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events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
by Robert Bike
The Bible mentions about 232 plants by name, or closely enough to figure out what plant is meant. Of these, 24 are aromatic plants; that is, parts of the plants can be pressed or distilled to get an essential oil. Essential oils are the lifeblood of plants and have tremendous healing capabilities.
healing power of plants is the basis for modern medicines.
Originally published in manuscript form in 1999, I completely revised the book and added illustrations.
Biblical Aromatherapy in paperback,
List price $24.99; introductory offer $19.99
To order the pdf version and download to your computer or phone,
The electronic version is only $2.99!
Carlile, columnist for the Freeport (Illinois) Journal Standard,
featured this website in her column on January 19, 2007.
Life Purpose is to inspire my friends
Robert Bike, LMT, LLC
All text and photos Copyright 2002 - present Robert L. Bike, except for photos and text from uncopyrighted material in the public domain.
In 1910 Addison Luther Fulwider published the History of Stephenson County. Much of it was a re-hashing of the Tilden 1880 History of Stephenson County. Both the Tilden and the Fulwider histories were published before copyright laws. Below is a rendering of the Fulwider book, scanned, with OCR errors, spelling errors, etc. Occasionally you will see question marks. Fulwider never proof-read his book, and places where he probably meant to go back and finish were never finished, and the question marks were left.
I am cleaning the scan up as much as possible, but errors remain. This is a work in progress. I will add to it as I can, and correct errors as I can. Fulwider wrote interminably long paragraphs, which I've broken up into many smaller paragraphs for easier reading.
Beware as you read that this is a highly racist time. Native Americans were never give their just due for how they treated the land they owned. And the language used in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates was highly racially charged.
Below is Part Two - The Migration to Stephenson County.
For easier navigation, I've added a few section headings. Enjoy!
The Migration to Stephenson County
Pioneer Advertising, Business & News
Legal & Courts
The Lincoln Douglas Debates
The Civil War
The Stephenson County Soldiers Monument
Part Two - The Migration to Stephenson County
"They builded better than they knew." Stephenson County is five hundred, seventy-three square miles of rolling prairie in the heart of a continent and makes an interesting theme in the study of geology. The most valuable part of the county's geology is its soil of great fertility and variety, affording occupation and wealth for its people. Its location too is favorable, being located near the lead region and on the great pathway to the west, on the old trail that led from the east to the west, via Chicago and the Great Lakes.
The county's soil and natural drainage system have made it a rich agricultural and stock raising region and its location has made it a railroad and manufacturing center. But of more interest than the soil or the favored location; of vastly more interest than its agriculture and its industries is the change of these five hundred, seventy-three square miles of wild prairies and wooded hills and valleys from a land occupied only by a few roving savages and roamed over by the wolf and the deer, with not a white man trodding its primeval state the change of five hundred, seventy-three square miles, transformed by civilization and affording homes for over 40,000 citizens of the United States, with farms, villages, towns and cities and societies, churches, schools and organized governments, and all in seventy-eight years.
Such a people have an interesting history. They came not from one state or from one people. Not the Western States alone, but the old Commonwealth of the Atlantic Coast, from Massachusetts to Georgia, sent many of their best families to lay here the foundations of a new people. Europe, too, contributed liberally its daring and progressive spirits. Hardly a state in the nation, or a nation in Europe, that did not add its mite to the upbuilding of Stephenson County's civil society.
Indeed, it is a fascinating study to trace to the east to their former homes, the trail of the multitude that settled here, following close upon the wake of the departing red men and in advance of the railroad. Some walked and some came on horseback. Others drove ox or horse teams from the Atlantic seaboard plains over the mountains and across the trackless and almost endless valley of the Mississippi. Still others came by canal and boat around the Great Lakes, or down the Ohio and up the Mississippi and the Illinois, and yet others by way of New Orleans and the Father of Waters.
The old covered wagon, or "Prairie Schooner," was a home on wheels, the family unit enroute to new lands of wider opportunity. It was not a breaking away from the institutions and the faith of the fathers. Their strange covered wagons were loaded down with the institutional ideas of a great people and wherever they stopped in the wild west, the family stepped from wagon to cabin, primitive agriculture began, schools and churches and trades and civil government sprang up round about.
The wagons contained a few simple pieces of furniture and cooking utensils, the trusty rifle and the family Bible with its sacred pages of the family record. Sometimes alone, and sometimes in twos and threes, these started westward from far away Vermont or Massachusetts. Some came from New York and Pennsylvania, and yet others from Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina.
There were weeks and weeks of tedious travel, now resting by night at some friendly inn or with a settler, enjoying the unalloyed hospitality of the frontier, or frequently pitching camp under the open sky. No road was too long, no hill too steep, no mire too deep, no dangers too great to dampen the ardor of those heroic spirits that had heard the call of the great west. It was a spirit that would not die out, and may be seen today, flashing up in its original vigor and vitality through three quarters of a century of our history, as we listen reverently to the tales told by the few remaining heroes and heroines of that early time.
Old Europe, too, heard the call. The revolutions of 1830 and 1848 were sure indications of restless spirit. Stories of wide fields of opportunity were carried cross the Atlantic and passed from the seaport towns to the interior, and in taverns and about the firesides, in old England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Prussia and Bavaria, plans were made to cast fortunes in the new land. Sometimes it was a desire for greater political or religious freedom and often because of a desire to seek a country of greater industrial opportunities, untrammelled by the limiting restrictions of aristocracy and hard and fast rules of social traditions. Many were poor, and staked all on this one great struggle to get to the land of the free and the land of plenty.
From England, France and the German states, and later from Norway and Sweden, came hundreds of brave, thrifty, honest souls to found families here in the county and to add vastly to the richness and variety of our National life. Breaking home ties, they crossed the stormy Atlantic, came west by railroad as far as railroad came, and then by wagons they pushed on into the new country. The records show that most of them were workmen, trained in the apprentice system of the Old World. Wherever they came, shops sprang up and these shops in a generation have developed into our factory system. They gave us lessons in honesty, frugality and industry. They were loyal to the new country.
In '61, when the flag was assailed and the nation threatened, alongside the men from Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and the Carolinas, marched the men from Ireland, Scotland, Norway and Sweden, Alsace, Prussia, Wertemburg and Old England, the colors blended in the Star Spangled Banner.
But particulars and incidents are more valuable and more interesting than generalizations. It is when we consider these pioneers as individuals, and not the life and experience of each, that we come to appreciate truly the plain and simple life, the dangers and the hardships, and the triumph in conquering the wilderness, and, above all, the power and influence of the pioneer character wrought in adversity.
One of the best accounts of early travel is that of George Flower, from England to Illinois. He spent fifty days on the ocean from Liverpool to New York. He arrived in Arnerica alone. "With an ocean behind him and a vast continent before him." He went on horseback from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. He joined the Birkbeck family at Richmond, Virginia, and the party consisting of Morris Birkbeck, Geo. Flower and Birkbeck's two daughters and another young lady, started for Illinois. He had heard the stories of the prairies and "shrank from the idea of settling in the midst of the wood to hew and hack away to a little farm ever bordered by a gloomy wood."
The stage broke down and the party walked twelve miles to Pittsburg. Men and women then started on horseback for Illinois. Each had a blanket, a saddle and well filled saddle bags all secured by a surcingle and a great coat or cloak and an umbrella strapped behind. They left Pittsburg and plunged into the wilderness across Ohio and Indiana. Once, while crossing a log bridge, a horse leaped and plunged into the river, twenty feet below. The excitement and danger of fording streams troubled him in his dreams to his old days. Taverns were mere shanties, often destitute of windows and doors. They slept on a blanket on the floor. At times, they slept on the ground under the open sky.
They passed Cincinnati and after tedious travel across southern Indiana, they arrived at Vincennes. The slow journey had some advantages for, before the journey was many days old, Flower and Miss Andrews were frequently riding together, much to the annoyance of widower Birkbeck who had ambitions in that same direction. Youth won, and at Vincennes, Flower and Miss Andrews were married. The party often followed the dangerous "trace" that ran from Vincennes to St. Louis and were soon past the frontier 'cabin on the wild unbroken prairies of Illinois, where Flower says, "For once, reality came up to the picture of the imagination."
In the spring of 1831, John H. Bryant, a brother of William Cullen Bryant, the poet, left Cummington, Mass., for Central Illinois. At Albany, he took a boat on the Erie canal and reached Buffalo in seven days. The lake was full of ice and he hired a team to Dunkirk and then to Warren on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. There he joined an English family that was making the trip down the river to Pittsburg in a craft called the Ark. This required seven days. At Pittsburg he came by steamboat to St. Louis, then by boat up the Illinois River to Naples. He then walked twenty-two miles to Jacksonville, Illinois, completing his journey. From Pennsylvania to Illinois, required one month or more of tedious travel. The journey was made by wagon, rail, canal, stage and steamboat. On the canal, the progress was slow no faster than a mule could walk or trot. There was no haste and there seemed to be an abundance of time.
Mr. W. W. Davis thus describes that part of the trip to Illinois "On rising in the morning, a tin dipper was at hand to dip the water from the canal into a basin for the face and hands, and towels were ready to complete the toilet. These were limited in number and soon became saturated with abundant and indiscriminate patronage. There was a common comb and brush which fastidious folks hesitated to employ. The meals were substantial but monotonous breakfast, dinner and supper consisting mainly of tea and coffee, bread and butter, ham and bacon, liver and sausage. Perhaps, the most exciting diversion of the voyage was the gymnastics required of the passengers when the lookout warned of the coming obstacles. "Bridge," meant the slight ducking of the head, but "Low bridge," meant a violent contraction of the whole anatomy to escape contact with some low roadway, crossing the canal. Night was our worst trial in the frail bark. There was no sound of revelry.
Extemporaneous shelves were placed along the sides, one above the other, and a delicate man below was in danger of being crushed by some stout fellow above. A close curtain, swung on wire, separated the sexes. Long before day, the air of the narrow cabin had become distressingly foul, and at the earliest streak of dawn, there was a generous scramble for the deck and the pure air of heaven. We came one hundred and three miles in thirty hours."
The trip down the Ohio by steamboat was interesting in many ways. Charles Dickens made the journey on the "Messenger" in 1842. Thwaites speaks of the river as the "Storied Ohio." At the beginning, there was old Fort Pitt, once Fort Du Quesne, recalling the struggle for a continent between the English and the French. Associated with Du Quesne is the name of Washington, the first President. Below Parkersburg Blannerhassett's Island. Here, the young Irishman, the brilliant scholar and his accomplished wife built Castle Blannerhassett. And here, too, Blannerhassett was entrapped by the wiles of Aaron Burr. Below Cincinnati is North Bend where the tomb of General Harrison could be plainly seen. At Louisville, an omnibus carried the travelers around the rapids. Thirty miles below Shawneetown, was Cave-in-Rock, the resort of Mason, the outlaw.
It was a three days' journey from Pittsburg to Cincinnati and seven days from Pittsburg to St. Louis. Above St. Louis was Alton, where Lovejoy was slain while standing for the freedom of the press.
Some immigrants came on up the Mississippi in steamboats to Savannah. Others went by stage to Springfield or Jacksonville. Still others by small steamers came up the Illinois River to La Salle, and then by stage or wagon struck out for the frontier settlements and the public land offices.
The poet, William
Cullen Bryant, visited northern Illinois in 1832, spending a time with
his brother at Princeton. The great prairies gave him an inspiration that
made him write the following lines:
"These are the gardens of the desert, these,
The unshorn fields boundless and beautiful,
For which the speech of England has no name
The prairies, I behold them for the first,
And my heart swells, while the dilated sight
Takes in the encircling vastness Lo ! they stretch,
In airy undulations, far away,
As if the ocean in her gentlest swell,
Stood still, with all his rounded billows fixed,
And motionless forever."
Bryant tells his own experience in frontier travel. He says, "A little before sunset, we were about to cross the Illinois Canal. High water had carried away the bridge and in attempting to ford, the coach wheels on one side rose upon some stones, and on the other sank in mud, and we were overturned in an instant. We extricated ourselves as well as we could. The men waded out; the women were carried and nobody was drowned or hurt. A passing farm wagon carried the female passengers to the next house. To get out the baggage and set the coach on its wheels, we all had to stand waist deep in the mud. At nine, we reached the hospitable farm house, where we passed the night in drying ourselves and getting our baggage ready to proceed the next day."
Samuel Willard says his father went from Boston to Greene County, Illinois, in 1831. He shipped his household goods by vessel to New Orleans and then by boat to St. Louis, where they arrived months afterward. With his wife and three sons, he went by stage and steamer to Pittsburg, and then by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi and the Illinois. Henry Holbrook's father and mother traveled from Steuben County, New York, to northern Illinois in a buggy drawn by one horse, while the family and goods came by wagon. After five weeks of suffering from exposure, they arrived in Whiteside County. Edward Richardson came the entire distance on foot.
The difficulties of travel were great. There were no bridges over the smaller streams and fording was a hazardous undertaking. Sloughs and swamps added danger and delay. It took time to drive around them, and when a wagon and team mired in the mud, it required several teams to pull them out. For that reason several wagons usually went together. Ten to fifteen miles a day were allowed for an ox team. A common mode was to have a yoke of oxen at the wheel and a horse in the lead. David Hazard brought his family from Pennsylvania to northern Illinois, nine hundred miles in twenty-eight days, all the way by wagon.
But Stephenson County has an abundance of incident in the account of travel to the west to make an interesting volume in itself. One of the earliest and best is that of Mrs. Oscar Taylor. On May 9, 1898, Mrs. Taylor read a paper before the Freeport Woman's Club, entitled "Reminiscences of life in Freeport, sixty years ago." At this point, nothing so well could be done as to quote that part of her paper which dealt with her trip to Freeport in 1839.
For this, the writer is indebted to the Freeport Daily Journal, August 28, 1909. "It was in the autumn of 1839 that I began my life in Illinois. I came west by way of the lakes and stopped for several days in Chicago. That city numbered some 3,000 inhabitants at that time and was proud of its two brick buildings. Chicago River was crossed by ferry boats, bridges being things of the future. The lake lapped the shores now occupied by the Central Railroad tracks, while cows placidly pastured where the Art Institute now stands. Sidewalks were an unknown luxury and Michigan Avenue was more or less of a swamp. The one object of interest was old Fort Dearborn, at the mouth of the river, then the military post under the command of Lieutenant Leavenworth. But Chicago was not my ultimate destination, and at 2 o'clock one September morning, in a Frink and Walker stage-coach, I left the lakeside town for my future home in Stephenson County. The stage was a commodious affair, and I found ten fellow-passengers, all young men westward bound, as eager fortune seekers as those who are today rushing to Alaska.
In the darkness of the early morning I could see nothing; but the continued splashing caused by the four horses gave the impression of low land nearly under water.
At daybreak we reached a country tavern where we breakfasted on the Rio coffee, fried fat pork, potatoes boiled with their jackets on, with hot saleratus biscuits, the color and odor of which warned us what to expect in flavor. But the gay spirits and vigorous appetites of my traveling companions added piquant sauce to the emigrant fare.
On emerging from the stuffy little breakfast room into the fresh air of the morning, there before me lay the great prairies of the west, seen for the first time in the full splendor of a magnificent sunrise, the sea of green stretching unbounded in every direction, the vast expanse unbroken by any sign of habitation.
The curtains of our stage were rolled up, as we drove on through the beautiful morning, I was perfectly entranced. I had heard of the western prairies, I had imagined them, I had read of them with Cooper, my father had written of them, but I had not formed the slightest conception of the actual vision of this country which was then almost as it had been a century before, when the red man roamed over it at will. Gradually the flat levels changed to a more billowy surface, and small groves of oak appeared. Sometimes we passed through what seemed veritable gardens, so gorgeous were the fields of yellow golden-rod, broken by the deep purple and snowy white of the wild aster. And the gentians, blue and purple, fringed and closed, bloomed in bewildering beauty, while the great cloud-shadows floating across the scene continually altered the face of the landscape. I looked to see deer or wolf or some other wild creature start up as we passed, but in that I was disappointed.
Our late lunch had been a repetition of breakfast and I, tired and hungry, fell asleep as darkness gathered, to be aroused by a shout from the driver: "Rockford, Rockford! Here you can get a good Yankee supper." Most welcome news! It wasn't a Yankee supper after all, but a most delicious supper of native prairie chickens, cooked, however, with the skill of the traditional eastern housewife. At midnight we left Rockford, crossing the river by ferry, to me a frightful experience in the black darkness. Hardly were we on solid earth before the driver announced that the passengers must leave the stage and climb the sand bank just ahead, as the horses could not pull the load up the bank. I think I should have been buried in the sand had not one of the young men gallantly assisted me.
After reentering the stage my journey was unbroken until in the early dawn I reached my new home on a farm four miles east of Freeport. What was my first home in Illinois? It was one of the low log houses in general use among the early settlers, soon to be supplanted by the regulation frame farm house.
In the joyful excitement of meeting my family, and in the novelty of all my surroundings, there was at first no chance for homesickness; but the realization of all I had left behind came with my first introduction to Freeport. My father had spoken of Freeport as the town of importance, the county seat, the centre of interest in the farming community, and I had pictured an eastern village nestling among trees, with church spires pointing heavenward and homes ranged side by side along the streets."
One of the most interesting records and one that will have increasing value and interest as time goes by, is that of Luman Montague, who settled West Point Township. He married a Miss Elmira Clark in Massachusetts, and soon after began one of the most remarkable honeymoon trips on record, the trio driving an ox team from Northampton, Massachusetts, over one thousand miles to Stephenson County, Illinois, sleeping in the wagon and camping by the way. Only a high hope and a tremendous will set out on such a tedious journey of innumerable hardships and faltered not till the goal was reached in triumph. Such was the spirit of the men and women who laid the foundations of this county.
James H. Eels and family drove through from New York. The Reitzels came to this county by two different routes, from Center County, Pennsylvania. John Reitzel, father of Captain W. H. Reitzel, partly by canal and partly by Incline Railroad, came over the Allegheny Mountains to Pittsburg. From Pittsburg with his family, household goods and a set of blacksmith tools, he traveled by steamer down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi to Savannah. The trip from Savannah to this county was made by wagon. At Waddams, Pells Manny volunteered to take his team and help pull the Reitzels across the Pecatonica River, one of the many evidences of whole-souled frontier generosity. Mr. Reitzel settled on a claim at Buena Vista, June 22, 1840. Phillip Reitzel accompanied by John Wolford, rode horseback from Center County, Pennsylvania, to Stephenson County, via Chicago. Wolford was offered eighty acres of land on State Street, Chicago, for his horse, saddle and bridle. He declined. It seems that when people start for Stephenson County they will not be turned aside even by the offer of a future million. Of course, at that time Chicago did not give much evidence of becoming a great city.
John Turneaure came from near Meadeville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in two covered wagons, one drawn by two horses and the other by three. He brought with him some simple household furniture, a trunk full of victuals, his wife and eight children. They drove across Ohio to Cleveland and across Indiana to Chicago. Owing to the muddy sloughs in Chicago, he drove around to the south and avoided the city. Just out of Chicago, his wagons mired down to the axles and he had to unhitch his teams and lead the horses out to solid ground. He then proved that necessity is the mother of invention, by taking off the bed cord, fastening it to the end of the wagon tongue, hitching his team to the cord and pulling his wagons out of the mire. A set of modern bed springs would have been of little value in such an emergency. Mrs. Amanda Head, Mr. Turneaure's daughter, was a girl of twelve, and remembers how delighted the children were with the prospect of a trip to the west. She says the people along the way were always generous and hospitable. At the close of a day's drive they would stop at some farm house. Beds were made on the floor and her mother cooked the breakfast on the host's stove. There were no charges the traveler paying what he pleased. In 1842, Mr. Turneaure made the trip to Belvidere in three weeks. Later, in 1848, he bought 160 acres near Van Brocklyn at $1.50 per acre.
William Baker, the
first resident of Freeport, drove a wagon with his family from Orange
County, Indiana, to Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1823. In 1827, the Bakers
moved over the Sucker trail, via Peoria and Dixon, through Stephenson
County to the lead regions in Jo Daviess County. In 1829 they moved to
Peoria and in 1832 they came back over the trail to the lead mines of
Wisconsin. During Black Hawk's War they "forted" in Fort Defiance.
After the war, the family spent two years in Dubuque and moved to Freeport
December 19, 1835. Two years after his marriage to Miss Harriett Price,
in Cortland County, New York, Mr. Auson S. Babcock and his wife drove
in a one horse sleigh from New York across Ohio and Michigan to Chicago,
and then on to Stephenson County, settling first in Ridott Township. They
York February 12, 1859, and arrived here after a four weeks' journey.
Mr. Charles Baumgarten came to America from Lorraine, France, in 1833. He lived in Detroit three years and walked to Chicago in 1835, coming to Freeport in 1850. W. L. Beebe and wife, formerly of New York, drove from Michigan to Ogle County in 1840, bringing with them all their worldly possessions in a wagon. Mr. Beebe found that he had just $30 when he reached his destination. They came to Stephenson County in 1862. Benjamin Goddard was born in Grafton County, New Hampshire, 1804; moved with parents to Vermont in 1806; moved to St. Lawrence County, New York, in 1825; drove in wagon with his wife, family and household effects from New York to Stephenson County in 1835 and settled three miles from Freeport. Thomas F. Goodhue, born in Belfast, Maine; educated in New England; studied law at Troy, New York, and after practicing law in New York City four years, came to Freeport in 1842. Hon. A. T. Green came to Stephenson County from New York in October, 1839, walking from Rockford to Freeport. He stopped on a hill and resting on a stump counted in all, forty roofs in the village of Freeport. From the Grand Duchy of Baden, came Fred Gund, Sr., in 1848. Captain J. R. Harding arrived here from Oxfordshire, England, in 1857.
Mathias Hettinger, a native of Keffenach, Alsace-Lorraine, came to New York with his brother in 1836. He worked at the wagon maker's trade in New York and at Canton and Portsmouth, Ohio, driving overland to Stephenson County in 1841 and started a shop in Freeport. John Hoebel, a boy of fourteen, came alone to America from Phenish, Bavaria, in 1825. He came west and drove to Freeport in 1842. Mr. Hollis Jewell, born in St. Albans, Vermont, left home with only $50 at the age of 18; learned the carpenter's trade in Albion, New York; in 1835 worked at his trade in Cleveland, Ohio; in 1837 he built a viaduct in Chillicothe, Ohio, and came to Freeport by wagon in 1840. Thomas W. Johnson was born in England, 1825. He landed in New Orleans at the age of fourteen, came up the Mississippi River to Galena and walked from Galena to Freeport in 1839, and became a successful merchant. F. E. Josel, once city engineer of Freeport, came in 1866 from Austria, where he studied engineering in Vienna. Mr. Louis Jungkunz, Sr., came to Freeport in 1854 from Bavaria. In 1856 he married Miss Caroline Lucke of Prussia.
Mr. Dexter A. Knowlton started west from Chautauqua County, New York, on a peddling trip in 1838. The next year he made his way into Stephenson County and settled in Freeport, opening up a general store. Mr. Jacob Krohn, a prominent business man, came to America from Prussia and located in Freeport in 1855. D. Kuehner came from Germany to Ohio in 1851 and moved to this county in 1856. Daniel Kunz, baker, came from Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. Michael Lawver drove from Pennsylvania to Stephenson County in a wagon, arriving at Lena after a seven weeks' trip, May 26, 1846.
The parents of George and Henry Lichtenberger came from Bavaria to New Orleans in 1847 and to Freeport the next year. C. H. Little came from Massachusetts in 1855. John Loos came to America in 1852. He was born in the County Rheinich, Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, and his wife in Eblington, Groshertzogtum Boxburg, Baden. Rev. Thomas F. Mangan, of St. Mary's Catholic Church, was born in County Clare, Ireland, and came to Freeport in 1858.
Pells Manny came from Montgomery County, New York, in 1836, and settled near Waddams.
Edmund Merck is a native of Alsace. Charles E. Meyer came from Hanover, Germany, in 1853 and movec? to Freeport in 1855. George Milner and Joseph Milner came to Freeport in 1855. They were natives of England. James Mitchell came to the Galena lead mines in 1827, took part in the Black Hawk War and settled, first in Rockford and then in Freeport.
Elias Perkins, of Derbyshire, England, arrived in this county in 1849 and began his work as brick mason and contractor. J. J. Piers, a native of Hunterdon County, N. J., arrived in Freeport and began his trade as blacksmith. Hon. George Purinton, a native of Maine, a graduate of Bowdoin College, a professor of Baltimore College, heard the call of the western prairies and opened up a law office in Freport in 1840. A. V. Richards with his parents mo
ved from Morgan County, Illinois, to Wisconsin in 1847, later moved to Galena and then to this county. Henry Rohkar came from Hanover, Germany, 1856, and entered the baking business. C. H. Rosenstiel came from Hanover to Waddams Grove, 1842. D. B. Schulte, who came to Freeport in 1854, was a native of West Plalon, Prussia. Charles Seyfarth, of Saxony, came to America in 1849 and to Stephenson County, 1852.
The parents of J. A. Sheetz drove from Pennsylvania in 1839. Mr. Leonard Stoskopf came here with his parents from Canada in 1842. Valentine Stoskopf came from Strasburg to New Jersey, then to Canada and then to Freeport. D. H. Sunderland, who came here in 1845, was a native of Vermont. D. C. Stover was a native of Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Geo. F. Swarts came from Center County, Pennsylvania, in 1841. Horace Tarbox came here from New York State. Mr. Oscar Taylor drove from Saratoga, New York, to Joliet, Illinois, in 1838, settled in Rockford later, and came to Freeport in 1842. Mr. William Walton of Birmingham, England, began business in Freeport in 1858. John M. Walz, of Germany, started the cooper's trade here in 1856.
Thomas Wilcoxen was born in Milledgeville, Georgia. The family moved to Portsmouth, Ohio, where produce was shipped to New Orleans. With a brother, on horseback he came over the Indian trails to the northwest. In 1837, he settled near Cedarville.
Mr. Chas. Berhenke came from Lippe Detmold, Germany in 1853. Bryan Duffy came from Ireland in 1846 and located in Kent Township. James A. Hughes of Kent came to Dutchess County, N. Y., in 1851 and to Kent in 1853. Edward Hunt came to Winslow from Norfolk County, Mass., in 1838. Charles Sheard of Yorkshire, England, came to New York in 1832; to Canada in 1836; to Jo Daviess County in 1849 and in 1858 to his farm in Winslow Township. James Turnbull came from Jedburg, Scotland, to New York City in 1833; in 1834 to North Carolina; in 1835 back to New York; in 1837 to Chicago; and in 1838, to Stephenson County.
James Coxen came from Desleyshire, England, to Cincinnati in 1849, and to Waddams Township in 1850. Charles P. Guenther was born in Frankfort-on-the-Maine; came to Dutchess County, N. Y., in 1836; 1839 to Buffalo, N. Y.; 1847, to Allegheny County, Pa., and in 1853, to Stephenson County. Alonzo Lusk, of Hartford County, Conn., came to Waddams County in 1840. William Shippee came from Bergen County, Pa., in 1839 and to Waddams in 1852. In 1843 Robert Sisson came from Cambridgeshire, England, to Waddams township.
Michael Bastian came from Alsace in 1858, to Florence Township. August Fronning, who came to Florence in 1857, is a native of Prussia. August Hoefer, also of Prussia, came to this county in 1856. Henry Kruse came to Silver Creek Township from Ostsfriesland in 1853. Dr. Van Valseh, and a party, Henry S. Barber, Joseph Green, C. Miller, John Fisher, John Glover, Nathan and Isreal Sheet, left Union County, Pa., April 18, 1837.
They came via Pittsburg, Wheeling, followed the National road through Janesville and Columbus, Ohio, and through Richmond and Indianapolis, Indiana, crossed the Wabash at Covington and then passed through Danville, Peoria, over the Kellog trail, through Buffalo Grove, then through Crane's Grove and Freeport, to Cedarville and Rock Grove. The party was seven weeks on the road.
In 1839, Henry S. Barber brought out fourteen teams from Pennsylvania. George J. Bentley, father of C. N. Bentley, was born in Massachusetts, moved to New York in 1829 and came to Shannon, this county, in 1853. He moved to Winslow and made a trip to Des Moines, Iowa, returning with a yoke of oxen and one horse. Mr. E. Bentley of Eleroy came from Somerset County, England, to America in May, 1824, and worked on farms and in factories in various parts of the east, finally locating in Harlem Township.
Henry Burkhard, a farmer in Harlem Township, was born in Baden, Germany, and came to America at the age of ten. He went on various trips to Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee, but at last settled in Stephenson County. Mr. Henry Hill is a native of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. Martin Lawless, Damascus, was born seven miles from the City of Dublin, Ireland, in 1822. He came to New York in 1848 and worked his way west, arriving in Freeport in 1853 and located on a farm in Harlem in 1865.
Mr. Joseph McCool, a native of Virginia and father of O. P. McCool, came to Stephenson County in 1840. The family came by boat from Pittsburg, Pa., and located first at Kiethsbury and then at Lancaster and later in Harlem. John Martin came to Harlem from England. In 1849 with his family he drove in a wagon from the east, through Chicago, to this county. Smith W. Pickard, born in New York in 1795, served in the War of 1812, and came to Stephenson County in 1838 with his son Jonas L. Pickard.
John H. Stout, whose grandfather came from Holland, was born in New Jersey and came to this county in 1846. Frederick Watson left Nottinghamshire, England, at the age of thirteen and worked his way west to this county in 1845.
Sometimes people came to Stephenson County in large groups. In 1843, a party of about sixty started from Union County, Pa. In this party were Samuel Barber's family of five; John Barber's family of ten; James W. Barber's family of ten; John Van Dyke and sons family of eleven; Samuel Wright's family of five; Jacob Gables family of six; Robert Badger's family of seven, William and John Wright. They drove through Mercer County, Pa., crossed the Allegheny River at Franklin, through Warren and Cleveland, Ohio, through Adrian and Janesville, Michigan, through South Bend, Indiana, Chicago and Rockford to Freeport, arriving here after an arduous journey of five and a half weeks. The party had divided at Rockford, one division coming on to Freeport, July 4, 1843. They stopped at the Main Hotel which then stood on the site of the old Pop Factory, now the out-door grounds on Walnut Street.
came from Sondershausen, Germany, in 1862, locating on a farm in Kent
in 1871. Charles Waterman of Herkimer County, N. Y., came west and with
his brother laid out Sycamore, 111., in 1838. He was a prominent leader
in doing away with the "Driscolls," the notorious band of horsethieves
of that day. In 1840, he came to Freeport and in 1844 to Loran
Robert Baker left Yorkshire, England, in 1830 and located in Canada. In 1860, he moved to Jefferson Township, Stephenson County. Peter Kerch, born in Wurtemburg, Germany, came to New York in 1846; to Pittsburg in 1848 and to Jefferson Township in 1855. Simon Tollmeier, Simon Schester, Jacob Offenhiser and John Koch, all of Germany, settled in Jefferson Township.
George D. Babbitt is a typical representative of the westward migration. He was born in Goshen, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, 1799; in 1802, the family moved to Otsego County, New York; to Susquehanna County in 1820, where he learned the trimmers trade; to Pike, Allegheny County in 1825, where he was married and had five children; to Centerville, five years; to Niagara County; to Canada; to Branch County, Michigan; to Ogle County, Illinois; to Sugar River, Winnebago County, Illinois; and settled at last in Erin Township in 1854. Daniel Gilman moved from Center County, Pennsylvania, to Eleroy in 1840.
From Old Virginia came Aaron Griggsby. He moved first into Kentucky and then to Indiana. Then he moved on into Edgar County, Illinois, in 1829; to Iroquois County in 1835; and to Stephenson County in 1836. John Manlove, of Montgomery County, England, came to Canada in 1841; to Chicago in 1845 and then on to Stephenson County, buying a farm of Thomas Hotchkiss, a leader of a band of horsethieves. Dr. E. H. Plasch left Germany because of revolutionary troubles in 1845 and after teaching and practicing medicine in Jo Daviess County, settled in Eleroy.
B. P. Bellknap, born in Vermont in 1811, came west in 1839, walking from Milwaukee to Monroe, Wisconsin, and to Gratiot. In 1841, he settled in Oneco Township, where he taught the first school in that township. Michael Bolender came from Union County, Pennsylvania, to Orangeville in 1840, with John Kleckner, Michael Gift, and George Mowry.
The Clarnos of Oneco Township came from France to Virginia, from Virginia to Ohio, then to Tazewell County, Illinois, and to Stephenson County in 1838. Jacob Fye drove from Center County, Pennsylvania, to Oneco Township in 1839. Lewis Gibler was born in Shenandoah County, Virginia, moved to Ohio in 1802, came west and worked in the mines and settled in Oneco Township in 1839. Emanuel Musser came from Center County, Pennsylvania, to Oneco Township in 1857. William Raymond came from Canada in 1843. Daniel Sandoe came from Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in 1847. L. D. Van Metre came from Jo Daviess County to Oneco Township in 1836. Wm. Wagenhalls, of Wurtemburg, Germany, came to America in 1836 and to Orangeville in 1847. I fa Winchell of Erie County, New York, settled in Oneco in 1843.
C. T. Barnes, born in Prussia, followed the seas as a sailor four years and settled in West Point Township in 1852. Mr. R. Baysinger was born in Kentucky, came to Edgar County, Illinois, in 1833 and to Stephenson County, Illinois, in 1846, settling in West Point. Jacob Burbridge, born in Butler County, Pennsylvania, lived a while in Kentucky, coming to Springfield, Illinois, in 1829 and to Stephenson County in 1837. William Corning, born in Rockingham County, New Hampshire; moved to Lowell, Massachusetts, 1836; to Jo Daviess County in 1842; to West Point Township in 1848.
Thomas Davis came from Sussex, England, in 1844; Frederick Damert from Prussia; George W. Delgate from Maine; Samuel Dodds from Logansport, Indiana; Anthony Doll from Canada; B. Doll from Baden; A. F. Foil from Bedfordshire, England; J. D. Fowler from Rutland County, Vermont, in 1838, coming by way of canal and lake, being 21 days on the way; D. W. Frisby from New York City; John Harrington from Ireland in 1846; Joseph Hicks from Ashtabula County, New York, in 1840; Hon. Andrew Hinds from New York; Adam Krape from Center County, Pennsylvania, in 1846; H. Loomis from Litchfield County, Connecticut, in 1840; W. W. Lowis from Lincolnshire, England; John Masters from Maryland in 1857; Dr. W. P. Naramore, Seneca County, New York; John Reeder from Frankfort-on-the-Maine, 1856; Captain John Schermerhorn from Fultonville, New York; A. H. Stahl from Perry County, Pennsylvania, to Ogle County in 1859 and to Lena in 1863; Jo Daviess, Waddams from Galena; Charles Walz from Kaiserslantern, Germany; and William Yeager from Germany.
Edward Barker came from Franklin County, Vermont, to Rock Grove Township in 1842. Samuel Chambers and Thomas Chambers rode through on horseback from Union County, Pennsylvania, to Jo Daviess County in 1835 and settled in Rock Grove in 1836. C. J. Cooper, born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, moved to Clark County, Illinois, came through Stephenson County as a soldier during Black Hawk's War in 1832, and lived in Crawford County till he moved to Rock Grove in 1844. W. L. Cooper came from Delaware by way of Pennsylvania and Crawford County, Illinois.
Jacob Fisher came here from; Pennsylvania in 1839 and entered a claim. Ole O. Gardner, born ninety miles from Christiana, Norway, in 1815, came to New York in 1842, then to Wisconsin and to Rock Grove Township in 1848; C. T. Kleckner, from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, in 1840; Henry Kloepping from Prussia in 1852; George Maurer from Pennsylvania in 1840; Edward Pratt, stage driver for Fink and Walker, from New York; Lewis and L. W. Schradermaeier from Lippe-Detmold, Germany, in 1852; Col. Geo. Walker, made the wagon trip from Pennsylvania to Rock Grove with his family, in five weeks in 1849, and Geo. Zimmerman came from Union County, Pennsylvania, in 1849.
J. B. Angle came from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, to Buck Eye Township, in 1844, settling first on Richland Creek. John Bender came from Baden, Germany, and John Boals from Donegal County, Ireland; John Heser from Bavaria; Robert Jones from Kent County England; Ensebius Schadle from Wurtemburg, Germany, and William Stewart, Andrew and John Wilson from Donegal county, Ireland. Josiah Clingman and family came to Illinois in 1835, settling in Peoria and La Salle Counties and moving to Stephenson near Cedarville in 1837.
Rev. Geo. J. Donmeyer, a graduate of Pennsylvania College, drove through to Stephenson County, enduring all the hardships incident to pioneer travel and preached his first sermon May 12, 1850, in a school house, three miles North of Lena. The father of James Folgate, with a family of ten children, made the trip from Pennsylvania to Stephenson County and settled in Buck Eye Township in 1841. Jacob Jones came from Maryland, Daniel Kostenbader from Pennsylvania by flat boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to Savannah, then on foot to Cedarville, and John and Thomas Pollock from Ohio. George Trotter, born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, came to Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1826, passed back and forth through Stephenson County, during Black Hawk's War and took a claim in Buck Eye Township, in 1836.
In 1843, Thomas and Robert Bell rode on horseback from Pennsylvania to Stephenson County, settling in Lancaster Township. Corad Dambman came from Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, without a dollar and in a few years owned over 250 acres in Lancaster. I. N. Mallory of Belmont County, Ohio, settled in Lancaster in 1836, and William Smith of Canton, Ohio, in 1835.
A. O. Anderson left his native home in Norway and settled in Rock Run Township in 1839. Michael Blinn came from Bavaria in 1854. Uriah Boyden came from New York in 1839. Frederick Buticofer, a carriage maker, came from Switzerland in 1854 to Rock Run Township. Louis Germain is a native of France; Martin Gillen and John Glynn from Ireland; C. B. Johnson from Norway; Charles Haas and John M. Kaufman from Germany; Charles J Lilliquist came from Sweden and Halleck and Thueston Kundson from Norway. S. B. Leach was a native of Maine and John Long of New York. Alexander Niblo of Glasgow was an early settler in Rock Run Township. S. Olsen came to Rock Run from Norway in 1842. Jacob Orth came from Hesse Darmstadt. John Weber came from France in 1844. A large number of settlers in Rock Run came from Pennsylvania.
One of the early settlers of Dakota Township was W. R. Auman, who came here from Pennsylvania in 1839. Jacob Dubs and family came to Dakota in 1852. His wife died on the journey from Europe. Martin S. Lapp came from Canada in 1842. William McElhiney came from Pennsylvania, with his parents in 1829, settling first in Edgar County, 111. In 1837, the family moved into Stephenson County. Robert F. Mitchel, of Center County, Pennsylvania, came into the county in 1842. In 1844, John Nelson and his wife, Mary Nelson, emigrated to Dakota Township from the north part of Ireland to Dakota Township. Mr. B. Schmeltzer, of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, made a year's trip through Illinois and Iowa in 1850 and settled in Dakota Township in 1866. Colonel Geo. Walker made the journey from Center County, Pennsylvania, in wagons in 1849, being five weeks on the road. Charles Wilson from Ireland and John Wirth from Wittenburg, Germany, came to Dakota in 1852.
The parents of G. S. Babcock came to Ridott Township in 1836. Michael Bardell came from Alsace to America in 1841 and in 1845 to Ridott Township. Mrs. Bardell was a native of Reubier, Germany. Ulrich Boomgarten came from Hanover, Germany, in 1850. Henry Borchers came from Hanover, in 1852. Seth Cable came from Ohio in 1844, and Asa Carey from New York in 1852. Christian Clay came from Stark County, Ohio, in 1839. Bearnd Groeneveld came from Hanover in 1852. Philo Hammond, born in Vermont, went to New York, then to Chicago and settled in Silver Creek in 1837 and to Ridott in 1848. John Heeren, born in Aswaisraland, Germany, and settled in Ridott in 1849. Peter Hermann, born in Baden Baden in 1836 and came to America, settling in Ridott in 1852.
Mr. Thomas Hunt came from Nottingham, England, in 1842. He settled in Silver Creek and later in Ridott Township. Jacob Molter came from Baden in 1850; John Rademaker from Germany in 1855; Henry Scheffner and John Scheffner from Baden in 1852. In the same year Charles Rohkar came over from Hanover; Michael Van losterloo came from Hanover in 1849; H. P. Waters settled at the mouth of Yellow Creek in 1836. He came from New York. David Wilter came from Maryland in 1853. W. G. Woodruff, of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, went to Connecticut, to New York, to Carroll County, Illinois, to Rockford, and finally settled in Ridott Township.
Mr. Fred Bohlender, in 1844, came overland from Union County, Pennsylvania. It was a journey of six weeks, with four horses, two wagons and buggy with provisions and cooking utensils for camping by the wayside. They brought with them their household furniture. The family of Alpheus Goddard drove through this county from the Green Mountain State. They were six weeks on the journey, enlivened by many interesting incidents. John Baumgartner and wife and four children drove in a one horse wagon from Columbia County, Pennsylvania, to northern Illinois, often through a country unmarked by wagon tracks. They sold some of the bedding on the way to raise funds for immediate use. He gave the horse as a first payment on a tract of land in Loran Township.
Martin Doll, wife and six children, with three horses, a yoke of oxen and two wagons, drove to this county from Canada. They brought household goods and provisions for camping by the wayside, sleeping in the wagons. They were seven weeks on the way and arrived in Stephenson County with a cash capital of 50 cents. Isaac Dively and family came by way of Ohio, Mississippi and Fever Rivers in 1837. From Galena they came in wagons to the Pecatonica, where he built a cabin, the first in that section to have the luxury of a floor of sawed lumber.
Wm. Dively, his son, hauled oats and barley to Galena and returned with lumber. Samuel and John A. Wright came overland from Pennsylvania to Buckeye Township in 1843. Fourteen teams with several families came out together. Thomas Jonas, was born in Paris, France, in 1801. He came to America and learned the blacksmith trade in Buffalo. In 1839, with wife and four children, he came to Milwaukee by way of the Great Lakes and hired two teams to haul his family to Freeport. He settled in Waddams Township.
Levi Robey, one of the earliest settlers at the age of four, came from Maryland over the Appalachian Mountains on pack horses with his father's family. They settled on the Sciota River, Ohio. They came on west to Brewster's Ferry in 1834. At Dixon, the Indians frightened the oxen and one broke away from the wagon. He settled on a claim in Waddams Township, Section I, in 1835, February 14. While in Ohio, he taught school and peddled clocks. His father located near Cedarville after running Brewster's Ferry for two years.
Frederick Gassmann, wife and child left North Germany in 1843. They crossed the Atlantic in a small sailing vessel in eighteen weeks, and landed at Baltimore. They then went to 'Wheeling, West Virginia, and from there by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to St. Louis. At St. Louis, in company with Charles, John, Henry, Christian and Frederick Rosenstiel, they started overland to Freeport. They hired a team to bring them through for $40, but when half way the driver struck and demanded $40 more which, owing to the conditions, they had to pay.
Silas Gage came from Pennsylvania. He came down the Allegheny and the Ohio on a raft and by steamer on to Galena. He walked finally into the county and settled at Winslow in 1836.
Ezra B. Gillett of Brooklyn, New York, was an early settler of the county. In 1827, at the age of 21, he came to the lead mine regions. He was successful, but took the cholera which was epidemic in the lead mine country in 1832. When he had recovered, he traded his mine for flour and sold the flour, and bought a pony on which he intended to start to his home in New York. Black Hawk War was on, and he felt that he had little chance to get through. He placed his money in the bottom of his powder horn, and with an old musket across his saddle, he started on his pony across the country to his home. He arrived safe, and having married, returned to Stephenson County to take a claim in 1834. His first stop was at Reitzell's now Buena Vista, where he built a mill on Richland Creek. He then built a mill at Bowertown, now Orangeville, and in 1837 built a board cabin on his claim in Section 20.
Mr. John Rotzler, at the age of eleven, came with his parents in 1852, and landed in Savannah, Georgia. Not liking the climate, the family came to Freeport in 1854, by boat from Savannah to Albany, New York, and by railroad to Freeport. The Rotzlers came from the same part of Germany as the Wagners. Mr. John Rotzler, Sr., met Mr. William Wagner, who had returned for his family, and it was Mr. Wagner's praise of America that led the Rotzlers to come out in 1852.
In the fall of 1839, George S. Cadwell, Alfred Cadwell and Z. U. Harding came to Oneco from Orange County, New York. They walked from Detroit, Michigan, through Chicago and Freeport. After taking a claim in Section 3, they walked to Milwaukee and took a boat for New York. In 1841, George S. Cadwell married and came west to settle on his claim.
In a measure the above sketches give an idea of the racial elements of the people of Stephenson County, and afford some conception of the courage necessary for men and women to brave the hardships of pioneer travel.
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Stories, Volume 1
events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
THE LOG CABIN INDIANS POISONOUS SNAKES FISH AND GAME MURDER
THE LOG CABIN
It was the day of the log cabin. The carpenter's tools were usually no more than an ax and auger. Some may have possessed an adz and a fro, for hewing the logs and riving and splitting the clapboards. The earliest cabins were built of rough unhewn logs. The cracks were filled with clay mud. The roof was covered with thatch or clapboards held in place by poles laid on top. Nails were unknown. The floor was laid with puncheons (split logs) or with bark. Augers bored holes into the log walls and into these pins were driven. On the pins, bark or split logs were placed and these served as shelves for kitchen utensils, clothing, bedding, etc. Bunks were often constructed in the same way.
Homemade bedsteads, and chairs were common. The settlers were skilled in preparing elm and hickory bark which they wove into chair seats. In the same way they made their baskets, and muzzles for horses to prevent them from eating the corn while plowing. The fireplace was occasionally made by laying slabs of rock. Chimneys were often built by using sticks instead of bricks. Clay filled the chinks and held the sticks together. The inside of the chimney was then daubed with clay. Fireplaces were made unusually large and in winter a great roaring fire was a necessary and cheerful part of the pioneer life.
A door made of puncheons, hung on wooden, home-made hinges, until replaced by a door of sawed lumber. Windows were small. At first there was but one window, sometimes none, and that one admitted light through greased paper. Glass was a luxury that came later. Blocks of wood set against the wall were used for chairs, and a slab or two of these made a settee. Tables were made of slabs supported by pegs, driven into auger holes.
These first homes were one room homes. There was often to be found a loft, where things were stored and where members of the family slept. Snow and rain could not be kept out and many a morning when the pioneer and his family awoke, they found their bed clothing covered with snow. The cabin was usually about 12 or 14 feet long and 10 or 12 feet wide and about 7 feet high. In the earliest cabins, cooking was done on the fireplace. The cooking utensils consisted of heavy iron tea-kettle and skillet, a coffee pot and maybe a boiling or stew pot. These with contents were placed over red coals of the fireplace, supported by pieces of stone or andirons and occasionally a crane would be found swinging a steaming pot over the fire. Simple and plain? Ah, yes, but what savory meals were thus prepared and set on the rude table! Food for strong men and women who had the world's work to do. Venison, pork, squirrel or wild turkey, potatoes baked in the ashes, corn pones, and coffee, We breakfast food eaters must envy them.
The one room home presents a beautiful picture. Here, porch, parlor, sitting room, library, bed room and kitchen were crowded into one. It is all seen at a glance. The rough-hewed logs, clap-board roof, the plain furniture, bed, cooking utensils, provisions, pieces of half dried venison and pork, and seed, corn hanging from the loft; the beds, ax and rifle and powder-horn; the mother knitting or darning; the father mending chairs or repairing his flintlock and about them children, usually six or more, and all lighted up by the roaring blaze of the great fireplace, throwing upon the sometimes beautiful white-washed walls a warmth of color and good cheer that make home life devoted and happy. Life then, as now, had its lights as well as its shadows.
