filled with vermin and wild beasts they adminis-
tered the sacrament to painted and plumed pros-
elytes. To accomplish their purposes they traveled
through various parts of the country from Canada
to the Gulf of Mexico, â€” sometimes suffering from
cold and hunger, deprived of all the luxuries of civil-
ized life, all for the purpose of converting the hea-
then and saving their souls from eternal perdition.
These enthusiastic priests with their black robes
108 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
could be seen toiling with half naked natives build-
ing lodges, or forcing their canoe up the rapid
stream ; sometimes carrying their baggage on their
backs to and from distant villages, or lounging
around a camp-fire on a bear or buffalo skin amid
scores of squalling papooses and half famished dogs.
The stories of their labors are replete with romance,
miracles of heroic self-sacrifices, and with daring
Everywhere these priests were the pioneers of
the French settlements in the west, keeping in
advance of civilization, and preparing the way for a
friendly intercourse between the white and red man.
Many of these missionaries were well educated, with
superior mental ability, possessed of wealth, which
made them efficient bearers of the cross, and whose
whole life was spent in converting heathens.
Father Marest in his correspondence says, "Our
life is spent in rambling through thick timber, among
briers and thorns, crossing wide prairies, climbing
over hills, or paddling a canoe across lakes or up
rapid rivers, to save the poor benighted Indian
from eternal perdition."
Father ISTicollet lived twenty years among sav-
ages, most of the time without meeting a wdiite man,
and became an Indian in dress, habit and language.
Still he remained a zealous Catholic, and at last
JESUIT MISSIONARIES OF THE WEST. 109
returned to civilization because he could not live
without the sacrament.
From the Jesuit missionaries the Indians learned
the storv of Christ's crucifixion, and with a trem-
bling voice repeated it to their friends. They not
only received baptism from the hands of the priest
but allowed themselves to be sprinkled witli holy
water, which they were taught to believe blotted out
all past sins, and saved them from everlasting punish-
ment. The medals, crosses and crucifixes which the
priest gave the warriors pleased their fancy, as they
were fond of adorning their persons with glittering
trinkets, and with these representations of man's
salvation suspended from their necks they remain
heathens still. In addition to decorating their per-
sons with emblems of Christianity some of the war-
riors wore a necklace made of dried skeleton fingers
taken from an enemy whom they had slain in battle.
The former trinkets repi'esented their religion, and
the latter their patriotism.
Father Meurain, the last of the Jesuit priests in
Illinois, died at Prairie du Rocher in 1778, and the
monument over his grave can still be seen. In
France and her territories the order of Jesuits was
suppressed in 1764, when most of the priests in Illi-
nois returned to their native country. But by the
solicitation of the Indians?, with whom he had labored
110 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
for a long time, Father Meurain consented to remain,
and among them he ended his days. Father Meu-
rain was a man of fine literary attainments, and wrote
a manuscript dictionary of the French and Indian
languages, which is preserved in the antiquarian col-
lection at Rouen.
FATHER SENAT AND COMRADE BURNED AT THE
One of the most devoted Jesuit priests in Illi-
nois was Father Senat, who spent a long life among
savages for the purpose of converting them to
Christianity, and at last fell a victim of these ruth-
less barbarians. This zealous priest lived many
years at Peoria, where he built a chapel and dedi-
cated it to the Holy Virgin. He j^reached at dif-
ferent villages along the river, where he had many
converts, and exercised great influence over his red
brethren. While on a visit to a neighboring vil-
lage a war party returned from the battle-field with
a number of prisoners, and made preparation to
burn them at the stake in accordance to Indian
custom. Father Senat, on finding all efforts to
save the prisoners from the flames a failure, offered
himself a sacrifice to die in their stead a ransom
for the captives. This proposition had the desired
effect. The prisoners were liberated, furnished with
many presents, and returned to their people.
FATHER SENAT AND COMRADE BURNED. Ill
In tlie spring of 1736 D'Artaguette, Governor
of Illinois, collected all the French troops in the
territory, with about one thousand Indian allies,
and with them went to Louisiana to assist Gov-
ernor Bainville in prosecuting a war against the
Chickasaw Indians. Among these recruits was
Capt. Yincennes with a small company of soldiers
from St. Vincent on the AVabasli, which place now
bears the name of the valiant captain. Among the
Indian allies from the Illinois Eiver were many of
Father Senat's converts, and he was prevailed upon
to accompany them in their excursion to the south.
