A Gazetteer of the States of Illinois and Missouri
by Lewis C. Beck, A.M.
Albany: Printed by Charles R. and George Webster; 1823.
Topographical View of the Towns, Villages, Rivers, Creeks, &c. &c. in the State of Illinois.
M - Z
Magopin creek, see Ma-qua-pin.
Mah-waw-kee-ta, see Bear creek.
Ma-qua-pin creek, a small stream, running a westerly course through Greene County, and emptying into the Illinois on the left side,twenty-six miles above its junction with the Mississippi. It received its name from certain roots, so called, found on the banks, which if eaten raw, are rank poison; but boiled for five or six days or longer, lose their noxious qualities. The country on the banks of this stream is fertile, and rapidly increasing in population. The creek is 25 yards wide at its mouth, which is in section 24, of township 8 north, in range 14, west of the 3d principal meridian, and is boatable for a short distance. Iron ore has been found on the head waters.
Marais Casu, an inconsiderable stream in the northern part of the state. It runs a westerly course, and empties into the Mississippi, 20 miles above the mouth of Rock river, nearly opposite the mouth of Swan river, at which place is an Indian village.
Marais de Proulx, a considerable stream, running a southeasterly course through the northern part of the state, and emptying into the Illinois on the right side, near the northeastern boundary of the military tract. In wet seasons, there is a communication formed between this stream and Rock river, which is navigable for boats of considerable barthen.
Marine settlement, a very flourishing settlement of Madison county. It is situated on a beautiful prairie, near a branch of Silver creek, in township 4 north, in range 6, west of the third principal meridian. The settlement was commenced in 1819, by Capts. Blakeman and Allen, and is now one of the most flourishing in the state, it is healthy and well watered; the lands are gently undulating, and the soil very fertile. (See a report of the Illinois agricultural society, in the description of Madison county.) Marine settlement is about 12 miles east of Edwardsville, on the mail route between St. Louis and Vandalia.
Mary's river, a stream of Randolph county, running in a southwest direction about 20 or 30 miles, and emptying into the Mississippi, 85 miles above the mouth of the Ohio, and six below the Kaskaskia, in township 7 south, in range 6, west of the 3d principal meridian. It has several tributaries.
Mascontin river, a stream of the northern part of the state, running in an eastern course, and emptying into the Wabash on the west side between Vincennes and Fort Harrison.
Mauvaise Terre creek, (called by traders, Negro Creek.) a beautiful stream of Greene county, running a west course, and emptying into the Illinois on the left side, 80 miles above its Junction with the Mississippi, and three miles below Mckee's creek, opposite section 3 of township 4 south, in range 2, west of the 4th principal meridian. At present, it is only navigable for a short distance, owing to the quantity of timber with which it is obstructed. The banks of this stream are generally fertile. About 20 miles above its mouth, is Diamond Grove, which has already become a considerable settlement. There is also another within a mile of the Illinois. The beautiful prairie which is called the Mauvaise terre extends for some distance on both sides of the creek. It is several feet above high water mark, and has been considered an eligible situation for a town. The only objection to it is the ponds under the bluff. The French, who first visited this country, supposed from its appearance, that the soil was poor, and as this was uncommon on this river, they gave it, as they thought, an appropriate name. The Americans generally call it "Yellow Banks." The soil is fertile, and this prairie and the surrounding country, in every other respect, is desirable for settlers. Nothing can exceed its beautiful appearance in the spring.
Meahkaninon, a creek of Bond county, emptying into the Kaskaskia river, on the right side above Fort River.
Melwakee river, runs in a northern direction through the northeastern part of the state, and empties into Lake Michigan, in lat. 43° N. Father Hennepin calls it Melleoki, and observes that Maskontins and Outtonagamies resided on its banks.
McDonald's creek, a small stream in the southern part of Pike county. It heads in township 8 south, in range 6, west of the fourth principal meridian, and running in a southerly direction, empties into Chenail Ecarte, in section 29, of township 4 south, in range, 7 west of the fourth principal meridian. The lands at the mouth of this stream are reported, by the surveyors, as first rate.
McDonald creek, a small stream of Clark county, rises in the state of Indiana, and running an east-northeast course, empties into Canawaga or Iroquois river. It crosses the eastern boundary line of Illinois, 130 miles north of Vincennes. The lands on the banks of this stream are high and undulating.
McKee's creek, a considerable stream of Pike county. It rises in township 1 south, in range 7, west of the fourth principal meridian, and running an east and southeast course, empties into the Illinois river, ninety miles above its junction with the Mississippi, in section 26, of township 3 south, in range 2 west, of the fourth principal meridian. It is about 30 miles in length, and the lands bordering on it are generally of the first quality.
Michillimacinac river, see Little Michillimacinac.
Military Bounty Tract. Having given a general description of the lands in this tract under the head of Pike county.
Milton, a town in Madison counly, situated on Wood river, three miles from its mouth, and one and a half southeast of Alton. It contains 3O or 40 houses; but a large mil1-pond in the centre of the town has rendered it unhealthy, and prevented its increase. In the vicinity are a number of mills aud distilleries.
Mill creek, a small stream, running a southwest course through the southwestern part of Pike county, and emptying into the Mississippi in section 12 of township 3 south, in range 9, west of the fourth principal meridian. Its banks are low, and abound with ponds.
