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Moris Birkbeck - Albion, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 22.638 W 088° 03.396
16S E 407709 N 4248206
Quick Description: Marker to English poet, entrepreneur, and attempt to bring British life to America, and his stand agains slavery.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 4/16/2014 5:10:09 AM
Waymark Code: WMKHC7
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 1

Long Description:

County of marker: Edwards County
Location of marker: S. 4th St. & Main St., courthouse lawn, Albion
Marker erected by: Department of Illinois Womens Relief Corps Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic
Date marker erected: October 27, 1929

Marker Text: <br

TO
MORRIS BIRKBECK

Who in 1817, with George Flower
founded the English settlement
in Edwards County. This memorial
is erected "in respect and
gratitude for the decided part
he took against the introduction
of slavery."

"Morris Birkbeck left his large farm in Surrey, England in order to emigrate to America in the spring of 1817, at age fifty-three. Together with his associate George Flower, he hoped to establish an agricultural settlement providing members of the English working class with new opportunities in America. The men searched Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois for a suitable site. Anti-slavery sentiments ruled out the southern United States, and an aversion to harsh winters led them away from more northerly climates. Finally, they selected the prairie between Bon Pas Creek and the Little Wabash River in Illinois as the site of their settlement.

"While Birkbeck bought 26,400 acres of land in what is now southeastern Illinois with their pooled funds, Flower returned to England, where he recruited many prospective colonists and sent them to the United States. In March 1818 Flower returned to America with agricultural implements, seeds, and animals for breeding, as well as about fifty new immigrants. Birkbeck and Flower named their settlement Albion, an ancient term synonymous with England. It included what was probably the earliest library in the Illinois Territory. In 1817 and 1818 Morris Birkbeck wrote two books, Letters from Illinois, and Notes on a Journey from the Coast of Virginia to the Territory Illinois, which helped to bring public attention to the Albion settlement and attract new immigrants. Each book described the bountiful opportunities available in the American West, and became popular in the United States and Europe.

"In 1819 Morris Birkbeck organized the Agricultural Society of Illinois. Albion's colonists practiced scientific agriculture, improving livestock through selective breeding and writing tracts to inform settlers of ways to improve crop yields. In about 1819 Birkbeck and Flower experienced a falling out, and subsequently transacted all business through intermediaries. Morris Birkbeck drowned on June 4, 1825, while attempting to swim his horse across the flooded Fox River." ~ Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project

Website with more information on either the memorial or the person(s) it is dedicated to: [Web Link]

Location: courthouse lawn

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