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pears, like Red Jacket, Tecumseh and Logan, to
have been a man of unusual intelligence and
vigor of character, and to have exercised great
influence with his people. In 1725 he was sent to
Paris, where he received the attentions due to a
foreign potentate, and, on his return, was given a
command in an expedition against the Chicka-
saws, who had been making incursions from the

Such was the general distribution of the Indians
in the northern and central portions of the State,
within the first fifty years after the arrival of the
French. At a later period the Kickapoos ad-
vanced farther south and occupied a considerable
share of the central portion of the State, and even
extended to the mouth of the Wabash. The
southern part was roamed over by bands from
beyond the Ohio and the Mississippi, including
the Cherokees and Chickasaws, and the Arkansas
tribes, some of whom were very powerful and
ranged over a vast extent of country.

The earliest civilized dwellings in Illinois, after
the forts erected for purposes of defense, were
undoubtedly the posts of the fur-traders and the
missionary stations. Fort Miami, the first mili-
tary post, established by La Salle in the winter
of 1679-80, was at the mouth of the St. Joseph
River within the boundaries of what is now the
State of Michigan. Fort Creve-Coeur, partially
erected a few months later on the east side of the
Illinois a few miles below where the city of
Peoria now stands, was never occupied. Mr.
Charles Ballance, the historian of Peoria, locates
this fort at the present village of Wesley, in
Tazewell County, nearly opposite Lower Peoria.
Fort St. Louis, built by Tonty on the summit of
•'Starved Rock," in the fall and winter of 1682,
was the second erected in the "Illinois Country,"
but the first occupied. It has been claimed that
Marquette established a mission among the Kas
kaskias, opposite "The Rock," on occasion of his
first visit, in September, 1673, and that he re-
newed it in the spring of 1675, when he visited
it for the last time. It is doubtful if this mission
was more tlian a season of preaching to the
natives, celebrating mass, administering baptism,
etc. ; at least the story of an established mission
has been denied. Tliat this devoted and zealous
propagandist regarded it as a mission, however,
is evident from his own journal. He gave to it

the name of the "Mission of the Immaculate
Conception," and, although he was compelled by
failing health to abandon it almost immediately,
it is claimed that it was renewed in 1677 by
Father AUouez, who had been active in founding
missions in the Lake Superior region, and that it
was maintained until the arrival of La Salle in
1680. The hostility of La Salle to the Jesuits led
to AUouez' withdrawal, but he subsequently
returned and was succeeded in 1688 by Father
Gravier, whose labors extended from Mackinaw
to Biloxi on the Gulf of Mexico.

There is evidence that a mission had been
established among the Miamis as early as 1698,
under the name "Chicago," as it is mentioned by
St. Cosme in the report of his visit in 1699-1700.
This, for the reasons already given showing the
indefinite use made of the name Chicago as
applied to streams about the head of Lake Michi-
gan, probably referred to some other locality in
the vicinity, and not to the site of the present
city of Chicago. Even at an earlier date there
appears, from a statement in Tonty 's Memoirs, to
have been a fort at Chicago — probably about the
same locality as the mission. Speaking of his
return from Canada to the "Illinois Country" in
1685, he says: "I embarked for the Illinois
Oct. 30, 1685, but .being stopped by the ice, I .
was obliged to leave my canoe and proceed by
land. After going 120 leagues, I arrived at Fort
Chicagou, where M. de la Durantaye com-

According to the best authorities it was during
the year 1700 that a mission and permanent settle-
ment was established by Father Jacques Pinet
among the Tamaroas at a village called Cahokia
(or "Sainte Famille de Caoquias"), a few miles
south of the present site of the city of East St.
Louis. This was the first permanent settlement
by Europeans in Illinois, as that at Kaskaskia on
the Illinois was broken up the same year.

A few months after the establishment of the
mission at Cahokia (which received the name of
"St. Sulpice"), but during the same year, the
Kaskaskias, having abandoned their village on
the upper Illinois, were induced to settle near the
mouth of the river which bears their name, and
the mission and village — the latter afterward
becoming the first capital of the Territor3' and
State of Illinois — came into being. This identity
of names has led to some confusion in determin-
ing the date and place of the first permanent
settlement in Illinois, the date of Marquette's
first arrival at Kaskaskia on the Illinois being
given by some authors as that of the settlement



at Kaskaskia on the Mississippi, twenty-seven
years later.

