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Pre Alton Era

Pre-Alton Era Saw Region Under Ancient Native American Culture, Spain, France and England


Archeologists now believe the Cahokia Mounds and its surroundings, including Alton and the Madison/St. Clair County region was the ancient hub of a population group of about 40,000. For reasons as yet undiscovered, the Mississippian culture disappeared between 800 and 1200 years ago. Only the mounds and ancient artifacts remain. The area was first explored by Europeans Father Marquette and Louis Joliet in June 1673—some 314 years ago.

The region had first been a part of Florida and was a Spanish possession, and later became a Florida territory. It was taken for the State of Virginia by George Rogers Clark, brother of William clark who lived here during the encampment of Lew and Clark in 1803-1804. It was later ceded to the United States by Virginia, became the Illinois Territory in 1809 and was admitted as the 21st state in the Union in 1818.

The City of Alton was incorporated in 1837, and its first major was the Hon. John M. Krum, a Madison County judge who served as major in 1837 and 1838 while remaining on the bench. Krum had tried in vain to intercede in the events that led to the death of Elijah P. Lovejoy and faced many problems in the aftermath of the riots. He later moved to St. Louis and became mayor there.

Reprinted from Bluff City Profiles Alton, Illinois 1837-1987 Sesquicentenial Commemorative Book Pre-Alton Era

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