Illinois County, Virginia

Illinois County, Virginia, was a political and geographic region, part of the British Province of Quebec, claimed during the American Revolutionary War on July 4, 1778 by George Rogers Clark of the Virginia Militia, during the Illinois Campaign.[1] It was formally recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia later that year. The County was accorded official governmental existence, including legally defined boundaries and a formal governmental structure under the laws of the Commonwealth.[2] The county seat was the old French village of Kaskaskia. John Todd was appointed by Governor Patrick Henry to head the county's government.[3] The county was abolished in Jan. 1782, and the Commonwealth of Virginia ceded the land to the new United States federal government in 1784. The area later became the Northwest Territory by an Act of Congress in 1787.

Geographically, the county was bordered to the southeast by the Ohio River, in the west by the Mississippi River, and in the north by the Great Lakes at the time of its existence. It included all of what were known as Ohio Country and Illinois Country under French sovereignty. Politically, its effective reach extended only to the French settlements of Vincennes, Cahokia and Kaskaskia.

A portion of the British Province of Quebec, between the Great Lakes and Ohio River, briefly became Illinois County, Virginia, during the American Revolution

See also


  1. ^ Part or all of the area was also claimed by Connecticuit, Virginia and Massachusetts.
  2. ^ James, James Alton. The Life of George Rogers Clark. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1928. ISBN 1-4286-1023-5. p,157
  3. ^ Bateman, Newton, ed. (1918). "John (Col.) Todd". Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois. 1. Chicago: Munsell Publishing. p. 524.

External links

Coordinates: 39°N 89°W / 39°N 89°W

Edmund Randolph

Edmund Jennings Randolph (August 10, 1753 – September 12, 1813) was an American attorney and politician. He was the seventh Governor of Virginia, and as a delegate from Virginia, attended the Constitutional Convention, helping to create a national constitution. He was the second Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General during George Washington's presidency.

Edward Worthington

Edward Worthington (1750-1754–1804) was an 18th-early 19th century American frontiersman, longhunter, surveyor, soldier, pioneer, and state militia officer who explored and later helped settle the Kentucky frontier. A veteran of the American Revolution and the Indian Wars, he also served as a paymaster under George Rogers Clark during the Illinois campaign. His grandson, William H. Worthington, was an officer with the 5th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. Historian and author, Kathleen L. Lodwick is a direct descendant of Edward Worthington.

George Rogers Clark

George Rogers Clark (November 19, 1752 – February 13, 1818) was an American surveyor, soldier, and militia officer from Virginia who became the highest-ranking American patriot military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. He served as leader of the militia in Kentucky (then part of Virginia) throughout much of the war. He is best known for his celebrated captures of Kaskaskia (1778) and Vincennes (1779) during the Illinois Campaign, which greatly weakened British influence in the Northwest Territory. The British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, and Clark has often been hailed as the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest".

Clark's major military achievements occurred before his thirtieth birthday. Afterward, he led militia in the opening engagements of the Northwest Indian War, but was accused of being drunk on duty. He was disgraced and forced to resign, despite his demand for a formal investigation into the accusations. He left Kentucky to live on the Indiana frontier but was never fully reimbursed by Virginia for his wartime expenditures. During the final decades of his life, he worked to evade creditors and suffered living in increasing poverty and obscurity. He was involved in two failed attempts to open the Spanish-controlled Mississippi River to American traffic. After suffering a stroke and the amputation of his right leg, he became an invalid. He was aided in his final years by family members, including his younger brother William, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He died of a stroke on February 13, 1818.

History of Indiana

The history of human activity in Indiana, a U.S. state in the Midwest, began with migratory tribes of Native Americans who inhabited Indiana as early as 8000 BC. Tribes succeeded one another in dominance for several thousand years and reached their peak of development during the period of Mississippian culture. The region entered recorded history in the 1670s when the first Europeans came to Indiana and claimed the territory for the Kingdom of France. After France ruled for a century (with little settlement in this area), it was defeated by Great Britain in the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War) and ceded its territory east of the Mississippi River. Britain held the land for more than twenty years, until after its defeat in the American Revolutionary War, then ceded the entire trans-Allegheny region, including what is now Indiana, to the newly formed United States.

The U.S. government divided the trans-Allegheny region into several new territories. The largest of these was the Northwest Territory, which the U.S. Congress subsequently subdivided into several smaller territories. In 1800, Indiana Territory became the first of these new territories established. As Indiana Territory grew in population and development, it was divided in 1805 and again in 1809 until, reduced to its current size and boundaries, it retained the name Indiana and was admitted to the Union in 1816 as the nineteenth state.

