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ILLINOIS (Fanning's 1853)

Gazetteer/Almanac

Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States.... (New York: Phelps, Fanning & Co., 1853), 162-164.

ILLINOIS, sometimes called the " Prairie State," is situated between 37° and 42° 30' north latitude, and 87° 49' and 91°30' longitude west from Greenwich; it is bounded north by Wisconsin, east by Lake Michigan and Indiana, south by the Ohio river, which separates it from Kentucky, and west by the Mississippi river, which separates it from Missouri and Iowa. Its superficial area is 55,400 square miles.

Physical Aspect. — The general surface of this state may be regarded as a gentle plain, more or less rolling inclined in the direction of its rivers. The northern and southern sections, however, are somewhat broken, but no portion of the territory is traversed by ranges of mountains, or hills. It is estimated that Illinois contains more arable land than any state in the Union. In that portion north of Kaskasia river the prairie country dominates; and it is computed that two thirds of the state is covered with this class of lands.  Many portions of them are undulating, entirely dry, and abound in wholesome springs; but as a general rule, they consist of plains; and in the true meaning of the term, in French, they are " meadows," presenting every degree of fertility, down to extreme barrenness. Many of them exhibit alluvial deposites, which prove that they have once been morasses, and perhaps lakes. In numerous instances, there are thickets, or groves of timber, amid these prairies, containing from 100 to 2,000 acres each, which resemble oases in the desert, or islands in the sea. Along the borders of many of the streams are rich " bottoms," or alluvial deposites. The "American bottom" commences at the confluence of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia rivers, extending northward to the mouth of the Missouri, a distance of about eighty miles, and comprises an area of 288,000 acres. It is bounded on the east by a chain of ' bluffs," some of which occur in parallel ridges, while others are of a conical shape, formed of lime-rock, from 50 to 200 feet in height

Rivers and Lakes. — The principal rivers are, the Mississippi, which bounds the state on the west, the Ohio, which bounds it on the south, Kankokee, Kaskaskia, Sangamon Little Wabash, Muddy, Saline, Rock, Embarras, Fox, the Wahash, the principal river in the state, which forms a portion of the eastern boundary, Des Plaines, and Vermilion. Besides Lake Michican, which lies on the northeast corner, this state contains Peoria lake, an expansion of Illinois river.

Climate. — The climate of this state is generally healthy, and the air pure and serene, except in the vicinity of wet, low lands, or stagnant pools. The winters, which are cold, are somewhat milder than those of the Atlantic states in the same latitude. Snow seldom falls to the depth of six inches, and it as rarely remains on the ground more than ten or twelve days. The Mississippi is sometimes frozen over as far down as St. Louis, sufficiently strong to be crossed on the ice. The summers are warm, particularly in the southern part, but the intensity of the heat is modified by the breeze.

Productive Resources. — The staple products are, horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, hatter, cheese, wool, cotton, hemp, flax, hops, hay, wine, wheat, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, and Indian corn.  Among the mineral resources are, zinc, copper, iron, and lime. Bituminous coal may be found in nearly every county in the state. Common salt is procured by evaporating the water of salt springs. The lead mines in the vicinity of Galena are very extensive, and of great value to the state. The mineral has been found in every portion of a tract of more than fifty miles in extent. The ore lies in beds, or horizontal strata, varying in thickness from one inch to several feet.

Manufactures. — In 1850 there were, in Illinois, 3,099 manufacturing establishments, producing each $500 and upward annually. The manufactures consist mostly of woollen fabrics, machinery, saddlery, agrcultural implements, &c.

Railroads and Canals. — There are about 1,200 miles of railroad completed and in course of construction in this state; some off them, particularly the Central railroad, are verу important. The Illinois and Michigan canal, connecting the waters of Lake Erie, at Chicago, with those of the Illinois river at Peru, is one of the most important works of internal improvement in the country. It is the connecting link of an unbroken internal water communication from the Atlantic, off Sandy Hook, New York, by the way of the lakes, the Illinois and Mississippi river, to the gulf of Mexico. The canal is 113 miles long, 60 feet wide, and 6 feet deep, and designed for boats of 120 tons. It cost over $8,000,000.

Commerce. — The direct foreign commerce of Illinois is, of course, from its insular position, very small; but its coasting and lake trade is important, amounting, in 1850, to over $10,000.000.

Education. — The principal collegiate institutions in Illinois are, the Illinois college, at Jacksonville, founded in 1829; the McKendree college, at Lebanon, in 1831; the Shurtleff college, at Upper Alton, in 1815; the Knox Manual Labor college, in Galesburg, in 1837; and the College of St. Mary of the Lakes, at Chicago, in 1846. There are about 100 academies, and 2,000 common schools in the state.

Government. — The legislative authority is vested in a senate, the members of which, 25 in number, are elected for four уеars, оne half every two years; and a house of representatives, 75 in number, elected for two years. Senators must be thirty years of age, and five years inhabitants of the state.  Representatives must be twenty-five years of age, citizens of the United States, and three years inhabitants of the state. The executive power is vested in a governor and lieutenant-governor, chosen by a plurality of votes, once in four уears, on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, who must be thirty-five years of age, citizens of the United States for fourteen years, and residents of the state for ten years. The governor is not eligible for two consecutive terms. A majority of members elected to both houses may defeat the governor's veto. A majority of the members elected to each house is required for the passage of any law. The legislature meets biennially at Springfield, on the first Monday in January. The judicial power ie vested in a Supreme court, of three judges, elected by the people, for a term of nine years, one being chosen triennially; also in circuit courts, of one judge each, elected by the people in nine judicial circuits, into which the state is divided, for six years; and county courts, of one judge each, elected by the people for four years. All white male citizens, 21 years of age, resident in the state for one year, may vote at elections.  No state bank can be created or revived. Acts creating banks must be submitted to the people. Stockholders are individually liable to the amount of their shares.

Population. — In 1810, 12,282; in 1820, 55,211; in 1830, 157,455; in 1840, 476,183; in 1850, 851,470.

History. — This state embraces a part of Upper Louisiana, as held by the French prior to 1763, when it was ceded to England, together with Canada and Acadia. The first permanent settlement was made at Kaskaskia, in 1685, although La Salle had built a fort, called Crevecœur, on Illinois river, five years before. At the close of the revolutionary war, in 1783, this country was claimed under the charter of Virginia, and held by that state until ceded to the United States, in 1787.  It was then made a part of the territory northwest of Ohio river.  When Ohio was made a separate territory, in 1800, Illinois and Indiana were formed into another territory, and remained as such until 1809, when they were divided into two. In 1812, a territorial government was formed, with a legislature and one delegate to Соngress. In 1818 a state constitution was formed, and Illinois admitted into the Union as an independent state. The present constitution of the state was adopted by a state convention in August, 1847, and accepted by the people in March, 1818.  "Motto of the seal, "State Sovereignty; National Union."

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