Thayer's Note: When the various counties are mentioned, the boundaries of which changed constantly thruout the period covered by this book, it may be useful to you, as it was to me, to refer to Michael L. Hébert's excellent page of maps, Illinois County Boundaries 1790‑Present.
The historian rarely has the aid of written records when he undertakes to determine the spread of population in a primitive region. In America, for instance, it is only with great difficulty that the location of the aborigines can be traced, because they migrated frequently and left few records of their stay in any district. With the advent of Europeans, however, the problem assumes a very different aspect. From the first, their settlements had a permanency beyond the dreams of the savages; and the settlers, products of a mature civilization, kept definite written records of their activities. Instead of an evolution from a nebulous origin in prehistoric times, therefore, the settlement of the white race in America has been a well-documented and comparatively orderly progress, like the advance of multitudinous chessmen across a gigantic board.
Illinois in 1818
Commissioners appointed for the purpose canvassed each of the 15 counties, recording the names of the heads of families and the number of individuals in each household. The commissioner from Franklin County was the only one who noted locations p62 of settlers; but since as a rule the other commissioners appear to have gone through the county from settlement to settlement, entering the information in the order in which they received it, the arrangement of names furnishes a good clue; having learned from county histories and similar sources the location of a few of the settlers, it is easy to fix, at least roughly, the location of the rest.2 It is chiefly on the basis of the results thus worked out that the accompanying map of settlement has been constructed.3
The frontier of extreme settlement, it will be noted, may be roughly indicated by a line drawn from outpost to outpost across the state. Starting at the Indiana boundary in the southeastern part of Edgar County, the line runs in a southwestern direction to the northeastern corner of Jasper County, then drops down to the Vincennes road, and follows that west to the third principal meridian. From there it curves back to take in the settlements on the Kaskaskia in northern Fayette County, crosses Hurricane Creek in the southeastern part of Montgomery, and Shoal Creek in the vicinity of Hillsboro, and then drops back to the settlements on Silver Creek in northern Madison County. Curving northward again to the settlements of Macoupin County, it crosses the northeastern corner of Jersey, takes in the southwestern part of Greene, and crosses Calhoun to the Mississippi River. Doubtless there were unrecorded establishments above this line in some places, but in general it can be taken to indicate the extreme limit of the progress of settlement in 1818. Not all the region below the line, however, can be considered as settled territory. "In the year 1818," writes Ford, "the settled part of the State extended a little north of Edwardsville and Alton; south, along the Mississippi to the mouth of the Ohio; east, in p64 the direction of Carlysle to the Wabash; and down the Wabash and the Ohio, to the mouth of the last-named river. But two yet a very large unsettled wilderness tract of country, within these boundaries, lying between the Kaskaskia river and the Wabash; and between the Kaskaskia and the Ohio, of three days' journey across it."4
From a study of the census schedules, it appears that what may properly be termed the settled area lay in two widely separated tracts. The larger of these was in the west and consisted of the triangle bounded by the Mississippi and Kaskaskia rivers, Shoal Creek, and the frontier line of survey. In this region of less than 2,000 square miles dwelt about 15,000 people, more than a third of the population of the state, and the average density was not far from eight to the square mile. The other settled district lay along the Wabash River on the eastern side of the state, extending from the site of York in southeastern Clark County to Saline Creek and having an average width of about 15 miles. Nearly another third of the population, approximately 12,000, dwelt in this region of some 1,500 square miles, thus giving it a density about equal to that of the settled area in the west. Between these two districts and north of the one on the Mississippi lived the remaining third of the inhabitants in an immense area of at least 7,000 square miles. The density of the population in this region averaged less than two to the square mile, the number used by the United States Census Bureau in delimiting the frontier of settlement.
Despite the multitude of town-site projects in the state, there were only two places of sufficient size and importance to justify their being termed towns — Kaskaskia, the capital, and Shawneetown, the port of entry. These were located at the southern ends of the western and eastern settled districts, respectively, and each had an office for the sale of public lands. Edwardsville, the third land office town, though destined to grow rapidly in the next few years, was a mere village in 1818, while Cahokia, the former rival of Kaskaskia, was declining in population. Each of the 15 p65 counties, with the exception of Franklin, had a county seat; but these towns as a rule contained little more than a courthouse, jail, and tavern, and possibly a general store. That they depended for their existence on the county business is evident from the number of them which failed to survive the loss of their position as county seat: Palmyra, Brownsville, Covington, Perryville, and even Kaskaskia are now to be found only in the records of the past.
The distribution of the people in 1818 can be indicated more fully by a survey of the population, location of settlements, and towns and villages in each of the 15 counties.
The largest county in Illinois in 1818 was Crawford, which included the whole northeastern part of the state east of the third principal meridian and north of a line cutting across the modern Marion, Clay, Richland, and Lawrence counties 18 miles above the base line, to the Embarras River and down that stream to the Wabash. In this immense area of over 20,000 square miles there were living 2,839 people, according to the final report of the census of 1818. The figures do not quite agree, however, with returns on the schedules. For the first census, these show a population of 2,069, of whom 78 were free negroes and 20 servants or slaves. There were 397 families averaging about five members each. For the supplementary census the commissioner was able to list 121 additional families with 877 souls. The two schedules together, therefore, show a total population of 2,946. The greater part of the Crawford County of 1818 was still Indian land, and the only part in which the land had been surveyed and offered for sale was strip in the southeast averaging about ten miles in width which extended along the Wabash and the eastern boundary of the state to near the southern boundary of Vermilion County. In this restricted region of about 700 square miles lived nearly all of the population, making an average density of about four to the square mile.
Beyond the survey, there was at least one settler in the southeast corner of Jasper County, and there may have been others who had pushed into the interior from the east. On the opposite side of the county, in what is now Fayette, a few settlers are p66 said to have been located on the Kaskaskia above the site of Vandalia, but they were too far away to be listed by the census commissioner. Within the surveyed tract settlers had pushed as far north as the present Edgar County, where about a dozen families were established in Hunter and Stratton townships. In Clark County settlement was confined principally to the three eastern townships and was densest in the southeastern parts. Similarly in the modern Crawford, practically all the settlers whose location can be determined were in the three townships along the Wabash, with considerable concentration in La Motte, the middle of the three. The part of Lawrence County which was then included in Crawford was across the Wabash from Vincennes, and a considerable number of allotments under old grants were located opposite the town, but there seems to have been no settlement here except such as was connected with the ferry. Some Frenchmen and a few American pioneers established themselves in the district at the beginning of the century, and after the War of 1812 was over settlers pushed in rapidly, so that by 1818 they were scattered over all the townships east of the line of survey. On the site of Russellville in the southeastern part of Lawrence County a little frontier fort had been built at the beginning of the Indian troubles, and in this vicinity settlement had progressed most rapidly. A ferry was established at this point in 1818. The county seat and only town of Crawford p67 County was Palestine, located •a mile and a half from the Wabash, on La Motte's Prairie. Settlement began here in 1811, and as soon as the war was over the town was laid out in anticipation of the organization of the county in 1816, but this town appears to have been very small until after the establishment of a land office there in 1820.
