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the Ouabach river, one commencing at Cat river 52 leagues above Vincennes, to Point Coupee, with 40 leagues in width on the east side and 30 leagues (90 miles) on the west side—Illinois. Another tract, also on both sides of the river, beginning at the mouth of White river, to the Ohio, 50 leagues, and extending 40 leagues into Indiana and 30 into Illinois. The number of acres contained in these grants was about 37,497,600. The consideration was much the same as recited in the other purchases. The deed was regis. tered, as the other, at Kaskaskia.
The title thus acquired to enormous hodies of fertile lands, was contrary to the King's proclamation, and at best imperfect.' But it was the revolt of the colonies and the establishment of their independence that frustrated the schemes of these powerful companies. Their grants might otherwise bave been perfected by the King. In 1780 (April 29th), the two land companies effected a consolidation under the style of "The United Illinois and Wabash Land Companies. Through their agents they now applied to congress repeatedly for a recognition and confirmation of their Indian grants, in part at least, their efforts running through a period of 20 years—1787, 1791, 1797, 1804 and 1810; but that body was firm, and all their applications were rejected.
We here give some valuable extracts from an old English report of 108 pages, entitled, “The present state of the European Settle. ments on the Mississippi," by Captain Phillip Pitman, published at London in 1770. Captain Pitman was engineer in the British army and was sent out to make a survey of the forts and report the condition of the villages and improvements in these newly acquired territories of the British crown. This work is a document of rare value, filling up, as it does in a measure, a hiatus in Ilinois history for which there are no other authentic sources of information. He visited Illinois in 1766. Of Kaskaskia, he gives the following description :
"The village of Notre Dame de Cascasquias is by far the most considerable settlement in the country of the Illinois, as well from its number of inhabi. tants as from its advantageous situation.
“Mons. Paget was the first who introduced water.mills in this country, and he constructed a very fine one n the river Cascasquias, which was both for grinding corn and sawing boards. It lies about one mile from the village. The mill proved fatal to him, being killed as he was working it, with two negroes, by a party of the Cherokces, in the year 1764.
* The principal buildings are the church and Jesuits' House, which has a small chapel adjoining it; these, as well as some other houses in the village, are built of stone, and, considering this part of the world, make a very good appearance. The Jesuits' plantation consisted of 240 arpents (an arpent is 85-100 of an acre) of cultivated land, a very good stock of cattle, and a brewery; which was sold by the French commandant, after the country was ceded to the English, for the crown, in consequence of the suppression of the order.
Mons. Beauvais was the purchaser, who is the richest of the English subjects in this country; he keeps 80 slaves; he furnishes 86,000 weight of flour to the King's magazine, which was only part of the harvest he reaped in one year. Sixty-five families reside in this village, beside merchants, other casual people, and slaves. The fort, which was burnt down in October, 1766, stood on the summit of a high rock opposite the village and on the opposite side of the river. It was an oblong quadrangle, of which the extreme polygon measured 290 by 251 feet. It was built of very thick square timber, and dove-tailed at the angles. Au officer and twenty soldiers are quartered in the village. The officer governs the inhabitants, under the direction of the commandant at Fort Chartres. Here are also two companies of militia.”
Prairie du Rocher- La Prairie des Roches"—is described as being
“About 17 (14] miles from Cascasquias. It is a small village, consisting of 22 dwelling houses, all of which are inhabited by as many families. Here is a little chapel, formerly a chapel of ease to the church at Fort Chartres. The inhabitants are very industrious, and raise a great deal of corn and every kind of stock. The village is two miles from Fort Chartres. [This was Lillle Village, which was a mile or more nearer than the Fort.] It takes its name from its situation, being built under a rock that runs parallel with the river Mississsippi at a league distance, for 40 miles up. Here is a company of militia, the Captain of which regulates the police of the village.
“Saint Phillipe is a small village about five miles from Fort Chartres, on the road to Kaoquias. There are about sixteen houses and a small church standing, all of the inhabitants, except the Captain of the militia, deserted it in 1765, and went to the French side, (Missouri.) The Captain of the militia has about twenty slaves, a good stock of cattle, and a water-mill for corn and planks. This village stands on a very fine meadow, about one mile from the Mississippi.”
"The village of Saint Famille de Kaoquias (Cahokia) is generally reckoned fifteen leagues from Fort Chartres and six leagues below the mouth of the Missouri. It stands near the side of the Mississippi, and is marked from the river by an island (Duncan's) two leagues long. The village is opposite the center of this island; it is long and straggling, being three-fourths of a mile from one end to the other. It contains forty-five dwelling houses, and a church near its center. The situation is not well chosen, as in the floods it is generally overflowed two or three feet deep. This was the first settlemont on the Migsissippi. The land was purchased of the savages by a few Canadians, some of whom married women of the Kaoquias nation, and others brought wives from Canada, and then resided there, leaving their children to succeed them. The inhabitants of this place depend more on hunting and their Indian trade than on agriculture, as they scarcely raise corn enough for their own consumption; they have a great plenty of poultry and good stocks of horned cattle.
