:^amamma

LIBRARY OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

977c39 P42h

I o H o b o

HISTORY

OF

JjJj

XAIER, Union Al POLASRI CODNTIES,

IKL.INOIS.

B33ITEX> ,3Y AAT'IXjIjIJ^Iid: HElTR-y X'ER/R/IIT.

ILLUSTRATE.D

CHICAGO:

O. L. BASKIN & CO., HISTORICAL PUBLISHERS,

183 Lake Street.

1883.

PREFACE.

rpHE history of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, after months of persistent toil and -L research, is now completed, and it is believed that no subject of universal public impor- tance or interest has been omitted, save where protracted effort failed to secure reliable results- We are well aware of our inability to furnish a perfect history from meager public documents and numberless conflicting traditions, but claim to have prepared a work fully up to the standard of our promises. Through the courtesy and assistance generously afforded by the residents of these counties, we have been enabled to trace out and put on record the greater portion of the important events that have transpired in Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, up to the present time. And we feel assured that all thoughtful people in these counties, now and in future, will recognize and appreciate the importance of the work and its permanent value.

A dry statement of events has, as far as possible, been avoided, and incidents and anecdotes have been interwoven with facts and statistics, forming a narrative at once instructive and inter- esting.

We are indebted to John Grear, Esq., for the history of Jonesboro and Precinct; to Dr. J H. Sanborn for the history of Anna and Precinct; to Dr. N. R. Casey for the history of Mound City and Precinct, and to George W. Endicott, Esq., of Villa Ridge, for his chapter on Agricult- ure and Horticulture of Pulaski County. Also to H. C. Bradsby, Esq., for his very able and exhaustive history of Cairo, as well as the general history of the respective counties, and to the many citizens who furnished our corps of writers with material aid in the compilation of the facts embodied in the work.

September, 1883 Tjjg PUBLISHERS.

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§0

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852588

CONTENTS

PART I.

CAIRO.

PAGE.

<^'>I AFTER I.— City of Cairo— The First Steamboat on West- ern Waters Great Eartliquake of l.'^ll First Settle- ment of Cairo— Hoibrook's Schemes A Mushroom ( ity and the Bubble Bursted Early Navigation of Western Rivers Capt. Henry M. Shreve, etc., etc 11

CHAPTER II.— Crash of the Cairo City and Canal Company in 1841 The Exodus of the People— Pastimes and Social Life of Those Who Remain Judge Cilbert How a Riot was Suppressed Bryan Shaunessy Gradual Growth of the Town Again The Record Brought Down to 1.^53, etc .SI

( HAPTER III.— Cairo Platted— First Sale of Lots— The Foundation of a City Laid Beginning of Work on the Central Railroad S. Staats Taylor^City Gov- ernment Organized and Who Were Its Officers In- crease of Population The War Soldiers in Cairo Battle of Belmont— Waif of the Battle-tield— " Old Rube ■' Killing of Spencer Overflow of '58 Wash Graham and Gen. (irant A Few More Practical Jokes, etc., etc 47

( HAPTER IV.— Decidedly a Cairo chapter— Cairo and Its Different Bodies, Politic and Corporate Cairo City and Bank of Cairo Cairo and Canal Company Cairo , < ity Property— Trustees of the Cairo Trust Property The Illinois Exporting Company D. B. Holbrook —Justin Butterfield— Recapitulation, etc., etc 67

(HAI'TER v.— The Levees— How the Territorial Legisla- ture by Law Placed the Natural Town Site Above C»verflows First Efibrts at Constructing Levees Engineer's Reports on the Same Estimated Height and Costs The Floods The City Overflowed Great Disaster, the f'ause and Its Effects— The Levees are Reconstructed and They Defy the Greatest Waters Ever Known 90

CHAPTER VI.— The Press— Its Power as the Great Civil- izer of the Age Cairo's First Editorial Ventures- Birth and Death of Newspapers Innumerable The Bohemians Who They Were and What They Did " Bull Run " Russell— Harrell, Willett, Faxon and Others Some of the "Intelligent Compositors" Quantum Sufficit 126

( HAPTER VII.— Societies: Literary, Social and Benevolent —The Ideal League Lyceimi Masonic Fraternity Its Great Antiquity— Odd Fellowship The Cairo Casino Other Societies, etc ISS

CHAPTER VIII.— Cairo— Her Condition -in 1861-187S-1>;.><:; The Ebb and Flow of Business and Population War and the Panic Which Followed Steamboat.s— Mark Twain— Pilots .Some Steamboat Disasters— And a Joke or Two by Way of Illustration, etc W'

CHAPTER IX.— The Church History— St. Patrick's— Ger- man Lutheran Presbyterian Baptist Methodist and Other Dcnomination.s The Different Pastors Their Flocks, Temples, the City .Schools, etc., etc 17G

CHAPTER X.— Railroads The Illinois Central —Cairo Short Line The Iron Mountain Cairo & St. Louis The Wabash— Mobile & Ohio— Texas A St. Louis— The Great Jackson Route Roads Being Built, etc., etc.... 19.5

CHAPTER XL— Conclusion— The Future of the City Con- sidered—Her Present Status and Growth Present City Officials, etc 217

PART II.

