In thinking about the old cabin that we all are so proud of, we always marvel at the fact that those pioneers managed to land here in the 1820’s. Why this part of Illinois? Why section 22 in the Mackinaw Timber? The following maps may give us some clues and make us more aware of the circumstances of those times.
Notice on the map of Illinois below how the counties in the south and up the western side of Illinois are smaller and more tightly placed together. Those were the places that were settled first. Way back in the 1600’s the French, British, and Indians had used the Mississippi River as a main route on their hunting, trading, and warring expeditions. Remember that the first state capitol was on the Mississippi at Kaskaskia. Notice how the southeastern part of Illinois is also bounded by rivers, too. The Ohio and Wabash Rivers were magnets for settlement, too. That left nearly the upper third of Illinois as the last frontier to be settled in this state. When the pioneers arrived from mainly Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky in the 1820’s to 1830’s, the best land to stake a claim on was in that northeastern uninhabited part of Illinois. This sometimes surprises people because now our most inhabited part of the state is to the northeast around Chicago, exactly the opposite of what it was then.
This is a copy of an article published by a Lexington student in the Illinois History Journal many years ago. There was an idea to salvage and restore the old bridge in the 1990's but the effort was unsuccessful.
From The Pantagraph Monday
What we’re famous for…..