The full content of this document is only available to subscribing institutions. More information can be found via

Title Letters regarding the Illinois Central Railroad Company [manuscript]: Chicago and Bourbonnais, Ill., 1853 Jan. 9-1929 Jan. 21
Document Type Correspondence
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Five letters, dated in Chicago and Bourbonnais, Ill., Jan. 9, 1853 to Jan. 21, 1929, concerning matters of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. The letter on stationery of The Illinois Central Magazine, dated Jan. 21, 1929, is addressed to Professor Wallace B. Amsbary of the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, from C.E. Kane, editor of the magazine. Kane is forwarding to Amsbary typed copies of three letters from 1853 and 1855 on the early history of the I.C. Railroad and the settlement of Illinois around Kankakee and Bourbonnais, which were brought to his attention by C.J. Corliss, associate editor of the magazine and an authority on early Railroad history. In his letter of Jan. 9, 1853, addressed to Robert Schuyler, president of the IC Railroad, Father Chiniquy, a missionary from Bourbonnais, requests a grant of land on which to build a school for children of the French Canadian immigrants who are flocking to eastern Illinois. He believes that these new settlers will help to increase railroad business. A note from R.B. Mason, chief engineer and general superintendent of the Railroad, is appended at the end, endorsing Chiniquy’s character and noting his past successes in establishing several French settlements in Illinois. The 1855 letters are from Benjamin F. Johnson at the I.C. offices in Chicago, to company officials W. H. Osborn, and J. Newton Perkins. The one to Osborn, dated Nov. 5th, contains details on the history and development of Bourbonnais, with references to some early French settlers, Vasser and Bellegarde, and the Pottawottamie Indians, led by their chief Shabbonnee. The letter of Dec. 26 to Perkins discusses the need to ship corn, sugar, coffee, and molasses from Cairo to Chicago by rail, as the rivers are frozen. Johnson also mentions the visit of the German scholar, "Dr. [J.G.] Kohl" who is touring the area around Bourbonnais and Kankakee.
Names Illinois Central Railroad Company; Kane, C.E.; Corliss, Carlton Jonathan (b.1888); Chiniquy, Charles Paschal Telesphore (1809-1899); Johnson, Benjamin F. (1818-1905); Shabni (c.1775-1859); Kohl, Johann Georg (1808-1878); Amsbary, Wallace B.; Schuyler, Robert; Mason, R. B.; Osborn, W. H.; Perkins, J. Newton; Chief Shabbonnee
Places Bourbonnais, Kankakee, Illinois, United States
Keywords railroad, history, settlement, white settlement, white settlers, transportation, missionary, land grant, school, education, migrant, France, goods, trade
Theme Missionaries and Education
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area Northeast
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT box Ayer MS 3017
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue