Saturday, March 10, 2007



Richard E. Hart
Springfield, Illinois

When one speaks of the arrivals at Springfield during this period, one must keep in mind that there was no place called “Springfield”. Those in the geographic area of what is now Springfield, claimed land under the “old system” of preemption—they settled on the land as squatters and made improvements. This was a source of much agitation in Congress to allow these squatters to enter the land which formally came into the market for a given price, credit for improvements, etc.

Therefore, in describing those who arrived in Springfield at this time, I will include those who settled in what is now Sangamon County before 18__ and those who settled the vicinity of what became Springfield and those who settled outside of the vicinity but within a distance of ___ miles and who later moved to Springfield. William Carpenter is such a settler.

Shadrach Bond, Jr., delegate to Congress…helped craft a monumentally important preemption law, passed in February 1813. For over twenty-five years, settlers had risked losing their improvements because they could not purchase lands they occupied: the preemption law changed this, and more. It allowed each squatter to preempt a quarter section—160 acres—of land they occupied. Upon paying one-twentieth of the purchase price, a squatter initiated the purchase and entered the land. Squatter anxiety dissipated, triggering a land rush. Even during turbul10 to 1815, when casualties and flight thinned ranks, Illinois gained some 3,000 people. Some gain occurred prior to the war, and some reflected high birth rates, but even during 1812-1814 settlers slipped into Illinois. Those deterred by war formed a pent-up backlog, waiting for tranquil times before pushing west.[1]

LANGSTON, JECHONIAH, was born in the year 1769, in South Carolina. His father was a Whig, and Jechoniah was often sent by his father to convey information to Whigs of the whereabouts and doings of the Tories. On one occasion the Tories were about to kill his father, and he informed the Whig soldiers in time to save his life. He was then about ten years old, and soon after, some of the Tory soldiers caught him, and taking a leather strap used for fastening their extra clothing behind them on their saddles, they hung him to a beam outside his father's barn, and watched him until he ceased to manifest any signs of life; and then took him down to save the strap, and left him on the ground dead, as they supposed; but after a long time he came to life. He was married in South Carolina, and after the birth of one child, his wife died. He left the child there, and went to Wayne county, Ky., where he was married to Nancy Dodson. They had three children in Kentucky, and moved to Champaign county, Ohio, where two children were born; and then moved to Sangamon county, Ill., arriving Feb., 1820, in what is now Fancy Creek township, where they had four children. Of their children--

JOSEPH D., born Dec. 25, 1805, in Wayne county, Ky., married July 23, 1829, to Elizabeth Cantrall. She was born Aug. 29, 1808, in Ohio. They had five living children in Sangamon county. WILLIAM C., born April 25, 1830, married Oct. 28, 1851, to Elizabeth J. Fagan, who died Dec. 26, 1853, and he married June 17, 1855, to Eliza J. King. They live in Fancy Creek township, seven miles north of Springfield. EMILY, born in 1832, married Asaph Bates. They had five children, THERESA E., JOHN T., ELIZABETH A., EMILY S., and JOSEPH W., and Mrs. Bates died May 8, 1872. THERESA and JOHN, twins, born May 11, 1834. She died June 22, 1856. JOHN married April 11, 1862, to Martha Price. They had one child, EVA JANE, and he enlisted Aug., 1862, in Co. C, 114th Ill. Inf., for three years. He was killed at the battle of Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 15, 1864. JAMES B. born Nov. 29, 1836, married Eliza Taylor; have five children, SARAH A., MARY A., JOHN O., IDA S., and BEULAH, and live near his father, in Menard county. Joseph D. Langston and wife reside in Menard county, one mile north of Sangamon county line, and one mile west of Peoria road, and fifteen miles north of Springfield.

Joseph D. Langston remembers that during the fourteen months from the time his father moved into his new home until Sangamon county was organized, they were under the jurisdiction of Madison county, and the authorities at Edwardsville claimed that they were entitled to some revenue from the isolated settlers. They were so scattered that it was not thought advisable to send out an assessor, and after him a collector, but the sheriff, Bowling Whitesides, would send out a deputy, with instructions to assess and collect as he went. Mr. Langston remembers that late in 1820 or early in 1821, the deputy came, riding one horse and leading another, with a pack saddle on it. He would engage in a promiscuous conversation, and without making his business known, would fix some value on their property. He would direct the conversation in such a manner as to ascertain how many coon skins they had on hand. He would then make his business known, and proceed to make his assessment and collection. Mr. Langston said it was a remarkable fact that the tax in almost every case amounted to exactly the number of coon skins they had on hand. When the officer had accumulated all his horse could carry, he would go to Edwardsville, make a deposit, and return for another load. And that was the way the first revenue was collected in Sangamon county.[2]
In What Is Now Ball Township

Abraham Pease was born on July 22, 1791, in Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes County, Massachusetts. His ancestors were Welch. As a young man, he went to New York State and married there on August 18, 1811 to Orpha Southwick. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, from Cayuga County, New York. Abraham and Orpha came to Sangamon County with the family of Jesse Southwick arriving in 1818 (SHOULD BE SPRING OF 1820 SEE SOUTHWICK, p. 672) in what is now Ball Township. At least one child, Dexter came with them. They came with Orpha’s father’s family—the family of Jesse Southwick.[3]