At first, provisions were scarce. Markets were 40 and 50 miles away at best and money was scarce. A patient industry cleared away a little patch about the house and planted it in grain and garden. The hoe was much in use. The farmer made his own plow and drag; in fact, all his farming implements. Grain was threshed out with flails, or clubs, or tramped out by horses.
The grain was cut with sickles, scythes and cradles. There were no mills in the county, and have the grain ground into flour and meal meant a long, tiresome and dangerous journey over unbroken roads to Gratiot, Dixon or Galena or Peoria. At times this was out of the question and the settlers prepared meals in most rude and primitive ways, to meet with immediate necessities. One method was to cut down a large oak tree and build a fire on the center of the stump to burn out the heart of the wood.
A hole was then chopped into the top of the stump, making a simple mortar, which would hold about a peck of grain. An ax or an iron wedge was used as a pestle to crush the corn. Occasionally a "sweep" similar to the old well sweep would be prepared and the iron wedge fastened in the end of the rod made a simple crusher. The coarse broken grain was sifted in wire or deer-skin sieves, the chaff was blown out, and a coarse meal was prepared which made the famous corn pommes that were baked in the ashes. Another method was to scrape the corn on "gritters," which were pieces of tin with holes punched in it. Scraping the corn over the rough edges produced a coarse meal which was baked in "dodgers" or "pones."
The farmer made his coat and pants and shirt from the skins of deer shot in the vicinity and tanned at home. Coon and fox furnished ample material for his caps. Tea and coffee often ran low in supply and peas, wheat and barley were used as substitutes. There were periods when game was scarce and a bare existence was all that was to be had. Often the hunter would be out all day and return empty handed. There are reports that in times when meat was scarce, men were glad to get pork enough to grease a griddle. One man made a hearty meal on meat rinds that had done service in this way. The same man said he had worked hard for weeks at a time on no other food than corn meal mixed with water.
Mr. William Waddam's first farm in this county really consisted of four acres, located in the timbers, which he cleared with the ax, fenced, and planted in corn and potatoes without the assistance of teams. Some built stables and out houses for hogs, cattle and horses, from the tough prairie sod. Wild prairie grass afforded an abundance of hay.
"GOING TO MILL"
"Going to Mill" was a hard task before 1838. It was a long trip to Peoria or Galena. Travel by ox teams was extremely slow, and there were no roads, bridges and but few ferries. Such travel was dangerous in rainy seasons and in early spring. Many a pioneer found his way blocked by a raging river and was compelled to change his course. For wagon and team to get mired in a swamp was a frequent and sad experience. After a disheartening journey, the traveler found that he had to get in line and take his "turn."
"Going to Mill" was especially trying because the father never could be sure that all was well with his family left at home, in a wild western region with Indians lurking about and desperadoes plentiful enough. It was a day of great rejoicing when mills were established in the county. History and tradition threads many an interesting story about the ruins of the old water mills of Stephenson County. They served their purpose. They made the county attractive to immigrants and hastened the closer settlement of the county. The county owes much to those pioneer mill-builders, Kirkpatrick, Turner, Van Valzah, Wilcoxen and Reitzell.
William E. Ilgen who came to the county in 1842 said that when the mills at Cedarville were inaccessible the corn was dried in a stove and ground in a coffee mill. In this tedious way meal was prepared. Reuben Tower ground twenty bushels of buckwheat in a coffee mill one winter.
The barn or house "raisings" were as much a social affair as a matter of industry. When a citizen had his logs and timbers ready and on the ground, he sent out word to the neighbors that he would "raise" his building on a certain day. The preparation meant hard work. The owner had "homesteaded" or had bought a "claim" and maybe with his family lived in a shanty while getting out the logs. There was zest in the work of the settler as from morning till night he swung the ax, felling trees in the grove. He was building a home. The trees were chopped into logs and sometimes the only other work was notching the ends. Later, men used both axe and adz and hewed the logs on all sides. This additional labor made a closer, warmer and more beautiful house.
Early on the day of the "raising" the settlers for miles around drove in to lend a hand and enjoy the day. The women and children came also, and for them it was a kind of a holiday. The men set lustily to work, laying the heavy foundation logs, placing the puncheon floor and cutting the logs for window and door. The older men prepared the clay or mud and with sticks and mud they daubed full the cracks between the logs. Others, with sticks and clay, and rock sometimes, began the building of the great fireplace.
At the noon hour all hands stopped to enjoy the feast, an informal banquet. The women and girls had work to do and did it with as much spirit and joy as the men put into theirs, and none can say that the work of one was more important than the other. The men sat down to a heavily laden table, under the shade of some friendly tree and their delight was equaled only by the conscious pleasure of the women who had prepared the dinner. And such a dinner ! Cabbage, potatoes, beans, corn in the ear, corn pommes from the Dutch oven, wheat bread, and meat prairie chicken, turkey, venison, fresh pork or beef and always coffee, genuine coffee. (There was no necessity for pure food laws.)
It was a social hour, eating, visiting, joking, story-telling, reports of letters from the east, and getting acquainted with new settlers. How the women and the girls passed around everything time and again and urged and insisted that the men and boys eat and eat and eat. It goes without saying that under such conditions the men ate heartily, partly because of the demands of the frontier appetite and in part because a wincing, skimpy eater would lose friends among the ladies. A frequent figure at these raisings was the circuit rider, who was treated as a guest of honor.
After dinner the men brought forth their pipes and smoked the home-grown tobacco to their hearts' content. They talked, told yarns, wrestled and had a good time. Then, while the women ate their dinners and "did the dishes" the men set to work again, completing the house, roof, door and all. The plain household furniture was moved in and a happy family, happier likely than their descendants in modern palaces, took possession of a new, clean western home.
QUILTINGS AND CORN HUSKINGS
A feature of early social life was the corn husking and quilting party combined. For days before the word was passed around that a certain citizen was to have a big corn husking and quilting party. It was not an exclusive affair and all looked forward with eager anxiety to having a "big time." If sleighing was good, so much the merrier. The home "chores" were early done, and at nightfall the great sled loads with happy and large families drove over the winding trail to the appointed place. Some of the young people went in sleighs conveniently built for two. Host and hostess met all comers with a joyous "how do you do?"
The teams were cared for and when the merry crowd had gathered and unrestrained greetings were passed around, the program of the evening began. The women with needles and thread attacked the quilts cheerfully and found that quilting and conversation went well together. The men found at the barn a great heap of snapped corn ready for the huskers. Lanterns and candles lighted up the scene.
Some of the women joined the huskers and were good "hands." Girls also found the husking party more interesting than the quilting and, just naturally, a young man and young lady would be found husking together, both pleased in the extreme. Little children played in the great pile of husks, the merry laughter of the little ones adding music to the joyous occasion. To find a red ear of corn was sure to bring a shout from the busker, for it seemed to mean. an extra drink of cider or whatever else was in stock. Husking races added excitement to the general course of events.
At 10.30 the barn floor was cleared of husks. The women joined the men at the barn and pumpkin pie and apples, sweet milk, coffee and cider were served. When the lunch was over, all were happier than before. The old fiddler had already started to tune up, and began to saw away as only the old time fiddler can, on the familiar quadrilles and hornpipes of the day. After more or less "natural selections" of partners, based on attachments formed at the huskings, or of longer standing, the young people and the older people all together joined in the "grand promenade," and danced merrily away till the approach of the morning hours.
Many a woman of fifty was a good dancer in those days and a feature now, all but lost, sadly lost, was the dancing of old and young together. Of necessity, the social spirit was strongly pervaded by a spirit of co-operation. Sociability was free and natural spontaneous as the great democratic life the people lived. Social distinctions, narrow-minded exclusiveness, deadening forms studied with mathematical precision, artificial social relations, were foreign to the pioneers, being reserved for the cold, spiritless manufactured society of a later day.
Small crops were a necessity, not only because of the small clearing, but also because of the primitive means of harvesting. For several years the scythe and the cradle were the only means of cutting the wheat. The first cradle was a straight-handled affair, called the "Turkey-wing." When the "Grapevine" cradle was first introduced men who were accustomed to the "Turkey-wing" thought they could not use the "innovation."
Captain W. J. Reitzell, who settled Buena Vista June, 1840, says that two acres a day was good cradling. Some men cradled two and one-half to three and one-half. One dollar a day paid for cradling. Occasionally the life of the community was enlivened by a race between two or more "champion" cradlers. After the cradle came the mower, which was a great improvement because horse power was used. Then the "drop" was added to the mower and the machine cut the wheat and by foot power the driver dropped it in bunches.
It kept three or four men busy, usually four, binding the business with the straw and throwing the bundles out of the way of the machine on the next round. To take his turn and keep out of the way of the machine was one of the tests of manhood, strength and endurance, and when a boy could take his place and do his part along with the man, he was graduated into a man's work and felt the importance of the occasion. Besides a driver and four binders, two men were required to shock the grain. Six to ten acres a day was good work.
After the "drop" came the table rake. This machine had a platform on which the grain fell, and a revolving rake swept the bunches to one side out of the way of the machine on the next round. The next step was the Marsh Harvester, with an elevated platform upon which the grain was placed by an endless canvas. Two men stood by the platform and bound the grain with straw as it came up to them. This was supposed to be the height of man's invention, but it was not long till a greater invention followed. This was the self-binder.
As soon as the Marsh Harvester was set to work, inventors' minds became busy with the idea of bringing the bundles of grain by machinery. This was the most complicated step of all. Machinery had to gather up the straw, metal arms had to squeeze it into a tight bundle and a threaded needle had to reach around the bundle and tie it tight with wire or twine, making a firm knot. It was several years before the knotter was perfected, but it did the work after a while better than it was done by human hands. It was only a few more years till a "muncher" was added to the machine. With this contrivance the driver could drop several bundles at the same spot, and the labor of setting the bundles up in shocks was greatly lessened.
Now with the self-binder three men can cut and shock ten to fifteen acres a day and do it better than seven or eight men with the old drop machine. In some communities, laborers were antagonistic to the binder. They felt that soon there would not be a demand for labor and what would they do for a living? In places men set out as a kind of "night riders" and burned the machines in the field. Time has proved that invention and machinery has increased the demand for labor till it is more difficult now than ever before to get enough men to do the work.
Captain Reitzell says that most farm hands worked for $8.00 a month. Some of the best got $10.00. Hired girls got SQC a week. Now farm hands get $25.00 and $40.00 a month, and often keep a horse and buggy and get Saturday afternoons off. Hired girls get $3.00 to $5.00 a week. Even at these prices it is difficult to get men and girls to work on the farm.
From the time that the early settlers threshed grain with a flail to the traction engine and modern thresher is a long road of history, but it has all been seen in Stephenson County from 1833 to 1910. The flail was a simple threshing machine. It consisted usually of a stick about like a pitch fork handle, with a rope about a yard long to the end of which were attached two slats about the same length. Seizing the handle, a man would swing it through the air bringing it down on the straws, the slats striking with great force, shattering out the grain. Sometimes a limb of a tree with branches on it was used. Frequently horses were used to tramp it out, walking over the piled up straw. The straw was then lifted away, the grain and chaff was gathered up and "winded," separating the grain from the chaff.
Like most primitive agricultural processes these were slow and tedious methods. However, in one season, W. L. Beebe threshed 2,200 bushel with a flail. Later screens were used to separate grain and chaff. Then the old "fanning" was invented. The old horse-power thresher invaded the county in 1839. The cylinder for beating out the grain was the essential element. At first the "teeth" were made of wood, which were soon replaced by metal. The grain dropped through screens and the straw was carried on, while a fan blew out the chaff.
When the first rude thresher on wheels threshed William Waddams' grain in 1839, it aroused considerable criticism and was looked upon by some with suspicion. The power was furnished by horses driven around a cylinder, which gained speed by means of cog wheels. The cog wheel turned an iron rod which turned the cylinder and other machinery of the separator by means of another cog wheel. These simple outfits, while made almost entirely in a small shop, contained the essential elements of the modern threshing outfit. The traction steam and gasoline engine has taken the place of the horse power; a belt replaces the rod cylinder and screens have been perfected; a "blower" removes the straw instead of the endless canvas, and the grain is weighed into sacks or wagons.
Until about 1890 two men stood on the platform and cut the bands with pocket knives and the bundles were thrown from the wagon to the table. Another man stood between them and "fed" the machine, reaching to right and left and shoveling the wheat or barley into the cylinder. It was hard work, dusty and dangerous. He had a chance to get cut with the knives of band cutters, to get an arm torn out in the cylinder, or to get killed by flying cylinder teeth broken by a rock caught up in a bundle. About 1890 the band cutters and feeders were replaced by machinery.
Stacking the straw was another hard and dusty task. Before the day of the blower, several men were required to stack the straw. The worst position was at the "tail end" of the machine. A man had to stand there under an August sun and, smothered in clouds of straw and chaff keep back the straw with a pitchfork. This was a position at which many men "shied" and all were glad when the "blower" or "cyclone" thresher stacked the straw without the use of men. The traction engine, the self band cutters and feeders, the automatic weigher and the cyclone stacker have reduced the number of men employed by half.
Threshing was a hard proposition for the women. Thirty years ago it was not uncommon for the farmer's wife to feed thirty or forty men while threshing. The neighbors joined forces, made a schedule and went through the neighborhood threshing. The women co-operated in feeding the men.
And such threshing dinners as they used to get up. To attempt adequate description would be futile. There was a rivalry to some extent among the women to see who would get up the best and most elaborate meals. Quantities of bread and pies were baked a day or two before. Great fresh beef roasts were procured, sometimes mutton, and added to this chicken with soup and dumplings. Then there were great pots of string beans, roasting-ears, peas, tomatoes, sliced in vinegar, and stewed, baked sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes creamed, mashed and baked. These substantials were heaped into great bowls, dishes or tureens and set on a long table, often under the shade of a tree. Around the substantials were glasses and dishes of jellies, preserves and honey, molasses and stewed fruit. Copius supplies of milk and coffee were served, and then came stacks of pies and cake of all makes and descriptions.
Withal, it was one grand glorious time. When the whistle blew for dinner, the men made a grand stampede for that table. Faces and hands were soused in tubs of water, and without ceremony all hands "fell to" with appetites to be envied. The men joked and laughed and ate. The farmer's wife with a half dozen neighbor's wives on her staff superintended the dinner. The young girls of the neighborhood, dressed in their best, "waited" on the table, and lingered here and there to say a word to some blushing boy who was glad to be present. Happy days for them all!
It was hard, dirty, dusty work for men and boys, and nerve-wracking labor for the women, but it was a grand feature of country life, because an entire neighborhood were working together in a common cause. It added unity, interest and joy to county life. But it has practically passed away and if the rural communities do not devise some way of bringing the people of neighborhood and township in a happy enthusiastic unity, it shall have a lost a redeeming feature of country life.
MARKETS AND PRICES
Before the railroad came into the county there could be no large town. The absence of the railroad and towns deprived the people of home and foreign markets. Most of the people were farmers. There were but few professional men. Consequently the people produced more than they consumed. There was no market for the surplus products nearer than Galena, Dixon, Savannah, Mineral Point and Chicago.
Prices were extremely low. Mr. Charles Graves of McConnell says his father hauled beef and pork to Galena and sold it dressed at $1.25 a hundred. Hogs were so cheap that on one occasion when one jumped out of a wagon on the way to market the owner told a man driving on the road he could have it, as he did not have time to bother with it. From all points in the county pork was hauled to distant markets and sold at $1.25 to $2.00 a hundred. Grain was hauled to Savannah, and shipped to New Orleans on flat boats. When the cargo was sold the boat was sold for lumber and the owner began his slow and tedious return journey. The lead mine region markets soon became over-stocked and prices fell to almost nothing.
Chicago then was a better market, but over a hundred miles through mire and swamp with ox teams to market was not likely to be relished by farmers. Yet the early farmers did it. With four or five yoke of oxen hitched to a lumber wagon, pastured by night about the wayside camp, the pioneer farmer drove through dangerous sloughs and over unbroken roads to Chicago, right glad to be able to sell his wheat at 500 a bushel. He occasionally made some money by bringing out settlers from Chicago or hauling out supplies for the merchants. Usually he received his pay from the merchants in goods from the store. Hauling immigrants, however, was a delight, because that usually gave the farmer some much to be desired coin of the realm.
The one thing that was eventually a great aid to the thrifty settler was the price of land. Homesteads could be entered and claims partly or wholly proved up could be bought from $5.00 to $10.00 an acre. Many men got possession of good land between 1840 and 1850 at almost nothing and held to it, till with the advent of the railroad, the tide towards high prices set in, and the log cabin settler found himself a wealthy man. He appropriated the unearned increment, which Henry George maintained should belong to society.
Eggs were sold at 5c a dozen. Often people did not gather them up. Chickens had no market and farmers gave them little attention, leaving them to roost in trees and take care of themselves. Hogs were sometimes as high as $2.00 to $3.00 per hundred. Mr. Wm. Waddams sold dressed pork at 11-1/2 cents a pound. He hauled his produce to Galena or to Chicago.
In driving to market at Galena, Dixon or Chicago the farmers would join together and go in considerable numbers. They took provisions and cooking utensils to camp at night, sleeping under the wagons protected by blankets. The roads were bad and in places the men joined teams to pull one another through the mud holes.
When Mr. Fred Bolender came to this county in 1844 he built the usual log house. Several years later when he decided to build a frame house, he hauled the lumber from Chicago, over 100 miles. Wm. Dively hauled lumber from Galena. John A. Wright says wheat was worth 3oc and corn roc and i2c, and was hauled to Chicago.
Henry Wohlford hauled his first crops to Chicago by horse and ox teams. One trip required eleven days and his receipts were not enough to pay expenses. Zacharia Gage, of Lena, came from England, and landed in Middleport, New York, with $15.00. He and his wife both worked for a farmer for $16.00 per month. He cut cord wood at 310 a cord and harvested for $1.25 a day. Levi Robey is authority for the statement that postage on a letter cost 25c. The worst of it was that 25c was hard to find, specie being a negligible quantity in a frontier community. Richard Parriott, Sr., of Buckeye township, made many round trips to Chicago often requiring seven to ten days.
Anson A. Babcock, who came from New York to Stephenson County in a sleigh in 1839, carted three hundred bushels of wheat to Chicago one winter by team. W. L. Beebe hauled grain with his team for SQC a day. Benjamin Goddard saw wheat sold at 25c a bushel. He has told of a man named Hill who carted a load of wheat to Chicago whose expenses amounted to $9.00 more than he got for his wheat. John Wright bought land at $1.25 an acre in 1843. In 1839 Lewis Grigsby plowed where Freeport now stands and in 1835 rafted 100,000 pounds of lead down the river from Hamilton's Diggings. Reuben Tower, of Massachusetts, settled near Lena in 1844. He ground twenty bushels of buckwheat in a coffee mill. Joseph Kramer paid $9.00 an acre for land in Rock Grove township in 1846.
William E. Ilgen, Dakota township, hauled wheat to Chicago and sold it at 35c a bushel. Joseph Lamm, Silver Creek township, assisted his father to haul to Chicago. Their usual load was about 100 bushels, driving five to six yoke of oxen. Powell Colby marketed hay at $1.25 a ton.
The pioneer surroundings had many redeeming features. Wild flowers were abundant and of great variety and beauty. There were also hickory nuts, butternuts, black walnuts, and hazel nuts. For fruits the people had crab apples, wild-plums, thorn apples, blackberries, grapes and raspberries. Game was plentiful. There was an abundance of deer, wolves, wildcats, coon, muskrats, squirrels, woodchucks, wild geese, ducks, quail, loon, gull, pigeons, wild turkeys and prairie chickens. Wild honey was found in ample quantities. The streams were well stocked with fish and these were readily procured from the Indians. In the midst of such surroundings in addition to the garden produce and corn bread the pioneer's table was not likely to be lightly laden. However, it is said that many a man went to a hard day's work on a breakfast of "suckers fried in water."
One of John Tureaure's sons trapped $50.00 worth of prairie chickens and, being musically inclined, sent to Buffalo and got a melodion. John A. Wright in his diary says game was plentiful in early days and often a settler had only to go a few steps from his door, level his gun at deer or turkey. Henry Wohlford found game plentiful and said that the settlers were never without the luxury of fresh, sweet meat. It is told that while some pioneers were attending church, pioneer sportsmen shot deer on the site of the courthouse in Freeport. George Trotter, a settler in Buckeye, 1835, found game plentiful. He once killed two deer with a shot. Herds of deer and flocks of prairie chickens were found in abundance about Cedarville and the inhabitants depended mainly on the gun for meat.
In 1836 Silas Gage found deer, turkey, bear, wolves and other wild game so plentiful about Winslow that they were almost troublesome. Mr. A. C. Martin, who has lived near McConnell since 1854, says that many a time he has seen a herd of deer come out of a grove opposite his father's house. Wolves were numerous and played havoc with many a flock of sheep. Mr. Charles Graves, the McConnell postmaster, says game was plentiful in the early days. The last bear that appeared in the community around McConnell, came from the hogback up the river and went on his way across towards the Waddams settlement.
Next to horse thieves, poisonous snakes caused as much trouble as any other one factor in the new settlements. Here were the moccasin, the black rattlesnake, racers and the massasauga or yellow rattlesnake. The bite of poisonous reptiles was fatal if known remedies were not promptly applied. This was not always possible and many a boy and man gave up his life on the frontier because of the venomous sting of a poisonous reptile. There was some excitement and hustling when a farmer picked up a sheaf of oats and found a rattlesnake in it.
With his family and friends a man in Rock Run one day started fishing. One of the lads suddenly cried out with great pain, thinking he had stubbed his toe. An investigation showed plainly that the boy had been bitten by a venomous snake. The father hurried the boy home as fast as possible while another summoned a physician, but it was too late. The poison spread through the boy's system, and he died before night.
Another incident related is in regard to an Irishman near Rock City. He was plowing in a field and was bitten in the calf of the leg by a rattlesnake. Being far away from any medicinal remedy, he "whipped out his knife and cutting a piece out of that portion of his leg, continued his plowing." It was a radical remedy but saved his life.
Mr. Franklin Reed of Pontiac, Illinois, wrote in 1877 as follows: "April 29, 1831, I arrived with my father's family at Buffalo Grove (Polo, Illinois). May a we had our cabin ready to move into. It was the typical log cabin cut out of the green trees. The floor was laid of bark with the smooth side down. Large flat stones were set up against a side of the house in which we could build a fire till we had time to make a chimney.
About the cabin was a wild wilderness of grass-burned prairie as far as the eye could see. We made a garden and broke 14 acres and planted it in corn. The Indians were lingering around their old hunting grounds. Once we fled by way of Kellog's Grove to Apple River Fort for safety. Game was plentiful. I have seen twenty or thirty deer in a grove at once. In the spring of 1832 we fled again, this time to Dixon on account of the Black Hawk War. In 1833 we forted again.
Mrs. Jacob Burbridge of Lena, a daughter of William Waddams, who was the first permanent settler in Stephenson County, told the following in regard to frontier life, in 1891 at the age of 75: "I was born in 1816. My father was William Waddams, the founder of Waddams Grove. Our family numbered 13, but I don't know as we had any particular bad luck because of that. We moved to Indiana when I was a year and a half old. There my father owned a grist mill and a distillery. Those two went together in early days, for when with him some good old rye. The people then always believed in keeping it in the farmer brought his maize and wheat to be ground he must needs take back the house in case of sickness, you know.
"Of course we had to move with the tide. I believe some of the people never got tired of going West. We settled next near Peoria, Illinois. On our journey west, we came across an Indian camp, ran them all out and scared them to death. We stayed at Peoria a twelvemonth, and then came northward. I rode a horse during the journey and with my brother, who walked, drove the family cow towards the promised land. They claimed that milk and honey flowed there and I guess they were about right.
"I went to school at Galena for a time. There were about fifty scholars and the Presbyterian minister, a goodly sort of man, instructed us in 'reading', ritin' and 'rithmetic' and licking. Being a minister of the Gospel, he thought it not becoming for him to do the whipping, so he had someone do it for him. It always seemed to me that he picked out the biggest, stoutest, most terrible man in the settlement. It appeared, too, that, being paid for his work, he would not have it said that he was not worthy of his hire. I always escaped the terrible ordeal, but I saw others go through it and that satisfied me.
"Father dug lead ore in Galena for awhile, and then moved out of town and had a vegetable garden and kept bees. One night the Indians came and stole all our garden stuff and honey. Then we went to Shullsburg, Wisconsin, where father worked in the mines. We lived there two years. We also lived at Apple River and at White Oak Springs, keeping a hotel at the latter place. It was twelve miles to the nearest neighbor. Mother and I were in the fort when Sylvia and Rachel Hall were brought in from the Indian camp, during the Black Hawk War. They had no clothes fit to wear and we went to work and made them some clothes. During the war people crowded into the fort till about all of them were sick. We stayed only one night, as father said he would just as soon be killed by the Indians as to go there and get sick and die. My father had some exciting encounters with the redskins previous to the war. At one time there were three of them in the house. They became angry at him and were going to strike him down. He grabbed up a rolling pin and struck three of them to the floor.
"My father built the first cabin at Waddams Grove. He had seven hundred acres of ground where he settled. Our neighbors were all Indians and we learned to talk their language as well as our own. I wish I could talk German as well as I can Winnebago.
"One day a party of Indians came to our door-yard and demanded of father that we surrender or they would kill us. He made reply that they should come on, and that he would pay them well in lead for every step they took. They soon after filed off without as much as firing at us.
"One evening father called us to the door. When we looked out we were surprised to see everything as light as day. The heavens were so light you could pick up a pin from the ground. From the east and west there arose two balls of fire and slowly moved across the heavens towards each other. When they had come together the sky darkened as before. This was in the closing days of the war and father said it was a sign that the war was over and we would have peace.
I remember a terrible storm that occurred while we lived in Galena. One fellow living near us was flooded out and came over to our house. We had no bed for him so he climbed up in the cone of the roof and slept on the cross pieces. When morning dawned, he spread out his arms and crowed like a rooster. This goes to show that we took things as we found them in those days.
"The keel boat that brought vegetables up to us from St. Louis was attacked at one time by the redskins and all but one man was killed. He took up the dead men's gun and kept shooting till he routed the Indians. He reached our settlement in safety but his hat and coat were riddled with bullets.
"In the early days we found the skeletons of Indians scattered over the prairies. You see, they never buried their dead in the ground, but put them on platforms supported by poles, which in the course of time would decay, topple down and leave the bones bleaching in the sun.
"The children used to take the skulls of Indians, and using the jaw-bones for runners, make sleds of them. In winter time it was a peculiar sight to see the children spinning down the hillside, sitting triumphantly on the skulls of departed braves."
Mrs. Matilda Boyle, in a letter read at a meeting of the survivors of the Black Hawk war says she was born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1802, and came to Illinois in 1825. She married Mr. Boyle and settled in the northern part of the state. They lived in a one room log cabin, the only light of which came through a greased paper. She often left the bread-dough unbaked and rushed to a near by fort at the alarm of marauding Indians. "I once remember when alone in our cabin in 1831, an armed Indian with hideously painted face, bounded in at the open door. So stealthily had he come, that the dog which was asleep at the door sill never awakened. The Indian warmed his hands at the fire, stared around but said nothing. His face was painted red, striped with black, with white about the eyes. We supposed he belonged to Black Hawk's band."
LARGE FAMILIES OF THE PIONEER TIMES
Seventy-seven years have wrought a wonderful change in Stephenson County. Conditions that surrounded the people of the first generation afford many sharp contrasts with conditions as they are today. One of the characteristics of the early day was the large family. Small families were the exception. It was not uncommon before 1860 to find families of ten to fifteen children. From six to eight was an average family. Four children were called a small family.
There are many reasons, no doubt, that explains the marked contrast with the present tendencies toward "race suicide." The early settlers who came from the older States or from Europe were a vigorous lot of people. The weaker element had not the courage or the initiative to face the dangers and trials of frontier travel and settlement. The people here lived largely the outdoor life. Fortunately they lived in a day in which insipid breakfast foods, cold storage eatables, and destructive delicacies were unknown. Their clothing was as simple and plain as their log cabin life. The cost of rearing children was not great. There was an abundance of work at hand and children were a good investment. Besides, land was plentiful and cheap and the chances for children to acquire farms and a competence were good. Industrial life was developed only along a few lines, and the intricate and complicated specialization of today was unknown.
In fact, parents could look forward to the rearing of large families with far less anxiety than in such a social and industrial system as now prevails. But generalization is too easy, and too indefinite. A few instances of large families of the pioneer times, with the observation at hand today, will enable the reader to arrive at his own conclusion. Whether the old system of large families is a better means of building up a progressive civilization, as Mr. Roosevelt seems to think, or whether a smaller family, with more attention paid to the education and training of the children, is the panacea, each individual must judge for himself.
Mr. Frederick Baker, whose father was the first settler in Freeport, had eight children. Fred Bauch, florist, a native of Prussia, had ten children; Charles Baumgarten's family consisted of six children; W. L. Beebe, eight children, six boys and two girls; Robert Bell, five children; M. D. Chamberlain, six children; Powell Colby, six children; Albertus Collman, six; C. O. Collman, nine; John Erfert, seven; E. C. Fitch, six; D. Franz, five sons and four daughters; S. B. Harris, seven; E. Heller, six; C. M. Hillebrand, six; Jacob Hime, eight; C. M. Hineline, nine; John Hoebel, seven; Daniel Hoover, seven; M. Huber, six; I. Klein, nine; Dexter A. Knowlton, six; John Koehler, six; Jacob Krohn, eight; D. Kuehner, five; Michael Lawver, eleven, five sons and six daughters; Henry Lichtenberger, six; John Loos, eight; M. Marvin, seven; James Mitchell, seven; Jacob Molter, seven; Edwin Perkins, ten; Elias Perkins, five; J. J. Piersol, seven; Henry Rohkar, eight; C. H. Rosentiel, five; D. B. Schulte, five; John Snich, six; Charles P. Snow, nine; J. H. Snyder, six; J. H. Stover, six; Valentine Stoskoff, eight; Oscar Taylor, six; John M. Walz, seven; L. A. Warner, five; George Wolf, six; Charles Berhenke, Kent, eleven children, four sons and seven daughters; Bryan Duffy, seven; Henry Faringer, six sons; Jacob Gable, eleven; William Heyer, six; James A. Hughes, seven; Peter Kleckner, nine; O. H. Phillips, six; J. W. Rush, seven; David Shearer, ten, three daughters and seven sons.
In Winslow Township, Henry Chawgo had five children; LeGrand M. Cox, six; Silas Gage, eleven; Barnabus Hinds, six; George M. Kennedy, seven; D. B Packer, six; Jeptha Pronty, ten, seven sons and three daughters; Thomas Rodebaugh, six; Charles Sheard, eight; J. M. Staver, six; Thomas P. Steere, seven; Orrin Vaughn, eight; John Wales, seven.
James Ault, of Waddams Township, had eight children, five boys and three girls; W. K. Bechtold, seven; L. B. Churchill, five; J. C. Conaby, five; Trumon Cross, six; Martin Fogel, eight; Hiram Fuller, five; J. B. Gates, ten; Hubbard Graves, first county sheriff, eleven children; S. W. Grissinger, seven; Charles P. Guenther, seven; W. H. Holmes, five; Thomas Jonas, ten, four sons and six daughters; B. Kleckner, eight; Alonzo Lush, eleven, six boys and five girls; John Price, six; James Price, five; Levi Robey, five; Sanford S. Sherman, six; William Shippee, thirteen, six sons and seven daughters; Robert Sisson, six sons and five daughters; Andrew St. John, six; Henry Wohlford, ten, four sons and six daughters.
In Florence Township John Q. Adams' family consisted of eight children, four boys and four girls; John Aspinwall, seven children; Patrick Barron, five; Michael Bastian, five; Andrew Black, seven; John Burchhardt, eight; August Froning, seven; George Hamm, ten, fire boys and five girls; Jacob Hoffman, seven; Christopher Mayer, eight; Geo. A. Moore, eleven, three girls and eight boys; Jacob Pfeil, six; Nathan Sheetz, ten; Conrad VanBrocklyn, eight; Wilhelm Wilhelms, five.
In the township of Silver Creek, Michael Bangasser had eight children, four boys and four girls; Christopher Bennett, fourteen children; Fred Brockmaier, six; William Brockhausen, ten, five boys and five girls; Henry C. Brown, eight; Henry Dubbert, ten, four sons and six daughters; Andrew Fiest, seven; John Fosha, eight; Johann Fuls, five; S. M. Grier, five; Jacob Hoebel, six; M. W. Hollingsworth, five; F. P. Koehler, eleven; Henry Kruse, six; Joseph Lamm, six; J. S. Reisinger, seven; Charles Schoettle, eight; S. J. Stebbins, seven; Nicholas Steffen, ten, four boys and six girls; George Stoenzhorn, five; Mene Vanloh, six; William Young, six.
In Harlem Township, Charles W. Barber, six; George J. Bentley, eight; E. Bennett, five; Ludwig Broend, six; Henry Burkard, six; Thomas Ewing, six; C. H. Furry, six; Phillip Herrbrick, nine; Joseph Hutmacher, twelve children, six boys and six girls; Aaron Kostenbader, eight; Levi Law, six; Martin Lawless, six; Oliver P. McCool, eight; Joseph McCool, nine; Edward Martin, eleven, nine girls and two boys; John Martin, nine; William Meads, seven; Thomas Metz, five; Lewis Meyers, seven; E. R. Mulnix, six; A. B. Munn, six; Joseph Murdock, ten; Frank Pickard, six; R. C. Shofield, seven; George Seyler, six; John Steffen, five; John H. Stout, five; Frederick Watson, fifteen, six girls and nine boys; Rezin Wilcoxin, six.
In Loran Township, John Apgar, eleven children, six girls and five boys; Reuben Babb, five; H. M. Barnes, six; Jacob Behringer, eleven; Ira S. Byington, seven; John C. Ditzer, six; Mathias J. Ditzler, eleven; Ira Kinman, twelve; Charles Kloepping, five; D. C. Lamm, ten; William Lahre, nine; Jacob S. Studebaker, fourteen, seven boys and seven girls; Levi Thomas, eleven.
Isaac Bogenrief, of Jefferson Township, had nine children, six sons and three daughters; Samuel Hayes, six; Peter Kerch, six; John Koch, six; G. D. Babbit, five; Charles Boeke, five; Francis Boeke, six; Conrad Fautzmeier, ten; Conrad Fye, ten; Valentine Gilman, seven; Charles Grossman, five; H. S. Jones, six; Herman Klass, six; Card Terica, five; Ludwig Niemeier, five; Dr. E. H. Plasch, eight; August Raders, eleven; John M. Rees, seven; Henry Rosenstiel, seven; Frank R. Tower, nine; John Winters had a family of seven children and his father a family of fourteen.
D. L. Bear, Oneco Township, had six children; Willoughby Bear, six; B. P. Belknap, eight; Franklin Bolender, five; Aaron Bower, five; John Bower, eight; W. H. Clarno, nine; J. C. Dorn, eight; George Erb, twelve; David Fye, eight; Jacob Fye, nine; Lewis Gibler, thirteen children; Charles Lestikow, five; Daniel Moore, nine; E. T. Moore, six; Emanuel Musser, five; Hiram Shons, six; E. S. Wagner, five; Ira Winchell, eight; Daniel Woodring, twelve children.
Jacob Acker, of West Point Township, nine children; H. W. Allen, six; C. T. Barnes, seven; Allen Boyer, eleven; Jacob Burbridge, eleven; William Corning, five; Daniel Davis, seven; Thomas Davis, thirteen; Samuel J. Dodds, five; J. T. H. Dobler, eight; Anthony Doll, six; A. M. Durkie, five; J. D. Fowler, eight; Thomas S. French, eight; W. W. Hall, five; John Herrington, eleven; Andrew Hinds, eleven, six sons and five daughters; G. L. Howard, six; Martin Howard, five; George Hoyman, six; J. T. Leaman, ten; Jacob Leckington, ten; J. C. Lohr, five; John McCullough, seven; John Mahon, seven; John Metz, five; J. H. Ozburn, five; John Reeder, eight; William A. Rice, seven; Spencer Rising, six; J. M. Schermerhorn, five; A. H. Stahl, ten; A. Weaver, five; Moses Weaver, seven; Miles White, six.
N. J. Barrimore, of Rock Grove Township, had nine children; Hugh Bennehoff, seven; H. H. Bolender, eleven; Samuel Chambers, eight; C. J. Cooper, eight; W. L. Cooper, seven; Jacob Fisher, ten; H. O. Frankeberger, twelve; Solomon Fisher, eight; Ole O. Gardner, eight; Lemuel Goodrich, nine; George Hassenger, ten; Solomon Hoy, nine; Harvey Kiester, six; Levi Kiester, six; Dr. D. H. Kleckner, six; L. L. Marsh, seven; George Maurer, five; Frederich Pothast, six; Edward Pratt, six; Calvin Preston, nine; David Zimmerman, eight; J. H. Zimmerman, five.
James H. Adams, of Buckeye Township, had ten children; J. B. Angle, six; John F. Bender, eight; John Boals, twelve; Frederick Bolender, six; Dr. Chas. Brundage, seven; J. B. Clingman, eleven; Josiah Gingtnan, ten; Rev. George J. Donmeyer, nine; John Epley, five; Jacob Folgate, five; John Fox, six; Daniel Grimm, seven; William D. Hartman, six; John Hartzell, six; William Herman, five; Solomon Hixson, six; William Hoff, five; Thomas Hutchinson, nine; Joseph F. Jackson, seven; Jacob Jones, nine; Robert Jones, seven; Daniel Keck, six; William K. Kryder, seven; Edwin Lied, seven; John Pollock, eight; Thomas Pollock, ten; William Ritzman, twenty-two; Ensebius Schadle, five; William Stewart, five; George Trotter, eleven; Phillip Windecker, nine; Jerit Wohlford, six.
In Lancaster Township, Rudolph K. Brubaker's family consisted of nine children, seven boys and two girls; Conrad Dambman, five; Samuel Daughenbaugh, ten; Tobias Engle, eleven; D. G. Fager, eight; Levi Fahs, nine; William Glasser, eight; George W. Lattig, seventeen, five sons and twelve daughters; J. T. McKibbin, eight; I. N. Mallory, eleven; Reuben Meyers, six; Jacob P. Mitchel, six; William B. Mitchell, eight; Joseph Myers, five; Jacob W. Rutter, eleven; R. F. Rezner, seven; William W. Smith, four; Benjamin Snyder, thirteen; C. Yarger, five sons and five daughters.
of Rock Run Township, a blacksmith, had twelve children, six sons and
six daughters; A. O. Anderson, eight; D. Bellman, eleven; Joseph Binker,
seven; Michael Blimm, thirteen; David Cable, twelve, five daughters and
seven sons; Jacob Cable, eight; H. D. Cole, nine; John S. Daughenbaugh,
six; Christ Feeney, nine; S. R. Foster, five; Louis Germain, nine; Martin
Gillen, nine; John Glynn, eight children; Aaron Gold, ten; J. H. Graham,
eleven; John Hoag, nine; C. B. Johnson, six; John F. Kaufman, six; Jacob. Keehan, five; Halleck Kundson, seven; Thurston Kundson, nine; M. W. Kurtz, seven; J. Lanek, eighteen; S. B. Leach, nine; Henry Maeir, eleven; Alexander Niblo, ten; S. Olsen, seventeen; Jacob Orth, six; Henry Schleiter, nine; Samuel Strong, eight; John Weber, eleven; Joseph H. Weir, eight; Michael Wolf, twelve; Peter Wolf, twelve; Luther Angle, of Dakota township, had nine children; John Brown, eleven; William E. Ilgen, fifteen; John Kryder, nine; Martin S. Lapp, ten; Robert Nelson, ten; Samuel Otto, five; John S. Smith, eight; James A. Templeton, ten; George Walker, eight; O. D. Weaver, eight; John Wirth, eight; Solomon Wise, seven.
Daniel Brick, in the township of Ridott, had a family of twelve children, six boys and six girls; Ulrich Boomgarten, eight; Michael Bardell, seven; Asa Carey, seven; Christian Clay, eleven; H. H. De Groot, eleven; L. S. Freeman, six; Philo Hammond, five; John Heeren, nine; Thomas Hunt, twelve; Neil Johnson, six; Wesley John, six; Jacob Molter, six; A. J. Niles, eight; Henry Scheffner, eight; Michael Von Osterloo, ten, four daughters and six sons; H. P. Waters, eight; Edward Weik, six; David J. Witter, five; Samuel Mover, seventeen.
The above meagre sketch of a few of the large families of pioneer times is ample evidence that there were then no strong tendencies towards "race suicide." That there has been a remarkable change since the early days is also very evident. In 1862 the number of children of school age enumerated in the county was 10,609; m l %7 2 > 11,229; m 1882, 10,483; in 1890, 9,867; in 1910, 9,039. There were thirty less enumerated in Freeport in 1910 than in 1906. A large increase in the population of both Freeport and Stephenson County is accompanied by a decline in the number of children of school age. This chapter sets forth some facts that afford food for speculation.
The annihilation of Black Hawk's army, August 2, 1832, was the end of serious Indian troubles. When the first white settlers came into the county in 1833, 1834 and 1835, a few bands of disorganized Indians still roamed about. They were remnants of the Winnebagoes and the fight had all been taken out of them. Small hunting parties roamed about and occasionally annoyed the settlers by carrying off the garden truck or by rifling an unguarded house. Petty thefts and trespassing were the more common misdemeanors of the red men.
A small party at one time drove away an entire drove of hogs belonging to William Waddams. Another squad entered the bachelor cabin of Robert Jones and Levi Lucas near Cedarville and among other things carried away razors, game, wild honey and tobacco. The owners returned as the redskins were sneaking away from the cabin. The men followed the Indian's trail and overtook him in the act of shooting a wild turkey. Jones rushed upon him, seized his gun and threatened instant death unless he immediately restored the stolen property. After some demurring and pleas in confession and avoidance, the Indian offered to restore the articles if the men would go with him to his wigwam. Consenting to do this, they were led through the wilderness and were brought suddenly into the presence of about thirty braves who, with their women at once realized their danger, but put up a bold front, entered the circle of savages and sat down. There followed a prolonged parley without anger, after which the Indian who had stolen the property disappeared in the wilderness. Not long after he returned with the tobacco, but assured the men that the razors and provisions were in the possession of a band of Winnebagoes on Yellow Creek. The old Indian then told his people how Jones and Lucas had assaulted him in the forest, how they had taken his rifle away and had prevented him from shooting a wild turkey. There were vigorous grunts of displeasure from the circle of braves and they became loud and threatening. But Jones was a diplomat. He was not prepared to fight thirty armed Indians. He became suddenly generous and courteous. He succeeded in calming the enraged redskins by dividing his tobacco among the braves and restored tranquility by "tickling the Indian maidens under the chin and indulging in other harmless pleasantries with them," Jones afterward said his gallantry was severely taxed in making love to the greasy beauties of the Winnebagoes, but he was willing to make the sacrifice rather than to take a chance of losing his scalp.
Jones and Lucas spent the night at the home of Benjamin Goddard, south of Cedarville. The next morning they and Mr. Goddard went to the claim of William Baker and aided the latter in raising his house. While at work here, a party of Yellow Creek Indians came up, to hang around and get same of the "fire water" usually an article to be found at "raisings" in these days. Jones at once accosted the Indians and demanded the return of his stolen property, and threatened death if his demands were not complied with. This argument was convincing and the Indians pointed to the sky, indicating that at noon they would turn over the stolen goods. Promptly at twelve, the band returned and gave the razors to the rightful owners.
Indians were still around the county and subjected the settlers to many petty annoyances. On a blustering winter day five redskins came to the cabin of F. D. Bulkley and sought shelter. "Wigwams all gone; Indian got no wigwam," they said, as they pointed to the naked poles that marked the site of the old Winnebago village. They were permitted to dry their clothes about the fireside of the paleface and as a mark of gratitude offered Mr. Bulkley some whiskey. In the absence of a funnel an Indian boy transfer it from a large jug to a small one by means of his mouth.
A Mr. Kent, the first settler at Rockford, had experience with Indians. Returning from a visit to his brother at Galena, he had secured a canoe and, laden with potatoes; paddled down the Pecatonica to Baker's cabin, now Freeport. Here he tied up his canoe and went ashore. When he returned to his canoe he found it surrounded by a mob of squaws and young Indians, who were busy as squirrels carrying away his potatoes. What remained he took with him to Rockford and planted some of them, raising a good crop. More hard luck was in store for Mr. Kent and his potatoes, for one night the Indians came to his clearing and dug up and carried away all of his potatoes.
On one occasion Indians entered the cabin of a "Widow" Brown and carried away her stock of provisions. A party of "Freeporters," William Baker, M. Brown, Jake Goodheart and "Wild Gunner" Murphy set out after the thieving redskins with William Baker, who had acquired a certain mastery of the Winnebago tongue, as interpreter. The party came up .with the Indians in camp in Rock Run Township. The Indians were intoxicated and their fury frightened away the first one of the pursuers who came upon them suddenly and alone. Baker and the remainder of the party then came up. The Indians asked Baker why the white man ran away. Baker's diplomacy again saved the day as he replied that the man was running to bring up a party of one hundred whites not far away. He made a bold stand and told the Indians that if they did not turn over the widow's property at once, the entire party of Indians would be killed and scalped. After a parley, the matter was adjusted. The Indians agreed to restore what had not been consumed of Mrs. Brown's stores, and gave Baker a horse to guide them out of the community and away from the "hundred volunteers" who were bent on destruction of the Indians. Fred Baker was also paid four coon skins for his services as interpreter one instance of the practical value of the study of a foreign language.
Mr. Charles Graves, the venerable postmaster at McConnell, remembers the wigwams left along the Pecatonica by the Winnebagoes. He and other children used them as playhouses. They played Indian just as children do today who read Indian stories. The early children had the advantage of seeing real Indians, war paints and feathers and heard stories told at first hand. The wigwams were ideal "playhouses," and the children added a touch of realism by painting their faces and dressing in Indian fashion. They divided into squads, Indians in one and whites in the other, and fought sham battles in which war whoop and hatchet were put into play.
or "Coming Thunder," had his village on the Pecatonica, at the
foot of Stephenson Street, Freeport, where the Illinois Central Station
now stands. Here were the wigwams of his braves and squaws. Here about
their campfires they held their pow-wows and war dances. While not a troublesome
band, yet they looked with distrust upon the steady approach of the white
settlements. In what is now Taylor's Park, the squaws in a rude way cultivated
the cornfields with clam shells. The first settlers saw the peculiar burial
methods of the Winnebagoes. Four strong poles were planted in the ground
on which a platform was constructed. The body of a dead Indian with his
bow and arrows and trinkets was placed upon the platform, with such savage
rites as were customary among the Winnebagoes. When the first settlers
built their cabins in Freeport these burial grounds still held many of
the skeletons of departed red men, whose spirits had gone to the happy
hunting grounds and whose bodies
had been destroyed by exposure to the elements.
While the Indians were not exceedingly troublesome during the earlier pioneer days, yet their presence, their strange manners and dress and withal the ever present uncertainty of their attitude, added a certain touch of daring and romance that always accompanies dangerous situations to the life of the first settlers. People from the east who knew the Indian only from books could not fail to be impressed by the presence of real red men. It was no place for "mollycoddles." Girls and women were trained in the use of the rifle, the unfailing arbiter of early disputes. Neither were these girls and women ignorant. Many of them had been educated in eastern academies and colleges and had come from homes of plenty and culture and refinement. They were a brave and noble band of women, inspired by the spirit of the great west, enlivened by romance of danger and made strong by the hardships and privations of the frontier.