Period of French Occupation.— As may be
readily inferred from the methods of French
colonization, the first permanent settlements
gathered about the missions at Caliokia and Kas-
kaskia, or rather were parts of them. At later
periods, but during the French occupation of the
country, other villages were established, the
most important being St. Philip and Prairie du
Rocher; all of these being located in the fertile
valley now known as the "American Bottom,""
between the older towns of Cahokia and Kaskas-
kia. There were several Indian villages in the
vicinity of the French settlements, and this
became, for a time, the most populous locality in
the Mississippi Valley and the center of an active
trade carried on with the settlements near the
mouth of the Mississippi. Large quantities of
the products of the country, such as flour, bacon,
pork, tallow, lumber, lead, peltries, and even
wine, were transported in keel-boats or batteaus
to New Orleans; rice, manufactured tobacco,
cotton goods and such other fabrics as the simple
wants of the people required, being brought back
in return. These boats went in convoys of seven
to twelve in number for mutual protection, three
months being required to make a trip, of which
two were made annually — one in the spring and
the other in the autumn.

The French possessions in North America went
under the general name of ' 'New France, " but their
boundaries were never clearly defined, though an
attempt was made to do so through Commission-
ers who met at Paris, in 17.52. They were under-
stood by the French to include tlie valley of tlie
St. Lawrence, with Labrador and Nova Scotia, to
the northern boundaries of the British colonies ;
the region of the Great Lakes ; and the Valley of
the Mississippi from the headwaters of the Ohio
westward to the Pacific Ocean and south to the
Gulf of Mexico. While these claims were con-
tested by England on the east and Spain on the
southwest, they comprehended the very heart of
the North American continent, a region unsur-
passed in fertility and natural resources and
now the home of more than half of the entire
population of the American Republic. That
the French should have reluctantly yielded
up so magnificent a domain is natural. And
yet they did this by the treaty of 1763, sur-
rendering the region east of the Mississippi
(except a comparatively small district near
the mouth of that stream) to England, and the
remainder to Spain — an evidence of the straits to

which they had been reduced by a long series of
devastating wars. (See French and Indian
Wars. )

In 1712 Antoine Crozat, under royal letters-
patent, obtained from Louis XIV. of France a
monopoly of the commerce, with control of the
country, "from the edge of the sea (Gulf of
Mexico) as far as the Illinois."" This grant hav-
ing been surrendered a few years later, was re-
newed in 1717 to the "Company of the West,"" of
which the celebrated John Law was the head,
and under it jurisdiction was exercised over the
trade of Illinois. On September 27 of the same
year (1717), the "Illinois Country,'" which had
been a dependency of Canada, was incorporated
with Louisiana and became part of that province.
Law"s company received enlarged powers under
the name of the "East Indies Company," and
although it went out of existence in 1721 with
the opprobrious title of the "South Sea Bubble,"'
leaving in its wake hundreds of ruined private
fortunes in France and England, it did much to
stimulate the population and development of the
Mississippi Valley. During its existence (in 1718)
New Orleans was founded and Fort Chartres
erected, being named after the Due de Chartres,
son of the Regent of France. Pierre Duque Bois-
briant was the first commandant of Illinois and
superintended the erection of the fort. (See Fort

One of the privileges granted to Law"s com-
pany was the importation of slaves ; and under
it, in 1721, Philip F. Renault brought to the
country five hundred slaves, besides two hundred
artisans, mechanics and laborers. Two years
later he received a large grant of land, and
founded the village of St. Philip, a few miles
north of Fort Chartres. Thus Illinois became
slave territory before a white settlement of any
sort existed in what afterward became the slave
State of Missouri.

During 1721 the country under control of the
East Indies Company was divided into nine civil
and military districts, each presided over by a
commandant and a judge, with a superior coun-
cil at New Orleans. Of these, Illinois, the largest
and, next to New Orleans, the most populous,
was the seventh. It embraced over one-half the
present State, with the country west of the Mis-
ssisippi, between the Arkansas and the 43d degree
of latitude, to the Rocky Mountains, and included
the present States of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas and parts of Arkansas and Colorado. In
1732, the Indies Company surrendered its charter,
and Louisiana, including the District of Illinois,



■was afterwards governed by officers appointed
directly by the crown. (See French Oovernors.)