GET More on Jesse Southwick Power, p. 672

On May 6, 1820, the frost killed the growing corn of Levi Cantrall.[4]

Arrival of Stephen, Joseph and Abigail Stillman and Edward Voluntine in Sangamon County

In the spring of 1820, Massachusetts natives and brothers, Stephen and Joseph B. Stillman and their mother, Abigail, the widow of Benjamin Stillman, emigrated to Sangamon County, Illinois. They settled one and a half miles west of what is now Williamsville.[5] Joseph, a physician, soon after went to the West Indies, and died there in 1825.[6]

Stephen Stillman was listed in the 1820 United States census, but not in the 1820 Illinois census taken in August.[7] A document found in the records of the Sangamon County Recorder of Deeds is evidence that Edward Voluntine, a 15 year-old African American, was living with Stephen in March of 1820.

State of Illinois, Sangamon County August 3, 1826. I Stephen Stillman do hereby certify that Edward Voluntine, a coulard boy was delivered to me by Doct. Joseph B. Stillman in Shawneetown, Galetin county, with orders to keep ____ boy until he the said Joseph B. Stillman should call for him--Since that time which was (I believe) sometime in March 1820 and is now twenty one years of age and of course free according to the laws of the State. The said Joseph B. Stillman having never called for him--To the best of my knowledge the said boy was twenty one years of age on the sixteenth day of July one thousand Eight hundred and twenty six--

Given under my hand & seal this third day of August 1826
Stephen Stillman
Recorded March 6th 1827

On June 24, 1820, Levi D. and Cynthia Bradford Ellis had a fifth son, Fielding,[9] in Sangamon County, Illinois.[10]


The exact date of some arrivals prior to the August 1820 Illinois census is not known, but because of their inclusion in that census we know that they were in the Springfield area prior to August 1820.

Levi (Levitt) W. Goodan,[11] age __ , a native of Pennsylvania and a carpenter, and his wife, Garner Crouch, settled in Springfield prior to August 1820[12] at what in 1881 was called Sangamon Station. Levi was a veteran of the War of 1812. They were married in Bath County Kentucky after the War.[13]

Signature of Levi W. Goodan

Pre-August 1820, Elijah (Jay) Slater,[14] age 45 and a native of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, his wife of 23 years,[15] Olive French Slater,[16] age __ and a native of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and their three children, 20 year-old Henrietta,[17] 19 year-old Maria,[18] and 13 year-old Olive,[19] arrived in Springfield.[20]


1820 Illinois Census

The 1820 Illinois census was taken in August, and the Springfield listings were as follows:

Peter Lanterman 8
John Lanterman 6
Richard Daggett 6
Henry Kelly 4
John Kelly 6
Elijah Kelly 4
William Kelly 10
Andrew Elliot 4
1 white male 21 and over; 3 all other white; total 4. (Federal)
Jacob Ellis 10
Illinois: 1 white male 21 and over; 9 all other white; total-10.
Levi D. Ellis 7
1 white male 21 and over; 6 all other white; total-7.
John D. Lindsey 9
Illinois: 2 white males 21 and over; 7 all other white; total-9.
Samuel Little 9
Jabez Capps 2
Elijah Slater 7 (Elijah, Olive and 3 children-who were the 3 others?)
Henry 6
John Dryer 5[21]
Levi Cantrall built a horse mill in the fall of 1820. It was a band mill, with a wheel forty feet in diameter. It was the first mill ever built north of the Sangamon River, and people came thirty miles or more to mill. Mr. Cantrall built a water mill on Cantrall’s creek, near the present town of Cantrall. It did sawing and grinding.[22]

U. S. Senator Jesse B. Thomas Writes to Pascal P. Enos Concerning the Possibility of a Land Office in Springfield

In October 1820, Pascal Paoli Enos was seeking a position with a United States Land Office located in Illinois. He apparently wrote to Illinois United States Senator Jesse B. Thomas making inquiry about the possibility of an appointment and as to the possibility of a land office being established in the “Sangamon Country”. The Senator’s December 4th reply to Enos is as follows:

Senate Chambers (Washington, D.C.)
December 4, 1820

Dear Sir:--In reply to your letter of the 28 Oct. I have to inform you that it is yet doubtful whether or not there will be a land office established in the Sangamon Country at the present session of Congress, and that there is no vacancy at the other point mentioned in your letter.

The Missouri constitution has not yet been passed upon by Congress, and it is very uncertain what may be its fate.

I have been laboring hard to clear the way preparatory to granting relief to the purchasers of public land under the old system and flatter myself that my efforts have in some measure been crowned with success. The Secretary of the Treasury very much to his own credit, and not a little to the interests of the purchasers to which I refer—presented a report today by which he recommends the propriety of allowing the purchaser to retain so much of any tract as the money already paid amounts to, and to abandon the residue—or to deduct 25 or 37% per centum (as congress may order) upon payment being made by the 30 Sept. next or to pay for any tract in ten annual installments (without interest) provided payment be punctually made—at the option of the debtor—Interest in all cases to be released by the Govt. It remains yet to be determined whether Congress will adopt those recommendations so important to the people of the west.

