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on the lower Mississippi, but intending to deal a
destructive blow to the Illinois villages and the
Spanish towns of St. Louis and St. Genevieve on
the way. This expedition reached St. Louis, May
26, but Col. George Rogers Clark, having arrived
at Cahokia with a small force twenty-four hours
earlier, prepared to co-operate with the Spaniards
on the western shore of the Slississippi, and the
invading force confined their depredations to kill-
ing seven or eight villagers, and then beat a
hasty retreat in the direction they had come.
These were the last expeditions organized to
regain the "Country of the Illinois" or capture
Spanish posts on the Mississippi.

Expeditions Against Fort St. Joseph. — An
expedition of a difl'erent sort is worthy of mention
in this connection, as it originated in Illinois.
This consisted of a company of seventeen men,
led by one Thomas Brady, a citizen of Cahokia.
who, marching across the country, in the month
of October, 1780, after the retreat of Sinclair,
from St. Louis, succeeded in surprising and cap-
turing Fort St. Joseph about where La Salle had
erected Fort Miami, near the mouth of the St.



Joseph River, a hundred years before. Brady
and his party captured a few British prisoners,
and a large quantity of goods. On their return,
while encamped on the Calumet, they were
attacked by a band of Pottawatomies. and all
were killed, wounded or taken prisoners except
Brady and two others, wlio escaped. Early in
January, 1781, a party consisting of sixty-five
whites, organized from St. Louis and Cahokia,
with some 200 Indians, and headed by Don
Eugenio Pourre, a Spaniard, started on a second
expedition against Fort St. Joseph. By silencing
the Indians, whom they met on their way, with
promises of plunder, they were able to reach the
fort without discovery, captured it and, raising
the Spanish flag, formally took possession in the
name of the King of Spain. After retaining pos-
session for a few days, the party returned to St.
Louis, but in negotiating the treaty of peace at
Paris, in 1T83, this incident was made the basis
of a claim put forth by Spain to ownership of
the "Illinois Coimtry" "by right of conquest."

The Territorial Period. — At the very outset
of its existence, the new Government of the
United States was confronted with an embarrass-
ing question which deeply affected the interests
of the territory of which Illinois formed a part.
This was the claim of certain States to lands
lying between their western boundaries and the
Mississippi River, then the western boundary of
the Republic. These claims were based either
upon the terms of their original charters or upon
the cession of lands by the Indians, and it was
under a claim of the former character, as well as
by right of conquest, that Virginia assumed to ex-
ercise authorit}- over the "Illinois Country" after
its capture by the Clark expedition. This con-
struction was opposed by the States which, from
their geographical position or other cause, had
no claim to lands beyond their own boundaries,
and the controversy was waged with considerable
bitterness for several years, proving a formidable
obstacle to the ratification of the Articles of Con-
federation. As early as 1779 the subject received
the attention of Congress in the adoption of a
resolution requesting the States having such
claims to "forbear settling or issuing warrants
for unappropriated lands or granting the same
during the continuance of the present (Revolu-
tionary) War. " In the following year, New York
authorized her Delegates in Congress to limit its
boundaries in such manner as they might think
expedient and to cede to the Government its
claim to western lands. The case was further com-
plicated by the claims of certain land companies

which had been previously organized. New York
filed her cession to the General Government of
lands claimed by her in October, 1782, followed
by Virginia nearly a year later, and by Massa-
chusetts and Connecticut in 178.5 and 1786. Other
States followed somewhat tardily, Georgia being
the last, in 1803. The only claims of tliis charac-
ter affecting lands in Illinois were those of Vir-
ginia covering the southern part of the State, and
Connecticut and Massachusetts applying to the
northern portion. It was from the splendid
domain north and west of the Ohio thus acquired
from Virginia and other States, that the North-
west Territory was finally organized.

