1. Settlers came to this area to build farms. While they found the land difficult to plant in because of the thick root system, trees were not in the way – the area was mostly grassland. When settlers came, they traded goods with the Potawatomi to get food and animal skins. After a time, the Potawatomi were forced to move when homesteaders took over the land. The Potawatomi asked that they could remain “on the land given to use by their great spirit,” but they could not continue to live here. By 1831, they had to move.
Here is what one woman wrote about her trip to live in Illinois.
2. “I have dragged one foot after the other so long and hope for the best. Friday Eve. We commence a fourteen-mile prairie after we got to Paris, Illinois, hot though it was as the sun was setting, it was very good some part of the way – Many bad slews. The Doctor got stuck twice, and the oxen drew him out. The prairies look fine. Many kinds of flowers grow on them – and prairie hens live on them, one of the company shot one. Eliza looks bad but says she feels like helping me get supper. Oh dear, I think it’s a hard time - Saturday 15th. Today have been traveling through prairie and timber, both, and got lost in the bargain-we took the wrong road and wallowed around the prairies grass, sometimes as high as the horses’ back. Night came, we pitched our tent after mowing the grass down and made as comfortable as could be expected amongst mosquitoes.”
Here is what one woman’s life was like after settling.
3. “The woman told me that they spun and wove all the cotton and woolen garments of the family, and knit all the stockings; her husband, though not a shoe-maker by trade, made all the shoes. She made all the soap and candles they used and prepared her sugar from the sugar-trees on their farm. All she wanted with the money, she said, was to buy coffee and tea, and she could “get enough any day by sending a batch of butter and chicken to the market.” They used no wheat, nor sold any of their corn, which though it appeared a very large quantity, was not more than they required to make their bread and cakes of various kinds, and to feed all their livestock during the winter.”