“Floats” for Half-Breeds


In 1837, “A government commissioner this year located “floats,” or land set apart for the benefit of half-breed children, on sections 27, 28, and 30, along the south side of the Pecatonica river (Winnebago County, Illinois).  A Frenchman by the name of Hamel, who had a squaw wife secured section 27.  S. and A. Gibson had a claim on section 29, and induced the government commissioner to pass them by and not take their claim for a float.  It is said that the Gibsons had a political pull on the commission.  Dr. Lippitt who settled in Shirland, came west in 1836, and bought a claim on section 30, paying for it a pair of horses, $80 in cash and gave his note for $40.”(a)  He returned on foot to New York (b). “When he brought his family here (to Rockton) the next year, he found his claim worthless by reason of a float having been laid on the section.  He then crossed the Pecatonica river* and made his permanent home in the town of Shirland.”(a)

(a)page 30 The History of Rockton, Winnebago County, Illinois, 1820 to 1898 by Edison I. Carr

(b)page 632 Portrait and Biographical Record of Winnebago and Boone Counties, Illinois

*SPOILER ALERT: two of his young sons will both drown in the river while at a family picnic.

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One comment on ““Floats” for Half-Breeds

  1. djgove@ameritech.net says:

    Very interesting post. Thanks

    Sent from my iPhone


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