Monroe County, Illinois

This history was extracted from the following book on:


Combined History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, Illinois

Published by J. L. McDonough & Co.

Philadelphia 1883



 Pages 382-384

Renault precinct bears the name of one of the most conspicuous men connected with the early French settlements of Illinois.  The Company of the West was organized in France in 1717 with the object of developing the mineral resources and great wealth of the Mississippi valley.  This company was invested with exclusive and valuable privileges.  A branch called the Company of St. Phillip's was formed, to improve the mines of Illinois and Upper Louisiana.  Philip Francois Renault, a native of Picardy, France, and a man of sound mind and much energy, was selected as the principal agent to carry out the plans of the company.  He sailed from France in the year 1719 with two hundred mechanics, miners and laborers, and stopping at the island of San Domingo secured five hundred negro slaves to aid in working the mines.  These negroes were the first slaves in Illinois.  He arrived at Fort Chartres with this colony, the largest which up to that time had reached the Mississippi valley.

To aid him in his undertakings he received several concessions of land.  On the fourteenth of June, 1723, he received a grant "in freehold, in order to make his establishment upon the mines"  of a tract of land a league and a half in a width by six in depth on the "Little Marameig" in Upper Louisiana (Missouri); another tract of two leagues "at the mine called the mine of Lamothe;" another of one league in front of Pimeteau on the river Illinois; and "one league fronting on the Mississippi, at the place called the Great Marsh, adjoining on one side to the Illinois Indians, settled near Fort de Chartres, with a depth of two leagues, this place being the situation which has been granted to him for the raising of provisions, and to enable him to furnish then to all the settlements he shall make upon the mines."

This conveyance is signed by Boisbriant, the commandant at Fort Chartres, and Des Ursins, the principal of the Royal India Company.  The Company of the West in 1719 had been merged into the Company of the Indies, under the title of the Royal India Company the grant at Pimeteau on Illinois river was in the vicinity of Peoria, and was supposed to cover a copper mine.  That of one league front on the Mississippi at the Great Marsh was what has since been known as the Renault grant in the south corner of Monroe county.  Numerous explorations were made throughout Illinois in fruitless search of metal.  Renault was more successful in Upper Louisiana, now Missouri, and melted considerable lead which was conveyed by pack horses to the river, and thence transported to New Orleans.  It will be noted that the fertile tract of bottom land in the Renault grant was intended to furnish supplies for the mines.  Farmers and mechanics were induced to settle on this tract, and the village of St. Phillips, five miles from Fort Chartres, was founded.  Renault himself had his headquarters at the fort.  Person claiming to be his legal representatives, have lately attempted to recover, through the courts, possession of this land from those who have been living on it for many years and who have been engaged in its cultivation.

The Village of St. Phillips

Renault received his grant of land in June, 1723, and shortly afterward the village of St. Phillips began its growth.  A chapel was here established under the care of the church of St. Anne at Fort Chartres village.  Surveys made on the 24th of March, 1736, show that the St. Phillips common fields lands, beginning at the south boundary, were then divided among the settlers.

The village of St. Phillips never grew to any great size.  It was built on claim 1308, survey 303 and adjoining survey 3, on the east what is known as the "Stringtown road," and little remains to show its site.  Captain Philip Pitman, of the British army, thus describeds it in 1766: "Saint Phillipe, a small village about five miles from Fort Chartres, on the road to Koaquias.  There are about sixteen houses and a small church standing.  All of the inhabitants, except the captain of the militia, deserted it in 1765, and went to the French side (Missouri.) The captain of the militia has about twenty slaves, a good stock of cattle, and a water mill for corn and planks.  The village stands on a very fine meadow, about one mile from the Mississippi."  After 1766 the village rapidly declined, and before the close of the last century contained not a single French family.  John Everett was the only inhabitant in 1803, on claim 1568, survey 317, a lot containing about twent acres, was a water mill, owned at one time, according to the records, by Charles Cadron, who acquired title in 1736.

