Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Black Hawk War and Illinois’ Role (April to August of 1832).

The Black Hawk War was a brief but bloody war from April to August 1832 between the United States and Indians led by Black Hawk (Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak), a 65-year-old Sauk warrior. In early April he led some 1,000 Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo men, women, and children, including about 500 warriors, across the Mississippi River (the Indians called the Mississippi River, "Sinnissippi," meaning "rocky waters") to reclaim land in Illinois that tribal spokesmen had surrendered to the U.S. in 1804. The band’s crossing back into Illinois spurred fear and anger among white settlers, and eventually a force of some 7,000 mobilized against them - including members of the U.S. Army, state militias, and warriors from various other Indian peoples.

Some 450–600 Indians and 70 soldiers and settlers were killed during the war. By 1837 all surrounding tribes had fled to the West, leaving most of the former Northwest Territory to white settlement. Among those who participated in various roles during the war were a number of men who would figure prominently in U.S. history, including future U.S. presidents Abraham Lincoln and Zachary Taylor, longtime military leader and presidential candidate Winfield Scott, and Jefferson Davis, who would become president of the Confederate States of America.

Background: The Treaty of 1804 and White Settlement of the Northwest Territory
At the center of the Black Hawk War was a treaty between the Sauk and Fox peoples and the United States that had been signed in St. Louis in November 1804, by which the Indians agreed to cede to the United States all of their lands east of the Mississippi and some claims west of it. In exchange they were to receive $1,000 cash ($16,575 today) and goods from the United States every year. From the U.S. perspective, the Treaty of 1804 (also known as the Treaty of St. Louis and was reaffirmed in 1816) was binding and legal. It had been negotiated by William Henry Harrison, the governor of Indiana Territory (which included Illinois in 1804), and was formally ratified by the U.S. Senate in January 1805. The Sauk and Fox, on the other hand, argued that the treaty had been negotiated and signed not by important chiefs but by four men who had not been authorized by the Sauk and Fox tribal councils to cede any land. What the U.S. government saw as a valid treaty, the Sauk and Fox viewed as the invalid result of either an honest misunderstanding or a deliberate fraud.

When the U.S. insisted on the validity of the treaty, it strained an already tense relationship. Indeed, many Sauk and Fox, who had not been pleased when the Americans replaced the Spanish in Louisiana in early 1804, fought for the British in the War of 1812. Nevertheless, under the terms of the treaty, the Indians could remain on their land as long as it was in the possession of the U.S. government - that is, until private settlers purchased it.

The first three decades of the 19th century were a period of tremendous population growth in Illinois, which became a state in 1818. In 1800 there were so few non-Native American residents in what would become Illinois that federal census takers did not even bother counting them, but the end of the War of 1812 brought a huge influx of settlers.
Note: Abraham Lincoln served as a volunteer in the Illinois Militia April 21, 1832 – July 10, 1832, during the Black Hawk WarLincoln never saw combat during his tour but was elected captain of his first company. He was also present in the aftermath of two of the war's battles, where he helped to bury the militia dead.
By 1820 the non-Native American population of Illinois had reached 55,000. Ten years later it had nearly tripled, topping 157,000. As American settlers swept north and west across the states of the Northwest Territory, more and more native groups abandoned their villages and farms for new lands west of the Mississippi. By the late 1820s the Sauk and Fox villages in the northwestern corner of the state comprised the last significant area of native settlement in Illinois.

In addition to cheap fertile farmland, settlers were drawn to the region by the presence of lead, which the Sauk and Fox had mined for decades, both for their own purposes and to trade. On the eve of the War of 1812, American miners had tried to take over the Fox peoples’ lead mines west of the river (near what is now Dubuque, Iowa) but were driven off by the Fox. After the war the federal government issued leases to lead miners for lands claimed by the Sauk and Fox. The Indians protested strongly, but the U.S. government supported the miners. Despite the ongoing tension between the American and Native American miners that occasionally erupted into violence during the 1820s, Americans flocked to the region.

This new, mostly white population viewed the Native American population with great concern. Some, including Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, believed that Native Americans would adopt the culture of white Americans (in their thinking, become “civilized”) and merge into white society, but, like the majority of western settlers, most Illinoisans rejected this belief and saw Indians as not only permanently inferior but dangerous.
Settlers of isolated farms and villages worried about Native American raids, and their fears were not entirely unjustified. It had not been long since Illinois tribes had attacked frontier settlements and federal forts during the War of 1812. Moreover, personal violence between natives and whites (as well as among natives and among whites) was common at the time. 
A typical example of frontier violence;by Indians - the 1814 Wood River Massacre;by Settlers - John Moredock, Indian Hater.
Indian Removal and Growing Tensions in Illinois
In the mid-1820s some southern and western states demanded that the national government take a larger role in Native American affairs. This process began in Georgia, where the governor and the state legislature tried to pressure Pres. John Quincy Adams to remove Creek and Cherokee populations from the state. By the fall of 1827, Illinois Gov. Ninian Edwards had also begun calling on the Adams administration to remove the remaining Indians from his state. Because tribes in Illinois had signed treaties ceding their land within the state decades earlier, Edwards needed only to ask the administration to enforce already existing treaties, not to negotiate new ones. In July 1828 U.S. Secretary of War Peter Porter informed Edwards that the remaining Native Americans had agreed to leave the state by the end of May 1829.

Andrew Jackson, who succeeded Adams as president in March 1829, already had a long history of challenging federal Indian policy - as both a general and a commissioner charged with negotiating land cessions. He believed strongly that it was in the interest of both Native Americans and whites that any eastern Indians who wanted to remain a member of a tribe and practice a native culture should move beyond the Mississippi. Although it met with widespread criticism from the press, the public, and many in Congress, the bill advocated by Jackson that became the Indian Removal Act passed both houses of Congress in May 1830, empowering the president to send commissioners to negotiate removal treaties. Jackson’s administration did not believe, however, that a new treaty with the Sauk and Fox was needed. The two tribes had already committed to relocate west of the Mississippi under old treaties (the treaty of 1804 was reaffirmed in the treaty of 1816 of St. Louis by the "Council of Three Fires;" also known as the "People of the Three Fires;" the "Three Fires Confederacy;" or the "United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi Indians"), and John Reynolds, the new governor of Illinois, felt confident of federal support for his request that the Sauk and Fox be forced to comply with those old treaties.

