Champaign County

Champaign County

Soil of Champaign County

The surface of Champaign County, as a general thing, is composed of black prairie soil, from one to five feet in thickness. This prairie soil is under-laid by a yellow clay subsoil. Below this clay subsoil occur alternate beds of clay, gravel and quicksand of the drift formation to the depth of from 120 to 250 feet, below which there are other alternations of shale, slate, soapstone and limestone, with one or more beds of coal. Much of the loose materials found above the rocky beds of Champaign County are composed of what is called “drift,” which consists of clay, …

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Permanent Pioneer Settlements Of Illinois

The death of La Salle in 1688 and of Tonti in 1704, concluded the most romantic chapter of the early French explorations which pre-pared the way for permanent settlement and the solid satisfaction of home-building. Without going into the rather intricate claims as to the priority of the pioneer settlements of Illinois which assumed permanence, it will be conceded that Kaskaskia was for several generations the most notable. The mission of the Immaculate Conception founded there by Father Marquette, with the fertile lands in that region, eventuated in drawing thither not only the soldiers of the cross, but French traders …

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The So-Called “Plasa” Bird

In an early day in Illinois, the description of these monsters was quite current in the western part of the state. So also was a tradition that these monsters actually inhabited a great cave near. It described, however, but a single monster and but a single picture. The tradition said that this monster was a hideous creature with wings, and great claws, and great teeth. It was accustomed to devour every living thing which came within its reach; men, women, and children, and animals of all kinds. The Indians had suffered great loss of their people from its ravages and …

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The Return Journey of Joliet and Marquette

They justified their return in the following manner: First, they were satisfied that the Mississippi emptied into the Gulf of Mexico, and not into the Gulf of California, nor into the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia. Second, they feared a conflict with the Spaniards, who occupied and claimed the Gulf coast. Third, they feared the Indians of the lower Mississippi, for they used firearms and might oppose their further progress south. Fourth, they had acquired all the information they started out to obtain. And so, on the 17th of July, 1674, they turned their faces homeward. They had been just two …

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Origin Of The Prairies

Nothing in the New World was more interesting to the European than the broad prairies between the Mississippi and the Ohio. In 1817 Governor Edward Coles, then a young man returning from a diplomatic mission to Russia, stopped in France and England. He was a Virginian, but had traveled through the West and had himself been greatly charmed by the rich grandeur of the prairie lands. The French and the English never tired of his graphic descriptions of them, and among his charmed auditors was Morris Birkbeck, a prosperous tenant farmer of England, who was thereby induced to come to …

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Champaign County Landscape

There are no bold features of the landscape to be recorded, its contour being usually rolling and pleasing, and particularly conducive to the cultivation of the grains. Champaign is the banner corn county of the United States, and there is no farming community in the country which is more contented or prosperous. The county is situated entirely within what the early French explorers denominated the Grand Prairie of the West, which they described as extending from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Wabash River. Originally the timber lands extended pretty generally along the courses of the streams, and embraced …

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The Kaskaskias Indian Tribe

By the 6th of December, 1679, the expedition was afloat on the Kankakee. For many miles the country was so marshy that scarcely a camping place could be found, but soon its members emerged into an open region of the country with tall grass and then they knew they were in the Illinois country. They suffered from lack of food, having killed only two deer, one buffalo, two geese, and a few swans. As they journeyed on they passed the mouths of the Iroquois, the Des Plaines, and the Fox. They passed the present site of Ottawa and a few …

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La Salle Starts For The Illinois Country

On September 18th, the Griffin, in charge of a trusted pilot, a super-cargo and five sailors, started on the return voyage. La Salle on the 19th of September, 1679, with a company of fourteen persons in four birch bark canoes, loaded with a blacksmith’s forge, carpenter’s tools, merchandise, arms, provisions, etc., started on his journey for the Illinois country. He coasted along the western shore of Lake Michigan. Their provisions were exhausted before they reached the present site of Milwaukee. They had been forced ashore three times to save their boats and their lives. They now went in search of …

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History Of Horticulture In The County

In 1870 the most complete account of the development of the horticultural interests of the county was written by H. J. Dunlap, now of Kankakee, Illinois, but for many years secretary of the County Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Association. It is as follows: “The first orchard planting of which I have been able to obtain any information was done about the year 1838 by William Sadorus, in the timber near the southwest corner of the county, now called Sadorus’ Grove. It was made of fifty Milam sprouts obtained near Terre Haute, Indiana, eighty miles distant, and afterwards extended by planting …

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Champaign County Genealogy and History

Champaign County is representative of all that is best in American life. To the state and the country at large it is chiefly known for its extraordinary agricultural capacity and for the great University which has been planted in its midst, and which has drawn to its territory thousands of able and inspiring men and women. Many have remained to become a part of its higher life, both in intellectual and moral endeavors. Those who know Champaign County more intimately, natives or old-time residents, also appreciate the solidity of its material wealth and the sturdy fiber of its sons and …

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