Februrary 24, 1779: Battle of Vincennes

One of the largely unsung heroes of the American Revolution is George Rogers Clark.  The campaign that he fought in Illinois and Indiana secured to America a claim to these territories that was recognized in the treaty ending the war.

In 1778 Virginian Clark, at 25, was already a seasoned veteran of the savage warfare that raged on the Kentucky frontier throughout the Revolution.  Lieutenant Colonel Henry Hamilton, known to the patriots as “Hair-buyer” Hamilton,  from Detroit constantly aided the Indians war against the settlers in Kentucky, and paid generous bounties to the Indians for the prisoners and scalps they brought him.

Clark realized that the best way to stop the raids into Kentucky was for the patriots to go on the offensive and seize British outposts north of the Ohio river.  Recruiting 150 men to form what he called the Illinois regiment, Clark, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Virginia militia, led his force into Illinois and took Kaskaskia on July 4, 1778.  The men of the Illinois regiment received an enthusiastic reception from the French, and Frenchwomen soon busied themselves sewing flags for the regiment.  Cahokia and Vincennes were taken without firing a shot, and British power in Illinois and Indiana seemed to vanish over night. (more…)

Published in: on February 24, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Governor Yates and the Copperheads


Richard Yates, Governor of Illinois from 1861-1865, was a formidable man, as demonstrated by the fact that during his term of office Illinois sent off a quarter of a million men to fight for the Union, the third most of all the States, in spite of the fact that copperhead sentiment was rife in southern Illinois throughout the War.

Born in Warsaw, Kentucky in 1815,  Yates moved with his family to Illinois in 1831.  A college graduate at a time when such was a rare accomplishment on the frontier, Yates began practicing law in Jacksonville, Illinois in 1837.  An anti-slavery Whig, Yates served in both the Illinois House and in Congress.

Elected the second Republican governor of Illinois, Yates’ term in office was dominated by the Civil War.  Hard times came to Illinois with the coming of the Civil War and the blocking of trade through Confederate controlled New Orleans.  Only 17 of 112 Illinois banks survived the creation of the Confederacy.  The deep economic recession gave impetus to the Democrats gaining control of the Constitutional Covnvention of 1862, which produced a document that limited the governor to a term of two years and gerrymandered electoral districts in favor of Democrats.  The Democrats overplayed their hand however, and the Copperhead Constitution of 1862 was rejected by the voters at the ballot box in a special June election held in 1862.  (more…)

Published in: on June 21, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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The Charleston Riot

I live in Central Illinois.  Illinois is a long state on a north-south axis, stretching over 300 miles.  In the Civil War it was a divided state.  While giving Lincoln and Grant to the Union, and contributing the third most men of all the states to the Union army, pro-Southern sentiment in the state was not in short supply, and the farther south in the state the more of it there was, with Illinoisans in the extreme south even supplying a company that fought for the Confederacy as Company G of the 15th Tennessee.  (more…)

Published in: on March 30, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Soybeania Forever!


I read decades ago  The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau.  It was fun to read although I thought that only three of the regions were close to being true nations:  Dixie, Mexamerica and Quebec.


In order for a geographic area, in the absence of a government, to be a nation some binding force other than mere proximity must exist.  The Civil War and its legacies supplies that for  Dixie.  Quebec has “Je me souviens” ,  although that seems to apply since the Sixties only to their secular history, while their Catholic faith has gone down the collective memory hole.  Mexamerica due to the turbulent amalgam of Mexican and American cultures being played out in the Southwest.  A first rate analysis of this process was written a few years ago by Victor Davis Hanson in Mexifornia.

The late Michael Kilian of the Chicago Tribune wrote a spoof of the book which appeared in the Tribune on June 14, 1981.  He divided Illinois into nine states:  South Wisconsin, The Grand Duchy of Onwentsia, The Regional Government Authority (Most of Cook and the Collar Counties), Republic of Quad, Greater Peoria, The Sangamo City State, Lesser St. Louis, North Dixie, and, my favorite region, Soybeania.  He described Soybeania, my native land, as consisting of 25,000 square miles of corn and soybean fields and almost nothing else, which is only a slight exaggeration.  The article was a well-written hoot, and it is a shame that I can’t find it on-line.  Here is the map which accompanied the article. (more…)

Published in: on August 1, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Soybeania Forever!  
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Dissolve Illinois!




(I originally posted this at The American Catholic, and I thought the humor mavins of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)


John Kass, the only reason to read the Chicago Tribune, has a column calling for the dissolution of the failed State of Illinois.  Go here to read it.  I see my chunk of the State would go to Indiana.  I could live with being a Hoosier if it meant being out from under the thumb of Cook County.



My preferred solution of course would be Illinois separating into two new states:  The Land of Lincoln and Cook County.


Alternative names would be God’s Country and Hell.

Published in: on June 27, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Dissolve Illinois!  
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“Everything’s Lovely and the Goose Hangs High!”

I was born and reared in Paris, Illinois.   Recently I learned that the saying,  “Everything’s lovely and the goose hangs high” originated in Paris.  I had never heard of the expression before, but curious I researched it.  I certainly encountered quite a few examples of the use of the expression, normally in works that dated from early in the last century.   I ultimately found out that the expression originated from a cruel “sport” popular around Paris long before I was born in 1957.  It was called goose pulling.  A goose was tied by its neck to a branch on a tree.  Horsemen then would compete to ride by the goose and to pull it from the tree.  The successful competitor would rip the goose from the tree by the neck , killing the goose and being awarded the carcass for his “skill”. (more…)

Published in: on November 29, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments (5)  
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Illinois Politics During the Civil War

The above videos are a superb overview of Illinois politics during the Civil War.  Illinois has always been a state divided politically.  During the Civil War, Republicans controlled the northern part of the state by and large, and by and large the Democrats controlled the southern part of the state, with central Illinois being a battleground between the parties.  The Republicans were the champions of the War, while the Democrats, with exceptions, tended to be against the War and in favor of a negotiated peace.  Draft resistance was wide spread in southern Illinois, and the state was rife with copperhead (Southern) sympathizers.  Go here to read a good brief history of Illinois copperheads. (more…)

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Lincoln and Lincoln, Illinois

As you drive south on I-55 on your way to Springfield you will pass by the town of Lincoln Illinois, a nice community of around 15,000 people and the country seat of Logan County.  No great mystery there, in a State which calls itself the Land of Lincoln.  However, the town of Lincoln was named after Abraham Lincoln before he became President. (more…)

Published in: on November 10, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Lincoln and Lincoln, Illinois  
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Wyatt Berry Stapp

In 1847 Wyatt Berry Stapp was busily organizing a volunteer company of mounted volunteers to serve in the Mexican War in Warren County, Illinois.  Among his recruits was a young man named Nicholas who was familiar with raising horses.  Captain Stapp liked what he saw in the young man and he was pleased when the men chose Nicholas to be senior sergeant in the company.

The company landed with Scott’s army at Veracruz on March 19, 1847.  In the numerous battles Scott fought before taking Mexico City and winning the war, Captain Stapp and Sergeant Nicholas both distinguished themselves, with Captain Stapp receiving a brevet promotion to Colonel and Sergeant Nicholas a brevet promotion to Captain.  Nicholas received a leg wound and was invalided back to Illinois. (more…)

Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Wyatt Berry Stapp  
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Something for the weekend.  Illinois, the state song of the Land of Lincoln.

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commercial tree, turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue, There were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln’s name appears, Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois

Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 7:12 am  Comments Off on Illinois  
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