September 14 Illinois History Minute
It’s September 14th, the day in 1812 when Gallatin County was formed in what was then the Illinois Territory. Gallatin once covered a quarter of southern Illinois, although its territory shrank during the 19th century, and its population is now below five-thousand. It’s a county where slavery was once permitted. The first Illinois constitution made allowed the temporary use of enslaved labor at the salt works near the Gallatin county seat of Shawneetown. Later, many Black residents in the region worked as indentured servants, including John Richard Anderson, born in Shawneetown sometime in 1818, the year Illinois became a state. Anderson was an indentured servant as a boy who later gained freedom and became a Baptist minister. He helped found Black Baptist churches in St. Louis and in the Black settlement of Brooklyn Illinois.