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Illinois were to be associated only through the migration of her citizens, patri-
otic feeling might also ebb through very distance. But Illinois is connected
much more vitally through the deeds of her few inhabitants who lived at the
time of the Revolution. When Washington was driving the British from
Boston, when Gates was surrounding Burgoyne at Saratoga, when Greene
was outwitting Cornwallis in the south. Illinois was represented by a few
scattered villages of French families, among whom were to be found not two
score men who could speak the English language.

Yet even in this country of the Illinois, as far west as the Mississippi river,
there were men ready to take up arms in aid of the rebelling colonists.
These were the French settlers at Kaskaskia and elsewhere, who had Deen
so ill-treated under British administration that when George Rogers Clark
and his men arrived they were glad to surrender to him without any resist-
ance. Afterward no less than 85 of these Illinois French enlisted in Clark's
company, and actually participated in the struggle for their newly adopted
country. Because they were accustomed to the region, they well sustained
the hardships which nature imposed upon Clark in his campaigns. Nature
became a stronger and more cruel foe in these adventures than the British or
the Indians.

Suffering great hardships in their marches through the wilderness, pene -
trating the tangled undergrowth, wading through icy water in the over-
flowed valleys, Clark and his men always exhibited the persistent nature of
the Virginians and the enthusiastic buoyancy of the French. These two
races were thus uniting in the heart of the continent for a common purpose,
just as they were cooperating at the court of France. We eulogize the old
world French for aiding us in our struggle for independence with money and
with armies. Rarely do we recall the aid given in the rigors of the winter
season by the French of Illinois. Only two years after the Declaration of In-
dependence was signed, and indeed in the same year in which the first treaty
was made between the French and the new republic, Clark and his French
volunteers succeeded in establishing our claims to this western country.
When we celebrate upon the Fourth day of July the public Declaration of
American Independence as proclaimed in the old state house at Philadelphia,
let us not forget that according to tradition on that selfsame day, two years
later, Clark captured Kaskaskia and thus gained the independence and es-
tablished the birthday of the Illinois country. Because these heroic acts were
performed in the wilderness with no opportunity for keeping records, little
remains to recall the actors of the drama save their names alone.

It is true that the genealogy of the French participants in the Clark expe-
dition has not been traced so as to connect Illinois with the Revolution as
closely as it deserves; it is also true that there was another enterprise con-
ducted against the enemy from the Illinois country which has been almost
entirely lost sight of in history. One preceded even the undertaking of Clark.
Au Irishman, Tom Brady, the unwritten hero of that early day, raised a
force of 16 men at Cahokia one year before Clark reached that country.
These he led against the English jrarrison at Fort St. Joseph, situated near
the present city of Niles, Mich. He captured and paroled the garrison of 21
British regulars whom he found stationed there. He burned what provisions
he could not carry away and also set fire to the buildings and palisades.
Notwithstanding the success thus far, Brady and his men did not succeed in
returning to Cahokia. They were overtaken on their return march near
where now stands the city ofjChicago, by the regulars whom they had paroled
at the fort, supplemented by a force of Indian allies. They were all taken
prisoners and carried to Canada.



140

Another expedition was made the summer after Clark reached Illinois by a
Frenchman named Meillet, who resided near Peoria. With 300 Indians and
French he marched to St. Joseph where the few English troops surrendered
once more. This time the force of the invading French was so superior that
the British dared not follow them, and Meillet returned victorious to Peoria
bearing the supplies captured at the fort as spoils of war.