Monk mound, situated on the American bottom, eight miles north-northeast from St. Louis. Its shape is that of a parallelogram, extending from north to south. On the south side there is a broad apron or step, about half way down; and from this another projection into the plain, about 15 feet wide, which was probably intended as an ascent to the mound. The circumference of the base of the mound is about 600 yards, and its height about 90 feet. The step or apron was formerly used as a kitchen garden by the monks of La Trappe settled near this, and the top was sowed with wheat. Nearly west is another mound of smaller size, and thirty others are scattered through the plain. Two also are seen on the b1uffs, three miles distant. Several of them are of a conical form. There are also a great number of small elevations of earth, which rise to the height of a few feet, at regular distances from each other, and which appear to observe some order. Near them are found pieces of flint, and fragments of earthen vessels, and frequently human bones. The mound received its name from having been for some time the residence of the monks of La Trappe. "This monastery was formerly situated in the province of Perche in France, in one of the most solitary spots that could be chosen. It was founded in 1140, by Botrou, count of Perche. This monastery had fallen into decay, and its discipline much relaxed, when reformed by the Abbe Rance in 1664. Rance had met with some misfortune which is rendered life hateful to him - some assert the sudden death of Madame Montbazon, whose favourite lover he had been. He had been a man of fashion, and possessed of some pretensions to literature; he is said to have translated the poems of Anacreon. Into this monastery, whither he came, he commenced a reform of the most savage austerity. The vow was perpetual silence; the miserable Trappist denied himself during his existence, every comfort of life. He laid himself on a stone, and was frequently called in the dead of night to his devotions. His food was bread and water, and this but once in 24 hours. Each day he was to remove from his intended grave one spadeful of earth, in order to keep ever present to his mind that he must soon cease to be of this world." (Breckenridge); Some years since, a few of these miserable beings came to the United States, and having stopped a short time in Kentucky, removed to Florissant near St. Louis, and from thence to the place above described. By their industry, they here raised a sufficiency for their own support. Their number gradually increased, and at one time amounted to eighty, including boys. Upon the accession of Louis 18th to the throne of France, they returned to their native country. Nothing now remains, except the ruins of their former habitations.
Monroe, a town in Pike county, laid out in 1820. It is situated on the first high ground above the junction of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers on the borders of a prairie about one mile in width, and within half a mile of a good steam boat landing. In the vicinity, are several good stone quarries, good timber, and many fine springs of water. Within half a mile of the town is a good mill seat. From the town to the river, there is a gradual descent. The situation of this p1ace, near the confluence of three of the largest streams in the western country, must secure to it important commercial advantages. Monroe is situated in section 25, of township 12 south, in range 2, west of the fourth principal meridian, 30 miles northwest of St. Louis, and 10 from St. Charles.
Mound Prairie, is situated in Madison county, ten miles southeast of the junction of the Illinois with the Mississippi and contains a flourishing settlement. The prairie is from four to six miles in length, surrounded by a thick growth of timber. The soil is of the best quality, and the surface is undulating, presenting the most eligible situation to the agriculturalist.
Mount Carmel, a post town in Edwards county, situated on the west side of the Wabash, nearly opposite the mouth of White river, in section 20, of township 1 south, in range 12, west of the 2d principal meridian.
Mount Joliet, a mound situated on the west bank of Riviere des Plaines, about 16 or 18 miles above its junction with the Kankakee. It is 3 or 400 yards in length, north and south, and 2 or 300 in breadth, east and west. It is in the form of a pyramid, and is evidently the work of art. From the river, it appears nearly square. The companions of Joliet, who visited this country in 1673, gave it this name. It is about 150 miles above Fort Clark.
Mount Vernon, a post town, and the county seat of Jefferson, situated in section 29, of township 2 south, in range 3 east of the third principal meridian. It is in latitude 38° 20' north, 40 miles south-southeast from Vandalia.
Mowawequa creek, (southfork of Sangamo,) a small stream running a northwesterly course, and emptying into the Sangamo river on the left side, a short distance above Brush creek. - On an east fork of this stream, is a rock five feet in height, and twenty-four in circumfrence, to which the natives pay homage, by depositing on it some tobacco or paint.
Mud creek, a small stream running, a northwesterly course through the counties of Washington and St. Clair, and emptying into the Kaskaskia on the left side, 40 miles above its mouth, in township 2 south, in range 6, west of the third principal meridian.
Muddy saline, situated on the Muddy river near Brownsville, the county seat of Jackson. It is owned, and has been leased by the state to different individuals.
Otter creek, a small but beautiful stream of Greene county, running in a westerly direction, and emptying into the Illinois about 18 miles above its junction with the Mississippi, in section 6, of township 7 north, in range 13, west of the third principal meridian opposite section 23, of township 11 south, in range 2, west of the 4th principal meridian.
Otter creek, a stream of Pike county, rises in township 4 north, in range 1, east of the 4th principal meridian and running a southeast course, empties into the Illinois, 130 miles above its mouth, in section 22, of township 3 north, in rauge 3, east of the fourth principal meridian. In high water it is navigable for a short distance, but is much obstructed with drift wood. On the banks of this stream, are several advantageous situations for settlement. There is a mill seat about 10 miles from its mouth. The lands in this vicinity are first rate, and contain a sufficient quantity of timber for the supply of a saw-mill. Lumber might be sent down the Illinois to St. Louis, where it generally commands a good price. Coal is found in abundance on the banks of this stream.
Ovid, a town in Jackson county, laid out in 1820. It is situated eight miles east of the Mississippi river, near the line which divides Jackson and Union counties. The main road leading from America and Golconda through Jonesborough and Brownsville, to Kaskaskia and St. Louis, passes through this place. It is 15 miles south of Brownsville, and about the same distance nearly north of Jonesborough. The lands in the vicinity, are of a very good quality, and mill seats are numerous within a few miles of the place.
Palestine, a post town, and the county seat of Crawford, situated three miles west of the Wabash river, in sections 33 and 34 of township 7 north, in range 11, west of the second principal meridian, 25 miles north of Vincennes. Here is the register’s and receiver’s office for the land district of Palestine. This town is in latitude 38° north, 82 miles nearly due east from Vandalia.
Palmyra, a post town, and formerly the county seat of Edwards. It is situated on the west side of the Wabash, in section 31, of township 1 south, in range 12, west of the 2d principal meridian, 20 miles southwest of Vincennes. It is considered very unhealthy, and on this account the county seat was removed to Albion.
