troops, shortly after leaving it, were inhumanly murdered by the savages, who lay in ambush on the margin of the lake.
The following account of this affair is extracted from M'Afee's History of the late war in the western country. "On the morning of the 15th (Aug.) at sunrise, the troops, consisting of about 70 men, with some women and children, marched from the fort with pack-horses in the centre, and captain Wells with his Indians in the rear. They had proceeded about a mile from the fort, when the front guard was fired on by the savages, who were posted behind a sand-bank on the margin of the lake, and in a skirt of woods which the party were approaching; the rest of the country around them being an open prairie. At the same time, they saw a body of Indians passing to their rear, to cut off their retreat to the fort. The firing now became general, and the troops, seeing nothing but death and massacre before them, formed in line of battle, and returned the fire of the enemy with much bravery and success, as they slowly retreated in the prairie. The Indians made several desperate efforts to rush up and tomahawk them; but every charge was repulsed by the firmness of the troops, who fought with desperation, determined to sell their lives as dear as possible. Captain Wells being killed, his Indians retired from the party and joined the others. Several women and children were also killed; and our ranks were at last so reduced, as scarcely to exceed twenty effective men: yet they continued resolute, and stuck together, resolved to fight while one remained able to fire. But the Indians now withdrew some distance, and sent a small French boy to demand a surrender. The boy was captain Heald's interpreter, who had run off to the Indians at the commencement of the action. He advanced cautiously; and Mr. Griffith, who was afterwards a lieutenant in a company of spies in colonel Johnson's regiment from Kentucky, advanced to meet him, intending to kill him for his perfidy. But the boy declared, that it was the only way he had to save his life, and appeared sorry that he had been obliged to act in that manner. He then made known his business; the Indians proposed to spare the lives of our men, provided they would surrender. The proposal being made known to the surviving soldiers, they unanimously determined to reject it. The boy returned with the answer to the Indians; but in a short time he came back, and entreated Mr. Griffith to use his influence with captain Heald to make him surrender, as the Indians were very numerous. The captain, his lady and Mr. Griffith were all wounded. He at last consented to surrender; and the troops having laid down their arms, the Indians advanced to receive them; and notwithstanding their promises, they now perfidiously tomahawked three or four of the men. One Indian, with the fury of a demon in his countenance, advanced to Mrs. Heald, with his tomahawk drawn. She had been accustomed to danger; and knowing the temper of the Indians, with great presences of mind, she looked him in the face, and smiling said, "Surely you would not kill a squaw." His arm fell nerveless; the conciliating smile of an innocent female, appealing to the magnanimity of a warrior, reached the heart of the savage, and subdued the barbarity of his soul. He immediately took the lady under his protection. She was the daughter of general Samuel Wells of Kentucky. The head of captain Wells was cut off, and his heart was cut out and eaten by the savages.
"The Indians having divided their prisoners, as usual in such cases, it was the fate of captain Heald, his lady, and Mr. Griffith, to be taken by the Ottawas on the lake beyond the mouth of the river St. Joseph. Their wounds being severe they looked upon destruction as inevitable; but Heaven often smiles when we least expect it. Griffith had observed a canoe, which was large enough to carry them; and they contrived to escape in it by night. In this frail bark they traversed the lake 200 miles to Mackinaw, where the British commander afforded them the means of returning to the United States."
After the war, this fort was repaired, and again taken possession of by the American troops; since which time, it has always been, until lately, occupied by a garrison.
Decatur the seat of justice for Macon county, is situated on the west side of the North Fork of Sangamon river, on the borders of an extensive prairie, and on a dry elevated, and healthful site. This place contains at present a population of about 300 or 400, and promises eventually to be one of the first inland towns in the State. Its future growth and greatness are predicated on the surest grounds. It is so far from any river town, that it can never be overshadowed by their prosperity while the internal improvements now going into effect, must place it in the first rank as an interior trading town.
The rail-road from the Mississippi to the Wabash, which, by the act of the last session, is to take precedence of the other rail-roads in the time of its construction, is to pass through Decatur; this place is also a point in the great central rail road, which is to connect the Ohio with the northern part of the state. Decatur, being thus at the intersection of these two rail-roads: being also far in the interior, and in the midst of a section of country fertile and rapidly increasing in population enjoys every advantage for a first-rate trading town. It is probable that no town in the state will be more, and hardly any one as much benefited by the present system of internal improvements as Decatur. The place too is decidedly healthy, it is in a rich and important county, and surrounded by extensive settlements. The town contains several stores, and has a number of mechanics and professional men.
Edwardsville, the seat of justice for Madison county, is on the south bank of Cahokia creek, and is pleasantly situated on the high ground which bounds the American Bottom. It is in the centre of a fertile and healthful country, well watered and timbered, and gently undulating; presenting at once to the agriculturist a most desirable place for residence. The vicinity of the town is settled with thrifty and enterprising farmers.
Edwardsville is composed of the old town, laid out in 1815; and the new town, which was laid out about five years afterwards. It is situated 21 miles north-east from St. Louis, on the Springfield road, 12 miles south-east from Alton, 55 from Vandalia, and 836 from Washington city. It has a court-house and jail of brick, a land-office for the Edwardsville district, seven stores, two taverns, two physicians, four lawyers, a castor-oil factory, various mechanics, and about 400 inhabitants. Here is also an academy and a commodious building. The Baptists and Methodists have each a house of worship. The inhabitants are generally industrious, intelligent, moral, and a large proportion professors of religion.
Galena is the principal town in the lead-mine district in the north-west part of the state, and the county scat of Jo Daviess county. It is pleasantly situated on Fever river, a few miles above its mouth, and has a population of about 1200 inhabitants, with 18 or 20 stores, a dozen groceries, 4 taverns and hotels, a printing-office that publishes a weekly paper, called the Gazette, four lawyers, three physicians, two schools, two ministers of the gospel, a pipe and sheet lead manufactory, a flour and saw-mill, a gunsmith, silversmith, saddler, tailor, several carpenters, blacksmiths, brick and stone masons, &c.
This place was first settled in 1826, and was originated by the extensive and rich lead-mines in its vicinity. It was an outpost of between 300 and 400 miles advance into the wilderness north of St. Louis. The amount of business transacted here is very considerable, as it is the place of import and export for an extensive and rich region of country. There is constant intercourse kept up by means of steamboats with St. Louis, New-Orleans, Louisville, Cincinnati, &c.
Fever river, on which Galena is placed, is navigable at all times for steamboats of any size; and in high water two miles above, for this distance it is deep and sluggish. Above this point it runs with a swift current over a rocky and gravelly bottom, is full of fine fish, and, like all the streams in this region, it is fed with perennial springs. This river rises near the Platte mounds, in Wisconsin Territory, in two branches, the East and West forks, runs a south-westerly course past Galena, and enters the Mississippi seven miles south of that place.
In the East Fork settlement, which is twelve miles east from Galena, the timber is scarce, but there is much excellent prairie, and the lead-mines are the best in Illinois. Population of farmers and miners, about fifty families.
On the West Fork or main creek is a considerable settlement, and some good farms. The alluvion on the stream is fine, and there is a tolerable supply of timber. This settlement is eight miles in a direct course, and twelve miles the travelled way north-east from Galena.
Fever river has been incorrectly called Bean river (Riviere au Feve, Fr.) Its proper name has been derived from two traditionary accounts. The first is, that in early times the Indians were carried off by a mortal sickness, supposed to be the small-pox. This circumstance gave rise to the name of another creek now called Small Pox. The other tradition, and the correct one, is, that it derived its name from a French trader by the name of Le Fevre, who settled near its mouth.
Grafton, in the southern part of Greene county, is a thriving town, containing about 500 inhabitants. It is on the north bank of the Mississippi river, two miles below the mouth of the Illinois, 24 miles south of Carrollton, 15 miles north-west from Alton, and ten miles north from St. Charles in Missouri. The town is situated on an elevated strip of land under the bluffs, and has a good steamboat landing. Several islands in the Mississippi make this point the real junction of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, as to navigation.
The country a few miles back is rich, and becoming densely populated. This place must soon become a thoroughfare for travelling from the Sangamon country across the Mississippi to St. Charles, and the regions along the Missouri river. It has a post-office, several stores and ware-houses, and promises to be a place of considerable business. A charter for a rail-road from this place through Carrollton to Springfield has been obtained, the company organized, and a portion of the stock taken. A chartered company is about to erect a splendid hotel.
Jacksonville, the seat of justice for Morgan county, is situated about 22 miles east of the Illinois river, and one and a half miles south of Mauvaiseterre creek. This town was laid off in 1825; but it is only within the last three or four years, that its present advancement can be dated. Its site is a broad elevated knoll, in the midst of a beautiful prairie, and, from whatever point it is approached, few places present a more delightful prospect. The neighbouring prairie is undulating, and is accounted uncommonly rich and fertile even in this land of fertility. It is mostly under high cultivation, and in its northern and western edge is environed by pleasant groves.
Jacksonville contains a population of about 2500, with 16 stores, several groceries and druggists' stores, two hotels, and a considerable number of mechanics of various trades; also eleven lawyers and ten physicians. It has one steam flour-mill, one saw-mill and two oil-mills, a manufactory for cotton-yarn, two carding factories, a tannery, and three brick-yards.
The public square in the centre of the town is of noble dimensions, occupied by a handsome court-house and market, both of brick; and its sides filled up with dwelling-houses, stores, offices, a church, bank, and hotel. From this point radiate streets and avenues in all directions. The public buildings, in addition to the court-house, are a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, a Methodist, and a Congregationalist church, a lyceum, a mechanics' association, a male and female academy, and a county jail.