I am with much esteem dr. sir

Your most
Obt. Sert.
Jesse B. Thomas

…the land Act of 1820, the single most important piece of land legislation since the original 1785 ordinance. With the collapse of the credit system during the financial depression of 1819, Congress lowered the minimum price of land to $1.25 an acre and reduced the minimum purchase to eighty acres making it possible for a settler to receive clear title to half of a quarter-section of congress land for one hundred dollars in cash. When the Springfield land office opened for business in the fall of 1823 settlers were able to buy title to their claims under the most liberal provisions in the history of the republic.[24]

Philo and Martha Stillman Beers arrived in Springfield in 1820. Philo was a tailor.[25] GET MORE.

James Hook arrived in Springfield in 1820.[26]

Charles Boyd, born in New York on September 19, 1794, his wife, Eliza Dixon, born in Westchester, New York, and their son, Alex, born on July 3, 1817, arrived in Springfield in 1820. Charles was a tailor and a miner.[27]

William Fagan, born in 1777 in North Carolina, was married there to Peninah Fruit, who was born on January 29, 1774, in North Carolina. In 1819 43 year-old William and 46 year-old Peninah emigrated with four children to Southern Illinois, and then to Sangamon County, arriving in what is now Clear Lake Township in 1820.[28]

Ebenezer Capps,[29] age 22, a native of London, England and a grocery merchant, settled in Springfield in 1820.[30] His store was located on Lot 8, Block 6.

Arrival Of Dr. Gershom JayneSpringfield’s First Physician

Dr. Gershom Jayne,[31] a 29 year-old bachelor, born on October 15, 1791, in Orange County, New York, who received his diploma from the New York medical authorities, settled in Springfield in 1820.[32] He was the Springfield community’s first physician. At the time he located in Springfield, there was not another physician so far north in the State.[33]

Some of the first settlers of Sangamon County brought with them one or more slaves. One of the Kirkpatricks brought with him his colored boy Titus.[34]

William Carpenter,[35] born on July 3, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the eldest son of Samuel and Catharine Carpenter. On September 23, 1787, William was baptized in the German Lutheran church in Philadelphia. He had two brothers, Charles and Samuel, Jun., and two sisters, Elizabeth and Catharine. His father died when William was quite young, leaving the family dependent entirely on their own efforts for a livelihood.

When he reached manhood, William and his brother Samuel moved to Licking County, Ohio, then the “far west”. In the fall of 1819, at age 22, William married Margaret Pence,[36] who was born on February 5, 1803, in Shenandoah County, Virginia, the daughter of Peter and Catharine Pence. Her mother’s maiden name was Godfrey, whose father fought in the Revolution, under General Wayne, and was killed by the Indians near Wheeling, Virginia, in the summer of 1820.

In 1820, William and Margaret and Samuel Carpenter started a six week journey to Illinois. They passed through what is now Springfield, where they found the “Kelly cabins” which were the only settlement at what is now Springfield. They proceeded north, crossed the Sangamon River, and built a cabin about two miles north of the river.
Arrival Of Eleanor And Joseph Reavis And Sally And ______ GreenwaltAnd Six Slaves

Henry Kelly’s two daughters, Eleanor, who married in North Carolina to Joseph Reavis, and Sally, who married Mr. Greenwalt, arrived in Springfield circa 1820, together with their six slaves. They remained in Springfield for less than thirty days and then moved on to Missouri where slavery was permitted.

The daughters had three slaves, each; and, after tarrying less than thirty days in Sangamon county, moved on to Missouri.

At the same time the sisters halted here on their way to Missouri, where they went because they could not keep their slaves in Illinois.[37]

At this time, Illinois law required that slaves brought into Illinois be registered as indentured servants within thirty days. It was perhaps in order to avoid this requirement that the daughters stayed “less than thirty days”. Why didn’t they register the slaves as “indentured servants”? Did they take Henry Kelly’s Negro Jack with them to Missouri?

In 1820 a new Methodist circuit, the Sangamo, was created as part of the Illinois District (Missouri Conference) of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This Sangamo Circuit included the entire Sangamon River basin. James Simms (Sims), who had just been received into the conference, and had just come to Calhoun (Springfield), was assigned to the circuit and began his ministry in Springfield. The date of the first sermon preached in Springfield is 1820.[38]

