A Gazetteer of Illinois, In Three Parts.
By: J. M. Peck, A. M.
Published by: Grigg & Elliot, Philadelphia 1837

Places starting with A



Apakeesheek Grove, in La Salle county, lies three miles north of Holderman's grove.

Adams's Fork, a branch of the Skillet fork of the Little Wabash. It rises in the prairies of Marion connty, passes southeast, across the corner of Jefferson, and enters the Skillet fork in Wayne. The land is well timbered and of a good quality1

Alabama Settlement, in the northeastern part of Union county, of about thirty families. The timber; chiefly white oak, with a thin soil.

ALBION, the seat of justice for Edwards county, situated in section two, of township two south, in range ten, east of the third principal-meridian. It was laid out by Messrs. Birbeck and Flowers, 1819, and settled principally by English emigrants. The situation is high and healthy. It contains three stores, three houses of entertainment, an ox flouring mill, a cotton gin, and thirty or forty families. The court house is of brick, forty-four feet square, two stories, and finished. Albion is forty miles southwest of Vincennes.

Allen's Prairie and Settlement, in Greene county, twelve 'miles northeasterly from Carrollton. The land is good, the prairie large, with good timber on the water courses.

Allison's Prairie, (sometimes improperly spelt Ellison) in Lawrence county, five miles northeast from Lawrenceville. It is ten miles long, and five broad. The eastern part towards the Wabash, contains some wet land and purgatory swamps, but the Principal part is a dry, sandy, and very rich soil, covered with well cultivated farms. Few tracts in Illinois are better adapted to corn than this. The population equals 200 families. This prairie was settled in 1816 and '17, by emigrants from Ohio and Kentucky, and mostly of the religions sect known in the west by the name of Christians, and the settlement is sometimes called by that name. In a few years death had thinned their numbers. The purgatory swamps, as they are called, around the prairie, had a deleterious influence, and retarded the progress of population. In later years but little sickness has existed, and this settlement furnishes one of many evidences that upon the subjugation of the luxuriant vegetation with which our rich prairies are clothed, and the cultivation of the soil, sickly places will be changed to healthy ones.

Alton, an incorporated town on the bank of the Mississippi, is thought by many to possess advantages for commerce equal to any in the state. It is situated on fractional sections thirteen and fourteen, in township five north, in range ten west of the third principal meridian.

It is two and a half miles above the mouth of the Missouri, and at the place where the curve of the Mississippi penetrates the furthest into illinois, eighteen miles below the mouth of the Illinois river, and at the point where the commerce and business of the wide spread regions of the northeast, north, and northwest must arrive.

The legislature of Illinois have memorialised congress repeatedly to have the great national road, now constructing through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, cross the Mississippi at this place, and sanguine hopes are entertained that the rights of Illinois in this particular will be duly regarded.

Lower Alton has the best landing for steamboats on the east bank of the Mississippi, having a rock of level surface, of suitable height, forming a natural wharf. The state penitentiary has been established here, and many are sanguine that it will be the future seat of government.

One of the finest bodies of timber in the state surrounds it for several miles in extent, from which vast quantities of lumber may be produced. Bituminous coal exists in great abundance but a short distance from the town. Inexhaustible beds of limestone for building purposes, and easily quarried, are within its precincts. A species of free stone, easily dressed and used for monuments and architectural purposes, and that peculiar species of lime, used for water cement, axe found in great abundance in the vicinity.

The corporate bounds extend two miles along the river, and half a mile back. The town plat is laid out by the proprietors upon a liberal scale.

There are five squares reserved for public purposes, a large reservation is made on the river for a public landing and promenade. Market street is 150 feet wide, other streets are one hundred, eighty, and sixty feet, according to the situation and public accommodation.

Alton, contained at the commencement of 1837, 20 wholesale arid 32 retail stores and groceries, 8 attorneys, 7 physicians, 7 clergymen devoted to their calling, (besides several preachers of the gospel, who follow secular business during the week,) 4 hotels, 2 of which have large accommodations, a large steam flouring mill, four large slaughtering and packing houses for putting up pork, which do a large business, arid mechanics' shops of various descriptions.

