A brief history
of Du Quoin:
Jean Baptiste Du Quoin(sometimes Ducoigne)was born on January
21, 1750. He was the son of a Frenchman and a Tamaroa Indian
woman. He was baptized at the Church of St. Anne outside Fort
de Chartres. He was made chief of the Tamaroas in 1767. This
was also the year that the Illinois Confederacy made up of the
Kaskaskias, the Michigans, the Peorias, the Cahokias and the
Tamaroas (organized in defense against the Iroquois) desolved
when Chief Pontiac was murdered in Kaskaskia by Michigan Indians.
The other tribes drove the Michigans onto Starved Rock and by
1769 had starved them to death.
In 1800, Chief Du Quoin merged the Kaskaskias, Cahokias and
Tamaroas into a new confederacy. Two years later, Chief Du Quoin
met the Shawnees in the prairies east of the Big Muddy and nearly
all were killed on both sides. Most survivers were Kaskaskias,
so Chief Du Quoin is often referred to as Chief of the Kaskaskias.
Chief Jean Baptiste Du Quoin died in 1811 and was buried at
Kaskaskia. His son, Louis Jefferson Du Quoin, became chief of
the tribe in 1811. On the present site of Old Du Quoin, the
Kaskaskias had a winter camp. They hunted and trapped along
Little Muddy and the nearby creeks during the winter, and in
the spring they sold their furs in Kaskaskia and spent the summer
in leisure. The camp was located on the main trail from Shawneetown
to Kaskaskia and it offered shelter and hospitality to travelers,
since the chief was himself half white.
Jarrold Jackson stopped at the Indian Camp in 1803 and staked
out property on the Little Muddy. He was the first settler of
Old Du Quoin. He owned and operated the first Toll Bridge over
the Little Muddy River. Old Du Quoin was never actually founded
but grew gradually out of seasonal camps which Indian hunters
had established. Daniel Dry opened a store in the camp in 1880.
Chester A. Keyes also had a store in the town.
By early 1840 construction was begun on a railroad from the
Lakes to the Gulf. It passed several miles west of Old Du Quoin.
In about 1850, the settlers began moving their houses and stores
to the new town by the railroad and called it "The Station."
The town grew and became larger than the first settlement.
In 1853, Isaac S. Metcalf, a civil engineer from Maine, and
Chester A. Keyes of Old Du Quoin laid out the new town by the
railroad and called it Du Quoin. Comprising the central section
of the present city, it extended from Spring to Poplar Streets,
and from the railroad to Pear Street. Main and Washington Streets
were laid out a hundred feet wide to provide room for shade
trees and Keyes Park was laid out and donated to the city with
the stipulation that no building should ever be erected on it.
The town was officially dedicated on September 20, 1853, and
the first lot was sold to Bargella Silkwood on September 24,
Other important firsts:
1853 - Railroad in Du Quoin was finished; first depot was built.
1854 - First mercantile store was opened by G.S. Smith. The
building was brought from Old Du Quoin on a runner.
1855 - First shaft mine in Illinois was sunk near St. Johns;
first experimental use of coal as a fuel was made.
1860 - First bank opened by G.S. Smith, located on the site
of the site of the present Du Quoin State Bank.
1870 - First city water and electric service.
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