The Old Northwest, A Chronicle of the Ohio Valley and Beyond
Frederic Austin Ogg

Part 3 out of 3

Meanwhile, after a first defeat, Lincoln was elected to the
Illinois Legislature in 1834, and again in 1836. When he gathered
all of his worldly belongings in a pair of saddlebags and fared
forth to the new capital, Springfield, to settle himself to the
practice of law, he had more than a local reputation for
oratorical power; and events were to prove that he had not only
facility in debate and familiarity with public questions, but
incomparable devotion to lofty principles. In the subsequent
unfolding of the careers of Lincoln and Douglas--especially in
the turn of events that brought to each a nomination for the
presidency by a great party in 1860--there was no small amount of
good luck and sheer accident. But it is equally true that by
prodigious effort Kentuckian and Vermonter alike hewed out their
own ways to greatness.

It was the glory of the Northwest to offer a competence to the
needy, the baffled, the discouraged, the tormented of the eastern
States and of Europe. The bulk of its fast-growing population
consisted, it is true, of ordinary folk who could have lived on
in fair comfort in the older sections, yet who were ambitious to
own more land, to make more money, and to secure larger
advantages for their children. But nowhere else was the road for
talent so wide open, entirely irrespective of inheritance,
possessions, education, environment. Nowhere outside of the
trans-Alleghany country would the rise of a Lincoln have been

Chapter XI. The Upper Mississippi Valley

While the Ohio country--the lower half of the States of Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois--was throwing off its frontier character,
the remoter Northwest was still a wilderness frequented only by
fur-traders and daring explorers. And that far Northwest by the
sources of the Mississippi had been penetrated by few white men
since the seventeenth century. The earliest white visitors to the
upper Mississippi are not clearly known. They may have been
Pierre Radisson and his brother-in-law, Menard des Grosseilliers,
who are alleged to have covered the long portage from Lake
Superior to the Mississippi in or about 1665; but the matter
rests entirely on how one interprets Radisson's vague account of
their western perambulations. At all events, in 1680--seven years
after the descent of the river from the Wisconsin to the Arkansas
by Marquette and Joliet--Louis Hennepin, under instructions from
La Salle, explored the stream from the mouth of the Illinois to
the Falls of St. Anthony, where the city of Minneapolis now
stands, five hundred miles from the true source.

There the matter of exploration rested until the days of Thomas
Jefferson, when the purchase of Louisiana lent fresh interest to
northwestern geography. In 1805 General James Wilkinson, in
military command in the West, dispatched Lieutenant Zebulon M.
Pike with a party of twenty men from St. Louis to explore the
headwaters of the great river, make peace with the Indians, and
select sites for fortified posts. From his winter quarters near
the Falls, Pike pushed northward over the snow and ice until,
early in 1806, he reached Leech Lake, in Cass County, Minnesota,
which he wrongly took to be the source of the Father of Waters.
It is little wonder that, at a time when the river and lake
surfaces were frozen over and the whole country heavily blanketed
with snow, he should have found it difficult to disentangle the
maze of streams and lakes which fill the low-lying region around
the headwaters of the Mississippi, the Red River, and the Lake of
the Woods. In 1820 General Cass, Governor of Michigan, which then
had the Mississippi for its western boundary, led an expedition
into the same region as far as Cass Lake, where the Indians told
him that the true source lay some fifty miles to the northwest.
It remained for the traveler and ethnologist Henry Schoolcraft,
twelve years later, to discover Lake Itasca, in modern Clearwater
County, which occupies a depression near the center of the rock-
rimmed basin in which the river takes its rise.

