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the Father of Waters and his tributaries, and believed they had found a terrestrial paradise. La Salle descended the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. He named the country Louisiana, in honor of his king, Louis XIV. By virtue of these explorations France made formal claim to the territory lying on either side of the Mississippi. Possession is said to be nine points in the law. According to this doctrine France, and not England, was the first European power to establish its claim to the Illinois territory by actual occupation. Between the years 1695 and 1705 colonies from Lower Canada founded the villages of Kaskaskia, Cahokia and Vincennes. The French government united its possessions in Canada with those in Louisiana by a chain of posts, from Quebec to New Orleans; and Le Grande Monarque made numerous grants to his favorites. The large number of grants of land made during this period indicate that Illinois even at that early day had attracted general attention. Thus, with English colonies on the coast, and French occupation in the valley of the Mississippi, it was only a question of time when there would come a final struggle for the possession of this vast territory.
This crisis came with the French and Indian war, the issue of which committed the destiny of the west to the Anglo-Saxon civilization. By the treaty of Paris, in 1763, Great Britain obtained all the French territory east of the Mississippi, with the exception of the island of New Orleans. France ceded New Orleans and all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi to Spain. In all the great continent of America, France retained not a foot of ground.
The special claim made by Virginia to the Illinois territory was based upon the bold conquest of this region by Colonel George Rogers Clark. In 1778 Colonel Clark conducted a series of brilliant campaigns against the military posts at Kaskaskia, Cahokia and Vincennes. These posts and those upon the lakes were in possession of the British, under the command of Henry Hamilton, whose headquarters were at Detroit. From these posts the Indians were supplied with munitions, and were thus enabled to harass the settlements in Kentucky with their cruel guerrilla warfare. The French villages, the only settlements in the region, were seats of British power. If these posts could be taken, and the capture of the British soldiers effected, the entire region would be won for the Old Dominion. This result could only be effected by force; and the scheme appealed to the bold
THE CONQUEST OF THE WEST.
spirit of Colonel Clark. He presented the matter to Patrick Henry, who was then governor of Virginia. Henry's ardent soul quickly caught the flame, and he secretly rendered such assistance as came within his power. ;
The outcome justified Colonel Clark's most sanguine expectations. His brilliant exploits constitute one of the most romantic chapters in pioneer history. The results were very great, and doubtless prepared the way for the purchase of Louisiana. If Clark had failed to conquer and hold the Illinois and Vincennes, there is reason to believe that the Ohio river would have been the boundary between the American and the British possessions. The colonial charters furnished color of title; but the American claim actually rested on the conquest and occupation of the west by Colonel Clark and the backwoodsmen. Thus the west was won by the westward movement of the backwoodsmen during the Revolution; by the final success of the Continental armies in the east; and by the diplomacy of Franklin, Jay and Adams in the treaty of Paris. Failure at any one of these points would have given the British the possession of the west. Colonel Clark spent his last years alone in poverty, in a rude dwelling on Corn Island, until he went to the home of his sister. When Virginia sent him a sword he received the compliments of the committee in gloomy silence and then exclaimed: "When Virginia wanted a sword I gave her one. She sends me now a toy. I want bread." He thrust the sword into the ground, and broke it with his crutch. His grave is in Cave Hill cemetery at Louisville, marked by a little headstone bearing the letters, G. R. C. It is said that not half a dozen persons in the United States can point it out. Fortune was unkind to him, and republics seemed ungrateful; but history must pay its just tribute to his genius, his patriotism, and his prowess.
Virginia assumed the title to this extensive territory, first by right of her charter, and secondly by the conquest of her
These claims, though challenged by the other states, were successfully maintained by the Old Dominion; and the territory was at once organized into a county called Illinois. This word is derived from the Algonquin word lnini, or Illini, which means a perfect and accomplished man. The Illinois were an Indian tribe of the Algonquin nation, who occupied a portion of the state which now bears their name. These events occurred during the administration of Patrick Henry as governor of
Virginia, and therefore he may be said to have been the first governor of Illinois.
By the treaty of Paris in 1783, which terminated the Revolutionary war, the Illinois territory passed forever from the control of Great Britain. It was not clear, however, to whom the title was transferred. During the war four states had made claims either to the whole or to parts of this domain. They were Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Virginia. The first two colonies had received royal permission to extend from sea to sea. But Virginia was the lordly Old Dominion, which had actually conquered and held the disputed territory.