This expedition descended the Mississippi River
to the lower Chickasaw bluffs, from w^hich they
crossed the country to Tallahatchie River, w^here
they expected to meet the army under Bainville
from Louisiana. But these troops failed to come
to time agreeable to appointment, and d^Artaguette,
not being able to restrain his Indian allies any
longer, was forced to attack the enemy. The army
was defeated, the Indian allies fled, while the French
w^ere taken priscmers and burned at the stake.
While the flames encircled their bodies Father
Senat passed from one to the other amid blazing
fagots, exhorting liis friends to die as became
Frenchmen and Christians, and while they were
racking with torture he administered to his dying
112 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
countrymen the last rites of the Catholic church.
The Indians offered to liberate Father Senat, but
he disdained their clemency, telling them his work
in this world was done, and he desired to be sacri-
ficed for his Master's sake.
EAELY FRENCH SETTLEMENTS IN ILLINOIS.
The first permanent settlers in Illinois came from
Canada, and they were connected either with the
Jesuit mission or fur trade. In after years emi-
grants came direct from France by the way of New
Orleans, and established colonies in different In-
dian villages on the American Bottom. All the
settlers lived in villages, and their farms were in
a common field, in accordance with the custom of
their native country. The leaders of the French
colonies were men of education and energy of char-
acter, while the masses were illiterate and ignorant,
having no enterprise and but little property; never-
theless they were frank, open-hearted, happy peo-
ple. They took possession of so much of the va-
cant land around them as thev could till, but no
more, and appeared to have had no desire to accu-
mulate wealth. Their agricultural implements were
rude, mostly of their own manufacture, and the
same kind of tools are now in use by some of their
descendants. The early settlers lived in harmony
EARLY FRENCH SETTLEMENTS. 113
with the Indians, intermarrying among them, and
in part adopting tlieir habits and customs. For
forty years they built no forts, and those erected
in after years were not intended for })rotection
against Indian hostilities but from the fear of Span-
ish invasion, France and S])ain being then at war.
The ohlest document found in Kaskaskia (except
the church records) is dated June 18, 1725, and con-
tains the signatures of fifty persons, who are repre-
sented as heads of families. This old document is
in the form of a petition to the King of France for
assistance, â€” setting forth the suffering condition of
the people on account of the great flood the year be-
fore, which washed away most of the improvements,
and obliged the people to flee to the bluffs.
By the Louisiana Company horses were brought
from the Spanish settlements in Mexico to take the
place of Indian ponies, and cattle, hogs, sheep, and
chickens were brought from Canada. Wild geese,
ducks and turkeys were domesticated, and from this
stock most of the fowls of the present day sprang.
It is said tw^o pigs were brought from Montreal to
Cahokia in a canoe, and from these pigs .hogs to
supply the different settlements originated. Many
efforts were made to domesticate buflalo, but it
proved a failure, as the tame ones wouhl go off with
wikl herds. But they succeeded in crossing them
114 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
with cattle, and at the present time some of the
progeny show strong marks of buffalo origin, and
their pelts are tanned for robes. Horses ran in large
droves in the canebreaks along the Mississippi Kiver,
became wild, and in after years many of them were
caught with a lasso and brought into use.
In 1721 Phillip Raynault brought five hundred
slaves from St. Domingo to Fort Chartres, and by
this means slaverv was introduced into Illinois.
Rayjiault with a large number of slaves and a few of
his countrymen ascended the Mississippi River to
the lead mines, and erected a furnace for smelting
lead on or near the present site of Galena. A por-
tion of this lead was shipped to !New Orleans, and
sold to the Spaniards in Mexico.
Father Yevier, a Jesuit missionary, writing from
Prairie du Pocher under date of June 10, 1750, says
"there are between the Mississippi and Kaskaskia
Rivers, within twenty-one leagues, five French and
three Indian villages. Most of the French settlers
till the soil, raising wheat, maize, with various other
products, some of which are shipped to l^ew Or-
leans, wdiere it finds a ready market."
In the early settlement of the country the French
made wine from the wild grape, but in after years
they cultivated vineyards, and built wine-presses.
The buftalo was of great service to the early ]no-
EARLY fkp:ncii settlkments. 115
neers ; the flesh they used for food, the liides for
robes or tjuiiied into leiither, ;iiid the hair they s})Uii
and wove into a fine fabric for clothing.
