William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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bona Grove, now De Kalb County, where
they were found in the early settlement of
the county.

In the war of 1812, Shabbona, with his
warriors, joined Tecumseh, was aid to that
great chief, and stood by his side when he
fell at the battle of the Thames. At the
time of the Winnebago war, in 1827, he
visited almost every village among the Pot-
tawatomies, and by his persuasive argu-
ments prevented them from taking part in
the war. By request of the citizens of
Chicago, Shabbona, accompanied by Billy
Caldwell (Sauganash), visited Big Foot's
village at Geneva Lake, in order to pacify
the warriors, as fears were entertained that
they were about to raise the tomahawk
against the whites. Here Shabbona was
taken prisoner by Big Foot, and his life
threatened, but on the following day was
set at liberty. From that time the Indians
(through reproach) styled him " the white
man's friend," and many times his life was

Before the Black Hawk war, Shabbona
met in council at two different times, and

by his influence prevented his people from
taking part with the Sacs and Foxes.
After the death of Black Partridge and
Senachwine, no chief among the Pottawat-
omies exerted so much influence as Shab-
bona. Black Hawk, aware of this influ-
ence, visited him at two different times, in
order to enlist him in his cause, but was
unsuccessful. While Black Hawk was a
prisoner at Jefferson Barracks, he said, had
It not been for Shabbona the whole Potta-
watomie nation would have joined his
standard, and he could have continued the
war for 3'ears.

To Shabbona many of the early settlers
of Illinois owe the preservation of their
lives, for it is a well-known fact, had he not
notified the people of their danger, a large
portion of them would have fallen victims
to the tomahawk of savages. By saving
the lives of whites he endangered his own,
for the Sacs and Foxes threatened to kill
him, and made two attempts to execute
their threats. The}' killed Pj'peogee, his
son, and Pyps, his nephew, and hunted him
down as though he was a wild beast.

Shabbona had a reservation of two sec-
tions of land at his Grove, but by leaving
it and going West for a short time, the
Government declared tlie reservation for-
feited, and sold it the same as other vacant
land. On Shabbona's return, and finding
his possessions gone, he was very sad and
broken down in spirit, and left the Grove
forever. The citizens of Ottawa raised
money and bought him a tract of land on
the Illinois Kiver, iibove Seneca, in Grundy
County, on which they built a house, and
supplied him with means to live on. He
lived here until his death, which occurred
on the 17th of July, 1859, in the eighty-



fourth year of liis age, and was buried with
creat pomp in tlie cemetery at Morris.
His squaw, Pokanoka, was drowned in
Mazon Creek, Grundy County, on the
30th of November, 1864, and was buried
by his side.

In 1861 subscriptions were taken up in

many of the river towns, to erect a monu-
ment over tlie remains of Shabbona, but
the war breaking out, the enterprise was
abandoned. Only a plain marble slab
marks the resting-place of this friend of the
white man.








" The little fields made green
By husbandry of many thrifty years."

THERE is no question of such deep in-
terest as the geological history of that
particular portion of the country in which we
make om- homes. The people of Southern
Illinois are an agricultural people in their
pursuits. Their first care is the soil and
climate, and it is in them they may find an
almost inexhaustible fund of knowledge, that
will ever put money in their coffers. All
mankind are deeply interested in the soil.
From it comes all life, all beauty, pleasure,
wealth and enjoyment. Of itself, it may
not be a beautiful thing, but from it comes
the fragrant flower, the golden fields, the
sweet blush of the maiden's cheek, the flash
of the lustrous eye, that is more powerful to
subdue the heart of obdurate man than an
army with banners. From it spring the groat,
rich cities, whose towers, and temples, and
minarets kiss the early morning sun, and
whose ships, with their precious cargoes,

* By W. H. Perrin.

fleck every sea. In short, it is the nourish-
ing mother whence comes our high civiliza-
tion — the wealth of nations, the joys and ex-
alted pleasures of life.