In 1828 the agent of the Sauk and Fox, Thomas Forsyth, informed the tribal chiefs that they should begin preparing to abandon their villages and farms east of the Mississippi. The chiefs responded by denying ever having ceded this land, thereby straining relations with both the federal government, which wanted to start selling the land on the Rock River, and the state government. 

As pressure mounted from William Clark, the former explorer turned federal superintendent of Indian affairs in St. Louis, tensions emerged among the Sauk and Fox. By the spring of 1829, Black Hawk had become a forceful spokesman for the view that the tribes had never knowingly ceded their Illinois lands. Others, notably Black Hawk’s main rival, Keokuk, concluded that because the Sauk and Fox could not possibly resist the United States by force, removal was necessary, if undesirable. In the fall of 1829, Keokuk and his people abandoned their principal settlement, Saukenuk (near modern-day Rock Island, Illinois), and crossed the Mississippi, vowing never to return.

Despite warnings from Keokuk that the tribal council would not support them, Black Hawk and other Sauk and Fox warriors and families returned from their winter quarters in Iowa to Saukenuk in the spring of 1830. The few hundred who returned again in 1831 realized that the white settlers had come to stay but refused to leave the sacred home of their ancestors without being removed by force. Black Hawk’s band also tried to use the 1804 treaty to their advantage, saying that they were entitled to return to the land because it was as yet unsold.

Reynolds, who saw the return of Black Hawk’s band in the spring of 1831 as an invasion, called out a mounted militia of 700 men. Gen. Edward Gaines, commander of the Western Division of the U.S. Army, met in Saukenuk with the Sauk and Fox chiefs but refused to allow them to remain even long enough to harvest their corn. This development, coupled with Gaines’s acceptance of Keokuk’s proposal that the government provide the Sauk and Fox with corn for the winter, led many families to recross the Mississippi. By mid-June, with many of the Sauk and Fox about to leave or already gone, Black Hawk sought support from nearby Kickapoo, Potawatomi, and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), including a Ho-Chunk prophet, White Cloud.

After Gaines was reinforced by 1,400 Illinois militiamen in late June, the remaining Sauk and Fox recrossed the Mississippi. On June 30 Black Hawk and the chiefs of the “British Band” (so called because they had fought with the British during the War of 1812 and remained on friendly terms with them) were forced to sign “Articles of Agreement and Capitulation.” Under those terms the humiliated Black Hawk agreed not only to remain west of the Mississippi but also to stop visiting British posts in Canada and “to submit to the authority of the friendly Chiefs and Braves,” including Keokuk. Nevertheless, Black Hawk later recalled that when he signed this agreement, he “was determined to live in peace.”

In the summer and fall of 1831, frustrated because the government had failed to provide enough corn for them to survive the winter, a few Sauk and Fox men recrossed the river to harvest whatever corn, beans, and squash they could from their old fields. When combined with the anti-Indian sentiment that had swept the West in 1831, Reynolds’s continuing animosity ensured that any new dispute would end in bloodshed. In July 1831 he wrote, “If I am again compelled to call on the Militia of this State, I will place in the field such a force as will exterminate all Indians, who will not let us alone.”

Black Hawk’s Intentions in 1832
If Black Hawk had known Reynolds’s intentions, he might not have led some 800 Sauk and Fox, along with about 200 Kickapoo, back across the Mississippi nine months later, in 1832. He did not want war. He was, however, prepared to defend his people. He also clearly hated the idea of submitting to the authority of Keokuk and the tribal chiefs who had abandoned their homelands without a fight. Black Hawk, White Cloud, and Napope (the most important of the younger but relatively inexperienced rebellious chiefs) led a group of the dissident Sauk and Fox, Kickapoo, and Ho-Chunk that formed what was effectively a separate tribe.

White Cloud invited them to settle permanently at his village on the Rock River (now Prophetstown, Illinois). Napope, who had visited the British at Fort Malden in the summer of 1831, returned with invented pledges of British support - including men, guns, powder, and shot. Moreover, in the spring of 1832, White Cloud told Black Hawk that, if the Americans attacked the Sauk and Fox, they would be joined by other tribes and by a British force that would come down Lake Michigan. With all of this in mind, in April 1832 Black Hawk hoped to return his people to their homes, or at least to lands on the Rock River, and to restore his honor as a warrior. And he believed that he could force the Americans to accept the justice of Sauk and Fox claims.

The War Begins
By mid-April, just days after Black Hawk’s band entered Illinois, both the U.S. Army and the state militia had mobilized and begun their pursuit. By happenstance, a detachment of federal troops commanded by Gen. Henry Atkinson was already en route to Rock Island on a mission to prevent the Sauk and Fox from warring with the Menominee and Sioux. After arriving on April 12th, Atkinson met with “friendly” Sauk and Fox chiefs whose refusal to help convinced him that Black Hawk’s intentions were hostile. Even though Black Hawk and his warriors were still near the mouth of the Rock River, Atkinson decided not to use his small force to try to stop them. As a result, Black Hawk’s band continued farther up the Rock and deeper into Illinois.
Informed by Atkinson that his force was inadequate to pursue Black Hawk, Reynolds issued a call for 1,200 militia and, on April 17th, wrote to Secretary of War Lewis Cass reporting that the state was “in imminent danger.” Additional federal troops were sent to northwestern Illinois. Eventually nearly one-third of the U.S. Army was committed to the conflict, along with militia companies from the states of Illinois (which made up the majority of the force arrayed against Black Hawk), Indiana, and Missouri and the territories of Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as warriors from the Menominee, Sioux, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi peoples. The militia companies were made up of men from all levels of society (including the 23-year-old store clerk Abraham Lincoln).
As federal and state troops organized against them, Black Hawk’s band proceeded to White Cloud’s Ho-Chunk village. There Black Hawk’s hopes of living along the Rock in peace collapsed when on, April 26th, two Sauk chiefs sent by Atkinson emphasized that the government would not allow Black Hawk’s band to remain east of the Mississippi. Black Hawk also learned that no British assistance would be coming. Moreover, fearful of exposure to army attack, the Ho-Chunk were unwilling to allow Black Hawk’s band to settle in their village.