South of Crawford and, like it, stretching from the Wabash to the third principal meridian, lay Edwards County. With its southern boundary on a line with the southern boundaries of the present Wayne and Edwards, the dimensions of the county were 33 miles from north to south and 75 on an average from east to west. Its area, therefore, was approximately 2,475 square miles, and within its boundaries were all of the present Wabash, Edwards, and Wayne counties, and parts of Lawrence, Richland, Clay, Marion, and Jefferson. Within this area, according to the census of 1818 as reported to the convention, there were only 2,243 inhabitants, an average of less than one to the square mile. The original schedule made by the census commissioner for Edwards County has not been found, but the secretary of the territory reported on June 17, 1818, that it listed a population of 1,948. This appears to have covered only the eastern part of the county, however, for later in the summer the commissioner for Washington County crossed over into the western part of Edwards, "the detached part," he called it, and listed 42 additional families containing 298 souls. No supplementary count appears to have been made in the eastern section, although the population there, especially on the English prairie, increased rapidly during the summer months.
Through the center of the county, east and west, ran the base line, north of which none of the land was surveyed and open to purchase, except that in the Vincennes tract along the Wabash. Across this unsurveyed region ran the newly laid-out road from Vincennes to St. Louis, and on this road were located a number of tavern keepers at points about 20 miles apart, and also a few other settlers. In the present Richland County, it is doubtful if there were more than two or three families, while in Clay there may have been five or six including three tavern keepers on the p68 road. In Marion County, however, a little settlement of ten or a dozen families had sprung up in and around the site of Salem, and there were three or four families located about Walnut Hill where the "Goshen Road," from Shawneetown to Carlyle, crossed the trail branching from the Vincennes-St. Louis road. Scattered in the southern part of Marion County were possibly five additional families. In the limits of the present Jefferson County were about 14 families, most of whom lived along the Goshen road. Included in this number were at least two tavern keepers; there was also the nucleus of a settlement at Mt. Vernon. East of these settlements in Marion and Jefferson counties and south of the Vincennes road lay a wide stretch of country apparently without any inhabitants.5
Fully two-thirds of the population of the Edwards County of 1818 lived in the triangle between the Wabash and Bon Pas Creek, the present Wabash County and the southern part of Lawrence. Settlement was begun in this region as early as 1800 by a number of Frenchmen who came over from Vincennes to locate their allotments on the west side of the river. The first American settlers made their appearance a few years later but there was little advance into the interior until after the War of 1812 was over, and even in 1818 the bulk of the settlers lived within six or eight miles of the Wabash or the Embarras. Between Bon Pas Creek and the Little Wabash in the part of the modern Edwards County below the base line was located the famous English settlement. American backwoodsmen began to establish their isolated settlements in this region immediately after the close of the War of 1812, and by the end of 1817 there were perhaps 25 families located on the edges of the prairies in the district. Some of these moved away as the English came in, but others took their places, and it is probable that there were more American than English families in the region when Illinois became a state. The English settlement, which in October, 1818, p69 numbered about 200, had doubled by August of the following year, but there were then about 700 Americans in the region.6 The greater number of the settlers in 1818 lived in the central and southern parts of the modern Edwards County, but there were settlements as far north as the base line, with possibly two or three families above the line. In the modern Wayne County lived some 20 or 30 families, mostly in the southeastern part or near the Little Wabash.
The oldest town in Edwards County, and the county seat, was Palmyra, which had been laid out in 1815. The site selected, a low and swampy spot on a sluggish bend of the Wabash, proved to be unhealthful; and in 1818 the town of Mt. Carmel was started about •three miles farther down the river. In October of the same year Albion was laid out in the center of the English settlement; and in 1821 it became the county seat, after which Palmyra soon disappeared from the map. It is doubtful if any one of these embryo towns contained a dozen houses at the end of the year 1818.
South of Edwards lay White County, covering the territory p70 included in the present White and Hamilton counties and a strip nine miles wide of the southern part of Jefferson running west to the third principal meridian. Its area was approximately 1,150 square miles and its population, according to the final report of the census of 1818, was 3,832. The density was thus between three and four to the square mile. Before the supplementary census was taken the population was reported as 3,539, and the schedule shows 572 families with an average of a little above six to a family. Eleven free people of color and 57 servants or slaves were noted in the schedule. Although all the land in White County, except the usual reservations, was open for entry, only a small proportion of it had been taken up, and settlers were few and far between in the western section. Apparently the only settlement in the area of the present Jefferson which was included in White was in the southeastern township, Moore's Prairie, where some 20 families had established themselves. Through Hamilton County, diagonally from northwest to southeast, ran the Goshen road, which was a good drawing card for settlers; but it is doubtful if there were 100 families in the county. The principal settlements appear to have been in the central township, in which McLeansboro is now located, and in Knight's Prairie, the township directly west; but there were isolated settlements scattered throughout the county.
At least three-fourths of the inhabitants of the White County of 1818 lived within the territory of the modern White County, and here the region of densest settlement was along the Wabash, on both sides of the Little Wabash, and between the two streams. In the southwestern part of the county there was a considerable number of settlers, but the northwestern townships were practically unoccupied. On the Little Wabash near the center of the modern White County was located the county seat, Carmi, the second largest town on the eastern side of the territory. According to George Flower it was "a very small place" in 1818, and the statement is doubtless correct, for three years before there had been nothing but a mill on the site. The town was laid out in 1816 and in the same year a store was started and a ferry established. The sale of lots was advertised for July 15, 1816; p71 and in December the county officials were advertising for bids for the construction of a two‑story brick courthouse, 30 by 36 feet in size. By 1818 two doctors had located in Carmi and a traveler who passed through the town the next year reported that it "conducts rather lively trade in wares."7
The oldest county on the east side of the state is Gallatin, established by executive proclamation in 1812. By 1818, through the formation of other counties, it had been reduced to an area of about 800 square miles, including the present Gallatin and Saline counties and the northeastern half of Hardin. The schedule of the first census of 1818 for Gallatin County lists 541 families with a total of 3,440 souls including 83 free negroes and 218 servants or slaves, the largest number of each of these classes to be found in any of the counties. The additional census, taken during June and July, added 511 to the roll, of whom 8 were free negroes and 81 servants or slaves. These were grouped in 75 families. According to the schedules, therefore, the total was 3,951, while the total reported to the convention was 3,849. Inasmuch as this latter figure is larger by 694 than the population reported for Gallatin County, with the same area, by the United States census of 1820, it becomes apparent that the census of 1818 is not reliable. From a study of the schedules it is evident that many who were passing through to locate elsewhere in the state or even in Missouri were counted; and the permanent population in the fall of 1818 was probably less than 3,000.
