1823. FIRST AMERICAN MINING ON UPPER MISSISSIPPI. 943
of a Legislative Council of nine members, to be chosen by the president from eighteen candidates elected by the people.
The richest mines of lead, were discovered on the Upper Mississippi, at Galena, on the eastern side, and at Dubuque, on the west They have yielded from eighty to ninety per cent, of pure lead.
In 1780, Julien Dubuque, an enterprising Canadian, visited this region, explored its mineral wealth, returned two years after, and, at a council held with the Indians in 1788, obtained from them a grant of a large tract of land, amounting to one hundred and forty thousand acres, beginning on the west side of the Mississippi.
Here he resided and obtained great wealth in mining and trading with the Indians, and died in 1810. His grave is about one mile below the city of Dubuque, in the State of Iowa.
The mines of the Upper Mississippi, are between Rock and Wisconsin rivers on the east, and about the same parallel on the west side of that river.
For many years the Indians and some of the French couriers du hois, had been accustomed to dig lead in the mineral region about Galena. But they never penetrated much below the surface, though they obtained considerable quantities of mineral.
In 1823, the late Colonel James Johnson, of Kentucky, obtained a lease from the United States government, to prosecute the business of mining and smelting, which he did with a strong force and much enterprise. This movement attracted the attention of enterprising men in Illinois, Missouri, and other States.
Some went on in 1826, more following in 1827, and in 1828, the country was almost literally filled with miners, smelters, merchants, speculators, gamblers, and every description of character. Intelligence, enterprise, and virtue, were throwu in the midst of dissipation, gambling, and every species of vice.
Such was the crowd of adventurers in 1829, to this hitherto almost unknown and desolate region, that the lead business was greatly overdone, and the market for a while nearly destroyed. Fortunes were made almost upon a turn of a spade, and lost with equal facility.
The business is still prosecuted to a great extent. Exhaustless quantities of mineral exist here, over a tract of country two hundred miles in extent.
From 1821, to September, 1823, the amount of lead made in the vicinity of Galena, Illinois, was three hutidred aud thirty-five thou-