Ordinance of 1787.— The first step was taken in
the passage by Congress, in 1784, of a resolution"
providing for the temporary government of the
Western Territory, and this was followed three
years later by the enactment of the celebrated
Ordinance of 1787. While this latter document
contained numerous provisions which marked a
new departure in the science of free government
— as, for instance, that declaring that "religion,
morality and knowledge being necessary to good
government and the happiness of mankind,
schools and the means of education shall forever
be encouraged"— its crowning feature was the
sixth article, as follows: "There shall be neither
slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said
Territory, otherwise than in the punishment of
crime, whereof the party shall have been duly

Although there has been considerable contro-
versy as to the authorship of the above and other
provisions of this immortal document, it is
worthy of note that substantially the same lan-
guage was introduced in the resolutions of 1784,
by a Delegate from a slave State — Tliomas Jeffer-
son, of Virginia —though not, at that time,
adopted. Jefferson was not a member of the
Congress of 1787 (being then Minister to France),
and could have had nothing directly to do with
the later Ordinance; yet it is evident that the
principle which he had advocated finally received
the approval of eight out of the thirteen States, —
all that were represented in that Congress — includ-
ing the slave States of Virginia, Delaware, North
Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. (See
Ordinance of 17S7.)

Northwest Territory Organized.— Under
the Ordinance of 1787, organizing the Northwest
Territory, Gen. Arthur St. Clair, who had been a
soldier of the Revolution, was appointed the
first Governor on Feb. 1, 1788, with Winthrop
Sargent, Secretary, and Samuel Holden Parsons,



Mitchell Varnum and John Cleves
Symmes, Judges. All these were reappointed by
President Washington in 1789. The new Terri-
torial Government was organized at Marietta, a
settlement on the Ohio, July 15, 1788, but it was
nearly two years later before Governor St. Clair
visited Illinois, arriving at Kaskaskia, Marcli 5,
1790. The County of St. Clair (named after him)
was organized at this time, embracing all the
settlements between the Wabash and the Missis-
sippi. (See St. Clair County.) He found the
inhabitants generally in a deplorable condition,
neglected by the Government, the courts of jus-
tice practically abolished and many of the citizens
sadly in need of the obligations due them from
the Government for supplies furnished to Colonel
Clark twelve years before. After a stay of three
months, the Governor returned east. In 1795,
Judge Turner held the first court in St. Clair
County, at Cahokia, as the county-seat, although
both Cahokia and Kaskaskia had been named as
county-seats by Governor St. Clair. Out of the
disposition of the local authorities to retain the
ofHcial records at Cahokia, and consequent dis-
agreement over the county-seat question, at least
in part, grew the order of 1795 organizing tlie
second county (Randolph), and Kaskaskia became
its county-seat. In 1796 Governor St. Clair paid
a second visit to Illinois, accompanied by Judge
Symmes, who held court at both county-seats.
On Nov. 4, 1791, occurred the defeat of Gov-
ernor St. Clair, in the western part of the present
State of Ohio, by a force of Indians \mder com-
mand of Little Turtle, in which the whites sus-
tained a heavy loss of both men and property—
an event which had an vmfavorable effect upon
conditions throughout the Northwest Territory
generally. St. Clair, having resigned liis com-
mand of the army, was succeeded by Gen.
Anthony Wayne, who, in a vigorous campaign,
overwhelmed the Indians with defeat. This
resulted in the treaty with the Western tribes at
Greenville, August 3, 1795, which was the begin-
ning of a period of comparative peace with the
Indians all over the Western Country. (See
Wayne, (Gen.) Anthony.)

First Territorial Legislation. — In 1798, the
Territory having gained the requisite population,
an election of members of a Legislative Council
and House of Representatives was held in accord-
ance with the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787.
This was the first Territorial Legislature organized
in the history of tlie Republic. It met at Cincin-
nati, Feb. 4, 1799, Shadrach Bond being the
Delegate from St. Clair County and John Edgar

from Randolph. Gen. William Henry Harrison,
who had succeeded Sargent as Secretary of the
Territory, June 26, 1798, was elected Delegate to
Congress, receiving a majority of one vote over
Arthur St. Clair, Jr. , son of the Governor.

Ohio and Indiana Territories.— By act of
Congress, May 7, 1800, the Northwest Territory
was divided into Ohio and Indiana Territories :
the latter embracing the region west of the pres-
ent State of Ohio, and having its capital at "Saint
Vincent" (Vincennes). May 13, William Henry
Harrison, who had been the Delegate in Con-
gress from the Northwest Territory, was ap-
pointed Governor of Indiana Territory, which at
first consisted of three counties ; Knox, St. Clair
and Randolph— the two latter being within the
boundaries of the present State of Illinois. Their
aggregate population at this time was estimated
at less than 5,000. During his administration
Governor Harrison concluded thirteen treaties
with the Indians, of which six related to the ces-
sion of lands in Illinois. The first treaty relating
to lands in Illinois was that of Greenville, con-
cluded by General Wayne in 1795. By this the
Government acquired six miles square at the
mouth of the Chicago River; twelve miles square
at the mouth of the Illinois ; six miles square at
the old Peoria fort ; the post of Fort Ma.ssac ; and
150,000 acres assigned to General Clark and his
soldiers, besides all other lands "in possession of
the French people and all other white settlers
among them, the Indian title to which had been
thus extinguished." (See Indian Treaties; also,
Greenville, Treaty of. )

