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not a follower. In his great speech at Elgin, July 4, 1865, he discussed th
question of universal suffrage with the courage of his convictions, which gave
proof that he was a far-sighted and sure-footed statesman.

From the day of the repeal of the Missouri compromise, the people of this
country were aroused as never before; political feeling became intense
From 1854 to 1860 each biennial election seemed to add fuel to the fire.

War Governor of Illinois.


With the election of Pierce, in 1852, came the dissolution of the Whig party. V
The Republican party sprang into existence as an anti- slavery party, to con-
test with the Democratic party for control of the government.

The Republican party was formed largely from the members of the old \/
Whig party, with the addition of a portion of the Democratic party of what
was termed fr ee-soil ers.

In the election of 1860, there were four national tickets in the field, Lincoln
heading the Republican, Douglas the Northern Democrat, Breckenridge the
Pro-slavery Democrat, and Bell the Constitutional Union.

The election of Mr. Lincoln aroused the people of the southern states,
more especially the cotton states, into a state of excitement, unrest, of posi-
tive frenzy. Jefferson Davis the recognized Democratic leader of the
Thirty-sixth Congress, in December prior to the inauguration of Lincoln,
boldly proclaimed from his seat in the Senate, the right of secession and
denying that of coercion, and urged the withdrawal of the garrison from Fort
Sumter. ,,•

Mississippi seceeded on the 9th day of January, and on the 24th of January,
having been oflSicially informed of the fact, Mr. Davis withdrew from the
Senate and went home.

On the 9th of February he was elected President of the Confederate States.
The winter of 1860-61 was a period of intense excitement and alarm, in social,
business and financial circles, throughout the whole country, as well as in the
legislatures of all the states and in the national Congress. The peace con-
gress was held in Washington, composed of the most able and distinguished
men of most of the states, appointed by the governors of their respective states,
to try to find some way of compromise, that would allay the storm and har-
monize conflicting interests. All efforts proved futile, answering no pacific
end. The winter passed on, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4th
and assumed control of the government. We know that his message was full
of kindness and affection, peace and conciliation, yet of firmness and resolu-
tion to protect and preserve the Union and constitution.

The attack of April 12th on Fort Sumter precipitated the war. The entire
north was at once ablaze with a fire of patriotism and loyalty. The President
issued his proclamation calling for volunteers. Governor Yates convened the
Legislature in extra session. War was upon us, the military system of the
country had fallen into disuse and we were illy prepared for the coming

Governor Yates was by mental temperment, active, earnest, alert; he had
by association while in Congress come in close contact and communication
with the southern political leaders, he fully recognized the force and violence
of the impending war; as much as any one man in the free states, he felt that
the war for supremacy was to be fiercely and persistently fought out with all
opposing forces which could be rallied by the people of the north and south;
yet he was full of faith that the right would win, and that the Union and the
Constitution would finally triumph.

The bankers of Springfield placed at the disposal of the Governor $100,000,
to defray the temporary expenses of the military forces until the extra session
of the legislature should make ample provision for the care and support of
the soldiers.

The Governor felt the military importance of taking possession of Cairo,
located at the extreme southern end of the State and commanding the trade
and commerce of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. After a consultation with
his associate Slate olfioers, he dispatched John W. Bunn, as his confidential
a»ent, to make arrangements with the authorities of the Central railroad to
at once transport the military forces of Chicago and the field batteries to
Cairo, there to hold and fortify that place. His directions were promptly
carried out by General Swift, largely aided by the able and active cooperation
of Jos. D. Webster, who had served in the Mexican war, and afterwards became
chief of staff to General Grant.

— lOH


On the 23d of April, he delivered his message to the Senate and House of
Representatives. It was a concise message, speaking of the hotly contested
presidential election, of the propositions of a highly conciliatory character
adopted by a majority of the states represented in the peace conference held
in February in Washington City, of the forbearing and pacific policy of the
Federal government, of the contempt shown by the seceeded states at all
efforts for a peaceful settlement.