These undertakings in the Illinois country, although unnoted at the time,
served to connect our State directly with the Revolution. These little skir-
mishes were trifling in comparison with the great battles of the war in the
colonies along the coast. Clark and Brady, the English speaking leaders,
like their men were scouts and frontiersmen whose descendants would not be
prepared even if they were interested in tracing their genealogy. The
French volunteers on these two expeditions were in a kind of a transitory al-
legiance and no doubt many of their descendants followed the leaders who
had already gone across the Mississippi into the Spanish Louisiana. In the
cases of all the men thus engaged in securing the title to this western country
the same condition holds true so far as preserving their memory is concerned.
They belonged to the shifting frontier with its frequent removals, due largely
to the restless nature of the men themselves. Few records were kept be-
cause government was organized only after a sufficient number of inhabitants
warranted it. It is also a sad fact that the incoming and conquering Ameri-
can had too little regard for the preservation of the old French records.
Only too frequently have they been gotten rid of by being made into bonfires
when the new records had accumulated sufficiently to cause a demand for
more space.

Owing to these conditions, it is doubtful whether any decendants of these
brave and hardy men, either Virginians or French, now have membership in
an organization in which they are entitled to a high station. Their places
would be as eminent in the roll as those whose ancestors formed part of the
well organized army of the east, supplied by the general government and
under command of the best officers.

Perhaps it may yet become a part of the work of the historical societies of
these states of the Mississippi valley to collect and inscribe for perpetual re-
membrance the names of those who actually represented this section in the
Revolutionary war. It will be a brief list but it will be an honorable one.
No doubt in this way for the first time many of the decendants of these
men would become aware of the distinguished ancestry which constitute their
unknown patrimony; an ancestry which brings to them not coats of arms
and heraldic devices but glorious deeds and patriotic sacrifices.

In the brief time afforded since the assignment to me of this subject I
have endeavored to make some search of the records with this purpose in
view. The name of George Rogers Clark appears several times in the rec-
ords of the ancestry of the Daughters of the American Revolution but always
in connection with the decendants of a brother. In the early period of the
organization, it was permitted to count collaterals in this way. Clark had
three brothers who distinguished themselves in the Revolution but so far as I
am able to ascertain he was the only one of the family who ever saw service
west of the Alleghanies. This scout and frontiersman never married. A
family tradition is preserved which gives a romantic tinge to this fact. Clark
was facinated, it is said, by the beauty of a daughter of the Spanish governor
at St. Louis whom he met when at one time he was heading a force to re-
lieve that post from an attack made by hostile Indians. But observing what
he considered a lack of courage in the governor, he ceased his attentions to
the daughter, saying to his friends: "twill not be the father to a race of
cowards." His free and wild life as a scout and soldier was not a good train-
ing for even the light bonds of matrimony. Yet a companion might have
been a blessing to him when in his last years he lived alone on the island in
the river opposite Louisville, Kentucky, where he had raised the corn for his
expedition and had drilled his men preparatory to starting westward. He
was eventually dependent on his sister for a home. Into this humble dwell-
ing near Louisville came a delegation of members of the state legislature of
Virginia to present to the neglected hero a magnificent sword in token of his



141

Revolutionary services. He received them in iiis poverty and heard their
eulogies in silence. Then he exclaimed: "When Virginia needed a sword,
I gave one. She sends me now a toy. I want bread." So saying he thrust
the sword into the earth and broke it off with his crutch.

It is said that not half a dozen people in the United States know where
Clark is buried. He lies in Cave Hill cemetery, in the city of Louisville. It
is to be hoped that siome or all of the patriotic societies may find it a task of
pleasure as well as a duty to remedy this neglect.

But what of Clark's officers and men? Have their memories been pre-
served by their descendents and their names entered on the rolls of honor of
the patriotic societies? On Clark's muster rolls there are the names of 35
officers. Of these, two ranked as majors, 20 as captains, eight as lieuten-
ants, two as ensigns and one as cornet. Six of these officers were in the or-
iginal command of 153 men which Clark first led against Kaskaskia. The re-
mainder joined the command at later times. They embraced 85 recruits, who
were, from their names, undoubtedly French; but among them there was not
one appointed to an office. The reasons for choosing English-speaking rather
than French-speaking officers is obvious.

