Acreage: Past

Long before Illinois pioneer John Phelps built a tiny cabin in 1833 and named the new settlement Oregon, the land was home to, among others, local Native Americans, the Sauk, Fox and Kickapoo.

The tribes used the region’s rich and fertile valley soil to grow corn, beans, squash, pumpkin and tobacco. In the winter, they traveled to hunting grounds traversing the region back and forth as they followed along the Rock River.

It was at nearby Stillman Creek that the Sauk and their allies—led by Chief Blackhawk—first battled (and defeated) the militia forces of the United States in the 1830's. Eventually, however, the Native Americans lost the "Blackhawk War" and were forcibly removed by the military in 1834.

As the city of Oregon, Illinois grew, the land comprising the Conservancy was surveyed as part of the North West Survey. Eventually land in the area was acquired by settlers. For several generations their descendants farmed the land. In 2001, 55 acres of one of the family farms in the area were put up for sale.

On May 19th, 2001, Kent & Kathy Lawrence—Kickapoo’s founders—happened across the land. They decided to incorporate most of it into the Conservancy. They made a lifelong commitment to preserve the Acreage in the most natural state possible for future generations.

View or download the chain of deeds on the Conservancy from our Resources.