Peoria, a small settlement in Pike county, situated on the west bank of the Illinois river, about 200 miles above its junction with the Mississippi. "The old village of Peoria was situated about one mile and a half above the lower extremity or outlet of the Peoria lake. This village had been inhabited by the French previous to the recollection of any of the present generation. About the year 1778 or 1779, the first house was built in what was then called La Ville de Maillet, afterwards the new village of Peoria, and which has recently been known by the name of Fort Clark, situated about one mile and a half below the old village, immediately at the lower point or outlet of the lake. The situation being preferred in consequence of the water being better, and its being thought more healthy, the inhabitants gradually deserted the old village, and by the year 1796 or 1797, had entirely abandoned it, and removed to the new village. The inhabitants of Peoria consisted generally of Indian traders, hunters and voyageurs, and had long formed a link of connection between the French residing on the waters of the great lakes, and the Mississippi river. From that happy facility of adapting themselves to their situation and associates, for which the French are so remarkable, the inhabitants of Peoria lived generally in harmony with their savage neighbours. It appears, however, that about the year 1781, they were induced to abandon the village, from the apprehension of Indian hostility; but soon after the peace of 1783, they again returned, and continued to reside there until the autumn of 1812, when they were forcibly removed from it, and the place destroyed by a Captain Craig, of the Illinois militia, on the ground, as it was said, that his company of militia were fired on in the night, while at anchor in their boats before the village, by Indians, with whom the inhabitants were suspected by Craig to be too intimate and friendly."* (*See a report to the Secetary of the Treasury, in conformity with the provisions of the act of 1_th May, 1820?, for the relief of the inhabitants of the village of Peoria in the state of Illinois, by Edward Coles, Esq. formerly register of the land-office at Edwardsville, and now governor of the state of Illinois.) The poor inhabitants, being thus deprived of shelter, fled for refuge to the different villages on the Mississippi. In September, 1813, General Howard marched, with about 1400 men, from Portage des Sioux, for Peoria. The regulars, who manned the boats, arrived, and commenced building a block—house, which they named Fort Clark, in honour of Gen. George Rogers Clark. General Howard, with his mounted rangers, ascended the Mississippi as high as Two Rivers, and then crossed over to the Illinois. By this judicious plan, the whole frontier was swept of the enemy, who was continually harassing them. On the 29th of September, the general arrived at Fort Clark. The Indians had attacked it two days before; but Lieut. Col. Nicholas, who commanded, gave them so warm a reception that they soon retired. It was concluded that they had gone to Gomo’s town, about thirty miles distant. The general immediately made arrangements, and marched the next morning to attack it. When he arrived, he found the enemy had taken water and ascended the Illinois. He burnt the village, and two others, and remained in the vicinity for two nights. He then marched back to Peoria, to assist the regu1ars in building Fort Clark, which had been commenced and christened previous to his arrival. With considerable labour, they cut and hauled the necessary timber across the lake, and the fort was in a complete state of defence in twelve days. While they were engaged about the fort, Majors Christy and Boone were detached on separate commands. Maj. C. was ordered to ascend the river, in two armed boats, to the foot of the rapids, (about 80 miles) to ascertain if the Indians had embodied, or formed any new establishments in that quarter. Maj. Boone was sent over in the direction of Rock river, to collect every necessary information concerning their traces, &c. Both these officers returned in five or six days, and reported that the enemy had fled at all points. Soon after this the weather became cold, and as no provision had been made for a winter campaign. Gen. Howard determined on returning; and accordingly took up his line of march on the 15th of October, leaving a small garrison in the fort. About the termination of the war, Fort Clark was abandoned by the Americans and a short time afterwards, it was burnt by the Indians, as they assert, through the instigation of the traders. A settlement has been recommenced near its ruins. The situation of this place is beautiful beyond description. From the mouth of the Kickapoo or Redbud creek, which empties into the Illinois two miles below the old fort, the alluvion is a prairie, which stretches itself along the river in a northwesterly direction three or four miles. The shore is chiefly made up of rounded pebbles, and is filled with springs of the finest water. The first bank, which is from six to twelve feet above high water mark, extends west about a quarter of a mile from the river, gradually ascending; when it rises five or six feet to the second bank. This extends nearly on a level to the bluffs, which are from 60 to 100 feet in height. These bluffs consist of rounded pebbles overlaying strata of limestone and sandstone, rounded at the top, and corresponding in their course with the meanders of the river and lake. The ascent, although steep, is not perpendicular. On the bluffs the surface again becomes level, and is beautifully interspersed with prairie and woodland. From the b1uffs the prospect is uncommonly fine. Looking towards the east, you first behold an extensive prairie, which in spring and summer is covered with grass, with whose green the brilliant hues of a thousand flowers form the most lively contrast. Beyond this, the lake, clear and calm, may be seen emptying itself into, or by its contraction forming the river, whose meanders, only hid from the view by the beautiful groves of timber which here and there arise, can be traced to the utmost extent of vision. From the preceding description, it may be inferred that this section of country is not very rich in minerals. Coal, however, is abundant on the banks of Kickapoo creek, about one mile above its mouth. It was first discovered by the soldiers stationed at the fort, and being of a good quality, was used by them for fuel. It is found 12 or 14 feet below the surface; is over—laid by slate, limestone and sandstone, and contains vegetabLe remains. Steatite is found on the banks of Lake Peoria, a few miles above the fort, and is wrought by the natives in to pipes and other utensils. It is of a dark gteen colour, and hardens on exposure. It is probable that copper exists in this vicinity; for a grant made by the king of France to M. Renault, at the old villaqe of Peoria, embraces a copper mine. The Indians frequently exhibit specimens of copper to the traders, but are willing to give their loyalty. Those which I have seen are native, in the form of rounded malleable masses.* (*I visited Fort Clark in 1820, and obtained a specimen of native copper found in its vicinity. It weighs about two pounds, and is similar to that found on Lake Superior, of which the following description was given at the mint of Utrecht in the Netherlands, at the request of Dr. Eustis: "From every appearance, the piece of copper seems to have been taken from a mass that has undergone fusion. The melting was, however, not an operation of art, but a natural effect caused by a volcanic eruption. The stream of lava probably carried along in its course the aforesaid body of copper, that had formed into one collection, as fast as it was heated enough to run, from all parts of the mine. The united mass was probably borne in this manner to the place where it now rests in the soil." Phillips' Mineralogy, Amer. Ed., p. 191 note.) They are said to have been found on the surface of the earth, and therefore afford no evidence of a vein of the ore in the vicinity, any more than the masses of granite which are found every where on the prairie, of the existence of a primary formation in their immediate vicinity. The climate of this place is much influenced by its peculiar situation. There is generally a fine current of air sweeping through the valley of the river, either from the north or south. - South winds, which are by far the most common, are generally pleasant. Winds from the north and northwest, generally bring cold weather, and those from the east and northeast, are presages of storms. The diseases which prevail here, are such as are found in all newly settled countries. A few cases of intermittent and remittent fever have occurred, occasioned, probably, by heat succeeding to heavy rains, which inundated the alluvion on the opposite side of the river. The country in the vicinity of Fort Clark, presents many inducements to emigrants. On the west side, the valleys of the Illinois and Spoon rivers, and the tract of country forming the table land between them, are celebrated for their beauty and fertility, and are calculated to support a very dense population. - On the east side, directly on the bank of the river, is a large growth of timber, consisting principally of oak, hicory, walnut, pecan, maple, &c. which extends east about half a mile. Proceeding still farther east, we reach a prairie, upon which is the Bachelor’s Run settlement. The soil here is a rich loam, about 10 or 12 feet deep, and of such a nature, that it requires very little labor to prepare it for the reception of seed. In a southeasterly direction from this, you reach the Sangamo country, which has already been described.