The names of these 35 officers under Clark should stand next to that of
their intrepid leader. Their descendants may easily share honors with the
descendents of those who commanded under Arnold on his unfortunate expe-
dition against Quebec. Their posterity may claim equal honors with the de-
scendents of the soldiers who fought at Bunker Hill, who suffered the hard-
ships of Valley Forge, or who kept despairing step with the great commander
on his retreats in the darkest days of the war. Gladly would the Daughters
oi the American Revolution welcome to its ranks the" children of these offi-
cers under Clark, giving them the prestige due to their inheritance. But, as
has been said, the frontier surroundings of these men were too transitory for
the preservation of complete records. In attempting to ascertain whether
any members now enrolled in the D. A. R. trace their ancestry to these offi-
cers, I have searched over 11,000 names of ancestors in the official lineage
books. In this vast collection of names, J could find but two members who,
with any degree of probability, could be said to have traced their lines back
to the officers of the Clark expedition.

One of the two cases was that of Ensign Lawrence Slaughter, through
■whom Mrs. Florence Barker Wilkes, born in the state of Alabama, derives
her membership. She bases her rights on the records of the land office,
which show that one Lawrence Slaughter, an officer in the Virginia line, re-
ceived a warrant for public land due to his military service. Since the name,
as a whole is not a common one, the chances are that the two Slaughters are
identical, and that here is one clear case of an Illinois ancestor in the Daugh-
ters of the American Revolution.

The other possible case is that of Mrs. Annie Prewitt Emmal, born in Ken-
tucky. Her great-great-grandfather was James Montgomery, a lieutenant,
who received a grant of public land for services in a state regiment of Vir-
ginia. The probabilities are that this is the Lieut. James Montgomery who
joined the Clark forces after the occupation of Kaskaskia but in time for the
expedition against Vincennes.

Verification of these two cases might have been made if time had not been
lacking to ascertain the present address of these two members and to com-
municate with them. It might be added that this search for descendants of
the Illinois soldiers could not be carried to any decree of completeness be-
cause the lineage books of the Daughters of the American Revolution are far
from being up to date. The membership has increased so rapidly tbat it is
impossible to print the volumes, each containing the records of 1,000 mem-
bers, as promptly as could be desired. It has been customary to issue but
one volume each year and thus the arrears have grown.

On Clark's muster rolls, as has been said, were 85 French names of privates,
undoubtedly recruited from the Illinois French They embrace such well
known French names as Andree, Antier, Pierre Blancher, Clairmount, Louis
Donrichelle, Laviolette, Baptiste Parisienne, Viliers and Villard. It would



142

be a task of no little magnitude to search, through the lineage books of the
Daughters of the American Revolution for the purpose of ascertaining
whether any members traced their ancestry to these names. But such a cur-
sory examination as I have been able to make shows no instance of this kind.
It is no doubt true that the Anglicizing of the French names by the incom-
ing of the English speech has tended to conceal the identity of the original
bearers of the name as well as to make more difficult the tracing of their
families.

It remains to be suggested what opportunities are presented for the further
prosecution of this search. Volume I of the public lands in the American state
papers contains the names of many French settlers possessing valid land
claims in the lUinois country. After the land conquered by Clark had been
organized into public doraain of the United States by creating over it the gov-
ernment of the Northwestern Territory, the question of the private ownership
of portions of the land naturally arose. The United States government under-
took to satisfy all the grants made by the French government and to give each
head of a French family residing in the region at the close of the Revolution-
ary war a tract of 400 acres of land. In 1790 the secretary of the Northwest
Territory presented to the president of the United States a list of 120 names
representing heads of families at Vincennes, Ind. They are all undoubtedly
French names including such as Andrez, Boyer, Charpentier. (Carpenter),
Dubois, Gilbert, Lacroix, Perron, or Perrin, and Langlois, or Langley. Yet
one searches in vain for a name which was borne by a soldier under George
Rogers Clark. To this list the secretary adds the names of 24 widows at Vin-
cennes, but not one bears a name to be found in Clark's muster roll. If it
could be proved in this way that some of Clark's French recruits were
granted land at or near Vincennes, one important link would be found in the
chain of Illinois Revolutionary ancestry. Their decendants could undoubt-
edly be traced by the subsequent transfers of the land as entered in the
official records of the different counties.