It was not these infrequent explorers, however, who opened paths
for pioneers into the remote Northwest, but traders in. search of
furs and pelts--those commercial pathfinders of western
civilization. There is scarcely a town or city in the State of
Wisconsin that does not owe its origin, directly or indirectly,
to these men. Cheap and tawdry enough were the commodities
bartered for these wonderful beaver and otter pelts--ribbons and
gewgaws, looking-glasses and combs, blankets and shawls of gaudy
color. But scissors and knives, gunpowder and shot, tobacco and
whiskey, went also in the traders' packs, though traffic in
fire-water was forbidden. These goods, upon arrival at Mackinac,
were sent out by canoes and bateaux to the different posts, where
they were dealt out to the savages directly or were dispatched to
the winter camps along the far-reaching waterways." Returning
home in the spring, the bucks would set their squaws and children
at making maple sugar or planting corn, watermelons, potatoes,
and squash, while they themselves either dawdled their time away
or hunted for summer furs. In the autumn, the wild rice was
garnered along the sloughs and the river mouths, and the
straggling field crops were gathered in--some of the product
being hidden in skillfully covered pits, as a reserve, and some
dried for transportation in the winter's campaign. The villagers
were now ready to depart for their hunting-grounds, often
hundreds of miles away. It was then that the trader came and
credits were wrangled over and extended, each side endeavoring to
get the better of the other."*

* Thwaites, "Story of Wisconsin," p. 156.

This traffic was largely managed by the British in Canada until
1816, when an act of Congress forbade foreign traders to operate
on United States soil. But a heavier blow was inflicted in the
establishment of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, which
was given a substantial monopoly of Indian commerce. From its
headquarters on Mackinac Island this great corporation rapidly
squeezed the clandestine British agents out of the American
trade, introduced improved methods, and built up a system which
covered the entire fur-bearing Northwest.

Of this remoter Northwest, the region between Lakes Erie and
Michigan was the most accessible from the East; yet it was
avoided by the first pioneers, who labored under a strange
misapprehension about its climate and resources. In spite of the
fact that it abounded in rich bottom-lands and fertile prairies
and was destined to become one of the most bountiful orchards of
the world, it was reported by early prospectors to be swampy and
unfit for cultivation. Though Governor Cass did his best to
overcome this prejudice, for years settlers preferred to gather
mainly about Detroit, leaving the rich interior to fur-traders.
When enlightenment eventually came, population poured in with a
rush. Detroit--which was a village in 1820--became ten years
later a thriving city of thirty thousand and the western terminus
of a steamboat line from Buffalo, which year after year
multiplied its traffic. By the year 1837 the great territory
lying east of Lake Michigan was ready for statehood.

Almost simultaneously the region to the west of Lake Michigan
began to emerge from the fur-trading stage. The place of the
picturesque trader, however, was not taken at once by the prosaic
farmer. The next figure in the pageant was the miner. The
presence of lead in the stretch of country between the Wisconsin
and Illinois rivers was known to the Indians before the coming of
the white man, but they began to appreciate its value only after
the introduction of firearms by the French. The ore lay at no
great depth in the Galena limestone, and the aborigines collected
it either by stripping it from the surface or by sinking shallow
shafts from which it was hoisted, in deerskin bags. Shortly after
the War of 1812 American prospectors pushed into the region, and
the Government began granting leases on easy terms to operators.
In 1823 one of these men arrived with soldiers, supplies, skilled
miners, and one hundred and fifty slaves; and thereafter the
"diggings" fast became a mecca for miners, smelters, speculators,
merchants, gamblers, and get-rich-quick folk of every sort, who
swarmed thither by thousands from every part of the United
States, especially the South, and even from Europe. "Mushroom
towns sprang up all over the district; deep-worn native paths
became ore roads between the burrows and the river-landings;
sink-holes abandoned by the Sauk and Foxes, when no longer to be
operated with their crude tools, were reopened and found to be
exceptionally rich, while new diggings and smelting-furnaces,
fitted out with modern appliances, fairly dotted the map of the

* Thwaites, "Story of Wisconsin". p. 163.

Galena was the entrepot of the region. A trail cut thither from
Peoria soon became a well-worn coach road; roads were early
opened to Chicago and Milwaukee. In 1822 Galena was visited by a
Mississippi River steamboat, and a few years later regular
steamboat traffic was established. And it was by these roadways
and waterways that homeseekers soon began to arrive.

