Category Archives: Native Americans

‘Wigwam tree’ and sulfur spring, Loami

The “wigwam tree” was a hollow sycamore near Loami that, according to John Carroll Power in History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County (1876), was once measured at 18 feet in diameter. Power wrote that the tree stood “a … Continue reading

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The Payne Stone Age Collection

Edward W. Payne (1857-1932), a Springfield banker and property investor, amassed a huge collection of stone relics — most, though not all, from pre-Columbian America — with the intention of building a museum to house them. At his death, however, … Continue reading

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Early Springfield (Barringer map)

The map at right was created for Dr. Floyd Barringer’s 1971 booklet Tour of Historic Springfield. Fever River Research, in its  Aristocracy Hill  and Enos Park surveys, along with its archaeological survey prior to construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential … Continue reading

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Edwards Trace

The Edwards Trace was the main route from the Kaskaskia area in southern Illinois to north of present-day Peoria, apparently beginning in prehistoric times. When European colonists moved into Illinois, the trail also became their preferred north-to-south route through the … Continue reading

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Gen. James Henry

James D. Henry (1797-1834), gained the title of “General” via his acknowledged exceptional leadership during the Black Hawk War of 1832. Henry, who arrived in Springfield in 1826, was elected sheriff in 1827 and was operating a store on the … Continue reading

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Elijah Iles (1828 pioneers)

Elijah Iles (1796-1883) was Springfield’s first merchant and perhaps its most dynamic founder. Iles built a log store near the settlement of the John Kelly family shortly after arriving in central Illinois. Iles described his move to Sangamon County and … Continue reading

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The Kickapoo

When Europeans began moving into Central Illinois in the early 1800s, the Kickapoo were the dominant Native American tribe, holding sway from north of present-day Peoria to near St. Louis and east to west across Illinois. “I am a Kickapoo,” … Continue reading

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Potawatomi Trail of Death

The Potawatomi Trail of Death is the name given to the forced removal in 1838 of more than 800 Potawatomi Indians from north-central Indiana to eastern Kansas. A total of 41 people, mostly children, died during the 10-week, 660-mile walk. … Continue reading

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Sangamo Township

Before Sangamon County was created in January 1821, its territory was divided between Madison and Bond counties (mostly in Madison). Between the arrival of the first settler in 1817 and the ultimate formation of the county in 1821, a significant … Continue reading

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New Berlin (and Berlin): Following the railroad

When Europeans arrived, three villages of Pottawatomie and Delaware Indians were in the Berlin/New Berlin area. “During the first few years after the first settlers came, the Indians were as numerous as the whites,” reports a New Berlin history in … Continue reading

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