Sometime in early May, Black Hawk’s band left White Cloud’s village and continued up the Rock River, hoping that the Potawatomi would provide the food and support that the Ho-Chunk had refused them. At the Kishwaukee River (near modern Rockford, Illinois), however, Black Hawk learned from Potawatomi chiefs that he could expect little from them. With no provisions and no allies, Black Hawk decided in mid-May that the band should return peacefully down the Rock to the Mississippi. But, before they could leave, on May 14th, word came that 200–300 Illinois militiamen were less than 10 miles (16 km) away. Black Hawk sent three warriors under a flag of truce to attempt to arrange a meeting that would negotiate the band’s safe return down the Rock. However, none of the militiamen spoke Sauk, and they seized the emissaries and pursued the other warriors who had accompanied them.

They launched an attack on Black Hawk’s main camp, but the attack was sufficiently disorganized that it was easily repulsed. Relatively few - about a dozen militiamen and a handful of Black Hawk’s warriors - were killed in the so-called Battle of Stillman’s Run. This first encounter of the Black Hawk War destroyed any hope of peace. Governor Reynolds responded by calling out another 2,000 militiamen. Despite his amazement at how easily a few of his warriors had driven off nearly 10 times as many soldiers, Black Hawk decided that the band could not return down the Rock but would have to continue north to avoid its pursuers before negotiating peace or turning west.

Raids and Retreat
During the next two months, Black Hawk’s band moved north into the swampy region known as the “trembling lands” around Lake Koshkonong in southern Wisconsin. There Black Hawk hoped to find food for his starving people and at least temporary relief from the pursuers. However, from their bases at Dixon’s Ferry and Galena, Illinois (Galena's Old Stockade), respectively, General Atkinson and Col. Henry Dodge continued to send out troops in search of Black Hawk. Neither Atkinson nor Black Hawk attempted to negotiate peace. Throughout this period, loosely supervised armed groups, Indian and white, tangled with each other across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Some of these clashes involved as many as a couple of hundred men on each side, others as few as a dozen.

Within a week after the Battle of Stillman’s Run, a group of Potawatomi, who may not have been connected with Black Hawk’s band, attacked a settlement at Indian Creek in Illinois on May 20th. In the resulting Indian Creek Massacre, 15 whites were killed, scalped, and mutilated. Two teenage girls were taken captive and then later ransomed. Another early encounter was the Battle of the Pecatonica in southwestern Wisconsin. Eleven Kickapoo who had attacked a group of settlers on June 14th and ambushed another settler on June 16th were trapped, killed, and scalped that day at a bend in Pecatonica River by soldiers. Also on June 16th six Sauk warriors and three Illinois militiamen were killed in a battle at Kellogg’s Grove, near present-day Kent, Illinois.

Black Hawk led attacks on two forts in northwestern Illinois. On June 24th he and roughly 200 Sauk and Fox warriors assaulted a small stockade on the Apple River near modern Elizabeth, Illinois, and then gathered badly needed provisions from the nearby settlers’ cabins and farms. The next day Black Hawk’s party tried to ambush the soldiers who had been left to defend the small fort at Kellogg’s Grove, but the party instead found itself pursued by militia. In the series of clashes that ensued (sometimes referred to as the Second Battle of Kellogg’s Grove), at least nine of Black Hawk’s warriors died.

Gen. Winfield Scott assumed command of the war effort on June 15th and took 800 soldiers west via the Great Lakes; however, en route they fell victim to a cholera epidemic, and upon their arrival in Chicago on July 10th, fewer than a quarter of the men remained healthy and were quarantined. In the meantime, Atkinson searched for Black Hawk’s main camp with a mostly mounted force of about 400 army regulars (under future president Col. Zachary Taylor) and more than 2,000 Illinois militiamen. In early July, Atkinson’s scouts found an abandoned camp at Lake Koshkonong but could not pick up the band’s trail.

The Battle of Wisconsin Heights
On July 18th militiamen discovered a fresh trail, along which they encountered dozens of starving Sauk and Fox, mostly old people and children. Some of them were already dead; the rest were quickly killed. Small groups of warriors also stayed behind to try to slow the progress of their pursuers. Late in the afternoon of July 21st, 750 Illinois and Wisconsin militiamen commanded by Gen. James Henry and Colonel Dodge caught up to Black Hawk’s rear guard just east of the Wisconsin River (some 20 miles northwest of modern Madison, Wisconsin). As most of the band crossed the river, Sauk warriors under Napope and Black Hawk fought the militia in a steady rain. The militia had a commanding position in the heights above the river, but the Indians found cover in the ravines below. With the light dimming and their men exhausted, Henry and Dodge broke off the attack. During the night the remaining Sauk and Fox slipped across the river.

Even though Black Hawk’s band had made it across the river, the Battle of Wisconsin Heights had been devastating. Estimates of the Sauk and Fox dead reached as high as 70, whereas the militiamen had suffered only 7 or 8 casualties (including 1 death). Early the next morning, Napope’s plea that his people be allowed to recross the Mississippi was lost on the militia, who were unable to translate his peace offering.