The invasion of the white man, accompanied though it was by
treaties, was bitterly resented by the Indian tribes who occupied
the Northwest above the Illinois River. These Sioux, Sauk and
Foxes, and Winnebagoes, with remnants of other tribes, carried on
an intermittent warfare for years, despite the efforts of the
Federal Government to define tribal boundaries; and between red
men and white men coveting the same lands causes of irritation
were never wanting. In 1827 trouble which had been steadily
brewing came to the boiling-point. Predatory expeditions in the
north were reported; the Winnebagoes were excited by rumors that
another war between the United States and Great Britain was
imminent; an incident or even an accident was certain to provoke
hostilities. The incident occurred. When Red Bird, a petty
Winnebago chieftain dwelling in a "town" on the Black River, was
incorrectly informed that two Winnebago braves who had been
imprisoned at Prairie du Chien had been executed, he promptly
instituted vengeance. A farmer's family in the neighborhood of
Prairie du Chien was massacred, and two keel-boats returning down
stream from Fort Snelling were attacked, with some loss of life.
The settlers hastily repaired the old fort and also dispatched
messengers to give the alarm. Galena sent a hundred militiamen; a
battalion came down from Fort Snelling; Governor Cass arrived on
the spot by way of Green Bay; General Atkinson brought up a full
regiment from Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis; and finally
Major Whistler proceeded up the Fox with a portion of the troops
stationed at Fort Howard, on Green Bay.

When all was in readiness, the Winnebagoes were notified that,
unless Red Bird and his principal accomplice, Wekau, were
promptly surrendered, the tribe would be exterminated. The threat
had its intended effect, and the two culprits duly presented
themselves at Whistler's camp on the Fox-Wisconsin portage, in
full savage regalia, and singing their war dirges. Red Bird, who
was an Indian of magnificent physique and lofty bearing, had but
one request to make--that he be not committed to irons--and this
request was granted. At Prairie du Chien, whither the two were
sent for trial, he had opportunities to escape, but he refused to
violate his word by taking advantage of them. Following their
trial, the redskins were condemned to be hanged. Unused to
captivity, however, Red Bird languished and soon died, while his
accomplice was pardoned by President Adams. In 1828 Fort
Winnebago was erected on the site of Red Bird's surrender.

The Winnebagoes now agreed to renounce forever their claims to
the lead mines. Furthermore, in the same year, the site of the
principal Sauk village and burying-ground, on Rock River, three
miles south of the present city of Rock Island, was sold by the
Government, and the Sauk and Foxes resident in the vicinity were
given notice to leave. Under the Sauk chieftain Keokuk most of
the dispossessed warriors withdrew peacefully beyond the
Mississippi, and two years later the tribal representatives
formally yielded all claims to lands east of that stream. Some
members of the tribe, however, established themselves on the high
bluff which has since been known as Black Hawk's Watch Tower and
defied the Government to remove them.

The leading spirit in this protest was Black Hawk, who though
neither born a chief nor elected to that dignity, had long been
influential in the village and among his people at large. During
the War of 1812 he became an implacable enemy of the Americans,
and, after fighting with the British at the battles of Frenchtown
and the Thames, he returned to Illinois and carried on a border
warfare which ended only with the signing of a special treaty of
peace in 1816. For years thereafter he was accustomed to lead his
"British band" periodically across northern Illinois and southern
Michigan to the British Indian agency to receive presents of
arms, ammunition, provisions, and trinkets; and he was a
principal intermediary in the British intrigues which gave Cass,
as superintendent of Indian affairs in the Northwest, many uneasy
days. He was ever a restless spirit and a promoter of trouble,
although one must admit that he had some justice on his side and
that he was probably honest and sincere. Tall, spare, with
pinched features, exceptionally high cheekbones, and a prominent
Roman nose, he was a figure to command attention--the more so by
reason of the fact that he had practically no eyebrows and no
hair except a scalp-lock, in which on state occasions he fastened
a flaming bunch of dyed eagle feathers.

