History of Greene county, Illinois
A single county in the great State of Illinois occupies but an insignificant place upon the map of the world, and its people and its story are comparatively unknown. Yet the grand river of national history is formed by the union of many rills of tradition and record flowing from a thousand counties and states all over the land. The tracing of one of these rills to its source, and the occasional gathering of a blossom from its banks, or a glittering pebble from its bed, is the province of the present volume. The dweller on the shores of a mighty Father of Waters knows more of the busy scenes of commerce than the hardy mountaineer, but the boy whose home is by the side of a rippling brook is familiar with every stone on its bank, with every fish in its bosom, and every tree that shades its tiny wavelets; so the History of Greene County, though it deals not with the tumults of war or the intricacies of diplomacy, gives, the reader a much clearer view of the thoughts, the habits, and the trials of the people with whom it is connected, than is possible in a more pretentious volume. It is with this view that we issue the present work. It is not a record of the convulsions of nations, but of the lives of a few people who lived for a short time in a very limited territory.
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The Illinois River, with its tributaries, drains nearly one-third of the State of Illinois. It is one of the most important affluents of the Mississippi and flows from the northeast to the southwest fully across the State, draining about an equal amount of territory on either side. Its valley consists of long arms of beautiful, dry, rolling, fertile prairie, alternating with similar, though narrower, lines of wooded land so distributed as to be convenient to any part of the surrounding country. The latter is as rolling and healthful as the former, and, on every section of either, living water may be readily found. This mighty river is the central water line of the great upper valley of the Mississippi, and has cut into the crust of the earth a deeper groove than any other branch of the Father of Waters. For this reason the Illinois is the last river to freeze in the early winter and the first to thaw in the spring, among all the streams in the same latitude. The depth of its channel accounts for the total absence of extensive swamps and morasses along its borders.