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This webpage reproduces an article in the
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
Vol. 28 No. 1 (Apr. 1935), pp26‑64

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p27  The Indian Boundary Line under the Treaty of August 24, 1816

By
Charles G. Davis

Beginning in La Salle County, at a point on the Fox River, about seventeen miles about above its mouth, and thence running west through the northern parts of La Salle, Bureau, Henry and Rock Island counties to the Mississippi River, there appears on maps, plats and surveys, a line designated as "The Indian Boundary Line" and "The Old Indian Boundary Line."

This line was established pursuant to the Indian Treaty of August 24, 1816, as will be herein related. Tracts of land through which the line runs were granted by U. S. patents and subsequently described, as being south or north of this line. The lands south were surveyed in 1821, the lands north in 1833 and 1842. This was for the reason that title to the territory north of the line remained in the Indians under the said treaty until its cession to the United States by treaties of 1828 and 1829, as will hereinafter appear. As the north and south lines of the above surveys frequently failed to close on the Boundary Line at the same point, offsets, or jogs, occur in north and south highways and sectional lines where they touch the Line. To better understand the reasons why the Line was so located, it is necessary to refer to the Ordinance of 1787 and the establishment of Illinois Territory.

As is well known, the territory now included within the State of Illinois was part of the territory of the United States  p28 northwest of the Ohio River, called the "North West Territory," ceded to the United States by Virginia in 1784, by Massachusetts in 1785 and by Connecticut in 1786, the cessions by the last two states being of tracts less than 2° in width.

Article V of the Ordinance of 1787, adopted by Congress for the government of the Northwest Territory, provided that there should be formed in said territory, not less than three nor more than five states, and fixed and established the boundaries of the "western," "middle" and "eastern" states (Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), which were to include the whole territory and were to be bounded on the north by the British possessions. The western state (Illinois) was to be bounded "by the Mississippi, the Ohio and Wabash rivers; a direct line drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincents (Vincennes) due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada; and by the said territorial line to the Lake of the Woods and Mississippi."

Article V further provided:

That the boundaries of these three states shall be subject so far to be altered, that if Congress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two states in that part of the said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan.

The foregoing boundaries have been described in detail in that the north boundary of the future State of Illinois was generally supposed to be fixed by said Article V as "an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan" and as that was doubtless the reason why such a line was adopted in the Treaty of August 24, 1816, as the boundary south of which the lands were ceded to the United States. This line, however, was never surveyed as a boundary of a state.

How the northern boundary was raised to parallel 42°30′  p29 north latitude by the proposals and efforts of Nathaniel Pope, territorial delegate of Illinois in Congress, when the territory was to be admitted to statehood in 1818; how the later State of Wisconsin laid claim to the northern part of the State of Illinois south to the east and west line drawn through the southerly bend of Lake Michigan; is a most interesting story in itself.

Illinois Territory was established by Act of Congress, approved February 3, 1809, and included "from and after the first day of March next, all that part of the Indiana Territory which lies west of the Wabash River and a direct line drawn from the said Wabash River and Post Vincennes due north, to the territorial line between the United States and Canada." The boundaries as then defined were unchanged until its admission as a state in 1818.

This was a vast domain with only a few thousand white inhabitants, mostly found in scattered settlements in the very southern part of present Illinois. Except for these settlements, the territory was in a state of nature, occupied by the Indian nations who claimed various parts thereof. These nations were at times at war with each other and with the whites. It was not until the close of the Black Hawk War in 1832 that the Indians ceased to be a menace.

It was over this great, untamed territory that Ninian Edwards was appointed Governor on April 24, 1809, and served as such until Illinois became a state. Governor Edwards, who was the principal figure in the events under discussion, was born in Maryland and brought up in Kentucky where he became attorney general at an early age. At the age of twenty-eight, he was appointed Chinese of the High Court of Appeals of Kentucky, which office he held when appointed Territorial Governor. He was United States Senator from Illinois from 1818 to 1824, and, while in the Senate, was appointed Minister to Mexico. He was Governor of Illinois from 1826 to 1830. He was described  p30 by Governor Thomas Ford, a contemporary, in his History of Illinois, as "a large well made man, with a noble, princely appearance," and, as a Senator, "he showed an extensive knowledge of public affairs and became distinguished as a man of fine talents throughout the Union."