Black Hawk’s band had shrunk steadily over the three months between its peak size of some 1,000 in late April and the Battle of Wisconsin Heights. Most of the Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi had returned to their own villages. After his failed effort at peacemaking, Napope himself deserted the band. As Black Hawk’s force disintegrated, his pursuers continued to coalesce. On July 27th and 28th, almost a week after Black Hawk’s departure from the site of the Battle of Wisconsin Heights, about 1,300 men under Atkinson crossed the river at Helena, Wisconsin. Over the next few days Atkinson’s well-fed, well-rested mounted force fairly quickly closed the gap between themselves and the exhausted Sauk and Fox.

Massacre at Bad Axe and Surrender
On August 1st Black Hawk’s band of perhaps 500 men, women, and children reached the eastern bank of the Mississippi, a few miles downriver from the Bad Axe River in Wisconsin. Black Hawk and White Cloud suggested breaking up into small groups, turning north, and hiding out in the Ho-Chunk villages, but most of the Sauk and Fox wanted to build rafts to cross the river as quickly as possible. Some got across the Mississippi that day, but these efforts were interrupted by the appearance of the Warrior, a steamboat bearing artillery and 20 soldiers that was returning southward from a visit to the Sioux. 
Massacre at Bad Axe
Under a white flag, Black Hawk waded out into the river and tried, once again, to surrender. As at Stillman’s Run and Wisconsin Heights, however, the soldiers could not understand him. After 10 or 15 minutes of failed communications, the soldiers on the Warrior opened fire on the unprepared Sauk and Fox. After a two-hour battle, the Warrior’s fuel supply was nearly exhausted, and it headed downriver, but not before nearly two dozen Indians had been killed.

Convinced that safety lay to the north among the Ho-Chunk or Ojibwe villages, rather than across the river, Black Hawk pleaded with his people, but few were willing to follow him. Late on August 1st Black Hawk, White Cloud, and 30–40 others left the main band and headed north. A few more Sauk and Fox crossed the river before darkness made it too dangerous. Most remained on the eastern bank.

Early on August 2nd the Battle of Bad Axe began when Atkinson’s forces encountered the Sauk rear guard, who were only temporarily successful in leading the soldiers away from the band’s main camp. The warriors fought to allow time for more women and children to cross the river. As Atkinson’s troops pushed the warriors toward the river, the steamboat returned, firing its cannon into the Indians from behind. The slaughter on the eastern bank of the river continued for eight hours. The soldiers shot at anyone - man, woman, or child - whether they tried to swim across the river or to surrender. They also scalped most of the dead bodies.

Of the roughly 400 Indians east of the Mississippi at the time of the battle, most were killed, some escaped across the river, and a few were taken prisoner. Most of the 150 or so who traversed the Mississippi on August 1st and 2nd were tracked down and killed or captured within a few weeks by Sioux warriors, acting in support of the army.

During the month after the Battle of Bad Axe, U.S. Army officers and soldiers, federal agents with the different northwestern tribes, and many Native Americans worked to round up anyone associated, however distantly, with Black Hawk. On August 20th the “friendly” Sauk and Fox under Keokuk took Napope and a number of other chiefs and warriors to General Scott at Fort Armstrong on Rock Island. Black Hawk and White Cloud spent much of the month preparing to surrender. Having fled to the northeast, the two leaders, abandoned by the last of the warriors who had accompanied them, traveled to the Ho-Chunk village at La Crosse, Wisconsin, where they rested before surrendering to the Ho-Chunk agent at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, on August 27th.

Aftermath and Significance
Prisoners who had been taken by the army at Bad Axe, as well as those brought in by the Sioux over the next few weeks, were moved to Fort Armstrong on Rock Island. There, within a few miles of Saukenuk, more than 120 men, women, and children were held until the end of August, when most of them were released, partly because the cholera epidemic had reached the fort, and Scott worried that it would spread rapidly through prisoners and soldiers alike. Eleven men - including Black Hawk, White Cloud, and Napope - remained in custody after September 1st and were conveyed by Lieut. Jefferson Davis to confinement in St. Louis. 

In the spring five were turned over to Keokuk. In April 1833 Black Hawk, White Cloud, Napope, and three others were sent to Washington, D.C. After meeting with President Jackson, they were held in Fort Monroe in Virginia for several weeks before being returned to Fort Armstrong via a circuitous route through most of the large cities of the East, where immense crowds clamored to see them. White Cloud and his son were released in Prairie du Chien in mid-July; in October Keokuk and other Sauk and Fox leaders took charge of Black Hawk and the others.

It is impossible to know exactly how many Indians died in the Black Hawk War, but estimates range between 450 and 600. Some were killed in the fighting, and others were hunted down by Indians fighting on the American side. Many simply died of starvation. On the other side some 70 soldiers and settlers died in the conflict.

In late September 1832 Scott and Reynolds met with the Sauk and Fox chiefs and demanded most of eastern Iowa as an indemnity for the war, offering an annual payment of $20,000 for the next 30 years. As a result of Keokuk’s negotiating, the Fox and Sauk also received a 400-square-mile reserve. In the end, as a result of the Black Hawk War, the friendly Sauk and Fox found themselves stripped of valuable and extensive landholdings and dependent, economically and politically, on the United States. An equally severe treaty was forced on the Ho-Chunk, some of whom had joined Black Hawk and some of whom had helped Atkinson.

The Black Hawk War involved a number of men who would go on to important national political and military careers, not least three future presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Zachary Taylor, and Jefferson Davis. One important figure who did not benefit from his role in the Black Hawk War was Atkinson, whose subordinates in the field and superiors in Washington believed that he had badly mishandled the conflict - first by allowing it to turn bloody and then by failing to crush it immediately once it did. Following the war, the official report to Congress papered over Atkinson’s shortcomings, but Taylor later argued that Black Hawk’s band could have been “removed back to the West side of the Mississippi, without there being a gun fired,” if the regular army troops under Atkinson, rather than the militia, had met them first.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Abraham Lincoln spoke at Major's Hall in Bloomington, Illinois in 1856 and this 'Lost Speech' was believed to be found... or not? You decide.

