George Washington Smith.

A history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) online

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The regular work of this church did not begin until the beginning of
the past century. This religious body has a somewhat different plan of
work from the Presbyterian church and for that reason we cannot fix
dates so easily as in a study of the latter. The class leader in the earlier
Methodist organization supplied the lack of a regular pastor.

The Reverend Beauchamp, a much loved minister in the Methodist
church, was located in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1816. He was induced by
the people of Mt. Carmel to come to their town, to which he removed in
1817. He labored here faithfully for about four years when he was
obliged to give up his preaching and retire to a farm. While in the
active work of preaching in Mt. Carmel he announced the services by
the blowing of a trumpet instead of by the ringing of a bell.

The work of the Rev. Jesse Walker of the Methodist church has been
noted in a previous chapter. He came to Illinois in 1806 and organized
churches in various places. In 1807 he organized a church on the Illi-


nois river of some sixty members all the people in the settlement. He
died in Chicago in 1834.

Where two or three families could be found who were of the Metho-
dist persuasion, a class leader would conduct the public devotional serv-
ice. From this fact a church may be spoken of when there had been no
regularly organized church machinery set in motion.

As early as 1817, Zadoc Casey emigrated from Sumner county, Ten-
nessee, and settled on a farm near the present city of Mt. Vernon, Jef-
ferson county. He founded the town of Mt. Vernon in 1818 or 1819. He
was a member of the Methodist church and was an active worker in that
organization. He was a local preacher in Jefferson county for forty
years, and was a man of widespread influence.


This church had many earnest preachers in Illinois in the early years
of the nineteenth century. Among them was one Rev. John Clark. He
had for two years been connected with the Methodists but becoming dis-
satisfied with some of the methods of that body he withdrew his mem-
bership from that organization. He came to the settlements on the
American Bottom in 1797 and from that date till 1833, when he died, he
was a tireless worker in the church. He taught school and was gen-
erally called Father Clark. He was the first Protestant preacher to
cross the Mississippi into the Spanish territory. This he did in 1798.
He eventually took up his residence in Missouri, but carried on his work
in Illinois with great success.

Elder William Jones came to Rattan's Prairie, near Alton, in 1806.
He was very active in building local Baptist churches in the vicinity of
Alton, till his death in 1845.

Another early Baptist preacher was Rev. James Lemen. He was
indebted to Father Clark for both his education and his religious fervor.
He was a staunch opponent of slavery and was bold enough to express
his opposition in the pulpit, which gave offense to some.

By 1807 there was a Baptist Association in the region around Alton
and Edwardsville. It included five well organized churches: New De-
sign, four miles south of Waterloo ; Mississippi Bottom ; Richland, in St.
Clair county; Wood River, in Madison county; and Silver Creek, in
Bond or St. Clair. There were three ordained preachers for these five
churches, and sixty-two members. In 1809 six more preachers were or-
dained and there was a proportionate growth in membership.



The fourth governor of Illinois was John Reynolds. He was an
early emigrant to Illinois. He was born in Montgomery county,
Pennsylvania, in 1788. His parents moved to eastern Tennessee when
the boy was but six months old. From Tennessee the family came
to Illinois in 1800, the boy being twelve years old. They crossed
the Ohio at Lusk's Ferry, the present site of Golconda, and took the
trail for Kaskaskia. They constructed rafts and ferried their wagons
and teams across the rivers. They reached Kaskaskia and found
the village surrounded with Kaskaskia Indians, who were living
very much as they had always lived. The elder Reynolds had started
for St. Louis, but was dissuaded by Robert Morrison, John Rice
Jones, and Pierre Menard. The father later visited "St. Genevieve
to obtain a permit of the Spanish commandant to settle on the west
side of the river. In the permit to settle in the Domain of Spain it
was required that my father should raise his children in the Roman
Catholic church. This pledge was a requisition of the government
in all cases, and my father refused to agree to it. ... This was
the main reason that decided our destiny to settle and reside in Illi-
nois. ' '