A most important factor in the development of Gallatin County was the salt works on Saline Creek and the government reservation which surrounded them. A rectangle, 10 by 13 miles in the center of the county, together with an irregular strip along the creek to its mouth, had been set aside by the United States government for the support of the salt works. No land could be sold in the reservation, but it is not to be inferred that p72 there was no settlement there. The operation of the salt works gave employment to a considerable number, including probably a majority of the slaves in the county. These were, of course, entitled to reside on the reservation, and there they formed a little settlement which later became the town of Equality. There were others living on the reservation, however, who had no connection with the salt works but who refused to be deterred by the impossibility of purchasing the land. As early as 1816 the manager of the saline complained to the General Land Office that "the intruders on this tract increase, and experience convinces me that their improvements must be destroyed before they will leave it. In fact, if one set leaves it, another comes on it immediately, and they no longer pay any attention to a threat from me.8 Had the land covered by the reservation been open to entry, the settlements upon it would undoubtedly have been much more extensive, for it was located near the land office, and through it ran the road from Shawneetown to Kaskaskia. In December, 1816, a number of inhabitants of the county, in a petition to Congress, complained that "there has been none but temporary nor is there encouragement for buildings and improvements, within the reservation for a public House for the accommodation of Travellers, and persons who have to resort to that place on business." They pointed out that "the road is much travelled and from the great emigration to the westward must increase every year" and requested that the tavern keeper might be allowed to enter a quarter section of land which he would improve "with permanent and convenient buildings. Grass Lotts &c so as to make it a public convenience."9 Congress rejected the petition, however, and when the state was admitted to the union the reservation was turned over to it intact.
In what is now Saline County, outside the reservation, there were probably not more than 90 families, a considerable proportion of whom, to judge from the land entries, lived along the road to Kaskaskia. There were scattered establishments in various p73 parts of the county, as well as in the part of Hardin then included, and in northwestern and southwestern parts of the modern Gallatin. There was some concentration of settlement in the vicinity of the ferry over the Little Wabash in the northeastern part of the county — the beginnings of New Haven; but certainly a half and probably two-thirds of the permanent population of Gallatin County lived in the region between the Ohio River and the reservation and within a radius of six or eight miles of Shawneetown.
The first white settlement in this region is said to have been made in 1800; it is certain that Shawneetown contained a few scattered houses in 1804. Cuming, a traveler who visited the place in 1809, reported: "The town now contains about twenty-four cabins, and is a place of considerable resort on account of the saline salt-works about twelve miles distant, which supply with salt all the settlements within one hundred miles, and I believe even the whole of Upper Louisiana. . . . There were several trading boats at the landing, and more appearance of business than I had seen on this side Pittsburgh."10 When Gallatin County was established, Shawneetown became the county seat; a jail was erected in 1810 and a courthouse in 1815. Until 1814 the land on which the town was located belonged to the United States, but in that year the lots were sold at auction. The bidding appears to have been brisk and the lots for good prices. Two years later, however, the bubble had collapsed. The purchasers of lots then drew up a petition to Congress which brings out the serious disadvantages of the town as well as the principal cause of its development. The petitioners, having purchased lots "at an excessive high price," set forth:
That within a few months after the sales of the said lots, our town was visited by a most destructive epidemic, which nearly depopulated the place; and immediately after in the same winter the whole of the town on the River was inundated, the water being from 10 to 20 feet over the whole of that part of the town. . . . That alarmed and disheartened many persons have ceased to improve, and have abandoned the place, and others have been detered from settling here. — That under these p74 unfortunate combinations the improvements have languished, and at length appear to have ceased entirely, the lots have depreciated so much in value, that very few of your petitioners can venture to make the remaining three payments into the land office. . . . That at the time the sales of lots in Shawneetown took place, in consequence of the War, salt was commanding a very high price, and the Saline was in extensive operation. — Peace has brought down the price of salt, mismanagement has made the Saline of little comparitive value, and consequently cut off the best branch of the trade which heretofore has centered at Shawneetown. — That the then promising prospects of our town, drew to the sales of lots a vast number of distant adventurers, which together with an unhappy spirit of opposition amongst ourselves combined to run up the lots to the astonishing prices for which they were sold; prices far greater than they would now bring if again offered for sale.