During the War of 1812, Governor Edwards organized a successful campaign against the Indians on the Illinois and, as Governor of the state, he quickly ended the Winnebago War of 1827. The Indian question remained troublesome during his entire rule and by the treaties hereinafter described, he sought to remove this danger constantly threatening the settler and the traveler on the trails.

By a treaty made at St. Louis on November 3, 1804, between William Henry Harrison, Governor of Indiana Territory, as commissioner of the United States, and the chiefs and head men of the united Sac and Fox tribes, these tribes ceded to the United States certain territory lying east of the Mississippi and beginning at the mouth of the Wisconsin being described as follows: ". . . up the same (the Wisconsin) to a point which shall be 36 miles in a direct line from the mouth of said river, thence by a direct line to the point where the Fox river leaves the small Lake called Sakaegan; thence, doesn't Fox River to the Illinois River, and down the same to the Mississippi." This cession is roughly the territory between the mouths of the Illinois and Wisconsin rivers, bounded on the west by the Mississippi and on the east by the Illinois and Fox rivers.

The Treaty of 1804 was reaffirmed by a treaty at Portage des Sioux, September 13, 1815, between General William Clark, Governor Ninian Edwards and Colonel Auguste Chouteau, as commissioners, and the Sac nation, and by a further treaty between the same parties at St. Louis on May 13, 1816.

The ownership by various Indian nations of lands in the Illinois Territory became a question of dispute not long after  p31 the Treaty of 1804, not only between the United States and the nations, but also between the nations.

This led to treaties made in an attempt to determine the rights of the parties and to settle the differences and obtain peace between the United States and the nations and between the nations themselves. The principal nations affected were the Sauk, Foxes, Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Winnebago, Sioux, Menominee and other northern Indians.

The title of the Sauk and Foxes to the lands ceded by them in the Treaty of 1804 was particularly disputed by the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi, then some inaccurately described as "Indians of the Illinois River." To settle this dispute (and thereby to raise a later dispute with the Winnebago), the treaty which established the Indian Boundary Line, the subject of this article, was made.

Following the War of 1812, the Indians, particularly on the upper Illinois River, maintained an attitude of veiled hostility. The Governor, seeking to provide for the future removal of the Indians to the north of the line then considered to become the north boundary of the State of Illinois when admitted, and to acquire the title of the Indian nations to lands of the future state, by direction of the government, concluded the Treaty of August 24, 1816, which follows:

Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Limits, made and concluded between William Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste Chouteau, commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of America, on the part and behalf of the said states, on the one part, and the chiefs and warriors of the united tribes of Ottawas, Chippewas and Potawatomis, residing on the Illinois and Melwaukeeº rivers, and their waters, and on the southwestern parts of Lake Michigan, of the other part.

Whereas, a serious dispute has for some time past existed between the contracting parties relative to the right to a part of the lands ceded to the United States  p32 by the tribes of the Sac and Foxes on the third day of November, one thousand eight hundred and four, and both parties being desirous of preserving a harmonious and friendly intercourse, and of establishing permanent peace and friendship, have for the purpose of removing all difficulties, agreed to the following terms:

Art. 1. The said chiefs and warriors, for themselves and the tribes they represent, agree to relinquish, and hereby do relinquish, to the United States, all their right, claim, and title to all the land contained in the before mentioned cession of the Sac and Foxes, which lies south of a due west line from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river. And they moreover cede to the United States all the land contained within the following bounds, to‑wit: beginning on the left bank of the Fox river of Illinois, ten miles above the mouth of said Fox river; thence running so as to cross Sandy Creek, ten miles above its mouth; thence, in a direct line, to a point ten miles north of the west end of the Portage between Chicago Creek, which empties into Lake Michigan, and the river Depleines,º a fork of the Illinois; thence in a direct line, to a point on Lake Michigan, ten miles northward of the mouth of Chicago Creek; thence along the lake, to a point ten miles southward of the mouth of the said Chicago Creek; thence in a direct line, to a point on the Kankakee, ten miles above its mouth; thence with the said known and the Illinois river, to the mouth of Fox river, and thence to the beginning: Provided, nevertheless, that the said tribes shall be permitted to hunt and to fish within the limits of the land hereby relinquished and ceded so long as it may continue to be the property of the United States.