" The mission of St. Sulpice had a very fine plantation here, and an excellent house built on it. They sold this estate, and a very good mill for corn and planks, to a Frenchman who chose to remain under the English government. They also disposed of thirty negroes and a good stock of cattle to different people in the country, and returned to France in 1764. What is called the fort, is a small house standing in the center of the village. It differs nothing from the other houses, except in being one of the poorest. It was formerly inclosed with high palisades, but these were torn down and burnt. Indeed & fort at this place could be of but little use.
Regarding the soil, products and commerce, of the colony, Pittman says:
“The soil of this country, in general, is very rich and luxuriant; it produces all kinds of European grains, hops, hemp, fax, cotton and tobacco, and European fruits come to great perfection. The inhabitants make wine of the wild grapes, which is very inebriating, and is, in color and taste, very like the red wine of Provence.
In the late wars, New Orleans and the lower parts of Louisiana were sup. plied with flour, beef, wines, hams and other provisions, from this country. At present its commerce is mostly confined to the peltry and furs, which are got in traffic from the Indians; for which are received in return such European commodities as are necessary to carry on that commerce and the support of its inhabitants."
Of the Indians, he says:
“The principal Indian nations in this country are, the Cascasquias, Kahoquias, Mitchigamias, and Peoyas; these four tribes are generally called the Illinois Indians. Except in the hunting seasons, they reside near the English settlemen's in this country. They are a poor, debauched, and detestable people. They count about 350 warriors. The Panquichas. Mascoutins, Miamies, Kickapous, and Pyatonons, though not very numerous, are a brave and warlike people."
Of old Fort Chartres, the strongest fortress in the Mississippi valley, which was re-built by the French government in 1756,
during the French and English war in America, Captain Pitman furnishes the following description:
" Fort Chartres, when it belonged to France, was the seat of the government of the Illinois. The headquarters of the English commanding officer is now here, who, in fact, is the arbitrary governor of the country. The fort is an irregular quadrangle; the sides of the exterior polygon are 490 feet. It is built of stone, and plastered over, and is only designed as a defense against the Indians. The walls are two feet' two inches thick, and are pierced with loopholes at regular distances, and with two port-holes for canpon in the facies and two in the flanks of each bastion. The ditch has never been finished. The entrance to the fort is through a very handsome rustic gate. Within the walls is a banquette raised three feet, for the men to stand on when they fire through the loop holes. The buildings within the fort are, a commandant's and a commissary's house, the magazine of stores, corps de garde, and two barracks ; these occupy the square. Within the gorges of the bastion are a powder magazine, a bake house, and a prison, in the floor of which are four dungeons, and in the upper, two rooms, and an out-house belonging to the commandant. The commandant's house is thirty-two yards long and ten broad, and contains a kitchen, a dining-room, a bed-chamber, one small room, five closets for serve ants, and a cellar. The commissary's house (now occupied by officers) is built on the same line as this, and its proportion and the distribution of its apartments are the same. Opposite these are the store-house and the guard-house; they are each thirty yards long and eight broad. The former consists of two large store-rooms, (under which is a large vaulted cellar,) a large room, a bedchamber, and a closet for the store-keeper; the latter of a soldiers' and officers' guard-roonu, a chapel, a bed-chamber, a closet for the chaplain, and an artillery store-room. The lines of barracks have never been finished; they at present consist of two rooms each for officers, and three for soldiers; they are each twenty feet square, and have betwixt a small passage. There are fine spacious lefts over each building which reach from end to end; these are made use of to Jodge regimental stores, working and entrenching tools, &c. It is generally believed that this is the most convenient and best built fort in North America.
* In the year 1764, there were about forty families in the village near the fort, and a parish church, seived by a Franciscan friar, dedicated to St. Anne. In the following year, when the English took possession of the coun. try, they abandoned their houses, except three or four families, and settled in the villages on the west side of the Mississippi, choosing to continue under the French government.”
In 1756, when the fort was rebuilt, the intervening distance to the bank of the Mississippi was some 900 yards. A sand bar was forming opposite, to which the river was fordable. At the time of Captain Pitman's visit, the current had cut the bank away to within 80 yards of the fort, the sand bar had become an island covered with a thick growth of cottonwoods, and the intervening channel was 40 feet deep. The great freshet of 1772, which inundated the American Bottom, produced such havoc upon the bank that the west walls and 2 bastions were precipitated into the raging current of the mighty river. The British garrison abandoned it and and took up their quarters at Fort Gage, on the bluff of the Kaskaskia, opposite the ancient village of that name, to which the seat of government was removed. Since then the great citadel of New France has been a ruin. Those of its walls which escaped destruction by the flood, were in great part hauled away by the neighboring villagers for building purposes. In 1820 the ruins were visited by Dr. Lewis C. Beck and Mr. Hanson of Illinois, who made an accurate drawing of the plan for the Illinois and Missouri Gazetter. Many of the rooms, cellars, parts of the walls, showing the opening for the large gate, port-holes, &c., were still found in a tolerable state of preservation. The exterior line of the walls measured 1447 feet. By 1850, a dense forest surrounded and covered the ruins, and trees, 3 feet in diameter, had grown up within the crumbling walls.*
Fort Gage, which continued to be the headquarters of the British while they occupied the country, was, in shape, an oblong parallelogram, 280 by 251 feet, built of large squared timbers. In 1772 the British garrison consisted of only 20 soldiers and an officer, In the village of Kaskaskia were organized 2 small companies of well disciplined French militia. When George Rogers Clark, in 1778, effected the bloodless conquest of Ilinois, not a British sol. dier was on garrison duty in the country. M. Rocheblave, a Frenchman, was in command as the
British governor. He occupied Fort Gage, and in Kaskaskia the French militia was kept in good order. We find no chronicle of how long Colonel Wilkins remained in command, or when the last remnant of the British garrison took up its line of departure. It is highly probable that these withdrawals were made with the breaking out of the war of the revolution.