Young Reynolds received a rudimentary education in the schools
available in that day, and when a young man, attended college in
Knoxville, Tennessee. He was living at Cahokia when the state was
admitted into the Union in 1818. He served on the supreme court
and in the lower branch of the state legislature. In 1830 he offered
himself as a candidate for governor. He was elected over his op-
ponent Lieutenant Governor Kinney, who had served with Governor


The campaign was without doubt a spicy one. Governor Rey-
nolds has given us an unvarnished account which no doubt is a cor-
rect story of the canvass. "It was the universal custom of the times
to treat with liquor. We both did it ; but he was condemned for it
more than myself, by the religious community, he being a preacher
of the gospel." Each candidate rode over the state carrying the old



fashioned saddle bags. Many amusing incidents occurred. At Jack-
sonville Captain Duncan had a saddle bag full of Kinney hand-bills.
At night some Reynolds men stole all the Kinney bills and replaced
them with Reynolds bills. The next day Captain Duncan went about
scattering Reynolds' bills and arguing for Kinney. The Rev. Zadoc
Casey of Mt. Vernon was the candidate on the Kinney ticket for lieu-
tenant governor and a Mr. Rigdon B. Slocumb was the running mate
of Mr. Reynolds. Reynolds and Casey were elected.

Of Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Ford says he had a good, natural, easy-
going disposition and was a good mixer. "He had received a class-
ical education and was a man of good talents in his own peculiar
way; but no one would suppose from hearing his conversation and
public addresses that he had ever learned more than to read and
write and cipher to the rule of three." He is represented as being
coarse and even vulgar in the use of all sorts of backwoods expres-
sions of which he seems to have had a very large supply. "He had
a kind heart and was always ready to do a favor and never harbored
resentment against a human being."

In this canvass the newspapers took quite an active part. Mr.
Kinney had the support of the Illinois Intelligencer, published at Van-
dalia. It was edited by Judge James Hall, formerly of Shawneetown.
Governor Reynolds had four papers supporting him, ,all of which
were very ably edited one at Shawneetown, edited by Colonel Ed-
dy, one at Edwardsville, edited by Judge Smith, one at Kaskaskia,
edited by Judge Breese, and one at Springfield, edited by Forquer
and Ford. Mr. Reynolds says that a miner's journal published at
Galena also supported him.

In this canvass national politics entered as a very potent factor.
It was folly for any man who was an anti-Jackson man to offer him-
self for public office. There were anti-Jackson men but they were
greatly in the minority. Reynolds calls them the Whigs. Both Rey-
nolds and Kinney were Jackson men, but the anti-Jackson men fav-
ored Reynolds as the lesser of two evils. It thus turned out that Rey-
nolds was elected, the vote standing, Reynolds 12,937, while Kinney
received 9,038.

The candidates for lieutenant governor were Zadoc Casey and
Rigdon B. Slocumb. Mr. Casey ran on the Kinney ticket and Mr.
Slocumb on the Reynolds ticket. Mr. Casey was a Methodist local
preacher who lived at Mt. Vernon and was a man who stood very
high in the localities where he was known. He was elected.


At this election the seventh general assembly was also elected.
The legislature met December 6, 1830, and organized. The new gov-
ernor began his term under very favorable circumstances. Some
writers have spoken disparagingly of Governor Reynolds' inaugural
message, but when carefully studied it appears a plain, sensible, pat-
riotic state paper. It may lack the polish of former or later mes-
sages, but what Governor Reynolds had in his heart to say, he said
in unmistakable language. He called attention to the rapid increase
in population. He complimented the immigrants upon their enter-
prise and good judgment, and congratulated the people of the state


upon the accession to its population of so desirable a class of citizens,
lie formally discussed the following subjects as being those upon
which he hoped they might legislate.

"In the whole circle of your legislation, there is no subject that
has a greater claim upon your attention or calls louder for your aid
than that of education."

"There cannot be an appropriation of money within the exercise
of your legislative powers that will be more richly paid to the citi-
zens than that for the improvement of the country."

Governor Reynolds had, while a member of the fifth general as-
sembly, succeeded in getting a bill through providing for the build-
ing of a penitentiary. He was able to say the work had progressed
quite satisfactorily and that twenty-five cells were nearing com-
pletion, and he hoped the legislature would take such action as would
carry the enterprise to completion.