A MURDER TRADITION OR FACT
Whatever the truth may be, tradition has persistently maintained a story of a murder at Kellog's Grove during the summer of 1833. It seems that two young men of Virginia had heard glowing reports of the wealth of the lead mine district about Galena. They decided to leave the Old Dominion to seek their fortunes in the great West. A "Prairie Schooner" was fitted out in elaborate style, fully equipped to make the long journey over the Virginia hills, across Kentucky, over the Ohio, and finally to Peoria when they struck the Kellog Trail for Galena. After a long and tiresome journey with an ox team, the young planters encamped for the night in the cabins at Kellog's Grove. Tired from the hard trip they ate supper, secured the oxen for the night and retired to enjoy the sound sleep that comes to him who has journeyed long in the open air.
When the young adventurers awoke in the morning, they found that their oxen had broken loose and had wandered away from the camp. It was mutually agreed that one was to prepare the breakfast while the other was to find the missing oxen and return them to camp.
Evidently the long journey from Virginia had for come reason made the men quarrelsome. After several hours, the one who had gone in search of the oxen returned with them to camp. The other had, however, made no headway in the task of the preparation of the breakfast. The delay led to a quarrel and finally the blows. During the fight, one of the men seized an ox yoke or some other weapon and struck his antagonist over the head causing almost instant death.
But the victor quickly realized the awfulness of his crime. They had started out from the old home in full harmony and high spirits. Fortunes and a bright future awaited them, gaining which, they no doubt hoped to return prosperous and happy to the homes they had left behind. But now one lay dead at the hands of the other. The survivor at once felt the sting of the conscience stricken murderer. To get away from the scene of this crime he plunged at once into the trackless forests. But he found that even in the wilds of a western wilderness, he could not lose the consciousness of guilt. It haunted him at every turn, till driven to desperation, he returned to the scene of his crime and looked with horrified soul upon the dead body of his comrade. Joy had gone from his life and hope fled, as with heavy heart he made a grave in the hillside and laid away as best he could the remains of his victim.
In about a week the dejected traveler arrived at Apple River and sadly told the settlers the above story. The settlers placed no restraint upon the man but not long after, haunted still by a remorseless conscience, he again plunged into the wilds in a vain attempt to find relief.
He was heard from no more by the settlers of Apple River. Years later, in the woods of Jo Daviess County there was found the skeleton of a human being whose identity could not be fixed. However, it may be, the Apple River settlers believed this to be the body of the conscience stricken Virginian, who, they believed, finding he could not gain peace of mind in life, sought relief in death at his own hands.
THE PRAIRIE PIRATES
Stephenson County did not suffer as much as the surrounding counties from the Prairie Pirates, or the "Banditta of the Prairies." This was because the settlement was held back till the close of the War with Black Hawk, after which it was rapidly settled up. Yet many a fine horse was swiftly ridden out of the county to the secret headquarters of the gang of thieves that preyed upon the unorganized community. No less dreaded than the Indians were these Pirates, whose organizations spread out all over the frontier settlements of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. They worked in no fear of the law. They were the overflow of the criminal class of the East which, driven from the older settlements by organized law, hovered over the sparsely settled new communities, to live without working, by stealing from their more industrious neighbors.
Stables were doubly locked and good horses were not to be left unguarded, unless a faithful watch dog slept in the barn. Most men never thought of going to the stable or to the wood pile after night without his gun. A man often slept with the horses with his trusty rifle at his side.
The leaders about Rock River were John Driscoll, John Brodie, Samuel Aikens and their sons. They had a secret society and had stations scattered about the country. Signals and pass-words perfected the organization of plunderers which operated from Wisconsin to Texas, preying on the means of honest toilers.
John Driscoll came from Ohio in 1835 and settled on Killbuck Creek in Ogle County. It is said that he came from the Columbus Penitentiary. In physique, courage and intellect he was a remarkable man. He was upwards of six feet and weighed 200 pounds. Part of his nose had been bitten off in a fight with a human ghoul. His hair was iron gray and coarse. He did many acts of kindness, once finishing the crop of a woman whose husband had died. The Driscolls were sly, secretive, cunning and revengeful.
John Brodie settled in Dement township, Ogle County, at Brodie's Grove. He was a small man, with a low forehead, stiff black hair and deep set eyes, a typical prairie pirate. His sons were dare-devils both despised and feared.
The Log Tavern at Inlet Grove, Lee County, was the distributing point for counterfeiters, and a directing point from which the movements of stolen horses were controlled as they passed from station to station. The "Pirates" when apprehended always got bail and were always able to prove an alibi.
The Ogle County Regulators organized in a school house determined to fight the pirates. They numbered from 15 to several hundred and determined to do what they law could not do. They called on John Hurd, a horse thief, at night, ordered him to strip, tied his hands behind his back and gave him thirty-six lashes with a rawhide. He stood the ordeal without flinching. When the flogging ceased, he said, "Now, to prove that I am an honest man, I will join your company."
A former Baptist preacher had stolen four horses between Freeport and Rockford. He was "tried" by the Regulators, found guilty, and sentenced to receive 50 lashes on the bare back. The trial was held at his house, and he was stripped for the ordeal, when his daughter, a prepossessing girl of 16, rushed to his side and plead with the Regulators to spare her father. With much murmuring, the majority decided to let the preacher off on his promise to flee the country. Several hours later, a part of the band returned, tied the reverend horse thief to a Burroak tree and gave him ninety-six lashes on the bare back.
Driscoll's meanness ran deep. At one time, having decided to burn an enemy's barn, he determined at the same time to square off an old account with his own son. He secretly took his son's horse from his stable, rode to the barn and set fire to it, riding the horse back and tying it in his son's barn. The young man was sent to the penitentiary.
When Driscoll's son murdered Campbell, a leader of the Regulators, the frontier was thoroughly aroused. One hundred and eleven stern men tried the Driscolls and sentenced them to die like dogs. The notorious thieves made only one request, and that was to be shot, and not to be hanged. They were given one hour to prepare for death. Some of the Regulators begged that the Driscolls be turned over to the courts, but hot speeches, recounting the losses sustained by the surrounding counties and casting doubt on the proposition of leaving the fate of the men to the courts, prevailed. Death squads, fifty-five and fifty-six, were detailed to shoot the men. Old John Driscoll was the first to kneel and fifty-six bullets riddled his body. A tradition is handed down that William Driscoll's hair turned almost white as fifty-five rifles ended the life of a man who had confessed to seven murders. Aikens died from sickness while hiding day and night from the "Regulators."
One leader of the horse thieves who operated in Clinton County, Iowa, and through Carroll, Jo Daviess and Stephenson Counties, was a special terror to horse owners. After stealing a fine animal, he would knock some of his teeth out, paint him a different color and in this way make sure his escape. He had a secret hiding place, where he kept his stolen horses till the hunt subsided when he would take them into market. This leader, whose name was Warren, was finally rounded up by the Regulators and hanged. His wife took the event calmly saying that that was the third husband of hers that had been hung.
Charles Graves, the present postmaster at McConnell, remembers several incidents of pioneer life that occurred while his father was the first Sheriff of Stephenson County. A report came to him one day that some horses had been stolen. Sheriff Graves followed their trail all day. Finally he came upon them in camp and captured them. About dark that evening he returned with them in a wagon. They were not hand-cuffed. It was then too late to take them to Freeport, and Mr. Graves said to the men, after supper had been prepared by Mrs. Graves, "Boys, I don't know what to do with you fellows but shut you up in my root house," "Alright," said the men, and supplying them with bedding Mr. Graves locked them up in the temporary jail. Next morning they were still there, and the Sheriff took them in a wagon to Freeport where they were placed in the old log jail. The old log bastile in Freeport was not very secure and they soon escaped.
An old history of Stephenson County, in the possession of Mr. A. C. Martin, of McConnell, tells a good story of the horse thief pest and how relentless the pioneer was in dealing with it. A farmer awoke one morning to find one of his horses stolen. He immediately mounted another horse and armed with his rifle set out on the trail. When he had about lost hope and was riding along the river, he suddenly saw a horseman riding along the opposite bank of the stream. He saw at once that it was his horse and without ceremony or challenge he leveled his rifle at the thief and fired, the rogue tumbling off the stolen mount dead. The horse ridden by the owner in pursuit neighed, and the stolen horse, recognizing his mate, plunged into the river and swam across to its owner.
It was necessary to take up the pursuit of a stolen horse at once, because if they ever crossed the Mississippi there was no chance for recovery. Besides, there was such a perfect organization among the thieves that concealment in caves and other out of the way places would soon put the stolen, animals beyond the reach of the owner.
Horse stealing was a profitable "business." Escape was not difficult and the property could usually be converted into cash. But if caught, the thieves were summarily dealt with. The trials were brief and the criminals were either sent to Alton or driven out of the county with death as a reward if they returned. At times, the Block House which stood where the First Ward School now is was filled with rioters and horse thieves.
Horse thieves were particularly active in 1838 to 40. The gang of thieves was so well organized that it was difficult to catch or to recapture the stolen animals. An early experience of Conrad Van Brocklin in Florence Township gives an idea of the excitement and dangers connected with the operation of the band of thieves. During an afternoon, he suddenly saw thieves making away with two of his blooded horses. Assisted by Mason Dimmick, he gave pursuit. The thieves had a good start and the chase was desperate. The thieves had no bridles and were getting away with the booty easily when they suddenly came upon a stream of water. One of the horses had a dread of crossing water and could not be forced to enter it by the thieves. While the pirates were making heroic afforts to get the horse across, Van Brocklin and Dimmick came up suddenly and the men ran into a nearby swamp. The horses were regained but the thieves escaped.
About the same time, thieves secured the horses of Samuel Smith in Lancaster township and piloted them safely across the Mississippi and sold them. Mutual Aid Societies, Regulators and Vigilance Committees were the most effective means of fighting the horse thieves in the earlier years. Later, vigorous prosecution by such fearless men as States Attorney Thomas J. Turner, broke up the operations of the band. Thomas Hotchkiss, Erin Township, was connected with the band. He sold his farm to John Manlove in 1845.
Charles Waterman who came to Freeport in 1840, later settled in Loran Township, where he built a mill and a distillery. He first lived in De Kalb County and aided in putting an end to the "Driscolls." Bill Driscoll had sworn to kill Waterman. Later Waterman overtook Driscoll on the road on horseback, both being heavily armed. Waterman watched the notorious bandit and was prepared to shoot at any instant if attacked. While they were riding along, a body of settlers came up and captured Driscoll.
The following advertisements, news items and business statements give an idea of business and advertising of the period 1847 to 1855.
A copy of the Prairie Democrat, Vol. I, No. 10, Jan. 26, 1848, is the earliest copy of this paper extant. No files were preserved and this copy and a few later ones are highly valued. Below the title line was printed the paper's motto, "Be Sure You're Right Then Go Ahead." The first item in the paper was a suggestion, in rhyme, to subscribers to pay up. The last paragraph follows "Your other bills you promptly pay, Wherever you do go, sir The butcher for his meat is paid, For sundries is the grocer, The tailor and the shoemaker The hatter and the vinter, All get their pay, then why neglect To settle with the printer."
The poem was introduced by the editor with the pertinent remark, "A hint to the wise is sufficient."
Almost all the front page was given over to a continued story, entitled, "The Three Festivals." About four columns of the second page contained a letter by Hon. Lewis Cass, explaining his sentiments in regard to the Wilmot Proviso.
The paper has an editorial on Thomas J. Turner, the member of Congress from this district, speaking of him as "One who was the artificer of his own fortune. Who is equally at home in Congress or at the plow." A letter from Washington praises Mr. Turner and says the best speech of the session was made by Mr. Lincoln, who heretofore had been perfectly mute and took Congress by surprise. An editorial lashes the whigs for being "in eternal hostility to slavery and willing to nominate a man (General Zachary Taylor) who owns the flesh and blood of hundreds of human beings! Beautiful Consistency!" "Henry Clay and Tom Cornin," an editorial says, "are in fact the greatest of all Mexican heroes." Page 4 with the exception of one column "The Farmer's Column," is devoted to advertising. In the Farmer's column is an article on "Rotation of Crops," recommending the following order: Corn, oats, barley or both with three parts of clover to one of timothy; third and fourth years; mow and pasture; fourth year wheat, then corn again.
The paper contained a notice of the meeting of the literary association which met at the Red Schoolhouse every Tuesday evening. The subject for debate was, "Resolved: That war is justifiable." The disputants were T. F. Goodhue, M. P. Sweet, C. A. Clark and others. There was also to be a lecture by Dr. Hazlit on Phreno-Magnetism.
The editor inserted the following ad: "Wanted immediately at the office of the Prairie Democrat, wood, 5,000 subscribers, grain, butter, lard, potatoes, eggs, flour, honey, cash, etc.
The winter of 1847-8 is described as follows: "This is a curious winter. To see a prairie on fire every night, the dust flying in the streets, the boys on the common playing ball and clear beautiful days and nights, with a smoky atmosphere resembling the most exquisite Indian summer, is not what we have been accustomed to."
PIONEER ADVERTISING AND BUSINESS
The advertising pages of the early paper are as interesting and significant as the news and editorial columns. There was little display advertising. Most of the ads were written full, with much rhyme and humor.
Mr. O. H. Wright advertised Wanted, in exchange for goods, 100,000 feet of lumber, 10,000 bushels oats and corn, 20,000 bushels wheat, hides, furs and skins. He also advised delinquents to pay up at once if they wished to save the "costs." Leonard, the jeweler, next door south of O. H. Wright's store, had a half column ad with four paragraphs of "poetry" of which the following is a sample.
"Yet for my bounty and your sake, Good bank notes in pay I'll take, So bring your clocks and watches too, And I'll make them run, as well as you."
Jacob Smith wanted 35,000 barrel staves at once, $6 per thousand for pork barrel staves and $4 per thousand for flour barrel staves. D. A. Knowlton's ad states that no great battle or poetry is necessary to inform the citizens of Stephenson County that his store is filled with dry goods, groceries, crockery, hardware, etc. O. H. Wright lists groceries, hardware, crockery, queensware, foreign and domestic dry goods, hats, caps, boots and shoes, ready-made coats, drugs, medicines, paints, oils, iron, steel, etc., and all kinds of produce wanted. He thanks the public for trade for the past eleven years.
J. M. Baker advertised the ''Eagle Saloon" opposite courthouse. Besides all kinds of wines, liquors and tobacco, he offered for sale fresh oysters, sardines and "various articles in the grocery line." Mr. L. W. Guiteau, then school commissioner, advertised a sale of school lands.
The following tailors advertised Smith and Johnson, one door east of Knowlton's old store; M. L. Shook, northeast of postoffice; Geo. W. Newcomer, opposite Jackson's grocery; John F. Baker, first door northwest of O. Taylor's store; S. Sweeley, over Knowlton's new store.
Mr. Knowlton advertised tea, warranted good, at 75 cents a pound, and tea, warranted not good, at 12-1/2 cents. He offered 65 cents for good winter wheat and 60 cents for spring wheat. He states that good men owe him over $15,000, and if they do not pay up he will leave the accounts with Major Howe for collection. E. H. Hyde advertised to sell sugar at 9 to 12-1/2 pounds for $1.
Mr. Oscar Taylor's ad of patent medicines is interesting as an ad and as history. It is as follows: PATENT MEDICINES. Allen's Balsam of Hoarhound, for consumption and liver complaints; Nerve and Bone Liniment, and Indian Vegetable Elixir, for rheumatic affections, Dr. Lin's Strengthening Plaster and Comstock & Co.'s Liquid Extract of Sarsaparilla; Oldridge's Balm of Columbia, a restorative of the hair; Hay's Liniment; Expectorant Syrup; Dr. Spohn's Headache Remedy, either nervous or bilious; Kline's Tooth Drops; Dr. McNair's Accoustic Oil for Deafness; Longley's Great Western Indian Panacea, the best family cathartic, and the best remedy for asthma, dyspepsia, liver complaints, and all bilious obstructions which the combination of medicine affords. Bed Bug Bane; Indian Hair Dye, warranted to color the hair brown or black without injury to it or coloring the skin; Kolnstock's Vermifuge for worms; stove varnish; cough lozenges; Thompson's Eyewater; Mother's Relief, which richly deserves its name; Mack Kenzie's Tonic Febrifuge, the best remedy for fever and ague extant. Oil of Tannan, unequaled as a preserver and restorer of leather; Liquid Opodeldoc; Elmore's, Wright's & Soule's Pills; together with divers other articles in that line can be found genuine, and at the lowest prices, at the "Stephenson County Cash Store," corner of Exchange and Galena streets. Freeport, January, '47.
The following ad for Barrett's store will give a good idea of the strenuous business of the times and also the nature of the early store, which was, in fact, a "department store:"
A HASTY PLATE OF SOUP Highway robbery, murder, treason, codfish, Loco Foco matches, and 4 cent Calico ! !
GOODS ! ! ! Of fine and noble selections All colors, kinds and complexions Cheap as the cheapest at that, Are being sold now-a-days at BARRETT'S
Going off hourly,
in boxes and sacks,
The richest, finest and best of nic-nacks
The clerks are busy early and late
Using the yard stick as well as the slate.
HAIL COLUMBIA ! !
Groceries of all kinds; (such as) Gimps, and window blinds. Teas, sugars, and cassimeres; Oils, candies, and cashmeres; Indigo, trace chains, and nails; Fulled cloths, satinetts and pails. Raisins, ribbons and rice; Molasses, gimlets and spice.
NUTMEGS AND RAT TRAPS
Tin-ware, and baby's socks;
Eggs, boots and brass clocks;
Ginger, candles and cradles;
Glauber salts, tobacco and ladles.
Lanterns, real estate and glues;
Lead, shot, spices and shoes.
Tweedles, brooms and madder red;
Basins, log chains, red and black lead.
NOTIONS AND FIXINS
Razors, perfumery and glass;
Hand saws, white satin first class!
Paints, saw-files and silk;
Butter and cheese made of skim-milk!
LADY'S BONNETS AND
Mill saws, K. jeans, and spades;
Calicoes, caps and sun shades
Garden seeds, shovels and forks;
Last year's almanacs and corks;
Hard times, cotton yarn and files;
Silk and woolen goods all styles.
French goods, "tunnels," buttons;
Knives, forks for steak or mutton !
CINNAMON AND CROCKERY.'
Mulls, muslins, laces and tar,
Cheap as cheapest and cheaper by far
Clay pipes, whips, shovels and tongs;
Bonnet strings ballads and songs.
Lamp oil, lamp-black and black lead;
Fiddle strings, marbles, greyish and red
Bleached, unbleached shirting and sheetings
Songs for whig and democrat meetings.
JEW'S HARPS, SCISSORS
AND SCHOOL BOOKS !
Bed cords, ticking, powder and shot,
Kettles, hair oil, combs and pots;
Flannels, tin ware, and lady's fans
Hair combs, loaf sugar and moll-cans
Mittens, griddles black and blue ink;
And other things of which I can't think
Promissory notes, and duns quite stale
Warranted now due or no sale.
For all, or any of the above articles, and thousands of others, just call at the cheapest store in Freeport directly opposite the Stephenson County Hotel don't forget the place, but keep constantly in your mind that interesting word cheap.
A. A. Pollock, barber at Stoneman's inn, says his prices are Shaving 6*4 cents, hair-cutting 12^ cents, and adds "These prices will be kept up till some barber comes along who will do the business for nothing." In one of his ads O. Taylor says: "We have been told that opposition is the life of business, therefore, I will pay 65 cents for winter wheat and 60 cents for spring wheat, in goods at lower prices than any other store in Freeport. F. A. Stricky had a big ad for his Pennsylvania store. Mr. D. A. Knowlton in his ad offered great bargains, as he had decided to dispose of his entire stock. His explanation follows:
GREAT BARGAINS! !
Having spent the last eight years in hard toil and taxed my mind day and night with the cares of business, until I have impaired my health and broken my constitution, and having been blessed by Divine Providence with a reasonable compensation for my labors, and now feeling a desire of changing my business, so as to place myself more at ease, knowing that all I can get in this world is what I can eat, drink and wear. I would now say to the citizens of Stephenson County and the public in general that I have resolved to dispose of my entire STOCK OF GOODS. Therefore I will pay 65 cents for good Winter Wheat and 60 cents for good Spring Wheat, in exchange for goods; and I will pay the highest price of Oats, Corn, Hides, Furs, Butter, Cheese, Beeswax, Ginseng and most kinds of Country Produce in exchange for goods. Therefore, all persons wishing to buy goods will find it much to their advantage to call at D. A. KNOWLTON'S well known WHOLESALE & RETAIL STORE, as Great Bargains will be offered there and goods will be sold a little cheaper than the cheapest. Also, that I will now sell my Entire Stock of Goods to any Merchant wishing to locate in Freeport, at a Great Bargain and Rent my Store, for a year or a term of years. D. A. KNOWLTON.
An ad with some evidence of literary genius is the following by Abel Smith of Winslow
WONDERFUL DEATH BY
After consuming thousands, Mr. Credit has laid down and died, at the "Rough & Ready Store," in Winslow. Call on Abel Smith and he will preach his funeral sermon over a lot of choice YANKEE NOTIONS, and a fine lot of Groceries, and a smart sprinkling of DRY-GOODS, together with White fish, paints, tin-ware, boots and shoes, thoroughly made, to order. Bring out your produce,and I will do your work cheaper, or sell you a pile of goods cheap.
,, r, ABEL SMITH.
Wmslow, January i.
L. W. Guiteau advertised his new store and stock at the southeast corner of the Public Square.
One of the unique and significant ads of 1847 was that of J. Howe, the hotel man. It follows:
A few travellers
can be quietly entertained at Howe's Cottage with poor fare, at high prices
if they come sober and remain so. N. B. I want it should be distinctly
understood, of all the living
beings, a drunkard, to me is the most detestable! I can bear with snakes, toads, hedge-hogs and skunks; because they are as they were created; but an intelligent human being that will make a brute of him or herself, by intoxicating drink or those who furnish it to a fellow being, until he or she is intoxicated, and then turn them into the streets to the exposure of the frost, and gaping multitude I say to such, I have no shelter. J. HOWE. Freeport, December, 1847.
F. A. Strocky's notice
to delinquents is a type of the method of asking creditors to pay up:
NOTICE. All persons indebted to me buy note, book account, or otherwise, are respectfully requested to call and liquidate their indebtedness, on or before the 10th of January next, or I shall be compelled to assist them by legal process. Gentlemen, I wish to pay my debts at maturity, and only ask you to do the same. That's all! F. A. STROCKY. Freeport, December 27, 1847.
E. H. Hyde's half column ad is similar to that of Barrett's in the long list of articles to be found in his store.
The Journal, December 6, 1848, said, "No more bandits to be sent from our country to revolutionize other countries and annex them to our country."
1848, December 13, J. G. Bedee had taken charge of the Stephenson County Hotel. A large addition had been made and fitted up in good style.
Ad "Winneshiek House, corner Stephenson and Chicago streets, M. M. Woodin."
County finances April
Appropriation and expenses $2,727.76
Revenue for 1848 2,256.75
Fines and licenses 328.25
Rent of court house 2 5-6s
County indebtedness 1,527.05
1848, J. A. Grain and James Schofield were appointed West Point cadets from the 6th district.
January 24, 1849, J. H. and P. Manny advertised the Manny Harvester in the Freeport Journal. The shop was then conducted at Waddams Grove. "The machine will cut a level swath at any height the man at the wheel may desire. He adjusts the machine to suit the height of the grain. The grain is conveyed by the machine directly to the wagon from the knives as it is cut, or it will leave the grain in the ? to be bound by hand. Two horses will draw the machine. Fifteen acres can be cut in a day, the machine cutting five feet. It will pass over stumps not over two feet high. The price of a machine is $250."
Threshing cost 5 cents a bushel in 1848.
The following ad explains itself "Cash paid for hauling wheat to Chicago. 60 teams wanted immediately, for which the highest price will be paid. D. A. Knowlton."
"Last Call. All persons indebted to Emmert & Strohm must pay up immediately, or "Fred" or the constable will be after an introduction."
In 1852, the circuit court indicted William Peoples and W. M. Denton for passing counterfeit money and they were sentenced to years imprisonment. Later they were granted a new trial.
Norton's Book Store established a circulating library in 1852.
A large addition to Stephenson County Hotel completed, August, 1849.
A public dinner was served to Hon. Thomas J. Turner, at the Eagle Hotel, April 19, 1849. All were invited. Music was furnished by the Freeport Brass Band. S. D. Carpenter, editor of the Democrat was orator of the day. Mr. Turner responded with an able speech. It was a non-partisan affair. The committee on arrangements were: A. T. Green, Charles Beth, D. A. Knowlton, F. A. Strocky, M. M. Woodin and Nelson Martin. Mr. E. Torrey was president of the day. Eleven regular toasts were given, after the dinner at the Eagle Hotel and seven volunteer toasts followed. The day was in honor of Mr. Turner as the district's congressman, 1846-1848.
The Journal, May 23, 1849: "Whig Postmaster at Freeport! It gives us great pleasure to announce the appointment of that staunch and reliable whig, George Reitzell, to the office of postmaster in this village."
In the Journal, November 30, 1848, S. D. Knight calls attention to his store by the following head-lines "Revolution in Freeport, Vive La Republique."
Emmert & Strohm's ad in 1848, December 13, appealed to young ladies with tendencies toward matrimony. It said "O, Ladies ! Call at Emmert & Strohm's and examine those beautiful toilet articles. Purchase some of those perfumes that tickle so finely the noses of the sterner sex. Heed this advice if you are after a beau, and if you have caught one, heed that you may keep him."
The "Sons of Temperance" held a public meeting in the Presbyterian church, December 15, 1848. Mr. James Turner and Mr. C. A. Clark addressed the meetings.
The third issue of the Freeport Journal, November 30, 1848, made a strong appeal for the establishment of factories. It argued that a county and a city could not be built up without factories.
The Journal of 1852, September 25, goes hard after Thompson Campbell. It appears that Campbell had pledged 700 abolitionists that he was in favor of prohibiting slavery in the territories, abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, opposed to admission of Slave States to be made out of Texas or other territory, favors the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law and urges all constitutional means to restrict the slave trade.
Speaking of the old cemetery the Journal said, June 3, 1850: "A great portion of the grounds are unprotected. Not a single tree is there to spread its quiet shades around. There is no fence (except in a few cases) to shield the dust of departed friends from being trampled and torn by the beasts of the field." The edition then urged the building of an iron fence at a cost of $200.00.
Mr. Pells Manny advertised his new self-raker, drop reaper and clipper February, 1850. The drop became the usual reaper till the binder was perfected many years later.
Dr. J. V. H. Judd located permanently in Freeport in 1850.
Journal, April 29, 1850 "Wanted, a quantity of wood at this office to apply on account."
MORE ADVERTISING IN 1850.
Great excitement at the post office; New goods and new prices ! !
In this way John Black called attention to the "largest and best stock of goods ever offered to the citizens of the county." He stood ready to prove that goods were selling cheaper than the high tariff prices of previous years.
Follock, the barber, advertised in 1850, "That ladies could have their heads shampooed at home if they wished and that gentlemen who were being shaved by the month or quarter would be furnished with a lather box and brush exclusively for their own use."
January 10, 1851, D. A. Knowlton advertised that he would receive "Spanish quarters" at 25 cents in trade or on debts. He scored merchants who were allowing only 20 cents for them.
John L. Burgers, a son of W. L. Burgers of Rock Run, was bitten by a poisonous snake, June 15, 1850. The poison spread rapidly through his system and he died in eleven hours.
Godey's Lady's Book was the "Ladies Home Journal" of 1850.
Raymond Co.'s extensive menagerie, being the largest and rarest collection of wild beasts, birds and reptiles, will exhibit at Freeport, Saturday, July 13, 1850. Admission 25 cents.
Journal, August 23, 1850: "Our town has been honored the past week by a 'traveling theatre company,' with its usual attendants, viz. rowdyism and intemperance. It will be well for good citizens of neighboring towns not to be taken in by the boastful pretensions of the 'Robinson Family.' "
In 1850, Rev. Parker for the Presbyterian and Rev. DeVore for the Methodists held big revival meetings in Freeport.
The Messrs. Stowell of Waddams Grove, invented and manufactured a sod fence machine. They claimed it would be possible to build a mile of fence per day. The machine was drawn by oxen and cut the sod in strips and laid it up in a durable fence. Four men and five yoke of oxen were required to operate the machine.
The advertisers in
1852 continued the style of 1847. Block & Lowenthal, corner of Stephenson
and Adams streets, called attention to their goods as follows:
Look Out, Clear the Track,
Block & Lowenthal Just Arrived, etc.
J. S. Emmert & Co. attracted attention by: "Spirit Rappings! call and examine and if you are not pleased with the elephant, we will charge you nothing for the sight."
Excelsior! in big type announces G. G. Norton's book store bargains. Stibgen & Engle have a big ad for the Stephenson County Hardware Co. A picture of a loaded freight train calls attention to D. A. Knowlton's new and up-to-date stock of goods.
"Kossuth in Freeport" In order to procure his arrival you must call at the third house below the Winneshiek, for the woodwork of wagons and carriages, by R. Moorland.
S. Sutherland has
a big ad for his "new merchant and grist mill," on Richland
Creek near Wilcoxen's Mill. "The mill will be known as Sciota Mill,
Pennsylvanians, this is the mill for you! We will only toll a tenth; Buckeyes,
Yankees, or the hardy sons of Ireland's Isle, you shall be used alike
and have your turn. Jackson Bower, an experienced miller, will receive
your grist in
English or Dutch. We want our mill enrolled in the memory of the dear people of the county who care for the body as well as the soul."
"Smith O'Brien Escaped! and the Freeport Cabinet Warerooms refitted! is the head of a long ad by Snyder & Wade, below the Winneshiek.
The "Jenny Lind"
livery stable, run by Chas. Butler and Daniel Powell, made a bid for business
but added poetically:
Don't ride till you're able
When you ride be sure to pay,
Credit won't buy oats or hay !
There were numerous ads for hair dyes, snuff and "segars."
INTERESTING ITEMS 1850-2.
Mr. Crouse of Ohio took charge of the Winneshiek House in July, 1852.
Barna T. Stowell, Esq., of Waddams Grove, invented a self-loading and dumping cart, which he exhibited, July 19, 1852. The machine worked admirably and fulfilled the most sanguine expectations of the inventor.
Spalding and Roger's North America Circus showed in Freeport, August 24, 1852.
The Journal of June 10, 1850, says, "Last year (1849) the population of Freeport was 1,020. This year a census has been taken and shows an increase of 480, making the population 1,500. Sixty new dwelling houses have been begun this spring."
The Journal's circulation in 1851 was 323 and that of the Prairie Democrat was 348, both weeklies.
In July, 1851, both the Democrat and the Journal had long discussions on the short dress and "bloomer costume" that were then trying to become the vogue.
The Freeport Temperance Society was organized at the Baptist church, July 11, 1851.
In 1851, a movement was under way to build a plank road from Freeport to Monroe, Wisconsin. That would bring the trade of southern Wisconsin to Freeport and then to Chicago, via the coming railroad.
Brewster & Wheeler's nursery had 150,000 trees in 1851.
In J. H. Manny's ad for his reapers and mowers, September 12, 1851, were the endorsements of almost 100 citizens of Stephenson County.
Journal, October 3, 1851: "Psychology. A fellow calling himself Dr. Dennis, has been endeavoring to lecture to some of our citizens for several evenings on this humbug Science."
A. H. Wise advertised the "Kossuth Hack" from Freeport to the railroad in 1852.
March 19, 1852, there was held in Freeport an Irish patriot mass meeting. The meeting was held in the courthouse for the purpose of making a demonstration in behalf of Smith O'Brien, John Mitchel and other Irish exiles and prisoners. Thomas Egan was chairman and Phillip Hogan, vice president; and Edward Burke, secretary. A committee on resolutions was appointed and H. Bright addressed the meeting.
In June, 1852, Mease & Ely opened a new steam flouring mill in Freeport.
A terrific storm passed through Oneco Township in June, 1852, blowing down John Sheckard's barn, tore up trees, scattered grain and killed hogs, sheep and calves.
J. S. Emmert endeavored to do a little advertising by telegraphy, the line being expected from Rockford any day in 1851. His ad was headed:
The news came by telegraph this morning. The man who catches lightning from the wires, was dazzled by its brightness. When he recovered his vision, he saw "in characters of living light" that the customers of J. S. Emmert will do well, etc.
October 22, 1851, George W. Oyler advertised his Tontine, eating saloon, nearly opposite to the Winneshiek House. He served oysters, pig feet, venison, tripe, beefsteak, quail, ducks, fish, etc., "in short, everything calculated to make a person laugh and grow fat." He adds this P. S. "Buckwheat cakes at all hours. Persons attending court, call and try my fixin's."
Emmert & Burrell ran a soda fountain in 1854-5.
A Mr. Walker who quarreled with his wife and step-son suicided April, 1855, by jumping into the Pecatonica River.
W. C. Clark took charge of the Clark House June, 1855. It was the old Stephenson House remodeled.
Journal, 1855, June 7: "Freeport receives and sells more merchandise than Rockford and does a better railroad business than Rockford." Our love for Rockford began early.
Shipments from Freeport
in 1855 were:
Wheat shipped bu. 347,012
Pork shipped Ib. 3,206,808
Potatoes shipped bu. 34,000
Corn shipped bu. 378,758
Oats shipped bu. 113,029
Rye shipped bu. 181,323
Butter shipped Ib. 90,000
Wool shipped Ib. 16,900
The Freeport Union Chorus Society gave a concert at Plymouth Hall December 31, 1855.
Hugh Jones was found frozen to death in Silver Creek Township, January 2, 1856. He was intoxicated and lost his way while returning from Freeport.
The following were
elected supervisors, April, 1854:
Harlem William Buckley.
West Point M. Lawyer.
Silver Creek M. Hettinger.
Lancaster V. Hemmenway.
Buckeye F. Bolender.
Loran G. W. Andrews.
Florence L. Lee.
Rock Grove John Voght.
Waddams Levi Robey.
Rock Run J. A. Davis.
Oneco Andrew Hines.
Ridott G. A. Farwell.
Erin Wm. Goddard.
Winslow P. Sweeley.
Freeport A. W. Rice.
In 1854 the following erected new buildings in Freeport: Judge Farwell, Martin & Karcher, Mitchell & Putnam and E. H. Hyde. The building of the last named gentleman included a public hall.
In February, 1855, a deep snow fell. The Journal says that only four mails were received from the east in two weeks.
The assessed valuation
of property in Freeport in 1853 was:
Real estate $1,789,904
Personal property 982,096
Rymal & Wilmot employed about 25 men in 1854, manufacturing plows. The annual output was 1,000 plows.
Horace Mann gave two lectures in Freeport under the auspices of the Literary Institute, March 21, 1854.
In 1855, N. W. Edwards, the first superintendent of schools, made a tour of inspection of schools in Stephenson County.
The Journal, September 2, 1852, gives great praise to the Teacher's Institute held at the Union school.
The Journal, 1855, October 25, announces the law partnership formed by T. J. Turner and H. C. Burchard, "the late popular principal of the Union school." The Journal paid Mr. Burchard a high compliment and prophesied his success at the bar.
Emmert & Bastress employed literary genius in placing before the public their new cleaning preparation in October, 1859, as follows:
"Awake snakes and come to judgment, Glad tidings of great joy! Bring on your dirty clothes and have the filthy scum of human impurities rinsed and soaked out of them with one half the usual labor. Old worn-out superannuated washer-woman Ye wives of dirty husbands! Yes, even those beautiful and simpering creatures whose pretty fingers are altogether unaccustomed to the drudgery of cleansing dirty clothes. Wake up and rejoice in the hour of your deliverance from servile drudgery. Emmert & Bastress have on hand and for sale what they call "Renovating Mixture," etc., etc. December 5, 1849, Journal ad
"The Hewes of Buena Vista ! ! Adam Franz and Old Jack 1 ! ! Have entered into a copartnership to do Blacksmithing business on Galena street."
In the October 10th
issue of the Journal, 1849, the following ad was inserted
A person well qualified to teach in the common school will find employment for the coming winter by applying soon. Inquire of Jared Sheetz, James Hart or George Miller. Directors of District No. 2, five miles west of Freeport.
In October, 1849, J. H. Schlott and Jacob Stibgen began the manufacture of the J. C. Miller & Co. grain drills at Freeport. The drill was a two horse simple affair and sowed five rows.
Crane & Co.'s circus exhibited in town last Tuesday, said the Journal, August 8, 1849.
Journal, August 15, 1849: "Somebody has sheared the mane and tail of Mr. Jones' horse, whereas. Friend Carpenter comes down on the whigs like thousand brick. If true it is contemptible, but not half as contemptible as trying to make a neighborhood quarrel out of politics."
With the pioneers of northern Illinois, the establishment of schools was a natural process. A large number of the settlers of Stephenson County from 1833 to 1835, were from New England, New York and Pennsylvania. Many of them were graduates of academies and seminaries of the east. They came west because of the greater opportunities. Cheap land meant to them large farms and a competence. But they brought with them the wilds of Stephenson County, that which could not be lost, the culture and inspiration of those eastern schools. No sooner were the log cabin homes built and a small clearing made, than these people set to work with willing hands, to build the log school house. It was by studied plan or new thought that public schools sprang up in the county it was the natural spontaneous activity of a people who themselves had had the advantages of an education. Like the church, the school was brought here and established by the settlers.
Many of the settlers came from Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Some for a time had remained in Southern Indiana and Illinois. These settlers, while they had not been so familiar with the free public school idea, yet had had the benefit of the system of private instruction prevailing in the South. So they, too, were in favor of education. All over the county were a number of strong families from Old England, and large colonies of German people from the Fatherland. These people in different ways modified the educational spirit sentiment of the county.
With such a population from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and the South, from Old England and Germany, education could not fail to make progress.
The sparsely settled country, panics and the "Internal Improvement" blunder that almost bankrupted the state and made necessary heavy taxes, hindered educational progress. In 1844, the legislature made a start in the right direction and passed additional legislation in 1847, 1849 and 1851. In 1855, an educational measure was passed that comprised all the essential features of former measures and included new features among which was "the sovereign rights of the state to levy and collect a sufficient tax from real estate and personal property to be expended in providing its youth a common school education."
In a state that squandered millions on wildcat internal improvements, there was strong opposition to this measure for public taxation for schools. A vigorous attempt was made to have the law repealed, but all attempts failed. These state laws marked the beginning of the end of the "subscription school." A voluntary subscription school was not broad enough in its foundation for the basis of a school system of a great state. Such a system taxed the well to do, if they had children, heavier than the present scheme, and made education prohibitive to the children of the poor. Besides, in a school maintained by voluntary subscription month by month, the very existence of the school often depended on the "catering" of the teacher to the whims and prejudices and jealousies of the subscribers who withdrew support if the school was not run to suit them. This happened occasionally and school stopped in the middle of the term. The whole scheme was a mere makeshift, the best that could be done for the time, and passed into history with first rude shacks built in the wilds of early Illinois. It was not a system at all.
Today it is generally recognized as the duty of the state to provide free public schools for its children. Most men even concede that such a system is an economic necessity that it is cheaper in the end to tax all the people for the education of all the state's children, than it is to support them in ignorance and crime. A century ago, the old idea that education was a private rather than a public interest, was breaking down. The ordinance of 1787, voiced the idea of public education when it said "Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." Besides, as the state is the agency through which all the people act, the state is the best means for establishing a state-wide educational system.
In 1785, the Congress of the Confederation passed an ordinance establishing for the northwest territory, the present system of land surveys, laying off the county in townships six miles square. This ordinance also decreed that the 16th section, or 1/736 of each township, should be set apart for maintaining public schools in that township. In 1818, when Illinois became a state, congress gave these lands to the new state for the purpose of aiding education. At the same time, 1818, congress also promised 3% of the net proceeds of the sale of all public lands in Illinois after January 1, 1819, to be appropriated by the legislature for the encouragement of learning. So, indeed, the beginning of the great public school system of Illinois is to be found in the foresight and in the generous provision of the congress of the United States.
The state was slow to take advantage of its opportunities. In 1825, a law was passed by the state legislature providing for a system of free schools which might be supported partly by public taxation. This law was ahead of public sentiment and was soon repealed.
Persistent agitation was necessary to arouse the people and bring public sentiment up to the point of maintaining a system of public schools by general taxation. Among the pioneers of this period were Newton Bateman and Professor W. J. Turner of Illinois College. Provision was made for school township and school district officials. The office of county superintendent of schools was created and the secretary of the state was made ex-officio state superintendent of schools. In 1854, the office of state superintendent was created separate from that of secretary of state. Finally, in 1855, 37 years after Illinois became a state, a general school law was adopted which became the foundation of the present school system of the state.
The new law provided for free schools by local taxation and aided by the state school funds. This act made it possible for districts to proceed to build and maintain schools. In 1870, a step farther was taken in the new state constitution, which required the legislature to "provide a thorough and efficient system of public schools whereby the children of this state may receive a good common school education. The constitution requires a school system "whereby all the children of the state may receive a good common school education." The school board in each district must keep a sufficient number of free schools to accommodate all the children of the district and "secure to all such children the right and opportunities to an equal education in such schools."
The first school in Stephenson County was taught by Jane Goodhue in Ransomville, a mile or so below Winslow, in 1834. In 1836, Thomas Grain, at Grain's Grove, employed Charles Walker to teach his children. Walker was to give them the plain 3 R's, the limited rudiments of an education. Walker received $25.00 a month, and was not a reliable character. He remained several months teaching the children and later developed penchant for stealing horses. He kept this up till 1838, when he was caught and sent to the state prison at Alton. In the summer of 1837, William Ensign conducted a school at the residence of James Timms at Kellog's Grove. During the same year, Nelson Martin, brother of Dr. Chancellor Martin, opened a school in the old log store building on the Pecatonica River, Freeport, not far from the foot of Galena street. This school building was a small log cabin, 14 x 10, seven foot to the eaves, puncheon floor and one window. As the story goes, the cabin was hauled up town in 1839 and located on Galena street.
Mr. Martin's reputation as a disciplinarian has come down to us in a traditional way. He was exacting and had forbidden skating on the Pecatonica, the penalty being a flogging. A student, John Thatcher, forgot and was caught in the act of violating the Professor's commandment. Mr. Martin gave young Thatcher the extreme penalty, and the boy received such a flogging, that the students all quit school except the children of two families, Davis and Hunt. As it was a subscription school, the teacher's income was thus largely cut off and in a short time the school stopped.
Among the students of this school were Frederick, John, Elmus and Thomas Baker; John, Ellen and Elizabeth Thatcher; Chloe, Ann, Rebecca, Jane, O. P. and W. W. Smith; A. C, Eliza, Sara and Hamilton Hunt; Polly Strockey; Enos and Salome Fowler; Michael Reed and Levi, William and Olive Davis. In the winter of 1838-9, a Mr. Everett reopened the school. Besides the students who had started under Dr. Martin there were Rivers Fowler, W. H. and H. W. Hollenbeck, A. P. Goddard and others. The winter of 1839-40, Frederick Buckley taught the school.
The next school was opened by a Miss Wright, in a frame building at the corner of Galena and Chicago streets, the present site of Moogk's drug store. Rothilda Buck and Lucinda and Marilla Williams also taught in this house. For a time William Buckley taught a school in Knowlton's addition.
By 1843, the increase in population made a demand for a large and better school house. There was, as yet, no taxation for school purposes and a building was built by popular subscription. It was a frame structure, painted red and cost about $300. It was located on Van Buren street, a short distance north from the court house.
This one story, one room building 18 x 30, was Freeport's school house till 1850 when the Union school was built on the present site of the High school.
The following from the "Illustrated Freeport, by the Journal, 1896, should be preserved in the history of education in Freeport:
"In April, 1843, a s ^ e f r a school house on the north end of the lot on Van Buren street, next north of the present post office, was purchased of, and deeded by Philip Fowler to the township trustees of schools.
Upon this ground was erected the same year THE LITTLE RED SCHOOL HOUSE, a picture of which, as it appeared in 1850, and of the teacher in charge and fifty-five of the scholars attending, appears on the following page. It was reproduced from a daguerreotype Mr. John A. Clark, then clerk of the circuit court, paid $5.00 to have taken, and which he presented to the teacher, Miss Louisa Burchard. This was the only school house owned by the Freeport school district until the erection upon the site of the present high school building of a large two-story brick school house called the Union school building. Having purchased this new site and levied taxes to build the Union school house, the directors of the district proceeded to organize the Freeport schools upon the graded system.
They rented the basements of two of the churches and created three departments a higher, intermediate and primary. Mr. A. B. Campbell, who had previously taught a private school in Freeport, was employed as principal and given the general supervision of all the departments. The schools were opened April 12, 1850. His assistants in the higher departments with him at first were Miss Emily Jackson, who married John K. Brewster, and later Miss Mary Burchard, sister of the Hon. H. C. Burchard; in the intermediate, a Mr. Lutz and Miss Delia Hyde; in the primary, Miss Louisa Burchard, now Mrs. H. D. Converse, who lives at Maryville, Missouri. The primary department was located in "the little red school house."
It must be difficult to distinguish, and after a lapse of forty-five years, name each pupil in the group, but Mrs. Converse recognizes nearly all, and among them point out several, now men and women grown, who are well known to our citizens. In front of the window, the second boy from the farther end of the row on her right, stands Dexter A. Knowlton, Esq., barefooted, shoes and stockings in his hands. The middle boy of the three sitting in the front row is Steuben Stoneman. On his left, third boy from the end, is John Black, in the rear of whom is Urias Mayer, now deceased. In the same second row, next to Mayer, and on his left, a dark-haired boy with broad forehead, is the Hon. Michael Stoskopf, and on the right stands Charles Green, who became a member of the Freeport bar, and died two years ago. In the rear, between Green and Mayer, is Fred Norton, afterwards a lieutenant in the United States navy. In the same row, to the left of Stoskopf, the boy with the white shirt front and turn down collar is Peter Lerch, now living in Chicago, and the large boy standing on the steps between him and the teacher is John Rice, a nephew of Asahel W. Rice, then living in Freeport, now in Iowa. The boy standing in the front row, with the belt about his waist, was George Carter, a brother of Mrs. E. L. Cronkrite. Of the four small boys sitting on the steps, the first next to him is Charles Smith; the second, Chancellor Martin, who became a West Point graduate, a lieutenant in the United States army and now lives in New York City; the third is the Rev. David Burrell, the eloquent pastor of one of the leading churches of the metropolis; the fourth is Charles Sweet, a brother of Mrs. J. A. Grain; not long afterwards he was drowned in the Pecatonica River.
Among the girls on the extreme left is Julia Sweet. The third from her, dressed in White, is Ellen Clark, a daughter of John A. Clark. On her right, just behind her standing between the window and the corner of the school house, is Ellen Carter, the mother of Corporation Counsel William N. Cronkrite. The girl on her right, her face near and below the corner of the window, was Charles H. Rosenstiel's oldest daughter Matilda, who married Dr. Carey, of Beloit, Wis., and died there several years ago. The two taller girls on her right, next to and in front of the window, are Ellen and Josephine Krinbill, now living in Freeport. The girl holding in front of her the large bouquet was Amanda Black, now Mrs. William McHenry, of this city. On her left, next to her, stood W. W. Smith's daughter Mary, who died at her father's home in Freeport a few years later. A glimpse of the face of Mrs. C. H. Chapman (Anna Stibgen) is seen, partly hidden by the boy with folded arms on the left of the door. The girl standing next to the left, her dark hair covering a portion of her forehead, was Eva Tarbox, who afterwards became the wife of the Hon. J. S. Cochran, and who died at Freeport in 1877.
Among the pupils were others who grew up and continued to reside in Freeport, and can be pointed out by Mrs. Converse.
"The first school in Freeport was held in 1839," says Thomas J. Turner, in 1866 in the "Northwest," "in an unfinished building on Galena street. The proprietor needed his room and the school, about a dozen children, moved to the log store on the river. Later, a breaking team hauled the building up town and located it where the Wilcoxen block now stands. The last use of this building was as a cow stable in a dirty alley." A similar fate awaited the old red school house which was moved away and used as a livery stable. Later, both were burned.
