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The Settlement of Illinois, 1778-1830   By:

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Chicago Historical Society's Collection. Vol. V.

The Settlement of Illinois

1778 1830

by Arthur Clinton Boggess, Ph.D.

Professor of History and political Science in Pacific University; a Director of the Oregon Historical Society; sometime Harrison Scholar in American History in the University of Pennsylvania; sometime Fellow in American History in the University of Wisconsin.


Published by the society



Preface. Chapter I. The County of Illinois. Chapter II. The Period of Anarchy in Illinois. Chapter III. I. The Land and Indian Questions. 1790 to 1809. II. Government Succeeding the Period of Anarchy, 1790 to 1809. III. Obstacles to Immigration. 1790 to 1809. Chapter IV. Illinois During Its Territorial Period. 1809 to 1818. I. The Land and Indian Questions. II. Territorial Government of Illinois. 1809 to 1818. IV. Transportation and Settlement, 1809 to 1818. IV. Life of the Settlers. Chapter V. The First Years of Statehood, 1818 to 1830. The Indian and Land Questions. The Government and Its Representatives, 1818 to 1830. Transportation. Life of the People. Chapter VI. Slavery in Illinois As Affecting Settlement. Chapter VII. Successful Frontiersmen. Works Consulted. Index. Footnotes


In the work here presented, an attempt has been made to apply in the field of history, the study of types so long in use in biological science. If the settlement of Illinois had been an isolated historical fact, its narration would have been too provincial to be seriously considered, but in many respects, the history of this settlement is typical of that of other regions. The Indian question, the land question, the transportation problem, the problem of local government; these are a few of the classes of questions wherein the experience of Illinois was not unique.

This work was prepared while the writer was a student in the University of Wisconsin. The first draft was critically and carefully read by Prof. Frederick Jackson Turner, of that University, and the second draft was read by Prof. John Bach McMaster, of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to suggestions received from my teachers, valuable aid has been rendered by Miss Caroline M. McIlvaine, the librarian of the Chicago Historical Society, who placed at my disposal her wide knowledge of the sources of Illinois history.

The omission of any reference in this work to the French manuscripts, found by Clarence W. Alvord, is due to the fact that at the time they were found, my work was so nearly completed that it was loaned to Mr. Alvord to use in the preparation of his article on the County of Illinois, while the press of professional duties has been such that a subsequent use of the manuscripts has been impracticable.


Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon. September 14, 1907.


An Act for establishing the County of Illinois, and for the more effectual protection and defence thereof, passed both houses of the Virginia legislature on December 9, 1778.(1) The new county was to include the inhabitants of Virginia, north of the Ohio River, but its location was not more definitely prescribed.(2)

The words "for the more effectual protection and defence thereof" in the title of the Act were thoroughly appropriate. The Indians were in almost undisputed possession of the land in Illinois, save the inconsiderable holdings of the French. Some grants and sales of large tracts of land had been made. In 1769, John Wilkins, British commandant in Illinois, granted to the trading firm of Baynton, Wharton and Morgan, a great tract of land lying between the Kaskaskia and the Mississippi rivers... Continue reading book >>

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