The 'Lost Speech' of Abraham Lincoln was delivered at the first Republican State Convention of Illinois, at Major's Hall (William Trabue Major[1])117 East Front Street, Bloomington, Illinois, on the 29th of May,1856. The excitement caused among the audience by the speech was so great that the reporters forgot to take their notes, and for many years it was generally supposed that no record of the speech had been preserved.

It appears, however, that Mr. H.C. Whitney, then a young lawyer of Illinois, did take notes of the speech, which he preserved, and after a lapse of forty years they were transcribed and were published in "McClures Magazine" for September, 1896, together with a letter from Mr. Joseph Medill, of the "ChicagoTribune," who was present at the Convention and confirms the accuracy of Mr. Whitney's report.

Rediscovery of Lincoln's 'Lost Speech' debunked.[2]
An illustration of Major's Hall before the fire that destroyed the 3rd floor.
Disaster struck Major’s Hall on November 18, 1872, when the third story was lost to a fire that likely started on the second story. Both floors were occupied by upholsterer and mattress manufacturer J.W. Morris & Company.
Major's Hall after the fire that destroyed the 3rd floor.
The building survived, and after being extensively reconstructed, welcomed back business tenants. Despite the fire, the building remained occupied over the years, with the first floor home to various grocers and tailors, and other businesses, ranging from a saloon to a barber and beauty shop. 

Major’s Hall fell to the wrecking ball in February 1959 for surface parking (the additional parking deck would come much later).

A Cluster of 6 Plaques Honor the Major's Hall location:
(Plaque 1)
Major's Hall
Erected 1852 by William Trabue Major
Razed 1959

(Plaque 2)
Illinois Republican Party born in Major's Hall.
"I have supposed myself since the organization of the Republican Party at Bloomington, in May 1856, bound as a party man by the platforms of the party then and since." Statement by Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Freeport Auguste 27, 1858.

(Plaque 3)
I. S. N. U.
Major's Hall both in spirit and in fact nurtured Illinois State Normal University founded in the times, and with the same high purpose as Lincoln's concern for people. the University held its first classes in Major's Hall. Here from October 5, 1857 to June 1860, the University spent its first three years. The imprint of Major's Hall remains strong upon the school.

(Plaque 4)
"We say to our southern brethren, 'We won't go out of the union and you shant.'" Generally accepted as the concluding statement of Abraham Lincoln's "Lost Speech" made here on May 29, 1856.

(Plaque 5)
This tablet marks the site where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "Lost Speech" May 29, 1856. Placed by Lettia Green Stevenson Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, May 29 1918.

Read: Abraham Lincoln's Lost Speech of May 29, 1856.

[1] William Trabue Major (1790–1867) was a prominent religious leader in Bloomington, Illinois in the mid-19th century. He founded the First Christian Church, affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, and built the city's first public meeting hall, Major's Hall, which hosted an early convention of the Illinois branch of the Republican Party and became best known as the site of "Lincoln's Lost Speech."

Major was born in Kentucky in 1790, a son of John Major and Judith Trabue. He moved to Illinois in 1835. He had begun as a Baptist, but disagreed with their beliefs that supported slavery. He changed his affiliation to the "Campbellites," as the Disciples of Christ denomination was then known by, and founded the First Christian Church of Bloomington in 1837.

Initially he and his wife, the former Margaret Allen Shipp, held services in their home. In 1840, they opened a wooden church building near the corner of Front and East Streets just south of the downtown area. In 1852, they opened a public meeting hall next door to the church, which he named "Major's Hall." The Hall received much attention in 1856, when the Illinois branch of the fledgling Republican Party held a convention on the building's third floor, featuring frequent Bloomington visitor Abraham Lincoln. The future President's fiery, influential anti-slavery speech has no known transcript, and became known as "Lincoln's Lost Speech," until forty years later when lawyer Mr. H.C. Whitney's notes of the lost speech were published in "McClures Magazine" in the September, 1896 issue.

In 1857, Major's Hall became the first home of Illinois State Normal University, which the teachers college occupied until the schools new campus was opened in Normal, Illinois in 1861. Also in 1857, the Majors dedicated a new, brick-clad building to house First Christian Church, at the corner of Jefferson Street and what is now Roosevelt Street. The current sanctuary, opened in 1959, is the third church structure on that site.

Major died in 1867 as a prominent citizen of the city. He and Margaret, who had produced nine children between them, are buried in Evergreen Cemetery. 

[2] Rediscovery of Lincoln's 'Lost Speech' debunked.
By Bill Kemp, McLean County Museum of History, July 17, 2016
Many local residents have heard something about Abraham Lincoln’s so-called “Lost Speech,” delivered in downtown Bloomington on May 29, 1856.

Yet most folks don’t know the story about the time when the Lost Speech was purportedly found. That was in the 1890s, and for a few decades after its apparent reemergence the no-longer-lost Lost Speech began appearing in Lincoln biographies and published collections of his writings.

Confused? OK, let’s start at the beginning!

One could make a strong case that the single most important event in local history — at least from a national perspective — was Abraham Lincoln’s keynote address before some 1,100 delegates and supporters of the “State Convention of the Anti-Nebraska Party of Illinois.”

That mouthful may not sound like a big deal, but members of this “Anti-Nebraska Party” were there to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its threat to spread slavery into northern territories.

Disparate Anti-Nebraska groups — abolitionists, anti-slavery Whigs like Lincoln, disaffected Democrats, German immigrants, and even nativist “Know Nothings” — fused to form the Republican Party and halt slavery’s westward extension.

That evening in late May 1856, at Major’s Hall on Front Street, Lincoln became the unassailable leader and moral voice in this new political movement. More than one observer called it the finest speech of his life. And since there was no known transcription of what he said, it became known as Lincoln’s “Lost Speech.”