American Settlements

In this part of the country was made one of the first American settlements in Illinois by Robert Kidd.  He had been a soldier under Colonel George Rogers Clark, and had taken part in the capture of Kaskaskia.  He returned to Illinois in 1781, in company with four others, with the intention of permanently settling in the country.  His companions chose locations near the present town of Waterloo, and in the bottom in what is now Moredock precinct, while Kidd settled in the bottom above Fort Chartres.  His home was under the bluff, at the head of Kidd lake.  He died in 1849 at an age upwards of eighty years.  The old house in which he is said to have lived, is still standing on survey 939.  His farm is a part of the estate of Jacob Fults.  He was a good citizen, quiet and domestic in his ways, and raised a family of children among whom were two sons, John and Samuel Kidd.  Some of his descendants still reside in the country.

On survey 633, claim 995, in the bottom, not far from the Randolph county line, lived Alexander McNabb.  He acquired this tract under the act of Congress granting a donation of one hundred acres to each militiaman enrolled and doing duty in Illinois, on the first day of August, 1790.  He had a genius for mechanical pursuits, and was master of several trades.  At one time he carried on the manufacture of powder in the cave in the bluff a mile above Prairie du Rocher.

The McDavid prairie received its name from John McDavid, who came to Illinois from Virginia, and lived for many years in this part of the county.  With him came his brother Jonnathan McDavid, who died not long after his arrival.  John McDavid rented land belonging to Mrs. Fisher, a daughter of Henry Levins, and the widow of John Fisher, son of Dr. George Fisher of the vicinity of Kaskaskia.  McDavid finally married Mrs. Fisher. Samuel Nolan settled in early times near the vicinity of Ivy Landing.  Below the landing also at an early day settled Daniel Winn.  The farm on which he lived has disappeared in the river.  A sister to Samuel Nolan married Lewis Greene, and after the death of her first husband she became the wife of Daniel Winn.  Elizabeth Greene, a daughter of Lewis Greene, married Jacob Fults, one of the former residents of Renault precinct. She was born September, 1803, near Cahokia, and was married to Jacob Fults, in 1818, near Rush Tower, Missouri.  Jacob Fults was born in Pennsylvania in the year 1793, his parents having emigrated to that state from Germany.  He served five years in the regular army, taking part in the war of 1812-14.  He left the United States service in 1817.  He first settled on Moredock lake, and afterward came to Renault precinct where he died July, 1841.  He lived for a time half a mile up Braun's hollow, and then on survey 309, claim 1309, where his son Jacob afterward lived for many years.  He came to this location in the year 1829.

Glasgow City

Glasgow City was laid off by Jame Glasgow in the year 1860.  A frame store house was built by Stamen Keagy, who began the mercantile business. He kept the store two or three years, and was the succeeded by John Glenn.  This store stood on Main street in the north part of the town.  After Glenn relinquished it Frank Brickey was the proprietor. Among other merchants who have transacted business in the place have been Jacob Meyer, John Burkhardt, Frank Burk & Brothers and Andrew Sale.  A steam flouring mill was built in the year 1868 by James G. Elliff.  He only ran the mill a short time, and then Simon Sale became the proprietor.  The town now contains twenty-eight dwelling houses and a population of about one hundred and fifty.  Abraham B. Sale and Dr. Jesse Chewning carry on general stores.  The latter also sells drugs.  Peter Studt, George W. Dashner and William Hess are engaged in the blacksmithing business.  Anton Stagel and John Angestien are wagon makers. Harmon K. Tilkemeyer has a shoemaking  establishment.  Hotels are kept by Harmon Church, George W. Dashner and James Wright.  The mill owned by Simon Sale has three run of buhrs.  There are two churches, one Catholic and the other Lutheran.  The post office is called Renault.  The town is built on the old St. Louis and Kaskaskia road, which ran from Prairie du Rocher along the bluff till south of Glasgow City, and then ascended the bluff, passing through Burksville and Waterloo to St. Louis.