Prairiefire: The Illinois Country Before 1818: About

In 1673, the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet became the first Europeans to visit the land that came to be called the Illinois Country. In the succeeding century Europeans and Native Americans lived together there in a state of uneasy coexistence. The Illinois Country became a part of the United States' Northwest Territory in 1787, and native Americans fought a series of bloody wars in an unsuccessful attempt to stem the tide of white settlement. In 1818, Illinois became the twenty-first state, and by 1832, authorities had pushed the last Native Americans Beyond its borders.
"Prairiefire: The Illinois Country Before 1818" presents historical texts and images from the period of first white settlement of the Illinois Country to the Black Hawk War of 1832. These materials focus on life in the area originally known as the Old Northwest, which now includes Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as Illinois. The site includes letters, travelogues, and memoirs of white explorers, trappers, and settlers, as well as such Native American materials as are available. Interpretive materials telling the story of the Illinois Country and the Old Northwest in the years before the removal of the Illinois' Native Americans assist users in interpreting and searching the site.

Copyright and Terms of Use

Certain portions of the materials on this site are protected by copyright laws. These materials have been made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, but may not be used for any commercial purpose. Permission to make a single copy of any material on this website through print, photocopying, or downloading to a computer terminal is granted without the need to seek prior consent, on the express condition that you properly cite the source in all copies.

To cite sources you should include all applicable and available information available regarding:

1. name of author, editor, compiler, arranger, translator, creator

2. Title of song, section, poem, short work, letter within a larger book or journal

3. Title of larger book or journal

4. Name of editor, compiler, or translator, arranger

5. Publication information for the print version (publisher location, publisher, and date)

6. Prairiefire: The Illinois Country Before 1818 project

7. Name of owning institution

8. Date you accessed the source

9. Direct link to webpage or digital item

For other uses of materials from the site (for example, commercial products, publication, broadcast, mirroring, reuse on a website, or anything else that does not fall under concepts relating to "fair use" you are required to seek permission from the appropriate source in advance. Contact information is given below. When requesting permission, please be prepared to refer specifically to the information you intend to use and provide details regarding your planned use. 

Those inquiring about these uses should contact Drew VandeCreek.

Project Team

Drew VandeCreek, Project Director

Tara Dirst, technical Coordinator (2005-2007)

Anitha Paruchuri, Web Developer (2005-2011)

Stacey Erdman, Digital Collections Curator

Nathan Books, Web Developer

Matthew Short, Metadata Librarian

Charles Larry, Graphic Designer (2005-2011)

Maria Dimanshtein, Graphic Designer (2013)

matt Dotson, Recording Engineer

Scholarly Contributors

Drew VandeCreek, Northern Illinois University

Susan Sleeper-Smith, Michigan State University

James E. Lewis, Kalamazoo College

John Mack Faragher, Yale University

Project Partners

Primary source materials featured on the site are derived from the collections of Northern Illinois University Library, The Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures at Aurora University, Illinois State University Library, Illinois State Library, The Newberry Library, The University of Chicago Library, and the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri, St. Louis


Funding for Prairiefire: The Illinois Country Before 1818 was provided in part by the Illinois State Library, the Ruth Tankersley McCormick Charitable Trust, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education