UNION COUNTY.

CHAPTER I.— Intro<luction Geology— Importance of Edu- cating the People on This Subject The Limestone District of Illinois Keononiical (ieology of Union, Alexander and Pulaski Counties Medical .Sprjngs, Building Material, Soil, etc.— Wonderful Wealth of Nature's Bounties Topograi)hy and Cliniato of this Region, etc "^'i-?

CHAPTER 11.— Pre-historic Races— The Mound-Buildera— Fire Worshipers Relics of these Unknown People Mounds, Workshops and Battle-<i rounds in Ufllijn, Alexander and Pulaski Counties Visits of Noxious Insects— History Thereof, etc 244

CHAPTER III.— The Daring Discoveries and Settlements by the French— The Catholic Missionaries— Discov- ery of the Mississippi River .Some Corrections in History A World's Wonderful Drama of Nearly Three Hundred Years' Duration, etc 2.5'i

CHAPTER IV.— 1 ollowing the Footsteps of the First Pio- neers— Who They Were— How They Came— Where They Stopped— From 179.J to 1810— Cordeling— Bear Fight- First Schools, Preachers, and the Kind of People they Were— John Orammar, the Father of Illinois State- Craft, etc '^^*

CHAPTER v.— Settlers in Union, Alexander and Pulaski— Lean Venison and Fat Bear— Primitive Furniture— A

CONTENTS.

Pioneer Boy .Sees a Plastered House ilow People F'orted Their Dress and Amusements Witchcraft, Wizards, etc. No Law nor Church— Sports, etc. fiov. Dougherty Philip Shaver and the Cache Massacre Families in the Order they I'ame, etc., etc '21o

CHAPTER VI.— Organization of Union County— Act of Legislature Forming It The County Seal Commis- sioners' Court Abner Field A List of Families Cen- sus from 1820 to ISSO— Dr. Brooks— The Flood of 1844— Willard Family Col. Henry L. Webb Railroads Schools Moralizing, etc., etc 285

CHAPTER VIL— The Bench and Bar— Gov. Reynolds- Early Courts— First Term and Officers— Daniel P. Cook Census of 1818— County Officers to Date— Abner and Alexander P. Field— Winsted Davie Young and Mc- Roberts Visiting and Resident Lawyers Grand .Juries Punched Ilunsaker's Letter War Between Jouesboro and Anna— County Vote, etc., etc 301

CHAPTER VIIL— The Pre-ss- Finley and Evans, and the First Newspaper " Union County Democrat'' John Grear— The "Record," "Herald," and Other Publica- tions—How the Telegraph Produced Drought— Dr. S. S. Conden— Present Publishers and Their Able Papers, etc. 318

CHAPTER IX.— Military History— "Wars and Rumors of Wars" And Some of the (lenuine Article Revolu- tionary .Soldiers— Mexican War- Our Late Civil Strife —Union County's Honorable Part In It— The One Hun- dred and Ninth Regiment Its Vindication in History, etc., etc 82.3

CHAPTER X.— Agriculture— Similarity of Union County to the Blue Grass Region of Kentucky— Adaptability to Stock-Raising Fair Associations Horticulture Its Rise, Wonderful Progress and Present Condition— Va- rieties of Fruit and Their Culture— The Fruit Garden of the West— Vegetables Shipments— Statistics, etc., etc 334

CHAPTER XL— Jonesboro Precinct Topography and Physical Features— Coming of the Whites— Pioneer Hardships— Early Industries— Roads, Bridges, Taverns, etc.— Religious and Educational— State of .Society- Progress and Improvements, etc- 3.52

CHAPTER XII.— City of Jonesboro— .Selected and Sur- veyed as the County Seat— Its Healthy Location— Early Citizens— Some who Remained and Some who Went Away— First Sale of Lots— Growth of the Town— Mer- chants and Business Men— Town Incorporated .Schools and ( hurches .Secret .Societies, etc 351

CHAPTER XIII.- Anna Precinct— (ieneral Description and Topography— Early .Settlement— The Cold Year- Organization of Precinct— Incident of the Telegraph- Schools and Churches— Bee-Keei)ing, Dairying, etc.— Crop Statistics— A Hail-Storm, etc 363

