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Newton Bateman, LL. D. Paul Selby, A. M. 




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Charles JE. Martin 




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Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois 

Copyright 1899-1900-1905-1912-1914-1915 


Munsell Publishing Company 

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Upon assuming the preparation of a history of Cass county, an editorial letter 
was issued to the citizens setting forth the purpose of the undertaking, and 
requesting the cooperation of the people in making the history one that would 
be of a standard to reflect credit upon us as a county and a progressive people. 
It was further suggested that history though written in a manner deeply interest- 
ing, yet is valuable only as it faithfully and truthfully portrays events and 
records facts. With these thoughts and principles in mind, and with the hope 
of adequate cooperation, the work was begun. It did not take long to convince 
the writer that the labors and burdens of preparing such a work for publication 
were fully equal to the pleasures. It was found, upon investigation, that much 
of the so-called history of the county was mere tradition, and the reader may be 
disappointed in not finding some things in the following pages which have 
passed current for history in the past. An earnest, conscientious effort has been 
made, by original research, to learn and record the facts from every attainable 
source. Whether or not the narrative has been made interesting must be left to 
the judgment of the reader, but the correctness of the data may safely be relied 
upon. There are doubtless some errors, such as unavoidably creep into the best 
of historical writings, but we trust in this work they have been reduced to the 

The method adopted in presenting the historical matter is topical rather than 
chronological, each topic forming a chapter and a substantially complete history 
of the particular subject named in the heading, yet it is to a great extent chrono- 
logical in its sequences. Opening new settlements, building school houses and 
churches, erecting manufactories, laying out highways, constructing railroads, 
establishing newspapers, etc., and the formal ion of local governments in con- 
nection with state and national government, are all contemporaneous, and the 
story of each is naturally interwoven. In writing of each separately references 
will naturally be made to the others which may seem to be repetitions, but it is 
not really so; it is only where it seemed necessary to enable the reader to asso- 
ciate the incidents of one subjecl with those of another that references thereto 
have again been introduced. It is apprehended the reader will find no fault with 
that. The basic facts, when the facts are once discovered, must necessarily be 


the foundation of all histories of a given community. So the basic facts (pre- 
viously known) in this history are the same as found in any former histories or 
historical writings of the county. The reader will therefore expect to find such 
facts as are deemed of sufficient importance and of such general interest as to 
merit a place. in history, as well as such newly discovered facts as diligent search 
has brought to light. The author of a history is not expected to invent new facts 
and incidents ; he is the author of the narrative, editing and weaving therein the 
story of the facts which he has gathered from various reliable sources. The editor 
and author is also limited to the extent of the publication for which he is pre- 
paring the narrative of events. There is wide latitude for honest and intelligent 
difference of opinion as to the importance of almost any event, and very few, 
if any, would agree upon details; the editor and author has therefore assumed 
the responsibility for selection and discrimination, but with the assurance to 
the patrons of the work that no effort has been spared to obtain and include 
within the various chapters a general statement of the important facts pertain- 
ing to the particular subject. Full acknowledgment has been accorded to the 
writings of others wherever quotations have been made, and especial acknowl- 
edgment is here made, with thanks, for the courtesies extended the author by the 
various officials who permitted the examination of records in their possession, 
and to the various newspapers of the county, the secretaries of the Illinois State 
Historical Society, and to the many others who have kindly assisted in gathering 
facts upon which to base the story of Cass County and its wonderful develop- 
ment and progress in its seventy-eight years of existence. 

The biographical division of the work, as well as the business management of 
the publication, has been entirely in charge of the publishers, and much credit is 
due them for the pecuniary outlay they have borne, also for the conscientious 
and painstaking care manifested by them in every department of the work. 
It is hoped the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Cass County 
will prove of great value and interest to its readers, and, by condoning the faults 
and errors of the editor of the county history, they will find the promises made 
in the prospectus fully redeemed. 

Virginia, 111., October, 1915. 

Author and editor. 




Geography — Geology — Natural Vegetation — Forests and Prairies — Pic- 
turesque Scenery — Water Courses — Sangamon County — Origin of 
Name — Sangamon River — Early Attempts at Navigation 617-622 



Song Birds — Winter Birds — Water Fowl — Game Laws — Almost Ex- 
tinct Species — Wild Animals — Few Remaining 623-624 



Indian Ownership — Early Troubles with the Indians — Indians in Cass 
County — The Winnebago War — The Black Hawk War — Abraham 
Lincoln Elected Captain of the Salem Company — Close of the Last 
Indian War in the State of Illinois 624-630 



Cass County Once the Abode of an Unknown Race— The Illinois Valley 
Perhaps Attracted an Agricultural People — -A Mystery Unsolvable — 
Different Types of Mounds Found — Cahokia Mound — Numerous 
Mounds Once in the Vicinity of Beardstown — A Remarkable Historic 
Relic of that Place Now Destroyed— The India- s Mighl Save Sin: 
cecd.-d the Mound Builders 630-633 



Remote History — Confusion of Terms — County of Illinois — First Set- 
tlers — Thomas Beard — Founding of Beardstown — Settlers Prior to 
1830-31 — Roads and Travel — Hardships and Dangers — Construction 
of Houses — Methods of Travel — Prairie Schooners — Persons Enter- 
ing Land — Winter of the Deep Snow — Pastimes and Amusements — 
Pioneer Conditions — Hon. William H. Thacker — Scenes of Frontier 
Days Recalled /. ,. !., (. .;.... . : 633-644 



Early Boundaries — Division of Northwest Territory — Formation of 
Counties — Organization of Illinois Territory — Gov. Ninian Edwards 
First Territorial Governor of Illinois — Three More Counties Created 
— Cass Becomes a Part of Madison County— Illinois Made a State in 
1818— Sangamon County Created — Morgan Created Including Scott 
and Cass Counties — Boundary Lines a Cause of Dispute — Methods 
of Measurement — Metes and Bounds — Rectangular System — Crea- 
tion of Cass County — Wording of the Act — Three Precincts at First 
— Political Activities — Act to Remove State Capital Passed — Loss to 
Cass of the Three-Mile Strip — First County Elections — List of First 
Voters — First Officials— Three More Precincts Created — First Rep- 
resentative from Cass County- 1 - Beardstown First Made the County 
Seat — Removal to Virginia — Building There of a Courthouse — 
County Seat Returned to Beardstown — Virginia the Present County 
Seat v ........:.. 644-653 



Hard Times — Scarcity of Money — Internal Improvement Measures of 
1837— Suspension of State Banks— Stay at Two-Thirds Law— Coun- 
ty Warrants — Revenue Measures — Three Mile Strip — Efforts of 
John W. Pratt — Legislative Action— Origin of Cass County's Name 
—General Lewis Cass — Extracts from Abraham Lincoln's Speech 
to Congress 654-658 



Constitution of 1818— County Commissioners' Court— First County 
Commissioners— New Constitution Ratified in 1848— Governor 
French First Elected in 1846 Succeeds Himself— Constitutional 
Changes— First Judges and Associate Justices— County Commis- 
sioners Under Constitution of 1870— Attempts to Change Township 
System— First Deed on Record— Original Proprietors' First Deed— 

Pioneer Life in 1821 in Cass County— Egypt — Unique Deed — Coun- 
ty Recorders — Circuit Clerks — Sheriffs — Constitutional Amend- 
ments Settle Terms of Office — County Commissioners' Clerks — Asses- 
sors and Treasurers — John Wilkes Pratt — Early Business Men — 
Mills Built at Beardstown — First Piano in the County — Short Biog- 
raphies — Archibald Job one of the Earliest Settlers — Became a Man . 
of Prominence— Great Improvements in County by 1850 — Indus- i 
tries Well Under Way — Schools and. Churches Established — Popu- i 
lation Greatly Increased — Substantial Prosperity in Sight 658-668 



First Land Owned by County — Donated by Dr. Henry H. Hall and 
Wife — Courthouse and Jail Built at Virginia— Law as to Imprison- 
ment for Debt — Courthouse and Jail Built at Beardstown — Concern- 
ing Location of County Seat — Present Public Buildings Well Ar- 
ranged for County Business — Provision Made for County Poor — 
County Farm — Present Almshouse Erected About 1899 — An Effi- 
cient and Practical Superintendent. 668-673 



First Grist Mills — First Sawmills — First Steam Operated Flour Mill in 
County — First Steamboat — Ferry Established by Thomas Beard 
in 1826 — Early Settlers — New Richmond — Robinson's Mills — James 
M. Robinson — Virginia Steam Mills — Interesting Old Documents — 
Other Mills — Earliest Tannery — Andrew* Cunningham — His Notes 
of Travel Picture the Times — Chicago as a City Only as old as Cass 
County — Early Manufactures — Wagons — Chairs — Farm Machinery 
— Steamboats — Princeton Woolen Mills — John E. Haskell — A 
Church Organ — Pork Packing an Extensive Early Industry 673-680 



Judicial System Under Constitution of 1818 — Division Into Judicial 
Circuits — Laws Made and Repealed Regarding Jurisdiction — In- 
crease in Population Made Necessary More Circuits — Provision 
for Selection of Judges — Frequent Changes in Judiciary Sys- 
tem — Election of Supreme Justices — Law of 1811 — Reorgani- 
zation of Judiciary Under Constitution of 1848 — Offices Cre- 
ated by the Legislature — Vesting of Judicial Powers — Present 
Judicial Powers — First Court Held in Cass County — Beards- 
town Made County Seat — [interesting Early Court Documents 
— Second Term Cass Count y Circuil Court — Pirsl Jury Trial — First 
Grand -Jury — Grand Jury Cases — County Seat Removed to Virginia 
— Distinguished Jurists — Beardstown Again Becomes County Seat- 
Opening Circuil Court al Beardstown — Hon. David Woodson Elected 

Judge First Judicial Circuit— Circuit Court Cases — Never a Ju- 
dicial Execution in Cass County— Traveling Lawyers — Judicial Dig- 
nity — A Celebrated Trial — Recital of Facts — Camp Meetings — Not 
All Attendants Religious — Horse Racing — Liquor Drinking — Quar- 
rels — Man Dies from Injuries — Norris and Armstrong Indicted for 
Murder — Armstrong Takes Change of Venue — Norris Sentenced to 
Penitentiary — Abraham Lincoln Enters Case — Armstrong Tried at 
Beardstown — Mr. Lincoln Acts as His Attorney — Clears His Client 
by an Almanac — Correcting False Statements — Many Lincoln Biog- 
raphies Relate This Trial — Another Almanac Story Refuted — As- 
tronomer Testifies — Commemorative Tablet Placed on Old Court- 
house — List of Circuit Judges — County Court Judges — Beardstown 
City Court — List of State's Attorneys 680-694 


The Tenth General Assembly — Representatives and Senators from Mor- 
gan County — Distinguished Public Men — Creation of Cass County 
— Special Election for Representative — Capt. Thomas Wilbourn — 
Second Session Tenth Assembly — Returns of Beardstown Election 
Referred to Committee on Elections — Shield's Report — Challenges 
Abraham Lincoln — Wilbourn Rejected — Election of 1838 — Whigs 
in Control in Cass County — Democrats Elect Carlin Governor — 
John T. Stuart Beats Stephen A. Douglas for Congress — William 
Holmes Elected Representative from Cass — Campaign of 1810 — 
Captain Charles Beggs — Biography of a Useful Legislator — County 
Commissioners Adopt Price Schedule — Democrats Carry State for 
Van Buren — Election of 1842 — County Seat Located — Election of 
1844 — A Cass County Patriot — Constitutional Convention — Mormon 
Trouble — Governor Ford's Call for Militia — Abraham Lincoln De- 
feats Peter Cartwright for Congress — Constitution of 1848 — Biog- 
raphy of Judge Henry E. Dummer, Elected Cass County Delegate 
to Constitutional Convention 694-703 



After the Mexican War — General Taylor a Public Hero — Nominated 
and Elected President — Gen. Lewis Cass the Democratic Candidate 
— Vigorous Whig Campaign in 1848 — Question of Slavery Comes 
to the Front — Campaign of 1852 — Election of Franklin Pierce — 
Disappearance of Whig Party — A Stringent Liquor Law — Stephen 
A. Douglas Re-elected to the Senate — The Kansas-Nebraska Bill Un- 
popular in Cass — Bills Passed in the Legislature Through the Activ- 
ity of Dr. Samuel Christy — Personal Biography — Nomination of 
Lincoln and Douglas for the United States Senate — Great Joint De- 
bate of Candidates — Interesting Details — Newspaper Reports — Re- 
election of Mr. Douglas in 1859 — Campaign of 1860 — A Very Inter- 
esting Bit of Local History — Henry Clay's Own Story — Governor 

Yates Prorogues the Legislature — Knights of the Golden Circle — 
Return of Peace — Further Constitutional Revision — A Political 
Side Light— Campaigns of 1888 and 1892— Grandpa's Hat— Free 
Silver Campaign — Cass County in Congress — Representatives in 
the Legislature 703-715 



Record of Wars a Part of History — Cass County in the Black Hawk 
War — Mexican War — The Civil War — History and Roster of Regi- 
ments in Which Cass County was Concerned— Nineteenth Illinois 
Volunteer Infantry — Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry — Tenth 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry — Thirty-third Illinois Volunteer In- 
fantry — A Distinguished Officer and Citizen — The Soldiers' and 
Sailors' Home at Quincy — One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois 
Volunteer Infantry — Eighteenth Illinois (Reorganized) Volunteer 
Infantry — Thirty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry — Forty-sev- 
enth Illinois Volunteer Infantry — Sixty-first Illinois Volunteer In- 
fantry — Seventy-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry — Eighty-second 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry — One Hundred and Forty-fifth Illinois 
Volunteer Infantry — Second Illinois Volunteer Cavalry — Third Illi- 
nois Volunteer Cavalry— Third Illinois Volunteer Cavalry (Consoli- 
dated) — Second Illinois Volunteer Artillery 715-730 



Agricultural Industries Paramount — Cass County Land Productive — 
First Chemical Analysis of the Soil in 1840 — Pioneer Activities — 
Early Farm Implements — Three-cornered Harrow — Shovel Plow — 
The Jumper — The Sickle — The Cradle — The Ground Hog Thresher 
— Many Changes — Modern Steam Thresher — Steam Plow — Twine 
Binder — Riding Plow — Potato Digger — Corn Husker and Shredder 
— Inventions Make Mechanics of Farmers — Pioneer Sweetening — 
Live Stock Industry — Trial of Pure Bred Cattle — Many Prominent 
Men for a Time Interested — Breeding of Fine Horses — Farmers and 
Their Farms — Increased Home Comfort — Cass County Agricultural 
Society— The Virginia Park Association — Farmers' Institutes 730-736 



Public Schools Lead — Th<> Enabling Act — Constitutional Convention of 
1870 on Education — A Beginning of the Free School System — 
Agitation for Appoint inent of Stat.' Superintendent— Free School 
Act Passed in IS.").")— None Hut Free Schools Now in Cass County — 
Virginia Seminary of Providence Presbyterian Church — Virginia 
Seminary of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church— Union College 
of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church— Review of Early s.-ho.^is 

-—Teachers and Pupils Recalled — Monroe Precinct Earliest in the 
Field — Walnut Grove or Princeton — Richmond Precinct — Puncheon 
Grove — Hickory — Bluff Springs — Oregon — Panther Creek or Chand- 
lerville — Arenzville — Ashland — History of Beardstown Schools by 
Hon. John Listman — One Teacher Retained for Almost a Half 
Century — Virginia Schools — Large Losses by Fire — Fine Modern 
Structure — Apportionment of Teachers — School Commissioners and 
County Superintendents 736-745 



Church Organization and Religious Societies — Character of Relig- 
ious Sentiment in Early Times — First Services Held in Cabins of 
Pioneers — Groves Utilized as Summer Churches — Camp Meetings 
Enjoyed — First Preachers in Cass County — Rev. Roddick Horn 
Active Very Early — Various Denominations Established — Protestant 
Methodist — Methodist Episcopal — Rev. Peter Cartwright — First 
Resident Preacher — German Evangelical — Congregational — Baptist 
— Lutheran — Cumberland Presbyterian — Roman Catholic — Chris- 
tian or Disciples — Abandoned Churches — Witchcraft in Cass County 
— A Debt of Gratitude Owed to the Early Preachers 745-756 



Early Prejudice Overcome — The Freemasons and Odd Fellows First in 
the Field — Odd Fellow Lodges at Beardstown — Virginia — Prentice — 
Arenzville — Chandlerville — Rebekah Auxiliaries at Beardstown and 
Virginia — Masonic Lodges — Beardstown — Virginia — Chandlerville 
— Eastern Star at Virginia and Beardstown — Modern Woodmen 
Camps — Chandlerville — Virginia — Beardstown — Arenzville — 
Ashland — Bluff Springs — Other Organizations — Court of Honor — 
Knights of Columbus — Loyal Legion — Royal Benefit — United Work- 
men — Knights of Maccabees — Fraternal Army of America — Knights 
of Pythias — Red Men — Elks — Women's Clubs — Beardstown — Vir- 
ginia — Ashland — Chandlerville — Woman 's Christian Temperance 
Union — Grand Army of the Republic — Cass County Posts — Soldiers' 
Monuments 757-761 



Climatic Conditions— Many Early Physicians College Graduates— Hard 
Life Among Pioneers — First Physician in Cass County — Others Dur- 
ing First Decade — Several Founders of Towns and Villages — Dr. 
Charles Chandler — Dr. Henry Hall — Dr. Thomas Pothicary — Physi- 
cians Who Came Later — Their Part in Building Up the County — A 
Prominent Physician and Chemist — Physicians of the Present Time 
—County Medical Society 761-768. 



Improved Banking Laws — More Security — Federal Reserve Law — No 
More Wildcat Banking — Present State Restrictions — Early Opera- 
tions in Cass County — Banking at Beardstown — Beardstown Bank- 
ing Company — Cass County Bank — First State Bank — The Beards- 
town State Bank — The Peoples Bank — Banking at Arenzville — The 
Peoples Bank — The Farmers and Merchants State Bank — Banking 
at Chandlerville — State Bank — Peoples State Bank — Banking at 
Virginia — Centennial National Bank — Petefish, Skiles & Co. — Far- 
mers National Bank — Banking at Ashland — Skiles, Rearick & Co. — 
Farmers State Bank — Other Financial Institutions 769-775 



Early Railroad Projects — First Railroad in 1859 — Illinois River Rail- 
road Company — Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville — Location of Depot an 
Intentional Inconvenience to Virginia — Two Early Stage Lines — 
Driver of Springfield Stage Carries First News of Lincoln's Assas- 
sination to Virginia — Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad — Chi- 
cago, Peoria & St. Louis — Pana, Springfield & Northwestern — 
Springfield & Illinois Southeastern — Ohio & Mississippi — Baltimore 
& Ohio Southwestern — Other Projected Railroads — Beardstown & 
Petersburg — Upper & Lower Mississippi River — Rock Island & Alton 
— Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis — First Train Out of Beards- 
town in Summer of 1870 — Now a Part of the Chicago, Burlington & 
Quincy — St. Louis, Rock Island & Chicago Division — St. Louis, Jack- 
sonville & Chicago — Chicago & Alton Railroad — Fine Shipping Point 
at Ashland — Public Highways — State Road — Old Halfway House — 
Plank Road Over Sand Ridges — State Experimental Road Law — 
Some Progress Made — Stage Line Missed After Forty Years — New- 
Lexington — Arcadia — Old Beard Ferry — Beardstown Bridge Com- 
pany — Steel Bridge Erected — A Few Concrete Structures — First 
Telegraph Line — Telephone Line in 1896 — Bell Company — Cass 
County Telephone Company — A Few Private Lines 775-782 



First Newspaper — Beardstown Chronicle and Illinois Bounty Land Ad- 
vertiser — Neutral in Politics — One Issue of Mormon Paper at Xau- 
voo — Gazette Founded in 1845 at Beardstown — Biography of 
Sylvester Emmons — Subsequent Changes — Beardstown and Peters- 
burg Gazette — The Whig Central Illinoisan The Democrat, the 
First Democratic Taper at Beardstown — The Gazette (Republican) 
— The Central Illinoisan (Republican) — Biography of Logan Uriah 
Reavis — Merging of* Newspapers — the Illinoisan-Democral -The Illi- 
noisan-Star — The Weekly Enterprise — The Daily Qlinoisan-Star — 
The Eerald — The Champion — The Cass County Messenger — The 

Cass County Democrat — The Beobaehter am Fluss — The Wochen- 
blatt — Newspapers at Virginia — The Observer — The Owl — Cass 
County Times — Cass County Independent — Cass County Union — 
Cass County Democrat — Evolving of the Gazette — Prominent Names 
Connected with its History — Cass County Courier — Virginia Courier 
— The Enquirer — Official Organ of the County — The Jeffersonian — 
Temperance Bugle — Newspapers at Other Points — Weekly Eagle at 
Ashland — The Ashland News — The Sentinel — The New Era at 
Chandlerville — Cass County Journal — The Independent — The San- 
gamon Valley Times — The Arenzville Independent — Few Files 
Available — Other Publications — Biography of Joseph Henry Shaw — 
His Reliable Historical Sketch of Cass County — Prose and Poetry — 
Valuable Contributions to Local History and Biography 782-789 



Climatic Conditions — Dry Season in Early Days — Later Conditions — 
Wind Storms — Cyclones — Deep Snow of 1830-31 — Shooting Stars of 
1833 — Extreme and Sudden Cold of 1836 — Snow Storms — Cyclones 
of 1845, 1855 and 1856— Warm Winter of 1877— Sleet Storm, Late 
Frost and Cyclone in 1883 — Heavy Floods and High Water — Cold 
Days — Cyclone of 1911 — Worst Storm Ever Encountered Here — 
Other Meteorological Events 789-797 



A Recent Birthday — Century of Wonderful Progress — Development 
From Primitive Life to the Height of Modern Civilization — Science 
and Industry Have Joined Hands — Drainage — Submerged Lands — 
Thousands of Acres Under Water — No Private Drainage Methods 
Possible — Formation of Drainage Districts by State — Scientific 
Agriculture Adopted — Sandy Soils Utilized to Grow Melons — Cow 
Pea Planted — Supplies Needed Nitrogen to Soil— All This Land of 
Great Value— Cultural Interests— People Sober, Comfortable, Con- 
tented and Happy — Population Table 797-798 



Five Municipalities in Cass County— Arenzville Precinct Named Before 
Cass County Was Formed— Arenzville Incorporated as a Village in 
1893— Gristmill Built in 1821 by James Smart— Purchased in 1832 
by Francis Arenz— Land Bought and Platted— First Organization 
of Town in 1853— First Board of Trustees— Francis Arenz First 
President— Changes in Area and Values— Early Settlers— Francis 
A. Arenz— Additional Enterprises— Establishes First Newspaper— 
The Bearclstown and Sangamon Canal Company — Elected to the 
Legislature — Business Directory of 1860 — Railroad in 1870 — Dis- 
astrous Fire in 1913 — Present Prosperity — No Criminal Element. . . 798-802 



Situation — Town of Lancaster Laid Out in 1837 by John Dutch — The 
Halfway House — Early Real Estate Transactions — Whole Dutch 
Plat Vacated in 1843 — Precinct Called Lancaster Until 1876— 
Petersburg & Tonica Railroad — Town of Ashland Laid Out — Named 
for Henry Clay's Kentucky Home — New Railroad Brought Pros- 
perity — Boundaries — Town Incorporated — Village Charter Granted 
in 1869 — First Village Officers — Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern 
Railroad — Village Incorporated in June, 1897 — By Population En- 
titled to Organize as a City — Arises from Fire Ruins — Rapid Strides 
Forward — Unsurpassed Transportation Facilities 802-803 



Largest Municipality in County — Eli Cox the Earliest Settler — Lands 
Entered by Thomas Beard and Enoch C. March — A Claim Made of 
Earlier Ownership — Downing 's Landing — Quarter Sections Made 
Necessary by River's Course — Original Town of Beardstown Platted 
' — Description — Subsequent Additions — School Lands Donated by 
Congress — First Town Organization — First Board of Trustees — 
Reorganization as a Town — List of Town Officials — Legislature of 
1857 Fixes Corporate Limits of Town — Oak woods' Cemetery Asso- 
ciation — Officials of Same — The German Literary Association — 
Object and Officials — Gaslight and Coke Company — Incorporators 
— Beardstown Historically Important — Old Landmarks Recalled — 
First Schoolhouse Still Standing — Park Hotel — Old Opera House 
— Two Modern Theaters — Business Men and Firms Fifty Years 
Ago — City Adopts General Charter in 1897 — List of City Officials — 
A Fine Public Utility — Beardstown Water Company — Artesian 
Well — Postal Facilities — Street Paving — Public Library — Fishing 
Interests — Many Varieties of Fish — Black Bass Plentiful — German 
Carp Marketed in New York — Pearl Fisheries — A Recent Industry — 
Real Pearls Found — A Paris Market — Beardstown an Industrial 
Center — Railroad Division Point — Lumber Mills — Present Principal 
Business Concerns — Steel Wagon and Foot Bridge — Bright Future 804-809 



Old Bluff House Inn — Beardstown an Early Market— Farmers and 
Drovers Traveled Long Distances — Voting District Formed in 1882 
— Bluff Springs Named — Noted Grain Shipping Point— Early Set- 
tlers -Firsl Postmaster and Station Agent — Many German Settlers 
Churches -Methodisi Episcopal -German Lutheran Well Watered 
— Lost Creek — Clear Creek — Pisturesque Scenery — Beautiful View 
of the Illinois Valley from the High Bluffs ' S09-S11 



Boundaries — Well Watered — -Job's Creek — Panther Creek — Panthers 
Once Numerous and Dangerous — Panther Creek Station First Post- 
office — Changed to Chandlerville in 1851 — Founded by and Named 
for Dr. Charles Chandler — A Notable Man — Came Almost Alone to 
the Sangamon Bottom — Built Log Cabin — Secured Entry Certificate 
in 1832 — Circumvented a Land Shark — His Many Activities — Inter- 
ested in First Schools — Encouraged Settlements — Promoted Railroad 
Plans — Founded Mercantile and Meat Packing Concerns — Post- 
master at Panther Creek — Appointed by President Polk — List of 
Settlers in Village in 1848 — Subsequent Rapid Increase — Congre- 
gational Church Organized — Name of Chandlerville Adopted — Fur- 
ther Development — Illinois River Railroad—Business List of 1860— 
In 1861 Chartered as a Town— List of First Town Officers— Mills 
Built — Incorporated as a Village in 1874 — All Trades and Profes- 
sions Represented — An Admirable Place for Residence and Equally 
for Business 811-816 



Situation and Boundaries — Fertile Soil of Great Depth — Grain, Clover 
and Timothy Do Well — Drainage Has Reclaimed Large Tracts of 
Land — Main Highway the old Beardstown and Petersburg Road — 
Laid Out in 1837 — The "Barrens" Used Principally for Pasturage — 
Name of Hickory Given by County Board — Hickory Church — Fine 
Brick Sehoolhouse — Voting Place — Prosperity Evident 816-817 



Smallest in Point of Population — Situation and Boundaries — Much Re- 
claimed Bottom Land — Now Very Productive — A Part of the Three 
Mile Strip — Named from Indian Creek — Early Settlers and Descend- 
ants — Churches and Schoolhouses — Excellent Highways, Telephone 
Lines, Free Mail Delivery — A Prosperous, Contented Community.. 817-818 



Named for President Monroe — Town Laid Off Before Cass County Was 
Created — Situation— Town Platted— New County Established- 
Early Merchants Remove to Virginia — A Deserted Village — The 
Boston Brick House— The Baptists Early in the Field— Clear Creek 
Church — Accept a Deed of Land — Congregation Now Scattered — 
Methodist Episcopal Church — A Telegraph Line Recalled — An Old 
Stopping Place of Abraham Lincoln — Original Precinct Established 
in 1838 — Soil and Products — Social Life — People Hospitable — The 
"Burgoo" a Favorite Form of Entertainment 818-821 



An Early Settled Section — Location — Boundaries — Surface — Extensive 
Operations in Stock — Drainage — Cox's Creek — Middle Creek — Pan- 
ther Creek — Newmanville — Early Physicians — Churches — Baptist — 
Disciples — German Lutheran — Methodist Episcopal — Oregon Chapel 
Garner Chapel — A Prosperous Part of Cass County 821-822 



Date of Organization — First Election Judges — Surface Open Prairie — 
Philadelphia Village Platted in 1836 — Stephen A. Douglas Bought 
Lots — Town Never Incorporated — First Schoolhouse Built in 1901 — 
After Precinct Division Village Becomes a Postoffice — Early Busi- 
ness Men — First Murder in County — Local History Given in Other 
Chapters — Railroads — Considerable Business in Shipping Grain and 
Stock— People Attend City Churches— No Saloons 822-823 



Location — Boundaries — Soil — Little Indian Creek — An Early Gristmill 
— Very Early Settlers — A Prominent Family — Town of Princeton 
Platted in 1833— A Postoffice, Store and Blacksmith Shop in 1826— 
Other Enterprises — First Physician and First Marriage — Business 
in 1860 — Princeton Home of Noted Men — Charles Beggs — Judge 
Cyrus Epler — Rev. William T. Beadles — Owns a Madstone — Story 
of this Wonderful Stone — Princeton Village No More — Voting Place 
at Little Indian — First Schoolhouse Destroyed by a Cyclone — 
Churches — Missionary Baptist — Christian — Presbyterian — Method- 
ist — Zion Church — Zion Cemetery — Time Has Wrought Changes. . . 821-827 



Situation — Boundaries — Early Political Activities — Lucas Precinct tin- 
Original Name — Changed to Richmond — Three Water Courses — 
Middle Creek— Cleary's Creek— Panther Creek— Varieties of Soil- 
Much Wealth Among the Farmers — Earliest Settlers — Their Descen- 
dants — Big Snow K<< a lhd— Tobacco and Cotton Once Grown Exper- 
imentally— School Districts— Churches— Baptist— Methodisl Epis- 
copal— Cemeteries— No Villages— Precinct Polling Plaa — Shick- 
shack Knob 827-829 



Virginia One of the Original Precincts — City of Virginia Laid 
Out in 1836— Made County Seat in 1838— Dr. Henry II. Hall 
Entered Land in 1833 — A Man of Courage and Enterprise 
— Born in Ireland — Educated at Belfast and Glasgow — Visits 
America — Marries in Virginia — Comes to Illinois in 1833 — 
Enters Land — Developing Enterprises Follow — Settlement First 
Called Hallville — Virginia Becomes Accepted Name — Other Early 
Settlers — First Taverns — Dr. Hall Donates an Addition to Town — 
Public Grounds Addition — Builds a Courthouse — Retires to Farm in 
1841 — Dies in 1847 — Virginia Incorporated as a Town — First Board 
of Trustees — First Town Officers — Early Day Prominent Residents 
— Business Men — Incorporated as a City in 1872 — Again Made 
County Seat — Railroads Built — Banks Founded — Schools Organized 
— The Murphy Temperance Movement — Tile and Brick Plants — 
Other Business Ventures — Conflagrations — Heavy Losses — Present 
City Not Well Protected — Paved Streets — Result of Virginia 
Women's First Vote — Additions to Virginia — Grand Villas — Lon- 
gevity Not Unusual Here — Many Nonagenarians — Walnut Ridge 
Cemetery — Public Recreations — The Oldtime Traveling Circus — Its 
Thrilling Interest — Its Magical Attraction — Its Memory Lingers. . . . 830-837 



The Part of Biography in General History — Citizens of Cass County 
and Outlines of Personal History — Personal Sketches Arranged in 
Encyclopedic Order 839-986 


Alkire, Milem J 624 

Altgeld, John P 270 

Armstrong, Claude J 628 

Armstrong, Edith F 628 

Bartlett, Sylvester J 632 

Bartlett, Mrs. Sylvester J 632 

Bateman, Newton. .. .Following Title Page Vol. I 

Baxter, Albert C 648 

Baxter, Ellen 644 

Baxter, Ethel J 652 

Baxter, Hiram B 640 

Baxter, Hiram B. (as a soldier) 636 

Beard, Thomas 620 

Beveridge, John L 266 

Biddlecome, Amanda F 662 

Biddlecome, Daniel 658 

Bierhaus, John M 672 

Bierhaus, Mrs. John M 676 

Bissell, William H 258 

Black Hawk (chief) 170 

Blume, Carrie 688 

Blume, Charles 684 

Bond, Shadrach 250 

Boone, Howard B 696 

Brandon, Paris A 700 

Brauer, Anna E 712 

Brauer, Louis E 70S 

Buck, Walter E 720 

Carlin, Thomas 258 

Chicagou (chief) 246 

Coles, Edward 254 

Crum, Anne M 756 

Crum, Eben R 724 

Crum, Mrs. Eben R 724 

Crum, Marquis L 732 

Crum, Mary F 736 

Crum, Sarah A 748 

Crum, Thomas J 744 

Crum, William W 752 

Cullom, Shelby M 266 

Cunningham, Henry 768 

Cunningham, James 764 

Cunningham, Mrs. James 764 

Day, Harry L 772 

Deneen, Charles S ' 274 

Dick, Edward 776 

Dick, Mamie 776 

Dieterieh, William H 780 

Dowler, Johanna G 784 

Dufelmeier, William and Family 788 

Duncan, Joseph 254 

Dunne, Edward F 274 

Edwards, Ninian 250 

Ewing, William L. D 254 

Fifer, Joseph W 270 

Ford, Thomas 258 

Frank, Charles 792 

Frank, Robert C .' 796 

French, Augustus C 258 

Hamilton, John M 266 

Hines, Aimetta 804 

Hines, Harrison 804 

Kendall, Orren 80S 

Kendall, Sarah E S]2 

LaSalle, Reni Robert 2 Hi 

Leonhanl, Charles S16 

Leonhard, Lillie 816 

Lincoln, Abraham Frontispiece Vol. I 

Lincoln, Abraham 620 

Lucas, AHen T 820 

Lucas, Fae E 820 

Lucas, Josephine S 820 

Lyles, Albert E 824 

Martin, Charles M Frontispiece 

Matteson, Joel A 258 

McClure, Lloyd M 832 

McClure, Milton 828 

McCollough, William E 836 

Meyer, Albert H. and Family 840 

Nollseh, Alfred J 848 

Nollsch, Mrs. Alfred J 848 

Nollseh, Gottlieb 844 

Nollsch, Mrs. Gottlieb 844 

Nollsch, Thomas C 852 

Nollsch, Mrs. Thomas C 852 

Oglesby, Eiehard J 262 

Palmer, John M "... 266 

Petefish, Louis A 856 

Phelps, John W. and Family 860 

Phillips, Henry 864 

Price, Jennie M 872 

Price, William T 868 

Quernheim, Theodore 880 

Quernheim, Mrs. Theodore 880 

Quigg, Henry 884 

Reynolds, John 254 

Schaad, Andrew 888 

Schall, Anna 892 

Schall, Edward 892 

Selby, Paul Fotloicing Title Page Vol. I 

Shankland, Ora 896 

Shankland, Mrs. Ora 896 

Skiles, Lee 904 

Skiles, Louis O 908 

Skiles, Oswell 900 

Snyder, John F 864 

Sowers, Jesse J 912 

Sowers, Euth E 916 

St. Clair, Arthur 250 

Stribling, Eoberta G 924 

Stribling, William B 920 

Tanner, John E 270 

Tonty, Henry de 246 

Traut, Frank J 928 

Treadway, Jefferson V. and Family 932 

Virgin, John W. 
Virgin, Lou M . . 


War Eagle (chief) 246 

Wood, John 262 

Wright, Anna N 940 

Wright. John S 940 

Yates, Eiehard, Jr -. . . 274 

Yates, Eiehard, Sr 262 


Baling the Threshed Straw 801 

Baptist Church, Ashland 761 

B. & O. Kailroad Station, Virginia 680 

Breaking the Soil 800 

Catholic Church, Ashland 761 

Central School, Beardstown 741 

Christian Church, Virginia 704 

City Hall, Beardstown ' 716 

Country Home of William T. Price 876 

County Jail, Virginia 668 

Court House (First), Virginia 668 

Court House (Present), Virginia 668 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Virginia 705 

Cumberland Presbyterian Seminary, Virginia 705 

Disking the Stubble Ground 800 

East Side of Main Street, Virginia 680 

Farm Team at Work in the Field 800 

First Congregational Church, Beardstown 740 

First Presbyterian Church, Virginia 704 

Fish-Fry Day, Beardstown ; 728 

Fourth Street Lutheran Church, Beardstown 740 

High School, Arensville 717 

High School, Ashland 761 

High School Building, Virginia (Former) 693 

High School, Virginia (Present) 693 

I. M. Stribling Homestead 692 

Library Building, Beardstown 716 

Lincoln School, Beardstown 741 

Lippincott Memorial Hall 705 

Main Street, Ashland 760 

Mann Hotel, Virginia 680 

Map of Cass County Following Title Pa fie 

Methodist Episcopal Church, Ashland 761 

Methodist Episcopal Church, Beardstown 716 

Methodist Episcopal church, Virginia 704 

\>w Beard School, Beardstown "41 

North Main Street, Virginia 681 

Part Hotel, Beardstown 728 

Public School, Chamllerville 717 

Remains of the Largest Mounds 729 

Residence District, Ashland 760 

Residence District, Beardstown 717 

Residence of Dr. Charles Chandler, Chandlerville 761 

Residence of Dr. Henry Hall, Virginia 760 

Residence of William T. Price, Virginia 876 

Ruins of M. E. Church, Virginia 692 

Scene on Henderson Lake 681 

Sheriff 's Residence, Virginia 668 

Sixth Street Lutheran Church, Beardstown 740 

South Side of Court House Square, Virginia 680 

St. Alexius ( latholic Church. Beardstown 740 

State Street. Beardstown 728 

Steamboat ' ' Bald Eagle " 729 

Steam Threshing Outfit at Work 801 

Steel Bridge. Beardstown 729 

Union College, Virginia 705 

View in Residence Portion of Virginia 681 

Virginia Primary School 693 

Washington School, Beardstown 741 

Wheat and Corn Fields 800 

Wheat in the Stack 801 









Cass County is not one of the large counties 
of Illinois, nor yet is it one of the smallest. 
Its greatest extent is from east to west and is 
thirty-one miles long on the southern border, 
or southern tier of townships. Its greatest 
width is seventeen miles, from north to south. 
It comprises 390 square miles, or about 250,000 
acres. Its northern boundary line is the San- 
gamon River, which crosses a middle line of 
range S, west, which is the eastern boundary of 
the county, in section 10, township 19, north, 
range 8, west. After running in a very crooked, 
meandering way, the river empties its waters 
into the Illinois River in section 8, township 19, 
range 12, west. From that point on to the 
southwest, the Illinois River forms the western 
boundary of Cass County to the south line of 
township 17, north, range 1<>, west. These two 
rivers give to Cass County a river frontage of 
about forty-five miles. 

Cass County prairie lands and practically all 
timber <>r "barren" hinds lie about <>.'50 feet 
above the ocean level, forty-live feet above the 
level of Lake Michigan; and 340 feet above low 
water at Cairo, at the mouth of the Ohio River. 

As to soil, the following is. with some slight 
changes to conform to later discoveries, taken 

from the compilation of facts concerning the 
geological formation of Cass County, by J. 
Henry Shaw : "The soil of this county is the 
same as that in the whole of this portion of the 
state, a dark-colored loam with a lighter colored 
clay sub-soil. On the ridges and bluffs which 
skirt the streams, we find this sub-soil every- 
where, except upon the Loess formation, ex- 
posed at the surface of the ground, and gener- 
ally bearing a heavy growth of timber. On the 
bottom land the soil is an alluvial arenaceous 
loam, and excepting in localities where the sand 
too greatly predominates, is an excellent pro 
ductive soil." 


The geological formations in this county con 
sist of the Quaternay deposits, the Loess and 
Drift, and the Coal Measures, which alone of 
the older formations underlie the surface beds 
of clay, gravel, etc. The Loess forms the bluffs 
along the Illinois and Sangamon bottoms. Its 
general features here are the same as in many 
river counties, and it forms the same bold bluffs 
that are seen in other localities along the Illi- 
nois and Mississippi rivers. The material here 
is an ash or huff-colored marly sand, containing 
fresh water shells of existing species. The 
thickness of the formation is considerable, some 
GO or 70 feet immediately at the bluffs, but it 
rapidly thins out in the back country, in many 
places disappearing entirely within a very short 
distance. It appears to extend further inland 
along the Sangamon Valley bluffs north of Vir- 
ginia, and several good sections of this deposit 
may be seen in the cuts made for the road bed 
on the right of way of the I'eoria. I'ekin & 
Jacksonville Railroad (now the Chicago, I'eoria 
& St. Louis Railroad) between Virginia and 
Qhandlerville. Deposits of Drift consist of 

brown, yellow and blue clay, with boulders, 
while sand anil gravel seams are of frequent 




occurrence amid the mass. The thickness can 
hardly be estimated, but from such experiments 
as have been made, it appears to he between 
40 and 100 feet. 

Coal Measures as far as developed, comprise 
a thickness of over 300 feel of the middle and 
lower portion of the series, which contains two 
or three seams of coal ctf workahle thickness. 
The principal exposures, commencing with the 
lowest, are as follows : 

In the southwest part of section 21. township 
is. range 11, at the edge of the bluffs along the 
Illinois Valley, and also along the bluffs of the 
Sangamon Valley in sections It) and 11, town- 
ship IS. north, range 11, west, are old coal 
mines, and one new one now in operation, hut 
not producing a great amount of coal. It proba- 
bly would do better if more attention were 
given to it. These are reported to have the fol- 
lowing sections: 1, soil (Loess), 15 feet; 2, 
brownish sandstone containing many vegetable 
impressions, 13 feet; 3, limestone (Blue Rock), 
2 feet; 4, clay shale (Soapstone), 12 feet; .">, 
coal (No. 1 of Illinois River section;), 3 feet; 
0, fire clay, very hard. 4 feet. No. 2 of this sec- 
tion crops out along the bluff road at the edge 
of the bluffs and a i\'\y rods further west, in 
ledges several feet in vertical exposure. It is 
soft micaceous sandstone, of a light or whitish 
brown color. About a quarter of a mile further 
north the coal seam No. 4 is reached by digging 
into the foot of the bluff and worked by strip- 
ping. Above the north line of section 21, the 
bluffs for about two miles, are mostly of Loess. 
and it is necessary to follow up the side ravines 
in order to see the exposure of rock, and fol- 
lowing up the various ravines along the 8;ui- 
gamon Valley bluffs, the investigator will find 
much the same condition of rock, sand and soil, 
Drift and shale, and, occasionally, some black 
slate. A shallow coal shaft in the southeast 
quarter of section 6, township 13; range 9, near 
Panther Creek, affords the following sections: 
No. 1, surface soil, 4 feet: 2, gravel (Blue 
Bind), 2 feet; 3, black slate. 2 feet: 4, clay shale 
(Soapstone), 13 feet; coal, 2 feet, G inches; 
fire clay, passing downward into nodular lime- 
stone. 2 feet; 7. clay penetrated, 2 feet. 

All parts of Cass County appear to be under- 
laid by coal measures which here include the 
horizon of four or five different seams of coal. 
It seems highly probable that there is no por- 
tion of Cass County outside of the river bottom 

lands that is not underlaid with at least one 
coal bed of workable thickness. 

A coal shaft was sunk at Virginia in 1SS2 by 
the Virginia Coal & Water Company and was 
worked with more or less success for a number 
of years and then abandoned. The coal mined 
was of a good finality, and was used mostly by 
local consumers. A mine was also oi>erated at 
Ashland for a number of years until it was no 
longer profitable, by reason of competition by 
other mines in central Illinois with better 
facilities for shipping. What has been said of 
the geological formation gives the reader a gen- 
eral idea of the surface conditions of Cass 
County, and its possibilities for mining. 


When the early settlers arrived in Cass 
County, they found the southeast half largely 
prairie, covered with tall, coarse grass, with 
bqayy roots extending deep into the ground. 
Often the grass grew so high that before the 
wild fires started and consumed it, a man on 
horseback could scarcely be seen within it: and 
traveling through it was very difficult, even on 
horseback, and almost impossible with a team 
and wagon. The movers and settlers kept close 
to the path that was once broken. Wonder is 
sometimes expressed by those who have seen 
these same prairies under cultivation; with deep 
rustling fields of corn and golden grain, or in 
meadow and pasture of tame grasses, why the 
early settlers passed by such valuable lands and 
made their homes in the edge of the timber on 
much inferior soil. The reason is very appar- 
ent to those who know the conditions that 
confronted the pioneer. It was absolutely nec- 
essary to have firewood, and some kind of ma- 
terial with which to construct houses. Many 
pioneers came from Kentucky. Tennessee and 
old Virginia, where they had lived in log cabins, 
and knew how to construct them. In the tim- 
ber along the creeks they found abundant tall, 
straight trees which they knew could be readily 
felled, hewed and shaped into logs for the walls 
of their cabins, and the task of preparing a 
field for first crops was much less formidable 
in the timber along the ediies of the prairies. 
On account of the forest fires, the timber was 
kept pretty clear of underbrush and smaller 
trees, or saplings as they are called, leaving only 
the larger trees and they were not very close 
together. A corn field was often prepared by 



simply "girdling" the larger trees, this being 
done by cutting a band around the tree out of 
its bark, near the ground, thus causing the tree 
to die. It then bore no leaves to shade the 
ground, and its roots drew no sustenance from 
the soil. The farmer could plow close up around 
the tree with almost as little difficulty as he 
could around a stump. 

Then again the timber settlers had material 
in hand for fencing their fields and lots. Many 
of the first fences were, however, but brush 
fences, constructed by piling the brush and 
smaller limbs cut from the fallen trees in such 
a way as to form a barrier to keep the stock 
from wandering away. These fences answered 
the purpose for which they were made for sev- 
eral years better than might be supposed. There 
was also in the timber, protection for the stock 
and for the people from the fierce winds and 
storms of winter, which they could not have with- 
stood in the open prairies. The prairies did not 
present a very inviting prospect for agricul- 
ture in those days, even when they were burned 
off by fires, as there was revealed a wide stretch 
of uneven, boggy and sometimes miry land that 
had every appearance of requiring years of 
laborious toil to put it in condition to yield 
passable crops of the cereals with which the 
early settler was acquainted. Indeed they were 
more than half right about it. It has required 
time, labor and ingenuity to work the miracle. 
Where once was a houseless, roadless, even 
pathless wilderness, the habitude of howling, 
roaring wild animals, and a fiercer, wilder, sav- 
age human element, there is now a veritable 
Garden of Eden. 


A large portion of the surface of Cass County 
consists of prairie; and the county also has a 
large extent of bottom lands in the valleys of 
the Sangamon and Illinois rivers. The Sanga- 

n Valley varies in width from two to eight 

miles, its widest portion being about where the 
bluff line turns south, forming the eastern high- 
land border of the Illinois Valley, in section 
9, township IS. range 1-'. The Illinois Valley 
in Cass County is of wider extent than the 
Sangamon, but does not have an equal propor- 
tion of as valuable, fertile soil, on account of 
a number of sand ridges extending through parts 
Of it. Yet this Illinois bottom, if il were not 
for the lakes and sloughs that eovor a portion 

of it, would be as fertile a region as could be 
found anywhere in the State of Illinois. 

The prairie lands are now broken and placed 
under cultivation, and are perhaps as fertile as 
is known in any agricultural district. They ex- 
tend from the south line of the county north- 
ward east of the village of Arenzville ; their 
northwestern border being nearly a diagonal line 
to the northeast corner of the county. The soil 
is of a rich, dark color, having the general char- 
acteristics of the other prairie soil in Illinois. 
Between the prairies and the Illinois and San- 
gamon valleys are the timbered lands, beginning 
at the edge of the prairies and extending to 
within a short distance of the valleys where 
they end in high and sometimes very abrupt 
bluffs, having little or no vegetation upon them. 
Others of these bluffs slope more gently to the 
valleys beyond, and are covered with wild 
grasses that furnish grazing for stock a large 
portion of the year. These timber or forest 
lauds are what are called the "barrens," pro- 
nounced by the early settlers "barns." This 
name was given to these lands because their 
fertility was supposed to have been very much 
exhausted and nonproductive by reason of the 
variety of trees growing on them, and also on 
account of the fires running through them from 
the prairies, which it was believed cooked the 
soil. The very fact that these lands were cov- 
ered with the excellent growth of timber found 
there, indicated the productiveness of the Boil, 
and the settlers soon learned that the land 
known as the barrens when cleared and put 
under cultivation, produced magnificent crops of 
cereals, especially winter wheat. Indeed many 
of the so-called barren farms, have become 
equally productive of as great a variety of 
vegetables, cereals and tame grasses as the prai- 
rie farms. The soil of the timber regions is 
generally of a light grey colored clay. On this 
land was a heavy growth of black, white and 
red oak. pin oak, laurel oak, walnut, butternut, 
white and red elm, hickory, iron wood, sassafras. 
redbud, hackberry, soft and sugar maple, swamp 
white oak, chinquapin, sycamore, pawpaw, the 
last four varieties being found along the streams. 
.Many cottonwood trees were to be found stand- 
in- alone on the prairies. Wild cherry and 
locust were also found in great abundance, 
while among the smaller trees were the black 
and red haws. On the lower bottom lands were 
found greal groves of shellbark hickory, and 
pecan, as well as many of the varieties men- 



tioued as growing upon the uplands. Many 
acres of these lands have of late years been 
denuded of the greater part of the timber, it 
having been cut and floated to the rivers in 
times of high water, and then rafted to the port- 
able saw mills. Really the best of board timber 
has been taken out of Cass County and black 
walnut is becoming very scarce. 


The topography of the county presents some 
attractive and picturesque scenery. Emerging 
from the timber and stepping out upon any of 
the bare points of the tall rugged bluffs that 
border the Sangamon Valley on the south an 
entrancing scene of rare beauty greets the vision. 
Extending from as far east as the sight will 
carry for miles westward to the Illinois River, 
and following the winding course of the Sanga- 
mon River spread out from river to bluff the 
wonderfully productive Sangamon bottom lands ; 
while far beyond enveloped in an atmosphere of 
pearly greys and distant blues are the receding 
hills and jagged bluffs along the western banks 
of the Illinois. Singularly beautiful in its prim- 
itive state, it is a hundred fold more beautiful 
under cultivation, especially at the time of wheat 
harvest when this expansive garden is tesse- 
lated with the great fields of golden grain, 
square miles of dark green corn, the ripening 
clover and oat fields blending their more deli- 
cate coloring, and over all is cast the shimmer- 
ing light of a cloudless summer day. 

The beautiful, undulating prairies, stretching 
for miles and bordered on the northwest by a 
splendid growth of magnificent timber, was un- 
usually attractive to the eye of the traveler and 
early settler, and makes the words of a writer 
speaking of a visit of the poet Bryant to Illi- 
nois, as applicable to Cass County as to any 
part of the great Prairie State. 

"To anyone who possessed a scrap of poetic 
fire in his nature, Illinois offered one attrac- 
tion that never failed to inspire a song of 
tribute to those far-reaching stretches of ver- 
dure set with myriad gems of wild flowers in 
spring; waving in blue green, sinuous billows 
beneath a fervent summer sky : writhing and 
roaring in the clutch of an autumn prairie fire ; 
or lying cold and white under the pitiless light 
of the winter moon, silent except for the quiver- 
ing bowl of some prowling wolf. 

"These are the gardens of the desert ; these 
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful, 
For which the speech of England has no name — 
The Prairie. 

"I behold them for the first, 

And my heart swells, while the dilated sight 

Takes in the encircling vastness." 

Thus sung William Cullen Bryant after his 
first visit to Illinois prairies. In the earlier 
days of travel in Illinois, there was necessarily 
much stage-coaching which gave the traveler an 
opportunity of enjoying the beauties of nature, 
always providing the condition of the roads left 
him in a proper frame of mind to do so, and 
that the valley of the Sangamon in its early 
summer garment of leaf and flower must have 
been a rarely beautiful sight, is evidenced by 
Bryant's little poem, 


"The fresh savannas of the Sangamon, 
Here rise in gentle swells, and the long grass 
Is mixed with rustling hazels ; scarlet tufts 
Are glowing in the green, like flakes of fire. 
The wanderers of the prairie know them well, 
And call that flower, the Painted Cup." 


As is but natural the most beautiful scenery 
is along the water courses. In the northwestern 
part of what is now Champaign County, near 
the line which separates it from Ford County, 
and about seventy miles north and east of the 
geographical center of Illinois, rises a small 
stream. Its course is from there on extremely 
varied ; it running in every direction that might 
be indicated by the magnetic needle, yet ever 
bearing westward. It is the crookedest stream 
in all Illinois, and runs a course of nearly 240 
miles to reach its terminus, where it pours its 
wandering waters into the Illinois River; when 
if it had had no other purpose in life than to 
reach a certain goal, it might have saved a dis- 
tance of 100 miles or more. This stream is the 
far famed Sangamon River, and like famed per- 
sonages it must be permitted to do some things 
as it sees fit without question or criticism. No 
more fertile region may be found upon the earth 
than is traversed by the Sangamon River, 

From a photograph taken at Beardstown, Illinois, 
in August, 1858. The negative was by Felix Kesler. 
The weather was warm and Mr. Lincoln wore a 
linen coat. 

Founder of Beardstown. From an old oil por- 
trait now banging In the <itv Hall al Beardstown. 



stretching for miles upon either side of its banks 
is the Sangaroo Country. 


As far back as 200 years the Sangamo Coun- 
try was known for its beauty of location. Its 
very name signifies "Land of Plenty." Its 
rolling prairies and its beautiful, stately forest 
trees that bordered its sparkling streams, made 
it indeed a happy hunting ground for the prim- 
itive natives. No wonder they fought to keep 
it from the intruding whites, and wept in yield- 
ing it to the inevitable, advancing civilization. 
At the close of the eighteenth and the beginning 
of the nineteenth century, when the white men 
first began to inspect this region and report their 
discoveries, the news spread even as far as 
France, Germany and England. In the older 
states and colonies of this hemisphere the fame 
of the Sangamo Country was stirring the souls 
of that peculiar and distinctive type of pioneer 
American citizen, the frontierman, the advance 
guard of the American nation. Soon settlers' 
cabins began to appear along the banks of 
streams and the edge of the timber bordering 
the prairies. 


The Indians, long before the white men saw 
the Sangamo Country, were well aware of its 
fertility and the richness of its products. The 
origin and exact meaning of the word Sangamon 
are not absolutely and definitely known, but 
from a perusal of the writings of tbose who 
have given the matter some thought, such as 
Governor Reynolds, and John G. Henderson of 
Scott County, and other early writers of Illinois, 
it is evident that the word is of Indian origin 
and belongs to the language of the Pottawat- 
omie tribe, who spoke a dialect of the Algon- 
quin tongue. In that language the word, spelled 
"Sangamien," means the country where there 
is plenty to eat. Father Charlevoix, who passed 
down the Illinois River in 1771, mentions the 
river as the "Saquinioiit." and as the "t" is 
silent, it is pronounced "Sa-qui-mon." Hender- 
son, in his early history of Scotl County, says: 
"The Indian word was probably •San-kie-niin,' 
from 'auki,' earth, and , inin.' good," and it is 
highly probable that this is the correct deriva- 
tion of the word. There arc two other sources 

from which the word might possibly have been 
derived, namely, "Saukie," from the tribe of that 
name, and "ong," a termination signifying place. 
By the use of a connective consonant, which 
was often done, we would have "Saukie-inong," 
or "River of the Sauks." Or it might have been 
derived from "Sagie," a lake, and "mong," a 
loon, which would be rendered "Loon Lake 
River." The etymology first given is the most 
probable. Certain it is that at a very early date 
this river bore the name Sangemont and was 
pronounced Sangamon. Many early travelers 
who necessarily used the streams as the only 
highways by which they could reach the inte- 
rior of the country, mention the Sangamon as 
among the smaller navigable waters they en- 
countered in the Illinois country. This river is 
worthy of its place on the scroll of fame, and 
it is there never to be erased, along with the 
famous rivers of the old world ; the Ganges and 
Euphrates, the Tiber and the Po, the Seine and 
the Thames, the storied and legendary Rhine, 
and the overflowing Nile ; for upon its borders 
and fertile fields in the valleys and prairies ad- 
jacent, irrigated by its waters and those of 
smaller tributaries, there are produced thou- 
sands upon thousands of bushels of wheat, corn, 
oats and other cereals that furnish food for the 
millions of inhabitants of the great common- 
wealth of Illinois. Upon its banks and nearby 
sites, beautifully situated, are builded flourish- 
ing cities and towns and peaceful villages, 
peopled by as noble a race of men as ever trod 
the streets of the most imperial cities of the 
old world. Nor will it ever be forgotten that it 
was upon the banks of this stream, in a primi- 
tive village, every vestige of which has long 
since disappeared from the face of the earth, 
the most noted character of modern times, 
Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, spent 
the earlier days of his lite: and whose body 
now lies under a magnificent monument in the 
capital city of the state, overlooking the placid 
waters of this humble, but justly famous stream. 
the Sangamon River. 

This river by its natural course and situation 
was evidently destined to become a county 
boundary line, and did so in a xrvy early day 
after Illinois became a state. After working 
westward past the third principal meridian un- 
til it reached the center of range 8, west, it then 
became the northern boundary line of Cass 
County. From there on it runs in its extremely 



crooked course until it roaches the Illinois River. 
The Illinois River, which forms the western 
boundary of Cass County, .Menard County being 
on the east, and Morgan County on the south, 
with Indian and Prairie creeks, form a very fine 
natural drainage, and the soil is correspond- 
ingly fertile, and well adapted for agricultural 

There are several tributaries to the Sanga- 
mon and Illinois rivers that assist greatly in 
both irrigating and draining the land. In the 
east and northeast parts of the county are 
Cleary's Creek and Middle Creek, and a little 
farther west are Panther and Job's creeks, all 
of which rise in the prairie and running quietly 
for a distance, enter the timber lands and then 
cut through the bluffs, or follow the washings 
of the valleys in the bluffs by former flood 
periods, and then dowu through alluvial soil 
in the bottom land, and empty into the Sanga- 
mon River. Clear Creek, Lost Creek, Prairie 
Creek, Mud Creek and Indian Creek all flow 
towards the west and run through a slightly 
undulating country until they reach the valley 
of the Illinois. They have no high bluffs to 
evade, but find their hindrance to an early 
voyage to their goal in the sand ridges in the 
Illinois bottom. Indian Creek does not wholly 
belong to Cass County, a large part of it being 
in Morgan County. It enters Cass County in 
section 31, township 17 north, range 11 west, 
just south of the village of Arenzville, and runs 
in a northwesterly dh'ection to section 14, town- 
ship 17, range 13, where it empties into the 
Illinois River. None of the above named 
streams except the Illinois, though carrying 
an abundance of water, are navigable. The 
legislature of Illinois, in 1822, declared the 
Sangamon River to be a navigable stream as 
far as the third principal meridian, east of 
Springfield, which forms the eastern boundary 
of S,angamon County, but it was easier to float 
a bill through the legislature than a steamboat 
ni i the Sangamon River. Although one small 
steamer did get as far as Springfield at one 
time, it experienced such difficulty in getting 
out, that the experiment was never repeated. 
In fact the vessel had to back down stream for 
a long way. not being able to torn around. 

However, much interest was manifested by the 
citizens of Springfield, and of Beardstown, and 
intermediate points. The Sangamon Journal 
published at Springfield, in the issue dated 
January 26, 1S32, announced that "Virand A. 
Bogue will navigate the Sangamon River if he 
can find a suitable boat.** In the same journal 
under date of February 16, 1832, appeared an 
article copied from the Cincinnati Gazette, or 
more properly an advertisement in the said 
('azette of the l!Jth of that month. 

"The splendid upper cabin steamer, Talisman, 
J. M. Polley, master, will leave Portland, Spring- 
field, on the Sangamon River, and all intermedi- 
ate points and landings, Beardstown, Naples, 
St. Louis, Louisville, on Thursday, February 

This was the same steamer that went up the 
river and could not turn around. From the 
tone of the advertisement it was certainly ex- 
pected that the vessel would make a successful 
voyage from Springfield to Cincinnati. It would 
have been a fortunate thing if it could have done 
so for the inhabitants and hundreds of emigrants 
pouring into the Sangamon country, as there 
were no other modes of travel at that time than 
on foot, horseback or in a "prairie schooner." 
It is said that when the steamer left Beards- 
town, a large number of citizens accompanied 
it until they were satisfied that the voyage 
would be successful. So hopeful were the people 
of the ultimate success of the navigation of the 
Sangamon that a corporation was formed to 
dig a canal from a point on the Sangamon east 
of Beardstown, directly to the city and thus 
save from fifteen to twenty miles travel by the 
future passenger and freight vessels. The im- 
provement of this stream was advocated by 
Abraham Lincoln as a part of his platform, 
when he made his first canvass for the legisla- 
ture, in 1832. Indeed this was not all a chimer- 
ical scheme, for, by the expenditure of a rea- 
sonable amount of money, the Sangamon might 
have been made navigable for small transports 
for a long distance up stream, if not entirely to 
Springfield, and have been of great service to 
the farmers along the route for shipping their 
produce to market. 









Many song birds are to be found in Cass 
County during the year. The great diversity 
of its typographical structure furnishes a large 
variety of birds Avith nesting and feeding places. 
The wide, expansive prairies, the forests in 
the uplands, the dense underbrush and tangle 
of vines along the creeks and rivulets, the broad 
grassy bottom lands, and tall timber along the 
miles of river banks, are inviting places for the 
summer homes of a great number of birds as 
will be seen by the following list of summer 
birds found here. We have the mourning dove, 
black and yellow bill cuckoo, a number of 
varieties of the woodpecker, flicker, night hawk, 
king bird, several species of the fly catchers, 
wood pewee, phoebe bird, bobolink, red-winged 
black bird, cow bird, grackle or crow black bird, 
orchard oriole, Baltimore oriole, blue jay, a 
large variety of sparrows, among which is the 
very early, beautiful singing song sparrow, the 
rose breasted grossbeak. Indigo bird, scarlet 
tanager, the warblers in great numbers and 
varieties, the several species of vireos, the 
wrens, the wood thrushes, whose songs are con- 
sidered the most beautiful of all the thrushes, 
the hermit and several other thrushes, the 
meadow lark, prairie horned lark, chickadee, 
chewink or ground robin, the common robin, 
gold finch, cardinal, shrike, cat bird and a few 
mocking birds, a variety of swallows, and whip- 
poorwill and blue bird. Along the rivers and 
larger creeks are to be seen numerous king- 
fishers. A Dumber of these, though they are 
properly classified as migratory birds, remain 
with us the entire season, such as the cardinal 
grossbeak, the blue jay, the flicker or yellow- 
hammer, and even the robin will not infrequently 
he found winter residents. The robin is com- 
monly supposed to be the harMnger of spring, 

but it is not always a true harbinger, and those 
persons who so frequently claim the distinc- 
tion of having seen the "first robin," are not 
perhaps aware that the robin they have seen 
is one that preferred to linger in some sheltered 
place in the north where it has found sufficient 
food to maintain it, rather than make a long 
journey and return again. 


The cardinal is a permanent resident and 
may be heard any bright morning in winter, 
singing a beautiful song in the top of some tall 
tree where it delights to perch. The blue jay, 
the most beautiful plumaged of all our familiar 
birds, may be seen at any time in winter, flit- 
ting about its usual haunts, although rather 
quietly. It is not nearly as noisy then as in 
the good old summer-time. 


Cass County, with its numerous small lakes 
along the Sangamon and Illinois rivers, has al- 
ways been a great feeding place for water 
fowl, including ducks, geese, brants, herons, 
cranes and many smaller birds not of the 
varieties sought for food. Before the sloughs 
and ponds were tiled and drained from the 
prairies, large flocks of geese and ducks came 
annually to feed upon the grain in adjoining 
fields. Hundreds were killed daily for the 
market and table by hunters and sportsmen. 
So great became the slaughter that it aroused 
the interest of many persons who feared that 
these birds would be exterminated. Influence 
was brought to bear upon the legislature, and a 
very effective game law, with subsequent modi- 
fications, has been in force for a number of 
years. Recently the federal government has 
taken uii the matter of conservation of game, 
and congress has passed laws protecting the 
breeding of water fowl. A great part of the 
submerged lands which it is believed could not 
profitably he reclaimed, have been purchased by 
wealthy persons, and hunting Clubs have been 
organized, many being Incorporated. These hold- 
ings of large game preserves have not been 
very popular with local hunters and fishermen, 
and the practice has given rise to a great deal 
of litigation, but numerous decisions of the 
supreme COUrl have settled many of the mooted 



questions, and at the present time people inter- 
ested, are working in general harmony for the 
preservation of birds, tish and other game. 


Pheasants, grouse and prairie chickens were 
found l>y the pioneers in all parts of Cass 
County, and continued to breed here as long as 
there were <»pen prairies and shelter, and their 
feeding and nesting places were unmolested. 
It is doubtful if they will ever be propagated 
in great numbers again, even with the protection 
of the game laws, and the assistance of the 
game wardens of the state, who have, for sev- 
eral years, been distributing game birds to 
such points as are deemed best for breeding and 
propagating the various species that are the 
delight of the sportsman for hunting, and the 
epicure for the table. Wild turkeys were also 
found in great numbers until recent years. 
They are now almost if not entirely extinct in 
Cass County. The loss of the sport of hunting 
and fishing, and of the wild game which sup- 
plied the larder with necessary food in earlier 
days, is but the result of the ever changing con- 
ditions of advancing civilization, and we must 
all yield to the inevitable. 


Over the prairies of Cass County and through 
its timber and bottom lands once roamed count- 
less numbers of buffalo, roebuck, fallow deer, 
hind and stag. Bears, panthers, wild cats, big 
prairie wolves and the grey timber wolves, foxes. 
raccoons, opossums, numerous varieties of 
squirrels, including the fox and -rev. otters, 
beavers, muskrats, minks, weasels, skunks, rab- 
bits, moles, ground hogs, ground squirrels and 
gophers, were also to be found. Many of these 
which once supplied with food the larder of the 
early settler, have disappeared. There still 
remains evidence of the former existence of 
great herds of buffalo, but they passed over 
the Mississippi River and disappeared from 
their early haunts long before the Indian dis- 
posed of his last foot of land and moved on west- 
ward. The deer have not been seen in a wild 
state in Cass County for many years, nor have 
any of the fiercer animals of prey. The wolf 
and fox in small numbers may yet be found, 
but it is a rare occurrence for any of the present 

generation to see a fox or wolf skulking through 
the prairies or forests. Rabbits and squirrels 
are yet found in great abundance. The game 
law of the state has for a number of years 
protected the squirrel. Muskrats, skunks and 
minks are yet to be found and trapped, in fur 
season, but they are not caught in any great 
numbers. Coon hunting and fox hunting were 
favorite pastimes for the men in earlier times, 
and they have not altogether fallen into disuse, 
for there are those whose blood can yet be 
quickened and stirred by the baying of the fox 
hound, though the latter is almost as scarce 
and infrequently seen as the fox itself. 








