Jackson County

1837 Gazetteer

Beaucoup Settlement is in Jackson county, twelve miles northeast from Brownsville, between the Big Beaucoup creek and Big Muddy river. The land is rich, heavily timbered, with a considerable settlement.

Big Muddy River, (called by the French who discovered it, Riviera au Vase, or Vaseux,) a considerable stream in the southwestern part of the state. It has four principal heads, which, rising in Washington Jefferson, and Hamilton counties, and uniting in Jackson county, form the main stream. They are the Beaucoup, Little Muddy, and Middle Fork. The general course of the stream is southwest, and it is navigable some distance above Brownsville. Below Brownsville it turns south to the county line, makes a short bend, and enters the Mississippi near the northeastern corner of township eleven south, in range four west of the third principal meridian. Its bluffs generally are abrupt, the land along its borders and branches undulating, and for most of its length well timbered. Valuable salines exist on its banks and are worked about Brownsville, where there is an inexhaustible bed of bituminous coal. Native copper has been found on its banks in detached masses. It runs through a fine agricultural and grazing country.
Bradley's Settlement is at the head of Kincaid creek, in the north part of Jackson county. It is a timbered region, tolerable land, and has twenty-five or thirty families.

BROWNSVILLE, the seat of of justice for Jackson county, is situated on the north side of Big Muddy river, on section two, nine south, and three west of the third principal meridian. It is twelve miles by land, and twenty-five by water from the Mississippi, and is surrounded by hills. The Big Muddy Salines and coal banks are near this place. The population is about twenty families.

Cedar Creek, a branch of Big Muddy river in Jackson county, rises in Union county, and runs first north, and then a western course, and enters Muddy river twelve miles above its mouth. This creek has high bluffs towards its mouth, which abound with cedar. The country is broken, timbered, well watered with springs, and contains about one hundred families. The main settlement is six miles from Brownsville.

Columbo Creek rises in Perry county, runs a southeast course, and enters Big Beaucoup, in Jackson county.

Cox's Prairie, northeast of Brownsville, in Jackson county, near Big Beaucoup, contains about four sections of good rolling land.

Crab Orchard, a small creek that rises in the south part of Franklin county, passes into Jackson, and enters the Big Muddy, fifteen miles above Brownsville. The country adjoining is level and good, and the settlement has forty or fifty families.

Devil's Oven is a singular promontory of sand rock that projects into the Mississippi, in Jackson county, one mile above the Grand Tower. It has a cave resembling the month of a mammoth oven, to be seen from the river.

Drewry's Creek, a branch of Crab Orchard. It rises in Union County, runs a devious course northeasterly into Jackson county, and has a settlement of fifteen or twenty families. The land timbered, and second rate soil.

Fountain Bluff, frequently called the "Big Hill" in Jackson county. It is a singularly formed eminence, or rocky bluff on the Mississippi, six miles above the mouth of the Big Muddy river. It is of an oval shape, eight miles in circumference, and with an elevation of 300 feet. The western side is on the river, and the top is broken full of sink holes, with shrubs and mattering timber. The north side is nearly perpendicular rock, but the south side is sloping, and ends in a fine rich tract of soi1, covered with farms. East is an extensive and low bottom with lakes and swamps. Fine springs of limpid water gush out from the foot of this bluff on all sides. North, and along the bank of the Mississippi, is dry and rich alluvion with a line of farms, known by the name of the "Settlement under the Bluff."

Gagnie, a sluggish stream that runs southwest into the Mississippi, and forms the boundary line between Randolph and Jackson counties.

Grand Prairie. Under this general name is embraced the prairie country lying between the waters which fall into the Mississippi, and those which enter the Wabash rivers. It does not consist of one vast tract, boundless to the vision, and uninhabitable for want of timber; but is made up of continuous tracts, with points of timber projecting inward, and long arms of prairie extending between the creeks and smaller streams. The southern joints of the Grand prairie are formed in the northeastern parts of Jackson county, and extend in a northeastern course between the streams of various widths, from one to ten or twelve miles, through Perry, Washington, Jefferson, Marion, the eastern part of Fayette, Effingham, through the western portion of Coles, into Champaign and Iroquois counties, where it becomes connected with the prairies that project eastward from the Illinois river and its tributaries. A large arm lies in Marion county, between the waters of Crooked creek and the East fork of the Kaskaskia river, where the Vincennes road passes through in its longest direction. This is frequently called the Grand prairie. Much the largest part of the Grand prairie is gently undulating; but of the southern portion considerable tracts are flat, and of rather inferior soil. No insurmountable obstacle exists to its future population. No portion of it is more than six or eight miles distant from timber, and coal in abundance is found in various parts. Those who have witnessed the changes produced upon a prairie surface within twenty or thirty years, consider these extensive prairies as offering no serious impediment to the future growth of the state.

Lewis's Creek, a trifling stream in Jackson county, enters Big Muddy near the coal bank four miles east of Brownsville.

Little Muddy is one of the four heads of the Big Muddy river. It rises in the southeastern corner of Washington county, crosses the line into Jefferson, then into Franklin and finally into Jackson, where it enters the parent stream on the right side, in section thirteen, eight south, one west. A post office. It has good timber and prairie on both sides.

Marshall's Prairie, north of Cox's prairie, fourteen miles northeast of Brownsville, in Jackson county, is rich, undulating land, and the settlement contains a dozen families.

Mount Carbon, a coal bank on Muddy river, four miles above Brownsville, in Jackson county. Large quantities are exported from this place down the river. Here is a large steam saw and grist mill.

Pinus, a post office in Jackson county, on section thirty-four, township ten south, two west, twelve miles south-southeast from Brownsville.

Ridge Settlement lies in Union county, on the road to Brownsville, and extends into Jackson county. It is a high, hilly, timbered tract of good land, well watered, and has from one hundred to one hundred and fifty families.

Extracted from A Gazetteer of Illinois; in Three Parts, author J. M. Peck, published in 1837.

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