J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

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moved to a spot about 25 miles north of Ottawa (later called Shabbona Grove),
where he and his band had their village and council house. There he lived until
1837, when he took his family, including two wives, children, grandchildren and
nephews, to the western land assigned by the government to Indians.

In 1810 he and the Sauganash were sent by Tecumseh on missions to incite In-
dians of neighboring tribes "to join in his great consolidated scheme of hostility
against the white men in order to check their further encroachments upon Indian
territory." After the death of Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames, Shabbona
lost all faith in the British, and acknowledged himself under the authority of the
United States. In 1832, when Black Hawk was urging the consolidation of the
tribes against the increasing number of white settlers, so eloquent were the appeals
of Shabbona and Billy Caldwell that only one Pottawattomie chief spoke in favor
of such a union. "In that council, Shabbona, in answer to that fervent appeal of
Black Hawk for union, and his figurative assertion that such an union would give
them an army of warriors equal in number to the trees of the forest, replied: 'Yes,
and the army of the pale faces you will have to encounter will be as numerous as
the leaves on those trees.' " Though unsuccessful in securing the aid of the Pot-
tawattomies, owing to the powerful influence among them of the Sauganash, Shab-
bona, Alexander Robinson and others, Black Hawk commenced hostilities, making
preparations for a foray upon the settlements. "This Shabbona foresaw; and here
the goodness of his heart, his humanity, and desire to avert the horrors of savage
warfare, are shown in the arduous and disinterested efforts made by him in be-
half of the few white settlers so soon to be exposed to savage fury. Immediately
he sent his son and nephew to notify the scattered settlers on the Fox river, and at
Holderman's Grove, of their real danger, urging them in all haste to leave their
homes, and seek the sheltering walls of the fort at Ottawa. The old chief him-
self undertook the task on his mission of mercy, to warn the settlers of Bureau and
Indian Creek of their great danger. His appearance on that 16th day of May,
riding at full speed, bareheaded, his pony heated and jaded by the long ride through
the scattered settlements, has been well described by other writers." A small num-
ber only took no heed of the warning, and a few hours afterward were murdered
by savages.

Shabbona, with other Indians and half-breeds, received land according to the.
terms of the treaty of 1830, and located his two sections to include his old home in
the Grove north of Ottawa. A few years later, while he and his family were absent
in Kansas, a survey of public lands lying north of the old Indian boundary line,
completely disregarded this claim, and Shabbona was told by the land commissioner
that he "had forfeited and lost his title to the lands by removing away from them ;"
soon afterward he was "notified by the Indian agent that by the terms of the late
treaty all members of his band, with the exception of those of his own family, must
remove to their new reservations in western Missouri." Unable to part with so
many of his old associates he went with them to the reservation. There he found


the hostility of Black Hawk revived against him and was driven to seek safety in
returning to Illinois after a year's time. He settled upon his land in the Grove and
lived there in peace until 1849, when he again decided to join his tribespeople on
a. new reservation they had occupied in Kansas. After three years he returned
with his family to the Grove, to find it occupied by strangers who drove him away
from the spot that had been his home for more than forty years. Some friends
bought for him a few acres of timber near Morris, Illinois, and there he lived until
his death in 1859. "He was buried in the county of Morris, and be it said to the
shame of the white men, no memorial stone, nothing but a piece of board stuck in
the ground, shows the spot where lie the remains of the best and truest Indian
friend which the early settlers of Illinois had in the day of their tribulation."

Mr. Gurdon S. Hubbard, whose good friend Shabbona was, said of that noble
Indian chief many years after his death: "From my first acquaintance with him,
which began in the fall of 1818, to his death, I was impressed with the nobleness
of his character. Physically, he was as fine a specimen of a man as I ever saw;
tall, well proportioned, strong and active, with a face expressing great strength of
mind and goodness of heart. Had he been favored with the advantages of educa-
tion, he might have commanded a high position among the men of his day. He was
remarkable for his integrity, of a generous and forgiving nature, always hospitable,
and until his return from the West, a strictly temperate man, not only himself ab-
staining from all intoxicating liquors, but influencing his people to do the same.
He was ever a friend to the white settlers, and should be held by them and their
descendants in grateful remembrance. He had an uncommonly retentive memory,
and a perfect knowledge of the western country. He could readily draw on the sand
or bed of ashes quite a correct map of the whole district from the lakes west to the
Missouri River, giving general courses of rivers, designating towns and places of
notoriety, even though he had never seen them. 10