Art. 2. In consideration of the aforesaid relinquishment and cession, the United States have this day delivered to said tribes a considerable quantity of merchandize, and do agree to pay them, annually, for the term of twelve years, goods to the value of one thousand dollars, reckoning that value at the first cost of the goods in the city or place in which they shall be purchased,  p33 without any charge for transportation; which said goods shall be delivered to the said tribes at some place on the Illinois river, not lower down than Peoria. And the said United States do moreover agree to relinquish to the said tribes all the land contained in the aforesaid cession of the Sac and Foxes, which lies north of a due west line, from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river, except three leagues square at the mouth of the Ouisconsingº river, including both backs, and such other tracts, on or near to the Ouisconsinº and Mississippi rivers, as the president of the United States may think proper to reserve: Provided that such other tracts shall not in the whole exceed the quantity that would be contained in five leagues square.

Art. 3. The contracting parties, that peace and friendship may be permanent, promise that in all things whatever, they will act with justice and correctness towards each other, and that they will, with perfect good faith, fulfill all the obligations imposed upon them by former treaties.

In witness whereof, the said Ninian Edwards, William Clark and Auguste Chouteau, commissioners aforesaid, and the chiefs and warriors of the aforesaid tribes, have hereunto subscribed their names and affixed their seals, this twenty-fourth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States the forty-first.

Ninian Edwards,
Wm. Clark,
Auguste Chouteau.

Mucketeypokee or Black Partridge,
Sannowchewone, by his brother, Ignations,º
Bendegakewa,
Pemasau, or Walker,
Ontawa,
Nangesay, alias Stout,
Chamblee,
Cocake,
Shawanoe,
Wapunsy,
Cunnepepy,
Wonesee,
Richeikeming, or Lake,
Cabenaw,
Opaho,
Coèesaut,
Chekinaka,
Macheweskeaway,
Shanquissee,
Ignatius,
Takaonenee,
Ottawonce,
Towwaning, or Trader,
Cashshakee,
Nigigwash,
Sheshebungge,
Mowais, or Little Wolf.

Done at St. Louis, in the presence of R. Wash, Secretary to the Commission, R. Graham, Indian agent for the Territory of Illinois, Thomas Forsyth, Indian agent, J. Maul, lieutenant 8th regiment of Infantry, P. Provenchere, interpreter of the commissioners, Maurice Blondeaux, Indian agent, John Ruland, M. Lewis Clark, Sam Solomon, interpreter and translator, Jacques Mette, interpreter, Katasa (a Kickapoo chief), Tapema, do., Sakappee, do., Kenapeso, do., Pawanqua, do. — Ancowa, do., Mackkattaoushiek, do., Shaquabee, do., Quashquammer, a Sac Chief, Mecitch, do., Capitoi, a Fox Chief, Acoqua or Kettle, the principal war chief of Foxes.

To the Indian names are subjoined a mark and a seal.

The eighth signatory of the chiefs, is "Chamblee," more generally known as "Shabonee," or "Shabbona." Born at Ottawa, he married into and became a chief of the Potawatomi. He was one of the leaders with Tecumseh but, after the defeat on the Thames, became a steadfast friend of the white man. Because of his ride in warning and saving  p35 settlers at the beginning of the Black Hawk War, he was known as "The Paul Revere of the Indians." "Shabbona State Park" in La Salle County is named for him, and townships and groves bear his name in Henry, Bureau, La Salle and DeKalb counties where he had lived.

By the above treaty the United States not only acquired the lands south of the then fixed north boundary of the future State of Illinois, but also the area within which were Fort Dearborn, Chicago harbor and the water route between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River.

This cession of a tract that included the Chicago and Des Plaines rivers and the portage between them, was the first acquisition of lands for the avowed purpose of the construction of a canal to join the waters of the Lake Michigan and the Illinois.

With a portage of scarcely a mile from the Lake to the southerly flow of the "Rivière Devine," as the DesPlaines was named on Jolliet's map, this waterway into the south had been in common use by explorers, voyageurs and traders since its first passage by Père Marquette and Jolliet in 1673, and before this time, by the savage races who had occupied these lands in the far distant past.