The corner-stone upon which all life rests
is the farmer, who tickles the earth, and it
laughs with the rich harvests that so bounti-
fully bless mankind. Who, then, should be
so versed in the knowledge oE the soil as the
farmer? What other information can be so
valuable to him as the mastery of the science
of geology, that much of it, at least, as ap-
plies to the portion of the earth where he
has cast his fortunes and cultivates the soil ?
We talk of educating the farmer, and ordi-
narily this means to send the boys to college,
to acquire what is termed a classical educa-
tion, and they come back, perhaps, as grad-
uates, as incapable of telling the geological
story of ,thoir father's farm as of describing
the color and shape of last year's clouds.
How much more of practical value it would
have been to the young man had he never
looked into the classics, and instead thereof



had taken a few practical lessons in the local
geology that ■would have told him the story
of the soil around him, and enabled him to
comprehend how it was formed, its different
qualities and from whence it came and its
constituent elements. The farmer grows to
be an old man, and he will tell you he has
learned to be a good farmer only by a long
life of laborious experiments; and if you
should tell him that these experiments had
made him a scientific farmer, he would look
with a good deal of contempt upon your sup-
posed effort to poke ridicule at him. He has
taught himself to regard the word " science"
as the property only of bookworms and cranks.
He does not realize that every step in farm-
ing is a purely scientific operation, because
science is made by experiments and investi-
gations. An old farmer may examine a soil
and tell you that it is adapted to wheat or
corn, that it is warm, or cold and heavy, or a
few other facts that jhis long experience has
taught him, and to that extent he is a scien-
tific farmer. He will tell you that his knowl-
edge has cost him much labor, and many sore
disappointments. Suppose that in his youth
a well -digested chapter on the geological his-
tory, that would have told him in the sim-
plest terms, all about the land he was to culti-
vate, how invaluable the lesson would have
been, and how much in money value it would
have proved to him. In other words, if you
could give your boys a practical education,
made up of a few lessons pertaining to those
subjects that immediately concern their lives,
how invaluable such an education might be,
and how many men would thus be saved the
pangs and penalties of ill-directed lives.

The parents often spend much money in
the education of their children, and from
this they build gi-eat hopes upon their fut-
ure that are often blasted, not through the
fault, always, of the child, but through the

error of the parent in not being able to know
in what real, practical education consists. If
the schools of the country, for instance, could
devote one of the school months in each year
to rambling over the hills and the fields, and
gathering practical lessons in the geology
and botany of the section of country in
which the children were born and reared,
how incomparably more valuable and useful
the time thus spent would be to them in
after life, than would the present mode of
shutting out the sunshine of life, and spend-
ing both life and vitality in studying meta-
physical mathematics, or the most of the other
text-books, that impart nothing that is worth
the carrying home to the child's stock of
knowledge. At all events, the chapter in
the county's history, or in the history of any
community or country, that tells its geolog-
ical formation, is of first importance to all its
people, and if properly prepared it will be-
come a soui'ce of great interest to all, and do
much to disseminate a better education
among the people, and thus be a perpetual
blessing to the community.

The permanent effects of the soil on the
people are as strong and certain as they are
upon the vegetation that springs from it. It
is a maxim in geology that the soil and its
underlying rocks forecast unerringly to the
trained eye the character of the people,
the number and the quality of the civ-
ilization of those who will, in the com-
ing time, occupy it. Indeed, so close are the
relations of the geology and the people that
this law is plain and fixed, that a new coun-
try may have its outlines of history written
when first looked upon; and it is not, as so
many suppose, one of those deep, abstruse
subjects that are to be given over solely to a
few great investigators and thinkers, and to
the masses must forever remain a sealed book.
Our }ouths may learn the important outlines



of the geology of their country with no more
difliculty than they meet in mastering the
multiplication table or the simple rule of
three. And we make no question that a
youth need not possess one-half of the men-
tal activity and shrewdness in making a fair
geologist of himself that he would find was
required of him to become a skillful manip-
ulator of cards or a successful jockey.