The old settlers of Chicago used to see Shabbona often in Chicago, where he had
many friends. One of his favorite resorts in his later years was the old Northwest-
ern Railroad depot at the corner of Canal and Kinzie Streets. There he watched
the trains leaving and arriving, regarding with great satisfaction one of the engines
in particular which was named "Shabbona" in his honor. As one and another pas-
ser-by noticed him on the platform, he would point to the engine, then to himself
and say, with a nod of pleased complacency, "Engine Shabbona me."


John Kinzie Clark was the son of a Scotch trader, Alexander Clark, and Eliza-
beth McKenzie, who with her sister Margaret had been stolen from her home in
Virginia by the Shawnee Indians and brought up by them. 11 He was born in
June, 1792, near Fort Wayne, Indiana, and grew up among the Indians, whose char-
acter and language it was said he understood perfectly. He had a twin brother who
was an aid to Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames, and was there killed with him.
When his mother found her father, from whose house she had been stolen years

10 Gurdon S. Hubbard, p. 155.

11 Le Baron: "History of Lake County." p. 260.


before, she returned with him to Virginia, taking her boy with her. Soon afterward
she married Jonas Clybourn. In about 1816 Clark came to Chicago as a guide,
there becoming engaged with James Kinzie (his cousin) in trading with the In-
dians, later going to Milwaukee to trade. In the meantime his half-brother, Archi-
bald Clybourn, had come to Chicago, and the two young men determined to return
to Virginia to bring back with them the father and mother. In 1824 the whole fam-
ily arrived from the East in a lumber wagon.

Of Clark's first marriage to Madaline Mirandeau, a half-breed, little is told. In
1829 he was married to Permelia, daughter of Stephen J. Scott, who in 1826 had
settled in what is now Wilmette, 12 and later removed to Naperville.

During the Black Hawk War he was a soldier at Fort Dearborn, and afterwards
was a carrier of dispatches from Gen. Scott to Gen. Atkinson at the Four Lakes
(now Madison), Wisconsin. He settled at Xorthfield, on the North Branch, near
the present site of Glenview, and there lived until his death. The early settlers who
spoke of him in their recollections all attest his famous prowess as a hunter. Mr.
B. F. Hill, a pioneer who died in Wilmette in 1905, said, "There was a man by the
name of Clark, known as 'Indian Clark* because of his dark complexion, who lived
over west of the North Branch. He kept about a hundred ponies that used to run
over the prairie in summer, and in the timber in winter, and get their living the
best the}' could. He was a great hunter, and I recall seeing him on his hunting trips
with two ponies, one to ride and the other to pack his game on. Sometimes he re-
turned with as many as three deer, two slung across the game pony and the other
behind himself on the riding pony."


For the history of the Clybourn family, we shall stop to recall some incidents
that have been written. It will be remembered that John Kinzie rescued and took
from the Indians Margaret McKenzie, whom they had captured as a child in Vir-
ginia. By her he had three children. When at length she found her father, whom
she had not seen since she was stolen away, she went back to Virginia with him,
leaving John Kinzie, whom she never met again. There was a sister of Margaret,
named Elizabeth, who was captured at the same time by the Indians and brought
up among them. She was taken from them by a man named Clark, a Scotch trader
among the Indians, who was the father of her two children, John K. and Elizabeth.
This sister also went with her father to Virginia, severing her connection with Clark,
and so we find the two daughters with their children in Virginia. There Elizabeth
finally married Jonas Clybourn, and in August, 1802, their eldest son, Archibald,
was born. His half-brother, John K. Clark, returned to Chicago when he grew up,
Archibald following in 1823; the next year the two young men brought out here
the father and mother, and the brother Henley. Mrs. Clybourn recognized the set-
tlement as one she had often seen when, as a child, she had come there at various
times with the Indian who had adopted her, while he traded his furs.

