Copyright
Daily Democratic Press.

The Rail-roads, history and commerce of Chicago online

. (page 4 of 15)
Online LibraryDaily Democratic PressThe Rail-roads, history and commerce of Chicago → online text (page 4 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


things to continue ? We will not stop to answer
the question, but will simply say, on the first of
January next we shall have 3,000 miles of rail-
road leading into the city, and by a year from
that tune it will be entirely safe to add another
thousand. How much it will augment the busi-
ness of the city, and appreciate the value of real
estate to double the miles of railroad centering
here, and to double the population of the city,
and also of the magnificent country which is tri-
butary to it, we shall leave the ultra cautious to
estimate. The railroads will certainly be finished,
but we shall not hazard an opinion as to the
population of the city or the price of real estate
on the first of January, 1856. We hope to be



then, and we know our readers will, if we
aad they live to see that "happy new year."
Time will show.

There is another most important fact that
should be considered, iti speaking of Chicago, as
a great railroad centre. She has not, in her cor-
porate capacity, invested a single dollar in any
>f them. While the bonds of other cities ai-e
hawked about in Wall street to build railroads
t'.iat in turn are expected to build the cities in
which they terminate, Chicago has prudently kept
aloof from all such dangerous speculations. All
our roads have been projected and will be built
by private enterprise. This shows that capitalists
have placed abundant confidence in our commer-
cial position, and the result is demonstrating most
dearly that they have judged correctly. We
refer to this matter with peculiar satisfaction, and
we are sure it will have -an important bearing in
shaping the future destiny of the city.

It may be answered, that the city would have
made large sums by foresting her credit in rail-
road stocks. It is true that Galena stock and
that of several -of our other roads sell at prices
that astonish Eastern capitalists, who are igno-
rant of the resources of the Central States, and
the cheapness with which our roads are built.
The stock, however, sells for no more than it is
really worth ; and we should not be surprised to
see it attain a much higher figure. But expe-
rience has shown that, where cities become in-
volved in extensive schemes of internal improve-
me"t, corrupt demagogues generally find means
to fatten upon the public treasury, and in the end
bring ruin and disgrace upon the community
whose confidence they had managed to secure.
From all such dangers Chicago is entirely free.
She ha?, it is true, issued her bonds to construct
the water works, and she has, in addition, a small
floating debt. But the water works will, in a few
V'. ara, liquidate the debt contracted for their con-
struction, and she can, without serious inconve-
nience, pay all her other liabilities in, at most,
three or five years. The important fact is worth
repeating, that Chicago, a city that will have
three thousand mi'es of railroad in operation
centering iu it, on the first of January next,

i'OES SOT OWE A 6IXOLK DOLLAR FOE THE1F. COX-
8TKUCTIO9.

Our task is accomplished. We ask our citizens
to contemplate the magnificent system of public
works that have been completed in two short
years. The past is certain. To the future let
ue look, and gird ourselves for the work that is
before us. From almost every place in the Union,
aod from across the wide Atlantic, the industrious



and the enterprising are seeking a home in the
"Garden City." Let us give them a warm-
hearted, generous welcome. Along our broad
streets, or upon our wide-spread, beautiful prai-

' ries, we have ample room for them all. Let
them come, and identify themselves with tbe

' great central commercial city of the Central

j States !



From Daily Press of Jan. 81.
Other Advantages and Facilities.

Casual readers may, perhaps, inquire what

i other facilities and advantages Chicago possesses

j beside her railroads. We answer, in the first

place, that her bills of mortality show her to be

one of the very healthiest of American cities.

During the year 1853, the ratio of mortality in

five of the leading cities was as follows :

New York 1 to S7K

Philadelphia Ito45

Baltimore lto9

Boston 1 toSC*'

Chicago ! to MX

In the second place, our city is situated at the
i terminus of the great chain of Northwestern
i lakes, giving us, during the season of navigation,
access to the New York canals and the St. Law-
rence river. Chicago must therefore be, for all
i time, the great collecting and distributing point
for the vast region of country brought into com-
mercial relation with her by means of her ex-
tended system of railroads, Prospectively, we
might speak of the ultimate freo navigation of
the St. Lawrence, by which means vessels loaded
at our docks will be able to make their way to
the ocean, and thence direct to the docks of Liv-
erpool or any other trans- Atlantic mart.