Vincennes was such a small and transitory trading post, and was really the
last place reached by Clark, that one need not be surprised if few of his re-
cruits came from that point. On the other hand, Kaskaskia and Cahokia
were reached much earlier, and were much larger settlements. They must,
therefore, have furnished the larger share of recruits. Suppose the same test
be made of comparing the heads of families in these settlements with the
French recruits of Clark. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to find
such lists for any place except Vincennes. By the time the government was
ready to grant the lands about the Mississippi towns to legitimate claimants,
the business of the land office had so increased, and was so much better sys-
tematized, that no lists of names were submitted to the headquarters of the
government. Only the simple facts pertaining to the adjustment of the
French land claims are to be found in the government records.

Evidently the only means left would be the examination of such of the early
grant? and transfers of land as are preserved in the records of the counties
in southern Illinois. Here might be traced the descendants of those French
who cast aside their new allegiance to the English sovereign to fight against
him on the side of his rebellious colonists. Yet it would be a task too great
for an individual, and likely to be accomplished only through some concerted
action by an organized body.

The great State of Illinois is proud of the ties which doubly bind her to the
Revolutionary past. The one is due, as it has been the endeavor of this paper
to show, to her resources and possibilities which have attracted an emigration
from the eastern states. The other is the result of her being the stage on
which was enacted one of the minor, yet important, dramas of the Revolu-
tion. But proud as she is at heart, she has not made as strong an outward
manifestation as is demanded of her. The task remains of rendering more
than a name the men who represented Illinois in the Revolution; of tracing
their posterity, and of proving their descendents eligible to the patriotic so-
cieties having this object in view. Thus the work of the historical and patri-
otic societies becomes co-operative. The one naturally supplements and does



143

honor to the other. With every grenealogy traced, local history is recorded.
With every name mentioned in connection with a local historical event, the
record of the patriotic society is made more complete.

One further task I cannot refrain from mentioning although the subject
does not properly lie within the scope of this paper. A year or two ago,
thanks to the investigation of Mr. Lewis M. Gross, superintendent of the
DeKalb county schools, there was discovered near Lily lake, Kane county,
III., the grave of Abrier Powers, a soldier of the American revolution. He
had enlisted in Col. John Stark's regiment in 1776 and had served honorably
throughout the war. The stone which once marked his grave still showed on
the part yet remaining the s^rs and shield and the date 1776. Is it consist-
ent with the rank and wealth of the great State of Illinois, with the patriotic
feeling that has characterized her in a thousand instances, to allow this last
resting place of a revolutionary soldier to remain neglected and without proper
mark? The case is no doubt repeated many times within the State. What
line of activity could more fitly engage the attention of the Illinois State
Historical Society as well as the patriotic societies of the State than the in-
auguration of a joint commission for the purpose of properly marking the
last resting places of these soldiers of the Revolution. Above their graves
should be erected enduring monuments upon which later generations might
read in imperishable inscriptions the valiant deeds of the heroes who lie
sleeping in death beneath.



RICHARD YATES' SERVICES TO ILLINOIS AS WAR

GOVERNOR.

(By Dr. Wm. Jayne.)

Henry Yates was the son of Abner Yates, and the grandson of Dr. Micheal
Yates, a native of England, who emigrated to America prior to the revolution
and settled in Caroline county, Va. He there married Martha Marshall, a
sister of John Marshall, who in after years, became the eminent chief justice
of the United States.

Henry Yates was the father of 12 children, of whom Richard, the subject
of this paper, was the second; his name for more than a generation has been
a household word; he is popularly spoken of as the " War Governor " and
the soldier's friend.

He came when a boy with the family, when his father moved from Kentucky
to Illinois, and settled at Springfield in Sangamon county, in the spring of
1831.

