06 December 2012

Traders of Early Illinois

...two brothers named Lorton (or was it Laughton*) from St. Joseph, Michigan....and their trading post in Macon, Illinois, from 1816 to 1826:

While there were still Kickapoos in the region out of which Macon County was formed, and even before Illinois became a state, two brothers named Lorton came down from St. Joe, Michigan, and established an Indian trading post on the Sangamon River, near Friend's Creek. This was about 1816. No longer in existence, the Lorton cabin was the first building to be erected by white men in the area that became Macon County. After trading with the Indians for some ten years, exchanging blankets, ammunition and rum for pelts of mink, raccoon and possum, the Lorton brothers closed up shop and disappeared from the annals of Macon County history. For by that time most of the Kickapoos of central Illinois had moved to Kansas, and, later, to Texas. In the meantime, the old Lorton log cabin remained standing in what became Whitmore Township and was occupied for a time by John Draper, first settler of the township. It was still standing in the middle 1850' s, at which time it was serving as a township polling place. At some later date, it finally disappeared. [Source]

*The Laughton (also spelled Lorton) family name first appears in the Prairie du Chein treaty of July 29, 1829, between the United States and the "United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatamie Indians, of the waters of the Illinois, Miluakee, and Manitoouck Rivers" (Fay 1971276). [Source]

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