Until the 1890s, that is. That was when Henry Clay Whitney, a former colleague of Lincoln’s on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, announced that he had taken notes during the entire 90-minute speech. He then cobbled together these 40-year-old jottings into what he claimed was a reasonable 8,000-word or so reproduction of the immortal address.

The Lost Speech was no longer lost! Or so it seemed. Whitney’s version first appeared in the September 1896 issue of McClure’s Magazine, a popular periodical of the day.

Although this rediscovered Lost Speech is now generally regarded more as a work of imagination rather than historical fact, Whitney was no charlatan. He settled in Urbana in 1854 and practiced law, and there he met Lincoln. The two men struck up a friendship and Whitney often accompanied Lincoln on the circuit. In fact, the two even traveled from Danville to Decatur and then north on the Illinois Central Railroad to Bloomington for the May 29, 1856, political convention.

The evening before his speech, Lincoln spoke from the Pike House, a popular hotel at the corner of Center and Monroe streets in Bloomington. He told those gathered that he had prepared a speech for the convention. Yet he did not read from a prepared text the following day at Major’s Hall, and so it appears the speech was never written out, at least by him.

Whitney or no Whitney, we do know some of what Lincoln said that evening thanks to contemporary newspaper accounts. The most thorough report comes from the June 5, 1856, Weekly Courier of Alton. “[Lincoln] was here ready to fuse with anyone who would unite with him to oppose slave power,” the Courier reported. Lincoln also declared “that the Union must be preserved in the purity of its principles as well as in the integrity of its territorial parts.”

Additional detailed coverage appeared in the Belleville Weekly Advocate. Lincoln, according to the Advocate, criticized “National Whigs,” a term for members of his former party who, in the name of national unity, were willing to aid and abet slavery’s expansion into northern territories heretofore free.

OK, we know some of what Lincoln said that night. But why was no full transcription made by one of the many newspapermen in the audience?

The story goes that the power of Lincoln’s oratory caused mesmerized reporters to throw down their pens and live, as Lincoln’s law partner William Herndon put it, “in the inspiration of the hour.”

Perhaps. Yet others find such an explanation a mite too fanciful.

“The truth of it is the great mass of the leaders felt that Lincoln made too radical a speech and they did not want it produced for fear it would damage the party,” recalled Eugene F. Baldwin, a Peoria newspaper editor and publisher writing in 1908. “Lincoln himself said he had put his ‘foot into it’ and asked the reporters to simply report the meeting and not attempt to record his words and they agreed to it.”

Regardless, Whitney claimed he kept his head and took notes all the while, though he was no stenographer and didn’t know shorthand. Whitney’s greatest ally in the ensuing debate was Joseph Medill, a Chicago Tribune editor who attended the Bloomington convention.

“I have carefully and reflectively read it,” Medill said in defense of Whitney’s Lost Speech, “and he has reproduced with remarkable accuracy what Mr. Lincoln said, largely in his identical language and partly in synonymous terms.”

Yet despite Medill’s assurances, Whitney’s text is patently problematic on several fronts. First, it failed to incorporate contemporary newspaper accounts given by both the Courier and the Advocate. In other words, the precious little of the Lost Speech that is indeed verifiable does not appear in Whitney’s version.

Detractors also note that Whitney’s book, "Life on the Circuit with Lincoln," makes no mention of taking notes during Lincoln’s Lost Speech, this despite its publication four short years before the “rediscovered” Lost Speech saw the light of day.

Others were bolder in their criticism of Whitney. “Not only is his restoration devoid of Lincoln’s style and phraseology, but its trustworthiness is evinced by two or three anachronisms,” concluded John Nicolay, one of Lincoln’s trusted White House secretaries who attended the Bloomington convention. “The claim that this ‘Lost Speech’ has any historical value whatever is simply absurd.”

On May 29, 1900, a number of eyewitnesses to the Lost Speech, including John M. Palmer, a leading Illinois Democrat who became an anti-Nebraska leader, and George Schneider, a Bavarian-born newspaper editor from Chicago who represented German Republicans, gathered in Bloomington for the 44th anniversary of the Anti-Nebraska convention. Palmer, Schneider and others were unanimous in their dismissal of Whitney’s rediscovery. “Many now living heard the great speech,” they declared in a joint statement, “and, where Mr. Lincoln was so well known and loved, all his friends consider the speech still lost.”

One of the greatest takedowns of Whitney comes from Isaac Newton Phillips, a Bloomington attorney and later court reporter for the Illinois Supreme Court.

Whitney employed “many phrases and sentences” of Lincoln’s in his “alleged reproduction,” Phillips acknowledged in 1901. Yet “wherever the speech departs from the phraseology known from other evidence to be that of Lincoln it drops into the very dishwater of sheer mediocrity.”

Concluded Phillips: “It is high time this bald literary fraud had been given its quietus.”
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

The Lunchtime Theater - The Great Chicago Fire 1871


The Great Chicago Fire 1871
Presented to the Great Lakes Historical Society, Cleveland, 1971.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Lockwood Castle Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor, Chicago, Illinois.

Lockwood Castle was on the north-west corner of Devon and Central Avenues (5400 West Devon) in Chicago. The restaurant had booths in the front with large windows to look out on Central and Devon Avenues. In the back of the restaurant were tables for large groups. 
Famous for their "Giant Killer," a 24 scoop sundae topped with Hot Fudge, Strawberry, Marshmallow, Carmel, tons of cherries, vanilla wafers. Topped off with sparklers and an American Flag, served in a 9"x13" glass bowl on a pedestal. It was usually ordered for birthdays or groups. The menu stated it served 4-6 people, but parties of 8 or more would order it for their desert after dinner. If one person was able to eat it in one sitting, you were given a free Giant Killer sundae the next time you visited.
Double the size of this 12 scoop sundae and you can imagine what the "Giant Killer" would look like.
On February 23, 1983 Lockwood Castle was visited by Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne and a photo was taken of her drinking an Ice Cream Soda. Business boomed when the photo (by Al Podgorski) was published in the Chicago Sun Times newspaper.