The Royal Louisiana Company gave large tracts
of land to each village which behjiiged jointly to the
inhabitants, and this title has been confirmed bv
subsequent laws. These grants were divided into
two tracts, known as Common Field and Commons,
and included many thousand acres to eacli village.
The common field consisted in farm land all fenced
into one field, the boundaries of each person's prem-
ises were designated by hmdmarks, and these tracts
belonged to the occupant in fee simple, and could
be bought and sold the same as other landed ])rop-
ertv. A villao;e ordinance was in force rei^^-ardino;
making and repairing fences, the time of excluding
stock in the spring, gathering the crops, and open-
ing the field for pasture in the fall. The commons
was a tract of land granted to each town for wood and
pasture, of which every owner of a village lot has an
interest. The French villages at the time of early set-
tlement were governed by the priest, wlio, besides at-
tending to theii' spiritual wants, dispensed justice, and
from his decision there was no a]^peal. Although
tlie authority of the priest was absolute there ai)]Hnirs
to have been no abuse of this ])owei\ as the holy
father watched over his flock with paternal care.
116 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
â€¢ EARLY SETTLEMENT OF ST. LOUIS.
In 1763 Pierre Laclade obtained from the gov
ernor of Louisiana a charter giving him the exclu-
sive right to trade with the Indians on the west side
of the upper Mississippi River. Laclade organized
a company at 'New Orleans under the title of La^
clade, Maxon & Co., and aboard of boats loaded with
goods for the Indian market ascended the river in
search of a suitable place to locate. On reaching
Fort Chartres the goods were stored, and Laclade
with some of his party, accompanied by two young
men named Pierre and Aguste Chouteau, ascended
the river in a canoe in search of a good site for a
town, and on the 15th of February, 1761, their tents-
were jiitched at St. Louis, which was the commence-
ment of the great city in the west. Here a cluster
of cabins was built, enclosed by stockades, and
occupied by traders and hunters. Many of the
inhabitants of Illinois towns crossed the river and
located at St. Louis in order to be under the rule of
their native country.
When Captain Stirling, in accordance with a
treaty, took possession of Fort Chartres in July,
1765, its former commander. Captain St. Ange, with'
the French troops and militar}^ stores, removed to
St. Louis, and for a number of years the colony was
BRITISH RULE IN ILLINOIS. 117
under French rule, notwithstanding- the country had
been ceded to Spain some time before.
In 1780 St. Louis was attacked by a hirge body
â– of Indians, accompanied by a few British sokliers
from Detroit, but they were repulsed by the citizens
liPvITISII RULE IN ILLINOIS.
In the summer of 1704 Major Loftus witli tliree
liniKh-ed British soldiers ascended the Mississippi
Kiver in boats from Bayou ^Nfanchea to take posses-
sion of Illinois, as France had ceded it to England a
short time before. While these troops were on their
way up the river, and before reaching their destina-
tion, they were attacked and defeated by a body of
Indians, which c<nnpelled them to abandon the enter
prise and return to the fort at Bayou Manchea.
In the spring of 1705 an expedition under Ca})tain
Croghan left Fort Pitt to take possession of Illinois,
but on reachino- the mouth of the Wabash thev w^ere
taken prisoners by the Shawnee Indians, and carried
to a village near Yincennes. In the following fall the
third expedition against Illinois left Fort Pitt, under
the command of Captain Stirlii-g, who took pos-
session of the country without opposition, and from
that time the British flag waved o\ er Fort Chartres.
In the following year Ca])tain Stirling died, and
different ones at short intervals acted as governors
118 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
of Illinois, the last one, M. Rocheblaue, was in com-
mand when Colonel Clark took possession of the
countiy. The British rule was very mipopular with
the French, many of them went west of the Missis-
sippi so they could be under the laws of tlieir native
country. This change of government displeased the
Indians, and they would have attacked the British
for the purpose of driving them out of the country if
their friends among the French had not counseled
otherwise. When the British took possession of
Illinois Captain Pitman, of the army, by the au-
thority of his government visited all the French vil-
lages except Peoria, and gave a description of them,
including population, trade, public buildings, etc.
The French inhabitants were living in six villages,
all except one on the American Bottom, and estimates
the inhabitants at three thousand, the most of whom
were engaged in agricultural pursuits.
