A. T. (Alfred Theodore) Andreas.

History of Chicago. From the earliest period to the present time (Volume 1) online

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Digitized by the Internet Archive

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CARLI: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois







Earliest Period to the Present Time.




A T . A N I) R E AS, PUB L I S H E R .

Copyright Secured, 1SS4,

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A. J. COX & CO.,




IN presenting the first volume of the History of Chicago to the public, the Publisher desires to
define the plan upon which the work has been arranged.

Much care has been taken with the compilation of the opening division of the work, and the subjects
of original occupation and early exploration have received thoughtful attention. Wherever allusion to
the indefinite region of "Chicagou" has been made in the reports of those venturesome and self-
sacrificing men who formed the little bands of exploration, their words have been intelligently weighed,
the trustworthiness of their records considered, and the local value of their labors regarded. In concise
form, so much of the accepted history of their adventures as serves to give to the Chicago of
to-day a location and a name, has been preserved within this volume.

When the period of tradition and speculative possibilities is past, the reader will discover that
the primary quality of our plan is detail ; and the further, advanced the work becomes the more
apparent does this fact grow. One of the most serious obstacles encountered by the historian in
the pursuit of his vocation is scarcity of reliable data. Whenever the patient searcher for historic
truth is rewarded by the discovery of some forgotten script or volume, the world of letters hails the
treasure with delight ; and it needs no argument to convince the intelligent that had not men failed
to realize that the trifles of to-day become the vital elements of the historic works of the future, this
deficiency would not exist. It is the purpose of this History to combine the scattered items of fact
into convenient form, and, at the hazard of too great redundancy, preserve all that can be found
descriptive of the past of Chicago.

Much more material was obtained than could be placed between the covers of a single volume.
It therefore followed that the History must be made in several books. How this could be
accomplished was one of the most serious problems requiring solution ; for the history of a city
differs widely from that of a nation in its scheme of treatment. While that portion which may be
termed the narrative history was susceptible of epochal division, the succeeding years being taken up
after each closed volume without detriment to interest, those more detailed chapters, which we speak of
as topical history, could not be left unnoticed until the later volumes. The narrative of events must
of necessity be cursory. It would suffice to say that, from such a year to such a year, the commercial,
the religious, the educational, and the political affairs were thus and so ; but when the reader, whose
taste directed him toward one particular factor in the city's measure of prosperity, sought for the
detailed history of his favorite theme, he would look in vain for that explicit recital of events needed
for his enlightenment. A general history might tell of the condition of Chicago from year to year ; but
the elements which produced that condition demand a more exhaustive treatment. The contemporane-
ousness of events had also to be borne in mind. It was, therefore, determined to exercise arbitrary
powers, and select some period which marked an epoch in the general history at which to end the first
volume, bringing both narrative and topical subjects to an end there.

The year 1857 was made memorable in the calendar of the city's history by the most serious
financial crisis experienced since its founding, twenty years before. Not only were commercial circles
gravely involved ; the pecuniary stress exerted controlling force upon the social world as well, checking
growth in every direction. Municipal operations were impeded, religious undertakings stopped by the
failure of pledges, educational plans thwarted by the curtailment of necessary funds, and in all directions
was felt the enforced economy which pervaded the social fabric. No more appropriate period could
be found than this to bring the thread of history to a temporary end. With few exceptions — and


those so minor as to be easily explained in the proper places — the topical sections of the work are
closed at 1S57, to be resumed in subsequent volumes.

The advantages of this plan are obvious. Each volume is made thereby complete in itself, as
a work of reference, while the only serious disadvantage is temporary in its character ; since the
incompleteness of the several topics will be amended by the issuance of the succeeding volumes.