There are two printing-offices that publish weekly papers, the Patriot, and the News, and also a book and job printing-office with a book-bindery attached, and a monthly religious periodical.
Illinois college is situated on an emmence one mile west of the town, formerly known as Wilson's Grove. The site is delightful: in the rear lies a dense clump of oaks, and in front is spread out the village with a boundless extent of prairie beyond, covered for miles with cultivation. Away to the south, the beautiful wild flowers flash as gaily in the sunlight, and wave as gracefully when swept by the breeze, as centuries ago, when no eye of civilized man looked upon its loveliness. Connected with the college buildings, are extensive grounds; and students, at their option, may devote a portion of each day to manual labour in the work-shop or on the farm. Some individuals have, it is said, in this manner defrayed all the expenses of their education.
Juliet (Joliet), the seat of justice for Will county, is situated on both sides of the River Des Plaines, at the point where that stream is crossed by the Illinois and Michigan canal, about 16 miles above its junction with the Kankakee river, and 40 miles south-west from Chicago. This town has been laid off only a few years, and has already a population of about 600 persons. Its position on the canal will add much to its commercial importance, and increase its business facilities; while its great command of water-power will render it a suitable place for carrying on various branches of manufacture. It has fourteen stores, two groceries, one drugstore, three taverns, a saw and grist-mill, various mechanics, six lawyers, five physicians, a Methodist and an Episcopalian society,
Kaskaskia is the seat of justice of Randolph county, and was formerly the capital of the Territory of Illinois. It is situated on the right bank of the river of the same name, seven miles above its junction with the Mississippi, from which it is about three miles east. It is near the southern extremity of the American Bottom. The first settlement made here was by the French of Canada, shortly after the visit of La Salle in 1683; and so long as the French continued in possession of the Illinois country, Kaskaskia was its capital, and was flourishing and populous. When Charlevoix visited it in 1721, it contained a Jesuit college, the ruins of' which only remain. In I763, this place, as well as the country east of the Mississippi, was ceded by France to Great Britain. In 1766, it contained about 100 families, which number it retained until the revolutionary war. In 1778, the fort situated on the east side of the Kaskaskia river was taken by Col., afterwards Gen., George Rogers. After that time, and until within a few years, this town continued gradually to decline; owing chiefly to the ordinance of 1787, which prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude in what was then denominated the North-Western Territory. The slave-holders were disposed to preserve this species of property, and in order to do it effectually, they abandoned their ancient habitations, and joined their friends in the new dominions of Spain, on the west side of the Mississippi.
At present this place contains about 60 families, a majority of which are descended from the French. The houses are scattered over an extensive plain; and the greatest proportion are built of wood, in the French style, many of them have fine gardens in front and rear, which give them a rural appearance. Here is a Catholic church, a court-house and jail, and a land-office for the sale of public lands in this district; also a nunnery and a female boarding-school.
On the east side of the river, directly opposite the town, the bluffs approach the river, and continue parallel with it to its junction with the Mississippi, when they follow the course of that stream in a southerly direction, and terminate thirty-five miles above the mouth of the Ohio, forming the southern boundary of the highlands on the Mississippi. From the town to the junction of the Kaskaskia with the Mississippi, there is a body of land, called "the Point," which is low, and subject to inundation, but well timbered. It abounds in wild horses, many of which are annually caught.
By an act of Congress, passed in 1788, a large tract of land was granted to the different French villages on the east side of the Mississippi, and a separate tract to the inhabitants of Kaskaskia, to be used as a common. It is situated on the Mississippi, and contains twenty thousand acres. It is under the direction of the trustees of the town, in conformity with the special acts of the legislature.
Lebanon is in St. Clair county, and is beautifully situated on the west bank of Little Silver creek, about 20 miles east from St. Louis, 12 miles north-east from Belleville, 59 from Vandalia, and about 831 from Washington City. The town is located on the edge of a small prairie. The streets cross each other at right angles, and are from 60 to 70 feet wide. It is on elevated ground, surrounded with a beautiful, populous, and well cultivated district of country, and on the Vincennes and St. Louis stage-road.
Lebanon has a steam-mill, for manufacturing grain; an ox-mill, for flouring, on an inclined plane; a post-office, two public houses, several stores, one grocery, three physicians, mechanics' shops of various kinds, and about sixty families. M'Kendreean College is located in the immediate vicinity of the town. It is under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a commodious frame building, with about fifty students in the preparatory department under the charge of two competent instructors. The Methodist society embraces the largest proportion of the religious community about Lebanon. There is a society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a small society of the Methodist Protestant Church.
Mount Carmel was laid off in 1818, by Rev. Thomas S. Hinde, of Ohio, with the view of establishing a moral, temperate, and industrious community. It is the seat of justice for Wabash county, and is situated on high ground on the west bank of the Wabash river, and just below the junction of that stream with the White river of Indiana, about 80 miles from its mouth by water, 109 south-east from Vandalia, and 710 from Washington City. This place is immediately below the Grand Rapids of the Wabash river, the prospective improvement of which is thought to give it peculiar importance as a place of business. The country around is high, undulating, healthy, and contains an extensive settlement of industrious farmers. The court-house and jail are brick. The Methodist society, which is large, has a house of worship.
In Mount Carmel are ten stores, two groceries, two taverns, and a third in course of preparation, one stationed preacher and four local preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, one German Reformed preacher, two physicians, one steam-doctor, three lawyers, and from 1000 to 1200 population. The religious denominations are, Methodists (Episcopal), Evangelical Lutherans, associated with the German Reformed, Presbyterian, some Baptists, and Episcopalians - three steam-mills, one ox tread-mill, mechanics and trades of various descriptions, a foundry for castings for machinery, &c. The commerce of this place is considerable, and from the 31st of March to the 12th of April, 1837, 26 steam-boats arrived and departed.
Naples, the most commercial town in Morgan county, is on the east bank of the Illinois river, two miles above the mouth of the Mauvaiseterre creek, and 22 miles west from Jacksonville. It is laid off on a level prairie at the foot of a sand ridge, and above ordinary high water. It is in a most delightful situation, with good landings for steamboats. There are one or two first-rate hotels in the town and some large wholesale stores. Several saw and grist steam-mills, together with its contiguity to the surrounding timber, afford ample facilities for building; its free ferry across the river, its daily line of stages to Jacksonville; the many additional buildings to be erected this season; and the acknowledged enterprize of its inhabitants, all go to make up a flourishing town, and hold out solid inducements to capitalists.
The commerce of Naples is considerable. In 1835, the arrivals and departures of steamboats were 302. The exports in produce, during the same year, amounted to nearly one million of dollars. A rail-road to Jacksonville is now in progress of construction, and will soon be completed, as arrangements were made to lay about half a mile of rail every week during the present season. Naples contains about 600 inhabitants.
Ottawa, the seat of justice for La Salle county, was laid off by the canal commissioners, in 1830, at the junction of Fox river with the Illinois, and is thought by many to be an important location for business. It is laid off on both sides of the Illinois river, about 80 miles south-west from Chicago, 175 nearly due north from Vandalia, and 219 miles from the mouth of the Illinois river. The country around is pleasant, undulating, and well adapted to farming. The timber is in small quantities chiefly in groves; the prairie land generally dry and rich soil.
At the town site, the water of the Illinois is deep, and the landing convenient. Steamboats reach this place in the spring, and at other seasons when the water is high.
Below for the distance of eight or nine miles, are rapids and shoals, formed by barriers of sand and limestone rock. Ottawa has eight or ten stores, two taverns, three physicians, five lawyers, and 75 or 80 families. Large additions have been made to the town plat, by laying off additional lots on lands adjoining. It is expected a lateral canal from the Illinois and Michigan canal will pass through the town to the Illinois river. This, by means of a feeder to the rapids of Fox river, will open a navigation into Kane county. Fox river is susceptible of improvement by slack-water at a small expense, into the Wisconsin Territory and from thence by a short canal of fifteen miles may become connected with Milwaukee. Hence Ottawa may be regarded as one of the most important sites for commercial business in the state. Near it dams are already projected across the Illinois river, and an immense water-power this created. The Ottawa Republican, a weekly paper, is published here.
Pekin is in Tazewell county, and on the east side of the Illinois river, 12 miles below Peoria, and 158 miles from the month of the river. The landing is tolerably good at a moderate stage of the river, but too shoal at a low stage.
Pekin contains twelve stores, three groceries, two taverns (and a splendid hotel building by a company), seven lawyers, four physicians, four ministers of the gospel, one drug-store, three forwarding and commission houses, two houses for slaughtering and packing pork, one auction house, a printing-office which issues the Tazewell Telegraph, and about eight hundred inhabitants.
There is also one steam flouring-mill that manufactures two hundred barrels of flour per day, a steam saw-mill and two steam distilleries, an academy, and a common school. The religious denominations are Presbyterian, Methodist, and Unitarian, which have houses of worship.
Peoria is situated on the west side of the Illinois river, at the foot of Peoria lake, and about 170 miles from the mouth of the river. It is the county town of Peoria county. The situation and country in the vicinity are thus described by Dr. Beck, in his Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri: -
"The situation of this place is beautiful beyond description. From the mouth of the Kickapoo or Redbud creek, which empties into the Illinois, two miles below the old fort, the alluvion is a prairie, which stretches itself along the river in a north-westerly direction, three or four miles. The shore is chiefly made up of rounded pebbles, and is filled with springs of the finest water. The first bank which is from six to twelve feet above high-water mark, extends west about a quarter of a mile from the river, gradually ascending, when it rises five or six feet to the second bank. This extends nearly on a level to the bluffs which are from sixty to one hundred feet in height. These bluffs consist of rounded pebbles, overlaying strata of limestone and sandstone, rounded at the top, and corresponding in their course with the meanders of the river and lake. The ascent, although steep, is not perpendicular. On the bluffs the surface again becomes level, and is beautifully interspersed with prairie and woodland.