1 hen again, Southward, the Illinois and Michi-
gan Canal gives us water communication with
the Mississippi and its various tributaries ; and-
much of the increase of the business of our city,
for the past five years, has come from this
source.

Some sixty miles south of the city we touch
the northern rim of the great Illinois coal-field,
over which passes a number of our railroads, and
which is also traversed by the Illinois and Michi-
gan Canal and the Illinois river. From this
source an endless supply of fuel for domestic and
manufacturing purposes is insured. Westward
are the lead mines, and northward the iron and
copper mines of Lake Superior. These facts
point to Chicago as the ultimate seat of extensive
manufactures.



20



Lastly, our city w situated in a genial climate,
and in the heart of a district that is unsurpassed
in its agricultural resources. The country is
rapidly filling up with an enterprising and indus-
trious population, arid on every hand, both in
country and city, are to be seen the evidences of
general thrift and prosperity.



From Daily Press of Jafluary 81.
The Population of Chicago.

As this number of our paper will be read by
many persona who do not see the Democratic
Press regularly, we subjoin the population of
Chicago at various periods :



140,
1843,
184-,
1846,
1847,



4.4t9'184,
7.3 1849,
12.i8 e l?oil,
14.1i9 1853.



60,652



This table will prove that the commercial and
manufacturing facilities of Chicago are being ap-
preciated. There is no other city east of the
Rocky Mountains that can show a ratio of in-
crease at all corresponding with the above.
When to this we add that, with all our popula-
tion and capital, we have not half the money nor
half the laborers that the commerce, manufac-
tures and general improvement of the city re-
quire, some faint conception may be formed of
the strong inducements which are held out her?'
to bring both capital and industry among as
There is not an idle dollar nor an idle arm o*
head in Chicago, unless it be from choice,



HISTORY OF CHICAGO.



JLFTS& we published oar article on "CHICAGO
VND HER RAILROADS," January 31st, it occurred
to us that a short sketch of the history of Chicago
vould not prove unacceptable to our readers.
At first we intended merely a brief notice, to
show her rapid growth, in connection with our
Annual Review of the business of the city. The
more we studied the subject, and consulted those
who have been here since the wolves were accus-
tomed to visit every part of the city in the night,
.aud the wigwam of the painted savage dotted the
prairie on every side, the more have facts accu-
mulated upon our hands, till now our only diffi-
culty is to know what to reject. The rapid
growth of the city within the last eight years
her immense increase in wealth and population
the proud position she has assumed among the
commercial cities of the Unic n, and the certainty
that her march will be OXWARB, till she yields in
importance only to New York, have created a
very general desire among a portion of our own
-citizens, and especially in the Eastern States, to
know more of her past history as well as her
present resources and future prospects. "The
history of Chicago is intimately connected with
the settlement and growth of the other parts of
the State, and it will be equally interesting to
notice in a few paragraphs some facts In relation
to the settlement of this part of the Mississippi
Valley.

The origin of the term Illinois is given in the
" "Western Annals," edited by Rev. J. M. Peck,
as follows : "The name Illinois is derived from
Leno, ' man. 1 The Delaware Indians call them-
selves Lenno-Lenapo, which means ' original, or
unmixed men.' The term manly men, to dis-
tinguish themselves from mean, trifling men, would
<jonvey the exact idea. The tribes along the Illi-
nois gave the French explorers to understand
that they were real men. They said ' lono,' or
leni.' " The termination " ois" is undoubtedly
?f French origin. As all strange and uncouth



sounds are liable to be mis-spelled, it is very easy
to see from the above how the beautiful name
which our State bears was formed from the lan-
guage of the first monarchs of the soil

The "Hlmi," or Illinois Indians, occupied all
the territory north of a line drawn northeast and
southwest through the city of Ottawa, extending
east to the Wabash, and west to the Mississippi
river. The term was also applied to an indefinite
territory west Of the Mississippi.

