History of Douglas County, Illinois

In the preparation of a history of any minor subdivision of a State, allusion is necessarily made to various events of the past which are well known to many old residents, and many things of the present are recorded which are not strange to the intelligent citizen. Nevertheless all no not know all of the past, nor is any one thoroughly posted on the present. Hence the hope that this compilation amounts at least to an interchange of knowledge, which being "collected and refreshed" puts all on an equal footing for a fresh start.

It would be as well, perhaps, for us who are familiar with both the past and present of our little Utica, to bear in mind that a history of the past, for the use of the present, is not of more importance than that of the present for its successors.

In regard to the times of elections, terms of office, and the emoluments of the different classes of the county public service, the obligations of the county to railroads, population, etc., etc., it is believed that much useful information has been given in, as it were, a pocket form, the matter of which is not claimed as original, but, it is supposed, will be found correct, and convenient.

Much of an anecdotical nature might have been added, and many things touched upon could readily have been amplified, but the matter in bulk, and consequently in labor, has far transcended the original design for this occasion.


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By the treaty of peace between the French and English in 1763, the Illinois Country was ceded to the latter. It remained in their hands until 1778 in which year Virginia troops under General Clark conquered the country. A county called Illinois was then organized, and had been considered hitherto a part of the territory included in the charter of Virginia. Virginia ceded it to the United States in 1787, and it was called the "Northwest Territory." In 1800 it received a separate organization and I territorial government in conjunction with, and under the name of Indiana. Another division took place in 1809 when the distinct territories of Indiana and Illinois were formed.

The name of Illinois is derived from that of its great river, an aboriginal appellation, signifying the "River of men."