There are three printing offices which issue weekly papers, the Spectator, Telegraph and Observer; besides the Illinois Temperance Herald issued monthly. There is a large temperance society, that holds monthly meetings; a lyceum that holds weekly meetings, and two schools.

The public buildings are four houses for public worship, and two others expected to be erected soon. The Baptist church has a large stone edifice, with a handsome spire, bell, clock and organ. The basement furnishes three store rooms in front for rent, and a Sunday school room, and a committee room in the rear. The Presbyterian church has a moderate sized stone edifice with a cupola and bell, and a basement Sunday school room. The Methodist Episcopal church has a neat framed edifice with a stone basement and a cupola. The Methodist Protestant church has a small stone building. The Protestant Episcopal church, the Unitarian church, and the German Evangelical church, each meet in private rooms prepared for the purpose.

Among the, public institutions are a bank, (a branch of the state bank of Illinois,) an insurance office, a Masonic lodge of independent odd fellows, a lyceum and a mechanics' association.

Depositories of the Illinois Bible, Sunday schooi, Tract, and Temperance societies are kept in this town for the supply of the state, and a spacious edifice, four stories high, with a front of hewn stone, is about to be erected by the citizens, by subscription, for which purpose two liberal and wealthy gentlemen have given a lot of the value of more than 5000 dollars. A large proportion of the funds for the erection of the building has been secured.

In no western town of the size, population, and business, has an equal amount been given by its citizens for religious and benevolent purposes within the last two years.

The state penitentiary is located in Alton. It has the warden's house, guard house, twenty-four cells, and the exterior wall around the yard erected.

The rapidity with which Alton has grown up from a business state to its present prosperous condition has been hardly equalled in the enterprising West. Mercantile business was commenced here in 1831. Its facilities are now great. Real estate has risen here more than 1000 per cent. within two years.

The prices of lots depend upon their location. The best stands for business near the river sell from 300 to 400 dollars per foot front. Lots more retired, for private residences, from 100 to 50 and 25 dollars per foot. Stores rent from 1500 to 400, and dwelling houses from 600 to 200 dollars. Some of the large wholesale stores do business from 250,000 to half a million of dollars annually.

Seven or eight steamboats are owned here in whole or in part, and arrivals and departures occur every day and at all times in the day daring the Season. Alton now commands alarge proportion of the trade of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and of the interior country for one hundred miles. Besides the public railroads that concentrate here, noticed under the head of "Internal Improvement," a survey has been made and the stock taken for one from Alton to Springfield, 72 miles, which will open an important line of communication with the interior, and eventually become connected with the great line to the Atlantic cities.

The natural surface of much of the town site of Alton is broken by bluffs and ravines, but the enterprise of its citizens and the corporation is fast removing these inconveniences by grading down its hills and filling up its ravines. A contract of 60,000 dollars has recently been entered upon to construct a culvert over the little Piasau creek that passes through the centre of the town, over which will soon be built one of the most capacious and pleasant streets. Since its settlement the citizens of Alton have enjoyed as good health, as those in any river town in the West. Its population is about 2500.

We close this article with the following extract from Beck's Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri, written in 1821.

"Alton, although yet small, possesses natural advantages rarely equalled. Situated as it is, at the junction of three large and navigable rivers; possessing a fine, commodious harbor, and landing for boats at all seasons of the year; surrounded by a fertile country, rapidly settling, it bids fair to become a populous, wealthy, and commercial town."

Aikin's Grove, in Ogle county, lies five miles southeast of Oregon city, and east of Rock river, on the road from Dixonville to Princeton and Peoria. Here are three or four small groves, and thirty families.

America, the former county seat of Alexander county, situated on the west bank of the Ohio, on the first high land, and twelve miles above its month. The landing at this place is much, injured by a sand bar.