In view of this doleful situation, the purchasers asked to be relieved from further payments; but Congress, needless to say, rejected the petition.11
Besides the salt works, there were two other factors of importance in the development of Shawneetown. It was the principal port of entry for emigrants whose destination was farther north in White and Edwards counties, and also for the even greater numbers bound for western Illinois and Missouri. Closely connected with this was the fact that the land office for the southeastern part of the state was located here. These factors, however, contributed to the transient rather than to the permanent population of the town, which even in 1818 was described by one traveler as "a handful of log cabins." Another visitor pictured it "an inconsiderable place . . . [containing] several taverns, a bake-house, and a few huts." A more definite writer counted "about 30 houses (log.) The chief occupation of the inhabitants is the salt trade. There is here a 'United States' Land-office,' and a log bank is just established. The chief cashier of this establishment was engaged in cutting logs at the moment of my arrival."12 William Tell Harris, who passed p75 through Shawneetown in September, 1818, on his way from the English settlement to Kentucky, after commenting on the annual floods and the unhealthfulness of the site, noted "considerable business being done here, as it is on the road from the southern States to St. Louis, and the Missouri, and the land-office is here. The number of waggons, horses, and passengers crossing, and waiting to cross the Ohio, was so great, that a great part of the morning was spent in waiting for my turn; at length I grew impatient, and taking the opportunity of a skiff, turned my back on Illinois, and landed in the State of Kentucky."13 Such was the metropolis of eastern Illinois and the chief town on the Ohio below Louisville in 1818.a
Pope County included, besides the present county of that name, the southwestern half of Hardin and the part of Massac east of the western boundary of the modern Pope extending south to the Ohio River. In this territory of about 600 square miles according to the final census figures there lived 2,069 people, an average of a little above three to the square mile. The schedule of the first census totals 1,944, including 64 servants or slaves. There were 322 families with an average of six members. Little information is available as to the location of these people, but it is probable that most of them lived along or near the road leading west from Golconda to Kaskaskia or along the Ohio. Golconda itself, the county seat, consisted of only a handful of houses and a tavern clustered about the ferry near the mouth of Lusk Creek. About 25 miles farther up the Ohio a promoter had laid out a paper town to which he gave the breezy name of Hurricane, and the sale of lots was advertised for the last Thursday in May, 1818. There is no evidence of any special settlement here; but there may have been a ferry, for the place was announced as on the "great crossway from the southern and western states, to the principal towns upon the Mississippi river."14
West of Pope lay Johnson County, embracing the present p76 Johnson and the parts of Pulaski and Massac between it and the Ohio River. With the exception of Monroe, Johnson was the smallest county in the state, having an area of only about 400 square miles; and its population was less than that of any other county. Only 678 people including 1 free negro and 24 servants or slaves, grouped in 117 families, were counted in the first census report of 1818. To these the supplementary census added 89, making a total of 767. Circling through the western part of the county ran the Cache River with tributaries flowing in from north, and along these streams and the Golconda-Kaskaskia road which crossed them, in the precincts of Elvira, Bloomfield, and Vienna, were located the bulk of the settlers. The county seat was at Elvira until Union County was set off in January, 1818; it was then changed to Vienna. Very few settlers appear to have located along the Ohio, although much of the land there had been bought by speculators, and lots in "Waterloo . . . on the western bank of the Ohio . . . nine miles below the mouth of Tennessee river" were advertised to be sold on April 10, 1818.15 This location must have been at or near present site of Metropolis, a town which was not started until 1839.
Franklin County, one of the two counties which nowhere touched the boundaries of the state, included the modern Franklin and Williamson, an area of about 860 square miles. It was one of the three new counties established in January, 1818. The census in Franklin, which was not completed until July 11, shows a population, according to the schedule, of 1,228, or less than two to the square mile.16 The number of families was 171. There were 15 slaves and 52 free negroes, the latter including five whole families living together on Saline Creek. The modern Franklin County is drained principally by the Big Muddy and its forks, while through Williamson flows Crab Orchard Creek, a branch of the Big Muddy, and Saline Creek, p77 the waters of which reach the Wabash through the Saline River. Across the southern tier of townships of the modern Franklin ran the new road from Shawneetown to Kaskaskia, which was under construction in 1818, while the route of the old road between the same places crossed Williamson. The people appear to have located principally in the vicinity of these streams and roads, with some concentration in Frankfort precinct. There was nothing in the county that could be called a town; and the county records, until 1826, were kept at the tavern of Moses Garrett on the old road about •three miles east of the site of Frankfort.
Union County was another of the three established in January, 1818. At that time its boundaries were fixed exactly as they are now, but the region south from these boundaries to the Mississippi and Ohio, including the modern Alexander and the greater part of Pulaski, was "attached to" and made "a part of" Union County until it should be formed into a separate county. This whole area, comprising about 800 square miles, had a population of 2,709 according to the final report of the census of 1818. This made an average density of between three and four to the square mile. The schedules of the census as first taken show 2,492 inhabitants grouped in 392 families. There were 33 servants or slaves but no free negroes. At least two-thirds of these settlers were located within the modern Union County, and of these the greater number lived some •eight or ten miles back from the Mississippi River on the divide separating the creeks flowing into the Mississippi from those that entered the Cache. There were a few settlers along the Mississippi, however, and in the eastern part of the county, especially in Stokes precinct, through which passed the road from Golconda to Kaskaskia. The few families living in Alexander County and the part of Pulaski contained in Union were located along or a few miles back from the Ohio and on or near the Cache.
Although Union County was liberally supplied with paper towns in 1818, of real towns there was only a beginning. The principal concentration of settlement appears to have been near the center of the modern Union; and here in March, 1818, the p78 commissioners located the county seat, to which was given the name of Jonesboro. The first sale of lots took place in July, and some of them are said to have brought over $100. On the Mississippi 12 miles above Cape Girardeau, a group of speculators had laid out the town of "Hamburg", named doubtless with a view to attracting the trade of the "Dutch settlement," an industrious community located in the northeastern part of Meisenheimer precinct.17 There was a ferry here and lots were advertised to be sold at auction on September 1, but no town has ever developed on that site. It was along the Ohio that town-site projects flourished most luxuriantly. The greater part of the land here was purchased by speculators as soon as it was offered by the government, and about 1817 a town called Trinity was laid out just above the mouth of the Cache. No lots appear to have been sold but a joint tavern and store was established; and the place was a point of transshipment for river traffic for a few years, until a growing sand bar put an end to its prosperity. Several of the men connected with Trinity were also interested in a town six miles farther up the river, called America, "which was laid out with much pomp and parade as the future great metropolis in 1818." In advertising a sale of lots to take place on the third Monday in November, the proprietors modestly observed that "the obvious advantages of its local situation . . . and its general notoriety, are such as to render all comment on its merits, superfluous." The first house appears to have been built by Dr. W. M. Alexander in the winter of 1818‑19; and when Alexander County was established America became its county seat. The county business kept the town alive for a few years.18
The most interesting of all the schemes for towns in Union p79 County was "The City and Bank of Cairo," which was incorporated by an act of the territorial legislature on January 9, 1818. Five months earlier John G. Comegys of Baltimore had entered •about 1,800 acres of land on the narrow peninsula between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, but not including the extreme point. This land was now deeded to the company, of which Comegys was the moving spirit; an elaborate plat was prepared; and plans were laid for the sale of lots and the establishment of the bank, which was to be located temporarily at Kaskaskia. The act of incorporation provided for 2,000 lots which were to be sold at $150 each. One-third of the proceeds was to be used in constructing levees to protect the city from floods, and for other improvements. The remaining two-thirds was to constitute the capital stock of the bank, one-half of which should belong to Comegys and his associates and one-half to the purchasers of the lots. The death of Comegys in 1819 was followed by the collapse of the entire scheme; the land reverted to the government, and Cairo remained unborn for another 20 years.