As early as September, 1699, an attempt was
made by an expedition fitted out by the English
Government, under command of Captains Barr
and Clements, to take possession of the country
about the mouth of the Mississippi on the ground
of prior discovery; but they found the French
under Bienville already in possession at Biloxi,
and they sailed away without making any further
effort to carry the scheme into effect. Mean-
while, in the early part of the next century, the
English were successful in attaching to their
interests the Iroquois, who were the deadly foes
of the French, and held possession of Western
New York and the region around the headwaters
of the Ohio River, extending their incursions
against the Indian allies of the French as far west
as Illinois The real struggle for territory be-
tween the English and French began with the
formation of the Ohio Land Company in 1748-49,
and the grant to it by the English Government
of half a million acres of land along tlie Ohio
River, with the exclu.sive right of trading with
the Indian tribes in that region. Out of this
grew the establishment, in the next two years, of
trading posts and forts on the Miami and Jlaumee
in Western Ohio, followed by the protracted
French and Indian W^ar, whicli was prosecuted
with varied fortunes until the final defeat of the
French at Quebec, on the thirteenth of Septem-
ber, 1759, which broke their power on the Ameri-
can continent Among those who took part in
this struggle, was a contingent from the French
garrison of Fort Chartres. Neyon de Villiers,
commandant of the fort, was one of these, being
the only survivor of seven brothers who partici-
pated in the defense of Canada. Still hopeful of
saving Louisiana and Illinois, he departed with
a few followers for New Orleans, but the treaty
of Paris, Feb. 10, 1763, destroyed all hope, for by
its terms Canada, and all other territory east of
the Mississippi as far south as the northern
boundary of Florida, was surrendered to Great
Britain, while the remainder, including the vast
territory between the Mississippi and the Rocky
Mountains, was given up to Spain.

Thus the "Illinois Country" fell into the hands
of the British, although the actual transfer of
Fort Chartres and the country dependent upon it
did not take place until Oct. 10, 1765, when its
veteran commandant, St. Ange — who had come
from Vincennes to assume command on the
retirement of Villiers, and who held it faithfully
for the conqueror — surrendered it to Capt.

Thomas Stirling as the representative of the Eng-
lish Government. It is worthy of note that this
was the last place on the North American con-
tinent to lower the French flag.

British Occupation. ^The delay of the British
in taking possession of the "Illinois Country,"
after the defeat of the French at Quebec and the
surrender of their possessions in America by the
treaty of 1763, was due to its isolated position
and the difficulty of reaching it with sufficient
force to establish the British authority. The
first attempt was made in the spring of 1764,
when Maj. Arthur Loftus, starting from Pensa-
cola, attempted to ascend the Mississippi with a
force of four hundred regulars, but, being met
by a superior Indian force, was compelled to
retreat. In August of the same year, Capt
Thomas Morris was dispatched from Western
Pennsylvania with a small force "to take posses-
sion of the Illinois Country." This expedition
got as far as Fort Miami on the Maumee, when its
progress was arrested, and its commander nar-
rowly escaped death. The next attempt was
made in 176.5, when Maj. George Croghan. a Dep-
utj' Superintendent of Indian affairs whose name
has been made historical by the celebrated speech
of the Indian Chief Logan, was detailed from
Fort Pitt, to visit Illinois. Croghan being detained,
Lieut. Alexander Frazer, who was to accompany
him, proceeded alone. Frazer reached Kaskas-
kia, but met with so rough a reception from
both the French and Indians, that he thought it
advisable to leave in disguise, and escaped by
descending the Mississippi to New Orleans.
Croghan started on his journey on the fifteenth
of May, proceeding down the Ohio, accompanied
by a party of friendly Indians, but having been
captured near the mouth of tlie Wabash, he
finally returned to Detroit without reaching his
destination. The first British official to reach
Fort Chartres was Capt. Thomas Stirling. De-
scending the Ohio with a force of one hundred
men, he reached Fort Chartres. Oct. 10, 1765, and
received the surrender of the fort from the faith-
ful and courteous St. Ange. It is estimated that
at least one-third of the French citizens, includ-
ing the more wealthy, left rather than become
British subjects. Those about Fort Chartres left
almost in a body. Some joined the French
colonies on the lower Mississippi, while others,
crossing the river, settled in St. Genevieve, then
in Spanish territory. Much the larger number
followed St. Ange to St. Louis, which had been
established as a trading post by Pierre La Clede,
during the previous year, and which now received