In the light of present day American ideas of 
civilization and brotherhood of man, it is easily 
recognized that the original owners of all the 
lands of the present United States met with 
unfair treatment at the hands of their white 
conquerors. At the time, however, when the 
various Indian treaties were made, it was im- 
possible for the government to look upon the 
Red Man as equal to his white brother. Indian 
atrocities had so inflamed those in authority 
that it was finally deemed Avisest and most ex- 
pedient, by the leading men of the country, to 
segregate the Indians, separate them from the 
white settlers. The Indians were nomadic, rov- 
ing about, with no settled place of location. In 
their hands the lands lay practically fallow. 
Except for scanty crops to keep them alive, 
they did no farming, and their development was 
of little moment. 






With the advent of the white man into any 
section of the country, came instant improve- 
ment. He felled the forest, tilled the land, 
built mills, erected schoolhouses and churches, 
and in time gathered about his own claim others 
until a settlement of some size was formed. In 
bringing about these changes, it was but natural 
that there should be a clash between the original 
owners and those who had might on their side. 
The Indians, brooding upon what they con- 
sidered their wrongs, retaliated, sometimes in 
shocking manner, and their various outbreaks 
only resulted in harsher measures for their 
restraint on the part of the government. 


Most of the early settlers encountered trouble 
with the Indians who had not yet given up full 
titles to their lands, but the permanent settle- 
ments in present Cass County, which later were 
developed into villages and cities, made their 
best and most rapid progress after the settle- 
ment by the government with the remaining 
Indians, and they were removed to reservations 
west of the Mississippi River. Temporary 
treaties had been made with the various tribes 
but they were unsatisfactory and indefinite in 
results. PriOr to the organization of the state 
in 1818, the general government issued an order 
addressed to William Clark, Indian superintend- 
ent at St. Louis, Mo., and to Governor Xinian 
Edwards, territorial governor of the Illinois 
territory, as follows : 

"Department of War, Nov. 1, 1817. 
"Gentlemen : — 

"I have the honor to enclose you a commis- 
sion, for tbe purpose of treating with the Illi- 
nois, the Kickapoos, the Pottawattomies and 
other tribes of Indians within the Illinois terri- 
tory. The object of this negotiation is to obtain 
a cession from the tribes who may have a claim 
to it, of all that tract of land which lies between 
the most northeastern point of boundary of the 
lands deeded by the Kaskaskias in August, 
1803, the Sangamon and Illinois rivers; and 
which tract of land completely divided the set- 
tled parts of the Illinois territory from that 
pari which lies between the Illinois and Missis- 
sippi rivers, and which has been lately sur- 
veyed for the purpose of satisfying the mili- 
tary land bounties, a circumstance which makes 

the acquisition of this tract of country peculiarly 

"If either of the tribes who have claim to 
the land is desirous of exchanging their claim 
for lands on the west of the Mississippi River, 
you are authorized to make the exchange, and 
your extensive knowledge of the country will 
enable you to designate that part of it where 
it would be most desirable to locate the lands 
given as an equivalent. To other tribes who 
may not wish to remove, you will allow such 
annuity, for a fixed period, as you may deem 
an adequate compensation for the relinquish- 
ment of their respective claims. To enable you 
to give the usual presents on such occasions, 
you are authorized to draw on this department 
for .$G,000. 

"The contractor will furnish, on the request 
of either of you, the rations that may be neces- 
sary for the supply of the Indians while at- 
tending the treaty. Your compensation will 
be at the rate of eight dollars per day for the 
time actually engaged in treating with the In- 
dians ; and that of the secretary whom you are 
authorized to appoint, will be at the rate of 
five dollars per day. 

"I have the honor to be, with great, respect, 
"George Graham, 

"Acting Secretary of War." 

Under these instructions, negotiations were 
had with the Kickapoos, and on July 30, 1S19, 
they ceded to the United States all their claim 
to the tract mentioned in the above order. 


Few Indians remained within the present 
limits of Cass County at the time it was separ- 
ated from Morgan County. During the early 
French explorations the ••Illinois Country" was 
occupied by numerous tribes of Indians, the 
most powerful being the ••Illinois." from which 
tribe the Illinois River and the state itself, 
derive their names. The word Illinois is from 
"Innini" of Algonquin origin, signifying "the 
men,"' which was changed by the French into 
"Illini," with the sullix. signifying "tribe." The 
Illinois appear to have consisted of several 
bands or a confederation. Including the Kas- 
kaskias, Peorias, Cakokias, Tamaroas and 
Michigamies. The Mascoutens, though classed 
by some Indian historians as a band of the 
Illinois confederacy, seem to have been a sep- 



arate tribe which had their early habitation 
around Green Bay, Wisconsin, and later were 
either forced out by other warring tribes, or 
voluntarily moved south intc the Illinois coun- 
try. From the fact that the government made 
a treaty with the Kickapoos and Pottawatomies 
in 1S19 whereby the United States obtained title 
to the lands in the Illinois country, these tribes, 
whose former homes had been about the shores 
of Lake Michigan, must have drifted southward 
at a very early date. The Mascoutens were 
established in a village of considerable size on 
the banks of the Illinois River at the present 
site of Beardstown, and tradition at least says, 
that they were driven away from that locality 
by the Miamies and Iroquois, fierce tribes from 
the east, who waged a relentless war ot ex- 
termination. Later these tribes, also, must either 
have withdrawn from central Illinois, or have 
been in turn driven out by the Kickapoos and 
Pottawatomies, who were in possession of the 
Sangamo and Illinois country, claiming owner- 
ship when the first white settlers appeared in 
this part of the state. Much of the so-called 
Indian history is merely legendary, and, though 
interesting as a story of a vanishing race, has 
little value as real history. 

The treaty of July 19, 1S19, between the gov- 
ernment and the Kickapoos ended the owner- 
ship and every claim held by that tribe to lands 
now within the limits of Cass County. From 
that date the Indians began, though reluctantly, 
to move out, some to the north to old Fort Clark, 
now Peoria, and to various places, but the 
majority went to the western shores of the 
Mississippi River to lands traded to them by the 
government for their holdings here. By 1822 
there were remaining in Illinois about 400 of 
this broken and dispirited tribe ; quite a number 
being yet in Cass County. A few scattering 
families lingered within our border for several 
years, and were on very friendly terms with 
the white settlers who were rapidly putting into 
cultivation the Indians' former hunting grounds. 

On the Sangamon bottom in Richmond Pre- 
cinct, where Philip Hash settled in 1820, there 
were at that time a number of families of the 
Pottawatomies living in the valley under a chief 
of that tribe named Shick Shack. Zachariah 
Hash, a son of Philip, who was yet a small boy 
when brought to that spot by his father, be- 
came well acquainted with the Indians, and 
learned considerable of their language. Mr. 
Hash lived to the advanced age of ninety-five 

years, and in later life told many interesting 
stories of the early times, and especially of his 
Indian neighbors. He relates that once an 
Indian and his squaw came to the cabin to 
beg a bushel of corn. The corn was given them, 
but being in the ear, and the weather quite cold, 
the Indians were invited into the house to sit 
by the fire and shell the corn. They came in 
and both sat down on the floor before the open 
fireplace and began shelling the corn, but after 
the man had shelled an ear, he stopped and 
pointing to the palm of his hand said to Mr. 
Hash : "Och ! Hurt Indian, no hurt squaw," 
and with that he permitted the squaw to finish 
the task, which she did in silence. She then 
shouldered the sack of corn and followed her 
master, the "brave," in a dog trot towards their 

Chief Shick Shack had a summer home on the 
top of one of the highest bluffs overlooking the 
valley, and being asked one day why he went 
up there to live in summer, said: "Skeeter no 
bother." Again when asked how he carried 
water up that high hill, said: "Humph, squaw 
do that." Shick Shack and his small tribe were 
very friendly and sociable with the Hash fam- 
ily, and when they left the valley for Fort 
Clark, on the Illinois River, the chief came to 
the house and bid his white friends a fond fare- 
well. The high bluff, the scene of his former 
summer home, still bears the name Shick 
Shack Knob. It is a part of the place now 
owned and occupied by J. W. Lynn, who has 
named his place "Shick Shack Farm." 


The disturbance known in history as the Win- 
nebago war, occurred in the summer of 1827. 
A treaty of 1S04, between the Sacs and Foxes, 
and the United States Government, and another 
of 1810 between the Ottawas, Chippewas and 
Pottawatomies, dispossessed the Winnebagos of 
the lead mines and other territory about Galena. 
In response to remonstrances on the part of 
the Winnebagos, in 1S25, commissioners of the 
United States, decided in favor of the Winne- 
bagos. The rich lead deposits in the vicinity 
of Galena, had, in the meanwhile, attracted 
white settlers, and many serious disturbances 
arose between them and the Indians. In order 
to drive out the white intruders, the Winnebagos 
formed an alliance with the Sioux, but their pur- 
pose was divined, and Governor Edwards, in 



July, 1827, authorized Colonel Thomas N. Xeale, 
of Springfield, to raise a detachment of not 
over GOO volunteers who were willing to equip 
and feed themselves for a period of thirty days. 
A most interesting account of the campaign 
was given by the late Hon. William Thomas, of 
Jacksonville, who volunteered from this section : 

"When the volunteers reached Peoria, the 
place of rendezvous, I was appointed quarter- 
master sergeant. I accompanied the regiment 
to White Oak Springs, some ten or twelve miles 
from Galena, where I remained several days, 
when the colonel, being satisfied that the further 
service of the regiment was not required, ordered 
the return home. The regiment, composed of 
independent farmers and mechanics, was raised, 
organized, marched to White Oak Springs, and 
returned home in not exceeding thirty days. 
Two men were drowned in a branch of Crooked 
Creek returning home. We had no baggage 
wagon from this county. My mess had a very 
good tent, which very few of the other messes 
had. Having no baggage wagons, and having 
to carry our provisions, arms and equipments 
on horseback, we had but little room for tents 
even if they had been supplied. We slept on 
saddle blankets, with our heads on the saddles, 
and for covering had overcoats and blankets; 
but during that season of the year we had but 
little use for coverings other than overcoats. 

"The question of pay was not considered of 
much consequence; it was well understood that 
this depended upon the action of Congress, and 
no fears were entertained of the success of 
General Duncan, our representative in Congress, 
in obtaining the necessary appropriation. We 
were not disappointed, for appropriations were 
made by the Congress of 1827-8, and we were 
paid in the spring of 1828, the following rates: 
Each sergeant-major and quartermaster ser- 
geant received $9 per month; each drum and 
fife major, $8.33 per month; sergeants, $8 per 
month; each corporal, drummer, fifer and team- 
ster, $7.33 per month; each farier, saddler and 
artificer, included as a private, $8 per month; 
each gunner, bombardier anil private. $6.66 per 
month. In addition to which we were paid for 
the use of horses, arms and accouterments, and 
for the risk thereof, except for b<»rscs killed in 
action, ten cents per day. For rations, twenty- 
five rents per day. and one day's pay for fifteen 
miles' travel to the place of rendezvous and re- 
turning home. 

"On the arrival of Colonel Neale with ids 

command on the scene of danger, he found the 
war virtually at an end. General Atkinson 
with 000 regulars and the Galena militia under 
General Dodge had penetrated the enemy's 
country and compelled the hostile savages to 
sue for peace." 


A general account of the Black Hawk war is 
given in the first volume of this publication 
and very little need be said about it in this 
connection, but there are some incidents con- 
nected with the war that are of local and per- 
haps of general interest, that should be referred 
to. This famous war drama was produced in 
two acts. The first occurred as a result of 
persistent rumors of Indian depredations under 
Black Hawk, chief of the Sacs, who, with his 
tribe had been removed across the Mississippi 
River into Iowa, where they spent the winter 
of 1830. It was the year of the deep snow 
and the Indians, not being provided with suffi- 
cient food at their temporary camp, suffered 
greatly during the long, cold months, so were in 
an angry mood when the snows melted and 
spring opened up with prospects of a fruitful 
year had they owned suitable lands to put in 
crops. They had not searched out, nor even 
cared to make investigation of their reservation 
to which they had been exiled, but longed for 
their old villages and fertile soil in which their 
squaws had so often planted maize, and the 
valleys and uplands of Illinois over which they 
had for so many years chased the deer and 
buffalo and other game which kept them abun- 
dantly supplied with food. Thus on the verge 
of starvation, and nursing their deep seated 
anger at what they deemed an injustice in de- 
priving them of their lands, wholly disregarding 
the treaty made with the government, they 
recrossed the Mississippi and sought their old 
homes, aliout three miles below Fort Armstrong 
(the present city of Rock Island), only to find 
their villages partly destroyed and their fields 
in possession of the white settlers. They Imme- 
diately set about to oust the Intruders. In 
order to accomplish this, the Indians threw 
down the fences of the whites, tore off the 
roofs of the houses, killed the stock and made a 
general havoc of the white settlements. So 
frequenl and annoying were their depredations 
and so ferocious their threats that the settlers 
became greatly alarmed and sent a hasty re- 



port to Governor Reynolds of the Indian up- 
rising and threatened massacre. 

Governor Reynolds responded promptly to the 
appeal and issued a call for 700 volunteers, di- 
recting them to rendezvous at Beardstown, on 
the Illinois River. He also notified General 
Gaines at Jefferson Barracks, and General 
Clark, superintendent of Indian affairs at St. 
Louis, requesting aid in driving the Sacs back 
across the Mississippi. In response to the 
governor's call for volunteers nearly 2,000 
frontiersmen gathered at Beardstown and Rush- 
ville, in the latter part of May, 1831, and were 
soon organized into two regiments and a spy 
battalion. Those who had not brought their 
own rifles were armed with guns purchased 
from Francis A. Arenz, a merchant of Beards- 
town, who had recently come from Germany. 
The guns were a light, brass-barreled fowling 
piece, made in the East, for the use of one of 
the South American governments, and not prov- 
ing satisfactory, were shipped to the West, and 
a number of them were purchased by Mr. Arenz 
with a view of selling them to hunters for 
shooting birds and water fowl. 

By this time Governor Reynolds had joined 
the martial forces in person, and placing him- 
self at their head, crossed the Illinois River 
and gathered up the recruits stationed at Rush- 
ville. They then proceeded northward, arriv- 
ing on June 1, 1831, in the enemy's country. 
At Rock River they were joined by General 
Gaines who had come up from St. Louis by 
boat. The combined armies of the whites com- 
prised about 2,500 men, while Black Hawk's 
forces numbered only 300 warriors. Black 
Hawk, who had kept himself informed of the 
movements of the whites, finding himself so 
overwhelmingly outnumbered, slipped away in 
the night, and recrossed to the Iowa side of the 
Mississippi River. General Gaines learning 
that what the army had come to accomplish, 
was achieved without their assistance, and bent 
on doing something warlike, ordered the Indian 
village burned, which order was carried out. 
He then sent word to Black Hawk that he 
would pursue him across the river, which 
brought the erring chief to the general's head- 
quarters, where another treaty was made, to 
the effect that Black Hawk and his band 
would remain west of the Mississippi River un- 
less permitted by the federal government to 
return. This treaty was executed June 20, 
1831. All hostilities being ended, the victorious 

army returned home, and the volunteers were 
disbanded, and thus ended the first act of the 
Black Hawk war. 

The second act was a more serious matter. 
Black Hawk and his band of Sacs, with their 
women and children, had spent the winter of 
1831-2, on the site of old Fort Madison in the 
present state of Iowa. They still clung to the 
idea that they had been wronged in the purchase 
of their lands by the government, and believing, 
or pretending to believe, that there could be 
no actual sale of land, Black Hawk conse- 
quently, in the spring of 1832, again made 
preparations to cross the Mississippi into 
Illinois. In a writing relative to the sale of 
lands, Black Hawk had declared that lands 
were given by the Great Spirit to his children 
to live upon and cultivate as far as necessary 
for their subsistence ; and so long as they culti- 
vated the land and occupied it, they had a 
right to the soil, but when they left it voluntar- 
ily, other people had a right to settle upon it ; 
that nothing could be actually sold but such 
things as could be carried away. 

On April 6, 1832, Black Hawk crossed the 
Mississippi River, this time about fif,ty miles 
below Fort Armstrong, at the present site of 
Oquakwa, hoping thus to escape the vigilant eye 
of General Atkinson, who had taken charge 
of the troops at Fort Armstrong. He claimed 
that if he were not permitted peaceably to 
occupy his old village, that he then only de- 
sired to pass through the country to join the 
Winnebagos on Rock River, near the Wisconsin 
line, there to raise crops. The settlers were on 
the outlook, and Black Hawk had no sooner 
crossed with his band, than the event was re- 
ported to General Atkinson, who immediately 
notified Governor Reynolds of the Indian inva- 
sion, and asked for assistance to repel the hos- 
tile savages. The governor again responded 
promptly with a call for "a strong detachment 
of militia" to rendezvous at Beardstown. The 
call was issued April 10, 1832, and the meeting 
was set for April 22, 1832. A large force re- 
sponded to the call, and was soon organized into 
four regiments, and also a spy battalion, and an 
odd battalion. The promptness of this action 
will be appreciated when it is recalled that but 
sixteen days elapsed between Black Hawk's 
crossing of the Mississippi and the organiza- 
tion of the regiments. All the messages had to 
be carried on foot or on horseback, over bun- 




dreds of miles of broken country, interspersed 
with bogs, swamps and unbridged rivers. 

It was a motley crew that gathered at Beards- 
town. No government uniforms were furnished 
them. Each man was dressed as he appeared 
every day, some appearing in homespun jeans, 
some in leather leggins and jacket, and a few 
in store clothes, or in the rough cloth that had 
just begun to make its way westward. A num- 
ber wore coonskin caps. Their arms consisted 
of the squirrel rifles or the larger bored ones 
used for shooting game, while some had double 
barreled shot guns. It is quite probable that 
some came with the guns furnished by the gov- 
ernment for the previous campaign which had 
been purchased from Mr. Arenz. Each man had 
his powder horn and shot pouch slung over his 
shoulder. They were a brave, hardy set of 
men, used to their own way of handling arms, 
though very awkward in any sort of regular 
drill. However, they had had some little ex- 
perience in drill, as the then admirable law 
of the state made every able bodied man sub- 
ject to militia call, and required that at certain 
times each year he should practice drilling under 
penalty of the payment of one dollar for failure 
to respond. As one person speaking of this 
requirement said: "Dollars were hard to get 
hold of so drilling was cheaper." 

In that group of patriots appeared one who 
subsequently proved to be the most interesting 
figure of his times, Abraham Lincoln, who had 
been at Salem, in Sangamon County, now a 
part of Menard County, for about a year, and 
was a clerk in Denton Offett's store. When 
the messenger appeared in Salem with the 
governor's call to arms, Mr. Lincoln, with a 
number of other young men, responded imme- 
diately, and soon a company from Salem ap- 
peared at Beardstown. There each company 
elected its own officers, and Mr. Lincoln was 
made captain of the Salem company. The 
election was held in an open field, and at a 
given command, the troops surrounded their can- 

Travis Elmore, of Cass County, was a private 
in Captain Lincoln's company, and served forty- 
eight days when be was honorably discharged. 
The certificate of discharge is signed by A. 
Lincoln, and shows thai Elmore was enrolled 
in ••Lincoln's company Of mounted volunteers, 
in the regimenl commanded by Col. Samuel M. 
Thompson, in the brigade under Generals S. 
Whiteside and II. Atkinson, called for the pro- 

tection of the Northwestern Frontier, against 
an invasion of the British band of Sac and other 
tribes of Indians." 

A number of men who subsequently became 
prominent in the affairs of this state and the 
nation, were soldiers in the Black Hawk war, 
either as privates or officers, one of whom was 
Hon. Adam W. Snyder, the father of Dr. John 
F. Snyder, of Virginia, Cass County. Adam W. 
Snyder was a state senator, from St. Clair 
County, but the legislature being adjourned 
when the Indian outbreak occurred, he re- 
sponded to the call of the governor by enlist- 
ing as a private in Captain John Winstaniey's 
company, where he served in that capacity and 
as adjutant of the regiment until mustered 
out in May. Several companies were mustered 
out and a number of the members, who were 
dissatisfied from one cause and another, or 
frightened at the prospect of having their scalps 
dangling at the belt of some redskin, went home. 
The regiments were re-organized, and Dr. 
Snyder was elected captain of a company made 
up almost exclusively of men from his own 
county of St. Clair, and the adjoining county of 
Madison. Adam W. Snyder was born in Con- 
nellsville, Pa., October 6, 1799. He came to 
Illinois in 1817 and settled at Cahokia. where 
he formed the acquaintance of Jesse B. Thomas, 
who was the president of the first Constitutional 
Convention of this state, and was also one of 
the first two United States senators from Illi- 
nois. Before the organization of the state, Mr. 
Thomas was one of the territorial judges. 
Through the persuasion of Judge Thomas, Mr. 
Snyder was induced to study law, which pro- 
fession he followed during the remainder of his 
life, though he devoted a great deal of his time 
to the state and general government as a state 
senator and as a member of Congress. He was 
the nominee of the Democratic party in 1841, 
for governor of Illinois, and would without 
doubt have been elected had not a serious ill- 
ness overtaken him from which he died May 14. 
1S42, three months before the election. The 
following is quoted from General Usher F. 
Linder's "Early Bench and Bar of [llinois." 
Writing of -Mr. Snyder, he. in part, says: ■•lb- 
was a most elegant gentleman, and was the only 
man that ever beat old Governor Reynolds for 
Congress. I never knew a man possessing 
higher colloquial and conversational powers. 
lie was never at a loss for a word or idea. 
I never enjoyed a richer treat than the society 



and conversation of Adam W. Snyder. Had he 
lived he certainly would have been governor 
beyond all doubt for he was decidedly the must 
popular Democrat in the state of illinois." 

Captain Snyder served his country well and 
bravely until the close of the Black Hawk war, 
through all the dangers attendant upon conflict 
with a cunning, merciless and brutish savage. 
Careful historians of that war give Captain 
Snyder a prominent place in the story of the 
last Indian war in the state of Illinois. 

To resume the history of the war. Captain 
Lincoln, by the muster out of his company in 
May, 1*32, was reduced to the ranks, but not 
by any fault of his own. He, together with 
General Whiteside, re-enlisted as privates. Mr. 
Lincoln in Captain lies' company, and was fi- 
nally discharged at Whitewater, in the present 
state of Wisconsin. From there, he and a 
comrade started home, but having their horses 
stolen the first night, they were obliged to 
make the rest of the journey as far as Peoria 
on foot. There they secured a canoe and pad- 
dled down the Illinois River to Havana, where 
they sold the canoe and went on foot across the 
country to Salem, where Mr. Lincoln imme- 
diately engaged in the more hazardous occupa- 
tion of running for the legislature. 

Governor Reynolds, wdio had placed himself 
at the head of the army, collected at Beards- 
town and other points, surrounded himself Avith 
a full staff of officers, including a chaplain, the 
latter officer secured in the person of Rev. 
Reddick Horn, a Methodist preacher of Cass 
County. He came to Beardstown in 1823, set- 
tled there, and afterwards entered land in town- 
ship 18 north, range 11. Rev. Horn was evi- 
dently the first minister of the gospel to invade 
and preach the word in the wilderness of Cass 
County. The Captain lies above mentioned, 
who afterward became Major lies, came to Cass 
County by way of Beardstown. in lslO, and 
made his way across the woods and prairies to 
Calhoun, on the present site of Springfield, 
where he became a permanent settler. The 
volunteers not already discharged on August 
15, 1S32, were mustered out. at Dixon's Ferry, 
whence they returned to their homes, feeling 
safe from any more Indian invasions or depre- 

From that time on the early settlers of Cass 
County devoted their time to improving their 
farms, building schools and churches and lay- 
ing out roads, erecting bridges over streams to 

reach the village markets and the grist mills 
that were now being put up in convenient and 
suitable localities. 











No other evidence is required than that af- 
forded by a look over the Illinois and Sangamon 
valleys, from the high bluff along the eastern 
and southern borders, to convince the beholder 
that whatever prehistoric people inhabited 
Illinois before the Indians, that people must 
surely have selected and occupied this particular 
part of Illinois as a more or less permanent 
abode. All human beings of intelligence are 
moved and actuated by similar conditions. 
Were these prehistoric people agriculturally in- 
clined, they found here everything suitable for 
the purpose. Excellent alluvial soil, a climate 
favorable to the growing of necessary cereals to 
support life of themselves and domestic animals; 
streams navigable for vessels of sufficient size 
to transport their surplus products ; plenty of 
fuel on the uplands ; abundance of fresh water 
below the earth's surface but a short distance, 
and cropping out in many springs along the 
bluffs. There is nothing certain, however, 
known as to who or wdiat character of people 
they were who made this highly favored section 
their abiding place and called it home. A race 
of people called the Mound Builders, certainly 
did occupy the Illinois Valley. They are called 
the Mound Builders, not because mound build- 
ing was their principal occupation, but because 



they left no other evidence but the mounds they 
built, of their presence here. 

Much speculation has been indulged in by 
archaeologists, and many volumes written by 
scholars who have become deeply interested 
in the subject, but all to little purpose so far 
as solving the mystery is concerned. An article 
on the subject of the Mound Builders appears 
in the first volume of this work, and though 
differing materially in many respects from the 
writings of others on the subject, covers the 
main points and gives the reader a general 
idea of what the Mound Builders did and who 
they were supposed to have been. 

The subject is referred to here at length 
because of the local interest the people of Cass 
County have therein, on account of the presence, 
until about 1S53, of a splendid specimen of the 
mounds left by that departed race of people, 
on the left bank of the Illinois River, where 
the city of Beardstown now stands. Dr. J. F. 
Snyder of Virginia, ex-president of the Illinois 
State Historical Society, who has made a fruit- 
ful study of the subject, resulting in the accumu- 
lation of a vast amount of extremely interest- 
ing historical facts, writing of early Illinois, 
after alluding to the voyage of the French ex- 
plorers up the Illinois River says: "But our 
state has a much older and unwritten history 
extending from the dim archaic past to that 
daring canoe voyage of Joliet and Marquette. 
Along its picturesque ranges of bluffs ; on the 
shores of its beautiful lakes and streams ; on its 
fertile prairies and alluvial bottoms, abound 
the curious relics of its earliest human occupant 
of a bygone age, evidences of the primitive arts 
as well as of the higher culture of a people of 
an unknown origin, who disappeared, leaving 
no other record of their history. In Illinois 
are the works of the Mound Builders, and nu- 
merous and varied in form and dimensions and 
of as facinating interest as any elsewhere found 
in the United states. In the Rock River Val- 
ley are seen the singular effigy mounds repre- 
senting figures of the human form, birds, ani- 
mals, and nondescript objects projected on a 
gigantic scale. The mounds of the Illinois River 
region are of a distinct and different type, 
corresponding with those of Ohio; while in the 
American bottom, opposite St. I.ouis. are the 
huge Tocali or truncated pyramids, Identical in 
structure with those Of the southern slates. 

from Georgia to Arkansas, and very probably 
the product of the same people. Of that class 
is the Cahokia mound on Cahokia Creek, seven 
miles east of St. Louis, the largest of all the 
earthen monuments of the vanished race north 
of Mexico. It is almost a hundred feet in 
height, with level top of three acres, and square 
base measuring 700 feet by 500 feet in width. 
From it can be seen sixty-one other large 
mounds of various forms scattered through the 
bottom between the river and the bluffs." 

At that day, and less than half a century 
ago, there stood near the river bank at Beards- 
town, one of the finest Indian mounds of Cen- 
tral Illinois. It was a sepulchral mound, con- 
ical in form, eighty feet in height, and about 
5U0 feet in diameter at the base. It was evi- 
dently made from clay brought from the bluffs 
four miles distant. Those now living who saw 
the mounds before the work of destruction of 
them was begun, say that there were several 
mounds in close proximity to the large one ; that 
about forty yards down the river stood the 
smallest of the groups, and still further down 
the river was a small mound about twelve feet 
high, and that all the mounds were made of 
similar clay. The base of the large mound 
extended from the verge of the river bank to 
Second street, and from Adams to Beard street. 
The second mound was west of Jackson street, 
between Second and Third streets, and the last 
one stood below Arenz street, between Main 
and Second streets. These mounds, together 
with the fact that for years the wigwams of 
the Indian village were clustered around them, 
gave the place the name of "Beautiful Mound 
Village." bestowed by the French missionaries. 
In Indian nomenclature it was known as 
"Kickapoo Town." 

The mounds did not long survive the encroach- 
ments of the whites, who began soon after 1829, 
to settle upon the adjacent lots. The surface 
Of these lots was almost pure sand and would 
hardly sprout grass; and the occupants, finding 
the mounds were composed of flay soil thought 
it would serve a much better purpose as a 
top dressing for their sand lots than it was 
then. Consequently the mounds were soon dev- 
astated and the contents spread about to In- 
crease the beauty of the lawns, and the fertility 
of the gardens of the newcomers who were 
wholly Indifferent to historic values. 




The large mound was one of the finest speci- 
mens, and the second largest in the state. Its 
removal was an irreparable loss to archaeolog- 
ical science, and robbed Beardstown of an 
unique and beautiful relic of a bygone race, of 
inestimable antiquarian value. Another cause 
of regret to scholars of the present day is that 
while the mounds were being torn away no 
record was kept of their construction, of the 
constituent material, or description or relative 
position of objects found imbedded in them. 
From old settlers it is learned that at the top 
and sides were discovered many superficial 
burials, of recent Indians very probably, accom- 
panied as usual with their implements of stone, 
and ornaments of shell and copper. Among 
them was found the bones evidently of a Jesuit 
missionary, who had long ago penetrated the 
wilderness, there laying down his life in de- 
fense of his faith. He was entombed no doubt 
by his converts in that majestic sepulcher of a 
long vanished race. Around his skull was a 
thin silver band an inch in width, while on his 
skeleton breast lay a silver cross, while nearby 
were the jet and silver beads of his rosary. At 
the outer edge of the base of the mound was 
uncovered the much decayed skeletons of a few 
Indians, enclosed with their primitive weapons, 
implements and ornaments, in a rude vault of 
rough flagstone. These, were the remains, no 
doubt, of distinguished chieftains to whose 
memory their tribe erected that splendid and 
enduring monument. Before the mounds had 
entirely disappeared, one evening ten or a dozen 
Indian canoes were seen floating down the 
river. A number of the citizens of Beards- 
town followed along the shore until they came 
to the big mound, when the Indians disembarked. 
After viewing the grounds and talking with 
some of the citizens, one of the Indians point- 
ing to the mounds said: "There is where my 
great-grandfather is buried." 

The late J. Henry Shaw, historical writer of 
Beardstown, well says of this mound : 

"The decaying bones of the red warriors, as 
they lay in their quiet and lovely resting place, 
with implements of war around them ; the silver 
and flint crosses of the missionaries, even the 
beautiful mound itself, which, as an ornament 
and historical feature of the town and river 
should have been held sacred, could not restrain 
the money-making white man from destroying 

it, and it is now recollected only by the old 
settlers who used to sit upon its summit and 
watch the passing away of the last of two races 
— the Indian in his canoe, and the French voy- 
ageur in his pirogue." 

The large mound, however, was put to a 
practical purpose before being carted away. 
Horace Billings, an energetic, enterprising citi- 
zen of Beardstown, built a large flouring mill 
and warehouse on the side of the mound next 
the river, and undertook the manufacture of a 
kind of flour bolted from cornmeal. It was his 
intention to ship the product to foreign mar- 
kets, but it is said a certain drying process 
made it useless as a food product, and after 
sustaining some considerable loss in the enter- 
prise, it was abandoned. A sawmill and plan- 
ing mill were added to the plant, and the 
machinery used for the purpose of manufactur- 
ing lumber. This project was more successful 
as there was an abundance of board timber 
along the bottoms, and it could easily be 
brought by water to the mill. After a few 
years Mr. Billings sold the machinery to John 
Fred Nolte, and Stephen Elam, who moved it 
to block S3, original town. The big warehouse 
by the mound was later used for storing corn, 
which was hulled and packed in two bushel 
sacks, for shipping to the river freight boats. 
The arrangement of the building was a con- 
venient forerunner of our present day elevators; 
the roads up the mound being so graded that 
the farmers hauling grain could drive to the 
third and fourth story of the building, unload, 
turn and drive down after dumping their loads. 
Grain and such other commodities as were 
there stored, could be sent down an incline to 
the boats on the river. At one time the house 
was so loaded with grain that the north walls 
bulged out and let a great quantity of grain 
fall into the river, causing a total loss. After 
that accident, the building was abandoned, and 
the mound being gradually removed, it stood 
there a dilapidated old landmark until one 
morning in May, 1867, it took fire from some 
unknown cause and burned to the ground. 

There is little or no evidence anywhere else 
in Cass County of the pre-existence of the race 
of so-called Mound Builders. Whether the race 
known as the American Indian, was the imme- 
diate successor of the Mound Builders, as some 
think they were, or not, it is certain that the 
Indians took possession of the mounds wherever 








they found them, and occupied them as they 
saw fit for any purpose. 

Northeast of Arenzville there remained for 
a long time evidences of a large Indian burying 
ground, and Mr. Frank Bridgeman, giving items 
for a biographical sketch says : 

"In 1833 there was a large temporary en- 
campment of Indians on the cemetery hill east 
of Arenzville. The chief was a tall man, over 
six feet in height, dressed in fine style." Mr. 
Bridgeman continues that he made a visit to 
this encampment, taking along as presents some 
whisky and tobacco, which he delivered to the 
chief who shared them with a select few of 
his braves. In honor of the visitor who had 
brought the most acceptable presents, they 
formed a circle about him and danced and 
went through other ceremonial motions, much 
to his delight and amusement. He thought 
that these red men were gathering to go to some 
point across the Mississippi River. Mr. Bridge- 
man is certainly mistaken in his date, as the 
Black Hawk war had closed before that time, 
and no Indians were in or near Arenzville, or 
the western part of Cass County as late as 
1S33. It is more probable that the incident oc- 
curred about 1S23, in which year the last large 
bodies of Indians were moving from Cass County 
to the lands west of the Mississippi River. 











In order that \vo may know the origin and 
source of government of the particular terri- 
tory comprising the present county of Cass, we 

will look back into the remotest history of the 
United States and the prior colonies and trace, 
if possible, our course to the present time. 

Title by right of discovery is founded only 
upon the recognition of that right by the comity 
of nations; and this comity obtains only among 
so-called civilized nations. Strictly speaking 
there can be no such title, absolute, unless it 
can be made to appear conclusively that the land 
in question was not in possession of any human 
being, actually or constructively. 

Although many of the old world nations 
claimed portions of America by right of dis- 
covery, yet they were unwilling to rest their 
claim of title exclusively upon such tenure, but 
wherever they found natives in possession or 
who had a reasonable claim of title, they sought 
to extinguish the native's title by treaty or 
purchase. Oftentimes titles were secured by 
treaty or purchase after the use of methods 
not always creditable to the alleged civilized 
race of traders. 

England had claimed a large portion of North 
America, by right of discovery, and having so 
claimed it without much dispute from other 
nations, concluded to dispose of at least a 
part of it. So, on May 23, 1009, King James, 
who was, as he himself said "By grace of God, 
King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, 
defender of the faith, etc.," which said date was 
the fourth year of his reign as king of England, 
France and Ireland, and the thirty-ninth year 
of his reign over Scotland, gave to a colony 
organized to receive it, a grant or charter of 
Virginia. The land included in the grant was 
described as that part of America lying along 
the coast 200 miles south and north from a 
point of land called Point Comfort, and ex- 
tending from sea to sea. It also included all 
islands lying within a hundred miles along the 
said coast of either sea. The title was to be in 
free and common socage, and not in capite. 
The consideration was the payment to the 
king the fifth part only of all ore of gold and 
silver that from time to time might be gotten 
or obtained, for all manner of service. When 
or how often this fifth part of the ore was 
paid, if at all, is not known. The changing 
political conditions soon put an end to the 
rights of both high contracting parties. 


The expression ••from sea to sea" in the 
description Of the territory -ranted by the Yir- 



ginia charter of 1609, mentioned above, led the 

Virginians to make claim to that part of the 
domain north of the Ohio River and extending 
west to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers as 
a part of the original grant. The interpretation 
placed by them upon that charter justified them 
as being fully within their rights in legislating 
for that territory. The state of Virginia also 
felt its title by the original charter was strength- 
ened by the success of her troops under Colonel 
George Rogers (lark. Further history of this 
period is taken up in the first volume of this 


On November 30, 177S, a requisite bill for 
the government of the "County of Illinois," as 
it was then designated, was introduced in the 
Assembly of Virginia, and on December 9 of 
the same year was duly passed by both houses. 
The new territory was, by the law, treated as 
a county of Virginia, and Patrick Henry, then 
governor of Virginia, became also the first 
governor of Illinois. The chief executive officer 
for the county was called the county lieutenant 
or commandant. Being desirous of having the 
new government for that portion of their un- 
known domain, put into operation as soon as 
possible, the governor, three days after the 
passage of the act, on December 12, appointed 
John Todd county lieutenant of the County of 
Illinois. John Todd was a native born Amer- 
ican, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, his father Hav- 
ing come from Scotland in 1737, and settled in 

.Matters, however, had not been at a stand- 
still in the West, since the capture of Kaskaskia 
by Clark, on July 4, of the same year. A form 
or semblance of advancing civilization had been 
set in progress by Clark, who established a 
tentative government, and also, as he says in his 
memoirs, a court of civil judicature in Cahokia, 
the judges to be elected by the people : and in 
fact such a court was established consisting of 
seven justices, and as these were elected by 
popular vote, this became the first election of 
chief magistrates in Illinois, and occurred in 
the month of October, 1778. 

In the course of time, the war of the Revolu- 
tion ended and the first struggle for independ- 
ence from the old world came to a successful 
termination. The "Illinois County," or terri- 
tory, was still claimed by and recognized as a 

part of Virginia, but in 17N4, it was ceeded to 
the general government of the Tinted States. A 
committee of Congress proceeded to provide for 
the establishment of a form of government for 
the new territory. The action of the committee 
was approved, and the act adopted provided 
that when there should be 20,000 free inhabit- 
ants within the limits of any territory, they 
should have authority to call a convention to 
establish a permanent constitution and govern- 
ment for themselves without any other limita- 
tions than the following: That they should 
forever remain a part of the confederacy of 
the United States of America, with provisions 
of a more or less general nature and interest. 
The eighth article provided that any state hav- 
ing adopted a constitution, and having as many 
free inhabitants as the least numerous of the 
thirteen original states, might be admitted into 
the Union. The form of government then pro- 
vided continued until the adoption or passage 
of the Ordinance of 17^7. 

While Congress was yet sitting under the 
Articles of Confederation, in 1787, it passed an 
act for the government of the territory of the 
United States northwest of the Ohio River; 
under which act or ordinance, Arthur St. 
Clair was appointed governor of the territory. 
Pursuant to authority given him by the ordi- 
nance, he. in 1700. by proclamation, established 
the county of St. Clair, so named in honor of 
himself. It covered a large part of the territory, 
its boundaries being: from the mouth of the 
Mackinaw River down the Illinois to the Mis- 
sissippi; then down that river to the Ohio, then 
up the Ohio to the mouth of Massac Creek; 
thence in a direct line northward to the mouth 
of the Mackinaw, the place of beginning. Thus, 
being in that portion of the Northwest Territory 
entirely within the present limits of Illinois, 
St. (lair became the first county of the state. 
Although many and frequent changes in the area 
and boundaries as first erected have been made, 
the present St. Clair County has always been 
a part of the original St. Clair County territory, 
and hence will always bear the distinction' of 
being the first county of Illinois. 


Looking back over a period of one hundred 
years, there are few indeed of this generation 
but have an interest in knowing who first deter- 
mined to, and actually did become the first 



permanent settlers of Cass County. While the 
sources of information as to the persons, and 
dates of arrival of the earliest settlers is 
meager, yet from the best obtainable data, it 
is generally conceded that the first white set- 
tler in Cass County was Eli Cox, who came 
into the county in 1816, and located in the 
eastern part of the county at the head of a creek 
which was given his name and is still called 
Cox's Creek. A large grove of excellent timber 
which had escaped the effects of the prairie 
fires, was growing there, and it too bears the 
name of Cox. At that time, there was not an- 
other white person, as far as can be learned, 
in all that part of Sangamon County. The 
government had not yet secured the Indian 
titles, and of course had made no surveys. 
There were no such divisions as sections or 
townships to guide him, but Mr. Cox staked 
out a claim, and remained upon it for awhile, 
when he left and did not return until 1819. He 
then built a cabin and commenced permanent 
improvements. He lived upon that tract of 
land continuously until his death, which oc- 
curred in 1881. 


In the year 1S19, when Mr. Cox returned to 
take up his abode here for life, there appeared 
at Edwardsvillle, in Madison County, about 
100 miles south of the Cox home, a young man, 
twenty-five years of age, inteligent and ambi- 
tious. This was Thomas Beard, who had come 
from the state of New York to seek his fortune 
in tbe then West. He had heard much of the 
Illinois River and surrounding country, and 
wished to visit it with a view of locating if 
conditions suited. He made the acquaintance 
of General Murry McConnell, who had explored 
the Illinois Valley to some extent, and being 
attracted to this bright, sturdy young man, 
General McConnell offered to make a trip to the 
Illinois River country with Mr. Beard. There 
were no highways, no bridges over streams, no 
way of travel except on foot or horseback. 
However, Mr. Beard had come all the way from 
New York over rocky roads and hilly or moun- 
tainous country, and General McConnell had 
been a soldier in the War of 1812, and had 
seen rough service, besides he had lived for 
many years in the wilderness, so these men 
(bought nothing of a horseback ride through 
untraveled country. They set out on their 

lonely journey of 100 miles, recognzing the 
fact that their trip was fraught with some 
danger from the hostile Indians, who were at 
that time restless on account of the fact of the 
agitation relative to the closing of the treaty 
of 1S19, which would transfer their rights to 
the whole Sangamon country to the govern- 
ment, and there was an angry undertone of 
feeling among the braves, even if it was not 
shared in by the chiefs, to the effect that the 
lands should not be delivered over to the white 
man, even though they were to receive a rea- 
sonable remuneration therefor. 

Beard and McConnell struck out across the 
prairies, followed the streams and stretches of 
woodland that bordered them, avoiding the 
lagoons and swamps as much as possible, and 
after a week's ride they emerged upon the banks 
of the Illinois River, and moving on to the 
north they soon discovered the famous Indian 
Mound village, so named from a very high 
mound standing close to the left bank of the 
river, on an island, cut off from the river by a 
marshy slough. This famous mound is treated 
of in the chapter on Mound Builders. 

Thomas Beard was delighted with the situa- 
tion, and after a further survey of the surround- 
ing country, wisely concluded that this was the 
ideal spot upon which to build a town tbat 
would ultimately attract the attention of pio- 
neer business men, and result in the develop- 
ment of a beautiful city. Then and there, he 
resolved to remain and make this spot his 
future home. His wisdom, foresight and sound 
judgment have been more than verified by the 
splendid commercial city now standing upon the 
site then dotted over with Indian wigwams, 
tepees, and one lone cabin or hut built of poles, 
down by the river bank. This hut was believed 
to have been erected by French voyageurs down 
the Illinois River some years previous, as it 
was, when Mr. Beard first looked upon it, in 
a very dilapidated condition. 

As Thomas Beard was the founder of the 
city of Beardstown, and really the first white 
man to encourage and lend all his energy to 
advance civilization and prepare the way for 
the coming of the splendid men who in so 
short a period built up one of the most sub- 
stantial of the smaller cities of Central Illinois, 
it is deemed fitting that a mention of Mr. Beard 
be given in this place, somewhat more extended 
than Is found in the first volume of this pub- 



lication, which is devoted to the general history 
of Illinois. 

Thomas Beard was born at Granville, Wash- 
ington County, N. Y., December 4, 171)4, eldest 
child of Jeddiah and Charlotte (Nichols) Beard, 
the mother being a native of Vermont. In 
1SO0 the family moved from New Vork to the 
Western Reserve in Ohio. As evidence of the 
hardships and difficulties encountered by early 
pioneers moving west into a little known and 
sparsely settled country, the following is quoted 
from a sketch of Thomas Beard's family, writ- 
ten by the Hon. J. N. Gridley, now of Pomona, 
Cal. : 

"They"' (speaking of the family of Jeddiah 
Beard) "and company with them, began the 
journey on the first day of the year, and the 
season being so severe and the fatigue of the 
journey so great, most of the party halted at 
Northeast, Pa., and refusing to proceed further, 
settled at that place. Jeddiah Beard, with his 
wife and their three children, the youngest a 
babe in arms, pressed onward on horseback. 
Mrs. Beard became ill on the way and a halt 
was made for a time until she so far recovered 
her strength so as to enable her to proceed. 
For a portion of the way there was only a 
bridle path for a road. The father led one 
horse with Thomas and his little sister clinging 
to the animal, while the mother with the babe 
in her arms brought up the rear on another 
horse. The brother came out to meet them with 
an ox team and the party finally arrived at their 
destination at Barton, on the west bank of the 
Cuyahoga River, on May 4, 1800." 

Thomas Beard's grandfather had been a sol- 
dier in the Revolutionary war, and when the 
War of 1812 broke out, the war spirit in the 
blood of Jeddiah Beard began to stir, and he 
soon enlisted in his country's cause and left 
young Thomas to look after the family, which 
he did with great fidelity. When twenty-one 
years of age, Thomas Beard left home, as has 
been stated, to go farther west to find, if pos- 
sible, a better place for permanent settlement 
and better opportunities for young men. He 
passed through Ohio and the Indiana and Illi- 
nois territories, and finally landed at St. Louis, 
Mo., from which point he went over into Illinois 
to the town of Edwardsville, which had but 
recently been laid out and named after Gov. 
Ninian Edwards. There, after a hard spell of 
6ickness, he made the acquaintance of General 

McConnell, and the two took the trip to the 
future Beardstown, as heretofore stated. 


After the treaty of July 30, 1S19, with the 
Kickapoos, Pottawatomies and other tribes, by 
which the government secured the large country 
known as the Sangamon Country, national sur- 
veyors were put into the field, and soon had 
the townships, ranges, sections and other divi- 
sions marked out so that the settlers could 
definitely locate their lands after selecting them. 
Thomas Beard then became more than ever 
convinced of the wisdom of his choice in locat- 
ing on the east bank of the Illinois River, on 
public land, 120 miles above St. Louis. "My 
reason for choosing this location is on account 
of its being a valuable site for a town and 
ferry. The country is settling fast," is what 
Mr. Beard said of his choice. On June 5 of the 
same year he obtained a license from Schuyler 
County, which lay just across the river from 
Mound Village, for running a ferry, and estab- 
lished one, which was the first.across the Illinois 
River. In the meantime, one Enoch C. March 
had come to the settlement, and in September, 
1S26, he and Thomas Beard entered from the 
government the fractional northeast quarter of 
section 15, in township 18, north, range 12, 
west, containing 144.54 acres, and on October S 
of the same year they entered the fractional 
northeast quarter of same section, containing 
30.54 acres. On October 10, 1826, Thomas Beard 
entered the west half of the southwest quarter 
of section 15, the same township, and on Sep- 
tember 9, 1829, he and Enoch March laid out 
the original town of Beardstown. On February 
23, 1S30, Mr. Beard wrote home again, dating 
his letter as follows : 

"Beardstown, Morgan County, Illinois. 
"I am still keeping ferry and public house. 
A part of my land I laid out in town lots, which 
the people have given me the honor of calling 
by my name. The place is improving. There 
are three new stores and a very extensive steam 
mill, capable of manufacturing from fifty to 
seventy-five barrels per day. Also a saw mill 
and a distillery attached. I am now engaged 
in building a two-story and a half brick house, 
33x43. This building prevented my coming 
home last fall, as I intended. My iron constitu- 
tion still holds good, though exposed to every 



Mr. Beard had. but limited education, but was 
of a bright intellect and used every particle of 
knowledge obtained in his schooling to the very 
best advantage. He had been taught in early life 
by a private tutor, who prepared him to enter an 
academy, which he did later, studying history, 
mathematics and surveying, as well as the fun- 
damentals of a common school education. 
Added to this, his sound judgment and energy 
in promoting every undertaking, made him a 
forceful leader in those trying pioneer times 
in which he lived. He was a highly public- 
spirited man, and an earnest advocate of edu- 
cational matters. Mr. Beard and his friend, 
Francis Arenz, built the first schoolhouse, which 
was also used for public purposes and for 
religious worship. Mr. Beard was about six 
feet tall, straight as an Indian, and fully as 
muscular and active as one. He had blue eyes 
and light hair, and wore no beard except short 
side whiskers, which were of a slightly reddish 
cast. The portrait of him appearing in this 
volume is taken from an oil painting now hang- 
ing in the city hall of Beardstown, and is a 
very fair representation of that sturdy char- 
acter that gave to this county the full strength 
of his early manhood to redeem it from the 
wilderness and make it one of the most delight- 
ful and habitable spots on the globe. Even 
the iron constitution which he had could not, 
however, withstand a sudden and virulent at- 
tack of typhoid fever, which occurred in the fall 
of 1S40, and he succumbed to that dread disease 
after a very short illness. Pie is buried on the 
Thomas Beard farm, section 16, township IS, 
range 11, in Cass County. 

The fame of the Illinois River and Sangamo 
Country had spread to every part of the United 
States then settled, and many parts of Europe, 
and Beardstown was known as an excellent 
landing point which could lie easily reached by 
boats from St. Louis and Cincinnati, as well 
as other points along the Mississippi and Ohio 
rivers, where emigrants from the East or South 
might board them in their journey westward. 
Thus Beardstown first saw many of the early 
settlers who moved on farther east or into the 
centra] part of the state, as well as those who 
settled at Beardstown permanently, or in other 
portions of Cass County. Anion- those who 
came were: 

Seymour Kellogg, at whose home was horn 
the first white child in the territory forming 
Morgan, Cass and Scott counties; Martin L. 

Lindsley, Timothy Harris and John Chittrough, 
and a family named Eggleston. Archibald Job 
lauded at Beardstown, then moved on east and 
settled in Sylvan Grove in 1821. In that year, 
it is said on good authority that there were hut 
twenty families in all Morgan, Scott and Cass 
counties. Pteddick Horn, a Methodist preacher, 
settled in Beardstown in 1S23. He entered lands 
later near the Bluffs and finally became clerk 
of the Circuit court. The exact date of the 
arrival of each settler, or any considerable num- 
ber of them, is difficult to obtain ; we must look 
to public records and to conspicuous events 
from which to reckon. Many who came before 
the deep snow in 1830-31 may be named, and 
even then there may be a large number omitted. 
Between Beardstown and where Chandlerville 
now stands there were : Solomon Penny, John 
Wagoner, the Carrs, the Horroms, Jerry Bowen, 
a Mrs. Stewart, a widow, Shadrach Richard- 
son and Thomas Plasters, Sr. Then above 
Chandlerville were: Robert Beeper, William 
Meyers, Henry McHenry, Peter Dick, John Tay- 
lor, William Morgan, James Hickey, Amos 
Ogden and Isham Reavis. James MeAuley and 
Elijah Carner came in 1S32. In and about the 
vicinity of Arenzville were : Henry McKean, John 
McKean, Alexander Pitner, John Melone; Wil- 
liam McHenry, James Davis, George Bristow, 
Aquilla Low. J. A. Arenz, Richard Mathews, 
Charles Robertson, James Crum, Peter Hudson, 
Charles Wiggins, David Black, Alexander Huff- 
man, Benjamin Mathews. William Summers, 
Andrew Williams and Richard Graves. 

Near the center of the county, about where 
Virginia now stands, came Charles Brady, 
Captain Jacob Taple, Henry Hopkins. Elijah 
Garver, John DeWeber, Thomas Ilanby. John 
Dawsy, Samuel Way, William Weaver, Thomas 
Gatten, Halsey Smith. James Beadles, Matt 
Beadles, John Beadles, Silas Freeman and Little- 
berry Freeman. In the southern part of the 
county were: James Stephenson and his Ave sons, 
Wesley, .lames, William. Robert and August; 
Charles BeggS, Jacob and John Kpler. John 
lliller, Rev. John Biddlecome, Isaac Mitchell, 
John ('.. Peter and William Conover, James 
Davis. Isaac Bennett. Strother Ball and William 
Grove, settled in the southeast cornel' of <\is<. 
Farther out on the prairie, and near Panther 
Grove, were: Stephen Short and his four sons: 
Tilman Hornbuckle, Stephen Lee, Dr. Stockton. 
John Miller. James Thompson, Daniel Blair and 
Lev. William Crow. Along the cast side of the 



county extending northward were the homes of 
George and John Willson, William Daniels, 
Bartlet Conyers, John Lucas, John B. Witty and 
Robert Hawthorn. Dr. Charles Chandler and 
Marcus Chandler and another early comer 
named English, settled near the mouth of Pan- 
ther Creek, the present site of Chandlerville. 
From 1S*J2 on, the country rapidly filled up 
with settlers from all parts of the East and from 
foreign countries. Many came from Tennessee 
and from old Virginia, and quite a host from 
nearby Kentucky, which had furnished so many 
of the citizens of southern Illinois, and who had 
been aggressive in the matter of office holding, 
and had, in fact, up to that time, dominated 
almost every official act of the new state. They 
had modeled largely our first constitution upon 
that of Kentucky, but Kentucky sent us many 
excellent, highly capable men, fitted to cope with 
conditions in a new country, and a large number 
of them made their way up into Cass County. 
Quite a number came "farther west" from Ohio 
and Indiana. Also came a large delegation from 
the eastern states, and in a very few years eame 
the great immigration from Germany, England, 
Scotland and Ireland. Very few French came 
to Cass County, though many had settled in 
this state farther south, and a number of early 
French voyageurs had passed up and down the 
Illinois River. 

It was natural, of course, that each national- 
ity should settle in more or less close proximity, 
and thus we find the different settlements in 
this county which remain very marked to this 
late day. Around Beardstown and Arenzville 
came the Germans; the Scotch and English set- 
tled along the Sangamon bluffs, and back 
towards Virginia. Quite a number of Scotch 
and English families settled in township 18, 
north, range 10. west, and their descendants 
still occupy the lands entered by them soon 
after the county was organized. Most of the 
foreigners came to New Orleans and then up 
the Mississippi River to St. Louis, a few stop- 
ping at Shawneetown on the Ohio River and 
taking the trail across by land. It was in the 
picturesque and commodious "prairie ship," or 
"schooner," that most of the early settlers emi- 
grated from the older states. These schooners 
were thoroughly substantial, with solid running 
gear heavily ironed, four huge wheels with 
broad, well-tired felloes, and tongue so ar- 
ranged that either oxen or horses might be 
hitched. The high boards and curving side- 

boards were ribbed, barred and riveted, and 
great bows of hickory or young white oak were 
shaved out and bent over the bed of the big 
wagon, and over these were stretched the white 
canvas, with the loose curtains, which, flapping 
in the wind, gave the appearance in the dis- 
tance which explains the derivation of the 
name. Most of these vehicles were drawn by 
four horses, or ox teams, some of the small 
ones by one team of horses or oxen. An early 
writer, referring to this style of craft and 
means of travel, says : 

"The old 'Prairie Ship,' with its great white 
cover and flapping curtains, looking at a dis- 
tance on the prairie like a ship on the ocean, 
was the great original of the emigrant wagon 
of the West. This craft was of vast capacity. It 
contained ample bedding for a large family made 
up of all ages and both sexes. It held cooking 
utensils, provisions, ammunition, tubs and buck- 
ets, besides a family. The wagon box, or bed, 
was fitted with fiat, iron staples, about 18 inches 
apart along its sides, and in these were placed 
ashen hoops which bended over, from side to 
side of the wagon box. leaving a roomy space 
inside about five feet high and 20 or more feet 
long, which, wlien covered with canvas looped 
over at the ends, made a comfortable room, 
high and dry and safe from storms. Upon the 
sides of the wagon box were cleats to secure 
the crow-bar, axes, spades, mattocks, chisels and 
augers ; and underneath hung the kettles, tar 
bucket, water bucket and baskets. An extra log- 
chain was coiled around the coupling pole under 
the wagon for use in emergencies, which fre- 
quently occurred." 


There were but few roads and bridges at that 
time, and the prairies had to be crossed on 
Indian trails, the rivers forded where there 
were no ferries, and creeks and brooks, where 
the banks were steep, were still more difficult to 
cross. In such cases, sometimes bridges were 
improvised, or a tree felled across the stream, 
the limbs being removed. The wagon was then 
taken apart, and each piece and article of 
freight carried by hand across over the fallen 
tree and set up on the other side, and the wagon 
reloaded. Sometimes the one man of the party 
would do all this alone. Generally, however, 
for convenience, those movers traveled in com- 
panies or caravans, and in that case each man 



would assist the other, and thus make the 
journey more pleasant, safe and expeditious. It 
was a common sight in those days to see such 
a caravan, the white canvas tops of the prairie 
schooners looking in the distance like a fleet 
under sail. These emigrants usually drove 
along with them a few head of cattle, or led 
some brood mares, so that in the new country 
they would be prepared to raise cattle and 
horses. Frequently there were also to be seen, 
attached to the outside of the wagon, coops 
with a few fowls for the purpose of raising 
chickens in the new settlement. The movers 
on their long journey found many pleasant in- 
cidents to relieve them of monotony. They had 
the bracing open air in which to sleep, the cheer- 
ful songs of the birds to awaken them from 
their refreshing slumbers, the ever changing, 
entrancing scenery to gladden their eyes ; green 
hills and verdant valleys traversed by spark- 
ling streams of fresh, pure water, broad rolling 
prairies, with myriads of beautiful wild flowers 
filling the air with their sweet odors, and bor- 
dered by magnificent timber, where under some 
spreading oak they pitched their camps for 
the night. 


Yet they endured hardships that the present 
generation cannot imagine. They encountered 
terrific storm's, deluges of heavy rain that soaked 
the earth and swelled the streams so that they 
were often delayed for days until they could 
proceed. Then there were the moments, hours, 
aye, days, of depression ; the longing for a sight 
of the friends and relatives and the old familiar 
scenes they had left behind. A feeling of home- 
sickness, that disease which no physician, how- 
ever skillful, can diagnose or cure, woud over- 
power them. It was not alone the women, but 
also the men, who were subject to these soul- 
racking and body-weakening attacks, but the 
men, not being of so fine a mental organism, and 
being stronger physically, and sustained by 
their responsibilities, could throw off more 
readily or repress their feelings in the presence 
of others. The days of such methods of travel 
are over and gone with the prairie schooner 
and the ox-team, and are but a dim vision in the 
mystic halls of memory. No more slow windings 
of slow ox-teams over the mountain steeps and 
the trackless prairies; no more stopping on the 
rise of the hill to take one last, fond, lingering 

look over the old familiar valleys at the old 
homestead never to be seen again. 


Having reached their destination and selected 
the tract of land that appealed to their fancy 
and suited them best, the pioneers staked it out 
and soon thereafter rode off to the government 
land office to make an entry under the law. 
Then they began in earnest the building of a 
new home in this vast, boundless region of the 
West. The first thing was the erection of the 
cabin. Early settlers invariably selected land 
with a goodly portion of timber growing upon 
it. Choosing tall, straight trees, their experi- 
ences in their old habitations had taught them 
were suitable for their purpose, they cut them 
in proper lengths and sometimes hewed them 
on both sides, then notched them at the ends 
so they would fit close together when laid up. 
What cracks were left were filled with slabs 
and clay mixed with straw if they had any, and 
if not, with dried grass or similar substitutes, 
in order to keep the clay together. Rafters 
were cut and put in place, then came the cover- 
ing, and it was with no little skill that the 
pioneers prepared the roofing for their houses. 
A fair-sized, straight-grained black oak would 
be selected and felled, the experienced eye be- 
ing able to recognize the right kind of a tree 
before cutting into it. Blocks were then cut 
of the required length and shaped until they 
were of the proper width. Holes were bored 
into another standing tree, and pegs driven in 
and cross bars at the proper height to support 
the prepared blocks, so that one doing the work 
of riving could stand in a comfortable posi- 
tion. Blocks were placed on the supports and 
the frow was taken up. Perhaps the reader has 
never seen a frow. It was made from a bar of 
steel about fourteen inches long and two and 
one-half inches wide. At the back the bar 
was from one-half to three-quarters inch thick, 
and ran to a point at the forward end. The 
front edge was shaped and ground only fairly 
sharp, just sufficient for it to enter the wood 
when struck a blow from a wooden mallet. The 
other end of the blade bad an opening welded 
around for the handle, which was nothing more 
than a smooth, round stick, large enough for 
a firm handhold, and perhaps two feet long. 
This handle was placed in the loop formed in 
the end of the blade and extended at right 



angles from the hack. Grasping the handle in 
the left hand, and placing the blade against 
the board block at the right distance from the 
top side of the block so as to form a board 
of the required thickness, ;i blow was struck 
with tile wooden mallet held in the right hand, 
which drove the blade into the wood square 
across the block, then a pull downward on tne 
handle like a lever, and the hoard was split 
off the full length of the block. These boards 
were called clapboards, or sometimes weather 
boards, from the manner in which they were 
laid over each other at the end so as to exclude 
the rain or snow. It was extremely interesting 
and sometimes astonishing to watch an expert 
board-maker with his frow and mallet, and to 
note how rapidly and skillfully he would resolve 
a large block of wood iuto nice, smooth boards 
of even thickness. After a number of boards 
were made, they were piled up crossed alter- 
nately three or four feet high, and left to dry 
out. When utilized for roofing, the most gen- 
eral use to which they were put, they were, in 
the very early days, placed in rows, beginning 
at the lower or eaves edge of the roof, and 
after the second layer was on, the ends lapping 
well over the first row, a pole was laid length- 
wise and pegged down at the ends. Thus the 
builders continued until the top of the roof was 
reached. In later years when nails were ob- 
tainable, the boards were laid on as ordinary 
shingles are now laid, but they had to be nailed 
before they were thoroughly seasoned, for when 
one of these old-fashioned oak clapboards did 
get hard, a bullet from one of the pioneer 
squirrel rifles would hardly pierce it. There 
was a use, however, made of these boards which 
the younger generation of pioneers will always 
remember. Some of the boards would get split, 
leaving a slat two feet long and from two to 
three inches wide. It was the rod of disci- 
pline, under which we all had to pass. The 
biblical quotation is never heard by the writer 
but that, in vivid imagination, he sees Solomon 
bending over a pile of split clapboards selecting 
a piece that would be exceedingly pitiful for 
him to see spoil. 

Tb.3 floors were made of puncheons, which 

W' re nothing but boards split out of straight 

-. and if not made thin and smooth enough 

he splitting process, they were hewed with 

>t adze. The doors were made of split 

■ ar' 1 hung with wooden hinges, and fast- 

ooden latches. Sometimes a large 

liar of wood was prepared and kept in readiness 
so that in times of danger the doors could be 
made more secure therewith. The cabins usu- 
ally had but one room and a loft overhead. A 
smaller room was sometimes added, and was a 
great convenience for storing provender and 
utensils out of the weather. As there were no 
stoves in the earlier days, it was of course 
necessary to have a fireplace. This was made 
by cutting an opening in one end of the house 
and building up three sides with small logs, as 
in building the cabin, daubing the walls with 
clay on the inside. This primitive chimney 
was continued on up to the roof, where it was 
topped out like building a rail pen. After 
passing the opening in the side of the house, 
the chimney was drawn in and continued 
smaller to the top. A slow fire was made and 
kept up until the clay lining was as hard as 
a brick. Such a chimney would stand a hot, 
strong fire for years. The opening for the fire 
wood was made very large, and would take in 
a back log 4 or 5 feet long, and from 18 inches 
to 2 feet thick. These logs were frequently 
dragged into the house by a horse, and then 
rolled into place with big, wooden hand spikes. 
The big andirons, often called dogirons, were 
brought from the old home by the mover, and 
were placed in front of the back log, on which 
was laid the fore stick. The hickory bark and 
other dry pieces of wood were placed between 
until a great heap was had, and the fire when 
lighted was soon roaring up the huge chimney 

The cooking was clone before the fireplace. 
Pots and kettles were hung on cranes, and bak- 
ing was done in ovens of iron, which were big 
skillets with legs, with a covering of iron made 
to fit them closely. Coals were drawn out on 
the hearth, the oven was set on them, and more 
live coals were heaped around. Splendid corn 
pones were thus baked, and when wheat was 
grown, even large loaves of bread were also 
baked in the same way. There was also an- 
other kind of pone baked, called a corn dodger. 
This was made by forming the dough into large 
rolls, which were patted round, by hand, and 
then covered with clean wood ashes and laid in 
the hot ashes and coals, where they soon were 
excellently cooked, and were considered as 
among the best breads provided for the hungry 

Around the big, glowing fire, which lit every 
sagging beam and corner of the great room. 

(W/^a^v cM, SSa^AZ 




gathered on a winter fright the true family 

"Between the andirons' straddling feet 
The mug of cider simmered slow, 
The apples sputtered in a row, 
And close at hand the basket stood, 
With nuts from brown October's wood." 

After the cabin was built the family removed 
from the wagon which had been their home 
for so many months, a shelter was provided for 
the beasts ; fences were erected, and an effort 
made to get in a crop, and then civilization 
could be considered to be on an upward grade. 
After 1S32 came many settlers of all kinds and 
characters, of both a high and low degree of 
intelligence. Some came to linger awhile and 
then pass on, bringing nothing with them, and 
taking nothing away. Others came with a defi- 
nite purpose and determination to better their 
condition, and as a necessity and natural eon- 
sequence of their indefatigable efforts, steady 
labors and upright course of conduct, this once 
wild country soon became the happy home of 
a noble, industrious and thriving people. 


Many of those who came before 1S30 entered 
land, thus indicating they intended to make 
their permanent homes here. A list of the 
entries are given here that may include some 
names that have been omitted in the list of 
early settlers given previously, with township 
and range. 