Visit the souvenir shop.

By Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Lunchtime Theater - The 1909 Plan of Chicago.


The1909 Plan of Chicago.
A documentary film about Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago and how it relates to urban planning. [runtime: 11 minutes]

Friday, May 25, 2018

The famous smoke-ring blowing billboard on the north-east corner of State and Randolph streets in Chicago.

The famous smoking billboard on the north-east corner of State & Randolph streets in Chicago. Circa 1970s. The billboard was featured in the movie "Take the Money and Run," where the smoke rings were blown directly into Woody Allen's apartment window.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Believe It or Not --- in Illinois Politics!

If anything in Illinois history fits the “believe it or not” category, this is it. Richard J. Daley–future Democrat boss, future Chicago mayor, future father of a future Chicago mayor–was elected to his first political office... as a Republican on November 3, 1936.

The election was for the Illinois House of Representatives from the 9th district. In 1936 the state was divided into 51 legislative districts. Each district sent three reps to the state House.

The Republican and Democratic parties had a cozy arrangement back then. In each of those 51 districts, the Democrats would run only two candidates, and the Republicans would run only two. That way, whichever party wound up in the minority would get at least one-third of the total seats.

The 9th district was the area around Bridgeport, heavily Democrat. David Shanahan had held the “Republican” seat without much effort since 1894. Fifteen days before the 1936 election, Shanahan died.
David Shanahan Statue
It was too late to print new ballots. Shanahan’s name would stay. So the Republicans named Robert E. Rogers as their replacement candidate, and organized a write-in campaign.

With Shanahan dead, the Democrat leadership felt free to mount their own write-in campaign for the Republican slot. Their candidate was Cook County Treasurer Joe Gill’s 34-year-old private secretary. That was Richard Joseph Daley.
Richard J. Daley, 1936
The Republicans screamed that the “gentlemen’s agreement” was being violated. But there wasn’t much they could do about it.

On November 3, 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt won a second term in a landslide. The Democrats were triumphant almost everywhere.

Buried among the returns were the write-in results from the Illinois 9th. Daley outpaced Rogers, 8539 to 3321. The Tribune noted that even though he’d run as a Republican, “it is understood that Daley will caucus with the Democrats.”

When the House convened the next January, the Democrats offered a resolution asking that Daley be seated on their side of the aisle. The Republicans were still angry about how they had been out-maneuvered.

“I don’t care about the resolution,” the Republican leader declared. “I want to know where Representative Daley wants to sit. Where do you want to sit, Representative Daley?”

The rookie rep pointed to the Democrat side of the chamber and softly said, “There.” Then he walked over to join his new colleagues and never looked back.

By J.R. Schmidt 
Edited by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

The Original Chicago Thin Crust Pizza at Home Run Inn.

In 1923, the original Home Run Inn location opened as a small tavern on Chicago’s South Side.
Founded by Mary and Vincent Grittani, the tavern received its’ name one fateful day when a baseball from the neighborhood park smashed through one of the tavern’s windows, a home run for some young slugger on the sandlot.
In 1947, Mary Grittani and her son-in-law, Nick Perrino, formed a partnership and together developed the recipe for their pizza, and still used today, best known for saucy thin crust pies.
Since then, hundreds of pizzerias have popped up all over the city and suburbs.
Frozen Home Run Inn pizzas are available at retailers throughout the nation.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Artist John Singer Sargent in Chicago's Gilded Age.

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was the most sought-after portraitist of his generation on both sides of the Atlantic, creating powerful, vibrant likenesses of his models. Best known for his portraits, Sargent nevertheless excelled in a variety of genres, including landscapes, watercolors, and murals.

Born in Florence to American parents, he lived his life abroad, traveling the world in search of his subjects and working professionally for more than 50 years. A truly cosmopolitan artist, Sargent’s Chicago story has yet to be told. The first major exhibition of the painter’s work at the museum in over 30 years, John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age presents the full range of Sargent’s talents, tracing his Chicago connections while also illuminating the city’s vibrant art scene at the turn of the 20th century.

Sargent first showed at the Art Institute—at the time located at Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street—in 1890, the year Chicago officially became the nation’s “second city” in terms of population. Among his paintings on view was La Carmencita, a striking portrait of a Spanish dancer that is at once old and new—a tribute to Old Master painting that is also an Impressionist exploration of color and brushwork. The composition drew crowds of visitors to the museum, helping to put Chicago on the map as a recognized center for contemporary art and culture.
Madame X, John Singer Sargent
Summer Women, John Singer Sargent
Miss Elsie Palmer, John Singer Sargent (1890)
This dramatic early showing was followed by many more Chicago exhibitions. Between 1888 and 1925, Sargent’s paintings were included in more than 20 public displays in the city, among them the Inter-State Industrial Exposition, the World’s Columbian Exposition, exhibitions at the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Art Institute’s American Annuals.
Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy, John Singer Sargent watercolor
In a Levantine Port, John Singer Sargent watercolor (1905-6)
The artist’s presence in Chicago owed much to local businessman Charles Deering, who built an important collection of his work over a lifetime of friendship. Other Art Institute supporters such as Martin A. Ryerson, Annie Swan Coburn, and Robert Allerton helped establish a Sargent legacy for the city.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Illinois' entrepreneur and philanthropist, Annie Malone, is recorded as one of America’s first black female millionaires.

Businesswoman, educator, inventor and philanthropist Annie Turnbo Malone was born to Robert Turnbo and Isabella Cook in Metropolis, Illinois on August 9, 1869. Her parents were former slaves and her father joined the Union Army during the Civil War.

Turnbo attended school in Peoria, Illinois, but she never finished high school. Instead, she practiced hairdressing with her sister. When she and her family moved to Lovejoy, Illinois, Annie decided she wanted to become a "beauty doctor."

