The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Illinois (tribe)
ILLINOIS, a tribe of North American Indians, of the Algonquin family, comprising the Peorias, Moingwenas, Kaskaskias, Tamaroas, and Cahokias. At an early period, aided perhaps by the Delawares on the east, they drove the Quapaws, a Dakota tribe whom they styled Arkansas, from the Ohio to the southern Mississippi. About 1640 they nearly exterminated the Winnebagoes. They were at war with the Iroquois from about 1656, and with the Sioux soon after. The French, by their missionaries, first met the Illinois at Chegoimegon on Lake Superior in 1667; in 1672 Marquette found the Peorias and Moingwenas in three towns west of the Mississippi, near the Des Moines, as well as Peorias and Kaskaskias on the Illinois. The Tamaroas were on the Mississippi, and a tribe called the Michigameas, who seem to have been really Quapaws, also belonged to the confederacy. The Illinois at this time were numerous and brave, expert bowmen, but not canoe men. They moved off to the plains beyond the Mississippi in villages for a short summer hunt, and for a winter hunt of four or five months. Then they would gather in a large town, of arbor-like cabins covered with double water-proof mats, with generally four fires to a cabin, and two families to a fire. Allouez, Membré, and other missionaries found the chief Illinois town consisting of 300 to 400 cabins and 8,000 people. They were badly defeated by the Iroquois in 1679, shortly after La Salle reached there, and in the war lost 300 or 400 killed and 900 prisoners; but they recovered and aided the French in their operations against the Iroquois, sending their contingent to the expeditions of De la Barre and Denonville. Although constantly at war and greatly addicted to vices, they listened to the French missionaries Marquette, Allouez, Gravier, and others, who finally converted them all, and greatly improved their condition. In 1700 Chicago, their great chief, visited France, and was highly esteemed. His son of the same name retained the great influence of his father till his death in 1754. In 1700 the Kaskaskias removed from the upper waters of the Illinois to the spot that bears their name, led by their chief Roinsac, who wished to emigrate to Louisiana. In 1712 they marched to Detroit to relieve that post, then besieged by the Foxes. In the war with that tribe they suffered severely, and the Illinois of the Rock and of Pimiteouy were driven from their villages. In 1719 the whole nation was reduced to 3,000 souls. They remained faithful to the French in the Natchez troubles, and sent a force on D'Artaguette's fatal expedition against the Chickasaws. Although they lost constantly in their war with the Foxes, their head chief Papapé Changouhias led a force with Villiers against some of the frontier posts in Virginia in April, 1756, and captured a small fort. They took no part in Pontiac's war; but when that chieftain was killed in one of their towns, the Foxes renewed the war. They joined the Miamis in their war against the United States, but made peace at Greenville, Aug. 3, 1795. By act of March 3, 1791, 350 acres were secured to the Kaskaskias, and the right of locating 1,280 acres in addition. Gen. Harrison in 1803 negotiated a treaty at Vincennes, in which their decline was recited, an annuity of $1,000 given, and provision made for building a house for the chief and a Catholic church, as well as for the maintenance of a priest. The Peorias, who were not parties to this treaty, joined in that of Edwardsville, Sept. 25, 1818, by which the Illinois ceded all their lands in the state for $2,000 in goods and a 12 years' annuity of $300. The Peorias, to the number of 100, were on Blackwater river, Missouri, and 36 Kaskaskias remained in Illinois. By the treaty of October, 1832, they again ceded lands, receiving a large tract further west, with some cash and an outlay for erecting dwellings and supplying agricultural implements. They were placed within the limits of the present state of Kansas, where they remained till 1867. They seemed to improve, but lost in numbers, so that in 1854 they confederated with the Weas and Piankeshaws. In 1867 they were again removed, and placed southwest of the Quapaws, on a reservation of 72,000 acres. Here they remain, but the whole Illinois nation had dwindled in 1872 to some 40 souls; the combined tribe of Weas, Piankeshaws, Peorias, and Kaskaskias numbering only 160 in all. The United States government in 1873 held stocks for their benefit amounting to $124,747 94, and a balance at interest of $64,164 69. The language of the Illinois was reduced to grammatical rules by Père Gravier, and Père le Boulanger drew up a very full grammar and dictionary.