The book Chicago Antiquities: Comprising Original Items and Relations, Letters, Extracts, and Notes, Pertaining to Early Chicago; Embellished with Views, Portraits, Autographs, Etc. by Henry H. Hurlbut, published in 1881, is available online for free viewing. Excerpts from pages 1-153 of 712 pages follow:
[Transcription Part 1]
WHOEVER attempts to inflict upon the public a volume of the size and character of this, ought possibly to be allowed to tell what he might claim to excuse the offence. Therefore, we will say that it is sometimes urged that Chicago of to-day must be considered one of the wonders of the age; not but that there are many larger cities; not to assert that there are none so beautiful in architectural display; not that the breath of its winter winds is ever balmy and its summer heats always mild; not that it may boast of surpassing natural scenery; not that it has yet achieved the accumulated literary and artistic treasures of which other places may vaunt; not that it has already wedded the siren refined and luxurious effeminacy, the tendency, perhaps, of great and continued financial thrift, so much coveted, and yet so much to be feared. But still it is often insisted that Chicago pertains to the wonderful, because, in fifty years, the hamlet has grown from a colony of less than fifty residents to the number of some five hundred thousand souls. Such progress, from its aged infancy of half a century ago to its present gigantic youthfulness, if remarkable, is no doubt to be accounted for upon the natural and unavoidable sequence of effect from cause. Not alone, however, to its natural advantages, which Louis Joliet, the companion of Father Marquette (the earliest known white men here), first discoursed upon more than two centuries ago, is Chicago indebted. "Veni, vidi, vici." For a century and a half, there were those who came, and saw, and said; but it was left to those of the middle half of the present century to demonstrate the truth of some of the possibilities of Chicago, and to us to say that it was they who conquered. What they accomplished need not here be told; but we may add, that the early settlers of Chicago had the sagacity to perceive, the wisdom to embrace, the courage to undertake, and the unyielding perseverance that faltered at no effort; no narrow-minded and cowardly doubts took possession of their heads, hearts, and hands.
If such then are the facts, may it not be a pardonable error, to recall the beginnings, to look after the lower walls, the lines of the trenches, so to speak, indeed, to inspect the quality or peculiarities of the rubble-stone and concrete, the foundations, whereon rests the superstructure, the moral, intellectual, and material fabric of this great western metropolis.
The compiler of this book, several years since, issued a few dozen pages of it in pamphlet form; but as many articles for the continued series were more or less incomplete, for want of various well-authenticated items, etc., it was deemed expedient, from the occasioned delay, not to continue the publication in that shape, but to embody the material when ready at once in a volume. So the book has been hastened but leisurely; yet, to the reader, there may have been some gain by the waiting.
It would be scarcely prudent to anticipate a high public estimate of our service in presenting these pages. We do not claim to offer exhaustive essays, nor to give full biographies of individuals, or sketches of subjects; yet, if the contents of this octavo shall bring to the light new truths, or recall old facts nearly lost or forgotten; if they shall correct various errors, and, withal, place a few pebbles upon the historic pile or memento of Chicago's early history, then our efforts will not have been altogether futile.
To those persons who have furnished items, etc., for this volume, the compiler here makes his acknowledgments and sincere thanks.
Chicago, Dec, 1881.
Under the name of "Antiquities," we purpose to compile a series of pamphlets relating to early Chicago, if indeed so young a town may lay claim to so dignified a term. Our antiquities, however, are of rather a different stamp from those of the European world, for we may not boast of massive castle walls, ivy-clothed, tradition-wrapped, and crumbling beneath the weight of centuries. The corner stones of antiquity, yonder, were laid in the mists of a shadowy past; here the morning beams which dawned in the beginning have not reached the evening twilight of dim uncertainty. The names of the founders of our American towns, together with the circumstances attending such beginnings, have been usually preserved; those of the cities of the old world are mostly hidden beneath the myths, superstitions, and vague tales of a remote and departed age.
It is true that not fifty years have passed, since some of our remaining early settlers saw the young town dressed in the swaddling-clothes of village incorporation; but a few decades have effected here what in most other cases the efforts of centuries have been required to accomplish. Yet the swiftly hurrying years have already brought around another and a new generation, who, though “to the manor born,” speak of the primitive days of our city as "the olden time." To such at least, our series (which will contain many new or unfamiliar chapters) will be of interest.
We would not, by any means, undervalue the culture which disciplines the intellect and stores the mind with the lore and mythical tales and antiquities of the storied shores of the Mediterranean; but, for our particular and individual self, we must confess that we are far less tenacious of the memory of any of those illustrious humbugs told of in the classics, than of that of the early Chicago resident and first proprietor of the old "Kinzie House," Baptiste Point de Sable (he was here as early as 1779), the handsome, colossal, and opulent black prince of the North Division; albeit, he was a swaggering Domingoan, and, like many other great men, drank too much rum. We have heard of Midas, and Croesus, and Trismegistus, as well as of old Vulcan, but how little regard ought we to pay to the fame of those unreliable alchemists and artisans, when contrasted with that of our pioneer the elder John Kinzie, the veritable "Shaw-nee-aw-kee" the "silver-man" of the tribes of the Illinois. And concerning that memorable scow-boat
"*** the Argo,
That Jason embarked in for the ‘golden fleece,’
For whether that wool became part of her cargo,
We've little to look for in the myths of old Greece."
Indeed, to a Chicagoan, of little interest must be the whole yarn about the "golden fleece," when compared with the story which the venerable Gurdon S. Hubbard might tell us of his journeyings, and of the fleeces, those packs, bales, pony-loads, and canoe-cargoes of fine furs which he gathered in all the lake region, and along the two hundred-mile trail, that he in person laid out, forty-nine years ago, through the wilderness, from Fort Dearborn to the Kaskaskia River.
Our plan in issuing the papers comprising the series here proposed will be rather a discursive one; not that of annals, not a consecutive history, indeed not so much a history as material for history. Not an edifice in historic detail, of lofty and comely proportions, but rather a group of structures of varied, though relative, architecture.
H. H. H.
January 21, 1875.
THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO PASSED IN COMMON COUNCIL.
[We present some account and in part a transcript of a noticeable relic, which has come within the range of our knowledge and inspection. It is, without doubt, of considerable rarity, and we should not know where to find its duplicate in the city. We are referring to a publication issued in the latter part of the year 1839, of which this is the title-page.]
PRINTED BY EDWARD H. RUDD.
Fifty-two octavo pages comprised not only the "Laws and Ordinances," but also a "City Register," (a list of city officers,) and a "Chicago Business Directory," together with some half dozen pages of advertisements.
We present a few extracts from the said "Ordinances;" to-day they might be deemed curious, severe, or possibly a little whimsical. The "Business Directory" is here reproduced as first printed, with an occasional note of correction, and with the addition of a star (*) against the names of those whom we know to have passed from earth to that "other shore." This Directory was the first attempt which succeded the numbering of the buildings, though that numbering was only upon Lake Street. [The statement sometimes made, that "Norris' Chicago Directory and Business Advertiser" for the year 1844, was the first Directory ever published in Chicago, is certainly an error.]
Agreeable to the statute for the incorporation of towns, an election was held in Chicago, August 10, 1833, for the choice of trustees of the village; and it is worthy of note that there were twenty-eight votes polled on that occasion. Chicago was incorporated as a city March 4, 1837. The population in 1839 did not exceed 4,200 in number. A shipment of 2,673 bushels of wheat was made that year—the first, (excepting 78 bushels the year preceding), for it took everything, and more, that was raised in the vicinity, from 1835 to '38, for the use of the incoming settlers. The first daily newspaper (The Chicago Daily American, Wm. Stuart, editor and proprietor), appeared this year, the first number bearing date April 9, 1839. Among other important events of that year, in which Chicago and the whole western country were to become interested, was the incorporation by the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature of The Wisconsin Fire and Marine Insurance Company. This institution set sail under the command of George Smith, as captain, and Alexander Mitchell, as lieutenant, with the aid of ballast from their Scottish friends of Aberdeen. But, instead of an insurance company, it resulted in a rather stupendous bank of issue, vastly to the profit of the stockholders, and of no little service to the people of the lake country and the Mississippi Valley.
Almost one-half of the 277 names of individuals or firms of the following Directory were located on Lake Street; but Chicago then, as to-day, felt her rising importance, and, nearing the end of Anno Domini 1839, was published this record of her greatness, and looked trustfully forward to the beckoning future.
Extracts from "The Laws and Ordinances."
"FOR THE PROTECTION OF LIFE AND LIMB.
SECTION 2. No person shall ride or drive any horse or horses in any avenue, street, or lane within this city faster than a moderate trot." (Passed May 12, 1837.)
[The "moderate trot" of the above ordinance was a gait that has not survived to the present day; witness, for instance, the "two-thirty" Chicago nags on West Washington Street any fair afternoon when a few inches of snow may have put in an appearance.]
OF THE EXTINGUISHMENT OF FIRES.
Section 30. ** The citizens and inhabitants shall respectively, if the fire happens at night, place a lighted candle or lamp at the front door or windows of their respective dwellings, there to remain during the night, unless the fire be sooner extinguished.
Sec. 34. Every dwelling house or other building containing one fire-place or stove, shall have one good painted leathern fire-bucket, with the initials of the owner's name painted thereon, etc.
Sec. 35. That every able bodied inhabitant shall, upon an alarm of fire, repair to the place of the fire with his fire-bucket or buckets, if he shall have any, etc.
Sec. 36. Every occupant of any building shall keep the aforesaid fire-buckets in the front hall of said building, etc." (Passed May 12, 1837.)
"DIRECTING CERTAIN PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS.
SECTION 3. The said city surveyor is further directed to survey, describe, and record in manner aforesaid, a street eighty feet wide, which shall be called "Hoosier Avenue," which shall commence on the west line of section sixteen, on Second-street, and run in a south-westerly course to the bounds of the city, in the direction to cross the Canal at Canalport, in some eligible place so as to intersect the State road in that direction." (Passed June 1, 1837.)
"AN ORDINANCE TO NUMBER LAKE STREET.
Section I. Beginning at the south-west corner of Lake-street and Michigan Avenue as number one, and at the northwest corner of the same street as number two, and thence numbering successively westwardly to the south branch of the Chicago River. The buildings to be numbered as far as State-st., according to the lots as laid out and sold by the agent of the United States, one number for each lot. West of State-street, the buildings are to be numbered one number for every 20 feet of each block. The odd numbers to be on the south side, and the even numbers on the north side of Lake-street, according to the plan of Lake-street, as laid out and numbered by the street commissioner, and on file with the city clerk." (Passed Nov. 12, 1839.)
"CONCERNING BILLIARD TABLES AND BALL ALLEYS.
Section 1. That there shall be no billiard table or tables set up or used in said city from and after the 15th day of May next.
Sec. 2. That there shall be no nine pin alleys, or any ball alley where pins are used, sit up or used, in the said city of Chicago from and after the 15th day of May next." (Passed April 22, 1839.)
"That in addition to the penalties already imposed by the ordinance to which this is an amendment, if any owner or keeper of any billiard table or ball alley or ten pin alley shall suffer the same to be used or played upon after the hour of 10 o'clock P.M., he shall forfeit and pay to the city of Chicago the sum of five dollars for each offence, with costs of suit." (Passed Dec. 9, 1839.)
"OF NUISANCES AND THE PRESERVATION OF GOOD ORDER.
Section 4. Any person who shall solicit alms, without a written permission from the Mayor, from citizens, shall pay a penalty for each offence of two dollars." (Passed May 12, 1837.)
"TO COMPEL THE ATTENDANCE OF MEMBERS.
Section 3. Any member of said Common Council who shall absent himself from the meeting of the Council, after the same shall have been duly organised for that meeting, without having first obtained leave of the Mayor or Council for that purpose, shall, for each offence, forfeit and pay to said city the sum of ten dollars." (Passed Dec. 2, 1839.)
City Register, 1839.
BENJAMIN W. RAYMOND, Mayor.
ALDERMEN, FIRST WARD.
James A. Smith,
Oliver H. Thompson.
ALDERMEN, SECOND WARD.
Eli S. Prescott,
Clement C. Stoce.
ALDERMEN, THIRD WARD.
William H. Stow,
ALDERMEN, FOURTH WARD.
ALDERMEN, FIFTH WARD.
Henry L. Rucker,
John C. Wilson.
ALDERMEN, SIXTH WARD.
John H. Kinzie,
Buckner S. Morris.
Samuel J. Lowe, High Constable.
1st Ward, Alvin Calhoun.
2d ---, Thomas Brock.
3d ---, Thomas C. James.
4th ---, Ward, John Gray.
5th ---, James Duffy.
6th ---, Jacob Raynor.
Alvin Calhoun, Chief Engineer.
Charles T. Stanton, Geo. Chacksfield, Ass't Engineers.
Wm. W. Brackett, City Clerk.
Erastus Bowen, Collector.
Geo. W. Dole, Treasurer.
Charles M. Gray, Street Commissioner.
S. Lisle Smith, City Attorney.
Charles V. Dyer, City Physician.
Asa F. Bradley, City Surveyor.
George Davis, Sealer of Weights and Measures.
Peter Bolles, David Moore, John Scott, Daniel Elston, Nathan H. Bolles, J. Y.
Scammon, Wm. H. Brown,
Samuel J. Lowe, Daniel B. Heartt, D.C. Allen, George M. Huntoon.
1st Ward, N. H. Bolles.
2d ---, Jerem. Price.
3d ---, John Gray.
4th ---, John Miller.
5th ---, David Moore.
6th ---, Alonzo Wood.
Drs. Brainard, Gay, and Betts, Board of Health.
Chicago Business Directory.
Adams, William H., shoe and leather dealer, 138 lake street
Arnold, Isaac N., attorney and counsellor at law, dearborn street
*Abel, Sidney, postmaster, office clark street
Allen, J. P., boot and shoe maker, north water street (John P.)
Attwood, J. M., house, sign and ornamental painter, randolph street
Bristol k Porter, agents for C. M. Reed, forward, commis. merchants (*Robert C. Bristol; Hibbard Porter)
*Beaubien, J. B., Esq., reservation, fronting the lake
Blassy, B., baker, randolph street
*Boyce, L. M., wholesale druggist and apothecary, 121 lake street
Brackett, William W., city clerk, clark street
*Brown, Henry, attorney and counsellor at law, clark street
Bancroft, J. W. & Co., lake street coffee house, 135 lake street
Beecher, J., boot and shoe maker and leather dealer, 160 lake street
Burley, A. G., crockery, stone, and earthenware merchant, 161 lake st
Bates & Morgan, cabinet makers, 199 lake street (A. S. Bates; Caleb Morgan)
Botsford & Beers, copper, tin, and sheetiron merchants, dearborn street
*Brinkerhoff, Dr. John, clark street
*Betts, Dr., residence and office michigan street
*Brown, William H., cashier, Illinois branch state bank, lasalle street
*Boyer, J. K., coroner, south water street (John)
Beaumont & Skinner, attorneys and counsellors at law, clark street (*Geo. A. O. Beaumont; Mark Skinner)
Balestier, J. N., attorney and counsellor at law, clark street
*Burton, Stiles, wholesale grocer and liquor dealer, lake and state strs
Bowen, Erastus, city collector, foot of south water street
Berry, B. A. & Co., dry goods and grocery store, south water street
Bradley, Asa F., city surveyor, morrison's row, clark street
Brady, George, constable, alley between north water and kinzie streets
Briggs & Humphrey, carriage and wagon makers, randolph street (*Ben J. Briggs; F. O. Humphrey)
*Butterfield, Justin, attorney and counsellor at law, dearborn street
*Bolles, Nathan H., county commissioner, overseer of poor, lake street
Bethune, Andrew, Parisian dyer and scourer, north water street
Carter, T. B. & Co., fancy dry goods merchants, 118 lake street
Clarke, W. H. & A. F., wholesale druggists & apothecaries, 128 lake st
Cole, A., ship, house, sign, and ornamental painter, 129 lake street
*Carney, John, grocery and provision store, 133 lake street (James Carney)
*Cure, P., grocery and provision store, randolph street
*Curtiss, James, attorney and counsellor at law, 175 lake street
Clever, J., soap boiler, factory on the south branch (Charles Cleaver)
Collins, S. B. & Co., boot, shoe and leather dealers, 140 lake street (*Saml. B. C. of S. B. C. & Co.)
*Church, Thomas, grocery and provision store, in lake street
*Childs, S. D., wood and metal engraver, saloon buildings, clark street
*Clark, L. W., exchange broker and lottery agent, 150 1/2 lake street
Cleveland & Co., house, sign and ornamental painters, Dearborn street
Conklin, J., blacksmith, carriage and wagon repairer, clark street
*Cook, C. W., Illinois exchange, 192 lake street
Cobb, S. B., saddle, bridle, harness and trunk maker, 171 lake street
Cook, Isaac W., eagle coffee house, dearborn street
Clarke, Dr., 159 lake street
Cunningham, John, grocery, north water street, at the ferry (Henry Cunningham)
*Couch, Ira, hotel keeper, corner of dearborn and lake streets
*Calhoun, John, collector of taxes, Eddy's store
Carpenter, Philo, druggist and apothecary, south water street
Chacksfield, George, grocery and provision store, south water street
*Collins, J. H., attorney and counsellor at law, dearborn street
Colvin, Edwin B., door and sash maker, dearborn and north water streets
*David, William, boot and shoe maker, near New York house, lake street
*Doyle, S., draper and tailor, junction of kinzie and north water sts
Durand, Charles, attorney and counsellor at law, 149 lake street
*Davis, George, county clerk, 159 lake street
*Delicker, George, wholesale grocery and provision store, 163 lake street
*Dewey, Dr. E., druggist and apothecary, dearborn street
Dodge & Tucker, ship chandlers and grocers, south water street (John C. Dodge; *Henry Tucker)
*Davlin, John, auctioneer, corner of dearborn and south water streets
Davis, Miss A., cloak maker and tailoress, 115 lake street
*Dole, George W., city treasurer, michigan street
Dyer & Boone, Drs., state street, opposite the new market (Charles V. Dyer; Levi D. Boone)
*Davis, William H., constable, south water street
Eddy, & Co., hardware, stove and ironmongers, 105 lake street (Ira B. Eddy; John Calhoun)
Edwards, Alfred, grocery and provision store, north water street
Eldridge, Dr., clark street, Harmon & Loomis' building (John W. E.)
*Etzler, Anton, cap, stock and umbrella maker, 151 lake street (Anton Getzler)
Frink & Bringham, stage office, 123 lake street (*John Frink; — Bingham.)
Follansbe, A., grocery and provision store, dearborn street
Funk, J., fulton and Illinois markets, 95 lake and north water streets (Absalom B.)
Foster & Robb. grocers and ship chandlers, dearborn street (Geo. B. Foster; *Geo. A. Robb)
Follansbe C, grocery and provision store, dearborn street
Fenherty, John, fancy dry goods store, south water street
Fullerton, A. N., lumber merchant, north water street
*Foot, D. P., blacksmith, south water street (David B. Foot)
Goss, S. W. & Co., dry goods merchants, 105 lake street
Gale, S. F., bookseller and stationer, corner of lasalle 159 lake street
Gale, Mrs., New York millinery store, 99 lake street (Mrs. Abraham Gale)
Goodsell & Campbell, dry goods and grocery store, dearborn street (L. B. Goodsell; — Campbell)
Goold, N., grocery and provision store, 155 lake street
Gurnee, W. S., saddle and harness maker, 129 and 164 lake street
Gray, C. M., street commissioner, randolph street
Gill, Edmund, Shakspeare hotel, north water street, near the lake house
*Graves, D., Rialto, dearborn street (Dexter Graves)
Gage, J., flour store, south water street; mill on the south branch
*Gavin, Isaac R., sheriff, randolph st., north-west corner public square
Goodrich, Grant, attorney and counsellor at law, 105 lake street
Goodenow, A., dry goods merchant, 134 lake street
Gray, John, Chicago hotel, wolf point
Hupp, S., tailor and cutter, 210 lake street
*Hunter, Edward, deputy sheriff, wells street (Edward E. H.)
Hubbard & Co., forwarding and commission merchants, north water st (Gurdon S. Hubbard; *Henry G. Hubbard)
*Hooker, J. W., grocery and provision store, 152 lake street
Hobbie & Clark, dry goods merchants, 142 lake street (*Albert G. Hobbie; John Clark)
*Hanson, J. L., grocery and provision store, 146 lake street (Joseph L. Hanson)
*Hamilton, R. J., clerk circuit court, clark street
*Hodgson, J. H., tailor and clothier, opposite city hotel clark street
Hovey & Burbeck, lake street market, 143 lake street (*Samuel S. Hovey; - Burbank)
Howe, Miss, milliner and mantuamaker, corner of lake and wells sts (Now the widow of Rufus B. Brown)
*Henson, O. C, hair cutting and shaving shop, 183 lake street
Heymann, F. T., watchmaker and jeweller, 173 lake street
Hallam, Isaac W., rector St. James' church, corner cass and Illinois sts
*Howe, F., clerk, Illinois branch state bank, lasalle street (Frank Howe)
*Howe, F. A., justice of the peace, 97 lake street (Fred. A. Howe)
Harmon, Loomis & Co., wholesale grocers, clark and south water sts (*Chas. L. Harmon; Horatio G. Loomis)
*Holbrook, J., clothing, bed and mattress store, south water street
*Holmes, L. W., hardware and stove merchant, south water street
Hall, Henry P., barber, north water street, opposite the lake house
*Howe, J. L., city bakehouse, north water street (James L. H.)
Hoyne, Thomas, attorney and counsellor at law, 107 lake street
Harmon, Isaac D., dry goods merchant, clark street, near the river
Harmon, William, blacksmith, north water street (Harman)
Hunt, B. T., bed and mattress store, south water street
*Huntoon, G. M., constable, near corner of dearborn and kinzie streets (Geo. M. Huntoon)
Higgins, A. D., merchant (Parish & Metcalfs), 132 lake street
Hayward & Co., burr mill stone manufactory, kinzie street
Johnson, J., hair cutting and shaving shop, 131 lake street
*Jones, William, justice of the peace, dearborn street
Judd, N. B., attorney, exchange buildings, 107 lake street
King, Tuthill, New York clothing store, 115 lake street
King, Willis, lumber merchant, randolph street
*Kerchival, L., inspector of the port of Chicago (Lewis C. K.)
Kinzie & Hunter, forwarding, commission merchants, north water st (*John H. Kinzie and General David Hunter)
Kendall, Vail & Co., clothing store, 119 lake street
Keogh, P. R., tailor and clothier, clark street
Killick, James, grocery and provision store, dearborn street
*Kimberly, Dr. E., residence north water street, near the lake house (Dr. Edmund S. K.)
Kent & *Gilson, livery stable keepers, state street
Leavenworth, J. H., overseer public works, garrison
*Lewis, ---, merchant, dearborn street (L. F. Louis; removed to Wisconsin.)
*Lewis, A. B., Sunday school agent, lasalle street
*Lowe, Samuel J., high constable, clark street, near methodist church
*Loyd, A., carpenter and builder, wells street (Alex. Loyd)
*Lincoln, Solomon, tailor and clothier, 156 lake street
Lindebner, J., tailor and cutter, lake street
*Leary, A. G., attorney and counsellor at law, dearborn street
*Lill, William, brewer, lake shore, north side of the river
Magie & Co., dry goods merchants, 130 lake street (Haines H. Magie; *John High, jr.)
M'Donnell, Charles, grocery and provision store, market street
M'Craken & Brooks, tailors and clothiers, clark street (*Thomas Brooks)
M'Donnell, Michael, grocery, north water street
Manierre & Blair, merchant tailors, clark street (Edward Manierre; *Geo. Blair)
Morris, B. S., alderman, attorney and counsellor at law, saloon buildings
*Montgomery, G. B. S., merchant, 137 lake street
Mills, M, grocery and provision store, 154 lake street
Matthews, P., dry goods merchant, 162 lake street
*Merrill, George W., dry goods merchant, 166 lake street
Morrison, John H., grocery store, 190 lake street
Murray, George, tailor and clothier, 198 lake street
Mooney, Michael, blacksmith, franklin street
Murray & Brand, exchange brokers, 189 lake street (*James Murray; *Alex. Brand)
Massey, I. F., saddler and shoe merchant, 175 lake street
Morrison, J., carpenter, clark street
*Morrison, Orsemus, morrison's row, clark street
Massey, Mrs., milliner and dress maker, 175 lake street
Malbucher, L., grocery and provision store, 167 lake street (*Louis Malzacher)
M'Combe, Mrs., milliner and dress maker, 165 lake street (Miss McComber)
Marshall, James A., auctioneer, commission merchant, south water st
Mosely & M'Cord, merchants, south water street (*Flavel Moseley; *Jason McCord)
*Murphy, J., United States hotel, west water street (John Murphy)
Morrison, John C, grocery and provision store, south water street
Mitchell, John B., boot and shoemaker, south water street
*Miltimore, Ira, steam sash factory, south branch of Chicago river
*Moore, Henry, attorney and counsellor at law, clark street
Marsh & Dole, butchers, dearborn street (Sylvester Marsh; *G. W. Dole)
Merrick, Dr., 121 lake street; house corner state and randolph streets
*Manierre, George, attorney and counsellor at law, 105 lake street
*Meeker, George W., attorney and counsellor at law, 150 lake street
Mylne & Morrison, lumber merchants, south water street (Robert Milne; Alex. Morrison)
*Newberry & Dole, forwarding, commission merchants, north water st (*Oliver Newberry, of Detroit; *Geo. W. Dole)
Norton & Co., H., grocers and provision merchants, south water street (Horace Norton; Joel C. Walter)
Nickalls, Pateson, livery stable keeper, kinzie street
Nicholson & Co., merchants, north water street
Osbourn & Strail, hardware, stove, iron merchants, 124 lake street (Should be Osborn & S.)
Otis, S. T. & Co., stove, iron, hardware merchants, dearborn street
Osterhoudt, L. M., New York house, 180 lake street
Osbourn, William, boot, shoe and leather merchant, 141 lake street (Should be Osborn)
Oliver, John A., house, sign and ornamental painter, kinzie street
Ogden, William B., Esq., kinzie street
Ogden, M. D., of Arnold & Ogden, attorneys, dearborn street
O'Brien, George, grocery and provision store, north water street
O'Connor, Martin, blacksmith, randolph street
*Post, Dr., residence lake street, office dearborn street
Peck, E., treasurer canal fund, clark street
Page, Peter, mason, clark street, brick building above randolph street
Paine & Norton, dry goods merchants, 117 lake street (*Seth Paine and *Theron Norton)
Parsons & Holden, grocery and provision store, market street (*Edward Parsons; Chas. W. H.)
Parish & Metcalf, general merchants, 132 lake street
Peacock & Co., J., gunsmiths, 153 lake street (Joseph Peacock; David C. Thatcher)
*Pearson, Hiram, grocer and dry goods merchant, south water street (Hiram Pearsons)
Periolat, F. A., grocery and provision store, 126 lake street
Pfund, J., bread and biscuit maker, clark street
*Philips, Clifford S., wholesale dry goods merchant, 125 lake street
Phillips, John F., tailor and clothier, city hotel buildings, clark street
Pond, William, watch and clock maker, 183 lake street
Prescott, E. S., receiver land office, United States, 175 lake street
*Price, J., fire warden, south water street (Jeremiah Price)
Price, Robert, tailor and clothier, 153 lake street
Proctor, Dr., dearborn street, below lake street
Randolph, G. F., wholesale dry goods merchant, 109 lake street
Rankin, William & John, brass founders, clark street and Illinois st
Raymond, B. W., general dry goods merchant, 122 lake street
*Reed, C. M., forwarding and commission merchant, south water st
Reed, Mrs., cloak and dressmaker, 115 lake street
Ross, Hugh, bookbinder and paper ruler, clark street, below lake st
*Rossetter, Asher, mansion house, 86 lake street
*Rucker, Henry L., alderman and justice of the peace, dearborn st
*Rudd, Edward H., job and book printer, saloon buildings, clark st
*Russell, James, city hotel, clark street (Jacob Russell)
*Saltonstall, W. W., Hubbard & Co.'s warehouse, north water street
Sauter, C. & J., boot and shoemakers, 212 lake street (Chas. and *Jacob S.)
Sherman, A. S., mason, west of the south branch of Chicago river
Sherman, E. L., teller, Illinois branch state bank, lasalle street
Sherman & Pitkin, general dry goods merchants, 150 lake street (Oren Sherman; Nathaniel Pitkin)
*Sherwood, S. J., watchmaker and jeweller, 144 lake street
Shields, Joseph, watch and clock repairer, dearborn street
Shollar, A., grocery and provision store, 200 lake street
Smith, Bradner, carpenter, wolcott street
*Smith, Lisle, city attorney, 107 lake street (S. Lisle Smith)
*Smith & Co., J. A., hat and cap manufacturers, 127 lake street
Smith & Co., George, exchange brokers, 187 lake street
Stanton & Black, auctioneers, commission merchants, 85 lake street (*Chas. T. Stanton; - Black)
Stearns & Hallam, fancy dry goods merchants, 148 lake street
Stoce & White, blacksmiths, corner randolph and wells streets (Clemens Stose; - White)
Stocking, Rev. Mr., pastor metho. church, opposite pub. square, clark st
*Stone, H. O., grocer and provision merchant, south water street
Strode, J. M., register land office, saloon buildings, clark street
*Stuart, W., publisher and editor of Chicago American, south water street
Sweet, C, grocery and provision store, north water street
Storms, A., carpenter and builder, state street
Sawyer, S., druggist and apothecary, dearborn street
Shelley, G. E., lake house, north water street
Steele, J. W., city refectory, dearborn street
*Seymour, Jesse, sauganash hotel, market street
Sweetser, J. Oldham, surgeon dentist, rush street, opposite lake house
*Stuart, Dr. J. Jay, rush street, opposite the lake house
Scammon, J. Young, attorney and counsellor at law, 107 lake street
*Spring, Giles, attorney and counsellor at law, 107 lake street
Snow, G. W. & Co., lumber merchants, south water street (*Geo. W. Snow, of G. W. S. & Co.)
*Sherman, F. C, contractor and builder, clark street
Tuttle, Nelson, stage agent, 180 lake street
Taylor, Daniel, boot and shoe maker, 120 lake street
*Thompson, O. H., grocery and dry goods merchant, south water street
*Tucker, William, cooper, south water street (Thomas K. T.)
Tripp, ---, carpenter, clark street, next the methodist church (Robinson Tripp)
Taylor, Francis H., tailor, wolf point
*Updike & M'Clure, carpenters and builders, dearborn street (Peter L. Updyke; Andrew McClure)
Van Osdell, John, contractor and builder, corn, wolcott and kinzie sts (John M. Van Osdel)
Vaughan, William, clothes broker, 159 lake street
Villiard, L. N., grocery and provision store, 187 lake street
Woodworth, R. & J., wholesale dry goods merchants, 103 lake street (*Robert and *James H. W.)
*Wheeler, William, tin, sheet-iron and coppersmith, 145 lake street
*Wright, John S., forwarding, commission merchant, north water st
*Weir, John B., cabinet and chair maker, 188 lake street
*White, George, city crier, market street, or at Stanton & Black's
Wilman, Andrew, blacksmith, randolph street, opposite public square
*Whitlock, Thomas, boot and shoe maker, 102 lake street
Whiting, W. L., produce and commission merchant, Hubbard's store
Wentworth, J., editor and publisher of Chicago Democrat, 107 lake st
Wolcott, Henry, private boarding house, corner kinzie and Wolcott sts
Wadsworth, Julius, agent for the Hartford insurance Co., 105 lake st
Warner, Seth, merchant, south water street (Seth P. W.)
*White, Alexander, house, sign and ornamental painter, north water street
Wicker, J. H., grocery and provision store, 87 lake street
*Walton, N. C., grocery and provision store, north water street Walker & Co., grocer and provision merchant, south water street (*Chas. Walker; *Almond Walker)
Williams, Eli B., recorder, clark street; store south water street
Wait, H. M., grocery and provision store, lake street
Wandell, John, great western, 152 1/2 lake street
Wheeler, W. F., dry goods merchant, 107 lake street
Williams, J., hair cutting and shaving shop, 90 lake street Wells, H. G., grocery and provision store, 101 lake street
Yates, H. H., grocery and provision store, clark street
Episcopal Church, Cass street, opposite Kinzie Square
Presbyterian Church, west side of Clark street, above the pub. square
Methodist Church, east side of Clark street, above randolph
Roman Catholic Church, Corner of Lake and State street
First Unitarian Society, Rev. Mr. Harrington, Saloon Buildings.
A number of omissions will probably be found in the foregoing directory, in consequence of the difficulty in procuring a suitable person to collect names and residences for it; but it is the intention of the publisher, as soon as circumstances will permit, to issue another edition, enlarged and otherwise improved.
DWELLERS IN CHICAGO IN 1839.
[We had intended this notice for a later page of this volume, but having re- arranged a part of the foregoing since first issued, we insert it here.]
We are much pleased with the appearance of Mr. Fergus' beautifully printed pamphlet, entitled "Fergus Directory of the City of Chicago, 1839." We think, though, a more appropriate title for it would have been "Fergus' Retrospective List of Chicago Residents in 1839," inasmuch as this list of names has been gotten together thirty-seven years after the date it represents.
While there may be in that production possible inaccuracies, we have heard it spoken of, by those competent to judge, as a wonderful compilation for fulness and freedom from error. Yet, whether perfect or otherwise, or with what name Mr. Fergus is pleased to christen his catalogue, we must say that he has done a commendable and lasting service for Chicago history, and one to which the progressing years will of necessity give increased value.
Having expressed our appreciation of the "Directory," we will add a word or two in our own behalf, being that Mr. F., in his Introduction, rather intimates something untruthful ("fancy,") as well as mercenary ("statements of interested parties,") on our part. The ground of indignation seems to be, that we had caused to be reprinted a "Chicago Business Directory" published in 1839, of which original, he claims to have been the sole author and type- setter, albeit Edward H. Rudd's name appears on the title-page as printer, and Mr. Fergus' name does not appear in the book. (That is not surprising; perhaps Mr. F. was not carrying on the business himself; at least that model institution, the "Fergus Printing Co.," was not then in being.) Mr. F. does not allow that this original directory was the first of its class, and would thus appear to ignore the paternity of his own early bantling, though he placed the heading "Chicago Business Directory," and put, as an apology for its meagreness, the following, as see ante p. 19:
"A number of omissions will probably be found in the foregoing directory, in consequence of the difficulty in procuring a suitable person to collect names and residences for it; but it is the intention of the publisher, as soon as circumstances will permit, to issue another edition, enlarged and otherwise improved."
Our own excuse for the reprint is this: in the summer of 1873, we were shown, by an early settler, (James A. Smith,) a copy of the Laws and Ordinances with the aforesaid Business Directory, which, as a bibliographical relic of the early City, seemed worthy of preservation; hence its reproduction. It was not our fault that the original was not larger; it was not our freak, commendable or condemnable, the giving it the title "Chicago Business Directory." July 1, 1876.
A RELIC; WHERE IS IT? "Some twenty years since, it was told in a Chicago daily, that a brass cannon, a part of the armament of Fort Dearborn, thrown into the river at the evacuation of 1812, had a few years before been dredged up from the river bed. Where is that piece? If the War Department took it away, ought it not now to be returned?"—Sidney S. Hurlbut’s Memorial Chart.
WHAT BECAME OF IT? We have heard inquiry made without satisfactory response, as to what had become of the metalic box and its contents, which were placed within the northeast corner-stone of the late Court House at the time it was built. Neither Mr. T. Mackin or Mr. Knerr, the purchasers of the debris, know anything about the matter. The aforesaid receptacle is said to have contained various documents not elsewhere to be found, and among them a list of the names of every dweller in Chicago in 1833, outside of Fort Dearborn. We would be pleased to learn of the safety, in proper hands, of those records, as their destruction would be another "lost pleiad," among the blotted out lights of our local history.