The newly established state government set out on an ambitious plan to transform Indiana from a segment of the frontier into a developed, well-populated, and thriving state. State founders initiated an internal improvement program that led to the construction of roads, canals, railroads, and state-funded public schools. Despite the noble aims of the project, profligate spending ruined the state's credit. By 1841, the state was near bankruptcy and was forced to liquidate most of its public works. Acting under its new Constitution of 1851, the state government enacted major financial reforms, required that most public offices be filled by election rather than appointment, and greatly weakened the power of the governor. The ambitious developent program of Indiana's founders was realized when Indiana became the fourth-largest state in terms of population, as measured by the 1860 census.

Indiana became politically influential and played an important role in the Union during the American Civil War. Indiana was the first western state to mobilize for the war, and its soldiers participated in almost every engagement during the war. Following the Civil War, Indiana remained politically important as it became a critical swing state in U.S. Presidential elections. It helped decide control of the presidency for three decades.

During the Indiana Gas Boom of the late 19th century, industry began to develop rapidly in the state. The state's Golden Age of Literature began in the same time period, increasing its cultural influence. By the early 20th century, Indiana developed into a strong manufacturing state and attracted numerous immigrants and internal migrants to its industries. It experienced setbacks during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, expansion of the auto industry, urban development, and two wars contributed to the state's industrial growth. During the second half of the 20th century, Indiana became a leader in the pharmaceutical industry due to the innovations of companies such as Eli Lilly.

History of Virginia

The History of Virginia begins with documentation by the first Spanish explorers to reach the area in the 1500s, when it was occupied chiefly by Algonquian, Iroquoian, and Siouan peoples. After a failed English attempt to colonize Virginia in the 1580s by Walter Raleigh, permanent English colonization began in Virginia with Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. The Virginia Company colony was looking for gold but failed and the colonists could barely feed themselves. The famine during the harsh winter of 1609 forced the colonists to eat leather from their clothes and boots and resort to cannibalism. The colony nearly failed until tobacco emerged as a profitable export. It was grown on plantations, using primarily indentured servants for the intensive hand labor involved. After 1662, the colony turned black slavery into a hereditary racial caste. By 1750, the primary cultivators of the cash crop were West African slaves. While the plantations thrived because of the high demand for tobacco, most white settlers raised their families on subsistence farms. Warfare with the Virginia Indian nations had been a factor in the 17th century; after 1700 there was continued conflict with natives east of the Alleghenies, especially in the French and Indian War (1754-1763), when the tribes were allied with the French. The westernmost counties including Wise and Washington only became safe with the death of Bob Benge in 1794.

The Virginia Colony became the wealthiest and most populated British colony in North America, with an elected General Assembly. The colony was dominated by rich planters who were also in control of the established Anglican Church. Baptist and Methodist preachers brought the Great Awakening, welcoming black members and leading to many evangelical and racially integrated churches. Virginia planters had a major role in gaining independence and in the development of democratic-republican ideals of the United States. They were important in the Declaration of Independence, writing the Constitutional Convention (and preserving protection for the slave trade), and establishing the Bill of Rights. The state of Kentucky separated from Virginia in 1792. Four of the first five presidents were Virginians: George Washington, the "Father of his country"; and after 1800, "The Virginia Dynasty" of presidents for 24 years: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

During the first half of the 19th century, tobacco prices declined and tobacco lands lost much of their fertility. Planters adopted mixed farming, with an emphasis on wheat and livestock, which required less labor. The Constitutions of 1830 and 1850 expanded suffrage but did not equalize white male apportionment statewide. The population grew slowly from 700,000 in 1790, to 1 million in 1830, to 1.2 million in 1860. Virginia was the largest state joining the Confederate States of America in 1861. It became the major theater of war in the American Civil War. Unionists in western Virginia created the separate state of West Virginia. Virginia's economy was devastated in the war and disrupted in Reconstruction, when it was administered as Military District Number One. The first signs of recovery were seen in tobacco cultivation and the related cigarette industry, followed by coal mining and increasing industrialization. In 1883, conservative white Democrats regained power in the state government, ending Reconstruction and implementing Jim Crow laws. The 1902 Constitution limited the number of white voters below 19th-century levels and effectively disfranchised blacks until federal civil rights legislation of the mid-1960s.

