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al legal research and acumen, that the public lands within the limits of Illinois belonged already to the State. He showed that the articles of confederation not only affirmed the right of every State to all the lands within its limits, but expressly declared that “no State shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States." He argued that the United States, by the terms of the constitution, could not acquire or hold any land, in any original State, even with its own consent, except what may be necessary "for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock yards, and other needful buildings;" that as this State had been admitted on an equal footing with the original States, the United States could hold no more land than for these purposes within its limits, and for anything more the general government had to obtain the consent of the legislature of the State ;" that till the admission of the State into the Union, it had no rights as a State under the constitution, and consequently no competency to act in that character; it was like a minor, not within the age of consent; that the State could not therefore be bound by the acts of the territory, in consenting for the United States to hold lands within her limits; that if the federal government enjoyed this privilege of dominion over the public lands during “its political minority, it ceased on the admission of the State into the Union, having thence forward the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence as the other States; that the sovereignty of a State includes the right to exercise supreme and exclusive control over all lands within it; that the freedom of a State is the right to do whatever may be done by any nation, and includes the right to dispose of all the public lands within its limits, according to its own will and pleasure; that the independence of a State includes an exemption from all control by any other State or nation over its will or action, within its own territory. The governor seems to have been deeply in earnest.
Beyond this broad claim it was impossible for the legislature to go. They did therefore the next best thing, which was, to divide the credit and honors of the grand discovery with his excellency. The committee who had considered the subject, reported: That from a careful examination of the governor's arguinent and aided by the best lights they could get, they believed the position assumed in the message to be correct. They close recommending the adoption of resolutions by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Illinois; that this State possesses the exclusive sovereignty over all lands within its limits; that the United States possesses no right of jurisdiction over any lands within the limits of Illinois; that the United States cannot hold any right of soil within the limits of the State but for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards and other needful buildings, and that this State possesses the right of soil of all the public lands within its limits. The resolutions were passed, and it was further provided, that they be signed by the speakers of both houses and copies thereof sent to our senators and representatives in congress, with instructions to lay them before that body. Copies were also to be transmitted to the governors of the several States of the Union. “Having thus laid a broad foundation to enrich the State with the public lands, the members returned to
their constituents swelling with importance and high expectations of future favor. But the people were not such big fools as was thought, for many laughed at their representatives in very scorn of their pretensions."* The splendid bantling fell still-born upon the public, and nothing more was heard of it afterward.
Advance of the Settlements-Note: Galena, its Early History; Origin
of the term "Sucker;" Douglas Humorous Account of it-Trials and Troubles of Pioneers in New Counties-- European ColoniesFinancial Condition of the State-Trade and Commerce-Early Mail Routes, Newspapers, and Literati—Politics of the PeopleMilitia System.
The population of the State in 1830 was 157,447, having nearly trebled itself during the preceding decade. There were at this time 56 couuties organized, but those in the northern portion of the State were mere skeletons and unwieldly in size. A third of the State, or more, lying between Galena and Chicago, extending southward to the Kaskaskia, the headwaters of the Vermilion, along the Rock River and far down into the military tract, constituting at present the most densely settled and best improved portions, was a trackless prairie waste, overrun by the Sac and Fox, Winnebago, and Potawattomie Indians. Much of the interior of the soutli part, and the country bordering the Embarrass, the Sangamon and their tributaries, had ceased to be a wilderness. Into the country of the Sangamon immigration had for some time thronged. Along the Illinois to Chicago, then just beginning to attract attention, there were scattered a few settlements long distances apart. For some years after, the settlers, either in clusters or separately, continued to hug the outskirts of the timber bordering the rivers and creeks, or the edge of groves, scarcely any venturing out on the open prairies. Along the Mississippi, settlements were scattered at distant intervals, culminating at the lead mines on Fever river, where had gathered a heterogenous population from many parts of the world, numbering about 1,000 souls, nine-tenths being men engaged in mining.*
*In 1804, Governor Harrison bought from the Sac and Fox tribes a tract of land at the mouth of the Fever river (Mecapiasipo) 15 miles square. Lead had been mined for many years on the Iowa side and was known to exist on the Illinois side. The first white settler at the mines on Fever river, was a Frenchman named Boutilier, in 1819. Shortly after, Jesse Shull, a trader, occupied an island there in the river, and being informed that the Indians had discovered lead near where Galena now stands, moved thither. This proved to be the noted "buck lead.'' A. P. Van Metre soon joined, and "all took to themselves wives of the daughters of the land, and were traders for their brethren." Later, Dr Samuel Mure also married to a squaw, and was associate of the well known Indian trader, Davenport, of Rock Island, located there. He gave to Galenu its name (from the Greek, Galanas, a species of lead ore). In 1820, Colonel J. Johnson, authorized by the war department, arrived