FORT DEARBORN; WHEN CHRISTENED. It has been often stated, that only after the re-building of the Fort (completed in 1817,) it first received the name Fort Dearborn. This was incorrect, for in 1812, the name seems to have been generally known, as the Eastern newspapers mostly so referred to the garrison on learning the news of the abandonment of the Fort by the troops, and the immediate treachery of the Indians. A letter from the War Department admits this, though their records fail to impart anything definite of an earlier date. Yet evidence from other sources has not been wanting, to confirm the statement, that this post was called "Fort Dearborn" in the year it was first finished, in 1804. The fact appeared in the accounts and papers of the elder John Kinzie, who was here that year. Those documents, at the time of the great fire, were in the library of the Chicago Historical Society. But a living witness is here to-day, October 30, 1875, who was here when the Fort was built in 1803-4, and she has assured us of the fact above stated; we allude of course to Mrs. Whistler.
THAT SILVER PITCHER. In the second month A. D. 1853, might be seen at the manufactory of Speer & Cosper in Chicago, a new and massive silver pitcher, a which morning paper noticed as follows: “Made for one of our citizens,—one of the most superb pieces of plate this western world can boast of. There is engraved on it the Coat of Arms of his ancestors, and the raised, embossed and fretted work, are rich and most effective. Who the owner is, to us a mystery; all we were told was, that he is an old and time-honored citizen; that he was here when the Indian's war-whoop spread terror along the bank of the lake,—that he took part in the terrific struggle of the Indian War, the sanguineness of which, 44,000 out of the 45,000 people now in Chicago can form no conception; has grown up with the city, and now enjoys the fruits of his long and arduous labors. Long may he live, and may those fruits increase upon him."
EARLIEST RESIDENT IN CHICAGO NOW LIVING. Very few of the four hundred thousand of the reasonably adult individuals now residing in Chicago are probably aware that the lady of whom we are going to speak is now a visitor in our city. After so long a period, since early in the century, before those of our citizens who have only reached their "three score years and ten" were born, when she came a trustful wife of sixteen, and stepped ashore upon the river bank, it is not a little remarkable that she is, to-day, again passing over and around the locality of this her early home. Under the gentle supervision of this married maiden's blue eyes, our stockade fortress, then so far within the wilderness, was erected. Yet, of all those who came in that summer of 1803, the sailor-men of that vessel, the oarsmen of that boat, the company of United States soldiers, Captain and Mrs. Whistler, and their son, the husband and his bride of a year, all, we may safely say, have bid adieu to earth, excepting this lone representative. These are some of the circumstances which contribute to make this lady a personage of unusual interest to the dwellers here. A few particulars in the life of Mrs. Whistler, together with some of the facts attending the coming of those who arrived to assist in building Fort Dearborn, will certainly be acceptable.
It was a coveted pilgrimage which we sought, as any one might believe, for it was during the tremendous rainstorm of the evening of 29th October, 1875, that we sallied out to call at Mrs. Col. R. A. Kinzie's, for an introduction to the lady's mother, Mrs. Whistler. When we entered the parlor, the venerable woman was engaged at the centre-table in some game of amusement with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, seemingly as much interested as any of the juveniles. [We will remark here that five generations in succession of this family have lived in Chicago.] She claimed to enjoy good health, and was, apparently, an unusual specimen of well-preserved faculties, both intellectual and physical. She is of a tall form, and her appearance still indicates the truth of common report, that, in her earlier years, she was a person of surpassing elegance. A marked trait of hers has been a spirit of unyielding energy and determination, and which length of years has not yet subdued. Her tenacious memory ministers to a voluble tongue, and we may say briefly, she is an agreeable, intelligent, and sprightly lady, numbering only a little over 88 years. "To-day," said she, "I received my first pension on account of my husband's services." Mrs. Whistler resides in Newport, Kentucky. She has one son and several grandsons in the army. Born in Salem, Mass., July 3, 1787, her maiden name was Julia Ferson, and her parents were John and Mary (La Dake) Ferson. In childhood she removed with her parents to Detroit, where she received most of her education. In the month of May, 1802, she was married to William Whistler (born in Hagerstown, Md., about 1784), a Second Lieut, in the company of his Father, Captain John Whistler, U. S. A., then stationed at Detroit. In the summer of the ensuing year, Captain Whistler's company was ordered to Chicago, to occupy the post and build the Fort. Lieut. James S. Swearingen (late Col. Swearingen, of Chillicothe, O.) conducted the company from Detroit overland. The U. S. schooner "Tracy," Dorr, master, was dispatched at the same time, for same destination, by the lakes, with supplies, and having also on board Captain John Whistler, Mrs. Whistler, their son George W., then three years old (afterwards the distinguished engineer in the employ of the Russian government), Lieut. Wm. Whistler, and the young wife of the last named gentleman. The schooner stopped briefly on her route at St. Joseph's river, where the Whistlers left the vessel and took a row-boat to Chicago. The schooner, on arriving at Chicago, anchored half a mile from the shore, discharging her freight by boats. Some 2000 Indians visited the locality while the vessel was here, being attracted by so unusual an occurrence, as the appearance in these waters of "a big canoe with wings." Lieut. Swearingen returned with the "Tracy" to Detroit.
There were then here, says Mrs. W., but four rude huts or traders' cabins, occupied by white men, Canadian French, with Indian wives; of these were Le Mai, Ouilmette, and Pettell. No fort existed here at that time, though it is understood (see Treaty of Greenville) that there had been one at a former day, built by the French, doubtless, as it was upon one of the main routes from New France to Louisiana, of which extensive region that government long held possession by a series of military posts. [It is said that Durantaye, a French official, built some sort of a fortification here as early as 1685.]
Capt. Whistler, upon his arrival, at once set about erecting a stockade and shelter for their protection, followed by getting out the sticks for the heavier work. It is worth mentioning here, that there was not at that time, within hundreds of miles, a team of horses or oxen, and, as a consequence, the soldiers had to don the harness, and with the aid of ropes drag home the needed timbers. The birth of two children within the Fort we have referred to elsewhere. Lt. Whistler, after a five years sojourn here, was transferred to Fort Wayne, having previously been made a First Lieutenant. He distinguished himself at the battle of Maguago, Mich., 9th Aug., 1812; was in Detroit at time of Hull's surrender, and, with Mrs. Whistler, was taken prisoner to Montreal; was promoted to a Captain, December, 1812; to Major, in 1826; and a Lieut.-Col., in 1845. At his death, he had rendered sixty-two years continuous service in the army; yet Mrs. W. says she remembers but six short furloughs which he had during the whole term. He was stationed at various posts, beside those of Green Bay, Niagara, and Sackett's Harbor; at the last named post, Gen. Grant (then a subaltern officer) belonged to the command of Col. W. In June, 1832, Colonel Whistler arrived again at Fort Dearborn, not the work which he had assisted to build twenty-eight years before, for that was burned in 1812, but the later one, erected in 1816-17. He then remained here but a brief period.
Col. Wm. Whistler's height at maturity was six feet two inches, and his weight at one time was 260 lbs. He died in Newport, Ky., Dec. 4, 1863.
Capt. John Whistler, the builder and commandant of the first Fort Dearborn (afterwards Major W.), was an officer in the army of the Revolution. We regret that we have so few-facts concerning his history; nor have we a portrait or signature of the patriot. It is believed, that when ordered at Chicago he belonged to a regiment of artillery. He continued in command at Fort Dearborn, until the forepart of 1811, we think, for we notice that his successor, Captain Heald, gave to the Pottawatomie, Little Chief, a pass to St. Louis, dated here July 11, 1811. Mrs. Whistler expressed to us her opinion, that had Captain W. been continued in the command, the Chicago massacre would not have happened. Major John Whistler died at Bellefontaine, Mo., in 1827.
Col. James Swearingen was a Second Lieutenant, in 1803, when he conducted the Company of Capt. Whistler from Detroit across Michigan to Chicago. The regiment of artillery, with which he was connected, is understood to have been the only corps of that branch of defence. Lieut. Swearingen continued in the service until about 1816, attaining the rank of Colonel, when he resigned his commission, and made his residence in Chillicothe, O., where he died, on his 82d birthday, in February, 1864.
THE AMERICAN FUR COMPANY AND CHICAGO. During the existence of the American Fur Company, Chicago was at times the home or head-quarters of various of its agents; Hubbard, Beaubien, Crafts, and the Kinzies, at least, sojourned here more or less. By way of Chicago was the thoroughfare to the Illinois, St. Louis, and below. While Mackinaw had been for more than a century the storehouse and great trading post of the fur dealers, Chicago was the port and point of a very limited district of distribution. But civilization has changed the character of trade, and the settlement and cultivation of the country by the white race has transferred from Michilimackinac to Chicago the commercial depot and trade centre of not only a great share of the region comprising the old Northwestern Territory, but of a far greater area of empire.
To notice slightly the origin of the American Fur Company, we will say that John Jacob Astor, a German by birth, who arrived in New York in the year 1784, commenced work for a bakery owned by a German acquaintance, and peddled cakes and doughnuts about the city. [See Scovill’s “Old Merchants of New York!” contradicting other stories of Astor's early life in America.] He was afterwards assisted to open a toy shop, and this was followed by trafficking for small parcels of furs in the country towns, and which led to his future operations in that line.
Mr. Astor's great and continued success in that branch of trade induced him, in 1809, to obtain from the New York Legislature a charter incorporating "The American Fur Company," with a capital of a million dollars. It is understood that Mr. Astor comprised the Company, though other names were used in its organization. In 1811, Mr. Astor, in connection with certain partners of the old Northwest Fur Company (whose beginning was in 1783, and permanently organized in 1787), bought out the association of British merchants known as the Mackinaw Company, then a strong competitor in the fur trade. This Mackinaw Company, with the American Fur Company, was merged into a new association, called the Southwest Fur Company. But in 1815, Mr. Astor bought out the Southwest Company, and the American Fur Company came again to the front. In the winter of 1815-16, Congress, through the influence of Mr. Astor, it is understood, passed an act excluding foreigners from participating in the Indian trade. In 1817-18, the American Fur Company brought a large number of clerks from Montreal, and the United States, to Mackinaw, some of whom made good Indian traders, while many others failed upon trial and were discharged. Among those who proved their capability was Gurdon S. Hubbard, Esq., then a youth of sixteen, the earliest resident of Chicago now living here. Quite appropriate will it be to present a likeness of Mr. H. in connection with this article. He was born in Windsor, Vt., in 1802, and his parents were Elizur and Abigail (Sage) Hubbard. His paternal emigrant ancestor was George Hubbard, who was at Wethersfield, Ct., in 1636. Mr. Hubbard is also a lineal descendant of the clergyman Governor, Gurdon Saltonstall (named for Brampton Gurdon, the patriot M. P., whose daughter was the grandmother of the Governor), who was the great-grandson of Sir Richard Saltonstall, the firm and efficient friend of early New England.
[The citizens of Chicago must be pleased to learn that Mr. Hubbard has in hand, getting ready for the press, a volume of autobiography, and reminiscences of men, things, and happenings, during his long sojourn in the West.] We need, therefore, merely add here that Mr. Hubbard left Montreal, where his parents then lived, May 13, 1818, reaching Mackinaw, July 4th, and first arrived at Chicago on the last day of October or first day of November of that year. In 1828, he purchased of the Fur Company their entire interest in the trade of Illinois.
We are indebted to Mr. Hubbard for the following, relating to the American Fur Company, which he has kindly communicated:
"Having entire charge of the management of the company in the West, were Ramsey Crooks and Robert Stuart. To William Matthews was intrusted the engaging of voyageurs and clerks in Canada, with his head-quarters in Montreal. The voyageurs he took from the kabitans (farmers); young, active, athletic men were sought for, indeed, none but such were engaged, and they passed under inspection of a surgeon. Mr. M. also purchased at Montreal such goods as were suited for the trade, to load his boats. These boats were the Canadian batteaux, principally used in those days in transferring goods to upper St. Lawrence river and its tributaries, manned by four oarsmen and a steersman, capacity about six tons. The voyageurs and clerks were under indentures for a term of five years. Wages of voyageurs, $100, clerks from $120 to $500 per annum. These were all novices in the business; the plan of the company was to arrange and secure the services of old traders and their voyageurs, who, at the (new) organization of the company were in the Indian country, depending on their influence and knowledge of the trade with the Indians; and as fast as possible secure the vast trade in the West and North- west, within the district of the United States, interspersing the novices brought from Canada so as to consolidate, extend, and monopolize, as far as possible, over the country, the Indian trade. The first two years they had succeeded in bringing into their employ seven-eighths of the old Indian traders on the Upper Mississippi, Wabash, and Illinois rivers, Lakes Michigan and Superior, and their tributaries as far north as the boundaries of the United States extended. The other eighth thought that their interest was to remain independent; toward such, the company selected their best traders, and located them in opposition, with instructions so to manage by underselling to bring them to terms.
At Mackinaw, the trader's brigades were organized, the company selecting the most capable trader to be the manager of his particular brigade, which consisted of from five to twenty batteaux, laden with goods. This chief or manager, when reaching the country allotted to him, made detachments, locating trading houses, with districts clearly defined, for the operations of that particular post, and so on, until his ground was fully occupied by traders under him, over whom he had absolute authority.
Mr. John Crafts was a trader sent to Chicago by a Mr. Conant, of Detroit; was here at the (new) organization of the American Fur Company. His trading house was located about half a mile below Bridgeport, (“Hardscrabble,” the same premises, where in April 1812, two murders were committed by the Indians) on the north side of the river, (south branch) and had, up to 1819, full control of this section, without opposition from the American Fur Company, sending outfits to Rock River and other points within a range say of a hundred miles of Chicago. In fall of 1819, the company transferred Jean Baptiste Beaubien from Milwaukee to this point, for the purpose of opposing Mr. Crafts. He erected his trading houses at the mouth of Chicago river, then about the foot of Harrison street, in 1822, Crafts succumbed, and engaged himself to the American Fur Company, taking a charge. Mr. Beaubien was under him. Subsequently, the company bought from the U. S. the Factory House, located just south of Fort Dearborn, to which Beaubien removed with his family. Crafts died here of bilious fever in December, of I think the year 1823. Up to this date, Mr. John Kinzie was not in any business connected with the American Fur Company, but confined himself to his trade, silversmith, making Indian trinkets. At the death of Mr. Crafts, he acted as agent for the American Fur Company. He had no goods, as Mr. Beaubien bought out the Company's right of trade with the Indians. By this time there was a very limited trade here, in fact, this place never had been pre-eminent as a trading-post, as this was not the Indian hunting-ground."
We will here allude to Mr. Astor's attempt to establish an American emporium for the fur trade at the mouth of the Columbia river, which enterprise failed, through the capture of Astoria by the British in 1814, and the neglect of our Government to give him protection. The withdrawal of Mr. Astor from the Pacific coast, left the Northwest Fur Company to consider themselves the lords of the country. They did not long enjoy the field unmolested, however. "A fierce competion ensued between them and their old rivals, the Hudson's Bay Company, which was carried on at great cost and sacrifice, and, occasionally, with the loss of life. It ended in the ruin of most of the partners of the Northwest Company, and merging of the relics of that establishment, in 1821, in the rival association."
Ramsey Crooks was a foremost man in the employ of Mr. Astor in the fur trade, not only in the east, but upon the western coast, and has been called "the adventurous Rocky Mountain trader." Intimately connected, as Mr. Crooks was, with the American Fur Company, a slight notice of him will not be out of place. Mr. Crooks was a native of Greenock, Scotland, and was employed as a trader, in Wisconsin, as early as 1806. He entered the service of Mr. Astor in 1809. In 1813, he returned from his three years' journey to the western coast, and in 1817 he joined Mr. Astor as a partner, and, for four or five years ensuing, he was the company's Mackinaw agent, though residing mostly in New York. Mr. Crooks continued a partner until 1830, when this connection was dissolved and he resumed his place with Mr. Astor in his former capacity. In 1834, Mr. Astor, being advanced in years, sold out the stock of the company, and transferred the charter to Ramsey Crooks and his associates, whereupon Mr. C. was elected president of the company. Reverses, however, compelled an assignment in 1842, and with it the death of the American Fur Company. In 1845, Mr. Crooks opened a commission house, for the sale of furs and skins, in New York city. This business, which was successful, Mr. C. continued until his death. Mr. Crooks died in New York, June 6, 1859, in his 73d year.
[Through the politeness of a lady of Chicago, we have been favored with the loan of a volume, formerly one of the books of the American Fur Company, containing various items of interest. The lady referred to was formerly of Mackinaw, and had the good taste when noticing, some years since, the waste of numerous books and papers of the old Fur Company, to secure quite a number from such a fate. All those book and papers, excepting the one lying before us, she afterward presented to the Chicago Historical Society, and they shared the flames which consumed its valuable collection.
Though only in part referring to our immediate locality, we think it will be excusable to place upon record the following extracts and items (mostly of persons and their destination) from the volume above mentioned. The book comprises outward invoices of the year 1821 and '2, from the Agency at Mackinaw, or "Michilimackinac" as it was written. Pains have been taken to carefully follow the orthography, of the names of persons and places.]
(For account and risk of the American Fur Co., Merchandise delivered.)
Josette Gauthier, for the Trade of Lake Superior. Michilimackinac, 23 July, 1821.
Madeline Laframboise, for the Trade of Grand River and its dependencies, 3 Sept., 1821.
[Madam Laframboise was of the Indian race, an Ottawa woman, whose husband had taught her to read and write. She was of a tall and commanding figure, and Mr. Hubbard informs us that "she was a woman of extraordinary ability, spoke French remarkably well, and, in deportment and conversation, a lady highly esteemed; her husband was killed on the Upper Mississippi." After his death, "she took control of the business, and continued as a trader in the Company's employ," was accustomed to visit the various trading posts, and looked closely after the doings of the clerks and employes. The daughter of Madam Laframboise became the wife of Lieut. John S. Pierce, of the army, brother of the late President Pierce.]
(On their own account and risk.)
Therese Schindler, for her Trade at and about Michilimackinac, 23 August, 1821.
Eliza and James Mitchell for their Trade, August 12, 1822.
(For account and risk of the American Fur Co.)
John F. Hogle, for the Trade of Lac du Flambeau and its dependencies, 24 July, 1821.
Jean Bt. Corbin for the Trade of Lac Courtoreille and its dependencies, 31 July, 1821.
Eustache Roussain, for Trade of Folleavoine and its dep. 31 July, 1821.
Goodrich Warner, for the Trade of Ance Quirvinan and its dep. 2 August, 1821.
Joseph Rolette, for the Trade of the Upper Mississsippi and its dep. 15 August, 1821.
Amount of Invoice, $25,354.84.
[Joseph Rolette was at Prairie du Chien as early as 1804. He was a decided character in his day, and numerous anecdotes are told of him which establish that fact. He held sway over the French inhabitants and voyageurs, and was exacting in his requirements; his will was arbitrary, his word law, and the people feared him, it is said, worse than they did death. He was educated for the Catholic church, officiated at one time as chief-justice, and, it is told to have been rich to watch the proceedings and decisions of that court. In the capture of Mackinaw from the Americans, in 1812, Rolette took an active part on the side of the enemy, having command of the Canadians on that occasion. He also raised a company to take part in the expedition under Col. McKay, against Prairie du Chien, and bore the despatches to Mackinaw after its surrender. Mr. Rolette died at Prairie du Chien in 1841.]
William H. Wallace for trade of Lower Wabash and its dep. 22 August, 1821.
[This gentleman was a Scotchman, and is understood to have died in Chicago about 1826. He was connected with the Fur Company upon the Pacific coast some years before. A manuscript narrative of his journey, in 1810, to the Northwest coast, from Montreal, via New York, Sandwich Islands, etc., left by him, was deposited with the Chicago Historical Society.]
John Henry Davis, for the trade of the Upper Wabash and its dep. 24 August, 1821.
Jeremie Clairemont, for the trade of Iroquois river and its dep. 22 August, 1821.
Truman A. Warren, for the trade of Lac du Flambeau and its dep. July 15, 1822.
John Holliday, for the trade of Ance Quirvinan, and its dep. 26 July, 1822.
Joseph Bertrand and Pierre Navarre, for trade of St. Joseph and Kinkiki and its dep. Aug. 7, 1822.
[The present village of Bertrand, Mich., formerly called Pare aux Vaches, it is believed, was named for Joseph Bertrand.]
William Morrison, for the trade of Fon du Lac and its dep. July 20, 1822.
[This gentleman, who died in 1866, near Montreal, discovered, in 1804, the source of the Mississppi, in advance of Schoolcraft or Beltrami, or, indeed, any other white man.]
Antoine Deschamps and Gurdon S. Hubbard, for the trade of Iroquois river, and its dep. August 9, 1822.
[Antoine Deschamps, in the year 1792, was at what was formerly called La Ville de Maillet, that was afterwards "Fort Clark," and the village of Peoria. He lived there, at least, until 1811.]
Russell Farnham, for the trade of the lower Mississippi and its dep. 10 August, 1821.
Consignment to address of James Kinzie for account of him and the American Fur Company; for trade of Milliwaki and its dep. Shipped per Schooner Ann, Capt. Ransom, from Michilimackinac, to Chicago. 13 Sept., 1821.
[The late James Kinzie, formerly of Chicago, and half brother of the late John H. Kinzie.]
Joseph C. Dechereau, for the trade of Penatangonshine and its dep. 5 Oct., 1821.
Louis Pensonneau, sen., for trade of Illinois river. August 12, 1822.
[Louis Penceneau, both senior and junior, lived at Peoria; the former built a house there soon after the peace of 1815.]
(Own account and risk.)
Etienne (otherwise Stephen) Lamorandiere, for Trade at Drummond's Island. July 21, 1821.
Michael Cadotte, sen., for his trade at La Pointe, Lake Superior. 23 July, 1821.
Joseph La Perche, alias St. Jean, for his trade on the lower Mississippi. 30 July, 1821.
Joseph Bailly, for trade of Lake Michigan, etc. 10 August, 1821.
Binette, Buisson and Bibeau, for trade on the Illinois river and its dep. 18 August, 1821.
Joseph Guerette, for trade on Illinois river. 18 August, 1821.
Augustin Grignon, John Lawe, Jaques Porlier, sen., Pierre Grignon, and Louis Grignon, all of Green Bay, for their trade there. 3 Sept., 1821.
[The Grignons were grandsons of Charles DeLanglade, who settled at Green Bay as early as 1745.]
Antoine Deschamps, for the trade of Masquigon. 11 Sept., 1821.
Richard M. Price, for the trade of Drummond Island. 5 Sept., 1821.
Daniel Dingley, for the trade of Folleavoine, south Lake Superior. July 30, 1822.
Edward Biddle, from 1st Oct., 1821 to 15 Aug., 1822.
Ignace Pichet. June 28, 1822.
Rix Robinson, for trade of Grand River, Lake Michigan. August 23, 1822.
[He studied law in the State of New York, but abandoned it and came to Mackinaw to take up the business of Indian trader.]
William A. Aitken, for his trade at Fon du Lac and its dep. July 4, 1822.
Jean Bt. Beaubien, for his trade at Milliwakie.
[The late Col. J. B. Beaubien, of Chicago.] Pierre Caune for his trade. Aug. 31, 1822.
Washington Irving, in his "Astoria," gives a graphic account of the occasional meetings of the partners, agents and employes of the old Northwest Fur Company, at Montreal and Fort William, where they kept high days and nights of wassail and feasting; of song and tales of adventure and hair-breath escapes. But of those lavish and merry halls of the old "Northwest," we need suggest no comparison with the Agency dwelling of the American Fur Company at Mackinaw, where the expenses charged for the year 1821 were only $678.49. In that account, however, we notice the following entries: 31 1/4 gallons Tenerifte Wine; 4 1/2 gallons Port Wine; 10 gallons best Madeira; 70 1/2 gallons Red Wine; nine gallons brandy; one barrel flour.
We will close this article by giving a catalogue of goods furnished for the trade of the Chicago country, fifty-three years ago:
Arm bands, blankets, broad cord, blue cloth, brown Russia sheeting, blue bernagore handkerchiefs, black silk do., black ribbon, boxwood combs, barrel biscuit, black bottles, boys' roram hats, brass jewsharps, beads, blue cloth trowsers, blue cloth capotes, beaver shot, balls, black wampum, barrel salt, colored ribbon, colored gartering, crimson bed-lace, cartouche knives, colored cock feathers, cod lines, colored worsted thread, cotton-wick balls, cow bells, covered copper kettles, common needles, cotton bandanna handkerchiefs, duck shot, darning needles, embossed serge, English playing cards, embossed brooches, ear wheels, furniture cotton, fox tail feathers, flour, fire steels, gun flints, girls' worsted hose, gorgets, gunpowder, gurrahs, highland striped gartering, hawk's bills, hair trunks, half axes, highwines, hose, hand sleds, Irish linen, Indian calico handkerchiefs, ingrain ribbon, ivory combs, ingrain worsted thread, ink powder, japanned quart jacks, kettle chains, knee straps, London scots gartering, large round ear bobs, looking-glasses, mock garnets, maitre de retz, men's shirts, men's imitation beaver hats, moon paper, narrow cord, nuns' thread, nails, northwest guns, printed cotton shawls, plain bath rings, pen knives, pierced brooches, portage collars, pepper, pins, pipes, pork, scarlet cloth, shoes, spotted swan skin, silk ferrets, scarlet milled caps, scalping knives, St. Lawrence shells, stone rings, sturgeon twine, stitching thread, snuff, snuff boxes, snaffle bridles, stirrup irons, tow sheeting, therick, tomahawks, tobacco, vermillion, white crash brushes, white molton, waist straps, white wampum, whiskey.
FIRST WHITE CHILD BORN IN CHICAGO. [In undertaking this series of historical pamphlets, one object was, to place in a convenient form, for reference, the facts in relation to various events in the early history of Chicago, some of which have been so diversely, and yet so confidently, stated that an unwonted traveler through those historical jungles and forests, might have great difficulty in getting out of the woods. It is true, that it is not always easy or possible to get at the exact and reliable facts, so barren may be the evidence, or yet so numerous and varied the convergent channels through which it reaches us, tinted or discolored perhaps on its way. "Tradition is a careless story teller," and our memories are often defective; our wishes, while they strengthen our faith, also build up our prejudices, warp our thoughts, and mislead our tongues; so, honestly, perhaps, we go on uttering untruths, it may be, for a lifetime. It is only by diligent search, or by the collation of the numerous and oftentimes contradictory accounts, statements and data, that satisfactory results can be arrived at; indeed, it has been said that written histories, ordinarily, are at the best only an approximation to the truth. It is to this approximation that we would at least strive to attain.]
In the Weekly Democratic Press of March 18, 1854, appeared a historical sketch of Chicago, written by Lieut.-Gov. Bross, one of the editors, embodying the results of considerable research; we make an extract as follows:
"So far as we have been able to learn, the oldest inhabitant born in Chicago, and now living here, is a lady—we beg pardon for saying it—she is an unmarried lady. Be not amazed, ye spruce, anxious bachelors, and if you count your gray hairs by scores, stand aside, for we are quite sure there is no chance for you. She is not only an unmarried lady, but a young lady, only twenty-two years of age, as she was born in Fort Dearborn in the early part of 1832. We have not the pleasure of her acquaintance, and, at the peril of incurring her displeasure, we venture to state that the oldest native inhabitant of Chicago, a city of more than sixty thousand people, is Miss Ellen Hamilton, the daughter of our good friend, Col. R. J. Hamilton."
In a communication concerning David McKee, an old Chicago resident, appears this: "His oldest son, Stephen J. McKee, was born Sept. 18, 1830, and was the first white male child born in Chicago."
In the Republican of Feb. 12, 1866, is an article from which we take the following: "A daughter of the late Mr. Russell E. Heacock, born in Fort Dearborn, 1828, was the first white child born in Chicago. The honor has been claimed by a very respectable lady, daughter of the late Col. R. J. Hamilton, but the facts will not bear out the claim. Mrs. Serena R. Noble, now a resident of California, is the person who has the birthright."
Alexander Beaubien, son of the late Col. John B. Beaubien, was born in Chicago, Jan. 28, 1822, and lives here still.
Mr. Wentworth, in a late lecture, said: "Gen. John McNeil, one of the heroes at the battle of Lundy's Lane, Canada, in 1814, was stationed here soon after the reconstruction of the Fort (men arrived to rebuild it in 1816), and he claimed that one of his daughters was the first person ever born in the Fort. A few years since, I met her on Michigan Avenue, and she said she had been trying to find the place upon which she was born, claiming the honor of being the first person born in the Fort. As she was unmarried, I disliked to ask her when it was. There are several persons now living in Chicago who claim the distinction of being the first white person born here."
The late Col. Robert A. Kinzie was born at Chicago, Feb. 8, 1810.
Maria Kinzie (since Mrs. Gen. David Hunter) was born at Chicago, previous to the month of October in 1807.
John Harrison Whistler (son of Lieut. Wm. Whistler) was born in Fort Dearborn, Oct. 7, 1807. [This gentleman died in Burlington, Kan., Oct 23, 1873.]
Merriweather Lewis Whistler, brother of the above-named John H. W., was also born in the Fort in the fall of the year 1805, and was, without doubt, the first white boy baby that "blew his horn" anywhere in this region, since the waters of the Great Lakes discharged their surplus into the Gulf of Mexico, instead of the St. Lawrence, as geologists tell us was formerly the case. But the young lad was drowned in Newport, Ky., when some seven years old.
The first person, however, born at Chicago of white parentage, was a sister of the above named Maria and Robert A. Kinzie, and daughter of John and Eleanor Kinzie. The event happened, in what was afterward known as the Kinzie House on the north side, (so Mrs. Whistler tells us,) and the little lady first saw the light upon the shore of the Divine River, (a name sometimes applied to the creek here in former days, though scarcely divine at present, if purity is an essential attribute,) on one of the days of December, 1804. [Her published obituary, gave the date of her birth as Dec. 1805; yet Mrs. Whistler assures us that it occurred earlier by some months, than that of her son Lewis, and that it was in winter or cold weather. Allowing the month to have been December, agreeable to the obituary referred to, the conclusion must be, that the year was that of 1804.] In due time, she was given the christian name of Ellen Marion, and her playmates in early childhood were often the Indian children, with whom she gathered the summer flowers along the sedgy banks of the quiet stream. But the war came, the Fort was abandoned, and then occurred an exhibition of brutal carnage which savages so delight in; it was the massacre at Chicago. But the household of Mr. Kinzie, after various perils and escapes, under the care of friendly captors, were taken to St. Joseph, and thence to Detroit. The re-building of Fort Dearborn brought back the Kinzies to their old home.
It will be sufficient here to say that Miss Kinzie received her education at Middletown, Ct., and was married at the age sixteen to Dr. Alexander Wolcott, Indian agent at Chicago. [It was, we believe in 1821, that John Hamlin, a Justice of the Peace, living in Fulton county before that county was organized, was sent for, and officiated in tying the knot.] Doctor Wolcott died in 1830, and his widow subsequently married Hon. George C. Bates, an early resident of Chicago, now (1875) living in Salt Lake City. We have been unable to procure a "counterfeit presentment" of the features of Mrs. Bates, and possibly there is none in existence; if so, it is certainly a matter of regret. She died in Detroit, 1 Aug., 1860.
THE PIONEER LAWYER OF CHICAGO. [In a historical article in a late number of the Chicago Times, it is asserted that "the first lawyer who came to Chicago to make his living by his profession and nothing else, was Judge Giles Spring; there had been other lawyers here before, but they came as circuit riders, accompanying the Court, etc." The drift of this seems to be, to ignore a plain fact in our local history. Now we suggest that the Times writer, for the lack of a knowledge of the case, has innocently made a blunder in the matter. It would certainly confer honor upon no one, to attempt to hide a palpable truth in the annals of early Chicago. Twenty-five years before Judge Spring came here, possibly before he was born, Mr. Heacock was licensed to practise law. He then lived in Illinois, which at that time was part of the Territory of Indiana. That the mere circumstance of Mr. Heacock's learning in early life the carpenter's trade, or that he could and did, with true Yankee adaptability, turn his hand to whatever offered, that he farmed it, kept tavern, etc., as well as to practise law, for his support, should blot out of the record his title of the earliest practising lawyer of Chicago, seems a little strange. It was no fault of Mr. Heacock's, that Chicago did not, for several years after his arrival, afford business and a living for one of his calling. He came here nearly six years before Judge Spring; he helped to organize the County of Cook, and furthermore, brought the first suits in the Circuit Court here. If this does not confirm to the name of Mr. Heacock the title which we have placed at the head of this article, we must ask what would?
From an author, writing in 1866, (understood to have been an early Chicago settler,) in whose candor, intelligence, and accuracy we have confidence, the greater part of the items, and much of the language which follow, are taken. Nov. 18, 1875.]
Russell E. Heacock was born in Litchfield, Ct., in 1781; lost his father at the age of seven; learned the trade of a carpenter; subsequently traveled westward, and in 1806, was studying law in St. Louis. Mr. H. was licensed in Indiana Territory, Dec. 29, 1808, to practise law, and lived mostly in the counties of Jackson and Union in Illinois, until 1823, when he returned to the east as far as Buffalo, N. Y. He resided there until 1827, when he again came west, and arrived here on a sail-vessel, July 4th, of that year. In the spring and summer of 1828, Mr. Heacock and family were living inside Fort Dearborn. (We should have said before, that he married his wife in Illinois, during his earlier residence.) He subsequently lived several miles up the South branch, occupying a ranche or small farm at what was called "Heacock's Point," and coming in to the village as occasion required. In 1831, he received a license to keep tavern; in 1833, he was Justice of the Peace; in 1835, his law office was opposite the Exchange Coffee House, corner of Lake and Franklin streets.
It will serve perhaps to indicate a marked trait in Mr. Heacock's composition, (that of following the guidance of his own views, independent of, or in opposition to, as it might be, those of all others,) to say, that at a meeting of the citizens, to consider the expediency of proceeding agreeable to the statute to incorporate the Town, twelve votes were cast for incorporation, and one (Mr. Heacock's) against it. Yet with his peculiarities, it is believed to have been truthfully said of Mr. Heacock "as a public speaker he was pleasing, instructive, and often eloquent; his earnest and straightforward outspokenness, his fine conversational powers, his generosity and frankness of character, and his inexhaustible fund of narrative and anecdote, made him most companionable." Besides assisting at Vandalia (the former State Capital) to organize the County of Cook and bringing the first suits in the Circuit Court of this County, many of the provisions of our State Constitution, were originated and advocated by him, long before the convention by whom it was framed was assembled. [His son Reuben B. Heacock was a delegate in the convention of 1847, from Cook County.] All questions of a public nature interested him, but the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and its completion, was to him a great question on which hinged the welfare of Chicago and the State of Illinois. His clear and practical mind saw the financial inhability of the State to complete the work as proposed by the authorities in their bill for its construction, passed by the Legislature. He immediately predicted its failure, for which it is said he was assailed by every public man in the State. The plan upon which the Illinois and Michigan canal was proposed to be constructed, was literally a ship canal from the lakes to the Mississippi River, then characterized by him and known as "the deep cut." He then originated and proposed a plan upon which to construct a canal, which would cost the State less than two millions of dollars, called by him the "shallow cut." For his persistent advocacy of this plan, he was censured and ridiculed by tongue and types, and the satire showered upon him from all quarters, found aid in caricatures. But if this derision was popular, if with the public approval Mr. Heacock was given the sobriquet of "shallow cut," it was the humor of the hour and the season; yet that was halted at length, and the clamor came to an end. Mr. Heacock had his triumph at last; for after the State became bankrupt, its resources were placed in the hands of the Trustees, who adopted Mr. Heacock's plan, and completed the work in the spring of 1848, less than three years. Mr. H. was a democrat of the Jackson school of politics, but he was also an abolitionist, when it was a reproach to be known as such. His writings and speeches on the subject, used principally to refer to the overwhelming influence of the slave-power upon the general government. This was the subject, then but little thought of, and he used to demonstrate its effects, in the distribution of official patronage by the federal executive.