From the 1920s to the 1960s, the state was dominated by the Byrd Organization, with dominance by rural counties aligned in a Democratic party machine, but their hold was broken over their failed Massive Resistance to school integration. After World War II, the state's economy thrived, with a new industrial and urban base. A statewide community college system was developed. The first U.S. African-American governor since Reconstruction was Virginia's Douglas Wilder in 1990. Since the late 20th century, the contemporary economy has become more diversified in high-tech industries and defense-related businesses. Virginia's changing demography makes for closely divided voting in national elections but it is still generally conservative in state politics.

History of slavery in Illinois

Slavery in Illinois existed for more than a century. Illinois did not become a state until 1818, but earlier regional systems of government had already established slavery. France introduced African slavery to the Illinois Country in the early eighteenth century. French and other inhabitants of Illinois continued the practice of owning slaves throughout the Illinois Country's period of British rule (1763-1783), as well as after its transfer to the new United States in 1783 (See, Illinois County, Virginia). The Northwest Ordinance (1787) banned slavery in Illinois and the rest of the Northwest Territory. Nonetheless, slavery remained a contentious issue, through the period when Illinois was part of the Indiana Territory and the Illinois Territory and some slaves remained in bondage even after statehood until their gradual emancipation by the Illinois Supreme Court.

During the early decades of statehood, the number of slaves in Illinois dwindled. Nevertheless, in the decade before the American Civil War an anti-Black law was adopted in the state, which made it difficult for new Black emigrants to enter or live in Illinois. Near the close of the civil war, Illinois repealed that law and became the first state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which abolished slavery nationally.

Illinois campaign

The Illinois Campaign, also known as Clark's Northwestern Campaign (1778-1779), was a series of events during the American Revolutionary War in which a small force of Virginia militiamen, led by George Rogers Clark, seized control of several British posts in the Illinois Country, in what are now Illinois and Indiana in the Midwestern United States. The campaign is the best-known action of the western theater of the war and the source of Clark's reputation as an early American military hero.

In July 1778, Clark and his men crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and took control of Kaskaskia, Vincennes, and several other villages in British territory. The occupation was accomplished without firing a shot because most of the Canadien and Native American inhabitants, who peacefully co-existed with one another, were unwilling to take up arms on behalf of the British Empire. To counter Clark's advance, Henry Hamilton, the British lieutenant governor at Fort Detroit, reoccupied Vincennes with a small force. In February 1779, Clark returned to Vincennes in a surprise winter expedition and retook the town, capturing Hamilton in the process. Virginia capitalized on Clark's success by establishing the region as Illinois County, Virginia.

The importance of the Illinois campaign has been the subject of much debate. Because the British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, some historians have credited Clark with nearly doubling the size of the original Thirteen Colonies by seizing control of the Illinois Country during the war. For this reason, Clark was nicknamed the "Conqueror of the Northwest", and his Illinois campaign—particularly the surprise march to Vincennes—was greatly celebrated and romanticized. Other historians have downplayed the importance of the campaign, arguing that Clark's "conquest" was a temporary occupation that had no impact on the boundary negotiations in Europe.

John Butler (pioneer)

John Butler (1728–1796) was a Loyalist who led an irregular militia unit known as Butler's Rangers on the northern frontier in New York during the American Revolutionary War. Born in Connecticut, he moved to New York with his family, where he learned several Iroquoian languages and worked as an interpreter in the fur trade. He was well-equipped to work with Mohawk and other Iroquois Confederacy warriors who became allies of the British during the rebellion.

During the War, Butler led Seneca and Cayuga forces in the Saratoga campaign in New York. He later raised and commanded a regiment of rangers, which included affiliated Mohawk and other Iroquois nations' warriors. They conducted raids in central New York west of Albany, including what became known among the rebels as the Cherry Valley Massacre.

After the war Butler resettled in Upper Canada, where he was given a grant of land by the Crown for his services. Butler continued his leadership in the developing province, helping to found the Anglican Church and Masonic Order, and serving in public office.

Joseph Bowman

Joseph Bowman, born Joseph Lawrence Bowman (c. 1752 – August 14 or 15, 1779), was a frontier, Virginia state militia officer, during the American Revolutionary War. He was second-in-command, during Colonel George Rogers Clark's 1778 military expedition to capture the Illinois Country, in which Clark and his men seized the key British-controlled towns of Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes. Following the 1779 campaign and defeat of the British forces, in Vincennes, Bowman was critically injured in an accidental gunpowder explosion and subsequently died of his wounds. He was the only American officer killed during the 1778-1779 Illinois campaign. Joseph Bowman kept a daily journal of his trek from Kaskaskia to Vincennes, which is one of the best primary source accounts of Clark's victorious campaign.