The importance and necessity of water-borne communication in the early part of the nineteenth century and the absence of difficulties of construction to a canal to the Illinois, had at this time (1816) given a definite purpose for building the later Illinois & Michigan Canal. As early as 1821, the Illinois legislature appropriated $10,000 for a survey of the route of this canal.

Some years after the treaty, Governor Edwards in remonstrating because the Indians were not receiving all the benefits to be given them therein, stated in writing that the tribes were induced to cede the lands which included the portage by having represented to them during the negotiations, that  p36 the construction of a canal as proposed would particularly be "advantageous" to the tribes.

In this treaty was the actual beginning of a plan that is today reaching its greater fulfillment in the completion of the great waterway from the Lakes to the Gulf.

The cession of the territory north of the line by the United States to the three nations led to disputes by other Indian nations who claimed ownership of parts thereof. Future cessions of lands north of the line, by various tribes and nations, related to the line of 1816, as will later appear.

The next year, the Governor received the following letter from the Secretary of War directing the survey of the treaty lines:

Department of War, Nov. 1, 1817.

Sir:

Your letter of the 7th ult. recommending the appointment of B. Stephenson Esq. as a Major General of the Militia of the Illinois territory, has been received, and will be duly attended to, when the Senate is in session.

You will receive, by this mail a commission to treat with the Indians claiming the lands lying between those ceded by the Kaskaskias in 1803, and the Illinois river.

As it is not only desirable but indispensably necessary that the boundary lines of all the lands ceded by the Indians should be established and well marked, the President has appointed Richard graham, Indian Agent, and — Phillips to act as commissioners, for the purpose of running and marking, in conjunction with two chiefs to be appointed by the Indians, such boundary lines of the lands ceded by the Indians within the Illinois Territory as you may deem necessary. The lines will be run at the expense of the United States, and the two chiefs who may be designated to attend the commissioners will receive a compensation not less than that of the commissioners.

I would recommend that a contract be made with the principal surveyor, Mr. Rector, for running and marking the lines at a given sum per mile — the surveyors furnishing everything necessary for that purpose. As a  p37 specific appropriation will be asked for this object, I will thank you to advise this department, at as early a period as convenient, what would be the probable expense of running and marking the lines, independent of the expense and compensation to the commissioners.

It is very desirable to have the boundary of that tract of land ceded by the treaty of August, 1816, and lying between the Illinois river and Lake Michigan, established and a particular report made of the quality. If that tract of land was surveyed and settled, it would very much facilitate the migrations to the Illinois Territory from New England and the state of New York by means of the lake navigation.

I have the honor to be with great respect your obtain servant.

George graham, Acting Sec'y War.

To Gov. N. Edwards, Kaskaskia, Illinois.

A search made of the survey records in the General Land office did not disclose any mention of the two chiefs to be appointed by the Indians in conjunction with the surveys, as directed in the foregoing letter.

A letter from the Commissioner, General Land Office, Department of the Interior, dated March 17, 1934, in response to inquiries by the author, states the facts so succinctly that it is quoted in part below. the townships and ranges are all in Henry County, in which respect inquiry was particularly made.

Our records show that a line from the west end of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River was surveyed by John C. Sullivan in 1819. According to the field notes of this survey on file in this office, the line from the south end of Lake Michigan to the Fox River was not marked but was for the purpose of ascertaining a point of beginning on the said Fox River. From the Fox River westerly to the Mississippi River, the line was actually marked on the ground. It appears that  p38 this line was surveyed for the purpose of marking the south boundary of the lands ceded to the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi Indians by the act of August 24, 1816.

