Memoire Concernant les Pays des Illinois, 1723

(general information on the area to put it in the context of history)

In 1723, the territory comprising Illinois was transferred from the French province of Canada to the French Company of the Indies. The census was created by Jean-Baptiste Martin d'Artagulette Diron and is the first extant census after the transfer. In 1722-23, Diron completed a province-wide census, however, only a small portion of the census exists mainly for Natchez and Arkansas. What remains of the Illinois portion of the census is statistical in nature.

The following was translated by Margaret Cross Norton from a transcript held at the Library of Congress. Robert de Berardinis pointed out some problems with the translation in the article "The 1723 French Census of Illinois" published in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. Briefly, he mentions that:

  • The July 1724 date is the date that the Naval ministry accepted the census return. The census was prepared in June 1723.

  • Instead of saying "Memoire concernant les postes des Illinois" the manuscript says "Memoire concernant les pays des Illinois."

  • The translation of laborers should be thought of as the more skilled word artisans.

de Berardinis also includes some additional geographical information. The Illinois country is specified as being located 210 lieues in a straight line or 400 lieues following the river from New Orleans. The village of Kaskaskia is located on a little river on the right side of the Mississippi River, about three lieues inland. Fort de Chartres is on the banks fo the Mississipp River about six lieues from Kaskaskia. A third location is the lead mines on the Maramek River about 12 lieures upriver of Fort de Chartres. The village of Cahokia or Tamarois is on the banks of the Mississippi River about 14 or 15 lieues upriver of Fort de Chatres.

The manuscript also notes that the country held two companies of Infantry and a Provincial Council.

The following map shows the locations of the settlements included in the census.

Illinois Country in 1723


1724, Juillet

[1724, July1]

Memoire concernant les postes des Illinois

[Memoir relating to the posts of Illinois]

M. Diron a fait au mois de Juin 1723, un Recensement des habitans Establis dans ces differents postes Suivant lequel il y a,

[Monsieur Diron has made, to the month of June 1723, a census of the inhabitants residing in these various posts. Following that, there are:]

Ouvriers blancs
[White laborers]
Aux Kaskassias
[At Kaskaskia]
Au Fort de Chartres dont un detachment de Maramek
[At Fort de Chartres which is a detachment from Maramek]
Aux Koakias ou Tamarois
[At Cahokia or Tamaroa]

1Archives Nationales, Colonies, C13A, 8:226


Digitized Source
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