The magnitude of the great west, its undeveloped resources, and its future greatness, were as clearly seen by him then, as by others since. He predicted the great future of Chicago, and invested in the real estate of City and County, but which the financial crash of 1837, involved mostly beyond redemption. It is believed that those vexations and embarrassments impaired his health beyond recovery. In 1843, he had an attack of paralysis, which confined him helpless to his room until 1849, when he died of cholera. Mrs. Heacock survived her husband but a few months.
Squire Heacock, as he was commonly called, we can say was physically and intellectually a tall man; the Indians, who were numerous here in those days, feared and respected him, and they called his eyes "the two full moons." He was self-made and self-educated, far in advance of his time, in all his views of public matters, and having little sympathy from the public generally. Yet those who well knew him, have since appreciated his far-seeing sagacity.
CHICAGO IN THE OLDEN TIME. BY KNEE-BUCKLES. By the side of this sea of fresh waters, by the beach-pebbles skirting the land, where the waves had long rolled and tumbled, in fringes and foam on the sand; where the ice-spray long had sparkled, in the light of the sun or the stars, dashing wildly against winter's barrier, by the ridges and dunes and sand-bars; by the lawn that spread out by the river, where savages led the war dance, where Marquette once lifted the cross, where were planted the Lilies of France; a city has grown up on the marshes, like Venice, that mistress of old, but a greater than Venice here flourishes, by the Adriatic of this western world. Renowned was the plat by the creek side, where the stockade was afterward reared, where old time and the weary stranger, stopped to "shake dust from their beard;" and by side of this prairie stream, stood the wigwams of a dusky race, of frames made of poles tied at top, or bent over in arches of grace; spread with bark of linden or elm, or hide of the elk or wild ox, with mats inside made of rushes, or of bear skin, or wolf, or of fox. Lifted out on the bank of this bayou, not a gondola, shallop, or ark, but the bark of the Indian, was a canoe, and this famed canoe was of bark. It is said that the leek or wild onion, once found in abundance just here, with a vagrant of bad habits and manners, joined in a league that was queer; 'twas a rank conspiracy to foist, upon the shore of a harmless bayou, the odor of a similar name, as that called by the red men, Chicago. We think though, the tale was mere slander, and that Chicago was named from a chief, so we acquit the Mephitis Americana, and the little wild onion leaf. The sluggish, small stream or lagoon, that by lake-side meandered south, was, in summer, a narrow, green pond, when the sand-bars had choked up its mouth; for 'twas only when floods and high water, pushing out with a fortunate tide, bore the creek on to meeting its sweet-heart, and made the lake beauty its bride. In spring time, with thaws and with freshet, the river ran full in its bed, and the natives they cast their bone hooks, catching red-fin and perch and bull-head; here was a clump of green willows, and a few scattering oaks might be seen, but aside from the spots of dry prairie, there were many wet places between. The wild ducks lit down in the slough, foreshadowing a city-park lake, where the cygnets now come at the call, of tiny maidens with nuts and with cake; and where Beaubien since paddled his ferry, the bears and the deer swam o'er, and where the tunnels step down 'neath the river, the otter long tunnelled before. In the former moist days of early spring, by river, bog-channel and slough, from the Lake to Des Plaines passed the Indian, without stepping from his craft, his canoe; and so 'twas in days long passed, 'twixt the basin of Lakes and Mississippi, the dividing ridge was paddled across, where would spread out a wonderful city.
A SUGGESTION. "A few copyists in a twelvemonth, would have preserved to Chicago and earthly immortality, names and events which now exist only in ashes." As a text embodying both a precept and an example, we extract the above, from an article referring to the then recently burned Library of The Chicago Historical Society. Yet, if the Historical Society's collections, were eminently the most important loss sustained by history in America, they were not by any means all the documents which have met destruction, with (as to numerous manuscripts,) no duplicate copies existing elsewhere. Many of the ancient town records in New England, as well as in other parts of the country, have been destroyed by fire, or else are decayed, illegible, or departed altogether from other causes; and we might cite numerous other cases. All our records are perishable, whether upon metal, stone, wood, parchment, paper, or other material. Damp and drouth, heat and cold, the attrition of force, disintegration by chemical contact, indeed, all the elements which are constantly working changes in the natural world, make it a mere question of time how soon any record not re-created or renewed, shall be effaced. We have in remembrance, numerous instances, where the value of single copies of important documents stowed away, have scarcely been appreciated until the fact has transpired, of their irrecoverable loss; that our ideas hitherto, of fire proof protection have been fallacious; and that it cannot be expected, that every library or association, that all public archives or private curators will have provided, ready at one's elbow, a "Fidelity" safety vault. Yet, it must be conceded, that the acquisition of any treasures to be heaped up or pigeon-holed, can hardly be commended, unless means are taken, for their use as well as preservation. Where is the way then, or upon what can we build a reasonable hope of perpetuity and service, for valuable historical writings, which exist in but a single copy? The answer is a brief one, yet the remedy, in the range of probabilities, would be effective; it is, to multiply the copies, in types or otherwise, and distribute far and near.
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE. Taken in 1858, at the dome of the Court House in Chicago. By Lt.-Col. J. D. Graham, U. S. A.
Latitude.—41° 53 min., 06.2 sec, north.
Longitude.—West of meridian of Greenwich; 87° 38 min., 01.2 sec, or 5 hours 50 min., 32.08 sec.
[Transcription Part 2]
FIRST THINGS IN CHICAGO. The first negro slave in Chicago, of
which we have heard, was "Black Jim," owned by John Kinzie, and
brought here by him in 1804.
THE first coroner's inquest was over the body of a dead Indian.
THE first civil execution among the whites, here, was that of John Stone, who was hanged July 10, 1840, for the murder of Mrs. Thompson. The place of execution was the racecourse, some three miles south from the river, near the lake shore, back of Myrick's tavern. A portion of Col. Beaubien's 60th Regiment was improvised as a guard for the occasion, the command of which Col. B. transferred to Lieut. Col. Seth Johnson. The return of the procession brought back the body of Stone, which was given by the sheriff to the doctors for dissection. [We will here refer to what was probably the last execution at this place of an Indian by his comrades. It occurred in the fall of 1832, or the ensuing winter, after a council, or their form of a trial. Being adjudged worthy of death, the man was taken outside, into the brush, south of Randolph street, near where Market street is now, and executed, probably by shooting. Our informant, who was an early settler here, says such was the statement confidently told at the time, though he had no personal knowledge of the matter beyond the assurance of others.]
THE first map of Chicago was by James Thompson, the surveyor employed by the State Canal Commissioners to lay out the town, or rather, village. This map bore date August 4, 1830, and the original was in the Recorder's Office, and was probably burned. It is understood that the first plat of the village gave to Chicago a public levee upon the plan of the western river towns. Our levee, accordingly, was located on the south side, from South Water street to the river. But the lake vessels could not find it expedient to conform to the ways of the shallow craft of the Mississippi valley waters, and so the Chicago levee was abandoned, and the ground was sold, docked, and built upon.
THE first street leading to Lake Michigan, was laid out April 25, 1832; it commenced at where was called the east end of Water street, and is described by Jedediah Wooley, surveyor, as follows: "from the east end of Water street" (at the west line of the Reservation, or State street?) "in the town of Chicago, to Lake Michigan; direction of said road is south 88 1/2 degrees east, from the street to the lake, 18 chains 50 links. Said street was laid out 50 feet wide. The viewers on this occasion also believe that said road is of public utility and a convenient passage from the town to the lake."
The first extended highway regularly laid out in Chicago, was "The Green Bay Road," in 1835, under the direction of Gen. Scott, U. S. A.
THE first white man's tannery, was that of John Miller. It stood (1831) near to and on the north side of, his brother Samuel Miller's tavern, near the Junction.
The first regularly appointed auctioneer was James Kinzie.
THE first debating Society formed here, was organized during the winter 1831-2 comprising nearly all the male population, mostly within the Fort. Col. J. B. Beaubien was chosen President.
The first Druggist was Philo Carpenter, who arrived in Chicago in the month of July, 1832; his store was a small log-building, near where is now the east end of Lake Street Bridge. Mr. C. next occupied a log-building, just vacated by Geo. W. Dole, who had removed into his new store.
The first steamboat fuel furnished by Chicago, was in 1832, when Captain Walker of the "Sheldon Thompson" bought an old log-cabin and took it on board for his return down the Lake.
The first printed list of Advertised Letters was in number seven of Mr. Calhoun's paper, the Chicago Democrat, Jan. 7, 1834. The list comprised one letter, namely, for Erastus Bowen.
The first Fair was held by "the ladies of the Protestant Episcopal Church of this Town," on the 18th June, 1835, and is referred to in the village newspaper, as "a novelty in Chicago."
NOT in 1835, (as stated Dec. 5, 1875 in one of the Chicago Times articles, headed “By-Gone Days” those pleasantly told stories, even though occasionally marred with typographical, accidental, or sensational errors, which we shall notice hereafter,) but July 4, 1836, was the first spadeful of earth thrown out in the digging of the Illinois and Michigan Canal.
The first ferryman was Mark Beaubien.
The first rock for the harbor piers was furnished by John K. Boyer.
The first dray in Chicago was shipped from the Hudson, by Philo Carpenter; we think, also, that the first specimen of that renowned pleasure-vehicle of New England, "the one-horse shay," which appeared here, was when that gentleman and his bride rode into the village in one, in the spring of 1834.
The first two-wheeled pleasure carriage seen here was that owned by Col. J. B. Beaubien, and brought from the East. It is said that the villagers, upon its arrival, paid it distinguished honor, "turning out in procession and parading the streets."
THE first engraver on wood or metal was S. D. Childs, senr.
The first church bell was placed upon the Unitarian Church edifice, 87-93 Washington Street, January, 1845.
The first vessel larger than a "shell" built here was the "Clarissa" launched May, 1836.
The first public edifice erected by the County of Cook, was an Estray Pen.
The first "balloon" built in Chicago or elsewhere, (a popular style of spike- fastened light frame buildings, which astonished by their firmness the old- fashioned mortise and tenon builders,) was erected in the fall of 1832 by Geo. W. Snow, and stood near the Lake shore. It was but a slight affair, yet served for the while, as his place of business, and to protect his goods or freight received by vessel. The greater share of said freight, we may here add, was made up of whisky or other kinds of the ardent.
The first steam engine built in Chicago, was made and put up by Ira Miltimore. It was used to run a saw-mill located on the north branch, near the residence of the late Archibald Clybourn.
The first suggestion we think on record (or off) by a Chicagoan or indeed "any other man" for the establishment, in each of our Collegiate Institutions, of a Professorship to occupy "a Chair of Integrity," for the teaching of that ancient and important accomplishment honesty, now so rare in our public men or officials, (not to speak of others,) was contained in an address by the late Hon. Wm. B. Ogden, not long since, before the Board of Trustees of the Chicago University.
The first book printed in Chicago was consumed by fire, in the bindery, late in 1840. Scammon's Reports, vol. I. Four incomplete copies were not in that fire.
As William Burnett has identified himself with this locality, for he was a house-owner at Chicago, for occasional occupation, for storage or trade, as early as 1798, we are particularly led to say something of him and his letter- book. The letters, we may state, include a term of eighteen years of Mr. Burnett's residence in the wilderness; but according to the information we are favored with, from a relative of the family, he abandoned a civilized abode for the wildwoods and prairies long before that; the year 1769 is given as the one in which he arrived in Michigan.
Though he had sojourned for some time previously at Mackinaw, Mr. Burnett's headquarters, during some of the early years of the period embraced within the dates of these letters, were, it is believed, where now is the village of Bertrand, Mich. We have thought so from various indications, within as well as outside of these letters, though lacking positive evidence. From there, after crossing the river, was reached, by a portage of no great extent, the headwaters of the Kankakee, which at certain times of the year afforded canoe navigation leading to the Illinois and Mississippi. The explorer, LaSalle, and his party, after building a fort at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, passed by this route down to Lake Peoria in December, 1679; but the same path had doubtless been a familiar one to the Indians long before LaSalle appeared thereabout.
Mr. Burnett's residence, upon the banks of the St. Joseph however, was mostly a few hundred yards above its mouth. In this article, we shall present a number of the letters in full, and various extracts from others, taken from the letter-book referred to, and to which we have appended a few occasional notes. Here follows the first communication recorded therein:
St. Josephs, May the 14th, 1786.
Dr. Sir—I take this opportunity, by Mr. Tabeau, to acquaint you that I have here two hundred and twenty bushels of corn; and as I have no canoe nor Batteau to send the corn to Makina, you will please endeavor to get what I have here put into the vessel if she is to come back again. Or, if she is to come to Chicago, you can very likely get her to stop at the mouth of the river. However, I leave it entirely to you, as you will best know how to act in this case. Mr. Ducharme leaves this in a few days, and will write you more fully by him, and remain, in the meantime, Dr. Sir, your humble servant.
To Mr. George Meldrum,
fav'r Mr. Tabeau.
In 1785, the year previous to the above first letter of the series, the writer, Mr. Burnett, was arrested by British soldiers upon American soil (at Mackinaw), and sent, a prisoner, to Montreal. Though released soon after his arrival there, he was not allowed a pass to go up again via the lakes. But British forces, notwithstanding the treaty, held possession of the military posts, and virtually of a good portion of the country and waters along the northern frontier, eleven years after that, for the posts were not surrendered until the summer of 1796.
Below we give further extracts from the letter-book, the first of which describes his interview with General St. Leger, etc.:
St. Josephs, May the 25th, 1786. Dr. Sir—My last to you is per Mr. Tabeau, for Michilmakina, in which I promised to write you more fully for Detroit. I will now begin to let you know how I was received at Montreal when I went down as prisoner last fall. When I arrived there, I waited upon General St. Ledger,* who was then commander-in-chief, to let him know that I was the person that was sent down by Captain Robertson, from Michilmakina. "What," says he, "is your name Burnett?" I answered him it was. He then asked me in what manner I came down as a prisoner; if it was with soldiers and fixed Bayonets. I told him no soldiers came down as a guard over me, But was delivered at every Post as a prisoner, from one Commanding officer to another, to be forwarded down to Montreal. He then said, "By G—d, sir, I now release you from being a prisoner; but you shall not have my permission to go up to Makina again, as Captain Robertson has wrote me you are a dangerous man in exciting sedition amongst the Indians." I told him it was a false and malicious accusation, and endeavored to represent everything in its true light to him. "But the fellow, or rather the Tyrant, being drunk and mad together, would not hearken to me, as he said there was a sufficient number of witnesses against me to support every complaint made against me by Capt. Robertson. He then told me as he had nothing to say with the Civil line, I must go down to Quebec if I wanted a pass and get one from the Lieut. Governor, Mr. Hamilton,** and would write down at the same time the complaint made
*Col. Barry St. Leger, a British officer, was with Wolfe at Quebec, and afterward commanded the expedition in 1777, via Lake Ontario, Oswego River, and Oneida Lake, intending, after victoriously sweeping the Mohawk Valley, to join Burgoyne at Albany. But Gansevoort, Willett, and Fort Stanwix stood in his path, and the militia of the Mohawk, too, gathered to oppose his progress. St. Leger's white force, however, was too meagre for the undertaking, and his savage allies became demoralized and inconstant from the determined bravery of General Herkimer and his militia at the battle of Oriskany. These circumstances led to the abandonment of the siege of Fort Stanwix, and St. Leger's inglorious retreat. St. L. died in 1789.—H.
**Col. Henry Hamilton was an officer of the British army, and was Lieut.- Governor at Detroit early in the Revolution. In December, 1778, we may say, he laid siege to Fort Vincennes, for he arrived before that post with a large force and demanded its surrender. The fortress was then occupied by a force of two men only, a Captain Helm, from Virginia, and one private. Their single cannon, however, was hastily loaded, and with linstock at hand the gun was ready for destruction to the foe. Capt. Helm met the invader with a stern order to stand, and in reply to the summons, suggested to Hamilton that he should state the terms to be granted in case of surrender. The Governor, it is said, agreed to grant to the garrison the usual honors of war, and Captain H. thought it prudent to give up the post; it was one of the most ludicrous incidents of the war. To extend this note a little farther, we add that Col. Geo. Rogers Clarke, in the month of February ensuing, recaptured the post, (then called Fort Sackville) and sent Hamilton, a prisoner, to Virginia. Col. Hamilton left the British army in 1783, but was Lieut.-Governor of Quebec in 1785, and afterwards Governor of Dominica; he died 1796.—H.
by Captain Robertson. Accordingly I went down and waited upon Hamilton, who received me very politely, and told me he had received a letter from General St. Ledger in consequence of giving me a pass for Detroit. He said he did not see the least difficulty of granting me a pass for that place provided I would give the usual security, and that he would write to General St. Ledger in consequence of granting me one upon those conditions. This was all that passed between him and me upon this subject, and now asked what I was sent down for. Relying upon what he had told me, I comes up to Montreal again and waits upon General St. Ledger. "Well," says he, "has the Governor given you a pass?" I told him he had not, but was to have wrote him to grant me one upon those conditions of giving him proper security. "The Governor has wrote me," says he; "but since he has not given you a pass, I may be d----d if I do, and you may get along, sir." Finding no satisfaction amongst these Tyrants and hell- hounds, I left h-ll and ascended round to heaven—I mean New York and Philadelphia—from whence I arrived here the 26th of last month only.
With respect of what I wrote you in my first letter, which was for an assortment of goods for this season, I have, in consequence, inclosed to you a memorandum of what things I may want, and which, if you think it convenient, and lays in your power to compleat, let me know your answer by the bearer of this, Ducharme. Should the above take place, I would have all the dry goods brought by pack-Horses, and as for the heavy articles, I would wish to have them sent round by Mackina, such as the rum, powder, and ball. You can easily have them sent in a vessell to Mackina, and from that sent in a boat to Chicago in your name, as the little Bashaw at Mackina would not grant anything to come here in my name; and as you will be at Mackina, I suppose you will endeavor to get me four Winterers, which you will send per the boat. As I have an opportunity of making a good deal of Indian corn, I would wish you could contract with somebody at Mackina to furnish them two or three hundred bushels. Or, otherwise, if you should want it yourself, I will deliver it at the bottom of the river as reasonable as possible; and let me know your price at the same time. Meldrum and Parke has not used me well this last year in my absence, I mean last fall. This is the only reason that I would not wish to have any more business with them. I remain, Dr. Sir, your humble servant, WM. BURNETT.
N. B. You will see per the memorandum what things there is to be sent per the boat. Should there be a probability of those things coming late by water, I would have some of them brought by land.
To Mr. Wm. Hands, Merch't, Detroit, perDucharme. Extract from a letter to John Sayers, Michilmakina, dated St. Josephs, June 26th, 1786:
A few days ago, five unhappy Americans were taken by the Miamis, four of which was killed upon the Spott, and one brought to their town, where they burnt him at the stake. This happened about thirty leagues from this.
The following is a postscript to a letter dated June 30, 1786, to William Hands, Detroit:
About an hour ago, arrived here an Indian from Saguina with a Belt to this nation. The purport of it is to let them know that the road between this and their town is neat and clean, and would be glad to see them. My opinion of it is, it is an invitation of them to mischief. However I may be mistaken.
St. Josephs, Jan. 20th, 1787.
Last spring, on my way home from Fort Pitt, I stopped at St. Tuskey*; was three days there at one Elliottt** and McDonald's; they charged me seven pounds for lodgings, for which I gave them an order upon Meldrum and Park; and as I have reason to suppose it is not paid, I have sent you five otters, which you will please pay them with. If they are not at Detroit at present, they will be there in the spring, and do not forget to pay them. For I would much sooner owe anybody else as many hundreds. With this goes at the same time another otter, which you will send me tea for. I must here be under the necessity of troubling you with a particular favor: that is to send me some garden seeds, and particular turnip seed and cabbage. I enjoy a very pleasant winter in one respect, and a very lazy one in another, not having anything to do. While I was writing this letter, I have been informed with a bad piece of news by a Frenchman just arrived from the Kaskaskia. He says when he left,
* Sandusky.—H. ** We have not positive proof, yet we believe the senior member of this firm was the notorious Matthew Elliott, who years before that date, as well as afterward, exerted an evil influence with the Indians toward their American white neighbors. Matthew Elliott was one of that trio of wretches, Girty, McKee, and Elliott, yet he held a captain's commission from the British authorities. In 1793, he was living on the Canada side, at the mouth of Detroit River, in trade as well as farming. In a list of the inhabitants of Detroit in 1806, (collections Pioneer Society of Mich., vol. I.) we notice the names of both Alexander McKee and Captain Matthew Elliott. After Perry's victory in September, 1813, a force of a hundred Kentucky soldiers, on their way to Detroit, (so we are told in Luther Harvey's Memoirs in Collections Pioneer Society, Mich.) landed near Malden, and destroyed the house and furniture of Col. Matthew Elliott, British Indian Agent, who, together with Simon Girty, was considered the main instigators of the massacre, by the savages, at River Raisin in January of that year.—H.
that an Indian arrived there which told him that there had an Englishman with his (a word missing) had been killed at Lafourche* on the Illinois River, on his way from Illinois to Detroit, but cannot learn who it is. Please make my humble respects to Mr. and Mrs. May, and hope they are very well; and am, with regard, Dr. Sir, your obdt. servant, WM. BURNETT.
Mr. W. Hands,
St. Josephs, February 19th, 1787.
I had the pleasure yesterday of receiving your favor of the 6th inst. with the tea and paper, for which I am very much obliged to you.
I am happy having so early an opportunity of answering.
I am now to confirm that bad piece of news mentioned in my first letter, I mean with respect to the Englishman that was killed at the river of the Illinois. It appears not to be an Englishman, but a Frenchman; the difference in the name is immaterial. It seems there were three of them together, on their way for Detroit. All that we can learn by the villain that done the act (which is only within fifteen leagues of **au Pi), that he happened to meet at their Campment and spoke with the master, who told him he was going to Detroit to see the Big Swan, meaning Meldrum; that he left them, and came at midnight and shot one of the three, but says not the Trader, and that the other two fled. However, let it be as it is, they had the misfortune to have a bag of money with them containing, nearly as I can learn, four hundred dollars, and between two and three hundred guineas. This, with five horses and several other things, is now in the possession of the monster, which he keeps in defiance of all those that will attempt to take anything from him. He says he intends to go and see his English father and tell him what he has done, and that he is sorry for it, and expects he will give him a little of his wealth, as he is a brave man. <Is it possible that England, so famed for justice and humanity, can bear such murder committed without ever demanding any hind of satisfaction.***> The dollars and guineas are flying about among the cormorants as if a Spanish Galleon had been taken. However, between you and me, they are no less d----d rascals for doing so, as it only encourages the Indians to do the like again on some poor unfortunate traveller.
*Lafourche, it is believed, was situated at junction of the Kankakee and Desplaines.—H.
**Name indistinct and not recognized; possibly it is an abreviation, and intended for our Portage.—H.
***The italics are ours; the crime was committed in the Illinois, yet none other than British jurisdiction appears to, have been recognized here in those days.—H.
I hope against this time you have got the Garden seeds, which I beg you will send me by the bearer of this letter. If there is any such things as wire seives at Detroit, do send me one. In your next, let me know if Mr. Williams is at St. Tuskey.* I thank you for your kind offer for my commands on you for Montreal. I have none but one; that is, when I left Montreal, I owed a balance of one halifax shilling to Campbell, the tavern-keeper. If you remember it, I beg you will pay it. As he is a prattling fellow, he may make a noise about it. I offered him payment, but he had no change. No more. A prosperous voyage to you. I am sincerely yours,
Wm. Hands, at Detroit.
N. B. The fellow has delivered up the papers to Mr. Tabeau, amongst which I had a letter from Arundel, wherein he recommends to me one Mr. Janise. By this it appears that Mr. Janise was one of the three.
St. Josephs, August 22, 1787.
Sir—When Mr. Lalime was in Detroit last, you was pleased to tell him verbally, that if I should want anything at your house, it should be at my service. Upon which I take the liberty of addressing you this letter, to acquaint you with my desire of having an assortment of Indian goods this fall (if convenient to you) to the amount of a thousand pounds' worth. If this should meet your approbation, please to let me know by the bearer of this. As I have horses of my own, I would have everything brought by land. And at the same time, would wish to have made up calico and linen shirts: twelve dozen of calico shirts, twelve dozen of men's linen shirts of twelve-penny linen, and six dozen of women's and children's shirts. If you have any powder, please to send me a hundred weight by the bearer, and remain, Sir, your humble servant,
To Mr. John Casity,
St. Josephs, April 3, 1788.
Sir—Understanding you being at Makina, and desirous to venture once on the wheels of fortune, has thought proper to enclose to you a memorandum for an assortment of Indian goods for this place.
As Mr. Graham is acquainted with your trade of this country, I have given him directions to settle with you as to the price of the goods.
You will endeavor to expedite the whole off in two canoes, soon as possible, for reasons which Mr. Graham will tell you of. Three men in each canoe will be enough; let them be indebted as little as pos-
sible. Another thing I am to observe: as I am a stranger at present to the prices of peltries, you will note down the prices you will give for them, as it will be at the same time a guide to me how to dispose of the goods. The peltries here, in general, are all very good, and in particular the raccoon and otter, and of course deserves a better price than those that comes from any other country. Very possibly it may lay in your way to want Indian corn, Grease, and Sugar. Should you want any of those articles, let me know the prices you will give for any of them delivered at the entrance of the river. I am, Sir, Your humble servant,
To Mr. Charles Patterson,
From letter dated St. Josephs, April 11th, 1788:
I had a very fine harvest last fall, among which I had a hundred bushels of wheat. I leave this tomorrow for Detroit, with an expectation of getting a mill; for further particulars I refer you to our friend Graham.
St. Josephs, Feb. 2, 1790.
D'r Hands: My last to you is dated 10th of December.
I must now give you an account of my departure from this to the Kinkeki. I left the source the 11th December, and with a good deal of trouble breaking the ice now and then, (as the river is very narrow) got down to my wintering quarters the 16th of the same month. Upon my arrival, we sat about building a small house, and notwithstanding the bad weather, we got it up in eight days with two men and myself. So that upon the whole, considering my bad luck in getting my goods so late, have been very fortunate in getting into the Kinkeki, as the season of the year being so very far advanced. As to the trade of ye the Kinkeki, it goes on but very slowly as yet owing to the mild winter we have here. But am still in hopes what I have taken with me there will dispose of against the spring.
The day before my departure from source of the Kinkeki, one of my men left me in the night, and has made his way to the Oahiya.* I have wrote to Mr. J. Abbott, at the Aumies,** that should he see the fellow there to have him sent to Detroit directed to your care. His name is Jems, and owes me four hundred and fifty livres. I hired him at Makina to winter and return back again, so that it is needless to explain to you how much the rascal is out of my way.
If possible, I must desire you will get me made a plough shear, as the French calls it en bardeau, about five and twenty pounds weight. Should I not send to Detroit, you will send above to the Mies.** As to the wheat, you will send it to Makina.
Chevelleur of the Teppeconno was pillaged of a bale of dry goods by the Indians of the place, which is the Poutwatamies. The only reason for their behavior is this, that he would not give some of them credit. I saw him the other day, and told him he would wish that the above should be made known to Mr. Robinson, of Detroit, as he is equiped by him. There ought to be some example made of those rascals, as it is a matter that concerns all in this country. For if there is no notice taken of this, it will be a matter of fact that they will do the same again, if not to him to some other poor devil.
My respects to Mr. and Mrs. Graham, Mr. May and family, and am sincerely yours,
P. S. I leave this to-morrow for my house in the Kinkeki.
Ducharme that has been here lately, says that some of the Traders from Makina, going down the Illinois river last fall, was pillaged by a band of Poutwatamies.
Let me know if you have had any news of the prices of Peltries, and what appearance there is of sales.
Mr. Wm. Hands,
St. Josephs, May 6th, 1790.
This is the third letter since I saw you last fall, at LaGlaize, and has not been favored with any from you. I have nothing to write you in particular at present, but only to let you know that I am safe arrived from my wintering quarters, and all very well. I have missed a very great opportunity of doing well for the want of goods this spring. About ten days ago, I sent a canoe off for Makina loaded with corn for Mr. Todd. Should not the canoe find Todd there, I have wrote Mr. Barthe to receive it for him. I wrote to you about getting a plough share made; send it Makina with three bushels of fall wheat, provided you have not sent it to the Aumies already. Let me hear from you by the first opportunity, and what appearance there will be of the sale of peltries.
I received a letter yesterday from Chicago, wherein it is said that nothing is made in the Mississippi this year. I remain sincerely yours,
Mr. Wm. Hands,
To the same at Detroit:
MICHILMAKINA, Aug. 14, 1790.
I had the pleasure of receiving your favor by the vessel, dated Detroit, July 10th, the contents of which I have paid particular attention to. I brought here fifty-six packs, which I sold Mr. Todd for 25,400 livres.* I have settled with him for his last year's amount, which is 13,592 livres, and for yours also amounting to 3900 livres, the whole of which comes to 19,492 livres, for which amount I have paid him and has his receipt for the same.
Makina, Aug. 25, 1790.
Sir: A few days after your departure from this, the schooner Nancy arrived here.
Lafromboir** arrived here the 22nd inst. His canoe goes off this evening, and as it is the last canoe that goes off from this for Montreal this year, I have enclosed to you my order for the ensuing year. As Mr. McTavish does not come in here this year, will have no other opportunity to write you but by the way of Detroit. I propose to leave this in four days. I have got all my men and every thing else but blankets and strouds. I am sir your humble servant,
Mr. ANDREW Todd,
Makina, Aug. 30, 1790.
Since my last, of the 25th inst., I have purchased from Mr. Charles Morrison blankets and strouds at 100 per cent, for the amount of which I have given him a draft on you for sixty-three pounds, one shilling and six pence, New York currency, which you will please place to my account. Fear of any accident that might happen to the order, I sent down by the Grand river by Lafromboir's canoe. I have enclosed a copy of the same, in this, with some small additions to it. As Mr. Barthe is selling rum here at nine livres per gallon, I have taken four kegs more. The two kegs of nails mentioned in the inclosed memorandum you will endeavor to send up by the way of Detroit. Should any thing occur with respect to the change of peltries before the winter express to Detroit, be kind enough to write me. I go off from this in the evening. I remain, gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servant,
McGill & Co.,
*The dealings between Mr. Burnett and the merchants appear to have been reckoned and kept, generally, in the French money of account—livres and sous; a livre was 18 1/2 cents, or 20 sous.—H.
**Probably Lafromboise, from Milwaukee.—H.
St. Josephs, February 6th, 1791.
My last letter to you is dated at Makina, since which I have not been favored with any from you. I received a letter the 2nd inst. from Mr. Wm. Todd at the Illinois, and under cover for his brother Andrew Todd at Montreal. It is his desire to me, that upon the receipt of his letter, I should hire an Indian and send off, immediately, the letter that is for his brother. According to desire, I have enclosed to you the above letters, with several others, which you will forward by the first opportunity. I received a letter last fall from Mr. Graiter, with one enclosed from you, which you have here with the rest. I believe it is for Todd. There is no appearance of doing any thing here this year, as fear keeps the Indians from hunting. They continually imagine that the Americans are coming upon them. Add to this, we have more traders here this year than what we had last. I wintered in the Kinkeki this year myself, again, and came here only a few days ago. This cursed war that subsists between the Americans and Indians does us more hurt in this country than what is generally imagined. The Indians say here that they beat the Americans that came against them last fall at the Aumies.* How far they are in the right I cannot tell, but they behave in such a manner as to confirm it. For I never saw them so impertinent as they are at present. Those that has any property in the country are in a very precarious situation, and will be until times take a change, which I hope will be soon. The Pouwatamies, at Chicago, has killed a frenchman about twenty days ago. They say that there is plenty of frenchmen. If you tell them that their father will be angry with them, they will tell you, for answer, what will he gain by that. It is surprising with what disdain they do talk of the English; language too insulting. This the thanks for the millions squandered away upon these rascals; and if things was to take a change, they will be the first to fall upon you. Let me know if provisions will be scarce this year at Detroit, and in particular if Indian corn will be worth anything. When I left Makina, last fall, there was no great appearance of any great crop at Larbroroche. The bearer of this letter is Mr. Lapence, one of the principal senators** of this province. Give him plenty of provisions for him and another young man that is with him when they are to come off. As I do not intend to sow any wheat this year, as very likely others
*Referring, no doubt, to Harmer's defeat.—H.
**A playful compliment, probably, to the gentleman-half-breed, as well as a
recognization of an important branch of the new American government.—H.
might reap for me, for fear of such an accident, you will be good enough to send me a thousand weight of flour, in the spring, to Makina. Send me, by the bearer, a three gallon keg of good white wine, half-pound of Hyson tea, and 5 lbs good loaf sugar. I am, with the utmost regards,
N. B. Todd writes me in his letters that the letter that is for his brother is of consequence, and to have it sent to Montreal soon as possible. There is one for Levy Solomon, which came with the above, which you will likewise forward. Send me two dozen black ostrich feathers, and one gross of small metal buttons. Send me, to Makina, as much black silk as to make me two black cravats, and small black edging, and five yards of Blue cassimere.
To same, dated
St. Josephs, April 11, 1791.
I am at present moving down to the Lake; fear of any accident, as the Indians report here that the Americans are coming again against them. If you have any newspapers or magazines by you send me some, if you can spare any. I hope there is a good prospect of the sale of peltries. No packs here this year. I am sincerely yours,
Mr. Wm. Hands,
Give the young lads some Bisquet for their voyage.
Makina, Aug. 15, 1792.
Gents: You will please complete the inclosed memorandum' as soon as possible upon the arrival of your spring goods. The rum you will have put up in nine gallon kegs, and the salt likewise, which you will have sent up by the way of the Lakes, for this place, by the first spring navigation. Also, you will have sent up, by the same conveyance, some part of the ball and shot, or any other heavy article that may mar the loading of the canoe. As it may happen very possibly that there may be more bales than what a canoe may hold, you will therefore have the remainder sent up in some canoe upon freight. I am, Gents, your humble servant,
McTavish & Frobisher,
St. Josephs, Oct. 7, 1792.
With pleasure I received your letter per the Speedwell, and has given particular attention to the contents thereof. The things that Mr. Potier sent by the vessel have likewise arrived in good order. I am sorry it is out of my power to procure you the racine of Grand River, as all the Indians are gone out to winter; and another thing, would not have time to dry the roots against the time the vessel would be ready; therefore, will endeavor to get what you want against the spring. McKenzie was telling me you had a pleasant dance before he left Makina. All I am sorry for is, that I was not one of the party. I have twenty packs here at present, and would have sent them by the vessel but were not made up. If not too much trouble, I beg you will have the enclosed memorandum added to the first. I am sorry you did not send me a keg of good wine, as I soon will be out. I am happy to hear that Sayer has settled with the gentlemen you make mention of. With this goes a letter for Sayer, which you will send with the first opportunity. Do me the favor to give Patt McGulphin sixty livres for me. No certain news to write you. We hear nothing of the Americans advancing as yet. The Indians are in hopes they will not come this year. If not, it certainly will be better for trade; but be it as it will, there is but poor hopes owing to the too many traders here this year; but all for the best. Wish you would write to some friend for a good spy- glass. Give my respects to Miss Peggy, and to John Reid. I am, in wishing you a pleasant and happy winter, yours sincerely,
Mr. G. Ed'rd Young,
St. Josephs, March 25, 1794.
Gents: I received your letters, with invoice and other papers, etc., the 27th of December last. But I am very sorry to inform you that I received all the goods in very bad order; all damaged, and some entirely lost. The vessel, by the misconduct of the master, was drove on shore on the point of Mosquigon River. When the vessel struck she filled full of water, and the goods remained ten days after in the hold, from which you must judge in what situation the goods must have been. In the goods arriving so late, left it entirely out of my power to send out; will, therefore, have 2/3 of my goods remaining on hand, the best part of which much damaged. As I do not know rightly what time I will go to Michilmakina this spring, I have enclosed to you two notes, which you will endeavor to get paid. You will remember that I left one with Mr. Pothier last fall belonging to Reaume, which he is to pay on his arrival, answered by him for Caltos, which last you have his note here for the balance of what he owes me. I am surprised I received no letter from Mr. Young, since he went down to Montreal, with respect to the sale of my peltries. The bearer of this letter is the Reverend Mr. Ledrue, missioner, formerly at the Illinois. He wintered here with me, and beg you will assist him he gets settled at Makina, which I believe he intends to do if there is good business for his trade. I am, dear sir, your humble servant,
Messrs. Chaboillier & Young,
Old Fort,* August 2, 1794.