Advancing up the Mississippi, the next county above Union was Jackson, which, in 1818, included the territory of the present Jackson and a strip six miles wide off the south of Perry — about 730 square miles in all. The population of the county according to the final report of the census of 1818 was 1,619, making the density only a little above two to the square mile. There were 240 families, and 53 of the inhabitants were servants or slaves. The first census report gave the population as 1,295, but 38 additional families were discovered by the supplementary census. The principal attractions to settlement in the county were the Big Muddy River and its tributaries flowing in from the north. Along these streams and the Mississippi, and to a smaller extent along the several roads which crossed the county, were located the greater number of settlers, although there were isolated establishments throughout the county. The largest groups of settlements were on the Big Muddy near the center of the modern Jackson County. Here were located the salt works of Dr. Conrad Will and the county seat, Brownsville. This town, which p80 has now entirely disappeared, was situated on the north bank of the river about four miles west of the site of Murphysboro. It was laid out by Dr. Will when the county was organized in 1816, the sale of lots being advertised for July 15. By 1818 it had a frame courthouse and log jail, a store, and a blacksmith shop. For a number of years Brownsville was a flourishing town, but the closing of the saline and the removal of the county seat to Murphysboro in 1843 sealed its fate.
Randolph County, lying north of Jackson and stretching from the Mississippi to the third principal meridian, included, besides the present Randolph, the northern two-thirds of Perry County — a total area of about 875 square miles. Unfortunately the schedule of the first census of 1818 for Randolph County has not been found, but the population as reported by the secretary of the territory in June was 2,939. The supplementary census added 16 families of 45 souls, which would make a total of 2,984, but the final report to the convention was 2,974. The average density in the county, therefore, was between three and four to the square mile. The population was very unevenly distributed, however, for it is doubtful if there were 200 people living in the part now included in Perry County and the western tier of townships in Randolph. The region of densest settlement was in the American bottom along the Mississippi and up the Kaskaskia River, and nearly half the population of the county was to be found in the two towns of Kaskaskia and Prairie du Rocher.
Although Kaskaskia was over 100 years old and had been for many years the metropolis of the upper Mississippi valley, it impressed a visitor in 1819 as "not very important." From 1765 on, Kaskaskia had declined steadily in population until in 1807 it was reported to consist of not more than 50 families.19 In 1809, however, it became the capital of the new territory of Illinois, and that event, together with the acquisition of the land office, gave it a new lease on life. Its population in 1810 p81 was reported as 622. By the close of the territorial period it must have had nearly 1,000 inhabitants, and Governor Edwards had sufficient faith in its future to announce his intention of applying to the court for an order to add to the town an adjoining tract of •34¾ acres.20 Samuel Brown in his Western Gazetteer (1817) describes the town as
situated on the right shore of the river of the same name, eleven miles from its mouth, and six from the Mississippi, in a direct line. It is at present the seat of the territorial government and chief town of Randolph county — contains 160 houses, scattered over an extensive plain; some of them are of stone. Almost every house has a spacious picketed garden in its rear. The houses have a clumsy appearance; it is 150 miles south-west of Vincennes, and 900 from the city of Washington. The inhabitants are more than half French, they raise large stocks of horned cattle, horses, swine, poultry, &c. There is a postoffice, a land office for the sale of the public lands, and a printing office, from which is issued a weekly newspaper entitled the "Illinois Herald." This place was settled upwards of 100 years ago, by the French of Lower Canada. The surrounding lands are in a good state of cultivation.
Dana, in his Geographical Sketches (1819), waxes enthusiastic over Kaskaskia: "Placed near the mouth of a river extensively navigable, and in the vicinity of some of the richest lands of the western country, connected with a convenient position for commerce, this place assumes that degree of importance which must eventually attract wealth and numbers. It has a good harbor for boats, contains a land office, a printing-office, and a bank, and is now in a flourishing condition." An eastern traveler who visited the town in November, 1819, presents quite a different picture: "Remained in this inconsiderable village this day. Much disappointed in the appearance of the long-talked‑of Kaskaskia. It is situated on the Okaw or Kaskaskia river, •three miles from the Mississippi. It never can be a place of much business. The land office is kept at this place. There are some neat buildings, but they are generally old, ugly and inconvenient. Their streets are irregular and of bad widths. The inhabitants are all generals, colonels, majors, land speculators or adventurers, with now and then a robber and a cutthroat."
p82 Nevertheless Kaskaskia must have been a place of considerable commercial importance in 1818, for its weekly newspaper contained advertisements of nine general stores, an establishment for the manufacture and sale of hats, and three tailor shops. There was only one tavern, however, the famous Bennett's, and its accommodations were severely taxed by the constitutional convention of 33 members. John Mason Peck, the Baptist missionary, who stopped there while the convention was in session, was informed that "every room was occupied, and every bed had two or more lodgers."21 Kaskaskia was not in a position to profit by the immigration which was surging through Shawneetown and up the Mississippi to the northwestern counties, and with the removal of the capital and the newspaper to Vandalia in 1820 it began to decline again. Following a flood in 1844, the county seat was removed to Chester, and during a subsequent inundation the Mississippi cut a new channel to the Kaskaskia just above the town, so that all there is left today of the first capital of Illinois is a building or two on an island in the Mississippi.