In township 17, north, range S, are: James B. 
Watson, William Cooper, Stephen Short, Wil- 
liam Crow, Eli Cox, Robert Johnson, George W. 
Wilson, William T. Hamilton. In 17-9 are: 
Burton Litton, Page A. Williams, Morris Davis, 
Josiah Sims, Robert Fitzhugh, Jesse Gum, 
Thomas Atkins, John Vance, James Welsh, 
Richard Jones. James Fletcher, Andrew Beard, 
John Bridges. John Creel. Joseph McDonald. 
Cersham Jayne, James McDonald, Anthony M. 
Thomas. Alexander Beard, John Robertson, 
Felix French, Richard A. Fane. John McDonald. 
John Hughes, Susanna Walker, Solomon Red- 
man, Henry Kitner. Martin Hardin, Josiah 
i-i inn, David Manchester, William Miller, 
Strother Ball, Samuel Montgomery; in 17-10: 
William Chambers, John C. Conover, Susanna 
Pratt, David Black, James Marshall, Jacob 

Ward, William Porter, Jacob Lawrence, 
Carrolton B. Gatton, Thomas Gatton, Archibald 
Job, Peter Conover, William Conover, Abner 
Tinnen, Nathan Compton, Joseph T. Leonard, 
Bazaleel Gilett, William H. Johnson, William 
Breeden, Peter Taylor, John Ream, Samuel 
Way, Archer Herndon, Evin Martin, James Stur- 
gis, Jonathan Atherton, Jacob Yaple, Alexander 
D. Cox, Henry Madison, James Marshall, Jesse 
Alard, Isaac Mitchell, Thomas Redman, George 
Tureman, Edward Fuller, Levi Springer, Wil- 
liam M. Clark, George Freeman, Thomas Payne, 
Lucian Bryant, William Lamme, Silas Freeman, 
Isaiah Paschal, Littleberry Freeman; in 17-11: 
Thomas Wiggins, George F. Miller, Henry 
McKean, Daniel T. Mathews, John McKean, 
Daniel Richards, John Cuppy, Patrick Mullen, 
Shadrick Scott, Benjamin Mathews, Samuel 
Grosong, William S. Hauby, James Orchard, 
Oswell Thompson, Joseph C. Christy, Jos. L. 
Kirkpatrick, Frederick Trozel, Peter Karges, 
David Black, James Smart, John R. Sparks, 
Aquilla Low, Abraham Gish. Charles Robertson, 
James H. Richards, Peter Taylor, Martin Rob- 
ertson, Jonah Case. Daniel R. Schaffer, Thomas 
Clark, David B. Carter, James Davis, Andrew 
Williams, Alexander Huffman, William Sum- 
mers, L. L. Case, John Savage, Dennis Rock- 
well, Augustus Barbor, Joseph P. Creshwait, 
Alexander Titner, John Thompson; in 17-12: 
Freeman Skinner, Kimball & Knapp, Asa C. 
New ; in 18-8 : Samuel Reid, Robert Elkins, 
Ralph Elkins, Henry Williams, Eaton Nance, 
John Lucas. Susan Washburne, David Williams, 
Joel Ragsdale, William Holmes, John Lee, 
Robert Nance, Joseph Lee, James Fletcher. 

There does not appear from the land entry 
record to have been any of the lands of 18-9 
entered before 1832, but as a number of sub- 
stantial citizens came in shortly after, and 
entered those lands, a list is given of those 
entering lands in 1S-9 : Charles Chandler. Oba- 
diah Morgan, Mary C. Chandler, Henry C. 
Ingals, Marcus Chandler. Ainbros Conkey, 
Marcus Hicks, Reddick Horn. William J. Blair. 
Richard McDonald, Henry Dick, Thomas Combs. 
John D. Pasehall. Coleman Cainos. Nicholas 
Kelley, Jeremiah Davis, Levi Dick. William 
McAuley, Thomas May, Cyrus Elmore. Azariah 
Lewis. John Fanschier. Dwight S. Many. 
Nathal C. Marcy. Joseph McDonald. Cyrus 
Wright, Carey Nance. Roberl Nance. James 
Fletcher. Joshua Nance. Nathan Coffin, John 
Grigg, Alfred Dutch. John Dutch. James D. 



Mathews, Abraham G. Gaines, Solomon Bales, 
Charles Throop, William C. Stribling, George 
Beggs, Elias Mathews, Charles Beggs, Stephen 
Lee, William Holmes, William Davis, George 
Cunningham, Andrew Cunningham, George W. 
Phelps, Nathan Robertson, John Lee, Joseph 
Lee, Francis Robinson, William Carver, Elias 
Mathews, Elisha Evans, Elijah Carver, William 
H. Windoin, Thomas Boicourt, Andrew Hower- 
ton; in 1S-10: William Meyers, Thomas Gatton, 
James Mason, Nathan Compton, Peter Carr, 
John Robertson, Susan Washburn, Henry 
Traughber, William McCord, Robert Alexander, 
Ralph Morgan, John Biddleeome, Zadoc W. 
Flynn, William Carr, William Sturgis, Shadraeh 
Richardson, Robert H. Ivens, Josiah Rees, 
Joseph Baker, Thomas Plasters, William Sewell, 
John E. Scott, John DeWeber, A. S. West, John 
Ray, Joshua Crow, Benjamin Stribling, John 
G. Bergen, Phineas Underwood, Henry Madison ; 
in 1S-11 : Henry Summers, Richard Gaines, 
John S. Warfield, Robert Farrell, John Farrell, 
Temperance Baker, William W. Babb, Eldred 
Renshaw, Samuel B. Crewdson, Solomon Penny, 
Benjamin Carr, Amos Hager, Reddick Horn, 
Elisha Carver, John Wagoner, James Scott ; in 
18-12: Thomas Beard, Enoch C. March, John 
Knight ; in 19-8 : Isham Reavis, Robert Taylor, 
William P. Morgan ; in 19-9 : David McGinnis, 
Stephen Handy, Thomas Plasters, William Linn, 
Wilson Runyon, William D. Leeper, William 
Meyers, John Taylor, Elias Rogers, Jesse Arm- 

There were, of course, many who came about 
that time and settled in the towns, purchasing 
lots as they were laid out, and erected homes 
and business buildings, whose names either 
have appeared or will appear in other parts of 
this history, in connection with the narrative 
of progress of this county. Francis A. Arenz 
had come from Germany, along with others, at 
about the time of organization of the county, 
and a large settlement was effected near the 
present site of Arenzville, and in and around 
Beardstown. Early settlements were made at 
Monroe, at Panther Creek and Sylvan Grove, 
also at Lancaster, east of Philadelphia. Quite 
a large settlement formed at Princeton in the 
southeast part of the county, and in 1836 Dr. 
Henry Hall entered a large scope of land in 
township 17, range 10, and laid out the town 
of Virginia. 

Freed from the annoyance and dangers from 
savage tribes that had been subdued and driven 

out of the county, the settlers went to work, 
after the Black Hawk war, with renewed energy 
to accomplish the next necessary subjugation of 
the soil. Until the time of the deep snow, 
cotton was grown to a considerable extent, but 
after that severe winter, cotton crops were a 
failure. Sheep had been brought into the 
community, and when flocks could be protected 
against the encroachments of the wolves and 
other beasts of prey, the wool was shorn from 
the sheep and carded by hand. It was then 
spun into cloth and made into clothing. The 
hand looms and spinning wheels usually formed 
a part of the household paraphernalia. The 
women usually dressed in linsey-woolsey, of 
their own weaving, and the men in jeans, the 
cloth being colored either blue or with a dye 
made from walnut bark, which produced a color 
known as butternut. The skill of the people 
produced, from whatever materials lay at hand, 
that which was necessary for their comfort, and 
they were indeed fairly comfortable under all 
circumstances, except during the occasional 
severe cold spells, when, 

"A chill no coat, however stout, 
Of homespun stuff could quite keep out." 

It was indeed necessary that the people sup- 
ply their own wants as far as possible, and they 
early learned to do so. The opportunities for 
purchase were rare. Prior to 1S34 there was 
not a single merchant north of the Mauvisterre 
outside of Beardstown, unless possibly the small 
store at Princeton was then opened, but from 
1S30 on it was not necessary for the settlers in 
Cass County to go far to mill. In that year a 
steam mill, of large capacity for those times, 
was established and continued for many years 
at Beardstown, besides a few good grist mills 
on streams which had been dammed to furnish 
water power. The Beardstown Chronicle, a 
newspaper published at Beardstown by Francis 
A. Arenz, under the management of John B. 
Fulks, in the issue dated March 1, 1834, says : 

"Since the opening of the river, there have 
been shipped from this place 1.502 barrels of 
flour and 100 barrels of pork. Ready for ship- 
ment at the warehouse at this time are 581 
barrels of flour, 400 barrels of pork, and 150 
kegs of lard. Two steam flouring mills and one 
steam saw mill are now in operation. A large 
brewery and distillery are being built, with a 
grist mill." 



A few sehoolhouses had been built and were 
used as places of public worship. Itinerant 
school teachers came along and were employed 
to instruct the children in the rudiments ; the 
pay of these teachers was raised by subscrip- 
tion, and the school term ended when the sub- 
scriptions ran out. There was preaching at the 
homes of the settlers, those having the larger 
houses opening them to the preachers and all 
who would come were welcome. There were 
also at certain times of the year camp meetings 
held in the groves where suitable conveniences 
were obtainable. Altogether, the people of those 
early days managed remarkably well and en- 
joyed life, despite the fact that they lacked 
anything approaching present day luxuries or 
even conveniences. The lives of the old set- 
tlers of Cass County and their environments 
were very similar to those in all of Illinois at 
that period, which have been so often depicted 
by writers of early days, and by all historians 
of the state, so it is hardly deemed worth while 
to extend these remarks upon this subject. It 
will suffice to close this chapter with a beauti- 
ful poem by one of Cass County's former citi- 
zens, now deceased, Hon. William H. Thacker. 
He was born July 15, 1S36, at Goshen, Ohio, the 
fourth child of Stephen and Esther (McKinney) 
Thacker. Brought to Illinois by his parents In 
1S39, he lived near the Des Plaines River, west 
of Chicago, then a frontier wilderness. He 
acquired an education at subscription schools 
and at Lake Zurich Academy. Migrating to 
Mason County, 111., he taught school until 
1S62, when he enlisted for service during the 
Civil war, in the Seventy-first Illinois Volunteer 
Infantry, and re-enlisted, serving until the close 
of hostilities. In 1870 he came to Virginia, Cass 
County, where he completed his study of the law 
and was admitted to the bar in lssi"). lie re- 
moved to the state of Washington, in April, 
1890, and there continued the practice of law, 
for three terms representing San Juan County 
in the state legislature, and also served a term 
as Probate judge. On April 1, 1914, this emi- 
nent man died at his home in Arlington, Wash. 
He was a highly respected citizen in every 
community in which he Lived, was a man of 
noble impulses, and was possessed of marked 
literary genius, which the following poem clearly 


The tide of time is backward rolled, 

And scenes long passed I view once more ; 
The woodlands and the virgin fields 

Are round me as of yore. 
The meadow lark and bobolink 

Pour forth their love notes rich and rare, 
And from a hundred little throats 

A shower of music fills the air. 
I hear the bob-white call his mate ; 

The pheasant's drum at early morn, 
At night the cry of whip-poor-will 

Tells that it's time to plant the corn. 
From thickets come the deer to feed, 

At sunset and at morning's light, 
The prowling wolves in search of prey, 

With fearsome music fill the night. 
The settlers' cabins here and there. 

With clapboard roof and puncheon floor ; 
The pots are boiling on the fire, 

The shortcake on the coals before. 
The home-made loom against the wall, 

Where back and forth the shuttle flies, 
And show the linsey-woolsey grows, 

And patient skill the weaver plies. 
Above the door on wooden hooks 

Convenient hangs the old smooth bore ; 
A trusty flint-lock, charged and primed, 

And good at forty rods and more. 
Here's grandma's rocking chair that's made 

Of hickory withes, bent so and so ; 
A fawn skin stretched from side to side, 

Supplies the cushion seat below. 
This lin-wood trough on rockers fixed, 

In royal style the baby bore ; 
And to and fro the lullaby. 

It timed upon the puncheon floor. 
The spinning wheel and fluffy rolls 

The maiden spins in endless threads, 
As back and forth the wheel she twirls. 

And gaily sings and lightly treads. 
Dressed in her linsey-woolsey frock 

On Sunday eve. her cheeks aglow. 
And wild flowers in her braided hair, 

Miranda waits her expected beau. 
The old well sweep and watering trough; 

The grape vine swing beneath the oak — - 
The trysting place where lovers say 

The sweetest words were ever spoke. 
Across the bleak and frozen waste 

I hear the howling blizzards roar: 
The drifting snow the window hides, 

And heats against the cabin door. 



Fresh logs are piled upon the hearth, 

The crackling flames drive back the cold; 
The huddling children half afraid, 

The mother's sheltering anus enfold. 
Again the fierce prairie fire 

Sweeps on in demoniac wrath — 
A seething, roaring wall of flame, 

Leaving destruction in its path. 
I see the settlers helpless stand, 

(The women white-faced bowed in tears) 
Gazing in silent grief upon 

The ruins of the work of years. 
But from the depth of their despair, 

A glorious courage seems to spring, 
That gives them strength to build anew, 

And hope for what the days may bring. 
Theirs were the hearts to do and dare. 

And loyal in the hour of need ; 
No matter whether rich or poor, 

They questioned not of faith or creed. 
Their generous hearts and helpful hands 

Poured out their Christian love like wine ; 
And towering church and brazen bells 

Could make their work no more divine. 
Today across the gulf of years. 

In retrospect, I see them all : 
Those scenes of early frontier days, 

Whose pictures hang in memory's hall. 
That hardy band of brain and brawn, 

They huilded better than they knew — 
They lived the pure and simple life ; 

From nature, inspiration drew. 
They heard the call from out the West, 

And westward on their course they led. 
They bridged the stream and blazed the trails, 

The feet of empire soon should tread. 
The common luxuries of life 

To them indeed were things unknown, 
And where they delved and sweat and toiled, 

The palace homes of wealth have grown. 
No truer lives were ever lived. 

In honest toil their years were spent; 
And though they sleep in unknown graves, 

The country round's their monument. 

















County organization has been a favorite sub- 
division of a state or territory among the more 
civilized nations dating back many years, it 
having been found to be a convenient and effect- 
ive method of granting the people, under what- 
soever form of government existing, that cer- 
tain measure of home rule, or self-government, 
so much prized by human beings. All of the 
various states of the Union have county sub- 
divisions, except South Carolina, which has 
districts, and Louisiana, which has parishes. 
Both district and parish, however, correspond 
to the counties in other states. 

The second county in Illinois was named 
Knox, but no digression will be made to speak 
further of it, as the only purpose of mentioning 
these early counties is to trace and note the 
changes in the area, boundaries and organiza- 
tion of the Northwest Territory, and the sub- 
sequent territories and state formed from it 
of which the present Cass County was at any 
time a part. Observing the boundaries of St. 
Clair County, as heretofore given, the reader 
will at once see that Cass County was a portion 
of the northern part of St. Clair County as first 
established, and if we are looking for historical 
distinction it will be further noted that Cass 
County was thus a part of the first county in the 
territory later converted into the state of 

£h 9 M,£-afrt/J„w, *£&„ 






In 1S00 the Northwest Territory was by Act 
of Congress divided into two districts. The 
western district was named Indiana, but in- 
cluded all the present Illinois. William Henry 
Harrison, afterwards president of the United 
States, became the territorial governor. Under 
the law at that time counties were established 
by proclamation of the territorial governor. 
Acting under that authority, Governor Harrison 
issued a proclamation February 3, 1S01, by 
which he changed the county lines of St. Clair 
County and made it a county of the territory 
of Indiana and gave to it all of Illinois, but 
a small portion in the southern end lying south 
of a line running east and west about a mile 
and a half south of the present south line of 
St. Clair County, and extending east until it 
intersected a line drawn directly north from 
the "Great Cave," on the Ohio. Two years 
later this line was changed to run from a point 
on the Mississippi River four miles farther 
south, northeast to intersect the same north 
and south line before mentioned. The portion 
north of that east and west line retained the 
name of St. Clair, and to the part south of 
the line was given the name of Randolph County. 


These boundary lines remained unchanged un- 
til the organization of Illinois Territory, 
February 3, 1S09. Nathaniel Pope, the first 
secretary of the new territory and acting gov- 
ernor, by proclamation on April 28, 1809, con- 
tinued the counties of St. Clair and Randolph 
without change of boundaries or area except to 
extend the eastern boundary of each county to 
the eastern Illinois boundary line, which bound- 
ary lines are the present eastern boundary lines 
of the state of Illinois. 


No further changes were made affecting the 
territory in which Cass County was situated 
until L812, when Ninian Edwards, who, by 
appointment, had become the first territorial 
governor of Illinois, by a proclamation dated 
September 14, 1812, created three new counties, 
one of which lie named .Madison, which com- 
prised all the territory of Illinois north of a 
line running east to the Wabash River along 
the northern line of the present St. ('lair County, 
and winch line the proclamation said should he 

the second township line above Cahokia. Thus 
Cass County, after being a part of St. Clair 
County for twenty-two years, now became a part 
of Madison County, whose seat of justice was 
by Governor Edwards' same proclamation 
located at the house of Thomas Kirkpatrick. 
This house was on the site of the present city 
of Edwardsville, in Madison County. As at that 
time there was not a white person, so far as 
known, in the part of Madison County now 
comprising Cass County, and as the inhabitants 
thereof were all Indians, subject to and gov- 
erned by their tribal relations, it made little 
or no difference to them where or how far away 
was the seat of justice. Mauy changes were 
subsequently made in the area and boundaries 
of Madison County, but it continuously retained 
the future Cass County within its borders until 


In the meantime Illinois territory had, by an 
Act of Congress passed December 3, ISIS, been 
admitted to the Union as a state, with all the 
powers and privileges of the original thirteen. 
Its officers, legislature and high court had al- 
ready exhausted the pleasures and pastimes 
of a sojourn in Kaskaskia, as the first territorial 
capital, and had removed the seat of govern- 
ment to Yandalia. Judge Sidney Breese, who 
was at the time of the removal of the capital 
the chief clerk in the office of the secretary of 
state, says, in writing of the subject in later 
years, that it cost twenty-five dollars to move 
the archives from Kaskaskia. in a small wagon, 
and that it was necessary to cut a road part 
of the way through brush. 

As the General Assembly in session there was 
being rapidly submerged with petitions and 
bills, by ambitious legislators, representing 
equally ambitious constituents in various parts 
of the northern end of the state, accelerated 
Largely by the extinguishment of Indian titles, 
it became necessary that county government 
should he immediately established, and new 

COUnty seats erected more accessible to the peo- 
ple. Again there was the alluring prospect of 
Official position. The more counties there were. 

the more offices there would he t<> till. Always. 
in every Ideality, is to he found an ahumlant 
force of citizens with sufficient patriotism to 
offer themselves as a sacrifice on that particular 
altar of their country. Yielding to this urgent 



demand, the legislature of 1821 established seven 
new counties, one of them being Sangamon 
County, with the following boundaries: 

"From the northwest corner of town 12, 
range 1 west of the third principal meridian, 
north with that meridian to the Illinois River; 
thence down the middle of the river to the mouth 
of Ballauce or Negro Creek ; up said creek to its 
head ; thence through the middle of the prairie 
dividing the waters of the Sangamon and the 
Mauvais Terre to the northwest corner of town 
12 north, range 7 west of the third principal 
meridian ; thence east along the north line of 
town 12 toi place of beginning." The Ballauce 
or Negro Creek, mentioned in the above descrip- 
tion to the boundary lines, is Indian Creek, in 
the southwest part of Cass County. It is there- 
fore seen that a small portion of Cass County 
omitted from Sangamon, was that part that 
now lies between the Indian Creek mentioned 
and the north line of Morgan County. 

The restive, active petitioners and legislators 
would not permit the county boundary lines to 
remain long enough in one place to become 
known to the local inhabitants or to become a 
cause of territorial disputes. Two years later, 
to the exact day, January 31, 1823, Morgan 
County was created, including the present coun- 
ties of Morgan, Scott and Cass. The boundary 
lines of the new county were as follows : 

"From the northwest corner of Greene County, 
east to the range line between 7 & 8, west of the 
third principal meridian ; thence northerly along 
the middle of the 'prairie dividing the waters of 
the Sangamon from the Mauvais Terre, Apple 
and Indian creeks, to the middle of Range 8; 
thence north to the main channel of the Sanga- 
mon ; thence down to the middle of the main 
channel of the Illinois ; thence down the Illinois 
to the place of beginning." The northern part 
of the boundary lines above given is the present 
boundary of Cass County, as will be noted in 
the official boundary liues of the county. Some 
mention is made in giving boundary lines of 
some of the counties established, of township 
and range lines. These occur ouly in county 
lines of late established counties, as there was 
no system in use of township and range in the 
earlier days. 


Boundary lines great and small, of nations, 
states, counties, and of lands of individuals, 

always have been a source of dispute and 
trouble, oftentimes resulting seriously. The 
difficulties arising were formerly due, princi- 
pally, to the system of describing lands by 
"Metes aud Bounds," in universal vogue in this 
country until about the close of the eighteenth 
century, and still perhaps is to some degree in 
use in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, 
Virginia and the New England states, and iu a 
few other of the older states. In making sur- 
veys under that system, it was of course neces- 
sary to start at a given landmark and follow 
the proposed line according to the magnetic 
bearings of the compass needle, or the course of 
a stream ; or perhaps some ancient footpath or 
highway. This plan could but result in endless 
confusion and litigation, as landmarks decay 
or change ; and it is a well known fact that tne 
compass needle varies and does not always point 
due north. In order to avoid further confusion 
in the government survey of land, Congress, by 
an act adopted May 7, 1785, provided for the 
use of the "Rectangular System." 


All land measurements under this system are 
made from two principal lines, at right angles 
to each other, a north and south line called a 
principal meridian, and an east and west line 
called a base line. The principal meridians are 
accurately established and tested by astronom- 
ical observations, and each has its own base 
line. The intersection of these two lines is the 
starting point for governmental land measure- 
ments, and measuring each way from that point, 
at intervals of six miles, are drawn parallel 
lines to these principal lines. The space of 
territory extending north and south between 
the parallel meridians is called a range, and 
the space of territory extending east and west 
between the parallel lines is called a township. 
The squares formed by these lines crossing each 
other are the government townships. The town- 
ships are numbered from one consecutively 
north or south from the base line, and ranges 
are numbered from one consecutively east or 
west from the principal meridian, as far as 
these principal lines control. Had the legisla- 
ture in creating county lines given more atten- 
tion to this system of land measurements, and 
government survey, much confusion would have 
been avoided, and it would not have been called 
upon so often afterwards to correct or re- 



define boundary lines. It required a special 
act of the general assembly to make changes 
or define the lines, and an inspection of the 
session laws of the state from 1823 to 1S54 
show that no less than sixteen acts were passed 
re-defining county boundary lines, among them 
one for re-defining the boundary between Mor- 
gan and Sangamon counties, and providing for 
a survey. The northern part of the new sur- 
veyed line, from township 17, north, is the 
present eastern boundary line of Cass County. 


No further changes were made in area or 
boundary lines affecting the territory in which 
Cass was situated until 1837. The country had 
very rapidly settled up; Jacksonville was the 
county seat of Morgan County, and at that 
time was the most noted city in the state. Its 
people were entertaining high hopes that the 
state capital would be located there. The ques- 
tion of removal of the state capital was then 
being greatly agitated before the legislature. 
Four of Morgan County's representatives in the 
general assembly and the senator from this 
district lived at Jacksonville, as did also the 
governor of the state, Joseph L. Duncan. The 
Indian titles had all been quieted ; the last of 
the Indian uprisings in the state had been sub- 
dued, and the Indians were fast disappearing 
from the Sangamon country and Illinois. For 
the sake of the continuity of the abstract of 
title, as it were, of Cass County, further refer- 
ence to other historical matter will be deferred 
and the action upon matters affecting the pass- 
age of the Act of the General Assembly creating 
Cass County taken up. Petitions had been pre- 
sented to the assembly by interested persons 
asking for the formation of a new county to be 
taken from the northern part of Morgan County, 
being all that part north of the south line of 
township 17, but by some shuffling of bills pre- 
sented to the legislature and committed, a bill 
finally appeared from the committee room which 
provided for the new county to be called Cass. 
but instead of the dividing line between It and 
the remainder of Morgan County being the 
south line of the township, the line was made 
to run east and west in the center of the town- 
ship, thus making the territory of the new 
County three miles narrower north and south 
than was expected by the friends of the new 
county. The bill, however, became a law on 

March 3, 1837. The text of the Act is as 
follows : 

"An Act for the Formation of the County of 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the people of the 
State of Illinois, represented in the General As- 
sembly, That all that tract of country within the 
following boundaries to wit: Beginning at a 
point in the center of the main channel of the 
Illinois River, where a line running through the 
center of township seventeen north intersects the 
same, in range thirteen west of the third prin- 
cipal meridian, thence east with said line to 
the east side of Morgan county, from thence 
north to the center of the main channel of the 
Sangamon River, thence down said river to the 
center of the main channel of the Illinois River, 
thence down said river to the place of begin- 
ning, shall constitute a new county to be called 
the county of Cass. 

Sec. 2. The county aforesaid is created upon 
the following conditions : The people of the 
county of Morgan as the same is now organized, 
shall meet at the several places for holding 
elections for representatives and senators in 
said county, on the third Monday of April next, 
and proceed to vote in the same manner of 
voting for representatives and senators to the 
General Assembly, whether the said county shall 
be created or not. The judges of elections in 
said county shall give twenty days' notice of 
the time and place of holding said elections by 
posting notices thereof in six public places in 
the county, and on said day shall open a poll 
book at each election precinct, in which they 
shall rule two columns, in one of which they 
shall set down the number of votes given for 
the creation of said county, and in the other 
column the votes given against same, and said 
judges shall conduct said election, and make 
returns to the clerk of the county commissioners 
court of Morgan County, in the same manner 
as is now provided by law in the case of elec- 
tions for senators and representatives for the 
General Assembly, and said returns shall be 
opened and counted in the same manner as in 
SUCh elections, and if a majority of all votes 
given at said election shall be in favor of the 
creation of said county, a certificate shall be 
made by the clerk of said county commissioners 
Court, under the seal of said court, and trans- 
mitted by him to the office of the secretary of 
state, of the state of Illinois, to be tiled in his 



office as evidence of the existence of said county, 
which shall he entered of record at the next 
succeeding term of the said county commis- 
sioners court, and shall l>e sufficient to prove 
the facts therein stated, after which the said 
county shall he one of the counties of the state 
of Illinois. The clerk of the commissioners 
court of Morgan County shall cause a notice 
of said election to be published in all the news- 
papers published in the county of Morgan. 

Sec. 3. If said county shall he created as 
aforesaid, the legal voters of said county shall 
meet on the first Monday of May next, at the 
several places of holding elections in said new 
county, and vote for the place where the county 
seat of said county shall be located, and the 
place receiving the greatest number of votes 
shall lie the permanent seat of justice of said 
county, and on the first Monday of August next 
said county shall proceed to elect all county 
officers for said county, to be commissioned and 
qualified as in other cases. 

Sec. 4. The owner or owners of the land 
where said county seat shall be located, shall 
donate and convey to said county of Cass, at 
least fifteen acres of land at the place where 
said seat shall be located, which may be dis- 
posed of in the manner the county commission- 
ers court of said county shall deem proper, the 
proceeds whereof shall be applied to the erec- 
tion of the courthouse and jail, and clerk's 
office of said county, but if the county seat 
aforesaid shall be located at Beardstown in 
said county, the corporation of said town shall, 
Avithin one year from the said location, pay into 
the county treasury of said county, not less 
than ten thousand dollars to be applied in the 
erection of said public buildings. 

Sec. 5. Said county shall vote with the 
county of Morgan for senators and representa- 
tives until the next apportionment, and said 
county shall make a part of tbe first judicial cir- 
cuit, and so soon as said county shall lie organ- 
ized, the clerk of the county commissioners 
court of said county shall notify the judge of 
said circuit, and it shall be his duty to appoint 
a clerk and hold a court in said county at such 
times as said judge shall appoint. The seat of 
justice of said judge shall be located at Beards- 
town until the public buildings are erected. But 
if the county seat shall be located at Beards- 
town, and said corporation shall not pay to the 
treasurer of said county, said ten thousand dol- 
lai-s for the purpose of erecting said public 

buildings within one year after the location 
of said county seat, then the county commis- 
sioners court of said 'county shall locate the 
county seat at some other point near the center 
of said county, when the quantity of land men- 
tioned in the fourth section of this act shall be 
denoted as therein provided. 

Sec. 0. The school funds belonging to the 
several townships in said county, and all notes 
and mortgages pertaining to the same, shall be 
paid and delivered over to the school commis- 
sioners of said Cass County by the school com- 
missioners of the county of Morgan, as soon as 
the said county shall lie organized, and the 
commissioners of school lands shall be appointed 
and qualified according to law, together with all 
interest arising out of said money, that has not 
been heretofore expended for schools within 
that part of Morgan County now proposed to be 
set off into the county of Cass. This act shall 
take effect according to the conditions thereof 
from and after its passage. 

Sec. 7. In case said county of Cass shall be 
created under the provisions of this act, then 
until the next apportionment of senators and 
representatives to the General Assembly, the 
said county shall be entitled to one representa- 
tive to the General Assembly, and shall at the 
next election vote with the county of Morgan 
for one senator, also at every succeeding elec- 
tion for said senator, and the county of Morgan 
shall be entitled to five representatives and two 
senators. Approved March 3rd, 1837."' 

Pursuant to the law enacted by the legisla- 
ture of 1S37, and set out in the above quoted 
Act, an election was held on the third Monday 
of April, 1837, to determine by the votes 
whether the new county of Cass should be cre- 
ated or not. Governor Joseph L. Duncan, who 
signed the bill after it passed both houses of 
the assembly, lived at Jacksonville, in Morgan, 
from which was to be taken, if the voters so 
directed, a very large and valuable tract of 
land. It is wondered how the bill for the new 
county ever got out of the committee or passed 
either house against the well known influence 
the members from Morgan possessed. As there 
was. some prospect, at least, of the location at 
Jacksonville of the state capital, it would seem 
reasonable that all interests of Jacksonville and 
Morgan County, would be directed in the di- 
rection of retaining as much territory as pos- 
sible, and as many voters who, presumably 


*S3W <&&■„ 





would have local pride sufficient to cause them 
to vote for the locating of the seat of state 
government in their own county. 

The legislature had, at the session of 1833, 
passed an act providing that when the limit of 
twenty years expired, during which time the 
capital should remain at Vandalia, the people 
should vote for the state capital to be at one 
of the following places : 

"The geographical center of the state. Jack- 
sonville, Springfield, Alton, Vandalia or Peoria." 
The one receiving the highest number of votes 
should be the permanent seat of government, 
but it seems that the politicians knew that the 
legislature would ignore that law or repeal it, 
and gave little attention to the voters. There 
was much dissatisfaction on the part of the 
voters living in the northern part of Morgan on 
account of the fact that the strip three miles 
wide on the south had been left within the 
boundaries of Morgan County. This strip 
contained about eighty square miles, most of it 
excellent prairie, and while if left with Morgan 
County, would make that county one of the best 
in the state, by depriving Cass County of that 
amount of good land, it reduced it to one of the 
smallest and weakest territorially in the state, 
and according to the popular estimate of the 
value of the lands of Cass County, as proposed 
to be created, after deducting the inundated 
lands bordering on the Illinois and Sangamon 
rivers, the sand ridges and bluffs by which they 
were skirted, and the waste and untillable 
lands in the interior, it was said that Cass 
would contain less productive land than any 
other county in the state. So, notwithstanding 
the further fact, that the north end voters were 
much incensed against the "political ring" at 
Jacksonville, and very much desired a new 
county, yet the vote was against the organiza- 
tion. The canvassing board at Jacksonville, 
however, when they met to canvass the returns, 
threw out the votes of the entire precinct of 
Meredosia, the southwest corner of the county, 
and Lucas Precinct, in the extreme northeast 
pari of the county, which were against the crea- 
tion of the new county, and thus declared the 
proposition carried, and so certified to the secre- 
tary of state, and the county of Cass as created 
by the aforementioned act, became one of the 
counties of Illinois. 


The legislature which passed the act creating 
Cass County, and at the same session, but a few 
days earlier, passed an act for the removal of 
the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield, 
was elected in August of the year previous, or 
to be exact, August G, 1S36, included some of 
the holdover senators, and was for mental 
strength and ability of its members, the most 
remarkable of any yet chosen in Illinois. No 
previous General Assembly of our state, and 
very few since, has comprised such an array 
of brainy, talented men ; or as many who sub- 
sequently gained such eminence in the annals 
of the state and nation. In the senate were : 
Orville H. Browning, Cyrus Edwards, William 
J. Gatewood, John S. Hacker, Robert K. Mc- 
Laughlin, Henry I. Mills, William Thomas, 
John D. Whiteside and John D. Weed ; and in 
the house were Edward D. Baker, John Hogan, 
Milton Carpenter, Newton Cloud, Richard M. 
Cullom, father of the late United States Senator 
Shelby M. Cullom, John Dement, John Dough- 
erty, Stephen A. Douglas, Jesse K. Duboise, 
Ninian W. Edwards, William L. D. Ewing, 
Augustus C. French, John J. Hardin, Abraham 
Lincoln, Usher F. Linder, Dr. John Logan, 
father of General John A. Logan, John A. 
McClernand, James Semple, John Moore, 
William A. Richardson, James H. Ralston 
and Robert Smith. In this list are found 
one president of the United States, six who later 
occupied seats in the United States senate, 
eight congressmen, three governors, three lieu- 
tenant governors, two attorney generals, live 
state treasurers, two state auditors, one super- 
intendent of public instruction, and several 
supreme and circuit court judges. Comment is 
made by Dr. J. F. Snyder in one of his historical 
papers that "it was this same body <>\' learned 
and distinguished statesmen who committed at 
that session, the supreme folly of exacting the 
famous Internal Improvement measures that in 
three years placed the state on the verge of 
bankruptcy burdened with a public debl of over 
$14,000,000." The results of that legislation 
fully justify the comment, and Illustrate what 
effect and Influence public clamor will have 
upon legislative bodies. History sometimes re- 
peats itself. Morgan County, which then 
included Cass and Sett, had in that assembly 

three senators, and seven representatives, as 
follows: William Thomas. William O'Kear and 



William Weather ford, senators, and Newton 
Cloud, Stephen A. Douglas, William W. Happy, 
John J. llardin, Joseph .Morton. Richard S. 
Walker and John Wyatt, representatives. 

The people of the new county of Cass, 
though much Chagrined at the loss, as they be- 
lieved, by trickery and unfair dealing, of the 
valuable three mile strip, accepted the result 
philosophically and proceeded to call an election 
for officers to organize the county government. 
The election was held August 7. 1837, and as 
there were but three election precincts, it 
needed but little election machinery. At Beards- 
towii the election was held at the house of 
.Moses Perkins. In Virginia Precinct at the 
house of John DeWeber, and in Lucas or Rich- 
mond Precinct at the house of John Lucas. The 
election officers at Beardstown were: Thomas 
Beard, James Arnold and John Schaeffer, 
judges, and C. W. Clarke and T. W. Webb, 
clerks. At Virginia, Isaiah Paschal. William M. 
Clarke and James Daniels were judges, and 
William Blair and M. H. Beadles, clerks. John 
Taylor, Mathew Lownsbury and Robert Leeper 
were judges at Richmond, and Robert B. Taylor 
and Cyrus Wright were clerks. A list of the 
voters at that election is here copied and is 
interesting, as these men were the first to exer- 
cise the right of franchise in Cass County. At 
that time the law permitted residents of the 
county to vote at either precinct where he might 
be on election day, and thus it happened that 
the names of some persons appear as voting in 
a precinct in which they did not reside. 


Beardstown. — Jno. F. Bailey, Alex. King, Ben. 
Beasley, Christ. Shanks, Jerem. Wilson, Jordan 
.Marshall, Jos. Britton, Geo. Bryant, Jas. King, 
Geo. McKay, John C. Linsley, Elizur Anderson, 
Edmund Ensly, Evan Jenkins, T. C. Mills. Wm. 
Turkymire, J. W. Crewdson, Thos. Haskins, 
Andr. Keltner, Ammasa Beeves, C. F. Kandage. 
Elisha Marshall. John Marshall. Jos. Seaman, 
Ishani Retis, Nich. Parsons. Lewis G. Lambert, 
Wm. Cox, Frankl. Stewart, Sam. Hunt. Jas. 
Pounds. Fredy White. Landerick Kale, Nich. 
Rheini. Moses Derby, Jas. Bennett. Curtis 
Hager, Dan. Wells. Hy. P. Boss. Ily. Kemble, 
Chr. Boyd, Jos. Haskins, Milton Parmele, John 
Quail, Bernard Beist, Ben. Britton. Geo. Cowan. 
J. X. Jenkins, Dan. Britton. Sam. Groshong, 
John Kettelly, Wm. Quig, Marcus Chandler. 

Leander Brown, Jas. Carlick, Dan'l Boyne, 
Thos. Proctor, Richard Graves, Richrd. Wells, 
George Brown, Edw. Saunders, Adolph Shupong, 
G. Kuhl, 2d, Henry T. Foster, Wm. Bryant, 
Dave Marshall, Bluford Haines, Hy. Shaffer, 
Thos. Pierce, Jacob J. Brown, Jackson Stewart, 
Jos. Canby, Geo. Garlick, Jas. Dickinson, Wes- 
ley Peyton, Isaac Short, Amasa Warren, Geo. 
Shaffer, Asa Street, Jas. Roach, Ben. Horrom, 
Jos. H. Clemens, Jas. Neeper, Jackson Scott, 
Stephen Buck, Wm. Shuteman. Edward Salley, 
Demsey Boyce, Aaron Powell, Jerm. Bowen, 
Jas. Case, A. Philippi, P. Philippi, W. W. Gor- 
don, Hy. Havekluft, Jae. Fisal, Johu Newman, 
John Yokes, Orin Hicks, Johu Wagoner, 
Thomas Cowan, John Hicks, Dav. Newman, 
G. A. Bonny, Jas. A. Carr, John Horrom, Zack. 
Bridgewater, Wm. Moore, Wm. R. Parks, John 
P. Dick, Joshua Morris, Wm. W. Clemmons, J. 
Philippi, Jas. Scott, Jas. Cook, John Gutliff 
Berger, Fred Krohe, Aug. Krohe, Fred Inkle, 
Louis Sudbrink, Adam Krough, Montela Rich- 
ardson, Rucy Richardson, W. Moody, Sam. 
Fletcher, L. H. Treadway, John Price, Reuben 
Alexander, J. M. Quate, Wm. Miller, Hy. Whit- 
tick, J. C. Spence, Hy. Wedeking, T. Graliam, 
Jr., John W. Pratt, J. Arnold, Jno. Miller, Lewis 
Haines, Phil. Shaffer, Gottlieb Jokisch, Jn. H. 
Treadway, John Richardson, Chrtst'n Kuhl, 
John Holtman, Seymour Coffren, Wm. Holmes, 
Thos. C. Black, Owen Clemens, Bradford Rew, 
Lewis Cowan, Nich. Coteral, Jno. Cuppy, God- 
frey Gullet, John C. Scott, Wm. H. McKanley, 
Alex. Ratcliff, Mat. McBride, John Burns, John 
Bridgewater, John A. Thomas, Jon. Buck, Wm. 
R. White, Jn. W. Anderson, Henry Collins, Hy. 
Rohn, Wm. Bassett, Jas. Davidson, Robert 
Lindsey, Wm. Cross, Jno. Wilbourn, John Mc- 
Kean, Jas. Logan, Jos. Baker, Christ. Newman, 
Thos. Stokes, Jasper Buck, Jas. Davis, Jas. 
Bell, E. R. Gilett, J. B. Pierce, Harmon Byrnes, 
Joshua Alexander, Jn. W. Gillis, Christ. Trone, 
Carlton Logan. Nich. Kelly, Dan. Riggle, Lemuel 
Plasters. John Bull. N. B. Thompson. Edw'd 
Treadway. Chs. Chandler, Peter Light. Wm. B. 
Gaines. Fred Krohe. Caleb Lee, Thos. Carroll, 
Phil. Kuhn. G. Kuhl. John Rohn, Jac. Downing, 
Dav. Tureman, Dav. Spence. Moritz Hallenbach, 
Hy. Boemler. Dave Emerich, L. H. Wilkey, Thos. 
J. Mosely, Joel K. Bowman. Wm. W. Gillett. 
Wm. W. Henmiinghouse, Fred Kors. John 
Decker. Chs. Garland, John Brackle, Chr. Hell, 
Elisha Olcott, Absolom Spence, Wm. Ritchie, 
Hy. Miller, M. Kemper, Wm. Moore, Sam. Shaw, 



Jus. McClure, Win. Dougall, Win. Holmes, 
Lewis Nolte, Wm. Clark, B. W. Schneider, 
Francis Rice, Aug. Knapp, Dan. Scott, Martin 
F. Higgins, Dudley Green, Thos. Wilbourn, Hy. 
Bracker, O. Long, John Sehaeffer, Dav. Jones, 
Jesse Ankrom, Wm. Butler, Wm. W. Bolt, G. 
F. Miller, Jac. Anderson, Lewis Stoner, A. 
Batoage, T. U. Webb, J. Blackinan, Pete T. 
Bell, Morgan Kemper, Thos. Bryant, Otto Wells, 
J. W. Lippincott, Wm. Shepard, Sam. Thompson, 
Hy. Hendricker, Bob. Moore, Wm. Sewell, Sam. 
McKee, T. A. Hoffman, Reuben Hager, John 
Duchardt, Wm. L. Felix, John Ayres, Hammer 
Oatman, Thos. Saunders, A. Williams, J. B. Wil- 
son, Thos. Payne, Wm. B. Ulside, Dan. Sheldon, 
John McLane, Lewis Kloker, F. Arenz, Moses 
Perkins, Hy. 1'hoebe, Butler Arnold, Isaac 
I'lasters, Z. P. Harvey, Wm. II. Williams, 
Ralph Morgan, J. P. Crow, Austin Chittenden, 
C. W. Clark, John Cushman, J. S. Wilbourne, 
Wm. Scott, Edw. Collins, John Pierson, Lewis 
Piper, Jno. Steele, Arn. Arenz, Peter Douglas, 
ily. Kashner, Jos. W. Hardy, John McKown, 
II. Smith, Wm. DeHaven, C. J. Nerbury, Ily. 
McKean, Thos. Beard, Dave White. 

Richmond. — Mat'w Lounsberry, Wm. T. Ker- 
ick, Azariah Lewis, Gibson Carter, John 
Fancier, Jacob Bixler, Oliver Logue, Aaron 
Wright, Standley Lockerman, Robert Nance, 
Mathew Lounsberry, John Leeper, Geo. Fancier, 
Cyrus Elmore, Henry D. Wilson, Henry Taylor, 
Marcus Cooper, Eaton Nance, John Pratt, Syl- 
\ ester Sutton. Amos Bonny, Cyrus Wright, 
Obadiah .Morgan, Jerry W. Davis. John Cheshire, 
Alner Foster, Cary Nance. Enoch Wheelock, 
i barles SeagL r s. Riley Claxton, John Cook, 
Henry McHenry, Amos Dick, Jonathan Loge, 
Column Gaines, Daniel Robinson, Robert Leeper, 
Robert P.. Taylor. Willis Daniels. Robert Carter, 
Washington Daniels. James Ilickey. Ashley 

Hickey, John Ilillis, Thos. Lockers 1. Levi 

Dick. David Pratt, Henry Nichols. John Wil- 
son. Win. Lucas, John Pryor, Henry S. Dutch. 
Wm. .Meyers. Fredrick McDonald, Pleasant 
Rose, James Bonnet, Thomas Jones. John L. 

Witty. Alfred Daniels. John P.. Thompson, 
James Hawthorn. H. W. Libbeen, Robert G. 
Gaines, James Poles. Horatio Purdy, John 
Roberts, Thomas Plasters, Peter Dick. Wm. 
I inn. Calvin Wilson, Wm. I'. Morgan, Zachariah 
Hash, Clinton Wilson, John Johnson, Henry 
Dick. John Hatliorn. John Davis, John I. mas. 
John Taylor, James I'.. Conner. Wm. S. Clemons, 

James Wing, Eli Cox, John Baldin, John B. 

Virginia. — Louis Thornberry, Wm. Graves, P. 
S. Outen, Benj. Corby, P. Fnderwood, Jr., Thos. 
J. Joy, Wm. B. Kirk, Jos. McDaniles, Robt. 
Davidson, Benedict Cameron, Zeb. Wood, Wm. 
Craig, L. Carpenter, Geo. Cunningham, Green 
H. Paschal, John McDonald, Charles Brady, 
W. I'. Johnstone, John Carpenter, Thos. G. 
Howard, Green Garner, C. II. Oliver, Jas. Ross, 
St., A. Bowen, Evan Warren. Jas. Holland, 
John Slack, Young Phelps, L. B. Ross. Alex. 
Bain, John Beadles, H. H. Hall, A. S. West. 
Wm. Blain, Jas. Williams. Thos. Boicourt, 
George Shaw, Pleas. Scott, J. T. Powell, Archi- 
bald Job, B. Stribling, S. Stevens. James B. 
Davis, Elias Mathew, Daniel Oauby, J. M. Mc- 
Lean, Jos. Jump, Amos L. Benny. John I'eirce, 
Jas. Berry, Isaiah Paschal. John De Weber. Wm. 
Paton, Levi Springer, Thos. I'lasters. Sr., John 
Glover, Perry G. Price, John Daniels. Jeremiah 
Northern, Felix Cameron, H. Osborne, Ander- 
son Phelps, Jesse Spicer, Jas. I Ma ml. John 
Clark, Michael Reed. Onslow Watson. Joel 
Home, Wm. Daniels, W. P. Finch, Thos. Lee, 
Joshua Price, Aaron Bonny, Ephraim Mosely, 
T. S. Berry, John Long. John Cunningham, L. 
Clark, p]zra Dutch, John Craig, Win. Fields, 
Jas. Garner. Philip Cochrane. A. Elder. Wm. M. 
Clark, Titus Phelps. Henry Hopkins, John 
Robinson, J. M. Ross. Jas. Beadles. ReddiCk 
Horn, George Beggs, Chas. I'. Anderson. Jas. 
Daniels, John Redman, Thos. Finn. I.. P.. Free- 
man, B. A. Blantin, Alex Huffman, James Mc- 
Donald, John Biddlecome. M. O'Brien, M. II. 

FIRST OFFH i \i .-. 

The necessary officers to he elected for the 
purpose of forming the legal county machinery, 
were a probate justice of the peace, a sheriff, a 
coroner, recorder, surveyor, treasurer, three 
county commissioners whose deliberations v 
called a county commissioners court, ami a 

clerk of that body, or as now designated, 
county clerk. Though the Democratic party 
was in control of the national government, jei 
political sentiment was pretty evenly divided 

ilt that time in this pari of Illinois between that 
party and the Whig party. The flrsl election 
for officers in Cass County did not turn upon 
party lines. There was no nominating conven- 
tion; each candidate announced himself and 



took bis chances. At the first election, when the 
voters whose names arc above given, voted, 
there were several candidates for each of the 
required offices, as fellows: for probate justice 
— J. s. Wilbourn, William Scott and James 
r.erry : for county commissioner — A. Bonny, 
Joshua P. Crow, George F. .Miller, Benjamin 
Strihling, Henry McKean and Henry Mcllenry ; 
Cor sheriff— Lemon Plasters, John B. Bueb and 
Martin F. Higgins; for county clerk — Robert G. 
Gaines and John W. Pratt; for recorder — X. B. 
Thompson, < ». M. Long, Alfred Elder, and Thomas 
Graham, Jr.; for surveyor — William Clark and 
William Holmes; for treasurer — I. G. Spence 
ami Thomas Wilbourn; for coroner— Ephraim 
Etew, Jacob Anderson and Halsey Smith. The 
following were the successful candidates: Pro- 
bate justice, John S. Wilbourn. Recorder, N. B. 
Thompson. Sheriff, Lemon Plasters. Treasurer, 
Thomas Wilbourn. County clerk, John W. 
Pratt. Surveyor, William Holmes. Coroner, 
Halsey Smith. County commissioners, Joshua 
P. Crow. Amos Bonny and George F. Miller. 

With these sturdy pioneers at the wheels, the 
county of Cass started on its eventful journey. 
On August 14 of that same year, the county 
commissioners met and divided the county into 
six precincts named as follows: Beardstown, 
Monroe, Virginia, Sugar Grove, Richmond and 
P.owens. The first general election in the county 
was held one year later on August <i. 1838. 
Nominating conventions had come into vogue, 
and the Democratic party held its first conven- 
tion at Vandalia, presenting a ticket to be voted 
at that election, with Thomas Carlin as candi- 
date for governor. Joseph L. Duncan was not 
a candidate to succeed himself for the reason 
that by terms of the constitution, a governor 
was not eligible "for more than four years in 
a term of eight years." The election in Cass 
(dunty was conducted on party lines, and the 
Whigs proved to be in the majority. Edwards 
the Whig candidate receiving 335 votes to 118 
for Carlin. while William Holmes, who had the 
year previous been elected surveyor for Cass 
County, now received 208 votes as a Whig can- 
didate for representative against 10s votes for 
Thomas Beard, and 114 for Henry McKean. 
both Democratic candidates. Thus it happened 
that Mr. Holmes was the first representative 
for the new county. 

In the meantime the vote to locate the county 
seat had been taken the first Monday of May, 
1S37, as required by law creating the county of 

Cass, and had resulted in the selection of 
Beardstown for that honor. The seat of justice 
had already been, by said law, established at 
Beardstown. hut some doubt as to the legality 
of the election on the question of the county 
seat having arisen, and the legislature being in 
special session in July of that same year, passed 
an additional act, or one supplementary to the 
original one, erecting the county, wherein it 
was provided that the county of Cass as desig- 
nated and bounded in said original act, was 
declared to be one of the counties of the state, 
and that the county seat should be at Beards- 
town, provided, however the corporation of 
Beardstown should comply with the provisions 
of said act relating to the raising of the sum 
of ten thousand dollars for the purpose of 
erecting the public buildings for said county, 
but extending the time to one, two and three 
years for the payment of said sum, and further 
providing that the county commissioners should 
make their contracts for the erection of said 
buildings so as to make their payments thereon 
when the installments of said ten thousand 
dollars should become due. Said act further 
provided that the courthouse should be erected 
upon the public square in Beardstown. This 
little sentence in the act caused much dissen- 
sion among the residents of Beardstown later 
on, and the courthouse was not built upon the 
public square. Thanks to the good judgment 
of the dissenters, and their persistence in 
standing by it. no public buildings of any kind 
were ever erected on the public square, and it 
has remained as it was originally intended, a 
public park, now beautifully ornamented with 
walks and splendid shade trees. 

In spite of all this legislation, a peaceful 
and acceptable solution of the county seat ques- 
tion had not yet appeared, so interested parties 
hied themselves to the General Assembly for 
another act of the legislature, that panacea for 
all troubles, and on March 2, 1839. the legis- 
lature, by preambling the doubts, and whereas- 
ing the cause, again undertook to construe the 
loose and ambiguous act of March 3, 18.37, 
creating the county of Cass. In the preamble 
of the last act it was noted that Beardstown 
had failed to comply with the provisions of 
either the original or second acts, concerning 
the erection of public buildings, and that the 
county commissioners had under the provisions 
of the original act, contracted for the erection 
of a courthouse at Virginia, and had located the 

t&UJL^. 6Be^t^v 



county seat at that point, and followed with 
Section 1, of the act. 

•Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the people of the 
State of Illinois, represented in The General As- 
sembly, That the county seat of Cass County 
shall be and remain at Virginia, and the courts 
of said county shall hereafter be held at that 
place; and the several county officers, who are 
required to keep their offices at the county 
seat, are recpiired to remove their respective 
offices, and all bonds, documents, books and 
papers pertaining to the same to Virginia, on 
or before the first day of May next, and there- 
after hold and keep their respective offices at 
that place, and in case one or more of said 
officers shall fail or refuse to comply with the 
provisions of this act, such officer shall forfeit 
his office." 

The latter clause seems to have had the de- 
sired effect, and the public paraphernalia was 
removed to Virginia. Indeed the officers would 
rather have moved the Illinois River to Vir- 
ginia than to give up the offices. The citizens 
of Virginia had accepted the conditions prece- 
dent to the establishing of the county seat 
there, and Dr. Henry Hall had donated the fif- 
teen acres of land as required by the original 
law. That law provided that the land so do- 
nated '-may be disposed of in the manner the 
county commissioners court of said county shall 
deem proper, and % the proceeds whereof shall 
be applied to the erection of the courthouse and 
jail and clerk's office." Dr. Hall proposed to 
the commissioners that if they would reconvey 
the fifteen acres to him which he had donated 
he would build the courthouse and jail. Realiz- 
ing the liberality of the offer, the commissioners 
accepted it, and that summer a substantial two- 
story brick building was erected which accom- 
modated the county amply for court room and 
offices until the county seat was again removed 
to Beardstown some years later. 

and criticism should not have fallen upon them, 
but should have been placed upon the legisla- 
ture, which enacted the measure of March 2, 
1839, above referred to. Aside from any ques- 
tion of blame to any one the citizens of Beards- 
town were determined to recapture the prize 
when opportunity offered. The population of 
Beardstown had rapidly increased and there 
was then within its limits a large number of 
splendid, energetic men, alert to every interest 
of the town, and active in securing everything 
helpful to its future progress. 

An election was called and held September 4. 
1843, on the question of removal of the county 
seat from Virginia to Beardstown. The elec- 
tion resulted in 453 votes being cast for removal 
to only 2SS against removal, so Virginia lost. 
Beardstown citizens, although active in every 
other matter, seemed extremely dilatory about 
the erection of public buildings for sheltering 
the county records they had been so successful 
in recovering from Virginia, The buildings 
were not ready until 1845. On February 8 of 
that year, Henry E. Dummer appeared before 
the county commissioners at their session in 
that month at Virginia, and presented a deed 
to Cass County for Lot 1, in Block 31, Beards- 
town, on which the courthouse was built, from 
Thomas R. Saunders, and also a receipt from 
B. W. Schneider, contractor for building the 
courthouse at Beardstown. as well as a receipt 
from Thomas Beard, contractor, for the erec- 
tion of the jail. They also presented a further 
certificate from Hon. Samuel D. Lockwood, 
presiding judge of the Cass County Circuit 
court, of the sufficiency of the buildings. All 
of these papers were ordered to be recorded. 
Thereupon the commissoners adjourned to meet 
at Beardstown, on March 3, which was the first 
Monday of the mouth. 



The people of Beardstown and vicinity were 
still nursing their ill feeling towards Virginia 
over the loss of the county seat, characterizing 
the manner in which the removal had been made 
as a highhanded outrage, although as a matter 
of fact the people of Virginia were not charg- 
able with reprehensible conduct in the matter. 

In 1872, the question of the Location of the 

county scat was again taken up, and an elec- 
tion was held witli reference to this question. 
\',y popular vote the seat of government was 
again transferred to Virginia, although the 
matter was contested through the courts, the 
v. rdict being in favor of Virginia, which con- 
tinues to hold that honor. 











Every age, generation and score or two of 
years, have the cry. if not actual experience, 
* of hard times. Cass County, together with the 
entire state, had a period of unprecedented 
hard times, extending from 1837 to 1S42. pos- 
sibly never equaled since. The disastrous re- 
sults were directly traceable to the legislation 
known as the Internal Improvement Measures, 
of the Assembly of 1S37, which provided for 
an extensive line of railroad building, and for 
the vast improvement of rivers and harbors. 
A (cording to Dr. J. F. .Snyder's "-Illinois His- 
tory" : 

"The people prior to 1837 were prosperous, 
but had become dissatisfied with the slow, cer- 
tain profits of legitimate, patient industry, and 
wore infected with the phantom of quickly 
acquired wealth. The speediest way to attain 
to that end. they concluded, was to place the 
state on a material and financial parity with 
the older eastern states by constructing at once 
an extensive system of railroads, completing 
the Illinois & Michigan Canal, and removing 
obstructions in the principal rivers of the state 
that impeded their safe and expeditious naviga- 
tion. Visionary demagogues proclaimed on the 
stump and in the newspapers the ability of .the 
state to make all such improvements by borrow- 
ing money upoli its credit, without imposing any 
Durden upon its treasury or upon the people. 
The bonds of the state, they said, would sell in 
either home or foreign markets at enormous 
premiums: these premiums would easily defray 
all cost of the proposed improvements, and the 
bonds would lie returned to the state and can- 

celled. And then, they urged, the net earnings 
of the railroads and canal, thus acquired, would 
lor many years pay all ordinary expenses of 
the state government, thereby assuring the peo- 
ple from taxation. Such egregious nonsense 
as that seemed plausible to backwoodsmen who 
had never seen a railroad or canal, and they 
gave their unqualified assent." 
. In fact they did more than yield an assent. 
They clamored night and clay for the necessary 
Legislation to set the proposed improvements 
going, and thus influenced men serving the peo- 
ple in a representative capacity, to vote for 
measures which in cooler and more considerate 
moments, their naturally good judgment admon- 
ished them would ultimately lead to financial 
disaster. By 1840 the bubble burst. The state 
banks suspended and left a depreciated cur- 
rency. The State Bank of Shawneetown col- 
lapsed with a circulation of $1,700,000, and the 
State Bank with $3,000,000. The people were 
almost destitute of an adequate - circulating 
medium, and were compelled to resort to barter 
and exchange of commodities in the transaction 
of business. a vThis condition was relieved some- 
what by immigration here of a large number 
of Germans, who brought with them consider- 
able money in specie; yet it was so difficult to 
obtain even silver that citizens were often un- 
able to get their letters from the post office. 
Postage was not necessarily prepaid at that 
time, and if not prepaid it had to be paid for 
in silver at the delivery office. It is said 
that letters would sometimes remain in the office 
for weeks. J 

People were largely in debt on account of 
speculations engaged in when money was more 
plentiful, but which proved to be mere delu- 
sions. When del its matured there was nothing 
with which to pay them. The state had sold 
and hypothecated bonds until credit was fully 
exhausted. Interest on bonds was unpaid and 
state bonds depreciated until they were worth 
but fourteen cents on the dollar, or were wholly 
unsalable, and a general condition of bank- 
ruptcy ensued. Honest men could not pay their 
debts for the reason that they had nothing with 
which to pay them. The price of all products 
was very low: corn sold as low as six cents per 
bushel. The farmers had no way of getting 
goods from the store except upon credit, to be 
paid for with butter and eggs and other products 
of the farm, but all these fluctuated in price. 
even iii the store exchange. 




Iii this deplorable condition, the legislature 
sought to come to the relief of debtors, and, 
as ofteu happens in such emergencies, at the 
expense of the creditor. One of a number of 
such remedial statutes was what was known 
as the Stay Law or Two-Thirds Law, which 
provided that property levied upon by virtue of 
execution, should be valued as in "ordinary 
times." The valuation was to' be made by 
three householders summoned by the officer 
holding the writ, but chosen by the debtor, 
creditor and officer, each choosing one. The prop- 
erty levied upon was not to be sold unless it 
brought, two-thirds of its valuation as placed 
upon it by said householders, thus making it 
possible to require the creditor to suffer a dis- 
count of 33 1-3 per cent, or stay collection with 
no provision for retaining his lien. Although 
this law was subsequently declared by the 
courts unconstitutional, yet it served its pur- 
pose and debts were rendered almost non- 


Merchants and other dealers tried their hands 
at relief by issuing warrants or due bills which 
passed in trade at a discount of so much on the 
dollar. The county commissioners also lent a 
hand in aiding the people. They had a plate 
engraved and issued large quantities of county 
warrants or orders, in the similitude of one 
dollar bank bills. The legislature, jealous of 
its prerogatives, and its genius and wisdom in 
furnishing relief, invalidated these warrants, 
by an act which it was charged at the time was 
passed in the interests of the banks. 

Kl.\ l. Mi MEASURES. 

Notwithstanding the hard times and the u'en- 
eral chaotic condition of finances, Cass County 
bad its legitimate source of revenue. The 
county commissioners bad. as one of their firsl 
Official nets, passed an order that "The follow- 
ing kinds of property be taxed at the rate of 

one hair per cent : town lots, Indentured or 
registered negro or mulatto servants, pleasure 
carriages, stock in trade, horses, mules and all 
meat cattle over and under three years "id. 

hogs, sheep, wagons and carts." The clerk of 

the county was directed to give a public notice 

to "all persons trading in Cass County," to 
procure a license according to law. At the 
September term, 1S37, of the commissioners' 
court, revenue receipts were increased to some 
extent by the issuance of a license to Spence & 
Foster, T. & J. Wilbourn and Parrot & Alcott, 
to sell goods, wares and merchandise in Beards- 
town. Also a similar license was given to 
Beesley & Schaffer to do business at Monroe. 
Monroe was a new town laid out the previous 
year near the present site of Monroe school- 
house in the precinct of that name. A fee of 
$5 was received for each license. Several 
licenses were sold at $7 each to the purchasers, 
to keep a tavern. Thomas Beard was granted 
a license for $22 to run a ferry boat across the 
Illinois River for one year. 

Under the tax levy made, the return of taxes 
for the year 1838 shows taxes collected on 
real estate, $35( i.01 % , on personal property, 
$70.33%, and licenses .$105.37, making a total 
revenue of $1.0S7.74, a less amount for all Cass 
County than is now paid by some individual 
citizens annually. As evidence of increased 
wealth and valuation at the present time, fig- 
ures of valuations for 1913 are given, and the 
tax levy for county purposes for the year 191 1. 
Total valuation of all kinds of property, $26,- 
196,271.00; total taxes raised in Cass County 
for all purposes, $315,327.30. Total taxes as- 
sessed for 1914 were $59,940.00. 

Under the Internal Improvement Act of 1837, 
there would he coming to Cass County a cer- 
tain amount of revenue, and the county commis- 
sioners appointed John W. Pratt, agent for the 
county, to colled and receive the amounts due. 
Mr. Pratt was an excellent man of business, 
and was the first county clerk, in which office he 
continued until June s. is I-. wnen tie resigned 
to become a candidate for member of the legis- 
lature. At the election held August 1, 1S42, he 

was elected over his opponent, Joshua P. I'row. 

who was one of the three county commissioners 

for Cass County elected at the first election 

i n BEE miii si iar. 

The citizens of Cass County, while they had 

accepted the results of the legislative nctiou in 
establishing the county upon different lines 

than those set out in the petitions tiled for its 
Creation, never gave Up the idea that CflSS 

Counts was Justlj entitled to the -trip of i <i 



which came to be known in history as the 
"Three Mile Strip." Francis Arenz, Dr. Henry 
Hall, Thomas Beard, Archibald Job, Richard 

S. Walker and others, all of whom will be 
mentioned more fully in later pages, together 
with John \Y. Pratt, had worked hard for the 
creation of the county of Cass on original lines. 
and all were deeply interested in having if 
possible, the three mile strip added to the 
county. None worked harder or more strenu- 
ously than did Mr. Pratt, lie was no sooner 
elected to the General Assembly than he began 
a determined right to regain the strip, and was 
ably assisted by David Epler, who was a mem- 
ber of the legislature from Morgan County, but 
lived within the three mile strip, and preferred 
that it should go to Cass County, where, he 
claimed, it belonged by all right and fairness. 
Mr. Pratt early introduced a hill for the exteu- 
siou of the limits of Cass County. 


On February 7. 1S43, Mr. Pratt made an able 
speech in support of his measure. He gave a 
detailed history of the formation of the county 
of Cass, and the vote of the people by which 
the act was adopted; showing that it would not 
have been carried had not the canvassing board 
thrown out two precincts which had voted 
against the creation of the county under the 
provisions of the act. Also he called attention 
t.. 1 ne fact that every subsequent legislature had 
been petitioned by the people of Cass to redress 
the wrong, and give them the three mile strip. 
Said Mr. Pratt in part: 

••Mr. Speaker. I ask my friends from Morgan 
County if this question ought not to lie settled, 
and if Morgan cannot well afford to settle it 
by giving us the territory and still remaining 
one of the first counties of the state, in terri- 
tory, in population, and consequently in politi- 
cal strength; how will they force this people 
to stay with them against their will and in 

spite of their remonstrance? Are not here ^' 1 

grounds for legislative interference'.' I will not 
say it is right to set off a portion of the county 
whenever the people within its bounds petition 
to be set off in disregard of the remainder of 
the county; but I do say. when a new county 
has been formed with the limits so contracted 
as to require the heaviest assessment of taxes 
to defray the necessary expenses of county gov- 
ernment ; when the county from which it was 

detached can well afford to spare the disputed 
claim and afterwards have the requisite popu- 
lation to entitle her to four representatives on 
this floor, not lessening her political power ; not 
disturbing her county seat, in fact doing no 
wrong to her, but rendering justice to Cass 
County ; and when the people in the disputed 
territory have time and again petitioned to be 
separated from Morgan County and attached 
to Cass County ; when these facts exist, it is 
right, it is just, it is righteous to let them ; 
and anything short of this is downright in- 
justice to them. Mr. Speaker, I wish to give a 
few figures in relation to this question. I wish 
to show the relative size and population of the 
two counties. By the state census of 1840, 
Morgan County contained a population of 
15,414: by the marshal's return it was 10,154. 
No state census was taken in Cass County, 
and the marshal's return of its population was 
2,968. The population of the "Three Mile 
►Strip' does not exceed 1,500. Deduct this num- 
ber from the highest returns of Morgan County 
and she will have left a population of 17.<i.~>4: 
and add it to Cass and she will have 4,468. 
But admitting the marshal's return is too high, 
and adopting the medium between the two cen- 
sus returns as correct, Morgan County will still 
have 10,000 population, entitling her to four rep- 
resentatives on this floor. So far as population 
is concerned then, it can be no great hardship 
for Morgan to relinquish this claim. 

"In relation to territory, the case is equally 
strong. Morgan County contains 012 square 
miles, (ass 288. Deduct the three miles from 
Morgan, and she will still contain 532 square 
miles, and Cass 308; Morgan 132 miles more and 
Cass thirty-two miles less than the law of 1841 
fixing the limits of counties contemplated." 