I am sorry, before I came away, we forgot to settle about the corn. However, by the first opportunity, let me know the price you will give per bushel, taking it at the entrance of St. Josephs river, next spring. In the precarious situation we are all in at present, with respect to this country, makes me a little dubious how to act in regard to ordering up any goods for next year. It strikes me that there will come a vessel to St. Josephs this fall. Should this be the case, I beg you will send the following articles: a box of window- glass, four hundred weight of flour, and two barrels of white lime. If you can procure me a piece of white scarlet without paying too dear for it, I beg you will send me a piece by the same opportunity, or by Mr. Durocher, who is to pass our way this fall. If any thing else occurs to my memory on the way, will write you if any opportunity affords. I remain, in the meantime, with esteem, Gentlemen, Your humble servant,
Messrs. Chaboillier & Young,
Old Makina, Aug. 3, 1794.
Dear Sir: Since I came away, I have taken into consideration the subject we were talking about the other day with respect to getting me a house built. If you can get the half of Mr. Meldrum's lot for five or six hundred livres, at most, you will then have a house built upon it on the following plan: The House to be thirty foot in front, and twenty-five foot wide. Between the two floors within to be eight foot. The front door to be in the middle, and one on the back right opposite the front door. Two windows to be in the front, one to be on each side of the door, and two windows to be on the back, one on each side of the door, the same as the front. A window to be on each gable end of the house, to be in each front-room.
*The locality "Old fort" was probably at or near old Mackinaw.—H.
You will have the house covered with bark. The window-lights to be on the same model of those of Mr. Young's house. Should the above take place, I expect you will, according to promise, have it built on the cheapest terms as possible. When I came away, I forgot the kettle, the roll of Bark, and the Cod line which the men brought from St. Josephs, which I beg you will have put up in some safe place till the Spring. The men eat eighty pounds of flour on their way to St. Josephs, which I think they have a right to pay, as they refused to take corn from Mr. Augustin Chabollier when he met them on their way. You forgot to charge the 2 M weight of flour. Inclosed you have Thomas' account, at least the amount, including the skins he lost when he deserted. He is not charged with the lost time. I am, sir, your humble serv't,
St. Josephs, Nov. 15, 1794.
Dear Sir: When at Makina, I did not determine whether I would order up any goods or not, owing to the news then circulating at Makina, that the Americans were to take possession of the posts.
The two first Canoes I received from your House, that is last year, was very well satisfied with, as everything was very well assorted. But upon the whole, I was a loser of ten thousand livres upon those two Canoes, owing upon the extraordinary advance upon the goods at Montreal; the rise of the woolens, add to this the receiving the goods so late in the season, put it out of my power to send out. And another extraordinary thing, not a single winterer in the two Canoes, a circumstance of the kind I never saw before at Makina. I will want six this year, that is, three in each Canoe. I do not doubt but what they may be had with a little trouble, as the men in general give preference to this Post, more so than any other part of the upper country.
I am, sir, your humble servant,
Mr. John Gregory & Co.,
Complete the loading of the Canoe with spirits.
Michilmakina, July 21, 1797.
Dear Sir : Upon my arrival, which was the 5th inst.,
Arrived some canoes yesterday from the Illinois which says that the Spaniards are all very quiet at St. Louis.
James May, Esq.,
Makina, July 20th, (?) 1797.
As I am under the necessity of leaving this to-morrow for St. Josephs, and cannot wait the arrival of the vessel any longer, I have delivered my packs, which is eighty-four in number, to Mr. Porteous, and he has promised me to see them safe shipped, which I hope will arrive safe at Montreal. Upon their arrival, I make not the least doubt that you will dispose of them to the best advantage. As the peltries are good, and every appearance of their selling well, I make not the least dispute but what they will fetch between forty- seven and forty-eight thousand livres. If they should fall much shorter than what is said above, then you will have them shipped to London. However, I mean at the same time that you will act according to the circumstances of the times, that is you will do for the best. Inclosed you have an invoice of the whole. Therefore, I have concluded to inclose you one for the ensuing spring which I hope will be in your power to accomplish, which in part you will have sent up in one canoe by the Grand River,* and the next in a Batteau by the way of the Lakes. The heavy articles that cannot lightly be put into a Canoe, must, of course, be put into the Batteau. As the Canoe cannot bring all the Blankets and Strouds mentioned in the memorandum, you will have a few bales of these articles put into the batteau. You will endeavor to send three winterers in the Canoe and three in the batteau. I need not urge the necessity of making choice of a good guide, as you know very well that accidents happen at the Grand River very often for want of such. I am, Gents, your humble servant,
Messrs. John Ogilvy & Co.,
N.B. You will have the loading of the boat; whatever may be wanting for the completing of it, you will have put up in rum. At the mouth of St. Josephs river, Nov. 2, 1797.
My last to you is dated at Michilmakina, the 21st July.
Inclosed you have a small memorandum of sundries, which I beg
*The Grand River referred to is what is now known as the Ottawa. We are indebted to C. C. Baldwin, Esq., of the Historical Society at Cleveland, for an examination of the valuable collection of ancient maps in possession of that Society confirming our idea of the identity of those rivers. The route was a common one, with the early French traders and others, from the St. Lawrence, by the "Grande Riviere" and Lake Nepissing and French River, to Lake Huron.
you will add to the first. It is a doubt to me whether every thing can be put into the canoe and batteau, which should it be the case, you will endeavor to have some pieces put on freight, either by the Grand river or by the way of the Lakes to Makina. At all events, you will have fifteen barrels of spirits put into the batteau, with the wine, salt, and tobacco,
None of the people that went down to Montreal this summer has passed here as
yet, and, from the lateness of the season, I do not expect they will.
I am, gentlemen,
your humble servant,
Messrs. Parker, Gerard & Co.,
St. Josephs, Feb. 11, 1798.
The two letters for Mr. Franks and Legothrie is safe come to hand, and according to your directions I have hired a trusty hand, and will send off with the letters as far as Milwaukie. I have directed them to the care of Mr. Francis Lafromboise, to whom I have written to send them off as soon as possible. I expect that in eight days the letters will be at Lebay*. As I would wish that my assortment should be complete as possible, I have here added a few more articles to my order, which I hope you will put up with the rest. As I imagine that this will be the last opportunity of writing you by the way of Detroit, I will write early in the spring by the way of Makina. I am, Gent'n, your most humble servant,
Messrs. Parker, Girard and Ogilvy,
St. Josephs, May 17, 1798.
Dear Sir: As I do not expect to go to Makina this summer, and as I would wish to dispose of my peltries at Makina, I would wish to know, by the very first opportunity, what prices you will give for peltries. From what I owe you, and for the high advances I gave you last year for your goods, I have every reason to think that you can afford to give generous prices. Therefore, from what is said above, you will not fail to let me know your opinion by the very first canoe. I am, sir, your humble servant,
Mr. P. Gabriel Cote,
* Green Bay.—H.
P.S. You may be assured that the different sorts of peltries are good; and should your prices suit me, I will let you know my answer as soon as possible. This is the different sort of peltries I have: Deer Skins, Raccoons, Beavers, Otter, Musk-rats, Mink, Cat & Foxes, Bear.
St. Josephs, Tune 16, 1798.
I now send off two canoes loaded with eighty packs of furs. Inclosed you have an invoice. If this comes to hand before Coursolle goes down to Montreal, order me up twelve large silver crosses, some a foot long, and some to be smaller. Your humble servant,
Mr. John Ogilvy,
St. Josephs, July 20, 1798.
Dear Sir: Yesterday I received your most esteemed favor by St. Jean, covering some newspapers, which were very acceptable, and for which I am very much obliged to you.
I examined your inclosed account, which I believe is very right, and by the return of my next Canoe, I will send you an order for the amount upon J. Ogilvy & Co., as against that time I expect that Mr. Ogilvy will have arrived from the Grand Portage. Your humble servant,
Mr. TOUSSAINT POTHIER,
St. Josephs, August 24, 1798.
The method of putting the liquor into kegs is certainly much preferable than having it in large barrels, as it will be much easier for the men to unload.
For the dry goods, you will have them sent by the way of the Grand River. You will endeavor to procure me seven winterers, amongst which, if possible, get me a blacksmith; get him for two years.
In the course of last winter, I wrote you that it is expected that there will be a garrison at Chicago, this summer, and from late accounts, I have reason to expect that they will be over there this fall; and should it be the case, and as I have a house there already, and a promise of assistance from head quarters, I will have occasion for a good deal of liquors, and some other articles, for that post. Therefore, should there be a garrison at Chicago this fall, I will write for an addition of articles to my order. I am, gentlemen, your humble servant,
Messrs. Parker, Girard & Ogilvy,
Mouth of St. Josephs River, Dec. 20, 1798.
You make mention in your letter that you had not received your goods which you expected from England. McKenzie, of this place, tells me that when he left Detroit that you had stored them at his brother's for the winter.
As I learn that there is actually no goods at the Illinois, and no appearance of any being there until next summer, and as I think a few Indian goods will sell there in the spring, if you are inclined to sell me those you have in Detroit at a living price, I will take them for the above purpose. I will have them taken up, by the first open navigation, to fort Wayne; from that overland to this. From this I can run down in a few days to the Illinois. As it appears to me that I can sell these goods either for cash or peltries, I imagine I will be at Makina with the returns against August.
I would not wish to take any rum, tobacco, or ball, as these articles are of no consequence in that country. I am, with much esteem, D'r Sir, yours sincerely,
Mr. Robert McKenzie,
St. Josephs, Oct. 21, 1799.
Sir: The sloop Russell, Capt. Ruff, master, sailed from this yesterday in the evening, on board of which I have shipped twenty-four packs of Deerskins, containing 1220 skins, all marked I. O., for Mr. J. Ogilvy, at Montreal, which I have addressed to your care.
With this, I have sent in four horses to get a small assortment, which I hope will be in your power to complete.
You will have the Bales made up of eighty pounds each, as they will be more convenient for the horses.
You will please give the men a little pork and bread for their return.
I am, sir, your humble servant,
P.S. You will oblige me very much if you can possibly procure me a few quarts of Timothy seed.
You will give a gun-lock to one of the Indians I send in.
Mr. Robert Innes,
St. Josephs, Oct. 21,* 1799.
I wrote for 15,000 of wampum and only 1500 was sent up. I wrote for Rifles, in place of which Guns were sent up, an article very seldom made use of at present in this quarter. The former is only in demand. The Gunpowder sent up is very good of its kind, but the grain is rather too large for rifles. That which is called the double F is the most preferable. With respect to the Iron work, it will be necessary to get good axes made, for what has heretofore come up is nothing more than patch up. When an Indian buys an axe, and should it break shortly after—which commonly is the case—he insists upon having another in its place. Therefore, it will be much cheaper to pay a few more pence upon each axe in order that they may be good. The tomahawks are rather too large towards the edge; two inches and a quarter will be sufficient, and six inches long. You will have the musk rat spear made with a socket, which the French call en dorville.
Should the goods arrive early in the spring to Montreal, and sent off by way of the Lakes, so that they might get to Detroit before or against the latter end of August, it will then be time enough for them to come here, provided a small vessel like the Russel could be chartered to bring them; which I imagine there will be no difficulty to get one, as there is at present a great plenty of vessels upon these Lakes. Should there not be enough to load one of these small craft, there will always be freight enough at that time of the year from Detroit to Makina; and from her return, from this or Makina, cannot fail of getting freight back again, which will nearly pay the hire of the vessel. This method of conveyance will certainly answer me much better, as it will be so much safer and much cheaper than getting goods by the way of the Grand River.
I am, gentlemen, your humble servant,
Messrs. Parker, Gerard & Ogilvy,
St. Joseph, March 27, 1801.
Kinzie told me, some time ago, that he received a letter from his correspondent at Detroit, wherein they inform him that there is a possibility that all those that took goods from Detroit last fall for this place, which had not paid the duties, will be obliged to pay for them this spring. If any thing of this kind is in contemplation, please let me know it.
*This date should probably be in November.—H.
You will send me by the bearer of this (an Indian,) five carrots of good tobacco, and three pounds of good tea. An order was sent to me some time ago, by the Indian agent at fort Wayne, to tell the Indians to seize the property of those that had no license to trade. What will be the consequence I cannot say.
I remain, D'r Sir, your humble servant,
Mr. John McGregor,
St. Josephs, [no date.] Gentlemen:
Yours of the 8th February last per Mr. Patterson came to hand, and was glad to hear that a general peace has taken place in Europe; but on the other hand, I am sorry to understand that peace will hurt the sale of peltries, and what is still worse, it will fall upon those that comes from this country. You say that the Montreal people prognosticate the downfall of peltries. I never knew them to be otherwise; for this has been the language when peltries were selling at the highest rates in England, and that for five or six years running. Had I any advice to give the Montrealers, I would advise them to keep their goods and not send them to the Indian country, for I am pretty sure it will take a ship load of our peltries to pay a batteau load of their Indian goods. I received a note from Mr. Patterson, wherein he mentions that it is your desire that I should get me some juniper berries. If they can be got, you may rely upon my endeavors to procure you all I can get. I am, with esteem, gentlemen, your humble serv't, WM. BURNETT.
Messrs. John & James McGregor,
St. Josephs, June 24, 1803.
: Could I have sold all my goods, I make no doubt but what I might have cleared off my account with you. But I cannot think of throwing away my goods to a loss as some people has done in this country. Blankets and strouds has been given all winter for two skins; and even fine cloth has been given for three skins which cost seven shillings a yard. You are very well convinced that it was not in my power to sell at these prices. It might be said that the loss upon those articles might be made upon some others, but I assure you it is not the case at present, for these very articles that was usually sold to the greatest advantage to the Indians, is now given away to sell the blankets and strouds. However, from the new arrangements that is to take place, it is to be hoped we will not have so many peddling traders in the country as formerly, which were the very people that ruined all the trade; and I am sorry to say that some of the principal traders were as guilty of this, as those I have above described. And another thing which was against me last fall, was my not getting the liquor I depended upon. For mostly all the skins that was made at this post, was in part for rum. Consequently had I mine, I might have got my share of what was going, and that for the best peltries.
I am, gentlemen,
your humble servant,
Messrs. J. & J. McGregor,
The following letter to Governor Wm. H. Harrison is the last one we give, and is the last one in the letter-book. It details some attempts to regulate the Indian trade, but the final course which the Governor's action took, whether voluntary or a necessity on his part, aroused the indignation of Mr. Burnett; the communication is tart, and rather interesting. We will add, that the letter speaks not only of our historic characters—Captain Wells and John Kinzie—but of Harrison at Tippecanoe, though the battle there, where he fought and repulsed the savages, did not happen till eight years later; and it was twenty-nine years after that when, with the rallying cry of "Tippecanoe," he was elected president of the nation.
St. Josephs, Sept. 10, 1803.
Sir: Upon the receipt of your Excellency's letter, dated at the mouth of the Tepeconno this last spring, requesting my attendance at fort wayne, I then could not immediately attend, owing to some business in trade I then had on hand at the time. However, shortly after I repaired to fort Wayne in expectation of finding you there, but was told upon my arrival that you had left for Detroit, but soon expected back again.
The next day of my arrival, Messrs. Lafontaine and Abbott came to my lodgings and told me that your Excellency had been pleased to appoint them, with myself, as a kind of Committee to fall upon some expedient in order to put the Indian trade upon some respectable footing to what it had been heretofore. And, that whatever was agreed upon by us to that end, if agreeable to your wishes, should be supported by your authority.
When at first these gentlemen had opened this business to me, I was, for my part, at a loss what expedient to fall upon, well knowing that the trade of this country was equally free, and open to all citizens and foreigners alike, and according to law, good and bad had a right to a licence, provided good securities were given for the same to conform to the laws laid down for the Indian trade, which I believe has been pretty much the case since the laws at first has been published, down to the present time. And further, thought there was no meliorating the trade from the state it actually existing in. But Messrs. Lafontaine and Abbott told me they had the out lines from your Excellency, in what manner you thought the trade might be carried on to the advantage of the fair trader, in excluding at the same time all bad characters out of the country. And in order to accomplish this, that your Excellency had appointed these gentlemen with myself to examine what number of packs each post, place, and river, might produce in this territory. And that, according to the number that each place might furnish, only a certain number of traders should be permitted to trade at those places.
These proposals of your Excellency met with our approbation, which we thought the most eligible of putting the trade on a respectable footing, to what it had been. Accordingly it was proposed and agreed upon amongst us, that every place that produced between forty and fifty packs, that one trader was sufficient for such a place. And next it was proposed to know what number of packs was made at each post. To ascertain this, it was agreed that each of us should take such parts of the country as we were best acquainted with, to particularize the number of packs that was generally made at each river and place. Lake Michigan, upon this side of the Lake, and the Illinois river was allotted to me. The Wabash, and the country about fort Wayne, was allotted to Messrs. Lafontaine and Abbott. When each had finished his report, it was put down upon paper, at the same time inclosing a few lines to your Excellency, making you acquainted with what we had done.
Two or three days after this, you had all the traders called together at your quarters. When met, you told us that some traders had most willfully violated the laws by acting contrary to those made for the Indian trade. For which crime, your Excellency said you had shown a great deal of lenity; and finding that some persons still persisted in committing the same over again, that you was resolved for the future to put a stop to it; and more effectually to prevent any encroachments of the kind, that only a certain number of licences should be granted for each post. To facilitate the convenience of traders for procuring licences, you had, you told us, appointed three different places to get them at, and that each place was to have a certain space of country allotted to each district. These districts were as follows: Detroit to be one where an agent was residing, and his district was to extend round the limits and dependencies of Detroit as far as the straits between Lakes Michigan and Huron; one at fort Wayne, the limits of which was to extend around that country and Lake Michigan as far as the straits of the said Lake; one at Vincennes, which district was to comprehend the greatest part of the Wabash and Illinois rivers. That the Agents of one district was not to give licences to any individual to trade in the district of another. That in whatever district any person wished to trade in, that the person was to apply to the Agent of said district. This, sir, I believe was something near to what you told us. And I can assure you the greatest part of the auditors were happy to hear what you had announced to them, thinking you was really in earnest, and apparently to us that you was resolved to support what you had said at that time; at least for my part, I firmly believed it.
In consequence of these arrangements, and upon the faith of which, I took such measures as a private individual in trade, to make a large demand of goods, sufficiently to supply the places I had demanded licences for. Which places I then thought, (at least some of them.) I had an exclusive right to. However, my faith in the above arrangement has not been long lived, as will appear from what I am going to relate.
About the 10th of last month, arrrived here one Mr. Coursolle, from Makina, on his way to the Illinois river. Mr. Coursolle inquired if the attorney General (Mr. Jones) had sent licences for him according to request. I told Mr. Coursolle that I believed licences were granted for him, but only for four months. When I told him this, he began to smile, and produce me four permits which he got at Makina from Mr. Whiley. I told Mr. Coursolle that I thought that these permits were not to be depended upon, by reason of the late arrangements which took place at fort wayne this spring. Mr. Coursolle said that Mr. Whiley had no contradictory orders to what he had received last year from your Excellency. In this case, I told him Mr. Whiley's permits were very good, and as good as any licence whatever. But, added Mr. Coursolle, you will be more surprised when I tell you that a quantity of licences were sent, by the Agent of Detroit, to one Mr. Henry, of Makina. That this Mr. Henry will give licences to any body that asks for them, that is to say, either to good or bad characters, no matter who they are, provided they can give two dollars and security which is required by law. I then inquired of Mr. Coursolle, if Mr. Henry gave licences to any body for the east side of Lake Michigan. Mr. Coursolle answered, upon any side that any body wished to have them.
This piece of news surprised me not a little. But what added more to it, was a letter I received, a few days ago, from a merchant at Sandwich, wherein he says, "In my answer to yours dated at fort wayne, I then told you to be on your guard against the late arrangements your governor had made; that they were not to be depended upon, as it is not in his power to make any other regulations than those made by congress. You said that there was to be only a certain number of traders at each trading place, and no more. This, as I have said before, was not in your Governors power to do. Nor can he hinder any body from going into the Indian country, nor refuse any body any number of licences he may want. All (I predicted to you,) relating to this business, you do now find, against this time, I expect, to be nothing more than mere bombast."
This Sir, I must confess, is a very severe reflection against your Excellency. Yet, notwithstanding these severe remarks against you, I could not altogether give to them in my own mind, until convinced by better authority. This happened to be the case within these two days, which was by the arrival of Captain Wells, from Fort Wayne, on his way to Chicago. I inquired of Captain Wells if he gave more licences than what was agreed upon at the late arrangements. Captain Wells gave for answer, that he gave licences as usual to everybody that asked for them, adding that your Excellency had not given him any orders to the contrary.
When I had received this answer, comparing it with other circumstances, I was more fully convinced that your Excellency was not sincere in those pretended arrangements which you made mention of to the body of traders at fort wayne this spring. And Sir, give me leave to say, that you have deceived some people, not a great many, for the greatest many had no confidence in what you said. As for my part, I had rather too much confidence in what you told me and others; and what confirmed me more in my duplicity, was, your telling of us Sir, that no man should have more than four licences. This, Sir, you told Mr. Kinzie before me, and Mr. Kinzie, at the same time, did not seem to be pleased that he would not get more than four licenses. But after a little reflection, Mr. Kinzie told me that he was perfectly satisfied of getting four licences, by reason of the late arrangements taking place, which he said would tend to a general good to the Indian trade. This was the opinion of a great many. But now what a sudden change. Mr. Kinzie, which had twenty licences last year, and which your Excellency thought was too many for one trader, can now have a cart load of them, provided he pays two dollars apiece for them. It was hinted in a letter I received some time ago from Vincennes, that your Excellency would not give licences to anybody without first being very well informed of his character. What a mighty difference in this quarter of the Territory. For a man, or any man, goes and gets a licence, and no questions is asked about his character. Indeed, if Tripolitans, which is the only enemies the United States has at present, were to come to Detroit and Makina, I make not the least doubt of their getting licences to winter amongst the Indians, though absolutely against the interest of the United States for granting such.
This, Sir, is a large field laid open to the enemies of our country, in which they find matter enough at this present time to set their invention at work. And when they do begin, they seem to have very little mercy. They go as far as to say, that the Officers of the Civil department of this Territory, has neither resolution nor fortitude to execute the duties of their office. Others say again, that all species of crimes is committed in the Territory, and that the Guardian of the laws has not courage to punish the culprits. This, Sir, is the language held out against the Government of our Territory, for which I am heartily sorry that its enemies has had such an opportunity of displaying their enmity. And what is most unfortunate, that nothing can be said in its defence.
Some time ago, a peddling trader came to my house with a view to banter me with respect to the arrangements that was to have taken place this spring. I told this peddler, upon my return from Fort Wayne, what good regulations was to take place respecting the Indian trade, and how much it would attend to the advantage of the trade in general, etc. But since, things has taken another turn, and the peddler being very well acquainted with the circumstances of the change, asked me, in an ironical manner, where was the Governor and his fine regulations which he made this spring. All the answer I made the fellow, and indeed all that was in my power to make, was, that your Excellency was at Vincennes, and as for the regulations, they were carried over our heads by a strong southerly wind.
I have thought proper here to introduce these different circumstances, which has occurred to me rather late, in order to show your Excellency with what contempt these different characters has for the laws and regulations of our Territory, and even for the officers of the civil department. This disrespect (if I am not mistaken in opinion,) arises from too much lenity shown by the officers of the different departments, and very likely the want of firmness in persevering to enforce the laws and regulations so necessary to make a government respected, particularly with respect to this part of our Territory, where its principal inhabitants is chiefly composed of foreigners.
Sir, not wishing to serve any more in the capacity of a justice of the peace, I therefore enclose herein the commission that you had been pleased to honor me with.
I am, with great respect,
Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant,
His Excellency Wm. H. Harrison, Vincennes.
We will add that our informant, previously referred to, has understood that Mr. Burnett came from New Jersey originally, but does not know the date or place of his birth, or where his youth was passed. Indeed, he admits that there is a mystery enveloping the history of his early years, and little is known of the matter beyond what is given above. Yet, without positive knowledge, we are inclined to believe that Mr. Burnett came from Scotland rather than New Jersey; we have heard him spoken of, by an individual whose home more than seventy-five years since was on the shore of Lake Michigan, as "William Burnett, the Scotchman." He had a sister, possibly an invalid, at a hospital in Montreal in 1793. The wife of Mr. Burnett (we are not aware that he ever had but one,) was Kaw-kee-me; she was of the red race, and whom he wedded, according to the Indian mode, not long after he became a denizen of the Michigan woods. She was the sister of the Pottawatomie chief To-pay-nah- bay* of the St. Jo' branch or band. She was "my Indian woman," of whom he speaks in one of his letters, complimenting her business capacity. Of this marriage there were two daughters, Nancy and Rebecca, and three sons, John, James, and Abraham. The father, in one of his letters, speaks of "a fine little boy;" and again, of "the boys," whom he hopes "will in time make good members of society." The children were sent away early for education, at Detroit or Montreal, and we conclude that the daughters, at least, never returned to the wigwam. Of the sons, John, the eldest, lived in Detroit in 1806, and we have heard he was at Chicago at the time of the evacuation and massacre; probably he was the "Mr. Burnett, a trader from St. Josephs," referred to in Mrs. Kinzie's "Waubun," who, after the action of August 15th, was looked for at the boat, in which were a part of the Kinzie family, by a furious Indian with dire intent from some former grudge. John was here at the time of the Indian treaty, in 1821, and by it he was to receive two sections of land. James and
*We write this name as it was pronounced to us by a chief of the Pottawatomies. To-pay-nah-bay had a brother "Chee-bass."
Abraham Burnett, by same treaty, were to receive each one section, and the daughters, also, a reservation of land.
John Burnett, we have heard, at one time officiated as sheriff of Wayne County, when that county extended from Detroit to Lake Michigan. As for James Burnett, he, like the sons of many other parents, hardly filled the schedule of hopes written down by his father. Says my informant, "I was personally acquainted with James; he was the only son living at the time I went to St. Joseph, in 1829. He was very much of a gentleman when sober, but it was seldom you found him in that condition; he preferred the whiskey and Indian." James was the owner, at one time, of much land upon the Wabash River and elsewhere, but which, we are assured, "he had but little trouble to spend before his death; he died in 1831 or '32, near Niles, Mich."
[Near thirty years since, the compiler met in a town upon the Wabash, a Miss Burnett, an intelligent young woman of lady-like manners, and evidently of Indian extraction. She had come from her home in Kentucky or Missouri, to consult legal counsel for the purpose of recovering some lands formerly in possession of her family. It has occurred to us, that she was probably a granddaughter of William Burnett. What was the result of her mission, we never heard.]
William Burnett, it would appear, had been educated for business—probably as a merchant—and his dispatches indicate, perhaps, the discipline of good training as well as natural ability. His orthography is generally correct, though his sentences are sometimes otherwise faulty in grammatical construction. Occasionally, names written in the letter-book (hastily, as it would seem, and probably intended for the convenience of no eyes but his own,) appear indistinct and uncertain. We have endeavored to follow the originals, but now and then are left in doubt whether a word means one thing or another, or possibly not either. He was familiar with the French language, and of necessity in his business and social intercourse, must have acquired various Indian dialects. How much wealth Mr. Burnett had amassed by the Indian traffic, at any time, we are not informed; but it is quite evident that he encountered, at various periods, the not unfrequent vicissitudes and embarrassments of men in trade. He complains, now and then, of paying too high prices for goods. He speaks of damaged freights, of dull sales, of poor hunts, of short corn crops, of low water, and of war and its threats. He encountered competition in the field, tricky agents or servants, hard-faced creditors, and small prices for peltries in the market. We may, perhaps, reasonably infer, that in some of the years of those days the Indian trade was rather overdone; more traders and more goods found their way to the shores of Lake Michigan than always met with profitable sales.
Mr. Burnett owned, occupied, or claimed a large amount of land at his home, near the outlet of the St. Joseph River. After the action following the abandonment of Fort Dearborn, in 1812, Captain Heald, who was taken to St. Joseph, found a temporary home at the house of Mr. B. The relative before named informed us that both Mr. Burnett and his wife died there in 1814, she having survived him but about two weeks. They were buried a few feet north of where was since the "Hoyt House," upon the bluff overlooking the lake; the spot, a beautiful one for a burial-place, was selected by the Indians, vainly trusting that it would remain without desecration. He says that Mr. B., a short time before his death, had been preparing to build a large storehouse near the mouth of the river; and that the ground in the woods thereabout was to seen, when he was at St. Joseph fifteen years afterward, (in 1829,) strewed with the timber, "moss-covered, decayed, and decaying," once designed for that structure. "In the woods and marshes around St. Joseph, at that day, (1829,) were many wild ponies, mules, hogs, etc., the last remnant of the Burnett estate." We may add, that this wild game disappeared very quickly after the tide of emigration set in.
Something over a hundred letters appear in the book from which we have here copied. We learn, however, that there was another book of like-size containing copies, probably, of the later letters of Mr. B., but of its whereabouts, if now in existence, we are not advised.
A writer in the Chicago Tribune, August, 1877, gives some account of what he supposes, for this locality, was "the first exhibition of professional actors." It was a circus, and believed to have been called "The Grand Equestrian Arena." This was in September or October, 1836, and their single tent was located on a vacant lot on Lake Street, where now, 1877, stands the store of William Blair & Co., Nos. 172, 4, 6. The New York House, (afterward bearing the number 180 Lake Street,) said to be the third hotel in importance here, stood just west, and its barn in the rear, accommodated the nags of the circus, when they retired at the various changes in the performance. One rider is referred to, whose name was Stone, and who was "put forward by the management, as the greatest living equestrian."
[It is a very common weakness of humanity, to love to quote our early and intimate acquaintance with great men; so the compiler of this book desires to say, that he knew Oscar Stone a half dozen years before he astonished the juveniles of Chicago. Stone was then a tailor boy and a good workman, in a little village in Rensselaer County, N.Y.; but his aspirations were of a loftier cast than those of making button-holes and stitching upon the broadfalls unmentionables of that age; it was before the day of sewing- machines. So he left the shop-board, and mounted Bucephalus in a ride for fame. Erecting a rustic tent, and gathering about him some kindred spirits and a few docile steeds of the valley, they, for days, and weeks, and months, without music or an audience, labored and practised the "ground and lofty." We believe Stone became what was called a good rider, but whether he was "greatest," or whether the term great, when applied to him, was not rather a sarcasm, we will not attempt to decide. In person, Stone was not bigger than "a pint of cider," but he was lithe and wiry, all muscle and whip-cord; he would have wriggled out of the clutch of the devil-fish. So, though not a very huge giant, he still had a perfect right to be famous.]
INCIDENTS IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF ST JOSEPH, MICH
The following is related by Mr. D. A. Winslow, in his historical sketch of Berrian County.
"During the war of 1812, and in that year, John B. Chandonai was in the service of the United States, and was engaged in carrying dispatches from Detroit to Chicago. On one of his trips from Chicago, in company with the elder Robert Forsythe, he stopped near the mouth of St. Joseph River, and camped near the upper end of the Burnett orchard. His uncle, of the same name, then stationed at Mackinaw, that place being in the possession of the British, was sent by the commandant of that post, with a force of some thirty Indians in canoes, to intercept John B. with the dispatches, and to take him prisoner to Mackinaw. This force arrived in the night, and early in the morning his uncle called on John B., and made known his business. John B. had a double- barrel gun in his hands, and told his uncle he should not go with him or be taken prisoner. He then drew a line on the ground, and told his uncle he must not cross it; but the uncle, determined on his victim, drew his sword and advanced. As he stept over the line, he was shot dead by the nephew.
The report of the gun aroused the Indians, who went to John's camp. He met them as he did his uncle, and speaking their language, pointed to his uncle's dead body and to the dead line; said he had shot his uncle to save his own life; that he was sorry he had to do it, but if taken prisoner, he himself would be killed; that he would not be taken alive, and the first one that attempted to cross the line was a dead Indian. The Indians held a council, and terms were agreed upon. The Indians were to have ten gallons of whiskey the next morning,—were to help John B. bury his uncle immediately,—he and his traveling companion were to be allowed to depart in peace. Arrangements were made with Mr. Burnett, by which the Indians were to have the whiskey as agreed upon. John B. buried his uncle on the hill back of his camp, and, after raising a cross over his grave, he and Mr. Forsythe immediately departed for Detroit. The next morning, Mr. Burnett gave the Indians the ten gallons of whiskey, and they started for Mackinaw."
Upon the walls of the library of a private dwelling, in the West Division of the City, there hangs a picture frame which embodies a history, could it now be recited, of more than usual interest. But the vicissitudes and fateful untowardness attending the conservation of its story are at least noticeable. We may briefly say, that something over thirty years ago, there came to the West from the Empire State, considerably advanced in the journey of life, a physician, a man of science, with tastes literary and antiquarian, in short a good deal of a virtuoso. Among his household paraphernalia, or furniture equipments brought hither, were curious and beautiful articles of old furniture, rare and valuable specimens of early engravings, etc., etc. The crowning article in age and association in his possession however, as the doctor said, was a picture frame; it was then filled, for the time, by a cheap, simple print, bearing no affinity to the frame. The frame, in size within, is some 16 by 20 inches, apparently made of oak, dark, massive, very heavy; it is fitted and dowelled in old-world style, with a front of stucco and gilt. From a sad bereavement in his family, and his own ill-health, the doctor concluded to return to New York, and he parted, by sale and gift, with the furniture and curious things referred to. Of the frame, the doctor said he knew its genealogy, and had verified its history; he could furnish vouchers of every claim for validity in its story; and he added, "It is a rare piece of antiquity, once a part of an old ship, of no little celebrity in historic legend;" and just then the conversation was interrupted, and so the particulars about the very old frame, and of the old ship away back in the centuries, were not learned by the present possessor, for the matter for the time was forgotten. A few months only intervened, when it was told that the doctor had bid adieu to earth, and was therefore beyond all human questioning.
It will be sufficient to say, that since that "thirty years-ago," an occasional rhymester, together with an amateur artist, having met the old relic, entered into a conspiracy regarding it. The outcome of this was the perpetration, on the part of the first-named, of nearly two dozen stanzas, which the amateur artist, in old English black letter, copied on a paper-board panel and placed within the frame. We give the lines below. Our artist, also, for his further contribution, decorated the margin of the panel, encircling the stanzas, with a representation of capstan, oars, compass, telescope, lead and line, etc. There is a picture, too, of Neptune and his trident, and the prow of an old Roman galley; a ship of the early Saxons; the ship of Columbus; a junk of the Celestials; a zebec of the Mediterranean; English ships of the 14th and 15th centuries; not to omit, of a later day, Fulton's "Clermont," or the still earlier "Perseverance" of Fitch, on the Delaware, the pioneer and first of all steamboats.
In one sense a Chicago antiquity, so we have been inclined to bring out the old relic, on which hobby-horse we will suppose the bard to be mounted for a short gallop. If the song hobbles considerably, it must be his own fault and not that of the steed.
Chicago, March, 1876.
THE ANCIENT SHIP.
" Moored safely in harbor, close by the mole,
By side of the sea, in some old world mart;
In some 'quaint old town of traffic and toil;'
In some 'quaint old town of song and of art;'
" Lay a maimed old ship, brigantine, or galliot,
Whatever they called her, so battered and worn;
All that was left her, whether argosy or shallop,
'Of larboard or starboard, stem, gunwale or stern.'
" A renowned old bark, was this ancient craft,
For many score years she had plowed the main;
She had braided the woof of a chapter bright,
In the nation's history, fadeless in fame.
" From far and from near, to look at the ship,
Came a crowd of the great, as well as the small;
For memory they begged a splinter or chip,
The stranger, the dweller, the burgher and all.
"An artisan came, with handsaw and axe,
And out of her sides, from a piece of brown oak,
From a dark, rusty section of one her planks,
He worked up and fashioned this storied yoke.