See Power, p. 659 GOOD

[1] Frontier Illinois, Davis, p. 143.
[2] Power, p. 439.
[3] Power, p. 562.
[4] Power, p. 183.
[5] 1881 History, pp. 48, 280, 524, 572 and 621. Power, p. 424.
In 1822, a post office was established there and Mr. Stillman was made postmaster. It was the first post office north of the Sangamon River. He was the first Senator elected from Sangamon County. Mr. Stillman died in Peoria between 1835 and 1840. His brother Isaiah Stillman was in command of a body of troops in the Black Hawk War in 1832, at a point in Ogle county, which has ever since been known as “Stillman’s Run.” Stillman was an anti-convention advocate and an ally of Governor Coles.
[6] Power, p. 688.
[7] 1820 United States Census. Illinois Historical Collections, Census of 1820.
[8] Sangamon County, Illinois Recorder of Deeds, Book ____, page ___, Illinois Regional Archive Depository, Brookens Library, University of Illinois at Springfield, Springfield, Illinois. (Hereinafter “IRAD”.)
[9] (6/24/1820-____)
[10] Power, p. 287.
[11] (Gooden) (Gooding)
[12] Z. Enos: Snow Birds—1821 1820 census: No-Federal. 1820 census: Yes-Illinois.
[13] Power, p. 333. 1881 History, pp. 197, 47. Journal, deft. attachment suit, O29/41-2:7.
Children: William
David C. Journal, Spfd “Indian & German root dr,” Ja5/39-2:6; deft. Attachment suit, O29/41-2:7; deft. Chancery suit, F5/46-3:5.
[14] (1775-July 1836)
[15] Married: 1797. West Stockbridge, Mass.
[16] (____-November 1844)
[17] (1800 Mass.-1820)
[18] (1801 Mass.-1820)
[19] (1807 Mass.-1844)
[20] Power, p. 661-664, 35. Angle, p. 24. Enos, p. 197. 1881 History, pp. 49, 516, 521 and 604. He and his wife were two of original members of 1st Presbyterian Church--organizers Chapin, p. 4.
N.E. Cor. of 2nd & Jefferson. Samuel D. (1798-____) Mass. Journal: appraises estray, My. 3/34-3:5.
[21] The 1820 Illinois census listed 1,512 “free persons of color” and 668 “servants” or “slaves”. Madison County then encompassed what is now Sangamon County, and the census of that county, listed 45 free persons of color and 96 servants or slaves. No free colored person, servant or slave was listed in the census for the area where Springfield now stands.
[22] Power, p. 183.
[23] Four Original Letters, 1820-1830, From Original Letters Written to Mr. Pascal P. Enos, and Presented to the Illinois State Historical Society by Miss Louise I. Enos, the Granddaughter of Mr. Enos, Journal of the Illinois Historical Society, ____, pp. 493-494.
[24] Sugar Creek, p. 54.
[25] Power, p. ___. Springfield’s Early Settlers.
[26] Springfield’s Settlers, Enos, p. 44.
[27] Power, p. ___.
[28] Power, p. 293. They moved the next year to Buffalo Hart Grove, and from there to Springfield. In 1831, they settled on a farm three miles northwest of Springfield.
[29] (1798-____)
[30] Z. Enos: Snow Birds. 1881 History, pp. 197 (Stuart), 199 (Stuart: he kept a grocery) and 563 (good). Power, p. 185.
[31] (10/15/1791-4/19/1867) Age 75 at death.
[32] Z. Enos: Snow Birds.
[33] Power, p. 406. Angle, pp. 11, 25, 33 and 37.
1891 History, p. 833 ?
C.W.: v. I, pp. 121; v. II, pp. 13-14, 188, 357n; v. VI, p. 238n.
Journal Junta: anti-Jackson.
[34] Enos, p. 202. Power, p. 660. Married: Matilda Sims. Z. Enos: Snow Birds 1881 History, p. 165. (Served in Captain Iles’ Company during the Black hawk War, April 21, 1832.
Horse mill.
Rear of Lot 5, Block 15, O.T.P.
[35] (July 3, 1787-August 30, 1859)
[36] (2/5/1803-____)
[37] Power, p. 424.
[38] First Methodist Church, Piersel, p. 2.



Richard E. Hart

The first settlement in Illinois by American population was made in the southern part of the State by immigrants, almost exclusively from the slave states, and extended gradually north to the middle of the State.[1]

In 1818, the future site of Springfield was at the center of a vast Central Illinois prairie whose expanse was broken only by rivers and streams and an occasional island of trees. An occasional scouting party may have passed through the area in the past, but other than that, few whites had disturbed the Native American Kickapoo’s hunting and gathering grounds. This was all about to be changed by an invasion of two main streams of population. The first stream was nomadic, young — mostly in their mid-twenties — first or second generation, upland white Southerners from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas — and a later second stream was from New York and New England.

The first stream of Southerners had little need and no desire for a settled or socially structured society. They moved easily and often, being almost generationally nomadic. They were independent, adventurous, risk taking and self-confident. These earliest Springfield settlers brought little with them other than the customs and practices of their prior Southern life, which in a few instances included the ownership or possession of African-American slaves. Consequently, from Springfield’s beginning, African-Americans - free, slave and indentured - were a part of the community’s life.

The upland Southern culture transplanted well to early Springfield and established the village’s early vision and treatment of its African-American residents. The first whites moving from Southern slave states north and west into the central Illinois frontier adapted to the “voluntary servitude system”, the Illinois equivalent of slavery. Examination of these earliest white Springfield residents is helpful in understanding the village’s early culture and mores, particularly those relating to its African-American residents.