TOM BRADY'S WILD ADVENTURES.
IIOMAS R. BRADY, better known a? Tom
Brady, was a native of Pennsylvania, and a
brother of Captain Samuel Brady, wlio distinguished
himself as an Indian fighter in tlie border wars of
Ohio. Brady was a reckless fellow, fond of wild
adventures, a great hunter (spending much of his
time in the woods in search of bear and panthers ,
and occasionally exchanging a shot with an Indian.
In the summer of 1776 Tom Bradv went to Cahokia
accompanied by three other young men as wild and
reckless as himself, and who were willing to accom-
pany him in any enterprise he might undertake.
On the following summer Brady fitted out an expe-
dition, consisting of sixteen soldiers including him-
self, for the purpose of capturing tlie British garri-
son at St. Joseph. This little band of adventurers
he called the western division of the Continental
army, and with it he intended to attack and capture
the British garrison. Among tliose who took a part
in this remarkable expedition was M. Boismenue, a
120 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
native of Caliokia, and to whose grandson I am
indebted for many incidents given in this nar-
rative. Many of Brady's recruits were French half-
breed members of the Catholic church, and they
were unwilling to embark in so hazardous an enter-
prise unless accompanied by a priest to absolve them
from their sins. Father Beson, an old, bald-headed
priest, was prevailed on to accompany the troops,
and before leaving Cahokia he offered up prayers to
the throne of grace for their success.
Brady's little band, armed and equipped for war,
â€” on board of three canoes â€” left for St. Jose])!!,
about four liuudred miles distant. On reaclnng an
elevated piece of ground, on the west side of the Illi-
nois River, below the mouth of Bureau Creek, where
tradition says a centurj^ before Father Hennepin
landed from his boat, raised a cross, and consecrated
the place to the Virgin Mary. Father Beson could
not be prevailed upon to pass this hallowed spot
without oifering up prayers and saying mass.
Here the adventurers landed from their canoes, and
a day was spent in preaching, praying, taking the
sacrament, and singing songs of praise, causing the
wild woods to resound with their melody. On
reaching the mouth of Chicago River the party spent
another day in religious exercises around a large
wooden cross, said to occupy the spot where Father
TO.M BIIADY^S WILD ADVENTURES. 121
Marquette erected one more tliaii a century before.
After many weeks of toil and exposure in forcing
tlieir frail crafts up the Illinois and Des Plaines
Riv^ers, and butfetiny; the aui'-rv winds and waves
on Lake Michigan, they reached their destination.
The fort at St. Joseph was garrisoned by twenty-one
soldiers, while the attackini;' partv consisted of onlv
sixteen ; but Brady, relying on the prestige of sur-
prise, felt confident of success. Accordingly they
attacked the foi-t dui-ing the night while all wei'e
asleep, and tlie astonished soldiers, without making
any resistance, surrendered themselves prisoners
A few days after taking possession of the fort at
St. Joseph the victors learned that two companies of
British soldiers with manv Indian allies were march-
ing upon it. On receiving this intelligence Brady
and his comrades in all haste loaded their canoes
with furs and merchandise (^taken out of the fort)
and left for home ; but on reaching the mouth of
Caluniet River they were overtaken by three hun-
dred British and Indians. Here a battle was fought,
at which Brady's army was defeated, having two
killed and two wounded; one made his escape, while
the remainder were made prisoners and carried back
to St. Joseph. Some time after, becoming a pris-
oner, Tom Brady made his escape, and* on foot, and
122 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
alone, he traveled througli the forest back to his
former home in Pennsylvania.