Returning from their hunt in the spring of 1830, Black Hawk and
his warriors found the site of their town preempted by white
settlers and their ancestral burying-ground ploughed over. In
deep rage, they set off for Malden, where they were liberally
entertained and encouraged to rebel. Coming again to the site of
their village a year later, they were peremptorily ordered away.
This time they resolved to stand their ground, and Black Hawk
ordered the squatters themselves to withdraw and gave them until
the middle of the next day to do so. Black Hawk subsequently
maintained that he did not mean to threaten bloodshed. But the
settlers so construed his command and deluged Governor Reynolds
with petitions for help. With all possible speed, sixteen hundred
volunteers and ten companies of United States regulars were
dispatched to the scene, and on the 25th of June, they made an
impressive demonstration within view of the village. In the face
of such odds discretion seemed the better part of valor, and
during the succeeding night Black Hawk and his followers quietly
paddled across the Mississippi. Four days later they signed an
agreement never to return to the eastern banks without express
permission from the United States Government.

On the Indian side this compact was not meant to be kept. Against
the urgent advice of Keokuk and other leaders, Black Hawk
immediately began preparations for a campaign of vengeance.
British intrigue lent stimulus, and a crafty "prophet," who was
chief of a village some thirty-five miles up the Rock, made it
appear that aid would be given by the Potawatomi, Winnebagoes,
and perhaps other powerful peoples. In the first week of April,
1832, the disgruntled leader and about five hundred braves, with
their wives and children, crossed the Mississippi at Yellow Banks
and ascended the Rock River to the prophet's town, with a view to
raising a crop of corn during the summer and taking the war-path
in the fall.

The invasion created much alarm throughout the frontier country.
The settlers drew together about the larger villages, which were
put as rapidly as possible in a state of defense. Again the
Governor called for volunteers, and again the response more than
met the expectation. Four regiments were organized, and to them
were joined four hundred regulars. One of the first persons to
come forward with an offer of his services was a tall, ungainly,
but powerful young man from Sangamon County, who had but two
years before settled in the State, and who was at once honored
with the captaincy of his company. This man was Abraham Lincoln.
Other men whose names loom large in American history were with
the little army also. The commander of the regulars was Colonel
Zachary Taylor. Among his lieutenants were Jefferson Davis and
Albert Sidney Johnston, and Robert Anderson, the defender of Fort
Sumter in 1860, was a colonel of Illinois volunteers. It is said
that the oath of allegiance was administered to young Lincoln by
Lieutenant Jefferson Davis!

Over marshy trails and across streams swollen by the spring thaws
the army advanced to Dixon's Ferry, ninety miles up the Rock,
whence a detachment of three hundred men was sent out, under
Major Stillman, to reconnoitre. Unluckily, this force seized
three messengers of peace dispatched by Black Hawk and, in the
clash which followed, was cut to pieces and driven into headlong
flight by a mere handful of red warriors. The effect of this
unexpected affray was both to stiffen the Indians to further
resistance and to precipitate a fresh panic throughout the
frontier. All sorts of atrocities ensued, and Black Hawk's name
became a household bugaboo the country over.

Finally a new levy was made ready and sent north. Pushing across
the overflowed wilderness stretches, past the sites of modern
Beloit and Madison, this army, four thousand strong, came upon
the fleeing enemy on the banks of the Wisconsin River, and at
Wisconsin Heights, near the present town of Prairie du Sac, it
inflicted a severe defeat upon the Indians. Again Black Hawk
desired to make peace, but again he was frustrated, this time by
the lack of an interpreter. The redskins' flight was continued in
the direction of the Mississippi, which they reached in
midsummer. They were prevented from crossing by lack of canoes,
and finally the half-starved band found itself caught between the
fire of a force of regulars on the land side and a government
supply steamer, the Warrior, on the water side, and between these
two the Indian band was practically annihilated.

