Old Kaskaskia Trails

©Sue Reed
©Illinois Trails History and Genealogy

Old Trails from Kaskaskia to Lusk's Ferry - or Shawneetown Road

This trail is shown on the plats and field notes of Randolph county and marked at the intersections of the township lines and running in an easterly direction across the state to Lusk' ferry.  This ferry from the appearance and direction of this trail, must be at or near the town of Shawneetown.  This evidently, from the location of it on the government plats, must be where is known in later days as the Kaskaskia and Shawneetown road, and was surveyed and platted and is on file in the County Clerk's office as the Kaskaskia and Shawneetown road.

In early days there was a mail route over this road from Kaskaskia-Shawneetown, the mail being carried on horse back.  This mail was carried part of the time by Col. J. L. D. Morrison in his boyhood days.  This road was surveyed and plated through Randolph county by one Darius Greenup in the year 1819.  We have no record or knowledge of the survey beyond the limits of Randolph county.


This trail, leaving Fergerson's ferry, running in a northwesterly direction, from the appearance of the  locations on the plats and field notes, and the directions must have followed the trail from Kaskaskia to Lusk's ferry to a point near New Palestine, in Randolph county.  From this point it bears more to the north, crossing the Kaskaskia river at or near New Athens, thence to Turkey Hill Settlement, being about ten miles south east of Belleville, in St. Clair county.  This road is marked on the plats in Randolph county as a wagon road from Fergerson's ferry to Turkey Hill Settlement.  This trail is not traveled and is scarcely known through Randolph  and adjoining counties only as it appears on the plats.  There are some places in Randolph county where it can be seen but only where it passed over land not in cultivation.  In regard to the Fergerson and Lusk's ferries, they must be on the Ohio river at or near the present town of Shawneetown, or in other words same Ferry.


This trail leaves Kaskaskia and runs in a northeasterly direction following Kaskaskia and Belleville roads to or near the village of Florence, thence running in a northeasterly direction, passing near Coulterville in Randolph county, thence continuing northeasterly to Vincennes.  The trail can be seen where it passes over uncultivated  lands.  This road was never anything but an old trail.  No part of it was ever traveled as a road and is not known by its location, only by the older citizens


This road was surveyed and platted in the year 1811, and is on file in the county clerk's office in Randolph county.  After leaving Kaskaskia about ?-fourths of a mile it crosses the grand line of the common field of Kaskaskia.  At this point on the grand line was set a cedar post, known as the ?gate post, and is given as a point in the government field notes of surveys of the common field of Kaskaskia, thence in a northwesterly direction up and along under the bluffs, passing Prairie du Rocher; thence near Harrisonville, in Monroe county; thence to Cahokia.  This road is kept up, and is traveled at the present time.

This road, prior to the survey made in 1811, had, no doubt, been one of the paths or roads leading from Kaskaskia, in an early day, as the above mentioned cedar gate post, known as the Cahokia gate post, was recognized and known for many years by the older citizens, before the surveys above mentioned was made; therefore, it must have been a trail or road traveled by the Indians and French passing through and to the above mentioned French villages.


This road was surveyed and platted by James Thompson, in the year 1824, that part of it through Randolph county is on file in the county clerk's office at Chester, Randolph county.  Beginning at Kaskaskia, following the Kaskaskia and Belleville road at Florence; thence in a northeasterly direction crossing Little and Big Nine Mile creeks; thence to John Miller's; thence to Archibald Thompson, Sr.'s; thence to Judge James Thompson's; thence to William Mann's; thence crossing Little and Big Plum creeks; thence to John McBride, Jr's; thence to the Randolph county line; thence to Vandalia, Fayette county.  This road leading from the first to the second capital in the State.


This road is one among the early surveyed roads in the southern part of the State.  A line of stage from Kaskaskia to Belleville was run over this road in early days and up to about the year 1843.  This road is still traveled about first located, and passing through the villages of Florence, Walsh, Preston and Baldwin, crossing the Kaskaskia river at New Athens, passing Freeburg to Belleville and extending to French Village, being a little northeast of East St. Louis, under the bluffs in the Mississippi bottom.  There villages were built up along the road some time after the survey of the road.  The road is still open, and traveled nearly as first located.


This road is one of the next earliest surveyed roads shown by the records. The road follows the Kaskaskia and Belleville road to the village of Florence, thence in a northeasterly direction, passing through what is known as ?ely's Prairie and Hill Prairie, passing near the town of Marissa in St. Clair county; thence to Covington, Washington county.  This road has been abandoned for years and only old traces can be found and seen when passed through Randolph county and no such a road is regarded or ? the Kaskaskia and Covington road.  This road was surveyed by Judge Thompson in the year 1819.  This road was also resurveyed and platted by Judge James Thompson in the year 1831.


This road was surveyed and platted in the year 1837 leaving Chester running in a northwesterly direction; passing through the village of F??? crossing  the Kaskaskia river at Evansville, thence to Ruma, thence to Red Bud, thence to Burksville Station, thence to Waterloo, the county seat of Monroe county.  This road is still open and traveled as first located.


This road, leading from Kaskaskia down and along under the bluff of the Mississippi river, passing  through Chester and Rockwood,crossing Dego??(maybe Degognia) creek under the Bluff, said creek being the line between Randolph and Jackson counties; thence to a point near Kinkaid creek.  At this point in the Bottom  and goes over the Hills to Murphysboro.  this road was surveyed and platted in the year 1820 by one of the Greenups, Darius or W.C.


This road follows the Kaskaskia and Cahokia Road from Kaskaskia at the foot of the bluff, then up and along and under the bluffs of the Kaskaskia river for a few miles; thence over the Hills to what was known in early days as Cole's Mills on Horse Creek, a few miles north west of the present town of Evansville; thence in a northerly direction through Horse Prairie to the north line of Randolph county, thence to Belleville in St. Clair county.  This road is not traveled now and only a part of it can be found near C???? Creek and in a few other places along the old trail.

There is a road open and traveled and known at the present day as Kaskaskia and Belleville Road.  This road leaves the Kaskaskia and Chester road about three-fourths of a mile further up towards Prairie du Rocher on the Kaskaskia and Cahokia road at what was known in the early days as Atkins' Stone Spring house; thence up and over the Bluff in a northeast direction, passing what was known in early days as Dogwood Post; thence to Ruma, thence Red Bud; thence to Hecker, thence G????; thence to Belleville.

In the early 40's there was a mail carried on horseback over this road passing  Kaskaskia and going over the last described road to Belleville, thence Belleville back to Kaskaskia over a road known as another Kaskaskia Belleville road, leaving Belleville and passing Freeburg, thence to Preston to Florence, thence to Kaskaskia, making the round trip once a week ,first  described road seems to have been an old trail from Kaskaskia to New Designs, and in the 1820 was surveyed and platted as a sta??  and traveled in early days, but has been discontinued and can be found in only a few places and only a part of it is now traveled at all.

Frank Moore

Chester, Ill., Jan. 24, 1902

©Illinois Trails History and Genealogy

Return To The Northwest Territory Index

Return To The State Data Page

Return To The Prairie Trails Article