Peoria, a town of Pike county, laid out in the spring of 1820, on section 8, of township 8 north, in range 8, east of the fourth principal meridian, about half a mile south of the ruins of Fort Clark. No improvement has as yet been made, but from its local advantages, and the fertility of the surrounding country, there is no doubt but it will become a place of the first consequence.
Peoria lake, see Illinois lake.
Perryville, a post town in Fayette county, situated on the west bank of the Hurricane fork of the Kaskaskia river, in sections 5 and 6, of township 4 north, in range 1, west of the third principal meridian. It was formerly the county seat of Bond, but upon the erection of the new county of Fayette, Greenville was substituted. Commissioners were appointed to assess the damage done to Perryville, in consequence of the removal. It is a very trifling place, containing only about 12 or 15 houses.
Pickamink river, see Canawaga.
Plumb creek, a small stream of Randolph county, rises in township 4 south, in range 5, west of the 3d principal meridian, and running in a southwest direction ten or twelve miles, empties into the Kaskaskia river on the left side, a short distance above Horse creek.
Pope's river, a considerable stream in the northern part of Pike county. It rises in township 14 north, in range 1, west of the 4th principal meridian, and running in a westerly direction about 30 miles, empties into the Mississippi on the left side, in section 34, of township 13 north, in range 5, west of the 4th principal meridian. A great proportion of the land on this stream is prairie.
Portage creek, a small stream in the northern part of the state. It rises about seven miles east of Lake Michigan, runs in a southerly direction, and empties into the Riviere des Plaines, on the left side, twelve miles west of Chicago.
Portland, a town in Randolph county, laid out in 1819, on sections 23 and 14, in township 7 south, in range 7 west of the 3d principal meridian, being on the east bank of the Kaskaskia river, at its junction with the Mississippi. This is perhaps the best town site on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Ohio to Alton. The situation is high and healthy. It is supplied with a number of fine springs, and the vicinity furnishes building materials and fuel in great abundance. The shore at this place is bold and rocky, and the mouth of the Kaskaskia furnishes what is very rare on the Mississippi - a good harbor for boats at all seasons of the year. The first building was erected here in the spring of 1820, and there is now in operation an ox, saw and grist mill, which are not only useful to the inhabitants, but profitable to the enterprising proprietor. This place also contains a number of good mechanics of different kinds. A large ware house has also been erected here. From the ease with which produce can be shipped to this place, and the constant intercourse which may be had between it and New Orleans, it bids fair to become the principal depot of the country, watered by the Kaskaskia and its tributaries.
Prairie du Long creek, a trifling stream of St. Clair county. It runs in a southeast direction, unites with Richland creek, and empties into the Kaskaskia, in section 30, of township 3 south, in range 7, west of the 3d principal meridian.
Prairie du Pont, a small village in St. Clair county, one mile south of Cahokia. It contains a few houses, which are generally in a state of decay. The inhabitants are chiefly French. Like the other French villages, it has a common field in the vicinity. This place was settled about the same time with Cahokia.
Prairie du Pont creek, a small stream of St. Clair county, rises in a pond under the bluff of the American bottom, and running a devious course south and west, empties into the Mississippi, two miles below Cahokia.
Prairie du Rocher, an incorporated post village in Randolph county, on the American bottom, near the rocky bluff, from whence it derives its name, twelve miles northwest of Kaskaskia. It was settled by the French about the same time with the other villages on the Mississippi. Its situation is low and unhealthy, and during wet seasons is very disagreeable. The houses are generally built in the French style, and the inhabitants are, with few exceptions, poor and illiterate. The streets ale very narrow and dirty. Here is a Roman Catholic chapel, which is its only public building. In the vicinity, is an extensive common, which is attached to the village, and is under the controul of the trustees. Prairie du Rocher, in 1766, contained 14 families; at present, between 30 and 40. It is about three miles east of the Mississippi, and 50 miles south of St. Louis. Few Americans have as yet disturbed the repose of the ancient inhabitants of this place, nor is it probable they ever will, as it possesses no advantages, and is withal very unhealthy.
Rainy river, a small stream, runs a west course, and empties into the Illinois river on the left side, near the head of Lake Peoria.
Red bud creek, see Kickapoo creek.
Rejoicing creek, heads in the northeastern part of the state, and running in a southeasterly direction, empties into the Wabash, between Fort Harrison and Tippecanoe rivers, in the state of Indiana. At its mouth it is about 100 yards in width.
Richland creek, a small stream, emptying into the Sangamo river, below the south fork. Its course is about north. The country on the banks of this stream is very fertile, and is settling rapidly.
Richland creek, an inconsiderable stream of St. Clair county, runs in a southerly direction, and after uniting with Prairie du Long creek, in section 22, of township 3 south, in range 8, west of the third principal meridian, empties into the Kaskaskia river on the right side. Iron ore of a good quality has been found on the banks of this stream.
Ridge prairie, so called from the appearance of its surface. It is several miles in extent, and is bounded on all sides by fine timber. Such is the fertility of its soil, and the pleasantness of its situation that it already contains a flourishing settlement. It is situated in Madison county.
Ripley, a town in Bond county, situated on Shoal creek, a branch of the Kaskaskia river, 33 miles east of the Mississippi, in section 9 of township 5 north, in range 4, west of the third principal meridian. This place possesses few advantages, and it is not probable that it will ever become of much importance. Scarcely any improvement has as yet been made here, and had it not been staked off into squares and lots, it would never be noticed as a town. The land in the vicinity is generally fertile. The road from St. Louis to Vandalia passes through this place.