" It was moulded and gilt, as a border quite fitting
The head of some great man, some sailor of old,
Whose hair had been bleached, o'er the seas he had sailed in,
'A picture of silver in a casket of gold.'
" But who was that sailor, or which was that vessel,
In vain we may ask the wise ones to say;
Neptune's lieutenants, told of in chronicle,
Are many as the barks that are strewed by the way.
" We need not go back to the earlier days,
To the time of the simple Ionian tars,
When the seamen knew nothing of rudder or sails,
And guided their yawls by the course of the stars.
" We must not suppose this ship was the Argo,
Which Jason embarked in, for the Golden Fleece;
For whether that wool became a part of her cargo,
We 've little to look for in the myths of old Greece.
" The far-famed Bucentaur, State galley of Venice,
That pompous old row-barge, all sculptured and etched,
With gilding and blazon, with music and banners,
Out in the offing, once yearly she swept;
" One day in the year, for six centuries full,
They dropped in the Gulf a ring of fine gold;
'Twas a type of a marriage, the seal of espousal,
The 'City of Commerce' with Adriatic of old.
" We pass by the ships of Rome and Assyria,
Of Phenicia and Egypt, Carthage and the Moors;
Whether commerce or conquest, crusade or discovery,
Gave breeze to their sails, or strength to their oars.
" Of those Spanish caravols, world-wide is the fame,
Of the 'Nina' and the 'Pinta' with the admiral's own,
Which sailed from the Pillars bearing Hercules' name,
Into seas of the west, through an ocean unknown.
" 'Land ho!' was the cry, from the Pinta's mast-head,
First blast for Columbus, fame's clarion blew;
In 'the course of empire,' it's the watchword still sounded,
Faded hopes in the old world revived in the new.
" We might refer to the barks of those noted voyagers,
The Pinzons and Ojeda, and Velasco Nunez;
Amerigo Vespucci, Grijalva, and Velasquez,
Ponce de Leon, Nicuesa, de Soto, and Cortez.
" Nor should we forget the ships of the Cabots,
Or de Gama, or Raleigh, Gosnold or Cartier,
Cavendish or Behring, Magellan or the Gilberts,
Frobisher or Smith, Cortoreal or Dampier;
" Or that French bark, 'the Dolphin,' of John de Verrazano,
Or the yacht of old Lief, son of Eric the Red,
The 'Zoutberg' of Van Twiller, (Gov. Walter 'the doubter,')
Or the ship of famed Tromp, with a broom at mast-head.
"There was 'Great Harry,' of England, first ship of their navy,
Drake's 'Golden Hind' and Hudson's 'Half-Moon,'
Volckertsen's 'Nachtegael,' the 'Scheld,' and 'de Vriede,'
With stanch 'de Brand Van Trogen' from the city of Hoorn.
" The ships of the Indies, built of lasting teak boards,
And the junk and polacca, quinquereme and ark;
The craft of the red man, of American woods,
Whose bark's a canoe, whose canoe is of bark.
" Last but not least were the emigrant ships,
With people of Old England to settle the New;
And history makes record, with a smile on her lips,
Of a long list of worthies, though we quote but a few:—
"The 'Mayflower' preceded, in the glorious aims,
The 'Fortune' and 'Ann,' the 'Susan and Ellen;'
With the 'Lion' and 'Pied Cow' led by 'Little James,'
Came 'Love' and 'Defence,' 'Increase,' and a 'Blessing.'
" But adieu, ancient ship, thine own secrets keep,
Long since were thy colors hauled down from the mast;
And the gales which around thee swept o'er the deep,
Have died away in echoes, on the shore of the past." [Transcription Part 3] FORMER SPORTS OF THE PRAIRIE.
We copy below, from an old Maryland periodical, several letters written many
years ago, giving some account of the out-door amusements here in those days.
One of the communications, in the spirit of prophecy, refers to a future
railway from Baltimore to Rock River, before there was any railroad west of
the Alleghanies. Some names of localities will not, perhaps, be recognized at
the present time; we do not know anything of the "Guilleroi," and we are
unable to place the "little woods," or the "Big Wabiskokie." The "little
woods," however, were some where on the south side, and the "Guilleroi" on the
north. We have sometimes known the De-plaines River referred to as "the
Kickapoo branch of the Illinois;" we are here told that the "Aux Pleins" means
soft maple. One of the marshes near that river, it seems, was known as the "Sa-
gua-nash." Possibly one of these letters presents the earliest known poetical
effusion from Chicago; the quality of the stanzas we are not of course called
to pass upon; but after presenting the relic, we have, it is supposed, done
our part. In these letters we detect, from certain initials, various names
familiar no doubt to the reader. The "Capt. S." was, we believe, the noted
Martin Scott, who was afterward killed, at the head of his regiment, at the
battle of El Molino del Rey, 8th Sept., 1847. We add the names of Dr. Clement
A. Finley, Major Robert Kinzie, Dr. Philip Maxwell, and Hon. James Grant, now
of Davenport, Iowa. The "Mr. B." and "Mr. C." may have been Mr. Beaubien and
Mr. Clyboum, or possibly others. J. G. F., the writer of four of these
letters, was 2d Lt. John G. Furman, of the 5th Inf'y, U. S. A., who died at
Fort Dearborn, that same year, Aug. 29, 1830. "J. F. G.," the writer of the
last letter, we do not positively identify; but "Suminecatha, or Big Wood
Wolf," who wrote the one preceding, we learn, by a communication from Judge
Grant, was Lt. James Thompson, of the Army. The Judge says: "We hunted that
winter, twice a week when the weather was favorable, and killed many wolves in
the present city limits." "Thompson," he says, "had the fastest horse, except
when Dr. Maxwell changed horses with me and allowed me to ride his big
"Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Ill., March 26th, 1830.
"Mr. Editor: One fine morning in December last, while the dew drops were yet
lingering on the faded foliage, we marshalled our forces, and sallied forth to
the chase, in pretty respectable numbers for this wild, western region. We
were in all nine huntsmen. A leash of greyhounds, owned by Capt. S., of the U.
S. A., his excellent fox-hounds, and those of Dr. F. and Mr. C. formed a very
efficient pack of five couples.
"The day was lovely—'the sky so cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful, that
God alone was to be seen in heaven,'—the broad, blue face of the lake,
(Michigan) unruffled by a breath of air, shone in the morning sun like one
vast mirror of polished silver. And the woods were so silent, that the
cheering cry of the huntsmen and the wild melody of the hounds were echoed
from a thousand points. Every thing thus being propitious, we crossed the
Chicago, and pursued our route through the thick woods on its north side. We
had not proceeded quite a half mile, when the whole pack made a simultaneous
burst, and went off eagerly on the track.
"'A wolf,' said one; but another, who had hunted more with the hounds,
answered 'no—a deer'—clapped rowels into his horse's sides and dashed off for
the prairie to head the animal. The hounds at first ran off toward the river,
in a westerly direction, and went nearly out of hearing, but soon turned and
took up a northeast course, the whole pack in full concert. Having ridden
about two miles from the starting point, and hearing the quick, savage bark of
the ground-hound slut (Cora) close by, I stopped. Mr. R was about thirty yards
in advance of me, and glancing my eye around, I caught glimpse of Capt. S.,
some little distance behind, urging his horse to the utmost. These
observations were the work of an instant only, however, for scarcely had I
alighted when a spike buck dashed through the thicket in full sight, and
within shooting distance,—Cora within five or six rods of him. Mr. B. and
myself both levelled. The first shot was his, by the courteous rules prevalent
among hunters on like occasions. He fired, but the buck did not fall; and I
instantly followed his example. The shots struck on opposite sides, and were
both mortal; but so rapid was the speed of the animal after we had fired, that
a gentleman coming up the instant exclaimed, 'By heavens, he is not touched!'
He darted for the thicket, but the black greyhound (Nero) got sight of him
before he reached it, and the most beautiful chase I ever recollect to have
witnessed took place. The trial of speed was nobly contested for about three
or four hundred yards, the deer having about thirty-yards start. The distance
between them lessened by insensible degrees until the greyhound seized his
prey, and sunk his fangs into his ham. After a severe struggle, the buck broke
loose before Capt. S. and myself, who had dismounted, could get up to Nero's
assistance. Another chase, not less beautiful than the first, took place; but
Nero again seized the buck and held him till we got up. We knocked him on the
head with a tomahawk, and drew the knife across his throat. As soon as the
pack came up we started, and the hounds gave tongue again. Most of us went off
to the prairie, to station ourselves along the points of the wood. The hounds
went off to the west, and after running about a mile divided—some of them
drove a deer toward the point almost at which they had taken up the trail. Mr.
C. shot at it, but as no blood was found we presume it was not injured. The
rest of the pack (with the exception of Dr. F's beautiful black tan pup
Ringwood—and well he deserves the name—who drove three deer across the prairie
to the lake,) followed a track leading along the Guilleroi, and did not return
until late at night. On my return from the head of the prairie, I heard the
report of a gun, and on inquiry, found that Mr. S. had killed a fine doe.
"Our sport for the day was now over; we called in skirmishers and took our way
home rejoicing. At the garrison, our spoil was divided. We then retired to
spend the evening with that flow of generous feelings which a fine day's sport
never fails to inspire. J. G. F."
"Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Ill., June 7, 1830.
"Mr. Editor: We principally hunt, in this section of the country, the 'prairie
wolf/ the canis latrans' of naturalists, sometimes also called the 'barking
wolf' or 'wolverine.' Generally speaking, it is not larger than a common sized
dog, and is more slim. Its eyes are very brilliant, its ears short, upright,
and well set back. Its tail is long and bushy, and darker than the body, which
is tawny grey. Its senses of sight and smell are remarkably acute. It is swift
of foot and very long-winded. Wolves seldom approach the habitation of man,
except when driven in by hunger. This happens oftenest during the winter, when
the ground is covered with snow. They are then quite ferocious, and will
attack calves, and sheep, and hogs. They have been known to lay waste 'fields
of corn' which they are very fond of in a green state. In the summer,
generally, they live on prairie mice, snakes, etc., in fact, whatever they can
find, in their wanderings, like animal food. They are very destructive to deer
in a hard winter, when a crust forms upon the snow, and I have been told that
they will frequently drive deer into the lake, and sit down behind the sand-
hills on shore watching until the exhausted animals return and fall an easy
prey to their pursuers. The large black wolf is seldom seen here, but there is
a kind intermediate between it and the 'prairie wolf' which is not
unfrequently met with. A description of this kind has not been published by
any naturalist that I know of. Whether it springs from the intercourse of the
large wolf and the prairie wolf, or whether it is a distinct species, I do not
know. Certain it is that they are much larger, more muscular and ferocious
than the wolverine. I have never yet seen a dog that could catch and kill a
wolf without assistance,* though I have heard of dogs that could—often. The
wolf will seldom give battle of its own accord, but when stopped or overtaken,
it fights with all the fury of a coward driven to despair.
"One day last December we mounted and took the field, three in number,
accompanied by four couples of stag and a leash of greyhounds. We first drew
the 'little woods,' on the east side of Chicago River, and started in it one
of those midnight prowlers which I have just described. He was trailed up
handsomely by the hounds, the woods echoing and re-echoing with their 'loud,
deep notes.' After seeking safety in the wood for half an hour, but finding it
an insecure retreat, he dashed out and attempted to cross the frozen stream.
But before he could reach the friendly protection of the high grass on the
opposite bank, 'old Nero,' the black greyhound, fastened his fangs in his
haunch, and kept him in durance until the other dogs came up and completed the
work. Nero was pretty well marked, though it would have been hard for a
stranger to distinguish this scar among the many that seamed his 'iron
visage,'— the honorable memorials of many a hard-fought conflict. Having
ornamented one of the neighboring trees with the countenance of the vagrant,
we continued to hunt up the river. The prairie is very level, and objects can
be distinguished at a great distance upon its surface when it is, as it was
then, covered with snow. About a mile and a half off, a small black object was
seen upon the shining white. It was unanimously agreed to be a wolf, and our
horses were urged to the utmost of their speed to cut him off from the wood,
as he had smelt us and was making for cover. It was some time before the
greyhounds saw him, but the stag-hounds were coming up radidly on, his trail.
As the wolf rose upon a gentle eminence in
* Perhaps the writer meant the large, not the prairie wolf; else his
communication bearing date a few days later, describing the feats of the
dog "Nero," would seem to contradict what is said here.
the prairie, Nero got a glimpse of him, and the 'levin in its wrath' is not
quicker than he started and flew,—Rolla pushing hard after,
and Cora a little further behind. After a severe run of a mile, Nero ran
against the wolf and knocked him 'head over heels' in the snow, and ere he
could recover his footing, seized him by the neck. Rolla and Cora soon came up
to aid him. How they fought until I came up I don't know, but when I arrived
the common hounds had throttled the gentleman, and so—he died. Turning to the
right, among some patches of grass, one of the old dogs (Sir Walter, a most
famous wolf-dog I assure you, but he cannot kill a wolf alone!) stopped, and,
after mature deliberation, gave notice that there was something ahead. It was
a wolf's trail, and it grew warmer every instant. Having trailed about two or
three miles, up jumped Barrabas a little distance before us. Hid from sight by
the high grass, and favored by the difficulties of the ground, which was miry
and full of holes, he gained on us a little. Eager to get up first, and, more
over, being somewhat too careless, I got pitched into the snow, but felt
consoled on looking up to find that I had company. However, we were all there—
up in time to see the fight and death. It was a bloody affair. Several of the
dogs were well marked. Having 'done enough for glory in one day,' we set out
on our return home. The dogs soon gave tongue again in a thicket beyond the
river. We crossed, but the trail was too cold to be followed with profit. So
we called them off. But we had gone only a short distance further before they
went off in full cry, and, to our astonishment, stopped all of a sudden. On
coming up, we found three 'coons,' as they are called here, in a tree. We
shook them down to the dust, 'to herd with earth's meaner things,' and reached
home safe in wind and limbs. Your obedient servant,
J. G. F."
"Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Ill., June 13, 1830.
"Mr. Editor: In the month of April, 1829, I was ordered to proceed from this
post, to pursue several deserters, with a party of five men in a canoe. We
passed up the left branch of the Chicago to its source, and thence, in a heavy
snow-storm during a night 'as black as Erebus,' through 'Lac Marais' into the
riviere Aux Pleins (Soft Maple River.)
"The prairie between these streams is at all times swampy; but during the
spring floods, a considerable lake is formed, the waters of which, flow
simultaneously through the Chicago, the Aux Pleins, and Illinois Rivers, into
the great northern lakes, and into the Mississippi. Here, after the waters
have subsided, vast quantities of aquatic fowl congregate to feed upon the
wild-rice, insects, etc., that abound in it. Swan, geese, and brant, passing
to and fro in clouds, keep an incessant cackling; ducks of every kind, from
the mallard and canvass-back, down to the tiny water-witch and blue-winged
teal, add their mite to the 'discord dire,' while hundreds of gulls hover
gracefully over, ever and anon plunging their snowy bosoms into the circling
waters. In April, myriads of plover and snipe take the place of the
aforementioned; still later, great quantities of woodcock, grouse, and
ortolans, make their appearance in its neighbourhood. Of these, we may
hereafter send you some account; and when the 'railroad' is finished between
Baltimore and Rock river, perhaps you may be induced to come out and take a
week's sport with us, or if you cannot spare time, we must try and pack up
some of our good things in ice and send on a locomotive steam-propelled car.
But my present object is not to speculate on what may happen, but to relate
something that has occurred. 'Arma, virumque cano,' 'be silent that you may
hear.' One of the five men accompaning me in the trip mentioned above is named
Harthaway. While descending the Aux Pleins river, I saw this man, on the 27th
of April, shoot six shots in succession, off hand, with a smooth bored rifle,
loaded each time with a single ball, standing in the canoe while it was
descending with the current, the men stopping paddling only long enough to
give him time to shoot. In the first five shots he killed five blue-winged
teal,—one at each shot,—the ball striking either on the head or on the neck,
not half an inch below the junction of the head with the neck; in the sixth
shot he killed a plover flying, shooting it through the body. Of course, I
cannot be accurate as to the distances, but as near as I recollect, he was not
nearer at any time than thirty yards. This shooting I never saw equalled; and
as it may appear almost 'too good' to some of your readers, I herewith forward
the affidavit of the only two men now remaining at the post, who went with me,
in confirmation of my statement. "Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. F."
"We certify, that having carefully perused the above account of Harthaway's
shooting, we find it true and accurate in all its parts. Given under our
hands, at Chicago, this 14th day of June, 1830.
DAVID VANDIGRIST, JOHN VAN ALSTINE."
Witness—A. B. Foster.
"Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Ill., June 13, 1830.
"Mr. Editor: Having been gratified with the perusal of the notices of one or
two remarkable dogs in former numbers of the Sporting Magazine, I do not know
how to return the obligation better than by sending you one of Capt. S.'s
"This dog was of English blood, and was pupped in the fall of 1823, near
Nashville, Tennessee. Of his origin, we know nothing further. He came into
Capt. S.'s possession when about a year old, and was, at that time, an
exceedingly cowardly pup. His colour was a perfect black, with the exception
of a small white spot in the middle of the breast. His limbs were remarkably
clean and delicate, and his body well compacted, an uncommon but harmonious
union of agility and strength. His eye was black and glazed, which gave a
peculiar air of savageness to his aspect; and he did not belie his looks to
strangers and others against whom he had a grudge. The captain twice placed
him under the care of other gentlemen, for short periods, and both times his
keepers gave Nero some deep offence. Every time they approached him he growled
and grumbled and straightened his tail. In spite of clogs, chains, and
persuasion, he took up his line of march to the tune of 'over the hills and
far away;' and, at one time remained absent above a year, on the Missouri,
until his master came for him. But in spite of all this ill humour to others,
there never was a creature more obedient and affectionate to his master than
"To relate all the feats of this noble animal would require a large volume; I
must therefore content myself with relating a few anecdotes of him which have
come under my immediate observation. In hunting wolves last winter and fall,
it was not unusual for us to set the pack in at the northern extremity of
the "little woods," so as to drive the animal through the southern point, and
thus have a fair flight across the prairie. It was his constant practice, as
soon as the hounds were heard in the woods, to hasten to station himself at
the last point, and watch with the greatest interest and anxiety for the
appearance of the wolf. If any did appear, the thread of his existence was
soon cut short. I have often known him when running at wolves, deer, and
foxes, instead of going directly at them, as is usual with greyhounds, to
steer either to the right or left, as the case might have been, and place
himself between the animal and the thicket, so as to cut him off from cover.
One day last November, after a splendid chase, we drove a fine doe into the
lake. The hounds, as soon as they saw the deer driven fairly in, returned to
look for more game, and, of course, left the coast clear. We got to the spot
just as the doe was approaching the shore, after being in the water a short
time. None of us had guns. As soon as she got a footing, I urged Nero on. He
went in, but the deer immediately made out, and outswam the dog. Nero
perceived this, and attempted to swim round her, so as to drive her in shore,
but could not accomplish it; so after using his best endeavors for some time,
we called him back until the deer should return, hiding behind the sand-hills
in the interim. Our vigil was a long one. This time I was more wary, and held
my tongue, leaving the direction to others more skilled than myself. As soon
as the animal reached the beach, we let loose the dogs and rushed from our
concealment. The deer ran back into the water, all the dogs in full chase.
Nero again swam round and met her, seizing her by the tail, two other dogs
went ahead, and took each hold of an ear. Nero then left his former hold and
seized her by the nose, which hold he did not relinquish until life was
extinguished, ducking her head under water whenever she attempted to bleat. At
another time, I saw Nero catch, and throw twice, a wounded buck, an exploit
which few single dogs can perform. In 1828, I am informed, he caught and
killed four deer at Green Bay, neither of them being previously injured. The
bones of the wolves which he has slaughtered are bleaching on the prairies
about fort Crawford, Green Bay, and around us here in every direction.
"On the 14th May, the morning being fine, we rode out to enjoy it; and it was
judged best to take the dogs along, as they had been languishing in the kennel
for want of exercise for some time. Having gone as far as the Big Wabiskokie,
we turned to the right and went up the 'long ridge' towards Blue Island, where
we bounced a large grey wolf out of the brushwood and dry grass. We gave the
war-whoop, and attempted to head him, but did not succeed. The wolf took to
the open prairie, and ran for the upper point of Blue Island, the greyhounds
being some distance in rear, and the hounds and horsemen hard after. It was
miserable riding; the soil being as soft as mush. The grass was not very high,
and we could see every step and turn that was taken. After a run of three
miles, Nero came up to the wolf. 'Now,' thought we, 'he has him!' but in the
next moment the wolf passed on, and Nero was seen no more; and he was doomed
to rise no more, upon earth, poor fellow. We rode up and found him trying to
get up, but he could not. The exertions he had made, and the heat, were too
much for him. I took up the old veteran in my arms and carried him to Blue
Island, where I endeavored to recover him, but it was all in vain;—he died,
and we laid him down on the field which had so often beheld him in all the
glory of his triumphs. After ruminating and ransacking my brains for about an
hour, all that I got out, by way of an epitaph, is what follows. If you think
it will not disgrace your pages, it may as well be tacked on here as
elsewhere. If you think it is too much in the 'prose run mad' style, please
consign it to the 'tomb of all the capulets,' and oblige your obedient servant.
"Like a swift speeding bolt of thunder you flew,
Leaving scarce a trace of your path behind;
From the green bough you swept not the diamond dew,
But lightly passed by as the summer wind.
"In the prairie full oft in the pride of your speed,
I have seen thee press on like a hero;
Displaying your courage by many a deed, Winning gallant green laurels old Nero.
"Thou wast light-footed, keen-sighted, gentle, and brave,
From the battle thou never didst turn aside;
And the wolves may rejoice that the dark willows wave
O'er the spot where now you are resting in pride.
"On the field of your glory, where you fought and fell,
Where your ashes repose in honour apart;
When the chase is all over the huntsman will tell,
How Nero ran on till he bursted his heart."
"Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Dec. 9, 1835.
"Mr. Editor: Reflecting upon our numerous excursions on the prairies in this
neighborhood, last fall, in pursuit of wolves, one marked by some peculiarity
of incident frequently occurs to me, though doubtless with much less force
than to some of my brother sportmen of that day.
"The afternoon was fine, and party large and agreeable, forming a line of
about two miles in extent, the intervals generally of a few hundred yards
between files, but so regulated as to leave no part of the ground unsurveyed.
Advancing in this order, three wolves bounced, almost at the same instant, in
front of different parts of the line, and ran in various directions. It fell
to my lot to pursue one, assisted only by a greyhound slut. After a run of
about three miles, the slut, being rather fat, and overcome by heat, fagged,
and fell to the rear. Seeing I was thrown upon my own resources, I made a
desperate push to run over the wolf, when, just grazing his brush, my horse
plunged both forefeet into a narrow, grass-covered ditch, and fell as suddenly
as if he had been shot, and threw me some distance ahead. I fell at full
length on my belly, and saved myself from the rolling of my horse by a brisk
movement—between a scramble and a dog-trot. In an instant we were both up and
under way. Scarcely conscious of what had happened, after a run of five miles,
the wolf sought refuge in a dense cluster of juniper on the lake shore, but
soon found their fragile branches a poor protection from old hickory. Anxious
to learn the success of the other portion of the field, (the heaving sides and
distended nostrils of my good horse plead in vain for a momentary respite,)
bedecking his brow with his hard-won trophy, I sprung on and struck up a brisk
canter to rejoin the party; and had proceeded but a short distance, when two
figures appeared rising over a gentle swell of the prairie, about two miles
distance, and as they approached more closely, I discovered they were at full
speed and bearing down toward me. While viewing the apparent contest, one of
them suddenly dropped below the horizon and disappeared, raising an immense
cloud of dust to mark the spot; a badger's hole had received a foot and leg of
Emperor, and hurled him and master, Dr. M., headlong to the earth. Mr. R. K.,
taking advantage of his fallen adversary, passed him sprawling on the ground,
(fair play in a wolf-chase,) but he enjoyed only a momentary triumph. The
noble Emperor, finding himself disencumbered of his 230 pounds rider, sprung
to his feet and renewed the contest with redoubled vigor. He soon passed his
competitors, and was closely pressing the wolf, with ears thrown back, when I,
very unsportsmanlike, came in ahead of the game and turned its course. Emperor
was momentarily thrown out, but soon regained his advantage, passing Mr. K.
and myself, following the wolf in his windings and doublings for a mile and a
half, till he skulked in a ditch. Here Emperor drew up on the crest of the
ditch, with head and tail elevated, ears pricked forward, repeatedly snorting,
and fiercely gazing at the spot where the wolf lay concealed, till I abandoned
my horse for the wonted use of old hickory, when, finding good company, both
horses moved off toward home on a trot. Esq. G. (full of blood) fortunately
arrived to the assistance of Mr. K. just as the game was routed from his
lurking place, whence he pushed for the lake, where he was soon forced to
lower his flag to the superior prowess of Esq. G., who plunged in on his
foaming steed, and in a regular built sea-fight, closed the day's sport with
the existence of the fifth wolf.
"It gives me pleasure to be able to add, in conclusion, that Dr. M., though
severely injured by a contusion on the shoulder, escaped without the loss of
life or limb; and although, for some weeks, deprived of the pleasure of
participating in the chase, he has seldom failed to accompany the party to the
field as a looker-on.
"The number of wolves taken by the party during the season, as taken from the
journal, was 157,—19 wolves and a bear in one day; by straggling parties in
the neighborhood, probably 50; in all not less than 200. The season was
unusually dry and fine for running, and wolves abundant, probably attracted by
the slaughter-houses in the suburbs; but from whatever cause, we never may see
such days again.
SUMINECATHA, or Big Wood Wolf."
"Chicago, Illinois, May 3, 1840.
"Dear Sir: In looking over your valuable magazine, I observed your pages were
not confined exclusively to reporting the sports of the Turf; and presuming
you will be interested to hear from the 'wild west,' I have taken the liberty
of giving you an account how we are getting along, and what we are doing.
"In December last, four of us started from this place in 'military array,'
fully equipped for encampment, for the Sag, (an abreviation for the Sa-gua-
nash, a low, marshy ground, made by the overflowing of the DesPlaines River,)
and arrived at 5 o'clock P. M. Next morning, as 'Aurora began to reflect her
liquid fire,' we started in pursuit: our dogs were all 'in trim'; we had not
been out but ten minutes, before we were told, by the note of a favorite
bitch, that 'game was there.' After chasing a large buck about three
miles, 'up hill and through the valley,' I shot him; and coming up to where he
lay, I cut a gambrel and hung him up to a tree. About twenty rods further on
we 'scared up' three more, two of which we killed in less than an hour. We
then returned to camp, bearing the trophies of victory; and after partaking of
the needful, to warm the inward man, we started again, and returned at 1
o'clock P. M. with five more. Thinking we had enough venison, we put up our
hounds and went in search of grouse or prairie hens, taking along two favorite
pointers. After traversing the prairie three hours, we killed sixty grouse; on
the second day, we killed four deer and thirty-seven grouse; and on the third
day, we killed two deer, eighteen grouse, and six ducks: making in all 14
deer, 115 grouse, and 6 ducks.
"There is no part of this country where game is so plentiful as on the
Prairies of Illinois. During this last winter, the citizens of this place and
the neighboring farmers, have killed 500 deer, besides grouse, ducks, geese,
etc., 'too numerous to mention'; such are the sports of the West.
"The improvement of the breed of horses has received more attention for a few
years past. Could I prevail upon the farmers to subscribe to your 'Register,'
I should be glad; they then could detect 'counterfeit' from blood horses. Our
country is inundated every season by the most worthless blood, which is passed
off as genuine, hence the worthlessness of our stock.
"Col. James M.. Strode, formerly of Kentucky, has this season brought a horse
here, from the blood of old Rob Roy, of the John Randolph stock; he is a
beauty, and I hope now we may have some good horses.
"You will observe that I use the phrases current among us Suckers.
Unaccustomed to writing for public prints, I am also unacquainted with the
language of the Turf.
" I am respectfully yours, J. F. G."
JOE BAIES; OR, A SABBATH-DAY INCIDENT IN CHICAGO, IN 1832.
Joseph Baies, or as the English call it, Bailly, a French or Canadian fur-
trader, was living on Grand River, Mich., probably as long ago as the first
year of the present century, for the late Col. J. B. Beaubien, of Chicago, it
is said, when a young man, learned the rudiments of his education of him while
at Grand River. Afterward, and possibly before also, Bailly lived some time at
what is now Bertrand, Mich., and when, in sundry business adventures, he had
the late Alex. Robinson as an employe or associate. Wm. Burnett, the fur-
trader of St. Joseph River, in a letter dated January, 1787, speaks of a
trader named Balie, perhaps the same gentleman of whom we are speaking. In
1821, when Mr. B. bought goods of the American Fur Company, at Mackinaw, he is
called of Lake Michigan, without the designation of any particular point. In
1833, he was the proprietor of a house of entertainment, at the station called
Baillytown, on the road from Michigan City to Chicago, and is well remembered
by many travelers of that day, who were journeying around the head of the
Lake. At that time he was considerably advanced in years, perhaps near
seventy. His wife, (we have heard her called Mau-ne, probably for Mary) was of
the Indian race, and they had two intelligent and fine-looking daughters, who
had been educated at Detroit or Montreal. Esther, one of the daughters,
married John H. Whistler, and Rozanne, the other, became the wife of Frank
Howe, formerly a clerk in the Branch of the Illinois State Bank at Chicago.*
But of the incident.
In the year 1832, a rather common custom at Chicago, was to make a holiday of
the Sabbath, and to do more business, perhaps, on that day than on any other.
Outsiders took occa-
* We did not succeed, as we hoped to, in getting particulars concerning Mr.
Bailly's biography from a source which we made some attempt to reach, and to
show how adversely very honest efforts after historical items regarding
Chicago and its early residents sometimes result, we detail one case of
decided though somewhat ludicrous failure. Aware of the fact, that the two
daughters of Mr. Bailly married Chicago gentlemen, we addressed a note to a
niece of the husband of one of those ladies, for a reference to some one who
might impart to us the information sought. The lady politely suggested that
from Mrs. H. (a daughter of Mr. B.) we would be able to get all the facts
desired, and that Mr. C. at the City Engineer's Office, would favor us with
the address of Mrs. H. aforesaid. An application to Mr. C. however, only
brought the response, that Hon. Mr. S. was attorney for Mrs. H., "and can
perhaps give you her address." There seemed to be something of a doubt implied
in the "perhaps" of Mr. C. yet we boldly confronted Mr. S. with a modest
missive, requesting the address of the lady, just that and nothing more. Alas
for the simplicity of those that essay the task to glean a few straws from the
historic field, expecting to find some kernels of neglected grain; such
artless individuals are scarcely fitted to encounter the mounted huzzars of
worldly business strife, ready to ride down every pedestrian, as though
tainted with complications, plots, intrigue, and fees. Mr. S. vouchsafed us an
answer to the effect, that Mrs. H. resided in the State of Kentucky, but if we
had any business with that lady, it must be by and through him as agent. It
was no matter that we explained our humble aims, devoid of covetousness and
the like, for no words came back; if, therefore, any names and facts shall in
consequence here fail to be immortalized, it is certainly not our fault.
sion then to come to the village to look about and make purchases, and many
shopkeepers were quite ready to accommodate them. But our informant, then a
merchant here, held sentiments somewhat at variance with this, and when the
old trader, Joe Baies, who was frequently at Chicago, in looking about the
settlement, saw the door open at the store of our informant, who sat reading
therein, he stepped inside and began to inspect some portions of the stock,
inquiring prices, etc. The merchant explained to him the condition of affairs,
telling him that he sold no goods on Sunday, having been raised in the east,
where the propriety of such observance was inculcated, but if he would call
upon any other day, he would be happy to wait on him. Baies was taken by
surprise, being quite unused to meeting persons of so strict a creed; in fact,
he became suddenly disgusted, and disgust culminated in a fit of towering
anger. Lavish with insulting language and profanity, calling our citizen a
fool; he asked him if this was the way to make money, and what he came here
for if it was not to make money. Yet, as often happened in the days of the
patriarchs, "a soft answer turneth away wrath," and as there was on this
occasion none else, Mr. B. came back to the store before many days, and made
ample apologies for his hard words, his rudeness and ill-temper, allowing that
our citizen had a perfect right to his opinions, as well as to follow the
guidance of his own conscience. After this, he was one of his best customers.
We will here add, that Mr. B. was an intelligent and keen business man, of
good education, and usually of courteous and gentlemanly manners.
"LITTLE TURTLE" AND THE QUAKERS.
It is not of a late date merely, that that respectable class or religious body
of citizens known as Quakers, have made earnest efforts to improve the
condition, moral as well as physical, of the American Indians. That key-note
from the voice of humanity, was sounded when William Penn met the natives on
the banks of the Delaware near two centuries since. It is the common impulse
of our nature to be courteous to them that treat us kindly, and the trait is
quite as marked in the savage as the civilized man.
The speech of Little Turtle given below, is copied from a manuscript found
among the papers of Judge Jouett, formerly Indian Agent at Chicago, by whom it
was preserved at the time of its delivery, something over three score years
ago. It seems proper that this speech should not be lost; and though it may
seem to the reader prolix and tame, lacking the fire and passion that we
usually expect in the speech of an Indian orator, yet the subject matter was
one of peace, and refers to the comparatively quiet and dull life of
civilization. The speaker, however, believed it involved the best interests of
Little Turtle frequently sojourned at Chicago, but whether this reply was made
here or at some other point in the west, we cannot say.
Early in the year 1798, accompanied by Captain William Wells, (who, it has
been said, was his adopted son,) he was visiting in Philadelphia,* and it is
told by Volney, the French traveler, that the Chief made known his wishes to
the "benevolent Society of Friends," as to "the necessity of turning the
attention of his people from hunting and fishing to tillage."
Mechecunnaqua, or Little Turtle, was a Miami, and though but little is known
of his early history, in his maturer years he was a brave and able warrior. He
once said of the Miamis, "My forefather kindled the first fire at Detroit;
from thence he extended his lines to the head waters of the Scioto; from
thence to its mouth; from thence down the Ohio to the mouth of the Wabash; and
from thence to Chicago over Lake Michigan. These are the boundaries within
which the prints of my ancestors' houses are everywhere to be seen." Little
*It was during this visit to Philadelphia that Little Turtle paid his respects
to Gen. Washington, as well as to our Polander patriot Kosciusko; the last
named, presented to the Indian chief his elegant brace of battle pistols.
Little Turtle again visited the seat of Government, then at Washington, in
company with several other Indians, in 1802.
was the leader of the Indians at Harmer's defeat, on the Maumee, in October,
1790, as well also as that of St. Clair, the year following. It has been
claimed by the family of Joseph Brant, that he (Brant) was the head and
General of the Indian forces which destroyed St. Clair's army, but the main
weight of evidence is to the contrary.
In June, 1794, at the head of a force of a thousand Indians or more, Little
Turtle attacked Fort Recovery, (built by Gen. Wayne on the field of St.
Clair's defeat,) but was repulsed; and the crushing blows given the Indians
by "mad Anthony," in the autumn of that year, was followed by a peace and the
Treaty of Greenville, (in June, 1795,) to which Treaty Little Turtle was a
signer. It is believed that this Chief had received some education in Canada,
and until the Treaty of Greenville, was attached to British interests, which
seemed to find gratification in cultivating in the savages a hatred of the
Americans. John Johnston, of Piqua, Ohio, who was well acquainted with Little
Turtle, said of this "celebrated orator and chief," that he was "a man of
great wit, humor, and vivacity, fond of the company of gentlemen, and
delighted in good eating. When I knew him, he had two wives, living with him,
under the same roof, in the greatest harmony. * * * * This distinguished
chief died at Fort Wayne, of a confirmed case of the gout, brought on by high
living, and was buried with military honors by the troops of the United
Mrs. Callis, daughter of Judge Jouett, tells us that her mother often spoke of
the chief, for whose oratorical powers she had great admiration. She
particularly referred to a speech of that chief which she heard delivered at
some council held at Chicago. A sentence of that speech is remembered;
speaking of an enemy upon whom he (Little Turtle) had taken deadly vengeance,
he said, "We met! I cut him down! and his shade, as it passes on the wind,
shuns my walk."