With many more very cogent reasons, well ex- 
pressed and forcefully presented, Mr. Pratt 
urged the passage of his bill, but he was unable 
at that term to secure his cherished desires. 
Nothing daunted, however, he sought election to 
the Assembly again at the next term and was 
successful, immediately beginning an effort to 
accomplish the detaching of the three mile 
strip from Morgan County, and adding it to his 
own county. Though it does not appear from 
the records that Mr. Pratt made any more ex- 
tended speeches in favor of the project, yet, be- 
ing better acquainted with the members and 
methods of legislation, in his second term he 
worked so effectively that on February 26, 



1.845, a bill was passed submitting the ques- 
tion of detaching the three mile strip from Mor- 
gan County and adding it to Cass County, to 
a vote of the people residiug within the terri- 
tory in question. 

One reason, no doubt, which had a favorable 
influence upon the passage of the bill and 
which led Morgan County citizens to welcome 
the method of settlement of a perplexing ques- 
tion, was the fact that Morgan County people 
became alarmed over the possibility of losing 
a part of their territory in another direction 
which would be more harmful than the loss 
of the three mile strip. Already, at the session 
of 1843, a bill had passed for a vote upon 
the establishing of two counties out of the 
territory comprising Morgan County, one of 
which was to be named Benton and the other 
to retain the name Morgan. The vote had been 
taken and by a narrow margin Morgan County 
had escaped the calamity, as the citizens 
viewed it. So, while the voters of Morgan 
County, outside of those residing in the strip, 
had no voice in deciding the question, they 
placed no obstacles in the way of the project 
carrying, and when the vote was taken for and 
against attaching the strip to Cass County, 
which was done on the first Monday of May, 
1845, the result showed the vote as follows : 


Arenzville 115 

Henry Price House 7<> 

Princeton 41 

Win. Berry House 26 





Thus the majority in favor of attaching this 
Strip to Cass County was 168. Thus ended a 
long and somewhat bitter contest, and gave to 
Cass County nearly 57,000 acres of as excellent 
and fertile land as is to be found in all Illinois, 
the natural location of the most productive soil; 
and placed Cass County within the boundary 
lines it originally desired and has since main- 


<';iss County was named in honor of Lewis 
Cass. ;i statesman horn in L782, at Exeter, X. 
II. lie was educated for the law. hut discarded 
that profession and entered military life and in 
the War of L812. rose to the rank of general. 

After peace was declared, he was appointed 
governor of Michigan, organized that territory, 
and by treaty with the Indians added 3,000,000 
acres of land to the United States. He served 
as secretary of war under President Jackson; 
was also envoy extraordinary to France, where 
he . served seven years ; was nominated by the 
Democratic party as its candidate for the 
presidency in 1S48, but was defeated by Gen- 
eral Taylor, a Whig. His last public service 
was in the capacity of secretary of state in the 
cabinet of President Buchanan, and he died in 
1866. He had acquired the title of general, al- 
though not regarded highly as a military leader, 
and indeed while he undoubtedly had a little 
notoriety, yet he was possessed of no particular 
distinction as a military genius. When he be- 
came the nominee of his party for the presi- 
dency in 1848, against the Whig candidate, 
General Zachary Taylor, his friends tried hard 
to place him in the public eye as a military hero. 
This, as might have been expected brought out 
only ridicule, though of a good natured sort. 
Abraham Lincoln, who had been elected to Con- 
gress, where he served but one term, in making 
a speech on some subject, turned his attention 
to the politics of the day, which was the cus- 
tom of congressional speakers at that time, and 
not entirely dispensed with yet. and referred 
in a humorous way to the efforts Cass' friends 
were making to prove him a man of war. 


"By the way Mr. Speaker, did you know I am 
a military hero? Yes. sir. in the days of the 
Black Hawk War. I fought, hied and came 
away. Speaking of General Cass' career re- 
minds me of my own. I was not at Stillman's de- 
feat, but I was about as oear to it as Cass to 
Hull's surrender; and like him. I saw the place 
very soon afterwards. It is quite certain I 
did not break my sword, for I bad none to 
break ; hut I benl a musket pretty badly on one 
occasion, if Cass broke his sword, the Idea 
is he broke it in desperation: hut I bent the 
musket by accident, if General Cass went in 

advance of me in picking whort leherries. I 

guess I surpassed him in charges upon the wild 
onions. If he saw any live. Qghting Indians, it 

was more than I did. hut I had a u' 1 many 

bloody struggles with the mosquitoes; and 
though I never fainted from loss of blood, I 

can truly saw I was often very hungry. Mr. 



Speaker, if I should ever conclude to doff what- 
ever our Democratic friends may suppose there 
is of black cockade Federalism about me, and 
thereupon they should take me up as their 
candidate for the presidency, I protest they 
shall not make fun of me as they have of 
General ('ass. by attempting to write me into a 
military hero." 

This was but simple pleasantry, and was so 
received l>y Lincoln's colleagues in the national 
house Of representatives. It must he remem- 
bered by the reader that Lincoln was a mem- 
ber of the Illinois legislature in 1837, and voted 
to honor General Cass by giving his name to 
a new county of this state. 

General Cass was an able man, a patriotic 
citizen, filling the high station in public life 
to which he was called in an eminently satis- 
factory manner, but so little is known of him 
and so little said in general histories, that he 
might almost be listed with the "Forgotten 
Statesmen." His history is illustrative of that 
pathetic line from Rip Van Winkle, who, upon 
his return to his peaceful village home after 
his quiet sleep in the Catskill Mountains, find- 
ing that his former friends did not readily 
recognize him, said "Then are we so soon 















The first constitution of this state was adopted 
at Kaskaskia, in convention, August 26, 181S. 
It was not definite in its provisions for county 
officers, but left it to the legislature to pro- 
vide for the election and qualification of all 
except a sheriff and coroner; and by the sched- 
ule, it was provided, that three county commis- 
sioners should be elected in each county "for 
the purpose of transacting all county business, 
whose term of service, power and duties, shall 
he regulated by law." Pursuant to that author- 
ity, the legislature, on March 22, 1S19, passed 
an act establishing the County Commissioners' 
Court, although it was expressly provided in the 
act that it should not have jurisdiction of crim- 
inal or civil suits, or action wherein the state 
or any individuals, bodies politic or corporate 
were parties. It was intended as a body solely 
for the purpose of transacting the county busi- 
ness. The entire business of all the counties 
of the state was transacted by the county com- 
missioners during the time the first constitution 
was in force. Those who served as county com- 
missioners in Cass County under the provision 
of the law were : 

Joshua P. Crow. Amos Bonney, and George 
F. Miller, elected August 7, 1837; Isaac Spence, 
elected in 1838 ; John C. Scott, elected in 1S40 ; 
Marcus Chandler, elected in 1840; W. J. De- 
lia ven. elected in 1841; Robert Leeper, elected in 
1842: Henry McHenry, elected in 1842; Jesse 
B. Pence, elected in 1843 ; George B. Thompson, 
elected in 1844; William McHenry. elected in 
1845 ; George H. Nolte, elected in 1S4T ; and 
George W. Weaver, elected in 1848. These men 
were elected for a term of three years each, ex- 
cept where they were elected to fill a vacancy. 
Some served more than one term. 


In 1842 there was a general agitation to hold 
a constitutional convention, in the helief that a 
new constitution, with such provisions as those 
more particularly interested in the burdensome 

J5ci^J<_zjP /v^6t^^i^i^_xc 



state debt thought might be incorporated there- 
in, would enable the people to relieve themselves 
of that incubus, but on the proposition as to 
whether a convention should or should not be 
held being submitted to the people, it was de- 
feated by a narrow margin. Being re-submitted 
in 1846, it was carried by a large majority. The 
convention was held at the capital, in 1847, 
and on August 31, it was adjourned, having com- 
pleted its labors and adopted the new constitu- 
tion. Mr. Newton Cloud, a delegate to that con- 
vention from the district of which Cass County 
formed a part, was president. The constitution 
was submitted to popular vote and ratified by 
the people March 0, 1848. There were two sepa- 
rate articles submitted, one concerning the im- 
migration and settling in this state of free 
persons of color, and to prevent owners of slaves 
from bringing them into this state for the pur- 
pose of setting them free. There was an article 
providing for a two-mill tax, for the purpose of 
assisting in extinguishing the state debt. Both 
articles were adopted. The constitution itself 
was adopted by a vote of about four to one. and 
the article concerning slaves, and free colored 
people was adopted by about three to one. In 
Cass County the vote on the constitution was 
about unanimous, being 635 for, to thirty-two 
against, but there were 109 persons who did not 
like the provision in regard to the colored people. 
At the general election, held August 7 of the 
same year. William Thomas of Jacksonville was 
elected state senator over Newton Cloud of the 
same place, who had been president of the con- 
stitutional convention, by seven votes. August 
C. French had been elected governor of the state 
in L846, and had served but two years of his 
term when the new constitution went into effect, 
but he was again nominated by his party and 
re-elected for a full four-year term, being the 
lirst governor of Illinois to succeed himself. 

The constitution of 1N4.S. which went into 
effect on April 1 of year, made many 
changes. It established a county court, and 
provided for the election of a county Judge who 
should sit with two justices of the peace in each 

county for the transaction of all business com- 
mitted to that body by law. Including the trans- 
action of the business matters of the county. 
Which, under the constitution Of 1818, had 1 n 

transacted by the county commissioners, it pro- 
vided, however, that the legislature might, by 

law. dired the election of two justices of the 
peace by the people of the county at large, t" sit 

with the judge in all sessions. The legislature 
immediately enacted a law defining all jurisdic- 
tion and duties of the county court in addition 
to the specific jurisdiction given by the constitu- 
tion, and provided for the election of two jus- 
tices to sit with the judge. The constitution 
further provided for the election of a county 
clerk, and that said clerk should be ex-officio 
recorder, with a further proviso that the General 
Assembly might, by law, "make the clerk of the 
Circuit court ex-officio recorder in lieu of the 
county clerk." A law to that effect was also 
enacted by the General Assembly, so from that 
time on no recorder was elected as a distinct and 
separate official. 


In November, 1849, the first election of a 
county judge and his associates was held. From 
that time until that court was abolished by the 
constitution of 1870, the following persons held 
the position of judges and associate justices: 
Judges: James Shaw, John A. Arenz, II. C. 
Havekluft, F. H. Rearick and Alexander 
Huffman. Associate justices: William Taylor, 
Thomas Plasters, Jacob Ward, Isaac Epler, Syl- 
vester Paddock, John M. Short, William Mc- 
Henry, G. W. Shawen, Jennings G. Ma this, 
Samuel Smith. Andrew Struble and Jephthah 


of 1870. 

By the constitution of 1870, of which more 
extensive mention will be made under another 
chapter, this county court was abolished, and a 
provision made for the selection of three county 
commissioners to transact all county business. 
The law pursuant to that provision of the stat- 
ute, with subsequent amendments, is still in 
force and the county affairs have been Conducted 
by that board wholly Independent of the county 
court or county judge. The county commission- 
ers Who have served Cass County under that 
law from its adoption to the present time are: 
William Campbell, John II. Melone, Robert 
Flelden, Luke Dunn, Robert Cram, Robert Clark, 

I'll,, mas Knight, LOUlS C. llackinan. I-'. W. 

Gerdes, George A. Beard, Henry Garm, William 
Buraker, Pius Neff, Oliver Decker, George W. 
Stout, r. W. Korsmeyer, Albert Krohe, George 
w. Chittlck, Philip 11. Bailey, Robert H. Ann- 



strong, Henry A. Bridgeman, James R. Sligh, 
Walter W. Dick, John C. Rreeh, John L. Martin, 
George F. Knlilnmn, Angus Taylor, Robert Lou- 
den and William Roegge. The term of office is 
three years, but a number of the above named 
men served for two terms. F. W. Gerdes died 
while in office, in 1884, and George A. Beard 
was elected to till the vacancy. Robert H. Arm- 
strong also died while he was a commissioner, 
and James R. Sligh was elected in 1003, to fill 
that vacancy. It therefore will be observed that 
the business of Cass County has been conducted 
by county commissioners or official equivalents 
ever since its organization. 


The constitution of 184S provided for the man- 
agement of county business by a system called 
"township organization," if the people of any 
county should by vote adopt the system. The 
physical organization consisted of townships laid 
out and named by commissioners appointed for 
the purpose, and had no connection with the gov- 
ernment townships formed by the government 
land survey. There is a more or less elaborate 
system of Local government and local officials, 
for assessing and collecting taxes, and a super- 
visor for each township, who all meet in a body 
at stated times fixed by law for the transaction 
of the general county business. The constitu- 
tion of 1S70 also contains the provision for 
adopting township organization, with some modi- 
fications made by the legislature in laws sub- 
sequently enacted. Several attempts have been 
made to change Cass County from the commis- 
sion form of government to that of township 
organization, but always resulted in failure by 
adverse vote of the people, except upon the first 
vote taken. 

No petition can be found, nor any record of 
any order by the county commissioners for a 
vote, but there is a record of the vote as can- 
vassed, appearing under date of December 3, 
1S40, in the record of the county commission- 
ers' court, which shows the vote to have been 
2S0 for adoption, and ITS against the adoption 
of township organization, ruder date of Decem- 
ber 4. 1S4!>. appears the record of the appoint- 
ment of three commissioners, namely: Francis 
A. Arenz, James Berry, and Dr. Charles Chand- 
ler, to lay out and name the townships of the 
county. This order of appointment recites that 
the election was held in November, 1840, but the 

exact day is not given. On March 6, 1S50, 
Francis A. Arenz, one of the commissioners ap- 
pointed, reported to the commissioners' court 
that James Berry, one of the aforesaid ap- 
pointees had died, and that being in doubt 
whether, under the law, the remaining two could 
legally proceed to perforin the duties assigned 
them, they had done nothing. It does not ap- 
pear from any record that anything further was 
ever done in the matter, but the records do show 
that the business of the county was continued 
under the commissioners' court in the same man- 
ner as before the vote on the question was taken, 
until 1857, when a petition by Peter Rickard 
and others was filed praying the board to order 
an election on the question. The election was 
ordered and held, and the proposition for town- 
ship organization was defeated by a decided 
majority. No further attempt was made for 
fourteen years, and then on September 12, 1871, 
Keeling Berry and others filed a petition to 
again place the question before the people. The 
election was ordered and held with the same 

Again, on September 6, 1877, Ernest Jokisch, 
James Buck and others filed a petition, and 
pursuant to the law the vote was ordered, and 
being taken on November G, the same year, re- 
sulted again in defeat of the proposition. This 
apparently settled the question, and it remained 
peacefully interred for twenty-four years, when 
a new generation having come on, it was resur- 
rected and put before the board of county com- 
missioners in a petition filed by Levi Horton 
and others, on October 1, 1001, and once more 
the vote was taken with the result that the 
proposition to change to township organization 
was almost unanimously defeated, and up to 
1014. has not reappeared. Thus, having so often 
registered their verdict one way on the question, 
it might well lie concluded that the people of 
Cass County prefer the commission form of gov- 
ernment for county affairs at least. Neverthe- 
less the township system seems to have become 
most popular throughout the state for all but 
eighteen of the 102 counties of the state have 
adopted it. 

As noted previously the recorder's office was 
changed by the constitution of 1.848 from an 
elective office to an ex-officio one, and the legis- 
lature, pursuant to the authority granted, made 
the elective circuit clerk ex-officio recorder. 
Whether elective or otherwise, the recorder's 
office is always an important and interesting 



one. All title deeds and papers and many mis- 
cellaneous writings are there recorded and some 
curiosities are found among them. 


The first deed that appears of record, after 
the organization of Cass County in 1837, is from 
Benjamin H. Gatton and Lucy M. Gatton, his 
wife, to Pinckney C. Mills, dated September 7, 
1S37, stating that for a consideration of $1,500, 
it conveys "twenty feet off of the north side of 
Lot five (5), Block one (1) including twenty 
feet on Main Street and running back to low 
water mark on the Illinois River, in the town 
of Beardstown, county of Cass and state of 


The first deed from March and Beard, the 
original proprietors of the town of Beardstown, 
to any of the lands within the limits of the 
original town, was made the year before the 
town was laid out. It bears the date of August 
21, 1S2S, and conveys to Charles Robertson, of 
the city of New Orleans, for and in considera- 
tion of .$100, a tract of land, "being a fractional 
part of the northwest quarter of section 15, 
township IS, range 12, beginning at a forked 
birch tree on the Illinois River bank, marked as 
a corner, running thence down the river with 
the meanders thereof, so as to make 200 yards 
on a straight line, and from thence running out 
from the river at both ends of the above lines 
by two parallel linos, until they strike the north 
line of the east half of the southwest quarter 
of section 15. township 18, range 12, supposed 
to contain twelve acres." 

On (he same day the grantee in the above 
deed. Charles Robertson, gave to March and 
Beard, a deed of defeasance, as follows: 

"I having tins day bought from Enoch C. 
March and Thomas Beard ami his wife Sarah, a 
piece of land on the river below the ferry of 
the above Beard, ami having this day received 
from them a deed for the same: I hereby declare 
that it is my Intention to do a public business 
on said land between this date and the first day 
of October of next year, and if I have not upon 
the place by that date, persona ami property to 
effect the same, or actually upon the way to do 
so. i will return the above <\rt-t\. ami transfer 
hac'.; the land upon receiving the consideration 

given them for the same. The above public busi- 
ness means a steam mill, distillery, rope walk or 

"Witness my hand and seal, this 21st day of 
August, 1S28. 

"(Signed) Charles Robertson (Seal)" 

Charles Robertson, the party to those deeds, 
lived for many years on an excellent farm about 
three miles east of the village of Arenzville. 
He is now deceased. In February, 1872, he 
wrote a letter to the Chicago Journal, which 
contained the following in reference to condi- 
tions at an early date in this part of Illinois. 

"Fifty years ago, or in the summer of 1821, 
there was not a bushel of corn to be had in 
central Illinois. My father settled in that year 
twenty-three miles west of Springfield. We had 
to live for a time on venison, blackberries and 
milk, while the men were gone to Egypt, to 
harvest and procure breadstuff*. The land we 
improved was surveyed that summer, and after- 
wards bought from the government, the money 
being raised by sending beeswax down the Illi- 
nois River to St. Louis, in an Indian canoe. 
Dressed deer skins and tanned hides were then 
in use, and we made one piece of cloth out of 
nettles instead of flax. Cotton matured we'd 
for a decade, until the deep snow of 1830." 

The Egypt mentioned in the above letter is the 
southern part of Illinois. Its low lying lands. 
so frequently overflowed by the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi rivers, and the fact that there were 
often good crops of both corn ami wheat raised 
there when scarcely anything was grown in the 
central and northern part of Illinois, and the 
further fact that many people were obliged to. 
and did go down there for their breadstuffs and 
assisted in harvesting the crops, came to be 
known as Egypt. The pseudonym was thus 
fastened upon southern Illinois for all time when 
a town, which was called Cairo, was laid out at 
the confluence of the i »hio and Mississippi rivers. 

In 1881, .1. Henry Shaw of Beardstown sold 

his residence to Charles E. Wyman, and con- 
veyed it with the following very unique <\^'<L 
which is recorded in the deed records of this 
county, i Deed Record I". Page 257. 1 

• - I. .1. Henry Shaw, the grantor, herein. 
Who live at Beardstown the county within, 
For seven hundred dollars to me paid today 
By Charles E. Wyman, do sell ami convey 
I,,, I two (2), in Block forty (40), -aid county 
and town. 



Where Illinois River flows placidly down. 
And warrant the title forever and aye. 
Waiving homestead and mansion to both a 

And pledging this deed is valid in law, 
I add here my signature, J. IIknhy Shaw. 
i Seal ) Dated July 25, 1881." 

"I, Sylvester Emmons, who live at P.eardstown, 
A justice of peace of fame and renown. 
Of the county of Cass in Illinois state, 
Do certify here that on the same elate 
One J. Henry Shaw to me did make known 
That the deed above and name were his own, 
And he stated he sealed and delivered the same 
Voluntarily, freely, and never would claim, 
His homestead therein, but left all alone, 
Turned his face to the street and his back to 

his home. 
(Seal) S. Emmons, J. P. 

Dated August 1, 1881." 

The above is regarded as a perfectly good deed 
of conveyance under the laws of Illinois. The 
grantee. Charles E. Wyman, who was a lawyer 
in practice in Beardstown, accepted it as a good 
warranty deed. The grantor. J. Henry Shaw, 
was also a well known lawyer, as was also the 
justice of the peace. Sylvester Emmons, who 
took the acknowledgment. The wife of the 
grantor made a separate deed to convey her 
homestead and dower. 


The following named persons have .been 
elected to and occupied the office of recorder : 
Nathaniel B. Thompson. 18.37 to 1843, when Dr. 
Mahlon II. L. Schqoley was elected. When the 
county seat was removed from Virginia to 
Beardstown, in 1845, Dr. Schooley resigned, and 
Levi L. Wood succeeded him and retained the 
office until the constitution abolished it as an 
elective office and provided as heretofore stated, 
that the clerk of the county court, or if the legis- 
lature so directed by law, the circuit clerk. 
should be ex-officio recorder. 


The legislature having followed the suggestion 
in the constitution, immediately after the con- 
stitution of 1848 went into effect, made the 
circuit clerk ex-officio recorder, and since that 

time the following named persons have been 
elected circuit clerk and ex-officio recorder: 
Tbomasi R. Sanders, elected in 1848; Sylvester 
Emmons, elected in 1852; James Taylor, elected 
in 1856; Henry Phillips, elected in 1800 ; C. F. 
Diffenbacher, elected in 1868; Albert F. Arenz, 
elected in 1872; Thomas V. Finney, elected in 
hS7<; ; Finis E. Downing, elected in 1880; Henry 
F. Kors, elected in 1S92 ; Adolph F. Sielschott, 
elected in 1900 ; and Levi D. Springer, elected 
in 1908, who is the present incumbent. Mr. 
Springer is serving in his second term, and is a 
grandson of Levi Springer, a very early pioneer 
farmer and preacher so often mentioned by 
writers of early Illinois history. 


The men who have served Cass County as 
sheriffs since its organization are as follows: 
Lemon Plasters, elected August 7. 1837; John 
Savage, elected in 1841; Joseph M, McClean, 
elected in 1848; J. B. Folks, elected in Novem- 
ber, 1850; William Pitner, elected in November, 
1852; James Taylor, elected in 1854; James A. 
Dick, elected in 1856 ; Francis II. Rearick, 
elected in 1858; James Taylor, elected in 1860; 
Charles E. Yeck, elected in 1862; James A. Dick, 
elected in 1804 ; Charles E. Yeck, elected in 
1866; Thomas Chapman, elected in 1808; Horace 
Cowan, elected in 1870; George Valkmar. elected 
in 1872; William Epler, elected in 1874; Adolph 
H. Sielschott, elected in 1878; John Direen, 
elected in 1SS6 ; John J. Beatty, elected in 1890; 
Louis W. Pilger, elected in 1894 ; Ernest P. Wid- 
meyer, elected in 1S98 ; Fred E. Schweer, elected 
in 1902; James R. Sligh, elected in 1906; and 
Ernest P. Widmeyer, elected in 1910. 

An amendment to the constitution of 1870, 
adopted in November, 1880, by a vote of the 
people, changed the term of sheriff from two 
years to four years, and made the sheriff and 
treasurer ineligible to re-election for a period of 
four years after the term for which he was 
elected expired. This amendment to the consti- 
tution modified Section 8 of Article 10. and by 
providing for an election for county judge, county 
clerk, sheriff and treasurer on the first Tuesday 
after the first Monday in November. A. D. 1882, 
operated to extend the terms of those officers 
one year; thus what appears as a discrepancy 
in the time or term of office of certain officers 
mentioned in these pages is accounted for by 
reason of the extension of time given them by 

<c^£^^*7^ ~jr $<£&2L4< 

&-tr~? j,u~<2- 



this provision of the constitution as amended. 
The sheriff in counties not under township or- 
ganization are also ex-officio collector of taxes. 
The constitution of 1870 provided for the elec- 
tion of a clerk of the county court, and also a 
county clerk ; and the legislature provided by 
law that the county clerk should also be the 
clerk of the county court, and while the two 
offices are held by one and the same person, the 
offices and duties thereof are entirely distinct. 
Since the organization of Illinois territory into 
a state in 1818; there has been elected in each 
county a county clerk who has had charge of 
the official bookkeeping, and acted as clerk to 
the county commissioners. 


The following is a list of persons who have 
served the county in that capacity : John W. 
Pratt, elected in 1S37 ; M. H. H. Carpenter, 
elected in 1845; Lewis F. .Sanders, elected in 
1S47, and re-elected in 1849; Allen J. Hill, 
elected in 1857 ; James B. Black, elected in 1873 ; 
J. F. Robinson, elected in 1882; A. M. Pendle- 
ton, elected in 1898; James Meade, elected in 
1906; and Louis O. Skiles, elected in 1910. 
From the time the constitution of 184S went 
into effect the term of office was four years, and 
it will be observed that several of the above 
named persons served more than one term, being 
re-elected at the expiration of the time of the 
official term. 


The following have filled the office of assessor 
and treasurer of Cass County: 

Thomas W. Wilbourn was elected at the first 
election held in the county on August 7. 1837, 
but did not care to hold it alter being honored 
by election to it. and soon thereafter resigned. 
On December 16, 1837, Isaac W. Overall was 
elected to fill the vacancy, and entered upon the 
duties of the office, hut William YV. Babb con- 
tested his election and was declared elected, and 
held the office until the regular election in 

1838, when William II. Nelms was elected his 
successor. Etoberl Gaines, who was elected in 

1839, served until is IT, and was succeeded by 
John Craig who served until 1851. Martin 1". 
Higgins was elected in 1851, hiit died soon after 
his re-election in is.".::, and Phineas T. Under- 

W 1 was elected to till the vacancy and served 

until 1857, when Frank A. Hammer was elected 
and served until 1S59. Those who followed him 
were: David C. Dilley, elected in 1859, who 
served until 1S71 ; Philip H. Bailey, elected in 
1871, who served until 1873; John L. Cire, 
elected in 1873. died in 1881, while serving his 
second term, and the county commissioners ap- 
pointed John Rahn to fill the vacancy. Mr. 
Rahn was elected in November, 1881, to fill out 
the constitutional interim of one year. Under 
the constitution of 1870 a treasurer cannot suc- 
ceed himself. Henry Quigg served from 1SS2 
until 1S8G; Adolph F. Sielschott served from 
18Ni; until 1890; Henry Garni served from 1890 
until 1894; John J. Beatty served from 1894 
until 1898; Albert S. Coil served from 1898 until 
l!>02; E. P. Widmeyer served from 1902 until 
1906; F. E. Schweer served from 1900 until 
1910; and J. P. Sligh served from 1910 until 

Many, in fact the majority, of the officers of 
the county named in the foregoing pages were 
the pioneers or their direct descendants, who 
devoted their best efforts to building up the new 
county. They were universally men of excep- 
tional worth and integrity, oftentimes differing 
in national policies, but always kind and neigh- 
borly towards one another, and ever hospitable 
to the strangers who were daily coming in from 
the older states and foreign countries. 


John Wilkes Pratt, who lias been mentioned 
in connection with his very efficient efforts in 
securing to Cass County the three mile strip. 
was the first county clerk of ('ass County. Mr. 
Pratt was born December ::. 1806, in Alleghany 
County, Mil., a son of Thomas O. and Christiana 
Pratt. His mother was a cousin of John Tyler, 
President of the United States in 184 I. who suc- 
ceeded to office alter tin- death of President 
William Henry Harrison, he then being vice 
president. Thomas <;. Pratt was in affluent cir- 
cumstances, and a highly respected and Influen- 
tial citizen of his native state. He gave to his 
sun. John w. Pratt, every opportunity tor secur- 
ing an education in the best schools of tin- day. 
The son being possessed of n strong Intellect 
and an appreciative nature, readily acquired a 
very liberal education. He subsequently was 

graduated in a law course and was admitted t" 
the ha i- in the -tale of Maryland. Entering with 

energy upon the practice of his chosen profes- 



sion, he was rapidly rising to distinction, when, 
in 1S23, lie contracted a severe cold which soon 
apparently developed into pulmonary consump- 
tion. His activity in his profession, and fre- 
quent public speaking, in which line he was he- 
coming quite famous, aggravated the incipient 
disease, and the symptoms became alarming. In 
the hope that a change to a more favorable 
climate might be beneficial and arrest the prog- 
ress of the disease, he removed to Florida, hut 
finding that he was not improving, he returned 
to his native state. 

While Mr. Pratt had been struggling with the 
theories of property rights as elucidated by Mr. 
Blackstone, some of his neighbors had emigrated 
to the then far off Illinois country in the hope 
of securing some tangible property in that land 
from which had come fabulous accounts of its 
surpassing beauty and fertility. In 1826, 
Louden L. Case had gone to Illinois, and entered 
land in township IT, range 11, in what was 
then the northern part of Morgan County. He 
had written back favorable accounts of the coun- 
try, and induced a relative to take the journey 
westward. Mr. Pratt, despairing of regaining 
his health in his native place, and believing that 
a trip overland to the West would be of great 
benefit to him physically if not financially, bid 
farewell to the scenes of his early successes and 
ambitions, his family and friends, and in com- 
pany with Mr. Case, started on a long and 
tedious journey on horseback, in the year 1835, 
when he was but twenty-nine years old. 

After an uneventful journey of some weeks, 
the party come to Morgan County, and made 
their way to Beardstown on the Illinois River. 
In July of the same year, Mr. Pratt purchased of 
Loudon L. Case a 40-acre tract of land in town- 
ship 17, range 11, in sections 14 and 23. This 
land was near the farm of John Savage who had 
come from the state of New York and entered 
land in the same township in 1830, and had lie- 
come a prosperous farmer and leading citizen 
of Morgan County. On November 20, 1S3G. Mr. 
Pratt was married to Emily, the eldest child of 
John Savage. His health had greatly improved, 
and after having spent a year of quiet life on a 
pioneer farm, he moved to Beardstown, where, 
on September 0, 1S37, his first child was born, 
whom he named after the child's paternal 
grandfather, Thomas G. Pratt. 

In the spring of that year the northern part 
of Morgan County had been set off and consti- 
tuted the new county of Cass. Mr. Pratt had 

been very active in securing the result, and when 
the first election for county officers occurred, 
which was in August, 1837, he was elected 
county clerk. By successive elections he con- 
tinued in that office until 1842, when, intending 
to become a candidate for member of the Gen- 
eral Assembly, he resigned the office, and was 
appointed clerk pro tern until the next elec- 
tion which would occur in August of the same 
year. At that election, William H. H. Carpenter 
was elected his successor as county clerk, and 
Mr. Pratt was elected to the legislature over his 
opponent, Joshua P. Crow, an able man, and 
an excellent citizen and prominent farmer then 
living on the farm, now and for many years past, 
known as the William Campbell farm, on the 
State Road, west of Virginia. At that election 
Thomas Ford was elected governor. He had 
been placed on the Democratic ticket in place of 
Colonel Adam W. Snyder, who was the regular 
nominee of the party, but had died in May 
previous. Ex-Governor Joseph L. Duncan, who, 
as governor, had signed the bill creating Cass 
County, was the opponent of Mr. Ford, on the 
Whig ticket. The total vote in the county 
was but 689, a gain of only 193 votes in five 
years. The Whigs had been in the majority in 
the county since its organization, and although 
Mr. Ford was elected governor, Cass County 
gave his opponent, the ex-governor, a majority. 
The legislature convened at Springfield, Decem- 
ber 5, 1842. and Mr. Pratt took his seat along 
with Newton Cloud, David Epler and William 
Weatherford, representatives from Morgan 
County. David Epler lived in the three mile 
strip, and was favorable towards Cass County. 
Then began the effort to have this strip de- 
tached from Morgan County and added to Cass 
County, an account of which, together with the 
successful activities of Mr. Pratt in that con- 
nection, are given elsewhere. Mr. Pratt was 
re-elected to the legislature in 1844, and success 
crowned his efforts in his long fight for the pos- 
session by Cass County of the hotly contested 
three mile strip. 

A biography of Mr. Pratt by Hon. J. N. 
Gridley concludes as follows : 

"It has been impossible to ascertain with any 
certainty how Mr. Pratt employed his leisure 
time from 1842 to 1847. He was in ill health 
much of the time, and not able to lead an active 
life. He served the people as postmaster ; he 
assisted Governor Ford in his troubles with the 
Mormon people ; he took an active part in all 



public affairs and was held iu high esteem by all 
who knew him. During these years he resided 
with his family in the house purchased for his 
wife by her father, John Savage, on lots 94 and 
95, on the east side of the old square (Virginia) 
uow owned by John Wilkes. In this house his 
three younger children were born. In the sum- 
mer of 1847 he became a candidate for the office 
of county clerk ; his opponent was Charles B. 
Epler of Princeton, who was a Democrat, and 
a young man of ability. Such was the prestige 
of Mr. Pratt that at the election held August 
2, 1847, he carried every precinct in the county, 
receiving 620 votes out of 1,017 cast at the polls. 
While making his preparations to remove his 
family to Beardstown, the seat of justice of the 
county, he became worse, took to his bed and 
expired on the 7th day of October, 1847, aged 
forty years ten months and four days, leav- 
ing him surviving his faithful wife and four 
children, the eldest ten years of age and the 
youngest but two. It must have been a sad 
sight to witness the death of this useful citizen 
so early in life, leaving his family of helpless 
little ones to grow up without a father's help 
and protection. The family was made welcome 
at the home of the good father of the young 
widow, who erected a dwelling for her and his 
grandchildren, very near his own homestead, 
where they grew to manhood and womanhood. 
His two sons, inheriting the public spirit of their 
father, enlisted in the Union army of 1861-G5, 
and became brave and faithful soldiers, and are 
now honored citizens of this community. 

"Thomas <i. Pratt, the eldest child, was bom 
September <"», 1«T, in Beardstown, 111. Ellen 
Pratt was born in Virginia. 111., July !."», 1S39. 
Mary Pratt was born in Virginia, 111., Decem- 
ber 12."). 1S42; and Henry C. Pratt was born in 
Virginia. 111.. June 18, 184."). Ellen Pratt was 
married to Francis M. Treadway who was a 
soldier in tbe Civil war, and died at bis resi- 
dence in Virginia, 111., in tbe year Is'.): 1 ,. Mary 
E. married Jacob Yaple, Jr. She removed to 
Maryville, Mo.. many years ago. Emily 
(Savage) Pratt died on the 7th day of Decem- 
ber, 1ST.'!, at the home of her son. Henry ( '. 
Pratt. She and her husband were buried on 

the Savage farm; afterwards their remains were 
removed to the Monroe burial ground, located 
on the farm of Henry O. Pratt 

"In personal appearance .Mr. Pratt was si\ 
feet in height, weight 17ii pounds, with llghl 
hair and eyes; his manner quiet and dignified. 

"The name of John Wilkes Pratt should 
ever be held in grateful remembrance for his 
distinguished services rendered the public in 
the early history of Cass County." 


It is impossible to find sufficient reliable data 
from which to record much biographical in- 
formation regarding the early residents and 
business men of Cass County. Many came to 
Beardstown in its early flourishing times, prior 
to the building of the railroads, when the river 
traffic was at its height. Beardstown was until 
about 185G, the point on the Illinois River where 
all shipments of goods of every description 
were made for Virginia. Springfield, Petersburg 
and Rushville, as well as for individuals living 
at various isolated places throughout Sangamon, 
('ass. Menard and Morgan counties. A number 
believing Beardstown an excellent point for com- 
mercial enterprise and that it was destined to 
become a great city, located there, flourishing 
with the town for a time, and then removed to 
other fields, leaving little or no trace of their 
ancestry or themselves. Among those who were 
thus located were Knapp & Pogue, at one time 
leading merchants of Beardstown, but the firm 
failed, and Mr. Pogue became a justice of the 
peace, which office he held until his death. Mr. 
Knapp, his partner, returned to New Orleans, 
his former home. This firm had built several 
business houses, among them the spacious 
warehouse known as "The Great Western."' 
This was a large building extending from Main 
street to the river, and having forty foot front- 
age on Main street. It was two stories in 
height, witli a roomy attic. Knapp & Pogue also 
built the first flouring mill, which was erected 
in 1830-1. 

Thomas and John Wilbourn were two other 
prominent early residents of whom little call 
now he learned. They both held official posi 
tions in the early organization of tin- county. 
Thomas Wilbourn was elected the tirst treasurer 
of the county, inii soon resigned. He evidently 

had no taste for Official life, as it does not appear 

from the records that he ever subsequently held 

an Office in Cass County. His brother. John S. 

Wilbourn, was elected the flrsl probate Justice 

Of the county, which place he held for two years, 
when he too, disappeared from public life. 
They together built a large flouring mill at 
Beardstown, which after being in use ami sup- 



plying the community with Hour and other 
products of tlif mill for several years, burned 
down. Several years later Baujan & Co. erected 
a new mill on the same premises, and have en- 
larged the plant until they have under the firm 
name of Schultz, Baujan & Co.. one of the 
largest and progressively prosperous milling con- 
cerns in central Illinois. 

Aimer and Henry T. Foster were early settlers 
and merchants of the county. Henry T. Foster- 
was horn in Lincoln County, Maine, February 3, 
L815. His brother, Abner, was born in the same 
place two years later, August 2. 1S17. They 
both came to Illinois in 1835, and engaged in 
merchandising. In 1836 they opened a store on 
Sangamon Bottom, in Richmond Precinct, about 
six miles east of the present site of Chandler - 
ville. on land subsequently owned by John 1'. 
Dick. They conducted the business for two 
years, then sold out and returned to Beards- 
Inwii, where they embarked in a milling busi- 
ness and merchandising for a time. Later they 
moved from the town and farmed. Abner 
Foster becoming tired of the monotony of an 
agricultural life, returned to Beardstown, where 
he died August 23, 1894, having been for many 
years engaged in a lumber business and mer- 
chandising. In ls7f> he was elected president of 
the Cass County Bank. Henry T. Foster died 
at Beardstown, April 27, 1894. 

Thomas Graham was an early merchant at 
Beardstown. coming from Philadelphia, Pa., his 
native city, about 1834. He had married before 
coming to Cass County, and his wife brought 
with her a piano, said to be the first brought 
to this part of the country. 

There were many merchants and tradesmen, 
mechanics and artisans, and professional men as 
well as farmers, who came in a very early day 
just preceding and soon after the organization 
of Cass County. They remained steadfast in 
the determination to make Cass County their 
permanent home, and save to the community 
the benefit of their energy, honesty, and integ- 
rity, exerting an uplifting influence. While all 
of them are worthy of special mention space 
forbids more than a naming of those of more or 
less prominence in business and public affairs. 

There were: Ernest Arnoldi, a farmer; Men- 
dall Aaron, a merchant: John J. Beatty. a hard 
ware dealer. The latter served a term as as- 
sessor and treasurer, as well as sheriff of Cass 
County. James Buck was a gardener and 
farmer; Charles E. Burns, a carpenter; C. A. 

Bussman, a contractor and builder; Samuel L. 
Calif, a farmer ; Thomas Clark, a farmer ; Wil- 
liam Duval, a farmer; Luke Dunn, a farmer. 
He also served two different terms as county 
commissioner of this county. George and Wil- 
liam Duchardt were butchers and cattle dealers ; 
John Dunn was a farmer; John R. Dutch, a 
grain dealer and merchant, was a son of Cap- 
tain E. J. Dutch who came to Cass County in 
1837. A sea captain, he had followed his calling 
for many years as a commander of different 
vessels. Henry DeSoller was a manufacturer 
of carriages and wagons at Beardstown for many 
years. Oliver Decker, a farmer, served one 
term as county commissioner. James A. Dick, 
a farmer, was elected and served one term as 
sheriff of the county from 1856 to 1858, and 
again elected in 1804, served until 1806. John 
Decker, a farmer, came from Germany in 1835. 
David C. Dilley, a harnessmaker by trade, was 
elected treasurer of the county in 1859, and 
held the place by subsequent elections until 
1871. J. H. C. Eherwein, a merchant, came 
from Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, in 1837. 
Frederick W. Ehrhardt, a manufacturer of ex- 
tracts, baking powder, etc. ; Antone Greve, a 
cigar manufacturer; and Henry Garni, propri- 
etor of a saw mill and lumber business, a mer- 
chant tailor, and later an ice and grain dealer, 
were also representative men of the early period. 
The last named was elected and served as county 
commissioner for two terms, and also served 
for one term as county treasurer. Others were : 
Lyman llager, a farmer; John H. Hagener, a 
stone cutter by trade, later engaged in a lumber 
and grain business; John H. Harris, a banker, 
helped to organize the Peoples Bank, and was 
elected its first president. Franklin A. Hammer, 
a school teacher in early life, later became a 
farmer, and was elected treasurer of the county 
in 1857, ami served one term, and in 1878 was 
chosen president of the Cass County Bank. 
David Henderson, a carpenter and farmer; 
David M. Irwin, a Virginia and Beardstown 
merchant; William Jockisch. a farmer and large 
landowner; Gothalf Jockisch and Charles Jock- 
isch. both farmers; John Knight, farmer and 
hanker; Jacob Lebkecher. a farmer: Alexander 
Lammers, a merchant; and George Kuhl, baker 
and grocer, and later a dry goods merchant, were 
also prominent in Cass County. Others belong- 
ing to this class were: Henry and William 
Kuhlman, farmers; Lycurgus Lee, a farmer; 
Christian T. Launer, a farmer; Henry Menke, a 



druggist; William C. Nelte, who learned the 
cooper trade, hut afterwards became a farmer ; 
John F. Papmier, a jeweler; Norman Parsons, 
who learned and worked at the tanner trade for 
many years, but became a wagonmaker and 
blacksmith ; Christian Pilger, a tailor ; Anton 
Rink, a brewer ; Henry Ruppel, a boot and shoe 
dealer; W. II. Rhineberger, a carpenter and 
builder; W. G. Raw, a merchant of Bluff 
Springs ; Lewis F. Sanders, a merchant, who was 
elected county clerk in 1847 and served by suc- 
cessive elections until 1S57, was also police 
magistrate of Beardstown ; Samuel Shaw, a 
farmer, later a director in the Cass County Bank, 
and United States Revenue inspector for the 
Ninth District ; Herman Philippi, a farmer ; 
William Paschall, a farmer; Werner Steuerna- 
gal, a merchant and banker ; Robert Schmoldt, 
a lumber dealer and proprietor of saw mills; 
Field Sample, a farmer, who later kept a hotel 
at Beardstown; Richard Tink, a farmer; David 
P. Treadway, a farmer; Lewis Treadway, born 
in Monroe Precinct, March 3, 1837, which was 
the day the law making the new county of Cass 
passed the legislature; Edward N. Treadway, 
a farmer; John W. Thompson, a farmer; Henry 
G. Unhand, a merchant; John Unland, a farmer; 
Joseph Weaver, a contractor and builder and 
brick mason; Henry Witte, a farmer; David 
Wagner, a farmer; Frederick Wedeking a 
farmer; John Webb, a merchant; Henry and 
Ferdinand Wunhold, farmers, all of whom were 
residents of Beardstown or its vicinity. 

Among those who came to Cass County and 
settled in or about Virginia were the following: 
William Campbell, a farmer and extensive land 
owner, served one term as county commissioner 
of this county; Edward Direen, a farmer, one 
Of whose sons, John pireen, served one term as 
sheriff, and several terms as deputy sheriff of 
the county; Abraham Epler, who settled near 
diss County line in Morgan County, had several 
sons who became residents of c.-iss County, at a 
very early day. David Epler was a member of 
the Legislature from Morgan County at the time 
the three mile strip was taken from Morgan 
County and attached to Cass County. lie re- 
sided on the strip and aided materially in effect 
iiiL' the change. William Epler, a son of John 
Epler, and grandson of Abraham Epler, was 
sheriff of Cass County from 1874 to 1876. 
Morison Graves was a farmer, and bis brother, 
James M. Graves, was also a farmer, and they 

were the sons of Richard Graves whose name 
appears among those who entered land in 1828. 
Thomas Gatton, a farmer and merchant; Hen- 
derson F. Massey, a farmer; William Moore, a 
farmer ; Lachlan McNeill, a farmer ; William T. 
Melone, a farmer; Samuel II. Peteflsh, a farmer 
and later a banker ; John A. Peteflsh, a farmer 
and banker; Jacob Peteflsh, a farmer; Henry 
Quigg, a farmer and director in the Centennial 
Bank, served one term as county treasurer; 
Oswell and Ignatius Sidles, farmers and later 
members of the Peteflsh, Sidles & Co. Bank ; 
I. M. Strihling, an extensive farmer; Edward 
W. Turner, a farmer ; Thomas Wilson, a farmer ; 
Andrew W. Cunningham, a farmer and owner 
and operator of the first tan yard in Cass 
County; George Cunningham, a farmer; N. B. 
Thompson, a merchant, served from 1S37 until 
1842, as recorder; Charles II. Oliver, a mer- 
chant ; George W. Weaver, a farmer and brick 
mason; James M. Beadles, a farmer; M. H. 
Beadles, a carpenter; Silas and Littleherry Free- 
man, farmers; Levi Springer, a farmer and 
pioneer preacher; Jacob Ward, a fanner and 
stock dealer; Amos West; Reddiek Horn, a 
preacher, served as clerk of the Circuit court one 
term ; Joshua P. Crow, a farmer, was one of the 
first three county commissioners, and also pro- 
bate justice of the peace in 1839; Jonathan and 
Jacob Bergen, farmers and merchants; Halsey 
Smith, a farmer and first coroner of the county; 
Captain Jacob Yaple. a farmer; Levi and Peter 
Conover, farmers, all of whom are worthy a 
place in this history. Those who came at an 
earlier date and settled in other parts of the 
county have already been given elsewhere. 


Archibald Job, one of the earliest settlers in 
Cass County, came to the northern part of 
Morgan County in 1819, and located in Sylvan 
Grove, in the present Cass County, near Vir- 
ginia. He was horn in Maryland, in 17M. In 
isl>i Greene County was organised from the 
northern part of Madison County, with its pres- 
ent boundary lines, it is Frequently stated In 
historical writings that Morgan County was 
formed from the northern pari of Greene County, 
but this statement is not accurate. When 
Greene County was formed, an art creating it 
attached the unorganized territory of m idison 



north of Greene to that county for judicial pur- 
poses and for that of representation in the 
general assembly. This fact accounts for the 
error, but in fact Cass County and Morgan 
County were never a part of Greene County. 

Mr. Job was elected to represent Greene 
County in the legislature in 1S22, and again in 
1824, after Morgan County had been organized, 
he was elected to represent both Greene and 
Morgan counties. In 182G, he was elected to 
tiie state senate from the district composed of 
the present counties of Calhoun, Pike, Adams, 
l'.rown. Schuyler. Fulton, Morgan, Scott, Cass, 
Mason, Tazewell and Peoria. In 1837 the legis- 
lature had voted to remove the capital from Van- 
dalia to Springfield, and provided for the ap- 
pointment of three commissioners to build the 
new state house at that place. Mr. Job was 
appointed one of these commissioners in 1839, 
and with the other two supervised the con- 
struction of the state house, which has since 
been converted into one of the handsomest court 
houses in Illinois. The building was raised suffi- 
ciently to admit of the construction of a sub- 
stantial basement below, but the exterior of the 
structure was retained in its original form. Mr. 
Job later in life removed from his farm to Ash- 
land, in this county, where he lived to the ripe 
age of ninety years. He died in that village 
in 1871. 

By 1850 many improvements had been made 
in Cass County. Agriculture and farming in- 
dustries had taken a .great stride forward. 
Beardstown had grown wonderfully, large pack- 
ing houses had been built there and thousands 
of hogs were driven on foot across the country 
from very remote points, there to be butchered 
and the products packed and shipped by river 
transportation to St. Louis and other points 
even as far away as New Orleans. Many 
churches, both rural and urban, had been 
erected ; and rural and town schools were fur- 
nished substantial buildings for the comfort and 
convenience of the pupils. A census had been 
taken in 1840 and 1845, and again in 1850. The 
figures for 1845 are not available, but the popu- 
lation in 1840. which was before the three mile 
strip was added, was 2,9S1. In 1850 it was 
7,253. Altogether Cass County was fast taking 
its place as one of the progressive, substantial 
and influential counties of the state. 








The first real property owned by the county 
of Cass was a donation from Dr. Henry H. 
Hall, under the terms of the act of the legisla- 
ture creating the County of Cass, and providing 
that if the county seat should be located at any 
other place in the county than at Beardstown, 
the citizens of the place where it should be 
so located, should donate to the county fifteen 
acres of land upon which the courthouse was to 
be erected, or to be disposed of as the county 
commissioners might see fit, and the proceeds 
expended in erecting a courthouse and jail. 
In May, 1837, a vote had been taken upon the 
question of the permanent location of the county 
scat, and a majority of the voters decided it 
should be at Beardstown. but the citizens of 
Beardstown, not complying with the terms of 
the law for the formation of the County of 
Cass, the commissioners of the county decided 
the county seat should be located at Virginia, 
pursuant to an alternative provision of the act. 
In compliance with that act. Dr. Henry H. Hall 
and wife, Ann H. P. Hall, made a deed of dona- 
tion with warranty to fifteen acres of land in sec- 
tion 3. township 17, range 10. west, the center of 
the tract being the stake placed by the county 
cuinmissioners where the "county seat or court- 
house" should be located. The deed bears the 
date of April 2, 1S3S. and is recorded in Book A 
of Deeds, page 94. On April 4. 1838, the county 
commissioners' court appointed Henry H. Hall 
commissioner to sell and convey any real estate 
within certain description except the public 


Built in 1838. Used as a Public School Building 
After ls4."">; Slightly Remodeled in 18(57 for Primary 


Built in 1876 




square ou which was to be located the court- 
house, ami authorized him to make auy and all 
deeds of conveyance, and do all acts necessary 
to transfer title to said lands. Joshua P. Crow, 
Amos Bonny, and George F. Miller were then the 
county commissioners. 

On April 21, 1838, Henry H. Hall and the 
county commissioners entered into a contract, 
that, in consideration on the part of Hall that 
he would build a courthouse and jail, he should 
have the proceeds of the sale of the lands above 
mentioned, which he was authorized to sell as 
a commissioner under his appointment. On 
June 21, 1838, the ground was platted into 100 
lots, except the public or courthouse square, 
which was 300 feet wide, and 450 feet long, 
leaving a 60-foot street on each side. The lots 
were sold as fast as Commissioner Hall could 
find purchasers, and he soon had a number of 
them disposed of, and he also prepared to erect 
the courthouse. The contract for the brick work 
was let to George W. Weaver, the father of Cap- 
tain W. II. Weaver, who is now living at Peters- 
burg and is well known to the people of Cass 
County. The brick were burned at a point a lit- 
tle north (if the present line of the Baltimore 
& Ohio .Southwestern Railroad, opposite the 
north side of the old fair grounds. By the end 
of the summer of 1839, Dr. Hall reported to the 
county commissioners that the buildings were 
ready to be turned over. The jail had been 
built on another tract of ground, mention of 
which will lie made later. The center of the 
courthouse was at the point where the commis- 
sioners had driven the stake in the center of 
the fifteen-acre tract, as the contract provided 
for, and it was a two-story building facing the 
south. The office rooms for the clerks and other 
county officers were on the ground floor, and 
the court and jury rooms were above. After 
the county seat removal, the building was sold 
to the trustees of township 17. range 1<». Cor the 
use of the Virginia school district, a full de- 
scription of tins transaction being given in the 
chapter relating to schools. At the September 
meeting of the county commissioners court, on 
September u. 1839, the commissioners caused a 
record to be made showing thai they had in- 
spected the courthouse and jail buill by Henry 
II. Hall under his contract with the board of 
commissioners; that the buildings were erected 

in accordance with the contract, and that they 

were accepted, and Dr. Hail was released from 
nil further responsibility. The contrad entered 

into by Dr. Hall did not require him to build 
the jail on any part of the fifteen acres, and 
he preferred to put it on a lot of his own, nearly 
a quarter of a mile southeast of the courthouse, 
on lot !14 of his addition to the original town 
of Virginia. 

After the building was erected, Dr. Hall and 
wife deeded the ground on which it stood to 
the county. Lot 94 is a large one, surrounded 
by alleys, and is ISO feet square." The deed, 
however, did not convey all the lot. but only a 
part described as a tract of land "on which 
the prison of Cass County is erected, its boun- 
daries being: commencing at the southeast cor- 
ner of the criminal room and running south in 
feet, thence west 101 feet, thence north 55 feet, 
thence east 101 feet, thence south 16 feet to 
the northeast corner of the debtors' room, and 
including the ground on which said rooms stand. 
The angles are to be in the same course with 
the lines of the lot 94." Thus it is revealed, by 
a provision for a debtors' room, that some per- 
sons yet clung to the barbarous idea of impris- 
oning persons for not paying their debts: al- 
though the constitution of ISIS provided that 
"no person shall he imprisoned for debt unless 
upon refusal to deliver up his estate for the 
benefit of his creditors in such manner as shall 
be prescribed by law. or in cases where there 
is strong presumption of fraud." This identic,! 1 
language against imprisonment for debt is in- 
corporated in both succeeding constitutions, but 
before the people of Cass County would believe 
this the Supreme court of the state had to de- 
termine judicially that this section of the con- 
stitution abolished imprisonment for debt. It 
was well, however, to have a "criminal room," 
for neither the constitution nor the Supreme 
court has succeeded in abolishing criminals. <>n 
.March 5, 1841, Dr. Hall and his wife deeded 
to the county another small portion of lot 94, 
"commencing at the northeast corner of the 
prison ground, and running easterly hi feet, 
thence southerly 55 feet, thence westerlj - I feet. 

thence northerly to place of beginning." How- 
ever, there is nothing in either description to 
indicate where the prison stood. The building 
was n substantial "no of brick, one story in 
height and containing four rooms. Tins re- 
mained nil the premises until September. 1904, 
when, like the old l'.a-tile of Pari-. Prance, it 
was razed to the ground and nothing is left to 
indicate where it stood but the condition of 
the ground. The outlines of the foundation are 



still visible, and upon inspection it is found that 
the building stood a little east and north of the 
center of lot 1)4. Lot 'M is east of J. N. Sinclair's 
residence on South Job street, and it is now 
owned by Mr. Sinclair. The east side of lot 94 
is pi] feel east of the alley running along the 
westerly side, and the north walls about 44 feet 
south of the northerly line of the lot. In size 
it was 29 feet north and south, and was nearly 
square, but the exact width cannot be ascer- 
tained. In 1851, six years after the county seat 
was removed to Beardstown, the county commis- 
sioners appointed John B. Fnlks a commissioner 
to sell the property, and on August 4 of that 
year he sold it at public auction to Henry II. 
Hall. The deed simply conveys all "right, title 
or interest of the County of Cass"' in and to lot 
!>4. etc., without any particular description of 
the tract of ground. It was purchased later by 
Robert Chittick, and occupied as a residence. 
the building having been improved to a certain 
extent. Mr. Chittick was a mechanic and black- 
smith, who had his simp some little distance 
cast of the old building for many years, and 
is well remembered by the older citizens. 

The act of the legislature granting a vote 
upon the question of removal of the county seat 
from Virginia in 1842, provided that if removed 
by vote, then the locality to which it was to he 
removed should provide a suitahle court and 
jail without expense to the county. Beardstown 
agreed to the proposition, and guaranteed the 
buildings before the vote was taken. Pursuant 
to the vote in favor of removal to Beardstown 
at the election held September 3. 1843, anil to 
the requirements of the law. the trustees of 
Beardstown contracted with B. W. Schneider to 
build a courthouse, and with Thomas Beard, the 
founder of Beardstown, to build a jail. Both 
buildings were erected on lot 1 of block 31 of 
the original town of Beardstown. at the south- 
easterly corner of the public park. The court- 
house was built on the north end and corner of 
the lot, and the jail at the rear end on the 
south, with an open space of about 20 feet be- 
tween the two. At the February term. 1S4.~>. of 
the commissioners court, the deed to the lot 
was presented to the board along with a receipt 
from the contractors. B. W. Schneider and 
Thomas Beard, for payment in full for the cost 
of erection of the buildings, and a certificate 
from Judge Samuel D. Lockwood, the circuit 
judge for the county, of the sufficiency of the 
buildings. Whereupon the board ordered all the 

papers recorded, and adjourned the court to 
meet at Beardstown on the first Monday of 
March, 1845. The courthouse building is a two- 
story brick one, with a court room and jury 
rooms on the second floor. There are four rooms 
on the ground floor, with a hall through the cen- 
ter, from north to south, and a stairway to the 
second floor at the rear end of the hall. It was 
not a large building, but was made very sub- 
stantial and convenient, and is yet in a splendid 
state of preservation, having been kept in ex- 
cellent repair, and is now the city hall of Beards- 
town. in which the city offices are located, the 
court room being used for the council chamber. 
It is also used for holding the terms of the city 
court, inaugurated at Beardstown in 1911. The 
old jail is used as a city jail, and the space be- 
tween the two has lieen enclosed and houses the 
fire department of the city. The famous "Duff 
Armstrong" trial was held in this courthouse, a 
description of which is given in another chapter. 


The buying, selling and exchanging of the 
public buildings of the county has been the re- 
sult of the contention over the permanent loca- 
tion of the county seat, therefore the history 
of that struggle is necessarily interwoven with 
the history of the public buildings. Under the 
law at that time it required a special act of 
legislature to have a vote upon the question of 
the removal of a county seat. On February 11, 
1853, the legislature passed an act for a vote 
on the question of removal of the county seat, 
the vote to be taken the first Monday of Novem- 
ber, 1853. The election was held and resulted 
in the defeat of Virginia. Again, in 1S57, Dr. 
Samuel Christy, representative from Cass 
County, secured the passage of an act for a vote 
on the question. That election was held No- 
vember 3. 1857, and it was charged that both 
sides of the contending forces committed stu- 
pendous frauds in securinir a large vote. Beards- 
town succeeded in getting the greater number of 
ballots into the boxes, and Virginia, accepting 
the defeat, bided its time, which came again by 
act of legislature dated February 14. 1867, 
granting a vote to be taken April 2. 1S67. The 
election resulted in an overwhelming majority 
for removal to Virginia, but trouble ensued 
which brought a contest in the Circuit court. 
The poll books of Virginia were rejected, and 
Beardstown retained the county seat. In the 



meantime a constitutional convention was called 
and held and a new provision was incorporated 
which was more favorable for the location of 
county seats near the center of counties, and 
Virginia, being practically in the center of Cass 
County, thought the time had come when surely, 
if ever, she might recover the coveted prize. An 
act of legislature was passed providing the man- 
ner in which the vote under the new constitu- 
tional provision should be polled, among the 
provisions being one that a petition should be 
riled in the county court, after certain prelimi- 
naries, containing the names of signers of at 
least two-fifths of those who had voted at the 
previous presidential election. It required a 
great deal of labor on the part of the Viriginia 
people to secure that petition, hut it also gave 
them an opportunity to canvass the question 
with the voters. At last the petition was fin- 
ished and presented, and an election ordered for 
the second Tuesday of November, 1872, and 
the election carefully guarded and held, resulted 
in a majority of 12S for removal of the county 
seat to Virginia. Previous to the holding of 
this election. Virginia people, under the leader- 
ship of Jacob Dunaway. Samuel Petefish, Z. W. 
Gatton, Charles Crandall, Ignatius Skiles and 
others induced the building of a courthouse 
under the guise of erecting a new city hall for 
Virginia, and then agreeing to donate the build- 
ing for a county courthouse. A contract was 
entered into with Jobst & Pierce, contractors of 
Peoria, lib. and a very excellent two-story brick 
building was erected on the public square of 
Virginia, known on the plat as Washington 
Fountain Square, and divided into compartments 
suitable for a courthouse. The building was 
constructed in 1872, but was not fully equipped 
until after the question of the county seat loca- 
tion was fully determined by the Supreme court. 
where it had been appealed after passing 
through the Lower courts. After a canvass of 
the vote upon the election and Virginia had, by 
the canvassing hoard, been declared winner, an 
injunction was procured preventing the removal 
of the records to Virginia. The Injunction was 
watched closely, and by renewals was kept in 
force niilil along in the fall of 1874, when, by 
an oversight on the part of lawyers I'd]- I'.eards- 
town, it was permitted to expire and before 
another could be procured, Virginia people bad 
organized a company, which, under the command 
of Robert Hall, went with teams to Beardstown 
in the night, and alter the injunction expired 

at midnight, loaded up the records and files of 
the courts and escaped with them to Virginia. 
This was a hazardous undertaking, with the bit- 
terness that had been engendered by the long 
contest, but it was more easily accomplished bj 
reason of the fact that the county officials who 
had been elected at the previous election were 
residents of Virginia and the east end of the 
county, and favorable to the removal of the 
county seat to Virginia. It is said they were 
let into the secret of the undertaking and had 
prepared the records and files so that they were 
readily loaded into the wagons which came for 
them, and it was not until late the next morn- 
ing that it was discovered by the Beardstown 
people that the records and books had disap- 
peared. This, however, did not end the matter. 
Beardstown secured an injunction against the 
officers doing business at Virginia until the case 
should he finally decided. On June 7, 1875, tie' 
county board entered on their records that they 
had received a decision of the Supreme court 
dissolving the injunction, and organized the 
hoard by electing William Campbell chairman, 
and ordered the removal of the furniture from 
the Beardstown courthouse to the courthouse at 
Virginia, located on lot 77, or Washington Foun- 
tain Square. The other commissioners were, at 
that time, Robert Fielden and John H. Melone. 
The present courthouse at Virginia has been 
in use by the county ever since 1S75. In 1891, 
E. M. Dale, under contract with the county 
hoard, built two fireproof vaults of large size, 
one on the east and one on the west side of the 
main building, with a room above each of them. 
The east room, below, is used for the vault Cor 
the deed records, and the Circuit court records, 
and the one on the west side is for the records 
of the County court, and those of enmity affairs. 
The east room above is used for the court 
library, and the one on the west is for the office 
of the county superintendent of schools. The 
jail at Virginia was built by Joseph F. Black, a 
pioneer resident of Cass County, and one of the 
best known architects and builders in central 
Illinois. He huilt the Central school building 
at Beardstown, and the Methodist church of that 
city, and the Cumberland Presbyterian, the 
Methodist and Christian churches of Virginia, 

and also tl pera house of the same city, as 

well as many of the best and most costly resi- 
dences of Virginia. The jail was built in i s 7ii. 
under contract dated Etbruary 28 of that year, 
at a cost of $14, It stands on Iota 112 and 



L13 of the original town, on W. Beardstown 

street, and is of brick and stone; the jail proper 
being of stone exclusively, while the main build- 
ing is tor the sheriff's residence and is a two- 
story brick structure, trimmed with stone, pre- 
senting an attractive appearance, although of a 

plain style of architecture. 


The other public or county buildings and prop- 
erty are those purchased and held for the care 
and maintenance of the poor. Prior to 1839, 
the method of caring for the poor was of an 
extremely humiliating character. When a per- 
son was cast upon the county in those days, 
an order was entered and the county clerk put 
up the paupers at public auction to the lowest 
bidder, that is. they were sold to the person 
who would take, keep and care for such paupers 
for the smallest sum per month. Reading the 
records without an explanation would result in 
engendering a feeling of horror at the uninten- 
tional barbarity practiced in those early days. 
Brutal and barbaric as it was. it was done with 
the best intentions on the part of those who 
had a disagreeable duty to perform. On June 
22. 1839, there is record of a case in which two 
paupers, a man and woman, in which the woman 
was auctioned off at $3 per month, and the man 
at .$10 per month, the two parties who agreed 
to take them at these sums being, according to 
the records, the lowest bidders. 

On December 8, 1840, William Blair was al- 
lowed by the county board $85 for building a 
small frame house, a "substitute for a hospital 
for keeping a deranged woman" in the Sugar 
Grove District, under conditions that could not 
occur in Cass or any other county of the state 
at the present time. Great advancement has 
been made in methods of treatment and care for 
the unfortunate of the human race. Excellent 
homes are now provided in each county for the 
poor, and hospitals are built by the state for 
the treatment in a scientific manner of the deaf, 
blind, sick and demented. No insane person can 
be kept in an almshouse, however well and 
efficient the provisions for their comfort may 
be. There is no more "farming out" or selling 
of paupers. While all are not eared for in the 
county almshouse, the cases of those who are 
not, are carefully considered by the overseers 
of the poor, or the county boards, and such pro- 
vision made for them as is deemed best for their 

welfare. The latest, and one of the most im- 
portant efforts on the part of the people of the 
state through their legislators to provide for 
helpless children and worthy mothers, is the 
"mothers' pension law." In 1846 the County of 
Cass concluded, through its commissioners, that 
it would make better provision for maintaining 
the poor, and purchased of Rev. Reddick Horn 
a tract of laud of 134 acres, in township 18, 
north, range 11, west, in sections 21, 28 and 29. 
Rev. Reddick Horn, the Protestant Methodist 
preacher before mentioned in these pages, was 
then clerk of the Circuit court of the county, 
and continued as circuit clerk until March 28, 
1840. On March 5, 1S46. the county bought of 
James Buck and wife the west one-half of the 
southwest one-quarter of the southeast one- 
quarter, and the southeast one-quarter of the 
southwest one-quarter of section 21. same town- 
ship and range. With some slight changes re- 
ducing the amount of land to 100 acres, wdiich 
the county now owns, it has held those lands 
ever since. Of this farm, 100 acres is of the 
finest fertile soil in the county, and the balance 
is used for pasture and for buildings and feed 
lots, barns, etc. There is an excellent orchard 
and vegetable garden, the latter supplying suf- 
ficient vegetables for all the inmates. There is 
a splendid herd of dairy cattle wdiich furnishes 
all supplies needed in a dairy line for the home. 
About twenty-five inmates are cared for an- 

On July 29, 1854, the county commissioners 
contracted for the erection of a house to be 
built on the southeast quarter of the southwest 
quarter of section 21, at a cost of $950, and by 
that fall it was ready for occupancy as an alms- 
house. It was a small building with six rooms, 
all on one floor, and served the county very well 
as a comfortable home for the inmates. During 
1888, however, a large three-story house was 
erected on the same building lots, wdiich afforded 
ample provision for the poor. In 1809 this house 
was burned in some mysterious manner, but 
another was immediately built. This time, how- 
ever, it was deemed wiser not to erect a house 
higher than two stories, and place more of it on 
the ground floor. There are now thirty-five 
rooms, which contain many modern conveniences 
that were not in the former home. The build- 
ings are about one-half mile north of the sta- 
tion of the B. & O. 8. W. Railroad, in the 
hamlet of Bluff Springs, and are upon an ele- 
vated tract of ground from which is obtained a 




splendid view of the Illinois River bottom lands, 
stretching for miles to the west and smith, which 
is as beautiful and entrancing a scene as may 
be found in any part of the great, picturesque 
Illinois valley. John Thompson, who has been 
superintendent of the farm and home for fifteen 
years, is a very efficient man. 