The Ilinois Freuch were remote from the main theatre of the revolutionary war; and while they had perhaps little sympathy with the object for which the colonies struggled, their hatred of their hereditary foe was active. In 1777, Thomas Brady, whom they commonly called “Monsieur Tom,” a courageous and enterprising Pennsylvanian who had wandered out to Cahokia, organized there and at Prairie du Pont a band of 16 volunteers, and in October, proceeding to the British post on the St. Josephi in Michigan, surprised and attacked the fort in the night time, defeating the garrison of 21 men. A negro slave who had escaped from the French in Illinois, was killed in his flight. A large quantity of goods for the Indian trade, fell into the hands of the victors, which doubtless had been one incentive to the expedition. With these, their homeward journey was retarded, and the British traders, having rallied the soldiers and stirred up the Indians, with a large force made pursuit and fell upon the camp of the marauders on the Calumet in the night time, killing 2, wounding 2 more (who were afterward dispatched with the tomahawk) and made prisoners of the rest. Brady, in being sent East, effected his escape, and later returned to Cahokia, where he married the celebrated widow LeCompt.
The following year, while Colonel Clark was conducting his expedition against Kaskaskia, Paulette Meillet, the founder of Peoria, which was then called Laville a Meillet, who was a remarkable character for bravery, brutality and enterprise, burning to avenge the disaster of Brady's party, in which were many of his relatives, assembled about 300 warriors, red, white and mixed, and marched thence to St. Joseph. On the way, through the broad praries on foot under the rays of the summer's sun, M. Amlin, one of his men, exhausted with fatigue, gave out. Celerity and secrecy being essential to success, and unwilling to be encumbered with the sick, the soldier fell a sacritice to the tomahawk, sunk in his brain by the brutal commander. Arriving at the post, the fort was surrounded, and, after an obstinate engage. ment, the garrison surrendered and was permitted to retire to Canada. The prisoners of Brady's party were released, and the stores of merchandise, said to have amounted to $50,000, were brought away to Peoria.t *Reynold's Pioneer History.
+See Peck's Annals of the West.
1778–CONQUEST OF ILLINOIS, BY GEORGE ROGERS
While the colonists of the east were maintaining a fierce struggle with the armies of England, their western frontiers were ravaged by merciless butcheries of Indian warfare. The jealousy of the sarage had been aroused to action by the rapid extension of American settlements westward and the improper influence exerted by a number of military posts garrisoned by British troops in different parts of the west. To prevent indiscriminate slaughters arising from these causes Illinois became the theatre of some of the most daring exploits connected with American history. The hero of these achievements by which this beautiful land was snatched as a gem from the British crown, was George Rogers Clark. He was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, November 19, 1752, and like his great cotemporary of the Revolution in his youth studied and practiced the art of surveying land. The manly exercise connected with the original surveys of the country seemed to create a partiality for the adventurous exposure of military life. Little is known in regard to Clark's early history. It is said he became a proficient in geography and devoted considerable time to the study of mathematics, but owing to the imperfect condition of the schools and the exciting times of his youth, the presumption is that his education was confined to tlie useful rather than ornamental branches of learning. Shortly after attaining his majority he enlisted as a staff officer in Governor Dunmore's war and with many other daring spirits of the times was present in the campaign of 1774 on the river Scioto. For meretorious conduct he was offered a commission in the royal service which, owing to the unfriendly feel. ing then existing between the colonists and the mother country and unsatisfactory termination of the war, he declined. Dunmore became apprehensive that the colonists would rebel, and it was believed by Washington and others that he was instructed to so treat with the Indians that he could use them as allies in case of revolt.
A spirit for adventure being awakened in the mind of young Clark by the war in 1775 he visited the wilds of Kentucky. Here he found the pioneers in a state of excitement as to whether the country on the south side of the Kentucky river was a part of the territory of Kentucky or Virginia. At the suggestion of Clark a meeting was called for considering the subject and devising the best means of remedying the perplexed state of affairs. The meeting was duly held and a paper prepared setting forth their grierances, and Clark and Gabriel Jones were appointed to lay it