The death of Little Turtle, it is understood, occurred, not "in the year 1804
or 1805," as stated in the Narrative of Major S. H. "Long's Expedition of
1823, but on the 14th, July, 1812, and he was buried on the west bank of the
river at Fort Wayne.
SPEECH OF LITTLE TURTLE IN REPLY TO AN ADDRESS FROM THE QUAKERS—GEORGE ELLIOTT
AND GERARD T. HOPKINS.
Brothers: It appears to me necessary that I should give you an immediate
answer, as you are about to return to your families from whence you came.
Brothers and Friends: We are all pleased to see you here, and to take our
Brothers, the Quakers, through you, by the hand. We rejoice that the Great
Spirit has appointed that we should this day meet, for we believe this meeting
will be of the utmost consequence to your Red Brethren.
Brothers: What you have said we have carefully gathered up; we have placed it
in our hearts, in order that it may be communicated to our posterity. We are
convinced that what you have said is for the good of your Red Brethren. We are
also convinced that our Chiefs and Warriors, our women and children, will be
all of our opinion, and will be glad when they hear what you have said.
Brothers: We take you by the hand, and through you take the people who sent
you by the hand, and assure you that we are pleased that the Great Spirit has
let us see each other, and converse together upon the subjects that have been
communicated to us.
Brothers: You see that there are but few of us here; what you have said to us,
will not remain with the few that are here alone; it will be communicated to
all your Red Brethren in this country, and I again repeat that I am convinced
that they will be glad to hear what you have said to us, to our women and
Brothers: When we saw you with the rest of your Brothers in Baltimore upwards
of two years ago, I expect you recollect perfectly the conversation between us
at that time and place. I then, with my Brother Chiefs, told you that we were
glad to find you so much disposed to assist us, our women and children; we
told you that your good wishes should be made known to all your Red Brethren
in this country, which has been done.
Brothers: Ever since that time, I, as well as some others of my Brother
Chiefs, have been endeavoring to turn the minds of our people toward the
cultivation of the earth, but am sorry to say we have not yet been able to
Brothers: There are so few of us here present, we could not now undertake to
give you any positive answer; we expect in a few moons, there will be many of
our people together. At that time it will be proper that we should give you an
answer to all the subjects you now mention to us.
Brothers: The things you have said to us require our greatest attention. It
appears to be really necessary that we should deliberate upon them. In order
to do so we must beg you to leave the paper on which they are written, that we
may communicate them to the Chiefs when they assemble.
Brothers: All the words you said to-day, were certainly calculated for our
good. You have enumerated to us the different kinds of grains and animals we
ought to raise for our comfort. You have told us that if we all adopt the plan
you have proposed, we shall want for nothing. This Brothers, myself and many
of our people believe is true, and we hope we shall finally be able to
convince our young men that this is the plan we should adopt to get our living.
Brothers: You have come a long distance to render service to us; we hope you
will meet with the success you wish. You have been very particular in pointing
out to us what will be for our good; you have been very particular in pointing
out the duties of our women, and you have told us that in adopting your mode
of living, our numbers would increase and not diminish. In all this I
perfectly agree with you, and hope all the Chiefs will also agree with you.
Brothers: We are pleased to hear you say you are going to leave one of your
Brothers with us, to show us in what manner you cultivate the earth. We shall
endeavor, Brothers, to make his situation among us as agreeable to him as will
be possible, for us
Brothers: We are convinced the plan you propose will be advantageous to your
Red Brethren. We are convinced you have observed very justly, that we shall
not then be so liable to sickness. We are certain we shall then be able to
make a more comfortable living with less labor than at present, and hope this
will be the opinion of us all.
Brothers: I again repeat, I am extremely glad to hear the things you have
said, and that we will keep them in our hearts for the good of our young men,
our women and our children. I have now delivered to you the sentiments of our
people that are present.
(After a short pause he added),
Brothers: Assure your people who have sent you here, tell your old Chiefs we
are obliged to them for their friendly offers to assist us in changing our
present mode of living. Tell them it is a work which cannot be done
immediately, that we are all that way disposed, and we hope it will take place
(Sitting down a short space, he rises again.)
Brothers: My heart is so overjoyed and warm with what you have said, that I
forgot to mention one of the most important things. At the time we first met
at this place, the Five Medals* and myself formed some idea of your business;
we expected you had come to do for us the things you proposed to us when in
Baltimore, and consulted each other upon the answer necessary to return to you
in every respect, and now find our idea was right. Brothers, the sentiments
which I have delivered to you, were his sentiments. You have now told us that
your Brother has a mind to live among us, to show us how to cultivate the
earth, and has desired us to show him the spot where to begin. We agreed then
that he should be at neither of our villages, lest our younger Brothers should
be jealous of our taking him to ourselves. We have determined to place him on
the Wabash, where some of our families will follow him; where our young men, I
hope, will flock to him, and where he will be able to instruct them as he
wishes. This is all I have to say. I could all day repeat the senti-
*Name of a Chief.
ments I have already expressed; also, how much I have been gratified in seeing
and hearing from our Brothers, but that is not necessary. I am sorry the
Chiefs of our country are not all present, that they might all hear what you
have said, and have an opportunity to talk with you.
CHARLES JOUETT, THE FIRST U.S. INDIAN AGENT RESIDING AT CHICAGO.
Charles Jouett (not "Jewett," as it is often written) was born in Louisa
County, Virginia, in 1772, and was the youngest of a family of four boys and
five girls. His father was John Jouett, of Charlottesville, Va., and the
maiden name of his mother was Harris. The father was with the Virginians at
Braddock's defeat, and John, Jr., and Robert fought the enemy in many of the
battles of the Revolution. John, Jr., or Jack as he was usually called,
received a vote of thanks and a sword, it is said, from the Legislature of
Virginia, for an exhibition of daring and timely notice to that body, whose
capture by Col. Tarleton was determined on. Jouett having knowledge of the
plan, and being mounted in the guise of a British dragoon, passed (a necessity
under the circumstances) through the enemy's camp without detection, and gave
the alarm. Another story has been told of Jack Jouett; while with Gen. Greene,
in North Carolina, in the vicinity of Guilford Court House, on one occasion
near a spring between the contending forces, he pounced upon an incautious
Briton who had come for water, and easily carried him away under one arm a
prisoner. It is proper here to say that John Jouett, Sen., and his four sons,
were all of gigantic stature and strength. Charles Jouett is said to have been
raised under the immediate notice and enjoyed the friendship of presidents
Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. He studied law and practiced a few years in
Charlottesville, Va., but in 1802, he accepted from the Government the
appointment of Indian agent at Detroit, Mich. Mr. J. ably filled this
position, not only there, but after his transfer to the new and perhaps more
important agency at Chicago. In 1804, while in Michigan, he took measures at
the request of the Government, to learn the facts concerning the settlements
at Detroit and vicinity, and submitted an extended report of the same, which
appears in one of the printed volumes of American State Papers. Charles Jouett
was the first Indian agent stationed at Chicago; and William Wells, (Captain
Wells, subsequently killed at Chicago,) the Agent at Fort Wayne, had been
advised by the Department, October 17, 1804, that the annuities of the
Pottawatomie and Kickapoo Indians under his charge, would in future be sent to
Chicago. Mr. Jouett under his new appointment removed here in 1805, and by
instructions from the War Department, was informed, October 26, of that year,
that there would be included in his agency here, the Sacs, Foxes, and
Pottawatomies, as well as other tribes in the vicinity of Chicago.
Hon. John Wentworth, in a supplement to one of his lectures, gives the names
of quite a number of Virginians who were early residents of Chicago; to those
may be added that of Charles Jouett. Mr. J. had married in 1803, Miss Eliza
Dodomead; she died in 1805. From the time of his first arrival at Chicago, we
are unable to state precisely how often or how long he was absent from this
post, yet we are advised of one furlough at least, reaching along through the
holidays it is understood, in the winter of 1808-9. The occasion was his (2d)
marriage, the lady being Miss Susan Randolph Allen, of Clark County, Ky., and
we must characterize it as something extraordinary, that their wedding-tour
was made on horseback, in the month of January, through the jungles, over the
snow-drifts, on the ice, and across the prairies, in the face of driving
storms, and the frozen breath of the winds of the north. They had on their
journey, a negro servant named Joe Battles, and an Indian guide whose name was
Robinson, possibly the late chief Alex. Robinson. A team and wagon followed,
conveying their baggage, and they marked their route for the benefit of any
After some six years residence here, Mr. Jouett, probably from Indian
difficulties and complications, which rendered a continuance in the office
impracticable, resigned his position in 1811, and removed to Kentucky, and
settled in Mercer County, near Harrodsburg. In 1812, he was made one of the
Judges of that county. After the close of the war with England, and the
rebuilding of Fort Dearborn, Judge Jouett again occupied the position of
Indian Agent at Chicago, having been re-appointed in 1815, and made the
journey to this place across the country, accompanied by his family.
The first Agency Building, or United States Factory, as sometimes called, Mrs.
Whistler told us, was near the river on the south side, a short space above
the Fort; and in Mrs. Kinzie's "Waubun," we are informed that "it was an old-
fashioned log-building, with a hall running through the centre, and one large
room on each side. Piazzas extended the whole length of the building in front
and rear." This structure is understood to have been built soon after Mr.
Jouett came; it did not of course survive the destruction of the first Fort
Dearborn. The Agency House, during Judge Jouett's second term as Indian Agent
here, and the home of his family during the period, was on the north side of
the river. It was a log-building of two large rooms, standing some "two or
three hundred yards from the lake," and close by the river. "It was about
twenty steps from the river bank," says a lady now living, a daughter of Judge
Jouett, and who, coming with her parents in 1816, remained here several years.
The log-domicile referred to, was one built previous to the evacuation of Fort
Dearborn, in 1812, and we much believe that it was the same frequently spoken
of in connexion with an earlier date as "the Burns house." It stood where is
now a freight depot of the N. W. Railroad, at corner of North State and Water
Streets. The future building of the Indian Agency, sometimes called "Cobweb
Castle," was afterwards erected close by it; indeed it was already commenced,
but never occupied or completed during Judge Jouett's sojourn here. We will
here remark that the timbers of the old log-building were a stolid witness to
a deed of blood, supplementary perhaps to the massacre on the south side. Says
Mrs. Callis (the daughter of Judge Jouett before referred to), "The house in
which my father lived, was built before the massacre of J812; I know this from
the fact that 'White Elk,' an Indian chief, and the tallest Indian I ever saw,
was, frequently pointed out to me as the savage who had dashed out the brains
of the children of Sukey Corbin (a camp-follower and washer-woman), against
the side of this very house." We have reason to think that this savage was the
same fiend that had previously tomahawked the dozen other children, after the
action and surrender by the soldiers. Mrs. Jouett told her daughter of a
frantic mother,* a former acquaintance of hers, who on that
*Perhaps the same Mrs. Corbin before referred to, and who is spoken of also in
Mrs. Kinzie's "Waubun." In that work the name of Mrs. Corbin appears as part
of the statement of Mrs. Helm, but in the earlier published account, from
which much of the Waubun account is copied, Mrs. Corbin's name is not
mentioned, nor is that part of the incident which is there, given as
communicated by Mrs. Helm. This may possibly account for some little
indefiniteness or confusion regarding the locality of the Corbin family
murder. Yet the main facts of a horrid slaughter cannot be doubted.
occasion fought the monster all the while the butchery was being done, yet who
in turn fell a victim herself. Says Mrs. C. "how I shuddered at the sight of
this terrible savage." In Augustin Grignan's Recollections, (Wis. His. Soc.
Colls, v. 3,) we find that he speaks of Op-po-mish-shah or the "White Elk" as
a Menomonie chief of "considerable distinction." He may have been; yet if he
was the same Indian before spoken of (of which, however, we are not sure, as
we supposed the Menomonies did not take part in the attack at Chicago), his
deeds of cowardly butchery here will ever distinguish this child murderer as
eminent in brutality.* Mrs. C. remembers that Mr. Kinzie lived near the lake,
opposite the Fort, at the old cabin or "Kinzie House," the picture of which is
familiar to readers of Chicago history. She says, "between my father's house
and Mr. Kinzie's was a house occupied by a gunsmith, a Mr. Bridges, who had
been a silversmith. A man named Dean had a store near Mr. Kinzie's house;
there may have been other houses which I do not remember. Just across the
river from our house, and near the river bank, was a little space enclosed by
a paling, where, on the surface of the ground, lay
bleaching, the bones of Non-no-ga, an Indian who had befriended some of the
whites in their peril, at the time of the massacre, but was pursued and killed
at that spot, it was said. My father's interpreter was James Riley.**
My mother was respected and loved by the Indians; many
*The "White Elk" referred to by Grignon, joined Tecumseh the following year
(1813), from which it seems probable that he was the same as the one at
**James Riley, and his brothers Peter and John, were sons of Judge Riley, of
Schenectady, who was at one time a trader with the Indians at Saginaw. The
boys were half-breeds, the mother being of the Indian race. Judge Witherell
says, "They were educated men. When with white people, they were gentle manly,
high-toned, honorable fellows; when with the Indians in the forest, they could
be perfect Indians, in dress, language, hunting, trapping, and mode of living.
* * * The three were thorough-going Americans in every thought and feeling."
The British authorities, it is said, were so jealous of the active enmity of
James Riley during the war of 1812, that they procured his capture, and sent
him to Halifax for awhile. In what year we are not informed, but he finally
lost his life by the explosion of a keg of gunpowder at Grand Rapids, Michigan.
were frequent visitors at her home, and were especially kind to her children,
sister and myself. * * * Our nurse was an Indian girl, a faithful, devoted
servant, who afterward married a soldier of the garrison."
We notice that the agents of the Indian Department, within the then Illinois
Territory, were all in 1817, placed under the superintendence of this
Territory. "The most strict and vigorous economy in the expenditures," was
enjoined by the War Department, and "the whole amount of the expenditures for
the Indian Department within the Illinois Territory, including rations,
presents, contingencies of Agents," etc., etc., was "limited to $25,000 per
Judge Jouett secured the confidence of the Indians by kind and honorable
treatment; we add also that his commanding presence and physical strength
doubtless added to his influence with them; his height was six feet and three
inches; he was erect, broad-shouldered, and muscular. An incident is told of
by Mrs. C. of a fearless encounter which her father had here with a drunken
Indian chief named "Mar Pock," (so called from his face being badly disfigured
by small-pox,) who was brandishing his scalping-knife with furious menaces,
betokening bloody violence; but Jouett, confronting the savage sternly ordered
him to give up his knife; we are told that Mr. Aborigine immediately quailed
The name given by the Indians to Judge Jouett was "The White Otter;" his negro
servant they called "Blackmeat."
The following, relating to Judge J., written at the time of his decease, was
not an unmerited tribute to his worth:
"Few men in the United States Indian Department ever showed more devotion to
the interests of the Government, more unbending integrity of purpose or
promptitude of action, or more impartiality and justice to the Indians; few
had more the confidence of the Government. The management, finesse, and double-
dealing, by which so many Indian Agents have enriched themselves from the
spoils of the Indians, whose rights it was their duty to maintain, had no
place in the school of honor where he was educated."
Judge Jouett finally resigned the Agency in Chicago in 1818 (or '19), and
returned to Mercer County, Ky. He was soon appointed by Mr. Monroe to the
position of Judge of the U. S. Court for Arkansas, where he removed, and
assisted in the organization of that Territorial Government, etc.; but the
unhealthiness of that region at the time obliged him to relinquish the
position within a half year. In 1820, he removed to Trigg County, Ky., which
was afterward his home. His death occurred while on his way to Lexington, at
the house of a friend in Barren County, Ky., May 28, 1834, being in his 62d
year. His widow, Mrs. Susan R. Jouett, died near Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1871.
Judge Jouett's children were (1st m.) Jane Harris, born 1804, died in
Christian County, Ky., 1839. (2d m.) Charles La Lime, born in Chicago, Oct.,
1809, died 1810; Catharine, born in Mercer County, Ky., Feb. 8, 1811; Susan
M., born in Mercer County, Ky., Nov. 1812; Mildred R., born in Mercer County,
Ky., July, 1814; the two last named are living in Kentucky. Mr. William O.
Callis, a grandson of Judge Jouett, now, 1876, resides in Chicago.
THE FIRST TEMPERANCE SOCIETY OF CHICAGO.
[The following, by the compiler of this book, appeared in the Chicago Times,
perhaps we may as well insert it here, together with a few additional
CHICAGO, June 20, 1876.
Ed. Chicago Times:—The efforts of the Hon. John Wentworth to place upon record
the facts pertaining to early Chicago history, deserve much credit, and we
wish many of our other early residents would do likewise, and write up their
recollections of the rapidly receding past. For whether all such impressions
may be strictly accurate or otherwise, it is better that they should be told
now, when the statements may be examined and verified, or else corrected or
denied, as the case may be. And just here, I wish to say, that the association
referred to, called "The First Temperance Society" in "By-gone Days" of last
Sunday's Times, is not entitled to such designation. The First Chicago
Temperance Society did not date its organization in "1835." It had existence,
January 30, 1834, and earlier, for on that day it met at the Presbyterian
church, and had a new election of officers, as follows: Dr. John T. Temple,
Pres.; Dr. Josiah C. Goodhue, Vice-President; Philo Carpenter, Sec. and
Treas.; Capt. D. Wilcox, (U. S. A.), M. D. Harmon, Dr. H. Van Der Bogert; Lt.
J. L. Thompson, (U. S. A.), Executive Committee. In 1833, J. Watkins was
secretary of the same Society. From time immemorial, since the red-man's early
acquaintance here with the whites, the firewater had tracked its serpent-like
way without much restraint. Yet the Indians were not the only victims. In
1812, when Capt. Heald, on evacuating Fort Dearborn, endeavored secretly to
destroy the liquors in the Fort, by emptying them into the river, the keen
nostrils of the savages detected that effort to smother the spirit-devil. The
Indians (from white men's teaching) had an insuperable weakness and hankering
after the demon, and considered themselves on that occasion, at least, robbed
and wronged; and hence, perhaps, an extra spur and edge to the tomahawk and
scalping-knife on that luckless August morning.
But just a score of years later, for it was in Father Walker's log-cabin at
Wolf Point, in the year 1832, there gathered the first temperance meeting at
Chicago. This was the initiative, leading to the formation of the Chicago
Temperance Society. The prime mover and originator of the enterprise, we need
scarcely add, was Philo Carpenter, who had arrived here that season. Mr. C. by
the distribution of various tracts and papers bearing on the subject, prepared
the Chicago public mind for the innovation and shock of so unusual an
occurrence as a temperance meeting in the scattered, unfledged, and "rough-and-
tumble" settlement. Yet, Mr. C. had the aid of Col. R. J. Hamilton, Col. T. J.
V. Owen, Mark Noble, and others, though at the meeting referred to, which was
as large as the cabin could accommodate, the principal address devolved upon
him. A pledge was also drawn up, which met with varied success, but not a few,
alas, of those who signed it, went over soon or slowly, to the enemy. Among
the names of the signers,* we may mention that of the Indian chief, Chee-chee-
bing-way —Alexander Robinson. Robinson received the appeal to sign the pledge
with hesitation, and pointing to his whiskey bottle, acknowledged his
attachment to the syren; he afterwards, however, allowed that he believed he
had better join the Society and leave strong drink alone. Signing the pledge,
or authorizing his name to be placed thereon, it was not without an exhibition
of humor, when he attacked his bottle with a hostile weapon, knocking it this
way and that, until effectually demolished.
It may not be out of place here to recall a few facts relative to the early
history of the mad waters with the American Indians.
*John Noble, an early settler and respected citizen, still living in the
vicinity, it is remembered, signed the pledge with the proviso, "wine
In 1609, when Henry Hudson made discovery of, and passed into the river which
has since borne his name, he, at his first interview with the natives of the
shore, gave them to drink of their first bowl of the misnamed "aqua-vita?
Indeed, according to a tradition of the Delawares, the Indian name of
Manhattan Island (now New York), in its literal interpretation, was "the place
where we all got drunk!" Some three-fourths of a century later, Wm. Penn wrote
to his friend, the Earl of Sunderland, and from which letter we extract the
PHILADELPHIA, 28, 5 mo.,* 1683.
MY NOBLE FRIEND:
"I have lay'd out the Province into Countys. Six are begun to be seated; they
lye on the great River, and are Planted about six miles
back, the town platt is a mile long, and two deep,—has a navigable river on
each side; the least as Broad as the thames at Woolwych, from 3 to 8 fathom
water; there is built about 80 houses, and I have settled at least 300 farms
contiguous to it.
The country is in soyle good, aire Sereen (as in Languedock) and sweet from
the Ceder Pine, and sassefrax;
For the people, they are savage to us; in their Persons and furniture all that
is rude, but they have great shape, strength, agility; and in Councel, for
they (tho in a kind of Community among themselves), observe Property and
government, grave, Speak Seldom, inter spaces of Silence, short, elegant,
fervent. The old sitt in a half moon upon the ground, the middle aged in a
like figure, at a little distance behind them, and the young fry in the same
manner behind them; none speak but the aged, they having consulted the rest
before; thus in selling me their land, they ordered them selves; I must say
that, their obscurity consider'd, wanting tradition, example, and instruction,
they are an extraordinary People. Had not the dutch, Sweeds, and English,
learn'd them drunkenness (in which condition they kill and burn one another),
they had been very tractable, but Rum is so dear to them, that for 6 Penny
worth of Rum, one may buy that fur
from them that five shillings in any other commodity shall not Purchase. Yet
many of the old men, and some of the young People, will not touch with such
spirits; and because in those fitts they mischief both themselves and our
folks too, I have forbid to sell them any. ***
We are told that the French king, having been informed
*July; the year beginning in March in those days.
of the ill effects upon the Indians of the west, from the sale of intoxicating
drinks, issued, with the advice of the Catholic Bishops, and the court called
Sarbonne, an edict forbidding the transportation of brandy to Michilimackinac,
for the purpose of traffic.
Count Frontenac was governor of New France, in 1694, and that year M. de la
Motte Cadillac (subsequently the founder of Detroit, governor of Louisiana,
etc.) succeeded Louvigny in the command of the post of Michilimackinac and the
surrounding region. We make the following extracts from a letter of Cadillac
to a friend in Quebec. The language (evidently sincere) was written in behalf
of sordid cupidity upon one side and of base abandonment in a degrading habit
on the other, and constitutes a plea which will appear curious if not
"FORT BUADE, MICHILIMACKINAC, August 3, 1695.
MONSIEUR:—**In regard to the decision of the Court concerning the
transportation of liquors to this place,
***It is important that you should know, in case you are not already informed,
that this village is one of the largest in Canada. There is a garrison of well-
disciplined, chosen soldiers, consisting of about two hundred men, the best
formed and most athletic to be found in the New World; besides many other
persons who are residents here during two or three months in the year. This
being an indubitable fact, it seems to me that this place should not be
deprived of the privilege, which His Majesty has accorded to all the other
places and villages in Canada —the privilege of furnishing themselves with the
necessary drinks for their own use. * * The situation of the place and the
food also require it. The houses are arranged along the shore of this great
Lake Huron, and fish and smoked meat, constitute the principal food of the
inhabitants, so that a drink of brandy after the repast, seems necessary to
cook the bilious meats and the crudities which they leave in the stomach. * *
What reason can there be for the prohibition of intoxicating drinks, in regard
to the French who are now here? * * What reason can one assign that the
savages should not drink brandy bought with their own money.*
*It is not surprising that the selfishness of men of that day, coveting the
silver crowns of the French realm, should be regardless of the welfare of
others, since even now, near two centuries later, when the world claims to be
much wiser, and when this scourge of intoxicating drinks, the greatest curse
of America, surpassing all war, debt, pestilence, and famine which our country
has ever encountered, still seems not apparent to our rulers, our law-makers,
and the majority who comprise their constituency.
This prohibition has much discouraged the Frenchman here from trading in
future. It seems very strange that they should pretend that the savages would
ruin themselves by drinking. The savage himself asks why they do not leave him
in his beggary, his liberty, and his idleness; he was born in it, and he
wishes to die in it,—it is a life to which he has been accustomed since Adam.
Do they wish him to build palaces and ornament them with beautiful furniture?
He would not exchange his wigwam, and the mat on which he camps like a monkey,
for the Louvre!"
FIRST SUNDAY-SCHOOL IN CHICAGO.
It was in 1832, the year of the Black-Hawk war, the year that General Scott's
army arrived, bringing with it that terrible scourge the Asiatic cholera, (its
first year in America,) that occurred two notable events, which, though quiet
and unobtrusive, yet not the less memorable, perhaps, as a portion of the
history of the early town. We allude to the first sabbath-school, as well as
the first temperance meeting, in Chicago. The last-named gathering has been
already described, and the school we will speak of here.
It will be proper to say, that the spring of that year had not passed without
finding Chicago in a condition of unusual excitement. Several murders had been
committed by Indians (the Sauks, from the west side of the Mississippi,) among
the whites of northern Illinois, and the scattering settlers had flocked in
from various localities to Fort Dearborn, which they believed to be the only
place of available security. No United States soldiers had occupied the Fort
during the past winter, and Chicago, it is said, numbered then only about
fifty residents. But the dangers and alarms referred to had sent in a crowd of
refugees, and the forepart of the month of May found Fort Dearborn peopled
with some six or seven hundred persons. But Illinois and Michigan troops,
organized for protection against the foe, and General Scott, who arrived in
the month of July with U. S. soldiers, though his force was more than
decimated by the cholera, marched after the red-skins, and the settlers
returned to their homes on the prairie. But the fatality which attended the
fearful disease could not otherwise than awaken the minds of various
individuals to the fact that death reigned in their midst.
We may say there were at least a few persons then here with decidedly
religious proclivities, and hence, as may be supposed, there were prayer-
meetings as well as sabbath gatherings, where, if there was no preacher to
discourse to them, there were yet printed sermons frequently read to an
Of the Sunday-school, we have been told, by one of the parties in the
enterprise, that it was on a fine summer Sunday, the 19th of August, 1832,
when a few individuals, including Luther Childs, Mrs. Capt. Seth Johnson, Mrs.
Charles Taylor, the Misses Noble, (daughters of Mark Noble,) and Philo
Carpenter, organized the first sabbath-school in Chicago. The school was first
gotten together in a small frame building lately put up by Mark Beaubien on
the Reservation, near Mr. Noble's house. The building was incomplete, there
being no doors hung or windows in, but there was a floor laid, and the
structure was sided up, and some boards were on the rafters. The school, we
will add, was afterwards held in various places, as accommodation offered,
namely: in the Fort, as well as at Rufus Brown's house, Father Walker's cabin
at the Point, and also in the upper part of Mr. Peck's store. From that first
school to the present time, each recurring sabbath in Chicago has brought the
children together for Sunday-school instruction.
TOWN OF CHICAGO; TRUSTEES' LEASE, 1835.
STATE OF ILLINOIS,)
COUNTY OF COOK. )
This Indenture, made and entered into on the twenty-third day of the month of
November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five,
between Hiram Hugunin, George W. Dole, Samuel Jackson, Eli B. Williams,
Francis C. Sherman, James Kinzie, Alexander Loyd, Walter Kimball, and Byram
King, the Trustees of the Town of Chicago, being a body politic and corporate,
duly elected, acting in their corporate name and capacity, of the first part,
and Philo Carpenter, of the Town of Chicago in the County of Cook and the
State of Illinois aforesaid, of the second part, Witnesseth, that for and in
consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars, the sum of two hundred and
fifty dollars parcel of the said sum is hereby acknowledged to have been
received at and before the signing of these Presents, and the remaining three-
fourths part of the first aforesaid sum is to be paid to the said Trustees of
the Town of Chicago and their successors by whatever name, character, or title
their said successors may be hereafter known and distinguished, as follows,
namely: The sum of two hundred and fifty dollars in one year from the date of
these Presents; a like sum of two hundred and fifty dollars in two years from
the date of these Presents, and a like sum of two hundred and fifty dollars in
three years from the date of these presents; each of the said payments to bear
interest at the rate of six per centum per annum, until the full and perfect
payment of the same, and in consideration of the yearly rent, covenants,
conditions, provisos, and agreements, hereinafter expressed and contained, the
said Trustees of the Town of Chicago, in their said corporate name and
capacity, have let, leased, and demised unto the said Philo Carpenter, party
of the second part, his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, the lot,
or wharfing privilege, in the said Town of Chicago, opposite to lot number
three in block number Nineteen in the said Town of Chicago, as the same was
heretofore laid out and described by the Canal Commissioners of the said State
of Illinois, being part and parcel of section nine, in Township thirty-nine
North, Range fourteen East, of third principal Meridian in the said State of
Illinois, the said lot or wharfing privilege more particularly described as
follows: the West half of the lot numbered three in the block lettered U,
having forty feet upon South Water Street, and a like number of feet upon the
Chicago river, and being forty feet in depth from the street to the river, as
the same is marked, defined, and designated on the plan or profile of the said
lots, or wharfing privileges, as the same has been prepared by Edward B.
Talcott, Town Surveyor, under the direction of the said Trustees of the Town
of Chicago, and by them filed and deposited in the Recorder's Office for the
said County of Cook for public record and for reference in all time to come; a
copy of which said plan or profile is also deposited of record, with the
Treasurer of the said Trustees of the Town of Chicago, with all the liberties
and privilege belonging to the same not herein otherwise provided against, to
have and to hold the said described lot or wharfing privilege, and every part
and parcel thereof to him, the said Philo Carpenter, party of the second part,
his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, for, and during the full
term and time of nine hundred and ninety-nine years from the date of these
Presents, fully to be complete and ended, yielding and paying therefor, yearly
and every year during said term, unto the said Trustees of the Town of
Chicago, and their successors as aforesaid, the yearly rent of one barley corn
at or upon the twenty-third day of the month of November in each and every
year, if demanded,
Provided always, and upon condition that if it shall happen that the aforesaid
sums of two hundred and fifty dollars, and the interest thereon as aforesaid,
or any part thereof shall be behind and unpaid for the space of twenty days
next after each of the said three payments shall become due, and ought to be
paid as is herein mentioned, (being lawfully demanded,) that then it shall and
may be lawful to, and for the said Trustees of the Town of Chicago, and their
successors as aforesaid, to enter into and upon the said before described and
hereby leased lot or wharfing privilege, and the same to retain and repossess.
And the said Philo Carpenter, party of the second part, for himself, his
heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, do hereby covenant, promise,
and agree to and with the said Trustees of the Town of Chicago and their
successors aforesaid, that he will, at his own proper costs and charges, erect
and construct a good, sufficient, and permanent dock, five feet in width,
along the whole length of the above described and hereby leased lot or
wharfing privilege. upon the side thereof nearest the river, to be at all
times properly and safely covered and left open at all times for the uses of
the public as a tow and foot path; the top of said dock to be of an uniform
heighth with the other docks along the whole length of the said river, the top
or surface of the said dock to be three feet above ordinary high water mark,
and to be completed and finished within two years from the date of these
presents; and in default thereof this lease shall become null and void, and
the said above described and hereby leased lot or wharfing privilege, shall
revert to the said Trustees of the Town of Chicago and their successors
aforesaid, who shall have full right and power to re-enter upon the same and
take the entire and absolute possession thereof, and to re-let the same at
their will and pleasure.
And the said Trustees of the Town of Chicago, do hereby covenant and agree to
and with the said Philo Carpenter, party of the second part, that the said
Trustees of the Town of Chicago, and their successors aforesaid, shall and
will within four years from the date of these presents, dredge out or remove
the earth or soil upon the margin and in the bed of said river, along the line
of the said above described leased lot or wharfing privilege, so that the
water in the said river shall be at the depth of ten feet at least.
And it is hereby further covenanted by and between the said Trustees of the
Town of Chicago, and their successors aforesaid, and the said Philo Carpenter
party of the second part, that the said above described and hereby leased lot
or wharfing privilege, shall be liable to all such dues, taxation and duties
as other lands, tenements and premises of the said Town of Chicago shall be
subject and liable to by law, to be paid by the said Philo Carpenter party of
the second part his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns. And it is
hereby covenanted and agreed by and between the said Trustees of the Town of
Chicago, and their successors aforesaid, and the said Philo Carpenter party of
the second part his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, that they,
the said Trustees of the Town of Chicago, and their successors as aforesaid,
shall not cause any building or buildings which the said Philo Carpenter party
of the second part, his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, of the
second part, may erect upon the said lot or wharfing privilege, for the
greater benefit and better use of the said privilege, to be removed,
destroyed, or demolished,
Provided Always, that every such building or buildings shall be subject to all
laws and ordinances of the said Trustees of the Town of Chicago, and their
successors aforesaid, in common with other buildings within the limits of the
Town of Chicago.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, The parties to these Presents have interchangeably set
their hands and seals in duplicate, the day and year above written, in
presence of E. PECK, Clerk.
Trustees of the Town of Chicago:
GEORGE W. DOLE,
ELI B. WILLIAMS,
FRANCIS C. SHERMAN,
PHILO CARPENTER. [SEAL.]
RECORDER'S OFFICE, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS.
THIS IS TO CERTIFY, That the foregoing Lease was left for Record on the 6th
day of January, 1836, and recorded on the 8th day of January, 1836, in Book L
of Deeds, page 100.
RICH'D J. HAMILTON,
Rec'r, Cook Co., Ill. [Transcription Part 4] ORIGIN OF THE NAME CHICAGO.
Far back of any printed histories which we have, the locality of Chicago, the
River and Portage to the Des Plaines, were well known to the nations of red
men occupying the country of the Lakes and Upper Mississippi. The name Chicago
has been variedly written by early travelers and historians, etc. Commonly,
upon the old-time maps, it is printed Chicagou. LaHonton gives the name
Chekakou. Marquette, the missionary, speaks of "Chachagwessiou" an Illinois,
perhaps a chief, who evidently had a decided taste for trade. DuBuisson, of
Detroit, in 1712, tells of a "grand chief" named "Chachagonache" of Illinois.
In the Treaty of Greenville, the name was written "Chikajo;" Hon. John
Wentworth said, in one of his Lectures, "Gen. Wayne spelled Chicago with
a 'j'. The baby's name, in 1795, was 'jo'. He had not got the go then."
Some years since, in referring to this subject, we quoted what Mrs. Kinzie had
gathered from the Indian tradition, that the place Chicago received its name
from a chief who was drowned, a long time past, in the river here. It was
perhaps a relief to some sensitive minds, who disliked the fame of a certain
animal as well as the odor of a particular vegetable, when "Waubun" gave to
the world that traditional account. But whence came the name of the chief? We
suggested, when it was urged by some, that a great chief would hardly consent
to wear the name of so unsavory an animal as the polecat, even though some of
the tribes gave special honor to that quadruped, that possibly the claim of
the wild onion might command more respect. Some early traveler we remembered
had told that leeks or wild onions were numerous here by the stream. Now, the
Chicago River was, in olden time, often called "the Divine River," and (we
said) we may, perhaps, be pardoned if we cite a fact, with a feature possibly
somewhat analogous, from the banks of the Nile, in Egypt. We have read that,
at some former day, along the last-mentioned river, high respect was paid to
the onion by the natives, who regarded that bulb as a kind of divinity.
But Chicago is an Indian name, and if the riddle—to get at its origin and
signification—cannot be solved here, we scarcely need go to the banks of the
Nile, or the Connecticut even, for that purpose. Certainly, we have those in
Chicago who can talk Chippewa, whoop Dacotah, sing Winnebago, and dance
Kickapoo; indeed, there are not a few here with Indian blood in their veins,
yet if they cannot help us out of the dilemma, we will endeavor to aid the
reader by quoting the following from the press:
(From H. R. Schoolcraffs "Oneota")
"CHICAGO.—This name, in the lake Algonquin dialects, to preserve the same mode
of orthography, is derived from Chicagowunzh—the wild onion, or leek. The
orthography is French, as they were the discoverers, etc. Kaug, in those
dialects, is a porcupine, and She-kaug a polecat. The analogies in these words
are apparent; but whether the onion was named before or after the animal, must
be judged, if the age of the derivation be sought for."