On the geological structure of a country
depend the pursuits of its inhabitants, and
the genius of its civilization. Agriculture is
the outgrowth of a fertile soil; mining re-
sults from mineral resources, and from nav-
igable rivers spring navies and commerce.
Every great branch of ^industry requires, for
its successful development, the cultivation of
kindred arts and sciences. Phases of life
and modes of thought are thus induced,
which give to different communities and
States characters as various as the diverse
rocks that underlie them. In like manner
it may be shown that their moral and
intellectual qualities depend on mater-
ial conditions. Where the soil and sub-
jacent rocks are profuse in the bestowal of
wealth, man is indolent and effeminate;
where effort is required to live, he becomes
enlightened and virtuous. A perpetually
mild climate and bread growing upon the
trees will produce only ignorant savages.
The heaviest misfortune that has so long en-
vironed poor, persecuted Ireland has been
her ability to produce the potato, and thus
subsist wife and children upon a small patch
of ground. Statistics tell us that the num-
ber of marriages are regulated by the price
of corn, and the true philosopher has dis-
covered that the invention of gunpowder did
more to civilize the world than any one thing
in its history.

Geology traces the history of the earth
back through successive stages of develop-

ment to its rudimental condition in a state
of fusion. The sun, and the planetary sys-
tem that revolves around it, were originally a
common mass, that became separated in a
gaseous state, and the loss of heat in a planet
reduced it to an elastic state, and thus it com-
menced to write its own history, and place
its records upon these imperishable books,
where the geologist may go and read the
strange, eventful story. The earth was a
wheeling ball of fire, and the cooling event-
ually formed the exterior crust, and in the
slow process of time prepared the way for
the animal and vegetable life it now con-
tains. In its center, the fierce flames still rage
with undiminished energy. Volcanoes are
outlets for these deep-seated fires, where are
generated those tremendous forces, an illus-
tration of which is given in the eruptions of
Vesuvius, which has thrown a jet of lava, re-
sembling a column of flame, 10,000 feet
high. The amount of lava ejected at a sin-
gle eruption fi'om one of the volcanoes of
Iceland has been estimated at 40,HOO,000,-
Ol)0 tons, a quantity sufficient to cover a
large city with a mountain as high as the
tallest Alps. Our world is yet constantly
congealing, just as the process has been con-
stantly going on for billions of years, and
yet the rocky crust that rests upon this inter-
nal fire is estimated to be only between thirty
and forty miles in thickness. In the silent
(Jepths of the stratified rocks are the former
creation of plants and animals, which lived
and died during the slow, dragging centuries
of their formation. These fossil remains are
fragments of history, which enable the geol-
ogist to extend his researches far back into
the realms of the past, and not only deter-
mine their former modes of life, but study
the contemporaneous history of their rocky
beds, and group them into systems. And
such has been the profusion of life, that the



gi'eat limestone formations of the globe con-
sist mostly of animal remains, cemented by
the infusion of animal matter. A large part
of the soil spread over the earth's surface has
been elaborated in animal organisms. First,
as nom'ishment, it enters into the structure
of plants, and forms vegetable tissue; passing
thence, as food, into the animal, it becomes
endowed with life, and when death occurs it
returns into the soil and imparts to it addi-
tional elements of fertility.

The realization of great defects in the edu-
cation of our young farmers and of their
losses and disappointments, and even disas-
ters, in the pursuit of their occupation of till-
ing the earth, that come of their neglect in
early education and training, promjats ns
to present a subject that many of our
readers will consider dry and uninterest-
ing. The views of the writer are not vis-
ionary, or mere theories drawn from books.
Born and reared on a farm, with nearly a
quarter of a century's experience in tilling
the soil, qualifies him to tell, with as much
facility as Horace Greeley, what " he knows
about farming." The most inportant subject
to all mankind to-day is how to get for the
young people the best education; how to fit
our youths for the life struggle before them.
Agassiz was (^nce appealed to by some New
England horse-breeders in regard to develop-
ing horses, and ti)ld them it was not a ques-
tion of equestrianism, but one of rocks. To
most men the reply would have been almost
meaningless, yet it was full of wisdom. It
signified that certain rock formations that un.
derlie the soil would insure a certain growth
of grasses and water, and the secret of the
perfect horse lay here.

