Illinois Territory

The Territory of Illinois was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 1, 1809, until December 3, 1818, when the southern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Illinois. Its capital was the former French village of Kaskaskia (which is still a part of the State of Illinois, but is now accessible only from Missouri, as it now lies west of the Mississippi River).

The area was earlier known as "Illinois Country" while under French control, first as part of French Canada and then its southern region as part of French Louisiana. The British gained authority over the region east of the Mississippi River with the 1763 Treaty of Paris, marking the end of the French and Indian War.

During the American Revolutionary War, Colonel George Rogers Clark took possession of the region for Virginia, which established the "County of Illinois" to exercise nominal governance over the area. Virginia later (1784) ceded nearly all of its land claims north of the Ohio River to the Federal government of the United States.

The area became part of the United States' Northwest Territory (from July 13, 1787, until July 4, 1800), and then part of the Indiana Territory. On February 3, 1809, the 10th United States Congress passed legislation establishing the Illinois Territory, after Congress received petitions from residents in the Mississippi River areas complaining of the difficulties of participating in territorial affairs in Indiana.

Territory of Illinois
Organized incorporated territory of the United States


Location of Illinois Territory
Capital Kaskaskia
Government Organized incorporated territory
 •  1809–1818 Ninian Edwards
 •  1809–1816 Nathaniel Pope
 •  1816–1818 Joseph Phillips
 •  Established by Congress March 1, 1809
 •  Military Tract of 1812 created in western Illinois May 6, 1812
 •  Granted statehood December 3, 1818
 •  1810 12,282 


The Illinois Territory originally included lands that became the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, the eastern portion of Minnesota, and the western portion of the upper peninsula of Michigan. As Illinois was preparing to become a state, the remaining area of the territory was attached to the Michigan Territory.

The original boundaries of the Territory were defined as follows: "...all that part of the Indiana Territory which lies west of the Wabash river, and a direct line drawn from the said Wabash river and Post Vincennes, due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada..."

Kaskaskia was the territorial capital. The 1810 census showed a population of 12,282.[1]


Ninian Edwards served as governor of the territory during its entire existence. Its secretaries were:[2]

End of the Territory

Between 1818 and 1833, after Illinois became a state, the unincorporated land from the territory, plus a handful of other townships, was made part of Michigan Territory.

In 1818, the southern half of the territory was admitted to the United States as the State of Illinois. The northern half, modern Wisconsin and parts of modern Minnesota and Michigan became part of the Territory of Michigan.

See also


  1. ^ Heidler, David Steohen and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds. "Illinois Territory," Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, (2004), Naval Institute Press, Online at Google Book Search, Accessed March 10, 2009,
  2. ^ Edwards, Ninian Wirt (1870). History of Illinois, from 1778 to 1833; and Life and Times of Ninian Edwards. p. 28. Retrieved 2008-02-24.

External links

Primary sources

Secondary sources

Coordinates: 41°48′N 89°22′W / 41.80°N 89.36°W

Battle of Fort Dearborn

The Battle of Fort Dearborn (sometimes Fort Dearborn Massacre) was an engagement between United States troops and Potawatomi Native Americans that occurred on August 15, 1812, near Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago, Illinois (then an undeveloped part of the Illinois Territory). The battle, which occurred during the War of 1812, immediately followed the evacuation of the fort as ordered by the commander of the United States Army of the Northwest, William Hull. The battle lasted about 15 minutes and resulted in a complete victory for the Native Americans. After the battle, Fort Dearborn was burned down. Some of the soldiers and settlers who had been taken captive were later ransomed.

Following the battle, the federal government became convinced that all Indians had to be removed from the territory and the vicinity of any settlements, as settlers continued to migrate to the area. The fort was rebuilt in 1816.

Bond County, Illinois

Bond County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,768. Its county seat is Greenville.Bond County is included in the St. Louis, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Carmi, Illinois

Carmi is a city which is the county seat of White County, Illinois, United States, along the Little Wabash River, where the population was 5,422 at the 2000 census.

Crawford County, Illinois

Crawford County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,817. Its county seat is Robinson.

Edwards County, Illinois

Edwards County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,721. Its county seat is Albion. It is located in the southern portion known locally as "Little Egypt".

Edwardsville, Illinois

Edwardsville is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,293. It is the county seat of Madison County. The city was named in honor of Ninian Edwards, then Governor of the Illinois Territory.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the Edwardsville Arts Center, the Edwardsville Journal, the Madison County Record, and the Edwardsville Intelligencer are here. Edwardsville High School and Metro-East Lutheran High School serve students in the area.

Edwardsville is a part of Southern Illinois, the Metro East region, and Greater St. Louis. It is part of the Edwardsville School District, which also includes the villages of Glen Carbon, Hamel, and Moro, as well as the townships areas around them.

A 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine named Edwardsville third of their "Top 10 Best Towns for Families."

Franklin County, Illinois

Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 39,561. Its county seat is Benton. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".

Gallatin County, Illinois

Gallatin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 5,589, making it the fifth-least populous county in Illinois. Its county seat is Shawneetown. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".

Located at the mouth of the Wabash River, Gallatin County, along with neighboring Posey County, Indiana, and Union County, Kentucky form the tri-point of the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky Tri-State Area.

Herrin, Illinois

Herrin is a city in Williamson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 12,501 at the 2010 census.

