THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 1918
One of the first banks in Illinois was located at Shawneetown, and was built of logs. A traveler who visited Shawneetown in 1818 found about thirty log houses there. "The chief occupation of the inhabitants is the salt trade." he wrote. "There is here a United States land office, and a log bank is just established. The chief cashier of this establishment was engaged in cutting logs at the moment of my arrival."
The first white settlement at Shawneetown is said to have been in 1800. A jail was erected in 1810 and a courthouse in 1815. The land on which the town was located belonged to the United States until 1814, when lots were sold at auction to residents. The bidding was brisk and the lots sold for good prices.
Two years later, however, the ground was inundated by the river, even as it has been frequently since that time. In 1816 lot owners petitioned congress to relieve them from paying further installments on their lots. They said they had purchased the lots at an excessive price and "that within a few months after the sale of the said lots, our town was visited by a most destructive epidemic, which nearly depopulated the place and immediately after in the same winter, the whole of the town on the river was inundated, the water being from 10 to 20 feet over the whole of that town; that alarmed and dishearteded, many persons have ceased to improve and have abandoned the place, and others have been deterred from settling here".
The salt works on Salt creek was the most important factor in the early developement of Shawneetown, together with the location of the land office there. The salt was sold to settlers all over that section of the United States.
...Donated by Nancy Piper
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