In the "Northwest," April 5, 1866, Hon. T. J. Turner said: "It required great labor to get up an interest in schools and education in Freeport. For many years all efforts to create a school fund by taxation were successfully resisted. It was painful and amusing, at elections called for that purpose, to see large numbers of poor people who were rich in nothing but children, and who had no property to tax, march up and vote against raising any revenue for school purposes; while those who bore the burden generally voted the other way. The enemies of taxation for school purposes hoped to win at one election by putting out a ticket in favor of an enormous tax, so as to divide the friends of public schools. They were detected, and those who were in favor of a reasonable tax adopted the exorbitant ticket and it carried."
Mr. Turner also says, "We have been providentially spared the necessity of having academies." He adds, "We were fairly cheated out of the female branch of the Wisconsin & Illinois College of Beloit.
The winter of 1845-6, the teacher was D. H. Sutherland. He received $20.00 a month and "boarded round." While the pay seems small, yet in proportion to the times it was quite equal to the pay of the teachers of most one room schools of today. One of the students was a negro boy "Black Abe" employed in the Brewster family. Race feeling was aroused when the Professor seated "Abe" by a white boy, whose mother at once read the "riot act" to the teacher. The teacher found it convenient to change "Abe" and a race war was averted. Abe, however, remained in school. One of the students who attended during Professor Sutherland's instruction later won distinction as General James M. Schofield.
The first school in Oneco Township was taught by Mr. Bissell P. Bellknapp, a native of Vermont. He came to Oneco in 1839. In 1840, at the house of Anson Denio in the village of Oneco, taught the first school in the township of Oneco.
The first school in Winslow was held in Edward Hunt's wagon shop in 1840. In this primitive school, instruction was given in the rudiments of an education. A wagon shop for a school would not seem so out of place today when schools are paying special attention to industrial training. After a short time a school house was. built on a hill southwest of the city, which was used till 1872, when a larger building, a frame structure, was erected. Paul Chandler is supposed to have taught the first school in Rock Grove about 1841. A permanent school was established in section 36, in 1846. About Rock City, the first school was located on the Carnefix farm, but when a village was laid out, a stone school house was built and was opened by a teacher named Searles. The first teacher in Silver Creek Township was Charles Walker who was employed at $75.00 a quarter to teach the children of Thomas Craine. History is uncertain in regard to the first school in Loran Township. It is claimed that the first school was taught at Kirkpatrick's in 1840. Others claim that the first school was established in 1841, in section 2, near Babb's church, where a Mr. Allison was employed by Reuben Babb, Willian Kirkpatrick and Anson Andrews. Two early pedagogues of Jefferson Township were George Truckenmiller and a Mr. Bonneman. The first permanent school was in a log school house near the village of Loran. The school at Eleroy was built in 1855. One of the first schools in Ridott ownship was the Select school taught in a log house on the farm of Horace Colburn. In 1855, a frame school was built on the Harvey P. Water's farm and "served 14 years as school, church, lecture room and house of entertainment."
In West Point Township, William Waddams first employed a private teacher for his children. In 1840, a log school was built on Luman Montague's farm. In 1849, a log house on the Samuel F. Dodd's farm, near Lena, served as school, with Miss Maria Pickard as teacher. In 1850, a log school was built in what is now Lena, and served till 1854 when the old stone school was built. In 1836, a school was opened three miles north of Cedarville in Buckeye Township. This was a typical log school, no window, puncheon floor and board roof, and in 1840 a one-story frame school was built in Cedarville. One of the early teachers was Isaac Allen of New York, who is still remembered by Capt. Reitzell, one of his students, as a teacher of great force of character. Other early teachers were Miss Julia Putnam and a Mr. Chadwick. In 1853, a school was conducted in the basement of the Lutheran church and in 1855 a two-story brick building was erected by taxation. From 1857 to 1865, a Miss Gorham conducted a private school in Cedarville. Among the early teachers in Waddams township were Fayette Goddard and Adeline Hulbert. In Florence Township, the first school was taught in 1840 by Miss Flavilla Forbes in what was known as the "Academy," James Hart's old log house.
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Stories, Volume 1
events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
COLLEGE," DISTRICT NO. 1
The well known "Cornstalk College," sometimes called the "Block School," and one now known as Eldorado school, was one of the early schools of Stephenson County. It was located in Township 29, north Range 8, and was in District No. 1. This school district has always been noted for its progressive enthusiasm and loyalty. In 1907, at Gift's Grove, a home coming celebration was held, attended by former students, teachers and patrons from far and near. At this meeting, C. A. Cadwell read a history of the district, compiled after great industry and with commendable accuracy. This history was published and contains pictures of school buildings, teachers and students and citizens. In this work the district has set an example that should be followed by every district in the country. The "History of Eldorado," in its 116 pages contains a compilation of the history of the district.
The earliest settler was Ezra B. Gillett in 1837. Joab Marton came the same year. A little later came Isaac Kleckner, Mr. Daggett, Mr. Kitchell, Mr. Hoffman and a Mr. Loomis. In 1839, Alfred Cadwell and Walter Belknap entered claims, also B. P. Belknap, G. S. Cadwell, Mr. Strader and Mr. Starr. In 1841 Michael Bolender and John Bear entered claims. Ira Winchell came in 1843; Andrew Swarts in 1844; and Wm. Krape in 1840. From this date the neighborhood was settled up by two classes of people, the Yankee and the Dutch. Because of different customs and ideas and more because of a difference of language, the two classes were a trifle slow in mixing properly.
In 1841 a subscription school was opened on the D. C. Gillett claim later purchased by Mr. Hoffman. The schoolhouse was a quarter mile south and a quarter mile east of the Rocky residence. The first teacher was E. B. Gillett. The following attended the first school The children of Phillip Wells, Addison, Ottis, Judson, Mellissa, Maria and Jane; the children of Warner Wells, George Paulina and Sopronia; Cornelia Wells; Lorriston and Caleb Roberts; Levi and Matilda Youngs; Edwin and Mary Gillett; Cuyler Gillett; Louis and Frank Bolender; John D. and D. L. Bear. Other teachers were Mr. Hudson, Hirarri Lilly and a Mr. Jones who taught the last term in that building in 1846. The summer of 1847, a Miss Hawley taught a school in Mr. Bolender's cabin.
In 1847, the settlers decided to build a new schoolhouse. They elected Ezra B. Gillett, Joseph Baumgartner and Michael Bolender, directors. Each freeholder agreed to furnish the logs round, while others, who were able to use the broad axe, hewed them on two sides. William Krape had charge of the building and on the day of the "raisin," Michael Gift, Michael Bolender, B. P. Belknap and John Bear, Sr., were stationed one on each corner to receive and notch the logs as they were skidded up by the others. After the walls were up, Mr. Krape finished the building. It was 22x28 feet, with two windows on each side and two in each end. To make desks, holes were bored in the wall, strong pins driven in them and hewn slabs placed on the pins. The seats were of the same kind of slabs without backs. In this building school was kept for nine years. Cyrus Howe was the first teacher. He began December 24, 1847, and closed March 22, 1848. It was a subscription school till 1849, when on the 5th of May, an election was held and the citizens voted a 50 cent tax to maintain a school. October 6, 1849, G. S. Cad well, Solomon Kleckner and John Hoffman were elected directors. Asa G. Hemenway was the first teacher supported by taxation. In 1856 the walls were sided with lumber, the room was plastered and green blinds were hung at the windows. The slab desks were taken out and black walnut desks were substituted.
One of the teachers, Dr. E. W. Byers, of Monroe, Wisconsin, it is said, put the bad boys up the hole into a dark attic for punishment. It is also maintained that Dr. W. W. Krape of Freeport would be able to explain the appearance of the attic. At another time while wrestling, one of the big boys, F. C. Belknap. spoiled the teacher's trousers and the professor was compelled to borrow a long coat for the afternoon. Mr. J. C. Potts, a fastidious teacher, kept a bottle of Lyons Catharian for the hair, on his desk. At an opportune time, some of the young lads complicated the oil and used it on their own heads, thinking, no doubt, that this would make the brain wheels run smoothly. Then, so the professor might not be disappointed, they filled the bottle with molasses and water. When the professor blandly applied the new mixture, the process aroused considerable amusement among the mischief makers.
The old students still remember the exciting times at the "spelling matches," and declare that several Cornstalk College students knew Sander's speller from cover to cover. Two of the sharks were William Etzler and Addie Cadwell. For years J. H. Stover kept a singing school every Saturday night. Occasionally the farmers would come in sleds and cutters and haul teacher and school several miles over the snow to visit another school. Thus, besides the learning that was acquired, the school was the center of the social life of the community. In 1867, a special tax was voted to build a new schoolhouse. H. W. Bolender built the structure, which was 28x36 and 12 feet high. The first teacher in the new school was H. W. Bolender, who built it. In the spring of 1869, the Annual County Institute was held in the new school. The patrons of the district furnished gratuitous board and lodging for the visiting members. Among the later teachers of the school are found the familiar names of C. A. Cadwell, I. E. Kiester, Henry Collier, Cyrus Grove, Carrie A. Musser and M. M. Baumgartner. This school has been running for 63 years. The lowest salary paid was $20 a month and the highest $55. The largest number of pupils enrolled was 63 and the smallest number 12.
The law requiring the United States flag to wave over every school building was passed in 1893. W. W. Krape, of Freeport, had not forgotten his old school, and early on the day the law was to go into effect, he procured a beautiful 10 foot flag, drove to the school and aided by F. C. Bejknap, erected a flag staff and floated Old Glory over "Cornstalk College."
The public school was the "melting pot," that brought together the Dutch from Pennsylvania and the Yankees from New England and New York. Differences that were at first marked and emphatic diminished with time and association and common interests soon bound all together in mutual cooperation. It was not long till Yankees were selecting Dutch wives and the Pennsylvanians were marrying into Yankee families.
The material of the history of the Block school, or Cornstalk College, is taken almost entirely from Mr. C. A. Cadwell's excellent sketch of District No. 1, published in 1907. It is given here at length because it is a type of the educational progress of the rural districts of the county. Every one of the steps of advancement were much the same. First, there were private instructions or subscription schools in the cabins of the settlers. A little later a log school was built and a teacher employed, both by voluntary subscription. The next step was district taxation to build and maintain a school.
It was the custom in the earlier day to engage the teacher at so much a month and "found," that is, a teacher was paid, say $20 a month and "boarded round," getting his meals and lodging at the homes of the "subscribers" by turns. This simple system had its disadvantages and yet had some advantage. Of necessity, the teacher became better acquainted with the parents and the children. The school and the home were brought close together.
The "log school" education of the early days was in harmony with its surroundings. Children went gladly from plain log homes to log schools. The education offered was highly prized by parents and students. With all its limitations, the log school, with slab desks, puncheon seats with no backs, puncheon floor, board roof and greased paper windows, if window at all, had some distinct advantages. There was lacking an elaborate course of study, but there was present the free, unfettered individuality of a strong teacher who was his own county and state superintendent and made his own course of studies and program. He taught a few things but taught those few well. Few subjects were studied, but they were mastered. The children knew what they knew.
Books were rare and highly appreciated. Like the boy Lincoln, the children were fortunate in that they were not subjected to the temptation of tons of light fiction to be read rapidly and superficially. A few stories of great characters took deep hold on their lives, and made strong characters that did the work of the second generation of Stephenson County.
State Superintendent Blair says of the log schools of Illinois: "An interesting chapter in the history of education in Illinois, is the story of the log school house. Illinois, like most of the western states, was earliest settled in the wooded regions. The log cabin and the log schoolhouse met the need of the conditions of those early times.
As late as 1860 there were 1,447 of these log school buildings in Illinois. In 1890 the number had decreased to 114. In 1909, there were reported to this office only u of such schoolhouses remaining. Whatever of convenience and improved facilities the modern school building has brought will not make us forget the great good which was accomplished in the log schoolhouses of Illinois."
November 30, 1848, Mr. George Scoville advertised the opening of the Freeport high school, a select school, in the basement of the Presbyterian church. Tuition for 12 weeks in spelling, reading, grammar, arithmetic and geography, $2.50; in algebra, philosophy, etc., $3; languages, including English studies, $3.50.
The Freeport Seminary for Young Ladies opened the building erected by A. H. Wright for that purpose, July 30, 1849. The ad of the seminary conducted by Rev. James Bentley, stated that special attention would be given to moral and religious instruction, and in addition to the usual studies instruction would be given in drawing, music, painting, embroidery, etc. French, Latin and Greek were also taught. Board with the principal and teachers, $1.25 a week.
Mr. A. B. Campbell of the Galena Institute, began as principal of Mr. Scoville's select school, November 19, 1849.
In 1850 Jas. Schofield, F. W. S. Brawley and J. K. Brewster were elected school directors for Freeport.
June 3, 1850, the directors of the Freeport schools made an arrangement with Professor A. B. Campbell, who was conducting the private school in the basement of the Presbyterian church, to take charge of the Union school. He still maintained his classes in the church but had the use of both district schoolhouses, where competent teachers were employed. The Journal of that date said, "By this arrangement a proper division of students can be made so that the advancement of one grade will not conflict with the other; while the higher branches can be pursued with equal facility to any of the best regulated academies. If this system receives proper encouragement from our citizens, it will render the terms of tuition so low that it will be within the reach of everyone to confer a liberal education on their children."
April, 1850, a "citizen" published a column and a quarter article in the Journal in favor of a Union school. He said he was not against Select schools, but that they were not suitable for a small town.
The next week a town meeting was held, Julius Smith as chairman. Rev. Schofield moved that a location for a Union school be selected. The motion carried and it was voted unanimously to select the site of the present High school. A motion by D. A. Knowlton and seconded by T. F. Goodhue was passed, empowering the directors to secure plans for the building.
Every issue of the Democrat and the Journal had articles by the citizens favoring the Union school. One signed "A Friend," was an able article over one column in length and made an urgent plea for the tax-payers to vote the tax. He gave a vigorous reply to "Close-fistedness."
The Journal editor remarked that the "Wind Work" had been well done and urged the voters to go to the polls and vote the tax.
The election in Freeport to tax the people to build a Union school was held June 8, 1850, and carried by a vote of 125 to 9. Five hundred dollars, the amount limited by law, was voted.
Tuition in the Freeport schools in 1851 was: $1.59 for 60 days.
The Freeport school directors, John Rice, D. A. Knowlton and E. W. Salsbury advertised for bids for the Union school house, June 13, 1851.
May 7, 1852, the Journal published an announcement from the school directors that the Union school building was completed, teachers selected and the school ready to begin. The directors say that it is designed to combine an English and Common school education, with a course of instruction in the higher branches and languages equal to any of the academies and seminaries. Mr. W. J. Johnson, a teacher of acknowledged reputation, is principal, and he is assisted by the Misses Pickard, Beckwith and Horder, all teachers of experience. The tuition for the term was $1.25 per scholar. L. W. Guiteau, E. W. Salsbury and C. Martin were school directors. In 1852, May 28, there were over 200 scholars. The Journal Editor, after a visit to the school, said editorially "The citizens can point with pride to the Union school as the noblest and most useful of the many public buildings of Freeport, and can boast of having the best public school building in the state."
The Freeport Journal, October 15, 1852, gave an account of the close of the first year of the Union school in Freeport. The Journal praised the idea of a Union graded school that had been so successful in the east and indicated that the first year of the idea had been entirely successful in Freeport. "We have witnessed many exhibitions but never a more laudable one than that at the close of the first term of the Freeport Union school. The crowd was immense, numbering some four or five hundred, and all appeared gratified."
The school directors were L. W. Guiteau, C. Martin and Julius Smith. On October 9, 1852, the directors gave the public the following announcement through the Journal "The fall term will open October 18, under Mr. Wm. Johnson, principal, assisted by Mr. James S. Oliver and Miss Maria M. Packard in the higher department, and Clara Beckwith and Lydia Orcutt in the primary department. The course of instruction will be equal to that of the best academies."
UNION SCHOOL EXHIBIT.
The Journal of March 1, 1855, praises highly the Union school exhibit by Professor H. C. Burchard and his classes. The program consisted of dialogues, essays and declamations. The Journal says, "Mr. Burchard is earning for himself a reputation, by his zeal and industry by making the Union school what it is. In spite of the incubus which has always rested upon it. The receipts of the exhibition amounted to $28.00 which will be expended for a library."
SHORT ITEMS OF
Coon and Dickey conducted the Freeport Academy in 1855. The same year the Freeport Seminary was conducted by Waldenmeyer and Myers, both of the New York State Normal school.
March 16, 1854, Mr. Bentley of the Freeport Seminary gave an exhibition in Concert Hall with his school. "The hall was densely crowded and badly ventilated," says the Freeport Journal, of March 30, 1854. A large part of the program was dispensed with on account of the noise and confusion of a crowded house. Mr. Bentley has succeeded in keeping up a school for many years in Freeport.
The Lena School, taught by Miss Hyde, also gave an exhibition in March, 1854. The editor of the Journal said, "The essays showed more originality and common sense than is usually shown in such programs."
In 1857, the booklet "Present Advantages and Future Prospects of the City of Freeport" gave the following description of the city schools: "If there is any one thing of which the City of Freeport may justly boast as her chief ornament, it is her schools. In 1856, the first system of graded instruction was put in practice. The whole city and its environs is a single school district. The schools are free to all and supported by general taxation. Three school commissioners are elected who have supervision of the whole, hire all the teachers, and direct the standard of promotion to higher classes. The commissioners are (1857) H. N. Hibbard, William Buckley and F. G. Winslow. There are three grades The primary, or ward schools; the middle schools, and the high school. The high school is the upper room of the Union school building. The middle schools are in the lower rooms and the primary schools, four in number, are scattered about the city.
The primary schools are open to all without examination. At stated times the commissioners name such as they think capable of entering the middle schools. All scholars pass to the high school by a thorough examination. In the high school all the advantages are presented which can be found in the academies of the east, all the higher English branches as well as the Classics being taught there. The system has worked admirably and the schools at this time are in popular favor.
The report of the committee of examination (1857) says: "These results, no doubt, have cost earnest, persevering effort, together with a large expenditure of money, but the effort has been successful, promising, if continued, to give us schools of the highest excellence; and as for the expenditure, no| citizen, we think, who attended the examinations, could have wished that a dollar less had been expended. We are sure that every dollar expended in this enterprise, is so much added to the value of real estate, and helps to make our city more attractive and desirable as a place of residence. Good schools can not fail to attract immigrants of the first class to make valuable additions to our population, to promote general intelligence and morality, while promising ultimately large returns in money."
Henry Freeman, A. M., was principal of the High school with Mary Noble as assistant.
At this time (1857) there were three other schools. The Female Seminary, located in Plymouth Hall conducted by Miss Mary A. Potter of New York, a lady of thorough education. The booklet says that several gentlemen propose to assist in the purchase of a building.
Miss F. B. Burchard had a Select school for Misses in successful operation in the Pennsylvania Block.
At this time (1857) a Freeport Commercial College was running in the Bank Block. L. D. White was proprietor and teacher of bookkeeping. J. G. Cross, teacher of commercial calculations. Hon. T. J. Turner and Hon. M. P. Sweet lectured on Commercial Law.
Friday, October 7, 1853, Rev. J. Coon, assisted by Rev. J. S. Dickson, and Miss H. Cornelia Bail opened the Freeport Academy. Tuition, $6.00 for 6 months in the English branches and $10.00 in Latin and Greek. The school was started in the basement of the Second Presbyterian church.
In 1852, a genius opened a school in a frame building where later stood F. Bues stone block. He was a reformer and had a new system of teaching geography in 12 lessons by singing the capes, rivers, mountains, etc., around the world. Freeport, strange to say, did not wax enthusiastic over this reformer, and after a term he left. His successor was a Mr. Chandler, a good teacher and an upright man, but exceedingly sensitive. One evening a number of young men, including Chandler, met at Mr. Knowlton's store to discuss a barrel of cider which had just arrived. The temperance people were against cider drinking and when it was noised around what they had used for a drinking cup, the thing appeared ridiculous and Chandler, who could not stand the laugh, left the city in disgrace, as he supposed.
The pioneer preacher was a product of pioneer conditions, and he adapted himself, unconsciously no doubt, to the life of the people about him. He was, first of all, an exhorter. Seldom was he a scholar or a logician. He appealed directly to their emotions and lived and worked on the level with his people because usually he was one of them. His strongest point, no doubt, was to point vividly beautiful pictures of heaven and the awful scenes of hell.
One author says of them "Sometimes their sermons would turn upon matters of controversy, arguing, with little learning but much fervor, on free grace, baptism, free-will, election, faith, good works, justification, sanctification, of the final perseverance of the saints. Vivid, indeed, were the startling word pictures drawn of the hereafter, and imagination never failed them in describing the bliss of heaven, and the awful terrors of hell." At any rate they were sincere.
They were long-distance speakers. A simple theme would require a sermon of 1-1/2 or 2 hours. Mr. Parrish says that the sermons were tested in three ways, by their length, by flowery, ornate language, and by vigor of action in delivery. Oratorical gymnastics played a vital part. But by such preaching the people were interested, they were deeply moved and their lives were markedly influenced.
Among the pioneer preachers of Illinois were Peter Acres, Zadoc Casey and Peter Cartwright.
THE PIONEER PHYSICIAN
The treatment of disease in the pioneer days was as primitive as the life of the people itself. In the earliest days among the outlying settlements there were no regular doctors often for fifty or a hundred miles. In this respect, as in all others, the early settlers cultivated a spirit of self-reliance. Home-made remedies were the vogue and many men and especially the women were skilled in their application.
While the pioneer times always had their characteristic diseases and ailments, yet the people were fairly free from disease. Of necessity, they lived much in the open air. Houses were well ventilated. The log house with its crack and poorly fitted doors and windows and the loosely laid clap-board roof and puncheon floors, were admirably adapted to the inlet of fresh air. Men and women worked much in the fields and gardens, and lived on plain and wholesome food. Such a life naturally built up strong constitutions, and strong constitutions, in the absence of the trained physician, fought the battles with disease with probably a better chance for victory than the weaker physical body of this day aided by all the science and skill of the physician.
The settlements were well scattered and the population was not congested. For this reason there were few epidemics. Any contagious or infectious diseases soon ran their course and disappeared. Neighborly cooperation was the prevailing spirit. When any family was stricken, it was an unwritten law that the neighbors took turns in sitting up and caring for the afflicted. While there were a few known to be especially "good in sickness," the unselfish spirit was quite general.
The bites of poisonous snakes was one difficulty to be encountered. There were numerous "cures" for this affliction. Everybody knew them, even the children. When a person was bitten by a rattle snake or other venomous reptile, some simple remedy was at hand and applied at once. One remedy was to suck out the poison from the wound and spit it out. A plaster of clay was then applied. A more common remedy was the "whiskey" cure. Any person suffering a rattle snake bite was given a large quantity of whiskey and made dead drunk. This was an effective cure and as liquor was commonly kept in the homes by the gallon, it was always at hand.
The early community was almost always subject to the "chills," or ague. This ailment afflicted the new communities till the swamps were drained out. There were numerous remedies for the "chills." It was believed that a person must not be permitted to keep still. When at the worst in a sinking chill, they would be beaten, rubbed and walked around. The idea was that if not kept thoroughly active they would die. The persons "sitting up" with the victim, took turns in exercising their patient. The treatment, in some cases, was worse than the disease. By means of a strong constitution, many survived both.
Families did their own work of vaccination. Mrs. Amanda Head, a daughter of John Turneaure, tells how, as a girl of fifteen, she vaccinated the children in the family. The vaccine was put on a silk thread. She then pinched up a place on the arm with her finger nails, and ran a piece of the silk thread through. Sore arms were often to be found, but this system long prevailed and served its purpose.
Remedies and specifies were usually at hand. The merchants carried these in stock as there were no drug stores. Besides others, two well-known cures for "chills" were "Roman's Tonic Mixture" and "Indian Chocalogue." Senna salts, quinine and calomel were standard articles and were kept in bulk by the store keepers.
THE PIONEER NEWSPAPER
The pioneer newspaper was just as broad and just as narrow as pioneer times. The press suffered from the same limitations that affected other institutions of that day. The equipment of a printing plant was limited to a small hand press, and to type matter set by hand. The slow and tedious process, thus made necessary, restricted the amount of matter printed and made daily issues impossible. While there were a few expert typesetters, yet a large part of the work was done by amateurs.
It was difficult to get paper in quantities and still more difficult to get it when wanted. It was before the day of mammoth paper mills and corporations. Paper was secured at Rockton and at other small water mills which had their own difficulties. It was before the railroad and paper had to be delivered by ox team or horses, and an issue was sometimes delayed several days because floods made the fording of streams impossible. The process of gathering news was limited. The telegraph had not yet reached its fingers out into the new sections, and when it came the cost of its privileges to any great extent was almost prohibitive.
Besides, at that time, there was not in existence those world-wide news gathering organizations to furnish a mass of news each day or each week at a reasonable cost to the publisher. The "patent inside" came later as did also the "boiler plate," both of which have made it easier and cheaper at later day for newspapers in sparsely settled communities to put out a paper containing much news and general reading matter.
The lack of prompt and cheap postal facilities was another limitation. Poor roads, the stage that connected with only a few points in the county kept back news from districts beyond the immediate vicinity. It was practically impossible for the early Democrat and Journal to be much more than Freeport newspapers. News comes from Europe to Freeport more readily now than then it came from Winslow or Lena, or Yellow Creek Village.
Consequently, the predominating feature of the Democrat and the Journal and Anzeiger was not news. An examination of these papers shows that from 1847 to 1860, usually 24 columns, apportioned about as follows Advertising, 14 columns; story, 5 columns; political and editorial discussions, 3 columns, news, 2 columns. If there is any error in the above apportionment it is in allowing as much as two columns for news.
Frequently less than one column, and often not more than a half column, was given to county news in the early weeklies. Much of the news columns was filled with news items from the east, often a month late. The story occupied the front page, or most of it. On the second page came the columns of political discussions, editorials and local news. The politics discussed was usually national politics. This might be letters or speeches. Here great national issues were set forth, such as the Mexican War, the Wilmot Proviso, the Nebraska Bill, etc.
The editor of the Journal December 15, 1853, thus paid his regards to J. O. P. Burnside of the Bulletin "In point of silly childless bluster, printless blatant nonsense, and low contemptible falsehood, His Sapiency James Oliver Perry Burnside ! ! ! the addlepated scribbler of the Bulletin, can take the hats of the whole editorial fraternity."
COUNTY COURT AND BAR IN PIONEER DAYS
Stephenson County was organized as a county under the laws of Illinois in 1837. The Legislature provided for the election of county officials, which occurred in May of that year. The same year the courthouse site was selected. The new county was a part of the 6th judicial circuit while a part of Jo Daviess County, and continued to be a part of that circuit by act of the legislature, February 22, 1839. The circuit then included Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Boone, Winnebago, Whiteside, Rock Island and Carroll Counties. The first session of the court in this county was held at a special term August 27, 1839.
Daniel Stone was the first judge of the circuit to preside in Stephenson County. Hubbard Graves, father of the present venerable postmaster at McConnell, was sheriff and John A. Clark was clerk of the court. This first session lasted three days. Judge Stone presided over the two succeeding terms of court in this county when the law was changed. The new law of February 23, 1841, abolished the offices of circuit judges, and appointed additional supreme court judges and rearranged the districts. Mercer and Henry Counties were added to the 6th district and Judge Thomas C. Brown was appointed to preside over the district courts. Judge Brown was circuit judge of this county till 1846. A new law passed by the State Legislature made the circuit judgeship an elective office, and Benjamin R. Sheldon was elected to the bench.
In 1848, the adoption of a new state constitution was followed by a reorganization of the judicial districts. The new fourteenth circuit was made up of the counties of Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Winnebago. Judge Sheldon was a candidate for the position of circuit judge in the new I4th district, and was elected. This position he held from 1848 to 1870, over twenty years, when he was elected as one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois.
Hon. H. C. Burchard thus describes the old courtroom: "It was a two story frame building with plain clapboard sides and shingle roof, surrounded by a rough board fence. The courtroom where Judge Sheldon presided in 1855, sitting on a raised platform behind a pine desk, had on its right two tier of seats for the jury. Fronting the judge and beyond the railing that inclosed the table and chairs for the privileged lawyers, were rows of pine benches, ruthlessly disfigured by witnesses and spectators whose incessant whittling was only temporarily checked by the warning of the judge not to mar the courtroom. In the winter a hot stove occupied the center of the room.
The windows had to be raised frequently for ventilation and again lowered to exclude the cold air, and bench and bar were alternately roasted and frozen. I can yet hear Judge Sheldon give his order, "Mr. Sheriff, raise the window," or "Mr. Sheriff, lower the window," as he feared suffocation from odors or dreaded cold chills from the sharp winter air. The dilapidated appearance of the building was felt to be a discredit to the city and the county.
In 1854, the loosened clapboards were shaking in the wind and the sky was visible through the broken plastering. The room was at that time procured for the use of Fred Douglass, the colored orator, to make an abolition speech. Although accustomed to plantation life and to uncomfortable and unsightly audience rooms, he said in his opening remarks, "I have spoken in England in the finest halls, and in this country in churches and where no better accommodations could be had, in barns, but, of all the God-forsaken places, this beats them all!"
One evening at Plymouth Hall, (where the Wilcoxen block now stands) while Hon. Martin P. Sweet was making a speech, the cry of "Fire" was heard on the streets. It was reported that the courthouse was burning. Mr. Sweet paused and said, "It is the old courthouse, let it burn." The audience cheered and remained seated, but the fire was extinguished. It was a great relief to the members of the bar as well as to the citizens of Freeport, when the building was removed in 1870 and the attractive and commodious structure that now occupies its site was built."
At the first session of court in 1839, according to the records, the following attorneys were present and connected with cases: Seth B. Farwell, Martin P. Sweet, Thomas J. Turner, Campbell, Drummond, Tonlin and Kemble. Mr. Sweet still lived in Winnebago County and as Mr. Turner had not yet been admitted to practice, Mr. Farwell was the only member of the Freeport bar. Mr. Purinton arrived four months later. At that day it was the custom of the lawyers to follow the judge around the circuit, and a few were here in 1839 from other counties.
There were 35 cases in the docket in 1835, seventeen of which were appeals for justice courts. Thirteen were dismissed for want of jurisdiction, because the cases had been improperly brought to that court. According to Mr. Burchards' report, "In the short three days session, the grand jury returned four indictments, two criminal trials were had, six judgments were taken by default and one judgment rendered in an appeal case for $3.18 and costs.
The second term of court lasted two days. The attorneys present and before the court were Martin P. Sweet and George Purinton of Freeport. States Attorney F. S. Hall, and Jason Marsh, of Rockford, and Campbell and Drummond, of Jo Daviess County. Writing of these early attorneys, Mr. H. C. Burchard, in 1896, said, "People who heard Thompson Campbell and E. D. Baker in the noted trials at the old courtroom still speak of their wit, readiness in repartee, and wonderful power in addressing a jury. Eloquence in those early days, as in these later ones, must have exercised its magic influence when E. D. Baker, fresh from Springfield, had but to unstrap his trunk at a Galena Hotel, and without the aid of patronage or local friends to start his boom, could by voice and speech, win as he did his nomination and election to Congress from this district. It is not more surprising that afterward a brief sojourn on the Pacific coast sent him to the United States Senate, and that he there acquired a national reputation as an orator and statesman.
Thereupon, Campbell became states attorney for the judicial circuit and was elected to Congress in 1850. Later he served as secretary of state and moved to California. Mr. Drummond must have then exhibited that legal knowledge, sound judgment and argumentative ability which later characterized his rulings as a federal judge. James S.,Loop was able to state his client's case more clearly and to present its salient points more concisely than any other advocate at the bar. Marsh, Burnop, and Night, considered the ablest chancery lawyers in the circuit, attended from term to term. E. B. Washburn prosecuted a suit with the same zeal and tenacity that he displayed in after years in political life."
With such associates and antagonists, it is not surprising that Martin P. Sweet and Thomas J. Turner grew to become and ranked among the foremost advocates and most successful lawyers in northern Illinois. Their selection as candidates of their parties for Congress Sweet in 1844 and again in 1850, and Turner in 1846 shows the popularity they attained at this period and the high estimation of their abilities.
By 1850, in addition to Sweet, Turner, Farwell and Purinton and other distinguished men joined the Freeport bar. Among these were: Thomas F. Goodhue, Charles Betts, F. W. S. Brawley, Charles F. Bagg, John A. Clark, John Coates and Charles Clark. Before 1857, they were joined by Hiram Bright, U. D. Meacham, J. B. Smith, Samuel Saukey, J. C. Kean, E. P. narton, J. M. Bailey and H. C. Burchard.
At the December term of court in 1857, there were 302 cases at common law on the docket and 49 in chancery. At the April term 1858, there were 392 at common law and chancery cases reached 183 the next year. Many of the chancery cases were mortgage foreclosures. These hard times with numerous financial entanglements made 1857-1858 the golden period of the bar. Mr. Burchard said in 1896: "Although the number of lawyers has considerably increased, scarcely one-fourth as many cases are now entered upon the docket as in 1857 and 1858. It is claimed that there is much less legal business and litigation in Stephenson County than in adjourning counties. While this is injurious to the profession it is no loss to the community. The discouragement and the decrease of litigation is beneficial. Many who formerly practiced at our bar were noted for compromising and dismissing suits which they commenced. The lawyers deserve the blessing of peacemakers, because they were successful in efforts to adjust and settle, rather than litigate conflicting claims." Mr. Burchard adds, "The lawyers of Freeport, and especially those who came here at an early day and grew up with the county, have always taken a leading part in matters that concerned the prosperity of the city. Scarcely one of our business enterprises has been planned and consummated without their counsel and assistance giving it legal shape. They were associated with business men and often selected as spokesmen for them in all efforts to secure the location of public buildings, institutions, railroads to be built and manufactories to be established."
Brief sketches should here be given of the early leaders of the Freeport bar: Thomas J. Turner, born in Ohio, in 1815, lived on a farm in Pennsylvania for a while and came west at the age of 18. After spending short periods in Chicago, La Porte County, Indiana, and in the lead mine county about Galena, he came into Stephenson County in 1836, building a mill in Rock Run. In 1837, he secured the contract to build the Stephenson County courthouse, and it is thought that litgation arising from this contract induced him to take up the study of law. He studied law in much the same way as Patrick Henry and Abraham Lincoln did, becoming, in fact, a self-made lawyer. Mr. Burchard says of him: "He was tall, erect, athletic and graceful. He was most effective as a jury lawyer. In 1845 Governor Ford appointed him states attorney for the 6th judicial circuit. He managed, or assisted, in the trial at Rock Island, of the murderers of Colonel Davenport. His ability and fearlessness in prosecuting the gang of murderers and horse thieves that then infested northern Illinois made him hosts of friends in this congressional district. His nomination and election to Congress in 1846 was a natural consequence. Upon the organization of the town of Freeport in 1850. Mr. Turner was elected president of the board of trustees. In 1854, he became an active opponent of those who supported the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas and Nebraska Bill. He replied briefly to a four hours' speech in its justification made by Stephen A. Douglas in front of the old Pennsylvania House, then standing on the present site of Munn's building. He was sent the following fall to the Legislature as an Anti-Nebraska democrat, and voted first for Lincoln and then for Trumbull for senator. He procured the passage of a bill introduced by him to create the city of Freeport by special charter, and was afterward elected the city's first mayor. Early in 1861, he was a member of the Peace Conference at Washington, and later was elected and commissioned colonel of the Fifteenth Illinois Volunteers. He resigned the service in 1862 on account of ill health. He was chairman of the republican state central committee in 1864, a member of the State Constitutional Convention in 1870, and in the Legislature in 1871. He died on the third day of April, 1874, at Hot Springs, where hopeless of other relief, he had gone for the purpose of regaining health. He will always be remembered as one of the pioneers in the early settlements of Stephenson County, and as contributing, by his personal efforts, as much, or more, than any other citizen of the prosperity and permanent growth of Freeport."
Hon. Martin P. Sweet was one of the early leaders of the Stephenson County Bar. He was a native of New York and after farming and preaching, he began the practice of law in Freeport in 1840. He was a noted whig leader and twice was honored by his party as its candidate for Congress. The best summary of his career as a lawyer is that given by his contemporary, Hon. Thomas J. Turner, at a meeting of the Stephenson County Bar Association, after Mr. Sweets death: "It is difficult for me to find words to express what we all feel on this solemn occasion. Hon. Martin P. Sweet is dead. We shall not again hear from his lips the burning eloquence that in times past has thrilled the court and the bar, as he held up to view the enormities of crimes which he had been called on to prosecute; or, the melting pathos with, which he captivated the sympathies of jury and people, while defending those he regarded innocent. Few men ever possessed that magnetic power which chains an audience in a greater degree than did our departed friend. It is not alone at the bar that he has left his impress as a leading mind. In the arena of politics, and in the sacred desk, he was alike conspicuous. Logical in argument, terrible in invective and quick in repartee, he carried the judgments of a jury or an audience; or, failing here, his quick sympathies and deep pathos led them along against the conviction of judgment. Such was Martin P. Sweet as an orator and an advocate. A self-made man, he surmounted difficulties which would discourage and defeat others and reach a position at the bar. Second to none, and established a reputation as an orator of which any men among us might feel proud.
On opening an office in Freeport, he soon secured a remunerative practice, and took a first rank at the bar throughout the circuit. His services were sought whenever important cases were to be tried, or legal ability was required. Among the traits of character which endeared Mr. Sweet to the members of his profession, were his urbane manners, his nice sense of professional honor and his kind and cautious bearing toward those who were opposed to him. In these respects, he has done much to raise the standard of professional ethics.
In private life, he was generous and urbane and had many friends, with few, if any, enemies. In death, the bar has lost one of its brightest ornaments, the city a good citizen and a zealous friend, and the county and the state an able defender of their rights. There is still another circle that mourns him with a deeper grief the charmed circle of the home.
Let us, my brethren of the bar, while our eyes are suffused with tears, and our hearts bowed with sorrow over his grave, resolve to emulate his virtues, to follow his example and avoid and forget his faults, if he had any, so that when our work on earth is done and when our names may be mentioned, as the name of our departed friend is mentioned today, with baled breath and choked utterance, it may be said of us, our work is finished; it is well done."
At the close of Mr. Turner's eulogy, the judge of the circuit court said: "As an effective speaker and legal orator, he had no superior, and at times he was the leading genius, outstripping all others in the circuit. It is probable, we may never look upon his like again."
COURT AND BAR
Hon. Horatio C. Burchard was one of the distinguished members of the Stephenson County bar for over fifty-two years. He was born in Marshall, Oneida County, New York, in 1825. His father came west to Beloit, Wisconsin, in 1840. Mr. Burchard was graduated from Hamilton College, New York, in 1850. He was admitted to the bar in 1852, and began practice in Monroe, Wisconsin. In 1854, he came to Freeport and was principal of the Union school. In 1855 he resumed the practice of law, the firm being Turner and Burchard, his partner being Thomas J. Turner. In 1856, the firm was Turner, Burchard & Barton. From 1864 to 1874, the firm was Burchard, Barton & Barnum. In 1857, Mr. Burchard was county school commissioner; in 1862, and 1864, he was elected to the legislature. For four years he was a trustee of the Illinois Industrial University, now the University of Illinois.
In 1869, when Hon. E. B. Washburn was given a post in the Cabinet, Mr. Burchard was elected to Congress. The speaker, James G. Elaine, appointed him a member of the Committee on Banking and Currency, of which James A. Garfield was chairman. Later, for eight years he served on the committee on ways and means. For ten years, 1869 to 1879, Mr. Burchard was recognized as one of the able men in Congress.
In 1879, Mr. Burchard was appointed director of the United States Mints by President Hayes. In this department he distinguished himself by his thorough mastery of the finances of the United States, and by his five elaborate reports to Congress. As director of the United States Mints, Mr. Burchard served from 1879 to 1885; when a democratic president made a change in the appointment. In 1886 he was appointed by Governor Oglesby on a commission to revise the revenue laws of Illinois. He was elected to the membership in the International Statistical Institute in 1837.
In 1886 Mr. Burchard resumed his law practice in Freeport. In ?, he formed a partnership with Hon. Louis H. Burrell, the firm name being Burchard & Burrell. Mr. Burchard continued his law business till his death in ? . He was a man of whom Stephenson County was always proud, having won distinction as a teacher, as a lawyer, as a statesman and an administrator.
Judge Charles Belts was an active member of the Freeport bar from 1848 to 1880 when he retired. Born in Batavia, New York, in 1824. He was admitted to the bar in that state in 1847. He came to Freeport in 1848 and was successful from the start. In 1852 he was the nominee of the whig party for State Auditor. During the political revolution of 1856-1858, when many democrats became republicans, Mr. Betts, being a great admirer of Stephen A. Douglas, became a democrat. In 1870 he was the democratic candidate for Congress in the district and reduced the republican majority from 10,000 to 5,000 H. M. Barnum, a native of Vermont, has graduated from Middlebury College in 1858, came to Freeport in 1859 and was admitted to the bar in 1861. From 1861 to 1864 he was a teacher in the city schools, part of that time principal of the high school. In 1864 he entered the law firm of Burchard & Barton. In 1867 he was city attorney, was a member of the board of education and the library board.
Hon. James S. Cochran, born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 1834, educated at Bethany College, Virginia, Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, and the law school of Judge Brockenbaugh at Lexington, Kentucky, was admitted to the bar in Pittsburg, in 1858, and that year came to Freeport. He entered upon the practice of his profession here at once and was eminently successful. He was state's attorney for the county from 1872 to 1884, when he was elected to the state senate from the district of Stephenson, Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties. Eight of his nineteen bills became laws during the 35th session of the legislature. One law established "Arbor Day" and another provided that teachers could attend institutes without the deduction of pay. He was one of the ablest men this district ever sent to the state legislature. He was distinguished as a lawyer and as a legislator.
Judge John Coates came to Stephenson County in 1847 and entered the law office of Hon. T. J. Turner. He was elected county judge in 1853. He aided in the organization of the Second Presbyterian church. Throughout his long legal career, he was recognized as an able and conscientious attorney.
LYCEUM OF EARLY DAYS
The first generation in Stephenson County had time for things intellectual. Through all the turmoil and hardships with Indians and wild animals, rude equipment and simple homes, the struggle with a wild soil and the dangers and perils of distant mills and markets, burst the spirit of culture from the old academies of the east. The education of the old academy of the east was the leaven that lifted up the frontier society from the lower levels of "mere" business and the struggle for daily bread. It was this irrepressible spirit that brought organized local lecture course committees, and brought to early the greatest stars of the American platform, musicians, lecturers, poets, reformers and statesmen. Old Plymouth Hall audiences saw and heard, Ole Bull and Patti; Starr King and Bayard Taylor; E. P. Willett, Lowell and Emerson, and Giddings, Chase, Horace Greeley and Horace Mann. It is to be regretted that no later period has even approached to decade of 1850 to 1860 in the matter of Lyceum talent in this county. This is in part because the first generation contained that element of culture and the spirit of intellectualism that had been stimulated by a contact in the academies and colleges of the older states.
THE LECTURE COURSES
Mrs. Oscar Taylor's explanation of Freeport's early lecture courses is full of interest and should serve as an inspiration to the people of today. "Where the Wilcoxen opera house now stands Mr. E. H. Hyde had erected a three story brick building, the upper story of which was intended for lectures, concerts and other public gatherings. This was old Plymouth Hall, of which the town was justly proud. It was here that the Lombard brothers and the Baker family gave their musical entertainment as they traveled through this region season after season; and always welcome were the Hutchinson family, who came almost every year, bringing with them their old melodeon, opening every performance with "We're a band of brothers from the old Granite State."
Strong anti-slavery men were all of them, and when they sang "There's a Good Time Coming Boys," there was a ring of faith and feeling in their voices that stirred the enthusiasm of their hearers, and in humorous parts the drollery of the brother Judson was irresistible. Dr. and Mrs. Beaumont, both sincere lovers of music, assisted in many of the home concerts of those days. The walls of Plymouth Hall, one never-to-be forgotten night, echoed to the tunes of Ole Bull's violin, and to the supremely beautiful voice of Adelina Patti, when that voice was the voice of a young girl of fourteen, even then so wonderful that her future world-wide fame seemed already assured. She was a lovely picture as she stood before the audience in a low-necked gown of light blue silk, ruffled from waist line to hem. Her great Italian eyes were velvety in their soft blackness and her black hair was worn in thick braids, while her features were of that delicate clear-cut beauty so familiar to us all in later years. The "Little Patti," as she was then called, was most friendly with her audience all the evening, and at the close of the concert she invited two young girls, whom she joined as the audience was dispering, to visit her at the Pennsylvania House next day. The invitation was, of course, joyfully accepted, but the unsophisticated western girls were amazed by the young prima donna's desperate flirtation with the handsome pianist who played her accompaniments.
In the autumn of 1854 the Young Men's Association secured for us a course of lectures from some of the most eminent literary men of the country. As the hotel accommodations were not above criticism, it was thought desirable that the lecturers should be entertained at private houses, and as Mr. Taylor was a member of the association he was among the first to proffer this hospitality. It so happened that when Horace Mann opened this lecture course he was for three days a guest in our old home on Adams street. I must own to being in quite a flurry over the thought of entertaining so distinguished a person, but well I remember how I was at once put at ease by the kindly smile and winning tones with which the stranger greeted me. There was something saint-like in his appearance, so frail was his health, so snowy his hair, and so gentle his whole bearing. His heart was in the educational work, which formed the subject of his lecture; but even more interesting to me was his quiet conversation during the two following days. I almost felt myself one of the Concord circle as Mr. Mann shared with me his intimate acquaintance with Emerson, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and Hawthorne. Hawthorne's wife and Mrs. Mann were sisters, and Mr. Mann told me of Hawthorne's excessive shyness, how he would seldom join in conversation, but liked to sit apart, sometimes even getting behind a door.
Thoreau and his new book "Walden," then in press, received enthusiastic praise, as did Mr. Howe, the philanthropist, whom Mr. Mann dearly loved. He thought Mrs. Howe, who had been greatly admired as a society belle in New York, not altogether in sympathy with her husband's work for the blind, but has she not really proved herself a fitting wife for her noble husband? The Saturday Club of Boston, where the literary lights of New England gathered weekly for informal discussions, was also opened to me for the first time, so vividly that I seemed to know personally Longfellow, Whittier and Holmes, with other men whose names are now historic, but whose biographies had not then been lived.
Following Horace Mann came Bayard Taylor, who drew a crowded audience, and gave a most graphic and entertaining lecture upon his travels in Europe. There was great charm in his picturesque and magnetic personality, and pure cosmopolitan as he was, he seemed to bring his whole audience in touch with the great world. He was also a delightful guest, genial and witty, instantly at home with the friends whom I had asked to the house to meet him.
A little girl to whom he seemed the most wonderful man in the world, had listened with wide open eyes to all that he was relating of far-away lands, when, thinking it time that Freeport was heard from, she remarked "Mr. Taylor, I don't believes you saw in Europe anything prettier than the egg my chicken laid." With quick responsiveness, Mr. Taylor admitted that an egg was really more wonderful than anything the art of man could produce.
When Horace Greeley came the farmers flocked to hear the man who advised everyone to go west. Plymouth Hall could not hold the crowd that gathered. To my mind, the disappointed ones did not lose much. Socially, Greeley was brusque and repellent, receiving with evident indifference the young men who called upon him. "What did those men come here for?" he asked when they left. "They came to see the great mogul," I answered which seemed to please him, as he laughed heartily. After his stay with us, and I had seen him carefully turn his necktie awry before sitting for his daguerrotype, I concluded that his reputed accentricities were but affectations.
Later in the season we had George Sumner, of Boston, brother to Charles Sumner. For many years a resident in Dresden and Paris, he had the captivating polish of manner acquired in continental cities but his lecture, upon the political conditions of Europe, did not particularly appeal to his audience. Before the lecture I had called Mr. Sumner's attention to an article in Putnam's Magazine on the Crimean war, giving a most vivid description of the battle of Sebastopol. "Is not that article wonderfully written," I asked him. "I did not find it so," he replied. In the dash to my enthusiasm I thought him over-critical, not dreaming, until he laughingly told me so the following year, that he was the writer of the brilliant article.