The earliest industries requiring the use of 
machinery in Cass County were the grist mills. 
The primitive way of preparing the corn, the 
principal cereal used for food by the early set- 
tlers, by grating or pounding the grain on a 
hominy block until reduced to a coarse meal, 
was entirely too slow and laborious to be con- 
tinued when a better way was afforded. Enter- 
prising men early began to arrive in the county 
looking for a suitable place to locate a mill 
along the streams, where tliey could, by a little 
effort, dam the water so as to give additional 
power and thereby turn their simple mill wheels. 

The first of these mills to he erected in Cass 
County, or in that pari of Morgan afterwards 
made a part of Cass County, was in section 31, 
on Indian Creek, in township IT. range 11, a 
Short distance south of where the steam Hour 
mills of Aren/.ville now stand. It was huilt and 
operated by .lames Stuart, about the year 1821. 
.Mr. Smart, a few years later, entered the land 

on which the mill stood, and in 1832 sold out to 
Rennet Smart, who conducted the mill for a year 
and then sold both land and mill to Francis 
Arenz, who gave additional water power by 
making a new dam at the bend of Indian Creek, 
about a half mile north. Mr. Arenz conducted 
the mill for several years without much finan- 
cial success, and then sold to Herman Engel- 
bach and Peter Arenz. Although the mill was 
a small affair simple in its construction, it was 
of great benefit to the needy settlers here, when 
it was established, for it was the nearest mill 
within a radius of 100 miles, the next nearer 
being at Cahokia Creek, on the south. On the 
ditch cut where the new dam was built, John 
Savage, who some years later was elected and 
served eight years as sheriff of Cass County, 
built a sawmill. After the best of the hoard 
timber in the immediate neighborhood was con- 
verted into lumber, Mr. Savage turned his mill 
into a flour mill, but made little success of it 
until steam power was introduced. A few years 
later it was abandoned and the machinery 
moved to a new locality up in Monroe Precinct. 
In 1829 the firm of Knapp & Pogue built a 
steam null near the Illinois River on land 
bought of March & Beard, proprietors of the 
town of Beardstowu, which they laid out later 
that same year. The mill proved a success from 
the very first, and by 1830 its capacity was from 
fifty to seventy-five barrels of flour per day 
About that time a distillery and sawmill were 
attached to the plant. A great part of the prod- 
ucts of the plant were shipped to other markets 
by river boats which had. by this time, begun 
to ply in great numbers upon the Illinois River. 
The steamer Mechanic, with John. S. Clark as 
captain, was the first steamboat ever up the 
Illinois, and came in the summer of 1827. There 
were no railroads in the state, and no mode of 
shipping merchandise other than by the river 
traffic. Beardstown soon became a noted ship- 
ping point for all the central interior portion 
of Illinois, west as well as east of the river. 
Thomas Beard had established a ferry aCTOSS 
the Illinois River on June ."".. 1826, from the 
Mound Village (on the presenl site of Beards- 
town) to Schuyler County, obtaining a license 
from the commissioners of Schuyler County, for 
whhh he paid the sum of sr, per year. The pro- 
pelllng power of the boat was a ion- pole by 
means of which it was pU8hed across the river. 
In 1836, when the boats began to make regular 

trips from St. Louis, connecting with the Ohio 



River boats, Mr. Beard sent to Pittsburgh and 
obtained a horse power for bis boat. 

By 1830 emigrants were pouring into Cass 
County by river steamers, movers' wagons drawn 
by horses or oxen, on horseback and on foot. 
In 1833 James M. Robinson came from tlie state 
of New York, and unloaded bis family and 
household goods in the town of New Richmond, 
to be. There was then nothing but the tall 
prairie or slough grass, and possibly a few- 
stakes in the ground driven by the enthusiastic 
promoter, who had seen the Talisman steam up 
the Sangamon River in 1S32. Mr. Robinson had 
thought a New Richmond would be a good sea- 
port town for the east end of Cass County, 
or, as it was then, Morgan County. If he was 
disappointed he concluded to stop there for a 
while at any rate, so built him a rude log cabin 
and made a shelter for his stock. There, in a 
few weeks after their arrival, was born the 
first son to Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, and they 
named him Charles Chandler Robinson, in honor 
of Dr. Chandler, who was the attending physi- 
cian when the child was born. Dr. Chandler had 
but the year previously settled at the mouth of 
Panther Creek, now the site of Chandlerville. In 
1835 Mr. Robinson entered a 40-acre tract on the 
edge of Menard County, about three miles east of 
Now Richmond, with Clary's Creek running 
through it. Believing the locality an excellent 
place in which to erect and maintain a grist 
mill, Mr. Robinson, in 1836, erected what soon 
became the famous Robinson Mills. A sawmill 
was attached, and people came for many miles 
to have their grain ground, to purchase lumber 
or to have their saw logs worked up. Mr. Rob- 
inson was a practical miller, having learned 
his trade and worked at it several years before 
emigrating from New York to Illinois. A short 
distance from his null he built a substantial 
double log house, and there resided for many 
years, giving strict attention to the milling busi- 
ness. In 1846 he was elected to represent 
Menard County in the lower house of the state 
legislature, and had served one term when the 
constitution of 1848 made a change in the man- 
ner of representation. He died at the home 
of his daughter, Mrs. Emily Burton, at Lincoln, 
111., February 22, 1871. His son Charles, who 
was born at New Richmond, 111., married a 
daughter of Dr. Pothicary, so long a resident of 
Virginia, and for many years lived on a splen- 
did farm about five miles east of Virginia. This 
farm was owned for a number of years by 

George Cosner, and is now owned and operated 
by John Williamson, one of the best agricul- 
turalists in Illinois. The old Robinson Mills 
have long since disappeared. Only one very 
familiar witli the locality in an early day could 
point out the site. New Richmond, or what- 
ever little there grew to be of it, is also gone. 
Few people now living have even heard that 
there was a New Richmond in Cass County. 

About 1833 several mills were erected along 
the various water courses in the present ter- 
ritory of Cass County. One was built by Wil- 
liam Carver on the north fork of Little Indian 
Creek, or as it was called by some in that 
day "Nigger Creek." The town of Princeton 
had just been laid out and a number of set- 
tlers were gathering at that point. The mill 
was about two miles north of east of Princeton. 
The old mill dam remained for many years. In 
1838 Dr. Henry Hall, the founder of Virginia, 
built a mill on Job's Creek, about two miles 
north of his new town. It was a small affair 
and of very limited capacity, but a great con- 
venience to the settlers, it saving them many 
miles of riding and driving over difficult roads. 
Some time about 1845, the exact date is not 
ascertainable, a steam grist mill was built and 
operated at Virginia. It stood on the east side 
of the branch which crosses Beardstown street, 
two blocks east of the public or Court House 
Square, and back about 200 yards from the 
street or road as it was then, on the north side. 
It was the experiment of Dr. M. H. Schooley and 
Nelson B. Beers, who had entered into a part- 
nership for the purpose of conducting a milling 
business. Mr. Beers was a brother-in-law of 
William Holmes and had come from New York 
state, where he had been a practical miller. 
Dr. Schooley had been a resident physician of 
Virginia for several years. A short time after 
erecting the mill an equipment was attached for 
sawing lumber. The business was continued 
with more or less success for a number of years, 
but Dr. Schooley, becoming infected with the 
California gold fever, which had become epi- 
demic at that time, sold out his interest to N. B. 
Newman. In the Illinois Observer, a paper 
published at Virginia, by A. S. Tilden, bearing 
date of April 13, 1849, appears the following 
notice : 

"The co-partnership heretofore existing be- 
tween Nelson B. Beers and M. II. L. Schooley in 



the Virginia Steam Mills was this day dissolved 
by mutual consent. 

"Virginia. January 20th, 1S49. 

"N. B. Beers, 


Iii the same newspaper appears the following 
advertisement : 

"Virginia Mills are now in operation, and we 
are prepared to grind wheat and corn on accom- 
modating terms. Flour and meal constantly on 
hand. Sawing done for 62% cents per hun- 
dred cash, or one-half of the lumber to be re- 
tained. 600 cords of oak and hickory wood 
wanted, between this and the first of May next. 

"Also wanted a young man of temperate and 
industrious habits to learn the milling business. 
— Beers & Newman." 

Just how long this partnership continued is 
not known, but Mr. Beers kept an interest in 
the mill until 1853, when the plant was con- 
sumed by fire. Virginia was without a mill for 
a number of years. In 1862, Armstrong & Beas- 
ley built a mill on the west side of the same 
branch., and a little further north, where the 
remains of a later mill now stand. That mill 
and its business was successively traded around 
and operated by indifferent millers until late 
in the sixties, when Jacob Dunaway. an enter- 
prising citizen, bought it. but in 1871 sold it to 
Martin Cosgro, an expert miller. Mr. Cosgro 
was a native of New York state, where he 
learned the millers' trade, and worked at the 
business in Albany. Oswego, and other New York 
state towns, until 1860, when be came to Peoria, 
111. There he worked in the Fort Clark and 
City Mills until 1871, when he came to Virginia 
and purchased the Virginia steam Mills from 
Mr. Dunaway. He operated the plant success- 
fully until the spring of 1885, when it was 
burned to the ground, nothing whatever being 

saved from the flames. The loss was heavy and 
very little insurance was carried, but the people 
of Virginia, realizing that the loss of the flouring 
mill meant a more serious loss to the town in 
other directions, soon generously subscribed 'to a 
fund for rebuilding the mill and by the begin- 
ning id' the next year a substantial roller mill, 
with all modern Improvements, was iii operation. 
.Mr. Cosgro continued in control and managed 

tin. null until 1893, when he sold out to II. A. 
Hueffner, a practical miller and excellent man 

of business. Mr. Hueffner began improving the 
process and extending his trade until he worked 
up a very profitable business. He resided at 
Virginia with his family for about ten years, 
then having an opportunity to purchase a mill- 
ing plant at Petersburg, 111., did so. and for a 
time conducted both plants. Later he sold the 
Virginia plant and moved to Petersburg. The 
business of the Virginia mill soon began to 
decline and it was not long after he sold, until 
the mill and lot on which it stood fell into the 
hands of real estate agents, and it became simply 
a trading proposition, went from bad to worse, 
until it stands today idle and vacant, the smoke- 
stack fallen and flattened out over the roof of 
the engine room, the machinery rusted and use- 
less, the upper storerooms with the windows 
broken, a veritable roost for pigeons, owls and 
hats; grim and gaunt in the darkening shadows 
of the night. Haunted by the cens irious spirit- 
of the dusty millers of long ago. who ground 
the daily bread for the toiling villagers, but 
who now sleep beneath the moss-grown slal s of 
marble in the distant graveyard, it gives ma- 
terial for reflection. Virginia has been without 
a flouring mill for several years and there is 
no present prospect of supplying the want in th ■ 
near future. 

One of the earliest and most important indus- 
tries in Cass County, outside that of milling, 
was a tanyard, constructed and operated by An- 
drew Cunningham, a Scotchman. He came from 
Edinburgh in 18.34 to Canada, and the next year 
to Cass County. His voyage over the sea and 
his journeys overland were interesting experi- 
ences fo a person closely observant and appre- 
ciative of the conditions under which they were 
made. Mr. Cunningham did not erect his tan- 
yard immediately upon his arrival in Cass 
County. It took some time for him to locate a 
convenient place where he could obtain a suf- 
ficienl supply of water, and be near the oak 
groves where he could more readily gel the 
necessary hark for tanning. Acting upon the 
advice of William Holmes, who had settled in 
and entered laud in township 17. range '■>. a 

Ave miles east of the present site of Virginia, 
Mi-. Cunningham Anally located on section 6, 

township IT. range '.». Of this early tanyard. 
.lames A. Cunningham, a son of Andrew \V 

Cunningham, -he- the following account an I 
description : 

••The tanyard was in operation about 1837. or 
as soon thereafter a- the plant could be ass 



bled and fitted together and put into operation. 

It was built on section 6, township 17, range 9, 
and as I first saw it. consisted in part of a 
frame building of six rooms on the ground floor 
and two upstairs rooms; and an outside room 
for footwear, and harness, whips and saddles. 
Then there was the old lime house at the hill 
point, under the crabapple and plum trees, just 
set into the hill far enough to leave a driveway 
between it and the tanyard. Oh yes. and then 
there was the bark shed and bark mill. The 
bark shed was about 40x50 feet, with the same 
slope roof as the slope of the hillside, and the 
bark mill was round and about 20 feet in diam- 
eter. The ground floors contained in part twen- 
ty-four pits +x±y 2 feet. Some were larger and 
called the 'water hole,' where the hides were 
soaked and softened. The flesh was then scraped 
off : next put into the dime pit,' where the hair 
was loosened, and when the hair was scraped 
off the hides were passed on to the 'bates,' to 
remove all surplus. The 'bates,' oh my. it was 
a test of valor to stand a minute or two and sniff 
at the 'bates.' The skins and heavy hides when 
cleaned were now ready for the tanning proper. 
The sheep and calf and deer skins would soon 
(in a month or two) be ready for use, by fall 
or winter. Other hides according to weight 
would be finished out in the winter or maybe 
would remain a part, of the next summer in the 
tan liquor. (Hides are tanned by a quicker 
process now. ) The upstairs rooms are worthy of 
mention. The north room, covered with clap- 
boards not much used, might be a storeroom for 
bides, and I remember now. two old ox collars, 
open at the bottom, and the big elk or deer 
horns and a few other old relics dimly remem- 
bered. The main room had a shingle roof and 
was lathed and plastered. It was used for the 
finishing room and for the storeroom, and where 
•Tamas' Russell did his most artistic work. 
When he got done with a side of upper and har- 
ness leather it looked good. Most of the leather 
was sold at home, but often a lot would go to 
Beardstown to Chase, or Rich & Parker, or 
others of the long ago merchants of that town. 
It was (piite common for buyers to come from 
Bath, Jacksonville and occasionally from Pe- 
tersburg or Springfield. Much of the travel to 
Petersburg from Virginia passed here. I have 
beard it said that the line of travel from St. 
Louis and Alton, up to Fort Clark (Peoria) was 
by here. The Indian trail lay between the bill 
country to the west and the flat prairie to the 

east, and 'tis easy to believe how across Sugar 
Grove at the headwaters of Job"s Creek would 
offer less resistance to travel than the stand 
near Beardstown or the high grass and boggy 
ponds of the prairie on the east. And that such 
ideal camping grounds as the big old trees and 
running water, and undulating prairie would 
furnish, should attract travelers if no other ad- 
vantages should offer. 'Uncle Billy' Holmes hap- 
pened to be one of the hospitable settlers who 
entertained father, Andrew Cunningham, and 
said : 'Down there in that branch is always 
water, put your tanyard there,' and there it 
was put and stayed until its course was run, 
and its usefulness was a question. The old men 
grew older, the young men preferred other lines, 
in fact the young men are gone, most of them. 
'Bobby' Russell lives in the West near the wa- 
ter; I'm here; the others are gone, the buildings 
too. The lines of travel are changed from the 
line of least resistance to the lines of the owner's 

Andrew Cunningham was born December 17. 
1800. in Bonnington. a suburb of Edinburgh, 
Scotland. He was a son of a well-to-do land 
owner of that city, and had received a fairly 
good education. He learned the tanner's trade, 
and along with it learned industrious habits 
and business ways. He was a close observer 
and frequently made notes of anything of in- 
terest that particularly attracted his attention. 
An excellent and interesting account of his voy- 
age to America and of his travels through Can- 
ada and some of the states, including Illinois, 
is now in the hands of his son, James Cunning- 
ham, and from it we learn that he, in company 
with his brother George, William Blair, Charles 
Sheriff and others, sailed from Grenoch on 
March IT, 1834. for New York in the Camillus, 
a sailing vessel. After encountering a severe 
storm which washed overboard the cook house 
with the cook ; assisting to quell a mutiny on 
board, and enduring an eight-weeks turbulent 
voyage, they landed at New York. May 8, 1834. 
Mr. Cunningham traveled up the Hudson River 
and over the Erie Canal, which was just then 
completed, and then into Canada. There he 
visited many of the towns and Niagara Falls, 
and finally returned to the United States, and 
at Rochester. X. Y.. worked at his trade for some 
months. He then took to the road again, and in 
company with Charles Sheriff, concluded to visit 
Illinois. They took a lake steamer for Cleve- 
land, and from there walked across to Pitts- 




burgh, Pa., from there going by river steamer 
down the Ohio a short distance, then on foot 
across to Dayton and Springfield in Ohio. Still 
walking, then went hack again towards the Ohio 
River until they reached Cincinnati. From that 
point they took a steamboat down the Ohio 
River to its month and up the Mississippi River 
to St. Lonis. They had. as might be expected 
from such a trip, a unique experience, and Mr. 
Cunningham found many things of interest to 
write into his account of their Ions journey. 
From St. Louis they crossed into Illinois and 
tramped over to Edwardsville, an uninviting 
little village at that time, hut they found a 
castor oil press at work there, and a wool card- 
ing machine operated by oxen on the inclined 
treadmill principle. Next they visited Alton on 
the Mississippi River, and noted that a peniten- 
tiary was being built there, and also that "'it 
expected to become the seat of government for 
the state." That is, the town of Alton, not the 
penitentiary. The town or city of Alton was, in 
fact, an applicant for the location of the state 
capital and three years later, when the vote 
upon the question of removal of the capital from 
Vandalia was before the legislature, Alton re- 
ceived sixteen votes as the place for the new 
seat of government. From Alton the wanderers 
turned their steps northward and walked up to 
Carrolton, but reached it on Sunday, and found 
the town exceedingly "dry." They concluded 
that the people were mostly Methodists and 
temperance people. The weather was extremely 
hot and they thought walking at night would be 
a relief from the day travel in the hot sun. so 
they started for Jacksonville at dark, or rather 
after supper time, as it was not dark owing to 
a bright shining moon. They had not gone far 
when they encountered a rattlesnake crossing 
the road. They bad the courage to kill it, but 
this incident so frightened them that they aban- 
doned the night walk at the first house which 
offered them shelter. Through all their travels 
in the West they were struck with the pictur- 
esque scenery and great variety of landscape, 
and in Illinois especially they were attracted 
by the myriads of beautiful flowers growing in 

the pastures and lields and along the roadsides. 

They reached Jacksonville early the next morn- 
ing, but not being much pleased with ils appear- 
ance did not remain long, bu1 pushed on through 
the prairie towards Springfield. No comment 
whatever is made on Springfield by Mi'. Cun 
nlngham in his notes of travel, but do won- 

der, for it was then a sorry looking place, 
although it too had ambitions towards securing 
the seat of the state government, which were 
realized in 1S37. The travelers had started for 
Peoria, but when they reached the Sangamon 
River, north of Springfield, they found no ferry, 
but Mr. Sheriff discovering a canoe on the oppo- 
site side, undertook to wade across after it. He 
soon found himself up to his arms in the water, 
and concluding that this was an excellent op- 
portunity to wash his trousers, continued on 
across and returned with the canoe to paddle 
Mr. Cunningham across. After getting across 
the Sangamon without being drowned, they took 
a bath and then again started northward. It 
was not long, however, until they were over- 
taken by a "return chaise" going to Chicago. 
They took passage, and the next day arrived at 
Peoria, which is described by Mr. Cunningham 
as "a very young but thriving place." There 
they discovered they had been for several days, 
and were yet, in a district infected with cholera. 
The driver of the chaise became very much 
frightened. Mr. Cunningham speaks of a phy- 
sician without giving his name, who had gained 
a great reputation for treating cholei'a, having 
lost only three cases out of thirty. While being 
delighted with the situation and beauty of scen- 
ery around Peoria, they did not deem it wise to 
remain, and soon resumed their journey towards 
Chicago. They were two days in reaching 
Ottawa, passing through prairies and barrens. 
From Ottawa to Chicago it seems they went 
nearly an easterly course a great portion of the 
way. as he says, "we were on the borders of the 
Grand prairie," but near Chicago they found it 
low and wet. Chicago was. at that time, but 
two years old. that is. there was a town organi- 
zation in 1832, but it was not incorporated as a 
city until 1837, so that Chicago as a city is only 
as old as ('ass County. Mr. Cunningham did 
not know its age, but records a prophecy. Ib- 
says : "Chicago is a considerable of a place 
and has arisen entirely in these few late years. 
It promises well." 

Mi', i 'i Ingham made many comments on the 

people, their habits, the appearance of the towns 
ami the farm lands over which he and his com- 
panion passed, the apparent fertility of the dif- 
ferent soils, and the general prospects of the 

country Cor the future. lie picked up some- 
where on his trip, probably at Springfield, III., 
a copy of the Sangamon Journal, from which 

he copies into his hook the following which he 



designates "a fragment from tlie Sangamon 

••The people of Illinois have often been ac- 
cused by those who have never visited the state, 
with exaggeration in describing its advantages. 
The inhabitants of New England can hardly be 
induced to believe that a farmer can make 500 
bushels of com with twelve days" work— that 
the labor required on an acre of wheat when 
ready for the sickle and which will produce 
twenty to thirty-six bushels, will not exceed one 


Mr. Cunningham spent the winter in Canada 
and northern New York, and the next summer, 
in company with his brother. George Cunning- 
ham, came back to Illinois. This time they 
came by way of Chicago, from whence they 
walked to Ottawa, and then, by riding in a stage 
coach when they could, and by walking when 
they could not ride, they went on to Hennepin, 
where they took a steamboat on the Illinois 
River for Beardstown, at which place they 
landed on July 3. 1835. He says in passing 
down the river a great many eagles were seen 
hovering over the water and frequently they 
caught ducks; that they passed a place where 
evidently a tornado had swept through and 
across the river. "The trees were twisted and 
smashed like nettles struck down with a stick; 
it had destroyed several houses and killed a 
woman and a child:" Beardstown -presented 
a most desolate appearance in consequence of 
the cholera being at that time prevalent." The 
two strangers had to walk some distance out of 
town lief ore they could induce anyone to per- 
mit them to stay over night on account of their 
having come through the town infested with the 
cholera. On his first trip to Illinois Mr. Cun- 
ningham did not pass through any part of the 
territory comprising the present Cass County, 
but it appears that on his second trip he had a 
definite point in view, the home of John De 
Weber, and to that place, thirteen and one-half 
miles in an easterly direction from Beardstown. 
they made their way. Virginia had not yet 
been laid out. One small store building on the 
north side of the road, which is now East 
Springfield street; and a story and a half dwell- 
ing house on the south side, opposite the store, 
Which building is still standing and used as a 
residence, with a few others, constituted the 
place. The De Welter home was but a short 
distance east of Virginia. Mr. Cunningham and 
his brother George soon located suitable land 

which they purchased from an earlier settler ; 
and that same year they also entered several 
tracts from the government in the same neigh- 
borhood, on section 0. township IT, range 9. 
They were not yet through, however, with their 
journeys afoot. It appears they left some of 
their baggage at Chicago to be shipped to them, 
Inn as it had not yet arrived late in the summer, 
they concluded to return to Chicago to look after 
it. Walking being the only means of travel, 
except when they could catch an occasional 
stage coach, it made little difference to them 
which way they went, so taking the sensible 
course, they started in a direct line northeast 
for Chicago, where they arrived within a few 
weeks, only to find that their baggage had been 
sent on as directed. Returning to Cass County, 
the future home and the tannery were soon 
erected, and there Mr. Cunningham spent the 
remainder of his life. He named his home 
"Allendale" in honor of his wife, whose maiden 
name was Allen ; and for more than half a 
century it was known by that name, and the 
older inhabitants still speak of the Cunningham 
farm as Allendale. Mr. Cunningham was a man 
of exemplary habits, a good citizen, well liked 
by his neighbors. He had abundant faith in 
himself, and what is equally as well for suc- 
cess in life, he had faith in his fellow man. On 
one occasion when he was about to make a trip 
to Cincinnati in the interest of his tannery, his 
neighbors requested him to purchase a grist mill 
and erect it upon his premises near the yard. 
He did so. and when the customers came for 
their grinding he told them to go to the mill 
and grind what they wished, and to leave the 
toll, as he did not have time to attend to it. 
Speaking of the matter long after the mill was 
in disuse, he said : "In all the years I owned 
the mill, only one man w-ent away without leav- 
ing the toll. I never asked him for the pay." 
This incident exhibits a pleasing characteristic 
of the early settlers, for honesty and integrity. 
Mr. Cunningham spent fifty-nine years of his 
life in his tannery and on his farm where the 
yard was built. He died April 7, 1895, at his 
home, and was buried in the Robinson grave- 
yard about a mile east of his farm. At that 
time he was eighty-eight years three months 
and twenty days old. honored and respected by 
all who knew him. His son, James A. Cunning- 
ham, who gave the description of the tannery 
incorporated in this article, was born on the 
farm near the tannery, and is still living there. 



engaged iu farming and stock raising, but the 
farm is greatly increased in acreage. 


All kinds of necessary articles of farm ma- 
chinery, household goods, wearing apparel and 
even the caskets for the dead, were manufac- 
tured in the early days in Cass County. The 
day of trusts and combinations had not yet 
arrived to smother out the small factory, and 
hence, scattered over the county in tbe various 
villages and towns were to be found many fac- 
tories, most of them of very limited capacity, 
but some turning out large orders. At Beards- 
town, as early as 1848, Thomas Eyre had a large 
wagon shop. He was manufacturing wagons 
of all sorts used at that time, and especially 
was be supplying the farmers with diamond 
plows. In 1849, when tbe gold fever prevailed, 
and many persons were preparing for an over- 
land trip, Mr. Eyre in a few weeks completed 
six wagons as a special order for tbose overland 
emigrants. He employed fourteen hands, and 
in tbe one season made and sold 200 of his 
diamond plows, as well as making many buggies 
and carriages. On the west side of tbe "Old 
Court House Square" in Virginia, about the 
same time, Kenneth Conover had a chair fac- 
tory where be made chairs of all descriptions, 
common and fancy, and had a splendid trade 
throughout the surrounding country. Even 
steamboats and other vessels were built at 
Beardstown, when the river traffic was at its 
height. Captain Ebaugh bad a boat yard, and 
Thomas Cbalfant was his foreman. They con- 
structed the first steamboat built at Beards- 
town. It was named the Farragut. 


Although most families had spinning wheels 
and many had hand Looms in their houses that 
SPUD the yarn and thread, and wove the cloth 
out of which the family wearing apparel was 
made. yet. in a very early day a few carding 
machines, or woolen mills, found their way into 
the West. One such was brought t" < >ld Prince- 
ton when that town was staked oul in northern 
Morgan, or a little north of the present smith 
line of Cass County, it was Introduced by 
Harvey Beggs, a sun of Captain Charles Beggs, 
previously mentioned, and Charles Brady, who, 
qoI being weavers or expert mechanics, needed 

someone who could operate the affair. As there 
was no one in the West likely to be found suit- 
able for the position, they advertised in a Bos- 
ton (Mass.) newspaper for a foreman to operate 
the mill. This notice chanced to meet the eye 
of John E. Haskell, and after a short corre- 
spondence with Beggs and Brady. Mr. Haskell, 
then a young man twenty-two years of age, came 
from the far-away old Pine Tree state to the 
Illinois wilds and began work in the Princeton 
Woolen Mills. This was in the spring of ls:'».~>. 
and the following year he bought the interest of 
Mr. Beggs in the business, and returned to 
Maine to get the necessary money. He returned 
to Illinois in 1S37, traveling all the long dis- 
tance on a pony with a faithful Newfoundland 
dog as bis only companion. When Mr. Has- 
kell got back he found a new county had been 
created out of the north end of Morgan, but 
Princeton was still in the old county. He con- 
tinued running the mill until 1840, when the 
town of Virginia had become the county seat of 
the new county of Cass, and as it appeared to 
have a bright future. Mr. Haskell moved his 
machinery to Virginia. There he purchased of 
Dr. Hall, the proprietor of the new town, lot 
117, in the original town, an unusually large 
lot. being ISO feet square. William Clifford's 
ice house now stands upon this lot. A two- 
story building 44 feet square and an ell. was 
erected on the lot in which tbe machinery was 
placed: the upper floor was used for storage. 
Tbe power used for propelling the machinery 
was a treadmill upon which oxen, cows or 
horses were placed to tramp on their never end- 
ing and never progressing journey, the most 
cruel and inhuman work ever demanded of ani- 
mals, as it was an uphill walk all the time, 
really an endless chain of heavy cleats upon 
which the animals walked. Such power went 
OUl of use long ago, like many other primitive 
methods, the genius of man in his inventions 
tending to alleviate the burden of labor of 
both man and beast. 

.Mi'. Haskell was an energetic man. closely at- 
tentive to business, and in 1842 had saved of 
his earnings enough to purchase the Interesl 
of Charles Brady in the mill, thus becoming its 
sole proprietor. lie successfully conducted the 
business Cor many years, when, on accounl of 
newer and better methods coming into use, ami 
being rapidly established in other nearby locali- 
ties, in- foully abandoned the mill. As late as 
18G7, ; t st l as a wind-blown, decaying relic 



of a bygone age, when it was finally demolished 
and its old hardwood timbers used for other 
purposes. It was then that Mr. Haskell turned 
his attention to other business and was elected 
a justice of the peace for Virginia Precinct, 
Which office he held for thirty years. His de- 
cisions were often unique, but generally con- 
ceded to lie just and equitable. At thirty years 
of age he married Eliline Brady, the daughter of 
his former partner, and continued to reside at 
Virginia, where his family of seven children 
was born, four of these children dying in in- 
fancy. Charles I., the eldest of the three to grow 
to maturity, a former postmaster of Virginia, 
who was for several terms deputy sheriff of Cass 
County, was born in September, 1845. and still 
remains a resident of the county seat. John 
E. Haskell died at Virginia, 111.. September 30, 
1876, aged sixty-four years and eight months. 


One article manufactured at Beardstown in a 
very early day is especially worthy of mention. 
In 1833 William II. Hemminghouse, a jeweler, 
came from the Province of Hanover, Germany, 
to Beardstown. in company with George and 
John Nolte, and John Pappmeyer, and Henry F. 
Ivors. They all settled in Beardstown, and re- 
mained to help build up the new town. As most 
Germans who came to this country in that day, 
they were fairly well educated, and nearly all 
had learned some trade of handicraft. Mr. Hem- 
minghouse soon purchased a lot and erected a 
building whereon he established his jewelry 
shop. There was no such thing as an organ in 
any of the churches with which to lead the sing- 
ing, and the Germans being also of a religious 
turn of mind, had erected a church building 
and were doing their best to conduct public wor- 
ship in the way they had been taught in their 
own country- Mr. Hemminghouse conceived the 
idea of building an organ. His musical educa- 
tion and his genius and proficiency as a me- 
chanic enabled him to make a complete reed 
organ of which he constructed every constituent 
part himself. He, however, made a mistake in 
the material used for the bellows. He thought 
pigskin would be excellent material out of which 
to form the air generator, but when put to tin 1 
test it was found to be entirely too porous. 
Substituting a bellows of calfskin, he bad his 
organ ready for use. and, in fact, it was used 
for a number of years as the church organ of 

the German church to which Mr. Hemminghouse 


The most noted industries of Beardstown, and 
in fact of Cass County, were the extensive pork 
packing establishments. Prior to the era of 
railroads, when the rivers were the main chan- 
nels of the carrying trade, Beardstown had the 
largest pork trade of any western town, com- 
peting even with Cincinnati. From 40,000 to 
75,000 hogs were slaughtered annually between 
the months of November and February. A num- 
ber of firms from the East established houses 
at Beardstown. among them being: Houston & 
Company of Cincinnati. Ohio ; Gano, Thomas & 
Talbot and Colonel McKee, of Wheeling, W. Va. ; 
and Sydam, Sage & Company, of New York City. 
Among the leading business firms of Beards- 
town in the earlier days may be mentioned the 
following: Nolte & McClure, S. M. Tinsley & 
Company, H. F. Foster, Horace Billings, D. 
Kreigh & Company. John McDonald, H. Chad- 
sey & Company. Knapp & Pogue, Bassett & Tay- 
lor, George Kuhl, Chase, Rich & Parker, George 
Valkmar & Company, E. J. Dutch & Bro., Thomp- 
son & Ames. J. W. Thompson & Company, and 
H. T. Foster & Company. 






































judicial system under the constitution 

of 1818. 

Under the constitution of 1818, the first con- 
stitution of the state, the judicial power of the 
state was vested in one Supreme court, and 
such inferior courts as the General Assembly 
might from time to time ordain and establish. 
The Supreme court was to consist of a chief 
justice and three associate justices; but the 
assembly was given power to increase the num- 
ber of supreme justices after the year 1N24. 

Justices of the Supreme court, and judges of 
inferior courts, were appointed by the joint bal- 
lot of both branches of the General Assembly, 
and commissioned by the governor, and were to 
hold office during good behavior or until the end 
of the first session of the General Assembly 
which should be begun and held after the first 
day of January, 1824. Until the expiration of 
that time the justices of the Supreme court 
were to hold circuit court in the respective conn- 
tics, in manner provided by law, bul after that 
period the supreme justices were uol to hold the 
circuit courts unless required to do so by law. 
The justices of inferior courts and also justices 
of the Supreme court might, for reasonable 
cause, which would not be B sullicient ground 

for impeachment, he removed from office hy two- 
thirds vote of each branch of the General As- 
sembly; but with the express provision that no 
member of either house, nor any one connected 
with a member of either house, nor any one con- 
nected with a member by consanguinity or af- 
finity, should be appointed to fill a vacancy 
caused by such removal. The justices of the 
Supreme court and judges of inferior courts 
were given power to appoint their own clerks. 


A sufficient number of justices of the peace 
were to be appointed for each county. Under 
the provisions of the constitution mentioned 
above the state was, by the legislature, divided 
into four judicial circuits, within which the 
chief justice and the associate justices were 
assigned to perform circuit court duty, which 
they continued to do until 1824. The legisla- 
ture, however, alert to exercise every preroga- 
tive which the constitution conferred upon it, 
or did not deny to it, immediately upon the ex- 
piration of the time limit after which it might 
increase the number of supreme justices, or re- 
lieve them of circuit court duty, passed an act, 
declaring that in addition to the justices of the 
Supreme court, there should be appointed by 
the General Assembly five circuit judges, who 
should continue in office during good behavior, 
and by the same act the state was divided into 
five judicial circuits, thus relieving the Supreme 
judges of circuit court duty. This act was 
passed on December 2i), 1S24, but only remained 
in force for a little over two years, for on Janu- 
ary 4, 1827. the succeeding legislature repealed 
that act and again divided the state info four 
judicial circuits, once more requiring the su- 
preme justices to hold the circuit courts in the 
respective districts. From that time on, until 
an act passed January s. 1829, went Into effect, 
the supreme justices held all the circuit courts 
of the state. By the act of January 8, L829, 
provision was made for the appointment or elec- 
tion by the General Assembly of a circuit judge 
who should hold circuit court in a district to 
which he mighl be appointed, north of the Illi- 
nois River. Pursuant to that act a circuit judge 
was elected and the Fifth Judicial Circuit was 
created, in which the judge elect was required 
to preside, while the supreme justices were to 
continue to perform lh<' duties of the circuit 
judges in the other four judicial districts. 



For a period of six years the courts moved 
along in good order, and to the entire satisfac- 
tion of litigants who won, and to the lawyers 
who were successful. Two General Assemblies 
had met and adjourned without attacking the 
judicial system. Just what it was that so en 
grossed the attention of the legislature at those 
two sessions to such a degree that they neglected 
the opportunity of legislating judges into office 
and out of office, is not definitely known. The 
Legislature of 1835, however, came up to the 
neglected question with avidity, and on Janu- 
ary 8 of that year passed an act repealing the 
laws requiring the justices of the Supreme court 
tn hold circuit court, and enacted a law creat- 
ing the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and providing 
for the election by the General Assembly at that 
session, of live judges, in addition to the oue 
then authorized by law, who should preside in 
the several circuit courts then or thereafter 
required to be held in the several counties of 
the state. Pursuant thereto the five circuit 
judges were elected by the legislature and the 
supreme justices again relieved from circuit 
court duties. This system continued until 1841. 
In the meantime, as population increased and 
necessity required, additional judicial circuits 
were created, the Seventh on February 4, 1S37, 
and the Eighth and Ninth Judicial Circuits' on 
February 23, 1839, and for each new circuit cre- 
ated an additional judge was elected. 

The provision of the first state constitution 
which placed the selection of judges of the su- 
preme and inferior courts in the hands of mem- 
bers of the legislature made it extremely diffi- 
cult to separate the judicial system from party 
politics, and keep the selection of judges free 
from the influence and machinations of design- 
ing politicians. The folly of the method was 
early manifested; even the very first election of 
Supreme court justices resulted in the selection 
of one of the three associate justices as a polit- 
ical appointment, pure and simple. William P. 
Foster, one of the three associate justices ap- 
pointed by the first legislature, was not even a 
lawyer, and had never given any attention to 
the subject of law. He, however, after receiving 
the appointment, evidently felt himself entirely 
out of place, and did not attend a single sitting 
of the court, nor did he consider a single opinion 
or case presented to the court. He was ap- 
pointed October 9, ISIS, and resigned July 7. 

The frequent changes in the judicial system. 

as previously mentioned, were due almost wholly 
to politics and political agitation, and the per- 
sonal ambition of place hunters who, in many 
instances, were totally unqualified for judicial 
position. This condition of affairs, however, 
was not limited to Illinois, hut could be found in 
other states. Nor can it be truthfully said that 
such conditions only belonged to that period. 
Politics have in many instances and ages inter- 
fered with the best methods of administration 
of justice, and put into power men unqualified 
for the distinction conferred upon them. The 
causes of the almost revolutionary changes in 
the judicial system which occurred in 1841 had 
their origin in a scheme to change the political 
complexion of the Supreme court. Of the four 
judges of that court, the chief justice and two 
of the associate justices were Whigs. As they 
were appointed for life or good behavior, there 
was no way to get rid of them except through 
their resignation or impeachment. As the men 
who then occupied the supreme bench were 
highly capable and men of the utmost integrity, 
impeachment was out of the question. It was 
not likely that they would resign, so there was 
nothing else to do, to effect the desired results, 
but increase the number of judges, and secure 
their appointment from among those of a dif- 
ferent political faith from those now presiding. 


Therefore, the plan proposed and advocated 
with demagogic fervor, was to legislate the 
nine circuit judges out of office, and to provide 
for the election of five additional supreme jus- 
tices, making nine altogether, and requiring 
them to hold the circuit courts. There was not 
the slightest reason for the change, except for 
ulterior motives, as no complaint whatever was 
made of the manner of conducting the circuit 
court business by the circuit justices provided 
by previous legislatures. However, to make the 
scheme more plausible and to induce the sup- 
port of the more timid among the Democratic 
members, the provisions concerning the holding 
of circuit courts by the supreme justices was 
suggested. The proposition met with bitter op- 
position among the Whigs, but after a great deal 
of debate passed both houses, and went to the 
governor for his signature. Governor Carlin, 
with the supreme court justices acting with him 
as a council of revision, promptly vetoed the 
bill. It went back to the senate where it had 



originated, and was by that body passed over 
the veto by a large majority, but it did not fare 
so well in the house, as it got by with but one 
majority over the necessary number to carry it 
over the veto. The legislature then met in joint 
session and completed its efforts in that direc- 
tion by electing by a strict party vote the fol- 
lowing named Democrats as supreme justices 
under the new law : Samuel H. Treat, Walter 
B. Scares, Sidney Breese, Stephen A. Douglas 
and Thomas Ford. Although these men were 
fairly good lawyers, yet only two of them re- 
mained on the bench long enough to become able 
jurists. They were elected February 15, 1841. 
and Ford resigned August 4, 1812, and Breese 
resigned December 19, 1842, having ten days 
previously been elected to the United States Sen- 
ate by the legislature then in 'session. He had 
for his principal opponent Stephen A. Douglas, 
his associate on the bench. Douglas resigued 
the next year, June 28, 1843. Judge Treat re- 
mained on the bench until the new constitution 
of 1818 changed the entire system, and he was 
then elected as one of the supreme judges of 
the new court. He was one of the most dis- 
tinguished jurists of the state and served on 
the bench as circuit judge, supreme judge and 
as a federal judge altogether forty-eight years, 
a longer period than any other judge in the 
history of Illinois. 

By the law of January 11, 1841, nine judicial 
districts were created for the entire state, and 
the nine supreme judges were required to hold 
the circuit courts. This system prevailed until 
the judiciary was reorganized under the consti- 
tution of IMS. 

Under the 1818 constitution the probate mat- 
ters were conducted by a probate judge, for sev- 
eral years, and then by a probate justice of the 
peace. These were not constitutional offices, 
lut were created by the legislature, under the 

grant of power given by the constitution. The 
county commissioners' court, so railed by act of 
legislature, was nol a pari of the judicial sys- 
tem mentioned in the constitution, hut was cre- 
ated by legislative ad alone, and was fm- the 
purpose of managing the county business alone, 

and the court had no jurisdiction of any suits 

between litigants, civil or criminal, bul there al- 
ways has been some confusion aboul thai court 

and Its Jurisdiction, occasioned hy the fact that 

the constitution of 1848 created a county court, 
with a county judge to preside, ami provision 

for two justices Of the peace to sit with the 


judge in the transaction of all business, and 
further, they were given charge and management 
of the couuty's business, taking the place of the 
county commissioners' court. This system pre- 
vailed until the constitution of 1S70 went into 


By the terms of the constitution of 1848 the 
judicial powers were vested in one Supreme 
court and in Circuit and County courts, and 
justices of the peace. The Supreme court con- 
sisted of three judges, and the state was divided 
into three grand divisions, and at least one 
term annually was to be held in each of the 
grand divisions. There were nine Circuit court 
divisions, with a circuit judge elected for each 
division, and they were required to hold at least 
two sessions of court annually in each county. 
A radical change and one of great importance 
was the manner of selecting the judges. They 
were to be elected by vote of the people in the 
several divisions, except that if the legislature 
saw fit to do so, it might provide for the elec- 
tion of the three supreme judges, or one every 
three years after the first election, by the vote 
of the entire state instead of by districts, thus 
taking the matter of the election of judges and of 
creating a court system, out of the hands of the 
legislature, placed the courts on a more perma- 
nent hasis. and during the whole time of opera- 
tion under the constitution of 1S4S, the courts 
were presided over hy an aide corps of judges, 
with no fear of being legislated out of office 
each change of the moon. 


By the constitution of l s 7i>. which is now in 
force and effect, the judicial powers were and 
are vested in one Supreme court to consist of 
seven judges, Circuit courts. County courts and 
justices of the peace. The County court i- made 
a court of record, and wholly separated from the 
county civil business. The legislature was 
granted power to provide for other courts for 
cities and incorporated towns. An Inferior Ap- 
pellate court could he created hy legislature, 
and such was created, and there are now four 
appellate court districts. The judges me by 

law taken from among the circuit court jud 

Ti onstitution further provides that Probate 

courts may he established in counties of over 



50,000 inhabitants, and jurisdiction of all pro- 
bate matters then transferred from the county 
courts to the probate courts. Several counties 
of the state have probate courts, but there should 
be no confusion. County courts are often spoken 
of as probate courts and the county judge is 
often called probate judge. This is incorrect. 
County courts and county judges are entirely 
distinct from probate courts and probate judges, 
having altogether a different jurisdiction, but it 
is true that county courts have jurisdiction of 
all probate matters unless a probate court is 

When Cass County was organized, the state 
judicial system was operating under the law 
enacted in 1S35, which system it will be remem- 
bered was that supreme court justices held ses- 
sions of Supreme court only, and there were a 
number of circuits with circuit judges elected 
for each circuit. The act creating Cass County 
provided that it should be a part of the First 
Judicial Circuit, the judge thereof to appoint a 
clerk for the Circuit court and hold court at 
such times as he should designate. 


The first court held in Cass County was con- 
vened at Beardstown, November 13. 1837, in an 
upstairs room of a frame building on lot 5, 
in block 11, owned by Augustus Knapp. It was 
not only provided in the act creating the county 
that the county seat should be at Beardstown 
until the voters determined the permanent local- 
ity, but the voters had decided at the election 
held in May previous that Beardstown should 
be the county seat of the new county. The con- 
stitution of the state provided that the judges of 
the various courts should appoint a clerk of the 
respective courts, and when the court met Judge 
Jesse B. Thomas, who held the first term, ap- 
pointed X. B. Thompson clerk of the Circuit 
court. Mr. Thompson had been elected re- 
corder for the county at the election held the 
previous August. Jesse B. Thomas, Jr.. was a 
nephew of Hon. Jesse B. Thomas, who was 
president of the first State Constitutional Con- 
vention, and one of the first two United States 
senators elected from Illinois. Judge Thomas 
was commissioned circuit judge of the First Ju- 
dicial Circuit, July 20, 1837, and resigned in 
1839. The court was formally opened by Lemon 
Plasters, sheriff-elect of the new county, but this 
session of the court only lasted two days. No 

trials were had, owing to the fact that prior to 
the convening of court there was no sheriff or 
other officer qualified to summon a jury, either 
grand or petit, or traverse, as the petit jury 
was then called. 


The principal business of the court was the 
qualifying of the new county officers, approving 
their bonds, etc. The bond of the circuit clerk 
was in tbe sum of $2,000, and was made to the 
governor of the state. The bond of the sheriff 
was for $1,000, and run to the people. It is 
interesting, however, to note that one of the 
first written documents considered, and ordered 
of record, was the declaration of Herman Lip- 
pert, an alien born, seeking naturalization as a 
citizen of the United States of America. From 
this declaration, which is subscribed and sworn 
to by Herman Lippert, before the circuit clerk, 
we learn tbat Mr. Lippert was about forty-three 
years of age, having been born in the town of 
Eichelheim, on October 17, 1794 A. D. ; that lie 
belonged to the German nation, and owed alle- 
giance to the government of Hesse-Darmstadt. 
He further stated that he emigrated from Bre- 
men on March 3, 1834 A. D.. and landed at the 
city of New Orleans about June 3 of the same 
year. On the same day Charles Coerper, a 
native of Messenheim. Hesse-Darmstadt, also 
filed a similar declaration. Although the name 
of the vessel in which these emigrants came is 
not mentioned in their declaration as is required 
under the present law of naturalizations, yet it 
is evident they both came in the same ship, for 
each states that he sailed from Bremen on March 
14, 1834 A. D., and landed at New Orleans, La., 
about June 3, 1834. Charles Coerper was about 
thirty six years old, having been born in the 
town of Messenheim, above mentioned, on De- 
cember 22. 1801, Fifteen other persons filed 
declarations for naturalization at the same term 
of court. They were as follows : Henrieh 
Schmidt, Henry Menke, Augustus Theodore 
Mi nke. John Luechke. Henry Havekluft. Henry 
W. Lubben, Christian Frederich Krohe, August 
Edward Vogel, John Jeremiah Altman, John 
Adolph Krohe, John Henry Rohn, John B. Bueb, 
Pbmpeus Phillippi, and Alexander Phillipi. 

The court evidently did not believe in wasting 
time as at the close of the first day, court was 
adjourned to seven o'clock next morning, a 
pretty early hour for the middle of November. 




The record, however, shows nothing done on the 
second, which proved to he the last day of the 
term, except the entering on the records of appli- 
cations for naturalizations as mentioned ahove, 
and the court adjourned, sine die. The second 
term of the Cass County Circuit Court convened 
at Beardstown, May 21, 1838. The clerk of the 
court entered on the record, "present, Hon. 
Jesse B. Thomas, Jr., judge," but while the "Jr." 
is added to Judge Thomas' name in several 
places by the clerk, yet in any of the signatures 
on the records of the judge himself, the "Jr." 
does not appear. 

Twenty-nine cases were disposed of the first 
day of court ; one of them being a trial by jury, 
and as this was the first jury trial in the county, 
may be rightly considered of some interest. 
The case was entitled "The people vs. James 
Berry." but was a civil case. It involved the 
matter of damages accruing by reason of open- 
ing a new road, appealed from a justice of the 
peace. The jury was composed of the following 
named persons : John Ayers, William Nehns, 
Robert Lindsey, Thomas "Wiggins, Alexander 
Culberson, Jesse B. Pierce, Stephen D. Lee, 
Daniel Schaeffer, Reuben Hager, Lanus Carr, 
Isaac Plasters and Amos Dick. The jury as- 
sessed the damages at $25.S5, and the court 
gave judgment accordingly, and further ad- 
judged that the county of Cass should pay the 
costs and the amount of the judgment to the 
claimant lief ore proceeding to open the road. 


The first grand jury impaneled in Cass County 
was summoned for this term of court, and was 
composed of the following named persons : 
Thomas Wilbour, foreman; Isaac- Spence, Augus- 
tus Knapp, William Shoopman. Benjamin Strib- 
ling. John Daniels, Phineus Underwood, James 
II. Blackmail, Alexander Hoffman, Robert 
Gaines, Ephraim Mosely, John Robeson, Elijah 
Carver, John I'. Dick, William McAuley, Marcus 
Chandler, Henry L. Ingalls, Jeremiah Bowen, 
Jeremiah Northern, Henry Hopkins, John Mc- 
Donald ami Amos Hager. 

i iKsr .iriiv TRIAL, 

The grand jury had business at the tirst term 
also. They Found thirty indictments, two for 
selling liquor illegally, one fur murder, and 

twenty-seven for gaming and keeping a gaming 

house. The jury was evidently no respecter of 
persons, for among those indicted for gaming 
was a high official of the court and county. 
Some few stood trial and were found guilty and 
paid a fine, others pleaded guilty and also paid 
a fine, with costs. The indictment for murder 
was against Nathan alias Nathaniel Graves, for 
the killing of a Mr. Fowle. A public sale was 
in progress near a small general store kept by 
Joseph McLane, about the present site of Phil- 
adelphia. Mr. Fowle and Alexander Beard, one 
of the very early settlers in that part of the 
county, were sitting outside the store on a log, 
engaged in a friendly conversation, when Graves 
rode up on horseback, and without speaking a 
word drew a pistol and shot Fowle dead. 
Most of the men at the gathering were at a little 
distance giving atttention to the sale, and did 
not realize what had happened. Those who 
were near were so astonished that they made no 
move toward apprehending Graves, who, it 
appears, was well known in the county. He im- 
mediately dashed down the road. At the time 
Graves came up, Richard McDonald, also a well 
known citizen of the neighborhood rode up, but 
from an opposite direction, and witnessed the 
whole tragedy. He called to the men to arrest 
Graves, and rode after him. When Graves saw 
he was being rapidly overtaken, and could not 
escape without disposing of McDonald, he turned, 
dismounted and drew a knife. Mr. McDonald, 
however, was no coward, and he grappled with 
Graves, defending himself against the knife as 
well as he could, catching Graves by the throat, 
and struggled with him until severely wounded. 
Help arrived, Graves was overpowered and 
placed under arrest. He was taken to Beards- 
town and placed in the ealal se, as the county 

jail had not yet been erected. Precaution, how- 
ever, was taken to have Graves guarded. After 
the indictment was returned into court. Graves 
moved for a change of venue, which was 
allowed, and the case was sent to Greene County 
Tin' principal witnesses. Alexander Heard. Jo- 
seph McLane, Richard McDonald and /.ci..dcc 
Wood were placed under recognizance in the 
siim of SI. lieu t<> appear at the July term of the 
Greene County circuit Court The case never 
came to trial, as Graves, alter he was taken 
to Greene County, broke jail a ml made bis escape 

to Kentucky, his former home. lie was losl 
Bigbl of for years, hut it was told that he died 
near his old home, of natural causes. 




There is no record of any further Circuit court 
iu Cass County until May, 1839, In the mean- 
time the county scat had been moved to Virginia. 
The county commissioners claimed that under 
the failure of Beardstown to comply with the 
terms of the act Locating the county seat at 
Beardstown, and having contracted with Dr. 
Hall for the erection of a courthouse and jail 
at Virginia, which buildings were reported as 
completed and ready for occupancy, the official 
records were ordered removed to that place. 
The removal was delayed until the act of legis- 
lature of March 2. 1839, mentioned in another 
chapter, fixed as a penalty for failure to comply 
with the requirements of the act, a forfeiture 
of office of any county officers so failing or re- 
fusing to remove the records, etc., to Virginia. 
The May term. 1839, was convened at Virginia 
and presided over by Judge William Thomas, 
who had succeeded Judge Jesse B. Thomas, who 
had resigned in February of that year. 

Judge William Thomas, although bearing the 
same name as his predecessor, does not appear 
to be related to him. He resided at Jackson- 
ville, at the time he was chosen judge of the 
First Judicial District, and afterwards became 
senator from the district composed of Cass and 
Morgan and other counties, and although he was 
a good lawyer and judge, yet he became most 
distinguished because of the services he ren- 
dered as a legislator from this district. The 
October term, 1839, was held by Judge Samuel 
II. Treat, and this was the only term of court 
in Cass County to be held by Judge Treat dur- 
ing his forty-eight years on the bench in Illinois. 
Judge William Thomas held the remaining terms 
until the change made by the law of 1841, legis- 
lating all circuit judges out of office and re- 
quiring the supreme judges to hold the circuit 
courts. Judge Samuel D. Lockwood, one of the 
ablesl judges on the supreme bench, was assigned 
to the first district, and so held the Circuit court 
in Cass County until the change in the system 
introduced by the terms of the constitution of 
1848. The last day of the Circuit court in Vir- 
ginia, before another change in the county seat, 
was held October 8, 184 J. 


The Circuit court was opened at Beardstown. 
which had again become the county seat, in the 

new courthouse, in May, 1845, and Judge Lock- 
wood continued to hold the court from term to 
term until the change of the system in 1848. 
The new constitution having been adopted by 
vote of the people, and having gone into effect 
April 1, 1.N48, the supreme judges ceased to hold 
the Circuit courts, but Cass County still belonged 
to the First, Judicial Circuit, and Judge David 
Woodson was elected judge of that district. 
The election was held on the first Monday of 
December, 184N. The first term of the year had 
been changed from May to March, and was 
held by Judge William A. Minshall of the Fifth 
Circuit, at the request of Judge Woodson. The 
October term, 1S49, and the May term, 1S50, 
were held by the regular judge of the district, 
Hon. D. M. Woodson. In 1850, the legislature 
changed the October term to November, which 
term was again held by Judge Minshall, at the 
request of Judge Woodson, and he also held the 
May term. 1851. It appears that Judge Minshall 
had also been requested to hold the November 
term of 1852, for upon the records of that term 
is the following entry : 

"November term. A. D. 1852. First day, 
judge did not appear." 

"Second day. On Tuesday the second day 
of November, the' second day of the term, the 
parties litigant, jurors, witnesses, and officers 
of the court waited the arrival of the judge 
until four o'clock P. M., and the said judge of 
the Fifth Judicial Circuit not appearing the 
court stands adjourned by due course of law 
until the next term thereof." 

The cases tried at the Circuit court during 
those days were the usual and ordinary cases of 
attachment, replevin, case and assumpsit, and 
chancery cases of foreclosure, partitions, and 
such other eases as pertain to the chancery side 
of the court, with now and then a criminal case 
of more or less interest, according to the nature 
of the crime and the standing of the defendants. 
At no time before or since then in the history of 
Cass County has there been a judicial execution 
of any person convicted of murder. There were 
a number of local lawyers at Virginia and 
Beardstown. but it was the day of traveling law- 
yers. They usually followed the court from 
county to county, traveling on horseback, or by 
stage coach or oftentimes in the old fashioned, 
high seated buggy drawn by a single horse. 
Every term of court in Cass County found some 
of the more noted lawyers of central Illinois in 
attendance, from Springfield. Quincy. Jackson- 



ville, Peoria and Pekin. The first week of court 
was usually a busy time iu the town where court 
was being held. There was no short cause cal- 
ender in those days, and no setting of the docket 
ahead of convening of court, so litigants, wit- 
nesses, jurors, grand and petit, lawyers, and the 
idle curious, gathered in great numbers, and 
made a rich harvest for the hotels and boarding 


Many anecdotes are told of the characteristics 
and eccentricities of the early circuit judges. 
They exercised more of the powers and author- 
ities conferred upon judges by the common law, 
and were not hampered so much in the exercise 
of judicial prerogatives as judges of the present 
day. When judges held court in those earlier 
days they assumed there should be some dignity 
about the court, and that all that came within 
its jurisdiction should conduct themselves ac- 
cordingly. The records of the day show that 
the heavy hand of the court did not fall alone 
upon visitors to the courtroom, or upon litigants 
or their respective counsel. At the November 
term, A. D. 1854, of the Circuit Court of Cass 
County, Judge Pinkney H. Walker, of the Fifth 
circuit, who was called to hold the Cass County 
court, entered two fines the same day against 
the sheriff. William Pitner. for failure to keep 
order in the court. The presumption is that 
the levying of the aforesaid fines had the desired 
effect, and the judge relented, for the record dis- 
closes that upon the last day of the term, just 
before adjournment, the court entered a remit- 
tance of "the tines heretofore assessed against 
the sheriff." Xor did the judges of the court in 
those (lays hesitate to apply the penalties of the 
law in matters other than decorum. A glance 
through the records covering a period of twelve 
years of the early part of the courts' existence 
in Cass County, shows the judges would not 
tolerate the taking of appeals for mere delay. 
In many cases wherein the appellant defaulted 
in prosecuting his appeal the judge assessed 
damages in favor of the appellee I'm- the delay. 

in February, 1857, the General Assembly of 
Illinois, then in session, passed an act establish- 
ing the Twenty dirst Judicial Circuit. The act 
was approved February 7, 1857, and the new 
district was composed of Tazewell, .Mason, 
Menard. Woodford and Cass enmities. The ad 
further provided I'm - an election in all the .(uni- 

ties composing the district to be held the second 
Monday of March following, for the election of 
one circuit judge, and a state's attorney 'for the 
district. James II. Harriott was elected judge, 
and Hugh Fullerton was elected state's attorney. 


These two names are connected with a famous 
trial which occurred at Beardstown, at the Cir- 
cuit court, the next year, although at the time 
no very great importance was attached to the 
case except by the parties directly interested. 
The case was entitled "The People vs. William 
Armstrong," and known in history as the famous 
"Duff Armstrong Trial." The notoriety was 
occasioned solely by the fact that Abraham Lin- 
coln appeared for the defendant. Armstrong, 
and by his able management of the case and his 
eloquent argument to the jury succeeded in 
clearing his client. .Much space is given to this 
case as it is a part of Cass County history and 
more or less extended mention is made of it 
in every published life of Mr. Lincoln. A re- 
cital of the facts which led up to the trial is as 

In August. 1857, a religious camp meeting 
was in progress in Mason County, ill., in a grove 
six or seven miles southwest id' Mason City, 
and northeast of the junction of Salt Creel; and 
the Sangamon River. It would he useless to 
occupy space with a description of a camp meet- 
ing. All the readers are more or less familiar 
with such meetings, either from personal ex- 
perience, or from having read of them many 
times. They were an annua! affair in the re- 
ligious circles of the early days. Many 
hucksters gathered at these meetings to sell their 
wares to those in attendance, so thai all who 
came were not of a religious turn of mind. A 
number went out of idle curiosity, many in order 
to meet with and visit their neighbors, and some 
went to raise trouble if an opportunity offered. 
The meeting was to close on Sunday. August 30, 
ls.">7. and on Saturday afternoon. August 29, 
quite a crowd of lovers id' one <<( the principal 
sports of the times, borse racing, gathered about 

the huckster wagons some little distance from 
the meeting tent, in the !io| f '_'ettiii_' nji a 

horse race, knowing that William Armstrong, 
commonly called "Duff" was there with his 
running horse. Although it was unlawful to do 
so, Intoxicating liquor was frequently sold by 
disreputable persons at such gatherings; an.' 



any rate liquor was always bought and freely 
drunk by the more reckless, and often by those 
who were ordinarily fairly good citizens. The 
race came off and the winners celebrated by par- 
taking of large potations of "sod-corn juice" and 
generously sharing their joys with the losers, 
until all were far beyond the pale of any in- 
fluence for good that might have been engendered 
by the religious services in the meeting tent. 

Duff Armstrong was a young man about 
twenty-four years old, was kind hearted, peace- 
able and quiet when sober, and not of a vicious 
nature even when in liquor. Late in the evening 
after the racing and jollification attendant there- 
on was over. Duff Armstrong, who had been 
drinking heavily, was lying on a bench near the 
Watkins and Armstrong wagons, sleeping off the 
effects of the liquor. About eight o'clock, one 
James P. Metzker, who lived a few miles across 
the county line in Menard County, came up to 
the bench on which Duff was lying. Metzker 
had also been drinking, and catching hold of 
Duff, jerked him off the bench, and, according 
to the statement of A. V. Armstrong, a brother 
of Duff, who was present and saw the whole 
transaction, spit in Duff's face. This naturally 
angered Duff, and a fight ensued, but neither of 
the belligerents were very much hurt, and friends 
separating them, they both took a drink, and 
the trouble seemed at an end. Metzker. it is 
said, was very quarrelsome when drinking, and 
being a large, powerful man, relied on that fact 
to care for himself in any physical encounter. 
Late in the night, between ten and eleven o'clock, 
Metzker was engaged in an encounter with one 
James H. Norris, and another man. presumably 
Duff Armstrong, as the second fight occurred 
near the Armstrong wagons, and witnesses 
claimed that Norris hit Metzker on the back of 
the head with a large stick of wood. Others 
claimed that Duff Armstrong struck Metzker 
with a slung shot. Metzker, however, was not 
so severly injured but that he could and did 
mount his horse and rode away towards home, 
and it was also said by some that he was in a 
drunken condition when he left, and on his way 
home, fell from his horse and received injuries 
which caused his death, as he died three days 
later. However, the general impression prevailed 
that Metzker was so badly beaten by Norris and 
Armstrong that it was from the effects of their 
blows that he died. Norris and Armstrong were 
both arrested, and at the October term A. D. 

1857, of the Mason County Circuit Court, were 
jointly indicted for the murder of Metzker. 


The indictment contained three counts, each 
count having the following peculiar language not 
found in indictments of the present day. The 
persons indicted naming them "not having the 
fear of God before their eyes, but being moved 
and seduced by the instigation of the devil, 
etc." The first count charges that Norris struck 
Metzker in the back of the head with a piece 
of wood about three feet long, and that Arm- 
strong struck Metzker in the right eye with a 
"hard metalic substance called a slung shot." 
The second count charges that both Norris and 
Armstrong struck Metzker in the right eye with 
a slung shot ; and the third count charges that 
both Norris and Armstrong struck Metzker on 
the back of the head with a "certain stick of 
wood three feet long and of the diameter of 
two inches," from which wounds Metzker died 
on the first day of September, 1857. The indict- 
ment was signed by Hugh Fullerton. state's at- 
torney, and the following names endorsed as 
witnesses : Grigsby Z. Metzker, Charles Allen, 
James P. Walker, William M. Hall. Joseph A. 
Douglas. William Douglas. B. F. Stephenson, 
Hamilton Rogers. William Killion, Joseph Speltz 
and William Haines. The indictment was also 
endorsed "not bailable. James Harriott," and 
was filed in the court November 5. 1857. 

When the case was called. Norris stated to 
the court that he was poor and unable to employ 
counsel. Judge Harriott, who was presiding, 
appointed William Walker, senior partner of 
Lyman Lacey, to defend Norris. The law firm 
of Dilworth & Campbell had been employed by 
Mrs. Hannah Armstrong, the mother of Duff, to 
defend him. A motion was made to quash the 
indictment, which motion was overruled. A 
change of venue was asked on behalf of Arm- 
strong, on the grounds of prejudice of the minds 
of the people of Mason County against the de- 
fendant Armstrong. The motion was allowed, 
and the venue was changed to Cass County, in 
the same judicial district, and adjoining Mason 
County on the south. Norris entered a plea of 
not guilty, and went to trial. As a result of 
the trial, Norris was convicted of manslaughter, 
and sentenced to the penitentiary for eight years. 
The penitentiary at that time was located at 
Alton, and as the most convenient mode of travel 




from Havana to that place was by river steamer 
on the Illinois River, and as Beardstown, then 
the county seat of Cass County, was on the way, 
the sheriff of Mason County, started for Alton 
with Norris, as soon as the Mason County court 
adjourned, and took Armstrong with him as far 
as Beardstown, where he was delivered over to 
the sheriff of Cass County, and placed in the 
county jail at Beardstown. A transcript of the 
entire record of the case in Mason County, was 
sent to the circuit clerk of Cass County, and 
with it the indictment and all files and papers 
connected with the case. They are now on 
file in the office of the circuit clerk of this 
county. From these files and the records of 
the Cass County Circuit court all information 
pertaining to the court proceedings in this case 
has been obtained. It is a singular fact that 
with all that has been told and written about 
Abraham Lincoln's connection with this case 
there is not one item of record that bears his 
name, nor does his name appear on any paper 
filed in the case. Two of the instructions given 
by the court to the jury are unquestionably in 
the handwriting of Abraham Lincoln, and his 
appearance for the defendant Armstrong, in 
the Cass County Circuit court is well authen- 
ticated by testimony of many witnesses, some 
of whom are still living in this county. 

The Circuit court of Cass County for Novem- 
ber, 1857, convened November 16, with Hon. 
James Harriott, judge presiding, Hugh 
Fullerton, state's attorney. James A. Dick, 
sheriff, and James Taylor, clerk of the court. 


