Early Illinois Women

Mother Slough, One of Peoria's Pioneers

Mother Slough

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Mrs. Jacob Slough's Vegetable and Antibilious Pills

In the Spring of 1832, a woman came to Peoria [Illinois] who deserves a niche in Peoria's Hall of Fame. That woman was Mrs. Anna Elizabeth Slough, the wife of Jacob Slough, more familiarly known as "Mother Slough".

With the youngest of her several children, she drove a single horse, and came by carriage from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania across the Allegheny Mountains via Cincinnati and St. Louis. She then had her horse and carriage placed on a boat and came by the Illinois River to Peoria.

She was as energetic as she was fearless. She bought a two story block house at what is now 210 South Washington where the Newman & Ullman building now stands. The building however, faced the River. She also laid a claim for Nine Hundred Acres of ground near Big Hollow. Mother Slough, the following Spring, returned to her Pennsylvania home for Jacob, her husband and the other children. In 1834, she and Jacob converted the block building into what they named the Union Hotel. For the next ten years, many a traveler, particularly the German Emigrants, found lodging under their hospitable roof. Mrs. Slough died in 1878 and is buried in Springdale Cemetery.

(Inf. from Rev. Bess History.)

Bateman's history of Peoria County describes the Slough establishment:

It was by far the most pretentious house in town, having four rooms up stairs, exclusively sleeping rooms, and a bar-room by itself; but we are unable to learn any particulars in regard to its management. In 1834 Mr. Eads sold out to Jacob Slough--and the house was then called "Slough's Tavern". Mr Slough was blessed with a buxom, good-looking wife, of rare executive ability, who gave every detail of the business, out of doors as well as in, her personal supervision, and left "Jakey" as Mr. Slough was familiarly called, but little to do except to entertain guests and attend the bar."


  1. Bateman. History of Peoria County. 1901 V.2 p.298
  2. Oakford. History of Peoria p. 596

Contributing Library:

Peoria Public Library, Peoria, Illinois

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