This Historv is the product of many hands. The assertion is often made that none save
those who have participated in early events are capable of writing intelligibly or correctly of them, but
experience has convinced the Publisher that it is better to entrust the labor of compilation to men
who are wholly unbiased, and who have acquired practical methods in the work of arranging and stating
facts. It is a curious fact in psychology that the faculty of memory is as eccentric as it " is treacherous,
and historv based solely upon human recollection is scarcely worth the reading. When one individual,
who was a witness of scenes which afterward became historic, attempts to give his version of the events,
his statement is generally brought into dispute by another witness of the scenes, whose 'recollection is
materially different. Members of the legal profession will agree with us in saying that were it not
for this freak of the mind — involving men of equal honesty in questions of positive veracity — the
practice of the law would be much less remunerative than it is. To illustrate this point, we cite two
cases out of many similar ones that claimed the attention of our writers. One was the upsetting of
an old resident's statement as to the day of his arrival in Chicago — our investigation proving that he
had always erroneously given the date until we convinced him of his mistake ; and the other, that of
a prominent banker, who declared, that his early bank was organized a year subsequent to the actual
date of its establishment. In both instances these intelligent and reliable men, whose memories were
proverbially good, sought to convince us, by contemporaneous happenings, of our "error," and in both
instances we were able to demonstrate that, although the attendant circumstances were right in point of
sequence, the dates were wrong. This allusion is made for the sole purpose of showing that the best
of memories may be, and often are, at fault. Unless sustained by written confirmation, arbitrary assertion
is generally not worthy of credence in a historic sense.

To the end that as full a measure of accuracy as is attainable might be reached, every available
source of information has been sought out, and yet the result will doubtless prove inadequate to the
desire of the Publisher, for absolute correctness can never be achieved by human agencies. As one
evidence of the good intention of those engaged upon the work, it is stated that no less than eight
thousand newspapers issued in Chicago between 1833 and 1857 have been carefully examined by them.
Considering the fact that the fire of 187 1 destroyed nearly all the records, printed and documentary,
relating to the early days of Chicago, there remained no better authority for the establishment of dates
than these newspaper files ; and while the fragmentary character of the information therein is conceded, it
must be admitted that the journals of the past afford about the only available means of settling disputed
points during the period of their publication. In this connection it may with propriety be remarked that
the reader is indebted to Mrs. John C. Calhoun, Hon. John Wentworth, Hon. William Bross, Hon.
Andrew Shuman, Hon. E. M. Haines, of Waukegan, Dr. Lots Pennington, of Sterling, and to the
proprietors of the several newspapers of this city, as well as to the Chicago Historical Society, the
Chicago Public Library, and the Calumet Club, for the acts of courtesy which enabled our writers to gain
access to these valuable files. There are not known to be in existence now more than two or three
numbers of all the issues of the two or three journals published here between June, 1837, and April 9,
1839. The hiatus has been filled as well as it could be from the volumes of the Milwaukee Sentinel,
and from the numerous collections of letters possessed by the Chicago Historical Society. A complete
file of the leading journals between April, 1843, and August, 1844, has never been found. With these two
exceptions it is believed by us that the writers on this work have read the newspaper record of events
happening in Chicago from the issuance of John C. Calhoun's Democrat, November 26, 1833, to the
close of 1857; the period from March, 1837, to the close of 1857 representing a daily issue.

The amount of labor expended upon this volume is much greater than a casual reading would


indicate. The almost total destruction of official records, of private diaries, of the innumerable
quantity of memoranda, which generally furnish the historian with easy and satisfactory means of accom-
plishing his work, in this instance proved a well-nigh insuperable barrier to progress. The few documents
and books that survived the great calamity of 1S71 were of so desultory a character as to afford little
practical aid. Because of the lack referred to, and which we have attempted to compensate for by
calling upon individual memory to serve instead thereof, errors have undoubtedly found lodgment here ;
deficiencies in all probability will be noted ; and personal opinions may be apparently treated with indifference.
But we assure the reader that prejudice has not biased even so much as one statement herein made, nor
have the writers willfully neglected to give what seemed due credit to every assertion that bore the die of
truth. As many a base metal may be stamped with the coinage of honesty and bear the similitude of
worth, so may many an ancient legend become, because of seeming probability, an accepted tenet in the
historic creed of men. The writer who detects the inaccuracy of such current fictions must expect to
encounter disapproval ; for of nothing is one so fondly tenacious as of the delusions of memory and the folk-
lore in which some thread of association with one's own life can be traced.