At this juncture Maryland arose to the occasion in 1777, with a novel and practical suggestion. As a condition of ratifying the Articles of Confederation, Maryland insisted that the four claimant states should surrender their claims to the United States, and that the latter should create a domain which should be owned by the confederacy in common. In 1780 congress recommended to the several states such cession of their several claims, and the creation of a national domain. Thus there were planted the fruitful seeds of national unity.
In pursuance of this recommendation Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York surrendered their claiins, which were more or less shadowy. The magnanimity of Virginia was genuine. The Old Dominion made a complete surrender of the magnificent territory of which she was in actual possession. In this concession she was greatly influenced by Thomas Jefferson. October 20, 1783, the general assembly passed an act which authorized the delegates of the state in congress to convey to the United States, on certain conditions, her entire territory northwest of the Ohio river. One of these conditions was that the ceded territory should be formed into states not less than one hundred, nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square or as near thereto as circumstances would admit. Accordingly on March 1, 1784, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee and James Monroe, the delegates for the commonwealth in congress, presented to the United States a deed of cession of the territory northwest of the Ohio river. By the Ordinance of 1787 congress provided that not less than three nor more than five states should be formed from this territory, as soon as Virginia should alter her act of cession and consent to the same. Virginia, by her act of December 30, 1788, promptly ratified the act of congress of the preceding year, "anything to
ILLINOIS ADMITTED AS A STATE.
the contrary in the deed of cession of the said territory by this commonwealth to the United States notwithstanding." Thus was accomplished the transfer of this public domain to the United States.
By the act of congress of May 7, 1800, the Northwest Territory was divided. That portion east of a line drawn from the mouth of the Kentucky river to the British possessions, was called the Ohio Territory. The remainder, west of this line, was called Indiana Territory, and comprised the present states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. William Henry Harrison was appointed governor.
Indiana Territory was divided by act of congress approved June 11, 1805, and that portion corresponding to the present southern portion of Michigan was set apart, under the name of Michigan Territory. In 1809 the Indiana Territory was again divided. That portion lying west of the Wabash river and a line from that river due north to the British possessions, was constituted a separate government, under the name of Illinois. This area included the present states of Illinois, Wisconsin, and peninsular Michigan. The seat of government was fixed at Kaskaskia, where a territorial legislature, which consisted of the governor and the judges, convened in June, 1809. Thus the machinery of the first grade of civil government was put in operation in Illinois Territory.
In 1812 the Territory of Illinois was advanced to the second grade of territorial government. This organization continued until 1818. In January the territorial legislature petitioned congress for admission into the union as a sovereign state. A bill for this purpose was presented in congress in April, and through the influence of Nathaniel Pope, the territorial delegate, the northern boundary was extended from the line indicated in the petition to latitude 42° 30′. The reason for the change of the northern boundary line will be more fully explained in a subsequent chapter. The act of congress of April 18, 1818, provided for the admission of Illinois into the union. In August of the same year the Illinois convention adopted a constitution and ordinance accepting the terms of admission prescribed by congress. The final act by which Illinois attained its present geographical and political status was a resolution of congress, adopted December 3, 1818, which formally declared the admission of the state into the union.
GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY.
most complete information concerning the geology and topography of Winnebago county. This work was published by the authority of the legislature of the state. The article devoted to this county was contributed by James Shaw, and many of the facts given in this chapter were taken therefrom.
The geology of Winnebago county is simple in character. There is first the usual quaternary deposits, which consist of sand, clays, gravels, boulders, subsoils and alluvium. Then follow the three well-known divisions of the Trenton limestone, which outcrop along the streams and hills, and show themselves in railroad cuts, wells and quarries in different parts of the county. These divisions are the Galena, Blue and Buff limestones of the western geologists. A perpendicular section, as near as could be constructed, exhibited the following strata: Quaternary deposits, average depth about fifteen feet; Galena limestone, ninety-six-feet; Blue limestone, thirty-five feet; Buff limestone, forty-five feet. These measurements of the limestones were made at actual worked outcrops. At the time Volume V. of the Geological Survey was published no evidence of the St. Peter's sandstone had been discovered, although it was then believed that it came near the surface at Beloit and Rockton. In 1885, however, when Rockford began boring artesian wells, the St. Peter's sandstone was discovered. Its upper surface was irregular, varying from one hundred and seventy to two hundred feet below the surface of the ground. This strata varies from two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet in thickness. Mr. Shaw gave it as his opinion that the Trenton limestones were at the time of his survey the only ones that had been exposed or excavated in the county.
The surface geology comprises alluvial deposits, loess, and the drift proper. The usual alluvial bottoms exist along the Rock, Pecatonica and Sugar rivers. These are from one to five miles wide. On the latter two the deposit is deep, black, and