"From the bluffs the prospect is uncommonly fine. Looking towards the east, you first behold an extensive prairie, which in spring and summer is covered with grass, with whose green the brilliant hues of a thousand flowers form the most lively contrast. Beyond this, the lake, clear and calm, may be seen emptying itself into, or by its contraction forming, the river, whose meanders, only hid from the view by the beautiful groves of timber which here and there arise, can be traced to the utmost extent of vision."
Peoria now has twenty-five stores, two wholesale and five retail groceries, two drug-stores, two hotels and several boarding-houses, two free schools and an incorporated academy, two Presbyterian houses of worship and congregations, one Methodist, one Baptist, one Unitarian, and one Episcopal congregation, six lawyers, eight or ten physicians, one brewery, two steam saw-mills, the usual proportion of mechanics, a court-house and jail, and a population of from fifteen to eighteen hundred, which is rapidly increasing. The "Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer" is issued weekly, by S. M. Davis, Esq. The religious people of this place have contributed no less than about twenty-three thousand dollars, the past year, for philanthropic purposes.
There are four lines of stages leading from Peoria, viz.: one to Galena, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays distance 160 miles, fare $12; one to Chicago, same days, distance 160 miles, fare $12; one to Springfield, same days, distance 70 miles, fare $6; and one to Knoxville, on Thursdays, distance 46 miles, fare $4. Some of these are fine Troy post-coaches; others are open wagons, on lifeless springs, which do very well on smooth ground in dry weather.
The old village of Peoria, was situated about one mile and a half above the lower extremity or outlet of the Peoria lake. This village had been inhabited by the French, previous to the recollection of any of the present generation. About the year 1778 or 1779, the first house was built in what was then called La Ville de Maillet, afterwards the new village of Peoria, and which has recently been known by the name of Fort Clark, situated about one mile and a half below the old village, immediately at the lower point or outlet of the lake. The situation being preferred in consequence of the water being better, and its being thought more healthful, the inhabitants gradually deserted the old village, and, by the year 1796 or 1797, had entirely abandoned it, and removed to the new village.
The inhabitants of Peoria consisted generally of Indian traders, hunters, and voyagers, and had long formed a link of connexion between the French residing on the waters of the great lakes and the Mississippi river. From that happy facility of adapting themselves to their situation and associates, for which the French are so remarkable, the inhabitants of Peoria lived generally in harmony with their savage neighbours. It appears, however, that about the year 1781 they were induced to abandon the village, from the apprehension of Indian hostility; but soon after the peace of 1783, they again returned, and continued to reside there until the autumn of 1812, when they were forcibly removed from it, and the place destroyed by a Captain Craig, of the Illinois militia, on the ground, as it was said, that his company of militia were fired on in the night, while at anchor in their boats before the village, by Indians with whom the inhabitants were suspected by Craig to be intimate and friendly. The poor inhabitants, being thus deprived of shelter, fled for refuge to the different villages on the Mississippi.
In September 1813, General Howard marched with about 1400 men from Portage des Sioux,
for Peoria. The regulars who manned the boats, arrived and commenced building a block-house, which they named Fort Clark, in honour of Gen. George Rogers Clark. General Howard, with his mounted rangers, ascended the Mississippi as high as Two Rivers, and then crossed over to the Illinois. By this judicious plan, the whole frontier was swept of the enemy, who was continually harassing them.
On the 29th of September, the general arrived at Fort Clark. The Indians had attacked it two days before, but Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas, who commanded, gave them so warm a reception, that they soon retired. It was concluded that they had gone to Gomo's town, about thirty miles distant. The general immediately made arrangements, and marched the next morning to attack it. When he arrived, he found the enemy had taken to the water, and ascended the Illinois. He burnt the village and two others, and remained in the vicinity for two nights. He then marched back to Peoria, to assist the regulars in building Fort Clark, which had been commenced and named previous to his arrival.
With considerable labour, they cut and hauled the necessary timber across the lake and the fort was in a complete state of defence in twelve days. While they were engaged about the fort, Majors Christy and Boone were detached on separate commands. The former was ordered to ascend the river, in two armed boats, to the foot of the rapids (about 80 miles), to ascertain if the Indians had embodied, or formed any new establishments in that quarter. Major Boone was sent over in the direction of Rock river, to collect every necessary information concerning their traces, &c. Both these officers returned in five or six days, and reported that the enemy had fled on all points.
Soon after this the weather became cold; and, as no provision had been made for a winter campaign, General Howard determined on returning, and accordingly took up his line of march on the 15th of October, leaving a small garrison in the fort. About the termination of the war Fort Clark was abandoned by the American's; and, a short time afterwards, it was burnt by the Indians, as they assert, through the instigation of the traders.
Quincy, the seat of justice of Adams County, is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, about 125 miles above the mouth of the Illinois by water, 193 miles north-west from Vandalia, and 974 from Washington city. This town is only twelve years old, and now has a population of about 1500. It stands on a beautiful elevation, 125 feet above the limestone-bound shore of the Mississippi. It commands a fine view of the river for five or six miles in each direction, and one of the best steamboat landings to be found on the Mississippi. The first cabin erected on the site of this town is still in existence, and affords, by contrast with the newly erected habitations, a pleasing example of the progress and refinement of the place.
Quincy contains an enterprizing and intelligent community, suitably impressed with the importance of religious and moral habits, among whom the principles and practice of temperance generally prevail. In the town there are about 25 stores, four or five land-offices, including the United States land-office for the sale of public lands in the Quincy district; three taverns, several gunsmiths, blacksmiths; and cabinet shops, besides a number of other mechanics, eight or nine lawyers and five physicians, also two steam saw-mills and a flouring-mill. The public square
is large, and may be made as beautiful as Washington Square in Philadelphia. On the east side of it, a brick court-house is nearly completed, at an expense of 20,000 dollars. The religious denominations are Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists Episcopalians, German Lutherans, and Roman Catholics. The Methodists and Congregationalists have each erected churches, and the Baptist and Episcopalian societies are now building places of worship. The sabbath-schools are exerting an important influence on the rising generation: of daily schools, there are several of respectability.
The annual exports of flour and pork amount to about $100,000. Many new buildings are rising, indicative of an increase of wealth and prosperity. The prairie in the vicinity of the town is beautifully rolling and rich, and the whole county forms one of the best agricultural districts in the state. There are generally at Quincy about 300 arrivals of steamboats in the year, and there is no impediment to the navigation of the river at any time, except by the freezing of the Mississippi, which generally continues only for a brief period.
Property has increased, in a short period, from 100 to 1000 per cent, in value. With all its natural and moral advantages, Quincy must increase, and eventually become a place of importance.
Rushville, the seat of justice for Schuyler county, is situated in the central part of the county, at the south end of a beautiful prairie, ten miles from the Illinois river at the nearest point, and twelve from Beardstown. The settlements around are large; and the town itself exhibits a quietness and neatness in its external appearance, that is highly pleasing to the traveller.
This town was laid out in 1827, when the county was formed, and two years afterwards contained only seven houses: they now amount to near 400, with a population of about 1200 persons. It contains five churches, twelve stores, besides several groceries and other establishments, a considerable variety of mechanics, (more of whom are much wanted,) and a number of professional gentlemen. The court-house is of brick, two stories high; and the people have erected a brick school-house. Good building stone, and plenty of coal, are found in the vicinity. A rail-road from Rushville to the town of Erie on the Illinois, ten miles in length, is contemplated: most of the stock has been subscribed. This improvement will give Rushville all the advantages of a river situation, free from the diseases to which some of the river towns are subject.
Shawneetown occupies a beautiful situation on the western bank of the Ohio river, nine miles below the mouth of the Wabash, and 120 above the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Its distance from Pittsburg by water is about 900 miles, and from New Orleans about 1200.
The town stands on a level plain, and embraces a view of the river of two or five miles in each direction. There was formerly a village of Shawnee Indians at this spot; but it was forsaken before the whites attempted a settlement, and no vestige of it now remains, except two small mounds. A few cabins were afterwards built by the French traders; but these had also disappeared, and the ground was covered with bushes when the present town was established. As recently as the year 1808, there was not a house on the ground. In February 1812, an office for the sale of public lands was established at this place; and in March 1814, an act was passed by Congress, providing that two sections of land adjoining Shawnee Town should be laid out into two lots, streets, avenues, and outlets, and sold in the same manner as other public lands.
The bank of the Ohio at this place has a gradual ascent, but is subject to inundation at the extreme floods. Between the town and the bluff's the surface is still lower, and more frequently submerged. Though no considerable sickness has prevailed in this town for some years past, it cannot but be regarded as less healthful than the more elevated portions of the state.
Shawnee Town is the principal commercial place in the southern part of Illinois, and a good deal of business is transacted both in the wholesale and retail line. It has eight or ten stores, several groceries, two public houses, and 600 or 700 inhabitants. The land-office for the district is in this place; and there is a printing-office, which publishes a weekly paper called the Illinois Advertiser. There is likewise a bank here, which was chartered by the territorial legislature, and which has recently recommenced doing business, after a suspension of several years.