The task of searching for, arranging, weighing and preparing all that could be construed to have
interes't or value in an historic sense was begun in October, 1882, and after January following the corps
of writers numbered from ten to twelve, until the completion of the work in February, 1884 ; while,
were we to count the number of friendly and voluntary co-laborers who have given transient assistance,
the force would be increased to many hundreds. It is believed that the assignment of subjects was
made with a view to congeniality of topic on the part of the several writers, most of whom have had years
of experience in this line of work.

It has been found impracticable, under the plan, to follow the usual custom of enumerating topics
by chapter captions. This change, however, is one which violates no more serious a matter than

Biographical sketches of those men who were identified with early Chicago are given as a neces-
sary part of history ; the interest attaching to their public work exciting a commendable desire to
know somewhat more fully their personal records. We maintain that the biographical sketches form one
of the most valuable features of the work, and in the forthcoming volumes will appear individual mention
of many who, although residents of Chicago prior to 1858, did not attain their greatest prominence until
a later date. Their sketches will be given in connection with the topics with which they were identified.

It is impossible to reconcile all traditions and legends that have, from that dignity which a venerable
age often imparts to non-deserving things, grown to be a part of the accepted history of Chicago. It is
safe to assert that fully as much money has been expended in the pursuit of lights which ultimately proved
to be ignes fatui, as in the establishment of those truths which are worthy of preservation.

The writers of this volume have adopted the rule of ignoring even favorite stories whenever their
origin was shown to be indeterminate, their importance minor, and their character apocryphal. We can see no
good excuse for perpetuating errors merely because they are clothed in the form of a neatly-told story ; or
because they have gone uncontradicted for years. In fact, few have escaped contradiction, in one form or
another ; for the argus-eyed early settler is always on the lookout for some alleged historic event to dispute,
and it is equally true that no version is permitted to go unchallenged by some one. We have endeavored
to state as fact only those points which are susceptible of substantiation.

The mechanical work upon the volume was performed in Chicago ; even the greater portion of the
illustrations were designed or executed here. It may be properly termed a Chicago product, and an evidence
of the advancement of the mechanic arts in the West. The types' from which the book is printed were
made and purchased expressly for it. The form of the volume was determined on with a view to the subse-
quent volumes, which will of necessity contain much more letter-press and many more illustrations than this.
In order to obviate the difficulty which attends the handling of a large volume, the page is made to contain
nearly three times as much reading-matter as is commonly given in historical works. The wisdom of this
decision will be recognized hereafter.


The succeeding volume will commence with a chapter containing a resume of what is herein

published, with such emendations as later information or further historic research may demand to render

the history complete.

Among the numerous authorities consulted during the preparation of the history of early French

explorations of the region were: Prof. C. W. Butterfield's monograph on Jean Nicolet ; the historical works

of Francis Parkman ; Shea's "Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley;" " Proces Verbal of

Taking Possession of Louisiana, by La Salle, 9th April, 1682," (French's Hist. Coll. La., Part I); Tonty's

Memoir, (French's Hist. Coll. La., Part I;) Shea's "Charlevoix;" Du Pratz's "History of Louisiana;"

Coxe's "Louisiana;" "Historical Magazine" (Shea); the Wisconsin Historical Society's Collections;

" Early Voyages Up and Down the Mississippi " (letters and reports of French Catholic Missionaries^

1699-1700, reprints by Munsell and Shea; "Account of the Proceedings of the Illinois and Ouabache

Land Companies," Philadelphia, 1796 ; etc.

Relating to Indian occupation of this section there were consulted, among the many volumes, the

books and papers of Isaac McCoy; the letters of Dr. Lykins, Rev. Robert L. Simmerwell, Rev. Jotham

Meeker, and numerous other men who spent their lives among the Pottawatomies, Miamis, and tribes

formerly identified with the history of the Chicago Region, and whose letters are now in the possession

of the Kansas Historical Society.

Important letters from Ramsey Crooks pertaining to the history of early Indian traders and United

States Factors at this point, were furnished by Mr. Gurdon S. Hubbard, and access to the posthumous

papers of Hon. Ninian Edwards, and many other valuable manuscripts, was obtained through the courtesy

of the Chicago Historical Society.