Riviere au Feve, see Bean river.
Riviere des Iroquois, see Canawaga.
Riviere des Plaines, a considerable stream in the northeastern part of the state. It rises in the low lands bordering in Lake Michigan, has a southern and southwestern course, and by its union with the Theakiki, forms the I11inois. The valley of the river, which is generally about one mile in width, is in the form of an inverted cone, terminated on both sides by regular banks, nearly parallel to each other. In ascending the river, the banks gradually decrease in height, and at the distance of thirty or forty miles up the river, they form right angles with the course of the river — that on the right taking an easterly, and that on the west a northwesterly course.* (*See a report made to the war office in 1819, by L. H. Long, major of topographical engineers, extracted in N. B. Van Zant's description of the Illinois territory.) - They then form an extensive curve, encircling a large tract of flat prairie. This in summer is dry, but in the spring, during high water, is a lake of about twenty miles in area. This lake communicates with both the Riviere des Plaines and Chicago rivers, by means of a canal, which has been made partly by the c urrent of the water, and partly by the French and Indians, for the purpose of getting their boats across in high water. The distance from the Riviere des Plaines at the mouth of Portage creek, to Chicago, is twelve miles; but from the head of the creek to the head of Chicago river, it is only three miles. In wet seasons, boats of considerable burthen pass from Lake Michigan to the Illinois river, with the greatest ease.+ (+The practicability of cutting? them by means of a canal, is treated of in the General View, page 18, et seq.) In the bed of the Des Plaines, about forty rods above its junction with the Theakiki, there is a fossil tree, of a very considrable size. The following description of it is given by Mr. H. R. Schoolcraft, in a memoir read before the American geological society, in 1821: "This extraordinary species of phytolites occurs, imbedded in a horizontal position, in a stratum of newer floetz sandstone, of a grey colour and close grain. There are now fifty—one feet six inches of the trunk visible. It is eighteen inches in diameter at the smallest end, which appears to have been violently broken off prior to the era of its mineralization. The root end is still overlaid by the rock and earth of the western bank of the river, and is two feet six inches in diameter at the point of disappearance; but circumstances will justify the conclusion, that its diameter at the concealed end cannot be less than three feet. The trunk is straight, simple, scabrous, without branches, and has the gradual longitudinal taper observed in the living specimen. It lies nearly at right angles to the course of the river, pointing towards the southeast, and extends about half the width of the stream. Notwithstanding the continual abrasion to which it is exposed by the volume of passing water, it has suffered little apparent diminution, and is still firmly imbedded in the rock, with the exception of two or three places where the portions of it have been disengaged and carried away; but no portion of what remains is elevated more than a few inches above the surface of the rock. It is owing, however, to these partial disturbances, that we are enabled to perceive the columnar formation of the trunk, its cortical layers, the bark by which it is enveloped, and the peculiar cross fracture, which unite to render the evidence of its ligneous origin so striking and complete. From these characters and appearances, little doubt can remain that it is referable to the species juglans nigra, a tree very common to the forests of the Illinois, as well as to most other parts of the immense region drained by the waters of the Mississippi. The woody structure is most obvious in the outer rind of the trunk, extending to the depth of two or three inches, and these appearances become less evident as we approximate the heart. Indeed, the traces of organic structure in the interior, particularly when viewed in the hand specimen, are almost totally obliterated and exchanged, the vegetable matter being replaced by a mixed substance, analogous in its external character to some of the silicated and impure calcarcous carbonats of the region. Like those carbonats, it is of a brownish grey colour and compact texture, effervesces slightly in the nitric and muriatic acids, yields a white streak under the knife, and presents solitary points or facets of crystals resembling calc spar. All parts of the tree are penetrated by pyrites of a brass yellow colour, disseminated through the most solid and stony parts of the interior, filling interstices in the outer rind, or investing its capillary pores. There are also the appearance of vents or seams between the fibres of the wood, caused by its own shrinkage, which are now filled with a carbonat of lime, of a white colour, and crystallized."
Riviere du Page, a considerable stream in the northeastern part of the state. It rises a few miles west of the Riviere des Plaines, and running a south course, empties into it six miles above its junction with the Theakiki. It is about 40 miles in length.
Riviere la Mine, see Crooked creek.
Rock river, a large stream in the northern part of the state, running in a westerly direction, and emptying into the Mississippi above the Illinois bounty tract, 300 miles above the mouth of the Illinois river. Opposite to the mouth of this river is Rock island, on which is a fort, garrisoned by a company of U. States troops. Rock river is a beautiful stream, and the lands on its banks are very fertile. It is navigable for 2 or 300 miles, and is connected by a short portage with the Melwakee river, about 100 miles above its junction with Lake Michigan. A short distance below its mouth, on the banks of the Mississippi, are several groups of mounds, some of which are very large. Near these is a large village of the Sacs and Foxes, living promiscuously together. It consists of 60 lodges, being, it is said, one of the largest and most populous Indian villages on the continent.
Saline creek, a small stream of Gallatin county, rises by two heads, the one in Franklin and the other in White county, and running a southeast course, empties into the Ohio a few miles below Shawneetown. It is navigable for boats to the Saline, which is eleven miles from its mouth.
Saline creek, a considerable branch of the Sangamo, emptying into it on the right side, after running a southwest course through a fertile tract of country, and receiving a number of tributaries.
Saline fork of Little Wabash, a small stream, running a southeast course, and emptying into the Little Wabash in White county, 25 miles above its mouth.
Salines, are so numerous in this state, that it would be impossible to give a detailed enumeration of them. They exist in almost every county, and promise to become sources of wealth to the inhabitants, and of revenue to the state. The one near Shawneetown, called the Ohio saline, is at present the most valuable (vide Gallatin county.) Near Brownsville is another of considerable value, called Muddy saline; as also on Shoal creek, in section 36 of township 6 north, in range 4, west of the third principal meridian. These are the most extensively worked. Salines have also been discovered on the main or north fork of the Sangamo — between Little Vermillion river, and Fox river of the Illinois — on the north side of the Illinois river, about nine miles above the military tract, which was once worked by the French - and in township 11 south, in range 2, west of the fourth principal meridian.