CHAPTER XIV.— City of Anna— The Laying-out of a Town— Its Name— Early Growth and Progress— Incor- porated—Fires— Notable Events— Societies, Schools and Churches— Manufactures— Organized as a City— Hos- pital for the Insane- City Finances 371

CHAPTER XV.— South Pass, or Cobden Precinct— Its To- pographical and Physical Features— Early Settlement of White Peoi)le— Where They Came From and a Record of Their Work— tJrowth and Development of the Pre- cinct-Richard Cobden— The Village: What it Was, What It Is, and What It Will Be— Schools, Churches, etc., etc 392

CHAPTER XVI. Dongola Precinct Surface, Timber, Water-Courses, Products, etc. Settlement Pioneer Trials and Industries Schools and Churches Mills— Dongola Village : Its Growth and Development— Leav- enworth—What He Did for the Town, etc 402

CHAPTER XVIL— Ridge or Alto Pass Precinct— Surface Features, Boundaries, and Timber Grown Occupation of the Whites Pioneer Trials Industries, Improve- ments, etc.— The Knob Churches and Schools— Vil- lages, etc., etc 410

CHAPTER XVIIL— Rich Precinct— Description, Bounda- ries and Surface Features .Settlement of the Whites— W^here They Came From and Where They Located— Lick Creek Post office— .Schools and Churches Caves, Sulphur !*pring3, etc 414

CHAPTER XIX.— Stokes Precinct— Topography and Boun- daries— Coming of the Pioneers Their Trials and Tribulations— Mills and Other Improvements Mount Pleasant laid out as a Village Churches, Schools, etc., etc 41'J

CHAPTER XX. Saratoga Precinct Its Formation and De- scription— Topography, Physical Features, etc. Early .Settlement— The Wild Man of the Woods— Mills- Saratoga Village —Sulphur .Springs An Incident Roads and Bridges Schools, Churches, etc., etc 42-5

CHAPTER XXL— Mill Creek Precinct— Its Natural Char- acteristics and Resources— One of the Earliest Settle- ments in the County Pioneer Improvements Schools and Churches— Villages, etc 431

CHAPTER XXII.— Meisenheimer Precinct Its Surface Features, Timber, .Streams and Boundaries Settle- ment of the Whites Early Struggles of the Pioneers Schools and Schoolhouses— ^Religious Mills, Roads, etc.. etc 433

CHAPTER XXIIL— Preston and Union Precincts— Their Geographical and Topographical Features Early Pioneers Where They Came From, and How They Lived The Aldridges and Other " Fir.st Families" Swamps, Bullfrogs and Mosquitoes Schools, Churches, etc V i^i-'>

PART III.

ALEXANDER COUNTY.

CHAPTER I.— First .'Settlement of the County— The Way the People Lived Growth and Progress Geology and Soils The Mound-Builders Trinity America Col. Rector, Webb and Others Wilkinsonville Caledonia Unity Many Interesting ICveuts— etc., etc., etc 44-5

CONTENTS.

PAGE.

( IIAITKK II.— The Act Creating the County— How it was Named Some Interesting Extracts from Pr. Alexan- der's Letters The rroniinent People Col. John S. Hacker Official Doings of the Courts County Officers in Succession Different Removals of the County .Seat Treacher Wofford etc., etc 4.54

CHAl'TER III. Census of Alexander County Considered The Kind of I'eople They Were How They Improved the ( ountry Who Built the Mills Dogs Versus Sheep Periods of Comparative Immigration Acts of the Legislature Efi'ectiug the County, etc., etc 46fi

CHAPTER IV.— War Record— 1812-15— Blaek Hawk War- Some Account of It, and ('apt. Webb's Company- Roster of the Company— War witli Mexico Our Late Civil War Politics Representatives and Other Officials John Q. Ilarniou— State Senators, etc. Some Slanders Upon the People Repelled, etc., etc 472

CHAPTER V. Bench and Bar of Alexander County State Judiciary and Early Laws Concerning It Judicial Courts How Formed First Justices of the Supreme Court Who Came and Practiced Law Judges Mul- key. Baker, I. N. Haynie, Allen, Green, Wall, Yocura, Linegar and Lansden Local Lawyers, etc 479

CHAPTER VL— The Precincts of Alexander County— To- pography and Boundaries Their Early Settlement Dangers and Hardships of the Pioneers Villages Schools and Churches Modern Improvements, etc 491

PAET IV.

PULASKI COUNTY.