Of especial interest are the settlements above the line of survey, for these illustrate the way in which the frontier population pushed out and squatted on land which was not yet in the market and which in some cases had not yet been cleared of the Indian title. The census schedules indicated that about seventy families were living in this region in the early summer of 1818, but the number was probably doubled before the end of the year. As usual on the extreme frontier, the settlers were to be found principally along the rivers and creeks.[2]

Illinois In 1818 Showing Population Density, Indians And Roads

Dodds, Joseph, born May 28, 1785, in Abbeville District, South Carolina. He was taken by his mother to Caldwell county, Ky., in 1797 or '8. He was there married, May 3, 1810, to Mattie Drennan. They had three children in Kentucky, and in Oct. 1817, he accompanied his father-in-law, William Drennan, to Illinois. In November they stopped on Wood river, in Madison county, two miles north of Alton, and remained there until the next March, when the men and boys connected with four families started for Sugar creek, Sangamon county, piloted by William Moore, an Indian Ranger. They reached their destination on the first of March, 1818, stopping in what is now Ball township, northwest of Sugar creek. There had not been any survey made, but the sopt selected by Mr. Dodds, and on which he built his cabin, is now section twenty-nine, town fourteen, range five west, and that of William Drennan is section thirty-two, same town and range. Mr. Dodds had been too busy with his crop to build anything better than a double rail pen for the protection of his family.[3]

William Drennan’s
Settlement Site
Joseph Dodds’
Settlement Site
Robert Pulliam’s Cabin

Map of Sections 29 and 32, Ball TownshipSite of Joseph Dodds and William Drennan’s Setlement in 1818

To protect the frontier, Congress in 1811 authorized the organization of ten companies of Rangers, a regiment commanded by Col. William Russell, Samuel Whiteside, William B. Whiteside, James B. Moore and Jacob Short commanded the four companies charged with protecting Illinois. These Rangers, residents of Illinois, furnished their own equipment and horses. They ranged between settlements, spotting danger and mounting spoiling attacks. They kept Indians off balance, hit hostilities before they struck, and pursued those who had attacked. Raised locally, Rangers realized they protected loved ones from destruction. Also, remuneration of one dollar per day was not inconsiderable.[4]

Sugar Creek is composed of two principal sections: the upper creek, from its source to its junction with Lick Creek, and the lower creek, from that point to its mouth on the Sangamon. In the place-names of nineteenth-century Sangamon County, “Sugar Creek” generally referred to the 100-square mile upper section. The timber of the lower creek formed the southern line of the prairie that included Springfield, as well as several smaller settlements with names of their own. Because of their proximity to Springfield, urban growth decisively affected these communities, and they have a history distinctively different from the more isolated community of upper Sugar Creek. … The upper reach of Sugar Creek retains many of the features of its early-nineteenth-century landscape.[5]


map of area known as Sugar Creek as it was in 1818

Arrival Of Elisha Kelley And Beginning of “Kelly Settlement”

In the early Spring of 1818, Elisha Kelley,[7] a 31 year-old bachelor, arrived in what would become Springfield. Three years earlier (1815?) Elisha had left North Carolina to settle in Illinois, and arriving in what is now Macoupin County, he built a cabin. Elisha was a hunter, and in pursuing this fondness he ranged the country for many miles-in all directions. One day he wandered into a ravine in which a small, clear stream ran northward to empty into Spring Creek. Large numbers of deer passed up and down, and Elisha thought it a hunter’s paradise.[8]

“About the year 1818, an old bachelor emigrated from Rutherford County, North Carolina to this State, remaining for a time in Macoupin county, and from there he came on to what is now Sangamon county. He was so charmed with the country in the neighborhood, he determined to make it his future home. Returning to North Carolina, he induced his father, Henry Kelly, and four brothers to join him in forming a new settlement. John Kelly, one of the brothers, built a cabin, near which is now the northwest corner of Jefferson and Second streets. In this cabin the first court of Sangamon county was held.”[9]

In the early spring of 1818 Elisha Kelly stood on the banks of Spring Creek and gazed upon the site which would later become the City of Springfield. He was so overwhelmed by its beauty that he returned to his North Carolina home and set about persuading his entire family to return with him to his “Garden of Eden”. They all came--father, mother, two sisters, four brothers and their families. Soon after, six other families joined the settlement and within a year nine cabins stood along Spring Creek.[10]

His selecting the place for a hunting ground and inducing others to come, was the beginning of Springfield. The parties caused to come were his father, Henry Kelly, and his three brothers, William, John and Elija. The younger brother, George, came a few years later. At the same time the sisters halted here on their way to Missouri, where they went because they could not keep their slaves in Illinois.[11]

The Illinois census of 1818 for the County of Madison shows at household number 630 “Elijah Kelly”, not “Elisha”, with two free white males of 21 years and upward and 3 other white inhabitants in the household, a total of 5.[12]

________ year-old Jacob Ellis,[13] probably a native of South Carolina, arrived in what would become Springfield in the early Spring of 1818. Jacob lived one-half mile west of his brother, Levi, who had arrived the previous year. Here Jacob built a horse mill, cotton gin and blacksmith shop. He was the area’s first blacksmith.[14]

Map of Edwards Trace In Sangamon County

Fort Russell (near present day Edwardsville) became the staging point for attacks. On October 18 (1812), Governor Edwards led a foray from Fort Russell, commanding nearly 400 men, but some promised mounted Kentuckian riflemen never showed up. Edwards’s unit skirted the west side of Cahokia Creek, reached Macoupin Creek, crossing near today’s Carlinville, then sliced in a northeasterly direction, crossing the Sangamon River just downstream from the juncture of the north and south forks, to the east of modern Springfield. It filed east of Elkhart Grove, crossed Salt Creek near present-day Lincoln, and came upon an abandoned Kickapoo village, which featured wigwams with designs showing whites being scalped. Not amused, soldiers reduced the village to ashes, then pushed toward Peoria.[15]