and assumed almost exclusive
control of the mining. He was followed by a few others the same year, and more in 1834. Float or gravel mineral was extensively sown, some prospects sold, and thus by fraud, parties went further out, and some splendid • leads" were discovered. In 1825, the 15 mile
boundary was overleaped, and the country of the Winnebagos first trenched upon. The “Shullsburg," “ East Fork" and "New Diggings" were found On occasion of a pleasant entertainment at Petersburg, Virginia, Judge Douglas gave the following humorous account of the origin of the term "Suckers" as applied to Nlinoisans; the account is valuable further, and confers a proud distinction upon Illinois, in that it clears up all doubt regarding the discovery of that important and inspiring beverage called “mint julep," a momentous
As there was doubtless much sameness in the early settlement of new counties, particularly in the central and northern portions of the State, the details of which would probably prove both dull and unprofitable to the general reader; and as such early data have, except in a few cases, generally been so unconspicuous as to cause them not to be preserved, and are now either lost or become traditional, we subjoin the following account by Nathan Dillon, picturing the condition of two counties after their first organization, which gives perhaps the fair average experience of many an old settler,and conveys to us their trials, privations and difficulties:
“As early as 1821, a few log cabins were already built in Sangamon county, which at that date embraced all the northern part of the State.
and developed, and the number of miners had increased to 1600. In 1826, a one horse mail was established from Vandalia to Galena, once every 2 weeks.
In 184, the government first surveye the town, permitting parties to occupy and improve lots, on condition that they vacate them on 30 days notice. This was all the title any occupant had up to 1838. The next neighbors of the Galenians, south, were the Peorians: and between the two places lay a vast wilderness of uninhabited territory. In 183, Mr. Kellog started his trail” from Peoria to Galena, Crossing Rock river a few miles above the present Dixon, thence by the West Grove to Galena. The Winnebagos assisted in ferrying Rock river. Two canoes placed side by side formed the ferry boat, the wheels of one side of a wagon in one, and those of the opposite in the other canoe. The bores swam. The next year, "Bolles Trail" was established. The river was ferried at Dixon, where the Illinois Central railroad bridge now crosses. This was more direct, and became shortly the main route of travel to the lead mines. In the spring of 1827, the travel was so great that in a very few days 200 teams passed at this point. There were also other "trails' farther to the west. The “Lewiston trail” crossed Rock river a little above Propbetstown, Whiteside county. (From the History of Ogle county :) The low cognomen of sucker," as applied to Illinoisans, is said to have had its origin at the lead mines. Says George Brunk, of Sangamon : Late in the fall of 1826, I was stan ing on the levee of what is now Galena, watching a number of our Illinois boys go on board of a steamboat bound down the river, when a man from Missouri stepped up and asked-"Boys, where are you going ?" The answer was, "home." "Well,'' he replied, “you put me in mind of suckers; up in the spring, spawn, and all return in the fall." The appellation stuck to the Illinoisans ; and when Judge Sawyer came up to the mines on his circuit duty, he was styled "King of the Suckers." Those who stayed over winter, mostly from Wisconsin, wore called Badgers. The following spring the Misou. rians poured into the mining region in such numbers that the State was said to have taken a puke, and the offensive appellation of " Pukes" was thenceforward applied to all Missourians. But the following is a more tasteful origin of the appellation of Sucker":
question heretofore covered with obscurity and beset with many doubts, but now in the light of these facts, happily placed at rest. It is not improbable that a glass of the animating beverage served to quicken the memory of the honorable senator on the occasion.
:: About the year 1777, George Rogers Clark applied to the governor of Virginia, and sug, gested to him that as peace might be declared at any time between Great Britain and the col. onies, it would be well for us to be in possession of the north west territory, so that when the commissioners came to negotiato a treaty, we might act on the well known principle of uti posidetis, each party holding all they had in possession. He suggested to the governor to per. mit him to go out to the northwest, conquer the country, and hold it until the treaty of prace, when we would become possessed of it. The governor consented and sent him across the mountains to Pittsburgh. From there he and his companions floated down the Ohio on rafts to the falls, where Louisville now is. After remaining there a short time, they again took to their rafts and floated down to the salines, just below the present Shawneetown in Illinois. Here they took up their march across the country to Kaskaskia, where the French had an old settlement, and by the aid of a guide they reached the Oquaw river, and encamped near Peter Menard's house, some little distance from the town. You see, I am well acquainted with the locality. (Laughter.) Next morning, Clark got his little army of ragamuffins together (for they had no army wagons with supplies, no outler, and no stores, and by this time looked tagged enough), and took up his line of march for the little French town of Kaskaskia. It Was summer and a very hot day, and as he entered the town he saw the Frenchmen sitting quietly on their little verandahs, in front of their houses, sucking their juleps through straws. He ruished npon them, crying, "surrender, you suckers, you !" (Great laughter.] The Frenchmen surrendered, and from that day to this, Illinoisans have been known as "Suckers." (Applause.)