The first white men who ever visited this re-
gion were Marquette and Joliet, two Jesuit mis-
sionaries, who explored this section of the Missis-
sippi valley in the years 1662-3. Hennepin and
La Sane followed a few years later, and as a con-
sequence of these several explorations and dis-
coveries, a magnificent scheme was formed by
France to extend her possessions frem Canada
to New Orleans, and thus having embraced the
entire inhabited portion of the Western Conti-
nent, to advance Eastward, and secure the
authority over the vast empire which her emi-
nent statesmen even then foresaw must ere long
occupy this magnificent country. The plan was
well arranged, and its accomplishment constantly
'kept in view for nearly a hundred years by the
adventurous sons of La Belle France, but it was
completely overthrown by the gallant Wolfe on
the plains of Abraham, on the 13th of Septem-
ber, 1759. As a consequence of that victory,
Canada fell into the hands of the English. The
war of the revolution transferred the northwest-
ern possessions of the British to the United States,
and the purchase of Louisiana by Mr. Jefferson
from the French in 1803, gave us the possession
of the entire Mississippi Valley. The wisdom of
that purchase, though strenuous'y opposed at the
time, is now acknowledged by all parties.

Early in the revolutionary war Col. G. 'R. Clark
had formed the design of attacking the forts of
the British at Detroit and in Southern Illinois,
and laid his plans before the Virginia Legislature.



On the 2d of January, 1778, he received author-
ity from Patrick Henry, then Governor of that
State, to raise troops and to march westward on
his bold and hazardous enterprise. This expe-
dition was successful, and as a consequence, Vir-
ginia laid claim to the territory north and west of
the Ohio river. This claim was acknowledged
by the other States, and Illinois was organized as
a county of Virginia in October, 1778. The act
was practically inoperative, as we cannot find
that any one in behalf of that State earned the
law into effect. From that time till 1784 there
was no legal authority in the State. The people
were " a law unto themselves," and to the credit
of the early settlers, the annalist adds, that "good
feelings, harmony and fidelity to engagements
prevailed." In March, 1784, Virginia ceded to
the United States all her claim to the territory
northwest of the Ohio ; and in 1790 Gov. St. Clair
organized the county which bears his name.
From the year 1800 to 1809 Illinois was attached
to the Territory of Indiana. In February of the
latter year Congress passed an act establishing
the Territory of Illinois, and appointed the Hon.
Ninian Edwards, then Chief Justice of Kentucky,
Governor of the Territory, and Nathaniel Pope,
Esq., of Kaskaskia, Secretary. The Territory
was organized by Judge Pope in March, and
Gov. Edwards arrived in June, and assumed the
duties of his office.

The first Territorial Legislature convened at
Kaskaskia on the 25th of November, 1812 ; the
Council, or Upper House, consisting of five, and
the Assembly of seven members. The author of
the " Western Annals" says of this body : " They
did their work like men devoted to business mat-
ters. Not a lawyer or an attortiey is found on the
list of names. They deliberated like sensible men
passed such laws as they deemed the country
needed ; made no speeches, had no contention, ;
and after a brief session of some ten or twelve
days, adjourned." We are sorry to say, that this
good example has had too little influence upon
succeeding Legislatures.

In 1815, Hon. Nathaniel Pope was elected as
Representative of the Territory in Congress. The
jiorth line of the Territory, as originally defined,
ran due west from the south bend of Lake Michi-
gan to the Mississippi. Judge Pope, seeing the
importance of having a lake front in the future I
State of Illinois, procured the passage of an act
extending that line north to the parallel of 42
degrees and SO minutes, thus securing a most j
important portion of territory from our sister j
State of Wisconsin.

Congress passed an act in 1818, approved by i



James Monroe, April 18th, authorizing the peo-
ple to form a State Government, provided it
should be ascertained that it contained 40,000
inhabitants. All accounts agree in estimating
the total number ef people at about 30,000 ; but
the different Marshals, by accidentally counting
the emigrants, who were coming ia or passing
through the Sta'e, several times,, made out the full
number. Delegates to form a constitution wera
elected, who met at Kaskaskia in July, 1818, and
having completed their labors, they signed the
constitution, and adjourned on the 26th day of
August. The constitution was adopted by the
people, and the first Legislature convened at
Kaskaskia, on the first Monday in October fol-
lowing. Shadrach Bond, of Kaskaskia, was elected
Governor, and Pierre Menard, of the same place.
Lieut. Governor.

It will be sen, from the above, that it is not
yet thirty-six years since our State Government
was formed ; a State which has now more than
a million of inhabitants, and whose principal com?
mercial city has more than 60,000 inhabitants,
and 1,785 miles of railroad completed, contrib-
uting to its prosperity. By the first of January
next, it will hare 3,000 miles finished and in
operation.