Invaluable aid on the latter portions of this volume has been received from the publications of

Mr. Henry H. Hurlbut ("Chicago Antiquities"), Rufus Blanchard ("Discovery and Conquests of the

Northwest, with the History of Chicago "), Robert Fergus, consisting of historic addresses, letters,

biographies, etc., furnished by leading citizens of unquestioned ability, and possessing personal knowledge

of the topics on which they have written ; a most valuable series of sketches published in the Chicago

Times in 1875-76, entitled " Bye - Gone Days;" the writings of Mrs. Juliette A. Kinzie ; the historical

works of Hon. William Bross, Mr. Elias Colbert and Mr. James Sheehan. The Publisher is under

obligation to Mr. Albert D. Hager, Secretary of the Chicago Historical Society, for assistance rendered

during the prosecution of this work.

It is not claimed that, from this profusion of historic matters, a complete compilation has been

made ; but it has been the endeavor of those entrusted with the work to so set in order the material as

to give the reader a more comprehensive, connected and accurate account of events as they transpired,

than has been undertaken by any single writer of the many to whom the publishers are indebted, and

to whom they hereby make unqualified acknowledgments for the merit of their work, and the aid they

have rendered in this latest attempt to write Chicago's history.

The topical history has been carefully compiled from every special source accessible, which it was

believed could render the treatment of the subject elaborate and accurate ; and the copy of this department

of the History has been invariably submitted for criticism, correction and final approval, to citizens

who from their personal knowledge were recognized authority, and whose approval should be a guarantee

of the correctness of the work.

A. T. A.


Original Proprietors of the Soil.

The Miamis 33-3-1

The Pottawatomies 34 - 37

Origin ok the Word Chicago 37-38

Early Explorations.

John Nicolet 3S-41

The Jesuits - _ 41-46

Jacques Marquette .. 42-46

Louis Joliet 42-43

Early Chicago and the Northwest.
(By Albert D. Hager.)
Marquette — Maps and Journals — 46-49
Joliet and Marquette's routes (Ex-
pedition of 1673) 49 _ 5°

Marquette's route to the Illinois

Mission (1674-1675) 50-51

The Grand and Little Calumet 51-54

The Kaskaskia Mission . 55

La Salle — The Miamis 56

Louis Joliet _ 56

Early Explorations (Continued).
La Salle — Expeditions to the Illi-
nois River 61-63

La Salle — At the "Chicagou Port-
age" 63-64

Henri de Tonty — De la Durantaye
— Henri Joutel — St. Cosine — De
Courtemanche and others at "Chi-
cagou," (1680-1 700) _. 63-67

Iroquois and Foxes in Northern

Illinois 6S-69

William Murray's land purchase 69-70

Modern Chicago and its Settlement.

Baptiste Point De Saible 70-71

Indian Traders 72

John Kinzie 72-76

Pottawatomies in the War of 1812. 76-79

Fort Dearborn — The Massacre 79-83

Chicago after the Massacre.. 84

Jean Baptiste Beaubien 84-86

U. S. Indian Agents and Factors-. 86-91

Fur Trade and Traders 92-96

The Kinzie Family.. 96-99

Chicago from 1816 to 1830.
Chicago as seen by visitors in 1817,
1820, 1822, 1823, 1825, 1827,


Taxpayers in 1S25 ._ 100-101

The Clybourne family 101-105

David McK.ee — The Mirandeau
and Porthier families — The La-
lime homicide — Stephen H.
Scott and family — Mark and
Madore B. Beaubien and Russel

E. Heacock 105-108

Three friendly Chiefs, Alexander
Robinson, Billy Caldwell and

Shawbonee _ 108-109

Gurdon S. Hubbard, the oldest

living resident of Chicago. no-in

Chicago in 1830-33.

Survey of the town (1830) — Its

residents and appearance - — m-114
Religious germs — First Post-office

— Canal lots 114-116

Becomes the County Seat — First
County roads — First public
land sale — Early amusements. . 116-117
Black Hawk War — The cholera.. 117-121
New permanent settlers — Harbor

improvements 121-122

Indian treaty of 1833 122-123

Chicago incorporated as a town,

(1833).. 128


Government Appointees 147-148

United States Land Office 14S-149

Annals of Chicago 1S37 to

1857 150-159

Late Threads of Fort Dearborn

History 160-162

Roster of Officers Serving at the

Post 163

Lalime Homicide 164

The Illinois & Michigan Canal.

