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History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws online

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Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 8 of 79)
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who were in confinement at Fortress Monroe, were set free on the
4th day of June, 1833. Before leaving the fort Black Hawk


made the following farewell speecli to the commander, which is not
only eloquent but shows that within his chest of steel there beat a
heart keenly alive to the emotions of gratitude:

" Brother, I have come on my own part, and in behalf of my
companions, to bid you farewell. Our great father has at length
been pleased to permit us to return to our hunting grounds. We
have buried the tomahawk, and the sound of the rifle hereafter will
only bring death to the deer and the buffalo. Brothers, you have
treated the red man very kindly. Your squaws have made them
presents, and you have given them plenty to eat and drink. The
memory of your friendship will remain till the Great Spirit says it
is time for Black Hawk to sing his death song. Brother, your
houses are as numerous as the leaves on the trees, and ycur young
warriors like the sands upon the shore of the big lake that rolls
before us. The red man has but few houses and few warriors, but
the red man has a heart which throbs as warmly as the heart of his
white brother. The Great Spirit has given us our hunting grounds,
and the skin of the deer which we kill there is his favorite, for its
color is white, and this is the emblem of peace. This hunting
dress and these feathers of the eagle are white. Accept them, my
brother. I have given one like this to the "White Otter. Accept it as
a memorial of Black Hawk. When he is far away this will serve
to remind you of him. May the Great Spirit bless you and your
children. Farewell."

After their release from prison they were conducted, in charge
of Major Garland, through some of the principal cities, that
they might witness the power of the United States and learn
their own inability to cope with them in war. Great multitudes
flocked to see them wherever they were taken, and the attention
paid them rendered their progress through the country a triumphal
procession, instead of the transportation of prisoners by an officer.
At Eock Island the prisoners were given their liberty, amid great
and impressive ceremony. In 1S38 Black Hawk built him a
dwellino- near Des Moines, Iowa, and furnished it after the manner
of the whites, and engaged in agricultural pursuits and hunting and
fishing. Here, with his wife, to whom he was greatly attached, he
passed the few remaining days of his life. To his credit, it may be
said, that Black Hawk remained true to his wife, and served her


with a devotion uncommon among Indians, living with her up-
ward of forty years.


At all times when Black Hawk visited the whites he was
received with marked attention. He was an honored guest at the
old settlers' re- union in Lee county, Illinois, at some of their
meetings and received many tokens of esteem. In September,
1838, while on his way to Kock Island to receive his annuity from
the Government, he contracted a severe cold which resulted in a
fatal attack of bilious fever, and terminated his life October 3.
After his death, he was dressed in the uniform presented to him by
the President while in Washington. He was buried in a grave six
feet in depth, situated upon a beautiful eminence. The body was
placed in the middle of the grave, in a sitting posture upon a seat
constructed for the purpose. On his left side the cane given him
by Henry Clay was placed upright, with his right hand resting
upon it. Thus, after a long, adventurous and shifting life, Black
Hawk was gathered to his fathers.

FROM 1834 TO 1842.


'No sooner was the Black Hawk war concluded than settlers
began rapidly to pour into the northern part of Illinois, now free
from Indian depredations. Chicago, from a trading post, had
grown into a commercial center, and was rapidly coming into

At the general election in 1834 Joseph Duncan was chosen
Governor, by a handsome majority. His principal opponent was
ex-Lieutenant Governor Kinney. A reckless and uncontrollable
desire for internal public improvements seized the minds of the
people. In his message to the Legislature, in 1835, Gov. Duncan
said: " "When we look abroad and see the extensive lines of inter-
communication penetrating almost every section of our sister States;
when we see the canal boat and the locomotive bearing with seem-
ing triumph the rich productions of the interior to the rivers, lakes
and ocean, almost annihilating time, burthen and space, what
patriot bosom does not beat high with a laudable ambition to give
Illinois her full share of those advantages which are adorning her


sister States, and which a magnificent Providence seems to invite
bj a wonderful adaptation of our whole country to such improve-
ments ? "