During the year 1803, the treaty with France
for the purchase of Louisiana and West Florida
was concluded, and on March 26, 1804, an act was
passed by Congress attaching all that portion of
Louisiana lying north of the thirty-third parallel
of latitude and west of the Slississippi to Indiana
Territory for governmental purposes. This in-
cluded the present States of Arkansas, Missouri,
Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, the two
Dakotas and parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Mon-
tana. This arrangement continued only until
the following March, when Louisiana was placed
under a separate Territorial organization.

P'or four years Indiana Territory was governed
under laws framed by tlie Governor and Judges,
but, the population having increased to the re-
quired number, an election was held, Sept.
11, 1804, on the proposition to advance the gov-
ernment to the "second grade" by the election of
a Territorial Legislature. The smallness of the
vote indicated the indifference of the people on



the subject. Out of 400 votes cast, the proposition
received a majority of 138. The two Illinois
counties cast a total of 143 votes, of wliicli St.
Clair furnished 81 and Randolph 61. Tlie former
gave a majority of 37 against the measure and
the latter 19 in its favor, showing a net negative
majority of 18. The adoption of the proposition
was due. therefore, to the affirmative vote. in the
other coimties. There were in the Territory at
this time six counties; one of these (Wayne) was
in Michigan, which was set off. in 180.5, as a sep-
arate Territory. At the election of Delegates to
a Territorial Legislature, held Jan. 3, ISO.'J, Shad-
rach Bond, Sr., and William Biggs were elected
for St. Clair County and George Fisher for Ran-
dolph. Bond having meanwhile become a mem-
ber of the Legislative Council, Shadrach Bond,
Jr., was chosen his successor. The Legislature
convened at Vincennes, Feb. 7, 180.5, but only
to recommend a list of persons from whom
it was the duty of Congress to select a Legislative
Council. In addition to Bond, Pierre Menard
was chosen for Randolph and John Hay for St.

Illinois Territory Organized.— The Illinois
counties were represented in two regular and one
special session of the Territorial Legislature dur-
ing the time they were a part of Indiana Terri-
tory. By act of Congress, which became a law
Feb. 3, 1809, the Territory was divided, the west-
ern part being named Illinois.

At this point the history of Illinois, as a sepa-
rate political division, begins. While its bounda-
ries in all other directions were as now, on the
north it extended to the Canada line. From
what has already been said, it appears that the
earliest white settlements were established by
French Canadians, chiefly at Kaskaskia, Cahokia
and the other villages in the southern part of the
American Bottom. At the time of Clark's in-
vasion, there were not known to have been more
than two Americans among these people, except
such himters and trappers as paid them occasional
visits. One of tlie earliest American settlers in
Southern Illinois was Capt. Nathan Hull, who
came from Massachusetts and settled at an early
day on the Ohio, near where Golconda now
stands, afterward removing to the vicinity of
Kaskaskia, where he died in 180G. In 1781, a
company of immigrants, consisting (with one or
two exceptions) of members of Clark's command
in 1778, arrived with their families from Mary-
land and Virginia and established themselves on
the American Bottom. The "New Design" set-
tlement, on the boundary line between St. Clair