Jonas Clybourn and his wife settled on the North Branch, and built a long
house that came to be known as the Clybourn Place, near the present station of

12 Evanston Historical Society: Folio Records.


Cly bourn Junction. They themselves called the place New Virginia, in memory of
their former home. There the father prepared to farm the bit of land about his
house. With his son he went into the butchering business, starting a slaughter
house near their residence, and supplying Fort Dearborn and the settlement with
meat. Archibald Clybourn went often to the southern portion of the state to buy
and bring back the cattle. Thus it was that he came to marry Mary Galloway,
whose father's home on the Illinois river was one of the young man's stopping
places 13 To his parents' house he brought his wife in 1829, and there they lived
for six years, when Archibald moved his family, now increased by three children,
to a small frame house he had built on Elston Road (now Elston Avenue), near
the present station of Clybourn Junction. In the next year, 1837, he erected on
the same location, adjoining the frame building, a brick house which faced toward
the south. It was most pretentious for those daj 7 s, having twenty rooms, large, col-
umned porch, and being built of brick, which was made near the house by Francis
C. Sherman, later the founder of the Sherman House, and many times elected as
mayor of the city. J 4

Archibald was the first constable of Chicago, appointed in 1825, when Chicago
was in Peoria County. "In June, 1829, the month of his marriage, he was author-
ized to keep a ferry in conjunction with Samuel Miller 'across the Chicago River,
at the lower forks, near Wolf Point, crossing the river below the Northeast branch,
and to land on either side of both branches, to suit the convenience of persons wish-
ing to cross.' .... In the latter part of the same year, December 8, 1829,
he was appointed one of the first trustees of the school section, Archibald Clybourn,
Samuel Miller and John B. Beaubien, comprising the board. He was made Jus-
tice of the Peace in 1831. Jonas Clybourn and his son Archibald were the early
butchers of Chicago. They furnished the garrison at Fort Dearborn, and some-
times extended their trade to Mackinaw. When the Black Hawk War, in 1832,
brought crowds of frightened settlers from the country to the shelter of the fort,
the Clybourns and John Noble and sons fed nearly the entire population until the
pioneers could return to their homes. The Clybourn family, with the rest of Chi-
cago, took refuge in the fort until the danger was past. Mr. Clybourn lived on
the old place until his death, August 23, 1872. He left, at that time, his widow,
still living in Chicago with her daughter, Mrs. Parks, and ten living children." 15


In 1826 James Galloway, after a preliminary survey of Chicago and its vicinity,
brought here from Sandusky, Ohio, his family, consisting of his wife, three little
daughters and a son. They came by the lake route and landed at Chicago after
encountering severe storms throughout the journey. Mr. Galloway had brought
with him a large supply of provisions for his family and goods for trading with
the Indians. Much of this was forfeited to the American Fur Company, who did
not welcome an opposition trader in the settlement, making it difficult for the new-
comer to secure his property when it was unloaded at Chicago. His first residence

ls Blanchard: "History of the Northwest and Chicago," p. 505.

14 Andreas, p. 103.

15 Andreas: I, 104.

Courtesy of Evanstrn Historical Society


Early settler of Chicago from whose
family Clybourn Junction has its name.

Watercolor by G. E. Petforcl


Home of Clybourn family, built iu 1837 near the present Clybourn Junction


in the settlement was in a log cabin at Hardscrabble, which was offered him for
the winter by the Indian chief, Alexander Robinson, who had become his good
friend. There he had as neighbors Joseph Laframboise, William H. Wallace, Mr.
Weicks and an Indian trader named Barney Lawton. 16 This little group of peo-
ple was about four miles from the fort, and quite truly in Indian country. Even
in the daytime the wolves often came to the doorstep ; and the frequent rumors of
the hostile approach of Indians were alarming to this family not accustomed to en-
counters with savages. One stormy, snowy night when Mr. Galloway was absent
on his claim on the Illinois River, wild whoops were heard outside the cabin and the
terrified mother bolted the door, gave to her eldest daughter Mary an ax and seized
one herself. The Indians pounded and danced and yelled as if intent on killing
every inmate of the house, and finally, unable to get in, they left the beleaguered
house to go to a neighboring cabin, where their noisy demands were granted. They
had returned from a long hunting trip, were hungry and cold, and expected shelter
from their friends in the cabin. This was their manner of expressing their request
and their surprise at not finding it granted.

