History is but a record of the life and career of people and nations. The novelist will take the most fragile thread of vivid imagination, and from it weave a fabric of unsurpassing beauty. But the historian, if he be truly an historian, must set his feet upon the solid basis of fact, and turning a deaf ear to the allurements of fancy, sift with careful and painstaking scrutiny, the evidence brought before him, and upon which he is to give the record of what has been. Evidently in a Commercial History this is not of as great importance as in a history pertaining to the life and development of nations. Yet so many interesting facts are discernible in the gradual upbuilding of communities that these must perforce find space in the columns of a publication, such as is this, though it be but transitory in its nature.
We shall therefore endeavor to give a short and consise review of the early history of Clinton County, in order that our readers may gain some information relative to the county they inhabit which shall prove of interest to them.
The Creation of Illinois as a Sovereign State
The several states previous to 1784, and after the war of revolution, agreed, on the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, to cede their claims to the western land, commonly known as the Northwestern Territory, to the federal government. Virginia executed for deed of cession March 1st 1784. For several years after there was an imperfect administration of the law in Illinois.
By the ordinance of 1787 all the territory northwest of the Ohio was constituted into one district, the laws to be executed by a governor and secretary, and a court of three judges. A general assembly
was provided for, the members to be chosen by the people. General Arthur St. Clair was elected by Congress as governor of the Northwest Territory. The seat of government was at Marietta, Ohio.
In the year 1795, Governor St. Clair divided St. Clair County; all south of a line running through the New Design settlement (in the present county of Monroe) was erected into the county of Randolph, in honor of Edmund Randolph of Virginia.
Shadrach Bond, afterward the first governor, was elected from Illinois, a member of the Territorial Legislature, which convened at Cincinnati, in January, 1799. In 1800 the Territory of Indiana was formed, of which Illinois constituted a part, with the seat of government at Vincennes. About 1806 among other places in the West, Aaron Burr visited Kaskaskia in an endeavor to enlist men for his creation of a new southwestern republic. In 1805, George Fisher was elected from Randolph County a member of the Territorial Legislature, and Pierre Menard was chosen member of the Legislative Council.
By act of Congress, 1809, the Territory of Illinois was constituted. Ninian Edwards was appointed Governor of the newly organized territory and the seat of government established at Kaskaskia. Nathaniel Pope, a relative of Edwards, received the appointment of secretary.
For nearly four years after the organization of the territorial government no legislature existed in Illinois. An election for representatives was held on the eight, ninth and tenth of October, 1812. Shadrach Bond, then a resident of St. Clair County, was elected the first delegate to Congress from Illinois. Pierre Menard was chosen from Randolph County member of the Legislative Council, and George Fisher of the House of Representatives. The legislature convened at Kaskaskia on the twenty-fifth of November, 1812.
In April, 1818, a bill providing for the admission