CHAPTER I. Geology, Meteorology, Topography, Timber, Water, Soil, etc. Great Fertility of the Land Its Ag- ricultural and Ilortieultural Advantages What Far- mers are Learning Address of I'arker Earle, etc 503

CAAITER II. Organization of the County— The Facts That Led to (he Same Act of the Legislature Estab- lishment of the <'ourts— the First Officers Kemoval of the Seat of Justice -The Census Precinct Organi- zation— Lawyers Schools, Churches, etc., etc., etc 510

CHAPTER III. About Early Leading Citizens tJeorge Cloud, H. M. Smith, Capt. Riddle, Justus Post— Pulaski in War— Black Hawk, Mexican and the Late Civil War— History of the .Men Who Took Part— A. C. Bartlesou, Price, Athertou Mr. Clemson's Farm, etc., etc 5i;i

( IIAPTER IV.— Agriculture— Early Mode of Farming in Pulaski County— Incidents— Stock-Kaising— Present Improvements- Horticulture— First Attempts at Fruit-* irowing— Apples— Tree Pe<ldlers— Strawberries —Peaches Grapes and Wine— Other Fruits, Vegeta- ble.?, etc., etc .520

CHAPTER v.— Mound <ity— Early History of the Place— The Indian Massacre— Joseph Tibbs and Some of the

Early Citizens of " The Mounds "—Gen. Rawlings— First Sale of Ix)ts— The Emporium Company— How It Flourished and Then Played Out— The Marine Ways— Government Hospital— The National Ceme- lery. etc 535

CHAPTEl! VL— Mound (ity— Decline and Death of the Emporium Company— Overflow of the Ohio in 1858— Flood of 1802, 1S<>7, 1882 and ISS.'i— leveeing the City —Bonds for the Payment of the Same— .\ Few Mur- ders, With a Taste of Lynch Law, etc .553

CHAPTER VIL— Mound City— It Becomes the County Seat County Officials— Jud,ge Mansfield— Lawyers— F. M. Kawlings and Others— Jo Tibbs Again— The Press— " National Emporium "—Other Papers— First Physi- cians of the City— Schools— Teachers and Their Sala- ries, etc., etc .561

CHAPTER VIII.— Mound City— Its ( hurch History— Catho- lic Church— The Methodists, etc.— Colored Churches- Fires and the Losses whicli Hesultcd— Manufactories .Secret and Benevolent Societies— Something of the Mercantile Business— Population of the City— Its Officers and Government, etc 570

CHAPTER IX.— Election Precincts Aside from Mound City —Boundaries, Topographical Features, etc.— Advent of the White People and their .Settlements— How they Lived— Progress of Churches and .Schools— Growth

and Development of the County..

PAET V.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

Cairo ; ::

Cairo- Extra 56a

Union County.— Anna Precinct .57

.Tone.sboro Precinct 92

Cobden Precinct 118

Alto Pass Precinct 153

Dongola Precinct 170

Meisenheimer Precinct 182

Stokes Precinct -jgo

Saratoga Precinct 197

Rich I'recinct 204

Union Precinct 209

Preston Precinct ojl

Mill Creek Precinct 212

Anna and Jonesboro Extra 214

Alexander County.- Elco Precinct 218

Thebes Precinct 228

East Cape Girardeau Precinct 2;!.5

II n ity Precinct 239

Clear Creek Precinct 243

Santa F'e i'recinct 247

r.eeeh }£idge Precinct 249

Lake Millikin Precinct 2.50

CONTENTS.

PAGE.

PiT.AS^Ki County.— Mound City Precinct 251

Villa Ridge Precinct 282

Grand CJiain Precinct 298

Ohio Precinct ^^^

Wetaug Precinct ^^^

UUin Precinct 326

Pulaski Precinct 3^1

Burkville Precinct 3**

PORTRAITS.

Arter, I) ^^3

Casey, N. B 547

Casper, P. H 241

Clemson. .1. Y 9^

Pavie, Winstead 223

Endicott, G. \V 529

Finch, E. H 151

Oaunt, J. W 259

(irear, John ■'''^^

PAGE.

Hambleton, W. L 565

Hess, John 1^'

Hight, W. A 511

Hileman, Jacob ^31

Hoftner,C ^ ^3

Hughes, M. L ;;••: 277

Leavenworth, E ^1

Mason, B. F ; 295

Meyer, G. F 205

Miller, Caleb ^l-^

Morris, James S ^''^

Paruily, John -157

Ros», B. F -103

Saflbrd, A. B 25

Sanborn, J. H 385

Scarsdale, F. E 169

Spencer, H. H US

Stokes, M 421

Toler, J. M 79

Wardner, H 367

Weaver, John 475

Williams, A. G 493

^^^

HISTOEY OF

EXANDER, UNION AND PULASKI

COUNTIES.