Fifteen miles farther up the American bottom, near the northwestern corner of the county, was the old French village of Prairie du Rocher, nestling under the bluffs which gave it the name. Schultz found about 40 Catholic families there in 1807. Brown's Western Gazetteer (1817) reported "sixty or seventy French families; the streets are narrow — there is a catholic chapel." The village was on the road from Kaskaskia to St. Louis, and in 1816 Archibald M'Nabb advertised the opening there of a "house of private entertainment." The best-known tavern, however, was that of Pierre La Compte, which, after his death in 1818, was carried on by his widow. There were no other towns in Randolph County when Illinois became a state, although a couple of speculators were advertising the town of Blenheim, "situated about thirteen miles from the town of Kaskaskia, p83 at the junction of Horse creek and the Kaskaskia river . . . it lies immediately on the direct line from Kaskaskia to Belleville, Edwardsville and St. Louis, on a road exempt from the unavoidable inconveniences connected with the present route to those places."22
Old French House at Prairie du Rocher
The smallest county in Illinois in 1818, and the only one which is larger today than it was then, was Monroe, situated on the Mississippi just above Randolph. Its boundaries at that time did not include the township which now projects to the eastward. With an area of about 340 square miles, Monroe County had a population of 1,371 according to the schedule of the first census of 1818. The number of families was 227, and there were 41 servants or slaves and 6 free negroes. After the supplementary census was taken, the total population was reported as 1,517, giving the county an average density of nearly six to the square mile. While there were settlers in all parts of the county, the regions of greatest density were the Mississippi bottom and the higher lands in north central part extending from the New Design settlement near the center beyond the site of Waterloo. From New Design southward, John Mason Peck traveled in 1818 "for sixteen miles, without a house, to the French village of Prairie du Rocher," while Mason, the following year, "saw only three houses" from Waterloo to Prairie du Rocher.23 When the county was organized in 1816 the seat of justice was fixed at Harrisonville on the Mississippi about midway between the northern and southern boundaries, and a dinner was held at M'Clure's tavern in celebration of the event. A few months later M'Night and Brady were advertising a sale of lots in Carthage, "formerly Harrisonville," but the latter name was restored by legislative enactment in December, 1816. In 1818 the county commissioners advertised the sale of a number of lots in the town. There were probably about 50 families in Harrisonville and its vicinity when the census was taken. Waterloo, the present county seat, was laid out in 1818 by p84 Daniel P. Cook and George Forquer "at the well known stand of Mrs. Ford, on the road leading from Kaskaskia to St. Louis, 36 miles from the former, and 24 from the latter place. It is surrounded by a beautiful and fertile country and a population of 50 families within 5 or 6 miles." The public sale of lots took place at Harrisonville on the first Monday in April, after which the "few lots" remaining unsold were to be purchased from Forquer "on the premises." There is no evidence, however, of any influx of settlers before the census was taken, and as late as November, 1819, a traveler reported that he "lodged at Waterloo, a town without houses. Only two families in the place. Every land speculator produces one or more of these dirt-cabin villages."24
St. Clair, the oldest county in Illinois, had been reduced by 1818 to its present boundaries with the exception of Prairie du Long precinct, which has since been transferred to Monroe County. Within this area of about 725 square miles there dwelt 5,039 people, according to the final report, making the density about seven to the square mile, higher than that of any other county. The schedule of the first census has been burned in part while that of the supplementary census, which added 520 to the original figure of 4,519, has not been found, but it is evident from what is available that the families averaged between six and seven members. Even in this most densely populated part of the state, therefore, there was only about one family to each square mile, and as part of the population lived in the villages the statement of the county historian that "the settlements were so sparse that seldom did neighbors live nearer than two miles to each other" is probably not far from the truth. St. Clair County was one of the first regions to attract the American pioneers in considerable numbers, and some years before the close of the territorial period settlements had been established in all parts of the county. The metropolis of the county was old French village of Cahokia, which at one time had rivaled p85 Kaskaskia, the capital. Schultz found "about a hundred and thirty houses" there in 1807, "one dozen of which may be inhabited by Americans." The county seat was at Cahokia at that time, and after this was removed in 1814, there was probably a decline in population. Brown in his Western Gazetteer (1817) describes the village as "situated on a small stream, about one mile east of the Mississippi, nearly opposite to St. Louis. It contains about 160 houses, mostly French." Dana's Geographical Sketches (1819) also mentions 160 houses but in another place gives the population as about 500. Mason, a pessimistic traveler who passed through in 1819, speaks of it as "a small village called Cahokia, a miserable, dirty little hole" and again as "a small and unimproving village."25
As the American settlers in the interior of the county increased in numbers, the desire grew to have the county seat in a more central location, and in 1813 commissioners were appointed by the legislature to select a new site. In March, 1814, the commissioners decided in favor of the cornfield of one George Blair, and in accordance with the usual practice in such cases Blair agreed to donate to the county an acre of land for the county buildings and one-fifth of the lots in the town, to be laid out in adjoining •25 acres. The survey was made at once and the June term of court was held at Blair's house. The plat was not recorded, however, until a few years later, when Governor Edwards had become the proprietor. In December, 1817, he was offering lots at $60 until the end of the year, afterwards date they were to be $100 each. By the time Illinois became a state Belleville had a courthouse, jail, general store, one or two taverns, and possibly other establishments. Dana described it a "a flourishing new town" but it is doubtful if it had 150 inhabitants.26
A still smaller place was Illinoistown, though now, under another p86 name, it has become the largest city in the county. As early as 1815 the advantages of the site directly across the Mississippi from St. Louis were observed and it was platted as a town with the name of "Jacksonville." The property soon changed hands and was replatted as the "Town of Illinois," the lots being sold at auction in St. Louis on November 3, 1817. The following March, Simon Vanorsdal gave notice of his intention to apply "for an order to establish a Town . . . on a tract of land containing •100 acres, lying on the Mississippi river, opposite St. Louis." Whether this was to be a rival or an addition to Illinoistown does not appear. A tavern and a store existed near the east end of the ferry to St. Louis as early as 1815, and a traveler who passed that way in November, 1819, speaks of "the town of Illinois, on the Mississippi, a little village opposite St. Louis."27
Before 1818 St. Clair County had extended east to the third principal meridian, but in January of that year the eastern part including the modern Washington and all of Clinton except the northern tier of townships was set off as Washington County. In this area of 900 square miles, there dwelt, according to the final report, 1,819 people, an average of about two to the square mile. There were 265 families, 16 with 113 souls having been added by the supplementary census. The number of free negroes was 19 and there were 28 servants or slaves. This small population was very unevenly distributed over the county, however, probably nine-tenths being in what is now Clinton County. Settlement had progressed eastward and northward up the Kaskaskia and the streams flowing into it from the north until by the close of 1818 there were a few inhabitants in each of the townships of this region. The northeastern township, however, being mostly prairie, had only two or three families of settlers. South of the Kaskaskia and of Crooked Creek, in the modern Washington County, it is doubtful if there were 200 people. A few families were living along the river, there were the beginnings p87 of a settlement in Plumb Hill precinct near the center, and two or three families had established themselves on the road from Vincennes to Kaskaskia. Most of the precincts of the county, however, did not receive their first settlers until near the middle of the next decade.