and Monroe Counties, and the first distinctively
American colony in the "Illinois Country," was
established by this party. .Some of its members
afterward became prominent in the liistory of the
Territory and the State. William Biggs, a mem-
ber of the first Territorial Legislature, with
others, settled in or near Kaskaskia about 1783,
and William Arundel, the first American mer-
chant at Cahokia, came tliere from Peoria during
the same year. Gen. John Edgar, for many years
a leading citizen and merchant at the capital,
arrived at Kaskaskia in 1784, and William Mor-
rison, Kaskaskia's principal merchant, came from
Philadelphia as early as 1790, followed .some years
afterward by several brothers. James Lemeu
came before the beginning of tlie present cen-
tury, and was the founder of a large and influ-
ential family in the vicinity of Shiloh, St. Clair
County, and Rev. David Badgley headed a colony
of 154 from Virginia, who arrived in 1797.
Among other prominent arrivals of this period
were John Rice Jones, Pierre Menard (first
Lieutenant-Governor of the State), Shadrach
Bond, Jr. (first Governor), John Hay, John
Jlessinger, William Kinney, Capt. Joseph Ogle;
and of a later date, Nathaniel Pope (afterward
Secretary' of the Territory, Delegate to Congress,
Justice of the United States Court and father of
the late Maj.-Gen. John Pope), Elias Kent Kane
(first Secretary of State and afterward United
States Senator), Daniel P. Cook (first Attorney-
General and second Representative in Congress),
George Forquer (at one time Secretary of State),
and Dr. George Fisher — all prominent in Terri-
torial or State history. (See' biogi-aphical
sketches of these early settlers under their re-
spective names. )

The government of the new Territorj' was
organized by the appointment of Ninian Ed-
wards, Governor; Nathaniel Pope, Secretary,
and Alexander Stuart, Obadiah Jones and Jesse
B. Thomas, Territorial Judges. (See Edwards.
Ninian.) Stuart having been transferred to
Missouri, Stanley Griswold was appointed in
his stead. Governor Edwards arrived at Kas-
kaskia, the capital, in June, 1809. At tliat
time the two counties of St. Clair and Randolph
comprised the settled portion of the Territory,
with a white population estimated at about 9,000.
The Governor and Judges immediately proceeded
to formulate a code of laws, and the appoint-
ments made by Secretary Pope, who had preceded
the Governor in liis arrival in the Territory, wer«
confirmed. Benjamin H. Doyle was the first
Attorney-General, but he resigned in a few



months, when the place was offered to John J.
Crittenden — the well-known United States Sen-
ator from Kentucky at the beginning of the
Civil War— but by him declined. Thomas T.
Crittenden was then appointed.

An incident of the year 1811 was the battle of
Tippecanoe, resulting in the defeat of Tecumseh,
the great chief of tlie Shawnees, by Gen. William
Henry Harrison. Four companies of mounted
rangers were raised in Illinois this year under
direction of Col. William Russell, of Kentucky,
wlio built Camp Russell near Edwardsville the
following year. They were commanded by Cap-
tains Samuel Whiteside. William B. Whiteside,
James B. Moore and Jacob Short. The memo-
rable earthquake which had its center about New
Madrid, Mo., occurred in December of this
year, and was quite violent in some portions of
Southern Illinois. (See Earthquake of ISll. )

War of 1813. — During the following year the
second war with England began, but no serious
outbreak occurred in Illinois until August, 1812,
when the massacre at Fort Dearborn, where
Chicago now stands, took place. This had long
been a favorite trading post of the Indians, at
first under French occupation and afterward
under the Americans. Sometime during 1803-04.
a fort had been built near the mouth of Chicago
River on the south side, on land acquired from the
Indians by the treaty of Greenville in 1795. (See
Fort Dearborn.) In the spring of 1813 some
alarm had been caused by outrages committed by
Indians in the vicinity, and in the early part of
August, Capt. Natlian Heald, commanding the
garrison of less than seventy -five men, received
instructions from General Hull, in command at
Detroit, to evacuate the fort, disposing of the
public property as he might see fit. Friendly
Indians advised Heald either to make prepara-
tions for a vigorous defense, or evacuate at once.
. Instead of this, he notified the Indians of his in-
tention to retire and divide the stores among
them, with the conditions subsequently agreed
upon in council, tliat his garrison should be
afforded an escort and safe passage to Fort
Wayne. On the 14th of August he proceeded to
distribute the bulk of the goods as promised, but
the ammunition, guns and liquors were de-
stroyed. This he justified on the groxind that a
bad use would be made of them, while the
Indians construed it as a violation of the agree-
ment. The tragedy which followed, is thus de-
scribed in Moses' "History of Illinois:"

"Black Partridge, a Pottawatomie Chief, who
had been on terms of friendship with the whites.