That the reader may gather here lessons
in the knowledge of the rocks that are spread
out over the earth, we give in their order the
difiierent groups and systems in the simplest

form we can present them, as gathered from
the geologists. We only deem it necessary
to explain that all rocks are either igneous
or stratified; the former meaning melted by
fire, and the latter, sediment deposited in wa-
ter. Their order, commencing with the lowest
stratified rocks and ascending. are as follows:

The Laurentian system is the lowest and
oldest of the stratified rocks. From the efi"ects
of great heat, it has assumed, to some extent,
the character of the igneous rocks below, but
still retains its original lines of stratifica-
tion, A principal eftect of the great heat
to which its rocks were exposed is crystal-
lization. The Laurentian system was formerly
believed to be destitute of organic remains,
but recent investigations have led to the
discovery of animals, so low in the scale of
organization as to be regarded as the first
appearance of sentient existence. This dis-
coverv, as it extends the origin of life back-
ward through 30,000 feet of strata, may be
regarded as one of the most important ad-
vances made in American geology.

The Huronian system, like the one that
precedes it, and on which it rests, is highly
crystalline. Although fossils have not been
found in it, yet from its position, the infer-
ence is they once existed, and if they do not
now, the great transforming power of heat
has caused their obliteration. This, and
the subjacent system, extend from Labra-
dor southwesterly to the great lakes, and
thence northwesterly toward the ..Lrctic
Ocean, They derive their names from the
St, Lawrence and Lake Htu-on, on the banks
of which are found their principal outcrops.
Their emergence from the ocean was the birth
of the North American Continent. One face
of the uplift looked toward the Atlantic and
the other toward the Pacific, thus prefigur-
ing the future shores of this great divison
of the globe of which they are the germ.



The Silurian age, compared with the more
stable formations of subsequent times, was one
of commotion, in which lire and water played
a conspicuous part. Earthquakes and volca-
noes furrowed the yielding crust with ridges,
and thiew up islands whose craggy summits,
here and there, stood like sentinels above
the murky deep which dashed against their
shores. The present diversities of climate
did not exist, as the temperature was mostly
due to the escape of internal heat, which
was the same over every part of the surface.
As the radiation of heat, in future ages, de-
clined, the sun became the controlling power,
and zones of climate appeared as the result
of solar domination. Uniform thermal con-
ditions imparted a corresponding character
to vegetable and animal life, and one univer-
sal fauna and flora extended from the equa-
tor to the poles. During the Silui'ian age.
North America, like its inhabitants, was
mostly submarine, as proved by wave lines
on the emergino; lands.

The Devonian age is distinguished for the
introduction of vertebrates, or the foui-th sub-
kingdom of animal life, and the beginning of
terrestrial vegetation. The latter appeared
in two classes, the highest of the flowerless
and the lowest of the flowering plants. The
Lepidodendron, a noted instance of the for-
mer, was a majestic, upland forest tree,
which, during the coal period, grew to a
height of eighty feet, and had a base of more
than thi'ee feet in diameter. Its description
is quite poetical, and is as follows: Beau-
tiful spiral flutings, coiling in opposite direc-
tions and crossing each other at fixed angles,
carved the trunks and branches into rbom-
boidal eminences, each of which was scarred
with the mark of a falling leaf. At an alti-
tude of sixty feet, it sent ofi" arms, each sep-
arating into branchlets, covered with a
needle-like foliage destitute of flowers. It

grew, not by internal or external accretions,
as plants of the present day, but, like the
building of a monument, by additions to the
top of its trunk. Mosses, rushes and other
diminutive flowerless plants are now the only
representatives of this cryptogamic vegeta-
tion, which so largely predominated in the
early botany of the globe. Floral beauty
and fragrance were not characteristic of the
old Devonian woods. No bird existed to
enliven their silent groves with song; no ser-
pent to hiss in the fenny brakes, nor beast
to pursue, with hideous yells, its panting