On July 20, 1818, Levi D. and Cynthia Bradford Ellis had a fourth son, Jacob W.,[16] the first white child born in Sangamon County, Illinois.[17]

Zachariah Peter, born in Amherst County, Virginia, moved with his parents when two years old to Washington County, Kentucky. He married near Danville, Kentucky to Nancy Spaulding. They had five children in Kentucky and moved to what afterwards became Sangamon County, Illinois arriving in September 1818. The found an empty cabin in what is now Ball Township, and moved in. That was the cabin built by Robert Pulliam in the fall of 1817, the first ever erected in Sangamon County. Mr. Peter lived there until the spring of 1819 when Mr. Pulliam came with his own family. Mr. Peter then vacated the cabin and built a cabin about three miles further north. Their five children, all of whom were born in Kentucky, came with them, namely: Mary T., born on September 13, 1806, Samuel, born in 1808, John N. born in 1810, Mahala D. born in 1813, and Therza or Theresa born in 1815.[18]

Letter of Greshom Flagg Describing Illinois and Madison County



12 SEPT. 1818

Dear Brother, ( According the Flagg Family records Artemas Flagg was married on Sept. 6, 1817 to Betsey Squires, daughter of Stephen & Bethia (Bishop) Squires)

Your letter of the 31st May mailed June 8, I received, the 23rd of July which informed me that you were all well at the time. May this continue to be your good fortune and may these lines reach you as they leave me in good health. As you may wish to know something of the Country in which I live, I will write a few lines respecting it. The Territory of Illinois contains nearly all that part of the United States Territory east of the Mississippi and N.W. of the Ohio & Wabash Rivers. The late law of Congress enabling the people to form a Constitution & State Government makes the boundaries on the S. & W. Ohio & Mississippi Rivers on the East by Indiana State N by 42 30' N. Lat. The conjunction of the Ohio & Mississippi Rivers is in Lat 37 N so that this Territory is 350 miles in length. The face of the Country is very level without any mountains and but few hills. It is not exceeded by levelness or richness of soil by any in the United States. The prairies are very large while the timbered land is confined almost wholly to the Intervales and low rounds. Where ever the land is high and dry enough for the fire to run in the spring and fall the timber is all destroyed. The Soil is of such an alluvial nature that the water courses cut out deep chanels from 6 to 20 feet deep generally. Where this is the case the streams do not overflow.

We have all kinds of soil from midling poor to the very best. It produces Corn & Wheat better than any other Country I have seen. It also produces hemp, flax, Mellons, Sweet potatoes, Turnips & all kinds of vegetables except Irish Potatoes as good as any other Country. Cotton is raised sufficient for domestic use, a very small piece of ground produces enough for a family.

We have plenty of apples, peaches &c in places. Grapes & of several kinds and several kinds of Wild plumbs & cherries in profusion also Dew Berries, Black berries and Strawberries. The bottom Prairies are covered with Weeds of different kinds and grass about 8 feet high. The high Prairies are also thickly covered with grass but finer & not so tall. The prairies are continually covered (in the summer season) with wild flowers of all colors which gives them a very handsome appearance. These high Prairies are smoother than any intervale & not a stone, log or anything but grass & weeds to be seen for miles except where they border the timber there is generally a thicket of plumb bushes, hazel grape vines &c&c. The Roots of the grass are very tough it generally requires 3 yoke of Oxen or six horses to plough up the prairies & the plough must be kept at a keen edge by filing often, the steel not being hardened, but this is all that is to be done except fencing to raise a crop. After one year the ground is mellow and requires but a light team to plough it. The Timber in this Country is very different from any you have seen. The most Common timber is White, Black, Spanish post, Chincopin, Pin and Burrh Oak, Walnut Black & White, Basswood, Cherry Button wood Ash, Elm Sassafras, Sumach, Elder, Honey locust, Mulberry, Crab Apple, Thorn of different kinds, Redbud, Pecon, Hackberry, Maple, Cotton Wood, Pawpaw which bears a fruit larger than an apple. The timber is not so good as I have seen, generally, the fire kills & checks the growth every year. When the fire gets into high thick grass it goes faster than a horse can Run & burns the Prairie smooth.

The situation of this Territory is good for trade having the advantage of Water carriage on all sides the Missisipi on the West, the Ohio & Wabash S.E. & the Kaskaskia and Illinois in the interior of the Territory. The Illinois which is about 400 miles in length heads near Lake Michigan. A branch of Illinois heads within 4 miles of the head of Chicago a short River which empties into Lake Michgon. In fresh(t)s boats pass this portage the waters being connected. They are made shallow for the purpose. I have seen them at St. Louis landing. I think there will be a canal cut to connect the waters of Illinois & Chicago at no distant period. From information the expense would not be great. One hundred thousand acres of Land is appropriated for this purpose. This done we have a water communication from almost any part of the Territory to the states of Indiana Ohio & Pensylvania on either side of those states. Also with New York by the way of Lake Erie & an easy Communications with Ocean by New Orleans. One steam Boat Run from ST. Louis to Louisville Kentucky the last season and another from St. Louis to NewOrleans. One of them came up to St. Louis the 1st January last and returned but the Ice generally covers the River in January & Febuary. That is, drifting ice, for the Missisipi was not shut over last winter at St. Louis tho it sometimes is. The Missouri was frozen over last winter. There are 8 or 10 steam boats on the Ohio and Missisipi Rivers and more buildings, there was two built in Cincinnati last summer & one at the Rising Sun and one at New Albany below the falls of Ohio. The Trade from St. Louis to Orleans is very considerable there are in St. Louis between 40 & 50 mercantile Stores.