Kaskaskia, Illinois

Kaskaskia is a historically important village in Randolph County, Illinois, United States. In the 2010 census the population was 14, making it the second-smallest incorporated community in the State of Illinois in terms of population, behind Valley City (pop. 13). As a major French colonial town of the Illinois Country, in the 18th century its peak population was about 7,000, when it was a regional center. During the American Revolutionary War, the town, which by then had become an administrative center for the British Province of Quebec, was taken by the Virginia militia during the Illinois campaign. It was designated as the county seat of Illinois County, Virginia, after which it became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787. Kaskaskia was later named as the capital of the United States' Illinois Territory, created on February 3, 1809. In 1818, when Illinois became the 21st U.S. state, the town briefly served as the state's first capital until 1819, when the capital was moved to more centrally located Vandalia.

Most of the town was destroyed in April 1881 by flooding, as the Mississippi River shifted eastward to a new channel, taking over the lower 10 mi (16 km) of the Kaskaskia River. This resulted from deforestation of the river banks during the 19th century, due to crews taking wood for fuel to feed the steamboat and railroad traffic. The river now passes east rather than west of the town. The state boundary line, however, remained in its original location. Accordingly, if the Mississippi River is considered to be a break in physical continuity, Kaskaskia is an exclave of Illinois, lying west of the Mississippi and accessible only from Missouri. A small bridge crosses the old riverbed, now a creek that is sometimes filled with water during flood season. Kaskaskia has an Illinois telephone area code (618) and a Missouri ZIP Code (63673). Its roads are maintained by Illinois Dept. of Transportation, and its few residents vote in the Illinois elections. The town was evacuated in the Great Flood of 1993, which covered it with water more than nine feet deep.

List of commandants of the Illinois Country

The Illinois Country was governed by military commandants for its entire period under French and British rule, and during its time as a county of Virginia. The presence of French military interests in the Illinois Country began in 1682 when Robert de La Salle built Fort St. Louis du Roche on the Illinois River. The commandant of the fort was the top French official in the region and was responsible to the Governor General of New France. In 1718 Illinois was transferred to Louisiana and renamed Upper Louisiana. The new seat of government was Fort de Chartres, located in what is now southeastern Illinois among the growing French settlements of Cahokia, Kaskaskia and Prairie du Rocher.

In 1763, at the conclusion of the Seven Years' War, the entire area of Louisiana was divided, with Great Britain receiving the lands east of the Mississippi and Spain claiming the lands west of it. The new city of St. Louis, in present-day Missouri, became the seat of government of Spanish Upper Louisiana. The government of the British side, present-day Illinois, remained in the hands of military commandants at Fort de Chartres; upon that fort's abandonment the seat of government moved to Kaskaskia. British rule in Illinois was ad hoc and unsystematic. The Quebec Act of 1774 would have organized a government for the region, but before it could be put into effect Illinois was captured by Virginia militia in the Illinois Campaign.After 1787 Illinois received a civil government as part of the Northwest and Indiana Territories before becoming a distinct Illinois Territory in 1809. The United States acquired the rest of Upper Louisiana in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803; military rule continued for a few months before it was transferred to civilian government, first under the Indiana Territory, and then as the Louisiana Territory in 1805.

List of counties in Illinois

There are 102 counties in the State of Illinois.

Most counties in Illinois were named after early American leaders, especially of the American Revolutionary War, as well as soldiers from the Battle of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812. Some are named after natural features or counties in other states. Some are named for early Illinois leaders. Two counties are named for Native American tribes, and one bears the name of a plant used as a food source by Native Americans. Before the American Revolution, Illinois was part of the French Illinois Country, and then the British Province of Quebec. During the revolution it was claimed as part of Illinois County, Virginia. It became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787 (its first county still in existence, St. Clair County, was established in 1790), the area then became part of the Indiana Territory, and subsequently the Illinois Territory. Illinois gained statehood in 1818. By that year, 15 of its counties had been established, and subsequent counties would generally be formed from these fifteen. Ford County was the last, created in 1859.