The salines and their reservations had been virtually given to
the state by the action of congress in passing the Enabling Act. The
state had had charge of the salines since 1818 and very little in-
come had been realized from them. He was very desirous that they
should be so managed as to result in a source of income to the state.

The charter incorporating the State Bank of Illinois was passed
in 1821. The charter was to continue ten years. The capital was
$500,000. There was one parent bank at Vandalia and four branch
banks one at Edwardsville, one at Brownsville, one at Shawnee-
town, one at Albion. The charter of this bank expired January 1,
1831. The end of the bank came therefore in Reynold's term as gov-
ernor. The state had lost about $100,000 in this banking business,
and must in some way meet this indebtedness.

Finally, a loan was obtained of a Mr. Wiggins, of Cincinnati,
Ohio, of $100,000 and the affairs of the bank wound up. This was
known as "the Wiggins loan" and was for many years a great tor-
ment to the legislators who authorized it.

At the close of the session of 1831, the state borrowed $20.000
with which to pay the current expenses of the session, and to meet
other expenses of the state.


The winter of 1830-1 was long remembered as "the winter of the
deep snow." It is said that the winter was a mild one till Christmas.
During the Christmas holidays a snow storm began and for nine
weeks, almost every day, it snowed. The snow melted little or none
and was found to be more than three feet on an average. It was.
however, drifted very badly in some places. The old fashioned
"stake and rider" fences were buried in many places with the drifted
snow. The long country lanes were covered over so that no sign of
the road was left. On top of this snow fell rain and sleet and formed
such a crust that people and stock might walk on top of the snow.
The birds and small pa me suffered very much for want of food, while
larger wild game became very tame.



In 1804, November 3, at St. Louis, William Henry Harrison, at
that time governor of the Indiana territory, on behalf of the United
States, signed a treaty with the Sac and Fox Indians by which the
said tribes ceded to the United States about fifteen million acres of
land. A portion of the land lay in Illinois northwest of the Illinois
river, while a large portion lay in southwestern Wisconsin. The
United States government agreed to take the Sac and Fox tribes
into its friendship and protection, and to pay annually $1,000 in goods
to the two tribes. It was further agreed that these tribes should re-
main on the lands till the said lands were disposed of. It was mutu-
ally agreed that no private revenge should be taken for wrongs but
that offenders should be turned over to the proper authorities. Citi-
zens of the United States were not to make settlements on this ceded
territory. No traders should live among the Indians except those
authorized by the United States, etc.

Black Hawk with whom we shall deal in this chapter, said the
chiefs who signed the treaty were made drunk and that they were
not authorized to cede this land. It should also be kept in mind that
the territory ceded was also the home of two other large tribes, the
Winnebagoes and the Pottowatomies.

The British greatly influenced the Indians in the northwest, and
the two were allies in the war from 1812-1815. At the close of this
war, the Sacs and Foxes entered into another treaty with the United
States. Black Hawk did not sign this treaty which, it was hoped,
would secure peace.

Upon the admission of Illinois in 1818 the settlers began to flock
into the state and within the next ten years the settlers began to
encroach upon the lands actually occupied by the Sac and Fox tribes.
The Winnebago war occurred in the summer of 1827. Among the In-
dians who were held responsible for this was Black Hawk, a very
prominent Indian of the Sac and Fox tribes. He and several more
Indians were arrested and held in prison for several months. Some
of the offenders were adjudged guilty and executed, others were
turned loose, among whom was Black Hawk. In 1830, a treaty was
executed at Prairie du Chien in which the Sac and Fox Indians un-
der the leadership of Keokuk ceded all the lands east of the Missis-
sippi river to the United States. Black Hawk had nothing to do with
this treaty.

The seventh article of the treaty of 1804 provided that the In-
dians should remain around Rock river till the United States dis-
posed of the land. In 1826 or thereabouts the government surveyed
and sold quite a number of plots of land in and about the village of
Saukenuk, and the whites began to come in. In the fall of 1830 the In-
dians went on their annual hunt and while absent during the winter,
heard that the whites were occupying their village. This village con-
tained about five hundred cabins of very good construction capable
of sheltering six thousand people.