appeared before Captain Heald and informed
him plainly that his young men intended to
imbrue their hands in the blood of the whites;
that he was no longer able to restrain them, and,
surrendering a medal he had worn in token of
amity, closed by saying: 'I will not wear a
token of peace while I am compelled to act as an
enemy. ' In the meantime the Indians were riot-
ing upon the provisions, and becoming so aggres-
sive in their bearing that it was resolved to march
out the next day. The fatal fifteenth arrived.
To each soldier was distributed twenty-five
rounds of reserved ammxmition. The baggage
and ambulance wagons were laden, and the gar-
rison slowly wended its way outside the protect-
ing walls of the fort — the Indian escort of 500
following in the rear. What next occurred in
this disastrous movement is narrated by Captain
Heald in his report, as follows: 'The situation of
the country rendered it necessary for us to take
the beach, with the lake on our left, and a high
sand bank on our right at about three hundred
yards distance. We had proceeded about a mile
and a half, when it was discovered ( by Captain
Wells) that the Indians were prepared to attack
us from behind the bank. I immediately marched
up with the company to the top of the bank,
when the action commenced; after firing one
round, we charged, and the Indians gave way in
front and joined those on our flanks. In about fif-
teen minutes they got possession of all our horses,
provisions and baggage of every description, and
finding the Miamis (who had come from Fort
Wayne with Captain Wells to act as an escort)
did not assist us, I drew off the few men I had
left and took possession of a small elevation in
the open prairie out of shot of the bank, or any
other cover. The Indians did not follow me but
assembled in a body on top of the bank, and after
some consultation among tliemselves, made signs
for me to approach them. I advanced toward
them alone, and was met by one of the Potta-
watomie chiefs called Black Bird, with an inter-
preter. After shaking hands, he requested me to
surrender, promising to spare the lives of all the
prisoners. On a few moments' consideration I
concluded it would be most prudent to comply
with this request, although I did not put entire
confidence in his promise. The troops had made
a brave defense, but what could so small a force
do against such overwhelming numbers? It was
evident with over half their number dead upon
tlie field, or wounded, further resistance would
be hopeless. Twenty-six regulars and twelve
militia, with two women and twelve children,
were killed. Among the slain were Captain
Wells, Dr. Van Voorhis and Ensign George
Ronan. (Captain Wells, when young, had been
captured by Indians and had married among
them.) He (WelLs) was familiar with all the
wiles, stratagems, as well as the vindictiveness
of the Indian character, and when the conflict
began, he said to his niece (Mrs. Heald), by
whose side he was standing, 'We have not the
slightest chance for life ; we must part to meet
no more in this world. God bless you.' With
these words he dashed forward into the thickest
of the fight. He refused to be taken prisoner,
knowing what his fate would be, when a young



reil-skin cut him down with his tomaliawk.
jumped upon his bodj-. cut out his heart and ate
a portion of it with savage delight.

•■The prisoners taken were Captain Heald and
wife, both wounded, Lieutenant Helm, also
wounded, and wife, with twenty-five non-com-
missioned officers and privates, and eleven women
and cliildren. Tlie loss of the Indians was fifteen
killed. Mr. Kinzie's faiiiilv liad been entrusted
to the care of some friendly" Indians and were not
with the retiring garrison. Tlie engaged
in this outrage were principally I'ottawatomies,
with a few Chippewas, Ottawiis. AViniiebagoes,
and Kickapoos. Fort Dearborn was plundered
and burned on the next morning." (See For^
Dearborn: aLso War of ISl^.)

Thus ended the most bloody tragedy that ever
occurred on the soil of Illinois with Americans as
victims. The place where this affair occurred,
as described by Captain Heald, was on the lake
shore about the foot of Eighteenth Street in
the present city of Chicago. After the destruction
of the fort, the site of the present city of Chicago
remained unoccupied until 1816. when the fort
was rebuilt. At that time the bones of the vic-
tims of the massacre of 1812 .still lay bleaching
upon the sands near the lake shore, but thej-
were gathered up a few years later and buried.
The new fort continued to be occupied somewhat
irregularly until 183T, when it was finally aban-
doned, there being no longer any reason for
maintaining it as a defense against the Indians.

Other Events of the War.— The part played
by Illinois in the War of 1812, consisted chiefly
in looking after the large Indian population
within and near its borders. Two expeditions
were undertaken to Peoria Lake in the Fall of
1812; the first of these, under the direction of
Governor Edwards, burned two Kickapoo vil-

Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 53 of 207)