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The Chicago Of 1825

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The Chicago of nearly 75 years ago iid not present an inviting appcarance. The party of Keatiug and Lang left Port Wayne in May to discover the Bource of the St. Peter's river. The approaoh to Chicago is thus described in the account pnblished in 1825 : "We were near the soathern extremity of the lake. The view toward the north I was boundless, the eye nieeting nothing bnt the vast expanse of water whicb spread like a sea, its surface at time as calna and nnmffled as though it were a sheet of ice. . ' ' Om1 path led us over the scsne of the bloody raassacre which occurred in 1812, when the garrison of Chicago was destroyed by the Pottawatomies. No traces are now to be seen of the massacre. "On the af ternoon of June 5 wereached Fort Dearborn (Chicago). Fort Dearbom is on the sonth bank, near the niouth of the Chicago river. The post at Chicago was abandoned a few month after the party visiled it. lts establish ment had been fonnd necessary to intimidate the powerful tribes of Indians fc-hich stillinhabit thispart of thecoun try' ' We were much disappointod at the appearance of (hicago and its vicinity. We fonnd in it uothing to justify the great eulogium lavished upon it by Mr. Schooieraft, a late traveler. "The best comment upon his description of the cliniate and the soil is the fact that, with the most active vigilaiice on the part of the officers, it was impossible for the garrison, consisting of 70 to 90 men, to subsist on the grain raised in the country. "Tlie appearance of the country near Chicago offers but few features. There is too much uniformity in the scenery. The extensive water prospect is a waste nncheckered by islands and unenlivened by spreading canvas. "The villag'e presenta no thrilling prospects, as notwithstanding its antiquity it consista of but few huts, inhabited bya miserable race of nien, scarcely equal to the Indians, from whom they are descended. Their log or bark hotises are low, ñlthy and disgnsting, displaying not the least trace of comfort. "Chicago is perhaps one of the oldest settlements in the Indian country. lts name, derived from the Pottawatoinie language, signifies either 'sknnfr' or 'wild onion. ' Mention is made of the place as having been visited in 1671 by Perot, who fonnd 'Chicgou' to be the residence of a powerful chief of the Miamis. "As a place of business it offers no inducement to the settler, for the whole annual ainount of trade on the lake did not exceed the cargoes of five schooners, even when the garrison received its supplies from Mackinaw. "It is not impossible thatatsome distant day, when the banks of the Illinois shal1 have been covered with a dense population and when the low prairies which extend between that river and Fort Wayne shall have acquired a population proportionate to the produce which they can yield, Chicago maybecome one of the points in direct communication between the northern lakes and the Mississippi. "The Indians were chiefly Pottawatomies, but intermixed with Ottowas and Chippewas. Among many charges against these Indians there is none more horrible than the charge of cannibalism. This has been denied, but it has been acknowledged by the Indians themselves, and it has been mjifornily adniitted by the inferpreters and traclers who have long resided with them. "It is a common superstition with them that he that tastas of the body of a brave man acquires a part of his valor, and if he can eat of his heart, which by them is considered as the seat of all courage, the share of bravery which arrivés from it is still greater. "Captain Wells is still mentionod as the bravest white man with whom thoy ever met. He had almost become one of their number and had united himself to a descendant of Little Turtle. "At the commencemeut of hostilities between the British and Americans he sided with his own countrymen, while the Indians of this vicinity all passed into the British service. Wells was killed. After the action his body was divided, and his heart was shared, as being the most certain spell for courage, and part cf it was sent to the varióos tribes in alliance with the Pottawatomies, while they themselves feasted on the rest. "-


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