(From the Historical Mag., vol. 6, p. 258; F. G. Shea, Editor; August, 1862.)
"THE MEANING OF CHICAGO.—The following query and its reply appeared in the
National Banner, Chicago. Can the position of its editor be sustained?
"'What is the signification of the name Chicago? Is it true that it means
skunk, or something strong? Whence do we derive the name of our River and City—
"Reply.—'The name of Garden City is not, as has been represented by various
writers, derived from the Indian word Checague, meaning leeks, or wild onions,
which formerly grew profusely in this vicinity; nor is it derived from
Checague, the Indian name for skunk or polecat, but from Checaqua, a name
borne by a long line of chiefs of the Tamaroas, the principal tribe of the
Illinois Indians, and signifying strong, mighty, powerful; appellations which
the wonderful growth of Chicago in wealth, population, and commercial
importance richly entitles her to.'—Nat. Ban.
"We fear not. No authorities are cited, and all that we know militate against
it. In Chippewa, the skunk is jikag, as spelt by Baraga, in his dictionary,
where he expressly says that the name of Chicago is derived from it. Garlic is
Figagawani. In a splendid old manuscript, belonging to a gentleman in
Brooklyn, N. Y., and containing a very full Illinois dictionary, skunk is
tchicac8o; garlic, 8anississia; though chicac8o is given as an improper word
for it. If we might conjecture, the name Chicago might come from Chigaakwa or
Jigaakwa—the woods are thin; but, as Indian tradition, the source of Baraga's
information, gives the derivation from chica8o, which means primarily skunk,
and secondly garlic, it would seem to be most likely. The assertion that it is
derived from the chief, Chicago, needs proof. Marquette, LaSalle, and his
companions mention the "River Chicago under the names Checagou, Chicagou; but,
during all that time, there is no allusion to any chief of the Tamaroas by
name Chicago; and the Tamaroas dwelt at a distance from Chicago. At a
subsequent date, and after the commencement of the 18th century, Chicago (not
Checaqua), an Illinois chief, went to France, and the name then first appears
as the name of a chief. The next assertion, that in Illinois Chicago means
strong, mighty, powerful, is unsupported by the Illinois dictionary, which
gives,—powerful, metchikir8o; I am strong, nichin chira8e; I am great,
mecha8i. It seems, therefore, necessary to prove— 1st, that there were chiefs
of the name of Chicago prior to 1673; 2d, that the Tamaroas resided at
Chicago; 3d, that it means strong, great, powerful. It should not be omitted
that LeClercq mentions the Chicago as the Divine River. Whether this epithet
was intended as an interpretation of the name does not appear. J. G. S."
(From His. Mag., vol. 6, p. 358.)
"The Rev. Louis Lafleche, a good Cree scholar, in a list of Indian names, with
definitions, in the Rapport sur les Missions for April,
1857, Quebec, p. 101, says: Chicago, at the skunk (Cree), from Chikak, skunk;
which makes Shikakok in the locative case. B."
(From the Chicago Tribune, Aug. 10, 1879.)
CHICAGO: Origin and Meaning of the Name. To the Editor of the Tribune.
In preparing an article on Chicago, I had occasion, recently, to investigate
the original signification and use of the word Chicago.
We have had more than a score of lectures and historical sketches, in which
the origin of this word has been given, with quotations from various
authorities; but I found the discrepancies in these different statements so
great that it was not easy to decide on the real meaning of the original
words, without looking beyond them. I accordingly directed my inquiries to a
master of the Indian tongues, and obtained from him the information I desired.
Before presenting his letter, I will first introduce some of the most
important notices of the name Chicago that have been published, together with
several statements which have been kindly furnished by those who have made
this question a matter of special study:
The Chicago Magazine for May, 1857, has the following:
"Along the shores of the river, among the sedgy grass, the wild onions grew in
great abundance. The Indian name for these peculiarly native productions is
Chi-ka-go. It was very natural that the Indians should give to this locality
that name which more than anything else to their minds gave it character;
therefore they called it Chicago. Chi-ca-go-nauk, in the Pottawatomie
language, would mean Chicago land, or place."
The Hon. Sidney Breese, who settled in Kaskaskia in 1818, recently wrote the
Hon. John Wentworth:
"I have a copy of a map, which I made from one in the Congressional Library,
which I found among the papers of President Jefferson, made in 1685; in which
is a place on the lake shore, about where your city now is, marked 'Chicagou';
and Father Louis Vivier, who was a priest at Kaskaskia in 1752, in a letter to
his superior, says: 'Chikagou was a celebrated Indian Chief who went to Paris,
and the Duchess of Orleans, at Versailles, gave him a splendid snuff-box,
which he was proud to exhibit, on his return, to his brother redskins."
Mrs. John H. Kinzie, who had peculiar facilities for studying the early
history of Chicago, writes in Wau-bun:
"The origin of the name Chicago is a subject of discussion; some of the
Indians deriving it from the fitch, or polecat, others from the wild onion,
with which the woods formerly abounded; but all agree that the place received
its name from an old Chief who was drowned in the stream in former times. That
this event, although so carefully preserved by tradition, must have occurred
in a very remote period, is evident from an old French manuscript brought by
Gen. Cass from France.
"In this paper, which purports to be a letter from M. de Ligney, at Green Bay,
to M. de Siette, among the Illinois, dated as early as 1726, the place is
designated as 'Chicagoux.' This orthography is also found in old family
letters of the beginning of the present century."
From "Discovery and Conquests of the Northwest, with the History of Chicago."
By Rums Blanchard:
"These unlettered lexicographers gave symbolic names to their rivers, lakes,
islands, and to themselves, and in their vocabulary they had the name Chicago,
which, in the language of the Illinois tribes, meant an onion. This is all it
meant in a positive sense; and by this name the place where our city stands
has been known from a period antedating its history. It is highly probable
that it was thus named because wild onions grew in great profusion there."
Schoolcraft, in his "Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes," under date of 1834,
"The etymology of Chicago appears to be this: "Chi-cag, Animal of the Leek, or
Wild Onion. "Chi-cag-o-wunz, The Wild Leek, or Polecat Plant. Chi-ca-go, Place
of the Wild Leek."
From Chamberlin's "Chicago and Its Suburbs":
"A popular but superficial writer makes even the name Chicago an aboriginal
memorial of the repulsive site. So the phrase of euchre-players, sent to
Chicago, instead of the coarser word skunked, embodied the same error. But
philologists recognize the word Checaqua, through various corruptions, as one
of the Indian names of irate Deity,—the thunder god, much like the
Scandinavian Thor. The dignity of the name is placed beyond dispute, not only
by its etymology, but by the frequency with which, in the old French maps of
1684, 1687, 1688, 1696, etc., the great Mississippi himself is
called 'Chacaqua or Divine River.'"
Statement of the Hon. William Bross:
"All my information gained from the early settlers of the city, and from an
examination and comparison of historical records, leads me to believe that
Chicago is the Indian name for skunk, and I am confirmed in this opinion by
the fact that our Iowa neighbors have a considerable river which they
call 'Chicagua or Skunk River.' Mr. Lo and his family are by no means
squeamish as to the words they use, as I learned on my recent trip up the
Mr. Gurdon S. Hubbard, who is still living, came to Chicago in 1818. He was
perfectly familiar with the Indian language, and he now says:
"There can be no question as to the word Chicago being an Indian word; and the
meaning is skunk, onion, or smelling thing."
Mr. A. D. Hager, Secretary of the Chicago Historical Society, says:
"I will give it as my opinion that the literal meaning of the word Chicago is
strength or strong. Chicago, in its different spellings, meant, in the Indian
language, skunk, wild onion, and was also a name applied to a powerful
Dr. William Barry, first Secretary of the Chicago Historical Society, who has
given much attention to this question, makes the following statement:
"Whatever may have been the etymological meaning of the word Chicago, in its
practical use it probably denoted strong or great. The Indians applied this
term to the Mississippi River, to thunder, or the voice of the Great Manitou;
and, according to Bossu, there was a successive line of Illinois Chiefs
bearing the name Chicago, one of whom went to France, and was there honored
with a medal."
Mr. Edwin Hubbard, the genealogist, adopts a similar view, and says the word
Chicago, in its applications, "signified strong, mighty, powerful."
After comparing these various opinions, and many others, I wrote to Dr. J.
Hammond Trumbull, of Hartford, Conn., who is the highest authority in the
country on all questions relating to the Indian tongues. His statement in
regard to the etymological derivation of the word Chicago leaves no further
question on that point. He writes as follows:
"The meaning of the name Chicago is not doubtful. 'Chicagou' (as the French
wrote the name) signifies 'The Skunk,'—and cannot be made to signify anything
else. It has (with slight modifications of local dialects) this meaning in all
Indian languages of that region.
"As the name comes to us through the French, the first syllable indicates the
French pronunciation of the Indian name. Dr. James, in a note to Tanner's
Narrative, 1830, observes that the common Indian pronunciation is 'Shig-gau-
go,' and, with the locative inflection *Shiggaugo-ong, at Chicago.' In the
same dialect (Chippeway) James writes, 'Shegahg, skunk'; 'Shiggaugawinje,
onion, i. e. skunk-weed." Bishop Baraga, in his excellent 'Otchipwe
Dictionary,' has Fikag.' [French j= Engl, zh], polecat, fitchat, fitchew,' and
notes: 'From this word is derived the name of the City of Chicago.' For garlic
or wild onion, he gives 'Figaga-wanj, and kitchi-jigaga-wanj [big skunk-weed],
or the garden onion.
"Chicagou, as the French name for the river, may be traced back at least to
1679. (See 'Chicago from 1673 t0 1725' by Dr. J. G. Shea, in the Historical
Magazine, v., 99—104.) The French learned it from the Miamis, the nearly-
related Weas, or the Illinois. 'Chicagou,' who went to France, with other
Indians, in 1725, is called 'Chief of the Illinois' (Shea's Charlevoix, vi.,
76, note). In the Illinois language, Chicagoua, as Father Gravier wrote it, is
the equivalent of the Chippeway Fikag of Baraga, 'bete puante.'
"I infer that the appellation of a chief or brave—'The Skunk'— was transferred
by the French to the river, and passed from the river to the locality when a
French post was established there.
"The Rev. James Evans, a Wesleyan Missionary to the Chippeways and Crees of
Canada, and a master of both languages, in his Chippeway 'Speller and
Interpreter,' printed in 1837, gives the same words (though in a different
notation) for 'skunk' and 'onion, leek, skunk-weed,' that are given by Edwin
James and Baraga, and in a foot-note to 'Seguug' [=Zhegahg], a skunk,
says: 'From this the City of Chicago derives its name.'"
In summing up the results, I find the main facts to be these:
1. The original meaning of the word Chicago is skunk.
2. In its uses, it became a synonym of strong, mighty, great, etc.
3. It was applied to the skunk, to the wild onion, to a line of Indian Chiefs,
to the Mississippi River, and to thunder, or the voice of the Great Spirit.
4. The place was called Chicago from an Indian Chief of that name, who, at
some remote period, was drowned in the river on which Chicago is situated. WH
AUG. 9, 1879.
(From the Chicago Tribune, August 75, i8yg.) Origin of the Name " Chicago"
CHICAGO, Aug. 13.—I am pleased to see the communication of Mr. W. H. Wells in
The Tribune of the 10th inst., in relation to the origin and meaning of the
name Chicago, and quoting various expressions of opinion in the matter from
sundry individuals. It is well to bring together these views of intelligent
persons; though, however learned any may be in Indian philology or
etymological derivation, however ingenious may be their hypotheses and
inferences, they can tell little to afford us material light beyond what we
have had already.
Mr. Wells quotes what the Chicago Indians told Mrs. Kinzie; namely: that the
place received its name from an old chief, who was drowned in the stream here
in former time. This is a pretty story enough; yet Indian gossip called
tradition is rather a feeble staff to lean upon, particularly where it reaches
back for centuries: and we have "Chicago", with slightly varied orthography,
upon the maps for near 200 years. The tale unquestionably has the popular
belief, though the early explorers and travelers say nothing of it. The
reasonable conclusion must be that the little quadruped, that courageous
little rascal known to naturalists by the several names of Viverra Mephitis,
Stifling Weasel, Striated Weasel, Mustela Americana, and Mephitis Americana,
gave its aboriginal name to the locality, whether it passed directly or by
inheritance, as the mantle, or rather blanket, of some big Indian. It is all
one and the same name, we suppose, though we find it in old histories and maps
in varied forms of orthography, as
follows: "Chicagou," "Chicagoux," "Checagou," "Eschecagou," "Les
Checagou," "Fort Chicagou," "Point Chicagou River," "Portage de
Chegakou," "Chikajo," etc.
If, then, our city owes the great debt of its name for all time to that
curious and peculiar weasel (thanks to the naturalists for that term; it is
not so abrupt a word, and is certainly more poetical than skunk), then let us
study up his good qualities; for our municipality may yet with great propriety
place upon the city seal or coat-of-arms, as its crest, a portrait of his
form. In 1654, New Amsterdam, now the City of New York, had a beaver
represented on its seal. When our population reaches a million, it might be a
sensible idea to drop that totem of the baby on our city seal. Perhaps I
should here apologize to the Hon. John Wentworth, for I am aware of his tender
recollections and fondness still for that same baby. Indeed, I remember
hearing him speak its lullaby in the words of the old nursery song,
beginning, "Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber." For a live, stirring,
mighty city like Chicago, perhaps the quadruped would be more appropriate and
preferable to the forever sleeping infant. You can seldom catch a weasel
asleep. Should it happen that our wise suggestion may be adopted, it will be
only a graceful act to extend to those who believe in the garlic theory a
braided wreath of the leaves of the leek, to surround the aforesaid city seal.
Some, perhaps, claiming it to be more imposing, might prefer the fleur de lis
in place of the leek; inasmuch as this plant also used to be abundant here by
the stream, and regarding too the historical fact that it was the insignia of
Louis the Grand, King of the French, the monarch who owned the soil here in
the days when Marquette came. But the French lilies by the Chicago were at
length trampled out by the British Lion; and that feline with the shaggy mane
was in turn smothered and brushed away by the banner of stars. The leek was
our own; and the skunk, or, rather weasel, was and is specially our own by
memorable prescription; and we need scarcely recoil at the imaginary fragrance
of a name while we have endured for years the literal perfumes of Bridgeport
without a riot. The little animal of which I will speak further, I may say, is
not an unworthy representative of Chicago in one respect; its enterprise and
active arms extend all over the Continent; he is found from Labrador to Chili.
His conquests are those of industrious enterprise. He is called a peaceful
animal, and no doubt has very correct sentiments regarding justice; he never
begins an attack; but we must believe that he might say to his
enemies, "Please forbear, else you may get the worst of it, when pop goes the
weasel." He makes little noise or bravado; yet he is a plucky tighter. Among
the Sioux Indians, skunk skins are a badge of honor; only the tried braves are
allowed to wear them on their heels.
As for the matter of strength, applied to the skunk, I am inclined to think
the claim is not a happy one. Ordinarily, I do not think he is stronger than a
woodchuck; and in the exceptional cases his strength is but weakness, causing,
if not envy, at least dire animosity among all his neighbors. Therefore I will
not make a boast of the strength of our peaceful little warrior.
HENRY H. HURLBUT.
CANE PRESENTATION, 1863.
Archibald Clybourn was born in Giles County, Virginia, August 28, 1802, and
reached Chicago August 5, 1823. A party of the friends of Mr. C. mostly old
settlers, on the fortieth anniversary of his arrival, and in commemoration of
that event, were mindful of the day, and paid him their respects at his
residence on Wednesday evening, August 5, 1863. Hon. John Wentworth was chosen
Chairman, and Henry M. Hugunin, Esq., Secretary.There were speeches and a
supper; fine music was supplied by the Union Band; and the graceful
testimonial of a cane was presented to Mr. Clybourn.
Mr. Wentworth, on taking the chair, referred to the early-settlement and rapid
growth of our City; and, with words highly complimentary to Mr. Clybourn, he
added "that he had been called an old settler, and he was one; but, when he
came to Chicago, Archibald Clybourn was as well known here as he is now. Last
year, the City thought enough of Mr. Clybourn to come out and embrace him—his
whole family— homestead and all; he was taken in by the City, and now the
citizens had come out to let him take them in."
Mr. John H. Kinzie, being called for, spoke briefly, referring to the past of
Chicago, and the gathering of our old citizens at this festival.
A committee was appointed to enroll the names of the old citizens present, and
the presentation speech by Mr. Shuman, and the response by Mr. Clybourn, were
BY MR. SHUMAN: "Mr. Clybourn, a number of your old friends, desirous of
testifying to you their appreciation and admiration of your earnest loyalty
and plucky patriotism, as displayed on at least one striking occasion since
this struggle for our national preservation commenced; and wishing, also, to
possess you of a substantial testimonial of their friendship, which, during
the many years of their acquaintance and intercourse with you, has ripened
into a permanent and precious sentiment, have prepared for you this beautiful
cane, which they have delegated me to present to you on this occasion. May it
prove a prop to your declining years, as well as be a lasting testimonial from
old friends and fellow-citizens who know you well, and who respect and esteem
you heartily because they do know you so well. Permit me, sir, both in behalf
of those for whom I speak and in my own behalf, to congratulate you upon the
many years of life a good Providence has vouchsafed to you, and upon whatever
good fortune has attended your forty years' residence here. You have seen
Chicago rise and expand, from the nothing it was when you first came here, to
be the great metropolis of the West; you have grown with its growth, prospered
with its prosperity, rejoiced in its progress. Chicago must be to you like a
pet child that has come up to manhood under your watchful eye, and the object
of your jealous and honorable pride. May you live to see a continuance of its
growth and progress for many years to come. May you live, sir, to celebrate
forty more anniversaries here, and so see Chicago the greatest city on the
American continent—an event by no means impossible if the future may be judged
by its past history. Accept this, sir, as a testimonial of the honest regard
of old and true friends."
On receiving the cane, Mr. Clybourn said:
"MR. SHUMAN AND GENTLEMEN: I accept this cane as a present, and will endeavor
to preserve it, and hand it down to my latest posterity. This is the happiest
hour of my life. I am happy to see so many old and familiar faces at my own
home, and to be so highly and unexpectedly complimented." After briefly
referring to the happy days of the past, trying times though they were, he
added: "Those who have lived through those days, and are now met together,
have a sympathy and fellow-feeling which new-comers cannot understand or
appreciate. I will accept this cane, and endeavor never to disgrace it, or
incur the displeasure of the donors. I came here from the 'Old Dominion,'
which until two years ago had never done a wicked thing. I have always been
loyal to the core, and always will be. I cannot express my gratitude to my
friends for this token of their remembrance—this magnificent present. I am
happy to see every one who has come to see me; and I hope you will all do your
best to make yourselves and those around you happy."
The cane, a beautiful specimen of manufacture, was of a dense and heavy
species of California wood, with a sold gold head, made by the late Isaac
Speer, of Chicago, and inscribed as follows:
"Presented to A. CLYBOURN, 'the oldest inhabitant,' and the true and fearless
patriot, by his friends of Chicago, Aug. 5, 1863."
After a short and patriotic speech by Brig.-Gen. John McArthur, the company
made a successful charge on the supper-table; and, in the words of Mr.
Hugunin, who furnished the report of the proceedings to the Journal, "While it
does honor to the giver of the feast, all fervently pray that when his half-
century in Chicago is ended he may, in a green old age, again gather around
him the many and sincere friends of his youth who may then survive to
We will here add, that Mr. Clybourn did not survive to quite reach "his half-
century in Chicago," having died at his residence August 23, 1872.
We append a part of the names of those who comprised the gathering, omitting
the dates of arrival, as given, as the list from which we copy contains
Mr.& Mrs. ARCHIBALD CLYBOURN.
JOHN H. KINZIE.
S. B. COBB.
L. P. HILLIARD.
J. J. RICHARDS.
HENRY M. HUGUNIN.
D. C. THATCHER.
S. F. GALE.
BENJ'N T. LEE.
R. M. HOUGH.
WM. H. CLARKE.
K. K. JONES.
J. W. STEELE.
J. H. FISHER.
WM. H. STOW.
JOHN BATES, Jr.
J. M. VAN OSDEL.
THOMAS M. DOWNING
JOEL H. WICKER.
W. H. MORRIS.
C. P. ALBEE.
J. V. BUXTON.
Mrs. R. A. KINZIE.
Mrs. W. H. ADAMS.
Mrs. S. G. PITKIN
Mrs. W. ROBINSON.
Mrs. MARIA ADAMS.
Mrs. EDW. SIMONS.
An early comer tells us of a cholera incident, of 1832, as related to him by a
Sergeant in Fort Dearborn, whose name was Carpenter. It was after General
Scott's arrival, and the stricken troops were fast dying with the dreadful
disease; Serg't C. was on duty one morning, when two soldiers, apparently
dead, were ordered to be taken out and thrown into the dead-pit. This grave or
pit was a large excavation near Wabash avenue, not far from the river. The
stretchers were brought and the bodies taken out to the hole, and one of them
thrown in. When they moved toward the other, to put him in, the man turned his
head and shoulders, showing plainly that he was alive. The Sergeant said he
gave utterance to the sensible remark, "This man is not ready to be buried
yet," and ordered him taken back. The fresh air had given him renewed
animation, and extended to the supposed dead man a new lease of existence";
for it is understood that he recovered.
THE OLD GUN; or, THE "MONS MEG" OF FORT DEARBORN.
The inquiry has been made, and which also appears on page 43 of this volume,
relative to the whereabouts of a gun, "a part of the armament of Fort Dearborn
thrown into the river at the evacuation of 1812." After not a little search,
we have had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman whose knowledge of the matter
is probably surpassed by none, and to whom we are mainly indebted for the
details of this article. It will be proper, however, to say that, since our
informant's first acquaintance with the gun, the mists of long years have
intervened, which possibly may have dimmed his recollection regarding various
particulars, and some of the names and dates may have been misplaced, and a
little out of joint; yet, it is our candid and unyielding belief that the
greater part, or at least one-half of the story, is reliable, and perfectly
It has been supposed that there were two cannon sunk in the stream on the eve
of the abandonment, in August, 1812; but we are able to tell of the finality
of only one. Whether the other still rests in its bed of mud and ooze, just
opposite where the sally-port, or rather the northern gate of the Fort, which
looked out upon the natural, ample, and ever-flooded ditch that surrounded two
sides of the fortress, where it was tumbled and unceremoniously pitched, or
else gently lowered, into the water; or whether it has already been fished up;
or whether there was really an "other" gun, is what we do not here propose to
demonstrate or decide.
It was somewhere about the middle of the present century, when Hon. James
Curtiss (or, if not he, some one else,) was Mayor of this even then city of
lofty aspirations, that a dredge was busily at work scooping up the sand and
clay, or whatever might obstruct navigation inside the harbor. Something too
unwieldy for the mud-shovel, capacious as it was, to dip up and toss upon the
scow, whether it was block, column, bowlder, or anything else that you might
have been pleased to suppose it, the dredge encountered. Yet the voluminous
spoon scraped around it, and moreover caught on one end and half raised the
thing upright in its pit. A pike was brought into requisition, and by that it
was allowed that they had found something huge, hard, and heavy; then a chain
was lowered, and by hook and coil, or noose, the lasso caught around it. The
steam apparatus now began puffing away, and up, up rose the cable, and,
dripping with dirt from the water, came also the object referred to, at the
lower end of the chain. Avast heaving there that windlass! what have we now?
Can it be that we have raised from the depths one of the antideluvians, a
fossil sea-dog, perhaps, or a monstrous lizard or salamander? From its head it
tapers gradually tail-ward, while two stumps of arms or flippers are plainly
to be seen. Or, possibly, it is one of the famed dolphins, with its brilliancy
still intact; for we perceive through the covering of mud a golden patch,
glittering in the sunshine. Here on the dredge, though, we must remember that
we are in classic waters; just ashore there was the old Fort Dearborn; its
site was within the lines of the present enclosure; it was once the citadel as
well as forum of this more-to-be-than-imperial Rome. Our thoughts turn back to
the time of the older Whistler, the builder of the fortress, who was once a
British soldier, captured with Burgoyne at Saratoga.
Subsequently, in the U. S Army, he was wounded in St. Clair's conflict and
defeat in November, '91. Yet afterward, no doubt, within the stockade of Fort
Dearborn, he cordially received Meche-cunnaqua the renowned Little Turtle, who
had been the leader of the enemy in the disastrous field above named. Little
Turtle was frequently at Chicago; after the Treaty at Greenville, he was ever
the fast friend of our Government and the American people. There were other
famed commandants and noted chiefs who met on that arena, yet we cannot here
attempt an imperfect catalogue even, of the celebrities of our storied
fortress; but may say that there have been giants here in past days.
Inanimate objects often acquire, from their human associations, distinguished
and greatest value. Comprehending the situation, therefore, and the nature of
the particular prize just fished up, we are forced to assert, that never
before nor since in Chicago has there hung, suspended from a crane derrick, so
remarkable a memento, so much embodied yet unwritten history. So lower away
there! This was done, and the find was laid upon the deck, and washed without
and within, showing a bright and beautiful piece of brass ordnance, understood
to be a six-pounder, and bearing upon its face, our informant assures us, an
etched representation of the British Crown. The news of the recovery of the
gun soon reached the ears of the city authorities; and we beg to remark, that
there is just here a most excellent opportunity to recite a homily, and that
such an effort would be appropriate and expedient if the discouraging fact did
not stare us in the face, that of the great mass of homilies delivered, but a
small fraction of them are ever heeded or followed. Yet on the present
occasion there were principles, good sense, and good manners involved, the
same as in those of some greater events in the history of nations, of which we
have some knowledge. There is often no occasion to distinguish between royalty
or republicanism, between monarchical and aristocratical illiberality, or the
tyranny of democratic and official despotism, whether attending the* nations,
states, or municipalities. These remarks are occasioned by the assurance which
we have, that no thanks by the city government or any other government were
given to those who lifted the cannon up from the river bed into daylight; no
compliments were made through the press; no polite note written at the
instance of the citv or national authorities concerning the transfer of the
piece; no public reception was suggested where every citizen should be
invited, when the mounted gun, revered by the patriot, caressed by the
children, arrayed with flowers and garlanded with speeches, might respond to
the crowd in its own emphatic language.
It may be reasonably supposed, that the War Department or General Government
had the best legal title to the cannon; it was said that the City ordered that
dredge work, which very likely it did, and possibly considered that its claim
surpassed all others. At any rate, the City Marshal, Ambrose Burnam, suddenly
appeared upon the dredge and took possession of the piece, and had it landed
on the North Side; but, like any common plunder, he dumped it into the tool-
house, a small, low, wooden building just below Scranton's rope-ferry, where
Rush Street bridge is now.
It is not strange, that the individual most active in the resurrection of the
piece was somewhat annoyed at the course matters had taken; and the sentiment
did not slumber, but rankled in the heart that felt itself wronged. Whether or
no partisanship or political animosities helped to bind the sheaf of
conspirators from the outset, we will not say; though the political complexion
of most of the band, subsequently, might seem to warrant that inference.
Morgan L. Shapley, it is understood, was connected with the dredge, and was
the one especially aggrieved, and was the one foremost in planning the scheme
of attack and reprisal. He had no difficulty in presenting reasons sufficient
to secure the sympathy and aid of a few enterprising and kindred spirits. Of
these were Captain Fred. Wheeler, of one of the lake steamers, and David C.
Thatcher, of Chicago, besides several others. We may say, that it was but an
act of ordinary politeness to knock at the door of that shanty for admittance;
but, as no answering word of welcome came, the door mysteriously swung upon
its hinges, and the relief squad filed in. It was not a large yawl that
Captain Wheeler furnished for the expedition that evening; and we will here
refer to the fact, that before the cargo was quite in position on board, and
the crew in place, the weighty cylinder slid or shifted upon a block beneath,
and came near swamping or upsetting the craft and all on board, seriously
jeopardizing life, limb, and the pleasant progress of the adventure. Yet an
equilibrium was mastered at length; and, with oars in row-locks, and her prow
turned westward, we will say that gently and steadily the boat moved up the
stream. We have the best of evidence that the evening was bright and calm; and
it is not surprising, with mind pervaded by the fact that they had luckily
escaped a damp and unpleasant, if not a more serious, accident, and with the
peaceful and lovely surroundings of that beautiful night, that one of the
party should begin the recital of the fine lines of Charles Wolf, namely: "The
Burial of Sir John Moore," commencing,—" Not a drum was heard, not a funeral
note, As his corse to the ramparts we hurried."
The rehearsal of the full eight stanzas was scarcely finished when they had
arrived at Lake street, where, near the corner of Market (as many will
remember), stood the old red warehouse, at that time occupied by Captain R. C.
Bristol.* There, under the rather open wharf, the gun was settled down beneath
the surface of the water.
Many, no doubt, will remember a peculiar-looking class of water craft which,
more than thirty years ago, navigated our river. There were dozens of them,
and generally manned by rough-looking, half-grown youngsters. Always guiltless
of paint, they bore invariably a genuine mud tint, or rat color, indeed they
were called "wharf rats;" and such was their construction, hollowed out of a
small log in the form of a pirogue, (never more than ten feet long by
fifteen,inches in breadth), they could run their heads into almost any place
which might receive their prototypes, the rodents. Numerous half-built and
incompletely piled wharves gave them caves for shelter, and to hide their
plunder. Whatever their masters may have claimed to follow as their
occupation, it was generally understood to be that of freebooters and pirates,
whose hands were given to the weakness of appropriating other folks' goods.
Anything lying around loose, that was portable, had wonderful attraction for
them: and the boats referred to, though crank as cockle-shells, yet, in their
capacity for freight, it was wonderful how much they would carry.
* Robert C. Bristol, in 1834, in the Brig John Kinzie, of which vessel he was
master (built the year previous under his direction), took from Grand River,
Mich., the first cargo of wheat from Lake Michigan. The amount was about 2000
Well, though covered when left there the evening before, the water had now
fallen away, by a change in the wind perhaps, and left the gun uncovered, or
at least partly exposed; and the pirates of the pirogues had discovered it,
and what they judged would be a rare prize. A very good joke is told of
Alexander the Great, that he shed tears, indeed that he audibly boo-hoo-ed,
when, in one of his unusual or sober moments, he was given to understand that
there were no more worlds to conquer. Rather covetous that, it seems to us, in
Alexander; yet there is no limit to human or inhuman desire or ambition to
acquire and accumulate; and it was an incident not devoid of the humorous,
that those juvenile thugs spoken of were intending to carry off the cannon,
maugre its heftiness, at an early opportunity, in one of their diminutive
pirogues. Members of the "club" were on the alert, however, and claimed, or
rather took, precedence, and secured the services of a dray, or stone - wagon,
and at evening removed the piece to the hardware store of Jonas Clark (or, if
it was not Clark, then possibly it was some other Jonas). This store was at or
near the old Sauganash corner, where, sought to be hidden under a pile of
axehelves, shovels, and tin-ware, it was temporarily deposited. It seemed,
however, to Clark (or Jonas), and particularly to any of the league who might
have ostensibly called in to buy a jack-knife or a cork-screw, that there was
a strange and special desire among the customers generally to purchase or
examine goods in that particular pile over the gun more than anywhere else
about the store. So it was solemnly decided by the aforesaid league, in a
whispered wayside conference, to remove the gun from this public place at
least; and we are reminded, at this particular point of the gun's history, of
the line,— "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."
James D. Merritt owned some lots on the west side of the river not far from
the cor. of Canal and west Adams Streets; and thence it was decided to take
the cannon and bury it. This was done on the first favorable evening, a pit
being dug; and there, some three feet below the surface, it was left and
covered, though without tablet or memorial stone to mark the spot where it was
planted. For the movement just described, there seemed several cogent reasons,
the principal one being that no city government, "nor any other man," should
recapture the gun. The authorities, as may be supposed, were not remiss in
efforts to learn its whereabouts and who the culprits were; yet it seemed that
not a soul knew anything about it, and of course no one had aught to
communicate. Still, the burthen of the matter was ill at rest; and, we may
say, it bore down with leaden weight sometimes on the nervous organs of
various members of the lodge or clique. But mutual sympathy acted the part of
the good Samaritan, and poured oil into all imaginary gun wounds. It is proper
to add that our club took into its companionship various others, who were
gentlemen of similar tastes, frequently benevolent and kind toothers' faults;
but still it is believed their fun-loving proclivities were a marked trait,
even to the immolation of their victims sometimes.*
* Endeavoring to illustrate a point or statement in the text, we will say that
George Wandall kept a fruit stand on Randolph street, between Franklin and
Market streets; but, like some others, he possessed an enterprising turn of
mind, and it probably occurred to him that an institution something after the
plan of the Zoological Garden at Regent's Park, London, was a desideratum in
this city of the lakes, and not only would it be a public beneficence, but a
paying affair for his own cash box. With this idea, George abandoned fruit and
struck out for fur; that is, he made determined efforts to collect various
specimens of wild animals, and for that purpose we believe he visited St.
Louis, at any rate he returned here, after a month or so, with a consignment
of wonders, the like whereof, George flattered himself, had rarely been seen
in Chicago. There was a vacant lot on the S.-E. corner of Randolph and State
streets, where the new Music Hall is (1879) being erected, and it was there
where Wandall built his show-house. The structure was rather an indifferent
one, its form octagonal perhaps, merely a rough board fence carried up six or
eight feet, and above that a circular canvas, terminating at an apex or top of
the pole in the centre of the arena. Here, we may say, was gathered the first
resident menagerie of Chicago. The collection we are able to name only in
part; but there was a wolf, and a bear, a deer, and a raccoon, a few
squirrels, and a pair of guinea-pigs, a horned frog, and a horned owl, a few
white mice, a small monkey, and a big anthered elk. It was something of an
achievement for Chicago to have its own abiding collection in natural history,
and the enterprise seemed to deserve support; so thought a knot of "the boys,"
a dozen or so, who were together that first evening the show was to be opened;
among them, probably, were Miner, Graves, Russell, Kennedy, and Rew. Thereupon
the squad marched over to the menagerie, with amiable feelings toward all the
animals; and it is to be supposed, perhaps, that they had ready a "how d'ye
do" for the wolf, a shake of the paw for the bear, some nuts for the
squirrels, a little cake for the monkey, and a few words of encouragement for
the towering elk, hoping he might grow to be a giraffe. But the boys had a set-
back when they came to the gateway. The payment of entrance money was not a
part of their programme; they came to patronize, not to pay. Remonstrance was
of no avail; with "the boys" it was out or in, and they decided it was in, and
in they went. But they turned over the hurdy-gurdy, cuffed the ears of the
owl, threw snuff in the wolf's nostrils, upset the squirrel cage, kicked the
bear in the rear, twisted the monkey's tail, and dashed a bucket of water on
the coon. Then one of the party (Doc. Norman Rew) mounted the elk's back,
which animal they forthwith led into the street, and down State to Lake
street. If there had been forty howling dervishes, or that number of yelling
Comanche Indians in the procession, the noise would not have been greater. It
will be sufficient to inform the reader that Rew rode the elk about until he
at last brought up at the Washington Coffee-House, or some other coffee-house
(which was anything else rather than a coffee-house), located in the second
story of a building in the neighborhood, for the elk went upstairs, whether
voluntarily or otherwise, we may say. horns and all. Our informant gave us to
understand that Wandall did not lose anything after all on this opening night;
when the spree was over, a purse was made up for the pioneer menagerie man.
may be suggested that further names of those connected with the "club," if
given, would make the reader any happier, we will say that we have a list of
such persons, but cannot say that all of them were received into full
membership. Among those names we observe Wilson, Smith, Harris, Mcllrby,
Edwards, Ballingal, Tracy, Meeker, Forest, Miner, Beers, Rew, Dean,* Russell,
Graves. We may add that there
* Philip Dean was a street commissioner. To his name attaches the fame of a
most decisive and happy expedient. We may here remark, that the dog nuisance
in those days was a rather perplexing question to the city authorities. It was
not without frequent disturbance when the properly commissioned agents, the
police, aimed at their duty by rapping the bow-wo-jus on the head with their
billy-thumpers. The tie which bound the master to his canine friend would not,
sometimes, be lightly severed; and hence quarrels and fights ensued. Then in
place of the bludgeon came the revolver; but that mode of extermination, if
less frightful to the dogs, was not so to the masters, and upon the whole was
more unsatisfactory. It was Dean, however, that now suggested a mode of exit
that seemed apparently causeless, noiseless, effectual, and speedy. Small but
powerful doses, disguised in a pleasant and pretentious fraud of appearance,
were placed here and there upon the highway; and it was quite as much a
mistake with the dogs, when they seized and swallowed those inviting little
parcels, as it often is with many of the human family, who partake of what is
seemingly attractive, to their great and lasting detriment.
were prominent men, brilliant men, keen and skilful men; there were men of
means,—enterprising and public-spirited, as well as some of a varied fabric,—
men of great exuberance of good feelings, but yet of slight, or indeed, either
present or prospective, of no pecuniary estate. We might reasonably, perhaps,
add to these names those of the proprietors of the most prominent drinking
places in town, such as the "European Coffee-
House" "Exchange" "Lafayette" "Washington" etc., all coffee-houses. Those last-
named gentlemen, perhaps we might say, were the honorary members of the club.