In the early part of 1827 Mr. Galloway took his family to his claim at what
was then called the Grand Rapids of the Illinois, at the present site of Marseilles.
There the family continued to live until the death of Mr. Galloway in 1864, his
wife having died in 1830. Two years after the arrival there of the family, in June,
1829, the eldest daughter Mary was married to Archibald Clybourn, who had come
to Chicago in 1823, was engaged in the butchering business, and often had to go
as far south as Sangamon County to buy his cattle, thus passing by the home of
Mary Galloway.


Dr. Alexander Wolcott was Indian agent at Chicago from 1820 until his death
in 1830. He was a Yale graduate, and had come to Chicago from Connecticut. He
was appointed physician of Governor Cass' western expedition in 1820, one of the
party with Schoolcraft, Trowbridge and John H. Kinzie. Of the Chicago of Dr.
Wolcott's day, Schoolcraft tells us: "We found four or five families living here,
the principal of which were those of Mr. John Kinzie, Dr. A. Wolcott, J. B. Bobian
[Beaubien] and Mrs. J. Crafts, the latter living a short distance up the river." He
writes later of continuing their journey: "Dr. Wolcott, being the U. S. Agent for
this tribe [Pottawattomies], found himself at home here, and constitutes no fur-
ther a member of the expedition." There the exploring party left Dr. Wolcott,
"whose manners, judgment, and intelligence had commanded our respect during
the journey."

While his predecessor, Jouett, was Indian Agent, the latter had begun the
building of an agency house north of the river, on the southwest corner of the pres-
ent intersection of North State and North Water Streets. This was later finished
by Dr. Wolcott and occupied by him from 1820 to 1823, and again from 1828
until his death in 1830. 17 The building was called Cobweb Castle, perhaps owing
to its bachelor housekeeping. In 1823, he was married to Ellen Marion Kinzie,

111 The more dignified form of the name appears in a few early accounts: Bernadus H.

17 Andreas: I, 103.


daughter of John Kinzie. Earlier in the same year, when the troops were removed
from Fort Dearborn, Dr. Wolcott, having been put in charge of the post and its
property, moved into one of the officers' dwellings. 18 There he lived during the
vacancy of the fort until 1828, when he returned to his own house, where he died in
1830. In mourning the death of Dr. Wolcott, Mrs. Kinzie says: "That noble heart,
so full of warm and kindly affections, had ceased to beat, and sad and desolate,
indeed, were those who had so loved and honored him." 19


There were other well known residents of Chicago during the first years of the
growth of the little village. Charles Jouett was twice Indian agent there, from
1805 until 1811, and from 1815 until 1818, in this year moving to Kentucky. 20 Just
before the rebuilding of Fort Dearborn, John Dean, an army contractor, came to
Chicago and built a house near the present foot of Randolph Street, at the mouth
of the river. This was the house that was bought by J. B. Beaubien in 1817 for
$1,000 in those days a high price. In 1819 Dean was made U. S. Factor. 21 Da-
vid McKee came as a blacksmith in 1821 as a result of a treaty of General Cass
with the Indians, one condition of which was that there should be a blacksmith at
Chicago to work exclusively for the Indians. 22 He it was who in 1826 agreed to
carry the mail every month between Chicago and Fort Wayne. He married the
daughter of Stephen J. Scott, and lived in Aurora, Illinois, during his later life.
In 1817 John Crafts was established at Hardscrabble as the agent for the fur com-
pany of Conant and Mack. In 1822 this company was absorbed by the American
Fur Company, whose agent at Chicago Crafts became. In 1825 he was still the
agent, 23 and probably continued so until his death, which is believed to be in 1826. 24
After Crafts left Hardscrabble, William H. Wallace, who had come to Chicago be-
tween 1822 and 1826, set up his own trading post at Hardscrabble in partnership
with a man named Davis. In the same neighborhood in 1826 were Barney Lawton
(Bernadus H. Laughton) and his brother David, Indian traders, who soon after-
wards moved to what is now Riverside, on the Desplaines River. The wife of Ber-
nardus was the sister of Stephen Forbes' wife, who with her husband taught the first
regular school in Chicago. 25 The first lawyer who made his residence in Chicago
was Russell E. Heacock, who came in 1827, and took up his abode within the en-
closure of the fort, then unoccupied. He became a large investor in Chicago real
estate, confident of the city's mighty future. He was a man having ideas far in
advance of his time, and was independent and active in urging them. When the Il-
linois and Michigan Canal was in process of construction, and its completion was
threatened with failure for lack of funds, he proposed the plan of a shallow-cut
canal, which would mean a difference of about two million dollars in the cost. He