Thus ended the war--a contest originating in no general uprising
or far-reaching plan, such as marked the rebellions instigated by
Pontiac and Tecumseh, but which none the less taxed the strength
of the border populations and opened a new chapter in the history
of the remoter northwestern territories. Black Hawk himself took
refuge with the Winnebagoes in the Dells of the Wisconsin, only
to be treacherously delivered over to General Street at Prairie
du Chien. Under the terms of a treaty of peace signed at Fort
Armstrong (Rock Island) in September, the fallen leader and some
of his accomplices were held as hostages, and during the ensuing
winter they were kept at Jefferson Barracks (St. Louis) under the
surveillance of Jefferson Davis. In the spring of 1833 they were
taken to Washington, where they had an interview with President
Jackson. "We did not expect to conquer the whites," Black Hawk
told the President; "they had too many houses, too many men. I
took up the hatchet, for my part, to revenge injuries which my
people could no longer endure. Had I borne them longer without
striking, my people would have said, 'Black Hawk is a woman--he
is too old to be a chief he is no Sauk.'" After a brief
imprisonment at Fortress Monroe, where Jefferson Davis was
himself confined at the close of the Civil War, the captives were
set free, and were taken to Philadelphia, New York, up the
Hudson, and finally back to the Rock River country.

For some years Black Hawk lived quietly on a small reservation
near Des Moines. In 1837 the peace-loving Keokuk took him with a
party of Sauk and Fox chiefs again to Washington, and on this
trip he made a visit to Boston. The officials of the city
received the august warrior and his companions in Faneuil Hall,
and the Governor of the commonwealth paid them similar honor at
the State House. Some war-dances were performed on the Common for
the amusement of the populace, and afterwards the party was taken
to see a performance by Edwin Forrest at the Tremont Theatre.
Here all went well, except that at an exciting point in the play
where one of the characters fell dying the Indians burst out into
a war-whoop, to the considerable consternation of the women and
children present.

A few months after returning to his Iowa home, Black Hawk, now
seventy-one years of age, was gathered to his fathers. He was
buried about half a mile from his cabin, in a sitting posture,
his left hand grasping a cane presented to him by Henry Clay, and
at his side a supply of food and tobacco sufficient to last him
to the spirit land, supposed to be three days' travel. "Rock
River," he said in a speech at a Fourth of July celebration
shortly before his death, "was a beautiful country. I liked my
town, my cornfields, and the home of my people. I fought for it.
It is now yours. Keep it, as we did. It will produce you good

The Black Hawk War opened a new chapter in the history of the
Northwest. The soldiers carried to their homes remarkable stories
of the richness and attractiveness of the northern country, and
the eastern newspapers printed not only detailed accounts of the
several expeditions but highly colored descriptions of the charms
of the region. Books and pamphlets by the score helped to attract
the attention of the country. The result was a heavy influx of
settlers, many of them coming all the way from New England and
New York, others from Pennsylvania and Ohio. Lands were rapidly
surveyed and placed on sale, and surviving Indian hunting-grounds
were purchased. Northern Illinois filled rapidly with a thrifty
farming population, and the town of Chicago became an entrepot.
Further north, Wisconsin had been organized, in 1836, as a
Territory, including not only the present State of that name but
Iowa, Minnesota, and most of North and South Dakota. As yet the
Iowa country, however, had been visited by few white people; and
such as came were only hunters and trappers, agents of the
American Fur and other trading companies, or independent traders.
Two of the most active of these free-lances of early days--the
French Canadian Dubuque and the Englishman Davenport--have left
their names to flourishing cities.

To recount the successive purchases by which the Government freed
Iowa soil from Indian domination would be wearisome. The Treaty
of 1842 with the Sauks and Foxes is typical. After a sojourn of
hardly more than a decade in the Iowa country, these luckless
folk were now persuaded to yield all their lands to the United
States and retire to a reservation in Kansas. The negotiations
were carried out with all due regard for Indian susceptibilities.
Governor Chambers, resplendent in the uniform of a
brigadier-general of the United States army, repaired with his
aides to the appointed rendezvous, and there the chiefs presented
themselves, arrayed in new blankets and white deerskin leggings,
with full paraphernalia of paint, feathers, beads, and
elaborately decorated war clubs. Oratory ran freely, although
through the enforced medium of an interpreter. The chiefs
harangued for hours not only upon the beautiful meadows, the
running streams, the stately trees, and the other beloved objects
which they were called upon to surrender to the white man, but
upon the moon and stars and rain and hail and wind, all of which
were alleged to be more attractive and beneficent in Iowa than
anywhere else. The Governor, in turn, gave the Indians some good
advice, urging them to live peaceably in their new homes, to be
industrious and self-supporting, to leave liquor alone, and, in
general, to "be a credit to the country." When every one had
talked as much as he liked, the treaty was solemnly signed.