Springfield, the seat of justice of Sangamon county, is very nearly in the centre of the state of Illinois; being 197 miles a little west of north from the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and 185 miles due south of the northern boundary of the state, 114 miles west of the eastern boundary, and 91 east of the Mississippi river. The town is situated four miles south of the Sangamon river, on the border of a beautiful and extensive prairie, adorned with excellent and well-cultivated farms, and stretching away on every side to the blue line of distant forest.
Springfield was laid out about fifteen years ago: but for nine or ten years, it contained only a few scattered log cabins. All its present wealth or importance dates from the last six years. Its geographically central situation fits it most admirably for the future capital of the state; while its location by nature in the heart of the most fertile region in the western country, and the important public works contemplated to intersect it, cannot fail of rendering it a place of extensive business and crowded population.
The public square, a green pleasant lawn inclosed by a railing, contains the court-house and a market, both fine structures of brick; and the sides surrounding the square are lined with handsome edifices. Many of the buildings, however, are small; and the humble log cabin, the abiding place of some of the first settlers, not unfrequently meets the eye. Among its public structures are a jail, and houses of worship for two Presbyterian churches, one Baptist Reformer, one Methodist, one Episcopalian, and one Baptist society, all of which have ministers and respectable congregations.
The town contains excellent schools for both sexes, and an academy: there are also nineteen dry-goods stores, one wholesale and six retail groceries, four public houses, four drug-stores, one book-store, two clothing stores, eleven lawyers, eighteen physicians, including steam-doctors, one foundry for casting, four carding machines, mechanics and trades of various descriptions, and two printing-offices, from which are issued weekly the Illinois Republican, and the Sangamon Journal.
By a recent act of the legislature, Springfield is to be the permanent seat of government after 1840; and an appropriation has been made of $50,000, and commissioners appointed to build a state-house.
Upper Alton is a delightfully situated town in Madison county, built on elevated ground, two and a half miles back from the river, and east from Alton. The situation of the town is high and healthy. The country around was originally timbered land, and is undulating: the prevailing growth consists of oaks of various species, hickory, walnut, etc.
Upper Alton was laid off by the proprietor in 1816; and in 1821, it contained 50 or 60 families. In 1827, it had dwindled down to a few, from several causes. But since the commencement of Alton, the flourishing mercantile town on the river, it has experienced a rapid growth, and will doubtless continue to advance proportionate to the progress of the town and country around. There are eight stores, five groceries, two lawyers, five physicians, mechanics of various descriptions, a steam saw and flour mill, and about 300 families, or 1500 inhabitants. The Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians, each have houses of worship. The Baptist and Presbyterian houses are handsome stone edifices, with spires, bells, &c., and provided with ministers. There are seven or eight ministers of the gospel, residents of this place, some of whom are connected with the college and the Theological seminary; - others are agents for some of the public benevolent institutions, whose families reside here. Good morals, religious privileges, the advantages for education in the college, and in three respectable common schools, with an intelligent and agreeable society, make this town a desirable residence.
Vandalia, the capital of the state, and the seat of justice for Fayette county, was laid out in 1818, by commissioners appointed for that purpose, under the authority of the state. It is situated on the west bank of the Kaskaskia river, about 82 miles north-east from St. Louis, 138 north of the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and 781 from Washington City. The site is high, undulating, and was originally a timbered tract. The streets cross at right angles, and are 80 feet in width. The public square is on elevated ground. The public buildings are, a state-house of brick, and sufficiently commodious for legislative purposes, unfinished; a neat framed house of worship for the Presbyterian society, with a cupola and bell; a framed meeting-house for the Methodist society; another small public building open for all denominations, and for schools, and other public purposes. There are in the town two printing-offices that issue weekly papers, the State Register and the Free Press, four taverns, eight stores, two groceries, one clothing store, two schools, four lawyers, four physicians, one steam and one water saw-mill, one minister of the gospel, and about 850 inhabitants. Near the river the country generally is heavily timbered, but a few miles back are extensive prairies. The national road has been permanently located and partially constructed to this place.
Vandalia will continue to be the capital of Illinois until the year 1840; after which period, as decided by a late act of the state legislature, the seat of government will be removed to Springfield, in Sangamon county, where the sum of $50,000 has been appropriated to build a state-house for the accommodation of the legislature, and for other public purposes.
Whitehall is a recently settled town in the northern part of Greene county, on the main road from Carrollton to Jacksonville, about 10 miles north of the former place, and 12 miles east of the Illinois river: it is in the midst of a fertile and well-settled tract of country, and contains nine stores, two groceries, two taverns, three physicians, one school, and an incorporation for a seminary, a steam-mill in the vicinity, framed houses of worship for Methodists and Baptists, and 600 inhabitants.
Winchester is situated in Morgan county, 14 miles from Naples, and 16 from Jacksonville. Its population is already estimated at 600; and it enjoys the advantages of good schools, mills, and manufacturing establishments. It was laid off in 1831, on elevated ground, and is a thriving town, increasing rapidly, has several stores, and a number of mechanics of various descriptions. The Baptists, Methodists, and Congregationalists, have societies here. It has excellent lime and freestone quarries in the vicinity, and several mills.
Winchester is one of the chief points on the line of the rail-road from Jacksonville to Augusta on the Illinois river. A distance of seven and a half miles on this road, from Winchester to Lynnville, is now under contract, and in a state of great forwardness.
CULTIVATION OF THE PRAIRIES
The following letter from the Hon. H. L. Ellsworth, superintendent of the patent office at Washington City, gives a better idea of the cost of cultivating the western prairies than we have before seen, and we think our readers generally will be pleased with a perusal of it - Sangamo Journal.
Washington, Jan. 1, 1837.
DEAR SIR - You doubtless expect some further statement than has been received respecting the investment made for you in the valley of the Wabash. A desire to meet my son, who was daily expected from Lafayette, has delayed my writing until this time. And now, let me say, generally, that the west has grown, and will continue to increase beyond the most sanguine calculation. Nor will any action of the general government materially check the advancement of the lands which are judiciously located on the great western canals or rail-roads. Very little is yet known of the valley of the Wabash. Although the fertility of the soil is unequalled, few have ever seen this country. The reason is obvious; there is no communication with it; and hence, speculators and settlers have passed around it, going west, either by the Michigan lake, or by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Five thousand persons left Buffalo in one day to go up the lake, and yet no one went into the valley of the Wabash. A slight inspection of the maps of Indiana, Ohio and Illinois, will show a direct route to the Mississippi from the west end of Lake Erie, to be up the Maumee, and down
Wabash valley to Lafayette. It may, therefore, be considered certain, that when the rail-road from St. Louis to Lafayette is completed, the great travel from the Mississippi valley to the east, will be by the lakes, through the Wabash and Erie canal, the shortest and quickest route by several days. A person at the mouth of the Ohio will pass up to St. Louis, then take the rail-road and canal to Lake Erie, in preference to following the meanders of the Ohio river in a steamboat. Can there be a doubt on this subject? - What time will be occupied on this route to New-York? Not exceeding six days. From St. Louis to Lafayette (240 miles), one day may he allowed; from Lafayette to the lake, at the rate of 4 ½ to 5 miles on the canal (now in operation considerable part of the way), forty-eight hours; and from the lake to New-York city, via rail-road (now commenced), not exceeding two days.
What changes this must make in the value of property on the route! The value of land depends on the fertility of the soil and the facility of transportation. From a personal inspection of the western states, during six months past, I am fully convinced the Wabash valley has the best soil and most favourable climate. In the latitude of Philadelphia, you avoid the extreme of great heat in summer, and of cold in winter, and also avoid the danger of early frosts, so prevalent in higher latitudes. You may ask, what will be the markets for Indiana! I answer, New-York and New-Orleans, the former by the Erie canal, and the latter by the Wabash river (navigable to Lafayette for steamboats), and by the rail-road above-mentioned, to St. Louis; also Montreal, by the Welland canal. A choice of all these markets, equally accessible, is presented to farmers on the Wabash valley, who possess a great advantage over Michigan and Wisconsin, in the early navigation of the Wabash river. The produce of this valley can by this river pass down to New-Orleans
in flat-boats, free of tolls, and be transported to Charleston, Baltimore, New-York, and Boston, six weeks before New-York canal opens. - This early market may be estimated at a good profit in business.
You may ask if the Wabash and Erie canals will surely be completed? Undoubtedly they will. Indiana and Ohio are pledged to complete them. Nearly all is now under contract, and government has given lands adjoining sufficient to finish the same without any expense to the states.
As like causes (other things being equal) produce like effects, it will not tax your credulity to believe, that the rich lands on the Wabash valley will equal those on the Ohio, New-York, and Pennsylvania canals, which vary from 25 to 60 dollars per acre. Is it possible that lands yielding 40 bushels of wheat, 70 of corn, 60 of oats, and 450 of potatoes, and distant only ten or twelve days transportation from New-York or New-Orleans cities, can be less than $50 per acre?
In making selections, I have, when practicable, procured both prairie and timber, though I am sure there has been a common error to pass the rich prairie because timber cannot be found adjoining at the government price. Under this belief many settlers have, to their sorrow, entered the timber and left the prairie, because they supposed nobody would enter that without possessing the timber. The prairie has been entered lately. And such is the facility for raising timber on prairies, by sowing the seed of black walnut and locust, that the desire for timber land has diminished. Those who doubt the comparative value of timber land, will do well to consider that 12 dollars is a fair price for clearing timber land.