18 Andreas: I, 90.
i<>"Wau-Bun" (C.) : p. 84.

20 Andreas, I, 87.

21 Ibid., 85, 95.

22 Fergus, 7, 23.
28 Andreas, I, 95.

24 Fergus, 7.

25 Andreas, I, 107.


took his courageous stand, censured and ridiculed on all sides, gaining the sobriquet
"Shallow-cut Heacock." His plan, nevertheless, was finally adopted, and the canal
completed. At another time he was, characteristically, the only one in a body of
thirteen to vote against incorporating the Town of Chicago. Though the general
public was little in sympathy with his views, he was well liked for his integrity of
character, amiability, and his friendliness of manner.

In this account have been mentioned the most of those who, during that first
quarter of the century, were prominent in the varying population of the village, a
large part of which consisted of soldiers, fur traders, voyageurs and Indians.


Some of the visitors of the early day were men of no little national note. In
1816 Major Long passed through Chicago. He was then a second lieutenant of
engineers, 20 having in charge, then and for several subsequent years, government
explorations west of the Mississippi. At the time of his visit to Chicago, he was
on his way back from an expedition which was "to make a comprehensive 'military
and scientific exploration of the country between the Missouri river and the Rocky
Mountains." After making this tour he reported in a letter to the government the
unfitness for cultivation of the great American desert, consigning all this western
region to "buffaloes, wild goats and other wild game." He regarded it as an inval-
uable frontier and as a security against the schemes and incursions of other nations.
On his return eastward, he comes, he says, "through a savage and roadless wilder-
ness, via Fort Clark, and the valley of the Illinois River, to Lake Michigan."

In 1823 Major Long made a second visit to Chicago in charge of an exploring
expedition. In a history of that expedition, writqen later, he says of Chicago: "The
village presents no cheering prospects, as, notwithstanding its antiquity, it contains
but few huts, inhabited by a miserable race of men, scarcely equal to the Indians,
from whom they are descended. Their log or bark houses are low, filthy and dis-
gusting, displaying not the least trace of comfort. As a place of business it offers
no inducement to the settler, for the whole amount of the trade of the lake did not
exceed the cargoes of five or six schooners, even at the time when the garrison re-
ceived its supplies from Mackinac." 2 "


On the twenty-ninth of August, 1820, Henry R. Schoolcraft visited Chicago in
the party of Governor Lewis Cass. In addition to his position as governor of Mich-
igan Territory, General Cass was also ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs in
that territory, and, likewise, for a great portion of the time he had charge of agen-
cies at Chicago and other places in the West, notwithstanding that Illinois was then
a full-fledged state in the Union. Besides the governor the party comprised seven
officers, guests and interpreters, together with ten Canadian voyageurs to manage
the canoes, ten United States soldiers for an escort, and ten Indians to act as hunt-
ers. Three large bark canoes were required for their accommodation. 28

2c Hurlbut: "Chicago Antiquitifes," p. 204.

27 Fergus I, p. 21.

28 Hurlbut: "Chicago Antiquities," p. 188.


Coasting the shores of Lake Michigan from the north, the party, on arriving at
Chicago, says Schoolcraft, "found four or five families living here, the principal
of which were these of Mr. John Kinzie, Dr. A. Wolcott, J. B. Beaubien and Mr.
J. Crafts, the latter living a short distance up the river." 29 The garrison at Fort
Dearborn consisted of one hundred and sixty men, under command of Captain Brad-
ley. "The river," continues Schoolcraft, "is ample and deep for a few miles, but
is utterly choked up by the lake sands, through which, behind a masked margin, it
oozes its way for a mile or two till it percolates through the sands into the lake." 30

Schoolcraft made a sketch "from a stand point on the flat of sand which stretched
in front of the place. This view," he writes, "embraces every house in the village,
with the fort." The sketch was reproduced for the purpose of being used in School-
craft's "Ethnological Researches," which the artist, when making the reproduction,

Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.1) → online text (page 19 of 59)