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Trails History and Genealogy
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE
EVENTS IN ILLINOIS BEFORE DURING AND AFTER THE WAR OF 1812
The Revolutionary War ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. Under the Terms, Great Britain surrendered the Old Northwest to the United States. Virginia and other states ceded their claims to the Old Northwest to the federal government. In 1787 this was organized as the Northwest Territory. which included pretty much everything outside of the original 13 colonies that belonged to the United States. In 1800 Illinois was included in the Indiana Territory and in 1809 was organized as Illinois Territory which included all of Illinois, most of Wisconsin and large parts of Michigan and Minnesota. In 1809 what was to become the state of Illinois was divided into two counties, St. Clair on the north and Randolph on the south. The dividing line was a diagonal running east to west through what became Clark, Crawford, Jasper, Clay, Marion, Clinton, Washington, St. Clair and Monroe Counties. Ninian Edwards was appointed the Governor of the Illinois Territory. Ninian Edwards was the son of Benjamin Edwards. He was born 17 Mar 1775 at "Mount Pleasant", Montgomery Co., MD. He died 20 July 1833 at Belleville and was first buried there. He was reinterred at Oaklawn Cemetery in Springfield in 1855. His son married the sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. He served as Illinois Territorial Governor from 1809 to 1818 and as Governor of the State of Illinois 1826-1831. Kaskaskia was named as the Territorial Captial. The majority of the white settlement in Illinois at that time was in the southern regions.
The former Territorial Governments had begun obtaining the land of the Native Americans in a series of Treaties. These treaties exchanged land for yearly payments of money and presents. The Indians were not satisfied and took advantage of the War of 1812 to side with the British. The tribes involved were the Potawatomi, Kickappo, and The Sac and Fox.
During the both French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic wars between France and Great Britain both parties violated the maritime rights of the neutral powers. This especially affected the United States. The British Navy impressed (kidnapped and took aboard for service) thousands of seamen from vessels registered in the U.S. which include naturalized Americans claiming they were either deserters of British subjects.
In 1807 the British Frigate Leopard fired on the U.S.S. Chesapeake in American Territorial Waters, then removed and later excecuted 4 crewmen. Britain also was seizing vessels which were bound for Europe but didn't stop first in Britain. Between 1803 and 1812 nearly 1500 American ships were seized. The American's were prepared to answer with economic sanctions. A trade ban was imposed on Britain in Nov. 1810 but Britain refused to comply and President Madison summoned Congress into session in November of 1811 to prepare for was. War was declared on Great Britain 18 Jun 1812.
Fort Dearborn (near the present site of Chicago) was evacuated in the early part of the war while the British and their Native American allies were trying to gain control of the area. The garrison, numbering 67, along with resident settlers, started for Detroit. With them was a group of Potawatami escorts who were thought to be friendly. While they were traveling the escorts joined with another force and attacked the garrison and the settlers. Two thirds of the Americans were killed and the rest captured. The next day the hostile Indians destroyed Fort Dearborn. After ransoms had been paid by Detroit several of the captives were freed.
The war ended in 1815. In 1816 Fort Dearborn was rebuilt and garrisoned. After the war Illinois saw a large influx of settlers . The emigrants traveled down the Ohio by flat boat and by wagon overland. Most of the them settled in Southern Illinois because the country was similar to where they had lived before. Central and Northern Illinois stayed largely uninhabited by whites until later.
In 1815 the land which was to become the state had become further divided by a line running north and south into Madison and Edwards Counties with further division in the south into St. Clair, Randolph, White, Gallatin and Johnson Counties. The Northern Border of St. Clair ran through the present counties of Madison and Clinton and the Northern Border of White County ran through the present counties of Jefferson and Wayne and met the southern boundries of present Edwards and Wabash.
After the war the men of the military were given land bounties in the Illinois Territory.