Timber land, when cleared in the usual manner, is left incumbered with stumps and roots, fatal obstacles to labour-saving; machines. $12,000 will be required to clear 1000 acres of timber land; whereas the 1000 acres of prairie can be put in tame grass without ploughing.
A prairie farm may be put in complete cultivation at from $3.75 to $9 per acre, according to the computations of my son Edward, who has been extensively engaged in cultivating the prairie for the last year. From a personal examination of the land in France, and on the Wabash valley, I feel no hesitation in pronouncing the latter decidedly the best for the beet sugar manufacture. In France, eight, ten, and twelve dollars per acre are paid for rent, and yet great profits are made.
An acre of good land will yield 44,000 pounds of sugar beet, from which 2400 pounds of sugar can be extracted, which, at ten cents per pound, amounts to 240 dollars per acre.
In England, paper is now made from the residuum of beets, after the saccharine matter is extracted. An application for a similar patent is now pending in the patent office. The sample of paper exhibited is very good, and the rapidity with which the paper is made, must reduce materially the price of the article. Many labour-saving machines are introduced to aid in the cultivation of new lands. In a few years it is probable that ploughing on smooth lands will be effected by steam, and even now mowing and reaping are successfully done by horse-power.
Such are the profits of cultivation, that I would advise all who can to improve some part of their lands. A small improvement will repay expenditures, and greatly enhance the value of the whole investment. Three benefits may be expected: 1. The crops will pay expenses and yield a great profit. 2. The land cultivated and the land adjoining will be advanced several hundred per cent. 3. If stock is put on the farm the same is numerically increased, and greatly enhanced in value by improving the breed.
Either of these considerations is sufficient to justify cultivation and guaranty a large return. I might mention the successful cultivation of hay in the west - from one and a half to two tons is a fair crop. This can be cut and pressed without any labour-saving machines at two dollars per ton: and if the grass was cut by horsepower, the expense would be still less. The profits on one hundred heifers at five dollars, might easily be supposed. Fifty breeding sows would probably bring 700 pigs per annum, and by these means a large farm could be stocked with little capital advanced.
Hay at New-Orleans varies from 20 to 50 dollars per ton. An average for the last three years may be thirty dollars. The cost of floating down hay in flat-boats to New-Orleans may be eight dollars per ton.
There is a practice mentioned by Mr. Newell, and highly recommended by others, of putting in hay-seed without ploughing the ground. This is done by burning the prairie grass in the spring, and harrowing in the seed. The seed catches quick and grows well. Blue grass especially succeeds in this way, and the grass will sustain stock all winter without cutting hay or fodder for them. A large drove of horses was kept last winter at Indianapolis on blue grass, on the open fields, at the small expense of one dollar per head per month.
From personal examination, I am convinced that ditching and hedging, as practiced in Holland, England, and France, almost entirely, and successfully adopted in Illinois, is cheaper than rails. The general complaint of the earth crumbling by frost is prevented, by sowing blue grass seed on the sides. Mulberry trees might be raised on the slope of the ditch, with great profit. Indeed, such is the rapid growth of the mulberry in these rich prairie lands, that the purchase of this land at $1.25 an acre, and planted by these trees alone, would in a few years be highly valuable. Such is the extent of the prairie, that woodland will always be valuable for timber. The woodland is also rich, and fine for cultivation; and if trees under a certain diameter are cut, a fine grazing farm may easily be made, and the good timber preserved. Similar pastures are found in Kentucky; these yield $3 profit per acre annually. It may be asked, how can non-residents best cultivate their lands? I would remark, that it is customary to rent land (once broke and fenced), for one-third of the crop, delivered in the crib or barn. At this rent the tenants find all.
I would advise to employ smart enterprising young men from the New England states, to take the farm on shares. If the landlord should find a house, team, cart, and plough, and add some stock, he might then require one-half of the profits of the same. I would advise to allow for fencing or ditching a certain sum, and stipulate that the capital invested should be returned before the profits were divided. A farmer could in this way earn for himself from $700 to $1000 per annum, on a lease for five years. The second year a mowing machine might be furnished, if one hundred acres were seeded down to tame grass. Mast for swine is found in great abundance, and the number of hogs could easily be increased to one thousand by adding to the number of breeding sows.
Corn is so easily raised that it is found advantageous to turn hogs into a field of this grain without gathering it. It has long been the practice in New-York to raise oats and peas together, and turn in the swine to harvest the same, when ripe. Experiments this summer in Connecticut show a great profit in raising spring wheat and oats together, and feeding out the same to hogs. I have omitted to say that good bituminous coal is found in the valley of the Wabash. The veins are from five to ten feet thick, and a large wagon-load will supply one fire for a year. Salt is also manufactured in large quantities and superior in quality to the Kenhawa salt.
Farmers in Indiana and Illinois are now successfully inclosing their farms by ditching, which has cost from fifty to seventy-five cents per rod. The laws of the states of Indiana and Illinois compel the owners of lands adjoining to pay one half of fencing, whenever they make use of, or derive any benefits from the fences of their neighbour. This lessens the expense of fencing one-half.
If it be asked what are the profits of cultivation? I answer, if the land is rented for five years, the profits accruing during this period will repay the capital advanced in the commencement, with twenty-five per cent. interest per annum, and leave the farm worth twenty dollars per acre at the expiration of the lease. Probably the profit will be much greater. Yours, respectfully,
H. L. ELLSWORTH.
LETTERS FROM A RAMBLER IN THE WEST
The six following letters from the pen of a talented young Philadelphian, a correspondent of the editor of the Pennsylvania Inquirer and Daily Courier, appeared in the columns of that gazette during the spring of the present year, under the title of "A Rambler in the West." They are beautifully written, and possess more than ordinary interest for those anxious to acquire information relative to the Western County, more particularly the state of Illinois.
The Journey - The "Far West" - A Prairie on fire - Alton - Chicago.
VANDALIA (ILL.), JAN. 29, 1837.
I promised you, my dear P---, when I left our good Quaker city, that I would give you some account of my wanderings. I had intended long ere this to have complied with my promise, but circumstances which we cannot control have hitherto prevented me from discharging that pleasing duty. I design now, however, to present you with a short account of my rambles.
The morning was cold and lowering, and the rain was descending in torrents, when the carriage arrived which was to convey me on my journey. It was truly a cheerless morn, and the streets through which we passed were almost deserted, save where here and there a single pedestrian, wrapping himself in his cloak, defied the "peltings of the pitiless storm." I need not say that the lowering appearance of the heavens tended in any degree to elevate the spirit of the youthful adventurer, who was leaving the scenes of his early days - the home of his youth - the thousand sweet associations of friends and "fatherland,"' on a tour of experiment to a new and almost unsettled country. But I had determined that the feelings of regret and despondency, so natural to the occasion, should not have a lodgement in my bosom - for experience had fully convinced me that they product no beneficial results, but were oft-times productive of serious injury. Brushing away a hasty tear, which, in spite of all my philosophy, lingered in my eye. I bounded into the car with, apparently, a light and joyful heart. The door closed, and soon the last glimpse of my much-loved city faded from my view. After bestowing my hearty benedictions on it and the many kind friends its walls contained, I applied myself to the accomplishment of my purposes. I was anxious to obtain a knowledge of the country through which I passed, the character of its population, the nature of its soil and climate, and that mass of valuable information which travel alone can furnish.
My course lay through the line of internal improvements of the State of Pennsylvania, which are truly creditable to her citizens, and without much delay I arrived at Pittsburgh, whose business and activity indeed surprised me. I entered one of the noble steamers which crowded her wharves, and was soon proceeding at a rapid rate over the calm and tranquil waters of the "Beautiful River." Away we flew over its glad waters, and soon the spires and steeples of St. Louis peeped over the distant hills. I thought, upon my arrival there, that I was approaching the "far west;" but when I mentioned west, I was laughed at, and was pointed to that immense region which stretched far beyond the Mississippi, and was told, that when I travelled week after week, and thousands upon thousands of miles in that direction, I would then be approaching the confines of the "Great West." I was inclined to be discouraged; but being determined to visit the Illinois country, before attempting that arduous journey, I was soon on another boat, and ploughing the dark and troubled waters of the rapid Mississippi. The day I left St. Louis was peculiarly fine - one of those days in autumn when summer seems to linger on earth, as if unwilling to yield to Boreas' chill and nipping blast.
The scenery on the banks of the river was truly grand and sublime. Large jets of rock obtruded far into the stream, and reared their mighty heads almost to the clouds. So regular were they in their proportions, and so nicely chiselled, it seemed as if dame Nature had built for herself, in this western world, a huge and mighty castle, with lofty columns and frowning battlements, defying the skill of man to rival its majestic grandeur. Whilst enjoying the sublimity of the scene, night threw her mantle o'er the earth, and the "sentinel stars set their watch in the skies" - when suddenly the scene was lighted by a blaze of light illuminating every object around. Lo, it was the prairie on fire. Language cannot convey, words cannot express to you the faintest idea of the grandeur and splendour of that mighty conflagration. Methought that the pale queen of night, disdaining to take her accustomed place in the heavens, had despatched ten thousand messengers to light their torches at the altar of the setting sun, and that now they were speeding on the wings of the wind to their appointed stations. As I gazed on that mighty conflagration, my thoughts recurred to you, immured in the walls of a city, and I exclaimed, in the fullness of my heart,
"Oh fly to the prairie, in wonder, and gaze As o'er the grass sweeps the magnificent blaze The world cannot boast so romantic a sight - A continent flaming 'mid oceans of light."