The lecture course of 1855 was opened by Starr King, who was entertained by Mr. Taylor and myself. I remember that Mr. King surprised me early in our conversation by the question, "How old do you think I am?" "From your appearance I should judge you to be a boy in your teens, but, of course, I know you must be older or you could not have achieved your reputation," I replied. "I am a long way of my teens," he said, "but my youthful aspect affords me great fun, as I had today when your husband walked through the car looking on either side but evidently seeing no one whom he could believe was the expected individual. When I asked if he was looking for Mr. King you should have seen his look of surprise."
The editor of the Journal, in speaking of Ralph Waldo Emerson's lecture at Plymouth Hall, Freeport, said "What we understood of it was excellent, and what we did not understand we suppose was excellent."
The Addams Institute, an association of young men, was organized in 1852, and held its first meeting November 25, that year in the basement of the First Presbyterian church. J. C. Howells, president of the club, gave an inaugural address in "Danger and Weakness of Ignorance." At the second meeting the following question was discussed "Resolved; that the intervention policy advocated by Kossuth, is just and should be adopted by the United States." The officers were: President, W. J. Johnston; Vice President, J. Burrell; Secretary, J. S. Oliver. J. S. Oliver and W. J. Johnston debated against H. M. Sheetz and J. C. Howells. J. Burrell gave a declamation. Professor Daniels gave a series of lectures on Geology. The Journal says, "The efforts of the Addams Institute to introduce these lectures deserves credit."
The Freeport Literary Institute was organized at Hon. T. J. Turner's office January 1853. Mr U. D. Meacham was chairman of the meeting. The following officers were elected for one year President, Judge Coats; Vice President, P. D. Fisher; Secretary, S. D. Knight; Treasurer, John Barfoot; Librarian, Dr. O. E. Stearns. The business committee consisted of John K. Brewster, Dr. C. Bartin, and D. C. Wilmot, part of whose duties were the employment of lecturers, and purchase of books, papers and scientific apparatus. The membership fee was one dollar. Mr. F. W. S. Brawley was to deliver the first lecture. The Journal says, "Mr. Brawley is an easy and beautiful writer and a ripe scholar." Mr. Brawley being absent, Hon. T. J. Turner gave one of his characteristic speeches. Mr. C. A. Clark also addressed the meeting.
In 1853, the following citizens volunteered to deliver public lectures F. W. S. Brawley, T. J. Turner, Rev. A. J. Warner, D. E. Markle, C. A. Clark, Rev. J. Coon, U. D. Meacham, Dr. C. Martin, J. C. Howells, Rev. James Bentley, H. M. Sheetz, Dr. R. Van Valzah, E. Hunt, Dr. O. E. Stearns and C. E. Berry.
Cassius M. Clay spoke in Freeport in 1854, for the whigs, before an audience of 2,000 to 3,000 people. Later came Joshua R. Giddings, the Anti-Slavery war horse of the Western Reserve, Salmon P. Chase, George W. Julian, followed by Stephen A. Douglas.
Wm. Stark New Hampshire.
E. P. Whipple ._ Boston.
Park Benjamin New York.
Parke Goodwin New York.
T. Starr King Boston.
R. W. Emerson Concord.
John G. Saxe Vermont.
B. F. Taylor Chicago.
J. K. Doolittle Racine.
E. H. Chapin New York.
All sales go to help support this website.
Stories, Volume 1
events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE 1858.
The greatest political event in Stephenson County was the Lincoln and Douglas Debate at Freeport, August 27, 1858. Both Lincoln and Douglas were candidates for the United States Senate. Douglas had been in the senate since 1847 and his second term would expire in 1859. In order to be elected in 1858, Douglas knew he must control the election to the state legislature. Douglas had broken with Buchanan in the Kansas troubles and found that he had a hard fight before him in Illinois. When Buchanan threatened Douglas, the "Little Giant" told the president that Andrew Jackson was dead. This meant that Douglas would take his own course on his idea of 'Popular Sovereignty.' "
Mr. Lincoln, as a
candidate, however, found that Douglas was a strong opponent, for in over
eleven years Douglas had planted an army of federal officials, postmasters,
revenue collectors, etc., over the state. He had back of him an interested
organization, composed of the old wheelhorses of his party. As Lincoln
said of Douglas "All anxious politicians have seen in his round,
jolly, fruitful face, post-offices, land-offices, marshall-ships, cabinet
charge-ships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands. On the contrary, nobody ever expected me to be president. In my poor lean, lank face nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out. We have to fight this battle upon principle, and principle alone."
Some claimed that John Wentworth of Chicago was the real republican candidate and that Lincoln was just a stalking-horse to beat Douglas in the legislative elections.
Douglas received the indorsement of the Democratic State Convention April 21, 1858. A number of democrats bolted, held a "rump" convention on June 9th and denounced Douglas. The Republican Convention was held June 16, at Springfield. Lincoln was unanimously nominated with wild applause. Chicago took the lead in securing Lincoln's nomination.
It was Lincoln's carefully written speech of acceptance that brought him at once into national prominence. It was in this speech that he broke away from the old compromise idea and said, "The Government cannot exist half slave and half free; it must become all one thing or all the other." Future events justified the wisdom of Lincoln going to the root of the whole slavery question. But the politicians of his own party felt that he had made a mistake. Truly enough, from the standpoint of immediate politics, he lost, for Douglas beat him in the race for the senate. But Lincoln was looking far into the future. He grasped the great fundamentals and essentials of the slavery question, and in 1860 he became the logical candidate for the presidency of the United States.
The campaign really opened in Chicago, where Douglas was given a great oration. Democratic newspapers said 30,000 people heard him. Republican papers said 12,000. In this speech Douglas attacked Lincoln's Springfield speech. Lincoln then went to Chicago and replied to Douglas. The Illinois Journal then said "The war has begun. In sound manly argument Lincoln is too much for Douglas. While the former shakes his black locks vaingloriously, and explodes in mere fusion of sound and smoke, the latter, quietly, unassumingly but effectively, drives home argument after argument, heavy as cannon balls and sharp as two-edged swords, until his adversary is so thoroughly riddled, cut up and used up, that in the view of discriminating men, nothing remains of him but a ghastly appearance."
The Louisville Democrat said "The debate in Illinois is the ablest and most important that has ever taken place in any of the states, on the great question which has so long agitated the country, elected and defeated presidential candidates, built up and broken down parties. It is the opening for the question of 1860. In Illinois the real battle has begun, by broadsides too, from the heaviest artillery. Douglas is matchless in debate and stands upon the only national platform. Lincoln is able and does full justice to the cause he advocates." The New York Tribune commented on the fact that Douglas was born in Free Vermont and Lincoln in slave-holding Kentucky, and observes that these gentlemen would seem respectively to have "conquered their prejudices" found in early impressions.
The Philadelphian North America said August 25, 1858, "The administration of Buchanan has been at work with all its power and influence to prevent the election of Douglas to the Senate. Mr. Lincoln follows Douglas wherever he goes, and has the best of the argument." Trumbull also stumped the state against Douglas and Mr. Edwin Ensle Sparks says "Without a formal nomination or indorsement by the people of Illinois, ridiculed as a "My party" candidate, and facing the loss of Federal patronage, Douglas entered on the greatest of his many battles for supremacy, a contest surpassing that waged two years later for the presidency. Alone and unaided he forced in the lists Trumbull and Lincoln, the best debaters afforded by the Republicans in the West and probably equaled by Seward in the East."
The Quincy Whig had an idea that Douglas was done for. It said, "Judge Douglas has left the Democratic party or it has left him. He sees that his fate is sealed, but he is determined to die hard." The Pittsfield Democrat took up Lincoln's statement that he would rather be a live dog than a dead lion. The Democrat said, "Abe Lincoln who compared himself to a living dog and Douglas to a dead lion will rapidly discover that instead of 'living,' he is one of the smallest of defunct puppies. His comparison in some degree was true it is very much like a puppy-dog fighting a lion."
Douglas began a tour of the state after his oration in Chicago. He had a special train, and a flat car at the rear on which was a small cannon. It was reported that Douglas mortgaged his Chicago home and borrowed funds in New York to carry on his campaign. Republicans said he carried a cannon so as to announce his entrance to a city, provided there was no reception for him. On the baggage car in large letters were the words, "S. A. Douglas, the Champion of Popular Sovereignty." At Bloomington Douglas attacked Lincoln's ideas. He said Lincoln was in favor of negro equality. That he defied the Supreme Court in opposing the Dred Scott Decision and that Lincoln's "House Divided Against Itself" speech beautiful the spirit of disunion.
July 19, 1858, Douglas spoke in Springfield in the afternoon and Lincoln replied at night. Lincoln also had an invitation to go to Bloomington and reply to Douglas. Douglas made out a schedule of speeches indicating his itinerary, after his Springfield speech. Lincoln's friends made a corresponding schedule closely following that of Douglas, sometimes at the same place on the same date, but more often a day or so following. Douglas' friends claimed that Lincoln was violating the ethics of campaigning by following Douglas. The Illinois State Journal approved, saying: "We hope that Mr. Lincoln will continue to follow up Mr. Douglas with a sharp stick, even if it does make his organ (the Chicago Times) howl with rage."
Another paper said: "Wherever the Little Giant happens to be, Abe is sure to turn up and be a thorn in his side." The Chicago Times said Lincoln's Chicago and Springfield meetings were failures. "The cringing, crawling creature is hanging at the outskirts of Douglas' meetings, begging the people to come and hear him. He rode to Monticello yesterday on Douglas' train; poor desperate creature, he wants an audience!
The people won't turn out and hear him, and he must do something, even if it is mean, sneaking and disreputable! We suggest that Lincoln's managers make an arrangement with a Circus Company now touring the State, to include a speech by Lincoln in the program. In this way Lincoln could get good audiences." In reply the Chicago Journal said "We suppose Douglas owns neither the railroad trains he travels on nor the people whom he addresses." The Chicago Times said "Lincoln attended the Douglas Meeting at Clinton screened behind a man in green goggles, whom he used as a shield and cover. When Douglas was through, Lincoln gradually lengthened out his long lank proportions till he stood upon his feet, and with a desperate attempt to look pleasant, said that he would not take advantage of Judge Douglas' crowd but would address 'sich' as like to hear him in the evening at the Courthouse."
In his speeches Douglas was paying particular attention to Trumbull's speeches. Lincoln's friends feared that in this way he would be a minor attraction in the campaign and would lose force as a candidate. Lincoln was anxious for a series of joint debates with Douglas and after consulting the Republican leaders, he sent the following challenge to Douglas:
Hon. S. A. Douglas. ' D1 "
My Dear Sir: Will it be agreeable to you to make an arrangement for you and myself to divide time, and address the same audiences the present canvas? Mr. Judd, who will hand you this, is authorized to receive your answer; and if agreeable to you, to enter into terms of such agreement.
Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.
That very day Douglas
answered the challenge, accepting it and suggesting places where the debates
were to be held. Mr. Douglas expressed surprise that Lincoln had delayed
so long in sending the challenge as he had already made out his schedule
and had arranged with candidates for Congress and State offices to speak
from the same platform. "However," Mr. Douglas said, "I
will take the responsibility of making an arrangement with you for a discussion
between us at one prominent point in each Congressional District except
the second and the sixth where both have spoken and you had the last speech.
If agreeable to you, I will indicate to you the following places as those
most suitable in the several congressional districts in which we should
speak, to wit Freeport, Ottawa, Galesburg, Quincy, Alton, Jonesboro, and
Charleston. I will confer with you at the earliest opportunity in regard
to the mode of conducting the debate.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
S. A. DOUGLAS.
Republican papers claimed that Douglas evaded the conflict in limiting the number of debates and that he lacked courtesy when he selected the places where the debates were to be held, if any were to be held. The Chicago Daily Journal, July 27, says "Every canvass for the last twenty years has found these two champions of their respective parties side by side with each other, and often addressing the same audience, and Mr. Lincoln never asked any favor of his adversary. He does not now. Douglas shows the white feather and, like a trembling Felix, skulks behind the appointments of the emasculate Democratic State Central Committee!" The Chicago Times believed, or pretended to believe that Lincoln's challenge was due to the fact that Lincoln could not get audiences to come out to hear him. It expressed the opinion that about two joint discussions would satisfy Mr. Lincoln's ambitions along this line. The paper doubted Mr. Lincoln's acceptance, but stated that if he did he would get enough of debate and discomfiture to last him a life-time. The Peoria Transcript and other papers took the position that Lincoln's delay in issuing the challenge was due to the fact that out of courtesy, in accordance with a western custom, Lincoln expected and hoped that Judge Douglas would challenge him to stump the state.
JULY 29, 1858.
In discussing the debate the Freeport Journal said, "Mr. Lincoln having challenged Senator Douglas to meet him on the stump all over the state. The latter declines the general invitation, but agrees to meet him at seven different places as follows: Freeport, Galesburg, Ottawa, Quincy, Jonesboro, Alton and Charleston, provided Lincoln will come at the time Douglas' friends may have chosen, if any. Though this is a half-way evasion of the challenge, we are glad that we in Freeport, at least, will have an opportunity to hear these two champions from the same stand. We bespeak for them the largest gathering ever known here, and are willing to let the people judge for themselves who shall be their choice after a fair hearing of them both in person."
The Illinois State register defended Douglas and hoots at the idea that Douglas is afraid to meet Lincoln. It said, "The idea that a man who has crossed blades in the Senate with the strongest intellects of the country, who has as the champion of Democratic principles in the senatorial arena, routed all opposition that such a man dreads encounter with A. Lincoln is an absurdity that can be uttered by Lincoln's organs only with a ghastly phiz. If Lincoln was good for fifty or a hundred encounters, he ought to be good for seven."
On July 29, Lincoln
met Douglas near Monticello, Illinois, and offered him his answer to Douglas'
reply to the challenge. A St. Louis paper gives the following account
of that meeting on a prairie road. It is needless to say the account was
written by a Douglas reporter. "On the way to the railroad, the judge's
procession was met by Abe, who in a kind of nervous, excited manner tumbled
out of his carriage, his legs appearing sadly in the way or out of place.
He got to the judge's carriage with a kind of hop, skip and a jump, and
then with considerable bowing and scraping, he told the judge he had the
answer to the judge's letter; that it was long, that he had not compared
it with the original letter, and could the judge just wait that the comparison
might be made by the roadside. Just think of staying out in the middle
of a vast prairie to compare notes. Douglas, of course, declined, requesting
Mr. Lincoln to compare to his own satisfaction, and then forward the communication."
Lincoln's reply is dated Springfield, July 29. In it, Mr. Lincoln answers
several insinuations in Mr. Douglas' letter. Concluding Mr. Lincoln says,
"I agree to an arrangement for us to speak at the seven places you
mention, and at your own times, provided you name the times at once, so
that I, as well as you, can have to myself the time not covered by the
arrangement. As to the other details, I wish perfect reciprocity and no
more. I wish as much time as you and that conclusions shall alternate.
That is all.
Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.
P. S. As matters now stand, I shall be at no more of your exclusive meetings. A. L.
Lincoln's letter at Bement, and replied the next day, July 30, 1858, as
Dear Sir: Your letter dated yesterday, accepting my proposition for a joint discussion at one prominent point in each district except, as stated in my previous letter, was received this morning. The times and places designated are as follows: Ottawa, LaSalle County, August 21, 1858; Freeport, Stephenson County, August 27, 1858; Jonesboro, Union County, September 15, 1858; Charleston, Coles County, September 18, 1858; Galesburg, Knox County, October 7, 1858; Quincy, Adams County, October 13, 1858; Alton, Madison County, October 15, 1858.
I agree to your suggestion that to alternately open and close the discussion, I will speak at Ottawa one hour, you can reply, occupying one hour and a half, and I will then follow for one-half hour. We will alternate in like manner at each successive place.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, S. A. DOUGLAS.
On July 31, Lincoln replied: "Yours of yesterday, naming places, times and terms for joint discussions between us was received this morning. Although by the terms, as you propose, you take four openings and closes to my three, I accede, and thus close the arrangement. I direct this to you at Hillsboro, and shall try to have both your letter and this appear in the Journal and Register Monday morning.
Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.
The Springfield Journal said on July 31, "It is clear that Senator Douglas is not fond of Mr. Lincoln's rough-handling and is anxious to get out of an ugly scrape on any terms. He had to run away from Lincoln in 1854 and dares not stand his broadsides now."
Thus on July 31, the last word had been written between these two great sons of Illinois, and a series of joint debates arranged that have no parallel in the history of the United States. The whole state was aroused and all looked forward eagerly to the opening of the series at Ottawa, August 21, 1858.
THE OTTAWA DEBATE.
The special Chicago train of 14 cars, leaving at 8:00, arrived at Ottawa with Lincoln at 11:45. The railroad gave a half-fare rate. Twenty thousand people assembled to hear the contest. Douglas was met at Peru and brought to Ottawa in a carriage drawn by four horses. He was escorted into the city by shouts of the thousands, the booming of cannons and the music of brass bands, says one of the reporters, while the Lincoln delegation made a sorrowful appearance. Another paper said that Lincoln was met at the depot by an immense crowd with flying banners, while Douglas' turnout was less noisy.
At Ottawa the surging crowd two or three times almost drove the reporters off the platform. People climbed to the roof of the speakers stand and it broke through on the heads of the reception committee. The Chicago Press and the Tribune said, "Fully two-thirds of the crowd were with Lincoln and cheered him wildly all through his speech." It says, "When Lincoln had finished his speech, Douglas sprang to his feet to reply. His face was lined with passion and excitement. We have never seen a human face so distorted with rage. He resembled a wild beast in looks and gesture, and a maniac in language and argument. He called everybody liars who believed the charges Lincoln made against him. He boasted that he had won the victory and threatened what awful things he would do to Lincoln at Freeport."
The Missouri Republican's reporter wrote in his paper that Douglas' speech was received calmly, but "Lincoln in one of his characteristic efforts, interlarding his address with funny anecdotes, droll expressions and frequent witticisms, soon brought outbursts of applause which his clever hits brought forth. He punched the Little Giant right and left and dealt him many a well aimed thrust of keen satire. But the aforesaid Giant did not seem to be otherwise affected than as a young bull by an attack of gad flies. Douglas was aroused, and when it came his turn to reply, "perhaps" he didn't make the "hair" "fly." The Peoria Transcript said "Douglas" whole speech was delivered in a coarse, vulgar, boisterous style. Lincoln's speech was high-toned and honorable, bold pungent and powerful." The Illinois State Register, Springfield, said, "Compared with the hearty welcome of Douglas the efforts of the Republicans to make a show for Lincoln was a sickly affair. Lincoln did not 'face the music.' He only blundered and broke down lacking fifteen minutes of making out the time allotted to him. Lincoln withered before the bold, lucid, eloquent argumentation, and writhed under the sharp invective of Douglas." The Chicago Times said "Lincoln broke down, his heart, his legs, his tongue, his arms failed him, and he failed all over." The Chicago Journal "Since the flailing Senator Douglas got at Ottawa on Saturday we suggest that his friends address him as the late Mr. Douglas." The Quincy Whig: "Among other equally eloquent expressions, Douglas said he intended to bring Lincoln to his milk, that Lincoln advocated that 'niggers' were equal to white men and that he was going to 'trot' Lincoln down to Egypt. Isn't this beautiful language for a United States senator?"
The newspapers gave such conflicting reports of the debate at Ottawa that the only way to form an unbiased opinion is to read the speeches.
THE FREEPORT DEBATE.
Friday, August 27, at Freeport was a chilly day, threatening rain. But the crowds came from all directions to hear the great debate, the second of the series between Lincoln and Douglas. At 9 o'clock the Carroll County delegations arrived with a brass band and banners. An hour later a special train of twelve crowded cars came in from Dixon. Mr. Lincoln arrived on this train and was met at the station by two thousand citizens of Stephenson County. They met him with tremendous cheering and the multitude, headed by a band, marched to the Brewster Hotel where Hon. Thomas J. Turner delivered the welcome address. A special train of sixteen cars, carrying over one thousand persons, came in from Rockford, with a banner "Winnebago County for Old Abe." They swept up Stephenson Street to the hotel and yelled till Lincoln came out and made a brief speech. A train of eight cars brought a crowd from Galena and Lincoln again had to appear on the balcony at the Brewster. Douglas reached Freeport Thursday evening and was escorted to the Brewster by a torchlight procession. The New York Evening Post's special correspondent said the crowd was larger than at Ottawa. "All prairiedom has broken loose. Everywhere are banners, cotton mottoes and small flags. The streets are black with people. The weather is cool and cloudy. Mr. Douglas was greeted last evening by a turnout of torches, salutes of artillery and a stunning illumination of the hotel." A Republican Chicago newspaper said there were seventy-five in the torchlight procession and the Missouri Republican (Democratic) said there were one thousand.
The Freeport Journal (September 21, 1858) said: "The people began coming the day before. The crowd was estimated at from ten thousand to twenty thousand. Douglas was met at the depot Thursday evening and made a brief speech at the Brewster Hotel. Lincoln arrived from the South at ten o'clock and was met at the train by an immense assemblage of Republicans. All away along the procession to the Brewster Hotel he was received with the most unbounded enthusiasm. It was plainly evident that the great majority of the people had no sympathy with the party that endorsed the Dred Scott Decision or its unprincipled leader."
WHERE THE DEBATE
The Lincoln-Douglas debate in Freeport was held not far from the Brewster Hotel, the site being marked by a large boulder. The platform was three or four feet high and had room on it for about a dozen people. The crowd formed a vast semi-circle about the stand.
It had been planned to take Douglas to the speaking place in a handsome carriage. Lincoln's men, hearing of this, decided to produce a contrast, explained as follows from the recollection of General Smith D. Atkins: "Laming that it was the intention to convey the Democratic champion in a splendid equipage from Mr. Brawley's residence to the place of speaking, the Republican Committee sent out into Lancaster township for Uncle John Long to come to Freeport with his splendid team of six enormous horses and his Conestoga wagon in which he had recently driven from Pennsylvania. Lincoln stoutly protested against the plan, but finally consented. Amid the cheers of Republicans and Democrats alike, he climbed into the wagon, followed by a dozen of his enthusiastic supporters from the farming contingent and was drawn to the place of speaking. The driver of the teams sat on the nigh wheel horse and drove the six horses with a single rein." When Douglas was informed of Lincoln's conveyance, he decided to abandon the fine carriage and the dapple grays and walked to the speaker's platform with Colonel Mitchel.
The New York Evening Post has the following from its special correspondent on the method of handling the crowd at Freeport: "After dinner the crowd hurried to a grove near the hotel, where the speakers' stand and seats for listeners had been arranged. Here also was confusion and disorder. They have a wretched way in Illinois of leaving the platform unguarded and exposed to the forcible entry of the mob, who seize upon it an hour before the notabilities arrive and turn a deaf ear to all urgent appeals to evacuation. Hence, orators, committee of reception, invited guests and last, but not least, the newspaper gentry have to fight a hand to hand conflict for even the meagerest chance for standing room. This consumes a half hour or so, during which the crowd taking their cue from those of high places, improvise a few scuffles for position among themselves."
DOUGLAS AND LINCOLN.
The correspondent of the New York Evening Post gave the following description of Douglas and Lincoln:
"Two men presenting wider contrasts could hardly be found as representatives of the two great political parties. Everybody knows Douglas, a short, thick-set, burly man, with large round head, heavy hair, dark complexion, and fierce bull-dog bark. Strong in his own real power, and skilled in a thousand conflicts in all the strategy of a hand to hand or a general fight. Of towering ambition, restless in his desire for notoriety: proud, defiant, arrogant, unscrupulous, 'Little Doug' ascended the platform and looked out impudently and carelessly on the immense throng which surged and struggled before him. A native of Vermont, reared on soil where no slave ever trod, trained to hard manual labor and schooled in hardships, he came to Illinois a teacher, and from one post to another had arisen to his present eminence.
"The other, Lincoln, is a native of Kentucky, and of poor white parentage and from his cradle he has felt the blighting influence and cruel shadow which rendered labor dishonorable. Reared in poverty and the humblest aspirations, he came to Illinois and began his career of honorable toil. At first a laborer, splitting rails for a living, deficient in education, and applying himself even to the rudiments of knowledge he, too, felt the expanding power of manhood and began to achieve the greatness to which he has succeeded. With great difficulty, struggling through the tedious formularies of legal lore, he was admitted to the bar and rapidly made his way to the front ranks of his profession. He has been always, in every relation of life, the pure and honest man. Built on the Kentucky type, he is very tall, slender and angular, awkward, even in gait and attitude. His face is sharp, large featured and unprepossessing. His eyes are deep set, under heavy brows; his forehead is high and retreating and his hair is dark and heavy. In repose, 'Long Abe's' appearance is not comely. But stir him up and the fire of his genius plays on every feature. His eye glows and sparkles, every lineament, now so ill-formed, grows radiant and expressive, and you have before you a man of rare power and of strong magnetic influence. He is clear, concise, and logical; his language is eloquent and at perfect command. He is altogether a more fluent speaker than Douglas, and in all the arts of debate fully his equal."
A description of
Lincoln in the Vincennes Sun, July 3, 1858, is as follows:
"Lincoln is popular, the strongest man the opposition have, is nearly fifty years old, six feet two, slightly stoop-shouldered, very muscular and powerful, dark eyes, a quizzical, pleasant, raw-boned face, tells a story better than anybody else, is a good lawyer, and is what the world calls a devilish good fellow. He would have been Senator before had not Trumbull's superior cunning over-reached him. But in dignity, intellect and majesty of mind, it is not pretended that he is Douglas's equal." Douglas said that he considered Lincoln "a kind, amiable, kindhearted gentleman, a good citizen, and an honorable opponent," but that he took exception to his principles.
An eye witness of the Freeport debate gives the following description of the two men: Lincoln was tall and ungainly, with a lean face. Homely and sorrowful looking, while Douglas was short and fat, easy of manner and his full face seemed to be that of a man whose life had been one of success and sunshine. Douglas was dressed in what might have been called plantation style. He was richly dressed. He wore a ruffled shirt, a dark blue coat closed with shiny buttons, light trousers and shiny shoes, with a wide-brimmed soft hat, like that still worn by the prosperous politicians of Southern Illinois. He made a picture fitted for the stage.
Lincoln wore an old stove-pipe hat with a coarse looking coat with sleeves far too short, and baggy trousers, so short that they showed his rough boots. To tell the truth, the Lincoln men couldn't brag much on their man for exhibition purposes.
The correspondent of the New York Tribune criticised Douglas for his abuse of opponents. It says, "Trumbull in particular came in for a good share of these compliments. Douglas is rather more cautious how he talks about Lincoln, 'Long Abe' being a man of Kentucky raising, and one who might fight and 'Little Doug' is well known to be a bully who insults only peaceable men." The Tribune reporter also sent his paper the following story about Lincoln's good looks. The story goes as follows "Lincoln was out hunting in the woods when he fell in with a most truculent looking hunter who immediately took a sight on Lincoln with a rifle. 'Halloo!' says Lincoln, 'whatever you going to do stranger?' 'See here, friend, the folks in my settlement told me if I ever saw a man uglier than I was, then I must shoot him; and I've found him at last.' 'Well,' says Lincoln, after a good look at the man, 'Shoot away, for if I am really uglier than you are, I don't want to live any longer.' "
The Chicago Times said, October 1, 1858: "It will be remembered that after Lincoln had been listened to attentively, and when Douglas went upon the stand, some villain threw at Douglas a melon, hitting him upon one shoulder. Nor was that the only indecent act perpetrated by the enemies of Democracy at that place. From that day to this the ruffianism of black Republicanism has steadily increased."
Mr. Ingalls Carleton, one of the pioneers of Freeport who witnessed the great debate, says that on Friday A. M. the people crowded the street in front of the Brewster Hotel and yelled for both Douglas and Lincoln. Finally both Lincoln and Douglas appeared on the balcony, arm in arm, and bowed to the people again and again. At the debate each side thought its man did the best, but a majority thought Lincoln had Douglas on the hip."
William Askey says Hon. Martin P. Sweet had a vantage position on a box car when Lincoln's train came into Freeport and shouted, "Make the welkin ring when the train arrives." He adds, "they cheered as though bedlam had an outing."
AND DOUGLAS' REPLY.
During the Ottawa debate Douglas put several question to Mr. Lincoln. At Freeport, Lincoln answered these questions and then said that he had a few questions he wanted to put to Judge Douglas. At Freeport, he confined himself to four questions, as follows
1. If the people of Kansas shall, by means entirely unobjectionable in all other respects, adopt a state constitution and ask admission into the Union under it, before they have the requisite number of inhabitants according to the English bill same 93,000, will you vote to admit them? (Applause.)
2. Can the people of a United States territory in a lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a state constitution? (Applause.)
3. If the supreme court of the United States shall decree that states cannot exclude slavery from their limits, are you in favor of acquiescing in, adopting and following such decision as a rule of political action? (Loud applause.)
4. Are you in favor of acquiring additional territory in disregard of how such acquisition may affect the nation on the slavery question? (Cries of good! good!)
Judge Douglas answered
the questions as follows:
1. I, therefore, answer at once that it having been decided that Kansas has people enough for a slave state, it has enough for a free state.
2. In my opinion the people of a territory can, by lawful means, exclude slavery from their limits, prior to the formation of a state constitution. It matters not what way the supreme court may hereafter decide as the abstract question whether slavery may go into the territory under the constitution, the people have the lawful means to introduce it or exclude it as they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere unless it is supported by local police regulations.
3. I tell him that such a thing is not possible.
4. I answer that whenever it becomes necessary, in our growth and progress, to acquire more territory, that I am in favor of it without reference to the question of slavery; and when we have acquired it, I will leave the people free to do as they please, either to make it slave or a free territory as they prefer.
It was the second question that caused so much comment before and after the debate. It seemed to put Douglas in a dilemma because if he answered yes, he would seem to be denying the principle of the Dred Scott decision which he supported. If he answered no, then he shattered his own creation, popular sovereignty. However, that may be, Douglas answered the question, yes, and lost the votes of the southern delegation in the Democratic National Convention of 1860.
That Lincoln's advisors were against his asking this second question is clear. Joseph Medill, of the Chicago Tribune, was with Lincoln from Ottawa to Freeport. Between the two debates Lincoln addressed three or four meetings. Lincoln showed his four questions to Medill on the train coming up from Dixon, and asked Medill's opinion of them. Medill objected to the second question, because, as he said, it would give Douglas a chance to square himself on his popular sovereignty idea. Lincoln replied, "I won't change it, and I intend to spear it at Judge Douglas this afternoon." Medill told E. B. Washburn and Norman B. Judd, the former the congressman from the Freeport district and the latter, chairman of the Republican State Central Committee, about Lincoln's questions and they decided to attempt to convince Lincoln that the celebrated question should be left out. They made the attempt and failed to change his purpose.
After Lincoln had been elected president of the United States, he asked Medill if he remembered that question he asked Douglas at Freeport? Medill, of course, remembered it and replied that, while it hurt Douglas for the presidency, it elected him to the senate. Lincoln replied with a smile, "Now, I have won the place he was playing for."
Hon. Clark E. Carr, who knew Lincoln and Douglas well, in speech before the Bar Association, July n, 1907, denied that Lincoln drove Douglas into a corner by his question. He stated that Douglas had taken the same ground on that point at Bloomington six weeks before, and that Lincoln heard that speech. Mr. Carr adds "Senator Douglas has never been driven into a corner. In all his debates with the greatest American, he was never driven into a corner. His views on slavery were wrong, but there was no concealment about them. He was always outspoken, and it is an unwarrantable and an outrageous imputation against him to say that he was forced to take a position through being driven into a corner." However, the Bloomington speech by Douglas received little attention, while the Freeport debates were read and discussed all over the nation, and the wide publicity of that idea expressed in the answer by Douglas made it impossible for him to be the candidate of the United Democracy for the presidency of the United States in 1860. The division thus caused, made Lincoln's election both possible and probable.
Rhodes quotes Horace Greeley as authority for the statements of the cost of the campaign to the two candidates. "Lincoln," Greeley said, in the Century Magazine, July, 1891, p. 375, "spent less than $1,000, while Douglas spent no less than $80,000, and incurred a debt which weighed him down to the grave."
When the legislature met to elect a senator, Douglas had a majority of eight votes. But the Republican state ticket was elected by a majority of almost four thousand votes. In 1854 Lincoln lacked only four votes of being elected to the senate.
After the contest of 1858 was over Douglas paid Lincoln the compliment in Washington by saying that there was not a man in the senate he would not rather meet in debate than Lincoln and that included such men as Seward, Sumner and Chase.
SECOND JOINT DEBATE.
Freeport, August 27, 1858.
Mr. Lincoln was introduced by Hon. Thomas J. Turner, and was greeted with loud cheers. When the applause had subsided he said:
Ladies and Gentlemen On Saturday last, Judge Douglas and myself first met in public discussion. He spoke one hour, I an hour and a half, and he replied for half an hour. The order is now reversed. I am to speak an hour, he an hour and a half, and then I am to reply for half an hour. I propose to devote myself during the first hour to the scope of what was brought within the range of his half-hour speech at Ottawa. Of course there was brought within the scope of that half-hour's speech something of his own opening speech.
In the course of that opening argument Judge Douglas proposed to me seven distinct interrogatories. In my speech of an hour and a half, I attended to some other parts of his speech, and incidentally, as I thought, answered one of the interrogatories then. I then distinctly intimated to him that I would answer the rest of his interrogatories. He made no intimation at the time of the proposition, nor did he in his reply allude at all to that suggestion of mine. I do him no injustice in saying that he occupied at least half of his reply in dealing with me as though I had refused to answer his interrogatories. I now propose that I will answer any of the interrogatories upon condition that he will answer questions from me not. exceeding the same number. I give him an opportunity to respond. The judge remains silent. I now say that I will answer his interrogatories whether he answers mine or not; (applause) and after that I have done so, I shall propound mine to him. (Applause.)
(Owing to the press of people against the platform our reporter did not reach the stand until Mr. Lincoln had spoken to this point. The previous remarks were taken by a gentleman in Freeport, who has politely furnished them to us.)
I have supposed myself, since the organization of the Republican party at Bloomington, in May, 1856, bound as a party man by the platform of the party, then and since. If in any interrogatories which I shall answer I go beyond the scope of what is within these platforms, it will be perceived that no one is responsible but myself.
Having said thus much, I will take up the judge's interrogatories as I find them printed in the Chicago Times, and answer them verbatim. In order that there may be no mistake about it, I have copied the interrogatories in writing, and also my answers to it. 3 The first of these interrogatories is in these words Question 1. "I desire to know whether Lincoln today stands as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive- Slave law?"
Answer. I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive-Slave law. (Cries of "Good! Good!")
Q. 2. "I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged today, as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more slave states into the Union, even if the people want them?"
A. I do not now, nor ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any more slave states into the Union.
Q. 3. "I want to know whether he stands pledged against the admission of a new state into the Union with such a constitution as the people of that state may see fit to make ?"
A. I do not stand pledged against the admission of a new state into the Union, with such a constitution as the people of that state may see fit to make. (Cries of "Good! Good!")
Q. 4. "I want to know whether he stands today pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?"
A. I do not stand today pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
Q. 5. "I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the prohibition of the slave trade between the different states?"
A. I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slave trade between the different states.
Q. 6. "I desire to know whether he stands pledged to prohibit slavery in all the territories of the United States, north as well as south of the Missouri Compromise Line?"
A. I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United States territories. (Great applause.)
Q. 7. "I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the acquisition of any new territory unless slavery is first prohibited therein?"
A. I am not generally opposed to honest acquisition of territory; and, in any given case, I would or would not oppose such acquisition, accordingly as I might think such acquisition would or would not aggravate 1 the slavery question among ourselves. (Cries of "Good! Good!")
Now, my friends, it will be perceived, upon an examination of these questions and answers that, so far, I have only answered that I was not pledged to this or the other. The judge has not framed his interrogatories to ask me anything more than this, and I have answered in strict accordance with the interrogatories and have answered truly, that I am not pledged at all upon any of the points to to which I have answered. But I am not disposed to hang upon the exact form of his interrogatory. I am rather disposed to take up at least some off these questions and state what I really think upon them.
As to the first one, in regard to the Fugitive Slave Law, I have never hesitated to say, and I do not now hesitate to say, that I think, under the Constitution of the United States, the people of the southern states are entitled to a congressional fugitive-slave law. Having said that, I have had nothing to say in regard to the existing Fugitive Slave Law, further than that I think it should have been framed so as to be free from some of the objections that pertain to it, without lessening its efficiency. And inasmuch as we are not now in an agitation in regard to an altercation or modification of that law, I would not be the man to introduce it as a new subject of agitation upon the general question of slavery.
In regard to the other question, of whether I am pledged to the admission of any more slave states into the Union, I state to you very frankly that I would be exceedingly sorry ever to be put in a position of having to pass upon that question. I should be exceedingly glad to know that there would never be another slave state admitted into the Union; (applause) but I must add that if slavery shall be kept out of the territories during the territorial existence of any one given territory and then the people shall, having a fair chance and a clear field, when they come to adopt the constitution do such an extraordinary thing as to adopt a slave constitution, uninfluenced by the actual presence of the institution among them, I see no alternative, if we own the country, but to admit them into the Union. (Applause.)
The third interrogatory is answered by the answer to the second, it being, as I conceive, the same as the second.
The fourth one is in regard to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. In relation to that, I have my mind very distinctly made up. I should be exceedingly glad to see slavery abolished in the District of Columbia. (Cries of "Good! Good!") I believe that Congress possesses the constitutional power to abolish it. Yet as a member of Congress I should not, with my present views, be in favor of endeavoring to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, unless it would be upon these conditions First, that the abolition should be gradual, second, that it should be on a vote of the majority of qualified voters in the district; and third, that compensation should be made to unwilling owners. With these three conditions, I confess I would be exceedingly glad to see Congress abolish slavery in the District of Columbia and, in the language of Henry Clay, "sweep from our capital that foul blot upon our nation." (Loud applause.)
In regard to the fifth interrogatory, I must say here, that as to the question of the abolition of the slave trade between the different states, I can truly answer, as I have, that I am pledged to nothing about) it. It is a subject to which I have not given that mature consideration that would make me feel authorized to state a position so as to hold myself entirely bound by it. In other words, that question has never been prominently enough before me to induce me to investigate whether we really have the constitutional power to do it. I could investigate it if I had sufficient time to bring myself to a conclusion upon that subject; but I have not done so, and I say so frankly to you here, and to Judge Douglas. I must say, however, that if I should be of opinion that Congress does possess the constitutional power to abolish the slave-trade among the different states, I should still not be in favor of the exercise of that power unless upon some conservative principle as I conceive it, akin to what I have said in relation to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
My answer as to whether I desire that slavery should be prohibited in all the territories of the United States, is full and explicit within itself, and cannot be made clearer by any comments of mine. So I suppose in regard to the question whether I am opposed to the acquisition of any more territory unless slavery is first prohibited therein, my answer is such that I could add nothing by way of illustration, or making myself better understood, than the answer which I have placed in writing.
Now in all this the judge has me, and he has me on the record. I suppose he had flattered himself that I was really entertaining one set of opinions for one place, and another set for another place; that I was afraid to say at one place what I uttered at another. What I am saying here I suppose I say to a vast audience as strongly tending to abolitionism as any audience in the State of Illinois, and I believe I am saying that which, if it would be offensive 2 to any persons and render them enemies to myself, would be offensive to persons in this audience.
I now proceed to propound to the judge the interrogatories, so far as I have framed them. I will bring forward a new installment when I get them ready. (Laughter.) I will bring them forward now, only reaching to number four.
The first one is:
Question I. If the people of Kansas shall, by means entirely unobjectionable in all other respects, adopt a state constitution and ask admission into the Union under it, before they have the requisite number of inhabitants according to the English bill, some ninety-three thousand, will you vote to admit them? (Applause).
Q. 2. Can the people of a United States Territory in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a State constitution ? ( Renewed applause. )
Q. 3. If the Supreme Court of the United States shall decree that states cannot exclude slavery from their limits, are you in favor of acquiescing in, adopting and following such decision as a rule of political action? (Loud applause. )
Q. 4. Are you in favor of acquiring additional territory, in disregard of how such acquisition may affect the nation on the slavery question? (Cries of "Good! Good!")
As introductory to these interrogatories which Judge Douglas propounded to me at Ottawa, he read a set of resolutions which he said Judge Trumbull and myself had participated in adopting, in the first Republican State Convention, held at Springfield in October, 1854. He insisted that I and Judge Trumbull, and perhaps the entire Republican party, were responsible for the doctrines contained in the set of resolutions which he read, and I understand that it was from that set of resolutions that he deduced the interrogatories which he propounded to me, using these resolutions as a sort of authority for propounding those questions to me. Now, I say here to-day that I do not answer his interrogatories because of their springing at all from that set of resolutions which he read. I answered them because Judge Douglas thought fit to ask them. (Applause.) I do not now, nor never did, recognize any responsibility upon myself in that set of resolutions. When I replied to him on that occasion. I assured him that I never had anything to do with them. I repeat here to-day that I never in any possible form had anything to do with that set of resolutions.
It turns out, I believe, that those resolutions were never passed in any convention held in Springfield. (Cheers and laughter.) It turns out that they were never passed at any convention or any public meeting that I had any part in. I believe it turns out, in addition to all this, that there was not, in the fall of 1854, any convention holding a session in Springfield, calling itself a Republican State Convention; yet it is true there was a convention or assemblage of men calling themselves a convention, at Springfield, that did pass some resolutions. But so little did I really know of the proceedings of that convention, or what set or resolutions they had passed, though having a general knowledge that there had been such an assemblage of men there, that when Judge Douglass read the resolutions, I really did not know but they had been the resolutions passed then and there I did not question that they were the resolutions adopted. For I could not bring myself to suppose that Judge Douglas could say what he did upon this subject with out knowing that it was true. (Cheers and laughter.) I contented myself, on that occasion, with denying, as I truly could, all connection with them, not denying or affirming whether they were passed at Springfield. Now, it turns out that he had got hold of some resolutions passed at some convention or public meeting in Kane County. (Renewed laughter.) I wish to say here, that I don't conceive that in any fair and just mind this discovery relieves me at all. I had just as much to do with the convention in Kane County as that at Springfield. I am just as much responsible for the resolutions at Kane County as those at Springfield, the amount of the responsibility being exactly nothing in either case; no more than there would be in regard to a set of resolutions passed in the moon. (Laughter and loud cheers.)
I allude to this extraordinary matter in this canvass for some further purpose than anything yet advanced. Judge Douglas did not make his statement upon that occasion as matters that he believed to be true, but he stated them roundly as being true, in such form as to pledge his veracity for their truth. When the whole matter turns out as it does, and when we consider who Judge Douglas is, that he is a distinguished Senator of the United States; that he has served nearly twelve years as such; that his character is not at all limited as an ordinary Senator of the United States, but that his name has become of worldwide renown, it is most extraordinary that he should so far forget all the suggestions of justice to an adversary, or of prudence to himself, as to venture upon the assertion of that which the slightest investigation would have shown him to be wholly false. (Cheers.) I can only account for his having done so upon the supposition that that evil genius which has attended him through his life, giving to him an apparent astonishing prosperity, such as to lead very many good men to doubt there being any advantage in virtue over vice. (Cheers and laughter.) I say I can only account for it on the supposition that that evil genius has at last made up its mind to forsake him. (Continued cheers and laughter.)
And I may add that another extraordinary feature of the Judge's conduct in this canvass made more extraordinary by this incident is, that he is in the habit, in almost all the speeches he makes, of charging falsehood upon his adversaries, myself and others. I now ask whether he is able to find in anything that Judge Trumbull, for instance, has said, or in anything that I have said, a justification at all compared with what we have, in this instance, for that sort of vulgarity. (Cries of "Good! Good!")
I have been in the habit of charging as a matter of belief on my part that, in the introduction of the Nebraska bill into Congress, there was a conspiracy to make slavery perpetual and national. I have arranged from time to time the evidence which establishes and proves the truth of this charge. I recurred to this charge at Ottawa. I shall not now have time to dwell upon it at very great length; but inasmuch as Judge Douglas, in his reply of half an hour, made some points upon me in relation to it, I propose noticing a few of them.
The Judge insists, that, in the first speech I made, in which I very distinctly made that charge, he thought for a good while I was in fun; that I was playful; that I was not sincere about it; and that he only grew angry and somewhat excited when he found that I insisted upon it as a matter of earnestness. He says he characterized it as a falsehood as far as I implicated his moral character in that transaction. Well, I did not know, till he presented that view, that I had implicated his moral character. He is very much in the habit, when he argues me up into a position I never thought of occupying, of very cosily saying he has no doubt Lincoln is "conscientious" in saying so. He should remember that I did not know but what he was ALTOGETHER "CONSCIENTIOUS" in the matter. (Great laughter.) I can conceive it was possible for men to conspire to do a good thing, and I really find nothing in Judge Douglas' course or arguments that is contrary to, or inconsistent with, his belief of a conspiracy to nationalize and spread slavery as being a good and blessed thing; (continued laughter) and so I hope he will understand that I do not at all question but that in all this matter he is entirely "conscientious." (More laughter and cheers.)
But to draw your attention to one of the points I made in this case, beginning at the beginning. When the Nebraska bill was introduced, or a short time afterward, by an amendment, I believe, it was provided that it must be considered "the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any state or territory, or to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their own domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the constitution of the United States." I have called his attention to the fact that when he and some others began arguing that they were giving an increased degree of liberty to the people of the territories over and above what they formerly had on the question of slavery, a question was raised whether the law was enacted to give such unconditional liberty, to the people; and to test the sincerity of this mode of argument, Mr. Chase, of Ohio, introduced an amendment in which he made the law if the amendment were adopted expressly declare that the people of the territory should have the power to exclude slavery if they saw fit.
I have asked attention also to the fact that Judge Douglas and those who acted with him voted that amendment down, notwithstanding it expressed exactly the thing they said was the true intent and meaning of the law. I have called attention to the fact that in subsequent times a decision of the Supreme Court has been made, in which it has been declared that a territorial legislature has no constitutional right to exclude slavery. And I have argued and said that for men who did intend that the people of the territory should have the right to exclude slavery absolutely and unconditionally, the voting down of Chase's amendment is wholly inexplicable. It is a puzzle, a riddle. But I have said that with men who did look forward to such a decision, or who had it in contemplation that such a decision of the Supreme Court would or might be made, the voting down of that amendment would be perfectly rational and intelligible. It would keep Congress from coming in collision with the decision when it was made.
Anybody can conceive that if there was an intention or expectation that such a decision was to follow, it would not be a very desirable party attitude to get into, for the Supreme Court all or nearly all its members belonging to the same party to decide one way, when the party in Congress had decided the other way. Hence it would be very rational for men expecting such a decision to keep the niche in that law clear for it. After pointing this out, I tell Judge Douglas that it looks to me as though here was the reason why Chase's amendment was voted down. I tell him that, 'as he did it, and knows why he did it, if it was, done for a reason different from this, he knows what that reason was, and can tell us what it was. I tell him, also, it will be vastly more satisfactory to the country for him to give some other plausible, intelligible, reason why it was voted down than to stand upon his dignity and call people liars. (Loud cheers.)