He recognized civil war as one of the greatest calamities that could befall a
free people, in his own words he declared: " A government which is the hope
of the world — promising more happiness to us and our children, and the
millions that are to come after us, and to the struggling free in every land,
than any government ever invented by man, must not and shall not be

"In the firm belief that we are in the hands of a Supreme ruling power,
whose will is wisdom, let us manfully maintain our rights and our Union and
constitution to the last extremity."

As clearly as any patriot and statesman in the whole country, he believed
and acted on the conviction, that the most direct road to peace was the most
stupendous preparation for war.

On the 15th of April the President called on Illinois for six regiments of
infantry. By the 30th, Yates had these regiments organized and mustered
into the service of the United States. The Legislature at the special session
authorized the raising of ten additional regiments. Before the close of the
year, our Governor organized 50 regiments of infantry, ten regiments of
■cavalry, and one regiment of artillery.

Richard Yates, like Andrew Jackson, possessed high administrative ability,
a wonderful intuitive judgment or knowledge of men, in selection of agents
to perform special duties. In proof of which statement. I would name the ap-
pointment of U. S. Grant to command the turbulent Twenty-first regiment,
the appointment of Allen C. Fuller as Adjutant General of the State, of
Ex Governor Wood as quarter-master general, and John Williams as com-
missary general, all of whom rendered invaluable aid to the State, by the
efficient discharge or their duties.

Richard Yates was ceaseless during all the four years of the war in the dis-
charge of the manifold functions of his high office. Whenever a great battle
was fought in the west, he would charter boats and go with nurses, surgeons
and supplies for the comfort and support of the sick and wounded on the
field and in the military hospitals; his presence was sunlight to the stricken

He created the sanitary commission and placed in charge as directors Col.
-John Williams, Wm. Butler, John Reynolds, Robert Irwin and E. B. Hawley.
The liberality of the people furnished the board with ample means to care
for and relieve the sick and wounded soldiers.

We must remember, that all the citizens of Illinois were not in accord with
the State and national administration in the prosecution of the war. This
cannot be expected in a civil war. The population of our State was drawn
from various localities — each holding onto its prejudices of its early education
and environment. With such a population the executive must have in addi-
tion to courage, large common sense. To fully realize the sublime faith and
confidence of our executive in the ultimate supremacy of our army and the
complete overthrow of the rebellion, one should carefully study his message
of Jan. 5, 1863, which was prior to the capture of Vicksburg and the battle of
Gettysburg; in the darkest days of the war, when gloom overshadowed many
loyal people, our Governor never quailed. In this message of 1863 he said:
*' I have never had my faith in the perpetual union of the states to falter. I
believe this infernal rebellion can be, ought to be and will be subdued. If our
brave boys shall fall in the field, we must bury the dead, take care of and
bring home the sick and wounded, and send fresh battalions to fill up the
broken ranks."

This was the faith and resolution of our heroic chief from the day Sumter
was fired on, until Richmond fell with the surrender of Lee.


He moved on undismayed during the dark days of 1862; perils and emer-
gencies seemed only to stimulate to renewed efforts and to season and
strengthen him for the final outcome. He had in all his public life, adhered
to his principles in sunshine or storm, he never trimmed his sails to catch a
passing breeze, or quailed before a doubtful contest.

With the coming of 1863, military affairs became more favorable, tending
to the suppression of the rebellion. Vicksburg surrendered in July and late
in the fall came the battle of Chattanooga, the glories of Lookout mountain and
Missionary ridge. Sickness and loss on the battle field depleted our armies.
The war department continued to call upon the State for more soldiers.
Governor Yates promptly complied with all requisitions.

In 1864 General Grant was called to Washington, to command all the mili-
tary forces. Sherman's campaign in Georgia, the siege and capture of
Atlanta followed and then the great march through the heart of the Confed-
eracy. These victories were not without cost. Yates' labors were not
lightened; to the close of the war, they were incessant in supplying fresh re-
cruits to till the decimated ranks, and through aid of his sanitary board to do
all that could be done to render more comfortable our sick and wounded
soldiers. In person he visited the battlefields and hospitals, by his sympathy
and presence he cheered the spirits of many a weary volunteer. Through all
these years, it is not surprising that he has been called the soldiers' friend.