The Legislature responded to the ardent words of the Governor,
and enacted a system of internal improvements without a parallel
in the grandeur of its conception. They ordered the construction
of 1,300 miles of railroad, crossing the State in all directions.
This was surpassed by the river and canal improvements. There
were a few counties not touched by railroad, or river or canal, and
they were to be comforted and compensated by the free distribution
of $200,000 among them. To inflate this balloon bej'ond credence, it
was ordered that work should commence on both ends of each of these
railroads and rivers, and at each river-crossing, all at the same time.
This provision, which has been called the crowning folly of the
entire system, was the result of those jealous combinations ema-
nating from the fear that advantages might accrue to one section
over another in the commencement and completion of the works.
We can appreciate better, perhaps, the magnitude of this grand
system by reviewing a few figures. The debt authorized for these
improvements in the first instance was $10,230,000. But this, as
it was soon found, was based upon estimates at least too low by
half. This, as we readily see, committed the State to a liability of
over $20,000,000, equivalent to $200,000,000, at the present time,
with over ten times the population and more than ten times the

Such stupendous undertakings by the State naturally engendered
the fever of speculation among individuals. That particular form
known as the town-lot fever assumed the malignant type at first in
Chicago, from whence it spead over the entire State and adjoining
States, It was an epidemic. It cut up men's farms without regard
to locality, and cut up the purses of the purchasers without regard
to consequences. It was estimated that building lots enough were
sold in Indiana alone to accommodate every citizen then in the
United States.

Chicago, which in 1830 was a small trading-post, had within a
few years grown into a city. This was the starting point of the
wonderful and marvelous career of that city. Improvements,


unsurpassed by individual efforts in tlie annals of the world, were
then begun and have been maintained to this daj. Though visited
by the terrible fire fiend and the accumulations of years swept
away in a night, yet she has arisen, and to-day is the best built city
in the world. Eeports of the rapid advance of property in Chicago
spread to the East, and thousands poured into her borders, bringing
money, enterprise and industry. Every ship that left her port
carried with it maps of splendidly situated towns and additions,
and every vessel that returned was laden with immigrants. It was
said at the time that the staple articles of Illinois export were town
pleats, and that there was danger of crowding the State with towns
to the exclusion of land for agriculture.


The Illinois and Michigan canal again received attention. This
enterprise is one of the most important in the early development
of Illinois, on account of its magnitude and cost, and forming
as it does the connectina: link between the great chain of lakes and
the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Gov. Bond, the first Governor,
recommended in his first message the building of the canal. In
1821 the Legislature appropriated $10,000 for surveying the route.
This work was performed by two young men, who estimated the
cost at $600,000 or $700,000. It cost, however, when completed,
$8,000,000. In 1825 a law was passed to incorporate the Canal
Company, but no stock was sold. In 1826, upon the solicitation of
Daniel P. Cook, Congressman from this State, Congress gave
800,000 acres of land on the line of the work. In 1828 commis-
sioners were appointed, and work commenced with a new survey
and new estimates. In 1834-5 the work was again pushed forward,
and continued until 1818, when it was completed.


Bonds of the State were recklessly disposed of both in the East
and in Europe. Work was commenced on various lines of railroad,
but none were ever completed. On the Northern Cross Railroad,
from Meredosia east eight miles, the first locomotive that ever
turned a wheel in the great valley of the Mississippi, W'as run.
The date of this remarkable event was Nov. 8, 1838. Large sums
of money were being expended with no assurance of a revenue,


and consequently, in 1840, the Legislature repealed the improve-
ment laws passed three years previously, not, however, until the
State had accumulated a debt of nearly $15,000,000. Thus fell,
after a short but eventful life, by the hands of its creator, the most
stupendous, extravagant and almost ruinous folly of a grand sys-
tem of internal improvements that any civil community, perhaps,
ever engaged in. The State banks failed, specie was scarce, an
enormous debt was accumulated, the interest of which could not
be paid, people were disappointed in the accumulation of wealth,
and real estate was worthless. All this had a tendency to create a
desire to throw off the heavy burden of State debt by repudiation.
This was boldly advocated by some leading men. The fair fame
and name, however, of the State was not tarnished by repudiation.
Men, true, honest, and able, were placed at the head of affairs; and
though the hours were dark and gloomy, and the times most try-
ing, yet our grand old State was brought through and prospered,
until to-day, after the expenditure of millions for public improve-
ments and for carrying on the late war, she has, at present, a debt
of only about $300,000.