Iii the meanwhle Jack Armstrong, the father 
of Duff, bud died, and ms n last request urged 
his wife. Hannah, to use every effort possible 
to clear their son. Mrs. Armstrong, calling to 
mind her friend of twenty years before, Abra- 
ham Lincoln, now a Leading lawyer of Spring- 
field, drove all the way to the state capital to 
see if she could secure the services of that dis- 
tinguished man to gel her son admitted to 
Mr. Lincoln had been Introduced to the Arm- 
strong family soon after Ids advent in New 
Salem, through engaging in a friendly wrestling 
match, to comply with the inoessan' urging of 
his friends, with .lack Armstrong, who was not 

only a bully of the neighborhood, hut also a 
physically strong, courageous man. The wrest- 
ling match resulted in Mr. Lincoln conquering 

the backwoods athlete, thus winning the ad- 
miration of all the men of that section, includ- 
ing his opponent, and gained, through his pluck, 
the lasting friendship of Armstrong and all his 
relatives. Mr. Lincoln soon after the encounter 
went to live with the Armstrong family, and 
often spoke of the motherly kindness of Mrs. 
Armstrong towards him when he was a penni- 
less young man, struggling to fit himself for 
some useful employment in life. His own, 
kindly, sympathetic and generous nature never 
permitted him to forget a kindness to himself, 
so when Mrs. Armstrong saw him at Springfield 
and related her trouble, represented the haz- 
ardous position of her son before the law, Mr. 
Lincoln at once promised assistance. Although 
a very busy man, he ascertained when court 
would be in session at Beardstown, and set out 
on horseback for that place to see what could 
be done to restore the son of an old friend to 
freedom. The record of the court for that term 
in that case is as follows : 

"November 19, 1S57. The People of the State 
of Illinois 
Vs. Venue from Mason County 

William Armstrong. 

"And now on this day come the People of the 
State of Illinois, by their attorney, Hugh Fuller- 
ton. Esquire, and the prisoner, William Arm- 
strong, who is brought here to the liar in proper 
person. A motion is made by the prisoner, to 
admit him to hail. Whereupon a motion was 
made on the part of the People for a continuance 
until the next term of this court, which after 
due deliberation by the court, was granted, and 
the motion to admit to bail, was overruled." 
Mr. Lincoln then promised be would return at 
the next term of the court, which would he in 
May of the next year, and assist Armstrong. 

During the ensuing winter. Duff Armstrong 
remained in Cass County jail at Beardstown. 
and on May ::. 1858, the regular May term of the 
Cass County Circuit court convened with Judge 
Harriott presiding, and the same court officers 
present and acting win. had served at the No- 
vember term. 1857. Subpoenas had i n Issued 

for witnesses for the | pie and for the de- 
fendant, to appear on the flrsl day of the May 

term. 1858. There were eleven for the people, 
and twelve for the defendant. It appears from 
the subpoenas on tile that noiu- was Issued for 
the Witness, Charles Allen, until May 5, when 
one was sent to the sheriff of Menard County, 

at Petersburg where Alien resided. The name 



of Dr. B. F. Stevenson was also included in 
this subpoena. The sheriff's return states that 
he served Stevenson, but that Allen was not 
found and that he, the sheriff, was told that 
Allen had gone to Beardstown. On May G, an 
attachment was issued for both witnesses, 
Stevenson and Allen. The return of the sheriff 
is that he served the attachment by arresting 
Allen and having him in court on May 7, 1S58. 
No return is shown in the case of Stevenson. 
The story is told by those who claimed to know 
the facts, and it has been incorporated in state- 
ments by various writers relative to this portion 
of the narrative, that Allen had been persuaded 
by friends of Armstrong to remain concealed 
at Virginia, thirteen miles east of Beardstown, 
until he should be wanted by them, if at all, and 
that when Mr. Lincoln arrived at Beardstown 
on May 6, and found Allen was not there, he 
told Armstrong's friends that he must be pro- 
duced, or Duff might have to remain in jail 
another six months, as the cause would be con- 
tinued at the instance of the prosecuting attor- 
ney ; that thereupon two cousins of Duff hitched 
up to a wagon, went to Virginia, and returned 
with Allen. This may all be true, but if so, 
the shei'iff either took a hand in getting Allen 
into court, or made a false return, which is not 
at all likely. However it is a fact, vouched for 
by several creditable persons that Mr. Lincoln 
did arrive at Beardstown May 6, 1S5S, having 
come on horseback from Springfield. 

On May 7, 1S5S, which was Friday, the fifth 
day of court, the case of the People vs. Arm- 
strong, was called. The prisoner arraigned, and 
a plea of "not guilty" was entered, a jury was 
called, and the following named persons were 
selected and sworn to try the cause : Horace 
Hill, Milton Logan, Nelson Graves, Charles D. 
Marcy, John T. Brady, Thornton M. Cole, George 
F. Sielschott, Sam W. Neely, Mathew Armstrong, 
Benjamin Eyre, John W. Johnston, August 
Hoyer. The first four above named were of the 
regular panel of jurors for the term, but the 
others were summoned by the sheriff after the 
regular panel was exhausted. Just how many 
witnesses for the prosecution were sworn and 
testified, nor how many testified for the de- 
fendant, cannot now be known. There was no 
stenographic report, and nothing remains but 
the memory of man upon which to base a con- 
clusion. Some persons have said, and some 
writers accept the statement as true, that only 
one witness was introduced for the people, and 

that was Charles Allen. William Douglas, who 
at that time lived in Mason County, but who 
subsequently resided at Ashland, in this county, 
for many years, who was one of the witnesses 
endorsed upon the indictment, and subpoenaed 
to testify, said that he was the first witness 
called for the people ; that all witnesses had 
been excluded from the courtroom during the 
trial, and he being thus first called, heard the 
whole trial. While the short duration of the 
trial made it impossible to have heard many wit- 
nesses, it is hardly possible that the people 
could have proven all the elements necessary to 
be proven in such a case by the one witness, 
Charles Allen. The deepest interest certainly 
centered in the testimony of Allen, who swore 
that Armstrong struck Metzker in the face with 
a slung shot ; that it was between ten and eleven 
o'clock at night ; that he was near the wagons 
where the fight occurred and plainly saw the 
blow struck by Armstrong. On cross examina- 
tion, which was conducted by Mr. Lincoln, 
Allen was asked how he could see so plainly, 
it being late at night. The witness replied that 
it was bright moonlight ; that the moon was 
right up overhead, about where the sun would 
be at one o'clock in the afternoon. Being ques- 
tioned particularly about the moon, he again 
repeated the statement as to its locality in the 
sky, so there could have been no misunderstand- 
ing on the part of court or jury, as to where 
the witness stated the moon to have been. 


After the evidence of the witnesses was all 
in, Mr. Lincoln asked if someone would bring 
him an almanac. This was produced, and as 
one of the jurors, J. T. Brady says in a letter 
on the subject, it was handed up to the judge, 
examined by counsel, and by the jury, and 
showed that the moon could not have been in 
the position in the sky where the witness said 
it was. for the moon set at 12:05 p. m. on the 
night of August 29, 1S57. 

The arguments of counsel were made ; the 
instruction of the court given, and the jury re- 
tired in custody of an officer to consider their 
verdict. All which the record recites and con- 
cludes with the following : 

"And afterwards to wit, on the same day, the 
said jurors came into court in charge of the 
officer aforesaid, and the said prisoner, Arm- 
strong, being brought into court in proper person 



by the sheriff of said county of Cass, the said 
jurors for verdict on their oaths do say that 
the said defendant is not guilty in the following 
words, to wit, We the jury acquit the de- 
fendant from all charges preferred against him 
in the indictment." The trial did not occupy 
much time, and the jury was not out long in 
arriving at a verdict. Positive proof of this 
fact is furnished by the record of the court of 
that day. One William McCrudden was tried 
the same day by a jury on a charge of riot. 
On the jury that tried McCrudden were three 
of the jurors that sat on the Armstrong trial, 
namely: Charles D. Marcy, John T. Brady and 
Nelson Graves. The jury in that case also 
returned its verdict that same day. 


Many absurd, and some very ridiculous stories 
are told and statements made, concerning this 
trial, and the assault which caused it. Not 
the least ridiculous is the statement in an 
account published in MeClure's magazine of 
August, 1S9G, which is credited to Miss Ida 
Tarbell. In that article appears the following 
statement : 

"That same night Metzker was hit with an 
ox-yoke by another drunken reveler, Norris by 

Anyone who ever saw an ox-yoke might ask 
about this "reveler," as the innocent child asked 
of a certain distinguished personage of ancient 
history. "Was he like old Goliath, tall, his 
spear a hundred weight?" 

The almanac and the moon have come in for 
a great share of notoriety in connection with 
this celebrated ease. This article is not written 
to prove or disprove anything, but is recorded 
simply as one of the celebrated events in the 
history of Cass County. Yet the truth ought to 
he ascertained, if possible, and be here repre- 
sented, for there are so stories which have 

gained currency and are believed by many who 
are not conversant with the real facts, that 
merit attention. That there was an almanac in 
the trial is almost beyond any question of doubl : 
and that it was a genuine almanac of the date 
1857, is attested by creditable witnesses. That 
which casts doubl upon whether it was a genu- 
ine one or a "faked" one. is the many state- 
ments made by persons who claimed to have 

been present at the trial, and hy writers who 
have accepted snob stataemenls and recorded 
them without Investigation. 



Several writers of the "Life of Lincoln" have 
incorporated the Duff Armstrong trial in their 
volume. In Barret's "Life of Lincoln" referring 
to this trial, the author says that Allen testified 
to the exact position of the moon, then says : 
"At this point Mr. Lincoln produced an almanac 
which showed that at the time referred to by 
the witness there was no moon at all, and 
showed it to the' jury." Mr. Herndon in his 
"Life of Lincoln" also gives an account of the 
trial, and says, "Lincoln floored the principal 
witness for the prosecution, who had testified 
positively to seeing the fatal blow struck in the 
moonlight, by showing from an almanac that 
the moon had set." 


One of the stories about the almanac early in 
circulation, was that Mr. Lincoln, on the ad- 
journment of court for the day, took an almanac 
of the date 1853 and changed the figures 
throughout so that it read 1857. That there was 
an adjournment for the day before the trial 
closed is refuted by the record as given above. 
Furthermore, the opportunity for certain detec- 
tion of such a fraud was so great, and had it 
been detected it would have proven disastrous. 
•and resulted in the certain conviction of the 
defendant, and in everlasting disgrace to Mr. 
Lincoln and his associate counsel, even if it 
COUld he believed for a moment thai either or 
all of the counsel would have been guilty of the 
attempt to perpetrate such a fraud. The firm 
of Walker & Lacey had been employed to defend 
the case, anil both members of the firm were 
presenl at the trial. The firm was composed 
of William Walker, a reputable and highly 
respected attorney of the Mason County bar, 
and Lyman Lacey, who was one of the young 
men above reproach, lie subsequently became 
circuit judge of the district of which Cass 
County formed a part, ami served as such judge 
I'm- a period of twenty-four years, lb' was also 
for many years judge of the Appellate courl of 

this state. .Mr. Lincoln was at thai ti next 

to Senator Douglas, the most conspicuous figure 

in Illinois, ii was fuiiy expected that the Re- 
publican convention which was to he held at 
Springfield on June 16, would nominate him as 
it^ candidate for United siatcs senator, which 



it did. It is incomprehensible that such men 
should be accused of engaging in a work of fraud 
of that character, and more especially when it 
would have been wholly unnecessary. The wit- 
ness, Allen, had testified and emphasized the 
statement by repeating it, that the moon was 
right up overhead. It is a well known fact 
that the moon in the summer months "runs 
low," that is, it does not rise high above the 
horizon in latitude 40, north. All the almanacs 
for the year 1S57, which give the phases and 
the hour of the rising and setting of the moon, 
show that on the night of August 29, of that 
year, the moon set at 12:05. 


For additional proof of the position of the 
moon on that date, J. N. Gridley who was pre- 
paring an article on the subject for the journal 
of the Illinois State Historical Society, wrote the 
director of the conservatory at Urbana, 111., who 
replied thereto as follows: "The time of moon- 
set was within fifteen minutes of midnight, but 
to give this closer, I would have to know the 
exact locality for which to compute." In answer 
to a second letter furnishing the desired informa- 
tion, the director replied: "I computed the 
time of moonset for longitude 90 degrees west 
of Greenwich, the latitude 40 degrees. For 
August 29, 1857. I find the moonset at 12 h. 05 m., 
i. e., five minutes after midnight of August 

On August 30, 1914, the moon set at 12 h. m. 
the 29th falling on Saturday, as it did in 1857. 
For all practical purposes of observing the 
position of the moon between the hours of 10 
o'clock P. M., and 12 o'clock P. M., the moon 
on August 30 this year was the same as it was 
on August 29 and 30, 1857. The writer in com- 
pany with others observed the position of the 
moon on the night of August 30, 1914, and found 
it low above the horizon from 10 o'clock, P. M., 
and of course getting lower until it set at 12 M. 
From all the above it is evident the moon was 
not in the position in the sky where the witness 
Allen had sworn that it was. To refute the 
statements of the witness Allen, and to dis- 
credit his testimony before the jury, Mr. Lincoln 
produced the almanac to show the real position 
of the moon. It was so understood at the time, 
and no other view was taken until years after- 
wards when some irresponsible degenerate 
person wished to smirch the character of Abra- 

ham Lincoln, and call into question his honesty 
and integrity. John T. Brady, the last survivor 
of the jurors who tried Armstrong, writing to 
his friend J. X. Gridley of Virginia, in 1909, 
says of this part of the trial. 

"I am satisfied the jury thought Allen was 
telling the truth. I know that he impressed me 
that way, but his evidence with reference to 
the moon was so far from the facts that it de- 
stroyed his evidence with the jury. The 
almanac that was produced was examined 
closely by the court and the attorneys for the 
state, and the almanac showed that the moon at 
that time was going out of sight, setting ; and 
the almanac was allowed to be used as evidence 
by Judge Harriott." Mr. Brady further says, 
speaking of the deliberations of the jury : "We 
were out less than an hour ; only one ballot was 
taken, and that was unanimous for acquittal." 

The discrediting of the principal wdtness for 
the prosecution, and the eloquent address to 
the jury by Abraham Lincoln, caused them to 
make short work of the case, and it would have 
been long since forgotten, and gone into utter 
oblivion if it had not been for the subsequent 
fame of the chief counsel for the defense. 


The old courthouse in which the trial was held 
is yet standing in excellent condition, and is 
used as the city hall for Beardstown, and also 
for the city court, recently established in that 
city. In 1909 the Woman's Club of Beards- 
town placed on the walls of the building a tablet 
reading : 

"The Beardstown Woman's Club" erected this 
tablet, February 12, 1909. 

"In memory of Abraham Lincoln, who, for 
the sake of a mother in distress, cleared her son, 
Duff Armstrong, of the charge of murder in 
this Hall of Justice, May 7, 1858." 

Duff (or William) Armstrong enlisted for 
service in the Civil war. and served until 1802, 
when, being seriously sick in a hospital, his 
mother wrote President Lincoln, who sent an 
order for his discharge. He was an honorable 
citizen of Cass County and lived a sober, indus- 
trious life, dying at Ashlannd, this county. May 
5, 1899. The brother. A. P. Armstrong, who wit- 
nessed the assault, and was present at the trial 
of both Norris and his brother William, is still 
living at Ashland. 

Judge Harriott continued to hold the Cass 





Erected on the Site of the Old Col- 
lege, 1S93. Destroyed by Fire in Janu- 
ary, 1912. 

•' ^sSSS^i^^- #£ 

pggs " ^n^\ 



Built in 1013-14 on the Site of the Building Destroyed by Fire in 1912 


Remodeled From old Court House Building in 1913 



County circuit as judge of the Twenty-first Ju- 
dicial Circuit until 1867, when he was succeeded 
by Hon. Charles Turner, who held the court 
until the change was made under the constitu- 
tion of 1870. By act of legislature March 28, 
1873, the General Assembly divided the state, 
exclusive of Cook County, into twenty-six 
judicial circuits, in which a judge for each cir- 
cuit was elected, June 2, 1873, for a term of 
six years. Cass County was a part of the 
Eighteenth Circuit, and Hon. Cyrus Epler was 
elected judge. Cyrus Epler was a son of John 
and Sarah (Beggs) Epler. Mrs. Epler was the 
second daughter of Captain Charles Beggs. one 
of the early pioneers of Cass County. John 
Epler settled on a farm near Princeton, in what 
is now the southern part of Cass County, with 
his wife and four children, the oldest of whom 
was Cyrus, who was born in the Indiana home, 
November 12, 1823. Cyrus Epler had been a 
practicing lawyer for some years in the city of 
Jacksonville, when he was elected to the bench 
as judge of the Eighteenth circuit. He was 
continuously elected and served as judge of the 
Cass circuit as long as Cass County was asso- 
ciated with Morgan County in the various cir- 
cuits which were formed in and under acts of 
legislature redisricting the state. The act of 
1897 placed Morgan and Cass counties in sepa- 
rate districts and ended the successful career of 
Judge Epler of a quarter of a century as a cir- 
cuit judge. 


By act of 1877 thirteen circuits exclusive of 
Cook County, were formed and provision made 
for the election of three judges for each dis- 
trict. Cass County was a part of the Seventh 
circuit and we had as judges. Hon. Cyrus Epler, 
I Ion. Lyman Lacy of Havana, and Hon. Albert 
C. Burr of Carrolton. Judge Burr died while 
in office and was succeeded by I Ion. George W. 
Herdman of Jersyville. Those judges served 
until 1897, when under the apportionment of 
that year Cass became a part of the Eighth cir- 
cuit in which it has remained over since. The 
three judges elected for tliis district or circuit 
at the regular election. June is. 1S<j7. were 

John c. Broady of Quincy, Harry High >f 

Pittsfleld, and Thomas X. Mehan of Mason 
City. They served for a term of six years 
when Judge Broady was succeeded by lion. 
Albert Akers of Quincy, the other two being re- 

elected. Judge Mehan, however, survived only 
the half of his term. He held the October term, 
1906, of the Cass County court, but retired to 
his home in Mason City, a very sick man, and 
his illness terminated in his death on November 
8, 1000. At the special election held Decem- 
ber 29, 1906, Guy R. Williams of Havana was 
elected to fill the vacancy caused by the decease 
of Judge Mehan. Judge Williams has the dis- 
tinction of being the youngest circuit judge in 
the state, being but thirty-five years of age when 
elected. At the next regular election held in 
June, 1909, he was re-elected for a full term of 
six years together with Judge Higbee and Judge 
Akers, and they are the present incumbents. 
Judge Higbee has also served during the entire 
time for which he was elected judge of this 
circuit, as judge of the Appellate court of the 
Second and Fourth districts successively. Not- 
withstanding the various changes in the judicial 
system and the several re-apportionments, since 
Cass County's organization, we have been 
favored with excellent judges. They have been 
very capable men, honorable and upright, 
learned in their profession, and conscientious in 
the discharge of their duties. 

When the permanent location of the county 
seat of Cass County was determined, the Circuit 
court once more convened at Virginia, in the 
present courthouse, the third Monday of August, 
or on August 16, lS7."i. 

The county courts were, by the constitution 
of 1870, made courts of record, and entirely 
separated from the business affairs of the coun- 
ty. They have original jurisdiction of all mat- 
ters in probate and the settlement of estates, 
appointment of guardians and conservators, and 
in matters relating to apprentices and for the 
collection of taxes and assessments, and such 
other jurisdiction as the Legislature may provide. 
The legislature has soon lit to confer upon the 
County court, jurisdiction of many matters and 
subjects until the volume of husine^s in those 
courts has equaled and often exceeded annually 
the business of the circuit court. 

( oi vi v « ol i;r .1 1 I". i S. 

The County court has been presided over since 
1st::, when the firs! election for judge of the 
court was held, by the following persons: John 
\v. Savage, i v 7:: to 1^77: Jacob W, Rearick, 
1^77 to iss L ' : Darius v Walker, L882 to is;*.; 
Benry Phillips, L890 t" 1898; John l" Robinson, 



1898 to 1902; Darius x. Walker, 1902 to 1010; 
Charles JE. Martin, 1910 to 1914. Judge Martin 
was re-elected November 3, 1914, for another 
term of four years. 


Aii election was held in the city of Beards- 
town. April 18, L911, upon the question whether 
or not a city court should be established for 
that city. The proposition to establish the 
court was carried by a large majority, and on 
June 8, following, an election was held for judge 
and clerk. Hon. J. Joseph Cooke was elected 
judge and John Listman was elected clerk. The 
court was formally opened November <;. A. D. 
1911. The regular sessions thereafter were 
established by order of the judge in accordance 
with the provisions of the law relating to city 

The names of attorneys. who have resided in 
<ass County and practiced at the bar of the 
various courts, in so far as they can be ascer- 
tained, have been as follows: Henry E. Dum- 
mer. J. Henry Shaw. Garland Pollard. Sylvester 
Emmons, Henry Phillips, Thomas H. Carter, 
Richard S. Thomas. Mark W. Delaha. Charles 
E. Wyman. Richard W. Mills, James Norman 
Gridley. Cassius W. Whitney, Charles M. Tinney, 
Arthur A. Leeper. Linus C. Chandler, George 
L. Warlow, William II. Thacker, George W. 
Martin. Richard Wade, Benjamin F. Thacker, 
Reuben R. Hewitt. Charles .D. Martin, Benja- 
min F. Scudder, Rollo I. Woods, Milton McClure, 
Charles A. Schaeffer, Charles A. Gridley. Wil- 
liam Jones. J. Joseph Cooke, I. H. Stanley. A. 
T. Lucas. J. J. Nieger, William T. Gordley. Wil- 
liam H. Dieterich. Lloyd M. McClnre, Leonard 
W. Felker, Harry F. Downing, H. F. Kors, and 
J. Edward Clifford. 

state's attorneys. 

The constitution of 1S.70 also abolished the 
district attorney and provided that at the elec- 
tion for members of the General Assembly in the 
year A. D. 1S72, there should be elected in each 
county a state's attorney, whose term of office 
should be four years. Under that provision of 
the law, Cass County in 1*72. elected Linus C. 
Chandler to the office of state's attorney, anil 
lie served one term of four years, when he was 
succeeded by Arthur A. Leeper, elected in 
November. 1876. lie also served one term: 

Reuben R. Hewitt, elected in November, 1SS0, 
succeeded and served for four successive terms, 
or a period of sixteen years. He declined fur- 
ther nomination, and was succeeded by Charles 
A. Schaeffer. elected in 1S9<;, who served for 
one term. In November, 1900, Charles A. Grid- 
ley was elected to this office and served until 
1908, a period of two terms, when he in turn was 
succeeded by A. T. Lucas, elected in 1908, and 
re-elected in ]!>12. who is the present incumbent, 
his term not expiring until 1916. 


POLITICAL representation. 

the tenth general assembly — -REPRESENTATIVES 


















The Tenth General Assembly of the state of 
Illinois convened at Vandalia. the state capital 
at that time, in its first session December 25, 



1836, and adjourned March 6, 1S37. The mem- 
bers of the assembly were elected at the regular 
election for state officers on the first Monday of 
August, 1836. Morgan County then included the 
present county of Scott and the present county 
of Cass, and was represented in the legislature 
by William Thomas, William Weatherford and 
William O'Rear in the senate, and Newton 
Cloud, Stephen A. Douglas, Richard S. Walker, 
W. W. Happy, John J. Hardin, Joseph Morton, 
and John Wyatt in the house. Mr. Wyatt suc- 
ceeded Stephen A. Douglas, who had resigned 
after the first session. This was a larger dele- 
gation than any county had in the state, except 
Sangamon County, which had an equal represen- 
tation with Morgan County. The members rep- 
resenting Morgan County were able men, capable 
of looking after the interests of their constitu- 
ents, and the general welfare of the state. Four 
of them became distinguished later in the affairs 
of the state and nation. William Thomas be- 
came a circuit judge and held court several 
terms in Cass County. Newton Cloud was 
elected a delegate to the State Constitutional 
Convention of 1848, and was chosen as its per- 
manent president. John J. Hardin was elected 
to the Twentieth Congress in 1S43, and also be- 
came distinguished in the military service in 
the Mexican war, as colonel of the First Illi- 
nois Volunteer Infantry. He was killed at the 
battle of Buena Vista, February 23, 1847. Prior 
to his entering upon his service in the Mexican 
war. he had been a brigadier general in charge 
of state troops in the Mormon war, when the 
rendezvous of the army was at Beardstown. 
Stephen A. Douglas became of such national 
importance that no extended mention of him is 
necessary in this place. 


Party lines had been pretty sharply drawn in 
the genera] election for president, ami for mem- 
bers of congress. President Jackson was just 
Closing his second term of office, and on account 
of his attitude towards the National Bank, and 
ins frequenl use of the veto power, had brought 
the Democratic party into considerable unpopu- 
larity, so that although the party carried the 

state tor Martin Van I'.uivn over the Whig can- 
didate, it was by a majority of less than 3,000. 
nil accounl of the agitation on the part <>r a 
number of citizens of the northern part of Mor- 
gan County for the creation "f a new county 

to be cut off from that part of Morgan County, 
considerable interest had been manifested in 
the election of members of the Tenth General 
Assembly, which it was hoped would take up 
that tpiestion on petitions presented for that 
purpose. Many important questions came before 
that session of the legislature, not least among 
them being that of the removal of the state 
capital from Vandalia. Notwithstanding the 
many and varied questions presented and acted 
upon, that legislature three days before ad- 
journment, did pass an act for the creation of 
a new county to which was given the name Cass, 
but its boundaries as prescribed by the bill were 
not satisfactory to its promoters. The propo- 
sition had yet to be voted upon by the people 
of Morgan County before the county could be 
established, but the vote was taken and the 
measure carried. Several sections of the act 
creating the new county were ambiguous, es- 
pecially those concerning the location of the 
county seat, and the one relative to represen- 
tation in the state legislature. Citizens of 
Beardstown, believing that under the act passed 
and ratified, Cass County was entitled to a rep- 
resentative, immediately called an election, 
which was held July 1. 1837. which resulted in 
the election of Capt. Thomas Wilbourn, of 

A second session of the Tenth assembly, con- 
vened July 10, 1837. at which time the return 
and poll books of the Beardstown election were 
presented by Hon. Richard S. Walker, a repre- 
sentative from Morgan County, who moved to 
lay them on the table. The Hon. William A. 
Richardson of Schuyler County, a friend of 
Captain Wilbourn, and of the new county of 
Cass, came to the rescue and moved thai the poll 
hook and return he referred to the committee 
on elections, which was done. \,i record of 

this election can be found except ill the House 
journal under date of -Inly 12, 1837, in which ap- 
pears the following : 

".Mr. shields from the committee on elections 
to which had been referred the poll hook and 
return of an election for representative in the 
legislature from the county of Cass reported, 
that the county of C:i<s was formed oul of the 
county of Morgan by an act passed during the 

last sesvinii of the ltimht.i 1 assembly, and Organ- 

ized according to the provisions of the same: 
that ai an election held at Beardstown, in -aid 
county, en the first day of July Inst, Thomas 
Wilbourn was ele< ted t" represent said county in 



the legislature of this state. By referring to the 
seventh section of the act above mentioned, the 
only section bearing directly upon the subject, 
we find the following provisions: 'In case said 
county of Cass shall be created under the provi- 
sions of this act, then, until the next appor- 
tionment of senators and representatives in the 
general assembly, the said county shall be en- 
titled to one representative to the general as 
senibly. and shall at the next election vote with 
the county of Morgan for one senator, and the 
county of Morgan shall be entitled to five repre- 
sentatives and two senators.' By the last ap- 
portionment the county of Morgan was entitled 
to six representatives and three senators, and 
it is clear that whatever disposition its citizens 
may choose to make of their county, and into 
whatever number of distinct counties they may 
choose to partition its territory they cannot 
expect to increase their proportion of represen- 
tation until the next general apportionment, 
whatever quantum therefore of representation 
is given to Cass must be deducted from Mor- 
gan. It then remains to consider, whether the 
new county was entitled to elect its own repre- 
sentative at the time above stated, and then sup- 
ply the place of the member of the Morgan dele- 
gation who had previously resigned. The act 
above referred to was approved the third of 
March last, and provides that Cass shall be 
entitled to one representative, and shall at the 
next election vote with the county of Morgan 
for one senator. This evidently means the next 
general election ; that contemplated by the sec- 
ond article of our state constitution, and could 
bear no reference to a special election for a 
specific purpose, such as that which has lately 
occurred in Morgan County to fill the vacancy 
occasioned by the resignation of one of its mem- 
bers, Stephen A. Douglas. This appears still 
more obvious if we consider that had no vacancy 
occurred this question could not have arisen 
and the representative who had been elected to 
fill such vacancy stands upon the same ground 
occupied by his precedessor previous to his resig- 
nation. Besides, the members of the present 
delegation from the county of Morgan were 
not elected by the present county of Morgan, 
but by the counties of Morgan and Cass; thus 
the citizens of the new T county of Cass cannot 
justly complain that they are left unrepresented. 
Your committee, therefore, unanimously con- 
clude that the new county of Cass is not entitled 
to a separate representative, and that the elec- 

tion held as above stated was wholly null and 


General Shields, who made the above report, 
which is little less ambiguous than the act of 
the legislature which it purports to construe, 
was the member from Randolph County, and 
afterwards became distinguished as a soldier in 
the Mexican war. He was commissioned by 
President Polk, a brigadier general of volunteers. 
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Shields in 1842, 
challenged Abraham Lincoln to fight a duel. 
While the whole matter was ludicrous and 
farcical in the extreme, yet the affair went so 
far that both parties and their seconds went to 
Alton, ill., and from there by small row boats 
across to an island in the Mississippi River, 
where, before the actual fighting began, mutual 
friends arrived and the difficulty was amicably 
adjusted. General Shields had the unique dis- 
tinction of being elected United States senator 
from three different states. First from Illinois, 
being elected in 1849, defeating Senator Sidney 
Breese ; then in 1855, having moved in the inter- 
val to Minnesota, he was there elected for a 
year to fill a vacancy. His third election was 
by the legislature of Missouri, to which he had 
gone during the Civil war, after having resigned 
a generalship, and retired from the military 
service. In 1S78 he was elected to fill the un- 
expired term of Senator Bogy, deceased. 

Until the year 1837, there had been no con- 
vention system for the nomination of candidates 
for public office, and even then it was thought 
to be necessary to have a nominating convention 
for state officers only. The election in the 
county of Cass for its first county officers, was 
not conducted on party lines, and the men elected 
to office were about equally divided politically 
between the two parties, Democratic and Whig. 
In December, 1837, the Democrats of Illinois 
held their first state convention at Vandalia, the 
state capital, and Col. James W. Stephenson of 
Galena, was nominated for governor ; John S. 
Hacker for lieutenant-governor, but on it being 
discovered later that Colonel Stephenson was a 
defaulter of moneys as receiver of the land office, 
the same delegates again met at Vandalia the 
next June, and substituted Thomas Carlin for 
governor in place of Stephenson, and Stinson H. 
Anderson in place of Hacker for lieutenant-gov- 
ernor. It was generally conceded that Cyrus 

* V&*<ftvid & &>d>t4 / 3&A 



Edwards would be the logical candidate of the 
Whigs for governor, and so became, so that party 
held no convention, and William H. Davidson 
was made the candidate for lieutenant-governor 
without any preliminary opposition. The first 
general election in Cass County was held Au- 
gust 6, 1838, the Whigs proving to be in the 
majority. The state at large, however, elected 
Thomas Carlin governor, although his vote in 
Cass County was only 188 to 335 for Edwards. 
John T. Stuart, a Whig, defeated Stephen A. 
Douglas for Congress by only fourteen votes. 
Stuart lived at Springfield, in Sangamon County, 
and as Cass County was associated with Sanga- 
mon County as a part of the Third Congres- 
sional District, he was known to many here. 
The election for state senator was also very 
close, but William Thomas, a Whig, was elected 
by a small majority. William Holmes, also a 
Whig, was elected as the representative to the 
legislature from Cass County, having the dis- 
tinction of being the first representative of this 
county. Had the convention system been in 
vogue at that time, and the Democrats nom- 
inated one candidate only, he would probably 
have been beaten, as the combined vote of 
Thomas Beard and Henry McKean, his two op- 
ponents, both Democratic, was 312 to 208 for 


William Holmes was thirty-seven years old 
when elected to the legislature, and had been for 
twelve years a resident of that part of Morgan 
('< unity which was eventually made over into 
Cass County. He was born in Dutchess County, 
X. Y., February 7, 179!). His parents, John and 
Phoebe (Dougherty) Holmes, were natives of 
Connecticut, but had removed soon after their 
marriage, a few miles over the state line into 
New York, where they engaged in an attempt to 
farm, but scarcely a living could he extracted 
from the poor soil on which they had settled. 
and there was nothing In that rural life to at- 
tract their boy. William, or induce him Jo re- 
main at that sort Of employment He attained 
the rudiments Of an education in the district 
Schools Of his native county and then started 

for a full course at the Poughkeepsie Academy, 
l >i it after a few terms found be was without 

Funds to proceed. He then left home and went 
into New Jersey where he taught several terms 
of school, and with the money thus earned and 

saved, he made his way into the West, landing 
in Posey County, Ind. There he taught school 
for a short time, hut that country falling far 
short of the western paradise he had heard so 
much of before leaving his native state, and 
learning there of the famous Sangamon coun- 
try in Illinois, he resolved to move once more 
farther west. He crossed the Wabash River, 
and followed the "Movers' Trail" through Illi- 
nois, until he reached the northern part of 
Morgan County. There he found a few settlers, 
among them being Archibald Job and Henry 
Hopkins. Mr. Holmes engaged board at the 
Hopkins home, and took up a claim adjoining 
that of Mr. Hopkins on the west. That same yea r, 
1820, Joseph McDonald arrived in the neighbor- 
hood from Kentucky. He also took up a claim, 
hut did not wait long until he went to the 
land office at Springfield and entered his land 
from the government. The state auditor's certi- 
ficate of land entries in the recorder's office 
shows that June 5, 182G, Joseph McDonald 
entered the east one-half of the northwest one 
quarter of section 11, township 17. north, range 
west, eighty acres, and that on September 15, 
1826, William Holmes entered the southwest one- 
quarter of section 5, township 17, north, range 
9 west. Later he sold the one eighty acres to 
Mr. Hopkins, it being the claim on which .Mi - . 
Hopkins had settled. Mr. Holmes married Mary 
McDonald, daughter of Joseph McDonald on 
December 7, 1N27, in the new brick house which 
Mr. McDonald had built on the land entered 
the previous year. This house is said to have 
been the first brick house erected between 
Beardstown and Springfield. It was a small 
house, but well built, from brick burned on the 
premises, and is still standing and in excellent 
condition. Two years alter his marriage, Mr. 
Holmes entered the west one-half of the south- 
east one-quarter of section 31, township is. 
north, range '•> west, upon which he huilt m sub- 
stantial Frame house, and removed to it. There 
he and his wife lived the remainder of their 
lives. Mr. Holmes died nt the old homestead. 
January 1S. 1878, aged seventy-eight year-, 
eleven months and eleven days. His wife had 
dieil seven years liel'oie. oil Juno 19, 1871, at the 

age of sixty-nine years, lie was above the aver- 
age in Intelligence, and, coupled with a pood 
education it is not surprising that the Whigs 

in seeking a candidate to represent them in the 

legislature, should select Mr. Holmes. He had. 

the year previous to hi- election, proven himself 



sufficiently popular to beat his opponent for 

county surveyor, William Clark, by sixty-seven 
votes. Mr. Holmes served but one term in the 
legislature, but during that term many meas- 
ures of importance to the people of Illinois were 
presented ami acted upon, and those which ap- 
pealed to him as being beneficial to the people 
be sustained with bis vote. Mr. Holmes intro- 
duced and succeeded in getting passed the act, 
mentioned and set forth in a previous chapter, 
concerning the location of the county seat of 
(ass County at Virginia, reciting in a preamble 
that Beardstown had failed to comply with 
either the provisions of the original act, creating 
the county, or the subsequent act extending to 
it the time of payment of the $10,000 required 
to be donated in case the county seat should be 
located at Beardstown. The ambiguous legisla- 
tion concerning the county seat of Cass County 
has had as much to do, as has the natural rivalry 
of the two towns, Beardstown and Virginia, in 
engendering and continuing the hostile feeling 
and bitterness that has entered into the elec- 
tions on the question of the permanent loca- 
tion of the county seat ; and which has been 
manifested ever since the organization of the 
county in nearly every election for county 

As at that time each city, town and village, 
had to look to the legislature for everything 
pertaining to its organization and corporate 
status, citizens of Virginia and Beardstown 
strove to keep a member in the legislature who 
would be alert to their particular interests. 
Party lines were often wholly disregarded in 
the efforts of each rival section of the county, 
but it was not until Beardstown had, by reason 
of the large packing industries established 
there, which brought in a great many laborers 
and their families and thus increased the popu- 
lation and voting strength very rapidly, that it 
was able to elect a local representative to the 
assembly. Amos S. West, who had entered and 
lived upon a fine tract of land adjoining the Dr. 
Hall land in township 17. north, range 10, west, 
upon which was laid out the town of Virginia, 
was nominated for member of the legislature 
in L840, and was carried into office on the ticket 
with "Old Tippecanoe and Tyler too" in the ex- 
citable campaign of that year. General Har- 
rison had in Cass County, or what in a few 
years thereafter became a part of Cass County, 
a strong supporter in the person of Captain 
Charles Beggs, of Princeton, who had com- 

manded a company of cavalry in the famous 
battle of Tippecanoe, while he was a resident of 
Clark County, Iiid. He had made the acquaint- 
ance of General Harrison when he was a dele- 
gate to the convention called to meet at Vin- 
cennes to form a constitution for the new terri- 
tory of Indiana organized in 1800. A close, 
personal friendship grew up between the two 
which lasted unbroken during the nearly thirty 
years Captain Beggs remained a resident of 
Indiana. There was but two years' difference 
in their ages, and. although Captain Beggs had, 
for himself, long passed the age of political am- 
bition, yet it was but natural he should join 
heartily in the "log cabin and hard cider'' cam- 
paign for his old friend. General Harrison. The 
campaign was conducted in Cass County with 
that same degree of enthusiasm and hilarity as 
it was elsewhere. The great feature in rallies 
was the carrying of miniature log cabins by four 
men ; or hauling a large cabin on a wagon drawn 
by four or more horses or teams of oxen. These 
cabins were decorated with coon skins tacked 
up on the sides, or upon the door. The drivers 
of the teams were usually dressed in homespun, 
and wore caps made of coon skins. If the cabin 
was borne on a wagon there was also, generally, 
a barrel of bard cider alongside of it, with a 
gourd dipper to drink from. It was a noisy cam- 
paign, the rallies were largely attended, and the 
parades and processions were joined in by hun- 
dreds of men. carrying their long squirrel rifles, 
or whatever style of gun they happened to own. 
Along with the cabins in the procession were 
also a number of canoes, decorated in similar 
fashion. It was just the kind of a campaign that 
would excite and enlist the enthusiasm of the 
inhabitants of Cass County, most of whom had 
been backwoodsmen all their lives. The oppor- 
tunity of shouting and ultimately voting for 
someone wlm had started in life in the same 
humble manner as they was hailed with delight. 
However, with all their demonstrations, and the 
great popularity of their candidate, the Whigs 
were not aide to carry the state. The state of- 
ficers who were to be elected that year, the 
members for Congress, and also the county 
officers, were to be voted for in August, while 
the presidential election did not take place until 
November. Cass County elected John C. Scott 
and Marcus Chandler, two Whigs, county com- 
missioners, and assisted in electing Col. John T. 
Stuart again to Congress. In November they 
lost the state to Van Buren by a majority of 



1,939, and the legislature was Democratic in 
both branches. Though grievously disappointed 
at their failure in the state, the Whigs were 
consoled by the fact that Van Buren had been 
defeated in the national election, and the de- 
tested policies of his predecessor, Jackson, repu- 
diated. At the political rallies it was not always 
as peaceable as at religious gatherings of subse- 
quent years. Many personal encounters oc- 
curred ; and it is said that these were the result 
of the drinking of something stronger than hard 


Whiskey and brandy were not expensive ar- 
ticles at that time, but were very common mer- 
chandise, although the prices for the same were 
fixed by the county board of commissioners. 
The year previous to this election, at the March 
term of the County Commissioners Court of Cass 
County, the following schedule of prices was 
adopted : For taverns, each meal of victuals, 
30% cents ; each night's lodging 25 cents ; 
keeping horses over night, 50 cents ; feed 
for one horse 25 cents ; one-half pint of 
whiskey, 12% cents; one-half point of brandy, 
25 cents; one-half pint of gin, 25 cents; one-half 
pint of wines, cordials, etc., 25 cents. At the 
same time rates of charges for the Beard ferry 
across the Illinois River were also established, 
and were as follows: Horse and carriage. 37% 
cents; two-horse wagon, 50 cents; four-horse 
wagon, 75 cents; six-horse wagon, $1.00; man 
and horse, 25 cents; loose cattle, h'% cents; hogs, 
goats and sheep, :: cents; each footman, the 
same as loose cattle. There is no doubt this 
high <-ost of living entered into the campaign, 
and was, by the Whigs, charged against the Van 
Buren administration. Lawyers, at least, might 
have had some legitimate grounds for complaint, 
when the fees received by them at that time are 
compared with frcs paid lawyers of the present 
day. The County Commissioners' Court records 
show that at that term of their court which 
fixed the foregoing rates, they paid lion. Stephen 
T. Logan $10 for appearing as counsel in three 
Cases in the Circuit court. 

Nothing of Importance affecting Cass County 
occurred in the legislature elected In i s i<>. a 
petition was presented asking for the detaching 
of the "three-mile strip" from Morgan County 
and attaching it to Cass County, but little at 

tention was given to it by the assembly. Col. 

West was not a candidate for re-election, and at 
the next election, which occurred in August, 
1N42, the Whigs were again successful, but by a 
greatly reduced majority. Henry E. Dummer, 
an excellent lawyer and a high class citizen, 
residing at Beardstown, was a candidate for 
state senator, but, although he beat his oppo- 
nent in this county, was defeated in the district. 
John W. Pratt was elected to the legislature, 
and John Savage was elected as sheriff. W. H. 
H. Carpenter was elected to take the place of 
John W. Pratt as clerk of the County Commis- 
sioners' Court, the latter having been clerk of 
that body since the organization of Cass County. 
Robert Leeper, grandfather of Senator A. A. 
Leeper of Virginia, was elected county commis- 
sioner, beating his opponent, Marcus Chandler, 
by only four votes. The prize of political offer- 
ing of that year most sought after appears to 
have been that of probate justice. There were 
five candidates. Dr. Harvey Tate had arrived 
in Cass County in the spring of 1841, and hav- 
ing finally settled down in Virginia, concluded 
he would like to add something to his income as 
a country physician, and gain the distinction 
conferred by the position of probate justice, and 
so entered himself in the race, but found a 
sturdy opponent in the person of Alexander 
Huffman, a pioneer farmer of Monroe Precinct. 
They were both Democrats, and as the Whigs 
had a full ticket otherwise, Robert G. Gaines, a 
Whig, became a candidate. Beardstown. seeing 
three candidates from the eastern part of the 
county, thought it a good time to get in. and 
so Ezra Dutch, of that town, who had been a 
sea captain for twenty-five years, sailed into the 
political sea. hoping to exchange his title of 
captain for that of probate judge. Then came 
John Richardson, last, and as it proved, least, 
in point of votes. He was a nondescript as far 
as his politics were concerned. At least bis 
party affiliation is not known. These live pa- 
triotic men made a lively campaign which re- 
sulted in the fanner candidate, Alexander Huff- 
man, being elected by a majority of eighty-two 

70tes over the tie\t nearest, who was Mr. (mines. 
I >r. 'fate was close after Mr. (mines, there be- 
ing only live votes difference between them. 

Captain Dutch received thirty-seven votes, and 
Mr. Richardson twenty-elghl votes. The entire 
Democratic state ticket was elected by Large 
majorities Thomas ford beat Governor Dun- 
can, the Whig candidate, by nearly 8,000 vies. 
There were no congressmen elected at that 



election. By au act of the assembly, March 1, 
1843, the state was reapportioned and divided 
into seven districts. The population of the 
state had reached 470,183, and that of Cass 
County had increased to 2,9S1, according to the 
census of 1S40. Stephen A. Douglas had moved 
from Jacksonville to Quincy, and being placed 
in the fifth district, while Cass County was in 
the seventh, the people of this county had no . 
further opportunity to vote for Mr. Douglas 
until 1SG0, when he ran against Mr. Lincoln 
for president. * 

In the meanwhile Mi*. Pratt took his seat in 
the legislature and there found a friend and 
neighbor, David Epler, who had been elected as 
a representative from Morgan County, but who 
resided on his farm in the three-mile strip. At 
the next term they received reinforcements in 
the person of Francis Arenz, who also lived in 
the "strip" at Arenzville, an unincorporated vil- 
lage of his own making. That term brought suc- 
cess to their labors, and the county of Cass 
rejoiced then and ever after, that a great source 
of wealth was added to the county in the shape 
of eighty square miles of as fine land as is to 
be met with in all of Illinois. 


Political affairs were attracting attention 
from the voters throughout the whole country. 
The Whigs had not redeemed their pre-elec- 
tion pledges ; hard times had not disappeared as 
rapidly as had been promised, and the middle 
of the Tyler administration found the people 
as dissatisfied as ever. President Taylor had 
died within a short time after his inauguration, 
and the vice president, succeeding, had not car- 
ried out the policies of his predecessor. John 
J. Hardin of Jacksonville was the candidate 
of the Whigs for Congress in the seventh dis- 
trict under the new apportionment, and Cass 
County was a part of that district. The elec- 
tion was held in August, 1843, and Hardin was 
the only Whig elected of the entire congressional 
delegation from the state. It was a noticeable 
fact that for several years the seventh district 
was the only one that could succeed in electing 
a Whig to Congress. Colonel Hardin served 
but one term, when the distinguished Edward 
D. Baker succeeded him. Baker was a Whig, 
and although the Whigs were opposed to the 
policy of the Democratic administration which, 
as they charged, unnecessarily brought on the 

war with Mexico, yet, when war was declared, 
Baker resigned from Congress, went home and 
raised a regiment and was commissioned its 
colonel. After the Mexican war, he moved to 
Galena, 111., from which place he was sent to 
Congress. Later he moved to California, and 
then on up into Oregon, where he was again 
made a member of the national legislative body, 
this time being sent as a senator from the state 
of Oregon. While he was holding that position, 
the Civil war broke out, and he again resigned, 
raised a regiment and was again commissioned a 
colonel. He immediately went to the front, but 
was killed at Ball's Bluff, October 20, 1861. 
Colonel Baker was well and favorably known 
to many Cass County people, who held him in 
high esteem. He was a member of the state 
legislature in 1837, which passed the act creat- 
ing the county of Cass. 

In the meantime, however, a question of local 
interest was absorbing the attention of the 
voters of Cass County. An election had been 
called for September 4, 1S43, in accordance with 
an act passed by the legislature for that pur- 
pose, to vote upon the question of whether the 
county seat should or should not be moved to 
Beardstown. At that time, under the law, the 
recorder of deeds was elected as a separate and 
independent officer, and at the regular election 
held August 7, of that year, Dr. M. H. L. 
Schooley of Virginia had beaten C. H. C. Have- 
kluft, a young lawyer of Beardstown, for that 
office. This encouraged the citizens who were 
favorable to Virginia in the belief that they 
would be successful in the election on the county 
seat question, but in this they were greatly 
mistaken, for when the vote was taken, they 
found that Virginia had lost by a vote of 453 
for removal to 288 against removal. This was 
a serious blow to Virginia, but it was not felt 
immediately, as Beardstown did not get ready 
to remove the records for some time. A court- 
house had to be built, which was done by 
Beardstown without cost to the county, in ac- 
cordance with the promise of the Beardstown 
adherents made before the election, and in ac- 
cordance with the provisions of the act calling 
the election. At the March term of the Com- 
missioners' Court, 1S45, the deed to the county 
was presented, showing the acquisition of the 
lots, and a certificate showing the completion of 
the jail and courthouse; and the records and 
archives of the county were removed to Beards- 
town, not to be returned to Virginia until 1S75. 




A period of general business depression fol- 
lowed in Virginia, and real estate values depre- 
ciated materially. Many merchants followed 
the seat of government to Beardstown, others 
went elsewhere, believing that Virginia had lit- 
tle prospect for future growth or prosperity. 
Dr. Schooley would not follow the recorder's 
office to Beardstown, as it was of little value to 
him financially, so he resigned, and the place 
was filled by Eli Wood, elected to fill the va- 
cancy in 1845, who continued as the recorder 
until the constitution of 1848 abolished the office, 
and made the circuit clerk ex-ufficio recorder. 


Another event in 1S45 which brought some dis- 
tinction to Beardstown, or, as the popular phras- 
ing would express it, made it visible on the 
map, was the gathering there as a rendezvous of 
the state army under Brigadier General John J. 
Hardin, to march into Hancock County to quell 
the Mormon disturbance, designated in some 
histories as the Mormon war. Thomas Ford 
was then governor of the state, and felt, in his 
patriotic zeal, that duty called him to the front. 
He marched with a company of infantry and 
some artillery from Springfield to Beardstown, 
passing through Virginia, where he halted with 
his soldiers fur the night. The infantry camped 
on the public square and the artillery on the 
brow of the hill a little east of the present 
site of the Christian church. The governor 
made the Dr. Pothicary tavern his headquarters, 
and the next day he and his soldiers moved on 
to the rendezvous at Beardstown. The Mor- 
mon disturbance did not last long enough to 
merit the name of war. A mob had attacked the 
jail at Carthage, in Hancock County, where 
Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, had been 
placed, he having surrendered himself to the 
authorities to escape the citizens who had be- 
come incensed against him, largely on account 
of polygamous views held by the sect. Smith 
was billed, and the mob continued its attack 
upon his despised followers until the Mormons 
were driven out. Very few it* any .Mormons 
came into ('ass County at that time. Some itin- 
erant disseminators of the gospel of the Book of 
Mormon as interpreted by the Trim and Tliuin- 
miii occasionally found their way into Cass 
County, bul an invitation to move mi from the 
hardy orthodox pioneers was generally suf- 
ficient, and they "traveled" without taking any 

converts with them. Sylvester Emmons, a law- 
yer of Beardstown, finding the practice of the 
law not as remunerative as his needs in life 
required, concluded to engage in the newspa- 
per business. For that purpose he went to 
-Xauvoo. the Mormon stronghold, in the summer 
of 1845. and started an anti-Mormon weekly 
paper. He, however, published but one issue, 
when he precipitantly retired from that par- 
ticular journalistic field, and returned to Beards- 
town. The Mormon troubles were the legiti- 
mate fruits of political pandering to a religious 
sect by the two dominant parties for its vote. 
Without any special provisions in the constitu- 
tion, and without restriction upon the legislature 
in that respect, cities, villages or towns were 
granted charters with almost unlimited powers. 
Nor was it necessary, under our first consti- 
tution, that the subject of an act should be 
expressed in the title. The Twelfth General 
Assembly, that met in 1840, composed of Demo- 
crats and Whigs, passed with shameless una- 
nimity an act granting to Xauvoo, or in reality, 
to Joseph Smith, a charter for the incorporation 
of Xauvoo as a city. The charter conferred 
power upon the mayor and city council to estab- 
lish their own courts and militia, and to enable 
them to organize a government that would make 
them wholly independent of the state govern- 
ment. The driving out of the Mormons from 
Xauvoo, and the agitation of the subject of 
Mormqnism, destroyed the influence of that seel 
in politics at least for years thereafter. It also 
caused a division in the church itself. A large 
body of the members who believed in polygamy 

went, under the leadership of Brigham Ibung, 
to Utah territory, and established Salt Lake 
City, while another, but much smaller body, 
went to Iowa, under the lead of Joseph Smith, a 
son of Joseph Smith killed at Nauvoo, and main- 
tained the church organization of Latter Day 
Saints. They claimed to have abandoned polyg- 
amy. Joseph Smith, who claimed to be th •- 

ganizer and head of the Reorganized church of 
batter Day saints, died at Independence, Mo., 
December 13, 1914. A few representatives of 
that church reside at Beardstown. 


i oi: i o\i,ia ^-. 

in 1842, John w. Pratt, of whom a biography 

previously appears in this work, had succeeded 

Colonel Weai in Hi" legislature, and was re- 



elected in 1S44. He was an aide representative, 
carefully attending to all the interests of his 
constituents, but his chief distinction was his 
securing for Cass County the three-mile strip. 
While his colleagues, David Epler and Francis 
Arenz, were exceptionally efficient as legislators, 
particularly in their assistance to Cass County, 
they were never really representatives of Cass, 
both being elected from Morgan County, and 
their terms expired before the election which 
gave Cass County its first representative after 
its enlargement. The Hon. Edward W. Turner 
was the first representative from Cass County 
after its present boundaries were fixed. Francis 
Arenz, who had been elected in 1844 as a Whig, 
was again nominated by that party in opposition 
to Mr. Turner, who was a Democrat. The pre- 
vious general election, that of 1844, was a seri- 
ous disappointment to the Whigs, the idol of 
that party. Henry Clay, having been defeated 
by James K. Polk on the issue of the annexa- 
tion of Texas. In that year the small cloud 
which had appeared in the east during the elec- 
tion of 184(1, in the form of the Free Soil party, 
or the Liberal party, was growing portentous. 
It had nominated James (i. Birney for the sec- 
ond time for the presidency, and although that 
party never succeeded in electing a state or con- 
gressional officer, or secured a single electoral 
vote for its candidates for the presidency, yet 
it was recruiting to the abolition or anti-slavery 
cause so rapidly from the Whig ranks that it 
foreshadowed the ultimate extinction of that 
party. There was. however, a full state and 
county Whig ticket arrayed against a full Dem- 
ocratic ticket in Cass County in 1846. Upon 
that ticket were some persons well known then, 
who afterwards became distinguished. On the 
Democratic ticket appeared the name of Augus- 
tus C. French for governor, and the eccentric 
and famous politician-preacher, Rev. Peter Cart- 
wright, as a candidate for Congress. The can- 
didates for the county offices were: sheriff, 
W. J. De Haven: coroner, Harvey Springer; 
county commissioner, Thomas Plasters. On the 
Whig ticket, for governor was Thomas M. Kil- 
patrick of Scott County, who had served three 
successive terms in the state senate: and for 
Congress was Abraham Lincoln. On the county 
ticket were : sheriff, John Savage ; coroner. 
James Logan : county commissioner. Henry Mc- 
Henry. Cass County gave a majority for the 
Whig candidates, but the Democrats elected 
their candidate for governor and member of 

the legislature. Notwithstanding the popularity 
and wide acquaintance of Rev. Peter Cartwright, 
he was beaten for Congress by Abraham Lin- 
coln. They had both been in the legislature 
from Sangamon County, and this was the first 
venture of either in national politics, except 
that Mr. Lincoln had been a candidate for presi- 
dential elector in 1844, on the ticket with Henry 
Clay, and been defeated. The elections during 
all of the time under the first constitution were 
without ballots, each voter stepping up to the 
polls and announcing how or for whom he 
wished to vote, and the election officers recorded 
the vote then and there. It was no secret, of 
course, how anyone voted, and at the election 
of 1846, William Holmes, who had been the first 
representative from Cass County, and a lifelong 
Whig, voted for Cartwright, the Democrat, 
against Lincoln, on the Whig ticket. For this 
act of party treason, he was roundly abused 
by the leaders of the Whigs in Cass County. 
Mr. Holmes justified his vote on the grounds 
that he did not personally like Mr. Lincoln, and 
the Rev. Cartwright was a personal friend and 
a frequent visitor at his home when on his 
preaching itinerary. Mr. Lincoln, however, was 
elected to Congress, and Cass County residents 
will always look upon it as a distinctive honor 
that they were represented in the national Con- 
gress by him. On the same day that Cass 
County was created a county by the legislature 
of this state. March 3, 1837, Abraham Lincoln, 
a member of that legislature, filed his protest 
against slavery, by resolutions, and had them 
spread upon the recoiids of the House of Repre- 
sentatives. Cass County people feel that this 
is another tie binding them with Illinois' most 
illustrious and best man. 

The entire county Whig ticket was elected, 
but Francis A. Arenz, the Whig candidate for 
the legislature, was defeated by Edward W. 
Turner, a Democrat. 

At the election the question as to whether or 
not a constitutional convention should be called 
was put before the people. The proposition to 
hold the convention carried by a large ma- 
jority. The next spring, Judge Henry E. Sum- 
mer, of Beardstown, was elected a delegate to 
that convention, which met June 7. 1847, and 
concluded its labors August 31, 1847. The new 
constitution was submitted to the people and 
ratified by them at a special election held March 
0. 1848, and it went into effect April 1 of that 



year, and hence is known as the Constitution 
of 1848. 


Judge Henry E. Dummer was the only dele- 
gate from Cass County to any of the constitu- 
tional conventions held in this state. He was 
born at Hallowell, Me., April 9, 1S0S, and at- 
tended and was graduated from Bowdoin Col- 
lege, later took a law course at the Cambridge 
Law School, and was admitted to the bar and 
practiced for two years in his native state be- 
fore In- came to Springfield, 111., where he formed 
a partnership with John T. Stuart, in 183S he 
dissolved the partnership, and moved to Beards- 
town, where he remained until 1864, serving 
the city as an alderman, was also probate jus- 
tice for Cass County, and served in the state 
senate for four years, having been elected dur- 
ing the trying period of 1SG0. Formerly a 
Whig, he became a Republican, and was a 
staunch supporter of Governor Richard Yates, 
the great "war governor" of Illinois. In 1864 
he was made a delegate at large for the state 
to the Baltimore convention that renominated 
President Lincoln. An excellent lawyer and 
honorable man, he was a highly respected citizen 
of Cass County. In 1864 he removed to Jack- 
sonville, where he continued in practice of his 
profession, but his health failing in 1878, he 
went to Mackinac, Mich. The change of climate 
did not avail, however, and he died at that 
place August 12, 1878, aged seventy years three 
months and three days. 
















1S92 — grandpa'a hat — free silver campaign 



The citizens of Cass County soon adjusted 
themselves to the changes in political affairs 
with the adoption of the second constitution of 
the state, which went into force and effect April 
1, 1S48. The Whigs had beeu in the ascendancy, 
but the margin was growing dangerously small. 
and the opposition to the Mexican war mani- 
fested by the Whigs as a party had not added 
anything to the popularity of it. especially as 
the war had been prosecuted to a successful 
conclusion in a very short period. One result 
from the war was wholly unlooked for by the 
Whigs. Gen. Zachary Taylor, who had become 
the most conspicuous figure in that war. was 
the popular public hero at the dose of the con- 
flict, and was. by the WhigS, taken as their 
candidate for the presidency. The administra- 
tion in power at Washington was Democratic, 
under the leadership of President Polk, who 
had beaten Benry Clay, the Whig idol, in 1844, 
and this administration made every effort t" 
create a Democratic hero out of the partici- 
pants in the Mexican war SO that the party 
might he ready with a suitable candidate to - 
eeed President Polk, who had given his word 

that he would not be a candidate for re election. 
The people could not he deceived as to who was 

Hi,, real hero Of the war. and adhered in their 
devotion and popular admiration for General 

Taylor, "old Rougb and Ready," as the soldiers 
Serving under him .ailed him. Thus in spite 
,,( the fact that Gen. Taylor was net favor- 
ably received by the leaders of the Whig party 



who looked upon themselves as the only simon- 
pure statesmen, he was nominated by that party, 
with Millard Fillmore for vice president, as the 
standard bearer in the presidential contest of. 
1848. The Democrats nominated Gen. Lewis 
Cass of Michigan for president, and William 
O. Butler of Kentucky for vice president. Gen. 
Cass, a man nf high character, had been gov- 
ernor of Michigan territory, five years secretary 
of war. under President Jackson, and had been 
minister to France. He had served creditably 
in the war of 1812, but was not regarded highly 
as a military man, and his friends and the party 
newspapers supporting the administration tried 
the absurd expedient of making him out a mili- 
tary hero to offset the great popularity of Gen- 
eral Taylor, but this movement, of course, re- 
sulted in a flat failure. Cass was badly beaten, 
even in Cass County, that had been named for 
him, he there receiving 724 votes to 761 for 


The presidential campaign of 1848 was vigor- 
ously conducted. There were but two papers 
then published in the county, the Gazette, of 
Beardstown, and the Observer, of Virginia, the 
former a Whig organ, and the latter a Demo- 
cratic one. Sylvester Emmons conducted the 
Gazette, and, being a very able writer, made an 
irresistible onslaught on General Cass and the 
Democratic measures, especially the tariff. The 
greater number of the county officers elected in 
Cass County that fall were of the Whig party. 
Richard S. Thomas, a distinguished resident of 
Virginia, was elected to the General Assembly, 
being the first representative of the new district 
formed under the new constitution, comprising 
Cass and Menard counties. Thomas L. Harris, 
a Democrat, residing at Petersburg, beat 
Stephen T. Logan, a Whig and an able lawyer, 
for Congress by a majority of six in Cass 
County. At that same election, Jesse Crews, of 
Oregon Precinct, was elected coroner on the 
Whig ticket, without opposition. He was the 
father of Thomas M.. John and Jess Crews of 
Oregon Precinct, and grandfather of Charles 
Crews, who, as a young man, clerked for W. B. 
Payne in the dry goods store on the south side 
of the public square, in Virginia, and is now a 
wealthy merchant of Pueblo, Colo. James Shaw 
was elected county judge, being the first under 
the new arrangement provided in the constitution 
of 1S48, and he was succeeded by John A. Arenz, 

also a Whig, in 1S52. Judge Arenz was a brother 
of Francis Arenz, born in Blankenburg, Province 
of the Rhine, Prussia, October 28, 1S10. He 
was a highly educated man, a graduate of the 
seminary at Bruhl, near Cologne, and came to 
America in 1835, locating at Beardstown. He 
first engaged with his brother, Francis A. Arenz, 
subsequently in various lines of business, and 
held office as justice of the peace, notary public 
and mayor of Beardstown. During the cam- 
paign of 1844 he lived at Springfield, 111., and 
conducted a newspaper in the German language, 
in the interest of Henry Clay for the presidency. 
Judge Arenz was returned to the county judge- 
ship in 1S65, having in March of that year been 
admitted to the bar as an attorney -at-law. He 
lived to be eighty-seven years and ten months 
old, and died at his home in Beardstown, highly 
respected by men of every party and faith. 

Political events crowded on rapidly. The 
question of slavery forged to the front, precipi- 
tated by the efforts of California to be admitted 
as a free state in 1S50, and also by the propo- 
sition to create two new territories out of the 
acquisitioned land resulting from the war with 
Mexico. The compromise measure presented by 
Clay, and called by its opponents in derision the 
"Omnibus Bill," which provided that California 
should be admitted as a free state : that the 
new territories of Utah and New Mexico should 
be formed without any provision concerning 
slavery ; that $10,000,000 should be paid to Texas 
to yield its claim to New Mexico ; that the slave 
trade should be abolished in the District of 
Columbia, and that a fugitive slave law should 
be enacted, was, after bitter debate, finally 
adopted. The anti-slavery party would not ac- 
cept the compromise and began to form a new 
political party to which they invited all anti- 
slavery voters. The Democrats and Whigs in 
their party assembly each declared they stood 
by the compromise, and selected their candidates 
for the presidency for the campaign of 1852. 
The Democrats presented Franklin Pierce, and 
the Whigs, Gen. W. S. Scott, while the Free 
Soilers nominated John P. Hale of New Hamp- 
shire. The election was practically one-sided, 
Pierce carrying all but four of the states, and 
the Whig party disappeared forever from the 
political arena. 


The voters of Cass County had been as much 
and as deeply interested as were the people of 



CHRISTIAN "III 'in II. \ 1 1 :« ; I \ I \ 

Later Union College, Virginia, Built in 1853-54, Taken Down in 1893 


Erected by the Inmates of the Soldiers' and 
Sailors' Home in memory of General Charles 
E. Lippineott and wife of Chandlerville, the 
First Governor and Matron of the Home. 


Now used as the Women's Club Room 



any section of the country ; they had ably de- 
bated every phase and element of the compro- 
mise, at the crossroads store and upon the street 
corners, and in every convenient and incon- 
venient place ; and each side had carried off 
the trophies of victory, and were now willing 
to lay the matter aside and devote their atten- 
tion to matters of more local concern. Rev. 
Cyrus Wright, a "regular*' Baptist preacher, 
had been elected to represent the two counties 
of the Twenty-fifth district, Cass and Menard, 
in the Eighteenth General Assembly. The pre- 
vious legislature, in which Cass County did not 
have a local representative, had passed a strin- 
gent liquor law, prohibiting the sale of liquor 
in less quantities than one quart. The 
Eighteenth assembly repealed the law, the Rev. 
Mr, Wright voting for tbe repeal, he having in 
the pre-election campaign warned his constit- 
uents that he would so vote. It is affirmed that 
he said, though, that while he was in favor of 
the repeal of the law, he did not see why, if a 
person wanted liquor at all, he should want less 
than a quart. That legislature also passed the 
famous Black laws, and two other important 
acts, one for the incorporation of the State 
Agricultural Society, and one providing for the 
election of a state superintendent of public 
instruction. That legislature in the senate was 
composed of twenty Democrats and five Whigs; 
in the house, fifty-nine Democrats, sixteen 
Whigs and one Free Soiler. Hon. Stephen A. 
Douglas was re-elected to the United States 
Senate. He had no sooner been apprised of his 
election than be sprung upon an unsuspecting 
public his "Kansas-Nebraska Bill," which, by 
the doctrine it embodied upon the slavery ques- 
tion, and which Mr. Douglas denominated 
"squatter sovereignty," abolished the Missouri 
Compromise of 1820, and the more recent com- 
promise of 1850. The anti-slavery people had 
peacefully retired at pight resting in the belief 

that slavery had been placed, by the last com- 
promise, where it was in the course of ultimate 
extinction, and arose to And that the senator 
from Illinois, described by an able Democratic 

writer of the time as the "most consummate 
demagogue Of the age," had. by the introduction 
Of his wholly uncalled for measure, shattered all 
their bopes of peace and quid over this most 
Irritating and dangerous question; and had 
again aroused the people from one end of the 
country to the other to the bighesl pitch of 
excitement. Senator Douglas had many staunch 

personal friends in Cass County, but a number 
of them parted from him politically on this 
question, while others stood by him loyally. 
The bill was debated with energy and great 
rancor, both in and out of Congress, and was 
delayed for several months before it came up 
for final action. In the meantime the people of 
Cass County had troubles of their own. Repre- 
sentative Wright had secured the passage of an 
act for the submission of a vote upon the ques- 
tion of the removal of the county seat from 
Beardstown to Virginia, at an election to be held 
the first Monday of November, 1S53. The vote 
was taken as provided, and resulted in favor of 
leaving the county seat at Beardstown, by a 
very decided majority. 