If it is objected to by some that we are giving undue prominence to the
drinking halls, we answer that those institutions bore an important part
(though a melancholy one) in the history of the Town. They were the pioneers,
the vanguard of the hydra-headed, the many thousands, indeed, of whiskey
temples which since then have here reared their crests. In writing about the
gun, there appeared relationships, and ties, and identities, which we deemed
it proper to allude to, which cords held men together, of yet very different
positions in society. We do not speak merely of those who took the cannon from
the tool-house, but of various others, whether linked together by that
particular secret of the gun, or by political affinity, or by the still
broader bond of fun, conviviality, and drink.*
* In this connection we will speak of two individuals who might not improperly
be classed with those "infinite wit and humor" gentlemen that we read of; and
it is understood that they were so immensely entertaining, so takingly and
desperately comic, that this pair of practical jokers were kept and furnished,
supplied and provided for, by a ring of Chicago fun-lovers. The names of the
pair were Timothy Wait and Jack Cox. The first-named was a bar-tender, and the
other was a tailor; but the demands upon their time outside of their ordinary
calling were so numerous, that they left their occupations and devoted their
whole time (as though such employment was the main purpose in the life of a
human being) to witticisms and jokes, to playing rigs and sells, and enjoying
the boisterous approval of their audience, and the gratuitous stimulant of
drink which invariably followed. We will here cite a little incident to show
the drift of humor in which that pair traveled. Tim Wait was blessed (or
cursed, which?) with the natural gift or ability of turning up and inside out
the upper lids of his eyes, presenting a most comical and rather frightful
appearance; not only that, but he could displace, or throw out of joint, his
jawbone, and in such condition could, it is said, play a tune to perfection on
those jaw-vial castinets. Dr. Daniel Brainard, the distinguished surgeon of
this City, had just returned from his first visit to Paris, where he had been
to improve himself in the line of his profession. Not as many Chicagoans at
that day visited Europe as now, and Brainard certainly was talked of as a
notable individual. Wait was also a personage of some prominence; that might
be inferred from the fact that a second-story drinking-room, with which Wait
was or had been connected, presented a sign marked "Tim Wait is up stairs;"
the information so conveyed was considered an important and thoughtful decoy.
Seeing Brainard coming on the street one day soon after his return, Wait
muttered to his associates the suggestion and determination to appeal to him
at once (a fraud of course) for relief to his eyes. Followed by several of his
admirers, Wait immediately started off to meet the Doctor, at the same time
turning up his eyelids, and in the pitiable appearance peculiar to himself,
with eyes blear and bloodshot, he stopt directly in front of him, which of
necessity occasioned a halt, and in the supposed newly acquired pronunciation
of the Doctor's name, he said: "Doctor Brenard, bless yer soul, I'm glad yer
back. Oh, me ailin' sick wife and seven childer cryin' for brid; an' Doctor,
can yer do suthin' for me poor lids?" Brainard at once attempted a slight or
superficial examination, and proceeded to manipulate and turn down one of the
lids to its proper place, and then the other also; but, queerly enough, when
he had turned down the second, up again went the other. This was repeated
several times, but before the Doctor had expressed any opinion as to the case,
the laughter of Wait's companions who had gathered around could no longer be
suppressed; and as Tim beat off the beautiful old air known as "The Devil's
Dream," in the music of his jawbone, the Doctor walked statelily away,
thinking no doubt that he had returned to encounter those, occasionally, who
were scarcely provided with French forbearance or Parisian good manners.
It was perhaps three full years or more since the gun had been left on the
West Side; and the question was frequently brought up, what should they do
with it? Many suggestions were made; one of these was, that on the following
4th of July there should be a rousing celebration; that the gun should be
brought out and presented to the people. Lisle Smith, the matchless orator,
was to be applied to to address them on the occasion; indeed, we believe Smith
was consulted on the subject, and to which he agreed. Yet, other counsels
prevailed. What fear of coup de mam from unknown quarter, what terror of
possible ridicule to come, what bitter, lingering insult there may have been
to avenge, or what other cause influenced each individual decision, cannot now
be learned. It is enough to know that they concluded to sell the piece to be
broken up; for that purpose, Charley Beers was authorized to ascertain what he
could get for it. Beers applied not only to Nugent & Owens, but to Fred. Letz,
a worker also in brass, etc.; but,- as the ready cash funds of the latter did
not enable him to swing it, the offer of N. & O. was accepted. Then a select
number of the club had to be notified, a negro drayman (for certain legal and
prudential reasons) was to be employed, all to meet on the first dark night,
with suitable tools for excavation, near Adams street, a little west of the
river; which plan was so far carried out. But those whose presence at the
interment should have enabled them to point out the spot, seemed incompetent
to do so; the grass and weeds had hidden it entirely. One spoke of having
lately seen, at the "European" saloon, a quantity of unfinished or unused
pigeon-hole Miliary-cues of uncommon length. The rods were sent for, and each
having received one they commenced prospecting, and after a long search they
touched the metal, though we are assured that it had settled full two feet
lower than where originally placed. Then the shovels and the ropes and
considerable work brought it up and loaded it on the cart, where, covered with
a quantity of burlaps, it began its final march across Randolph Street bridge,
and thence to the brass foundery of N. & O., which was a brick building on the
S.-E. corner of Washington and Market Streets. Charley Beers was awaiting its
arrival on Market street to look after its reception, and with hushed steps
the party moved off, but not one of the escort presumed to whistle "Over the
river to Charley." The proceeds of the sale, for which Messrs. N. & O. gave
their check on R. K. Swift, Banker, was a mere trifle, being in amount only
between 35 and 40 dollars. It will be needless to say that the purchasers were
not losers in the operation, inasmuch as the material was really worth many
times what they paid. The gun was of superior metal; and it is understood that
the bulk of it helped to form the structure of more than one church bell of
the City; and in such shape, a dim, unrecognizable representative of the past,
now in spirit tones did it hint, not so much of the past as to a coming future.
We are told that a meeting of the club was had for the purpose of dividing and
distributing to the members the "thirty pieces of silver," more or less,
received from the sale of the cannon. That proposition, however, failed, and
it was at length agreed to have a gathering at the saloon under the Sherman
House, and then and there settle and wipe out every vestige of a balance
remaining in the hands of the treasurer. "That 'gathering' was had," said our
informant; "and if the occasion could not have been properly denominated
a 'blowout,' there were, in those days, scarcely any that could." Now here we
may as well as anywhere say for ourself, looking to the result and culmination
of the matter, in the destruction of a truly venerable relic, we must esteem
the affair as (where human life was not involved) the most unfortunate and
profitless piece of deviltry ever perpetrated within our borders.
Probably to the average loiterer and humorist there might have seemed
something extremely ludicrous in that filibustering expedition, extending
through several years, starting out with a corps of six or seven full-grown,
athletic men, who tugged repeatedly with might and main at a dead weight of
near half a ton, removing and hiding it again and again. However reliable
masons they proved themselves in keeping a secret that year or two, and still
on for more than a generation, they sometimes, and occasionally (until
convinced that no open-mouthed and brazen-faced witness might appear against
them), were followed by that "Will-o'-the-wisp" trepidation and nervousness,
the same as dogs the steps of an escaped convict, or perhaps somewhat
identical with the feelings of a burglar, who thinks it more difficult to hide
than to steal. They felt, perhaps, impressed with the idea of—" Cannon to the
right of them, " Cannon to the left of them, "Cannon in front of them."
That abiding consciousness of mischief would not be laid any more than the
gun, though it tarried several feet under ground, over there in the west
division for two years or more.
And what a chase for that hidden deposit on the prairie; no seekers, with rod
of witch-hazel or of steel, hunting for old Kidd's sunken chests of coin along
the shores of the Sound, were ever more in doubt, whether or no they should
touch the chink, than were our stake-drivers on that ebon night, punching and
probing the mud up there by the South Branch. But the acme of the sublime as
well as the ludicrous was when the cannon was carted down to the foundry, —
that charnel-house of effaced identities, the place of chisel, sledgehammer,
and heated crucible,—on that chosen night, as dark as Erebus; the reins being
held by an alien, a child of darkness, selected because unrecognized as a
citizen, and whose oath, though his word was reliable, the laws of Illinois
would not allow to convict a white man. What a solemn procession it was,
following that dray through the blackness of that midnight hour, each still
armed with his baton or ashen treasure-wand, and each ready to utter,—" Take
thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door."
Another phase attending the movements of the league or club, which we have
already hinted at, was that of their convivial and bacchanalian proclivities.
That the gentlemen comprising the club were of a generous nature, liberal and
whole souled, cannot be questioned; but it has been sometimes suggested, that
such natures are the least inclined to observe the restraints which repel the
approaches of the siren strong drink. Be that as it may, Chicago then as now
presented as ready facilities for a dram, or a moderate carouse, or a decided
drunk, or, indeed, for a rapid and sure down-grade track to ruin, as any other
town of its size. We were once told by a lawyer, an old-time resident of
Chicago, that all the early lawyers here were drinking men, "and," said he, "I
was one of them." While we know that this charge was too broad a one, for
we are aware at least of some marked exceptions, yet - the habit was
sufficiently general with those professional worthies (not that it was
peculiar to them only) as to give occasion to the saying. As with some others,
so with the club; suspicion was bearded and courage invoked in drinks; when
friends met, they took a drink; if there was any important news, they must
drink; if a neighbor was showing up the town to a stranger, his introduction
was marked by the drinks; if a sale of real estate was made, then came the
drinks; if success of any kind met a friend, why of course then followed the
drinks; again, if misfortune touched him, there was sympathy and drinks.
Political tastes were supposed to be confirmed and allies won by drinks. The
political complexion of "the club," we may say, was, for a time at least, whig
to a man; there were whig speeches, whig songs, whig toasts, "whig lies,"
also, the Democrats used to say, and whig whiskey. We will add that they were
industrious workers in the whig cause, and that a fundamental pillar upon
which rested their political creed was (then, not to-day) a most lively and
cordial hatred of John Wentworth. Sundry individuals not initiated or taken
within the inner veil of the mysteries regarding the various and latter places
of deposit of the old arm—yet to all appearance they were members of the ring,
for they never missed roll-call, or rather intuitively happened around,
whenever the drinks might be expected.
Abraham Lincoln, we will say, was frequently in Chicago on professional
business in those days. He was then scarcely counted more than a second or
third rate lawyer; but he was noted as a story-teller, and often on pleasant
evenings he chose to sit out upon the sidewalk in front of the old wooden
Tremont (sometimes he sojourned at the American Temperance House, but
generally at the Tremont), where, surrounded by a knot of listeners, he
dispensed numerous and amusing yarns, of which he seemed to possess an
inexhaustible supply. He was seldom heard to tell the same story twice. But we
are led to say, possibly it may have been one of the important underlying rock-
strata which bore up the manliness of character and the greatness of Mr.
Lincoln, that he never joined in that social error of tippling so common in
Chicago as well as elsewhere.
It is time this extended article came to an end; we would much rather have
placed on this page a drawn portrait of the living gun than to have written of
its departure,—its extinction. It may be that we are singular in our ideas,
and are, perhaps, rather a desperate and headlong rider of our
hobby "antiquities;" but our native stock or catalogue of antiques is, we
think, rather a limited one. Certainly we have little of the unchanged, the
peculiar, and recognizable antiquities of early Chicago. What there are left,
excepting the fleeting lives of a few remaining pioneers, are mostly but
memories and pictures and shadows. We have, it is true, old Lake Michigan; but
our river is not what it was; its debouchure is changed, its banks are clipped
and cribbed, and its waters, though once drinkable, are not so to-day. And
Fort Dearborn is no more. The Indian tribes, too, have departed; and none are
with us, unless we except those stark and grinning plaster synonyms or
abominations in the guise of a plea for a vile narcotic; our native groves are
all gone; neither dwelling, workshop, storehouse, or temple built with hands,
bearing earlier date than 1833, exists; not one of those memorable sloughs of
the South Division remain; not even a fence-rail is now, as formerly,
sometimes seen placed upright in the mire of Lake street, bearing a strip of
board with the topographical suggestion "No Bottom." Indeed, we claim to have
hidden, under a depth of some six feet of earth, the whole original prairie
and City surface.
Before we close, we take the opportunity to say that it was not true, as
sometimes asserted, that this was the gun which was fired on the Court House
Square, on the receipt of the news of the victory of Buena Vista, in the
latter part of February, 1847, and seriously maimed the late Richard L.
Wilson. It was also a mistake of an "old settler," referring to this cannon in
the Tribune, August, 1877, when he said, "After being used firing salutes for
awhile, it was probably carried off by some vessel." The evidence seems
unquestionable that the gun fired no salutes after the month of August, 1812.
We do not propose to write the epitaph of the old field-piece, yet will
conclude by saying that often, in after time, as the Sabbath-bells were
ringing for church, when any members of the club happened to meet, it was
quite usual for one or the other to exclaim: "Do you hear it ? that is the
voice of our gun."
P. O. EQUIPMENTS IN 1832.
It was on one of those primitive days in the fall of the year 1832, as we were
told by an early settler, that he (our informant) was somewhat impressed by
the peculiar customs of the Chicago Post-office, which was then located in a
log building at the angle of Lake and South Water streets, and where John S.
C. Hogan was then a merchant, as well as postmaster. The manner of keeping the
letters and papers for delivery to their proper owners might have been
characterized, perhaps, as a little loose, the whole stock (a mere handful, it
is true,) being chucked into a corner upon a shelf. Our informant rallied the
worthy office-holder upon the point of order, assuring him that he was sadly
behind the times, saying, furthermore, that in the country from which he came,
the postmasters usually provided boxes, sometimes called pigeon-holes, wherein
might be placed the mail matter belonging to various individuals or firms, and
having others alphabetically arranged, etc. This onslaught speedily produced a
revolution; and, though there was not, perhaps, within the boundaries of Cook
County, a professional cabinet-maker,— certainly not one at hand,—yet, the
ingenuity of that government official improvised a substitute. We refer to the
forcible conscription into the public service, and the utilizing, all the old
boots readily to be found in the settlement. From those venerable mud-mixers,
a part of the legs were taken off; and, nailing up the lower part at the back
to a log (a portion of the main wall of the building), the improved
institution was moving onward upon the tide of successful achievement when our
informant again called for his mail. [Page 144] SOCIAL PROFANITY; JUDICIAL PROPRIETY.
An early settler of Chicago, tells us about His Honor T. W. S., a former
resident here, and one of the shining lights of the Illinois Bench some years
ago. We are assured that the Judge was "rather a jovial sort of man, quite a
political manager, and withal, to the unprofessional and common-sense crowd at
least, a good judge." But eminent position, as we often see, is not exempt
from human frailty; and so we are told that Judge S. had at least one
besetting sin and folly. In his ordinary intercourse with men, his language
too often savored of the sort known as the very profane. Upon the bench,
however, he was a different individual. It is remembered that on one occasion
at Chicago, a suit was being tried before him, between parties from the
interior, concerning the ownership of some cattle. One witness described the
different cattle, telling their various colors, etc.; then came on the stand
another witness, whom our informant characterized as "a tall, lank, and
lantern-jawed Hoosier, indeed the worst-looking Hoosier that I ever saw;" and
the Judge, after some questions by one of the counsel, began asking the
witness in relation to the color of the cattle, as given in the evidence of
the previous witness. "Wal," said the Hoosier, "them cattle was so d----d
poor, I reckon I couldn't tell what color they was." "Clerk," said the Judge
directly but dignifiedly, "enter a fine of ten dollars to this witness for
profane swearing; and you, Mr. Sheriff, will commit him to jail till the fine
shall be paid." The witness, however, passed over an X bearing the signature
of N. Biddle, Pres., for it was in the old days of the U. S. Bank.
As already intimated above, Judge S. was a politician; and it will, perhaps,
illustrate one of the ways of that enterprising class of citizens, to quote
another incident of Chicago of long ago. An early Chicago resident, the late
Archibald Clybourn, related that he once met Judge S. at Ike Cook's saloon, on
an evening, together with quite a crowd, composed mostly of that genial class
of democrats known as Irishmen, and who were evidently great admirers of the
Judge, and were eager listeners to all that fell from his lips. After a while
Clybourn said to S.: "Come, Judge, it's time that you and I were at
home." "Home!" replied the Judge, straightening himself up to his full
height, "I have just ordered supper for my friends here;" and then, in a
whisper close to Clybourn's ear, he added, "I shall have use for these cattle
NOTICES OF CHICAGO AND ITS VICINITY. BY EARLY TRAVELERS, ETC.
In the present chapter, we give various extracts relating to this locality,
written by missionaries, sojourners, travelers, historians, etc., and reaching
from the time when Joliet and Marquette passed through here in 1673, down to
the year 1835, when the Indians danced here their last great dance, before
their departure toward the setting sun.
Louis Joliet and James Marquette, on their return from the Mississippi, as we
have elsewhere said, "came by way of the Illinois, the Desplaines, and
Chicago. As far as satisfactorily proven, they were the first white men who
placed foot upon the soil, or voyaged upon the stream, at Chicago. I am aware
that Charlevoix tells that Nicholas Perot was here several years before them,
but Dr. Shea, the editor of a late edition of Charlevoix, claims that the
source of Charlevoix's information does not warrant the statement. I am
inclined to think, however, thak it would appear, could we arrive at the truth
of the case, that more than one white man had been at Chicago before either
Joliet, Marquette, or Perot, even if the latter may have been here in 1671. We
are assured that Jean Nicolet, a Frenchman, an envoy from Canada, was at Green
Bay in the year 1639, where he held a treaty with several thousand Indians.
This council was held purposely to form a reciprocal and friendly acquaintance
with the natives whose country bordered on the great upper lakes. It was
designed to extend the dominion of the French King, Louis XIII., and specially
and directly to aid and further the traffic of Canadian merchants, who wished
to furnish their red brothers of the wilderness, in exchange for furs, the
conveniences and luxuries, as well as the gauds and taints, of civilization.
Nicolet, on this visit, crossed the portage to the Wisconsin, but we are not
advised that any of his party went further south. Yet I am loth to believe
that thirty years passed away, after Nicolet's introduction at Green Bay,
before any Canadian trader coasted along the Illinois shore of Lake Michigan,
or, following a then old-time route, went up the Chicago River and down the
Desplaines to the interior. Those early traders followed the thoroughfares to
the Indian villages; but, ever greedy for furs which might bring lucrative
prices and early gains, they preserved no note of their business tours; at
least no record was left behind, that I am aware of, which has been kept to
answer the inquiries of the present day."
Joliet* and Marquette, after leaving the Chicago in the fall of 1673,
continued north, Joliet on his way to Quebec, and Marquette to go to the
mission of St. Francis Xavier, near Green Bay, where he remained till the
autumn of the following year. Joliet, it is known, lost all his papers,
relating to his recent voyage, in passing the rapids above Montreal; yet, from
a communication (Historical Magazine, vol. 5, p. 237,) purporting to be from
Father Dablon,** Superior-General of the Missions of the Society of Jesus, and
*Louis Joliet, the son of a wheelwright, according to Mr. Shea, was born in
Quebec, in 1745. He was educated at the Jesuit College of Quebec, but
afterward engaged in the fur trade in the West, and was selected by the
Government to lead the expedition in 1673, for the exploration of the
Mississippi. We know the result of that journey; while the fatefulness of an
accident has left a cloud which envelopes the deserved fame of Louis Joliet,
the lovely character of Pere Marquette, his story of their tour to the
Mississippi, his struggles and death, has also led us to forget that Joliet
was first entitled to the laurel wreath for that exploration and discovery.
The reward bestowed by the French sovereign upon Joliet for that distinguished
service was rather a barren one, being the Island of Anticosti, in the Gulf of
St. Lawrence. AThe gift proved an unlucky one; his island, in 1691, was
captured, and himself and family made prisoners, by a British fleet under Sir
Wm. Phipps, suffering the entire loss of his estate. Shea says: "He died
apparently in the last year of the seventeenth century."
**Father Claudius Dablon, Mr. Shea informs us, came to Canada in 1655, and was
sent directly to Onondaga, where he continued a few years; afterward made an
attempt to reach Hudson's Bay by the Saguenay, but was stopped by Iroquois war-
parties. "In 1668, he followed Father Marquette to Lake Superior, became
superior of the Ottawa mission, founded Sault Ste. Marie, visited Green Bay,
and reached the Wisconsin with Allouez; then returned to Quebec to assume his
post as superior of all the Canada missions. This office he held, with
many years, certainly till 1693; and he was still alive, but not, apparently,
superior in the following year. The period of his death
August 1, 1674, giving the verbal information received from Sieur Joliet, we
extract as follows:
"The fourth remark concerns a very important advantage, and which some will,
perhaps, find it hard to credit; it is, that we can quite easily go to Florida
in boats, and by a very good navigation.
There would be but one canal to make, by cutting only one-half a league of
prairie, to pass from the Lake of the Illinois* into St. Louis River.** The
route to be taken is this: the bark should be built on Lake Erie, which is
near Lake Ontario; it would pass easily from Lake Erie to Lake Huron, from
which it would enter the Lake of the Illinois. At the extremity of this lake
would be the cut or canal of which I have spoken, to have a passage to St.
Louis River, which empties into the Mississippi. The bark, having entered this
river, would easily sail to the Gulf of Mexico. Fort Catarokoui, which the
Count de Frontenac has erected on Lake Ontario, would greatly favor this
enterprise, because it would facilitate the communication from Quebec to Lake
Erie, from which this fort is not very far distant; and but for a waterfall,
which separates Lake Erie from Lake Ontario, a bark built at Catarokoui, could
go to Florida by the routes of which I have spoken. The fifth remark regards
the great advantages there would be in founding new colonies in such beautiful
countries and such fertile soil. Hear what Sieur Joliet says: 'When they first
spoke to us of these lands without trees, I figured to myself a burned-up
country, where the soil was so wretched that it would produce nothing. But we
have seen the reverse, and no better can be found either for wheat, or the
vines, or any fruit whatever. The river to which we have given the name of St.
Louis, and which has its source not far from the extremity of the Lake of the
Illinois, seemed to me to offer on its banks very fine lands well suited to
The place, by which after leaving the river you enter the lake, is a very
convenient bay to hold vessels and protect them from the wind.'
Extract from a letter writtm by Count De Frontenac to M. Colbert; dated
Quebec, Nov. 14, 1674.:
"Sieur Joliet, whom M. Talon advised me on my arrival from France to detach
for the discovery of the South Sea, has returned three months ago, and
discovered some new countries, and a navigation so easy through the beautiful
rivers he has found, that a person can go from Lake Ontario and Fort
Frontenac, in a bark canoe, to the Gulf of Mexico, there being only one
carrying place, half a league in length,—where Lake Ontario communicates with
Lake Erie. He has been within ten days of the Gulf of Mexico, and believes
that water communication could be found leading to the
Vermillion and California seas (called by the Spaniards Mar de Cortes) by
means of the river that flows from the west into the great river (Mississippi)
that he discovered, which runs from north to south, and is as large as the St.
Lawrence opposite Quebec. I send you, by my secretary, the map he has made of
it, and the observations that he has been able to recollect, as he has lost
all his minutes and journals in the shipwreck he met with within sight of
Montreal, where, after having completed a voyage of fifteen hundred leagues,
he was near being drowned, and lost all his papers, and a young Indian whom he
brought from those countries. He left, with the fathers of the Sault St. Marie
(Lake Superior), copies of his journals; these we cannot get before next year."
In Father Marquette's* account of his and Joliet's voyage of exploration, he
says (French's His. Coll., part 2, p. 296):
"We then ascended the Mississippi with great difficulty, against
*James Marquette was a descendant of a somewhat distinguished family, and was
born in the City of Laon, France, in the year 1637. As we have said on a
previous occasion, "he became a Jesuit at the age of seventeen, and twelve
years afterward, in 1666, sailed for Canada as a missionary, landing at Quebec
in September of that year. During the two succeeding years he was engaged in
studying the Indian languages, and in the spring of 1668, he embarked, via the
Ottawa and French Rivers and Lake Huron, for the River St. Mary, at the falls
of which a mission was to be established, with Marquette at its head. There
were, of the same religious faith, earlier missionaries than Marquette in the
region of the great upper lakes who were brave and devoted men; but it was
Marquette's tour to the Mississippi which has made his name pre-eminently
famous. Pushing out as he did into the region of the yet undiscovered wonders
of the great valley, details of which journey have been fortunately preserved
to us by his faithful obedience to the instructions of his Superior, our
admiration is enlisted by the charm of its romance. Yet it was the lofty aim
of Marquette to be of enduring service to his fellow-men; it was his
integrity, his unselfishness, his untiring zeal, his gentle and uncomplaining
disposition, and his early self-sacrifice near akin to martyrdom, that command
our sympathies, and these are what made him truly great. In the autumn of
1669, he was chosen to go to Lapoint, or Chegoimegon, near the west end of
Lake Superior, to continue the labors begun some years before by Allouez, or
still earlier by Menard. In the spring of 1671, Marquette accompanied the
fleeing Hurons, who sought a refuge at the Straits of Mackinaw from the fierce
Sioux warriors, who had taken the war-path against them; thence, in the spring
of 1673, Joliet, the leader, having arrived, they departed on their expedition
for the great river." We have given in the text various extracts from his
journal. "Marquette returned to Chicago, without doubt, after his visit to the
Indian village on the Illinois, and in the month of May, 1675, he passed out
of our river to the other side of the lake, and not only to the other side of
it, but to the eternal shores beyond. On his way to Mackinaw, by the eastern
shore of the lake, accompanied, doubtless, by the faithful Peter and James, he
went ashore at the mouth of a river, since known by his name, and retired by
himself, having requested the men to leave him alone for a brief space. But
the good father had died in a little time, and they buried him upon the bank
of the stream. Such is the tradition. So much, certainly, is not unreasonable,
without giving credence to the numerous, minute, and dramatic details,
portrayed by imaginative and artistic limners, as attending the exit of that
true gentleman and kind-hearted missionary. He is understood to have died on
the 18th of May, 1675." [Page 149] the current, and left it in latitude 380 north to enter another river,* which
took us to the Lake of the Illinois,** which is a much shorter way than
through the River Mesconsin,*** by which we entered the Mississippi. I never
saw a more beautiful country than we found on this river. The prairies are
covered with buffaloes, stags, goats, and the rivers and lakes with swans,
ducks, geese, parrots, and beavers. The river upon which we sailed was wide,
deep, and placid for sixty-five leagues, and navigable most all the year
round. There is a portage of only half a league into the Lake of the Illinois.
We found on the banks of this river a village called Kuilka, consisting of
seventy-four cabins. They received us very kindly, and we promised to return
and instruct them. The chief, with most of the youth of this village,
accompanied us to the lake, from whence we returned to the Bay of Puans."****
After this tour, and during his stay at the Mission of St. Francis Xavier,
Marquette no doubt made the map, a small facsimile of the greater part of
which is herewith presented. A feature in this map will be observed, namely:
the Chicago River appears a continuous stream from Lake Michigan to the waters
of the Illinois. Marquette gave no name to this stream on his map, yet he
refers to it in his last letter as "Portage River."
The following is an extract from Father Marquette's final letter; it was
addressed to Father Claudius Dablon, Superior, but was never completed. We
copy from a translation which appears in an article, by Hon. J. G. Shea, in
Historical Magazine, vol. 5, p. 99:
Dec. 4. We started well to reach Portage River,***** which was frozen half a
foot thick. There was more snow there than anywhere
*****Meaning the Chicago. [Page 150] else, and also more tracks of animals and turkeys. The navigation of the lake
from one portage to the other* is quite fine, there being no traverse to make,
and landing being quite feasible all along, providing you do not obstinately
persist in traveling in the breakers and high winds. The land along the shore
is good for nothing, except on the prairies. You meet eight or ten pretty fine
rivers. Deer hunting is pretty good as you get away from the Pottawatomies."
"Dec. 12. As they began to draw to get to the portage,** the Illinois having
left, the Pottawatomies arrived with much difficulty.*** We could not say mass
on the Feast of the Conception on account of the bad weather and the cold.
During our stay at the mouth of the river, Pierre and Jacques killed three
buffalo and four deer, one of which ran quite a distance with his heart cut in
two. They contented themselves with killing three or four turkeys of the many
which were around our cabin, because they were almost dying of hunger. Jacques
brought in a partridge**** that he had killed, every way resembling those of
France, except that it had like two little wings of three or four feathers, a
finger long, near the head, with which they cover the two sides of the neck,
where there are no feathers."
"Dec. 14. Being cabined near the portage, two leagues***** up the river, we
resolved to winter there, on my inability to go farther, being too much
embarrassed, and my malady not permitting me to stand much fatigue. Several
Illinois passed yesterday, going to carry their furs to Nawaskingwe. We gave
them a buffalo and a deer that Jacques had killed the day before. I think I
never saw Indians more greedy for French tobacco than these. They came and
threw beaver skins at our feet to get a small piece; but we returned them,
giving them some pipes, because we had not yet concluded whether we should go
"Dec. 15. Chachagwessiou and the other Illinois left us to go and find their
people, and give them the merchandise which they had brought in order to get
their furs, in which they act like traders and hardly give more than the
French. I instructed them, before their departure, deferring the holding of a
council till spring, when I should be at their village. They gave us for a
fathom of tobacco three fine buffalo-robes, which have done us good service
this winter. Being thus relieved, we said the mass of the Conception. Since
the 14th, my disease has turned into a dysentery."
"Dec. 30. Jacques arrived from the Illinois village, which was
*Meaning those of Sturgeon Bay and the Desplaines.
**That is, upon the ice on the river, as I understand it.
***Two parties of Indians who left Green Bay at the same time he did are here
referred to by Marquette.
****It was a grouse or prairie chicken no doubt.
*****The leagues were guessed at, of course, not measured. [Page 151] only six leagues from here, where they are starving. The cold and snow prevent
their hunting. Some having informed la Toupine and the surgeon that we were
here, and unable to leave their cabin, had so alarmed the Indians (believing
that we would starve remaining here) that Jacques had great trouble in
preventing fifteen young men from coming to carry all our affairs."
"Jan. 16, 1675. As soon as the two Frenchmen knew that my illness prevented my
going to them, the surgeon came here with an Indian to bring us some
whortleberries and bread; they are only eighteen leagues from here, in a
beautiful hunting-ground for buffalo and deer, and turkeys, which are
excellent there. They had, too, laid up provisions while awaiting us, and had
given the Indians to understand that the cabin belonged to the black gown. And
I may say, that they said and did all that could be expected of them. The
surgeon having stopped to attend to his duties, I sent Jacques with him to
tell the Illinois, who were near there, that my illness prevented my going to
see them, and that, if it continued, I should scarcely be able to go there in
"Jan. 24. Jacques returned with a bag of corn and other refreshments that the
French had given him for me; he also brought the tongues and meat of two
buffalo that he and an Indian had killed near by; but all the animals show the
badness of the season."
"Jan. 26. Three Illinois brought us from the head men two bags of corn, some
dried meat, squashes, and twelve beavers; 1st, to make me a mat; 2d, to ask me
for powder; 3d, to prevent our being hungry; 4th, to have some few goods. I
answered them: firstly, that I had come to instruct them, by speaking to them
of the prayer, &c.; secondly, that I would not give them powder, as we were
endeavoring to diffuse peace on all sides, and I did not wish them to begin a
war with the Miamies; thirdly, that we were in no fear of starving; fourthly,
that I would encourage the French to carry them goods, and that they must
satisfy those among them for the wampum taken from them as soon as the surgeon
started to come here. As they had come twenty leagues, to pay them for their
trouble and what they had brought me, I gave them an axe, two knives, three
clasp knives, ten fathoms of wampum, and two double mirrors; telling them that
I should endeavor to go to the village, merely for a few days, if my illness
continued. They told me to take courage, to stay and die in their country, and
said that they had been told that I would remain long with them."
"Feb. 9. Since we addressed ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Immaculate, to
whom we began a nevena by a mass, at which Pierre and Jacques, who do all they
can to relieve me, received, to ask my recovery of the Almighty, my dysentery
has ceased; there is only a weakness of the stomach left. I begin to feel much
better, and to recover my strength. None of the Illinois who had ranged
themselves near us have been cabined for a month; some took the road [Page 152] to the Pottawatomies, and some are still on the lake waiting for the navigation to
open. They carry letters to our Fathers at St. Francis."
"Feb. 20. We had time to observe the tide which comes from the lake rising and
falling, although there appears no shelter on the lake. We saw the ice go
against the wind. These tides made the water good or bad, because what comes
from above flows from the prairies and small streams. The deer, which are
plentiful on the lake shore, are so lean that we had to leave some that we
"March 23. We killed several partridges; only the male has the little wings at
the neck, the female not having any. These partridges are pretty good, but do
not come up to the French."
"March 30. The north wind having prevented the thaw till the 25th of March, it
began with a southerly wind. The next day game began to appear; we killed
thirty wild pigeons, which I found better than those below,* but smaller, both
young and old. On the 28th, the ice broke and choked above us. On the 29th,
the water was so high that we had barely time to uncabin in haste, put our
things on trees, and try to find a place to sleep on some hillock, the water
gaining on us all night; but having frozen a little, and having fallen, as we
were near our luggage, the dyke burst and the ice went down; and as the waters
are again ascending already, we are going to embark to continue our route."
"March 31. Having started yesterday, we made three leagues on the river,**
going up without finding any portage. We dragged for half an arpent. Besides
this outlet the river has another,*** by which we must descend. Only the very
highest grounds escape inundation. That where we are**** has increased more
than twelve feet. Here we began our portage more than eighteen months ago.
Geese and duck pass constantly. We contented ourselves with seven. The ice
still brought down detains us here, as we do not know in what state the river
is lower down."
From a narrative of the missionary Claude Aliouez,***** in
**Meaning Mud Lake channel.
***Meaning, no doubt, the Desplaines.
****On or near the Desplaines, no doubt.
*****Father Claude Allouez was born in France, but in what part or when we
have not learned. He was a Jesuit, and sailed in 1658, arriving at Quebec in
July of that year. We do not give particular details, but "he was," says
Shea, "not inferior in zeal and ability to any of the great missionaries of
his time." He was at the Falls of St. Mary in September, 1665, and
subsequently at Chegoimegon, on Lake Superior, and founded the Mission of St.
Francis Xavier, near Green Bay. After the death of Marquette, he succeeded to
the Illinois Mission. Whatever may have been the cause, it is known that this
missionary was not a favorite of the explorer LaSalle, indeed his presence was
offensive to him, and it is understood that Allouez retired from Illinois,
expecting M. LaSalle, and went to Wisconsin, but returned again, it is
understood, and is believed to have been there in 1689. Possibly he died that
year, but the place of his death is not learned. Bancroft says of that
missionary: "Father Claude Allouez has imperishably connected his name with
the progress of discovery in the West."
Contributed 25 Jan 2013 by Deb Haines