I arrived early on the following morning at Alton, which is a flourishing and thriving place, and presents a busy appearance. With its situation I was much pleased, but more gratified with the enterprize of its citizens. Every one here was active and industrious - there were no loungers - no idlers - no "loafers"' to be seen. Every one seemed engaged in some occupation, and was pursuing it with industry and zeal. Large stores - as large as those which adorn our eastern cities - were building on the water's edge; dwelling houses of all sizes were springing up, and the hum of busy industry was sounding through the streets. I left this city with regret, being compelled to pursue my journey. After a very pleasant ride through a most delightful country, I arrived at Chicago.
Chicago is, without doubt, the greatest wonder in this wonderful country. Four years ago the savage Indian there built his little wigwam - the noble stag there saw undismayed his own image reflected from the polished mirror of the glassy lake - the adventurous settler then cultivated a small portion of those fertile prairies, and was living far, far away from time comforts of civilization. Four years have rolled by, and how changed that scene! That Indian is now driven far west of the Mississippi: he has left his native hills -his hunting grounds - the grave of his father - and now is building his home in the far west, again to be driven away by the mighty tide of emigration. That gallant stag no longer bounds secure o'er those mighty plains, but startles at the rustling of every leaf or sighing of every wind, fearing the rifles of the numerous Nimrods who now pursue the daring chase. That adventurous settler is now surrounded by luxury and refinement; a city with a population of over six thousand souls has now arisen; its spires glitter in the morning sun; its wharves are crowded by the vessels of trade; its streets are alive with the busy hum of commerce.
The wand of the magician or the spell of a talisman ne'er effected changes like these; nay, even Aladdin's lamp, in all its glory, never performed greater wonders. But the growth of the town, extraordinary as it is, bears no comparison with that of its commerce. In 1833, there were but four arrivals - or about 700 tons. In 1836, there were four hundred and sixty-six arrivals, or about 60,000 tons. Point me if you can to any place in this land whose trade has been increased in the like proportion. What has produced this great prosperity? I answer, its great natural advantages, and the untiring enterprize of its citizens. Its situation is unsurpassed by any in our land.
Lake Michigan opens to it the trade of the north and east, and the Illinois and Michigan canal, when completed, will open the trade of the south and south-west. But the great share of its prosperity is to be attributed to the enterprize of its citizens: most of them are young - many there are upon whose temple the golden lock of youth is not darkened; many who a short time since bade adieu to the fascinations of gay society, and immured themselves in the western wilderness, determining to acquire both fame arid fortune. And what has been the result? - While many of their companions and former associates are now toiling and struggling in the lowly vale of life, with scarcely enough of the world's gear to drive away the cravings of actual want - the enterprizing adventurer has amassed a splendid fortune - has contributed to build up a noble city, the pride of his adopted state, and has truly caused the wilderness to bloom and blossom like the rose. Such are always the rewards of ever daring minds.
PERU. (ILL.) FEB. 4. 1837.
I resume my narrative.
The next point to which my attention was directed was Peru. This place will unquestionably become one of the greatest inland towns in the West, and second only to Chicago. A traveller riding through would smile if you were to tell him that this place was destined to become a city. One humble tenement is all it boasts, and a stranger would be apt to imagine, when you told him that a town was laid out there, and that lots were commanding from $1000 to $2500 apiece, that the speculating fever was raging with all-pervading influence. But upon careful examination and mature reflection, I have arrived at the conclusion above stated.
Peru is situated on the Illinois river, at the head of river navigation, and is the point of termination of the Illinois and Michigan Canal.
This canal, when completed, will be the most splendid project of internal improvement in the Union. Its dimensions are sixty feet wide at the top water line - 36 feet wide at the bottom, and six feet deep - the estimated cost of which is nine millions. This is a great link in the grandest chain of internal improvements known in the world - "it unites the Mississippi with our inland seas, the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the Gulf of Mexico, and the Rocky mountains with the Atlantic coast." Where can be found a work of internal improvement more important than this?
Besides, the great central rail-road from the mouth of the Ohio terminates here. It is situated in the midst of a most fertile region, abounding in grain, in coal, in iron, and in hydraulic power. These things being considered, is it wrong to suppose that a large inland city will here arise? For myself I have no doubt of the fact, and would stake my reputation on the result. And but a few short months ago, the land there was entered by an enterprizing Pennsylvanian, (one who, by his business talents, enterprize, and unspotted reputation, has amassed a munificent fortune, and who can be pointed to as a distinguished example of the success which attends well-directed efforts) for a dollar and a quarter per acre - now it will readily command from 5000 to 10,000 dollars per acre.
I assure you, my dear ---, I have often wished as I was roaming over this beautiful country, that you were with me, to view this scene in all its glory, to cast your eyes over a boundless tract of land, on which stern Winter has cast his fleece-white mantle, to feel the west wind blowing on your cheek, and to experience that thrill of pleasure which the sight of those grand and mighty prairies alone can bestow. But perhaps you will see them at a more propitious period. Come, when Flora casts o'er garlands o'er the land, - Come,
"When universal Pan Knit with the graces and the hours in dance. Leads on the gentle Spring."
Come, when the prairie flower is in blossom - come when "the rank grass is waving in billowy pride." Come when the chain that now binds these sluggish streams is loosed, and hear them laugh and merrily sing as they journey on to the ocean. Come then and view this rich, this growing, this flourishing country - examine its resources. See the field that is opened for enterprize and talent - look at the laurels which can be gained by exertion here, reflect on its increasing greatness, and the influence it is destined to exert upon our common country; and my word for it, a city life will lose its charms, and you will, without a sigh, bid it farewell, take up your staff and come and pitch your tent in the great - the growing - the mighty - the boundless West.
A Snow-Storm on the Prairie.
PEORIA, (ILL.) FEB. 6, 1837.
"Now sharp Boreas blows abroad, and brings The dreary winter on his frozen wings; Beneath the low-hung clouds, the sheets of snow Descend, and whiten all the fields below."
Such was the burden of my song when I awoke from a most refreshing slumber, and saw large white flakes descending, and the whole country covered with the snowy garb of winter. It is oft-times a very pleasant employment to watch the progress of a snow-storm, but then you must be sheltered from its violence, for I assure you, you cannot at all sentimentalize when you are breasting its fury, and have a long and dreary journey before you. However, this morning I was in a peculiarly good humour, and disregarding the solicitations of my friends, who begged me to remain until the storm had abated, I determined to resume my journey. Soon the merry jingle of the sleigh-bell announced to me that my vehicle was at the door of my friend's hospitable mansion - into it I sprung with joyous gaiety, and away we flew over the broad and boundless prairie. My noble steed seemed to feel a new excitement as he inhaled the fresh morning breeze, which lent life and vigour to every nerve.
A prairie is most beautiful in "the spring time of year," for then it is a garden formed and cultivated by nature's hand, where spring the clustering flowers which bloom in rich luxuriance, and "shed their fragrance on the desert air." But when stern winter casts her mantle over the earth, and binds the streams in icy fetters, then a prairie is a spectacle, grand and sublime, and will well repay for the hardships and privations of Western travelling. I was compelled, however, to ride
against the wind, which whistled around and blew directly in my face. So violent was the storm that I was almost blinded by the thick flakes that were dashed directly in my eyes. Had I acted with prudence, I should have discontinued my journey, and made myself comfortable for the remainder of the day at the log hut where I dined - but I determined, in spite of wind and weather, to reach Peoria by night. Whilst progressing quietly on my way, gray twilight extended her evening shades on earth. Still I drove on, anxious to reach my point of destination. Not a single star peeped out from the heavens to shed its light on a benighted traveller. The storm increased in violence, and the cold winds whistled a wintry tune. I now found I had strayed from the road, and here was I on a broad prairie, without mark or mound, and had lost the trace, which was ere now covered by the falling snow.
Unfortunately I had left my compass behind, and now I was on a broad sea without a chart or compass, and without one stray light in the heavens whereby to direct my course. The mariner, when tossed upon the billows of the stormy ocean, has at least the satisfaction of knowing where he is, for the needle will always point to the pole, and his chart will tell him of the dangers in his path - but the weary traveller, who has lost his way on a Prairie, is on a boundless sea, where he cannot even tell the direction he is pursuing, for oft-times he will travel hour after hour, and still remain at nearly the same point from which he started. Had even one accommodating star beamed in the heavens, I should not have been the least disconcerted, for then I could have some object whereby to guide my steps. But all the elements combined against me, and I assure you my feelings were by no means comfortable. Memory ran over the sad history of the numerous travellers, who had been overtaken by night, and been buried in the falling snow; many who had started in the morning full of gay hopes and buoyant anticipations, who, ere another sun had risen, had found a cold and solitary grave - arrested in their course by the chill and icy hand of death. Alas, thought I, how true it is,
"For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn - Or busy housewife ply her evening care; No children run to lisp their sire's return - Or climb his knee, the envied kiss to share."
Insensibly I felt a strong inclination to sleep - I had always heard that this was a dangerous symptom, and if I yielded to its influence, my life would certainly be lost. I endeavoured to shake off the drowsy feeling. Never before have I experienced such a stronger inclination to sleep. Never before did I exert myself more to keep awake. I halloed - I shouted - I beat my breast to preserve animation, and tried every method to prevent my yielding to the drowsy influence. My noble horse was almost exhausted, and I myself began to despair of reaching a place of shelter -when suddenly a ray of light beamed upon the snow, and shed a shadow around in. Encouraged by this favourable token, I urged on. My jaded steed also seemed to know that he was approaching a place of shelter, for he quickened his pace, and shortly afterwards I discovered at a distance, a small log-hut, from whose window beamed a broad blaze of light. Soon was I at the door, and warmly welcomed by the kind owner, who shook the snow from my garments, and gave me a seat before a blazing fire.