In the early spring of 1831 when they returned to that locality,
they found the whites in their village. In the meantime Keokuk was
doing what he could to induce his people to remain on the west side
of the Mississippi and to find homes there. And more than likely at


the same time Black Hawk was doing his best to persuade them to
return to their old village. At least this was what was done. Black
Hawk, with a great number of women, children and three hundred
warriors returned and occupied their village of Saukenuk. Of course
this meant trouble, for the whites were also occupying the same vil-
lage. Seeing that they could not drive off the Indians the whites
agreed to occupy the village jointly and to share the tillable land,
about 700 acres. The whites, however, took the best land and in this
way showed their contempt for the Indians. All sorts of stories be-
gan now to reach the governor at Vandalia, and also the United
States military commandant, General Gaines, at St. Louis. The In-
dian agent at Fort Armstrong also was aware of the coming conflict.
An appeal was sent to Governor Reynolds stating that the whites
had suffered many indignities from the Indians and had sustained
losses of cattle, horses, and crops. Probably the facts are, the In-
dians were the greater sufferers. There is good evidence, says
Brown's history, that the Indians were made drunk and then cheated
badly in trades; their women were abused and one young man beaten
so that he died from the effects.


Governor Reynolds acted with some haste probably and ordered
out seven hundred mounted militiamen. He communicated this fact
to General Gaines and suggested that he, Gaines, might by the exer-
cise of some of his authority or diplomacy, induce Black Hawk to
move west of the river. General Gaines thought the regulars, some
eight hundred or nine hundred strong would be able to handle the
difficulty, but the militiamen were already on their way to Beards-
town, the place of rendezvous. General Gaines accompanied by six
hundred regulars moved up the Mississippi and on the 7th of June
a council was held between General Gaines and Governor Reynolds
on the side of the whites, and Black Hawk, Keokuk, and twenty-six
chiefs and headmen upon the part of the Indians. A treaty was
agreed upon.

The treaty contained six articles, and provided: 1. That Black
Hawk and his disgruntled people would submit to Keokuk and his
friendly Indians and re-cross the river to the west side. 2. That
all lands west of the river claimed by the Sacs and Foxes were guar-
anteed to them. 3. The Indians agreed not to hold communication
with the British. 4. The United States have right to build forts
and roads in the Indians' territory. 5. The friendly chiefs agree
to preserve order in their tribes. 6. Permanent peace was declared.
The Indians then peaceably withdrew to the west side of the river.
The Indians were in such distressed condition that General Gaines
and Governor Reynolds issued large quantities of food to them. The
army was disbanded and returned home.

Governor Reynolds himself assumed the active command of the
militia. The account he gives of the organization and movement of
his troops would make one think of the campaigns of a great general.
Every man furnished his own horse and carried his own gun, if he
had one, but hundreds appeared at Beardstown without guns. The
government had sent guns to Beardstown but not enough, so Rey-



nolds bought some brass-barreled muskets of a merchant in Beards-
town. Joseph Duncan, congressman, was made brigadier general,
and Samuel Whiteside major to have charge of the spy battalion.
Most of the other officers were elected by the troops. The whole
army was divided into two regiments and the spy battalion. Col.
James D. Henry commanded one and Col. Daniel Leib the other regi-
ment. The army broke camp near Rushville June 15, and in four
days reached the Mississippi, eight miles below Saukenuk. Here Gen-
eral Gaines received the army into the United States service. On
account of a delay the Indians who occupied the village departed up
the Rock river. The regulars and militia followed at a safe distance.


Black Hawk eventually crossed over on the west side of the Mis-
sissippi and the treaty above referred to was negotiated.

The British Band, as Black Hawk and his followers were called,
remained on the west side till the spring of 1832. In the early spring
of this year, April 6, Black Hawk and his braves crossed to the east
side of the Mississippi in spite of the remonstrances of General Atkin-
son, who was stationed at Fort Armstrong with a few regulars. He
passed the old village of Saukenuk and proceeded up the Rock river
as if to join the Winnebagoes, where he said he wished to raise a crop
in conjunction with that tribe. General Atkinson notified Black Hawk
that he was violating his treaty and ordered him to return but he did
not heed the order.

