Thy Wondrous Story, Illinois
The marker is located in a pull out area on the north side of US 36 just west of the Indiana state line and 6.7 miles east of Chrisman.
Division of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society
The fertile prairies in Illinois attracted the attention of French trader Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette as they explored the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in 1673. France claimed this region until 1763 when she surrendered it to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris. During the American Revolution George Rogers Clark and his small army scored a bloodless victory when they captured Kaskaskia for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Illinois became a county of Virginia. This area was ceded to the United States in 1784, and became in turn a part of the Old Northwest Territory and the Indiana and Illinois Territories. On December 3, 1818, Illinois entered the Union as the twenty-first state. Two extensive livestock farms were located in Edgar County. At their height around 1875, each farm consisted of several thousand acres on which up to 1,000 Shorthorn cattle were fattened yearly for market until they weighed up to 3,000 pounds apiece . These farms were representative of a phenomena extending across Illinois in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. The 'Cattle Kings in the Prairies' were men who early recognized the value of this land, purchased thousands of acres, and used it to fatten livestock for Midwestern and Eastern markets. Agricultural changes eventually caused them to de-emphasize livestock feeding and to rent the land to grain farming tenants. However, the cattle kings retained ownership and remained wealthy, powerful and influential. Some were active in state and national politics. Their descendants still own some of the tracts.
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