PART I.

HISTORY OF CAIRO,

BY H. C. BRADSBY.

CHAPTER I.

CITY OF CAIRO— THE FIRST STEAMBOAT ON WESTERN AVATERS— GREAT EARTHQUAKE OF 1811-

FIRST SETTLEMENT OF CAIRO— HOLBROOK'S SCHEMES— A MUSHROOM CITY AND

THE BUBBLE BURSTEU EARLY NAVIGATION OF WESTERN

M. SHREVE, ETC., ETC.

RIVERS— CAPT. HENRY

"And leaves the world to solitude and me." Gray.

THE earliest settlement of Cairo, on the promontory of land formed by the junc- tion of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, dates back only sixty-six years ago. There are persons yet living, not only who were born then, but who can even remember events of that time with distinctness. But these clear- headed old people are nearly all gone, and in a very few years there will be nothing left us but the traditions of 1817, unless the pres- ent opportunity is conserved, and the facts placed in a permanen.t form while it is yet possible to obtain them from those who not only saw, but were a part of the long-ago events that have led to the present changed condition of affairs. The tooth of time eats away the living evidences of what occurred more than fifty years ago with unerring swiftness.

The life of a nation or city, compared to time, is but a breath, although it may sur- vive generations and centurie.'?, and how in- conceivably brief, then, is the longest space of a single human life.

Man'rf nature is such that he is deeply concerned in the movements of those who have gone before him. Whether his fore- fathers were wise or foolish, he wants to learn all he can about them; to study their customs, habits and general movements. And while those are yet left who were par- ticipants in the earliest gathering of a peo- ple in any particular locality, it is easy enough to sit down by the fireside and listen to the story of the father«; of their trials, their triumphs, their failiues, their ways of thought and their genei'aj actions; but in a moment, and before you have had time to re- flect upon the loss, they are all gone, and the places that knew them so well will know them no more forever; and then it is the chronicler, who puts in permanant form all these once supposed trifling details, has performed an invaluable, if not an imperishable, seivice. The proper study of mankind is man. It is the one inexhaustible fountain of real knowl- edge ; and the " man" that is best studied is your own immediate forefathers or predeces- sors. To learn and know them well is to

13

HISTORY OF CAIRO.

know all you can learn of the human family. To solve the complex problem of the human race does not so much consist in trying to study all the living and the dead, as in mastering, in ^^o far as it is possible, the chosen few.

Many thousands of years ago, preparations first began to be made for a habitation for man upon the very spot now occupied by the city of Cairo. The uplift of the rocks that formed the first dry laTi I upon the continent in and about the Huron region had pro- ceeded slowlv \.\ their southwesterly direc- tion for a very long time. This was then a part of the Gulf of Mexico, and it was slow and very gradual the uplift went on, and the waters of the Gulf receded south of the junc- tion of the two rivers, and the Lower Missis- sippi River began to form. From Freeport southward, along the line of the Illinois Cen- tral Railroad, there is a gi-adual descent to the valley of the Big Muddy River, in Jack- son County, where the level of the railroad grade is only fifty-five feet above that of the river at Cairo. At that point, there is a sud- den rise of nearly seven hundred feet, the only true mountain elevation in Illinois. It runs entirely across the southei'u portion of the State, finally crosses the Ohio, in the vicinity of Shawneetown, and then is [lost beneath the coal measures of Kentucky. The forces beneath the surface made this up- lift, and it is supposed by geologists that this must have taken place before the Gulf receded below the present junction of the rivers.

Caii-o stands upon an alluviiun and drift of about thirty feet in depth, and while it prob- ably was many centi:vfies ingathering here so as to rise above the face of the waters, yet it has been here a comparatively long time, as is evidenced by the immense trees of oak, and walnut, and many others that do not

grow in swamps or grounds that more than occasionally ovei'flow, and beneath these great trees that have braved the storms of hundreds of years has been found the re- mains, deep in the soil, of other great forests that had preceded the one found here by the first discoverers. It takes the geological seons to prepare the way for man's coming, and man can only come when the prepara- tions for his reception are complete.