The year 1837 is memorable for the death of the first martyr for
liberty, and the abolishment of American slavery, in the State.
Elijah P. Lovejoy was shot by a mob in Alton, on the night of the
Yth of November of that year. He was at the time editor of the
Alton Ohaerver, and advocated anti-slavery principles in its
columns. For this practice three of his presses had been destroyed.
On the arrival of the fourth the tragedy occurred which cost him
his life. In anticipation of its arrival a series of meetings were
held in which the friends of freedom and of slavery were represented.
The object was to effect a compromise, but it was one in which
liberty was to make concessions to oppression. In a speech made
at one of these meetings, Lovejoy said: "Mr. Chairman, what
have I to compromise? If freely to forgive those who have so greatly
injured me; if to pray for their temporal and eternal happiness; if
still to wish for the prosperity of your city and State, notwith-
standing the indignities I have suffered in them, — if this be the
compromise intended, then do I willingly make it, I do not admit
that it is the business of any body of men to say whether I shall



or shall not publish a paper in this city. That right was given to
me by my Creator, and is solemnly guaranteed by the Constitution
of the United States and of this State. But if by compromise is
meant that 1 shall cease from that which duty requires of me, I
cannot make it, and the reason is, that I fear God more than man.
It is also a very different question, whether I shall, voluntarily or
at the request of my frieuds, yield up my position, or whether
I shall forsake it at the hands of a mob. The former I am readv at
all times to do when circumstances require it, as I will never put
my personal wishes or interests in competition with the cause of
that Master whose minister I am. But the latter, be assured I
never will do. You have, as lawyers say, made a false issue. There
are no two parties between whom there can be a compromise. I
plant myself down on my unquestionable rights, and the ques-
tion to be decided is, whether I shall be protected in those rights.
You may hang me, as the mob hung the individuals at Vicksburg;
you may burn me at the stake, as they did old Mcintosh at St.
Louis; or, you may tar and feather me, or throw me into the Mis-
sissippi as you have threatened to do; but you cannot disgrace me.
I, and I alone, can disgrace myself, and the deepest of all disgrace
would be at a time like this to deny my Maker by forsaking his
cause. He died for me, and I were most unworthy to bear his
name should I refuse, if need be, to die for him.'''' Not long
afterward Mr. Lovejoy was shot. His brother Owen, being pres-
ent on the occasion, kneeled down on the spot beside the corpse,
and sent up to God, in the hearing of that very mob, one of the
most eloquent prayers ever listened to by mortal ear. He was bold
enough to pra}'- to God to take signal vengeance on the infernal
institution of slavery, and he then and there dedicated his life to
the work of overthrowing it, and hoped to see the day when slavery
existed no more in this nation. He died, March 24, 1864, nearly
three months after the Emancipation Proclamation of President
Lincoln took effect. Thus he lived to see his most earnest and
devout prayer answered. But few men in the nation rendered bet-
ter service in overthrowing the institution of slavery than Elijah
P. and Owen Lovejoy.


Thomas Carlin, Democrat, was elected Governor in 1838, over
Cyrus Edwards, Whig. In 1842 Adam W. Snyder was nominated


for Governor on the Democratic ticket, but died before election,
Thomas Ford was placed in nomination, and was elected, ex-Gov-
ernor Duncan being his opponent.