This movement on the part of Black Hawk created consternation
among the whites all along the northern frontier from the Mississippi
to Chicago and the people hastily left their homes and took refuge
farther south where the population was numerous, and means of de-


fense ample. Many fled to Fort Dearborn and remained there till the
war closed.

Governor Reynolds having been notified of Black Hawk's move-
ments and knowing that an indiscretion on the part of either the Indians
or the whites would lead to serious consequences, decided to take pre-
cautionary measures and avert so unfortunate a result. He also re-
ceived a request from General Atkinson for troops and on the sixteenth
of April the governor issued a call for a large body of troops. They
were to assemble at Beardstown on the twenty-second of April. As in
the campaign of the previous year, Governor Reynolds took the field
himself. As he passed through the country to Beardstown he held con-
ferences and otherwise took the people into his confidence. At Jack-
sonville the governor had word from Dixon, in the heart of the Pottowa-
tomie country, that war was inevitable. On arriving at Beardstown,
the governor moved his army to a point north of Rushville. Samuel
Whiteside was made brigadier general in command of four regiments,
and two irregular battalions. At Beardstown he received more news
of the hostile attitude of Black Hawk and his band.

When the army was thoroughly organized the governor ordered a
forward movement on the twenty-seventh of April. The next stop was
to be the Yellow Banks, which were in Mercer county, on the Missis-
sippi river. Most of the troops were on horseback but about two
hundred men were marching as infantry. The roads were very bad
and streams had to be forded. Reynolds says that most of the men,
two thousand in number, were backwoodsmen and were used to such
hardships. When the army reached the Mississippi the provisions had
not yet arrived from St. Louis and after several days of anxiety three
trusty men, Huitt, Tunnell, and Ames, of Greene county, were asked
if they could reach Rock Island, fifty miles away, that day. They
undertook the task and delivered to General Atkinson the message from
the governor on the self-same day. From the Yellow Banks the troops
marched to Fort Armstrong where they were received into the U. S.
service. General Atkinson now assumed command and the whole
body of five hundred regulars and two thousand militia marched up
Rock river toward Dixon, where it was understood Black Hawk and
his band were. Spies were sent abroad who reported presently the
presence of Black Hawk above Dixon. Dixon was reached on the
twelfth of May. Here other information came to the effect that Black
Hawk's band was broken up and the men were hunting food. Here
also the governor found Major Stillman and Major Bailey, who had
been ordered to guard the frontier. These two majors and their bat-
talions were anxious to reconnoitre the frontier and if possible locate
the hostile band. Governor Reynolds therefore gave them orders to
proceed to "Old Man's creek," where, it was reported, there were
hostile Indians.

On the thirteenth of May, Major Stillman marched out of Dixon
with two hundred and seventy-five men and with all necessary equip-
ment for a contest with the hostile Indians. He went some twenty-five
miles to the northeast. Here, on the evening of the fourteenth, he
crossed a small stream and began preparations for the night's camp.
Presently three unarmed Indians came into camp bearing a flag of
truce. And in a few moments five more, armed, appeared upon a hill
some distance away. Many of the soldiers hurriedly remounted their


horses and gave chase. The Indians gave them a roundabout chase and
finally led them in what appeared to be an ambush of fifty or seventy-
five of Black Hawk's warriors. As soon as the soldiers saw their
predicament, they started on a retreat and passing through the camp
transmitted to those there the contagion of flight. All was now con-
fusion, one of their number having already been killed (James Doty).
They floundered across the creek and in their retreat Captain Adams
and some fifteen men concluded to make a stand a half mile from their
camp. It was dark and the fight was a desperate hand to hand struggle.
At least nine of Adams' men were slain, including the captain. The
retreat continued. The earliest ones to reach Dixon came about mid-
night, and they continued to arrive till morning. The dreadful news
which these men brought from the scene of carnage filled the army with

Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) → online text (page 25 of 65)