The "New Purchase" was thrown open to settlers in the following
spring; and the opening brought scenes of a kind destined to be
reenacted scores of times in the great West during succeeding
decades--the borders of the new district lined, on the eve of the
opening, with encamped settlers and their families ready to race
for the best claims; horses saddled and runners picked for the
rush; a midnight signal from the soldiery, releasing a flood of
eager land-hunters armed with torches, axes, stakes, and every
sort of implement for the laying out of claims with all possible
speed; by daybreak, many scores of families "squatting" on the
best pieces of ground which they had been able to reach;
innumerable disputes, with a general readjustment following the
intervention of the government surveyors.

The marvelous progress of the upper Mississippi Valley is briefly
told by a succession of dates. In 1838 Iowa was organized as a
Territory; in 1846 it was admitted as a State; in 1848 Wisconsin
was granted statehood; and in 1849 Minnesota was given
territorial organization with boundaries extending westward to
the Missouri.

Thus the Old Northwest had arrived at the goal set for it by the
large-visioned men who framed the Ordinance of 1787; every foot
of its soil was included in some one of the five thriving,
democratic commonwealths that had taken their places in the Union
on a common basis with the older States of the East and the
South. Furthermore, the Mississippi had ceased to be a boundary.
A magnificent vista reaching off to the remoter West and
Northwest had been opened up; the frontier had been pushed far
out upon the plains of Minnesota and Iowa. Decade after decade
the powerful epic of westward expansion, shot through with
countless tales of heroism and sacrifice, had steadily unfolded
before the gaze of an astonished world; and the end was not yet
in sight.

Bibliographical Note

There is no general history of the Northwest covering the whole
of the period dealt with in this book except Burke A. Hinsdale,
The Old Northwest (1888). This is a volume of substantial
scholarship, though it reflects but faintly the life and spirit
of the people. The nearest approach to a moving narrative is
James K. Hosmer, "Short History of the Mississippi Valley"
(1901), which tells the story of the Middle West from the
earliest explorations to the close of the nineteenth century,
within a brief space, yet in a manner to arouse the reader's
interest and sympathy. A fuller and very readable narrative to
1796 will be found in Charles Moore, "The Northwest under Three
Flags" (1900). Still more detailed, and enlivened by many
contemporary rasps and plans, is Justin Winsor, "The Westward
Movement" (1899), covering the period from the pacification of
1763 to the close of the eighteenth century. Frederick J. Turner,
"Rise of the New West" (1906) contains several interesting and
authoritative chapters on western development after the War of
1812; and John B. McMaster, "History of the People of the United
States" (8 vols., 1883-1913), gives in the fourth and fifth
volumes a very good account of westward migration.

An excellent detailed account of the settlement and development
of a single section of the Northwest is G. N. Fuller, "Economic
and Social Beginnings of Michigan," Michigan Historical
Publications, Univ. Series, No.1 (1916). A very readable book is
R. G. Thwaites, "The Story of Wisconsin" (rev. ed., 1899),
containing a full account of the early relations of white men and
red men, and of the Black Hawk War. Mention may be made, too, of
H. E. Legler, "Leading Events of Wisconsin History" (1898).

Among the volumes dealing with the diplomatic history of the
Northwest, mention should be made of two recent studies: C. W.
Alvord, "The Mississippi Valley in British Politics" (2 vols.,
1917), and E. S. Corwin, "French Policy and the American
Alliance" (1916).