At the close of his term of of&ce, he was elected a senator of the United
States and doubtless one of the happiest incidents of his life, was a reception
tendered him irrespective of party, by the citizens of his home town. The
address of welcome was pronounced by President Sturtevant of Illinois
College, the early tutor of Yates and his lifelong friend.

Governor Yates had the instincts of a soldier, his only regret that he was
Governor, was that he lost the opportunity of Oglesby and Palmer of leading
a regiment into the field. What his fortune might have been, had his ability
been tested in active military lines, it is now idle to discuss; but it has often
occurred to me, that had opportunity come to him as it came to John A.
Logan at the battle of Peach tree, that he would have taken rank with that
great volunteer soldier.

Governor Yates won distinction as a lawyer, orator, patriot and statesman.
It would be going too far, to assert that of all the public men of Illinois, he
was the most eloouent speaker, for that place, I believe, belongs to the gifted,
impulsive, brilliant Col. E. D. Baker, who fell at Ball's bluff. But I venture
to think and say, that he belongs to that group of orators, in which are
classed Emery Storrs, Owen Lovejoy and Robert Ingersoll.

In conclusion, I will say that young Yates entered upon the active duties
of life, with the advantage of robust health, attractive bearing and charming
address; he was gifted with brilliant intellectual endowments; he soon be-
came the favorite son of a proud and imperial state, ere he reached the noon-
day of life, he had, "trod the ways of glory, and sounded all the depths and
shoals of honor."

From the bar he stepped to the legislature, thence to Congress, thence to
the executive chair of the commonwealth and then elected a member of the
Senate of the United States, the peer of the ablest of that body. He was one
of the few public men, who from the first, comprehended the extent and
magnitude of the crimson tempest which came.

1 remember that before General Grant had electrified the country with his
brilliant victories, and given assurance of the suppression of the rebellion,
that by the magic of his burning eloquence and fiery zeal and stirring ap-
peals, he rekindled the patriotism and revived the courage of the loyal pepple
discouraged by our repulse at Vicksburg, and our defeat at Chancellorville;
and he refilled the decimated ranks of the Union armies with tens of thous-
ands, who sprang to arms at the sound of his clarion voice. He was a part,
and a great part of the rise, progress and consummation of the great anti-
slavery movement of the country.

In after years, when the historian shall come to record the story of the
most stupendous revolution which ever convulsed a continent, he will recount
^he life, character and public services of Richard Yates.



(By John F. Steward.)

As a descent of family names suggests family traditions, so fragments of
history may be gleaned from the nomenclature of a region.

In Kendall county, 111., are two small streams that unite and, within a frac-
tion of a mile, enter the Fox river. The Little Rock creek and Big Rock
creek. Why so called, and when so named? Tradition is silent. They are
characterized by no rock larger than the boulders in their channels. The
early French explorers tell us that in no other equal area was game found so
abundant in both variety and quantity. Far greater than elsewhere in num-
bers, were the buffalo. So abundant were the herds that this beautiful river,
heading in and near Pistakee lake, bore the Algonquin name Pestekouy.
The lake speaks, as the river once did, the name of the erstwhile pride of our
western prairies. We read of the river in Tonti's memoirs. LaSalle and
members of his party explored it, and Charlevoix speaks of the richness of
the country bordering on it, and the abundance of game. So well did LaSalle
become acquainted with this region, that in 1683, upon his return to Canada,
he gave to Franquelin the information which enabled him to make his maps
of 1684 and 1687. On those maps, along the course of the Pestekouy, are
many villages, among which is the " great village of Maramek" (Maramech).
Several years of research have convinced me that O'Callaghan, Tailhan and all
others have been mistaken in placing the "great village of Maramek" on the
Kalamazoo river of Michigan; no town or evidences of great population are
there shown on any of the 20 early maps before me. The " Maramech" and
•' Maramec" of Franquelm's maps of 1684 and 1687 respectively, was the
center of the Miami population, and the metropolis; there were the Pean-
guichias, the Kilaticas, Pepikokias, Weas and others, (all Miamis) while he
shows no town or tribe on his Marame and Marameg, now the Kalamazoo.

