The First Five
From The Combined History of Randolph, Monroe, and Perry Counties:
The ﬁrst American colony to settle within the territory now comprised in the county, arrived in the year 1782, and was composed of James Moore, Shadrach Bond, Robert Kidd, Larken Rutherford and James Garretson. Their wives and children accompanied them, and they came to make a permanent settlement.
Crossing the Allegheny mountains, they ﬂoated down the Ohio to its mouth, and then propelled their craft against the strong current of the Mississippi till they reached Kaskaskia some time in the autumn of the year 1781. From this place the country was explored in different directions, and all of the party ﬁxed on locations now in Monroe county, as the most eligible place for settlement.
The French inhabitants had clung close to two or three villages, and had made little progress toward clearing the wilderness, or extending their settlements over any considerable territory. These Marylanders and Virginians adopted a different policy. With the true Saxon instinct of ownership of his own homestead and lordship over his own acres, each immigrant selected a location where he would be likely to experience little trouble from neighbors and remain master of his own domain.
The hill tract [the Kaskaskia Trail] between the French villages of Kaskaskia and Cahokia and St. Louis passed near a beautiful spring, a high, healthy ground, to which the French had applied the name of Bellefontaine. Here Moore, Garretson and Rutherford determined to make their settlement. The rich soil of the Mississippi bottom attracted the attention of other members of the colony, and there Kidd and Bond made their homes. Kidd clung closest to the French villages, and settled at a distance of but a few miles from Prairie du Rocher. Bond chose a location farther north. These settlements were made in the spring of the year 1782.
James Moore, the leader of this colony, was a native of Maryland. He was a man of vigorous traits of mind, ready resources, and was accustomed to the exigencies of pioneer life. Not long after his arrival he was employed by Gabriel Cerre, a wealthy merchant of St. Louis, to take goods and trade with the Indians in the western part of Tennessee. He was thus engaged fora number of years, during which time he made his headquarters at the French Licks, as the place was then called, where now is built the capital of the state of Tennessee. His place of settlement was a short distance south of the site of the town of Waterloo where the spring, which attracted him to this locality, may still be observed.
From Arrowheads to Aerojets gives James Moore’ commission, which is quite cool:
THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
To James Moore, Gentleman:
Know you, that from the special Trust and Confidence reposed in your Patriotism, Fidelity, Courage and Good Conduct, you are by these presents, constituted and appointed Captain of Militia at the new Settlement By You Established at the Belle-Fontaine between this the Kahose. [have no idea what that last part means.]
You are therefore carefully and diligently to discharge all the Duties appertaining to the said office, and to hold the same according to the Act of General Assembly entitled ‘An Act For Establishing the County of Illinois’ [Illinois was originally a Virginia county], and for the more effectual Protection and defense thereof.
Witness: John Todd, County Lieutenant of the County the Sixth year of the Commonwealth, Anno Domini, 1782. Rich Winston, Deputy County Lieutenant
James Garretson ﬁrst made an improvement near the Bellefontaine. Claim 5l5, survey 720, a mile northeast of Waterloo, was granted to him as an improvement right. He afterward removed to the American Bottom, and for many years his home was in the present Moredock precinct. He was an honest, upright citizen, unambitious and unassuming, and always refused to hold public position. He was a brave man and an excellent soldier, and did his part toward protecting the settlements from the attacks of the Indians. His brother, Samuel Garretson, was killed by the Indians during the winter of 1788-89. [It is my opinion that the historian is incorrect. It was Garretson’s son, not brother who was killed by Indians.]
James Garrison–fictitious that he ministered to the Powatatomie Indians, but true that he was abolitionist.
Robert Kidd had been one of the soldiers in George Roger Clark’s expedition to Illinois in 1778, and had taken part in the capture of Fort Gage. He made a quiet and unpretentious citizen of the great commonwealth of which he was one of the founders, and died at his home in the American Bottom in the southern part of the county in 1849. Kidd lake, near the head of which he settled, bears his name.
Larken Rutherford had also been a soldier under Colonel Clark. He was a large and athletic man, and was bold and fearless in his disposition. At the storming of Fort Sackville in 1779 he exhibited much bravery. Soon after the year 1800 he removed to the present St. Clair county, and settled north of Belleville. During the latter years of his life he was a zealous member of the Baptist church. In the organization and government of the church he took an active part. He was honest in his views, and while vigorously observing his own duties, was rigid and exact in expecting the same in hunting, and was considered an excellent woodsman. from others. A difference of opinion he would not tolerate. He was a member of the Richland Baptist church in St. Clair county, and in 1809 took offence at some views expressed in a sermon by James Lemen on slavery, of which Lemen was a strong opponent. Rutherford brought the matter before the church authorities, and the result was a. division not only of the Richland church, but of the Baptist association, which was continued for many years.
