Tag Archives: American County Histories
Lewis and Clark Map

Lewis and Clark in South Dakota

One of our newest additions to our American County Histories collection includes A History of South Dakota: From Earliest Times compiled and revised by Doane Robinson includes this description of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s activities in what is now South Dakota.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

In the month of January, 1803, anticipating the cession of Louisiana to the United States, President Thomas Jefferson secured authority from Congress to dispatch a small detachment of regular soldiers on an exploring expedition by way of the Missouri river to the Pacific coast. This expedition President Jefferson placed in charge of Captain Merryweather Lewis, his private secretary, with Wm. Clark, as first assistant. The explorers were charged with the duty of examining the country along the route, becoming acquainted with the various Indian tribes and winning their friendship and good will. Before the expedition started, the cession of Louisiana to the United States had been consummated, and Captains Lewis and Clark were further instructed to secure an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the United States over the several Indian tribes.

A map of Lewis and Clark's track across the western portion of North America, from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean by order of the executive of the United States in 1804, 1805 & 1806.

A map of Lewis and Clark’s track across the western portion of North America, from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean by order of the executive of the United States in 1804, 1805 & 1806.

On May 14, 1804, the party, consisting of forty-three men, including soldiers, boatmen, guides, interpreters, etc., embarked in two pirogues and one bateau, entered the Missouri river and started upon their long journey.

This expedition excited the liveliest interest throughout the country, in which President Jefferson fully shared. He watched it with the greatest solicitude and when information from it came back at the end of the first year, he promptly transmitted it to Congress.

The expedition slowly moved up the river but did not reach the mouth of the Big Sioux and consequently the territory now embraced within South Dakota, until August 21, 1804. Their first night passed on the Dakota side was the night of August 22d and 23d, which was spent on the site of the present city of Elkpoint. Here Patrick Gass was elected as successor to Sergeant Charles Floyd who died two days before, near the site of Sioux City. On the morning of August 23d, on the meadow three or four miles west of Elkpoint, they came upon their first herd of buffalo, and Captain Lewis killed one of them from which they salted two barrels of meat.

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Sketch of the Fourth Missouri Infantry’s Departure from Jefferson Barracks

Missouri’s Participation in Various Military Conflicts during the 19th Century

Missouri has a storied 19th Century military history — from the War of 1812 to the American Civil War to the Spanish American War, Missourians answered the call for volunteers.  Outside of these major conflicts, Missourians also participated in a variety of territorial and regional conflicts during the 19th century — Native American conflicts, safeguarding expeditions westward, border wars, and conflicts over religious and temperance beliefs.

The Missouri county histories in Accessible Archives’ American County Histories digital collection provide vivid portraits of people, places and events, putting Missouri’s state and local history into current context with the examination of military, political,  demographic, social, economic, and cultural transformations.

State and local history are an essential part of the American history curricula in high schools, community colleges, and universities. Accessible Archives’ American County Histories provide an everyday connection to history for students and researchers.

American County Histories are among the most comprehensive sources of local and regional history available. Their emphasis on ordinary people and the commonplace event make them important in the study of American history and culture.

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Passadena-top

The Early Years of Pasadena

The winter of 1873 was one of the worst on record for the Midwest; particularly in Indiana. The opening of the transcontinental railroad led to a surge in travel westward, particularly into California. In addition, the economic recession in 1873 pushed many emigrants westward in the hopes of finding new employment opportunities.

These events led a group of Indianapolis residents, also lured by emigration notices extolling the warm climate of California, to meet and propose a settlement of Hoosiers among the orange groves of southern California. This group acquired a number of investors for a settlement and dispatched a committee to select a suitable area for the emigrant investors. The “California Colony of Indiana” came into being in September 1873. Years later, after a dispute with the U.S. Postal Service, the Colony would be re-named the city of Pasadena, California.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

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Beaufort County, South Carolina

Slavery in the Early Carolina Colony Days

This passage on the early years of slavery in South Carolina appears in the opening pages of Beaufort County South Carolina — Its Shrines and Early History.

The Need for Labor

Servants were most difficult to get in the early Carolina days. All manner of land grants and gratuities were were offered the servant immigrant from England and Ireland—provided, of course, they were Protestant. But these servants at that time somehow preferred to go further north and up towards Virginia and Maryland and largely to the tobacco lands.

Furthermore, there white servants did not seem adapted to the Carolina coast work; and, furthermore, mortality among them was heavy for we are told so hard was the life for them in the culture of indigo and in the rice swamps. In the ten years prior to 1708 we are told that eighty men and women servants actually had been lost to the colonies, most all of them by death.

Slavery in those days for the slave holder was altogether respectable. To these big Carolina land owners who wanted to grow indigo and rice and who wanted themselves to live in the highlands in mid-summer — to these men the importation of slaves became a necessity.

Furthermore, these Africans as imported were adaptable to the work and to the place and were such ideal laborers and whose labor, too, was so sensationally cheap that we find the Lords Proprietors encouraging slave importation by a head-right of fifty acres. These slaves, therefore, solved the labor problem for these coast plantations.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

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Missouri-Territory

The Missouri Compromise

“County histories have long formed the cornerstone of local historical and genealogical research. Encyclopedic in scope and virtually limitless in their research possibilities, they provide a wealth of information for researchers of all types as well as for general interest readers.”1

American County Histories

American County Histories

But, Accessible Archives’ American County Histories digital collection provides more than just a recounting of local historical issues. National issues that affected state and county populations are also addressed. One of the most divisive issues of the 19th century – slavery – is a particularly strong topic in the annals of many counties.

The entry below, from a history of Vernon County, Missouri, discusses the national political issue around the spread of slavery in the trans-Mississippi West and Missouri’s petition for statehood.  Nationally, the admission of Missouri, with its pro-slavery political power, would tip the balance of power in the U.S. Congress, in favor of the slave-holding South. Henry Clay and others sought a compromise – the Missouri Compromise.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter. The Table of Contents is hyperlinked to each chapter as well as to each individual illustration. The user can select a particular graphic from the List of Illustrations and proceed immediately to it by clicking on the highlighted text.  (Learn more about using the American County Histories Collection at A White Paper: American County Histories.)

Application of Missouri for Admission Into the Union

With the application of the territorial legislature of Missouri for her admission into the union, commenced the real agitation of the slavery question in the United States.

Not only was our national legislature the theater of angry discussions, but everywhere throughout the length and breadth of the republic the “Missouri Question” was the all-absorbing theme.

The question as to the admission of Missouri was to be the beginning of this crisis, which distracted the public counsels of the nation for more than forty years afterward.

Missouri asked to be admitted into the great family of states. “Lower Louisiana,” her twin sister territory, had knocked at the door of the union eight years previously, and was admitted as stipulated by Napoleon, to all the rights, privileges and immunities of a state, and in accordance with the stipulations of the same treaty, Missouri now sought to be clothed with the same rights, privileges and immunities.

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