The city is part of the Marion-Herrin Micropolitan Area and is a part of the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area with 123,272 residents, the sixth most populous Combined statistical area in Illinois.

Illinois Territory's at-large congressional district

Illinois Territory's At-large congressional district was a congressional district that encompassed the entire Illinois Territory. The territory was established on March 1, 1809 from portions of Indiana Territory. The district elected a non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives.

Illinois Territory in the War of 1812

During the War of 1812, the Illinois Territory was the scene of fighting between Native Americans and United States soldiers and settlers. The Illinois Territory at that time included the areas of modern Illinois, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota and Michigan.

Tensions in the Illinois Territory between U.S. settlers and Native Americans were on the rise in the years before the War of 1812. At Peoria, Potawatomi chief Main Poc was a supporter of the resistance movement of Shawnee prophet Tenskwatawa and his brother Tecumseh. Raids against American settlers in Illinois increased after the Shawnee brothers' loss at the Battle of Tippecanoe in the Indiana Territory in 1811.There were few U.S. Army soldiers this far west on the frontier. Ninian Edwards, the territorial governor, directed state militia operations. The low point for the Americans came in August 1812, when a large Indian force, primarily Potawatomis, attacked soldiers and civilians as they evacuated Fort Dearborn in Chicago.In October 1812, the Americans launched an expedition against the Native villages in the Peoria area. Led by Governor Edwards and Colonel William Russell, they attacked and destroyed Potawatomi and Kickapoo villages, prompting the Natives to abandon the area. Raids continued, however.

In September 1813, the Americans built Fort Clark in Peoria. In June 1814, William Clark built Fort Shelby at Prairie du Chien. The British captured the fort in July and renamed it Fort McKay. Two American attempts to send more troops to Prairie du Chien were turned back by Indian attacks at Rock Island Rapids and Credit Island, the final actions of the War of 1812 in the region. Hostilities between the U.S. and area Native Americans would resume in the Winnebago War of 1827 and the Black Hawk War of 1832.5 million acres of land in the Illinois Territory, between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers below Rock Island was set aside as the Military Tract of 1812 to pay soldiers in land grants for their service. This is over 1/8 of the area of the modern state and included Indian-occupied areas, some of whose displaced inhabitants would later join Blackhawk.

The state of Illinois has a list of 1,500 names of militiamen and officers from original muster rolls although the muster lists are known to be incomplete.

Jackson County, Illinois

Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois with a population of 60,218 at the 2010 United States Census. Its county seat is Murphysboro, and its most populous city is Carbondale, home to the main campus of Southern Illinois University. The county was incorporated on January 10, 1816 and named for Andrew Jackson. The community of Brownsville served as the fledgling county's first seat.

Jackson County is included in the Carbondale-Marion, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".

Madison County, Illinois

Madison County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 269,282. The county seat is Edwardsville, and its largest city is Granite City.

Madison County is part of the Metro-East region of the St. Louis, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. The pre-Columbian city of Cahokia Mounds a World Heritage Site was located near Collinsville. Edwardsville is home to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. To the north, Alton is known for its abolitionist and American Civil War-era history. It is also the home of Southern Illinois University Dental School. Godfrey, the village named for Captain Benjamin Godfrey, offers Lewis and Clark Community College formerly the Monticello Female Seminary.

Ninian Edwards

Ninian Edwards (March 17, 1775 – July 20, 1833) was a founding political figure of the state of Illinois. He served as the only governor of the Illinois Territory from 1809 to 1818, as one of the first two United States Senators from Illinois from 1818 to 1824, and as the third Governor of Illinois from 1826 to 1830. In a time and place where personal coalitions were more influential than parties, Edwards led one of the two main factions in frontier Illinois politics.Born in Maryland, Edwards began his political career in Kentucky, where he served as a legislator and judge. He rose to the position of Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1808, at the time Kentucky's highest court. In 1809, U.S. President James Madison appointed him to govern the newly created Illinois Territory. He held that post for three terms, overseeing the territory's transition first to democratic "second grade" government, and then to statehood in 1818. On its second day in session, the Illinois General Assembly elected Edwards to the U.S. Senate, where conflict with rivals damaged him politically.Edwards won an unlikely 1826 election to become Governor of Illinois. Conflict with the legislature over state bank regulations marked Edwards' administration, as did the pursuit of Indian removal. As governor or territorial governor he twice sent Illinois militia against Native Americans, in the War of 1812 and the Winnebago War, and signed treaties for the cession of Native American land. Edwards returned to private life when his term ended in 1830 and died of cholera two years later.

Pope County, Illinois

Pope County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 4,470, making it the second-least populous county in Illinois. Its county seat is Golconda. The county was organized in 1816 from portions of Gallatin and Johnson counties and named after Nathaniel Pope, a politician and jurist from the Illinois Territory and State of Illinois.

Shadrach Bond

Shadrach Bond (November 24, 1773 – April 12, 1832) was a representative from the Illinois Territory to the United States Congress. In 1818, he was elected Governor of Illinois, becoming the new state's first chief executive. In an example of American politics during the Era of Good Feelings, Bond was elected to both positions without opposition.

Union County, Illinois

Union County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 United States Census, it had a population of 17,808. Its county seat is Jonesboro. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".

United States congressional delegations from Illinois

These are tables of congressional delegations from Illinois to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

White County, Illinois

White County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 14,665. Its county seat is Carmi. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.