After reaching his old home in Pennsylvania
Tom Brady raised a company of scouts, and with
them made many excursions into the Indian coun-
try, in one of which he was severely wounded. He
joined Colonel Crawford's expedition against the
Indians on the Sandusky Piver, and participated in
that disastrous affair. On arriving in the enemy's
country Colonel Crawford sent Brady, accompanied
by two companions as daring as himself, forward to
reconnoiter while the army remained in camp await-
ing their return. AVhen the scouts came near the
Indian village on the bank of the Sandusky Piver
they heard loud whoops and yells, and occasionally
firing of guns. With great caution the scouts
crawled on their hands and knees through the thick
underbrush until they came in plain view of a large
body of warriors engaged in a scalp-dance. By the
side of these dancers were seen three white men on
horseback looking on and enjoying the sport. These
men were recognized hj the scouts as Alexander
McKee, Simon and James Girty, three noted des-
^ At one time the Girty s lived in the same neigh-
borhood with Brady, and consequently he was well
acquainted with them. As Tom Brady looked at
ST. JOSEPH AND DKIROIT. 123
Simon Girty he was reminded of tlio many raids in
which that cut-throat had led tlie Indians into liis
own neighborhood, murdering defenseless women
and children. In one of tiiese raids Brady's fatlu^r
and one ot his brothers were killed, and bringing a
ride to his shoulder was about to shoot him from his
horse. But before Brady could effect his bloody
designs one of his conirades caught the gun and
thereby prevented the rash act, as it would have been
certain death to all of the party. After the war
closed Tom Brady returned to Illinois, again became
a resident of Gahokia, and in the year 1790 was
sheriff of St. Clair county.
On a recent visit to Cahokia I spent some time
among the tombs in the old church-yard where so
many distinguished early pioneers were buried.
Among the graves distinguished by sandstone slabs
was one to the memory of Thomas R. Brady.
TWO EXPEDITIONS AGAINST ST. JOSEPH, AND ONE
In the spring of 1Y78, two months before the
countrv was invaded bv Yiro^inians under the com-
mand of Colonel Clark, a Frenchman named Puelette
Maize, of Kaskaskia, enlisted about three hundred
men in different Fj-ench towns, and marched through
the country to St. Joseph, which they took by sur-
124 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
prise. All the fur, pelts and mercliandise found at
the fort and trading-houses were carried off as tro-
phies of war, and divided among the soldiers. After
collecting all the valuables to be' found at the post
the victors with their spoil returned home, and were
disbanded. It is generally believed that this expe-
dition was fitted out more for plunder than patriot-
ism, as Congress in after years refused to recom-
pense those engaged in it.
In the fall of 1780 La Balme, a native of France,
raised a small company of soldiers at Kaskaskia for
the purpose of taking Detroit. At Yincennes they
were reinforced by a few of their countrymen, and
from here they marched direct for the British post.
While encamped on the Maumee River they were
attacked by a large body of Miami Indians, led by a
British officer, when La Balme and many of his sol-
diers were killed, and the rest taken prisoners.
In June, 1781, Don Eugenie Pierre, a Spaniard of
St. Louis, with sixty-five soldiers, most of whom
were French who lived at Cahokia, marched against
St. Joseph, as England and Spain were then at war.
The fort was taken without resistance, when the
commanding officers went through with the cere-
mony of taking possession of all the lake country in
the name of the King of Spain. A few days after
performing this idle ceremony the Spanish com-
SEARCHING FOR COPPER MINES. 125
mander learned that British troops were on their way
from Detroit to reinforce St. Joseph, consequently
the troops left the conquered territory in all haste,
and returned to ISt. Louis.
PAT. KENNEDY AND COMIJADES IN SEARCH OF
For many years the citizens of Kaskaskia and
other French towns believed there were copper
mines somewhere in tlie upper Illinois country, as
specimens of pure metal, in a native state, were fre-
quently brought there for sale by the Indians. On
July 23, 1773, Kennedy, with a party of adventurers,
left Kaskaskia in a boat and ascended the Illinois
River in search of copper mines. On the 7th of
August they reached Peoria, where they found the
stockades of the fort burned, but the block-houses
still standing. On arriving at the foot of the rapids,
and finding the current too strong to ascend, they
left their boat and proceeded up the river on foot
forty-five miles further. Before reaching the mouth
of the Fox River they noticed a number of high,
rockv cliffs, one of which > Starved Rock i has fio:ured
extensively in the history and traditions of the coun-
try. On an island thirty miles above the mouth of
Fox River they fell in with a party of French traders,
who broua'ht them down the river in their canoes to
the place where their boat had been left. While at
126 PIONEERS OF ILLINOIS.
tlie foot of the rapids they fell in with a Frenchman
by the name of Jennette, who piloted them in an
excursion through the country in search of copper
mines, but finding none these adventurers went
aboard of their boat and returned to Kaskaskia, after
being absent about four months.
â€¢ Kennedy published a jonrnal of his travels up the
river, which contains many things of interest and
confirms some of the traditions given elsewhere.