Mr. Jacob Klein, the brick-maker of Cairo, and who has carried on this business success- fully the past nineteen years, determined three years ago to try the experiment of get- ting pure water by digging. He has sunk three wells; the first was sixty-five feet deep where it struck [a heavy bed of gravel and promised an abundant supply of water, but the very dry season of three years ago his water supply was short. He then had the second well sunk. This is 100 feet deep, and, like the first, stopped in the gravel. Not still satisfied, Mr. K. contracted for the third Well, to be put down with a two and a half inch pipe. The contract called for a well 300 feet deep. The contractor went down 206 feet and stopped, and then IMi'. Klein took up the work himself and car- ried it to 218 feet, when he struck the rock. A bed of white clay was encountered, five feet thick, resting upon the rock. Here, clearly, was once the bed of the river. From the clay, which is 213 feet below the surface, the strata are coarse sand and seams of coarse gravel until the alluvium of the surface is reached. Mr. Klein reached an inexhaustible supply of pure, soft water, which stands within fifteen feet of, the siu-f ace at all seasons of the year, I and for all pui'poses is as fine water as was I ever found. It is described to be as soft as ! rain water and clear and cold, and is never I affected by the stage of waters in ^the river. It never flows during a long stage of high

HISTORY OF CAIRO.

13

water, as do the shallow wells when the town begins tx) fill with sipe water, ^li-. Klein is satisfied that fron^ten to twenty feet farther do\^n, which will pass through the rock he has now reached, will give him a flowing artesian well, and this improvement he has in contemplation of making the present or next year. This is the first real effort ever made here to get pure well water, and has demonstrated* the fact that it is beneath us, in inexhaustible quantities and of the very best quality.

Without the attention being specially called to the fact, there are very few people who would! suppose that the white man had come almost in what is a subui'b now of Cairo, and built his fort and fought the " redskins " one hundred and two years ago; yet such is the fact. Fort Jefferson is one of the favorite picnic i-esorts of the people of Cairo. It is only six miles below here, and across on the Kentucky shore. To the gay party starting out for a festival day, it is but little, if anything, more than merely cross- ing the river into Kentucky to go to Fort Jefferson. How many of all oui- people, es- pecially the young, know, when they wander about the place, that they are upon historic ground? Let us tell them something of its tragic story, and when they next stroll about in its grateful shades and resting places, let them look for the fast fading landmarks of the old fort, and remember that Mrs. Capt. Piggott and many other noble souls lie buried there; and also let them recall the heroic efforts of those, not only who died that ^we might live, but of those who so heroically struggled to drive back the red fiends.

This fort was erected by George Rogers Clark, under the direction of Thomas Jeffer- son, in 1781. Jefferson was then 'Governor of Virginia, and, being advised the Spanish Crown would attempt to set up a claim to

the country east of the Mississippi River, he took this step to foil the design.

Immediately after the erection of the fort, Clark was called away to the frontiers of Kentucky, but was succeeded by Capt. J ames Piggott.

Immigration to the fort was encouraged, and several families settled at once in its vicinity, and for a living proceeded to culti- vate the soil. For a short time, the settle- ment flourished. During 1781, however, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians became ex- ceedingly incensed at the encroachments of the whites (their consent for the [erection of the fort not having been obtained), and they commenced an attack upon the settlers in the neighboi'hood. The whole number of war- riors belonging to these tribes at that time was about twelve hundred, including the celebrated Scotchman Calbert, whose pos- terity figured as half-breeds. As soon as it was decided an attack would be made upon the fort by the Indians, a trusty messenger was dispatched to the Falls of the Ohio for further supplies of ammunition and provisions.

The settlement and fort were in great dis- tress— at the point of starvation, indeed and succor could not be obtained short of the Falls or Kaskaskia.

The Indians 'approached the settlement at fii'st in small parties, and succeeded in kill- ing a number of the settlers before they could be moved to the fort. Half the people, both in the fort and its vicinity, were help- less from sickness, and the famine was so dis- tressing that it is said pumpkins were eaten as soon as the blossoms had fallen off the vines. The Indians continued their mui'der- ous visits in squads for about two weeks be- fore the main army of " braves" reached the fort. The soldiers aided and received into the fort all the white population that could be moved.

14

HISTORY OF CAIRO.

In the skirmishes to which we have al- luded, a white man was taken prisoner by the Indians, who, to save his life, exposed the true state of the garrison. The infor- mation seemed to add fury to the passions of the savages.

After the arrival of the main body of the savages, under Calbert, the fort was besieged three days and nights. Dvu-ing this time, the suffering and misery of the garrison were ex- t'-emely great. The water had almost given out; the river was falling rapidly, and the water in the wells receded with the river. The supply of provisions was qiiite exhausted, and sickness raged to such an extent that a veiy large number could not be moved from their beds. The wife of Capt. Piggott and several others died, and were bui'ied within the walls of the fort while the savages were besieging the outside. It seemed reduced to a certainty, at this junctui'e, that, unless re- lief came speedily, the garrison would fall into the hands' of the Indians and be mur- dered.