On May 30, 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill 
reached a final vote in the national Congress, 
and was passed, and the "irrepressible conflict"' 
was on. More than forty Democrats from the 
North defied party discipline and voted against 
the bill. Senator Douglas by his masterly intel- 
lect and great force of character had won the 
sobriquet of "Little Giant," and Samson-like, 
he had thrown open flood-gates which he could 
not close. He came home to Illinois to defend 
his position, which was apparently defenseless : 
the people of Chicago practically denied him a 
hearing. He traveled over the state, speaking 
in every congressional district, and then it was 
that Abraham Lincoln, who had been in retire- 
ment politically, since his return from Congress, 
was now called out to discuss the all-absorbing 
question. The campaign that fall was but the 
forerunner of the great debate which occurred 
two years later. 

Cass County had no representative in the 
General Assembly which convened in January 
of 1855, the nomination in this district having 
-one to Menard County, which selected S. I ». 
.dasters. an anti-Nebraska Democrat The un- 
popularity of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill was 
evidenced by the fact that the legislature, which 
at the previous session was more than two 
thirds Democratic, now was in control of the 

anti-slavery forces, and bucc led in electing 

lion. Lyman Trumbull, an ant i Nebraska Demo- 
crat, to the United States Senate. The next 

year the Republican party was organized and 
nominated a full Btate ticket, which was suc- 
cessful at the polls in November, bnt its candl- 



date for the presidency was defeated by James 
Buchanan, the Democratic candidate. Dr. 
Samuel Christy, of Lancaster Precinct, Cass 
County, was elected to the General Assembly. 
The legislature convened January 5, 1S57, and 
adjourned February 19, 1S57. Although the 
state administration was Republican, with Gov. 
W. H. Bissell at its head, the legislature was 
Democratic in both branches. Dr. Christy was 
a Democrat of the most pronounced type, and 
was an active member of the assembly. During 
the short session he secured the passage of bills 
in which Cass County was directly interested, as 
follows : 

To extend the jurisdiction of justices of the 
peace and police magistrates in Cass County ; to 
incorporate the Virginia Cemetery in Cass 
County ; to amend the charter of the upper 
and lower Mississippi Railroad Company ; to 
amend the act to construct a railroad from Jack- 
sonville, in Morgan County, to La Salle, in La 
Salle County; to incorporate the Virginia Fe- 
male Seminary of Providence Presbyterian 
Church of Cass County ; to incorporate the Cass 
County Fair Ground Association ; for the re- 
location of the county seat of Cass County ; to 
incorporate the town of Virginia, in Cass 


Dr. Christy was born at Greenville. Mercer 
County, Pa., May 6, 1S13. He secured such an 
education as he could in the country schools of 
his native county, and when he arrived at man- 
hood, began to teach in the schools in the coun- 
try regions. He later attended Jefferson Col- 
lege, Philadelphia, Pa., as a medical student, and 
received a diploma from that institution in the 
spring of 1836. He settled at Lexington, Mo., in 
183S, but remained there but a few years, when 
he removed to Fulton County, 111., and practiced 
his profession for about nine years. In 1S49 
he came to Beardstown and bought a drug store, 
but in 1S51, tiring of the confinement, he pur- 
chased a farm in the eastern part of Cass 
County, to which place he moved in 1S52. It 
was the farm for many years known as the 
William Mains farm, about one mile east of the 
hamlet of Philadelphia, and was then about the 
center of Lancaster Precinct. There the Doctor 
acquired a fairly good practice, and might have 
made an exceptional success of his profession, 
had he not branched off into state politics. The 

sum total of his success in the latter line was 
one term in the legislature. Dr. Christy was a 
strong man physically and mentally, and a 
fairly good physician, but his unnecessary es- 
pousal of the southern cause and his disloyal 
utterances so estranged him from his neigh- 
bors, who had always held him in high esteem 
as a man and physician, that at tbe close of 
the Civil war, he found the neighborhood no 
longer congenial, and having tired of the drudg- 
ery of the practice of a country physician, he 
resolved to remove to Iowa, purchase a farm 
and abandon the medical profession. This he 
did, selling his Cass County farm to William 
Mains, and removing with his family in the 
fall of 1865, to Mills County, Iowa, where he 
purchased a farm and followed agriculture. He 
lived there until the morning of his seventy- 
fourth birthday. May 6, 1SST, when he expired 
very suddenly. 

As 1857 was an off year in national and state 
politics, and all other excitements having been 
allayed, the people of Cass County again in- 
dulged in the interesting pastime of holding a 
county seat election. The vote this year was 
taken at an election held for this purpose on 
the Tuesday after the first Monday of Novem- 
ber, 1857. There was also submitted to the 
voters that year, two other propositions, one, 
which was voted upon in August, was whether 
or not the county should subscribe for $50,000 
of bonds of the Keokuk & Warsaw Railroad 
Company, and the other, which was voted upon 
in November, was as to whether or not the 
county should adopt township organization. 
The result of the vote was the defeat of all 
three propositions. Beardstown still retaining 
the county seat. The election also disclosed 
the most wonderful increase in population in 
the town of Beardstown ever known in any 
town, village or city. The entire vote of the 
county one year previously, at the presidential 
election, was but 1665, while the vote of Beards- 
town on the question of the removal of the 
county seat at this special election was nearly 
double what it was the year previous. This 
naturally led to charges of fraud, but no one 
saw fit to contest the election. 


The Whigs of Cass County had nearly all 
gone into the new Republican party and were 
eagerly watching the movements of the leaders 



as they lined up for the campaign of that year, 
when a legislature was to be elected which 
should return a United States senator to suc- 
ceed Senator Douglas. Cass County had no can- 
didate for the assembly on either ticket, but 
each party bad a full county ticket. Douglas 
and Lincoln were each nominated in conven- 
tion of their respective parties as candidates for 
the United States senate, although there could 
lie. under the law at that time, no direct vote 
for the candidates for senator. Each candidate 
had made a number of speeches in various parts 
of the state, and a series of joint debates bad 
been arranged to begin at Ottawa. In the in- 
terim, each candidate had his time to himself 
to speak at such points as he or his political 
managers might think most important. Cass 
County was not favored with one of the joint 
debates, but it had the next thing to it: both 
candidates spoke in the county before the first 
joint debate. Beardstown was, in 1858, the 
most important point in the county, and was 
also a leading business locality for a large terri- 
tory, railroads being few in number in the coun- 
try, and there were none in Cass County. Its 
situation on the river, making it easily acces- 
sible by steamer, was a considerable factor in 
determining its prominence. Both Mr. Lincoln 
and Senator Douglas concluded to hold meet- 
ings at Beardstown. The date selected by the 
Douglas party was August 11, 1858, and August 
12, 1858, by the Republicans. There is no 
doubt that both these meetings were great 
successes; that they were attended by thousands 
of people, for by that time the greatest excite- 
ment had been worked up: the whole United 
States was looking on and the metropolitan 
newspapers were giving considerable attention 
and space to the coming debates. 


Concerning the meetings articles appeared in 
the Springfield, ill., papers, the Register and the 
journal, hut. being partisan, each praised the 

one 'tin- and belittled the other. The 

speeches of neither Lincoln nor Douglas are 
found in either paper. The Register, speaking 

of the Don-las meeting, says there were -",.110(1 

i [lie present; that it was one of the largest 

.■ind most enthusiastic meetings ever held in 
central Illinois; that hundreds and thousands 
came from the neighboring counties; and it 
meant that at the November election the Demo- 

crats would carry the county by at least 500 
majority. The meeting was covered by a re- 
porter who was evidently an expert, one who 
was following Douglas in the interests of the 
Democratic party. He says, in his report, that 
after noon the delegation came in from Vir- 
ginia, and with it were two wagons joined to- 
gether filled with young ladies dressed in white 
representing the States of the Union; that one 
of the banners carried by the Virginia delega- 
tion had a picture of a lion standing squarely on 
four feet, with head up proudly, and the left 
hind foot reaching back and pressing to the 
ground the squirming form of a mangy cur. In 
speaking of the Lincoln meeting, which occurred 
the following day. a very contemptuous attitude 
is seen, characterizing it as a flat failure, and 
a very insignificant crowd, and hardly worthy 
of any consideration. On the other hand, the 
Sangamon Journal speaks of the Lincoln meeting 
as a very enthusiastic gathering at which 3,000 
people were present, and states that Mr. Lincoln 
came in from Naples ami Meredosia on the 
steamer. Sam Gatty ; that there was a great 
parade headed by two military companies of 
Beardstown. the "Independents." and the "City 
Guards." that J. McClean was marshal of -the 
day. Mr. Lincoln and the committee stopped at 
the National Hotel, and after dinner came the 
speaking at the park. On the speaker's stand 
were Dr. Pothicary. William Cole. Jacob Bergen, 
Edward Collins. Horace Billings, William Chase. 
E. C. Sacket and Charles Rich. Mr. Rich in- 
troduced Mr. Lincoln, as be was a representative 
man. a member of the large mercantile firm of 
Rich, Chase & Co.. of Beardstown. The paper 
further says Mr. Lincoln made an able and vig- 
orous speech which was received with great 
enthusiasm. In speaking of the Don-las meet- 
mg, the Journal says it was a failure: that 
one of the wagons in the parade broke down 
and everybody became disgusted; that there was 
little or no enthusiasm except that produced 
by the liquor dealt out. It further says tint 
Douglas was greatly disgruntled and disap- 
pointed, and that he had to seek his on foot 
ami alone when he left the next morning. 
While at Beardstown, Mr. Lincoln was induced 
to have a photograph made. Felix Kesler was 
the photographer, and made the negative, a 
reproduction of that picture appears on an- 
other page «'f this work, and it is very Inter 
in- to this section historically from the fact 
that it was taken in Cass County. The cam- 



paign of these great leaders will not be followed 

further, interesting as it was. and productive 
of very important results. Suffice to say. that 
it was conducted with great enthusiasm and 
excitement throughout the length and breadth 
of the state, and when the election was held it 
was found that the Democrats had elected a 
majority of their candidates to the legislature 
and upon joint ballot on January C. 1859. Mr. 
Douglas was again elected to the United States 
senate. The popular vote, however, showed the 
Republicans to he in the majority. Cass County 
elected the Democratic candidates to the local 
offices by about the same narrow majority they 
had at the election in 1856. 

The campaign of 1S60 was. if anything, more 
exciting than that of 185S, and in Cass as much 
so as anywhere else. Henry E. Dummer. a dis- 
tinguished lawyer of Beardstown, was nominated 
by the Whigs for state senator, and Henry 
Phillips, who, in later years, became county 
judge and ihaster-in-chancery of the county, 
made his first appearance in politics. At the 
Democratic county convention in June of that 
year, he was nominated for circuit clerk over 
Knowlton H. Chandler. Judge Phillips was an 
able speaker, and made an active canvass, not 
only for himself, but for the Douglas Democratic 
ticket. Phillips was elected and in 1864 suc- 
ceeded himself, holding the office until 1868. 
Judge Phillips is still living at Beardstown, and 
is now the master-in-chancery of the city court 
of that city and of the Circuit Court of Cass 
County. Judge Dummer was elected as a 
Republican to the senate for a four year term, 
ending in 1864. A biographical notice of Judge 
Dummer is given elsewhere in this work. The 
presidential vote shows that the Douglas Demo- 
crats received 1308 votes, and the Republican 
ticket received 1039 in Cass County. The elec- 
tion was held November 6, 1860. The Demo- 
crats continued to have a majority in the 
county, and elected their local ticket until 1S72, 
when a division arose between the east and west 
end of the county over the county seat question 
when George Volkmer of Beardstown was elected 
sheriff, and Albert F. Arenz of the west part 
of the county was elected circuit clerk, both on 
the Republican ticket. 

During the first five years following I860, 
local matters were largely absorbed in the in- 
terest and excitement attendant upon the Civil 
war, which broke upon the nation with the firing 
upon Fort Sumter on April 14, 1861. Public 

excitement was at fever heat. Patriotism was 
aroused as it had never been before; party lines 
were broken down, and with few exceptions the 
people were actuated by a common sentiment 
of patriotism. Cass County residents at once 
began the formation of companies of soldiers 
and tendered them for service in defense of 
the Union. All of this military history is given 


An incident arose in 1863 which merits con- 
sideration. The constitution of 184S had an 
article which had been submitted to the voters 
as a separate provision, providing that the Gen- 
eral Assembly should, at its first session under 
the amended constitution, pass such laws as 
would effectually prohibit free persons of color 
from emigrating to and settling in this state, 
and to prevent owners of slaves from bringing 
them into the state for the purpose of setting 
them free. Cass County voted in favor of that 
article, but not by as large a majority as for 
the constitution itself. The legislature did not, 
however, pass such laws at the first session 
thereafter, but it did enact a law on the sub- 
ject as has been stated, in 1853. This law pro- 
vided that if any persons brought into this 
state a negro or mulatto slave, whether set free 
or not, should be liable to indictment and fine of 
not less than .$100, nor more than $500. and be 
imprisoned in the county jail for one year; and 
further provided, in a subsequent section, that 
if any negro or mulatto, bond or free, should 
hereafter come into the state and remain more 
than ten days, with the evident intention of re- 
siding in same, should be fined upon conviction 
before a justice of the peace, $50. but the negro 
had the right of appeal to the Circuit court on 
giving bond with security, in double the amount 
of the fine, and costs, etc., with provisions for 
the manner of collecting the fines, and for sec- 
ond offenses, etc. Cass County has never had 
any negro population to speak of. seven being 
the highest number of colored persons ever re- 
ported by the census, that was for 1840. There- 
fore little attention was here paid to the Black 
laws as they were called. 

In July. 1862. the Seventy-first Illinois Volun- 
teer Infantry was mustered into service as a 
three-months regiment. William H. Weaver, of 
Beardstown. was elected captain of Company G, 
and Thomas B. Collins of Virginia, was made 




lieutenant of the same company. Quite a num- 
ber of Cass County men were enlisted in this 
company, whose names appear in the roster 
given elsewhere. This regiment was sent to 
Cairo, 111., and to points in Kentucky, and after 
serving its time out, returned to Chicago and 
was mustered out. While in the South, a negro 
boy, named Henry Clay, became attached to 
Captain Weaver as a servant, and with him and 
Lieutenant Collins went to Chicago. When Col- 
lins was about to return home, the boy begged 
to be taken along. Lieutenant Collins, who, 
perhaps in his country home, in Cass County, 
where there were no negroes, had never 
heard of the law against negroes coming into 
the county or state, and being a very kind- 
hearted man, took the homeless black boy 
with him. He had not been at home long before 
a few of that class of citizens who may well 
be suspected of not being courageous enough to 
have gone into the South to assist their south- 
ern friends in the prosecution of the Rebellion, 
nor loyal enough to enlist in the Union army for 
the suppression of that rebellion, and heartily 
disliked any who did so, soon noised it abroad 
that a negro had been brought into the state 
against the law ; that Lieutenant Collins was 
the guilty violator of the law. SO a complaint 
was procured, and the boy was charged with 
violating the state law above mentioned; Henry 
Clay, on December 11, 1SG2, was arrested at the 
home of Mr. Collins and brought to trial at 
Beardstown, and convicted, but appealed to the 
Circuit court. 

At the March term of the Circuit court of 
Cass County, held at Beardstown. in March. 
18G3, the grand jury found an indictment against 
Thomas Byron Collins, for a violation of an- 
other one of the Black laws passed in 1845, 
which forbids the harboring of negroes or black 
persons, Judge Harriett being on the bench. He 
fixed the bail bond at $100. The writ for the 
arrest of Collins was not issued for some time, 
as he was away at the front, in the service of 
his country, and when he returned home, the 
boy was gone and no further attention was 
paid to the. case, and was. when brought up at 
court, dismissed. Several versions of the story 
of the prosecution of the boy. Henry Clay, and 

the sequel bave I n printed, even the metro 

oplitan press getting hold of it and publishing 

an account. These accounts do not differ \ er.\ 

materially, (or, of course, the foundation Cor 
them all is the record on file In the clerk's 

office in Cass County, but through the efforts of 
Hon. J. N. Gridley, of Pomona, Cal., while he 
was yet a citizen of Cass County, the boy, Henry 
Clay, was traced and found to be in the Soldiers' 
Home at Danville, 111. From him, through the 
assistance of the secretary of the governor 
of the home, an account of the affair was ob- 
tained which Mr. Gridley published in his his- 
torical sketches of Cass County, along with the 
accounts of the same affair by others, who were 
more or less cognizant of the facts. The account 
by Henry Clay himself, which appears to be 
unbiased and unprejudiced, and withal a simple, 
pathetic story of the life of one whose sole crime 
or misdemeanor was that of having a black 
skin, and having been born in slavery, is given 
as follows : 


Says Henry Clay : "I was born in Moscow, 
Ky., on the 3rd day of March, 1839, and belonged 
as a slave to a family by the name of Tichworth, 
and was employed about the place as a house 
boy. I lived in Moscow until the breaking out 
of the Civil war, when I ran away and became a 
servant for officers of the Tenth Illinois In- 
fantry. I was taken with a number of men of 
that regiment as a prisoner and the Confederate 
troops put me to work building breastworks, etc. 
I later got away and then became a servant for 
Capt. William H. Weaver and Lieut. Thomas B. 
Collins of Company G. Seventy-first Illinois In- 
fantry. I remained with these officers and ac- 
companied the regiment to Chicago where it 
was mustered our in the fall of 1862. Being 
without a home I requested Lieut. Collins, who 
had been very kind to me. to take me home with 
him. This lie did and I remained with him and 
his family for some time, working about the 
place for which work he paid me. Some time 
during that winter the sheriff accompanied by 
two men came to the Collins home and placed me 
under arrest. The sheriff remained at the Col- 
lins home over night and the next morning we 
started to l'.eardstown accompanied, as I now 

remember, by Mi-. Collins, his wife, his sister, 
Miss Emma Collins. Dr. Pothicary and some 
Others, whose names 1 cannot now recall. At 
one point in the road the sheriff and Dr. Pothi- 
cary had some discussion as to die proper way 
to go, my friend^ thinking that some harm might 
(Mini, to me by going in the direction the Bherlff 
desired to take me. The sheriff finally consented 



and we went the way Dr. Pothicary suggested. 
When we arrived at Beardstown it was quite 
late and I was kept in the sheriff's house all 
night. The trial was held before a justice of 
the peace and Judge Dummer defended me. I 
do not remember the results of the trial further 
than that I was turned over to the care of Dr. 
Pothicary who gave bond or did something to 
get me out, and I returned to the Collins home 
ami "continued working about the place during 
the remainder of the winter. Some time during 
the spring of the year. I cannot tell just what 
time, but the corn was about IS to 20 inches 
high, a mob came to the Collins place and tried 
to take me away. Mrs. Collins and her daugh- 
ter hid me out from the house in a field and 
I remained there until the mob left. Dr. Pothi- 
cary then took me to Springfield and put me in 
the care of a family by the name of Donnegan. 
These people were from Kentucky. I worked at 
odd jobs until the Twenty-ninth regiment of 
colored troops was organized, when I went to 
Quincy and enlisted in D company of that regi- 
ment on the 12th day of January, 1S<;4. and 
served until the end of the war. I was twice 
wounded, once at Petersburg and once at Dan- 
ville, Va. After being mustered out I returned 
to Illinois and went to Jacksonville, where I 
drove a 'bus for awhile and later purchased a 
team and 'bus of my own and engaged in busi- 
ness for myself. I remained at Jacksonville 
until 1885. when I sold out there and moved to 
Chicago and engaged in the livery business. I 
remained in that business until about the first 
of January, 1904. at which time I was compelled 
to close out my business on account of ill health 
and I came to the National Soldiers' Home, at 


The legislature of 18G1 had passed a new ap- 
portionment act providing for twenty-five sena- 
torial districts, and eighty-five representative 
districts, and placed Cass County and Brown 
County together to form the Twenty-fifth Dis- 
trict, and having one representative. The 
change made by the apportionment of 1854 had 
left Cass and Menard counties together as one 
district, having changed the number to that of 
thirty-four. The original number was twenty- 
five. This act of 186] changed us back to num- 
ber twenty-five but placed us with Brown in- 
stead of Menard, and this was the only time 

Cass and Menard have not been associated in 
the same representative district, prior to or since 
that time. At an election in 1862, James M. 
Epler, a lawyer of Beardstown. was chosen to 
represent this district in the lower house. Both 
houses of that legislature were Democratic and 
elected William A. Richardson, a Democrat, to 
fill the vacancy in the United States senate 
caused by the death of Stephen A. Douglas. 
But little else was done. This was the legis- 
lature whose wrangle over political resolutions 
and disagreement over the time of adjournment 
brought on the famous action of Governor Yates 
in proroguing the legislature. The ordinary ap- 
propriations were not made by that legislature, 
and the state government had to depend upon 
banks and capitalists to advance the necessary 
funds for current expenses. 


In the fall of 18G3, a little incident occurred 
which interested Cass County people, especially 
the "copperhead" element, as it was called. The 
Knights of the Golden Circle, a society formed 
in certain of the central western states for 
the purpose, as alleged, of resisting the draft, 
but. in fact, for the purpose of harrassing the 
government and all loyal people in any manner 
possible. There were at least two bands of the 
society in Cass County. The government made 
diligent efforts to obtain the secrets of the order, 
and succeeded so that at no time was the 
society very dangerous to the welfare of the 
state or national government. It was claimed 
that a man of Meredosia had, after joining the 
order, gone to Springfield and revealed the 
secrets of the society. A resident of Beards- 
town Precinct, who had at one time been a 
constable, and was also a "Knight," after hav- 
ing heard of the so-called treachery of the Mere- 
dosia man. was one day standing on the depot 
platform of the Wabash Railroad, at Jackson- 
ville, when a westbound train came in. He 
noticed the Meredosia man sitting by an open 
window, and waiting until the train started he 
attempted to jerk the "traitor" as he regarded 
him, out of the window. He did not suc- 
ceed and the other returned to his home at 
Meredosia, and had a warrant issued for his 
assailant who was arrested and taken to Jack- 
sonville for trial. In the meanwhile, in order 
to stir up an excitement, the "Knights" cir- 
culated the report that the Cass County man 



was to be dragged off by tbe military authorities 
and tried by court martial at Springfield, or 
some other place, away from the scene of the 
offense. Nothing of the kind was thought of 
by the authorities, but a large number of the 
'•Knights'' gathered, and with arms, such as 
old rusty muskets, rifles, shot guns, etc., pro- 
ceeded to Jacksonville, but they took great care 
to conceal their weapons in the outskirts of the 
city before entering. The excitement caused by 
the various stories circulated, naturally drew a 
great many people to Jacksonville, who were in 
no way connected with the "Knights" order, but, 
like poor old dog Tray, being in bad company, 
their names got mingled with those who were 
actually members of the so-called traitorous 
order. This fact has been used to give some 
little respectability to this order, by citing that 
some very responsible persons were among the 
"raiders." As a matter of fact the so-called 
"raid"' was a fiasco, and was not mentioned 
except casually for many years, and in later 
times when the odium attached to the order had 
somewhat disappeared, it was only referred to 
in derision or jest. The case was called and 
heard in the regular way, the defendant waiving 
examination, gave bond for his appearance at 
the Circuit court, but no bill was ever found 
against him, and the case was dismissed. 


James M. Epler was not elected to the next 
assembly which was the twenty-fourth, but in 
1866, was again chosen from Cass County. Two 
years later he was elected to the state senate 
from Morgan County, having removed from 
Beardstown to Jacksonville. Judge Dummer 
had moved from Beardstown to Jacksonville 
two years previously, and Garland Pollard had 
removed from Beardstown to St. Louis. The war 
over, matters began, to assume a peaceful and 
quiet aspect in Cass County. Population had 
greatly increased in the central and eastern parts 
of the county, while it appeared that Beardstown 

was retrograding. River traffic had I d largely 

displaeed by the numerous railr Is built through 

the country, none of which had yet reached 
Beardstown, although strenuous efforts had been 
made in that direction. Financial matters were 
in a chaotic condition, the Leanard Bank, the 

only one at Beardstown, had made a disastrous 
failure, and altogether the future of the capital 
city of Cass County was ii"t wry promising. 

Virginia adherents, taking advantage of the 
conditions, again sought a vote upon the re- 
moval of the county seat. An act of the legis- 
lature had been procured, passed February 14, 
1867, which provided for a vote to be taken 
on the second Tuesday of April of that year. A 
history of this interesting contest is given else- 
where in this work, which finally culminated in 
the removal of the capital to Virginia. 


The legislature of 1859 had submitted a propo- 
sition to the people calling a third constitutional 
convention. The proposition was endorsed by 
vote of the people at the election of 1SG0, and 
in November, 1861, an election for choosing dele- 
gates was held. By this time excitement was 
intense over the war, and many of the state's 
best and ablest men were at the front and 
little attention was given to the selection of dele- 
pa tes to the constitutional convention which as- 
sembled January 7. 1862, but a majority of the 
delegates refused to take the oath prescribed by 
the act creating the body, that they would sup- 
port the state constitution. They attempted to 
assume absolute control over the affairs of the 
state, demanding certain information of the gov- 
ernor wholly foreign to their rights and duties 
pertaining to the purpose for which they were 
elected. Their conduct so incensed the people, 
that although the draft of a new constitution 
contained many excellent provisions, yet, when 
submitted to the people for ratification, at an 
election held June 17. 1862, it was rejected by 
a large majority. No further attempt to revise 
the constitution of 1848 was made for nearly ten 
years. The war had Closed, two amendments 
had been made to the federal constitution and 
the legislature of is<;7 again submitted a propo- 
sition to the people, and a constitutional con- 
vention was called, but it was by the extremely 
narrow vote of 704 majority. The convention 
was held and the draft of the constitution .-is 

adopted by the convention, was submitted to 

n yote of the people and ratified at an I 
tion hold July 6, 1870, and it went into i 

AuLMist s. follow in-. There was a new appor- 
tionment and redistrictlng of the state under the 
provisions of the new constitution. Cass and 
Menard counties were again placed together t" 
form one district, and numbered fifty-four. At 
the election in November of that year. William 
w. Easlev, of Virginia, was elected as the tir<t 



representative from Cass under the new consti- 
tution. A number of changes have since been 
made by the various legislatures in arranging 
districts under various apportionments, mostly 
actuated by a desire to gain some political ad- 
vantage in the reformation of districts. Cass 
County has fared no worse, and certainly no 
better, than other counties in that regard. 

Under the new constitution a general law 
was enacted relating to the removal of county 
scats, and Cass County Anally, as before stated, 
4 secured the removal of its county seat to Vir- 
ginia as a result of the last election, held in 
1872. Virginia did not become the metropolis 
that it was expected by the more sanguine it 
would be. and Beardstown did not sink beneath 
the sand dunes on the river bank. The county 
seat has become a beautiful little city with ex- 
cellent business houses and paved streets, while 
Beardstown has grown at a rapid rate, now 
having over T/'OO inhabitants with flourishing 
industries, banks, churches, schools, water 
works, electric lights and paved streets that 
make it a city worthy of the efforts of the citi- 
zens who have made it what it is. Both places 
can well afford to forget all about the early 
exasperating contests over that which has 
proven not to have been of great value to either. 


Cass County, politically, has been Democratic 
most of the years since the Civil war. now and 
then electing a Republican to some local office, 
and has had, for the greater part of the time 
since 1870, a representative in the General As- 
sembly, either in the senate or in the house. In 
1885, the county was represented in the lower 
house by Hon. J. Henry Shaw, as a member of 
the Thirty-fourth General Assembly, the county 
then being in the Thirty-fourth Senatorial Dis- 
trict. That legislature witnessed the most 
dramatic political contest in the history of the 
state. The senate was composed of twenty-six 
Republicans, twenty-four Democrats, and one 
Greenback-Democrat. The house had seventy- 
six Republicans, seventy-six Democrats, and Eli- 
jah Haines, an independent, who had been 
elected speaker after a somewhat prolonged con- 
test. A successor to Senator John A. Logan was 
to be elected, and he had been made the caucus 
nominee of the Republican party without oppo- 
sition ; and the distinguished representative in 
Congress, William R. Morrison, was the Demo- 

cratic nominee. On the first joint ballot, which 
was taken February 18, 1885, Senator Logan re- 
ceived 101 votes; W. R. Morrison, ninety-four 
votes; Mr. Haines, four votes, and there were 
four scattering votes. Ballots were taken on 
two subsequent days without any material 
change and then, during the rest of February, 
March and April, either one side or the other 
refrained from voting, the purpose being to pre- 
vent a quorum. On February 2G, Robert B. 
Logan, a Republican of the Nineteenth District 
died, and on March 20, Senator Frank M. 
Bridges, a Democrat of the Thirty-seventh Dis- 
trict died. At the special election called to All 
these vacancies, a Republican and Democrat, 
respectively, were elected, thus preserving the 
political parity. On April 13, Hon. J. Henry 
Shaw, of Beardstown. representative of the 
Thirty-fourth District, died very suddenly at 
his hotel at Springfield. Mr. Shaw was a Demo- 
crat, in a district that was a Democratic strong- 
hold. At the time Mr. Shaw was elected to the 
assembly, Hon. Grover Cleveland carried the dis- 
trict for president by 2,000 majority. It was 
assumed that a Democrat would he elected to 
succeed Mr. Shaw. The special election was 
called for May (3. At that time the Australian 
ballot law was not in force, and nominations 
were made by the convention system. The 
Democrats held their district convention and 
nominated Arthur A. Leeper, a well known 
lawyer of Virginia, who had been state's attor- 
ney for Cass County. The Republicans held no 
convention and apparently were letting the elec- 
tion go by default. The Democratic convention 
was held at Virginia, and on the same evening 
a few Republican leaders casually met and it 
was whispered among them that it might be 
possible to organize a "still hunt - ' and elect 
a Republican and thus end the deadlock at 
Springfield. In a few days James B. Black, 
Capt. Reuben Lancaster, Dr. S. M. Colady and 
one or two others went to Springfield and a con- 
sultation was held in the old Leland Hotel, 
where assembled a few of the most intimate 
and trusted friends of Gen. Logan and a plan 
was developed and decision made that Capt. Wil- 
liam II. Weaver should be put up as the candi- 
date. He was well known, as he was born in 
Cass County and had lived there until after 
the Civil war, and had then lived for a time 
in Mason County, and was then living at Peters- 
burg, Menard County. A few only of the most 
careful Republicans in each county of the dis- 







trict were let into the secret. It was arranged 
that Welles Cory, a newspaper man of Mason 
City should look after the printing of the 
tickets. He closed his office at the usual time in 
the evening after his weekly paper was sent out, 
and then, with curtains down he went to work 
at the tickets. To facilitate press work he set 
up several tickets in one form and then cut 
them into strips of six tickets on each for 
delivery, and the handlers of the tickets were to 
separate them. The plan was that information 
should not be given out until the morning of 
election, and then trusted lieutenants were to 
go into every voting district and distribute the 
tickets and quietly pass the word, the voters 
were not to go to the polls until about four 
o'clock in the afternoon. Election day came on 
with little attention being paid to it by the 
Democrats, who thought there was no contest. 
The Republicans went about their work as usual, 
but when four o'clock came they began to pour 
into the polls in full force. They came in such 
great numbers and with such enthusiasm that 
the Democrats realized at once that something 
was being done, and. discovering the true situa- 
tion, made every effort to counteract the move- 
ment, but it was too late, their forces could not 
be rallied, and the result was that Captain 
Weaver was elected, and on May 19, 1885, Gen. 
Logan was, with the vote of Captain Weaver, 
re-elected to the United States senate. An 
amusing incident is related relative to one Re- 
publican, who came in from the field where he 
had been plowing, and getting hold of one of 
the slips containing the six tickets, in his ex- 
citement and hurry, instead of tearing one 
off, he voted the entire six, thus destroying his 
vote. The plan being successfully carried out, 
many persons arose at once to claim credit for 
it as is usual in such eases. However, the plan 
was not a new one. In the special election held 
in Sangamon County in 1855, to fill the vacancy 
caused by the resignation of Abraham Lincoln 
from the legislature, the Democratic leaders suc- 
cessfully Invoked Hie same tactics and elected a 
successor to Lincoln when nearly everyone in 
the county assumed Ms successor would he a 
Whig. The real credit belongs to the Repub- 
licans of the district who had the good judgment 
to keep the secret ; had they not done that, the 

plan would have failed Utterly, and as it was. 

the majority of Weaver was only •".•".•'■ votes. As 

a matter of fact the whole plan was conceived 

and laid before Senator Logan by the gentlemen 

mentioned above as having visited the senator 
at Springfield, and was adopted without much 
delay. It appeared to be the only chance and 
they took it. Mr. Leeper was criticised by a 
number of the Democrats, even some of the 
papers which should have known better, cast 
the blame upon him, but he was in no sense at 
fault. The district was so overwhelmingly 
Democratic that had he undertaken an active 
campaign it would have only subjected him to 
ridicule, and it is not at all likely any greater 
vote would have been polled. The sensible mem- 
bers of the party did not charge that up to Mr. 
Leeper, but vindicated him in a substantial 
manner from the aspersions of others, by nom- 
inating him for state senator of his district in 
1888, and retained him in the senate for three 
successive terms. Mr. Leeper was an excellent 
lawyer, and made a very creditable senator. 
For years, however, in this county, the "Weaver 
steal'' as it was called was used as the bugaboo 
to scare Democrats to the polls. The "Heelers" 
however, cried "wolf so often that it finally 
wore out and was only laughed at as a good 
"stunt" which any party would have pulled off 
had opportunity offered. 

campaigns of 188S-1S92. 

Little excitement attended the political cam- 
paign locally until 1888. when Hon. Grover 
Cleveland was renominated, and Gov. Benjamin 
Harrison, a grandson of "Old Tippecanoe." Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison, was nominated by the 
Republicans. Harrison was no sooner before 
the people than the Democratic newspapers 
began a campaign of ridicule by charging the 
candidate with attempting to wear "Grandpa's 
hat." This was caught up at once by the Re- 
publicans, and it was made the emblem of the 
campaign. The old campaign of i^ii> with log 
cabins in the procession was re-enacted. It 
was a lively and Interesting campaign and con- 
ducted with greal vigor, with the best of humor 
prevailing. Harrison was elected, hut the Demo- 
crats carried i';i^ County as usual. In 1892 
Harrison was renominated by the Republican 
convention which that year met at Minneapolis, 
Minn., and the Democratic party nominated 
Cleveland for the third time, with the result that 
he defeated Harrison, hut the administration 
was unfortunate ami a financial panic eicued 
in 1893, causing a greal many business failures. 
Laborers were thrown out of employment and 



it was all charged up to the administration as 
a consequence. The elections in the fall of 1894 
were disastrous to the Democratic party. In 
Illinois there was but one Democratic congress- 
man elected and that was Finis E. Downing, 
of Virginia, Cass County, which was then a part 
of the Sixteenth District, which had always 
been so largely Democratic that it was deemed 
useless to put up a candidate in opposition to 
the Democratic nominee, but in 1S94 the general 
conditions that prevailed made the outlook for 
the Republicans unusually bright, and Gen. John 
I. Rinaker, of Carlinville, was placed on the 
Republican ticket. Downing's majority was so 
small on the face of the returns that a contest 
was instituted which resulted in Congress de- 
claring that Rinaker was elected, and Cass 
County lost its first and only representative in 
Congress. In Cass County the normal majority 
of the Democratic party of 700 had been re- 
duced to forty for Mr. Downing, while two 
Republicans, L. W. Pilger, candidate for sheriff, 
and J. G. Pearn, candidate for county super- 
intendent of schools, were elected. 


but that Mr. Bryan would have been elected, but, 
by the middle of September, the tide had changed 
and by November the people had pretty thor- 
oughly made up their minds on the money ques- 
tion. Hon. William McKinley, the Republican 
candidate, was elected by a large majority in 
the electoral college. Cass County elected the 
lull Democratic local ticket and gave Mr. Bryan 
a handsome majority. There is nothing so un- 
certain as public sentiment and in the next 
presidential election, in 1900, the political pen- 
dulum had swung back to its normal beat, and 
Cass County gave Mr. Bryan, who. was again 
the Democratic nominee, a majority of 7S0, the 
vote standing 2626 for Bryan, and 1846 for Mc- 
Kinley. In four years more the change in public 
sentiment was such that we had, in Cass County, 
when Mr. Parker was the Democratic candidate 
for president against Mr. Roosevelt, the aston- 
ishing result of only seventy-nine plurality for 
Parker, the vote standing: Parker 1906, Roose- 
velt 1S27. It may be interesting to give also 
the vote of 1908, with Taft and Sherman 1828 ; 
Bryan and Kern 2434. In 1912 the vote stood : 
Wilson and Marshall, 2223; Taft and Sherman 
719; Roosevelt and Johnson 10S6. 

Two years later came the famous "free silver"' 
campaign. The deplorable financial condition 
and the business failures of the country were, by 
financiers of the "Coin Harvey" type and school, 
attributed to the insufficiency of money. The 
Hon. William J. Bryan, who had formerly lived 
at Jacksonville, in Morgan County, and began 
the practice of law in that city, had moved to 
Nebraska. While visiting at his old home at 
Jacksonville, in June, 1S96, he made an appoint- 
ment to speak in the opera house at Virginia, 
on some of the populistic ideas he had absorbed 
in late years. He spoke to very limited au- 
diences. No one had then the slightest idea 
that Mr. Bryan would within a month be the 
candidate of the Democratic party for pres- 
ident, and it may be that he had not the re- 
motest hope of such an honor himself. His 
able oratorical effort at the Chicago convention 
landed him the prize and one of the most noted 
political campaigns ensued. Everybody became 
a potential financier and with the aid of Col. 
Plarvey's book was able to discuss the subject 
with great force. Street corner and soap box 
debates were the order of the day and night, 
and had the election occurred within two 
months of the nominations there is little doubt 


Hon. Finis E. Downing, elected in 1894, took 
his seat in 1895, but upon the termination of 
the contest instituted, Mr. Downing retired, and 
Gen. Rinaker of Carlinville took the seat. 

The following persons have represented Cass 
County in the General Assembly. In this list 
are included those who were living in the terri- 
tory known as the "three-mile strip." 


William Holmes, 1S38-1S40 : Amos S. West. 
1840-1842: John W. Pratt, 1S42-1S46 : Francis A. 
Arenz. 1842-1S44 ; Edward W. Turner, 1S46-3S4S-. 
Richard S. Thomas. 1848-1850; Cyrus Wright, 
lS54-lS.-i(i ; Samuel W. Christy. 1856-1858; Henry 
E. Dummer, 1860-1864; James M. Epler, 1S62- 
1864; James M. Epler. 1866-1S6S : William W. 
Easley, 1870-1872; Dr. J. F. Snyder, 1878-1880; 
John W. Savage. 1878-1880; Linus C. Chandler, 
1SS0-1882; J. Henry Shaw. 1880-1S82 ; T. L. 
Mathews. 1882-1884; J. Henry Shaw. 18.84, died 
before his term expired and was succeeded by 
Oapt. W. H. Weaver of Menard County: Michael 
Halpin, 1SS6-1SSS ; Arthur A. Leeper, 1SSS-1900, 



in the Senate; and J. Joseph Cooke, 1904-1906, 
in the lower house. 






















li mighl be best for future world peace that 
the shouts of those who overcome In battle 

should not i choed and re-echoed throughout 

the pages of history. Wars have, without doubt, 
been the approximate as well as remote cause of. 
the changed environments and political condi- 
tions of every nation or people, and therefore 
in a historical review, wars cannol be Ignored 
or passed over with a mere casual notice. But 

it is deplorable that such a degr I' publicity 

and the gloriftcatl f Hie achievements of 

\v,\v are regarded so necessary a concomitant i" 
civilization, that must el' mir Bchool histories 
devote Bpace i" mobilization, marches, manoeu- 
vres and battles of armies engaged in war, wholly 


out of proportion to the relative importance of 
historical events. To many it appears that the 
vivid portrayal of battle and of carnage, of de- 
struction of life and property, and the spectacu- 
lar appeal of war, make indelible impressions 
that are not calculated to encourage an effort 
later on in life, toward a peaceful solution of 
differences arising between people and nations. 
If there were less glorification of war, there 
would, perhaps, be less war. Better the willows 
of peace it would seem than the laurels of 
battle. However, there may come a time when 
the most peaceful citizen must resort to arms; 
when his liberties, his home and fireside are 
in danger: when his government is being under- 
mined by treachery, or threatened by the upris- 
ing of a traitorous host, then indeed must the 
spirit of true patriotism assert itself, and men 
go forth to battle even unto death for the pres- 
ervation of those cherished objects. It was thus 
that our peaceful-loving citizens became sol- 
diers ; that they went out to battle, and some 
sacrificed their lives that this nation might en- 
dure : and their names merit a place in the 
simple annals of our humble community, if only 
mention in the list of hero dead, or of aged 
and respected living. 


The first war in which citizens of the terri- 
tory now comprising Cass County were engaged 
was the Black Hawk war. A short review of 
that war appears in a former chapter, but no 
iist of soldiers was given, and it is now very 
difficult to obtain one of those who served in 
that war from the present Cass County, inas- 
much as there was ;it that time no Cass County, 
and all records pertaining to soldiers from this 
territory were credited to Morgan County, and 
it cannot be definitely determined from what 
part of Morgan County the volunteers enlisted. 
A few names have been obtained from the best 
available sources, and an- here appended. Al- 
though the valor and patriotism of any soldiers 
are not to lie measured by county or state 
lines, it lg pleasant to know of those to which 

we may lay definite claim. 

Spj Battalion, Capt. Allen Llndsey's company : 
Martin Harding, George W. Beggs, John P. 
Dick, William Lindsey, Philip Hash. William 
Lucas, John Lucas, Thomas Plasters, Jacob 


Capt a. Lincoln's company, Fourth regiment: j 



Nathan Drake of Beardstown; and Travice 
Elmore, then of Sangamon County, who soon 
after the war became a resident of Cass 

.lames Whitlock, Odd Battalion, enlisted from 
Beardstown, had the following Beardstown men : 
George \Y. Foster, Alfred Hash, Obediah Ritten- 
house, Samuel Scovele, James Taylor and John 
H. Wright. 

There were several odd battalions, and one of 
them had John S. Wilbourn, who was the first 
probate justice, for the new county of Cass, for 
its captain. Nothing can be learned of the mem- 
bers of his company so far as their place of resi- 
dence is concerned, nor is it certain that Cap- 
tain Wilbourn was at that time a resident of 
the territory now comprised in Cass County, 
although he did live here when the county was 


The Mexican war, growing out of the annexa- 
tion of Texas, called for the first three regi- 
ments from Illinois, and subsequently a fourth 
regiment, organized by Col. E. D. Baker, then in 
Congress. The records do not give the residence 
of the volunteers, at least so far as any to which 
access can be had. Thus we are left to inquiry 
among friends and old acquaintances, and old 
settlers, for any information concerning those 
who enlisted from Cass County. No roster of 
soldiers from Cass can be found, but we have 
learned of the service of the following : Peter 
Conover, of Company B, First Regiment; Ed- 
ward Heine, musician of Company D, First 
Regiment ; Stephen Elam, of Company K, First 
Regiment ; Daniel Duckwiler, company and regi- 
ment not known ; and C. H. C. Havekluft, wbo 
was a member of an independent company. 


When Fort Sumter was fired upon by those 
seeking to disrupt the Union, it aroused the pa- 
triotism of the people of Cass County, as it did 
in all parts of the state, and it was not long 
until companies began to organize and tender 
their services to the governor. Several com- 
panies were enlisted entirely from Cass County, 
and many individuals went at the first call of 
the president for troops, to enlist where the 
first opportunity presented. That Cass County 
citizens responded early to the call is attested 

by the fact that a census, taken by order of the 
county board to ascertain the number of volun- 
tary enlistments, shows that by the first day of 
September, 1SG2, there had been SSI from the 
various precincts of the county. It is not in- 
tended in this work to give a history of the war 
of the Rebellion, but simply a short sketch only 
of the regiments containing companies formed 
in Cass County. 


The Nineteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry 
was formed at the opening of the war, imme- 
diately after the first call of the president, but 
was not fully organized until about three months 
later. It was organized at Chicago and mustered 
into service June 17, 1861. All the companies 
were either from Chicago and Cook County, and 
the northern part of the state, except Company 
F, which was from Cass County. That company 
had its origin in 1858, when, because other towns 
and villages were organizing military companies, 
Virginia thought it would have one too, not 
with any particular notion that it would be 
needed for war, but just because it was sug- 
gested as a desirable training for the boys. 
Capt. L. S. Allard, who had been in the Mex- 
ican war, offered his services as drill master. 
The company was formed with Captain Allard, 
captain, and J. G. Campbell, lieutenant. Cap- 
tain Allard drilled his company after the order 
of tactics used in the Mexican war, but it never 
had any arms. While the political compaign 
of 1858 became pretty warm, yet no one in 
Allard's company was much impressed, unless it 
was Captain Allard himself, of the seriousness 
of the threats of war made by the southern 
people, but when the war did come, he promptly 
tendered his company to the governor for serv- 
ice. Gov. Yates already had as many com- 
panies offered as he could use, to tender to the 
national government to fill the quota called for, 
so Captain Allard was told to hold his company 
in readiness ; but the boys were anxious to 
get into the fray, much more so than they were 
a year later, and a number of the company 
drifted away to find an opening in some other 
company where they could go immediately into 
service. Knowlton H. Chandler of Chandler- 
ville had also organized a company at that vil- 
lage, but it was not accepted and he experienced 
the same difficulty in holding ids men. When 
the call came later for Allard's and Chandler's 


Formerly < Jass < Jounty < lourl I lous< 
Bulll L844-5 

i in LIBRARY Bl II. I »1 \tt, BE \i:l >S l < »W> 
Bulll in l'"l 

Built in 1905-6 


Bnilt in 1910, Replacing the one Destroyed by Fire 



companies, they found they had only enough left 
to make one company from both organizations. 
These were united and the company organized 
by the election of Allard, captain ; K. H. Chan- 
dler, first lieutenant, and Thomas Job, a son of 
the early pioneer Archibald Job, second lieu- 
tenant. The ladies of Chandlerville presented 
the company with a fine silk flag, which it car- 
ried through the entire four years of war, and 
it was brought home by Captain James G. Camp- 
bell. The company went to Springfield, and 
from there was sent on to Chicago, where it 
was mustered in, as a part of the Nineteenth 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry. 

The regiment left Chicago July 5, 1861, by 
rail to Palmyra, Mo., and while Company F was 
doing garrison duty at Hannibal, north of Pal- 
myra, Second Lieutenant Job was killed, and 
James G. Campbell was promoted to the posi- 
tion. On September 15, 1861, the regiment was 
ordered to Washington to join the Army of the 
Potomac, but on its way, when about eighty 
miles from Cincinnati, on the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi Railroad, a bridge gave way, and six 
coaches filled with soldiers were thrown into the 
river. About thirty were killed and 100 seri- 
ously injured. This accident changed the des- 
tinies of the regiment, and it was ordered to 
join General Sherman in Kentucky, which it 
did, and was in the engagement at Huntsville ; 
campaigned in Alabama, and was in Nashville 
when that place was cut off from communica- 
tion with the North. It moved south with Rose- 
crans' army, and on December 31, 1S62, and 
January 1 and 2, 1S63, engaged in battle at 
Stone River, and there made the famous charge, 
saving the Union left, and gained the greatest 
glory, but it paid dearly for it. Colonel Scott 
received a death wound, and Captain Chandler, 
who had led Company F across the river, was 
shot through the head just as he reached the 
further shore. It was night when the battle 
dosed on the second, and early next morning 
Lieutenant Campbell, who had been in com- 
mand of Company I. went With some comrades 
to search for the body Of Captain ('handler. 
They found it near where some of the company 
had seen him fall, and digging a grave at the 
roots of a tree, they wrapped his greatcoal abonl 
him and covered him with earth, and marked the 
tree for Identification, The body of Captain chan- 
dler was later recovered and brought home and 
is buried in the Chandlerville cemetery. Cap- 
tain Knowlton II. Chandler was the oldest son 

of Marcus Chandler, a brother of Dr. Charles 
Chandler, founder of Chandlerville. Marcus 
Chandler came to Cass County in 1833, and en- 
tered land east of his brother Charles, and took 
an active interest in the affairs of the county. 
He served several terms as county commissioner. 
On the official report of the death of Captain 
Chandler, a commission as captain was issued 
to Lieut. James G. Campbell, who became cap- 
tain of Company F, and held the rank until the 
close of the war, and was with his company 
through all its marches and battles. The regi- 
ment was at the battles of Chattanooga, Mission- 
ary Ridge, Resaca and Dallas, when, its time of 
service having expired, it was sent to Chicago, 
where it was mustered out July !>, is<54. The 
following is a list of the men and officers : 

Captain Luther S. Allard (Co. F), Virginia, 
resigned; Captain Knowlton H. Chandler, Chan- 
dlerville, killed in battle; Captain James G. 
Campbell, Virginia, mustered out July 0. 1864. 
First Lieutenant Samuel L. Hamilton, Chandler- 
ville, mustered out July 9, 1SG4. Second Lieu- 
tenant Thomas L. Job, Virginia, accidentally 
killed; Second Lieutenant John Hill, Virginia, 
resigned; Second Lieutenant Silas W. Kent, Vir- 
ginia, resigned. Sergeant Daniel March, Chan- 
dlerville, mustered out; Sergeant Thomas Chaf- 
fer, Virginia, mustered out. Corporal Stephen 
W. Porter, Virginia, sergeant, transferred to In- 
valid Corps; Corporal Archibald W. Job, Vir- 
ginia, mustered out; Corporal Horace K. Ward, 
Virginia, mustered out; Corporal Addison G. 
PI u miner, Virginia, re-enlisted as veteran. 
Moses Wanchel (wagoner), Virginia, discharged 
as private, disability. 

Privates: Henry K. Anderson, Virginia, mus- 
tered out; William Peck, Chandlerville, mustered 
out as sergeant: William E. Brown. Virginia, 
discharged, disability; Sidney P.. Brown, Vir- 
ginia, discharged, disability; John Barrows, Vir- 
ginia, discharged, disability; Albert <;. Beebe, 
Virginia, corporal, discharged, disability; Jacob 
Baker, Virginia; James ii. Border, Virginia, 
corporal, discharged, disability; Dennis Conley, 
Virginia, mustered out; Frederick Cording, Vir- 
ginia, discharged, disability; Edward Clark, 
Virginia; Thomas A. Hamilton. Virginia, re-en- 
listed as veteran; James HodUinson. Virginia, 
died in Ohio; Silas W. Kent. Virginia, promoted 
Bergeanl and second lieutenant; John Keys, 

Chandlerville. mustered OUt; Thomas J. Lacy. 

Chandlerville, mustered nut as corporal; Albert 
Leistercew, Virginia, mustered out ; Horace 



Learned, Virginia, mustered out ; John Lindsey, 
Virginia, corporal, wounded and missing at 
Cliickamauga ; William Owen, Virginia, dis- 
charged, disability; Michael Reynolds, Virginia, 
discharged, disability; Ormand D. Reed, Vir- 
ginia, discharged, disability; John Russell, Vir- 
ginia, mustered oul ; William Remis, Virginia, 
mustered out; Daniel Smith, Virginia, dis- 
charged, disability; Walker Ward, Virginia, dis- 
charged to enlist in Fourth Cavalry. 

Recruits: Henry S. Atwood, Virginia, trans- 
ferred to headquarters. Fourteenth Artillery 
Corps; Felix c. Cox, Virginia, discharged, disa- 
bility; Abraham Hess, Chandlerville. re-enlisted 
as veteran: John McMullen, Virginia, trans- 
ferred to headquarters, Fourteenth Artillery 
Corps; Richard L. Porter. Virginia, discharged, 
disability: Andrew Sullivan. Virginia, trans- 
ferred to headquarters, Fourteenth Artillery 



The Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry 
was one of six regiments organized under the 
first call for troops. It was mustered into the 
state service on May 4, 1801, at Camp Duncan, 
Jacksonville. 111. The regiment lay in Jackson- 
ville until May 2~>. when it was mustered into 
the United states service by Captain Pitcher of 
the United States Army. The first colonel of 
the regiment was John M. Palmer, who, after 
the war. became governor of the state and later 
United States senator. The quartermaster was 
John F. Nolte, of Beardstown. On June 19, 
L861, the regiment left for Quincy, 111., where it 
remained until July 5, when it commenced a 
campaign through Missouri which lasted until 
February, 1862, when the regiment arrived at 
St. Louis. Soon thereafter it left for Fort Don- 
elson, where it arrived the day following the 
surrender, and was immediately sent to Pitts- 
burg Landing and participated in the battle 
of Shiloh. From that time it campaigned 
through Tennessee and Mississippi until October 
~>. when it was engaged in the battle of Meta- 
mora. It was at the siege of Vicksburg until the 
surrender 'if that stronghold, on July 4. 1863, 
and also at the siege of Jackson, ami helped to 
occupy Vicksburg. At Harrisburg, La.. Natchez, 
Wilson's Creek and Iluntsville. where it had a 
skirmish with tin 4 enemy, the regiment was in 
evidence. At Meridian it was consolidated with 
the Fifteenth regiment, both having been re- 

enlisted as veterans, on July 1, 1864. In Octo- 
ber of that year a large portion of the battalion 
was captured by Hood, and sent to Anderson- 
ville Prison, Ga., a most terrible place, used 
for military incarceration. The remainder of 
the battalion went with General Sherman on 
his ••march to the sea." In the spring of 1865 
the battalion was discontinued and each regi- 
ment filled by recruits, and resumed its regi- 
mental formation. It was mustered out at Fort 
Leavenworth, Kan., and arrived at Springfield, 
111., September 29, 1S05, where it received final 
payment and was discharged. During its four 
years and four months of service, the regiment 
marched 4.190 miles, traveled by rail 12.190 
miles, and by river 4,090 miles, a total of 11,070 
miles. The aggregate number of men in the regi- 
ment during service was 1,980, and it was mus- 
tered out with ISO men. A full roster so far as 
Cass County soldiers are concerned is given here- 
with : 

Quartermaster John F. Nolte. Beardstown, 
promoted from lieutenant. Captain Charles 
Opitz (Co. A), Beardstown, promoted from sec- 
ond lieutenant. First Lieutenant Henry Ro- 
decker, Beardstown, resigned ; First Lieutenant 
Louis P. Bourquinn, Virginia, resigned ; First 
Lieutenant Augustine A. Snow. Beardstown, 
mustered out, consolidation. Second Lieutenant 
David S. Finney. Beardstown, Company A, Vet- 
eran Battalion. Sergeant John M. Johnson, 
transferred to Madison Battery ; Sergeant John 
S. Morgan, discharged ; Sergeant Charles Nickle, 
promoted from private: Sergeant E. H. Richard- 
son, mustered out; Sergeant David A. Tull, 
transferred to Company C, Third Cavalry; Ser- 
geant Augustus Hoyer, discharged for promo- 
tion : Sergeant David Carr. mustered out. Cor- 
poral Charles A. Fames, discharged for promo- 
tion; Corporal Edward E. Foster, discharged 
for promotion; Corporal Charles H. Harris, 
transferred to First Illinois Cavalry: Corporal 
William H. Dutch; Corporal William DeHaven, 
transferred to Company C. Third Cavalry. 
William Sales (wagoner), discharged. 

Privates: Robert Armstrong. Beardstown, 
mustered out : Lester Beale. Beardstown. mus- 
tered out: Elijah Bond. Chandlerville, died; 
William Brennan, Chandlerville, mustered out; 
Amos Burkhardt, Beardstown, mustered out; 
Alonzo Buck. Beardstown. mustered out; Joseph 
Burnett, Virginia, mustered out: George Cum- 
mings. Beardstown. re-enlisted as veteran ; Au- 
gust Christianer. Beardstown, mustered out: 



Henry Dueker, Chandlerville ; Charles Dueker, 
Chandlerville, transferred to Invalid Corps ; 
Joseph Ewing, Beardstown, mustered out as 
corporal ; David S. Finney. Beardstown, re- 
enlisted as veteran; Joseph Heine, Beardstown. 
mustered out; John Hess. Beardstown. mustered 
out; Joseph Huber, Beardstown, discharged; 
Caleb R. Jones, Beardstown, mustered out ; 
Dennis Kolihar, Chandlerville, killed; Solomon 
King, Chandlerville, mustered out; Edward 
Knight, Beardstown. died; Albert Krausse, 
Chandlerville. — ; Christian A. Kuhl, Beards- 
town. mustered out; Peter W. Light, Virginia, 
re-enlisted as veteran; Charles Lincoln, Beards- 
town, transferred to Invalid Corps; Aimer S. 
Livermore, Beardstown, mustered out; Dexter 
Loomis, Beardstown. killed at Shiloh; Charles 
Lucking, Beardstown. mustered out; Archibald 
W. McConnell, Beardstown. mustered out; John 
Medaris, Virginia, discharged: John S. Morgan, 
Beardstown. discharged as sergeant; William C. 
Morrow, Beardstown, mustered out; Carrol 
Mulane, Beardstown. killed by provost guard 
at Memphis; William Nelson, Beardstown, 
mustered out; Charles Nickel. Beardstown, 
mustered out as first sergeant; Andrew J. Nor- 
ton. Beardstown. discharged ; John H. Plank, 
Arenzville mustered out; Lester J. Parmenter, 
Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran; William H. 
Parson. Beardstown. discharged; Henry C. 
Phelps, Beardstown. mustered out; Reuben O. 
Pool, Beardstown. mustered out; George M. 
Rhineberger, Beardstown. re-enlisted as veteran; 
William Roach, Beardstown, discharged; Abra- 
ham .1. Sayler. Beardstown. discharged; Calvin 
W. Sett. Beardstown, mustered out; Christian 
Schramm, Beardstown. mustered out; Francis 
M. Schaeffer, Monroe, discharged; George II. 
Tracey, Beardstown. mustered out as corporal; 
Thomas Webster, Arenzville, mustered out as 
sergeant: Edward Weinschenk, Chandlerville, 
transferred to veteran battery: William Wisbey, 
Beardstown, mustered out; Charles Williams, 
Beardstown. killed at Shiloh; Andrew McFar- 
land (Veteran), Chandlerville, Company A Vet. 

Recruits: Francis P. Ashlock, Beardstown, 
Company A Vet. Battery: Pinckard Burnett, 
Virginia, Company A Vet. Battery; Charles 
Burns, Beardstown, discharged; Henry C. 
Brown, Beardstown. Company A Vet. Battery; 
William Cole. Hickory, Company A Vet. Battery; 
Henry Clemons, Hickory, discharged; .lames .M. 
[Swing, Beardstown, Company A Vet. Battery; 

Martin Finney. Beardstown, Company A Vet. 
Battery; Robert McFarland, Chandlerville, Com- 
pany A Yet. Battery; James S. McLin, Beards- 
town. Company A Yet. Battery: George II. Per- 
meriter, Beardstown. Company A Yet. Battery; 
John W. Richardson, Beardstown, Company A 
Vet. Battery; Henry Roach, Beardstown, Com- 
pany A Vet. Battery; Alonzo Snow, Beardstown, 
Company A Vet. Battery; John F. Switzer, 
Beardstown. Company A Yet. Battery; David P. 
Treadway, Beardstown, Company A Yet. Bat- 
tery; Lewis Weaver, Beardstown, Company A 
Act. Battery; Benjamin Wood, Beardstown, 
Company A Vet. Battery. 

Recruits assigned to Company B: Charles 
Clemmens, Beardstown. Company A Yet. Bat- 
tery; Henry S. Cowan. Beardstown. Company A 
Yet. Battery; William L. Wells. Beardstown. dis- 

To Company F: John II. Clark. Ashland, 
Company A Yet. Battery. 

To Company G: Musician, John < '. Shofter, 
Beardstown. mustered out. 

Recruits: Conrad Meiries, Beardstown. dis- 
charged; William Stauf. Beardstown. transferred 
to Invalid Corps. 

To Company I : Robert Fletcher, Beardstown, 
Company F Vet. Battery. 

Unassigned Recruits; George T. Glover, 
Beardstown, died; Guilford Judd, Beardstown, 
discharged; William II. Lightfoot, Beardstown. 
Company A Vet. Battery; Robert II. Phelpor, 
Beardstown, discharged; James p.. Squires. — . 


Thomas G. Pratt, of Virginia. 


Tne Thirty-third Hlinois Volunteer Infantry 
was another regiment that had a company made 
up mostly of Cass County men. The regiment 

was organized at ('amp Butler, but was known 
.-is the ".Normal" regiment, because SO many -in- 
dents from the Normal State University were in 
the regiment and it- first colonel, Charles E. 
Hovey, was principal of thai school. Dr. Charles 
!•:. i.ippincoit ,,r Chandlerville, Immediately upon 
hearing the news of the disastrous defeat at Bull 
Bun, gathered as manj men as he could in I 

C ii,\ and proceeded to Springfield, where be 

offered to Governor rates his company to be 
placed in any regiment where they could i sed. 



The company was recruited to full strength and 
attached to the Thirty-third regiment, as Com- 
pany K. Dr. Lippincott was elected its captain, 

William A. Nixon, first lieutenant, and William 
II. Weaver, second lieutenant. Mr. Weaver later 
served in the Seventy-first Illinois Volunteer In- 
fantry in the one hundred-day service. The 
regiment was mustered into service August 15, 
1861, L,006 siren-, and left camp for [ronton, 
Mo., September 20, 1861, receiving its arms from 
the St. Louis arsenal. It remained during the 
winter at [ronton, from which point it made fre- 
quenl scouting expeditions, in one of which it 
fought the battle of Frederickstown. The next 
spring it went south, marched overland from 
Pilot Knob to Batesville, then with General Cur- 
tis marched hack to Jaeksonport. and thence to 
Helena. Ark. During the marches it fought the 
battle of the Cache, and was in many skirmishes. 
During the winter and spring of 1S63 it cam- 
paigned through southeast Missouri, was sent to 
Milliken's Bend, participated in the engagements 
at Port Gibson, Champion's Hill, siege of Vicks- 
burg and siege of Jackson. In August of that 
year it went to New Orleans, and engaged in the 
Bayou Teche campaign. From thence it went to 
Arkansas Pass, St. Joseph, Matagorda Island 
and Saluria, participating in the capture of 
Fort Esperanza, and from there to Indianola 
and Port Lavaca. Tex. On January 1. 1SG4, the 
regiment re-enlisted as a veteran regiment, and 
on March 1. received veteran furloughs, at 
Bloomington, 111. It again collected after the 
expiration of the furloughs, at Springfield, and 
left that place April 18, 1864, for St. Louis, and 
from there went to New Orleans, where it cam- 
paigned along the railroad from New Orleans 
to Brashear. There it remained until the spring 
of IS65. When the Mobile expedition was or- 
ganized, the Thirty-third was added to the Six- 
teenth Army Corps. On March 2. 1S65, as it was 
proceeding to New Orleans, upon nearing Butte 
Station, the train was thrown from the track 
and nine men were killed, and about seventy 
wert' injured, two of whom afterwards died of 
their injuries. Fortunately for the Cass County 
boys. Company K had been detailed to guard 
transportation, and so they were not in the 
wreck. On March IS, the regiment embarked 
for Fish River, Ala., and with General Canby's 
army marched up the east side of Mobile Pay. 
It participated actively in the siege of Spanish 
Fort, from March 27 to April 8, when the fort 
surrendered. It then proceeded to Montgomery, 

where it received the news of General Lee's sur- 
render. It marched to Vicksburg, which place 
it reached August IT, and there remained until 
it was mustered out, November 24. 1865, and on 
the 20th of that month, it arrived at Springfield, 
111., where the men were paid off. Lieut. William 
H. Weaver resigned March 22, 1862, and in July 
of that year organized a company at Beards- 
town and from other parts of Cass County, for 
the three months' service. He was elected cap- 
tain, and Thomas Byron Collins, second lieu- 
tenant. The company went to Chicago, where it 
became a part of the Seventy-first Illinois Volun- 
teer Infantry, as Company G. When this com- 
pany was mustered out at Chicago, October 29, 
1862, Captain Weaver became, in a sense a pri- 
vate citizen, but in 1864 he again furnished a 
company for the one hundred-day service. He 
was elected captain of that company, and Eb- 
enezer Fish, second lieutenant. This company 
was attached to the One Hundred and Forty- 
fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, as Company G. 


There were no other commissioned officers of 
the Thirty-third from Cass County except Capt. 
Charles E. Lippincott of Company K. On March 
1. 1862, the regiment had orders to leave winter 
quarters at Ironton, Mo., for the south, and on 
that day Lieutenant-Colonel Lockwood resigned, 
and an election was held by order of Colonel 
Hovey to fill the vacancy. There were several 
candidates, anions them being the name of Cap- 
tain Lippincott. The vote did not show Captain 
Lippincott's election by several hundred votes, 
hut he was absent on leave at Springfield, where 
a commission could be issued without the for- 
malities and annoyances of election returns. 
Governor Yates knew Captain Lippincott very 
well, they having been schoolmates during hoy- 
hood, and so the governor appointed Captain 
Lippincott lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. 
On September 5 Colonel Hovey was promoted to 
be brigadier-general, and Lieut. -Col. Lippincott 
was commissioned colonel. On February 17, 
1865, he was promoted brevet briyadier-general, 
and after the fall of Mobile was made brigadier- 
general of veterans. 