Aside from Lincoln, few men of the earlier Northwest have been
made the subjects of well-written biographies. Curiously, there
are no modern biographies, good or bad, of George Rogers Clark,
General St. Clair, or William Henry Harrison. John R. Spears,
"Anthony Wayne" (1903) is an interesting book; and Andrew C.
McLaughlin, "Lewis Cass" (1891), and Allen Johnson, "Stephen A.
Douglas" (1908) are excellent. Lives of Lincoln that have
importance for their portrayal of western society include: John
T. Morse, Jr., "Abraham Lincoln" (2 vols., 1893); John G. Nicolay
and John Hay, "Abraham Lincoln, a History" (10 vols., 1890); and
Ida M. Tarbell, "Life of Abraham Lincoln" (new ed., 2vols.,

The reader will do well, however, to turn early to some of the
works within the field which, by reason of their literary quality
as well as their scholarly worth, have attained the dignity of
classics. Foremost are the writings of Francis Parkman. Most of
these, it is true, deal with the history of the American interior
prior to 1763. But "Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV"
(Frontenac edition, 1915), and "A Half-Century of Conflict" (2
vols., same ed.) furnish the necessary background; and "The
Conspiracy of Pontiac" (2 vols., same ed.) is indispensable.
Parkman's work closes with the Indian war following the Treaty of
1763. Theodore Roosevelt's "Winning of the West" (4 vols.,
1889-96) takes up the story at that point and carries it to the
collapse of the Burr intrigues during the second administration
of Thomas Jefferson. This work was a pioneer in the field. In the
light of recent scholarship it is subject to criticism at some
points; but it is based on careful study of the sources, and for
vividness and interest it has perhaps not been surpassed in
American historical writing. A third extensive work is Archer B.
Hulbert, "Historic Highways of America" (16 vols., 1902-05). In
writing the history of the great land and water routes of trade
and travel between East and West the author found occasion to
describe, in interesting fashion, most phases of western life.
The volumes most closely related to the subject matter of the
present book are: "Military Roads of the Mississippi Valley"
(VIII); "Waterways of Western Expansion" (IX); "The Cumberland
Road" (X); and "Pioneer Roads and Experiences of Travellers"
(XIXII). Mention should be made also of Mr. Hulbert's "The Ohio
River, a Course of Empire" (1906).

Further references will be found appended to the articles on
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin in "The
Encyclopaedia Britannica" (11th edition).

Opportunity to get the flavor of the period by reading
contemporary literature is afforded by two principal kinds of
books. One is reminiscences, letters, and histories written by
the Westerners themselves. Timothy Flint's "Recollections of the
Last Ten Years" (1826) will be found interesting; as also J.
Hall, "Letters from the West" (1828), and T. Ford, "History of
Illinois" (1854).

The second type of materials is books of travel written by
visitors from the East or from Europe. Works of this nature are
always subject to limitations. Even when the author tries to be
accurate and fair, his information is likely to be hastily
gathered and incomplete and his judgments unsound. Between 1800
and 1840 the Northwest was visited, however, by many educated and
fair-minded persons who wrote readable and trustworthy
descriptions of what they saw and heard. A complete list cannot
be given here, but some of the best of these books are: John
Melish, "Travels in the United States of America in the Years
1806 & 1807 and 1809, 1810 & 1811" (2 vols., 1810; William
Cobbett, A Year's Residence in the United States of America
(1818); Henry B. Fearon, Sketches of America (1818); Morris
Birkbeck, Letters from Illinois (1818); John Bradbury, Travels in
the Interior of America in the Years 1809, 1810, and 1811"
(1819); Thomas Hulme, "Journal made during a Tour in the Western
Countries of America, 1818-1819" (1828); and Michael Chevalier,
"Society, Manners, and Politics in the United States" (1839).
Copies of early editions of some of these works will be found in
most large libraries. But the reader is happily not dependent on
this resource. Almost all of the really important books of the
kind are reprinted, with introductions and explanatory matter, in
Reuben G. Thwaites, "Early Western Travels, 1714-1846" (32 vols.,
1904-07), which is one of our chief collections of historical


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