what, in these later days, would be called a great

Captain Stirling was relieved of his command
at Fort Chartres, Dec. 4, bj' Maj. Robert Farmer.
Other British Commandants at Fort Chartres
were Col. Edward Cole, Col. John Reed. Colonel
Wilkins, Capt. Hugli Lord and Francois de Ras-
tel. Chevalier de Roclieblave. The last had been
an officer in the Frencli army, and, having resided
at Kaskaskia, transferred his allegiance on occu-
pation of the country by the British. He was the
last official representative of the British Govern-
ment in Illinois.

The total population of the French villages in
Illinois, at the time of their transfer to England,
has been estimated at about 1.600, of which 700
were about Kaskaskia and 4.50 in the vicinity of
Cahokia. Captain Pittiuan estimated the popu-
lation of all the French villages in Illinois and on
the Wabash, at the time of his visit in 1770, at
about 2,000. Of St. Louis — or "Paiucourt,"' as it
was called — Captain Pittman said: "There are
about forty private houses and as many families."
Most of these, if not all, had emigrated from the
French villages. In fact, although nominally in
Spanish territory, it was essentially a French
town, protected, as Pittman said, by "a French
garrison" consisting of "a Captain-Commandant,
two Lieutenants, a Fort Major, one Sergeant,
one Corporal and twenty men."

Action of Continental Congress. — The first
official notice taken of the "Illinois Country"' by
the Continental Congress, was tlie adoption bj'
that body, July 13. 177.5, of an act creating three
Indian Departments — a Northern, Middle and
Southern. Illinois was assigned to the second,
with Benjamin Franklin and James Wilson, of
Pennsj'lvania, and Patrick Henry, of Virginia,
as Commissioners. In April, 1776, Col. George
Jlorgan. who had been a trader at Kaskaskia, was
appointed agent and successor to these Commis-
sioners, with headquarters at Fort Pitt. The
promulgation of the Declaration of Independence,
on the Fourth of July, 1776, and the events im-
mediately preceding and following that event,
directed attention to the colonies on the Atlantic
coast ; yet the frontiersmen of Virginia were
watching an opportunity to deliver a blow to the
Government of King George in a quarter where
it was least expected, and where it was destined
to have an immense influence upon the future of
the new nation, as well as that of the American

CoL. Geohge Rogers Clark's Expedition.
—During the year 1777, Col. George Rogers Clark,

a native of Virginia, then scarcely twenty-five
j-ears of age, having conceived a plan of seizing
the settlements in the Mississippi Valley, sent
trusty spies to learn the sentiments of the people
and the condition of affairs at Kaskaskia. The
report brought to him gave him encouragement,
and, in December of the same year, he laid before
Gov. Patrick Henry, of Virginia, his plans for
the reduction of the posts in Illinois. These were
approved, and, on Jan. 2, 1778, Clark received
authority to recruit seven companies of fifty men
each for three months' service, and Governor
Henry gave him §6,000 for expenses. Proceeding
to Fort Pitt, he succeeded in recruiting three
companies, who were directed to rendezvous at
Corn Island, opposite the present city of Louis-
ville. It has been claimed that, in order to
deceive the British as to his real destination,
Clark authorized the announcement that the
object of the expedition was to protect the settle-
ments in Kentucky from the Indians. At Corn
Island another company was organized, making
four in all, under the command of Captains Bow-
man, Montgomery, Helm and Harrod, and having
embarked on keel-boats, they passed the Falls of
the Ohio, June 24. Reaching the island at the
mouth of the Tennessee on the 28th, he was met
by a party of eight American hunters, who had
left Kaskaskia a few days before, and who, join-
ing his command, rendered good service as
guides. He disembarked his force at the mouth
of a small creek one mile above Fort Massac.
June 29, and, directing his course across the
country, on the evening of the sixth day (July 4,
1778) arrived within three miles of Kaskaskia.
The surprise of tlie unsuspecting citizens of Kas-
kaskia and its small garrison was complete. His
force having, under cover of darkness, been
ferried across the Kaskaskia River, about a mile
above the town, one detachment surrounded the
town, while the other seized the fort, capturing
Roclieblave and his little command without fir-
ing a gun. The famous Indian fighter and
hunter, Simon Kenton, led the way to the fort.
This is.supposed to have been what Captain Pitt-
man called the "Jesuits'," which had been
sold by the French Government after the country
was ceded to England, the Jesuit order having
been suppressed. A wooden fort, erected in 1736,
and known afterward by the British as Fort
Gage, had stood on the bluff opposite the town,
but, according to Pittman, this was burnt in 1766,
and there is no evidence that it was ever rebuilt.
Clark's expedition was thus far a complete suc-
cess. Roclieblave, proving recalcitrant, was



