The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 1827–1911
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives

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April 22, 1830

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Dr. Gershom Jayne, a Springfield physician, had been born in Orange County, New York in 1791. Having served as a surgeon in the War of 1812, he came out to Illinois in 1819. Jayne, Edmond Roberts, and Charles Dunn in 1829 made up the board of canal commissioners. These commissioners in cooperation with U.S. engineers laid out the line of the canal and selected those lands along that line which the federal government donated to the State of Illinois for canal purposes, all in 1829 (see document 1, document 2, and document 3). Dr. Jayne died in Springfield in 1867.

Early in Illinois history Chicago was not the dominate metropolitan center it is today. Although its geographical location was recognized as having tremendous potential for growth, that reality had not yet been achieved. Southern and central Illinois contained more significant population concentrations in towns such as Kaskaskia, Belleville, and Springfield.

Points to Consider

Locate Springfield, Belleville, Kaskaskia, Chicago, and St. Louis on a map.
Did Jayne's accounts add up correctly?
What mode of transportation would Gershom Jayne have used in 1829 and 1830?
If an acre of canal land sold for $1.25 at this time, did Jayne's expenses appear reasonable? Why?

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