Indian Boundary Line

From HistoryWiki

Like many diagonal streets that interrupt the grid-patterned streets of Chicago, Rogers Avenue comes from a past far earlier than the surveyors who laid out Chicago’s streets. In 1816, it was agreed upon as an imaginary line 10 miles on either side of the Chicago Portage, with the line being established by surveyors in 1818-19.

On Saturday, August 24, 1816, the Treaty of St. Louis designated this particular trail to be a boundary dividing the land between the Native Americans and white settlers. Signed on behalf of the United States by Illinois’ first Governor, Ninian Edwards (1775-1833), René Auguste Chouteau (1749-1829), and William Clark (1770-1838), of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the treaty was negotiated with the Council of Three Fires, the united tribes of Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Pottawatomi. White settlers were permitted to settle south and east of the boundary line.

The line ran southwesterly to what is now Ottawa, Illinois. The boundary existed until the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, when Native American tribes voluntarily left the area.

This ancient trail exists now as Rogers Avenue, which runs from Eastlake Terrace to Ridge Boulevard, and then starts and stops a few times in the Chicago neighborhoods of Sauganash and Forest Glen. The same trail picks up again briefly as Forest Preserve Drive, just west of Narragansett Avenue and continues the path to Belmont Avenue between Highway 171 Thatcher Avenue and River Road. Rogers Avenue is named in honor of the same man after whom the community of Rogers Park is named, Philip McGregor Rogers (1812-1856). Although the boundary now exists in history, it has lent its name to a very familiar landmark in our community, Indian Boundary Park, which lies directly in the path of the trail. Further down the trail, at the end of Forest Preserve Drive, the history of the trail is also memorialized by the aptly named Indian Boundary Golf Course.

Outside Chicago

In 1816 the boundary was "adjusted" 23 miles west to the mouth of the Kansas River on the Missouri River which was a more significant geographic boundary than Fire Prairie Creek. Although no treaties were in place acknowledging the new line, the United States began to survey the new boundary line to which all were to be removed.

John C. Sullivan was instructed to run by his boss William Rector, head of the survey agency for Missouri and Illinois territories to draw a line 100 miles north from the mouth of the Kansas River and thence east 150 mi and 40 chains to the Des Moines River.<ref>The Mapping of Missouri, by Arthur Winslow - 1892 - pp80-81</ref>

Sullivan was to be criticized later for not extending the line all the way to the similarly named (but different) Des Moines Rapids on the Mississippi River at about the latitude of Fort Madison, Iowa.

Sullivan was to begin his survey on the "far bank" of the confluence on the Left Bank of the Missouri at what is now the Clay County, Missouri and Platte County, Missouri line at what is now property owned by Kansas City Downtown Airport.

The 100 mi mark that now forms the Iowa-Missouri border was placed just north of Sheridan, Missouri.

Joseph C. Brown in 1823 survey the boundary south to the Arkansas boundary. From Arkansas it has a small eastward angle to the Arkansas River at Fort Smith, Arkansas where it then heads due south before briefly following the Red River (Texas) to the Texas border.

The line now forms the border between Missouri and Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, and Arkansas and Oklahoma.