In 1672 Allouez met the " Machkoutench, Marameg, Kikaboua Illinoue
Pepikoukia, Kilitika" and others, all later mapped in the so-called '* Colonie
du Sr. de LaSalle." He says (Relations of 1672), " they were deeper in the
woods [from the Mission of St. Francis Xavier], but he errs by saying they
were to the "westward" for they were, in fact, on the " Pestekouy River,"
which heads within a few leagues of the site of his Mission at Green Bay.
They were not the Maramegs north of Lake Superior, nor were they people
of the river " Maramac " of Michigan, for they were in the very midst of the
tribes he mentions, where LaSalle found them. They were of the " great
village of Maramek," referred to in the reports of 1695, (N. Y. Col. Docts.
vol. 9, p. 621-624) where we read, "Sieur Perrot presented a robe on the part
of the Pepicoquis, who also are Miamis of Maramek."

When Perrot was sent by the Governor of New France to ally the western
tribes against the Iroquois, he visited the Miamis of Maramech. Among the
deputies from these tribes, who met in council with the French, were Mici-
tonga and Nanangousista, chiefs of the " great village of Maramek." That
it was probably a metropolis is evidenced by the fact that for more than two
miles along the river, from beautiful Sylvan spring to the great mounds of
Galena limestone, an acre in extent, that rise 35 feet above the water's level,
where frowns the *' old mill," are evidences of occupation. The plow has
turned the soil so many times that the potsherds, never too well burned, have
almost disappeared. The overflows have obliterated the mounds where 27
years ago, when began my discoveries, my spade laid bare the bones of an-
cient dwellers of Maramech. Along the river burnt stones have shown where
were the domestic and council fires.

'Neath the sod of the hill that slopes to the sun, lie the later occupants of
the great village. In the graves, trinkets of Eupropean origin have been
found, and in the valley the plow has aided the archaeologists for, many years,
and bushels of implements tell of long occupation. With time and change
the name of the village became modified and on the map of Coronelli (1688)




it is given as Maramea, and on that of Sautteri (1710) Maraux. When the
buffalo last grazed upon the five prairies that neighbor there is not definitely
known, nor when the river lost the name first given, and why. On French
maps a score of years later we find the stream well laid down, and the name
*' Riviere du Rocher" (River of the Rock). It is in facta river characterized
by a rock which is bathed by it, and which has material sufficient to build a
village. On maps published late in the Eighteenth century, we find no more
the French name but instead Fox river.

About 1640 among the Algonquin tribes, near Lake St. John, in Canada,
was one that is known in recent history, as the Foxes. As the shield of
Christian Great Britain bears the lion. Christian Russia has its bear, and the
seal of the United States of Christian civilization, the eagle, so, upon the
shields of this savage tribe, was found its totem, a fox. Hence they were
called Watagamies by the other tribes (that word being the Algonquin word
for Fox), Renards by the French, and, later, Foxes by the English. A turbu-
lent people they were, from start to finish of their history. So marked was
their belligerence, that they were made to flee to the west, with a nation
kindred by marriages, by language and by habits, the Sacs. In their west-
ward wanderings the Sacs ( Sauks) left the name to the great bay of Lake
Huron, Saukenong.

We hear of the Foxes but little until the time of the arrival of Father Allouez,
probably for the reason that Chouart and Radisson, Nicolet and other clan-
destine traders, dared not make records regarding the people theylmet. When
the legitimate traders came, the Jesuits followed, and the leisure and vain-
glory of the latter, permitted and prompted them to write volumes regarding
their great discoveries and accomplishments in the missionary field. They
told of the visits to the Renards, on Green Bay and along the Wisconsin
river, where were Hurons, Sacs and other tribes that had been driven west-
ward by the Iroquois. Belligerent though some were, they lived in compara-
tive harmony, the "one touch of nature" being that of defence against the
Iroquois. As early as 1664 a portion of the Foxes were known as the Mus-
quakees, that is, people of the red earth. Why this, we are not told; but
along the borders of Green Bay are bluffs known as the "Red Banks."
Earth works there are still visible. One of the traditions of the bay tells us
that these Foxes fortified themselves there and were there besieged: canoes
filled with warriors approached the shore, and upon the highlands the enemy
infested the fort. Days of hunger passed; at last a spirit appeared in the
distracted imagination of a young warrior, and bade him take courage.
During the profound sleep of the over-confident besiegers the Foxes escaped.
The Watagamies (the Foxes proper) and they became so closely associated
that no distinction has been made by other writers than LaPotherie. Perrot
was one of the first explorers to win the esteem of the western tribes, and the
Foxes, in time of trouble, pleaded with him for aid, as with a father. With
him to the council at Montreal in 1670 this nation sent deputies, where the
western tribes were urged to join the French against the Iroquois.