At the age of 20 she had already developed her own shampoo and scalp treatment to grow and straighten hair. Taking her creation to the streets, she went around in a buggy making speeches to demonstrate and promote the new shampoo.

By 1902, Annie Turnbo's home shampoo venture thrived and she moved to St. Louis, Missouri, home of the nation's fourth-largest African American population, to expand her business. She was largely successful and she trademarked her beauty products under the name "Poro." 
She had launched her hair care business four years before Sarah Breedlove (later known as Madam C. J. Walker). In the early 1900s Madam Walker worked as a "Poro Agent" for Annie for about one year. Turnbo married in 1903, but soon after her marriage, her husband sought to control her business venture and she divorced him. She married again on April 28, 1914, this time to school principal Aaron Eugene Malone. The marriage lasted 13 years, but ended in divorce as well. 

In her lifetime, Malone became one of the nation's wealthiest black women. She became a leading cosmetic entrepreneur but she was also a leader in the St. Louis black community. In 1918, Poro's success allowed Malone to build a four-story, million dollar factory and beauty school complex in the historic black neighborhood of "The Ville," in St. Louis. It employed over 175 people and enabled young black women to pursue their high school and college educations by providing them with jobs and lodging.
She had donated the first $10,000 to build the St. Louis Colored Orphan's Home new building in 1919 and served as board president from 1919 to 1943.

During the 1920s, Malone's philanthropy included financing the education of two full-time students in every historically black college and university in the country. Her $25,000 donation to Howard University was among the largest gifts the university had received by a private donor of African descent. She also contributed to the Tuskegee Institute. She contributed thousands of dollars to educational programs, universities, to the YMCA, and to nearly every black orphanage in the country.
In 1930, Malone relocated her business to Chicago; thereafter, the St. Louis Poro College and Malone's fortune declined. At the time of her death in Chicago on May 10, 1957, Poro beauty colleges still operated in over 30 cities across the nation. 

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

December 4, 1921, the Day Chicagoland Citizens' Smiles Ended.

A brief history about the competition between the Chicago Herald-Examiner and the Chicago Tribune newspapers:

The Chicago Herald-Examiner was William Randolph Hearst's Chicago newspaper. Its reporters were among the most aggressive and creative in the city. The paper was founded as the "Chicago Morning American" in 1902, and was renamed the "Chicago Examiner" in 1907. After a merger caused in part by circulation wars with the Tribune Company, the paper was combined with the Chicago Record-Herald and became the "Chicago Herald-Examiner." The paper was never highly profitable, but it vied with the Tribune as leader in the city’s morning circulation. The rivalry with the Tribune became increasingly unsuccessful in the 1930s. After additional mergers, the paper was sold to the Tribune Company in 1956.

After WWI, the Chicago Herald-Examiner was Chicago's only other major daily morning newspaper, second only to McCormick-Patterson's Chicago Tribune. The Tribune Company faced formidable competition from Hearst. In the early 1920s, the Tribune Company owned only three U.S. newspapers. Hearst, on the other hand, spanned the country with an empire consisting of twenty daily papers, eleven Sunday papers and a Sunday supplement. 

The circulation wars between the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Herald-Examiner grew heated and sometimes even violent as gangs hired by each of the circulation departments ambushed their rival's trucks and  pressured news agents into displaying only their own company's newspaper.

There were personal and political dimensions to this rivalry as well. The Chicago Herald-Examiner supported the democrats, the Chicago Tribune had a long history of supporting the Republican Party. Moreover, Hearst, who aspired unsuccessfully to be the mayor of New York City, governor of New York, and the president of the United States had contributed through attacks in his paper, to the demise of Robert McCormick's own political career.

Increasingly outlandish publicity stunts bounced circulation up and down and back and forth between the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Herald-Examiner. One of the most expensive promotions occurred during the 1921 Christmas season.

So, with the background covered, here is the story:

On December 4, 1921, the United States government ordered Chicago area citizens to stop smiling. It said so on the front page of the morning paper.
The saga began in late October of 1921 when the Chicago Herald-Examiner published an article about eccentric millionaire Harry Phillips. He was passing out money to complete strangers, just to see them smile.

The Chicago Herald-Examiner was the Hearst-owned morning daily. The paper was trying to overtake the Chicago Tribune, and the Phillips story was just the sort of stunt that Hearst often used.

Then the Chicago Herald-Examiner reported that Phillips had left town. But never fear—Hearst’s paper would carry on the philanthropy. Each weekday copy of the Chicago Herald-Examiner would now contain a Smile Coupon with a different serial number. On Sunday there would be a raffle, with a $1,000 grandprize. That would keep Chicago smiling!
The drawing took place on November 13. The $1,000 winner was a Sears clerk—and sure enough, she smiled. So the Chicago Herald-Examiner announced it was putting $25,000 into a pot, to be paid out in $1,000 daily raffles.

At first, the Chicago Tribune took no notice of its rival’s stunt. But during the first weeks of the Smile campaign, the Hearst paper’s circulation jumped 25% to 500,000, about the same as the Chicago Tribune. And on Thanksgiving Day, the Chicago Herald-Examiner increased its pot to $100,000, with $3,000 in daily prizes.
So now the Chicago Tribune launched its own giveaway. With Christmas approaching, the paper would start printing Cheer Checks. And the Chicago Tribune‘s program would be bigger and better. The World’s Greatest Newspaper would be distributing $200,000—$5,000 each day.

Now the whole city was caught up in the frenzy. News dealers reported people buying armloads of papers, ripping out the coupons, and tossing the rest into the street. Fights broke out among customers trying to purchase papers. The daily prizes went to $6,000, then $7,000. The special Sunday drawing reached $20,000.
By December 4, the circulation of each paper was over 1,000,000. On that day, both the Chicago Herald-Examiner and the Chicago Tribune received telegrams from the U.S. Postmaster General accusing them of holding lotteries and shut the whole thing down.

From then on, people would have to find their own reasons to smile.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.