Oh, how delightful was the sense of security as I sat sheltered from the wintry blast, and listened to the tales of the inmates, many of whom had, like me, been overtaken by the storm, and now were relating the events of their journey. I have passed many delightful evenings in the course of a short but eventful life - I have been at the festive board, where the wine-cup was pushed merrily around, and song, and laughter, and merriment abounded - I have mingled in the society of the gay - I have been
"Where youth and pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feet."
But never have I passed a more happy evening than in the small and narrow cabin of that Illinois farmer.
Peoria - Illinois - The West.
PEORIA, FEB. 8, 1837.
Early on the ensuing morning I arrived at Peoria. Peoria is situated on the Illinois river, and is in very truth a most beautiful site for a town. A few miles above, the river expands in a lake, upon the banks of which it is situated. The approach to the town is through alternate wood-land and prairie. It is the county-town of Peoria county, and has a bright prospect of rapidly increasing. It now has a population of fifteen hundred, and boasts of a large and commodious courthouse and several fine mansions. It commands at all seasons an unbroken water communication with St. Louis, and is situated in a most delightful country. Its trade now is brisk, but it will increase in a ten-fold degree upon the completion of the Illinois and Michigan canal.
The highly respectable and talented author of "A Winter in the West," in one of his letters in 1834, expresses the following sentiments in reference to this work: "The State of Illinois, judging from the progress already made, will not complete the canal for half a century. The want of capital is here so great, as almost to seal up every outlet for enterprize, though they present themselves on every side, and our eastern capitalists are so completely ignorant of the prodigious resources of this region, that it will be long ere this defect will be supplied." To a part of this assertion we are obliged to enter our dissent, while to a part we will most cordially assent.
There exists no doubt, on my mind, that this great and important work will be completed in five years; which, considering the immense magnitude of the undertaking, is certainly a short tune. Every effort is now making to hasten its completion. A large part of it is under contract, and labourers are at work upon a considerable portion of the line. The Commissioners are men of acknowledged talent and integrity, and there is every reason to believe that the state, feeling a just and praiseworthy price in the construction of this grand link in the chain of internal improvements, will urge its immediate completion. But we do agree with the author referred to, that our eastern capitalists are completely ignorant of the resources of this region.
Eastern capitalists cannot realize the great opportunities that every day present themselves for safe and profitable investment, and the great returns received for capital invested. With many the opinion is prevalent, that the accounts received through the medium of the press, are but the "puffs" of adventurous speculators, who by this method "crack up" their property, with the design of defrauding innocent purchasers. That this system has been most extensively pursued, cannot be denied; but that this country is destined to advance most rapidly in the scale of importance, and that investments judiciously made now, will insure a great profit, can be shown to the satisfaction of any reasoning mind.
Take out your map, and look at this noble state; look at its geographical situation, between 37 and 42 deg., N. lat.; see the mighty Mississippi rolling its swift and turbid current along the western bordered; look at the Wabash pursuing its silent way along the eastern side; see the "Beautiful River" washing the southern boundary; and look at that calm and placid stream, so properly denominated "a natural canal through a natural meadow," dividing the state and extending far and wide its fertilizing influence. What portion of our country is better watered or more capable of commanding a great hydraulic power? Reflect upon the face of the country and the nature of its soil. Here are no high and barren hills, or thick and dense woodlands, but broad and rolling prairies.
The state of Ohio will, at the next census, rank the third state in the confederacy; I mean as regards wealth and population - and yet what immense labour was required "to clear" a large portion of her territory, and then, at her early settlement, we had but a capital stock of six millions of souls. And if Ohio in thirty years rank as the third state in this Union, I ask what time will it require for a state to stand beside her - where the ground is already prepared by nature's hand for the farmer - when we have a capital stock of over thirteen millions, and when the facilities for emigration are ten-fold increased. Besides, Illinois contains a larger quantity of rich land than any other state, and therefore can maintain a large agricultural population, which is the great basis of national wealth. These things being considered, can we doubt that ere long these beautiful prairies will be adorned by the home of the settler - will re-echo the shrill whistle of the ploughman, as he "homeward plods his weary way," or the glad and joyous song of the reaper, as he gathers in the golden harvest?
Can we doubt that, ere long, Illinois will stand among her sister states - "her brow blooming with the wreath, of science, her path strewed with the offerings of art, her temples rich in unrestricted piety," her prairies waving with the fruits of agriculture, her noble streams bearing upon their bosoms the produce of every clime, her borders filled with a rich and thriving population, attached to the institutions of our fathers; lovers of rational and enlightened liberty, and reflecting honour and glory upon our common country. But I must pause; my eyes grow heavy - my candle has almost burnt to its socket - and I must bid you good night. For now,
"The lamp of day is quench'd beneath the deep, And soil approach the balmy hours of sleep."
The East - The West - Enterprize - Agriculture.
SPRINGFIELD, (ILL.) FEB. 27, 1837.
Here am I at the neat and pretty town of Springfield, a place of considerable trade, and containing a truly kind and hospitable population. The journey from Peoria to Springfield was most delightful. The air was pure and balmy - the heavens were blue - the roads were in fine order, and the "tout ensemble" was (to use a western term) "gorgeous." I am now snugly ensconced in a comfortable room, and intend to entertain you with a few detached and unconnected thoughts -
and I will commence by saying, that the period of the year is fast approaching, when the tide of emigration rolls to the western world. As soon as the streams that now are bound by winter's chain, are loosed - as soon as the noble steamers, that "walk the waters like a thing of life" are plying up and down our rivers, the numbers of emigrants who will come to this land of promise will far exceed that of any previous year. It is not merely the oppressed and afflicted of foreign climes, who have left their native hills for this land of peace and plenty; but many of our most enterprizing citizens, actuated, some, by a desire to improve their fortunes, and others by that truly American spirit - the love of rambling (for we are truly a migratory people,) will forsake their own comfortable homes, to examine the prospects of this much talked of, much written of, and far-famed country.
That those who possess sufficient intelligence, to appreciate and understand the advantages of tins country, and a spirit of enterprize that will support them under the privations they must necessarily encounter, will be charmed and gratified with their western tour, 1 have no doubt; nor do I question that Illinois, in the progress of another year, will rank among her citizens, many of the most intelligent and enterprizing of our sister states. That this country possesses advantages of a most important character, and offers many attractions to the youthful adventurer - to him who would acquire both fame and fortune, can, I think, easily be shown, and I would present a few considerations tending to illustrate the subject.
And I will premise by saying, that there is no truth more evident to the reflecting mind, than that in this transatlantic world, every one must be the architect of his own fortune - no matter what course of life is adopted, be it professional or mechanical, the basis upon which every hope of future eminence must rest is, diligent, untiring, persevering application. Assuming this fact as granted, I would refer to the superiority of the western portion of our continent over the eastern, as rewards the acquisition of wealth - professional eminence - political distinction, and the opportunity offered of exercising influence on society and the destinies of our common country.
As respects the acquisition of wealth - the great basis of all wealth is the agricultural interest, and that country must be the richest, which is the most capable of supporting the largest agricultural population. Land, rich and fertile soil, is the foundation of a nation's glory. It is true, that commerce tends much to enrich a people, and large, nay, immense fortunes, have been made in the pursuit of trade. But who does not know the mutations of trade? - who is not cognizant of the fluctuations of commerce? who is ignorant of the fact, that he who is engaged in commercial
transactions may to-day be master of thousands, and roll in splendour and luxury, and to-morrow be a bankrupt, and know not where to lay his head? Do you seek for the evidence of this fact? Go to any of our large cities and inquire, and you will find the sad truth written in indelible characters, so plain that he who runs may read.
Now none of these mutations and fluctuations afflict the agricultural or producing class of society - no panics or pressures occur among them - a stormy sea cannot swallow up their earnings, nor a raging fire destroy the toil of years. The seed is dropped into the ground and, "He who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," sends the genial sunshine and refreshing showers, and the ripe and yellow harvest awaits the labourer's gathering.
Now, land in the western world is rich and fertile, and I will venture to say, that the soil of one of the prairies is more productive than any soil in your much loved state, not even excepting the far-famed Lancaster county, where the toil and labour of many years has been expended in improving it. This rich and fertile soil can be entered at $1.25 per acre, or bought "second-hand" for from $2.50 to $3.50 per acre. And it has been proved by actual experiment, that an enterprising settler can break and sow 80 acres, and from the profits of his crop can realize a sufficient sum to enter and pay for his land; thus in one year, by the toil and labour of his hand, acquiring a fee-simple title to a fine and improving farm. In what portion of the eastern states can this be done? "I pause for a reply." Again - wealth will be acquired by the natural increase of the country.
This whole region (particularly the states of Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin Territory,) is filling up with great and unexampled rapidity. The increase of the country is truly wonderful, one who has not witnessed it can scarcely believe it. The growth and prosperity of Chicago may be taken as a fair example of the unprecedented increase and advancement of the country. Cities and towns spring up in every quarter, and a mighty tide of emigration is rolling far and wide its fertilizing influence.