We have found a great deal that is both in-
structive and amusing in the early legislation of
the State, but we have room for only a single
incident. It must be borne in mind, that the
first settlements were made in the southern parts
of the State, by emigrants principally from Vir-
ginia, Kentucky, and some of the other Southern
States. Many of them had a sort of " holy hor-
ror" for that ubiquitous, ever-trading sharper,
" the live Yankee." To guard against his dep-
redations, a law was passed, February 14th, 1823,
duly enacting, that "No person shall bring in
and peddle, or sell, wooden clocks in this State,
unless they first take out an extra license ;" for
which the price was $50. The penalty for vio-
lating the law was fixed at the same sum. This
" said sum" would make a sad inroad upon Jona-
than's profits, and hence, under the impulses of
his "higher law" notions of the value of money,,
he pursued his " chosen calling" without anv
regard to the majesty of the law in "such case
made and provided." He was of course arrested,,
and hi due form arraigned before the court of
Fayette county. The fact of " selling* 1 was not
denied, but it appeared in evidence that one
Yankee brought them " in" across the river at
St. Louis and another " sold" them. The coun-
sel for the prisoner our fellow citizen, Wm. H.
Brown, Esq. contended that it must be showu



23



that the prisoner did both " bring in and peddle j
or sell." Jonathan, as usual, esciped, and went
on his way "peddling" and "selling" his wooden
wares. We believe his " Yankees/tip" has al-
ways, since the failure of that law to " head him
off," been permitted to exercise his peculiar
habits without " let or hindrance."

The history of our city is very intimately con-
nected with that of the Illinois and Michigan
Canal. The idea of a canal connecting the wa-
ters of the Lakes with those of the Mississippi,
was suggested as early as 1814. In Niles' Regis-
ter of August 6th the following paragraph may
be found :

" By the Illinois river it is probable that Buf-
falo, in New York, may be united with New Or-
leans by inland navigation, through Lakes Erie,
Huron and Michigan, and down that river to the
Mississippi. What a route! How stupendous
the idea ! How dwindles the importance of the
artificial canals of Europe compared to this water
communication. If it should ever take place
and it is said the opening may be easily made
the Territory (of Illinois) will become the seat of
an immense commerce, and a market for the
commodities of all regions."

How strange to us appear some of the expres-
sions in this paragraph. Then, all west of Ohio
was an unbroken wilderness, inhabited only by
savages, with here and there a fort or trading
post, and a few small French settlements along
the Mississippi. Little did the writer think that
in onlv thirty-four years his " stupendous idea"
would become a common-place reality, and that
in less than forty years a city of more than sixty
thousand people would be reposing in quiet dig-
nity at the northern terminus of that canal!
What an " immense commerce" that city has en-
joyed the past year, the sequel of this article is
designed to show.

At the first session of th Illinois Legislature
in 1818, Gov. Bond brought the subject of a
canal from Lake Michigan to the Illinois river
prominently before that body, and his successor,
Gov. Coles, in 1822 devoted a large space in his
message to the elucidation of the same topic.
By an act passed February 14th, 1823, a Board
of Canal Commissioners was appointed, and m
the autumn of that year a portion of the Board,
with Col. J. Post, of Missouri, as Chief Engineer,
made a tour of reccnnoisanee, and in the autumn
of 1824 Col. R. Paul, an able engineer, residing
at St. Louis, was also employed. Five different
routes were surveyed, and estimates made of the
cost of the canal. The highest estimate was
$716,110.



At this time, 1823, only thirty-one years ago,
the Sangamon river and Fulton county were the
northern boundaries of civilization, and in that
region there were only a very few inhabitants.
The whole northern portion of the State was
still under the dominion of the wolf and the sav-
age, with no prospect of its settlement for an
indefinite time to come. The leading idea of the
citizens of the south half of the State, where the
population was then concentrated, was to open a
water communication for them by the Lakes and
the Erie Canal with New York city.

On January 18th, 1825, an act was passed to
"incorporate the Illinois and Michigan Canal
Company, with a capital of $1,000,000. As the
stock was not taken, a subsequent Legislature
repealed the charter. In the meantime, our
Senators and Representatives in Congress were
urging upon that body the passage of an act
granting to this State lands to aid in the con-
struction of the proposed canal. The Hon. Dan-
iel P. Cook, from whom this county is named,
has the credit of leading in this movement. Ac-
cordingly, on the 2d of March, 1827, Congress
granted to the State of Illinois every alternate
section in a belt of country extending six miles
on each side of the canal. Owing to financial
embarrassment, nothing effectual was done till
January 22d, 1829, when the Legislature passed
a law organizing a Canal Board, and appointed
Dr. Jayne, of Springfield, Edmund Roberts, of
Kaskaskia, and Charles Dunn, Commissioners.
These Commissioners were empowered, among
other things, to locate the canal, lay out towns,
to sell lots, and to apply the proceeds to the con-
struction of the canal.