It appears that when the public land surveys were extended over northern Illinois, the line as surveyed by John C. Sullivan in 1819 could not, at least in certain instances, be identified. On plat of T. 18 N., R 2 E., 4th P.M., part south of the Indian boundary line, it is stated:

"The North boundary designated 'old Indian boundary line' was surveyed by Abner Flack and Jonathan L. Bean, in the 3rd quarter of 1821, whilst executing the contract of Stephen Rector and Thomas C. Rector of the 20th of March, 1821, which includes the survey of this fractional township, in consequence of not being able to close the public surveys to the said Indian boundary, as originally surveyed by John C. Sullivan, assisted by James M. Duncan int 1st quarter of 1819, under the authority of a letter of appointment from William Rector, Surveyor of the lands of the United States in Illinois and Missouri, dated October 18, 1818, authorizing them to survey certain Indian boundaries under the direction of Commissioners graham and Philips appointed by the President of the United States to run out the lines of the tract ceded by the treaty of Saint Louis of the 24th of August, 1816 — This being the line agreed to be run due west from the Southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi — (page 177 land laws, edition of 1828) — The survey by Sullivan and Duncan is therefore abandoned as a boundary to the public surveys, and the line of Bean and Flack adopted in lieu thereof . . ."

On the plat of T. 18 N., R 2 E., 4th P.M. part of township north of the Indian boundary line, it is stated that Bean and Flack resurveyed 50 miles 14.81 chains of the line established by Sullivan in 1819. It is therefore apparent that the original line as surveyed by Sullivan was not adopted, in all instances, as the line  p39 upon which the public land surveys were closed. The statement regarding the adoption of the Bean and Flack line appears upon the official plats of plat of Ts. 18 N., Rs 2, 3, 4, and 5 E., 4th P.M.

Our records indicate that the portions of Ts. 18 N., Rs 2, 3, 4, and 5 E., 4th P.M., in Henry County, south of the Indian boundary line, were surveyed in 1821 by Flack and Bean under contract dated March 20, 1821.

In response to further inquiry by the author, the Commissioner, in a letter dated January 2, 1935, stated that there are statements on many of the plats similar to those given above. These plats also give the names of the men who executed the surveys, the dates the surveys were executed, as well as information pertaining to the Indian Boundary Line.

Acting as a mediator to suspend the constant internecine wars of the Indians and settle their quarrels over ownership and right of occupancy of various lands, William Clark and Lewis Cass, as Commissioners of the United States, negotiated the Treaty of August 19, 1825, at Prairie du Chien, of which Articles 7 and 9 are as follows:

Art. 7. It is agreed between the Winnebagoes and the Sioux, Sac and Foxes and Ottawas, Chippewas and Potawatomies of the Illinois, that the Winnebago country shall be bounded as follows: southeasterly by Rock River from its source near the Winnebago lake to the Winnebago village, about forty miles above its mouth; westerly by the east line of the tract, lying upon the Mississippi herein secured to the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomie Indians, of the Illinois; and also by the high bluff, described in the Sioux boundary, and running north to Black River; from this point the Winnebagoes claim up Black River to a point due west from the source of the left fork of the Ouisconsin; thence to the source of the said fork, and down the same to the Ouisconsin; thence down the Ouisconsin to the portage and across the portage to Fox river; thence down Fox river to the Winnebago Lake and to the ground Kan Kanlin, including in their claim the whole  p40 of Winnebago lake; but, for the causes stated in the next article, this line from Black river must for the present be left indeterminate.

Art. 9. The country secured to the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomie tribes of the Illinois is bounded as follows: Beginning at the Winnebago village, on Rock river, forty miles from its mouth and running thence down the Rock river to a line which runs from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, and with that line to the Mississippi, opposite to Rock Island; thence up that river to the United States reservation, at the mouth of the Ouisconsin; thence with the south and east lines of the said reservation to the Ouisconsin; thence southerly, passing the heads of the small streams emptying into the Mississippi, to the Rock river at the Winnebago village. The Illinois Indians have also a just claim to a portion of the country bounded south by the Indian boundary line aforesaid, running from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan, east by Lake Michigan, north by the Menominie country, and northwest by Rock river. This claim is recognized in the treaty concluded with the said Illinois tribes at St. Louis, August 24, 1816, but as the Millewakee and Manetoowalk bands are not represented at this council, it cannot now be definitely adjusted.

The Winnebago village mentioned in the treaty was located a short distance below the present site of the villa of Prophetstown, Whiteside County. This village of Wabokieshiek, the Prophet, was destroyed May 10, 1832, at the beginning of the Black Hawk War, by the American force under General Atkinson, which included Captain Abraham Lincoln and his company of the earth Regiment of Illinois Mounted Volunteers.