That was the origin of our cognomen, and when George Rogers Clarke returned to Vir. ginia he introduced the juleps here. (Laughter.) Now, I want to give Virginians fair notice, that when they claim the honor of a Jefferson, of a Madison, of a Marshall
, and of as many other distinguished sages and patriots as the world ever saw, we yield; when you claim the glurç you achieved on the field of battle, we yield; when you claim credit for the cessiou of the borth western territory, that out of it sovereign States might be created, we yield; when you claim the glory of never having polled
a vote against the Democratic party, we yield; but wheu you claim the glory of the mint julep, hands off'; Illinois wants that. (Shouts of laughter and applause.)III. Reg. Sept. 19, 1860.
The cabins were filled to overflowing with the families, the pioneers of the county, my family being among the number.. I was present at the election, August 1822, held at Springfield (the election precinct extending many miles east and west, and north to the State line), and saw all the voters who could come to vote in that wide scope of uninhabited country. Most of the voters residing in the precinct attended the election, though many of them had miles of wild country to travel in order to do so.
The voters were mostly immigrants from the east and south, though a large portion of the men present were Indians and darkies, they of course not being allowed the right of suffrage. The voting portion of the community were then called the Yankees and white men. Three men named Kinney, Parkinson, and Edwards, had a long bench ranged along side of the court house, on which they set their liquors. The polls were held in the interior. We all got plenty to drink. "The white men sang songs, the Indians and darkeys danced, and a general frolic occurred; but what has surprised me as I have reflected upon these early days, we had no fighting. The great evil was, that every candidate had to fill' his portmanteau with whiskey, and go around and see and treat every voter and his wife and family with the poisonous stuff, or stand a chance of being defeated. John Reynolds was our circuit judge. He held his court at Springfield, in a cabin built of round logs, the walls of which were only 6 feet high; it was also destitute of a floor; yet we continued to get along very well. The jury had to retire to the jail, another such building as I have described. Such is the outline of those happy days.
In the winter of 1823, I emigrated to what is now called Dillon settlement, in this county, 10 miles from Pekin, and 17 from Peoria, where I spent the season in quietude; my nearest neighbors living in Peoria, except one by the name of Avery, who had raised his cabin at Funk's hill. But things did not remain in this condition long; for during the same winter the legislature made a new county, with Peoria for the county seat, embracing all the country north of Sangamon county. Phelps, Stephen French and myself were appointed justices of the peace for the new county, which extended east as far as Bloomington, and north and west to the State line. We sent our summonses to Chicago and Galena, and they were promptly returned by vur constable.
March, 1824, we held an election at Avery's, Wm. Holland, Joseph Smith and myself were elected county commissioners. The whole county was embraced in one election district. The number of votes polled was 20; had some whiskey on the occasion, but it was well tempered, having been imported a long way by water; and we did not succeed in getting on as great a spree as we did at Springfield.
In those days when we could not get the store room of Hamlin or Allen, or the dwelling house of John Dixon, we held our courts on the river bank; not being as wealthy or strong handed as in Sangamon, we had to do without a court house ; Judge Sawyer was our circuit judge, and it was some time before we could scare up a jury. At that date there was not a cabin on the site of the city of Pekin, and
perogues were the only crafts we had to freight our whiskey, salt, and iron from the State to Peoria.
Now let me tell you how we got along about mills. There were 3 or 4 horse mills in Sangamon, at 40 or 45 miles distance. Sometimes we went to them; sometimes to Southwick's, situated at a distance of 60 miles; we did not mind the journey much, unless the streams were swollen with rains, in which case the task of going to mill was severe, as there were no bridges and ferries in those days. By and by, to remedy our wants, Samuel Tutter erected a small horse mill in the neighborhood of Peoria; and a few years after, William Eds put up one at Elm Grove; a public improvement which made us feel quite rich. In those early times, we only took corn to mill, paying one-sixth and one bit per bushel, for grinding. The meal obtained was of an inferior quality when compared with what we now have. Our millers were good, honest fellows, and the somewhat heavy tariffs they laid on their customers not at all wrong, for their income was small.