Medlar Flower

Prairie du Rocher

Settlement of the region around Prairie du Rocher began in 1722 as a speculative land venture. Prairie du Rocher is thought to be the oldest town in Illinois. John Law obtained a charter that awarded him jurisdiction over the Louisiana Purchase; he promoted the area and pledged large profits to the French who speculated on the land. Within 2 years the venture failed, leaving the French financial system in ruin. The colonists sent to the area, however, remained.
Prairie du Rocher (field of rock) is now located in South Western Illinois. It was originally settled by the French in 1722 and was home to some of the Mesplays in the early 1800's. The practice of common land was used by all of the villagers for farming and was used until 1852. The concept of common land was a practice brought down from Canada. The land was laid out in long strips often one hundred and eighty to five hundred and forty feet in frontage and a lateral measure sometimes a mile or so long. Individual land pieces were separated by two furrows. Along the common fields nearest the village stretched a common fence. Cattle, horese, and pigs roamed at will on the other side. This system was also found in Ste. Genevieve, Kaskaskia, and Cahokia. Nearby Chester was also important as a location of sal works which was used by the people of the area.