As the whites increased in number north of the Indian Boundary Line, in northern Illinois and what is now southern Wisconsin, particularly in the vicinity of the lead mines, cessions were obtained from the Indian nations of much of this territory.

 p41  Provisional boundaries were defined by the following treaty concluded at Green Bay, August 25, 1828, the preamble and Article 1 of which are as follows:

The Government of the United States having appointed Commissioners to treat with the Sac, Fox, Winnebago, Pottowatomie, Ottawa and Chippewa tribes of Indians, for the purpose of extinguishing their title to lands within the State of Illinois and the territory of Michigan, situated between the Illinois River and the lead mines on Fever River and in the vicinity of said lead mines and for other purposes; and it having been found impracticable in consequence of the lateness of the period when the instructions were issued, the extent of the country occupied by the Indians and their dispersed situation, to convene them in sufficient numbers to justify a cession of land on their part; and the Chiefs of the Winnebago tribe and of the united tribes of the Potawatomies, Chippewas and Ottowas, assembled at Green Bay, having declined at this time to make the desired cession, the following temporary arrangement, subject to the ratification of the President and Senate of the United States, has this day been made between Lewis Cass and Pierre Menard, Commissioners of the United States, and the said Winnebago tribe and the united tribes of Potawatomie, Chippewa and Ottawa Indians in order to remove the difficulties which have arisen in consequence of the occupation, by white persons, of that part of the mining country which has not been heretofore ceded to the United States.

Art. 1. It is agreed that the following shall be the provisional boundary between the lands of the United States and those of the said Indians: The Ouisconsin River from its mouth to its nearest approach to the Blue Mounds, thence southerly, passing east of the said mounds to the head of that branch of the Pocatolakaº [Pecatonica. C. G. D.] creek which runs near the Spotted arm's village; thence with the said branch to the main forks of the Pocatolkaº creek, thence southeasterly to the ridge dividing the Winnebago country  p42 from that of the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa tribes, thence southerly with the said ridge to the line running from Chicago to the Mississippi, near Rock Island. And it is fully understood that the United States now freely occupy the country between these boundaries and the Mississippi River, until a treaty shall be held with the Indians for this cession; which treaty it is presumed will be held in the year 1829. . . . It is also agreed by the Indians that a ferry may be established over the Rock River where the Fort Clark road crosses the same, and, also a ferry over the same river at the crossing of the Lewiston road.

It is of interest to note the assign on part of the tribes to Rock River ferries. Fort Clark was located at present Peoria. In 1827, O. W. Kellogg opened a road, known as "Kellogg's Trail," from Ft. Clark to Galena, crossing Rock River at present Dixon. In 1828, John Dixon, the "Nachusa" of the Indians, brought Joseph Ogee, a half-breed, to establish a ferry at this point. The operation of this ferry was taken over by John Dixon in 1830. While the author has no authentic information as to the "Lewiston road," he suggests that it was a road from Lewiston, Fulton County, which county was established January 28, 1823, to present Rock Island, and crossed the Rock River south of Rock Island.

The very important cession by the Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi Indians was made by the treaty concluded at Prairie du Chien on July 29, 1829, which is in part as follows:

Articles of a Treaty made and concluded at Prairie du Chien, in the territory of Michigan between the United States of America, by their Commissioners, General John McNeil, Colonel Pierre Menard and Caleb atwater, Esq., and the united nations of Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie Indians, of the waters of the Illinois, Milwaukee and Manitoouck rivers.

 p43  Art. 1. The aforesaid nations of Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie Indians, do hereby cede to the United States aforesaid all the lands comprised within the following limits to‑wit: Beginning at the Winnebago village, on Rock river, forty miles from its mouth and running thence down the Rock River, to a line which runs due west from the most southern bend of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river, and with that line to the Mississippi river opposite to Rock Island; thence up that river to the United States reservation at the mouth of the Ouisconsin; thence with the south and east lines of said reservation to the Ouisconsin river; thence southerly, passing the heads of the small streams emptying into the Mississippi, to the Rock River aforesaid at the Winnebago village, the place of beginning. And also, one other tract of land, described as follows, to‑wit: Beginning on the western shore of Lake Michigan at the northeast corner of the field of Antoine Ouilmette, who lives near Gross Pointe, about twelve miles north of Chicago; thence running due west, to the Rock River, aforesaid, thence down the said river, to where a line drawn due west from the most southern bend of Lake Michigan crosses said river; thence east along said line to the Fox river of the Illinois; thence along the northwestern boundary line of the cession of 1816 to Lake Michigan, thence northwardly along the western shore of said Lake to the place of being. . . .