We have a great plenty of Deer, Turkies, Wolves, Opossoms, Prairie hens, Eagles, Turky Buzzards, Swans, Geese, ducks, Brant, sand hill Cranes, Paokites & with many other small animals & birds. Gray squirrels are as thick here as I have ever seen stripeld (sic) ones in Vermont. There is more honey here in this Territory I suppose than in any other place in the world. I have heard the Hunters say that they have found 8 or 10 swarms in a day on the St. Gama & Illinois Rivers where there are not settlements (Truly this must be the Land of Milk & Honey) The Climate is not so hot as might be expected there is almost a continual breeze blowing from the large prairies like the breezes on large Lakes & ponds. The country is so open that it is considerable cold in Winter, the ground freezes very hard. There being generally but little snow. The past summer has been very hot more than common I am told. The Thermometer on the hottest day stood at 98. I learn from the News Papers that the Weather has been very hot in different parts of the United States.

The Stock of this Country consists principally of horses, horned Cattle & hogs. Sheep will do very well here if they can be kept from the Wolves but this cannot well be done in the newsettled parts the wolves are so very numerous. Hogs will live & get fat in the Woods and Prairies. I have seen some as fat upon Hickorynuts, Acorns, Pecons & Walnuts, as ever I did those that were fatted upon Corn. All that prevents this country being as full of Wild hogs as of Deer is the Wolves which kill the pigs when the sows are not shut up til the pigs are a few weeks old. There are places in this Territory where Cattle & horses will live all winter & be in good order without feeding, that is upon the Rivers. Most of the people cut no hay for their Cattle & horses but this is a foolish way of theirs, they either have to feed out their Corn or their Cattle get very poor. Cattle & horses do very well in this Country they get very fat by the middle of June. They do not gain much after this being so harrassed by swarms of flies which prevent their feeding any in the heat of the day. They are so bad upon horses that it is almost impossible to travel from the 15 June til the lst Sept unles a horse is covered with blankets. Where ever a fly lights upon a horse a drop of blood starts. I have seen white horses red with blood that these flies had drawn out of him. As the Country becomes settled these flies disappear.

It appears from the returns to the secretary that there is in this Territory upwards of 40,000 inhabitants. The Convention which met the first mondy(sic) in August have formed a Constitution but it is not yet published, as soon as it is I will send you a Copy. The Gov. is to be Chosen for 4 years as also the senate the members of the lower house are chosen once in two years the Legeslature to set biennally. I have delayed writing for several days to hear whether Simeon Manuel was in St. Louis but can hear nothing of him. P.P. Enos formerly of Woodstock, Vermont now lives in St. Louis and he tells me he knows no such man there.

William S. Wait son of Thomas B. Wait of Boston, Mass was in this Territory last March and bought 2500 Acres of Land & told me he should return to this Country to live.....Jason Chamberlin from Burlington lives at Cape Gerardeau a small Town on the West Bank of Missisipi about 120 miles below St.Louis. I saw his wife when I was coming up the River but he was gone to Arkansaw on business. Charles Peck who once lived with Moses Spencer now lives 18 miles from the Mouth of the Missouri at St. Charles, a small town on the North side of the Missouri, his Brother a blacksmith lives at the same place.

You mention that Stephen Hallock had gone to Darby Creek Ohio. I have also hear that Gideon Wright was there. I have been there myself. That part of the country is entirely level very Rich and in the spring covered with water. Darby Creek is a Branch of the Scioto River.

This 26 April I recd a letter from you dated 6July 1817 and post marked Hubbardton July 9th having been 9 months & 17 days on the way having been mislaid as I suppose. You have been very particular in you(r) letters which has given me much satisfaction but you still complainof you(r) inability to write I wish you would not try to excuse your self from writing on that head but write as often as you can get time for I have money enough to pay the Postage and it never goes more freely than to hear from my friends and nothing gives me more satisfaction than reading your Letters.

I have not been able to get any employment in surveying The Lands, having been principally surveyed in the winter of 1816-17. There was then upwards of 80 companies employed upwards of 4 month. They surveyed the Military Bounty Lands and most of the other Lands where the Indian title was extinguished, 3 1/2 millions of acres of bounty lands were survd between the Missisipi and Illinois Rivers. There is now considerable surveying to be done but the Surveyor General, Rector, has so many connections that are surveyors, that it is not possible for a stranger to get any contract of any importance. Gov. gives 3 dollars a mile for surveying all publick lands. Some who are not Surveyors (but favorites) make Contracts for surveying and then hire it done. I was offered 25 dollars a month last winter to go with another surveyor but did not choose to go under a man who did not know as much as I did myself.