The Foxes, morethanany other tribe, vacillated between the French and the
English, in disposing of their peltries, which gave the French much trouble.
By the year 1700, French traders of Canada began to descend the Mississippi
and those of Louisiana to pass up the Illinois and Kankakee rivers, thus
reaching Lake Michigan by the way of a portage into the St. Joseph river
and from the Des Plaines to the lake, at Chicago, or took the Wisconsin
route. These portages were absolutely under the control of the Foxes, and,
like civilized nations of today, they required toll for the right to pass through
their territory. This angered the French to such an extent that their des-
truction was decided upon, for it was thought that in no other way could
communication between Louisiana and Canada be kept open. To this
end, it seems, when in 1712 various western tribes were asked by the com-
mandant at Detroit to settle near the fort, the first bloody step was taken.
The Foxes came, they claimed, by invitation. DuBuisson, the commandant,
sent runners to bring in various friendly tribes, and, without sufficient justi-
fication, the latter were permitted to make war on the little band of Foxes.
A siege of many days followed. The Foxes threw up earth works, but soon


found that all efforts must necessarily end in defeat; they asked to hold a
council, but all overtures were refused. Ou a stormy nij^ht they escaped and
reached a peninsula that thrust itself into Lake St. Clair; there they were
soon discovered and forced to surrender at discretion. Their captors in
revenge, and often in mere sport, shot them down.

In 1716 Des Lignerie, commandant at Mackinaw, moved against the Foxes
located on the Wisconsin river and, at the Buttes des Mortes, wrought whole-
sale slaughter. In 1728, he again moved against them, but they had received
warning and had fled. Their fields of corn were destroyed and their villages
burned. So far as this, my story has been told in part by the early writers,
who also inform us that in 1730, somewhere not far from "The Rock," the
last attempt to destroy this tribe was made. Where the final defeat took
place, heretofore has been unknown. Parkmau, in his "Half Century of
Confiict," says, "The accounts of the affair are obsure and not trustworthy,"
and Ferland in his "Histoire du Canada" says that it was near the Rock on
the Illinois river. The only reason that they have for saying that it was on
or near the Illinois river is that the official reports speak of "The Rock," and
refer to the tribe of "Illinois of the Rock." Where they met defeat is, in
fact, 30 miles from LaSalle's "Rock," a distance as naught in a country so

From my boyhood days I wandered over the beautiful island like hill,
whereon hangs my tale. Often I sat in the shade of the great trees upon the
south end of this hill, and looked over the valley of the river and the two
creeks bfitween which the hill so snugly lies. I often wondered why the so-
called "Mound Builders" who left heaps of earth along the high bluffs of the
river, had not chosen this place for burials. Again casting my eyes over the
surface, as I had done many times before, I noticed a semicircular ditch
which, with the southern brow of the hill, completed the circle, containing
something over two acres of land. Evidently this had been a palisaded
defence. Where one part of the ditch reached the brow of the hill, it passed
downward and I plainly saw that there had been a covered way to the little
creek which, at that time, bathed the foot of the hill, but which, by the hand
of man, has been given another course to turn the wheels of industry. The
river is a warm stream; the waters of the creek are spring-born, and hence
cool in summer. Along the river, that within my memory was so rich in fish
and game, ran a trail, and where it crossed the cool stream, I reasoned there
must have been a village.

At the margin of a newly plowed field, where a little gully had been cut by

Online LibraryIllinois State Historical Society. 1nPapers in Illinois history and transactions (Volume yr. 1902) → online text (page 24 of 40)