Shadrach Bond was born and raised near Baltimore, Maryland. He lived on his farm in the American Bottom for many years till his death at an advanced age. He was the uncle of Shadrach Bond, the ﬁrst governor of the State of Illinois. [And forever has an asterisk by his name for same.] He was several times elected to the legislature of both the Indiana and northwestern territories. He was a representative in the territorial legislature which convened at Cincinnati in September, 1790. For several years he was one of the judges of the St. Clair county common pleas court. In these public positions he discharged his duties in a conscientious manner, and was held in high estimation by the people. His education was limited, but he possessed a strong mind and an excellent heart. He was not ambitious for wealth. In his younger days, as was the case with most of the early pioneers, he spent a considerable part of his time hunting, and was considered an excellent woodsman. He was one of that class of men who improve with age, and the longer he lived and the better he became known, the more his character was esteemed.
Other Early Settlers
Captain Nathaniel Hull, born in Massa chusetts, was one of the ﬁrst to make his way overland from the Ohio river to Kaskaskia, and his track was the one usually taken by subsequent bands of immigrants. He settled under the bluff below Chalfin Bridge, and became a prominent citizen of the new community. His store, and the post-office there established, were in all probability, the ﬁrst in the county. He served as magistrate and county judge. With all his good qualities he was a man of eccentric notions, and asked to be buried in an upright position, standing as in life, overlooking from his grove in the bluff above his house, the fertile expanse of the American Bottom. (Combined History)
Piggott’s fort, or the fort of the “grand ruisseau,” as it was called by the French in the American Bottom, not far from the bluff, west of Columbia, was established about the year 1783. James Piggott was a native of Connecticut, and early in the war of the Revolution engaged in the privateering service. He removed to Pennsylvania, and commanded a company of Pennsylvania troops at Brandywine, Saratoga, and other battles.
His health becoming impaired by severe marches and hard service, he was obliged to resign his captaincy, and with his family followed Colonel George Rogers Clark to the west, and was placed in command of Fort Jefferson which had been established ﬁve miles below the mouth of the Ohio, and on which the Indians made a desperate.
In 1790 there were seventeen families and forty six inhabitants, at Piggott’s fort. They addressed a petition to Governor St. Clair, praying for grants of land to the settlers. It was likely on this petition that Congress, in 1791, passed the act granting to every settler on the public lands in Illinois four hundred acres, and to each enrolled militia man one hundred acres. Governor St Clair, under whom Piggott had served in the war of the Revolution, appointed him the presiding judge of the St. Clair county court. In 1795 he established the ﬁrst ferry across the Mississippi at St. Louis. This has been continued ever since, and is now known as Wiggins’ ferry. The license was issued by Zenon Trudeau, lieutenant governor of the province of Upper Louisiana. He [Piggot] died at this ferry, opposite St. Louis, in 1799.
Piggot’s wife Frances Ballew is an interesting character in her own right. [MORE HERE SOON.]
Captain Joseph Ogle was one of the pioneers of New Design. He was born in Virginia in 1744. He commanded a company of Virginia troops during the Revolutionary war, holding a commission as captain from Patrick Henry, then Governor or Virginia. He came to Illinois from the neighborhood of
Wheeling, Virginia, in 1785. With him came Joseph Worley, and James Andrews. He was a man of untiring energy, and strong will power, in his honor one of the counties of the State received its name. He professed religion under the preaching of the Rev. James Smith, at New Design in 1737, and was appointed leader, by the Rev. Joseph Lillard, in 1703, of the ﬁrst Methodist class ever formed in Illinois. Members of the Ogle family removed from New Design, and in 1796 made a settlement in the American Bottom, near where the road from Bellefontaine to Cahokia descended the bluff. In 1802 Captain Ogle made one of the pioneer locations in the Ridge prairie, near the present town of O’Fallon, in St. Clair county, where he resided till his death, in 1821. His descendants reside in St. Clair county.
Walter Ogle is completely fictitious and not based on any contemporary Ogle family member.
Andrew’s Run, a tributary to Fountain creek, which rises north of Waterloo, was so called from the Andrews family, which settled at its head in early times, and who were massacred by the Indians. James Andrews was a young Virginian who came to Illinois, and shortly afterward married Capt. Joseph Ogle’s daughter, and settled on Andrews’ run. Here he was attacked by the Indians, himself and wife killed, and his child, a girl three years of age, taken prisoner. Her name was Drusilla. She was recovered through the agency of some French traders of St. Louis, and was raised in the family of James Lemen, at New Design.
James Piggot hadn’t served under Col. George Rogers Clark, but he did meet him after the war at Fort Jefferson on Illinois’ eastern border on the Ohio River. When Fort Jefferson was weakened due to sickness, drought, and Indian attacks, James Piggot led the remaining forty-six inhabitants, seventeen families in all, down the Ohio and up the Mississippi until they reached the old Kaskaskia to Cahokia Trail that the French had first settled. By the war’s end, most of them had fled to St. Louis and other French holdings across the river.
It would be so nice of you to share!