Salu, a town in Madison county, laid out in 1819. It is situated on the bluff, a mile and a half east of the Mississippi, and one mile north of Alton, in section 6 of township 5 north, in range 9, west of the third principal meridian. The road leading through the state from east to west, runs near this place, and forks so as to cross at Smetzer’s, or Fountain ferry. Ihe town is well supplied with springs, and its situation is considered healthy and advantageous.
Sandy creek, a small stream of Greene county, running a westerly course, and emptying into the Illinois above Apple creek, in section 13 of township 13 north, in range 13, west of the third principal meridian, and opposite to section 36 of township 5 south, in range 2, west of the fourth principal meridian.
Sangamo river, a large stream in the northern part of the state. It rises near the head waters of the Kaskaskia river, Vermilion of the Wabash, Woman river of the Tippecanoe, and Iroquois river of the Illinois, about 70 miles northwest of Fort Harrison, and running a northwesterly course, empties into the Illinois, about 130 miles above its mouth. It is about 130 miles in length, 70 of which are navigable. Its tributaries are Mowawequa or South fork, Brash, Sugar, Spring and Richland creeks from the south, and Salt creek, and several other smaller streams, from the north. The current of the Sangamo is brick, and the water clear. The land bordering on it and its tributaries, are uncommonly fertile; the soil being of such a nature, that immense crops are raised with very little labour. Emigration to this section of the state has been so great, that it already contains a population of several thousands. On the head waters are several salines, which must become valuable, as the demand for salt increases.
Seaton's creek, a small stream of Alexander county, running a westerly course, and emptying into the Mississippi near the southern part of township 14 south, about 35 miles above the mouth of the Ohio.
Shawneetown, a post town, and the seat of justice of Gallatin county, situated on the Ohio river, nine miles below the mouth of the Wabash, in section 6, of township 10 south, in range 10, east of the third principal meridian. The bank of the Ohio at this place has a gradual ascent, but is annually subject to inundation. On account of the peculiar situation of this town, it commands a fine view of the river for several miles above and below. It contains a bank, a printing office, from which a weekly paper is issued, a land offire for the district, and about 100 dwelling houses, a great proportion of which are built of wood. The town extends along the river about half a mile, but has rather the appearance of decline. This may be owing to the inundations of the river, and the unhealthiness which they occasion. Mr. Birkbeck, in his notes on a journey in America, remarks: "This place I account as a phenomenon, evincing the pertinacious adhesion of the human animal to the spot where it once has fixed itself. As the lava of Mount Etna cannot dislodge this strange being from the cities which have been repeatedly ravaged by its eruptions, so the Ohio, by its annual overflowings, is unable to wash away the inhabitants of Shawneetown. Once a year, for a series of successive springs, it has carried away the fences from the cleared lands, till at length they have surrendered and ceased to cultivate them. Once a year, the inhabitants make their escape to higher lands, or take refuge in their upper stories, until the waters subside, when they recover their position on this desolate sand bank." Shawneetown, is in latitude 37° 40' north, 110 miles southeast of Vandalia.
Shoal creek, a beautiful stream, running in a southerly direction through the counties of Bond and Washington, and emptying into the Kaskaskia, in section 6, of township 1 south, in range 4, west of the third principal meridian. It is formed by the union of the east and west fork, and is navigable for small craft for a considerable distance.
Silver creek, a considerable stream, running a southerly course through the counties of Madison and St. Clair, and emptying into the Kaskaskia in section 28, of township 2 south, in range 7, west of the third principal meridian. It is about 50 miles in length, and has several small branches watering the western parts of Washington and Bond counties. On these are some of the most flourishing settlements in the state.
Sma1lsburg, a hamlet, containing a mill and five or six houses, situated on the west bank of the Embarras river, five miles above its mouth, and about six miles southwest of Vincennes. - The alluvion between this place and the Wabash, is heavily timbered and subject to inundation. The water is frequently from twelve to fourteen feet in depth, so that an uninterrupted boat navigation is established through the timber, from Smallsburg to the Wabash, a distance of three miles.
Sme1tzer’s ferry, on the Mississippi, a mile above Alton.
Snicarty sloo, see Chenail ecarte.
South fork of the Sangamo, see Mowawequa.
Spoon river, a large and beautiful stream of Pike county. It rises in the northeastern part of the Illinois bounty tract, and runs a southwest and south course, until it reaches the line between townships 5 and 6 north, in range 1, east of the 4th principal meridian; it then changes to southeast, which course it continues with litle variation, until it empties into the Illinois, 150 miles above its mouth, in section 32, of township 4 north, in range 4 east of the 4th principal meridian. This stream is navigable for some distance, but it is much obstructed by rafts of timber. At its junction with the Illinois, is a large lake, which, extending north and south, is frequently the cause of embarassment to the emigrant, who is able to mistake it for the channel of the river. The mouth of Spoon river, is about 30 or 40 yards wide, and may be known by its being 8 miles below a sandy bluff on the east side of the Illilnois, on which are small mamelles. The land on this river and its tributaries, is considered the most eligible in this section of the state, being high and undulating, well watered, and handsomely diversified with prairie and timber. — Coal, of a very fine quality, is abundant on the banks of this stream, and will be valuable, on account of the scarcity of timber, particularly in the northern part of the military tract.
Spring creek, a small stream, running a northwest course, and emptying into the Sangamo river on the left side below the south fork. On its banks are a number of flourishing settlements.
Springfield, a post town, and the seat of justice of Sangamo county, laid out in 1821. It is situated on Spring creek, a branch of the Sangamo river, in township 16 north, in range 5, west of the third principal meridian. Although this place is as yet in its infancy, the circumstance of its being the centre of a fertile and thickly—settled district of country, must soon render it of considerable importance. Springfield is in latitude 39° 50’ north, 96 miles northeast of St. Louis, and 65 northwest of Vandalia.
St. Germain, a small stream, running through the northeastern part of the state, and flowing into the Wabash between Vincennes and St. Harrison. It was discovered by the French.
Stinking creek, see Beaver creek.
St. Mary, a town in Madison county, situated on the east bank of the Mississippi, at the mouth of Wood river, and nearly opposite to the mouth of the Missouri. It is 18 miles north of St. Louis, and 22 south of the junction of the Illinois with the Mississippi. Wood river, which runs through the town, affords a good harbor for boats, and has on it several valuable grist and saw mills, and distilleries. No improvement has as yet been made in this place, and it is doubtful whether it will become other than a mere settlement. The situation is in many respects unfavorable, and on this account can never rival Alton, and the other towns above. About a mile south is a ferry across the Mississippi.