The white prisoner now in the hands of the Indians detailed the true state of the fort He told his captors that more than half its inmates were sick, and that each man had not more than three rounds of ammuni- tion, and that the garrison was quite desti- tute of water and provisions. On receiving this information, the whole Indian army re- tired about two miles to hold a council. In a few hours, Calbert and three chiefs, with a flag of truce, were sent back to the fort.

When the inmates of the fort discovered the flag, they sent out Capt. Piggott, Mr. Owens and another man, to meet the Indian delegation. The parley was conducted under the range of the guns of the garrison.

Calbert demanded a surrender of the fort at discretion, urging that the Indians knew its weak condition, and that an unconditional

surrender might save much bloodshed. He further said that he had sent a force of war- riors up the Ohio, to intercept the succor for which the whites had sent a messenger. He gave the assurance that he would do his best to save the lives of the prisoners, except in the case of a few whom the Indians had sworn to butcher. He gave the garrison one hour to form a conclusion.

The delegates from the whites promised that if the Indians would leave the country, the inmates of the fort would abandon it with all haste. Calbert'agreed to submit this prop- osition to the council, and was at the point of returning when a Mr. Music, whose fam- ily had been cruelly murdered, and another man at the fort, fired upon him and wounded him somewhat severely,

The warriors were engaged a long time in council, and, by almost a seeming interposi- tion of Providence, the long- wished- for suc- cor arrived during the time in safety from the "Falls." The Indians had struck the river too high up, and thereby the boat es- caped The provisions and men were hui-ried into the iort, a new spirit seemed to possess every one, and active exertions were at once made to place the fort in position for a stcut resistance. The sick and the small children were placed beyond the reach of harm, and all the women and the 'children of any con- siderable size were instructed in the art of defense.

Shortly after dark, the Indians attempted to steal on the fort and capture it; but in this being most decidedly frustrated, they assaulted the garrison and tried to storm it. The cannon had been placed in proper posi- tion to rake the walls, so when the " red- skins " mounted the ramparts, the ^cannon swept them off in heaps. The Indians, with hideous yells, and loud and savage demon- strations, kept up a streaming fii'e from their

HISTORY OF CAIRO.

15

rifles upon the garrison, which, however, did but little execution. In this manner the bat- tle raged for hours; but at last the Indians were forced to fly fi-om the deadly cannon of the fort to save themselves from destruction. Calbert and other chiefs rallied them again, but the same result followed; they were again forced to fly, and all further efforts to rally them proved ineffectual.

The whites were in constant fear that the fort would be fired by the Indians. This, indeed, was their gi-eatest fear. At one time a huge savage, painted for the occasion, gained the top of one of the block-hoiises and was applying fire to the roof, when he was shot dead by a white soldier. His body fell on the outside of the wall, and was can-ied off by his comi-ades.

The Indians, satisfied they could not capt- ure the fort, abandoned the siege entirely, and, securing their dead and wounded, left the country. A large number of them had been killed and wounded, while none of the whites had been killed, and only a few wounded. The whites were 'rejoiced at this turn in affairs, as the number of Indians, and their ability to continue the siege, were calculated to terrify them.

AVith all convenient speed, the fort was abandoned. Many of the soldiers, together with settlers who had taken refuge in the fort, moved to Kaskaskia. They proved the first considerable acquisition of American population in Illinois. Since then, Fort Jef- ferson has remained abandoned, and is now but marked by here and there certain shape- less moiuids and piles of debris that are in- distinguishable unless pointed out to the stranger. But this spot will ever retain a great interest to Americans, at least as long as the struggles and privations of those who pioneered the valley of the Mississippi retain a place in the memory of the American people.

While it is true that this first attempt of the white men to make a habitation and a home within the immediate neighborhood of Cairo was abandoned and the people dispersed, the most of them coming to Illinois and making their homes in Kaskaskia, it was not wholly a failure in behalf of civilization. The little band, as brave and true heroes as ever fought upon the immortal fields of Thermopylae, had accomplished a great purpose they had withstood the murderous midnight attack of the bloody, yelling fiends and drove them off. They taught him a bloody lesson, yet that is the only school a savage will learn in. This siege and battle were the first great step in making the shores of these rivers habit- able, and even though the fort was dismantled and abandoned, it is quite true it taught the savage to respect the power of the white man. It was not a long time after this de- ciding battle that we find the white man in his flat-boats, and soon in his keel-boats, in a small way commencing to carry on that great commerce that has since so filled the rivers, and dotted their shores with the pleasing evi- dences of civilization. This commerce of the flat-boat, the keel boat and the pirogue, continued to slowly increase and perform the scanty commerce of the day, until finally the steamboat ^ came, bearing upon its decks the great human revolution, that stands un- equaled in importance, and that will go on in its gi-eat effects forevei'.