When Washington County was organized there was no town within its boundaries, and the county seat was fixed at a place on the south side of the Kaskaskia near the center of the county where an old trail from Kaskaskia to Peoria crossed the river. The town of Covington was immediately platted on the site "on a very extensive and liberal plan," and an attempt was made in the convention to have it selected for the capital of the state. The advantage of the place were advertised in glowing terms in the Intelligencer of July 1, and on July 29, the county commissioners gave notice of a public sale of lots on the first Monday in September. The town appears to have had very few settlers, however, and with the division of the county and the removal of the county seat it disappeared from the map. A more promising venture was Carlyle, "beautifully situated on the west bank of the Kaskaskia river, at the well known crossing of Hill's Ferry . . . having the great United States road from Vincennes to St. Louis, the roads from Shawneetown, the Saline and the Ferries on the lower Ohio, to the mouth of Missouri and the great Sangamo country passing thro' its principal street." The town was "laid off in squares of •two acres, having its mainstreet 75 and its other streets 66 feet in width, each square having an alley 20 feet in width passing through its center. — A public square, church lots, &c."28 The public sale of lots was advertised to begin on September 29, 1818, and the following year Dana reported the town "in a flourishing condition." A sale of lots in the rival "Town of Donaldson" laid out on the opposite side of the river "just at the point where the two leading roads from the east to the west, unite" was advertised for the first Monday in November, 1818; but Donaldson p88 appears to have been stillborn. Carlyle and Donaldson, like Covington, aspired to become the capital of the new state.
North of St. Clair lay Madison County, with its present southern and western boundaries; the west line, however, extended to the northern boundary of the state. All the immense region between this line and the Mississippi River was nominally a part of the county, but in only the three southern tiers of townships, about 570 square miles, was land available for purchase before 1819. The schedule of the first census of 1818 lists 717 families in Madison County with 4,516 souls, of whom 34 were free negroes and 77 servants or slaves. This is only three less than the population of St. Clair as reported in June; and including the supplementary census of 847 as compared with 520 for St. Clair, Madison becomes the most populous county in the state. The final report to the convention was 6,303, but this includes 980 reputed residents at the forts in the Indian country. The part of this population residing south of the line of survey may be placed conservatively at 4,500, which would give to that region a density of about eight to the square mile, slightly more than that of St. Clair County. While settlers were to be found in all parts of these townships, the areas of greatest density were along the Mississippi, and southwest of Edwardsville where the so‑called Goshen settlement was located. Toward the eastern boundary settlers were less numerous and were located mainly in the vicinity of Silver Creek and its branches and along the road to Shawneetown.
Of special interest are the settlements above the line of survey, for these illustrate the way in which the frontier population pushed out and squatted on land which was not yet in the market and which in some cases had not yet been cleared of the Indian title. The census schedules indicated that about 70 families were living in this region in the early summer of 1818, but the number was probably doubled before the end of the year. As usual on the extreme frontier, the settlers were to be found principally along the rivers and creeks. Even the military tract between the Mississippi and Illinois had a few inhabitants on the southern point, extending north to about the middle of Calhoun p89 County, though it is doubtful if any of them had secured title to the soil. Major Stephen H. Long, on a trip down the Mississippi, "took an excursion" across this peninsula in August, 1817, and reported: "There are five settlements at this place, including two immediately upon the Mississippi at Little Cape Gris."29 This point was about 20 miles up the river from the mouth of the Illinois.
On the eastern side of the Illinois adventurous spirits had pushed as far north as Apple Creek in Greene County and also up the tributaries flowing in for the east, Macoupin Creek with Phill's Creek, its branch, and Otter Creek in Jersey County. The census schedule indicated several families on Macoupin and Phill's creeks in the southeastern part of Greene and the northeastern part of Jersey counties and at least one settler on the headwaters of Macoupin Creek in what is now Macoupin County. There was probably a considerable increase during the summer; and, if local tradition is reliable, Macoupin County contained ten families when Illinois became a state. Edmund Dana, who visited this region in the late summer of 1818, speaks of finding 60 families in the tract drained by Macoupin, Apple, and Otter creeks "in the sickly months of 1818." In another place, referring to the whole region from Piasa Creek, which enters the Mississippi near the boundary between Madison and Jersey counties, to and including Macoupin County, he states that "nearly 120 families had settled here before the lands were surveyed," which would be before the spring of 1819.30 On Wood River, which enters the Mississippi a couple of miles below Alton, the settlements had extended north only a mile or so above the line of survey, and there appear to have been no establishments on the branches of Cahokia Creek above this line when the census schedule was compiled. Farther east, however, on Silver Creek, there were settlers within •a mile or two of the present northern boundary of Madison County.
p90 When Governor Edwards issued the proclamation establishing Madison County in 1812, he appointed "the house of Thomas Kirkpatrick to be the seat of justice of said county." Not until 1816 was a town laid out and given the name of Edwardsville. The establishment of a land office there in the same year made it an important place, but its population probably did not exceed 200 when the census was taken in the early summer of 1818. The 18 households listed which can definitely be assigned to Edwardsville comprised 166 souls. The composition of this population indicates something of the character of the place and the influence of the land office. There were 74 men, only 71 women and children, including all under 21, 17 servants or slaves, and 4 free negroes. Eight of the slaves belonged to Benjamin Stephenson, register of the land office, and four to Governor Edwards, who had established his residence in the town named for him. At least three of the households, and probably four, were taverns at which dwelt over half of the men. The town grew rapidly during the summer; and Edmund Dana, whose name appears in the Edwardsville group in the census schedule, wrote of it the following year as a "flourishing town, containing 60 or 70 houses, a court house, jail, public bank, printing office, which issues a weekly newspaper, and a United States land office." The bank and the printing office did not exist in 1818, however. In November, 1819, a traveler described the place as "a small but flourishing little village."31
The city of Alton also had its beginnings during the territorial period, these being in the form of some four or five town-site projects. Alton proper was laid out in 1817 by Colonel Easton, a St. Louis speculator; but Reverend Thomas Lippincott found there in December, 1818, only one cabin besides the ferryhouse. About the same time Upper Alton was laid out on the bluff and soon afterward "Alton on the river," or Hunterstown, was platted, all now parts of the city of Alton. Larger than any of these in 1818, however, was Milton, about •three miles back from the p91 Mississippi on Wood River. Here were to be found a store, two sawmills, a gristmill, and a distillery. John Mason Peck, who visited Upper Alton in February, 1819, in search of a location for a boarding school, found "between forty and fifty families, living in log-cabins, shanties, covered wagons, and camps. Probably not less than twenty families were destitute of houses; but were getting out materials and getting up shelters with industry and enterprise." Mason, who was here in December, 1819, was struck by the fact that "within five miles there are five towns, as they are called, but all insignificant and improperly placed. Their names are Milton, Alton, Middle Alton, Lower Alton and Sales." In another place, however, he refers to Milton as "a flourishing little village only one and a half years old." Dana, in his Geographical Sketches (1819), writes of Alton, not specifying which village he meant: "Nearly 100 decent houses are already erected. The spirit of enterprise displayed by the settlers, who are mostly from the eastern states, and the natural advantages attached to the place, point out this town as a stand where small capitals in trade may be profitably vested." Milton he describes as containing "about 50 houses, and although it seems to flourish, it is considered an unhealthy situation. The creek here drives both a grist and saw mill; each of which do great business."32
Filling in the gap of 24 miles between Madison and Crawford Counties was Bond County, which stretched like a ribbon from six miles south of the modern Bond County northward to the state line. Here also only the three southern tiers of townships, an area of 432 square miles, were within the line of survey. The number of families living in the county in the early summer of 1818, according to the census schedule, was 212, and the total population was 1,384, of whom 15 were servants or slaves. No supplementary census appears to have been taken, but the final report to the convention was 1,398. Nearly all these people were living along the southward-flowing streams in the southern p92 part of the county. About four-fifths of them appear to have been within the surveyed district, which would make the density of this tract less than three to the square mile. Above the line of survey from 40 to 50 families established themselves, mainly on Shoal and Hurricane creeks. Up the former the settlers had pushed as far north as the vicinity of Hillsboro in Montgomery County, and on Hurricane Creek there was a group of settlements in what is now Fayette County and another in the southeastern part of Montgomery.