Idea of a canal connecting Lake
Michigan with the Illinois
River first suggested by Joliet
in 1673 165

First scientific exploration of route
by Major S. H. Long — Survey
of routes (1 823-1 824) 166-167

Incorporation of Illinois & Michi-
gan Canal Company — Land
grants — Inauguration of work
— Expense of construction to
1S42 — Suspension of work 167-169

Renewal of work (1843) — Formal
opening of canal, April, 1848.. 169-171

Difficulties of carrying on the
work — Expenditures and re-
ceipts of company from May,
1845, to November, 1848... . 171-172

The canal from 1S4S to 1857 .... 172-173
Corporate History.

Incorporation of the town of Chi-
cago — Elections — Improve-
ments — Population (1S33-1S37) 174-176

Town limits — Officials — Appear-
ance — Churches — Hotels —
Citizens, etc., in 1833 128-133

The great land craze 133-138

Minor annals of the town 138-139

Postal affairs 139-141

Wharfing privileges — Fire De-
partment — Cemeteries — Town
credit and growth 141- 143

Sketches of early residents 143-146

Creation of the City of Chicago.

Corporate Limits — First election
— The municipality— First cen-
sus (1837) — City and County
buildings — Finances — Real es-
tate — Panic of 1837. 176-1S3

Growth and standing of the city,
(1837-1857) — Roster of city of-
ficers (1837-1857) 183-185

Water-works — The river 1S5-192

Street improvements and nomen-
clature .1 194-197

Plank roads — Ferries and bridges 197-200

The flood of 1849 200-201

Police Department 202-204

Educational Department.

Early schools and teachers (1816-
1817) — Sale of School Section
16 — First school districts, school
buildings and school inspectors. 204-208

Re-organization of school system
under city charter — Report of
commissioner of school lands at
close of 1839, when school fund
was transferred to new manage-
ment 20S-210

First Board of Inspectors of Chi-
cago city schools — City organ-
ized into districts — Schools es-
tablished — School-houses erect-
ed — Teachers and salaries — Re-

ports of School Inspectors (1S40-
1850) — School and teachers'
conventions 210-213

Public schools from 185 1 to 1857
— Sangamon, Franklin and
Moseley schools — Office of Su-
perintendent of Public Schools
created (1853) — Schools, teach-
ers and salaries paid in 1854 —
John C. Dore. Flavel Moseley
and William Harvey Wells 213-216

Schools, teachers and salaries paid
at close of 1857 — Number of
pupils — School fund — Evening
schools — Industrial and reform
schools — Officers of Board of
Education (1840-1857) — De-
velopment of Chicago schools

by years (1S37-1857) 216-217

Chicago Volunteer Fire Department,

First fire ordinance — First fire
and fire company — Chicago
Fire Department organized 220-222

Sketches of Chicago fire com-
panies and rosters of early of-
ficers — Firemen's Benevolent

Association 222-232

Harbor and Marine.

Chicago harbor — Work of im-
provement 233-238

Wharfing privileges 23S-239

Local marine interests — Early
vessels at Chicago — The light-
house — Early steamers — Chi-
cago ship-yards — Custom house
and collectors — Wiliiam B.

Snowhook ... 239-244

The Railroad System.

Preparatory steps .. 244-245

Galena & Chicago Union Rail-
road- 245-251, 256-257

Illinois Central Railroad 251-256

Chicago & North-Western Rai-
lroad 257

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy

Railroad 258

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy

Railroad ... 258

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific

Railroad 258-259

Michigan Southern & Northern

Indiana Railroad 259-260

Michigan Central Railroad 260-261

Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chi-
cago Railroad . .... 261-262

Railroad system of Chicago in 1857 262-263

Online LibraryA. T. (Alfred Theodore) AndreasHistory of Chicago. From the earliest period to the present time (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 177)