The northern part of the State also had its mob experiences, but
of an entirely different nature from the one just recounted. There
has always hovered around the frontier of civilization bold, desper-
ate men, who prey upon the unprotected settlers rather than gain
a livelihood by honest toil. Theft, robbery and murder were car-
ried on by regularly organized bands in Ogle, Lee, Winnebago and
DeKalb counties. The leaders of these gangs of cut-throats were
among the first settlers of that portion of the State, and conse-
quent! v had the choice of location. Among the most prominent of
the leaders were John Driscoll, "William and David, his sons; John
Brodie and three of his sons; Samuel Aikens and three of his sons;
William K. Bridge and Norton B. Boyce.

These were the representative characters, those who planned
and controlled the movements of the combination, concealed them
when danger threatened, nursed them when sick, rested them when
worn by fatigue and forced marches, furnished hiding places for
their stolen booty, shared in the spoils, and, under cover of darkness
and intricate and devious ways of travel, known only to themselves
and subordinates, transferred stolen horses from station to station;
for it came to be known as a well-established fact that they had
stations, and agents, and watchmen scattered throughout the coun-
try at convenient distances, and signals and pass-words to assist
and p-overn them in all their nefarious transactions.

Ogle county, particularly, seemed to be a favorite and chosen
field for the operations of these outlaws, who could not be convicted
for their crimes. By getting some of their number on the juries,
by producing hosts of witnesses to sustain their defense by per-
jured evidence, and by changing the venue from one county to
another, and by continuances from term to term, they nearly always
managed to be acquitted. At last these depredations became too
common for longer endurance; patience ceased to be a virtue, and
determined desperation seized the minds of honest men, and they
resolved that if there were no statute laws that could protect them


against the ravages of thieves, robbers and counterfeiters, they
would protect themselves. It was a desperate resolve, and desper-
ately and bloodily executed.


At the Spring term of court, 1841, seven of the "Pirates of the
Prairie," as they were called, were confined in the Ogle county jail
to await trial. Preparatory to holding court, the judge and lawyers
assembled at Oregon in their new , court-house, which had just
been completed. Near it stood the county jail in which were the
prisoners. The " Pirates " assembled Sunday night and set the
court-house on fire, in the hope that as the prisoners would have to
be removed from the jail, they might, in the hurry and confusion
of the people in attending to the fire, make their escape. The
whole population were awakened that dark and stormy night, to
see their new court edifice enwrapped in flames. Although the
building was entirely consumed, none of the prisoners escaped.
Three of them were tried, convicted and sent to the penitentiary
for a year. They had, however, contrived to get one of their num-
ber on the jury, who would not agree to a verdict until threatened
to be lynched. The others obtained a change of venue and were
not convicted, and finally they all broke jail and escaped.

Thus it was that the law was inadequate to the protection of the
people. The best citizens held a meeting and entered into a solemn
compact with each other to rid the country of the desperadoes that
infested it. They were regularly organized and known as " Regu-
lators." They resolved to notify all suspected parties to leave the
country within a given time; if they did not comply, they would
be severely dealt with. Their first victim was a man named Hurl,
who was suspected of having stolen his neighbor's horse. He was
ordered to strip, his hands were tied, when thirty-six lashes of a
raw-hide were applied to his bare back. The next was a man
named Daggett, formerly a Baptist preacher. He was sentenced
to receive five hundred lashes on his bare back. He was stripped,
and all was ready, when his beautiful daughter rushed into the
midst of the men, begging for mercy for her father. Her appeals,
with Daggett's promise to leave the country immediately, secured
his release. That night, new crimes having been discovered, he
was taken out and whipped, after which he left the country, never
again to be heard from.


The friends and comrades of the men who had been whipped
were fearfull}' enraged, and swore eternal and bloodj vengeance.
Eighty of them assembled one night soon after, and laid plans to
visit White Rock and murder every man, woman and child in that
hamlet. They started on this bloody mission, but were prevailed
upon by one of their number to disband. Their coming, however,
had been anticipated, and every man and boy in the town was
armed to protect himself and his family.


