The Sangamon River and its Tributaries.
From: Centennial History of Mason County
Including A Sketch of the early history of Illinois.
By Joseph Cochrain
Rokker's Steam Printing House
Springfield, Ill. 1876.
The Sangamon river forms the southeast boundary of Mason county, and is one of the most important tributaries of the Illinois. It enters that river about one hundred miles above its mouth, and ten miles above Beardstown. It rises in Vermilion county, and heads with the Mackinaw, the Vermilion, the Big Vermilion, and other streams. Its length is about one hundred and eighty miles, and is navigable for small steamboats when Waters are high, and before the stream was crossed by numerous railroad bridges, to the junction of the north and south forks, a distance from the Illinbis of about seventy-five miles. In the spring of 1832 a steamboat of the larger class arrived within five miles of Springfield, and discharged its cargo. In 1837 arrangements were made for running a small class of steamboats from the towns on the Illinois to Petersburg, on the left bank of the Sangamon, and forty-five miles from its mouth. All the streams that enter this river have sandy or pebbly bottoms, clear and transparent waters. The Sangamon bottoms have a soil of extraordinary fertility, and rear from their rich, black, mould forests of enormous sycamore and elms, and other forest trees; huge overgrown masses, and towering high
The Sangamon and its branches flow through the richest and most delightful regions of the great west. The beautiful and fertile prairies on its banks afford range and rich pasturage for thousands of cattle. The general aspect of the country drained by the Sangamon and its branches is level, yet it is sufficiently undulating to permit the water to escape to the creeks. It now constitutes one of the richest grazing and agricultural distrcts in the State, or the United States, the soil being of such a nature that immense crops are raised with comparatively little agricultural labor. The railroads traversing this region to the great markets of the west and east, here receive their long trains of cattle, hogs, corn, wheat and rye.
The principal branches of the Sangamon are the South Fork and Salt creek. The latter being most identified with Mason county, is about ninety miles long, and heads near the main stream of the Sangamon, and receives in its course several unimportant tributaries. The same that was said of the Sangamon will apply to the country bordering on Salt creek, without the slightest diminution.