St. Philip, a French village of Monroe county, now almost entirely deserted. It is situated on the American bottom, near Fort Chartres, 45 miles below Cahokia. While the French continued in possession of the territory east of the Mississippi, this was the residence of several families. Like all the other French villages, St. Philip has a large common field for the use of its inhabitants.
Sugar creek, a small stream of Fayette county, rising in the prairies, and running a southeast course about 20 miles, empties into the Kaskaskia river near the centre of township 8 north, in range 2, east of the third principal meridian. Near the mouth of this creek is a flourishing settlement. The lands on its banks are generally first rate, and handsomely diversified with prairie and timber.
Sugar creek, runs a northerly course, and empties into the Sangamo river on the left side, a short distance below the forks.
Sugar creek, a small stream, rising in township 4 north, in range 5, west of the third principal meridian, and running a southerly course through the western parts of Madison and Washington counties, empties into the Kaskaskia river, by two mouths, near the base line, in range 5, west of the third principa1 meridian. It is about 20 miles in length and waters a fertile country, which is rapidly settling. Coal is found in great abundance on the banks of this stream.
Theakiki river, a large navigable stream, rises in the northwest part of Indiana, and interlocking with the head waters of St. Joseph of the Lakes and Tippecanoe, runs a northwesterly course through the northeastern part of Illinois. After receiving Yellow river, Iroquois river, and several other tributaries, it unites with the Des Plaines, and forms the Illinois, 30 miles above the mouth of Fox river. Navigation can be effected through the Theakiki and St. Joseph of the Lakes, when it cannot through Chicago creek and the Des Plaines. Boats of ordinary size may ascend as high as British lake, at which place is a trading house, 60 miles due south of Chicago. From this lake the river loses itself in a cranberry marsh, extending 50 miles east, and rising at the big spring, near the state line between Illinois and Indiana. To this spring it is navigable, at all seasons of the year, for small boats. From this to the St. Joseph’s is a portage of nine miles across a sandy ridge. The Theakiki was discovered by the French at a very early period, and was one of the principal routes to the Illinois. Charlevoix, in his travels, gives the following account of it: - "I yesterday departed from the fort on the river St. Joseph, and sailed up that river six leagues. I went ashore in the night, and walked a league and a quarter, first along the water side, and afterwards across a field, in an immense meadow, entirely covered with copses of wood, which produce a very fine effect. It is called the meadow of the buffaloe’s head, because it is said that a head of that animal, of monstrous size, was once found there. This morning I walked a league further in the meadows, having my feet almost always in the water; afterwards I met with a kind of pool or marsh, which had a communication with several others of different sizes, but the largest not a hundred paces in circuit. These are the sources of the river Theakiki, which, by a corrupted pronounciation, our Indians call Kiakiki. Theak signifies a wolf, in I do not remember what language; but this river bears that name, because the Mahingans, who are likewise called the Wolves, had formerly their refuge on its banks." He further observes, "This river is very narrow at its source, and very crooked; but ten men would in two days make a straight and navigable canal, which would save a great deal of trouble, and ten or twelve leagues of way. After this, the river by degrees takes a straighter course; but its banks are not pleasant, till at the distance of fifty leagues from its source. It is, even throughout that whole space, very narrow, and it is bordered by trees, which have their roots in the water; when any one happens to fall, it bar’s up the whole river, and a great deal of time is lost in clearing a passage for a canoe. All these difficulties being passed, the river, at the distance of fifty leagues from its source, forms a small lake; after which it grows considerably broader. The country becomes beautiful, consisting of unbounded meadows, where buffaloes are to be seen grazing in herds of two or three hundred." The junction of this stream with the River des Plaines or the Illinois, is called by the Canadians the Forks. It is here a beautiful stream, while the Illinois is very shallow. From the Forks to Cowpens, on St. Joseph of the Lakes, by water, is 180 miles; by land 8O. The natives and traders still call this stream the Teaukeekee, according to the French orthography, Theakiki; of which Charlevoix has given the correct definition. But it is frequently called Kankakee, a corruption of the corruption mentioned by the same author. It is, however, proper that the aboriginal name should be preserved. The Theakiki crosses the eastern boundary line of the state, 180 miles north of Vincennes, and 35 miles south of Lake Michigan. At this place its width is 300 links.
Town of Illinois, (formerly Jacksonville,) a post town in St. Clair county, situated on the east bank of Cahokia neck, about 400 yards from the Mississippi, directly opposite to St. Louis. It is surrounded by a fertile tract of country, but has few commercial advantages. Here are 20 or 30 houses, and upwards of 100 inhabitants. The situation is unhealthy, but in this respect has improved much within a few years. The road from Vincinnes to St. Louis passes through this place, and its contiguity to the latter will always secure to it some importance.
Turkey creek, a small stream of Fayette county, running a southeasterly course, and emptying into the Kaskaskia river on the right side, above Blackbird creek.
Turkey hill, a flourishing settlement of St. Clair county, and one of the oldest American settlements in the state, it includes the town of Belleville, and much of the surrounding country. Many of the inhabitants are Methodists.