Art. 3. From the cessions aforesaid, there shall be reserved for the use of the undernamed chiefs and their bands, the following tracts of land, viz.: For Wauponehsee, five sections of land at the Grand Bois on Fox River of the Illinois where Shaytee's village now stands. For Shab-he‑nay two sections at his village near the Paw Paw Grove. [This is Shabbona. C. G. D.] For Awn-kote, four sections at the village of Sau-meh‑naug, on the Fox River of the Illinois.

Art. 4. There shall be granted by the United States to each of the following persons, (being descendants from Indians) the following tracts of land, viz.: To  p44 Claude Laframboise, one section of land on the Reviereº aux Pleins, adjoining the line of the purchase of 1816. To Francois Bourbonne, Jr., one section at the Missionary establishment on the Fox River of the Illinois. To Alexander Robinson for himself and children, two sections on the Reviereº aux Pleins above and adjoining the tract herein granted to Claude Laframboise. To Pierre Leclere [LeClaire. C. G. D.], one section at the village of the Assiminhekon or Paw Paw Grove. To Waish-ke‑naw, a Pottawatomie woman, wife of David Laughton and to her child, one half section at the old village of Nay-ou‑Say, at or near the source of the Rivière aux Sables of the Illinois. To Billy Caldwell, two and a half sections on the Chicago River above and adjoining the line of the purchase of 1816. To Victoire Pothier, one half section on the Chicago River, above and adjoining the tract of land herein granted to Billy Caldwell. To Jane Miranda one quarter section on the Chicago River above and adjoining the tract herein granted to Victoire Pothier. To Madaline, a Pottawatomie woman, wife of Joseph Ogee, one section west of and adjoining the tract herein granted to Pierre LeClere, at the Paw Paw Grove. To Archangel Ouilmette, a Pottawatomie woman, wife of Antoine Ouilmette, two sections, for herself and her children, on Lake Michigan, south of and adjoining the northern boundary of the cession herein made by the Indians aforesaid to the United States. To Antoine and Francois LeClere [LeClaire. C. G. D.] one section each, lying on the Mississippi River, north of and adjoining the line drawn due west from the most southern bend of Lake Michigan where the said line strikes the Mississippi River. To Mo‑ah‑way one quarter section on the north side of and adjoining the tract herein granted to Waishkeshaw. The tracts of land herein stipulated to be granted shall never be leased or conveyed by the grantors [grantees. C. G. D.], or their heirs, to any persons whatever, without the permission of the President of the United States.

 p45  The grants in Articles 3 and 4 are of particular interest in those localities in which the names of some of the grantees are current today and have survived in villages, towns, sites, buildings, et cetera.

While the cession to the United States by the Winnebago nation, by the treaty concluded at Prairie du Chien on August 1, 1829, does not touch the Line, Article 1 defining the territory ceded is given below because of references therein and the interest that attaches thereto.

Art. 1. The said Winnebaygo nation hereby forever cede and relinquish to the said United States, all their right, title, and claim to the lands and country contained within the following limits and boundaries, to‑wit: Beginning on Rock River at the mouth of the Pee‑kee-ta-u‑no or Pee‑kee-to-la‑ka [Pecatonica], a branch thereof; thence up the Pee‑kee-to-la‑ka to the mouth of Sugar Creek; thence up the said creek to the source of the eastern branch thereof; thence by a line running due north to the road leading from the eastern Blue Mound, by the most northern of the four lakes, to the portage of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers; thence along the said road to the crossing of Duck Creek; thence by a line running in a direct course to the most southeasterly bend of Lake Puck-a‑way on Fox River; thence up said Lake and Fox River to the Portage of the Wisconsin; thence across said portage to the Wisconsin river; thence down said river to the eastern line of the United States reservation at the mouth of said river, on the south side thereof as described by the second article of the treaty made in St. Louis, on the twenty-fourth day of August, in the year eighteen hundred and sixteen, with the Chippewas, Ottawas and Potawatomies; thence with the lines of a tract of country on the Mississippi river (secured to the Chippeways, Ottawas and Potawatomies, of the Illinois, by the ninth article of the treaty made at Prairie du Chien on the nineteenth day of August, in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-five) running southwardly passing the heads of the small streams  p46 emptying into the Mississippi to the Rock river at the Winnebaygo village forty miles above its mouth; thence up Rock river to the mouth of the Pee‑kee-to-la‑ka river the place of beginning.