The vertebrates consisted of fishes, of -which
the Ganoids and Placoids were the principal
groups. The former were the forerunners of
the reptile, which in .many respects they
closely resemble. They embraced a large
number of species, many of which grew to a
gigantic size; but, with the excejation of the
gar and sturgeon, they have no living repre-
sentative. The Placoids, structurally formed
for advancement, still remain among the
highest types of the present seas. The shark,
a noted instance, judging from its fossil re-
mains, must have attained 100 feet in length.
Both groups lived in the sea, and if any
fresh water animals existed, their remains
have either perished or not been found. So
numerous were the inhabitants of the ocean,
that the Devonian has been styled the age of
fishes. In their anatomical structure was
foreshadowed the organization of man; rep-
tiles, birds and mammals being the inter-
mediate gradations.

The Carboniferous age opened with the
deposition of widely extended mai-ine forma-
tions. Added to the strata previously do-
posited, the entire thickness in the region
of the Alleghanies, now partially elevated,
amounted to seven miles. The most promi-
nent feature of the Carboniferous age was the



formation of coal. Being carbonized vege-
table tissue, the material f ui-nished for this
puj-pose was the vast forest accumulation pe-
culiar to the period. The coal-iields of Eu-
rope are estimated at 18,000 square miles,
those of the United States at 150,000. In
Illinois, three-fourths of the svirf ace are un-
derlaid by beds of coal, and the State, conse-
quently, has a greater area than any other
member of the Union. The entire carbon-
iferous system, including the coal beds and
the intervening strata, in Southern Illinois,
is 27,000 feet in thickness and in the north-
ern part only 500 feet.

The Reptilian age came next, and is distin-
guished for changes in the continental bor-
ders, which generally ran within their pres-
ent limits.

The Mammalian age witnessed the increaae
of the mass of the earth above the ocean's
level threefold, and next in regular succes-
sion was the age of Man, which commenced
with the present geological conditions. These
are the order of the earth's formation, sim-
ply given, to the time of the coming of man.
Though the absolute time of his coming can-
not be determined, he was doubtless an in
habitant of the earth many thousands of
years before he was sufficiently intelligent to
preserve the records of his own history.

The present age still retains, in a dimin-
ished degi-ee of activity, the geological action
we have briefly sketched. The oscillations of
the earth's crust are still going on, perhaps
as they ever have. As an evidence of this, it
is a well-known fact that the coast of Green-
land, on the western side, for a distance of
600 miles, has been slowly sinking for the
past four huadi-ed years. Thus constantly
have the bottoms of the oceans been lifted
above the waters and the mountains sunk and
became the beds of the sea. In the science
of geology, this solid old earth and its fixed

and eternal mountains are as unstable as the
floating waves of the water.

Jefferson County is situated southeast of
the intersection of the Ohio & Mississippi
and the Illinois Central Railroads, and is
bounded on the north by Marion County, on
the east by Wayne and Hamilton, on the
south by Franklin, on the west by Perry and
Washington, and has an area of 576 square
miles. It is estimated that at least four- fifths
of this territory is timbered land, while only
about one-fifth is prairie. The prairies invar-
iably occupy the more or less elevated lands
between the water-courses, and h&ve generally
a considerable depth of quaternary deposits,
sometimes underlaid with shales. It is sel-
dom that rocks are found in the prairies, even
by digging to some depth, though at some
places timbered hills occur in the prairie,
which are underlaid with solid rockj' strata,
and rise above the level of the prairie either
within its bounds or at its edge. Knob
Prairie has its name from such a hill or knob.
The timbered portion of the county is partly
flat, but^most of it is undtilating or broken,
in consequence of the numerous water-courses
which traverse the county in every direction.
It has some post-oak flats, also some wet flats
at the edge of prairies, in which water-oak
predominates, but more oak barrens, with a
growth of black oak, white oak, post oak,
hickory, etc. The timber in the creek bot-
toms is generally quite heavy, and consists of
swamp white oak, water oak, sugar maple,
sycamore, black walnut, white walnut, etc.
In the extreme southeast part of the county,
however, are occasional trees of more south-
ern affinity, such as the sweet gum.

The county is well supplied with running

Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 12 of 76)