While it does have a Lincoln city, Illinois does not have county named after its favorite son, Abraham Lincoln; it does, however, have a Douglas County (founded 1859) named after his political rival Stephen A. Douglas. It also has Calhoun County (founded 1825), named after John C. Calhoun, outspoken for his pro-slavery and pro-southern views in the years preceding the American Civil War. Several of the counties are named after Southerners, reflecting the fact that Illinois was for a short time part of Virginia, and settled in its early years by many Southerners. No counties are named after heroes of the Civil War, mainly because the counties were all named before that war. The state does have a Lee County (founded 1839) named after the family of Robert E. Lee, who at one time served in Illinois. Illinois also has two counties named after the same person, New York governor DeWitt Clinton (DeWitt County, and Clinton County).

Information on the FIPS county code, county seat, year of establishment, origin, etymology, population, area and map of each county is included in the table below.

Illinois's postal abbreviation is IL and its FIPS state code is 17.

List of former United States counties

This article provides a list of United States counties which no longer exist. They were established by a state, provincial, colonial, or territorial government. Most of these counties were created and disbanded in the 19th century; county boundaries have changed little since 1900 in the vast majority of states. A county is repeated on the list if its jurisdiction changed from one state, colony, territory to another.

This list includes (but is not limited to) counties that were renamed but retained their territorial integrity, or counties that were transferred wholesale to another state when it was separated from another state (Massachusetts counties transferred to Maine; Virginia counties transferred to West Virginia).

Northwest Territory

The Northwest Territory in the United States (also known as the Old Northwest) was formed after the American Revolutionary War, and was known formally as the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio. It was the initial post-colonial Territory of the United States and encompassed most of pre-war British colonial territory west of the Appalachian mountains north of the Ohio River. It included all the land west of Pennsylvania, northwest of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River below the Great Lakes. It spanned all or large parts of six eventual U.S. States (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the northeastern part of Minnesota). It was created as a Territory by the Northwest Ordinance July 13, 1787, reduced to Ohio, eastern Michigan and a sliver of southeastern Indiana with the formation of Indiana Territory July 4, 1800, and ceased to exist March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio, and the remainder attached to Indiana Territory.

At its inception the Territory was a vast wilderness sparsely populated by nomadic Indians including the Delaware, Miami, Potawatomi, Shawnee and others; there were only a handful of French colonial settlements, and Clarksville at Falls of the Ohio. At the territory's dissolution, there were dozens of towns and settlements, a few with thousands of settlers, mostly in Ohio chiefly along the Ohio and Miami Rivers and around the Great Lakes.

The region was ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Paris of 1783.

The Congress of the Confederation enacted the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 to provide for the administration of the territories and set rules for admission of jurisdictions as states. On August 7, 1789, the new U.S. Congress affirmed the Ordinance with slight modifications under the Constitution.

Initially, the Territory was governed by martial law under a governor and three judges, but as population increased, a legislature, the Territorial General Assembly, was formed. Administratively, the Territory was divided into a succession of counties, eventually totaling 13.

Conflicts between settlers and Native American inhabitants of the Territory resulted in the Northwest Indian War culminating in General "Mad" Anthony Wayne's victory at Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The subsequent Treaty of Greenville 1795 opened the way for settlement of southern and eastern Ohio.

Ohio Country

The Ohio Country (sometimes called the Ohio Territory or Ohio Valley by the French) was a name used in the mid to late 18th century for a region of North America west of the Appalachian Mountains and north of the upper Ohio and Allegheny Rivers extending to Lake Erie. The area encompassed roughly all of present-day Ohio, northwestern West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, and a wedge of southeastern Indiana.

This area was disputed in the 17th century by the Iroquois and other Native American tribes, and then by France and Great Britain in the mid-18th century. During British sovereignty, several minor "wars" including Pontiac's Rebellion and Dunmore's war were fought here. Ohio Country became part of unorganized U.S. territory in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. It was one of the first frontier regions of the United States. Several colonial states had conflicting claims to portions of it, including Connecticut, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania. In 1787, it became part of the larger organized Northwest Territory.

Randolph County, Illinois

Randolph County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 33,476. Its county seat is Chester.Owing to its role in the state's history, the county motto is "Where Illinois Began." It contains the historically important village of Kaskaskia, Illinois's first capital.

The county is part of Southern Illinois in the southern portion of the state known locally as "Little Egypt", and includes fertile river flats, part of the American Bottom; it is near the Greater St. Louis area.

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