In conclusion, it is to be noted that the first cession in Article 1 of the Treaty of 1816, was of all land ceded by the Sauk and Foxes (in the Treaty of 1804) which lies south of a due west line from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River; that is, of all land south of said line between the Fox and Illinois rivers on the east and the Mississippi River on the west. It is this line from the Fox to the Mississippi that is particularly the subject of this article. The author does not assume to have treated, other than generally, with that part of the cession appearing secondly in said Article 1 and beginning on the Fox River, ten miles above its mouth. The entire subject is open for further research on the part of others, both as to general and local history.

The Boundary Line running from the Fox to the Mississippi is one of the most important and prominent of those determined by treaties with the Indians. It is one of the few boundaries which became and remains a part of the description in conveyances of lands contiguous thereto. Many of the cessions after 1816 were in part based on this line or related thereto, as has appeared in the treaties given in this article. By following the limits of these later cessions, it will be seen, though sketchy in places, how the United States acquired the lands north of and contiguous to the line. The author has not used all the treaties in which cessions of lands in the territory have been made.

The great importance of the boundaries of the cession of the said Article 1 to include the port of Chicago and the future waterway have been considered.

The treaty itself merits study. It reveals statesmanship and far-seeing vision on the part of the commissioners who  p47 negotiated the instrument. Unlike most Indian treaties, it was not a coerced "treaty of peace" following hostilities and requiring the vanquished to cede and evacuate territory. It was rather a negotiation concluded with fairness between parties then at peace.

The boundaries were predicated upon events then definitely in the making — the considered north line of the future State of Illinois, the lake port and the waterway to provide easy access to the future state by way of lake navigation.

The United States ceded the land north of the line (to which they had obtained title from the Sauk and Foxes in 1804) to the tribes, as the tribes ceded the land south of the line to the United States. The future canal was to benefit both parties. Governor Edwards upheld this view as has been made to appear.

The author but touches on this matter of treaties as they require in themselves much study and research not pertinent to the subject of this article.

The author expresses his appreciation for the aid in preparing this article, to Mr. Frank E. Stevens, member of the Historical Society and well known author on historical subjects. As the references are to well indexed volumes, the most important given below, footnotes were not used. The reader who may be interested in Chief Shabbona, is referred to a splendid story by Alta Porter Walters, which appeared in the Journal of the Society for October, 1924.

The treaties are found in Volume 7, Public Studies of the U. S., Treaties between the United States and the Indian Tribes, edited by Richmond Peters, Boston, 1846; the Treaty of August 24, 1816, begins on page 146. The volume is in the State Library.

The Ordinance of 1787 appears in the earlier Illinois Revised Statutes. Discussion of Article V of the said Ordinance  p48 and references to Ninian Edwards are found in the History of Illinois, from its commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847, by Got Thomas Ford, Chicago, 1854.

Various data are found in the History of Illinois from 1779 to 1833; and Life and Times of Ninian Edwards, by Ninian W. Edwards, 1870. The letter from the Secretary of War appears on page 545.

The Black Hawk War, by Frank E. Stevens, Chicago, 1903, is replete with facts preceding 1832.

Photolithographic copies of the plats with the statements thereon, may be obtained from the General Land Office at Washington, at 50 cents each. The original survey records, including the original plats, pertaining to Illinois, are filed with the State Auditor at Springfield and his records may contain documents of which the Land Office does not have copies.

Page updated: 6 Nov 13