• Early American Land Settlements Along the Mississippi Boonslick, Missouri, Lake Peoria Promoted By John Boyle to Charles Tiffany

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    JOHN BOYLE came to America in 1801. Having participated in the rising of 1798 against British rule, he was forced to emigrate to the United States as an indentured servant. Because he was educated, he found employment as ship’s clerk during passage and managed to work off the cost of his indenture. He landed at Philadelphia lacking friends and money but his education helped him acquire a professorship in a seminary for young women in Baltimore, MD.  Boyle became a friend and associate of Andrew Jackson. As a clerk and soon Chief Clerk of the Navy Department, he served as interim Secretary of the Navy. He was active in buying and selling land, mainly land grants that had been awarded to Revolutionary War soldiers.

    BOONSLICK is a cultural region of Missouri along the Missouri River that played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States and the development of Missouri’s statehood in the early 19th century.  It was the primary route for settlers moving westward from St. Louis. The region takes its name from a salt spring in western Howard County, where Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, sons of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone built a homestead. 


    In this significant, early 3 pp, 7 ¾ x 10, Washington, July 13th, 1829, ALS, Boyle describes various land offerings to C. Tiffany of Baltimore, some of which was along Boonslick and Salt River Missouri settlements. Boyle also mentions his land on the Peoria Lake, which was the location of early Native American settlements. He mentions the bounty lands as he promotes the sale of his lots and suggests that his valuable land can easily be used for new settlements while providing settlers access, in one instance, for crossing the Mississippi.


     “…You will please to pay the consideration money $300 and one dollar the expense attending the acknowledgement procuring the seal and certificate of the State Department to my friend John Walsh Esq…


    “Although I have parted with this lot for $300, I am persuaded that it is worth $1,000. It is situated on the Eastern bank of the Mississippi and possesses an admirable site for a town and ferry enjoying a high dry and charming surface with first rate soil, excellent timber and numerous copious springs of good water. Considerable importance too is attached to this lot from the fact that it is the point most convenient for crossing the Mississippi in a route from the Sangamo Country to the extensive region of valuable lands in the direction of Boons Lick and Salt River settlements in Missouri.  A public road and thoroughfare I have no doubt will pass through or very near this lot.


    “Those who have traveled over the land state with the exception of a few on the River subject to inundation that the whole Township affords delightful sites for farms and the surrounding country is well supplied with streams of water furnishing cascades and falls suitable for Mill seats.


    “I own two valuable lots south of the base line in Pike County near Atlas, the County Seat of Justice.  I would take $400 for those two lots. The land is excellent much of it first rate and having handsome situations for farms with an abundant growth of timber, consisting of Honey Locust, Sugar Tree, Elm Ash, Walnut Hickory, etc.


    “I have two lots in Township 11 North, one beautifully situated on Lake Peoria occupying a convenient and most desirable position for a town. The soil is fertile well supplied with wood and water. I would take $20 for this lot, half the sum for the other which is situated on Henderson River in a high healthy part of the state having either on or very near to it a fall of water sufficient for Mill seats.


    “I have one other tract…which is very beautifully situated and possesses many advantages. It has a commanding site for a town, is sufficiently near the river to partake largely of its benefits. I would take $300 for this lot.


    “This lot is considered by some who know its local advantages as much more valuable than the one situated on Lake Peoria being about equal distant from Lewiston, the seat of Justice of Fulton County and the town of Peoria and Fort Clark which Dana, in his description of the Bounty Lands, represents as ‘one of the most valuable tracts on the Illinois. Commanding a beautiful prospect for 20 miles up the Lake and a most eligible situation for a Town. Lake Peoria afforest the best fishery on the Illinois.’ If your friends will purchase the above, they may soon turn them to a profitable account. With the conveyance, Mr. Walsh will deliver to you the original Patent and an order on the Recording Office for the Deed from Charleston to me. The taxes have been up to the present year.


    “I am very respectfully, Sir,


    “Your obedient servant


    “John Boyle


    “C. Tiffany, Esq.




    Toning, folds, light occasional foxing.  Excellent writing, very readable and a superb early American land letter.


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