The Land and Its People
Before there were prairies, there was tundra. Before there were farmers, there were big game hunters. Ours is a rich and varied landscape, one whose majestic scope can be glimpsed through the microcosm of one parcel of land -- Primrose Farm.
The lush a fertile farmland found in this part of northern Illinois would not be as attractive or as viable if it had not been for the Ice Age. As the slow-moving glaciers receded, they formed the lakes, rivers, hills, and valleys we see before us today. These thick, retreating masses of ice also pulverized rock into soil, and where once not a trace of life was to be found, plants, animals, and humans gradually began to appear and thrive.
The discovery of a primitive stone spearhead known as a "Thebes Point" enabled archaeologists to pinpoint the earliest evidence of human occupation on the land now known as Primrose Farm to approximately 5,600 BCE. The area's first inhabitants were Paleo-Indians, prehistoric people who traveled in bands of about twenty to fifty members as they tracked mega-fauna such as the saber-toothed tiger and American mastadon that once roamed the continent.
Over time, the culture that was driven by big game hunting adapted to an agriculturally- based society, with several distinct groups, or nations, or Native American people occupying the upper Midwest. At the time immigrating Europeans first began actively settling North America, this area was home to tribes including the Kickapoo, Mascouten, Illinois, Fox, and Potawatomi.
However, this occupation effectively came to an end in the early nineteenth century during a conflict known as the Blackhawk War, named for the Indian chief who incited his followers to protest a treaty with the federal government. Led by a regiment of U.S. Army Regulars under the command of General Winfield Scott stationed at Ft. Dearborn, a detachment pursued Blackhawk and his band across the northwestern part of the state, crossing the Fox River somewhere between St. Charles and South Elgin.
The deadly result of the Blackhawk War of 1832 and the presence of an armed militia was enough to persuade the remaining Potawatomi tribe to sell their claim to their ancestral lands along the Fox River. On September 27, 1833, Chief Wabaunsee signed the treaty that would open what is now Kane County, and the first intrepid European-American settlers began arriving shortly thereafter. Christopher Payne traveled here from North Carolina in October, 1833, and is considered to be the area's first settler; he built his home just east of what is now the city of Batavia. By the following spring, the first settlers of St. Charles began arriving.