A small sum of money now judiciously invested, will increase in a ratio not even dreamed of by an eastern capitalist. Speak to them of the advantages of this region, and they smile, and tell you, you are exercising the powers of a fertile imagination. They manifest the same incredulity as was exhibited by the eastern monarch, when told by the philosopher, that he came from a country where water became congealed, and bore upon its bosom, men, and horses, and chariots. The monarch was indignant, that any one should attempt (as he supposed) to impose upon his good sense and experience; for he had been sunned in a burning clime, and there the streams were never bound by winter's chain, but were ever rolling their turbid waters, and yet the philosopher's tale was no less true than strange - and so it is with our eastern capitalists - they can form no idea of the increase and unexampled advancement of this country, for it is unparalleled in the annals of the world; and although they sometimes think they are very wise in discrediting our statements, they are only acting from a principle of human nature, (which is truly illiberal and narrow,) to disbelieve any thing that is contrary to their preconceived opinions, and has never occurred under the observation of their senses.
But judging of the future by the past, and can we have a better lamp to our steps than that of experience! what may we not anticipate from the increase of this country! It seems but yesterday that the whole valley of the Mississippi was a wilderness, untrodden, save by the moccasin of the red man, where the silence and solitude of nature was unbroken save by the shriek of the wolf, or the cry of the majestic eagle,
"As he gracefully wheel'd in the cloud-speckled sky."
Now as if by work of enchantment, mighty states have there arisen; powerful in wealth and population - sisters of a common confederacy and reflecting honour our common country - cities and towns have sprung up like stars above the horizon, and the whole scene is alive with the industry and enterprize of man. Why, I ask, will not land in Illinois be as valuable as in any portion of the Atlantic states? Why will not land along the borders of the Illinois and Michigan canal command as high a price as that upon the Erie canal? The soil is far more productive requires less toil to prepare for the hand of the farmer, and the market for produce is far superior to any in the east. Dees any one pretend to say that lands in any portion of the west will ten years hence be sold for $1.25 per acre? If so, he arrives at that conclusion by a process of reasoning which I cannot understand. To the mechanic - to the labourer - to the working classes of society this fact offers great encouragement; for here they can earn large wages, and the small sums which they invest will increase most rapidly.
Again wealth depends upon economy. It is the prudent, saving man, and not the prodigal, who acquires a fortune; - a penny saved is a penny earned, was the maxim of a wise philosopher, and its truth has been fully tested. Now, in a new country, fewer temptations are in your path - fewer opportunities for wasting and squandering the wealth earned by your labour - fewer inducements are presented for the exhibition of extravagances and prodigality, than in our large eastern cities, where luxury is the reigning vice - where man strives as the object of his highest ambition, to outrival his fellow man in the magnificence of his equipage, the extravagance of his table, and the brilliancy of his entertainments.
These consideration, then, the low price of rich and fertile soil, the certain and great increase of the country, and the want of opportunities for the display of extravagance and prodigality, exhibit, in a faint degree, the superiority of the western country - the young and rising west - over the over-populated and already exhausted east. If then wealth be the object of pursuit - if the acquirement of a fortune be the "ultima thule" of your wishes, here is the field upon which to commence your efforts - a field already ripe with the golden harvest, and only waiting the labourer's gathering.
The Acquisition of Wealth - Young Men and Old - Advantages of the West.
JACKSONVILLE, MARCH 3, 1837.
In my last, I endeavoured to exhibit the superiority of the Western Country over the eastern, as regards the acquisition of wealth. Unfortunately for us, the desire for wealth is the ruling passion of our nation - a passion developed in early life, sanctioned by parental admonition, and strengthened by each advancing year - almost the first principle instilled into the youthful mind, is the importance of wealth, and almost first object to which the youthful energies are directed, is the acquisition of a fortune. We will not stop to show the pernicious influence which this universal worship at the shrine of Mammon has upon the morals, the literary taste, and the intellectual greatness of our people. We will not stop to exhibit the dangerous tendency of this money-making spirit, to destroy those nice distinctions between right and wrong - to vitiate the public taste - to impair the force of native intellect, and to delay the glorious triumphs of the mind.
This fact we will leave to an abler pen, confident that our feeble efforts would be of little avail in checking that ardent and earnest desire for wealth so prevalent through the land. But there are those to whom, in speaking of the advantages of a new country, we can point to higher and nobler inducements than the mere acquisition of worldly goods - many who are engaged in the noble employment of cultivating and improving the human intellect, and desire a broad and ample field upon which to exert the energies of that immortal mind with which Providence has blessed them.
To those we would speak in the language of affectionate regard, and would endeavour to convince them that, if they desire distinction in that branch of science to which their attention has been directed - if eminence in their profession is the object of their wishes, that they have only to summon up moral courage to enter boldly on a scene of action which will inevitably lead to happy and glorious results. But they must be endued with the spirit of lofty determination and noble resolution - a determination that will brave all obstacles - a resolution that will support them under all privations - not that weak and sickly resolution that every difficulty discourages, and every obstacle disheartens; but that bold and manly resolution which, fixing its eagle eye upon the topmost height, determines to reach the destined mark, and, like the thunder-bearer of Jove, when storms and tempests beat around, soar higher and loftier, and sustains itself by the force and sublimity of its own elevation.
Among the number of advantages which the West has over the East, may be enumerated the following: -
1. In the East, the professions are monopolized by the older members - in the WEST, the responsible duties of the professions are confided to the young men.
2. In the West, greater inducements for the acquisition of a fortune being held out by the farming or agricultural interest, and great privations having necessarily to be encountered, the number of professional men is fewer than at the East, and consequently the field is more ample.
3. In a new country, every thing being to build up and construct, greater opportunity is offered for the exercise of professional talent.
4. The tendency of a new country being to develope and bring forward youthful talent, exerts a highly favourable influence upon boldness, force, and originality of intellect.
In illustration of the first proposition, we need but appeal to the experience of every young professional man. How few, how very few, even of our most active and intelligent young men can, in our large eastern cities, earn a respectable livelihood? One or two of the most eminent and experienced monopolize the most important and lucrative portions of the business. The community look up to them with confidence, for they believe their minds are matured by wisdom and ripened by experience, and the young men are permitted to remain in almost total inactivity.
Here and there an instance may occur of a young man of high and noble endowments entering bolding into the arena, and, by the force of his intellect and the brilliancy of his talents, commanding a large share of public patronage; but for one who thus happily has burst the fetters which confine and restrain the youthful intellect, how many have toiled and struggled in the lowly vale of life, then "dropped into the tomb, unhonoured and unknown?" - The aged and experienced will not confide their business to youthful heads, for they cannot realize that those whom a few short years ago they dandled on the knee, or saw engaged in the simple and artless amusements of early childhood are prepared to discharge the high and responsible duties appertaining to a profession.
Now, in the West the population is mostly young, consisting chiefly of youthful adventurers, who have left their peaceful homes with the determination to reap the advantages of a new country. A young professional man his enlisted in his behalf, not the cold and sordid influence of those whose feelings have been chilled by a contact with a selfish world, but the warm and glowing feelings of early youth. He is there surrounded not by the aged fathers of the profession - those whose brows are silvered o'er by the frosts of time - not the experienced soldiers who have conquered o'er and o'er again in the fight, and advance to the contest confident of success; but he beholds himself surrounded by his equals - his companions and associates, each striving to gain the prize of public approbation - each struggling to win the pure and spotless laurels which will crown the victor's brow.
In illustration of the second proposition, we can only add, that there can be no doubt that if the acquisition of wealth be the object of pursuit, greater inducements are held out by the farming and agricultural interest. A professional life is at all times a life of toil, and he who aspires to its highest honours must remember that they are only to be attained by untiring unremitting effort. The pecuniary emoluments are small compared with other occupations of life, and he who desires professional eminence must not expect to reap the same amount of this world's good as he whose soul is engaged in the pursuit of trade.
Now an enterprising emigrant, when he leaves his native village, as he turns to take the last lingering look of the home of his affections - as he beholds the spire of the village church, where so oft he has worshipped the God of his fathers, glittering in the morning sun, the last wish which animates his bosom, is the hope of some not far distant day, returning to the scenes of his childhood, where every object brings some sweet association, laden with the fruits of his toil. In fine, it is wealth that he hopes to attain, and it is the prospect of reaping golden fruits which enables him manfully to endure the privations to which he is subjected. He arrives at the land of promise, and examines the prospect of improving his fortune which the country affords. He finds that the tiller of the soil is the one who reaps the most productive harvest, and no matter what profession he may have adopted, - no matter what branch of science may have hitherto occupied his attention - he relinquishes its pursuit - forgets the obligations his profession imposes on him, and forsakes his calling to assume the manly and independent, but at the same time more profitable employment of the farmer.
But few, few alas! of professional men of the proper stamp and character emigrate to a new country. It is the hardy yeoman and independent mechanic who has the moral courage to emigrate to a new but growing country. The young professional man is unfortunately too attached to the comforts of a city life. He loves his case too much to think of forsaking the attractions and fascinations which have thrown their spells around him, and he will content himself with wasting and squandering the precious hours of youth, (which are truly the wealth of future remembrance,) in the pursuit of the phantom pleasure, which will forever, like Creusa's ghost, fly from his embrace. In the East the professions are over-stocked, and it is indeed distressing in our large eastern cities to see the large number of professional young men, without any employment to occupy their time - frittering away the powers of their intellect, and acquiring habits that will inevitably tend to prevent attaining either standing or eminence in their profession - when if they would only listen to the voice of reason, and obey its dictates, they might have the certain prospect of advancing the character of their profession - being useful to society - exercising influence on our country, and building up a name
"That long shall hallow every space, And be each purer soul's high resting place."
But I find if I continue the subject now, I shall be obliged to trespass on your limits. Adieu.
BACK -- HOME
Copyright © Genealogy Trails