The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 254
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
France flung herself in seven-mile boots over the North American
continent from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico.
Her hold was rather tenuous as historians know and as France
must have regretted after her enforced withdrawal from North
America by the treaty of Paris, 1763. Having had an easy way
with the Indians, France through her voyageurs, coureurs de
bois, and habitants could have had much greater strength if she
had not left such long distances between her settlements in the
different parts of North America.
The Illinois country was one of the areas in which France
established a few posts. One of these was Kaskaskia, so named
after the Indians of that name and the river Kaskaskia in pres-
ent-day Randolph County, Illinois, not many miles north of the
confluence of the Ohio with the Mississippi. Near by, a little to
the north, lay Cahokia, another French village. The ordinary
survey text in American history lists these two French villages
only towards the close of the French and Indian War when
George Rogers Clark captured them with Virginia militia in
order to establish Virginia's claim to this region.
The study here under review is presented in six chapters and
seventy-eight pages. The introduction deals with the sources and
says that "the chief material for the present study . is contained
in the volumes of the Kaskaskia Manuscripts now in the office
of the circuit clerk at Chester [Randolph County]." These 3oo2
documents date from about 1719 to 1780 and beyond. The sec-
ond chapter traces Kaskaskia's beginnings as a mission for the
Indians, 1703 to 1718. Almost as if she were using a painter's
brush, the author pictures the landscape with its kaleidoscopic
hues produced by all kinds of flowers and trees. This chapter
also discusses the establishment of government in Kaskaskia in
1718 by the newly-formed Company of the West. In the absence
of French officials when Kaskaskia was only a mission, this vil-
lage, described in the third chapter, grew up without the pattern
of any official design but according to the designs and desires of
the traders. The village had its church and cemetery, its maisons
de poteaux en terre (houses of posts in the ground), and its
houses built pierre sur pierre (stone upon stone). To be sure,
even so, there were never many houses in Kaskaskia. In fact,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/330/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.