In the autumn of 1 829 the Commissioners came
to Chicago, having employed James Thompson
to survey and lay off the town. His first map
bears date August 4th, 1830. It is in the Re-
corder's office.

Hon. S. D. Lockwood, now a resident of Ba-
tavia, Kane county, came up with the Commis-
sioners in the autumn of 1829. We are indebted
to him and to Wm. H. Brown, Esq., for much
valuable information hi reference to the early
history of the State. Both these gentlemen are
among the oldest citizens in Illinois, as they
landed at Shawneetown in 1818, the same year
the Constitution was adopted. We have the men
among us who have seen the State in her in-
fancy, and now look upon her with pride, assum-
ing a commanding position among the oldest
States of the Union.

The list of families residing here in the autumn
of 1829, as given by Judge Lockwood, is as fol-



24



lows : John Kinzie, the father of our present
excellent Alderman, John H. Kinzie, resided on
the north side, a little west of McCormick's fac-
tory. West of Mr. Kinzie's, near the site of the
Galena Railroad's freight depot, east of Clarke
street, lived Dr. Wolcott, son-in-law of Mr. Kiu-
zie ; Dr. Wolcott was, at the time, Indian Agent.
Near the forks of the river, a little west of where
Steele's warehouse now stands, John Miller kept
a "log tavern." On the south side, near the
present residence of James H. Collins, Esq , a
little south of the old fort, was the house of John
B. Beaubien. Besides these, there were some
three or four Indian traders living in log cabins
on the west side.

There were, of course, the officers and men
connected with Fort Dearborn. Perhaps we may
as well pause here and notice the building of the
fort, and some other facts connected with our
earlier history. It was built by 1 he Government
in 1801, and manned with a company of about
fifty men and three pieces of artillery. Every-
thing remained quiet till 1812, when the war
broke out with Great Britain, and our Govern-
ment, apprehensive that so distant a post among
the savages could not be maintained, ordered it
to be evacuated. The commander was required
to distribute the government property among
the Indians, and to march with his troops to Fort
Wayne.

The fort was at that time well supplied with
provisions and military stores, and might have
maintained a siege for a long time against any
force that the Indians could have brought against
it ; and nearly all the officers remonstrated against
carrying out the instructions ; but Capt. Heald
determined to obey to the letter the orders of his
superiors. The Pottawatomies were well known
to be hostile, but Capt. Heald called a council on
the 12th of August, 1812, and laid the proposi-
tions of the Government before them, asking, in
return, an escort to Fort Wayne. This the In-
dians promised to give. The distribution was to
be made the next day. During the night, lest
the guns and ammunition which they would ne-
cessarily be forced to leave, might prove a dan-
gerous gift to the savages, the powder was thrown
into the well, and the guns were broken and de-
stroyed. The liquor shared the same fate. The
cannon were thrown into the river.

The next day the Indians came together to
receive the presents, but their countenances
betokened anger and deep-seated revenge when
only the goods of the United States factory were
distributed among them. They charged the
whites with bad faith, and left with feelings



aroused to the highest pitch of resentment. In
the afternoon Capt. Wells, the brother of Mrs.
Ileald, arrived from Fort Wayne with fifteen
friendly Miami Indians, to act as a guard in the
retreat that was to follow. On the morning of
the 15th of August the troops took up their line
of march for Fort Wayne. Capt. Wells, with the
friendly Miamis, acted as the advance guard ;
and a band of Pottawatomies, according to the
stipulations made three days previous, followed
at a short distance in the rear. They h;id pro-
ceeded in this order along the Lake shore about
a mile and a half, to a point near the residence
of Mrs. Clarke, when they were suddenly attacked
by a party of Pottawatomies, who lay in ambush
behind the sand hills, upon the right of their line
of march. Capt. Heald immediately ordered his


1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryDaily Democratic PressThe Rail-roads, history and commerce of Chicago → online text (page 4 of 15)