Illinois History Minutes

May 6 Illinois History Minute


It’s May Sixth. And on this day in 1856, the steamer Effie Afton collided with the Rock Island Railroad Bridge, spanning the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities. The bridge was damaged, and so was the Effie Afton, which caught fire and sank. Steamboat companies sued to have the bridge dismantled, arguing it was a menace to their boats. Railroads defended the bridge and put attorney Abraham Lincoln on the case. Lincoln was successful in court, and the original Rock Island Bridge lasted until 1866, when it was replaced by a heavier one.

Tomorrow, May 7th, marks the day in 1800 that Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable, the first non-indigenous resident of Chicago, sold his farm to Quebec fur trader Jean La Lime. Du Sable had settled at the site near the mouth of the Chicago River in the 1780s.