What is the meaning of Sangamon?

In 1721, a small group of Frenchmen paddled canoes from the confluence of the Theakiki (Kankakee) and the “River of the Illinois (tribe)” to the Mississippi River. They were on their way to French settlements in Louisiana. Among the group was Pierre-Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, a Jesuit priest. Charlevoix documented the voyage in a series of letters that include descriptions of the landscape and Native American residents of the river valley. Continue reading “What is the meaning of Sangamon?”

Native American Trails

Shickshack Hill

Native Americans were the only human beings in Menard County for more than 10,000 years. Traces of their way of life in the form of stone tools and pottery sherds continue to be found throughout the county. Their legacy is also documented by trails—a path or track worn by the passages of persons traveling.

Identifying ancient Native American trails is difficult at best. Some Native American trail maps survive, such as the 1837 Ioway map, but they are extremely rare. Continue reading “Native American Trails”