Appanooce, a town site and post office on the Mississippi, in Hancock county, ten miles above Commerce, and eighteen miles northwest from Carthage.

Apple Creek post office. (See Waverley.)

Apple Creek Prairie, in Greene county, lies north of Apple creek, to the left of the road from Carrollton to Jacksonville. It is. ten miles long, and from two to four. miles wide, of good quality, and spread over withlarge farms, and populous settlements.

Apple River, in Jo Daviess county, rises near the houndary line, where its branches interlock with the waters of the Pee-ka-ton-o-kee, runs a southwestern course about forty-five miles, and enters the Mississippi twenty miles below Galena. It is a rocky and rapid stream, with good. mill seats, and fifty yards wide at its mouth. The bottoms are excellent land. The uplands hilly and broken. Large bodies of timber are on its banks. Towards its heads is a fine undulating country.

Apple Creek rises near the borders of Sangamon county, runs a southwestern course through the southeastern part of Morgan into Greene county, and enters the Illinois river in section thirty-six, fractional township eleven north, fourteen west. It has several tributaries, which are noticed under their respective names, and which water a valuable tract of country, with a large population.

Arm of the Grand Prairie, in Jefferson county, lies eight miles northwest from Mount Vernon. The soil is tolerably good, and the settlement contains about fifty families.

Armstrong Post Office is in Wabash county, seven miles above Mount Carmel.

Arrowsmith's Settlement is towards the east side of Mercer county.

Ashmore's Settlement, in Coles county, fifteen miles north of Charleston, and on the east side of the Embarras. Timber and prairie good.

Ashton, a post office and town site in Adams county, nine miles south of Quincy.

Athens, a village in Sangamon county, on the east side, and four miles from the Sangamon river, and fifteen miles north from Springfield. It has several stores, one steam mill for sawing and flouring, and about seventy-five families. It has timber of the Sangarnon on the west, and the prairies east, with a large settlement around.

Athens, town site on the left bank of the Kaskaskia river, in St. Clair county, known as Hill's Ferry.

Atherton's Settlement, in Alexander county, two miles east from Unity, containing about one-hundred families. The upland tolerably good.

Atlas, a small town in Pike county, situated on the north-west quarter of section twenty-seven, township six south, range five west. It is on a handsome tract of ground, under the bluffs, half a mile from Snycartee Slough, which is navigable for steamboats to this place, in high water.

Aubuchon, a passage from the Mississippi to the Kaskaskia river, about four miles above the town of Kaskaskia.

Augusta, a town site and post office in Hancock county, on southwest section twenty-three, township three north, range five west, sixteen miles southwest from Carthage.

It has several families, and a respectable school. Augusta, a town site on the west bank of the Illinois river, in Pike County, ten miles east of Pittsfield, and twenty-two miles from Jacksonville. It is opposite the termination of the Jacksonville, Lynnville and Winchester railroad, which is now under contract. Another company has been chartered to extend this line from Augusta, by Pittsfield aud Atlas to Louisiana, Mo., from whence another line of railroad has been projected and a charter granted by the legislature of Missouri, across to Columbia and the Missouri river.

Auburn, a town site, in Sangamon county, on the north side of Sugar creek, on the stage road, and contemplated railroad route from Ahon to Springfield. it has two stores, one grocery, one tavern, and ten or twelve families, sur rounded with a beautiful prairie.

Au Sable, [Fr. sandy-gravelly,] a small stream in the eastern part of La Salle county. It rises near the west fork of Du Page, runs south mostly through prairie, and enters the Illinois three miles below the junction of the Des Plaines, and Kankakee.

Au Sable Grove is in the northeastern part of La Salle county, at the heads of the Au Sable creek. Here is a fine body of timber surrounded with an extensive and rich prairie.

Aviston a town site and post office, in Clinton county, on the Vincennas and St. Louis stage road, with a dozen houses.


Return to [1837 Gazetteer of Illinois] [Illinois History] [History at Rays Place] [Rays Place]

Search Historical Newspaper Collections

Blind Counter