In 1795, William Bird, then a mere child, in company with his father's family, landed at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. This family remained here only a short time, and then went to Cape Girardeau, where they resided, and in 1817 William Bird applied at the land office in Kaskaskia and entered the land mentioned in another part of this chapter. This family were the first white people, so far as can be now as-

16

HISTORY OF CAIRO.

certained, that "ever put foot upon the spot now called Cairo.

December 18, 1811. The anniversary of this day the people of Cairo and its vicinity should never forget. It was the coming of the first steamboat to where Cairo now is the New Orleans, Capt. Roosevelt, Command- ing. It was the severest day of the great throes of the New Madrid earthquake; at the same time, a fiery comet was rushing athwart the horizon.

In the year 1809, Robert Fulton and Chan- cellor Livingston had commenced their im- mortal experiments to navigate by steam the Hudson River. As soon as this experiment was crowned with success, they turned their eyes toward these great Western water-ways. They saw that here was the greatest inland sea in all the world, but did they, think you, prolong their vision 'to the present time, and realize a tithe of the possibilities they were giving to the world ? They unrolled the map of this continent, and they sent Capt. Roose- velt to Pittsburgh, to go over the river from there to New Orleans, and report whether they could be navigated or not. He made the in- spection, and his favorable report resulted in the immediate construction of the steamer New Orleans, which was launched in Pitts- burgh in December, 1811.

Could Capt. Roosevelt now come to us in his natural life, and call the good people of Cairo together and relate his experiences of the day he passed where Cairo now stands, it would be a story transcending, in thrilling interest, anything ever listened to by any now living. All fiction ever conceived by busy brains would be tame by the side of his truth- ful narrative. His boat passed out of the Ohio River and into the Mississippi River in the very midst of that most remarkable convulsion of nature ever known the great New Madrid earthquake. As the boat came

down the Ohio River, it had moored opposite Yellow Banks to coal, this having been pro- vided some time previously, and, while load- ing this on, the voyagers were approached by the squatters of the neighborhood, who in- quired if they had not heard strange noises on the river and in the woods in the course of the preceding day, and perceived the shores shake, insisting they had repeatedly felt the earth tremble. The weather was very hot; the air misty, still and dull, and though the sun was visible, like an immense glowing ball of copper, his rays hardly shed more than a mournful twilight on the surface of the water. Evening di'ew nigh, and with it some indications of what was passing around them became evident, for ever and anon they heard a rushing sound, violent splash, and finally saw large portions of the shore tearing away from the land and laps- ing into the watery abyss. An eye-witness says: " It was a startling scene one could have heard a pin drop on deck. The crew spoke but little; they noticed, too, that the comet, for some time visible in the heavens, had suddenly disappeared, and every one on board was thunderstruck."

The next day the portentous signs of this terrible natural convulsion increased. The trees that remained on shore were seen wav- ing and nodding without a wind. The voy- agers had no choice but to pursue their course down the stream, as all day this violence seemed only to increase. They had usually brought to, under the shore, but at all points they saw the high banks disappearing, over- whelming everything near or under them, particularly |many of the siuall craft that were in use in those days, carrying down to death many and ;many who had thus gone to shore in the hope of escaping. A large island in mid-channel, which had been selected by the pilot as the better alternative, was

HISTORY OF CAIRO.

17

sought for in vain, having totally disap- peared, and thousands of acres, constituting the surrounding country, were found to have been swallowed up, with their gigantic growths of forest and cane.

Thus, in doubt and terror, they proceeded hour after hour until dark, when they found a small island, and rounded to, moor- ing at the foot of it Here they lay, keeping watch on deck dm'ing the long night, listen- ing to the sound of waters which roared and whirled wildly around them, hearing, also, from time to time, the rushing earth slide from the shore, and the commotion of the falling mass as it became engulfed in the river. Thus, this boat, during the intensity of the earthquake, was moored almost in sight of Cairo; practically, it was at Cairo during the worst of the thi-ee worst nights.

Yet the day that succeeded this awful night brought no solace in its dawn. Shock fol- lowed shock, a dense black cloud of vapor overshadowed the land, through which no sun- beam found its way to cheer the desponding heart of man. It seems incredible to us that the bed of the river could be so agitated as to lash the waters into yeasty foam, until the foam would gather in great bodies, said to be larger than floiir barrels, and float away. Again, it is still more incredible to be told that the waters of the two rivers were turned back upon themselves in swift streams, but these, and much more, are well-established facts. It is impossible now to depict all the wonderful phenomena of this world's won- der. There were wave motions, and perpen- dicular motions of the earth's surface, and there were, judging from eftects, as well as testimony of those who witnessed it, sudden risings and bursting of the earth's crust, from whence would shoot into