Here he made the acquaintance and had in his boyhood for companions the
Enos. Matheny, Herndon, Saunders and Slater brothers. A remarkable group
of boys. From that group that attended school in the log school house, situ-
ated at the corner of Second and Adams streets, and bathed in the ponds of
that sparcely populated village, there were chosen in after years three gov-
ernors and three senators of the United States. In the years to come,
Richard Yates had no more firm and steadfast friends, than the associates of
his early days, which fact is in evidence of his charming personality, from
boyhood onward, through his eventful and brilliant life.

His father was a gentleman of large common sense and excellent business
capacity, appreciating the value and advantage of a complete education, sent
his son Richard to Jacksonville to become a student in Illinois College.

Jacksonville became his permanent home. After graduating frona college,
he commenced the study of law and there entered upon the practice of his
chosen profession.

Fortune favored him, here he spent most of the years of his life and all the
days of his manhood.

Here he lived, loved and was married to one of the lovliest of women, Miss
Catherine Geers.



144

Here he raised to adult life two sons and a daughter; here he lies buried,
remembered by all the citizens of this beautiful city as one who had received
many honors from and in return had conferred honor upon this educational
center.

In the newly settled states, there seems to be an affinity between law and
politics. Young Yates believed in the measures and principles of Clay and
Webster. Soon he was recognized as an ardent Whig. He became a candi-
date and was elected a member of the Legislature. He was three times chosen
a member, and though young in years, he soon became a prominent and in-
fluential representative. Naturally ambitious, he soon thought of higher
honors — a seat in Congress of the United States.

The capital district was the only Whig district in the State, and in the ten
years prior to 1850 had been represented by a group of exceptionally able
men, certainly the equal of any district in the whole country. In 1840, Major
John T. Stuart was elected for a second term. Colonel John J. Hardin was
elected in 1842, Colonel Edward D. Baker in 1844, Abraham Lincoln in 1846,
and Major Thomas H. Harris in 1848. All of whom served as officers in
war — Stuart and Lincoln in the Blackhawk war, Hardin, Baker and Harris in
the Mexican war. Such was the character of men whom young Yates had to
meet in competition in the courts of law and in the public forum of politics.
Of Colonel Baker, Mr. Blaine says in his book entitled "Twenty Years in Con-
gress": "Probably no man in the history of the Senate ever left so brilliant
a reputation from so short a service." Before this intelligent audience of
this society, it is needless to state who Stuart, Lincoln, Hardin and Harris
were.

Yet such was the charming popularity of Richard Yates that, cominencing
at the age of 32, he was three times placed in nomination for a seat in Con-
gress from the capital district, twice elected and once defeated, in 1854, by
Major Harris, whom he had defeated in 1850. In 1852, Yates was elected
over John Calhoun, when in the capital district Pierce's majority for Presi-
dent was 1,100. Lincoln often said that Calhoun was the ablest Democrat in
the State.

His success in political life was largely due to his personality; he was en-
dowed with a manly carriage, fine presence, cordial manner and happy
speech.

The cardinal and salient trait of character of Yates was his love of justice
and right; this was inherent in his nature. He was by inheritance and edu-
cation full of kindness, generosity and courage. He loved peace and enjoyed
the sweetness and amenities of social and domestic life, and yet there was in
his temperament and ambition that which generates a fondness for the ex-
citement which is ever to be found in the discussion of political affairs; the
more the issues relate to the moral than to the material well being of man and
society, the more intense the excitement becomes. From the repeal of the
Missouri compromise, the great question at issue related to slavery in all its
phases.

Richard Yates was anti-slavery, not radical, as Garrison and Phillips, but
holding the views of Jefferson, Clay and Lincoln. Willing to abide by the
compromises of the Constitution and by the laws of the country, he was op-
posed to the extension of slavery over any more territory, confining it to the
states where it existed, hoping for its ultimate extinction.

He believed in the final triumph of right over wrong. He never feared ir
his seat in the Legislature, in Congress or in the public forum to proclaim his
principles. He believed that the spirit of liberty and the rights of man were
eternal, though at times cast down but not destroyed, overwhelmed but not
conquered. He was no laggard on any public qjaestion; he was a leader anc



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