Well, on Saturday he did make his answer; and what do you think it was? He says if I had only taken upon myself to tell the whole truth about that amendment of Chase's no explanation would have been necessary on his part or words to that effect. Now, I say here that I am quite unconscious of having suppressed anything material to the case, and I am very frank to admit if there is any sound reason other than that which appeared to one national, it is quite fair for him to present it. What reason does he propose? That when Chase came forward with his amendment expressly authorizing the people to exclude slavery from the limits of every territory, General Cass proposed to Chase, if he (Chase) would add to his amendment that the people should have the power to introduce or exclude, they would let it go. (That is substantially all of his reply.) And because Chase would not do that, they voted his amendment down. Well, it turns out, I believe, upon examination, that General Cass took some part in the little running debate upon that amendment, and then ran away and did not vote on it at all. (Laughter.) Is not that the fact? So confident, as 1 think, was General Cass, that there was a snake somewhere about, he chose to run away from the whole thing. This is an inference I draw from the fact that, though he took part in the debate, his name does not appear in the ayes and noes. But does Judge Douglas's reply amount to a satisfactory answer? (Cries of "Yes, Yes," and "No, No.") There is some little difference of opinion here. (Laughter.)
But I ask attention to a few more views bearing on the question of whether it amounts to a satisfactory answer. The men who were determined that that amendment should not get into the bill and spoil the place where the Dred Scott decision was to come in, sought an excuse to get rid of it somewhere. One of these ways one of these excuses was to ask Chase to add to his proposed amendment a provision that the people might introduce slavery if they wanted to. They very well knew Chase would do no such thing, that Mr. Chase was one of the men differing from them on the broad principle of his insisting that freedom was better than slavery, a man who would not consent to enact a law, penned with his own hand, by which he was made to recognize slavery on the one hand and liberty on the other, as precisely equal; and when they insisted on his doing this, they very well knew they insisted on that which he would not for a moment think of doing, and that they were only bluffing him. I believe (I have not, since he made his answer, had a chance to examine the journals or Congressional Globe and therefore speak from memory) I believe the state of the bill at that time, according to parliamentary rules, was such that no member could propose an additional amendment to Chase's amendment. I rather think this is the truth, the Judge shakes his head. Very well. I would like to know, then, if they wanted Close's amendment fixed over, why somebody else could not have offered to do it? If they wanted it amended, why did they not offer the amendment? Why did they stand there taunting and quibbling at Chase? (Laughter.) Why did they not put it in themselves?
But to put it on the other ground Suppose that there was such an amendment offered, and Chase's was an amendment to an amendment; until one is disposed of, by parliamentary law you cannot pile another on. Then all these gentlemen had to do was to vote Chase's on, and then, in the amended form in which the whole stood, add their own amendment to it, if they wanted to put it in that shape. This was all they were obliged to do, and the ayes and noes show that there were thirty-six who voted it down, against ten who voted in favor of it. The thirty-six held entire sway and control. They could in some form or other have put that bill in the exact shape they wanted. If there was a rule preventing their amending it at the time, they could pass that, and then, Chase's amendment being merged, put it in the shape they wanted. They did not choose to do so, but they went into a quibble with Chase to get him to add what they knew he would not add, and because he would not, they stand upon that flimsy pretext for voting down what they argued was the meaning and intent of their own bill. They left room thereby for this Dred Scott decision, which goes very far to make slavery national throughout the United States.
I pass one or two points I have, because my time will very soon expire; but I must be allowed to say that Judge Douglas recurs again as he did upon one or two other occasions, to the enormity of Lincoln, an insignificant individual like Lincoln upon his ipse dixit charging a conspiracy upon a large number of members of Congress, the Supreme Court and two presidents, to nationalize slavery. I want to say that, in the first place, I have made no charge of this sort upon my ipse dixit. I have only arrayed the evidence tending to prove it, and presented it to the understanding of others, saying what I think it proves, but giving you the means of judging whether it proves it or not. This is precisely what I have done. I have not placed it upon my ipse dixit at all.
On this occasion, I wish to recall his attention to a piece of evidence which I brought forward at Ottawa on Saturday, showing that he had made substantially the same charge against substantially same persons, excluding his dear self from the category. I ask him to give some attention to the evidence which I brought forward that he himself had discovered a "fatal blow being struck" against the right of the people to exclude slavery from their limits, which fatal blow he assumed as in evidence in an article in the Washington Union, published "by authority." I ask by whose authority? He discovers a similar or identical provision in the Lecompton constitution. Made by whom? The framers of that constitution. Advocated by whom? By all the members of the party in the nation, who advocated the introduction of Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton constitution.
I have asked his attention to the evidence that he arrayed to prove that such a fatal blow was being struck, and to the facts which he brought forward in support of that charge, being identical with the one which he thinks so villainous in me. He pointed it, not at a newspaper editor merely, but at the president and his cabinet and the members of Congress advocating the Lecompton constitution and those framing that instrument. I must again be permitted to remind him that although my ipse dixit may not be as great as his, yet it somewhat reduces the force of his calling my attention to the enormity of my making a like charge against him. (Loud applause.)
Go on, Judge Douglas.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The silence with which you have listened to Mr. Lincoln during his hour is creditable to this vast audience, composed of men of various political parties. Nothing is more honorable to any large mass of people assembled for the purpose of a fair discussion than that kind and respectful attention that is yielded, not only to your political friends, but to those who are opposed to you in politics.
I am glad that at last I have brought Mr. Lincoln to the conclusion that he had better define his position on certain political questions to which I called his attention at Ottawa. He there showed no disposition, no inclination, to answer them. I did not present idle questions for him to answer, merely for my gratification. I laid the foundation for those interrogatories by showing that they constituted the platform of the party whose nominee he is for the senate. I did not presume that I had the right to chastise him as I saw proper, unless I showed that his party, or a majority of it, stood upon the platform and were in favor of the proposition, upon which my questions were based. I desired simply to know, inasmuch as he had been nominated as the first, last, and only choice of his party, whether he concurred in the platform which that party had adopted for its government. In a few moments I will proceed to review the answers which he has given to these interrogatories; but, in order to relieve his anxiety, I will first respond to these which he has presented to me. Mark you, he has not presented interrogatories which have ever received the sanction of the party with which I am acting, and hence he has no other foundation for them than his own curiosity. ("That's a fact.")
First, he desired to know if the people of Kansas shall form a constitution by means entirely proper and objectionable, and ask admission into the Union as a state, before they have the requisite population for a member of Congress, whether I will vote for that admission. Well, now, I regret exceedingly that he did not answer that interrogatory himself before he put it to me, in order that we might understand, and not be left to infer, on which side he is. ("Good, good.") Mr. Trumbull, during the last session of Congress, voted from the beginning to the end against the admission of Oregon, although a free state, because she had not the requisite population for a member of Congress. ("That's it.") Mr. Trumbull would not consent, under any circumstances, to let a state, free or slave, come into the Union until it had the requisite population. As Mr. Trumbull is in the field, fighting for Mr. Lincoln, I would like to have Mr. Lincoln answer his own question, and tell me whether he is fighting Trumbull on that issue or not. ("Good, put it to him," and cheers.)
But I will answer his question. In reference to Kansas, it is my opinion that as she has population enough to constitute a slave state, she has people enough for a free state. (Cheers.) I will not make Kansas an exceptional case to the other states of the Union. ("Sound," and "Hear, hear.") I hold it to be a sound rule, of universal application, to require a territory to contain the requisite population for a member of Congress before it is admitted as a state into the Union. I made that proposition in the senate in 1856, and I renewed it during the last session, in a bill providing that no territory of the United States should form a constitution and apply for admission until it had the requisite population. On another occasion I proposed that neither Kansas nor any other territory should be admitted until it had the requisite population. Congress did not adopt any of my propositions containing this general rule, but did make an exception of Kansas. I will stand by that exception. (Cheers.) Either Kansas must come in as a free state, with whatever population she may have, or the rule must be applied to all the other territories alike. (Cheers.) I therefore answer at once, that, it having been decided that Kansas has people enough for a slave state, I hold that she has enough for a free state. ("Good," and applause.)
I hope Mr. Lincoln is satisfied with my answer; ("He ought to be and cheers.) and now I would like to get his answer to his own interrogatory whether or not he will vote to admit Kansas before she has the requisite population. ("Hit him again.") I want to know whether he will vote to admit Oregon before that territory has the requisite population. Mr. Trumbull will not, and the same reason that commits Mr. Trumbull against the admission of Oregon, commits him against Kansas, even if she should apply for admission as a free state. ("You've got him," and cheers.) If there is any sincerity, any truth, in the argument of Mr. Trumbull in the senate against the admission of Oregon because she had not ninety-three thousand, four hundred and twenty people, although her population was larger than that of Kansas, he stands pledged against the admission of both Oregon and Kansas until they have ninety-three thousand, four hundred and twenty inhabitants. I would like Mr. Lincoln to answer this question. I would like him to take his own medicine. (Laughter.) If he differs with Mr. Trumbull, let him answer his argument against the admission of Oregon, instead of poking questions at me. ("Right, good, good," laughter and cheers.)
The next question propounded to me by Mr. Lincoln is Can the people of, a territory in any lawful way, against the wishes of any citizen of the United States exclude slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a state constitution? I answer emphatically, as Mr. Lincoln has heard me answer a hundred times, from every stump in Illinois, that in my opinion the people of a territory can, by lawful means, exclude slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a state constitution. (Enthusiastic applause.) Mr. Lincoln knew that I had answered that question over and over again. He heard me argue the Nebraska Bill on that principle all over the state in 1854, in 1855, and in 1856, and he has no excuse for pretending to be in doubt as to my position on that question. It matters not what way the supreme court may hereafter decide as to the abstract question whether slavery may or may not go into a territory under the constitution, the people have the lawful means to introduce it or exclude it as they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere, unless it is supported by local police regulations. ("Right, right.") Those police regulations can only be established by the local legislature; and if the people are opposed to slavery, they will elect representatives to that body who will by unfriendly legislation effectually prevent the introduction of it into their midst. If, on the contrary, they are for it, their legislation will favor its extension. Hence, no matter what the decision of the supreme court may be on that abstract question, still the right of the people to make a slave territory or a free territory is perfect and complete under the Nebraska Bill. I hope Mr. Lincoln deems my answer satisfactory on that point.
In this connection I will notice the charge which he has introduced in relation to Mr. Chase's amendment. I thought that I had chased that amendment out of Mr. Lincoln's brain, at Ottawa; (laughter) but it seems that it still haunts his imagination, and he is not yet satisfied. I had supposed that he would be ashamed to press that question further. He is a lawyer, and has been a member of Congress, and has occupied his time and amused you by telling you about parliamentary proceedings. He ought to have known better than to try to palm off his miserable impositions upon this intelligent audience. ("Good," and cheers.) The Nebraska Bill provided that the legislative power and authority of the said territory should extend to all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the organic act and the Constitution of the United States. It did not make any exception as to slavery, but gave all the power that it was possible for Congress to give, without violating the constitution to the territorial legislature, with no exception or limitation on the subject of slavery at all. The language of that bill which I have quoted, gave full power and the full authority over the subject of slavery, affirmatively and negatively, to introduce it or exclude it, so far as the Constitution of the United States would permit. What more would Mr. Chase give by his amendment? Nothing. He offered his amendment for the identical purpose for which Mr. Lincoln is using it to enable demagogues in the country to try and deceive the people. ("Good, hit him again," and cheers.)
(Deacon Bross spoke.)
His amendment was to this effect. It provided that the legislature should have the power to exclude slavery and General Cass suggested "'Why not give the power to introduce as well as exclude?" The answer was: "They have the power already in the bill to do both." Chase was afraid his amendment would be adopted if he put the alternative proposition, and so make it fair both ways, but would not yield. He offered it for the purpose of having it rejected. He offered it, as he has himself avowed over and over again, simply to make capital out of it for the stump. He expected that it would be capital for small politicians in the country, and that they would make an effort to deceive the people with it; and he was not mistaken, for Lincoln is carrying out the plan admirably. ("Good, good.") Lincoln knows that the Nebraska Bill, without Chase's amendment, gave all the power which the constitution would permit. Could Congress confer any more? ("No, no.") Could Congress go beyond the constitution of the country ? We gave all a full grant, with no exception in regard to slavery one way or the other. We left that question as we left all others, to be decided by the people for themselves, just as they pleased. I will not occupy my time on this question. I have argued it before, all over Illinois. I have argued it in this beautiful city of Freeport; I have argued it in the north, the south, the east and the west, avowing the same sentiments and the same principles. I have not been afraid to avow my sentiments up here for fear I would be trotted down into Egypt. (Cheers and laughter.)
The third question which Mr. Lincoln presented is, If the supreme court of the United States shall decide that a state of this Union cannot exclude slavery from its own limits will I submit to it? I am amazed that Lincoln should ask such a question. ("A schoolboy knows better.") Yes, a schoolboy knows better. Mr. Lincoln's object is to cast an imputation upon the supreme court. He knows that there never was but one man in America, claiming any degree of intelligence or decency, who ever for a moment pretended such a thing. It is true that the Washington Union, in an article published on the i7th of last December, did put forth that doctrine, and I denounced the article on the floor of the senate, in a speech which Mr. Lincoln now pretends was against the president. The Union had claimed that slavery had a right to go into the free states, and that any provision in the constitution or laws of the laws of the free states to the contrary were null and void. I denounced it in the senate, as I said before, and I was the first man who did. Lincoln's friends, Trumbull, and Seward, and Hale, and Wilson, and the whole Black Republican side of the senate, were silent. They left it to me to denounce it. (Cheers.)
And what was the reply made to me on that occasion? Mr. Toombs, of Georgia, got up and undertook to lecture me on the ground that I ought not to have deemed the article worthy of notice, and ought not to have replied to it; that there was not one man, woman or child south of the Potomac, in any slave state, who did not repudiate any such pretension. Mr. Lincoln knows that that reply was made on the spot, and yet now he asks this question. He might as well ask me, Suppose Mr. Lincoln should steal a horse, would I sanction it. (Laugher.) And it would be as genteel in me to ask him, in the event he stole a horse, what ought to be done with him. He casts an imputation upon the supreme court of the United States, by supposing that they would violate the Constitution of the United States. I tell him that such a thing is not possible. (Cheers.) It would be an act of moral treason that no man on the bench could ever descend to. Mr. Lincoln himself would never in his partisan feelings so far forget what was right as to be guilty of such an act. (Good, good.")
The fourth question of Mr. Lincoln is, Are you in favor of acquiring additional territory, in disregard as to how such acquisition may affect the Union on the slavery question? This question is very ingeniously and cunningly put.
(Deacon Bross here spoke, sotto voce the reporter understood him to say, "Now we've got him')
The Black Republican creed lays it down expressly that under no circumstances shall we acquire any more territory, unless slavery is first prohibited in the country. I ask Mr. Lincoln whether he is in favor of that proposition. Are you (addressing Mr. Lincoln) opposed to the acquisition of any more territory, under any circumstances, unless slavery is prohibited in it? That he does not like to answer. When I ask him whether he stands up to that article in the platform of his party, he turns, Yankee-fashion, and without answering it, asks me whether I am in favor of acquiring territory without regard to how it may affect the Union on the slavery' question. 1 ("Good.") I answer that whenever it becomes necessary, in our growth and progress, to acquire more territory, that I am in favor of it, without reference to the question of slavery; and when we have acquired it, I will leave the people free to do as they please, either to make it slave or free territory as they prefer. (Hear Deacon Bross spoke; the reporter believes that he said, "That's bold." It was said solemnly.) It is idle to tell me or you that we have territory enough. Our fathers supposed that we had enough when our territory extended to the Mississippi River; but a few years' growth and expansion satisfied them that we needed more, and the Louisiana Territory, from the west branch of the Mississippi to the British possessions, was acquired. Then we acquired Oregon, then California and New Mexico. We have enough now for the present; but this is a young and growing nation. It swarms as often as a hive of bees; and as new swarms are turned out each year, there must be hives in which they can gather and make their honey. ("Good.")
In less than fifteen years, if the same progress that has distinguished this country for the last fifteen years continues, every foot of vacant land between this and the Pacific Ocean, owned by the United States, will be occupied. Will you not continue to increase at the end of fifteen years as well as now? I tell you, increase, and multiply, and expand, is the law of this nation's existence. ("Good.") You cannot limit this great republic by mere boundary lines, saying, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." Any one of you gentlemen might as well say to a son twelve years old that he is big enough, and must not grow any larger; and in order to prevent his growth, put a hoop around him to keep him to his present size. What would be the result ? Either the hoop must burst and be rent asunder, or the child must die. So it would be with this great nation. With our natural increase, growing with a rapidity unknown in any other part of the globe, with the tide of emigration that is fleeing from despotism in the old world to seek refuge 2 in our own, there is a constant torrent pouring into this country that requires more land, more territory upon which to settle; and just as fast as our interests and our destiny require additional territory in the north, in the south, or on the islands of the ocean, I am for it; and when we acquire it, will leave the people, according to the Nebraska Bill, free to do as they please on the subject of slavery and every other question. ("Good, good;" "Hurrah for Douglas.")
I trust now that Mr. Lincoln will deem himself answered on his four points. He racked his brain so much in devising these four questions that he exhausted himself, and had not strength enough to invent the others. (Laughter.) As soon as he is able to hold a council with his advisers, Lovejoy, Farnsworth and Fred Douglass, he will frame and propound others. ("Good, good." Renewed laughter, in which. Mr. Lincoln feebly joined, saying that he hoped with their aid to get seven questions, the number asked him by Judge Douglas, and to make conclusions even.) You Black Republicans who say good, I have no doubt think that they are all good men. ("White, white.")
I have reason to recollect that some people in this country think that Fred Douglass is a very good man. The last time I came here to make a speech, while talking from the stand to you, people of Freeport, as I am doing today, I saw a carriage and a magnificent one it was drive up and take a position on the outside of the crowd; a beautiful young lady was sitting on the box-seat, whilst Fred Douglass and her mother reclined inside, and the owner of the carriage acted as driver. (Laughter, cheers, cries of "right," "what have you to say against it," etc.) I saw this in your own town. ("What of it?") All I have to say of it is this, that if you, Black Republicans, think that the negro ought to be on a social equality with your wives and daughters, and ride in a carriage with your wife, whilst you drive the team, you have a perfect right to do so. ("Good, good," and cheers, mingled with hooting and cries of "white, white.")
I am told that one of Fred Douglass' kinsmen, another rich black negro is now traveling in this part of the state, making speeches for his friend Lincoln, as the champion of black men. ("White men, white men," and "What have you to say against it? "That's right, etc). All I have to say on that subject is, that those of you who believe that the negro is your equal and ought to be on an equality with you socially, politically, and legally, have a right to entertain those opinions, and of course will vote for Mr. Lincoln. ("Down with the negro," "no, no," etc.)
I have a word to say on Mr. Lincoln's answer to the interrogatories contained in my speech at Ottawa, and which he has pretended to reply to here today. Mr. Lincoln makes a great parade of the fact that I quoted a platform as having been adopted by the Black Republican party at Springfield in 1854, which, it turns out, was adopted at another place. Mr. Lincoln loses sight of the thing itself in his ecstasies over the mistake I made in stating the place where it was done. He thinks that that platform was not adopted on the right "spot."
When I put the direct question to Mr. Lincoln to ascertain whether he now stands pledged to that creed- to the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive-Slave Law, a refusal to admit any more slave states into the Union, even if the people want them, a determination to apply the Wilmot proviso, not only to all the territory we now have, but all that we may hereafter acquire he refused to answer; and his followers say, in excuse, that the resolutions upon which I based my interrogatories were not adopted at the "right spot." (Laughter and applause.) Lincoln and his political friends are great on "spots." (Renewed laughter.) In Congress, as a representative of this state, he declared the Mexican War to be unjust and infamous, and would not support it, or acknowledge his own country to be right in the contest, because he said that American blood was not shed on American soil in the "right spot." ("Lay on to him.") And now he cannot answer the questions I put to him at Ottawa because the resolutions I read were not adopted at the "right spot." It may be possible that I was led into an error as to the spot on which the resolutions I then read were proclaimed, but I was not, and am not, in error as to the fact of their forming the basis of the creed of the Republican party when that party was 1 first organized. (Cheers.)
I will state to you the evidence I had, and upon which I relied for my statement that the resolutions in question were adopted at Springfield on the 5th of October, 1854. Although I was aware that such resolutions had been passed in this district, and nearly all the northern congressional districts and county conventions, I had not noticed whether or not they had been adopted by any state convention. In 1856, a debate arose in Congress between Major Thomas L. Harris, of the Springfield District, and Mr. Norton, of the Joliet District, on political matters connected with our state, in the course of which Major Harris quoted those resolutions as having been passed by the first Republican state convention that ever assembled in Illinois. I knew that Major Harris was remarkable for his accuracy, that he was a very conscientious and sincere man, and I also noticed that Norton did not question the accuracy of this statement. I therefore took it for granted that it was so; and the other day when I concluded to use the resolutions at Ottawa, I wrote to Charles L. Lanphier, editor of the State Register, at Springfield, calling his attention to them, telling him that I had been informed that Major Harris was lying sick at Springfield, and desiring him to call upon him and ascertain all the facts concerning the resolutions, the time and place where they were adopted In reply, Mr. Lanphier sent me two copies of his paper, which I have here. The first is a copy of the State Register, published at Springfield, Mr. Lincoln's own town, on the i6th of October, 1854, only eleven days after the adjournment of the convention, from which I desire to read the following:
The material of this was gathered from a variety of sources, including the files of the Freeport Journal, the Woodburn's Orations; the Illinois Historical Society's Volume by Sparks and Rhodes' History of the United States.
"During the late discussion in this city, Lincoln made a speech, to which Judge Douglas replied. In Lincoln's speech he took the broad ground that, according to the Declaration of Independence, the whites and blacks are equal. From this he drew the conclusion, which he several times repeated, that the white man had no right to pass laws for the government of the black man without the nigger's consent. This speech of Lincoln's was heard and applauded by all the Abolitionists assembled in Springfield. So soon as Mr. Lincoln was done speaking, Mr. Codding arose, and requested all the delegates to the Black Republican Convention to withdraw into the senate chamber. They did so; and after long deliberation, they laid down the following Abolition platform on which they stood. We call the particular attention of all our readers to it."
Then follows the identical platform, word for word, which I read at Ottawa. (Cheers.) Now, that was published in Mr. Lincoln's own town, eleven days after the convention was held, and has remained on record up to this day never contradicted.
When I quoted the resolutions at Ottawa and questioned Mr. Lincoln in relation to them, he said that his name was on the committee that reported them, but he did not serve, nor did he think he served, because he was, or thought he was, in Tazewell County at the time the convention was in session. He did not deny that the resolutions were passed by the Springfield Convention. He did not know better, and evidently thought that they were; but afterward his friends declared that they had discovered that they varied in some respects from the resolutions passed by the convention. I have shown you that I had good evidence for believing that the resolutions had been passed at Springfield. Mr. Lincoln ought to have known better; but not a word is said about his ignorance on the subject, whilst I, notwithstanding the circumstances, am accused of forgery.
Now, I will show
you that if I have made a mistake as to the place where these resolutions
were adopted and when I get down to Springfield I will investigate the
matter, and see whether or not I have that the principles they enunciate
were adopted as the Black Republican platform, ("White, white.")
in the various counties and congressional districts throughout the north
end of the state in 1854. This platform was adopted in nearly every county
that gave a Black Republican majority for the Legislature in that year,
and here is a man (pointing to Mr. Denio, who sat on the stand near Deacon
Bross) who knows as well as any living man that it was the creed of the
Black Republican party at that time. I would be willing to call Denio
as a witness, or any other honest man belonging to that party. I will
now read the resolution adopted at the Rockford Convention on the 3Oth
of August, 1854, which nominated Washburne for Congress. You elected him
on the following platform:
"Resolved, That the continued and increasing aggressions of slavery in our country are destructive of the best rights of .a free people, and that such aggressions cannot be successfully resisted without the united political action of all good men.
"Resolved, That the citizens of the United States hold in their hands peaceful, constitutional, and efficient remedy against the encroachments of the slave power the ballot-box; and if that remedy is boldly and wisely applied, the principles of liberty and eternal justice will be established.
"Resolved, That we accept this issue forced upon us by the slave power, and, in defense of freedom, will cooperate and be known as Republicans, pledged to the accomplishment of the following purposes:
"To bring the administration of the government back to the control of first principles; to restore Kansas and Nebraska to the position of free territories; to repeal and entirely abrogate the Fugitive-Slave Law; to restrict slavery to those states in which it exists; to prohibit the admission of any more slave states into the Union; to exclude slavery from all the territories over which the general government has exclusive jurisdiction; and to resist the acquisition of any more territories, unless the introduction of slavery therein forever shall have been prohibited.
"Resolved, That in furtherance of these principles we will use such conditional and lawful means as shall seem best adapted to their accomplishment, and that we will support no man for office under the general or state government who is not positively committed to the support of these principles, and whose personal character and conduct is not a guarantee that he is reliable, and shall abjure all party allegiance and ties.
"Resolved, That we cordially invite persons of all former political parties whatever, in favor of the object expressed in the above resolutions to unite with us in carrying them into effect." (Senator Douglas was frequently interrupted in reading these resolutions by loud cries of "Good, good," "that's the doctrine," and vociferous applause.)
Well, you think that is a very good platform, do you not? ("Yes, yes, all right," and cheers.) If you do, if you approve it now, and think it is all right, you will not join with those men who say that I libel you by calling these your principles, will you ("Good, good, hit him again," and great laughter and cheers.) Now, Mr. Lincoln complains; Mr. Lincoln charges that I did you and him injustice by saying that this was the platform of your party. (Renewed laughter.) I am told that Washburne made a speech in Galena last night, in which he abused me awfully in bringing to light this platform, on which he was elected to Congress. He thought that you had forgotten it, as he and Mr. Lincoln desires to. (Laughter.) He did not deny but that you had adopted it, and that he had subscribed to and was pledged by it, but he did not think it was fair to call it up and remind the people that it was their platform. ( Here Deacon Bross spoke.)
But I am glad to find that you are more honest in your abolitionism than your leaders, by avowing that it is your platform, and right in your opinion. (Laughter, "You have them, good, good.")
In the adoption of that platform, you not only declared that you would resist the admission of any more slave state, and work for the repeal of the Fugitive-Slave Law, but you pledged yourselves not to vote for any men for state or federal offices who was not committed to these principles. ("Exactly so, exactly so," cheers.) You were thus committed. Similar resolutions to those were adopted in your county convention here, and now with your admissions that they are your platform and embody your sentiments now as they did then, what do you think of Mr. Lincoln, your candidate for the United States Senate, who is attempting to dodge the responsibility of this platform, because it was not adopted in the right spot. ( Shouts of laughter, "Hurrah for Douglas.") I thought that it was adopted in Springfield, but it turns out it was not, that it was adopted at Rockford, and in the various counties which comprise this congressional district. When I get into the next district, I will show that the same platform was adopted there, and so on through the state, until I nail the responsibility of it upon the back of the Black Republican party throughout the state. ("White, white," "Three cheers for Douglas.")
A voice. Couldn't you modify, and call it brown? (Laughter.)
Mr. Douglas. Not a bit. I thought that you were becoming a little brown when your members in Congress voted for the Crittenden-Montgomery bill; but since you have backed out from that position and gone back to Abolitionists, you are black, and not brown. (Shouts of laughter, and a voice, "Can't you ask him another question?)
Gentlemen, I have shown you what your platform was in 1854. You still adhere to it. The same platform was adopted by nearly all the counties where the Black Republican party had a majority in 1854. I wish now to call your attention to the action of your representatives in the Legislature when they assembled together at Springfield. In the first place, you must remember that this was the organization of a new party. It so declared in the resolutions themselves, which say that you are going to dissolve all old party ties and call the new party Republican. The old Whig party was to have its throat cut from ear to ear, and the Democratic party was to be annihilated and blotted out of existence, whilst in lieu of these parties the Black Republican party was to be organized on this Abolition platform. You know who the chief leaders were in breaking up and destroying these two great parties. Lincoln on the one hand and Trumbull on the other, being disappointed politicians, (laughter) and having retired or been driven to obscurity by an outraged constituency because of their political sins, formed a scheme to abolitionize the two parties, and lead the old Line Whigs and old Line Democrats captive, bound hand and foot, into the Abolition camp. Giddings, Chase, Fred Douglass, and Lovejoy were here to christen them whenever they were brought in. (Great laughter.) Lincoln went to work to dissolve the Old Line Whig party. Clay was dead; and although the sod was not yet green on his grave, this man undertook to bring into disrepute those great compromise measures of 1850, with which Clay and Webster were identified.
Up to 1854 the Old Whig party and the Democratic party had stood on a common platform so far as this slavery question was concerned. You Whigs and we Democrats differed about the bank, the tariff, distribution, the specie circular, and the sub-treasury, but we agreed on this slavery question, and the true mode of preserving the peace and harmony of the Union. The compromise measures of 1850 were introduced by Clay, were defended by Webster, and supported by Cass, and were approved by Fillmore, and sanctioned by the national men of both parties. They constituted a common plank upon which both Whigs and Democrats stood. In 1852 the Whig party, in its last national convention at Baltimore, indorsed and approved these measures of Clay, and so did the national convention of the Democratic party held that same year. Thus the Old Line Whigs and the Old Line Democrats stood pledged to the great principle of self-government, which guarantees to the people of each territory the right to decide the slavery question for themselves. In 1854, after the death of Clay and Webster, Mr. Lincoln, on the part of the Whigs, undertook to abolitionize the Whig party by dissolving it, transferring the members into the Abolition camp, and making them train under Giddings, Fred Douglass, Lovejoy, Chase, Farnsworth, and other Abolition leaders. Trumbull undertook to dissolve the Democratic party by taking old Democrats into the Abolition camp. Mr. Lincoln was aided in his efforts by many leading Whigs throughout the state, your member of Congress, Mr. Washburne, being one of the most active. (Good fellow.) Trumbull was aided by many renegades from the Democratic party, among whom were John Wentworth, (laughter) Tom Turner, and others, with whom you are familiar.
(Mr. Turner, who was one of the moderators, here interposed, and said that he had drawn the resolutions which Senator Douglas had read.)
Yes, and Turner says that he drew these resolutions. ("Hurrah for Turner," "Hurrah for Douglas.") That is right; give Turner cheers for drawing the resolutions if you approve them. If he drew those resolutions, he will not deny that they are the creed of the Black Republican party.
They are our creed exactly. (Cheers.)
And yet Lincoln denies that he stands on them. ("Good, good," and laughter.) Mr. Turner says that the creed of the Black Republican party is the admission of no more slave states, and yet Mr. Lincoln declares that he would not like to be placed in a position where he would have to vote for them. All I have to say to frie.nd Lincoln is, that I do not think that there is much danger of his being placed in such a position. (More laughter.) As Mr. Lincoln would be very sorry to be placed in such an embarrassing position as to be obliged to vote on the admission of any more slave states, I propose, out of mere kindness, to relieve him from any such necessity. (Renewed laughter and cheers.)
When the bargain began Lincoln and Trumbull was completed for abolitionizing the Whig and Democratic parties, they "spread" over the state, Lincoln still pretending to be an Old Line Whig, in order to "rope in" the Whigs, and Trumbull pretending to be as good a Democrat as he ever was, in order to coax the Democrats over into the Abolition ranks. ("That's exactly what we want.") They played the part that "decoy ducks" play down on the Potomac River. In that part of the country they make artificial ducks, and put them on the water where the wild ducks are to be found, for the purpose of decoying them. Well, Lincoln and Trumbull played the part of these "decoy ducks" and deceived enough Old Line Whigs and Old Line Democrats to elect a Black Republican Legislature. When that Legislature met, the first thing it did was to elect as speaker of the House the very man who is now boasting that he wrote the Abolition platform on which Lincoln will not stand. ("Good, hit him again," and cheers.) I want to know of Mr. Turner whether or not, when he was elected he was a good embodiment of Republican principles.
I hope I was then, and am now.
He swears that he hopes he was then, and is now. He wrote that Black Republican platform, and is satisfied with it now. ("Hurrah for Turner," "Good," etc.) I admire and acknowledge Turner's honesty. Every man of you knows that what he says about these resolutions being the platform of the Black Republican party is true, and you also know that each one of these men who are shuffling and trying to deny it are only trying to cheat the people out of their votes for the purpose of deceiving them still more after the election. ("Good," and cheers.) I propose to trace this thing a little further, in order that you can see what additional evidence there is to fasten this revolutionary platform upon the Black Republican party. When the Legislature assembled there was a United States Senator to elect in the place of General Shields, and before they proceeded to ballot, Lovejoy insisted on laying down certain principles by which to govern the party.
It has been published to the world and satisfactorily proven that there was, at the time the alliance was made between Trumbull and Lincoln to abolitionize the two parties, an agreement that Lincoln should take Shields' place in the United States Senate, and Trumbull should have mine so soon as they could conveniently get rid of me. When Lincoln was beaten for Shields' place, in a manner I will refer to in a few minutes, he felt very sore and restive; his friends grumbled, and some of them came out and charged that the most infamous treachery had been practiced against him; that the bargain was that Lincoln was to have had Shields' place, and Trumbull was to have waited for mine, but that Trumbull, having the control of a few Abolitionized Democrats, he prevented them from voting for Lincoln, thus keeping him within a few votes of an election until he succeeded in forcing the party to drop him and elect Trumbull. Well, Trumbull having cheated Lincoln, his friends made a fuss, and in order to keep them and Lincoln quiet, the party were obliged to come forward, in advance, at the last state election, and make a pledge that they would go for Lincoln and nobody else. Lincoln could not be silenced in any other way.
Now, there are a great many Black Republicans of you who do not know this thing was done. ("White, white," and great clamor.) I wish to remind you that while Mr. Lincoln was speaking there was not a Democrat vulgar and blackguard enough to interrupt him. (Great applause and cries of, "Hurrah for Douglas.") But I know that the shoe is pinching you. I am clinching Lincoln now, and you are scared to death for the result. (Cheers.) I have seen this thing before. I have seen men make appointments for joint discussions, and the moment their man has been heard, try to interrupt and prevent a fair hearing of the other side. I have seen your mobs before, and defy your wrath. (Tremendous applause.) My friends, do not cheer, for I need my whole time. The object of the opposition is to occupy my attention in order to prevent me from giving the whole evidence and nailing this double dealing on the Black Republican party.
As I have before said, Lovejoy demanded a declaration of principles on the part of the Black Republicans of the Legislature before going into election for United States Senator. He offered the following preamble and resolutions which I hold in my hand
"Whereas, Human slavery is a violation of the principles of natural and revealed right; and whereas the fathers of the Revolution, fully imbued with the spirit of these principles, declared freedom to be the inalienable birthright of all men; and whereas the preamble to the Constitution of the United States avers that that instrument was ordained to establish justice, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity; and whereas, in furtherance of the above principles, slavery was forever prohibited in the old Northwest Territory, and more recently in all that territory lying west and north of the state of Missouri, by the act of the federal government; and whereas the repeal of the prohibition last referred to was contrary to the wishes of the people of Illinois, a violation of an implied compact long deemed sacred by the citizens of the United States, and a wide departure from the uniform action of the general government in relation to the extension of slavery; therefore,
"Resolved, by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring therein, That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our representatives requested to introduce, if not otherwise introduced, and to vote for, a bill to restore such prohibition to the aforesaid territories, and also to extend a similar prohibition to all territory which now belongs to the United States, or which may here-after come under their jurisdiction.
"Resolved, That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our representatives requested, to vote against the admission of any state into the Union, the Constitution of which does not prohibit slavery, whether the territory out of which such state may have been formed shall have been acquired by conquest, treaty, purchase, or from original territory of the United States.
"Resolved, That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our representatives requested to introduce and vote for, a bill to repeal an act entitled 'an act respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from the service of their masters;' and, failing in that, for such a modification of it as shall secure the right of habeas corpus and trial by jury before the regularly constituted authorities of the state, to all persons claimed as owing service or labor."
(Cries of "good," "good," and cheers.) Yes, you say "good," "good," and I have no doubt you think so.
Those resolutions were introduced by Mr. Lovejoy immediately preceding the election of senator. They declared, first that the Wilmot Proviso must be applied to all territory north of 36 degrees 30 minutes. Secondly, that it must be applied to all territory south of 36 degrees 30 minutes. Thirdly, that it must be applied to all territory now owned by the United States; and finally, that it must be applied to all territory hereafter to be acquired by the United States. The next resolution declares that no more slave states shall be admitted into this Union under any circumstances whatever, no matter whether they are formed out of territory now owned by us or that we may hereafter acquire, by treaty, by Congress or in any other manner whatever. (A voice, "That is right.") You say that is right. We will see in a moment. The next resolution demands the unconstitutional repeal of the Fugitive-Slave Law, although its unconstitutional repeal would leave no provision for carrying out that clause of the Constitution of the United States which guarantees the surrender of fugitives. If they could not get an unconstitutional repeal they demanded that that law should be so modified as to make it as nearly useless as possible.
Now, I want to show you who voted for these resolutions. When the vote was taken on the first resolution it was decided in the affirmative yeas, 41, nays, 32. You will find that this is a strict party vote, between the Democrats on the one hand, and the Black Republicans on the other. (Cries of "White, white," and clamor.) I know your name and always call things by their right name. The point I wish to call your attention to is this that these resolutions were adopted on the 7th day of February, and that on the 8th they went into an election for a United States senator, and that day every man who voted for these resolutions, with but two exceptions, voted for Lincoln for the United States Senate. (Cries of "Good, good," and cheers. "Give us their names.")
I will read the names over to you if you want them, but I believe your object is to occupy my time. (Cries of "That is it")
On the next resolution the vote stood yeas 33, nays 40; and on the third resolution yeas 35, nays 47. I wish to impress it upon you that every nation who voted for those' resolutions, with but two exceptions, voted on the next day for Lincoln for United States senator. Bear in mind that the members who thus voted for Lincoln were elected to the Legislature pledged to vote for no man for office under the state or federal government who was not committed to this Black Republican platform. (Cries of "White, white," and "good for you.") They were all so pledged. Mr. Turner who stands by me, and who then represented you, and who says that he wrote those resolutions, voted for Lincoln when he was pledged not to do so unless Lincoln was in favor of those resolutions. I now ask Mr. Turner (turning to Mr. Turner), did you violate your pledge in voting for Mr. Lincoln, or did he commit himself to your platform before you cast your vote for him? (Mr. Lincoln here started for ward and grasping Mr. Turner shook him nervously and said, "Don't answer, Turner, you have no right to answer.")
I could go through the whole list of names here, and show you that all the Black Republicans in the Legislature, ("White, white.") who voted for Mr. Lincoln, had voted on the day previous for these resolutions. For instance, here are the names of Sargent, and Little, of Jo Daviess and Carroll; Thomas J. Turner of Stephenson; Lawrence, of Boone and McHenry; Swan, of Lake; Pinckney, of Ogle County; and Lyman, of Winnebago. Thus you see every member from your congressional district voted for Mr. Lincoln, and they were pledged not to vote for him unless he was committed to the doctrine of no more slave states, the prohibition of slavery in the territories, and the repeal of the Fugitive-Slave Law. Mr. Lincoln tells you today that he is not pledged to any such doctrine. Either Mr. Lincoln was then committed to these propositions, or Mr. Turner violated his pledges to you when he voted for him. Either Lincoln was pledged to each one of these propositions, or else every Black Republican (cries of "White, white") representative from this congressional district violated his pledge of honor to his constituents by voting for him.
I ask you which horn of the dilemma will you take? Will you hold Lincoln up to the platform of his party, or will you accuse every representative you had in the Legislature of violating his pledge of honor to his constituents? (Voices: "We go for Turner," We go for Lincoln," "Hurrah for Douglas," "Hurrah for Turner.") There is no escape for you. Either Mr. Lincoln was committed to those propositions, or your members violated their faith. Take either horn of the dilemma you choose. There is no dodging the question; I want Lincoln's answer. He says he was not pledged to repeal the Fugitive-Slave Law, that he does not quite like to do it; he will not introduce a law to repeal it, but thinks there ought to be some law; he does not tell what it ought to be; upon the whole he is altogether undecided, and don't know what to think or do. That is the substance of his answer upon the repeal of the Fugitive-Slave Law. I put the question to him distinctly, whether he indorsed that part of the Black Republican platform which calls for the entire abrogation and repeal of the Fugitive-Slave Law. He answers, No! that he does not indorse that; but he does not tell what he is for, or what he will vote for. His answer is, in fact, no answer at all. Why cannot he speak out, and say what he is for, and what he will do? (Cries of "That's right")
In regard to there being no more slave states, he is not pledged to that. He would not like, he says, to be put in a position where he would have to vote one way or another upon that question. I pray you, do not put him in a position that would embarrass him so much. (Laughter.) Gentlemen, if he goes to the Senate, he may be put in that position, and then which way will he vote?
A voice. How will you vote?
Mr. Douglas. I will vote for the admission of just such a state as by the form of their constitution the people show they want; if they want slavery, they shall have it; if they prohibit slavery, it shall be prohibited. They can form their institutions to please themselves, subject only to the Constitution; and I, for one, stand ready to receive them into the Union. ("Three cheers for Douglas.") Why cannot your Black Republican candidates talk out as plain as that when they are questioned? (Cries of "Good, good.")
(Here Deacon Bross spoke.)
I do not want to cheat any man out of his vote. No man is deceived in regard to my principles if I have the power to express myself in terms explicit enough to convey my ideas.
Mr. Lincoln made a speech when he was nominated for the United States Senate which covers all these Abolition platforms. He there lays down a proposition so broad in its Abolitionism as to cover the whole ground.
"In my opinion the slavery agitation will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states old as well as new, north as well as south."
There you find that Mr. Lincoln lays down the doctrine that this Union cannot endure divided as our fathers made it, with free and slave state. He says they must all become one thing, or all the other; that they must all be free or all slave, or else the Union cannot continue to exist; it being his opinion that to admit any more slave states, to continue to divide the Union into free and slave states will dissolve it. I want to know of Mr. Lincoln whether he will vote for the admission of another slave state. (Cries of "Bring him out.")
He tells you that the Union cannot exist unless the states are all free or all slave; he tells you that he is opposed to making them all slave and hence he is for making them all free, in order that the Union may exist; and yet he will not vote against another slave state, knowing that the union must be dissolved if he votes for it. (Great laughter.) I ask you if that is fair dealing? The true intent and inevitable conclusion to be drawn from his first Springfield speech is, that he is opposed to the admission of any more slave states under any circumstances. If so opposed, why not say so? If he believes this Union cannot endure divided into free and slave states, that they must all become free in order to save the Union, he is bound as an honest man to vote against any more slave states. If he believes it, he is bound to do it. Show me that it is my duty in order to save the Union, to do a particular act, and I will do it if the Constitution does not prohibit it. (Applause.) I am not for the dissolution of the Union under any circumstances. (Renewed applause.) I will pursue no course of conduct that will give just cause for the dissolution of the Union. The hope of the friends of freedom throughout the world rests upon the perpetuity of this Union. The down-trodden and oppressed people who are suffering under European despotism all look with hope and anxiety to the American Union as the only resting place and permanent home of freedom and self-government.
Mr. Lincoln says that he believes that this Union cannot continue to endure with slave states in it, and yet he will not tell you distinctly whether he will vote for or against the admission of any more slave states but says he would not like to be put to the test. (Renewed laughter.) I do not think that the people of Illinois desire a man to represent them who would not like to be put to the test on the performance of a high constitutional duty. (Cries of "Good.") I will retire in shame from the Senate of the United States when I am not willing to be put to the test in the performance of my duty. I have been put to severe tests. ("That is so.") I have stood by my principles in fair weather and in foul, in the sunshine and in the rain. I have defended the great principles of self-government here among you when northern sentiment ran in a torrent against me, (A voice, "That is so.") and I have defended that same great principle when southern sentiment came down like an avalanche upon me. I was not afraid of any test they put to me. I knew I was right; I knew my principles were sound; I knew that the people would see in the end that I had done right, and I knew that the God of heaven would smile upon me if I was faithful in the performance of my duty. (Cries of "Good," cheers and 'laughter)
Mr. Lincoln makes a charge of corruption against the supreme court of the United States and two presidents of the United States, and attempts to bolster it up by saying that I did the same against the Washington Union. Suppose I did make that charge of corruption against the Washington Union, when it was true, does that justify him in making a false charge against me and others? That is the question I would put. He says that at the time the Nebraska Bill was introduced, and before it was passed, there was a conspiracy between the judges of the supreme court, President Pierce, President Buchanan, and myself, by that bill and the decision of the court, to break down the barrier and establish slavery all over the Union.
Does he not know that that charge is historically false as against President Buchanan? He knows that Mr. Buchanan was at that time in England, representing this country with distinguished ability at the court of St. James, that he was there for a long time before, and did not return for a year or more after. He knows that to be true, and that fact proves his charge to be false as against Mr. Buchanan. (Cheers.) Then, again, I wish to call his attention to the fact that at the time the Nebraska Bill was passed, the Dred Scott case was not before the supreme court at all ! it was not upon the docket of the supreme court; it had not been brought there; and the judges in all probability knew nothing of it. Thus the history of the country proves the charge to be false as against them.
As to President Pierce, his high character as a man of integrity and honor is enough to vindicate him from such a charge; (laughter and applause) and as to myself, I pronounce the charge an infamous lie, whenever and wherever made, and by whomsoever made. I am willing that Mr. Lincoln should go and rake up every public act of mine, every measure I have introduced, report I have made, speech delivered, and criticise them; but when he charges upon me a corrupt conspiracy for the purpose of perverting the institutions of the country, I brand it as it deserves. I say the history of the country proves it to be false; and that it could not have been possible at the time.
But now he tries to protect himself in this charge, because I made a charge, against the Washington Union. My speech in the Senate against the Washington Union was made because it advocated a revolutionary doctrine, by declaring that the free states had not the right to prohibit slavery within their own limits. Because I made the charge against the Washington Union Mr. Lincoln says it was a charge against Mr. Buchanan. Suppose it was; is Mr. Lincoln the peculiar defender of Mr. Buchanan ? Is he so interested in the federal administration, and so bound to it that he must jump to the rescue and defend it from every attack that I may make against it? (Great laughter and cheers.) I understand the whole thing. The Washington Union, under that most corrupt of all men, Cornelius Wendell, is advocating Mr. Lincoln's claim to the Senate. Wendell was the printer of the last Black Republican House of Representatives; he was a candidate before the present Democratic House, but was ignominiously kicked out; and then he took the money which he had made out of the public printing by means of the Black Republicans, bought the Washington Union, and is now publishing it in the name of the Democratic party, and advocating Mr. Lincoln's election to the Senate. Mr. Lincoln therefore considers an attack upon Wendell and his corrupt gang as a personal attack upon him. (Immense cheering and laughter.) This only proves what I have charged that there is an alliance between Lincoln and his supporters, and the federal office-holders of this state, and presidential aspirants out of it, to break me down at home. (A voice "That is impossible," and cheering.)
Mr. Lincoln feels bound to come in to the rescue of the Washington Union. In that speech which I delivered in answer to the Washington Union, I made it distinctly against the Union, and against the Union alone. I did not choose to go beyond that. If I have occasion to attack the President's conduct. I will do it in a language that will not misunderstood. When I differed with the President, I spoke out so that you all heard me. ("That you did," and cheers.) That question passed away; it resulted in the triumph of my principle, by allowing the people to do as they please; and there is an end of the controversy. ("Hear, hear.") Whenever the great principle of self-government the right of the people to make their own Constitution, and come into the Union with slavery or without it, as they see proper shall again arise, you will find me standing firm in the defense of that principle, and fighting whoever fights it. ("Right, right," "Good, good" and cheers.) If Buchanan stands, I doubt not he will, by the recommendation contained in his message, that hereafter all state constitutions ought to be submitted to the people before the admission of the state into the Union, he will find me standing by him firmly shoulder to shoulder, in carrying it out. I know Mr. Lincoln's object; he wants to divide the Democratic party, in order that he may defeat me and get to the Senate.
Mr. Douglas' time here expired, and he stopped on the moment.
MR. LINCOLN'S REJOINDER.