Vandalia, the capital of the state, and the seat of justice of Fayette county, laid out in 1813, by commissioners appointed for that purpose, under the authority of the state. It is situated on the west bank of the Kaskaskia river, in sections 8, 9, 16, and 17, of township 6 north, in range 1, west of the 3d principal meridian. The site is high and undulating, and entirely above the inundations of the river. The streets cross each other at right angles, and are 80 feet in width. The public square is a high and commanding situation, and is already ornamented with a temporary state house, and a brick bank. There are also in the town, several stores, a printing office, from which is issued a weekly paper, entitled the "Illinois Intelligencer," about 150 dwelling houses, and 700 inhabitants, among which are professional men, and mechanics of every description. Vandalia is under the government of five trustees, who are elected annually by all the free white male inhabitants of twenty-one years and upwards, who shall have resided six months immediately preceding the election, within the limits of the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the southeast corner of section 16, in township 6 north, in range 1, east of the 3d principal meridian, thence north to the northeast corner of section 9, in the same township, thence west to the northwest corner of section 8, in the same township, thence south to the southwest corner of section 17, in the same township, and thence east to the place of beginning. The trustees have the power of appointing an assessor, whose duty it shall be to value and assess all the lots, regularly laid off in the said town, and make a return of them to the trustees, having previously taken an oath before some justice of the peace, truly and impartially to perform the same; but in the valuation of said lots, the houses and other improvements thereon, shall not be taken into consideration and upon the return of such list of taxable property by the assessor, the trustees shall levy a tax thereon, at a rate not exceeding three per cent per annum on the valuation of said lots, for the purpose of paying for the clearing, cleansing and repairing the streets, and such other improvements as may be deemed by them expedient and neccssary. The act of the legislature appointing trustees to the town of Vandalia, of which the above is an extract, also provides, that for the purpose of enabling the said trustees to drain any ponds or slashes which may be in the neighborhood of said town, and erecting a bridge across the Kaskaskia river opposite the same, and constructing a road from said bridge across the bottom on the east side of the river to the highlands, there shall be granted to the said trustees and their successors in office, in fee simple, fifty lots in said town, to be selected by them, in conjunction with the auditor of the state, under certain provisions mentioned. These lots may be disposed of by the trustees in such manner as, in their opinion, shall be most conducive to the object for which the grant is made. The same act also authorises the trustees to lease out any part of the prairie lying within the town tract, and any quantity of land within said tract, not exceeding six acres to any one person, nor for a longer period of time than six years, for the purpose of brick yards, mills, &c. on such terms as they may think most advantageous to the state; and the said trustees shall allow sufficiency of timber for the purpose of fencing any lands which they may lease. The advantages of Vandalia are by no means few or inconsiderable. Many intelligent men are still, however, of opinion that a more eligible situation might have been selected. Soon after it was located, 150 lots were sold for an average amount of $234.89 each. The highest brought $780, and the aggregate sale amounted to $35,234.76. Considering that the town was then a wilderness, and not a stick of timber missing in it, except what was necessarily removed for the purposes of surveying, this was a more favorable sale than could have been anticipated. - Although it does not possess commercial advantages, the Kaskaskia being too low for navigation for more than nine months in the year, yet the fact of its being the seat of government for 20 years, must secure to it a rapid increase of population. Besides this, the fertility of the surrounding country, must also contribute much to its improvement. Here must of course be a considerable market, to which the farmers of the vicinity will send their produce. In regard to health, Vandalia may be said to differ little from the neighboring towns. Although its local situation is such as to lead to the conclusion, that it will be healthy, yet the inundated alluvion, and the ponds by which it is surrounded, bring with them their train of summer and autumnal fevers. But as this is a calamity attendant upon all newly settled countries, it can form no particular objection to this place. Among the advantages which it possesses, are fine springs in abundance. Good water may be obtained in any place by digging about 20 feet. A large proportion of the inhabitants of this place and the vicinity are Germans, who emigrated in 1820. — In general they are good citizens, and sustain the character of their countrymen, in different sections of the United States, for industry and frugality. West of this place are a number of prairies, considerable portions of which are under cultivation. On the east side of the river, is an extensive bottom, about two miles in width, heavily timbered, and subject to inundation, which sometimes renders it impassible. Beyond this, prairie predominates. Vandalia is in latitude 38° 55’ north, 70 miles northeast of St. Louis, and on the mail route from Vincennes to that place.
Vermilion river of the Illinois, a considerable stream, running a westerly course through the northern part of this state, and emptying into the Illinois river on the left side, a short distance below the rapids.
Vermilion river of the Wabash, rises in township 23 north, in range 11, west of the 2d principal meridian, near the eastern boundary line of the state, within 16 or 20 miles of the Wabash. It then runs a west-southwest course, until it receives two considerable tributaries, one of which rises near the source of the Sangamo, when it changes its course to the southeast, and continues in this manner to its junction with the Wabash. For this information, I am indebted to W. S. Hamilton, Esq. who, during the last season, explored the country bordering on this stream. He also informs me, that the country is fine, and will support a dense population. On the south fork, are valuable salines, which are worked. The water is found at the distance of 12 feet below the surface. They are as yet worked entirely by squatters; the land having been recently surveyed, and of course still in the possession of the U. States. On this account, the improvements are very inconsiderable. The lands on the banks of this stream are settling rapidly, and when brought into market, will no doubt command a high price on account of the number of salt springs. The Vermilion is navigable for some distance above its mouth. It crosses the eastern boundary line of the state, 100 miles north of Vincennes, at which place it is 300 links in width. It falls into the Wabash, near latitude 40° north. Little Vermilion empties in a short distance below.
Vienna, an incorporated post town, and the seat of justice of Johnson county, situated on the waters of Cash river, in sections 5 and 6, of township 13 south, in range 3, east of the 3d principal meridian. The main road from Golconda to Kaskaskia passes through this place. It is in latitude 37° 25’ north, 110 miles nearly due, south of Vandalia.
Waterloo, a town in Monroe county, laid out in 1819. It is situated about 12 miles east of the Mississippi river, on the ridge road between St. Louis and Kaskaskia, in section 25 of township 2 south, in range 10, west of the 3d principal meridian. — So little improvement has as yet been made here, that a traveler would scarcely be able to find the town.
Wilkinsonville, formerly a military post on the Ohio, 25 miles above its mouth, commanded by General Wilkinson. It was situatd on a high bank, called Cedar bluffs. There were a few inhabitants here, but it is now deserted.
Wind river, a small stream in the northern part of the state, runs a southwest course, and empties into Fox river on the left side.
Wolf’s head river, a branch of the Sangamo, emptying into it on the left side, below the forks.
Woman river of Tippecanoe, a considerable stream, rises in the northeastern part of the state, above the Vermilion, of the Wabash, and running an east course, empties into Tippecanoe river, in the state of Indiana. A small part of this stream only runs within the state of Illinois.
Wood river, a small stream of Madison county, runs a westerly course, and empties into the Mississippi, nearly opposite to the mouth of the Missouri. On this stream are many fine mill seats and flourishing settlements.
Yellow banks, on the Embarras river, in Crawford county. - A company has been incorporated with a capital of $150,000, for the purpose of making a turnpike from this place to Vincennes, called the "Embarras turnpike company."
Yellow banks, see Mauvaise terre creek.
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