History of Fulton county, Illinois

For centuries prior to the coming of the pioneers the woodland and prairie of Fulton county had been the home of the red man. He had full sway over this, one of the finest sections of the globe. But nature's hand had been too lavish in the distribution of natural advantages to let it remain longer in possession of those who refused to develop, even in the slightest degree, any of her great resources, accordingly she directed hitherward the Anglo Saxon. The westward tread of the sturdy pioneer was heard and felt by the savage race during the early part of the present century. On they came with a firm resolute step, until this fair clime and country was reached, when they pitched their tents and ere long a fruitful field was blooming where the large forest trees and wild grass had waved in the breezes for hundreds of years, undisturbed. They transformed the wigwams into cities; dotted the knolls with school-houses and churches; replaced the buffalo, deer, elk, and wolf, which had been driven further westward, with domestic animals; erected factories, built railroads, and reared a refined, enlightened and cultured people.

In this volume we have attempted to portray these changes; to picture them that future generations, as well as the present, may know something of what it cost to give them such a fair land. That they may have an idea of its once primitive condition, and learn of the brave men and women who have subdued the country; converted the wilderness into what we now behold. If we have placed facts upon record so that they are thus understood we will have fulfilled our mission.

We have taken much care in recording the pioneer history, that coming generations, those who will not have the early settler to relate to them the history incident to the settlement and development of this county, may familiarize themselves with it through this medium; and that the reader may see the county in its various stages of progression. We do not profess to have fully delineated the trials, sufferings, and hardships that were experienced in converting even this fertile land from its virgin wildness into the luxuriant and densely populated country it now is. No! for human tongue or pen is far from being adequate to that task.

Different persons have given us honest and sincere, but nevertheless conflicting accounts of the same events, and it has been both a difficult and delicate task to harmonize them, and draw therefrom reasonable and approximately correct conclusions. We had only one aim in view, one plan to carry out, and that was, to record events impartially to detail them as they actually occurred.

That we have completed our work, fulfilled all our promises to the uttermost, we feel conscientiously assured, and we submit the result of our labors to the charitable consideration of this intelligent and liberal people. It must not be expected that, in the multiplicity of names, dates, and events, no errors will be detected. We do not dare hope that in the numerous and varied details this book is absolutely correct, nor is it expected that it is beyond criticism, yet we believe it will be found to be measurably correct and reliable. We have labored assiduously and with studious care to make it a standard work of reference, as well as an authoritative record for future historians to build upon.

Believing a work of this nature would be comparatively incomplete without speaking of the history of the State, of which Fulton county forms no unimportant portion, we have carefully prepared a condensed, yet very complete history of Illinois, which we incorporate in this volume. And as a valuable aid in transacting every-day business, we append a carefully compiled digest of Illinois State Laws, which both the business man and farmer will find of great value.

 

Table of Contents.

HISTORY OF ILLINOIS

MOUND-BUILDERS 17
INDIANS 21
EARLY DISCOVERIES 31
FRENCH OCCUPATION 44
ENGLISH RULE 47
ILLINOIS 55
NORTHWESTERN TERRITORY 55
ILLINOIS TERRITORY 59
WAR OF 1812 - THE OUTBREAK 59
ILLINOIS AS A STATE 74
INDIAN TROUBLES 83
BLACK HAWK WAR 84
FROM 1834 TO 1842 95
PRAIRIE PIRATES 102
MORMON WAR 104
MEXICAN WAR 118
THE WAR FOR THE UNION 125
DUELS 141
DRESS AND MANNERS 149
PHYSICAL FEATURES OF ILLINOIS 154
AGRICULTURE 155
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 157
CHICAGO 170
STATES OF THE UNION 177
HISTORY OF FULTON

CHAPTER I.
EARLY SETTLEMENT 191

CHAPTER II.
EARLY SETTLEMENT CONTINUED 211

CHAPTER III.
IMPORTANT LABORS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' COUTY 237

CHAPTER IV.
GEOLOGY 257

CHAPTER V.
ZOOLOGY 265

CHAPTER VI.
BOTANY 271

CHAPTER VII.
IMPORTANT LABORS OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS 282

CHAPTER VIII.
BLACK HAWK WAR 189

CHAPTER IX.
CRIMINAL RECORD 307

CHAPTER X.
PIONEER LIFE 318

CHAPTER XI.
ARCHAEOLOGY 335

CHAPTER XII.
MEXICAN WAR 340

CHAPTER XIII.
THE REBELLION 342

CHAPTER XIV.
THE BAR OF FULTON COUNTY 392

CHAPTER XV.
TOWNSHIP HISTORIES

CHAPTER XVI.
POLITICAL 975

CHAPTER XVII.
COUNTY OFFICIALS 984

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE PRESS 990

CHAPTER XIX.
RAILROADS 1006

CHAPTER XX.
MISCELLANEOUS 1014

ILLUSTRATIONS
PORTRAITS
DIGEST OF STATE LAWS

 

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Fulton County. The largest of the counties contained in the Military Tract is Fulton county, the history of which we now begin to write, and which we shall seek to make as detailed and accurate as accessible data will permit. That some errors will occur in names and dates, and some statements, cannot be denied, but studious care will be taken to avoid as many inaccuracies as possible. The face of the country of this county, save that portion bordering on Illinois river, is mostly rich, rolling prairie, watered by Spoon river, Copperas, Otter, Cedar, Buckheart, Big, Putman and Coal creeks, with their numerous and small tributaries, along which are extensive bodies of timber. The farmers have planted artificial groves extensively over the prairie, which has had the effect of ameliorating the climate, by keeping the winds of an open country from the surface of the earth. By the energy and enterprise of the citizens of this county it has been transformed from the native wilderness into one of the most attractive portions of the State, if not of the West. It is claimed that there is no spot on the face of the earth capable of sustaining a denser population than the Military Tract; and those familiar with this beautiful portion of our State know that Fulton county is not excelled by any other within its boundary. That this county contains as intelligent, enterprising and thrifty agriculturists as probably can be found elsewhere in the same breadth of territory in the Ignited States, few will deny. Fine barns, with all the modern improvements, comfortable dwellings, lawns, gardens, out-houses, etc., are to be found on every hand; towns and cities have sprung up as if by magic, and every knoll is graced by a church edifice or school building.