John Campbell, Captain of the '• Kegulators," received a letter
from William Driscoll, filled with most direful threats, — not only
threatening Campbell's life, but the life of any one who should
oppose their murderous, thieving operations. Soon after the re-
ceipt of this letter, two hundred of the "Regulators" marched to
Driscoll's and ordered him to leave the county within twenty days,
but he refused to comply with the order. One Sunday evening,
just after this, Campbell was shot down in his own door-yard by
David Driscoll. He fell in the arms of his wife, at which time
Taylor Driscoll raised his rifle and pointed it toward her, but low-
ered it without firing.

News of this terrible crime spread like wild-fire. The very air
was filled with threats and vengeance, and nothing but the lives of
the murderous gang would pay the penalty. Old John Driscoll
was arrested, was told to bid his family good-bye, and then with
his son went out to his death. The "Regulators," numbering 111,
formed a large circle, and gave the Driscolls a fair hearing. They
were found guilty, and the " Regulators" divided into two "death
divisions," — one, consisting of fifty-six, with rifles dispatched the
father, the other fifty -five riddled and shattered the body of the
son with balls from as many guns. The measures thus inaugu-
rated to free the countrv from the dominion of outlaws was a last
desperate resort, and proved eflectual.


In April, 1840, the "Latter-Day Saints," or Mormons, came in
large numbers to Illinois and purchased a tract of land on the east
side of the Mississippi river, about ten miles above Keokuk. Here
they commenced building the city of Nauvoo. A more picturesque
or eligible site for a city could not have been selected.


The origin, rapid development and prosperity of this religious
sect are the most remarkable and instructive historical events of
the present century. That an obscure individual, without money,
education, or respectability, should persuade hundreds of thousands
of people to believe him inspired of God, and cause a book, con-
temptible as a literary production, to be received as a continuation
of the sacred revelation, appears almost incredible; yet in less than
half a century, the disciples of this obscure individual have in-
creased to hundreds of thousands; have founded a State in the dis-
tant wilderness, and compelled the Government of the United
States to practically recognize them as an independent people.


The founder of Mormonism was Joseph Smith, a native of Yer-
mont, who emigrated while quite young with his father's family to
western New York. Here his youth was spent in idle, vagabond
life, roaming the woods, dreaming of buried treasures, and in en-
deavoring to learn the art of finding them by the twisting of a
forked stick in his hands, or by looking through enchanted stones.
Both he and his father became famous as " water wizards," always
ready to point out the spot where wells might be dug and water
found. Such was the character of the young profligate when he
made the acquaintance of Sidney Rigdon, a person of considerable
talent and information, who had conceived the design of foundinsr
a new religion. A religious romance, written by Mr. Spaulding, a
Presbyterian preacher of Ohio, then dead, suggested the idea, and
finding in Smith the requisite duplicity and cunning to reduce it
to practice, it was agreed that he should act as prophet; and the
two devised a story that gold plates had been found buried in the
earth containing a record inscribed on them in unknown characters,
which, when deciphered by the power of inspiration, gave the his-
tory of the ten lost tribes of Israel.


After their settlement in and about Nauvoo, in Hancock county,
great depredations were committed by them on the " Gentiles."
The Mormons had been received from Missouri with great kind-
ness by the people of this State, and every possible aid granted
them. The depredations committed, however, soon made them


odious, when the question of getting rid of them was agitated. In
the fall of 1841, the Governor of Missouri made a demand on Gov.
Carlin for the arrest and delivery of Joe Smith as a fugitive from
justice. An executive warrant issued for that purpose was placed
in the hands of an agent to be executed, but was returned without
being complied with. Soon afterward the Governor handed the
same writ to his agent, who this time succeeded in arresting Joe
Smith. He was, however, discharged by Judge Douglas, upon the
grounds that the writ upon which he had been arrested had been
once returned before it was executed, and was functus officio. In
184:2 Gov. Carlin again issued his writ, Joe Smith was arrested
again, and again escaped. Thus it will be seen it was impossible
to reach and punish the leader of this people, who had been driven
from Missouri because of their stealing, murdering and unjust
dealing, and came to Illinois but to continue their depredations.

Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 8 of 79)