United States Salines The (Equality) (missing)
The marker was located on the east side of Route 1, immediately south of the Saline River Bridge. It is currently missing.
The Illinois State Historical Society
Two salt springs in Gallatin County produced brine for one of the earliest salt works west of the Alleghenies. One spring is just southwest of Equality and the other is a short distance west of this site. The Indians made salt here long before the first settlers appeared. In 1803 the Indians ceded their 'great salt spring' to the United States by treaty. Congress refused to sell the salt lands in the public domain but it did authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to lease the lands to individuals at a royalty. The leases required the holder to produce a certain quantity of salt each year or pay a penalty. Although the Northwest Ordinance prohibited slavery in this area, special territorial laws and constitutional provisions permitted exceptions at these salines. The lessees brought in Negroes as slaves or indentured servants and used them extensively in manufacturing salt. The census of 1820 for Gallatin County listed 239 slaves and servants. In 1818, as part of the process of making a new state, Congress gave the salines to Illinois but forbade the sale of the land. The state continued to lease the springs and used the revenue to finance part of the land. The commercial production of salt continued here until about 1837 when the low price for salt made the expense of extracting it from the brine prohibitive.
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