I entered 420 acres of Land near this place and about 25 miles from St. Louis and 10 or 12 from the Conjunction of the Missisipi and Missouri Rivers and 18 or 20 from the Mouth of Illinois nearly in Lat 38 30' North. I now own only 160 acres haveing sold the remainder for $285. dollars being double what I gave for it. The quarter Section which I now own is on the trail which leads from Edwardsville to Fort Clark which is at the south end of Illinois Lake a dilation of the Illinois River 210 miles from its mouth following its meanderings. This fort was built in the time of the Late War. This with forts at Chicago and fox River which empties into green bay, Macinau, Prairie des Chien and fort Edwards on the Missisippi below the mouth of Rock River serve to regulate the Indian trade and protect the Frontiers from the savages. The United States have also garisons upon Red River, Arkansaw and Missouri Rivers.

The people of This Territory are from all parts of the United States & do the least work I believe of any people in the world. Their principal business is hunting deer, horses, hogs and Cattle and raising Corn. they have no pasture but turn every thing out to run at large and when they want to use a horse or oxen they will have to travel half a dozen miles to find them through grass and weeds higher than a man can reach when on horseback and the grass and vines are so rough that nothing but their Leather hunting shirts and trowsers will stand any Chance at all.

These kind of People as soon as the settlements become thick Clear out and go further into the new Country. The method of Raising Corn here is to plough the ground once then furrow it both ways and plant the Corn 4 feet each way and plough between it 3 or 4 times in the Summer but never hoe it at all. Wheat is generally sowed among the Corn and ploughed in sometime in August or first sept. there are no barns in this Country people stack all their Wheat and thresh it out with horses on the ground. We have not many good mills in this Country.

the price of Corn last harvest was 33 1/3 cents in the spring 50 cents,.in the summer, 75 cents. Potatoes are from 50 to 100 cents a bushel, oats 50 cents. Wheat one dollar, Beef from 3 1/2 to 5 dollars per hundred, Pork from 4 to 7 dollars a hundred. Dry goods are getting very Cheap , the country is full of them we have more merchants than any thing else. Boots and Shoes sell the highest here of any place I was ever in, iron is 75 dollardsa hundred, salt 3 dollars a bushel, butter from 12 1/2 to 50 cents a pound cheese generally brings 25 cents and very little to be had at that price, for there is none made except by Eastern people. the price of improved farms here is from 5 to 12 dollars an acre.

As soon as you Receive this I wish you to write to me. As soon as I can make it any way convenient I intend to come and see you all for I be(leve) you (MS. torn a) nd the rest of the young men (in the) vicinity (can) not leave your mothers long (enough) to come (here)

I think I shall go by the way of New Orleans and New York or Boston. It being the easiest and cheapest route to go from here to Vermont. give my love to all my friends. By your letter I learn that you are all (MS.torn) married. I expect in about 10 to 15 years when you have about a dozen Children each you will begin to think about moving to the westward. I have seen more old, than young men moveing. If you have an Idea of ever seeing the Western country you never will have a better time than the present, but if you are contented there you can live as well there as here. I send you my best wishes my respects to my Parents and remain your affectionate Brother for ever



Dodds, Joseph, married, May 3, 1810, to Mattie Drennan. They had three children in Kentucky, Mr. Dodds brought his family to their new home Nov. 3, 1818, where seven children were born.[19]

In November 1818 when the Samuel Vancil family arrived southeast of what is now Auburn, the Kickapoo Indians were numerous and friendly.[20]


Illinois Admitted as a State of the Union

Illinois was admitted as a state of the Union on December 3, 1818.


Andrew Orr Arrives in Auburn Township

Andrew Orr came to Auburn Township in 1818.[21]

[1] Description of Springfield, Zimri Enos, Publication No. 14, Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society, 1909, Publication of the Illinois State Historical Library, p. 202. (Hereinafter “Enos”.)
[2] Illinois in 1818, p. 83.
[3] Power, pp.253- 255.
[4] Frontier Illinois, Davis, pp. 135-136.
[5] Sugar Creek, p. 247.
[6] Sugar Creek, p.38.
[7] (1787-1871)
[8] Angle, p. 5-6.
[9] 1881 History, p. 563.
[10] Veach, p. 9.
[11] Power, p. 424.
[12] Illinois Census of 1818, Illinois Historical Collections, p. 134.
[13] (pre 1791-____)
[14] Enos, p. 197 (Left 1825) and 200. Z. Enos: Snow Birds. Power, p. 287. Angle, p. 24. 1881 History, 582 (Iles) and 745 (Auburn Township: 1818-He located claim and erected cabin on N ½, Sec. 15, Township 13 N, R 6W.). Moved to Fulton County in 1823
[15] Frontier Illinois, Davis, p. 147.
[16] (7/20/1818-____).
[17] Power, p. 287.
[18] Power, p. 564.
[19] Power, p. 255. Of their eleven children---Alexander R., born July 27, 1834, was married Dec. 24, 1860, to Amelia R. Planck, and died Jan. 4, 1864, leaving a widow and one child, Eva M., in Springfield, Illinois
[20] Power, p. 735.
[21] 1881 History, p. 745.