placed in irons and sent as a prisoner of war to
Williamsburg, while his slaves were confiscated,
the proceeds of their sale being divided among
Clark's troops. The inhabitants were easily
conciliated, and Cahokia having been captured
without bloodshed, Clark turned his attention to
Vincennes. Through the influence of Pierre
Gibault— the Vicar-General in charge at Kaskas-
kia — the people of Vincennes were induced to
swear allegiance to the United States, and,
although the place was afterward captured by a
British force from Detroit, it was, on Feb.
24, 1779, recaptured by Colonel Clark, together
w^ith a body of prisoners but little smaller than
the attacking force, and S50.000 worth of prop-
erty. (See Clark, Col. George Rogers.)

Under Government of Virginia.— Seldom
in the history of the world have such important
results been achieved by such insignificant instru-
mentalities and with so little sacrifice of life, as
in this almost bloodless campaign of the youtliful
conqueror of Illinois. Having been won largely
through Virginia enterprise and valor and by
material aid furnished through Governor Henry,
the Virginia House of Delegates, in October,
1778, proceeded to assert the jurisdiction of that
commonwealth over the settlements of the North-
west, by organizing all the country west and
north of the Ohio River into a county to be called
"Illinois," (see Illinois County), and empowering
the Governor to appoint a "County-Lieutenant or
Commandant-in-Chief" to exercise civil author-
ity during the pleasure of the appointing power.
Thus "Illinois County" was older than the States
of Ohio or Indiana, while Patrick Henry, the elo
quent orator of the Revolution, became ex-officio
its first Governor. Col. John Todd, a citizen of
Kentucky, was appointed "County-Lieutenant,"
Dec. 12, 1778, entering upon his duties in
May follovi^ing. The militia was organized,
Deputy-Commandants for Kaskaskia and Cahokia
appointed, and the first election of civil officers
ever had in Illinois, was held under Colonel
Todd's direction. His record-book, now in posses-
sion of the Chicago Historical Society, shows
that he was accustomed to exercise powers
scarcely inferior to those of a State Executive.
(See Todd, Col. John.)

In 1782 one "Thimothe Demunbrunt" sub-
scribed himself as "Lt. comd'g par interim, etc."
— but the origin of his authority is not clearly
understood. He assumed to act as Commandant
until the arrival of Gov. Arthur St. Clair, first
Territorial Governor of the Northwest Territory,
in 1790. After the close of the Revolution, courts

ceased to be held and civil affairs fell into great
disorder. "In effect, there was neither law nor
order in tlie 'Illinois Country' for the seven
years from 1783 to 1790."

During the progress of the Revolution, there
were the usual rumors and alarms in the "Illinois
Country" peculiar to frontier life in time of war.
The country, however, was singularly exempt
from any serious calamity such as a general
massacre. One reason for this was the friendly
relations which had existed between the French
and their Indian neighbors previous to the con-
quest, and which the new masters, after the cap-
ture of Kaskaskia, took pains to perpetuate.
Several movements were projected by the Britisli
and their Indian allies about Detroit and in Can-
ada, but they were kept so busy elsewhere that
they had little time to put their plans into execu-
tion. One of these was a proposed movement
from Pensacola against the Spanish posts on the
lower Mississippi, to punish Spain for having
engaged in tlie war of 1779, but tlie promptness
with which the Spanish Governor of New Orleans
proceeded to capture Fort Manchac, Baton Rouge
and Natchez from their British possessors, con-
vinced the latter that this was a "game at vrhich
two could play." In ignorance of these results,
an expedition, 7.50 strong, composed largely of
Indians, fitted out at Mackinaw under command
of Capt. Patrick St. Clair, started in the early
part of May, 1780, to co-operate with the expedition

Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 52 of 207)