When Bond County was established in 1817, a site "on the Harricane" [sic] Fork of the Kaskaskia river, one mile from its junction, and 2¼ miles from Pope's Bluff" was selected for the seat of justice. This was in the southeastern corner of Fayette County. In October, according to the Intelligencer, the county commissioners advertised a sale of lots at the proposed town of Perryville, but there was probably no settlement there at the time, for the sale was to take place "at Hill's Station on Shoal creek." Pope's Bluff was projected at a site on the Kaskaskia a mile or two above the mouth of Hurricane Creek and aspired to be the capital of the state. Another paper town was Ripley, "situated on Shoal creek, a navigable stream of the Kaskaskia river, and about 33 miles from the great river Mississippi. . . . There is [sic] near this town several valuable mills, a grist mill and saw mills, which will do business nearly the whole year." The sale of lots was to take place May 30, 1818. Ripley was also a candidate for location of the state capital. None of these places had enough settlers in 1818 to justify its being termed a village. There may have been a log courthouse and a jail and a few houses in Perryville but the establishment of Fayette County in 1821 necessitated the removal of the county seat, and the town faded away.
2 This procedure has been impossible in the case of St. Clair and Crawford counties, the names for which were arranged alphabetically. The schedules for Randolph and the principal part of Edwards have not been found.
3 No attempt has been made to give specific references to the many county histories and biographical collections which have been consulted. A bibliography of these and a discussion of their value will be found in Buck, Travel and Description of Illinois, 253‑382.
4 Ford, History of Illinois, 38.
5 No attempt has been made to include in the footnotes all the material on which this survey of local conditions is based. For further information regarding any particular locality the reader is referred to the bibliography, p321, and to the lists in Buck, Travel and Description of Illinois.
6 Ogg, Fordham's Personal Narrative, 236; Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 10:104; see map in Fearon, Sketches of America, 443, and in Ogg, Fordham's Personal Narrative, 113; for Palmyra see Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 10:328.
7 Flower, English Settlement, 109; Intelligencer, June 1, December 4, 1816; Illinois State Historical Society, Transactions, 1903, p150.
8 American State Papers, Public Lands, 3:273.
9 Petition, December 10, 1816, in House Files.
11 Petition referred December 24, 1816, and committee report, December 30, 1816, in House Files.
12 Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 8:291; 13:70; Fearon, Sketches of America, 258.
Thayer's Note: See, however, John Drury, Old Illinois Houses, p13.
13 Harris, Remarks Made During a Tour, 139.
14 Intelligencer, April 15, 1818.
16 The final report to the convention was 1,281. There was no supplementary census, however, and the discrepancy was probably caused by an error in addition.
17 Perrin, History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, 287, 358, 435. W. M. Alexander, one of the proprietors of America, proposed to build a bridge across the Cache "so as to draw the trade of the Dutch in Union county." Ibid. 270. None of the names of members of this settlement given in the county history are to be found in the census schedule. Possibly they were included in the supplementary census.
18 Perrin, History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, 67‑72, 269, 448‑453; Intelligencer, October 21, 1818.
19 Illinois State Historical Society, Transactions, 1903, p152; Schultz, Travels, 2:74.
20 Darby, Emigrant's Guide, 213; Intelligencer, April 1, 1818.
21 The descriptions of Kaskaskia from which quotations have been made are found in Brown, Western Gazetteer, 27; Dana, Geographical Sketches, 154; Mason, Narrative, 56; Babcock, Memoir of Peck, 97.
22 Intelligencer, October 2, 1816; April 22, May 13, 1818.
23 Babcock, Memoir of Peck, 97; Mason, Narrative, 55.
24 Intelligencer, June 1, October 2, 1816; February 4, March 11, May 13, 1818; Laws of Illinois Territory, 1816‑17, p3.
25 Schultz, Travels, 2:39; Brown, Western Gazetteer, 27; Dana, Geographical Sketches, 150, 154; Mason, Narrative, 53, 62.
26 History of St. Clair County, 183‑185; Intelligencer, May 22, 1816; December 1, 1817; Dana, Geographical Sketches, 154.
27 History of St. Clair County, 298; Intelligencer, April 1, 1818; Mason, Narrative, 51.
28 Intelligencer, September 9, 1818.
29 Minnesota Historical Collections, 2:82. On the location of Cape au Gris see Wisconsin Historical Collections, 2:209.
30 Dana, Geographical Sketches, 139‑144. For another statement on the settlements in this region in 1819, see Babcock, Memoir of Peck, 155.
31 History of Madison County, 333; Dana, Geographical Sketches, 143; Mason, Narrative, 63; James, Territorial Records, 26.
32 Lippincott, "Early Days in Madison County," nos. 2‑4; History of Madison County, 374‑376; Babcock, Memoir of Peck, 154; Mason, Narrative, 64, 66; Dana, Geographical Sketches, 142.
a A violent flood wiped out most of the town in 1937; the remnants moved to higher land, at New Shawneetown. A Greek revival bank built in the old town in 1839‑1841, said to be the oldest structure in the state, is preserved by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
Illinois in 1818
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY if its URL has a total of one *asterisk. If the URL has two **asterisks, the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use. If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 2 Dec 17