As Mr. Lincoln arose he was greeted with vociferous cheers. He said:
My Friends It will readily occur to you that I cannot, in half an hour, notice all the things that so able a man as Judge Douglas can say in an hour and a half; and I hope, therefore, if there be anything he has said upon which you would like to hear something from me, but which I omit to comment upon, you will bear in mind that it would be expecting an impossibility for me to go over his whole ground. I can but take up some of the points that he has dwelt upon, and employ my half hour especially upon them.
The first thing I have to say to you is a word in regard to Judge Douglas' declaration about the "vulgarity and blackguardism" in the audience that no such thing, as he says, was shown by any Democrat while I was speaking. Now, I only wish, by way of reply on this subject, to say that while I was speaking, I used no "vulgarity or blackguardism" toward any Democrat. (Laughter and applause.)
Now, my friends,
I come to all this long portion of the judge's speech perhaps half of
it which he has devoted to the various resolutions and platforms that
have been adopted in the different counties in the different congressional
districts, and in the Illinois Legislature, which he supposes are at variance
with the positions I have assumed before you today. It is true that many
of these resolutions are at variance with the positions I have here assumed.
All I have to ask is that we talk reasonably and rationally about it.
I happen to know, the judge's opinion to the contrary notwithstanding,
that I have never tried to conceal my opinions, nor tried to deceive any
one in reference to them. He may go and examine all the members who voted
for me for the United States Senator in 1855, after the election in 1854.
They were pledged to certain things here at home, and were determined
to have pledges from me; and if
he will find any of these persons who will tell him anything inconsistent with what I say now, I will resign, or rather retire from the race, and give him no more trouble. (Applause.)
The plain truth is this At the introduction of the Nebraska policy, we believed there was a new era being introduced in the history of the Republic, which tended to the spread and perpetuation of slavery. But in our opposition to that measure we did not agree with one another in everything. The people in the north end of the state were for stronger measures of opposition than we of the central and southern portions of the state, but we were all opposed to the Nebraska doctrine. We had that one feeling and that one sentiment in common. You at the north end met in your conventions and passed your resolutions. We in the middle of the state and further south did not hold such conventions and pass the same resolutions, although we had in general a common view and a common sentiment. So that these meetings which the judge has alluded to, and the resolutions he has read from, were local, and did not spread over the whole state. We at last met together in 1850, from all parts of the state, and we agreed upon a common platform. You who held more extreme notions, either yielded those notions, or, if not wholly yielding them, agreed to yield them practically, for the sake of embodying the opposition to the measures which the opposite party were pushing forward at that time. We met you then and if there was anything yielded, it was for practical purposes. We agreed then upon a platform for the party throughout the entire state of Illinois, and now we are all bound, as a party to that platform. And I say here to you, if anyone expects of me in the case of my election that I will do anything not signified by our Republican platform and my answers here today, I tell you very frankly that person will be deceived.
I do not ask for the vote of any one who supposes that I have secret purposes or pledges that I dare not speak out. Cannot the judge be satisfied? If he fears, in the unfortunate case of my election (laughter) that my going to Washington will enable me to advocate sentiments contrary to those which I expressed when you voted for and elected me, I assure him that his fears are wholly needless and groundless. Is the judge really afraid of any such thing? (Laughter.) I'll tell you what he is afraid of. He is afraid we'll all pull together. (Applause and cries of "We will! we will!") This is what alarms him more than anything else. (Laughter.) For my part, I do hope that all of us, entertaining a common sentiment in opposition to what appears to us a design to nationalize and perpetuate slavery, will waive minor differences on questions which either belong to the dead past or the distant future, and all pull together in this struggle. What are your sentiments? ("We will! we will!" Loud cheers.) If it be true that on the ground which I occupy, ground which I occupy as frankly and boldly as Judge Douglas does his my views, though partly coinciding with yours, are not as perfectly in accordance with your feelings as his are, I do say to you in all candor, go for him, and not for me. I hope to deal in all things fairly with Judge Douglas, and with the people of the state, in this contest. And if I should never be elected to any office, I trust I may go down with no stain of falsehood upon my reputation, notwithstanding the hard opinions Judge Douglas chooses to entertain of me. (Laughter.)
The judge has again addressed himself to the Abolition tendencies of a speech of mine made at Springfield in June last. I have so often tried to answer what he is always saying on that melancholy theme that I almost turn with disgust from the discussion from the repetition of an answer to it. I trust that nearly all of this intelligent audience have read that speech. ("We have! we have.") If you have, I may venture to leave it to you to inspect it closely, and see whether it contains any of those "bugaboos" which frighten Judge Douglas. (Laughter.)
The judge complains that I did not fully answer his questions. If I have the sense to comprehend and answer those questions, I have done so fairly. If it can be pointed out to me how I can more fully and fairly answer him, I will do it; but I aver I have not the sense to see how it is to be done. He says I do not declare I would in any event vote for the admission of a slave state into the Union. If I have been fairly reported, he will see that I did give explicit answer to his interrogatories; I did not merely say that I would dislike to be put to the test, but I said clearly, if I were put to the test, and a territory from which slavery has been excluded should present herself with a state constitution, sanctioning slavery a most extraordinary thing, and wholly unlikely to happen I did not see how I could avoid voting for her admission. But he refuses to understand that I said so and he "wants this audience to understand that I did not say so. Yet it will be so reported in the printed speech that he cannot help seeing it.
He says if I should vote for the admission of a slave state I would be voting for a dissolution of the Union, because I hold that the Union cannot permanently exist half slave and half free. I repeat that I do not believe this government can endure permanently half slave and half free; yet I do not admit, nor does it at all follow, that the admission of a single slave state will permanently fix the character and establish this as a universal slave nation. The judge is very happy indeed at working up these quibbles. (Laughter and cheers.) Before leaving the subject of answering questions, I aver as my confident belief, when you come to see our speeches in print, that you will find every question which he has asked me more fairly and boldly and fully answered than he has answered those which I put to him. Is not that so? (Cries of "Yes, Yes.") The two speeches may be placed side by side, and I will venture to leave it to impartial judges whether his questions have not been more directly and circumstantially answered than mine. Judge Douglas says he made a charge upon the editor of the Washington Union, alone, of entertaining a purpose to rob the states of their power to exclude slavery from their limits. I undertake to say, and I make the direct issue, that he did not make his charge against the editor of the Union alone. (Applause.) I will undertake to prove by the record here that he made the charge against more and higher dignitaries than the editor of the Washington Union. I am quite aware that he was shirking and dodging around the form in which he put it, but I can make it manifest that he leveled his "fatal blow" against more persons than this Washington editor. Will he dodge it now by alleging that I am trying to defend Mr. Buchanan against the charge? Not at all. Am I not making the same charge myself? (Laughter and applause.) I am trying to show that you, Judge Douglas, are a witness on my side. (Renewed laughter.) I am not defending Buchanan, and I will tell Judge Douglas that in my opinion, when he made that charge, he had an eye farther north than he has today. He was then fighting against people who called him a Black Republican and an Abolitionist. It is mixed all through his speech, and it is tolerably manifest that his eye was a great deal farther north than it is today. (Cheers and laughter.) The judge says that though he made this charge, Toombs got up and declared there was not a man in the United States, except the editor of the Union, who was in favor of the doctrines put forth in that article. And thereupon I understand that the judge withdrew the charge. Although he had taken extracts from the newspaper, and then from the Lecompton Constitution, to show the existence of a conspiracy to bring about a "fatal blow," by which the states were to be deprived of the right of excluding slavery, it all went to pot as soon as Toombs got up and told him it was not true. (Laughter.)
It reminds me of the story that John Phoenix, the California railroad surveyor, tells. He says they started out from the Plaza to the Mission of Dolores. They had two ways of determining distances. One was by a chain and pins-taken over the ground. The other was by a "go-it-ometer" an invention of his own a three-legged instrument, with which he computed a series of triangles between the points. At night he turned to the chain-man to ascertain what distance they had come, and found that by some mistake he had merely dragged the chain over the ground without keeping any record. By the "go-it-ometer" he found he had made ten miles. Being skeptical about this, he asked a drayman who was passing how far it was to the Plaza. The drayman replied it was just half a mile; and the surveyor put it down in his book just as Judge Douglas says, after he had made his calculations and computations, he took Toomb's statement. (Great laughter.) I have no doubt that after Judge Douglas had made his charge, he was as easily satisfied about its truth as the surveyor was of the drayman's statement of the distance to the Plaza. ( Renewed - laughter. ) Yet it is a fact that the man who put forth all that matter which Douglas deemed a "fatal blow" at state sovereignty, was elected by the Democrats as public printer.
Now, gentlemen, you
may take Judge Douglas' speech of March 22, 1858, beginning about the
middle of page twenty-one, and reading to the bottom of page twenty-four,
and you will find the evidence on which I say that he did not make his
charge against the editor of the Union alone. I cannot stop to read it,
but I will give it to the reporters. Judge Douglas said:
"Mr. President, you here find several distinct propositions advanced boldly by the Washington Union editorially, and apparently authoritatively, and every man who questions any of them is denounced as an Abolitionist, a free-soiler, a fanatic. The propositions are, first that the primary object of all government at its original institution is the protection of persons and property; second, that the Constitution of the United States declares that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states; and that, therefore, thirdly, all state laws, whether organic or otherwise, which prohibit the citizens of one state from settling in another with their slave property, and especially declaring it forfeited, are direct violations of the original intention of the government and Constitution of the United States; and fourth, that the emancipation of the slaves of the northern states was a gross outrage on the rights of property, inasmuch as it was involuntarily done on the part of the owner.
this article was published in the Union on the 17th of November, and on
the 18th appeared the first article, giving the adhesion of the Union
to the Lecompton Constitution. It was in these words:
" 'Kansas and Her Constitution. The vexed question is settled. The problem is solved. The dead point of danger is passed. All serious trouble to Kansas affairs is over and gone '
"And a column, nearly, of the same sort. Then, when you come to look into the Lecompton Constitution, you find the same doctrine incorporated in it which was put forth editorially in the Union. What is it?
" 'Article J, Section 1. The right of property is before and higher than any constitutional sanction; and the right of the owner to a slave to such slave and its increase is the same and as invariable as the right of the owner of any property whatever.'
"Then in the schedule is a provision that the Constitution may be amended after 1864 by a two-thirds vote.
" 'But no alteration shall be made to affect the right of property in the ownership of slaves.'
"It will be seen by these clauses in the Lecompton Constitution that they are identical in spirit with this authoritative article in the Washington Union of the day previous to its indorsement of this Constitution.
"When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November, followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on the i8th of November, and this clause in the Constitution asserting the doctrine that a state has no right to prohibit slavery within its limits, I saw that there was a fatal blow being struck at the sovereignty of the states of the Union."
Here, he says, "Mr.
President, you here find several distinct propositions advanced boldly,
and apparently authoritatively." By whose authority, Judge Douglas?
(Great cheers and laughter.) Again, he says in another place, "It
will be seen by these clauses in the Lecompton Constitution that they
are identical with this authoritative article." By whose authority?
(Renewed cheers.) Who do you mean to say authorized the publication of
these articles ? He knows that the Washington Union is considered the
organ of the Administration. I demand of Judge Douglas by whose authority
he meant to say those articles were published, if not by the authority
of the President of the United States and his Cabinet? I defy him to show
whom he referred to, if not to these high functionaries in the Federal
Government. More than this, he says the articles in that paper and the
provisions of the Lecompton Constitution are "identical" and,
being identical, he argues that the authors are co-operating and conspiring
together. He does not use the word "conspiring" but what other
construction can you put upon it ? He winds up with this:
"When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November, followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on the 18th of November, and this clause in the Constitution asserting the doctrine that a state has no right to prohibit slavery within its limits, I saw there was a fatal blow being struck at the sovereignty of the states of this Union."
I ask him if all this fuss was made over the editor of this newspaper. (Laughter.) It would be a terribly "fatal blow" indeed which a single man could strike, when no President, no Cabinet officer, no member of Congress, was giving strength and efficiency to the movement. Out of respect to Judge Douglas' good sense I must believe he did not manufacture his idea of the "fatal" character of that blow out of such a miserable scapegrace as he represents that editor to be. But the judge's eye is farther south now. (Laughter and cheers.) Then, it was very peculiarly and decidedly north. His hope rested on the idea of enlisting the great "Black Republican" party, and making it the tail of his new kite. (Great laughter.) He knows he was then expecting from day to day to turn Republican, and place himself at the head of our organization. He has found that these despised "Black Republicans" estimated him by a standard which he has taught them only too well. Hence he is crawling back into his old camp, and you will find him eventually installed in full fellowship among those whom he was then battling, and with whom he now pretends to be at such fearful variance. (Loud applause and cries of "Go on, go on,") I cannot, gentlemen, my time has expired.
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Stories, Volume 1
The firing upon Fort Sumter and the overt attempt to break up the Union in 1861, was not a surprise to the people of Stephenson County. Since 1848, there had been a great amount of public discussion on the slavery question; in the two newspapers, on the stump and in great public meetings, culminating in the debate between Lincoln and Douglas in 1858. The lines were sharply drawn between Whigs and Democrats and later between Democrats and Republicans. In the press and on the stump, each side assailed the policy of the other as leading toward disunion. Both sides were honest and sincere. Each believed the policy of the other to lead to disunion. On the question of perpetuity of the Union, there was no difference of opinion in this county.
Events followed fast upon each other, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, the Civil war in Kansas, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid, the Dred Scott decision, the nomination of Lincoln and the split in the Democratic party in 1860, all of which prepared the public mind for the approaching struggle. The conflict had raged for twenty years, and its intensity had raised up a mass of men of powerful conviction. The issues had passed from the abstract to the concrete and by 1860, the line of demarcation was geographical.
The firing on Fort Sumter, while not a surprise, presented a new situation. The issue was no longer slavery, it was the preservation of the National Union. While Stephenson County had been sharply divided on the various issues arising out of the slavery question, her people stood almost a unit on the greater question of the preservation of the Union, and how well they did their part in the greatest crisis of the nation, is written in the history of her fighting men on the battlefield. Party lines were practically obliterated and Democrats and Republicans went to the front side by side, not to free the negroes, but to save a nation.
Douglas, in his Chicago speech, revealed his true greatness by coming out strongly on the side of Lincoln and the Union.
Old Plymouth Hall, where the Wilcoxen building now stands, was Freeport's Fanueil Hall. April 18, Thursday evening, 1861, a mass meeting was called for Plymouth Hall. The people rallied to the hall in great numbers and in feverish excitement and with a spirit of determination. Hon. F. W. S. Brawley was elected chairman; J. R. Scroggs and C. K. Judson, secretaries. On motion of J. W. Shaffer, Thomas Wilcoxen, J. M. Smith, W. P. Malburn, H. H. Taylor, Capt. Crane and Dr. Martin were elected vice presidents. A commitee on resolutions was appointed. It consisted of J. W. Shaffer, James Mitchell, C. K. Judson, J. R. Scroggs and A. H. Stone. Stirring speeches were made by Smith D. Atkins, Charles Betts, C. S. Bagg and William Wagner of the Anzeiger. Resolutions straight to the point, declaring love for the Union and for the enforcement of the law, were adopted.
When a telegram came, April 17, 1861, that Lincoln had issued his first call for troops, Mr. Smith D. Atkins, then state's attorney for the district, at once drafted an enlistment roll and wrote his own name at the head of the list, the first to enlist from the county. Largely through his efforts a company was raised, a company organization perfected. Mr. Atkins was elected captain; M. E. Newcomer, first lieutenant; S. W. Field, second lieutenant; E. T. Goodrich, H. A. Sheetz, William Polk and R. W. Hulbert, sergeants; C. T. Dunham, J. O. Churchill, R. H. Rodearmel and W. W. Lott, corporals; C. E. Cotton, drummer; and J. R. Harding, fifer.
The officers and the following privates took the oath April 20, 1861 W. W. Allen, J. W. Brewster, Robert Brennan, W. N. Blakeman, A. S. Best, H. P. Parker, W.. H. Brown, Frank Bellman, J. S. Chambers, J. M. Chown, Thomas Chattaway, A. Coppersmith, F. Dreener, J. W. Duncan, J. P. Davis, M. Eshelman, William Eddy, J. Geiser, J. R. Hayes, E. J. Hurlburt, W. J. Hoover, L. Hall, T. J. Hathaway, J. E. Hershey, J. F. Harnish, F. M. DeArmit, W. W. Hunt, W. J. Irvin, S. H. Ingham, Nicholas Kassel, D. L. Fanner, O. F. Lamb, T. H. Loveland, S. Lindeman, S. Lebkicker, J. H. McGee, U. B. McDowell, W. T. McLaughlin, F. Murphy, D. McCormick, J. M. Miller, F. R. McLaughlin, J. P. Owen, J. Pratt, A. Patterson, G. L. Piersol, N. Smith, L. Strong, J. S. Stout, O. F. Smith, M. Slough, C. Sched, J. S. Sills, C. G. Stafford, T. Wishart, W. P. Waggoner, M. S. Weaver, J. Walton, Stephens Waterbury, J. Walkey and J. Work.
May 1, 1861, the company left for Springfield. It was a stirring day in old Freeport. Three thousand people were out to see the first company of Stephenson county boys leave for the front. The company was escorted to the station by the Union Cornet Band and by Capt. W. B. Mills Company. At Springfield, Capt. Atkins' Company was assigned as Company A, the Eleventh Regiment of Illinois Volunteers.
A second company was soon organized, with W. J. McKimm, captain; Henry Settlee and Philip Arno, lieutenants; Carl F. Wagner, Jacob Hoebel, D. A. Golpin and Theodore Grove, sergeants. The company included Joseph Meyer, Jacob Fiscus, E. Wike, John Bauscher, L. Lehman, Amos D. Hemming, Joseph Boni, George Moggly, Dietrich Sweden, John Kruse, Meinhard Herren, C. H. Gramp, Jacob Steinhauer, Mat Allard, John Berry, Peter E. Smith, James Holmes, Henry Groenewald, Albert Kocher, Thomas Burling, C. Protexter, David Stocks, Henry Luttig, Thomas Shuler, Adam Haiser, Andrew Olnhausen, E. Neese, David French, J. M. Maynard, A. Borches, Jacob Doll, John A. Raymer, Jacob Ernst, Leonard Sherman, Frederick Deusing, John T. Palmer, John Wheeler, Martin Aikey, R. Harberts, A. V. L. Roosa, Emanuel Evee, C. F. A. Kellogg, John Niemeyer, Thomas Willan, James Vore, August Temple, Jacob Rohrback, Henry Spies, Charles Entorff, Isaac Kephart, James Barron, Herman Froning, Daniel F. Shirk, James Kenneg, Albert J. Miller, William H. Hennich, John Wiefenbach, William Morris, Henry Kasper, Martin D. Rollison, Henry D. Black, John F. Black, Henry Rubald, Bernard O'Brien, George Philbrick, William Quinn, John B. Yoder, John Ginther, M. D. Miller, John Yordy, Moses Burns, Gotlieb Vollmer, Garrison Haines and Max Lamprecht, privates.
A company organized at Lena went to the front in the Fifteenth Illinois. Camp Scott had been opened on what is now Taylor's Park and to this company came volunteers from all points of the compass. Hon. Thomas J. Turner was colonel of the Fifteenth Regiment recruited at Camp Scott, and the regiment left for Alton, June 19, 1861. An immense crowd gathered at the railroad station to see the regiment leave for the war. Such a scene beggars description, the parting of friends, relatives and loved ones, the martial music of fife and drum, and through all a deep stirred patriotism and loyalty.
At the close of the three months' service, Capt. Atkins and his company reenlisted, as Company A, Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at Birds Point.
At least three regiments containing Stephenson County volunteers were in the battle at the capture of Fort Donelson. In September, 1862, the Ninety-second Illinois was organized, with volunteers from Lancaster, Kent, Erin, Buckeye and Jefferson townships. In June, 1862, a company of three months' men was organized under Capt. James !W. Crane; lieutenants, Stephen Allen and Lorenzo Williard; sergeants, John Stine, James R. Bake, Charles A. Dodge, John D. Lamb and Harrison W. Sigworth; and corporals, C. D. Bentley, Ambrose Martin, Sidney Robins, H. S. Ritz, W. H. Heyt and W. H. Battle. In 1862, an enrollment of the county showed 3,000 men able for duty.
War meetings were held at Freeport, Lena, Cedarville, Winslow and other places in the county in 1862 and 1863.
Besides sending a large percentage to the fighting line, the people of the county loyally aided the needy at the front and at home. Fairs were held and money was donated to support families whose heads had gone to war. Dr. W. P. Narramore, of Lena, and other physicians gave their services freely to the families of soldiers. Through all there was a magnificent spirit of cooperation born of necessity.
The draft was enforced but once, and during the war this county furnished 3,168 soldiers.
THE CIVIL WAR.
Mr. Luther B. Angle wrote the following article which was published in the Freeport Daily Journal, May 31, 1910. It is a good explanation of the part Cedarville played in the Civil War
"Cedarville was represented in thirteen different regiments during the Civil War. The village had men in the Third and Seventh Illinois Cavalry; the Eleventh, Twelfth, Fifteenth, Twenty-sixth, Thirty-second, Forty-sixth, Ninety-second (mounted), Ninety-third, One Hundred and Forty-second, One Hundred and Forty-sixth and One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiments of Illinois Volunteer Infantry and in one battery.
We would like to
mention all of the families, but will mention only a few notable large
Aikey Three brothers. Hiram Clingman Five brothers. John Clingman Four brothers. Josiah Clingman Three brothers. Carman Father and three sons. Humphrey Three brothers. Haines Three brothers. Helm Three brothers. Ilgen Two brothers and one brother-in-law. Kostenbader Three brothers. Kahley Three brothers. Piersol Father and two sons. Rutter Father and two sons. Vore Father and three sons. Diemer Three brothers. Patten Three brothers.
From the little stream south and east of the village in a distance of one mile, there came thirteen soldiers; one family (Heck) furnished three sons and one son-in-law; another family (Kryder) three sons and two sons-in-law and one brother-in-law. So we think we have a record hard to beat at any time or place, or in any war. Eighteen families furnished sixty-three soldiers.
In Company G, Captain Joseph Reel's company of the Ninety-third, fifty of the company went from Cedarville, including the other captain, Samuel Daughenbaugh, and the two first lieutenants, Jerimiah Piersol, who was succeeded by his son, George Piersol.
The Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry was represented by more than sixty members one field officer, Major Joseph Clingman; twelve members of Company K, including Captain William Stewart and First Lieutenant J. Wilson; twenty-one members of Company G, including Captain Samuel Buchanan, First Lieutenant Thomas B. Jones of Company B, and six members of his company.
Cedarville also furnished First Lieutenant Jason Clingman of the Tenth Iowa Infantry.
Thus we have a total of ten commissioned officers from Cedarville, one major, four captains and five first lieutenants.
A few years ago Major General Nelson A. Miles, in a speech in Freeport, said that after consulting the census reports of Stephenson County, he found that this county sent 72 per cent of the adult male population into the army.
CAMP LIFE OF THE
In the History of the Forty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, the author, Lieutenant T. B. Jones, writing of the life of the volunteers in camp, says: "We were put to drill at once, and toes and heels were soon sore from the treading of the men before and kicks of those behind, as we marched by file, by flank and in line. Not having any arms at first we held our hands at our sides, directing our mental faculties to the task of keeping our little fingers on the seams of our trouser legs and the more difficult requirements of keeping step. As duty was then impressed upon us, the salutation of the Union seemed to depend on our fidelity in just covering the seams and keeping step with our front rank men or file leaders, eyes fifteen paces to front on the ground. The men were a motley host, mostly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, full of animal life, light-hearted, disposed to see fun in everything, and what witty things one did not think of some one else did. There were men of all trades and professions. There were athletes, who could "do" all the feats of the circus ring. There were clowns, too, full of a waggery that kept the camp in a roar. Tailors, barbers, expert clerks, to keep company records, teamsters, lumbermen, skilled with the axe; in short, the regiment could find in its ranks men adapted to any service, from running or repairing a locomotive to butchering an ox. Only a few were slaves of drink. They became frequent tenants of the guard house and soon, in one way or another, got out of the service. Their pranks and stratagems to get liquor were many and witty; amusing to men and annoying to officers. One scape-grace would make shoulder straps out of orange peel, pin them on his coat and stride out of the guard house, past the innocent sentry with the consequential air of a major general, only to turn up a little later roaring drunk in camp.
Life in camp was very regular. At five o'clock the reveille sounded and all must rise at once and bound from the little tent in which six men slept in straw and blankets. As soon as straw and chaff could be combed from the hair and the soldier properly clad, the line was formed in each company street for roll call. A half hour was then spent in "policing" camp, that is, in cleaning up the streets, airing tents, blankets, etc. At half past six the companies formed to march to breakfast, each man armed with a knife, fork and tin cup. Thus they marched to the mess table, opened files to surround the table; the command "inward face" brought the company in line of battle in front of rations. "Touch hats" "Seats," was next ordered and executed. The rattle of knives, forks, cups and tin plates and the roar of a thousand voices calling in every key for "bread," "coffee," "water," presented a scene of very active service.
At half past seven a tap of the drum called for squad drill. For an hour squads of men, nearly all the regiment, marched, filed, faced, turned, double-quicked, invariably holding on to the seam of the trouser legs, and soon became familiar with the simple movements in the schools of the soldier. At nine the guard mount, a pompous ceremony in which the sergeant-major and adjutant figured as great dignitaries. At eleven battalion drill for an hour gave all an insight into how much our company commanders did not know about war. Then dinner and some lolling about in the heat of the day; but two o'clock found the battalion again formed and executing many movements, the command and executions of which are long forgotten. We drilled in Hardee's tactics, then thought to be the perfection of simple direct evolution. We formed line, advanced and retreated, changed front forward and to the rear. We marched in close column, formed square; we charged at double-quick and retreated slowly as if yielding the field inch by inch, and we kept the little finger on the seam of our trousers, though the sweat tickled our faces and the flies tortured our noses. A grateful country never fully appreciates the services and sufferings of the raw recruit. Company drill of one hour was one of the most important of all, for here the commanding officers were supposed to impart to their men complete instructions, according to Hardee, in all the maneuvers in military instruction. This was not always done, for the officers, most of them, were only beginners in their military education, and after they had acquired some knowledge, the putting into practice the different evolutions was in many case a difficult task. Diligent application to this work, with the aid of a few instructors, soon gave them the necessary knowledge and with practice the most of them became well informed. Some of them made the best commanders of the army and made their mark in after-time in all the duties of army life.
Dress parade came off at five o'clock. The guard ceremonial of the day, described by one of the wags of the regiment as a "hard job o' standing still." At six o'clock supper and then the play spell of the day. Usually a circus was organized and the athletes of the regiment vied with each other, while the wags made the welkin ring with their drolleries. As darkness stole on the noise subsided into a hum of conversation in the tents, or the singing of plaintive songs, for the hallowing influence of eve steals over the rough soldier as well as the sentimental poet.
At nine o'clock the tattoo was beaten, the evening roll called, then camp was in slumber. Boots and shoes for pillows, straw and a blanket, worse than a white horse in coat-shedding time, made us comfortable beds, whatever our opinion may have been of them in those days of our callow experience.
The regiment was called into service under proclamation of the president, April 16, 1861; organized at Springfield, and mustered into service April 30, 1861, by Capt. Pope, for three months.
During this term of service, the regiment was stationed at Villa Ridge, Illinois, to June 20th, then removed to Bird's Point, Missouri, where it remained, performing garrison and field duty, until July 30th, when the regiment was mustered out, and re-enlisted for three years' service. During the three months' term, the lowest aggregate was eight hundred and eighty-two and the highest nine hundred and thirty-three, and at the muster-out was nine hundred and sixteen.
Upon the re-muster, July I3th, the aggregate was two hundred and eighty-eight. During the months of August, September, October and November, the regiment was recruited to an aggregate of eight hundred and one. In the meantime were doing garrison and field duty, participating in the following expeditions September 9th to 11th, expedition toward New Madrid; October 6th to ?th, to Charleston, Missouri; November 3rd to 12th, to Bloomfield, Missouri, via Commerce, returning via Cape Girardeau; January 7th and 8th, expedition to Charleston, Missouri, skirmished with a portion of the command of Jeff Thompson; January 13th to 20th, reconnaissance of Columbus, Kentucky, under Gen. Grant; January 25th to 28th, to Sikestown, Missouri, February 2nd embarked on transports to Fort Henry, participating in campaign against that place, February 5th moved toward Fort Donelson; February 12th, 13th and 14th occupied in investing that place, 12th heavily engaged with the enemy about five hours, losing three hundred and twenty-nine killed, wounded and missing, out of about five hundred engaged, of whom seventy-five was killed and one hundred and eighty-two wounded; March 4th and 5th, en route to Fort Henry; 5th to 13th enroune to Savannah, Tennessee, in transports; 23d to 25th, en route for Savannah to Pittsburg landing; April 6th and 7th, engaged in battle of Shiloh, losing twenty-seven killed and wounded, out of one hundred and fifty engaged; April 24th to June 4th, participated in siege of Corinth, thence marched to Jackson, Tennessee, making headquarters here to August 2d, participating in two engagements; July 1st and 2nd toward Trenton, Tennessee; July 23rd to 28th, to Lexington, Tennessee; August 2nd moved to Cairo, Illinois, for purpose of recruiting; remained at that point until August 23d, thence to Puducah, Kentucky, remaining there until November 20th; in the meantime engaged in two expeditions; August 23rd to September 16th, to Clarksville, Tennessee, via Forts Henry and Donelson; October 31st to November 13th, expeditions to Hopkinsville, Kentucky; November 20th to 14th, en route to La Grange, Tennessee, where the regiment reported and was assigned to Brig. Gen. McArthur's Division, Left Wing, I3th Army Corps.
From this time to January 12th, 1863, participated in campaign in Northern Mississippi, marching via Tallahatchie (where the regiment was engaged in a sharp skirmish); from thence to Abbeville; thence seven miles below Oxford; thence to Holly Springs, Moscow and Memphis, Tenn., remaining in Memphis until the 7th, when it embarked on transport and en route to Young's Point until 24th, remaining there until February 5th, then moved to Lake Providence, and assigned to the seventeenth Army Corps, making headquarters there until April 20th, participating in expedition to American Bend, from March 17th to 28th. April 23, 1863, the One Hundred and Ninth Illinois Infantry was transferred to the Eleventh, five hundred and eighty-nine being the aggregate gained by the transfer. April 26th, regiment moved with column to rear to Vicksburg, via Richmond, Perkins Landing, Grand Gulf, Raymond and Black River, arriving before the works May 18th; May 9th and 22nd engaged in assaults on the enemy's works; then in the advance siege works to July 4th, at time of surrender; the regiment losing in the siege and assault and field officer (Col. Garrett Nevins) killed; three line officers wounded, and forty men killed and wounded; July 17th moved with expedition to Natchez, Mississippi, participating in expedition to Woodville, Mississippi, making headquarters there to July 29, 1864; in the meantime engaged in the following expeditions: February 1st to March 8th, up Yazoo River to Greenwood, Mississippi, having a skirmish at Liverpool Heights, February 5th, losing four killed and nine wounded; action at Yazoo City March 5th, losing one line officer killed, eight men killed, twenty-four wounded and twelve missing; April 6th to 28th, at Black River Bridge; May 4th to 21st, expedition to Yazoo City, Benton and Vaughn's Station, Mississippi, taking a prominent part in three important skirmishes; July 1st to 7th, with an expedition to Jackson, Mississippi, under Maj. Gen. Slocum, engaged with the enemy three times; July 9th, moved to Morganza and was assigned to nineteenth Army Corps, staying there to September 3d; in the meantime participating in an expedition to Clinton, Louisiana, August 24th to 29th; September 3d moved to mouth of White River, Arkansas; October 8th moved to Memphis, Tennessee, returning to White River October 25th; November 6th and 7th, expedition to Games' Landing; November the 8th, moved to Duvall's Bluff, Arkansas; November 30th to December 4th, en route to Memphis, Tennessee; December 20th to 31st, expedition to Moscow, Tennessee; January 1st to 5th, en route to Kenner, Louisiana; February 4th to 7th, en route to Dauphine Island, via Lake Pontchartrain; March 17th to April 12th, engaged in operations against Mobile, Alabama, marching from Fort Morgan, participating in the investment and siege, and final capture of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, and in the assault on the latter; April 12th marched into and took possession of the city of Mobile, staying there until the 27th of May, when embarked in transport and moved via Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans, from thence to Alexandria, Louisiana, remaining there until June 22d; thence to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to be mustered out of service; mustered out July 14, 1865, and left for Springfield, Illinois, for payment and final discharge.
Killed in the field
and died of wounds 149
Aggregate three-months' service 933
Aggregate three-years' service 1879
Field and staff, three-years' service 53
The Fifteenth Regiment Infantry, Illinois Volunteers, was organized at Freeport, Illinois, and mustered into the United States service May 24, 1861, being the first regiment organized for the state for the three-year service. It then proceeded to Alton, Illinois, remaining there six weeks for instruction. Left Alton for St. Charles, Missouri, thence by rail to Mexico, Missouri. Marched to Hannibal, Missouri; thence by steamboat to Jefferson Barracks; then by rail to Rolla, Missouri. Arrived in time to cover Gen. Siegel's retreat for Wilson's Creek; thence to Tipton, Missouri, and thence joined Gen. Fremont's army. Marched from there to Springfield, Missouri; thence back to Tipton; then to Sedalia, with Gen. Pope, and assisted in the capture of one thousand three hundred of the enemy a few miles from the latter place; then marched to Otterville, Missouri, where it went into winter quarters December 26, 1861. Remained there until February 1, 1862, then marched to Jefferson City; thence to St. Louis by rail; embarked on transports for Fort Donelson, arriving there the day of the surrender.
The regiment was then assigned to the fourth division, General Hurlbut commanding and marched to Fort Henry. Then embarked on transports for Pittsburg' Landing. Participated in the battles of the 6th and 7th of April, losing two hundred and fifty-two men killed and wounded. Among the former were Lieutenant Colonel E. T. W. Ellis, Major Goddard, Captains Brownell and Wayne, and Lieutenant John W. Puterbaugh. Captain Adam Nase, wounded and taken prisoner. The regiment then marched to Corinth, participating in various skirmishes and the siege of that place, losing a number of men killed and wounded.
After the evacuation of Corinth, the regiment marched to Grand Junction; thence to Holly Springs; back to Grand Junction; thence to La Grange; thence to Memphis, arriving there July 21, 1862, and remaining there until September 6th. Then marched to Bolivar; thence to the Hatchie River. Lost, fifty killed and wounded in that engagement. Then returned to Bolivar; from thence to La Grange; thence with General Grant down through Mississippi to Coffeeville, returning to La Grange and Memphis; thence to Vicksburg, marched with Sherman to Jackson, Mississippi, then returned to Vicksburg and embarked for Natchez. Marched thence to Kingston; returned to Natchez; then to Harrisonburg, Louisiana, capturing Fort Beauregard, on the Washita River. Returned to Natchez, remained there until November 10, 1863. Proceeded to Vicksburg and went into winter quarters. Here the regiment re-enlisted as veterans, remaining until February 1, 1864, when it moved with General Sherman through Mississippi. On Champion Hills had a severe engagement with rebel Carney. Marched to Meridian; thence south to Enterprise; thence back to Vicksburg. Was then ordered to Illinois on veteran furlough. On expiration of furlough, joined seventeenth army corps, and proceeded up the Tennessee River to Clinton; thence to Huntsville. Alabama; thence to Decatur and Rome, Georgia; thence to Kingston, and joined General Sherman's army, marching to Atlanta.
At Allatoona Pass, the fifteenth and the fourteenth infantry was consolidated, and the organization was known as the Veteran Battalion Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers, and numbering six hundred and twenty-five men. From Allatoona Pass it proceeded to Ackworth and was then assigned to duty, guarding the Chattanooga & Atlanta Railroad. While engaged in this duty the regiment being scattered along the line of road, the rebel General Hood, marched north struck the road at Big Shanty and Ackworth, and captured about three hundred of the command. The remainder retreated to Marietta, were mounted and acted as scouts for General Vandever. They were afterward transferred to General F. P. Blair, and marched with General Sherman through Georgia.
After the capture
of Savannah, the regiment proceeded to Beaufort, South Carolina; thence
to Salkahatchie River, participating in the various skirmishes in that
vicinity Columbia, South Carolina, Fayetteville, North Carolina, battle
of Bentonville losing a number wounded; thence to Goldsboro and Raleigh.
At Raleigh, recruits sufficient to fill up both regiments were received,
and the organization of the Veteran Battalion discontinued, and the fifteenth
re-organized. The campaign of General Sherman ended by the surrender of
General Johnston, The regiment then marched with the army to Washington,
D. C., via Richmond and Fredericksburg, and participated in the grand
review of Washington, May 24, 1865; remained there two weeks. Proceeded
by rail and steamboat to Louisville, Kentucky; remained at Louisville
two weeks. The regiment was then detached from the Fourth Division, Seventeenth
Army Corps, and proceeded by steamer to St. Louis; from thence to Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas, arriving there July 1, 1865. Joined the army serving
on the plains. Arrived at Fort Kearney August 14th; then ordered to return
to Fort Leavenworth September 1, 1865, where the regiment was mustered
out of the service and placed en route for Springfield, Illinois, for
final payment and discharge, having served four years and four months.
Number of miles marched 4,299
Number of miles by rail 2,403
Number of miles by steamer 4,310
Total miles traveled 11,012
Number of men joined for organization 1,963
Number of men at date of muster out 640
The Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry was mustered into the United States service, with seven companies at Camp Butler, Illinois, August 31, 1861, and were ordered to Quincy, Illinois, for the protection of that place. Not having been armed the regiment did guard duty with hickory clubs. During the autumn the regiment did guard duty on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, and were armed with old English Tower muskets Colonel John Mason Loomis commanding post at Hannibal.
Prior to January 1, 1862, three more companies were raised, completing the organization. February 19, 1862, they left Hannibal, Missouri, for the south, stopping at Commerce, where the regiment was assigned to Brigadier General J. B. Plummer's brigade, Brigadier General Schuyler Hamilton's division, Major General John Pope's corps.
They arrived in New Madrid, March 3, and were engaged in action there; marched to Point Pleasant, and arriving on the 6th, engaged rebel gunboats with sharp-shooters and prevented the landing of the enemy; marched to intercept the flying enemy from island number ten, and assisted in capturing many prisoners.
After remaining some time at New Madrid, joined an expedition against Fort Pillow; returning, proceeded up the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers to Hamburg Landing; took part in the siege at Corinth; May 8th and 9th were engaged at Farmington, the regiment losing five killed and thirty wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Charles J. Tinkham was among the wounded; Colonel Loomis commanded the brigade, and General Stanley the division. May 28th, engaged the enemy one mile from Corinth, the regiment losing four killed and twenty-five wounded; Major Gilmore was wounded. Company G of the Twenty-sixth was the first to enter Corinth on evacuation by the enemy; engaged in the pursuit to Booneville, and returned to Clear Creek, four miles from Corinth. June 23d, ordered to Danville, Mississippi, where we remained until August 18, 1862, at which time we joined the brigade commanded by Colonel R. C. Murphy, Eighth Wisconsin, and marched for Tuscumbia, arrived 21st; September 8th, with Forty-seventh and Twenty-sixth, Lieutenant Colonel Tinkham commanding, marched to Clear Creek; September i8th, marched for luka; igth, were engaged with the enemy in a brigade commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Mower, of the Eleventh Missouri; the enemy evacuating in the night, we joined in the pursuit, arriving at Corinth October 3d, and participating in the battle of Corinth; after the battle followed the retreating enemy as far as Ripley.
Ten days afterward, arrived again at Corinth, where we stayed' until November 2d. Marched via Holly Junction, Holly Springs and Lumpkin's Mill toward Tallahatchie River, the enemy being fortified on the south side of the river. The regiment was here detailed to guard a commissary train to Hudsonville, during the trip, losing two men killed and two wounded by guerrillas; ordered to Holly Springs for guard duty; thence to Oxford, Mississippi, where we remained until December 20th; ordered to Holly Springs, to prevent the capture of that place; on the 21st reached that place, the enemy having fled; remained here during the year, Colonel Loomis commanding the post, and Lieutenant Colonel Gilmore as chief of outposts.
In the beginning of the year 1863, the post of Holly Springs was broken up and the army fell back to La Grange, Tennessee, where the regiment was assigned to duty as provost guard, Colonel Loomis commanding the post. Here it remained until March 8th.
March 3d the regiment was brigaded with the Ninetieth Illinois, Twelfth and One Hundredth Indiana, Colonel Loomis commanding. March 9th the brigade marched from La Grange to Collierville, Tennessee, where they remained three months, engaged in fortifying the place and defending the railroad against guerrillas and bushwhackers. June 7th, left Colliersville for Memphis. The following day they embarked for Haines' Bluff. The regiment subsequently went into camp at Oak Ridge, where it remained until after the fall of Vicksburg.
On the afternoon of July 4th, started in pursuit of the retreating forces of General Johnston. The siege of Jackson was marked by severe skirmishing in one of which Captain James A. Dugger, of Company C, was instantly killed by a round shot through the breast, and a number of men were killed and wounded. About the 22d of July, began the march back to Vicksburg, and when the troops crossed Black River they went into camp for the summer. September 28, the encampment was broken up and the regiment marched into Vicksburg and there embarked for Memphis, where it arrived on the 7th of October.
Here a few days were given for the purpose of outfitting the men, preparatory for the long march across the country from Memphis to Chattanooga, to relieve the besieged army of the Cumberland. The march began at 8 A. M., October 9th; arrived at Bridgeport November 15th, and on the 24th and 25th took an active part in the battle of Mission Ridge, losing, in killed and wounded, one hundred and one officers and men.
Among the officers severely wounded were Lieutenant Colonel Gilmore, Captain James P. Davis, Company B.; Adjutant Edward A. Tucker and Lieutenant William Polk, Company B. The next morning, started before daylight, in pursuit of the defeated and flying enemy; followed them to Ringgold, Georgia, burnt the bridges and destroyed the railroad; then turned to make the march of two hundred miles, without supplies, cooking utensils, camp equipage, or change of clothing, to the relief of General Burnside, at Knoxville; returned to Bridgeport in the latter part of December; were reclothed, paid off, and marched to Scottsboro, Alabama, and went into winter quarters.
January 1, 1864, there were five hundred and fifteen men present for duty of whom four hundred and sixty-three re-enlisted as veterans. Of sixty-one men present in Company K, sixty re-enlisted.
January 12th, started home on veteran furlough. At the expiration of furlough, returned to the field with ranks well filled with recruits. Arrived at old camp at Scottsboro, March 3d, and remained there until May 1st, when it started on the great Atlanta campaign.
The regiment was actively engaged in all the marches, skirmishes and battles which finally resulted in the capture of Atlanta. On the 3d of August, a detail of nine hundred men was made on the division, to charge the enemy's skirmish line. The charge was to be made over an old field, covered with high grass, a distance of about four "hundred yards. When the signal was given the men started on a keen run for the rebel works.
Private John S. Wilson of Company D, Twenty-sixth Illinois, a stout active fellow, outrun the rest, and suddenly found himself alone in front of a rebel pit, which had been concealed by the tall grass, filled with seventeen men and a commissioned officer. He drew up his musket and told them to "fight or run, and that did quick." All surrendered except the officer, who started to run, and he shot him. It was laughable to see "Buck," as he was called, marching back with his seventeen prisoners. By order of General Logan, he retained the officer's sword and a fine Whitney rifle, found in the pit, and now has them at home as mementoes of his gallantry.
After the fall of Atlanta most of the old officers were mustered out at the expiration of their term of service. Only two of the original officers remained, one of whom, Captain Ira J. Bloomfield, Company K, was made colonel of the regiment. About the same time the fourth division, Fifteenth Army corps, was broken up and the regiment was transferred to the first division of the same corps with which it remained until the close of the war.
The regiment did some hard marching, following Hood up toward Chattanooga, and off into northern Alabama; then returned to Atlanta; were paid and reclothed, preparatory to "marching through Georgia."
The twenty-sixth were engaged in the action of Griswoldville, siege of Savannah, and capture of Fort McAlister. A short time after the fall of Savannah, the regiment was ordered to Beaufort, South Carolina, and remained on duty there and at Port Royal Ferry until the commencement of the northward march through the Carolinas; were among the first regiments into Columbia, and were hotly engaged in the battle of Bentonville. Here the regiment was ordered to carry the bridge across Mill Creek, which was strongly guarded by the enemy.
The regiment charged and carried it but lost a number of good men. Sergeant Smith of Company K, color bearer, was charging at the head of the column across the bridge and was shot, the colors falling into the stream. The enemy rushed forward to secure them, but Lieutenant Webster, with Company E, charged, drove them back and saved the colors. Colonel Bloomfield had his horse shot under him, and narrowly escaped himself.
Remained at Goldsboro, North Carolina, a few days, and April 10, began to march against Raleigh. Left Raleigh May 1 for Washington, via Richmond; participated in the grand review at Washington; transported by rail to Parkersburg, Virginia; thence by boat to Louisville, Kentucky, where it remained in camp until July 20, 1865, when it was mustered out of service and started for Springfield, Illinois, for final payment and discharge. July 28th the regiment was paid off and disbanded.
The regiment had marched during its four years of service, six thousand nine hundred and thirty-one miles, fought twenty-eight hard battles, besides innumerable skirmishes. They were permitted by the order of the commanding general to place upon their banners "New Madrid," "Island No. 10," "Farmington," "Siege of Corinth," "luka," "Corinth 3d and 4th October, 1862," "Holly Springs," "Vicksburg," "Jackson, Miss.," "Mission Ridge," "Reseca," "Kenesaw", "Ezra Church," "Atlanta," "Jonesboro," "Griswoldville," "McAllister," "Savannah," "Columbia," "Bentonville.'
The Washburne Lead Mine Regiment was organized at Chicago, Illinois, December 25, 1861, by Colonel John E. Smith, and mustered into the United States service as the Forty-fifth Infantry Illinois Volunteers, January 15, 1862.
Moved to Cairo, Illinois, February 1, assigned to brigade of Colonel W. H. L. Wallace division of Brigadier General McClernand. February 4 landed below Fort Henry, on the Tennessee, and on the 6th marched into the fort, it having been surrendered to the gun-boats. February 9th moved toward Fort Donelson, and during the succeeding days bore its part of the suffering and of the battle. The flag of the forty-fifth was the first planted on the enemy's works. Loss, two killed and twenty-six wounded. March 4th moved to the Tennessee River, and 9th arrived at Savannah. Was engaged in the expedition to Pine Hook. March 25th moved to Pittsburg Landing, and encamped near Shiloh Church.
The Forty-fifth took a conspicuous and honorable part in the two days' battle of Shiloh, losing twenty-six killed and one hundred and ninety-nine wounded and missing, nearly one-half of the regiment. April 12th, Colonel John E. Smith, of the Forty-fifth, took command of the brigade. During the siege of Corinth, the regiment was in the first brigade, Third Division, Reserve Army of the Tennessee and bore its full share of the labors and dangers of the campaign. June 4th, the regiment was assigned to Third Brigade, and moved toward Purdy, fifteen miles. On the 5th, marched to Bethel; 7th, to Montezuma, and on the 8th, to Jackson, Tennessee, the enemy flying on its approach.
During the months of June and July, engaged in garrison and guard duty. August nth, assigned to guarding railroad, near Toon's Station. On the 31st, after much desperate fighting, Companies C and D were captured. The remainder of the regiment, concentrating at Toon's Station, were able to resist the attack of largely outnumbering forces. Loss, three killed, thirteen wounded and forty-three taken prisoners. September 7th, moved to Jackson; November 2d, to Bolivar, and was assigned to First Brigade, Third Division, Right Wing, Thirteenth Army Corps. November 3, 1862, marched from Bolivar to Van Buren; 4th, to La Grange, and was assigned to Provost duty; 28th, marched to Holly Springs; December 3d, to Waterford; 4th, Abbeville; 5th, to Oxford, to Yocano River, near Spring Dale.
Communications with the north having been cut off, foraged on the country for supplies. December 17th, notice received of the promotion of Colonel John E. Smith to Brigadier General, ranking from November 29th; December 22d, returned to Oxford; 24th moved to a camp three miles north of Abbeville, on the Tallahatchie River, where the regiment remained during the month. Mustered out July 12, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky, and arrived at Chicago, July 15, 1865, for final payment and discharge.
The forty-six Infantry Illinois volunteers was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois, December 28, 1861, by Colonel John A. Davis, ordered to Cairo, Illinois, February 5, 1862; from thence proceeded via the Cumberland River to Fort Donelson, Tennessee, arriving on the 14th and was assigned to the command of General Lew. Wallace; on the 15th lost one man killed and two wounded; 16th, moved through the works and to Dover; 19th, moved to Fort Henry. March 6th, embarked to Pittsburg Landing, where it arrived on the 18th.
The regiment was now in Second Brigade, Fourth Division, and Fourteenth and Fifteenth and Forty-sixth Illinois, and Twenty-fifth Indiana, Colonel James C. Veatch, Twenty-fifth, Indiana, commanding brigade, and Brigadier General S. A. Hurlbut, of Illinois, commanding division.
In the battle of Shiloh the 46th took a most conspicuous and honorable part, losing over half of its officers and men in killed and wounded and receiving the thanks of the commanding generals. Among the wounded were Colonel John A. Davis, Major Dornblasser, Captains Musser, Stephens, Marble and McCracken; Lieutenants Hood, Barr, Arnold, Ingraham and Howell. In this action the "Fighting Fourth Division" of General Hurlbut achieved a reputation for bravery to which it added on every field in which it was engaged until the close of the war.
Was engaged in the siege of Corinth, in the month of May. June 2, camped six miles west of Corinth; on the 10th marched to the Hatchie River; 15th, past through Grand Junction, and camped three miles from town; 24th moved to Collarbone Hill, near La Grange; on the 30th moved to Old Lamer Church. July 1, marched to Cold Water, and returned on the 6th; on the 7th, moved toward Memphis, marching via Moscow, Lafayette, Germantown and White's Station, and camping two miles south of Memphis on the 21st of July. August 27th, engaged in the scout to Pigeon Roost.
September the 6th, moved from Memphis towards Brownsville; 7th, marched through Raleigh and Union Stations; 9th, marched to Big Muddy River; 10th, via Hampton Station, to Danville; 12th, via Whiteville to Pleasant Creek; 14th, via Bolivar to Hatchie River. September 27, all the troops on the river at this place, were reviewed by General McPherson.
October 4, moved toward Corinth; 5th, met the enemy at Metamore. The forty-sixth was in position at the right of second brigade supporting Bolton's Battery. After an hour of shelling by the batteries, the infantry was ordered forward, and at a double quick, advanced, driving the enemy across the river.
The First Brigade coming up, "Hurlbut's Fighting Fourth Division" advanced and drove the enemy from the field, compelling their fight. Colonel John A. Davis, of the forty-sixth was mortally wounded in this action, and Lieutenant M. R. Thompson also both dying on the 10th. After the battle returned to Bolivar. November 3, marched to La Grange; 28th, moved to Holly Springs; 30th, toward Tallahatchie River, and camped near Waterford, Miss., where splendid winter quarters with mud chimneys and bake ovens complete, were fitted up in time to move away from them.
December the 9th, to Hurricane Creek, and 12th, to Yocona Station, where it remained until December 22, when it marched to Taylor's Station. Van Dorn, having captured Holly Springs, marched on the 23d, via Oxford, to Hurricane Creek; 24th, the Forty-sixth Illinois and Thirty-third Wisconsin moved, as train guard, to north side of Tallahatchie River; 26th, moved camp four miles nearer Holly Springs, between Waterford and Wyatt Stations.
January 6, 1863, moved to Holly Springs; 10th, Fifteenth and Forty-sixth Illinois were escorted to ammunition train to La Grange; 13th, marched to Moscow, where it remained until February 5, when it moved to Lafayette. The garrison of Moscow was First Brigade, Fourth Division, the Forty-sixth and Seventy-sixth Illinois of the Second Brigade, and two batteries; and the garrison of Lafayette the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois and one battery, Colonel Cyrus Hall commanding.
After rejoining brigade at Lafayette, marched on the 9th of March, via Collierville and Germantown, to Memphis. April 2, 1863, engaged in the expedition to Hernando, and returned on the 24th. May 13, embarked for Vicksburg, and on the 15th, landed at Young's Point; 18th, marched to Bower's landing; 19th moved to Sherman's landing; 20th moved by steamer up Yazoo to Chickasaw Bayou; disembarked and moved across the swamp to the bluff.
May 21, proceeded to the right of General Grant's army, and were then ordered to Snyder's Bluff; 24th, marched in the direction of Vicksburg; 25th, marched to the extreme left of the line. The regiment was detailed on picket duty, and during the night the outpost, consisting of five companies of the regiment, were captured by the enemy; 104 men and 7 officers were captured, 70 escaping.
The remainder of the regiment took an active part in the siege of Vicksburg; July 5th, moved to Clear Creek; 6th, to Bolton Station; 8th, to Clinton; 9th, to Dickens' Plantation, where it remained guarding train; 12th, moved into position on the extreme right of the line near Pearl River; engaged in the siege until the 16th, when the enemy evacuated Jackson, after which the regiment returned to Vicksburg.
The division was now transferred to the 17th corps, and Brigadier General M. M. Crocker assigned to command. August 12, moved to Natchez. September 1, went on an expedition into Louisiana, returning on the 8th. September the 16th, moved to Vicksburg. November 28, moved to Camp Cowan, on Clear Creek. January 4, 1863, the Forty-sixth was mustered as a veteran regiment; 12th, started north for veteran furlough; 23, arrived at Freeport, Illinois; and on the 27th, the regiment was furloughed.
Organized at Rockford and mustered into the United States service September 6, 1862. Companies G. and I. were from Ogle and Stephenson Counties; all the rest were from Winnebago County.
Left Rockford September 27 for Jeffersonville, Indiana. Arrived there October 1, and moved to Louisville, Kentucky, immediately. Assigned to Army of the Cumberland, First Brigade, Second Division, under General Buell.
Moved from Louisville, October 7, and was in the battle of Chaplain Hills, Kentucky, October 13, from there to Crab Orchard, Kentucky, pursuing Bragg, participating in many skirmishes.
Returned from Lebanon, Kentucky, October 25; from there it went to Nashville, Tennessee, where a re-organization was effected, under General Rosecrans, December 25, received marching orders, with three days' rations. Participated in the battle of Stone River, December 30-31, 1862, and January 1, 1863, the regiment losing sixteen men killed and wounded.
Went into winter quarters at Camp Little, south of Murfreesboro, and were engaged in numerous raids in the surrounding country.
Moved from winter quarters July 15, was in the battle of Liberty Gap, July 20, one man killed; was engaged at Tullahoma, Tennessee; from here it was ordered to Winchester, Tennessee, where it encamped.
Moved August 20, to Stevenson, Alabama. Engaged at Chickamauga, September 18, 19 and 20; lost five men. The regiment on the latter date was in charge of hospital and supply trains, arriving at Chattanooga, Tennessee, September 22. While here it had very short allowances until November 22, when they participated in the fight of Mission Ridge, November 25, their colors being the first to pass over the rebel lines, capturing a battery of four pieces at Bragg's headquarters; loss to regiment, six privates, Colonel Jason Marsh, wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Kerr wounded in the arm.
Returned to Chattanooga on the 26th, and marched to Knoxville, Tennessee, to relieve General Burnside, and then went into winter quarters about December 13.
May 2, 1864, it joined the main army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga, where it arrived on the 3d; on the 5th, marched under orders, and was in the battle of Rocky Face, or Buzzard Roost, Georgia; was at Resaca, Georgia, May 14 and 15; Calhoun, May 17; Adairsville, Georgia, May 18; Dallas, Georgia, May 25 to June 5; Lost Mountain, Georgia, June 16; was in the battle at Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia, June 20 and June 27; lost fifty-two men and six commissioned officers, Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Kerr being among the number.
Battle of Smyrna; Camp Ground, Georgia, July 4, lost sixteen men; was also at Peach Tree Creek, July 20; Atlanta, July 22, and was continually engaged until the battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, September 1, 1864, and Lovejoy Station, September 2; then returned to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it was assigned to the army of the Tennessee. Engaged the enemy November the 28th at Columbia, Tennessee; Spring Hill, Nov. 29; Franklin, Tennessee, November 30; Nashville, Tennessee, December 15 and 16, following Hood to Huntsville, Alabama, fighting him all the time until he crossed the Little Tennessee, and then went into winter quarters.
March 26, 1865, it marched to Bull's Gap, Tennessee, to intercept Lee, leaving there April 17, for Nashville, Tennessee, where the regiment was mustered out June 20, 1865. Returned to Rockford with one hundred and fifty-seven enlisted men and thirteen officers. Colonel Jason Marsh was at the head of the regiment until about January 1, 1865, when Lieutenant Colonel Thomas J. Bryan took command.
The Ninetieth Infantry Illinois Volunteers, was organized at Chicago, Illinois, in August, September and October, 1862, by Colonel Timothy O'Meara.
Moved to Cairo November 27, and to Columbus, Kentucky, on the 30th. From thence, proceeded to La Grange, Tennessee, where the regiment arrived December 2. On the 4th, ordered to Cold Water, Mississippi, where it relieved the Twenty-ninth Wisconsin Infantry. On the morning of December 20, a detachment of Second Illinois Cavalry arrived at Cold Water, having cut their way through Van Dorn's forces, out of Holly Springs. Soon after, four companies of the One Hundred and First Illinois came in and were followed by the enemy to our lines. The demonstrations made by the Ninetieth deterred the enemy from making any severe attack, although he was 4,000 or 5,000 strong, and after some skirmishing, he withdrew.
The regiment was mustered out of service June 6, 1865, at Washington, D. C., and arrived at Chicago, June 12, 1865, where it received final pay and discharge.
The Ninety-second Regiment Infantry Illinois Volunteers was organized at Rockford, Illinois, and mustered into the United States service September 4, 1862. It was composed of five companies from Ogle County, three from Stephenson County, and two from Carroll County.
The regiment left Rockford, October 8, 1862, with orders to report to General Wright, at Cincinnati, where it was assigned to General Baird's Division, army of Kentucky. It marched immediately into the interior of the state and during the latter part of October was stationed at Mount Sterling, to guard that place against rebel raids, and afterward at Danville, Kentucky.
On the 26th of January, 1863, the regiment with General Baird's Division, was ordered to the army of the Cumberland. Arriving at Nashville the command moved to Franklin, Tennessee, and was engaged in the pursuit of the rebel General Van Dorn. Advanced to Murfreesboro, and occupied Shelbyville June 27. On July the 25th, the regiment was engaged in re-building a wagon-bridge, over Duck River; July 6 was ordered by General Rosecrans to be mounted and armed with the Spencer rifle, and attached to Colonel Wilder's Brigade of General Thomas' Corps, where it remained while General Rosecrans had command.
The regiment crossed the mountains at Dechard, Tennessee, and took part in the movements opposite and above Chattanooga, when it recrossed the mountains and joined General Thomas at Trenton, Alabama. On the morning of the 9th of September, it was in the advance to Chattanooga, and participated in driving the rebels from Point Lookout, and entered the rebel stronghold, unfolding the Union banner on the Crutchfield House, and kept in pursuit of the rebels.
At Ringgold, Georgia, was attacked by a brigade of cavalry, under command of General Forrest, and drove them from the town, killing and wounding a large number. During the Chickamauga battle, the regiment took part in General Reynolds' Division of General Thomas' Corps. In April, 1864, it was again at Ringgold, Georgia, doing picket duty. April 23, Captain Scovil, with twenty-one men, was captured at Nickajack Gap, nine miles from Ringgold, and one man killed. Of the men thus taken prisoners, twelve were shot down, and six died of wounds, after being taken prisoners. The remainder was taken to Andersonville; and very few ever left that place, having died from the cruel treatment received there.
From Ringgold, May 7, 1864, the regiment entered upon the Atlanta campaign, and was assigned to General Kilpatrick's command, and participated in the battles of Resaca, raid around Atlanta, Bethesda, Fleet River Bridge and Jonesboro, one-fifth of the men engaged.
From Mount Gilead Church, west of Atlanta, October 1, the regiment moved and took an active part in the operations against Hood's army. At Power Springs it had a severe engagement, losing a large number of men killed and wounded. The regiment then returned to Marietta, and participated in the various engagements and skirmishes in Sherman's march to the sea.
At Swift Creek, North Carolina, Captain Hawk, of Company C, was severely wounded, losing a leg. The regiment, during its term of service, was in some forty battle and skirmishes. It was mustered out at Concord, North Carolina, and paid and discharged from the service, at Chicago, Illinois, July 10, 1865.
In July, 1862, President
Lincoln called for 300,000 troops. In August, the same year, he directed
a draft of 300,000 more. In speaking of the recruiting of the Ninety-second
Illinois, General Smith D. Atkins in the History of the Ninety-second,
"Then the people with an impulse that was grand took hold of the work in earnest. In every schoolhouse in the three counties from which the Ninety-second was recruited meetings were held; the fife sent out its shrill notes and the drum its roll, and the old flag was displayed; the harvest hands gathered at the meetings after their days of toil. Patriotic songs were sung: "We will rally round the flag, boys, rally once again, shouting the battle-cry of freedom," and patriotism took up the refrain and answered it, "We are coming, Father Abraham, six hundred thousand more." Gray haired fathers who had already sent one or more sons to battle, attended the meetings and saw their remaining sons enlist. Many who went only to hear the speeches and songs were touched with the prevailing spirit of patriotism, and signed their names to the muster rolls. Eloquent speakers, many of whom did not say, "Go, boys," but "Come boys," told the story of the nation's peril. Many who had seen the battle's terrible carnage and were not dismayed, were ready to go again to the front, and eloquently plead with the people to "fill up the ranks of their brothers gone before."
The sacred fires of liberty were kindled in those meetings and the people lifted up to the high resolve of demonstrating to the world the strength of republican government, that a free people of their own will, with courage sublime, would not halt in a battle for the nation's existence, but march forward, filling the battle-broken ranks of the army in the field. It was in these meetings that "party was sunk in patriotism." No one who witnessed the recruiting in the summer of 1862 in northern Illinois, will ever forget it; the people rallying from the harvest fields, leaving the ripened grain ungathered, to fill the ranks of the new regiments. It was grand, beyond all powers of our to tell. It was thought at first that one regiment might be raised in the counties of Stephenson, Ogle, Jo Daviess, Carroll, Winnebago, Lake, McHenry and Boone. But it was found that four regiments and three companies were ready to muster when finally put into camp at Rockford."
Major Smith D. Atkins had charge of the enlistments in Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll and Ogle Counties, and Major Atkins was elected colonel of one regiment and was appointed by Governor Richard Yates, the War Governor.
The Ninety-third Infantry Illinois Volunteers, was organized at Chicago, Illinois, in September, 1862, by Colonel Holden Putnam, and mustered in October, 13, nine hundred and ninety-eight strong.
Was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, November 9, and, arriving on the 14th, moved with General Grant's army, in the northern Mississippi campaign, to Yocona Creek, and thence via Lumpkin's Mills, to Memphis, arriving December 30. Marched again immediately to La Fayette, Tennessee, and returned to Ridgeway where the regiment remained during January and February, 1863.
Embarked to Lake Providence, March 3, and from there moved to Helena on the 10th. From there moved down the river on the Yazoo Pass expedition. Entered Moon Lake on the 22d, and landed near Greenwood.
After reconnoitering the enemy's position, reembarked and returned to Helena. April 13, moved to Milliken's Bend, and on the 25th, commenced the Vicksburg campaign. Marched via Bruinsburg, Port Gibson, Raymond and Clinton, and arrived at Jackson, May 14. The Ninety-third was first under fire here. Participated in the advance, losing three killed and four wounded. Remained at Jackson until the 15th, and then moved toward Vicksburg. On the 16th was engaged in the battle of Champion Hills.
The Ninety-third was in the Third Brigade, Seventh Division, Seventeenth Army Corps. At 2 P. M., Brigadier General Hovey's Division being severely pressed, the brigade was ordered forward and placed on the extreme left. After twenty minutes' fighting, it was flanked on the left, and retiring steadily changed front to the left. Being again flanked, it again retired, and in this position held its ground against a most furious attack, after which the enemy retreated to Black River Bridge. The loss of the regiment was one officer and thirty-seven men killed, six officers and one hundred and seven men wounded, and one officer and ten men missing.
On the 17th, again moved towards Vicksburg. At noon of the 19th, came on the enemy's line, about three miles from the city. May 22 was engaged in the assault on the enemy's works, on the left of Fort Fisher, losing ten or twelve men killed and wounded. In the afternoon was ordered to reenforce General McClernand's command, near the railroad. At 4 o'clock P. M., charged the enemy. Loss in this charge, five enlisted men killed, and one officer and forty-nine enlisted men wounded. June 22, moved to the rear and on July 4, was stationed at McCalFs plantation.
July 13, 1863, started for Jackson. Arrived on the 15th and immediately moved to Vicksburg, arriving on the 25th. September 12, moved to Helena, Arkansas, and on the 30th, to Memphis. Moved to Glendale, October 3, marched to Burnsville, Mississippi, October 8. On the 19th marched toward Chattanooga, via luka; Florence, Alabama; Winchester, Tennessee, and Bridgeport, Alabama; arriving November 19.
November 24, the regiment crossed the Tennessee River,and threw up a tete de pont, occupying the works until the pontoon bridge was built. November 25, was heavily engaged at Mission Ridge, losing Colonel Holden Putnam and nineteen men killed, one officer and forty-four enlisted men wounded, and two officers and twenty-five men missing. Pursued the enemy, November 26 and 27, to Grayson, and returned to Chattanooga.
Moved toward Bridgeport, Alabama, December 3. On the 22d moved toward Larkinsville, Alabama, and January 17, 1864, to Huntsville. February 12th, participated in the reconnaissance to Dalton. On the 24th and 25th, lay in line of battle all day near Dalton. Returned to Huntsville, March 6. Moved by rail to Decatur, Alabama, and, June 14, marched via Huntsville, and Larkinsville, to Stephenson, Alabama, arriving on the 25th. On the 27th moved by rail to Chattanooga, and 28th to Kingston. One mile north of Dalton, the train collided with an uptrain, and one officer and thirty men were wounded.
July 2, moved to Etowah to guard crossings until the 11th, when the regiment returned to Kingston. August 2 and 3, marched to Allatoona. On the evening of the 15th, moved by rail to Resaca, and on the 17th, marched to Spring Place; but, Wheeler's cavalry having retreated, the command returned to Resaca and to Allatoona.
On September 3, ten men were captured while out foraging. On October 5, the Ninety-third was a part of the force, 2,100 strong, which so signally defeated General French's rebel division of 7,000 men. At 1 o'clock A. M. the picket firing commenced. At 7 A. M. the artillery on both sides opened, and at 9 A. M., the enemy made its first charge, and after desperate fighting succeeded in pressing the Union forces back, from the outer line of works, into the forts. Until 3 P. M. the battle raged with intense fury, when the enemy hastily withdrew in the direction of Dallas. The Ninety-third lost twenty-one killed, three officers and forty-nine men wounded, and ten missing.
November 12, 1864, the regiment started on "the march to the sea," and marched, via Atlanta, McDonough, Jackson, Planter's Factory, Hillsboro, Clinton, Gordon, Irwinton, Summerville and Eden, reaching the enemy's lines around Savannah, December 10. On the 11th, skirmished with the enemy at Ogeechee Canal, losing one killed and two wounded. On the 12th, moved to "Station 1" on the Gulf Railroad, and remained till the 21st, when it marched into the city, and there remained until January 19, 1865.
Commenced the campaign of the Carolinas on January 19. Marched across the Savannah River, and two miles into the swamp. On the 20th, returned to Savannah, and on the 23d, embarked for Beaufort, S. C. Landed on the 24th, and on the 29th, marched northward, via McPhersonville, Hickory Hill, Owens' Cross Roads, Baneburg, Graham (destroying one and one-half miles of railroad), Binnaker's Bridge, Orangeburg, Bates' Ferry, on the Congaree (where skirmished with the enemy, February 15) and to Columbia arriving on the 17th. While here one man was mortally wounded by the accidental explosion of shells.
From Columbia, marched, via Muddy Springs, Peay's Ferry on the Wateree, Liberty Hill, West's Corner (here had one man wounded by enemy's cavalry) to Cheraw, S. C., thence, via Laurel Hill, Big Raft Swamp, Fayetteville, Jackson's Cross Roads, Cox's Bridge and Bentonville, arriving at Goldsboro, March 24.
April 10, moved to Raleigh, arriving on the 14th. After the surrender of Johnston's army, marched, via Petersburg and Richmond, Va., to Washington City. Participated in the grand review May 24, and on the 31st, moved to Louisville, Kentucky.
June 23, 1865, was mustered out of service, and on the 25th, arrived at Chicago, Illinois. Received final payment and discharge July 7, 1865. During two years and seven months' service, the casualties in battle of the Ninety-third were four hundred and forty-six, and one officer and thirty-one men accidentally wounded. The regiment has marched two thousand, five hundred and fifty-four miles, traveled by water two thousand, two hundred and ninety-six miles, and by railroad one thousand, two hundred and thirty-seven miles. Total, six thousand and eighty-seven miles.
THE ONE HUNDRED
AND FORTY-SECOND INFANTRY.
(One Hundred Days.)
The One Hundred and Forty-second Infantry Illinois Volunteers was organized at Freeport, Illinois, by Colonel Rollin V. Ankeney, as a battalion, of eight companies, and ordered to Camp Butler, Illinois, where two companies were added and the regiment mustered June 18, 1864, for one hundred days.
On June 21 the regiment moved to Memphis, via Cairo, and the Mississippi River, and arrived on the 24th; on the 26th, moved to White's Station, eleven miles from Memphis, on the Memphis & Charleston railroad, where it was assigned to guarding railroad.
Mustered out of the United States service October 27, 1864, at Chicago.
THE ONE HUNDRED
AND FORTY-SIXTH INFANTRY.
The One Hundred and Forty-sixth Infantry Illinois Volunteers was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois, September 18, 1864, for one year, and Henry H. Dean appointed colonel.
Companies C and B were ordered to Brighton, Illinois, Companies D and H to Quincy, Illinois, and Company F to Jacksonville, Illinois, and were assigned to duty guarding drafted men and substitutes. The remaining companies were assigned to similar duty at Camp Butler, Illinois.
On the 5th of July, 1865, the regiment was mustered out of service at Camp Butler, Illinois.
ONE HUNDRED AND
The One Hundred and Forty-seventh Infantry Illinois Volunteers was organized at Camp Fry, Illinois, by Colonel Hiram F. Sickles, and mustered in for one year on the 18th and 19th of February, 1865.
On the 21st of February moved, via Louisville, Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee, arriving on the 25th. On the 28th moved to Chattanooga, and thence to Dalton, Georgia, Colonel Sickles commanding post. On March 13th went on an expedition to Mill Creek, on Cleveland Road, and broke up a nest of guerrillas. On the 20th under command of Major Bush, went on an expedition to Spring Place. March 15th the regiment was assigned to First Brigade, Second Division, Army of the Cumberland, Brigadier General H. M. Judah commanding.
On March 28th went on an expedition to Ringgold. On April 23d moved to Pullen's Ferry, on Coosawhatchie River, and had several skirmishes with the enemy, killing Major Edmeston, their commander, and several officers and men. On May 2d the regiment moved to Resaca, Georgia, and were engaged in repairing the railroad. On May 12th Wofford, commanding rebel forces in Northern Georgia, surrendered his forces to General Judah.
May 14th Colonel Sickles took command of the brigade. Marched to Calhoun June 26th, and July 27th moved to Marietta. From there ordered to Macon, Georgia, and to Albany, Georgia, arriving July 31st.
October 16th brigade organization dissolved. October 28th ordered to Hawkinsville, Georgia. November 25th the regiment was ordered to Savannah, Georgia, via Macon, Atlanta and Augusta, where it remained until December 31, 1865.
Mustered out January 20, 1866, at Savannah, Georgia, and ordered to Springfield, Illinois, where it received final pay and discharge.
COUNTY SOLDIERS' MONUMENT.
Soon after the close of the war for the Union, there was considerable discussion among the leading citizens of Stephenson County, "without regard to party affiliations, as to the propriety of erecting a suitable monument to commemorate the heroism of the noble sons of Stephenson County who had voluntarily laid down their lives upon the altar of their country, and the opinion was universal that the living owed such a lasting memento to the memory of their gallant dead."
No steps were taken,
however, until the winter of 1868, when a mass meeting was called on Saturday,
February 19, 1868, at the hall of the Grand Army of the Republic, in Freeport.
The meeting was well attended. General Smith D. Atkins was elected chairman,
and C. C. Shuler, Esq., secretary. A constitution for forming the Stephenson
County Soldiers' Monument Association was reported and unanimously adopted,
of which Articles I and II read as follows:
ARTICLE I. NAME.
Section i. This Association shall be known as "The Stephenson County Soldiers' Monument Association."
ARTICLE II. OBJECT.
Section i. The object of this association shall be the erection of a suitable monument, or memorial, to the memory of the gallant dead of Stephenson County, who have laid down their lives while serving in the armies of the United States during the rebellion, in order to rescue their names from forgetfulness, and suitably honor their heroic devotion to country and liberty, when country and liberty were in peril.
Articles III and IV provided for the proper officers of the association, and minutely defined their duties, which were those usual to such associations, and we omit them here.
On motion, the following officers were elected as provided for by the constitution; President, Hon. John H. Addams, of Cedarville; vice presidents, General Wilson Shaffer, of Freeport; Ross Babcock, of Ridott; Major J. W. McKim, of Freeport, and Captain J. P. Reel, of Buckeye; recording secretary, General Smith D. Atkins, of Freeport; corresponding secretary, James S. McCall, of Freeport; treasurer, Captain William Young, of Silver Creek. Executive committee: C. C. Shuler, Freeport; Captain William Cox, Winslow; B. P. Belknap, Oneco; Daniel Bellman, Rock Grove; Captain J. M. Schermerhorn, West Point; Levi Robey, Waddams; Captain William Stewart, Buckeye; Captain Robert T. Cooper, Rock Run; Captain George S. Kleckner, Kent; Captain F. A. Darling, Erin; Perez A. Tisdell, Harlem; Captain W. J. Reitzel, Lancaster; Hon. James S. Taggart, Ridott; Frederick Baker, Silver Creek; Conrad Van Brocklin, Florence; Major H. M. Timms, Loran; John R. Hayes, Jefferson, and Harrison Diemer, Dakota.
Immediately thereafter, a meeting of the executive committee was called in the parlors of the Second National Bank in Freeport, which was fully attended, and an address was prepared and published to the citizens of the county inviting them to subscribe to the fund for building the monument.
It was decided to have a membership certificate engraved, with correct likenesses of Colonel Holden Putnam, Ninety-third Illinois Volunteers, Colonel John A. Davis, Forty-sixth Illinois Volunteers, and Major William R. Goddard. Fifteenth Illinois Volunteers, engraved thereon, they being the only field officers from Stephenson County who had given their lives in the war; such membership certificate to be issued to each subscriber of $1.00 or more.
A meeting was appointed for each township in the county to urge the citizens to take hold of the work, all of which meetings were addressed by the secretary of the association, General S. D. Atkins, and at many of the meetings he was accompanied by Hon. J. M. Bailey and Major I. C. Lawver.
In the newspaper report of one of these meetings held at Ridott, we find the following pleasant reference: "At Ridott, a small audience subscribed a little upward of $100. The meeting was addressed by General Atkins and Major Lawver. The Major referred to the fact that before the war he was a Democrat in sentiment, while General Atkins was a Republican. They went to war in the same regiment and fought side by side; neither has changed his political sentiments, and now they are side by side in honoring their dead comrades. So it should be with Democrats and Republicans. The soldiers lost their lives for their country, and all parties should join in erecting a monument to their heroism."
The meetings held in the townships resulted in a very thorough organization in all parts of the county, but, after pretty thorough canvassing, only $3,500 had been pledged on the various township subscriptions. The officers of the association therefore resolved to ask the Board of Supervisors to make an appropriation to be added to the voluntary subscriptions that altogether would be sufficient for the completion of a suitable soldiers' monument in commemoration of the heroic dead of the entire county.
On Tuesday, June 29, 1869, the Board of Supervisors being in special session, Hon. John H. Addams, the president of the association, Captain William Young, treasurer, and General S. D. Atkins, secretary, as a committee on the part of the Soldiers' Monument Association, waited upon the Board of Supervisors and requested from them permission to erect the monument on the Court House Square in the city of Freeport, and also a suitable donation to aid in its erection. Permission was granted by the Board to erect the monument on the public square as requested, and the sum of $6,000 voted to aid in the erection of the monument by an almost unanimous vote, only one dissenting, and from that hour the completion of the Stephenson County soldiers' monument was assured.
The following members of the Board of Supervisors were added to the executive committee of the monument association S. K. Fisher, of Waddams; James McFatrich, of West Point, and James A. Grimes, of Lancaster.
The funds for erecting the monument having been provided, the secretary was instructed to advertise in the New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Chicago papers for designs and plans for a monument to be submitted at a meeting of the association on July 28, 1869, at which time there were artists present with plans from all the cities named.
General Atkins also submitted a plan designed by himself, for a monument of Joliet marble, 12 x 12 at base, eighty-three feet high, to be surmounted on the top with a statue of "Victory" in bronze, thirteen feet high, making the monument ninety-six feet from the base to the top of the statue of "Victory," with life-size soldiers on the four corners of the lower base of the monument, in bronze, representing the four arms of the service infantry, cavalry, artillery and navy.
After full discussion of the various plans submitted, on motion of Daniel Bellman, of Rock Grove, the design prepared and submitted by General S. D. Atkins was adopted. H. H. Upp was appointed superintendent of the building of the monument, with authority to make all contracts. Hon. John H. Addams, James A. Grimes, Samuel K. Fisher, Dr. W. J. McKim, Captain William Young and Gen. Smith D. Atkins were appointed a sub-building committee, to approve all contracts before they should be in force.
The contracts were immediately let and the erection of the monument proceeded with. Under the superintendence of Mr. H. H. Upp, Mr. Adolph Beodiker prepared the foundation; Elias Perkins contracted to lay up the Joliet stone and the Chicago Terra Cotta Company contracted to furnish the statue of "Victory" and the four soldiers, which were especially prepared by the celebrated artist, Sig. Giovanni Meli.
The Terra Cotta Company contracted to furnish the statuary in bronze, but, hoping to do better, covered them with copper by an electric bath, and failed to make the deposit of copper sufficiently heavy, so that the copper cracked and scaled off, and the statuary was afterward painted by Mr. Daniel Adamson in imitation of Joliet marble, the material out of which the monument was constructed. The colossal statue of "Victory" surmounting the monument, designed by the celebrated artist, Sig. Giovanni Meli, is an original conception of the artist, and is a work of very great artistic merit.
The Chicago Republican of Friday, December 17, 1869, thus refers to it: "But the last great work of this artist is the colossal statue of 'Victory,' which he has made from an original design and which is intended to render in terra cotta for the soldiers' monument at Freeport. The 'Victory' is the largest sculptural work ever composed in America, being thirteen feet high. It is, even to the minutest detail, finished as perfectly as the finest marble statue. While the imposing dignity and majestic pose of the figure at once impress the beholder, yet the proportions are so nicely observed and such is the careful and artistic handling of the drapery, which sweeps in broad, massive folds to the feet of the figure, that its colossal height and great size do not at once appear.
The figure stands in a strong and confident, though not bold, posture, with its right foot slightly advanced, and a portion of the weight of the body thrown upon the right hand, which rests on the staff of a large flag. The flag is gathered up in large folds by the sweep of the right arm, while, as if caught by some passing breeze, the fluttering ends swell out behind in broad waves of graceful drapery, so light and silken that they seem almost to apple in the air. The left hand hangs by the side with an easy grace and holds the symbolic olive. The head and there is the imposing dignity which, like an atmosphere, is rather felt than seen in the figure. Set on a neck which suggests rather than impresses power, is the grand head which crowns the statue, and which in its benignant dignity blends the imperial justice of the conqueror with the melting mercy of an injured though pardoning ruler.
The head is thrown back as if a glorious sense of triumph thrilled it through with joy; and, though the eyes are raised as if a gleam of the battle fire still lit them with a glorious passion, yet the lips are parted with a smile of calm, satisfied peace that softens the sternness of the upper face. There is a curious interblending of the ancient and modern in the face, which, though at first sight incongruous, has been made by the artist to secure an effect that could not otherwise have been produced. The eyes and forehead are purely Grecian, and have an imperious, almost a hard boldness of expression, while the cheek, chin and mouth are rounded with a sweet and tender grace that relieves the face from that otherwise stern and strong look, and gives to it a modern type or cast of countenance seldom before introduced in sculpture.
Thus, while the full face view gives to the beholder the impression of an imperious and proud queen, calm in her self-poised dignity, and strong in her self-reliant nature, the profile contrary to all precedent seems melted with the sunshine of a happy spirit, which suffuses the whole face with a smile. Usually the character is shown by the profile, which is more pronounced than the open face, but the artist says that the subject demanded the blending of Grecian features with American, and the happy effect produced by this combination has united dignity with grace, and sweetness with strength."
On Tuesday, October 19, 1869, the corner-stone was laid with great ceremony, under the auspices of the Masonic bodies of Freeport, participated in by the Odd Fellows, Turnvereins, Fire Department and Citizens. Dr. W. J. McKim was Grand Marshal. After the Masonic ceremonies were concluded, the Freeport Journal says "The Senior Grand Warden introduced Sir Knight General Smith D. Atkins, who, owing to the absence of Sir Knight Colonel Thomas J. Turner, orator of the day, was invited and delivered an effective and eloquent address of some twenty minutes' duration."
The lower base of the monument is 12x12 feet and twelve feet high. On each of the four sides are two niches, in which a panel of white marble is inserted, on which are cut the names of those soldiers of Stephenson County who are known to have given their lives for their country.
The second, or upper base, is 9 x 9 feet and nine feet high, and on each side is a niche in which is inserted a massive slab of white marble. On the south side, facing Stephenson street, is engraved the following, in large raised letters:
On each of the three remaining slabs in the upper base are engraved in raised letters some of the battles in which it is known that some of the soldiers of Stephenson County laid down their lives, as follows: Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Siege of Corinth, Jackson, Siege of Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Altoona Pass, Resaca, Pea Ridge, Nashville, Kenesaw Mountain, Stone River, Waynesboro, Cattlet's Gap, luka, Aiken, Franklin, Nickajack Gap, Siege of Knoxville, Champion Hills, Farmington, Bentonville, Hatchie, Mobile.
The shaft, 7x7 feet at base, rises sixty-two feet gracefully from the second base, tapering to three feet at the top, surmounted by a molded cap-stone, four feet six inches by four feet six inches, on which is poised the statue of "Victory" above described, thirteen feet high, making the top of the statue ninety-six feet from the ground.
Early in June, 1871, the last finishing touches were given, and the Stephenson County Soldiers' Monument, beautiful in its proportions, and as enduring as the solid marble of which it is constructed, stood forth completed, an enduring evidence of the patriotism of the entire population of Stephenson County, by whom it was erected. It was resolved to dedicate the monument on July 4, 1871, and great preparations were made for the event. General. John M. Palmer Governor of Illinois, agreed to deliver the dedicatory address, but at the last hour, he sent a telegram that he could not come, and General Smith D. Atkins, of Freeport, reluctantly consented to supply his place. General Atkins spoke as follows:
Fellow-citizens I have been admonished by friends, and the conflicting emotions of my heart, to which I cannot give utterance, admonish me now, that it is no easy task, under the peculiar circumstances which have induced me to appear before you, to address such an assemblage on such an occasion. But I have come, not because I had any hope of doing justice to my subject, but because I know that you will do more than justice to me you will be generous.
Kneeling this day around the altar of American liberty, your hearts will throb responsive to the lightest touch.
We do well to come here today on this anniversary of our national independence, remembering the fathers who have "gone before." We are indebted for all the liberties that we enjoy to those who have long since entered the "dark valley and shadow of death;" those who shall come after us, in the sure flight of years, will be indebted to us for the civil and religious liberties which they will enjoy.
If we were to seek the fountain whence our liberties flow, we should be compelled to go far back to 1776; the Declaration of American Independence was the result of a prior moving cause; on the Mayflower came the germ of liberty; not alone to the Continental Congress, but to the Pilgrim Fathers are we indebted for the glories of the day we celebrate. Ideas are the moving causes of revolutions; the clash of arms, the sullen roar of artillery, are but the means employed to an end; deeper than that, below all that, like disembodied spirits, He the ideas for which revolutions are fought. The idea, the great underlying thought upon which the American Revolutionary War was fought, was embodied in the Declaration of American Independence in these words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
No grander enunciation of the rights of man had ever been put forth by any people, and around it crystallized the hopes of the three millions and a half of people composing the thirteen American Colonies. I wish it were in my power to draw a picture of the American Continental Congress, convened in the plain little red-brick building in Philadelphia, called at that time the State House, on the morning of July 4, 1776, when Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston, the Committee on the Declaration of Independence, brought in their report.
With what breathless attention did the members of the Continental Congress listen to the reading of it. With what emotion must that Congress have swayed, every one of them knowing that if they failed in their unequal struggle with England, the most powerful nation on the globe, the declaration would prove the death-warrant of every one of them upon the scaffold.
But they faltered not, John Hancock wrote his name "Dashing and bold, as if the writer meant, A double daring in his mind's intent." Stephen Hopkins, with a palsied hand, but with a fearless and patriotic heart, wrote his name plain enough for the minions of King George to read it; and Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Franklin and Adams, and Gerry, and Rutledge, and Jefferson, and Sherman, and Morris, and Witherspoon "there were giants in those days" and relying upon the intrinsic justice of their cause, and the self-evident truths of the rights of human nature that they were declaring, to their maintenance they mutually pledged "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor."
Well might the old bellman, who sat anxiously in the steeple of the old State House, waiting for the word, joyfully ring out the glad tidings, when the Declaration of Independence passed, on the old bell cast many years before in England, and bearing, as if by inspiration, this inscription, in solid metal letters: PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO ALL THE LAND, AND TO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF. Aye, Liberty! That old bell is ringing yet, and millions hear it. The last of all those who were there have long since been "gathered to their fathers," but their work lives after them and yet shall live. Time shall not dim it. The glories of the Cross of Cavalry shall pale away and fade from the remembrance of men as soon as the mortal grandeur and sublimity of that declaration shall be dimmed.
While the memories of Washington and Warren survive, while there is one man to honor the memories of John Hampden and Algernon Sydney, while there is one human heart groaning beneath oppression and throbbing with the love of freedom, the Declaration of American Independence will stand a beacon light to beckon on to liberty.
In February, 1861,
Abraham Lincoln, after his election by the people as President of the
Republic, stood upon the steps of the old State House in Philadelphia,
on the very spot where liberty was proclaimed by our Revolutionary Fathers
in 1776, and uttered these memorable words:
"I have often inquired of myself what idea or principle it was that kept the Confederacy so long together. It was something in the Declaration of Independence giving liberty, not only to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that, in due time, the weight should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon this basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say, I would rather be assassinated upon the spot than to surrender it."
They are memorable words. Great, noble Lincoln, how tenaciously Tie clung to the idea of liberty which inspired the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower; to which our fathers clung throughout all their colonial history; the one idea and single thought of the Continental Congress of 1776; the heart, the soul, the life, of the Declaration of American Independence, looking forward to the future, the clouds of civil war gathering in the South, as if inspired with a foresight to see the bloody ending of his self-sacrificing devotion to the cause of liberty, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed himself the willing sacrifice!
But could the nation have seen the bitter dregs of the cup that he was destined to quaff, with what agony would every face have been turned heavenward, and millions of supplications gone to the great throne on high "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass." But thank God before the idol of the nation was called upon to drink that bitter cup, before the foreshadowed prophesy was fulfilled, the idea of liberty had triumphed over slavery, and the blood of the martyred Lincoln sealed the deed of freedom forever.
Toll, solemn bells; weep, ye worshipers around Liberty's Altar; the disciple, the prophet, Abraham Lincoln, of the people and by the people best beloved, amid the nation's tears, even on the top wave of the nation's victory, has gone from earth, called by the Great Jehovah to "come up higher."
In that terrible struggle, foreshadowed by Abraham Lincoln as he stood upon the steps of the old State House in Philadelphia, have gone down into the "dark valley and shadow of death" the immortal heroes in whose honor the patriotism of the people of Stephenson County has erected that marble column. Honoring, as we ought and do, the Revolutionary heroes, never can we forget those brave men who, in the late war, have died that their country might live. At the story of their heroism our hearts swell with pride, and at the story of their sufferings our hearts melt into tears.
Sometimes I wonder if the American people will ever forget what they felt when the news was flashed over the wires that the South Carolinas had fired upon Fort Sumter. I wonder if all the people of the good old Northland will forget that great uprising, party ties broken, party sunk in patriotism, when President Lincoln called for troops, and the voice of the mighty Douglas rang through the land, declaring that he who was not for his country in such an hour was against his country, and all the people resolved that the stars and stripes should again float over Sumter aye, should "greet the morning sunlight and kiss the last rays of the setting sun," not alone above the brick and mortar of that old fort, but everywhere throughout all this broad land, should unfold its bright stripes and gleaming stars the symbol of liberty, and the shield and protection of American citizenship.
Have the citizens of Freeport forgotten the Sabbath-day meeting for enlisting soldiers, held here on our public square? Have you forgotten the meetings held in all your schoolhouses, when the prairies were all alive with patriotic ardor, and the fife and drum were beating up recruits?
Have you forgotten how a free people, living in a government "of the people, and by the people, and for the people," with a common impulse, rallied to the defense of their imperiled country? How grand it was something to be remembered always, and to be proud of always.
How like a mighty
dream it all appears to us now, as we look back upon the past. And afterward,
when the three-year troops were called for, how the heroes of the Republic
came pouring into the camps the farmer from his plow, the mechanic from
his shop, the merchant from his store, the lawyer from his office by ones,
by dozens, by fifties and by hundred, until companies, and regiments,
and brigades, and divisions, and corps, with banners flying, and bugles
blaring, and drums beating, were marching to the front, singing as they
"We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom;
And we'll fill the vacant ranks with a million freemen more,
Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom;
Grand and glorious as was the great uprising of the north in the early summer of 1861, grander still was the swelling and growing volume of the nation's patriotism, as it swelled and rose higher with the nation's need. Our good president called for three hundred thousand more, and the patriotic people answered back to the president, "We are coming, Father Abraham, Six hundred thousand strong."
It is an accepted doctrine of the Christian church that "God gives strength according to its need," and in His wise providence battalion after battalion poured into the camps, until the maxim of Napoleon, "God is on the side of the heaviest battalions, "did not seem so irreverent as it is usually regarded; and the apothegm of the ancients, "Whom God would destroy he first makes mad," appeared to be exemplified in the mad-cap South.
I believe that it is ever true that "God is on the side of the right," and while we give those soldiers who have died for their country more praise than tongue of mine can tell, we ought still to raise our hearts in thankfulness and praise to the "God of battles," without whose blessing no cause can long prosper, and who can hold an army with the hollow of His hand.
I cannot dwell upon the history of the late war; time will not permit me to pronounce the fitting words of praise due our dead heroes for their heroic deeds upon all the battlefields for the Union; the people of Stephenson County and the northwest need not be told of them they know of them already, and they cherish the memories of them in their hearts.
When will the American people forget Washington and the Revolutionary heroes, who upheld the starry banner of the Republic that was born in revolution and baptized in blood? When will we forget those whose names are graven on yonder tablets, the "boys in blue;" who, in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864 and 1865, enlisted in our army to bear that standard sheet on high? Side by side with the heroes of the Revolution will their names go down in history, never more to be forgotten.
To whom do we owe it that we have a country today? To whom but those who, with heart and brain and stalwart arm, upheld the flag? To the loyal men and women of America, to those who went to the front and to those who remained at home, are we this day indebted for the security and peacefulness of our firesides and for the liberty we enjoy; but most of all to those gallant heroes, in memory of whom that marble monument has been erected; who, standing "between their loved homes and war's desolations," have died for their country.
Do air that we may
or can, we never shall be able to repay more than a trifling moiety of
the great debt of gratitude and love we owe to those heroes who have gone
From whose bourne no traveler returns."
Build them monuments of marble, surmounted with statues of "Victory;" cut their names in enduring tablets of stone; tell of their heroic deeds in story, and sing of them in song; keep their memories green in our hearts forevermore, and yet we will not pay one-half of the great debt of gratitude and love we owe. The liberties secured to their country by the sacrifice of their lives, they themselves cannot enjoy; for you and for me, and for those who will come after us, they have died.
Long after that massive marble monument has moldered into dust, their memories will live; the generations to follow us will honor them even more than we honor them now. Think you that while there remains one human heart that loves liberty their memories will perish? No.
Hundreds of years
ago, Leonidas and his band of Spartan soldiers went down in the defense
of the Pass of Thermopylae, but, forevermore, among every people in whose
language there can be found a word to express liberty, those dead heroes
will be remembered. Those whose memories we seek to perpetuate by that
marble pile were the defenders of our Thermopylae, not like Leonidas and
his Spartan soldiers, doomed to defeat in honorable death, but victory,
overwhelming and complete, has crowned their heroism. Fitly do we place
the statue of "Victory" on the monument the grateful patriotism
of all the people of Stephenson County has erected to their memory. Never
on earth can they answer roll call again.
"On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead."
Engraven deeply on
those marble tablets are the names of nearly seven hundred of the gallant
heroes of Stephenson County, who went out to the defense of their country,
and came not back again. And yet they were but a handful in the great
sacrificial offering that liberty demanded and received.
"Four hundred thousand men,
The brave, the good, the true,
On battle plain, in prison pen,
Have died for me and you.
Four hundred thousand of the brave,
Have made our loyal soil their grave,
For me and you;
Kind friend for me and you."
Dedicating this day that colossal marble monument to the memories of the gallant dead of Stephenson County, let us thank God for the glowing patriotism that gave to the nation its heroic defenders, and reverently ask His blessing upon the work which they have accomplished.
The following are buried in the cemeteries about Freeport: General J. W. Shaffer; Colonels H. Putnam, T. J. Turner, C. T. Dunham, and John A. Davis; Captains S. W. Field, James R. Shaffer and James W. Crane; Majors William McKim and Elisha Schofield; Lieutenants M. R. Thompson, H. A. Sheets, T. M. Hood and Emil Neese, Elias Diffenbaugh, Joseph Degon, Samuel Ailey, R. C. Swain, M. D., H. Broadie, Mortimer Snow, Joseph Cavanagh, Eli M. Ketchum, James Daniels, Max Lambrecht, Lawrence Fisher, Anton Bauer, James Jordan, L. Bently, J. W. Sinlinger, David McCormick, James C. McCarthy, William Haggart, Sidney Haggart, William Eddy, John Bortsfield, Charles Gramp, Joseph Maxwell, Jacob Backers, Van Reason, Fred Shilling, Aaron S. Best, Milton S. Weaver, Thomas Mullarkey, Lary Paten and Andrew Bartlett.
"Winds of summer,
Oh! whisper low,
Over the graves where the daisies grow,
Blossoming flowers and songs of bees,
Sweet ferns tossed in the summer breeze
Floating shadows and golden lights,
Dewy mornings and
All the bright and beautiful things
That gracious and bountiful summer brings,
Fairest and sweetest that earth can bestow
Brighten the graves where the daisies grow."
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Stories, Volume 1
Part Two - The Migration to Stephenson County