Charles Ellet Lippincott was born at Edwards- 
ville. Madison County, 111.. January 2<>, 1825. 
His father was Rev. Thomas Lippincott, and 
his mother's maiden name was Catherine Wyly 
Leggett. She was a sister of William Leggett, 




the distinguished editor of the New York Even- 
ing Post. On October 11, 1821, Thomas Lippin- 
cott and Catherine W. Leggett were married, she 
being his third wife. Thomas Lippineott being 
a preacher, he was transferred from place to 
place to fill various charges, and his son Charles 
E., received only such schooling as he could in 
the village schools, and early realized that he 
must rely upon his own efforts, as his father had 
a large family, and was receiving but a small 
remuneration for his services. Charles E. Lip- 
pineott received his first start from teaching 
school for two terms on Rock Creek, in Menard 
County, at a very small salary, and in 1844 he 
entered Illinois College at Jacksonville, where, 
by applying the most rigid economy, he got 
through the first year of college. His funds be- 
ing exhausted, he, during the next summer, 
worked on a farm. Having decided to adopt 
the medical profession as a calling in life, he 
soon commenced the study of the healing art 
with a country physician, and in 1847-8 again 
attended Illinois College, and had for his in- 
structor, or at least one of them, the well known 
physician and surgeon, Dr. David Prince. He, 
however, did not graduate from either depart- 
ment of Illinois College. In 1848 he went to 
St. Louis and obtained employment with the 
firm of which his brother-in-law, W. S. Oilman, 
was a partner, and while at St. Louis, attended 
Pope's Medical College, taking a full course of 
lectures and received the degree of M. D., and a 
diploma. Dr. Lippineott located at Chandler- 
ville, and began the practice of his profession, 
one of bis first patients being Dr. Charles Chand- 
ler, who had become ill from his perpetual 
drudgery over the sand hills and the miasmatic 
bottoms of the Sangamon. Also, at the request 
of Or. ('handler, be Looked after (be old doctor's 
practice, thus gaining an excellent start and a 
wide acquaintance. On Christmas day, Decem- 
ber 25, L851, Or. Lippineott was married to 
Emily Webster Chandler, a daughter Of Dr. 
chandler. In the summer of 1853, Or. Lippin- 
eott crossed the plains to California in search 
of gold, imt soon after arriving there engaged in 

politics and was senl to the state senate. He 
remained in California live years and then re- 
turned to < 'handlerville. where he again resumed 
his practice, and continued therein until the 
breaking out of the Civil war. 

At the close of the war. General Lippineott 
did not return to the practice of medicine, but 
gave his attention largely to politics. Before 

the war he was a Democrat, but after the war, 
he associated himself with the Republicans. 
Without the place being sought by him, he was 
nominated for Congress by the Republicans of 
the Ninth District, composed of Pike, Brown, 
Schuyler, Fulton, McDonough, Cass, Mason and 
Menard counties. The district had been over- 
whelmingly Democratic in former years, but 
General Lippineott was only defeated by a few 
hundred in a vote of more than 30,000. W T hen 
the Twenty-fifth General Assembly met in 1867, 
it elected General Lippineott secretary of the 
senate, his father having held the same position 
in 1821. He resigned to accept the position of 
door-keeper of the national house of Congress. 
In 1868 he was nominated by the state Repub- 
lican convention for state auditor, and elected on 
the same ticket with General Grant for presi- 
dent. He was re-elected to the same office in 
1872. At the close of that tenn having served 
the state for eight years as a very efficient and 
popular official, he retired to his farm adjoining 
( 'handlerville. 

The legislature of 18S5 passed the act for the 
building and establishment of a soldiers" and 
sailors' home and Quincy was selected as the 
place of its location. Land to the extent of 140 
acres was purchased, and the buildings were 
erected, subsequently eighty acres being added. 
It is at the northern limits of the city of Quincy 
on the Mississippi River, and is beautifully 
situated. Its splendid buildings, gardens, walks 
and drives combined with its natural advan- 
tages, give to the old, crippled, and indigent sol- 
diers and sailors an earthly paradise. The 
Soldiers' and Sailors' Home was completed and 
thrown open for occupancy on March .">. 1887, the 
fiftieth anniversary of the organization of Cass 
County. The first trustees appointed by Gov- 
ernor Oglesby tendered the position of governor 
of the home to General Lippineott. which honor 
he accepted. It was conceded on all sides that 
the trustees had made a wise selection, and this 

was proven by General Lippincott's subsequent 

career. He entered upon bis duties with en- 
thusiasm, fully appreciating the importance and 
dignity of the position, but was shortly afterward 
Stricken with paralysis, and died at the home 
September 11. i ss 7. aged sixty two years seven 
months and sixteen days. His remains were 
taken to Springfield and buried in Oak Ridge 
Cemetery. The funeral obsequies were eon- 
ducted by Stephenson Post, G. a. k.. of Spring- 
tieid, the active pail bearers being member- of 



his old regiment: Col. E. R. Roe, William Sut- 
ton, Col. E. R. Higgins, Joseph Turner, of Ash- 
land, Charles I. Haskell, of Virginia. Captains 
J. M. Burnham and E. J. Lewis, and Joseph W. 
Fil'er. of Bloomington, who later became gov- 
ernor of Illinois. The honorary pall hearers were 
Governor Oglesby, General Palmer, General Mc- 
Clernand. General McConnell, General John 
Cook. Colonel Wickersham, Senator Shelby M. 
Cnlloni and Hon. ( >. M. Hatch. The Congrega- 
tional church, in which the services were held, 
. was crowded, and after the short ceremonies, a 
large concourse of people with the old soldiers, 
followed his remains to their last resting place. 
Of a warrior hold, brave and generous. His 
widow took up the burden of life alone, assuming 
her duties as matron of the home and there re- 
mained until her death, which occurred May 21, 
L895. Her family of three children died some 
years prior to General Lippincott She was 
buried by the side of her husband in Oak Ridge 
Cemetery. As a testimonial of the great respect 
and affection for General Lippincott and his 
wife, the old soldiers of the home from their in- 
dividual contributions, caused to he erected upon 
the grounds a handsome building known as the 
Lippincott Memorial Hall. It is used as an as- 
semhly hall for religious services, lectures and 
other entertainments. 

Following is the roster of the Thirty-third 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry as far as relates to 
Cass County soldiers: 

Colonel Charles E. Lippincott, Chandlerville, 
mustered out Septeniher 10, 1865; Quarter- 
master, Richard B. Fulks, Beardstown. mustered 
out November 24, 1865; Brice Suffield, hospital 
steward, Chandlerville, veteran, mustered out. 

Recruits assigned to Company I: William F. 
Conner, Beardstown, veteran, mustered out ; 
Harrison H. Hickey, Chandlerville, died at Iron- 
ton ; James H. Mayo. Beardstown, mustered out; 
Enos W. Wood, Chandlerville, re-enlisted as 

Captain Charles E. Lippincott (Co. K), 
Chandlerville. promoted; Second Lieutenant 
William II. Weaver, Beardstown, resigned March 
22, 1862; Sergeant Henry P. Grand, Beardstown, 
mustered out as first sergeant; Corporals John 
Nelson Kendall. Virginia, re-enlisted as veteran: 
Joseph I). Turner, Lancaster, mustered out as 
private: Musician Daniel Robinson, Virginia, 
promoted drum major. 

Privates: James Alderson, Cass County, re- 
enlisted as veteran; Michael J. Barnett, Cass 

County, re-enlisted as veteran ; James Boicourt, 
Berrytown, re-enlisted as veteran ; Edward Boi- 
court, Berrytown, re-enlisted as veteran ; David 
Blair. Chandlerville, discharged, disability; Her- 
man Bohne, Beardstown, wounded at Port Gib- 
son ; Ueorge Goemer, Beardstown. discharged, 
disability; John H. Betz, Beardstown, re-enlisted 
as veteran : Allen Cunningham. Virginia, dis- 
charged, disability; David Crews, Berrytown, 
re-enlisted as veteran; James H. Clifford, Vir- 
ginia, mustered out; Thomas Crawford, Cass 
County, discharged, wounds ; John Dwyer, Cass 
County, transferred to Company I ; Moses bow- 
ler, Beardstown, discharged, disability; George 
M. Forsyth. Chandlerville, re-enlisted as veteran; 
George French, Beardstown. mustered out; 
George W. Foxworthy, Hagley, re-enlisted as 
veteran; Frederick Goodell, Chandlerville, mus- 
tered out as corporal ; John F. Hart, Cass 
County, died at Old Town, Ark.; Charles W. 
Hincher, Hagley. mustered out; Warren S. Huff- 
aker, Hagley, re-enlisted as veteran ; Conrad 
Hendricker, Beardstown. re-enlisted as veteran; 
William II. Hickey, Chandlerville, transferred to 
Company I; George C. Kuhl, Beardstown. re- 
enlisted as veteran ; George S. Kuhl, Beardstown, 
mustered out; Edgar Lyon, Chandlerville, trans- 
ferred to hand; John Lawler, Beardstown, 
wounded, transferred to Invalid Corps; Reason 
F. Lasley, Cass County, discharged, disability; 
David W. Matterson. Cass County, re-enlisted as 
veteran ; Leonard Mentree, Hagel, re-enlisted 
as veteran; John I'. Matthew, Cass County, dis- 
charged, disability; Henry C. Millner, Chandler- 
ville, discharged, disability ; James Monroe, 
Chandlerville, discharged, disability.; Thomas 
Mullen. Chandlerville. mustered out ; William 
Murray. Virginia, mustered out as sergeant; 
James L. Needham, Virginia, corporal, died at 
Indianola, Texas; Charles Osten, Beardstown, 
discharged, disability; William Patterson, 
Beardsrown. discharged, disability; John W. 
Phelps. Chandlerville, wounded ; William Rus- 
sell, Virginia, mustered out; Wesley Riggs. Vir- 
ginia, mustered out; James Raybourne, Virginia, 
mustered out ; Louis Renz, Beardstown. mustered 
out: James M. Sutton, Ashland, mustered out; 
Brier Suttted. Chandlerville. promoted hospital 
steward; Joseph Sissick, Beardstown. discharged, 
disability; Joseph Williamson. Virginia, mus- 
tered out; James Wilson, Virginia, mustered out. 
Veterans: James M. Hinchie, Virginia, mus- 
tered out as corporal; Joseph M. Millstead, Vir- 
ginia, mustered out as corporal ; Daniel Z. Rob- 



inson, Virginia, promoted drum major ; Orville 
L. Stowell, Ashland, mustered out as musician. 
Recruits: James Altick, Chandlerville ; Israel 
Carman, Chandlerville, re-enlisted as veteran; 
Edwin Carman, Beardstown ; John H. Carr, Lan- 
caster, mustered out; William P. Conyers, Lan- 
caster, mustered out; Colby Creed, Chandler- 
ville, mustered out; David J. Curry. Beards- 
town, mustered out; Thomas S. Chandler. 
Chandlerville, transferred to Company C ; Archi- 
bald Campbell. Virginia, drowned in the Missis- 
sippi River on his way to report; Samuel A. 
Gould. Virginia, mustered out; Charles I. Has- 
kell, Virginia, mustered out; Joseph 8. Hawken- 
berry, Beardstown, mustered out; John M. 
Hawkenberry. Beardstown, mustered out; Henry 
Hinchcliff, Chandlerville, died at Vicksburg; 
Samuel E. Lyon, Beardstown, mustered out; 
James M. Maddox, Lancaster, mustered out; 
Andrew J. Morgan, Chandlerville, mustered out ; 
George W. Newman, Chandlerville, died at New 
Orleans; John D. Orr, Beardstown, missing; 
Rudolph Oliver. Virginia, drowned; Elijah S. 
Plummer, Virginia, mbstered out; Abraham 
Shoemaker, Beardstown, mustered out ; Llewelyn 
Snell, Chandlerville, mustered out ; Adolph Snell, 
Beardstown, mustered out; John A. Towles, 
Chandlerville, mustered out; William H. Work- 
man. Chandlerville. mustered out; John C. Wil- 
son. Chandlerville, died at Basher City. 


The One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Vol- 
unteer Infantry was organized in July and 
August, IS62, and mustered into the service Sep- 
tember IS of that year at Springfield, 111., being 
recruited from Cass. Menard and Sangamon 
Counties. There were two companies from Cass 

County, one formed at Beardstown, ami one at 
Virginia. Company I> was fanned at Virginia, 
ami was organized with the fallowing commis 
sioned officers: Capt. Benjamin C Berry, first 
Lieut. Thomas s. Berry, Second Lieut. David >■'. 
Downing. Company A. farmed al Beardstown, 
had the fallowing commissioned officers: Capt. 
John M. Johnson, first Lieut. Philander Lucas, 

Sec i Lieut. Joseph a. McClure, First Sergt 

Norman S. Hitchcock. The regimeul left ('.-imp 
Butler for Memphis. Teiin.. on November 8, IS62, 
arriving there mi the 26th, and started at once 
<>ii the Tallahatchie campaign, in the early pari 
of l^f,;;. it returned to Memphis, and was ordered 

to Louisiana, and on May 2 returned and en- 
gaged in the battle of Jackson, arriving at Vicks- 
burg on June 18, and participating in the siege, 
with a loss of twenty killed and wounded. It 
was principally engaged in scout duty from that 
on until 1864, when it participated in the battle 
of Guntown, Miss. On the retreat from Gun- 
town, the regiment was placed in the rear as 
guard, and held the enemy in check during the 
whole of the first night. There were 397 of the 
regiment engaged, and out of that number there 
were lost 209 in killed, wounded and missing. 
Lieut. Henry I). Freeman, of Company I>. was 
captured and placed with other prisoners on a 
train and started south, but he jumped from the 
train while it was running at high speed and 
made his escape. After wandering through tin' 
woods and swamps for a week he finally reached 
a Union camp and was sent to his regiment. 
He served with his regiment during the re- 
mainder of the war. Among tin- wounded was 
Lieut. T. S. Berry, also of Company I ». In 
August, 1864, the regiment was ordered to I)u- 
vall's Bluff, Ark., and leaving Brownsville in 
pursuit of General Price, it marched to Cape 
Girardeau in seventeen days on ten days' rations. 
It later traveled by foot and rail to Kansas 
City. Mo., then to St. Louis, and from there was 
sent to Nashville, where it engaged in battle mi 
the loth and Kith of DeGember. After the sur- 
render of Mobile, it was marched to Montgom- 
ery, arriving there April 24, 1865. There it 
bridged the Alabama Liver with pontoons and 
remained on guard until July IT. when it was 
ordered to Vieksburg, and was mustered out of 
service. August •">. 1S65. However, it did nof dis- 
band, but went to Camp Butler, where it was 
paid off on August 15 and discharged. The ms- 
ter of the regiment relating to Cas> County 
soldiers is as follows : 

Major Joseph M. Mcl.ane. Cass County, died 
at/ Beardstown, February 16, ISG5; Major John 
M. Johnson, Beardstown, mustered out August 
.'!. l srr, ; Quartermaster Harrison T. Chandler, 
Chandlerville, mustered nut as quartermaster- 
sergeant; Sergeant-Major Ezra Fish, Beards- 
town, promoted first lieutenant Company K : 
Robert A. Beadles (musician), Virginia, died at 
Memphis; John A. Klelusteiber (musician), Cass 
County, mustered out, was a prisoner; Captain 
John M.Johnson (Co. At. Beardstown, promoted 
major ; ( 'aptain Thomas v « !an field, « 'a-- < 'ounty, 
mustered out August .".. ISG5 ; first Lieutenant 
Philander Lucas, Beardstown, resigned; Second 



Lieutenant Joseph A. McClure, Beardstown, 
killed ; First Sergeant Norman S. Hitchcock, 
Beardstown, promoted first lieutenant Company 
K, Seventy-first United States Colored Infantry; 
Serjeant Fred Haid. Beardstown, mustered out; 
Sergeant Victor J. Phillipi, Cass County, mus- 
tered out; Corporal .(esse E. Dunaway, Cass 
County, died at Jackson, Tenn. : Corporal Jacob 
S. Stucky, Cass County, died at Memphis, Tenn.; 
Corpora] Joseph L. Wright, Beardstown. dis- 
charged, disability; Corporal John Marshall. 
'Beardstown, discharged as private; Corporal 
John W. Brown. Cass County, mustered out as 
sergeant, was a prisoner; Corporal William H. 
Hageman, Cass County, mustered out as private; 
Corpora] Joseph Riffer, Cass County, mustered 
nut : Corpora] Christian Pilger, Beardstown, 
mustered out. 

Privates: Richard B. Adams, Cass County. 
died at Memphis, Tenn.; A. D. Adkins, Cass 
County, mustered out; John Anderson. Cass 
County, deserted: William Buck, Cass County, 
mustered out : Lewis Boemler, Beardstown. mus- 
tered out: M. L. Brown. Cass County, mustered 
out; James C. Blanford, Cass County, mustered 
out : Pierre Buck, Cass County, mustered out ; 
Robert Branian, Cass County, mustered out; 
Thomas Canfield, Cass County, promoted to cap- 
tain; John M. Caffenberger, Beardstown, mus- 
tered out; Samuel P. Coy, Cass County, dis- 
charged; Collen Cordell. Cass County, died at 
Memphis: William F. Crow, Cass County, miss- 
in-: Francis M. Davis. Beardstown. mustered 
out; John Davis. Beardstown. discharged, dis- 
ability; Asa Dean. Beardstown. mustered out; 
Rufus M. Deeds. Cass County, mustered out; 
Peter Douglas, Beardstown. discharged, dis- 
ability; Ezra Fish. Beardstown. promoted ser- 
geant-major; Henry C. Gestring, Cass County. 
prisoner, Guntown, Miss., died; John H. Goodell, 
Chandlerville. mustered out; Simon Hansmeier. 
Cass County, mustered out, prisoner; August 
Hansmeier. Cass County, mustered out. prisoner; 
Albert H. Hart. Cass County, mustered out: 
William Hall. Cass County, mustered out; 
Joseph Haywood, Cass County, killed in action; 
John Heinen. Cass County, mustered out; 
Thomas Hiekey. Cass County, killed at Guntown, 
Miss.; George Hoffman, Cass County, mustered 
out ; Charles T. Kruse. Cass County, mustered 
out; R. F. Knippenberg, Beardstown, mustered 
out: Edward Kenehler. ('ass County, discharged, 
wounds; John T. Kleiustauher. Cass County, 
promoted rife major; George Knighton, Ca>s 

County, mustered out; Charles E. Lawson, 
Beardstown. mustered out as corporal ; Andrew 
Listman, Cass County, mustered out, prisoner 
Avar; George Linn, Cass County, mustered out. 
prisoner; Riley W. McLane, Beardstown. cor- 
poral, killed at Tupelo. Miss.: Robert McCarty, 
Beardstown, died at Memphis. Tenn.; Luther J. 
Main. Beardstown, mustered out : Thomas Mil- 
ler, Beardstown, transferred to Invalid Corps: 
Thomas Moore, Cass County, mustered out as 
corporal: Charles D. Marcey, Cass County, mus- 
tered out : Louis Meyer. Cass County, deserted ; 
Louis Meyer. Cass County, mustered out ; Ed- 
ward Meyer. Cass County, mustered out. prisoner 
of war; August Pank, Cass County, discharged, 
disability; Asa N. Paschal, Cass County, died at 
Andersonville Prison; Lemon Plasters, Cass 
County, discharged, disability; Frederick Wil- 
liam Pass. Cass County, mustered out; John M. 
Riley. Cass County, mustered out ; Frederick X. 
Reichert. Cass County, transferred to Invalid 
( !orps : Isaac Richey, Cass County, mustered out ; 
Henry Rohn. Cass County, mustered out ; Uriah 
Snyder. Cass County,' mustered out; Rohert 
Simpson. Cass County, died Memphis, Tenn. : 
John Sash, Cass County, discharged, disability; 
Solomon Sills. Cass County, mustered out ; 
Orange E. Sackett, Cass County, mustered out as 
corporal: John Shellenberger. Cass County, mus- 
tered out as corporal ; John Sybrant, Cass. 
County, discharged, disability; Conrad Schmehl, 
Cass County, mustered out; Henry Tromann, 
Cass County, mustered out, prisoner war: Wil- 
liam Thompson, Jr.. Cass County, discharged, 
disability; Zachariah Taylor, Beardstown, mus- 
tered out ; John Truebswasser. Beardstown. died 
at Mound City; George Fred Unland, Cass 
County, transferred to V. R. C. ; Leonard Walter, 
Cass County, died at Memphis: William Wag- 
ner, Cass County, discharged, disability : George 
Washington White. Cass County, mustered out; 
John T. Webb, Cass County, discharged, dis- 
ability; Henry Webber, Cass County, died Duck- 
port. La.; John Worm. Cass County, mustered 
out; John H. Weddeking, Cass County, mustered 
out: Thomas Williams. Cass County, deserted. 
Captain Benjamin C. Berry (Co. D). Virginia, 
resigned; Captain George H. Martin (Co. D), 
Virginia, mustered out August 3. 1865 : First 
Lieutenant Thomas S. Berry. Virginia, dis- 
charged; First Lieutenant Henry D. Freeman, 
Virginia, mustered out : Second Lieutenant David 
X. Downing. Virginia, died at Duckport, La. ; 
First Sergeant Milton Berry, Virginia, mustered 




out; Sergeant Josephus Naylor, Virginia, mus- 
tered out; Sergeant Frederick Dygert, Virginia, 
detached; Sergeant John W. Plunnner, Virginia, 
discharged, disability ; Sergeant Henry D. Free- 
man, Virginia, promoted first lieutenant; Cor- 
poral Ellis C. Hicks, Chandlerville, died Mem- 
phis, Tenn. ; Corporal William H. Thompson, 
Virginia, mustered out ; Corporal George H. Mar- 
tin, Virginia, promoted captain ; Corporal Wil- 
liam S. Douglas, Lancaster, mustered out ; Cor- 
poral Martin V. B. Harris, Virginia, mustered 
out as private; Corporal P.uford A. Dowell, Vir- 
ginia, private; Corporal William A. Harding, 
Virginia, mustered out; Corporal James B. 
Berryhill, Virginia, died at Memphis, Tenn.; Al- 
fred R. Massie (musician), Virginia, mustered 
out; John C". Downing (wagoner), Virginia, died 
at Memphis. 

Privates : Cyrus H. Ator. Virginia, died ;. Rob- 
ert A. Beadles, Virginia, promoted fife major; 
John Beckelhamer. Virginia, mustered out; 
Thomas B. Beggs, Virginia, died near Vicksburg; 
Absalom R. Berry, Virginia, mustered out ; James 
Berry, Ashland, mustered out; Lile Berryhill, 
Virginia, mustered out; Thomas H. Brown, 
Beardstown. mustered out ; Martin W. Clark, 
Chandlerville, mustered out ; Ira F. Collins, 
Virginia, mustered out, was prisoner; John 
Cooper, Virginia, mustered out: George W. Cun- 
ningham, Virginia, mustered out; John Davis. 
Virginia, mustered out; Edwin Dygert, Virginia, 
discharged, disability; John Eastman, Lancaster, 
mustered out, was prisoner; Henry Ellerman. 
Virginia, mustered out; John T. Evans. Virginia, 
mustered out; Josiah Evans, Virginia, dis- 
charged, disability; John Geigor, Virginia, — ; 
James S. Harding. Virginia, deserted; Austin 
Harding, Virginia, mustered out; George W. 
Hays. Virginia, mustered out; Joseph Hunt. Vir- 
ginia, mustered oul ; John S. Kikendall, Vir- 
ginia, mustered out, was prisoner; Nathaniel W. 
Lindsey, Virginia, mustered oul : Allen Lindsey, 
Chandlerville. died at home; .lames A. Lindsey. 
Virginia, discharged, disability; Brastus I ». 
Lindsey. Beardstown, transferred t<> invalid 
Corps; Franklin Looker, Virginia, deserted: 
Jacob Metzmaker, Virginia, discharged, dis- 
ability: Henry C. Massey, Virginia, mustered 
out. was prisoner; John B. Milner, Virginia, died 
.■it Duckport, l.a.; Isaac P. McClure, Virginia, 

mustered OUt; William A. Moore. Virginia, mus- 
tered -mi ; Thomas S. Moore, Virginia, mustered 
out; Levi Needhain, Virginia, discharged, dis- 
ability; John Nuttree, Virginia, mustered out; 

William Pedigo, Virginia, mustered out; Urbin 
E. Pedigo, Ashland, died at Duckport, La. ; Wil- 
liam T. Price, Virginia, mustered out as cor- 
poral; David H. Plummer, Virginia, mustered 
out ; J. Wesley Plummer, Virginia, mustered out : 
William Raber, Virginia, mustered out; Fred- 
erick Raber, Virginia, mustered out, was pris- 
oner ; Henry Riffer. Lancaster, mustered out as 
corporal; Leonard R. Simmons. Lancaster, mus- 
tered out; Christopher C. Smith, Lancaster, died 
at St. Louis; Robert R. Stevenson. Virginia, dis- 
charged, disability; George J. Stewart, Virginia, 
mustered out; Samuel C. Stith. Virginia, died at 
Duckport, La.; James M. Thompson, Virginia, 
died at Bear Creek, Miss.; John Thompson, Vir- 
ginia, killed near Tupelo. Miss. ; Robert G. 
Thompson. Virginia, mustered out as corporal; 
Samuel B. Thompson. Virginia, mustered out, 
was prisoner; Jacob Turner. Virginia, dis- 
charged, disability: James L. Williams. Virginia, 
mustered out; David Wilson, Virginia, mustered 
out as wagoner ; Albert White. Chandlerville, 
mustered out as corporal: Casper Wirt. Lan- 
caster, mustered out. 

Recruits: Charles W. Anderson. Chandler- 
ville, sergeant transferred to Company P. 58th 
111. Inf.; Charles Cunningham. Virginia, trans- 
ferred to Company A 58th 111. Inf.; James H. 
Davis, Virginia, died Memphis, Tenn.; Charles 
Kikendall, Virginia, transferred to Company A 
58th 111. Inf.; James Knowles, Virginia, mus- 
tered out. 

First Sergeant Richmond V. Black (Co. F), 
Lancaster, promoted captain Company II. 

Privates: Lucian Burtrum, Ashland, mus- 
tered out August •*!. 1865; Thomas s. Armstrong, 
Hagely, died on steamer West Morcland ; .lames 
W. Conyers, Hagely, mustered oul : Llewellyn 
Davis, Hagely, mustered out; .lame- G. box. 
Berryton, mustered out; Thomas Cist. Ashland. 
mustered out ; Richard Jordon, Berryton, mus- 
tered out; Joseph McDonald, Lancaster, missing 
Guntown, .Miss., after battle; .lames s. Smith. 
Ashland, discharged, wounds; William A. Smith, 
Ashland, died at ('amp Sherman. Miss. ; Lorenzo 

T lin. Ashland, discharged, disability; Henry 

C. Wilson. Ashland, mustered out; LycurgUS 
Workman. Ashland, died at New Orleans; John 
\. Wood. Ashland, mustered out. 

Plrsl Lieutenant .James \|. < 'hadsej (Co. Hi. 

Beardstown, mustered oul May '-'■"•. L865. 

.lames m. Chadsej (private), Beardstown, pro- 
moted sergeant then first lieutenant. 



John Thornley (recruit I, Ashland, transferred 
to Company (' 58th 111. Inf. 

Recruits: John Mibb (Co. K). Richmond, 
transferred to Company I> 58th 111. Inf.; John 
Pickard, Richmond, transferred to Company I) 
58th 111. Inf.; John Trumbull, Richmond, trans- 
ferred to Company I) 58th 111. Inf. 

There were a Dumber of persons who enlisted 
for service in the civil war, who were assigned 
to companies and regiments made up in some 
of the larger counties and cities in which places 
the hoys found themselves in their anxious de- 
sire to assist in suppressing the Rebellion. Be- 
low is found a mster of the regiments and com- 
panies where any (ass County soldiers' names 
appear on the records, or it has heen possihle to 
find them. If any are overlooked, or are not 
found in the lists it will be for the reason that 
such names or information was not attainable. 


Sergeant Henry Schaeffer (Co. G), Arenzville, 
mustered out Dec. 16, 1865; Sergeant William 
Woods. Arenzville. mustered out; Sergeant 
George Rausch, Beardstown, mustered out; Cor- 
poral Frederick Renchlier, Arenzville. mustered 
out: Sergeant Mathew P. Bowyer, Arenzville, 
mustered out: Sergeant John R. Miller. Arenz- 
ville. mustered out : Sergeant William O. Wells. 
Beardstown, mustered out: Sergeant James L. 
Black. Beardstown, mustered out. 

Privates : Andrew Blantner, Beardstown, 
mustered out: Henry Broaker, Beardstown. mus- 
tered out ; Charles Birchlin, Arenzville, mustered 
out: Francis S. earner, Arenzville. mustered 
out; Peter Flarney, Beardstown, died at home; 
George W. Green, Arenzville, mustered out; 
James W. Ginder. Arenzville, mustered out; 
Frederick Holden, Beardstown, mustered out: 
Thomas Harmel, Beardstown. mustered out; 
Joseph Hein, Beardstown. mustered out: Henry 
Knoess. Beardstown. mustered out; William 
Kraft. Arenzville. mustered out; George W. 
Leonard. Arenzville. mustered out; Henry Lynn, 
Beardstown. died at Camp Butler; Adam Laffie, 
Beardstown. sick at muster out: Hugh Kyden, 
Beardstown, mustered out; William Mayer. 
Beardstown, mustered out; Moses Miller, Arenz- 
ville. mustered out; George J. McDowell, Beards- 
town, mustered out: Henry Nickel. Lancaster, 
mustered out : Riley Smith. Beardstown, mus- 
tered out; Frederick Schever. Beardstown, mus- 

tered out ; George Taylor, Beardstown, mustered 

Corporal John H. Payton (CO. I), Beardstown, 
mustered out Dec. 16, 1865. 

John M. Sanders (private), Beardstown. mus- 
tered out. 


Sergeant-Major John Madden. Virginia, dis- 
charged; Dempson Freeman (Co. D), Lancaster, 
mustered out; William Allen (Co. E), Lancaster, 
drafted, substitute deserted; Alphonson Tebloda, 
Lancaster, substitute, mustered out ; Captain 
William H. Hitchcock I Co. G), Beardstown. 
mustered out Nov. !), 1SC4 ; Second Lieutenant 
Charles A. Karnes. Beardstown. killed at Shiloh; 
William J. Center (musician), Beardstown, mus- 
tered out. 

Privates: John Beals. Beardstown, promoted 
first lieutenant Company E, (list 111.; Melvin 
Burk, Beardstown, mustered out; Thomas Barry, 
Beardstown, deserted: Thomas Bird, Beards- 
town, died of wounds: James Burns. Beards- 
town, re-enlisted as veteran; Edward A. Cot- 
trell, Beardstown, died at home; David Connell, 
Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran; Thomas 
Darkin, Beardstown. deserted: Samuel De- 
Haven. Beardstown, died at Memphis; Hugh 
Donnelly, Beardstown, discharged: Benjamin 
Eyres, Beardstown, killed at Hatcher Run; 
John Fitzpatrick. Beardstown, deserted; John 
Flannigan, Beardstown. re-enlisted as veteran; 
Andrew Genning, Beardstown. re-enlisted as vet- 
eran ; Peter Grimes. Beardstown, discharged, 
wounds; John Haver. Beardstown, re-enlisted as 
veteran: William Hugo, Beardstown, died at 
Marietta. Ga. ; Anton Hoffman. Beardstown, re- 
enlisted as veteran; John B. Loomans, Beards- 
town, mustered out; William McDowell, Beards- 
town, re-enlisted as veteran; George Swan, 
Beardstown, died at LaGrange, Tenn. ; John 
Trihey, Beardstown. mustered out; Seth J. 
Thompson, Beardstown. mustered out. 

Veterans: James Burns, Beardstown. mus- 
tered out; David Connell. Beardstown. mustered 
out: John Flannigan, Virginia, mustered out as 
sergeant: Andrew Gemming. Beardstown, mus- 
tered out; Anton Hoffman, Beardstown, killed 
at Kenesaw Mountain; John Haver, Virginia, 
mustered out ; James Harrell, Chandlerville, 
mustered out: William B. McDowell, Beards- 
town, mustered out. 

Second Lieutenant John York (Co. H), Cass 



County, wounded at Shiloh, died May 9, 1862; 
Corporal James Hawkshaw, Cass County, mus- 
tered out Sept. 7, 1865; Corporal Edward G. Hen- 
derson, Cass County, discharged, disability. 

Privates : Mathew P>. Cross, Cass County, 
died at Camp Butler; John W. Jarvis. Cass 
County, discharged, disability; Jesse B. Mexell, 
Cass County, discharged, disability ; Fred Over- 
hacker, Cass County, transferred to Invalid 
Cor] is. 


Second Lieutenant Henry C. Pratt (Co. G), 
Monroe, mustered out as tirst sergeant; Sergeant 
Richard Rudisell, Arenzville, discharged, dis- 
ability; Sergeant John M. Schaeft'er, Monroe, dis- 
charged, disability; Corporal James M. Smith, 
Arenzville, discharged, disability. 

Privates: August Apple. Arenzville, re-en- 
listed as veteran ; Fred Boles, Monroe, re-enlisted 
as veteran ; Ira Buck, Monroe, died at Louisville, 
Ky. ; Ernst Dahmann, Beardstown, re-enlisted as 
veteran; Emanuel Hagernab, Monroe, discharged, 
disability; Henry Heidbrinker, Arenzville, dis- 
c-barged, disability; Henry Meyer, Arenzville, re- 
enlisted as veteran ; Ernst Muller, Arenzville, 
died at Camp Nevins, Ky. ; Henry C. Pratt, Mon- 
roe, re-enlisted as veteran; John Poach, Beards- 
town. — ; William Roegge, Arenzville. re-enlisted 
as veteran: Henry Roegge, Arenzville. re-enlisted 
as veteran; Joseph Stanley. Monroe, re-enlisted 
as veteran. 

First Lieutenant Jedediah Reals (Co. E), 
Beardstown. died at Evansville, Ind. 

Privates : Edward W. Elkin, Beardstown. died 
at Keokuk. la. ; John W. Glover, Beardstown, 
died at St. Louis: Anthony Hill, Beardstown, 
mustered out; Daniel Rawley, Beardstown. mus- 
tered out; William A. Squires. Beardstown, died 
at St. Louis: George J. Sanders. Beardstown, 
mustered out; Nick Shoopman. Beardstown. mus- 
tered out; Jaqob Wells. Beardstown, discharged, 
disability; Madison Woods. Beardstown. mus- 
tered out; Alpheus Wells. Beardstown, died at 
St. Louis; Asa Winf'ree, Beardstown, mustered 

Veterans: John C. Menckel, Beardstown. mus- 
tered out. prisoner; John McCormiek, Beards- 
town. mustered out as corporal. 

Recruits: Peter Buxton. Beardstown. mus- 
tered out: Walter Peals. Beardstown, discharged, 
disability; Jesse Cobb, Lancaster, mustered out; 
Daniel B. Grant, Beardstown. mustered out: 
David L. Hutchinson, Beardstown, mustered out : 
William T. Milton, Beardstown. discharged, dis- 
ability; Charles Meyers. Beardstown. mustered 
out: George T. Ruby, Beardstown, discharged, 
disability; George W. Shoopman, Beardstown, 
mustered out: John H. Shoopman. Beardstown, 
mustered out: Fred Schmitker, Beardstown, 
mustered out: Jacob Trommen, Beardstown, 
died at Pittsburg Landing. 

Unassigned Recruits: William Boyd (Co. Ki. 
Virginia; William Clark, Virginia; Daniel Spill- 
man. Virginia. 


Privates: Charles F. Burns i<'<>. C), Beards- 
town, mustered out; Abe F. Cotrel, Beardstown, 
mustered out; Benjamin .1. Harris. Beardstown, 
died at Cairo. III.; DeWitl McCandleSS, Beards- 
town, mustered out ; Thomas Paschal. Beards- 
town, mustered out; Woodford or Woodson II. 
sills. Beardstown, mustered out. 


Recruits: William l'icki,. (Co. l>». Virginia, 
mustered put; John Gorrell, Virginia, mustered 
out; Peter P. Gorrell, Virginia, mustered out; 
George Ilmks. Virginia, died at Murf reesboro ; 
William Rudolph, Virginia, mustered oul ; < has. 
Sample. Virginia, mustered out; Adam Weaver, 
Virginia, mustered out. 


Captain William li. Weaver (Co. G), Beards- 
town, mustered out Oct. 29, 1S62 ; Second Lieu- 
tenant Thomas B, Collins. Virginia, mustered 
out; Sergeanl John E. Mass. Virginia, mustered 
out; Sergeanl Joshua B. Conyers, Hagley, mus- 
tered out; Corporal Elijah W. Williams, Hagley, 
mustered out; Corporal Hooper Monroe, Beards- 
town, mustered out; Corporal Page a. Williams. 
Hagley, mustered out; Corporal Thomas Smith. 
1 iagley, mustered out. 

Privates: George W. Boircourt, Berrytown, 
died at Cairo; John A. Conyers, Hagley, mus- 
tered out; James Cutlam, Lancaster, mustered 
out; Marcus P. ('handler. Chandlerville, mus- 

teed out; Jehu W. C .ei's. Hagley, mustered 

out; William P. Conyers, Hagley, mustered out; 
William II. Cole, Chandlerville, mustered out; 
Charles X. Drake, Hasrley, mustered out: Albert 



Cist, Ashland, mustered out; Charles B. High, 
Ashland, mustered out: Columbus A. King, Hag- 
ley, mustered out; Charles W. Lee, Beardstown, 

mustered out; Charles C. Magee, Cass County, 
must. 'red out; William W. Mathew, Hagley, mus- 
tered out : John G. Monroe, Berrytown, mustered 
out: Thomas B. Nicholson. Beardstown. mus- 
tered out: Thomas S. Nicholson. Beardstown, 
mustered out: George W. I'armenter, Beards- 
town. mustered out : George T. Saunders, Beards- 
town. mustered out: Samuel W- Smith. Hagley, 
mustered out : John Thornley. Ashland, mus- 
tered out : Joshua Thornley, Ashland, mustered 
out: Amos Wilson. Chandlerville, mustered out. 


Corporal Simon Renz (Co. E), Beardstown, 
mustered out Juue 9. 1865, as sergeant. 

Privates: Anton Bihl, Beardstown, died of 
wounds; Charles Beekemeyer, Beardstown. mus- 
tered out June 9. 1865; John Heeg, Beardstown, 
discharged, wounds; August Peter. Beardstown, 
discharged, disability ; William Raue, Beards- 
town. mustered out June 9, 1865 ; Phillip 
Schmidt. Beardstown. deserted Oct. 15, 1862; 
Anton Seiler, Beardstown, mustered out June 9, 


W. Chase, Beardstown, mustered out; Charles B. 
Danbaugh, Beardstown, mustered out; Thomas 
J. Dellaven, Beardstown, mustered out; John 
Samuel Folks, Beardstown. mustered out; James 
Griffin, Beardstown, mustered out; John W. 
Hamilton, Beardstown, mustered out; Zachariah 
Hamilton, Beardstown, mustered out; Guilford 
C. Judd. Beardstown, mustered out ; Harrison G. 
Livingston, Beardstown, mustered out; Horace 
battlefield, Beardstown. mustered out ; Henry C. 
McLane, Beardstown, mustered out; George Mc- 
Dowell, Beardstown, mustered out ; William 
Mayer, Beardstown, mustered out ; Henry C. 
Millner, Beardstown, mustered out; James H. 
Matthews. Beardstown, mustered out ; Andrew 
J. Norton, Beardstown, mustered out ; Rudolph 
B. Oliver. Beardstown, mustered out ; Frank 
Peterson, Beardstown, mustered out ; William C. 
Rew. Beardstown, mustered out ; Samuel W. Rob- 
inson, Beardstown, mustered out; William 
Roach, Beardstown, mustered out ; John H. Rose, 
Beardstown, mustered out ; Levi O. Spanker, 
Beardstown, mustered out ; Charles Schneider, 
Beardstown. mustered out; Lewis Ware, Beards- 
town, died at Rollo. Mo. ; Eason White, Beards- 
town, mustered out ; Willis White, Beardstown, 
mustered out. 

Recruits : Christopher Mertz, Beardstown, 
mustered out. 


Captain William H. Weaver (Co. G), Beards- 
town, mustered out ; Second Lieutenant Ebenzer 
Fish, Beardstown, mustered out; Sergeant Wil- 
liam MeDeHaven, Beardstown. mustered out; 
Sergeant Morris J. Oliver, Beardstown, mustered 
out : Sergeant Edwin C. Foster, Beardstown. mus- 
tered out ; Corporal James Caldwell, Beards- 
town, mustered out ; Corporal James A. Lindsey, 
Beardstown, mustered out: Corporal William 
McClure, Beardstown. mustered out ; Corporal 
Edward P. Logan, Beardstown, mustered out; 
Corporal Samuel Webb, Beardstown, mustered 
out: Corporal Clinton Garrison. Beardstown, 
mustered out : Corporal Jolm P. Sanders, Beards- 
town, mustered out in arrest. 

Privates: Abram Black, Beardstown, mus- 
tered out ; Randall Black, Beardstown, mustered 
out: Lewis Cowan, Beardstown, mustered out; 
Allen Cunningham, Beardstown, mustered out; 
David Clendenin, Beardstown, mustered out ; 
Thomas Cowan. Beardstown. mustered out : 
Ernest Corte, Beardstown, mustered out ; John 

Sergeant Stephan W. Lee (Co. C), Virginia, 
discharged : Corporal Robert Adams, Virginia, 
mustered out as sergeant. 

Privates : William J. Andrews, Virginia, dis- 
charged ; John Q. Dunlap, Virginia, discharged ; 
Henry Gans, Virginia, re-enlisted as veteran; 
Albert S. Looker, Virginia, discharged ; Gentry 
Abbott (Co. H), Beardstown; John Hash (Co. 
M), Chandlerville, died Taducah, Ky. 

Unassigned Recruit : John H. Harris, Vir- 
ginia, died. 


The Third Illinois Volunteer Cavalry was or- 
ganized at Camp Butler in August, 1861, by Col. 
Eugene A. Carr, an officer of the regular army, 
and a graduate of West Point. The regiment 
remained in camp until September 25, when it 
was sent to St. Louis, Mo., and on October 1 re- 
moved to Jefferson City, and from thence to 
Warsaw, where it built a bridge across the 






River at High Water Stage, 1913 

Remains of the Largest of Several Mounds Built by the Early Mound Builders, at the Present 
siii of Beardstown on the Illinois River. The Buildings Were Erected About is-h>: Buildings 
and Mounds Have Entirely Disappeared. 



Osage River. Then the march was continued 
to Springfield, Mo. Carr's brigade was under 
the command of General Fremont, but on arrival 
at Springfield, Fremont was relieved and General 
Hunter assumed command. The regiment was 
stationed at Rolla, from November 19 to Decem- 
ber 20. After several skirmishes during the win- 
ter the regiment engaged in the battle of Pea 
Ridge, March 6, 1862, and in a three-days' en- 
gagement, the Third Cavalry lust ten killed and 
forty wounded. Three weeks later the regiment 
was sent hurriedly to Fayetteville, Ark., where 
it drove out the enemy, and on the 10th it moved 
back to Keyesville, Mo. On April 29, the Third 
Cavalry arrived at West Plains, but in the 
meanwhile on the 25th of the month, while cross- 
ing White River, Captain McClellan of Company 
H, with Ave enlisted men, was drowned by the 
overturning of the ferry boat. On June 4, the 
regiment fell back to Fairview and on the 7th 
Captain Sparks and sixty-six men were sur- 
rounded by 300 of the enemy's cavalry, but cut 
their way out, although having four wounded and 
four taken prisoners. On July 5, the regiment 
began a long march for Helena. Ark., reaching 
there after ten days of hard marching and fight- 
ing, famished for food and water. By this time 
the regiment had become more or less inured to 
hard army life. It was engaged in other battles : 
Port Gibson, Champion's Hill, Black River 
Bridge, and the Siege of Vicksburg. In 1S(J4 a 
large number re-enlisted as veterans, the re- 
mainder being mustered out September 5, 1864. 
The veterans participated in the repulse of For- 
ivst at Memphis, and in the battles of Laurence- 
burg. Spring Hill, Campbellsville and Franklin, 
and were mustered out at Springfield, 111., Octo- 
ber 18, 1865. The regiment's roster follows: 

Captain Charles P. Dunbaugh (Co. C), Beards- 
town, resigned; Captain David Black, Beards- 
town, resigned; Captain Erasmus R. Loar, 
Beardstown, mustered out; First Lieutenant 
Augustus W. Tilford, Beardstown, resigned; 
Firs! Lieutenant James B. Black, Cass County, 
resigned; first Lieutenant Alpheus Conover, 
Beardstown, Co. F consolidated: first Sergeanl 
James S. Crow, Beardstown, promoted battalion 
adjutant; Sergeanl Theodore Leland, Beards- 
town. promoted battalion adjutant; David Cleii 
denin, Beardstown, discharged; Corporal Wil- 
liam Richland, Beardstown, mustered out; Cor- 
poral James II. Lynch, Lancaster, discharged, 
wounds. Pea Ridge; Corporal Charles E, Burns, 
Beardstown, transferred Company A nth [11. 

Inf. ; Corporal James M. Hopkins, Beardstown, 
mustered out as sergeant ; Corporal Daniel Yeck, 
Cass County, transferred to V. R. C. ; Corporal 
James Nason, Beardstown, re-enlisted as vet- 
eran; Grenop P. Tilford (blacksmith), Beards- 
town, mustered out; Henry B. Everly (saddler), 
Cass County, died. 

Privates : Andrew T. Anderson, Cass County, 
mustered out as corporal; Joseph Anderson, 
Beardstown, mustered out as sergeant; Charles 
Boxmire, Beardstown, mustered out as corporal ; 
William Boxmire, Beardstown, mustered out; 
James B. Black, Cass County, promoted; Robert 
Bailey, Beardstown, discharged; William H. 
Chamberlin, Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran; 
Charles Coleman, Beardstown. re-enlisted as vet- 
eran ; Martin W. Finney, Beardstown, trans- 
ferred to Company A 14th 111. Inf. : August Funk, 
Monroe, missing in action, Okalona, Miss. ; Daniel 
Grant. Beardstown, — ; Adam Guling, Beards- 
town, re-enlisted as veteran ; Joseph A. Hutehens, 
Virginia, discharged; George F. Kleinstiber, 
Arenzville, mustered out as corporal; Joseph A. 
McCandless, Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran ; 
John Minick, Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran : 
John Miller, Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran ; 
Robert McFarlan, Beardstown, re-enlisted as vet- 
eran ; William Nicholson, Beardstown. mustered 
out; Thomas E. W. Owton. Cass County, dis- 
charged; Henry Pouch. Cass County, died at St. 
Louis; William H. H. Percival. Beardstown. re- 
enlisted as veteran: Horation G. Rew, Beards- 
town, killed at Byhalia. Miss.; John J. Reeves. 
Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran; George 
Specker, Beardstown. mustered out: James 
Sykes, Lancaster, re-enlisted as veteran: George 
T. Sprouse, Chandlerville, re-enlisted as veteran: 
Henry C. Simpson. Beardstown, died at Spring- 
field, Mo.: Newton R. P. Williams. Ashland, dis- 
charged; George F. Wagner, Beardstown, died 
at Memphis, Tenn; William E. F. Wells. Beards- 
town, re-enlisted as veteran: Jacob II. York, 
Arenzville, mustered out. 

Veterans: Sergeanl Norman Parsons. Beards- 
town. transferred to Company F; Corporal 
William Fair. Beardstown. transferred to Com- 
pany F. 

Privates: Lewis Beckman, Chandlerville, 
transferred to Company F; Josepb Berwick, 
Beardstown, transferred to Company l': Johu H. 
Beadles. Lea nlst own. t ra inferred to Com- 
pany P : John Hatfield, Beardstown, transferred 
to Companj F; John Miller. Beardstown, trans- 
ferred to Company F; Williams Snow, Beards 



town, transferred to Company F; Martin Tread- 
way, Beardstown, transferred to Company P. 

Recruits: Aaron Abney, Beardstown, trans- 
ferred to Company F : Thomas Barber* Beards- 
town, transferred to Company F; Henry Cole- 
man. Beardstown, transferred to Company F; 
William A. Cunningham, Virginia, died at 
Helena. Ark.: William DeHaven, Beardstown, 
promoted to sergeant major; John S. Elliott, 
Berrytown, transferred to Company F; John 
Elliott, Virginia, killed near Tupelo, Miss. ; 
James Finchurn. Lancaster, transferred to Com- 
pany F; Albert Gilbert, Lancaster, transferred 
to Company F; David Griffin, Beardstown, dis- 
charged; Zachariah J. Hopkins. Virginia, trans- 
ferred to Company F: John J. Higginson, Lan- 
caster, transferred to Company F; George W. 
Snow, Beardstown, discharged; Henry M 
Sturtevant, Beardstown, promoted to second lieu- 
tenant ; Davis A. Tull. Beardstown. discharged : 
Martin Treadway, Beardstown, re-enlisted as 
veteran; David H. Wells, Beardstown, tran«- 
ferred to Company F. 

Cnassigned Recruit: William B. Warren, 
transferred to Company F. 

third Illinois volunteer cavalky (Con- 

Beardstown, died at Camp Butler; John Freese, 
Lancaster; William Whitlow, Beardstown. 


Veterans: John W. Anders. (Battery B), 
Beardstown. mustered out; Charles Carper. Vir- 
ginia, mustered out: Jacob Coultis, Beardstown, 
discharged, disability; Amos B. Dennisou, 
Beardstown, discharged ; Francis M. Davis, 
Beardstown. discharged, disability; Henry H. 
Dunham. Beardstown. discharged, disability; 
Elias J. Livermore, Beardstown, discharged, dis- 
ability; John McKenzie, Beardstown, discharged, 
disability; John Meyers, Beardstown, dis- 
charged, disability; George Noble, Beardstown, 
discharged, disability; John B. Sanders, Beards- 
town. discharged, disability; Edward Wein- 
schenk, Cass County, discharged, disability; Asa 
J. Whitsel, Beardstown, re-enlisted as veteran. 



Private John Pence (Co. B), Beardstown, 
mustered out. 

Recruits: George Barneycastle (Co. F), 
Beardstown. mustered out; William M. DeHaven, 
Beardstown. mustered out; Hiram B. Grant, 
Beardstown. mustered out: John N. Rosenberger, 
Beardstown, mustered out; John H. Thornsberry, 
Beardstown. mustered out; Lewis Thompson, 
Beardstown. mustered out; Willis S. Wright, 
Beardstown, mustered out : 

Captain Alpheus Conover (Co. G). 

Privates: Benjamin F. Barrom (Co. I). 
Beardstown. mustered out: Casper Coleman, 
Beardstown, mustered out; James A. Geer, 
Beardstown, mustered out; Charles Kirkliam. 
Beardstown. mustered out; Warren II. Monett, 
Beardstown, mustered out: Joshua Mibb, 
Beardstown; George Olden. Beardstown: Will- 
iam Ruff. Beardstown ; William Rhodes. Beards- 
town. mustered out: David Shiaeder. Beards- 
town. mustered out; John T. Wolford, Beards- 
town; Peter Wolford. Beardstown; Johnathan 
H. Anthony (Co. K). Chandlerville, mustered 

Unassigned Recruits: Leonard Shraeder, 

















The agricultural industries of Cass County 
began, like those of all the counties, when the 



earliest settlements were made. The first thing 
necessary was, of course, food for the settler 
and for such stock as he brought with him. 
Oxen which drew so many of the "prairie 
schooners" to this county were more easily 
cared for than other animals, as they could live 
off the grass in the summer-time, of which there 
was an abundance, and which was cut and 
stored away for winter use. Milch cows were 
turned out to roam the woods, their instinct 
leading them to follow one of the herd upon 
which a bell was placed. Often horses too were 
turned out with a bell on one so it might the 
more readily be traced by its owner and brought 
home if it failed to "come up," bringing the 
string with it. Although there was a great 
abundance and variety of wild fruit in the 
timber, and the settlers availed themselves of 
these natural products, yet that would not sup- 
ply all their need of food. We learn from what 
the earliest settlers tell us and from what we 
can read of those days in the records the 
pioneers have left, that about the first thing 
the settler did after getting a house of some sort 
to shelter his family, and a shed for his horses, 
was to prepare a "patch" of ground in which 
to plant corn, it being a recognized fact that 
corn, maize, was the cereal most easily grown 
in this latitude and climate. Then ten years 
between the time when the first settlers began 
to arrive, and permanently locate, and the crea- 
tion of the County of Cass, saw a great many 
farms opened, cleared and fenced, and even some 
of the stubborn prairie land well broken. 

Very little of the .3(10 square miles of land 
in Cass County is unlit for agricultural uses. 
That which is not suitable, or at least profitable 
to plant or sow to cereals, or other crops, is 
utilized for pasturage. A few square miles thai 
are yet of such a character, and are used for 
hunting and lishiiiLr preserves, are by reason 
of drainage districts and levees, being rapidly 
reduced from square miles to square acres. 
Aiioiit two-fifths of the land is a rich prairie 
soil, callable of producing the maximum yield 
of com, wheal and oats, which are the principal 
Crops. -More than a fifth is found in the 
Sangamon and Illinois river bottoms, and is of 
that quality of alluvial soil known only to the 
rich river valleys of this part of Hie United 
States. The remainder is of the timber soil 
and the unreclaimed bottom lands above men- 
tioned as fishing and hunting grounds, and a 

few sand ridges. The timber lands have been 

almost denuded of timber, and have, by reason 
of proper cultivation and scientific rotation of 
crops become almost as productive as the prairie 
lands. Besides the cereals above mentioned, 
rye, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, both Irish and 
sweet, are produced, and a great variety of 
garden vegetables grown for family use, and 
also for marketing. Watermelons and musk- 
melons, which, in the last few years have been 
grown and shipped to the market in carloads, 
form a great source of revenue from lands for- 
merly deemed worthless. The sandy soil near 
Beardstown, and in fact all through the Illi- 
nois river bottom is peculiarly adapted to the 
production of melons of both kinds, and sweet 
potatoes. The grasses grown are timothy and 
red clover and alfalfa, the last only recently, 
and not yet in any considerable quantity. It 
is still in the experimental stage, but is attract- 
ing much attention, and while the soil in the 
county best adapted for its production is 
limited, it is quite certain that efforts will be 
made to grow much more of it than has been 
done in the past. 

Agriculture, by very necessity, is the oldest 
occupation of man, and will, of course, ever be 
the occupation which will attract the interest 
of governments. Indeed all governments have 
given great care to everything pertaining to the 
soil, its products, and all agricultural pursuits, 
and wisely so. for the rapid increase of popu- 
lation is bringing to the front the most serious 
problem that confronts all nations in peace 
or war. that of supplying food for the people. 
Aid has been given the agricultural industries 
by the legislatures of all the states of the 
Union, and by the federal government itself. 
Schools have been established for the scientific 
study of soils, and of the better methods of 
cultivation and fertilization. If was in 1840, 
only three years after the organization of Cass 
County, that Justus Liebig and l'.ausim. mlt 
began the chemical analysis of the soil, since 
when great progress lias been made in that 
line ami the methods of farming have been prac- 
tically revolutionized, it was Colton who truly 
said: "Agriculture la the mosl certain Bouroe 
of strength, health ami Independence. Com- 
merce nourishes by circumstances precarious, 

Contingent, transitory, almosl as liable to change 
as the winds and waves which waft it to our 
shores." Under the old methods <>t" Farming, for 
the first quarter of a century, it was about all 
the farmer could do t" grow sufficient f I for 



himself and family. Indeed there was little 
encouragement for him to attempt more, for 
the low prices of all products, the uncertainty of 
a market, the depressing labor necessary to their 
production for the market, all made farming 
distasteful to the generation succeeding the early 
settlers, and resulted in the desire to find other 
employment more agreeable which promised 
more ready returns for labor. Those who par- 
ticipated in the early methods are glad to for- 
get^ them, and those who have had no personal 
experience, when they do hear of them, are 
thankful they live in another age. 


To return to pioneer activities. After the 
trees and brush had been cleared away, the 
early settler broke his land, and then if he was 
fortunate enough to possess an old "A" harrow, 
he dragged it over the ground to level it to 
some degree. Then if corn was to be planted, 
the ground was laid off by a sort of three-runner 
sled one way, and a shovel plow the other way. 
The corn was dropped by hand, by the boys and 
girls, the men following and covering it with a 
hoe. When there were not too many stumps in 
the way and the ground was sufficiently loose, a 
more expeditious method of covering the corn 
was adopted. A "jumper" was made like a 
single shovel plow, only the shovel was made 
square on the edge that entered the ground, and 
the driver would hold to both handles and when 
he reached the spot where tbe corn lay, he would 
lift up the plow, leaving the loose dirt dragged 
up to cover the corn ; that is, the driver kept 
jumping the hill with the plow, leaving the dirt 
to drop on the corn, and hence the name "jumper" 
was given to this style of plow. In the hands of 
a stout armed, skillful plowman, this implement 
did very satisfactory work. When the first 
corn planter came into use it was some time 
before the wary farmer could put trust in it 
to drop and cover the corn ; he would be seen 
scratching in the ground behind "that new- 
fangled thing," to see if the corn w T as really 
in the ground. 

The wheat, oats, barley, rye and similar grains 
were all sown by hand "broadcast," as it was 
called, and when it came to harvesting, tbe 
work all had to be done by hand, even the sickle, 
the implement of thousands of years ago, was 
at first the only tool with which the pioneer's 
grain was cut from the ground. For some time 

prior to 1800, a great portion of the grain grown 
in Cass County was cut with a "cradle," after 
inventive genius had given us something as a 
substitute for the old-time sickle. A cradle 
was made with a blade of steel nearly like a 
scythe blade, above which was a frame built, 
with five fingers of hard wood, shaped to follow 
the curve or partial circle of the blade. The 
fingers were supported by upright cross bars of 
light hard wood, and braced from the handle 
with small iron rods. The handle was attached 
to the blade like a scythe handle, but at the 
outer end it curved upward so as to form a hand 
hold, and on the handle, down toward the blade, 
was an extension handle similar to the extension 
handles on common mowing scythes of the pres- 
ent day. A few old cradles may occasionally be 
seen among the relics of old families, preserved 
from primitive days. 


The first threshers were the old "ground hogs," 
which knocked the grain out of the straw but 
did not clean it. The grain had to be cleaned 
of the chaff, either by the method used when it 
was flailed out, that is by tossing it up in a 
large sheet or cloth and letting the wind do the 
work of cleaning, or it had to be run through 
a fanning mill, the like of which, with some 
slight improvements, are in use still for cleaning 
wheat, seed, etc. Later, the separator or thresh- 
ing machine was so improved that it cleaned tbe 
wheat ready for the mill or market. Horse 
power was first used as motive power ; and when 
an old, broken-down threshing machine made 
its appearance in a neighborhood at threshing 
time, it created as much excitement as a one- 
ring circus would at the present day. The lamp 
of genius has burned as brightly and wrought 
as wonderful changes as Aladdin's of old, and 
we now have the steam thresher, the steam plow, 
the twine binder, the various riding plows, 
both for breaking the soil and for cultivating 
the corn, the potato digger, and the corn husker 
and shredder. In fact, so many and varied are 
the farm machines and mechanical appliances 
for use in agricultural pursuits, that farmer 
boys are often now mechanics and engineers, 
from practical use of the same and what was 
once drudgery on the farm has become a train- 
ing in mechanics. 

Among the earlier land products was flax. 
It was sowed, gathered, hatcheled, spun and even 

&n# iyj'^ ftf/lhms ££'■- 



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woven, and such uses made of it as was possible 
by home industry in those primitive days. It 
was found, however, that its cultivation in Cass 
County was not profitable, and the industry was 
abandoned. A few people undertook also to grow 
cotton, and it is said on good authority that 
prior to the "deep snow," in the winter of 
1830-31, from which many events are dated, the 
settlers raised sufficient cotton to supply their 
limited needs. The seed was extracted by hand, 
the cotton carded by hand carders, and then 
spun into thread and finally woven ; all of this 
labor being performed by the women and chil- 
dren. From the time of this unusual storm, 
however, the climate seems to have undergone 
a very material change, and has proven unsuit- 
able for the growth of cotton, although a few 
small fields were to be seen as late as 1860. It 
was a very common thing to see a small field or 
"patch" of buckwheat on the farms of the early 


A great number of families kept a few swarms 
of bees and the flower of the buckwheat was con- 
sidered almost indispensable to the bees in their 
work of manufacturing the best of honey. This 
was a great article of commerce, and the bees- 
wax was also eagerly sought, but more of both 
products was obtained from the wild than the 
domestic bees. The woods were full of bees, 
almost every hollow tree- might be expected to 
contain a swarm of bees with a large supply 
of honey. Therefore much honey and beeswax 
were shipped to St. Louis by the Illinois River; 
these articles forming a large part of the cargo 
of the raits, the earliest crafts on the river. 
As a great portion of I he timber land was yet 
owned by the Government, if was nol considered 
unlawful or improper t<> cut a bee tree, no mat- 
ter where it was found. Even after the land 
was entered, ami enclosed by the settlers, there 
was an unwritten law that any person finding 
n tree had the right to cut it. it became 

ciist ary, however, for the bee-hunter when he 

cut a tree, if it was on land whose owner was 
known and lived in the neighborhood, to take 
a port! f the honey to the Landowner. The 

settlers were pretty well Supplied with honey 
the year round. The next I. est thin- of a sae- 

eharine nature used by the earlj settlers, and 

by many to this day, was molasses made from 

sugar '"it r sorghum. This was grown much 

more in the earlier days than now, although in 
several parts of the country sorghum forms a 
part of the regular annual crop. In planting, it 
was drilled in rows as wide as corn rows, and 
the patch was usually placed in the end of a 
corn field, so that it could be cultivated at the 
time of plowing the corn. When ripe the boys 
were put into the patch to "strip" it. That proc- 
ess was the pulling off of all the blades, and 
tying them into bundles to be stored away for 
feed for the stock in winter. Then the tops were 
cut off and stored away for seed tor the next 
year, and for chicken feed. After stripping and 
topping, the stock was cut down and hauled to 
the mill. Several such mills were to be found 
in each neighborhood. Those used in the earliest 
times, and for some time on, were made of two 
upright rollers of wood, set close together, leav- 
ing space enough for the cane to pass through 
and yet crush out all the juice, which ran down 
into a receptacle placed at the bottom of the 
rollers. A great lever or beam extended from 
the top of the rollers out for quite a distance, 
and dropped at the outer end, where a horse 
was hitched as the propelling power. The horse 
moved in a circle and the "feeder" stood close by 
the rollers or cylinders, or sat down if he wished, 
the beam being high enough to pass over his 
head, as he poked the cane between the rollers. 
This simple device answered the purpose very 
well, and in molasses making season, the screech- 
ing of the old sugar cane windlass could he beard 
for a mile or more on any frosty morning. The 
molasses was made by boiling the cane juice in 
great metal pans over improvised outdoor fur- 
naces. Most of the settlers were skilled in this 
hoiling process and the youngsters had great 
sport in camping out at night to watch and keep 
up the tires. 


The breeding, raising and feeding of live stock 
has been one of the important industries of the 
county, of course closely connected with other 

agricultural pursuits. The largest farming and 
StOCl! raising industry of the county until about 
1874, was conducted by John Prunty, who owned 
nearly one thousand acres of land west and 
DOrthwesI of Ashland in section 29, and BectlOQ 
:',-. township IT. range s . In the year 1^-7 1 he 
planted al'oiit seven hundred acres in corn, thus 
changing the qualitj of his products. Mr. Prunty 

came to <"ass County in 1S34, and is said to he 



tlie first person to grow timothy in the county, 
and also the first who erected stuck scales. Cat- 
tic and hogs bad, prior to that time, been 
'•guessed oft'*' or driven to market and there 
weighed, and when Mr. Prunty erected his scales, 
it is said hundreds of people came to witness 
the experiment of weighing cattle. As far back 
as IS50 .Mr. Trinity fed and prepared for market 
150 head df cattle that averaged in weight over 
one thousand six hundred pounds. Most of the 
cattle prepared for market, either by feeding 
oY grazing, were driven east even as far as 
Baltimore. In 1842 a man named Long had 700 
head of cattle ready for the market and started 
them out 100 head at a time, the first bunch 
on the first of March. It was seven weeks hefore 
the last herd went out of the county. Two men 
went with each herd; one led a steer and the 
other, drove. John A.- Peteflsh, for many years a 
prosperous farmer of Cass County, and one of 
the organizers of the Centennial National Bank 
of Virginia, regards as an interesting incident of 
his life his trip with a drove of cattle, during 
which he walked from the vicinity of Virginia 
to Baltimore, leading a steer. 

There were a number of cattle feeders in the 
early years of Cass County, among them being: 
Jacob Epler, Jacob Peteflsh, Sr., David Epler, 
Christ Crum, John Epler, Levi Conover, Jacob 
Dinaway in partnership with Jacob I). Ward and 
James Crum. Among those of later years who 
engaged with more or less profit in feeding and 
shipping stock were: John W. Seaman. James 
Dick and his sons. Phil Buraker. George Paw- 
lings. William Stevenson and sons, Widmayer 
Bros., George H. Henderson, I. M. Stribling, F. 
C. Fox. Henry Campbell, George Virgin, George 
A. Beard, George Cosner, W. H. Conover. C. W. 
Conover. Marcus L. Crum. James Crawford and 
Henry Quigg. From the time these later ship- 
pers began, or embarked in the husiness to any 
considerable extent, railroad facilities for ship- 
ping were open to the market at St. Louis and 
Chicago, and through to the Fast. Robert Hall, 
who also shipped many cattle, often took them 
to New York or eastern markets by rail. 

The breeding and raising of pure bred cattle 
of various kinds was also engaged in to some 
extent. John Prunty, before mentioned, and 
William Stevenson and sons, had several herds of 
Durham or Short Horns which they often 
exhibited at the county and state fairs, and were 
very successful in obtaining first premiums on 
many of their exhibits. General Lippincott also 

engaged quite extensively in the breeding of 
fine blooded cattle on his Flat Meadow Farm, 
adjoining Chandlerville on the west, in the San- 
gamon bottom. While he produced cattle of a 
very high grade and of most excellent quality, 
he was not successful in the enterprise finan- 
cially. He paid fabulous prices for individuals, 
and although they produced him some most 
excellent individuals in return, yet he could not 
dispose of them for anywhere near the prices 
he had paid, nor at a price that would remun- 
erate him for the cost of maintenance. The 
profitable period of feeding and shipping cattle 
did not last a great length of time in the county, 
and the wiser ones abandoned the business to 
avert serious loss. Some few continued long 
after it ceased to be profitable to the general 
cattle men, in the hope that a turn for the better- 
would occur, and they added materially to the 
financial prosperity of the county by their efforts 
in that industry. 

The breeding of horses was engaged in by a 
number of individuals and firms. About 1880, 
the trotting horse fever struck the county. A 
company was formed and imported a fine high- 
priced horse from Kentucky, named Margrave. 
I. M. Stribling & Sons had the registered trotter, 
Prospect King No. 6176, which was. perhaps, 
the finest show horse of his time, in this part 
of the state. He was not a record breaker for 
speed, but could trot in low time. Other trotters 
were : Membrino King. Dubuque, Diatonic, 
Georgia. Francis M., Golight. and a few others 
whose names cannot now be recalled. Francis 
M. was owned by Archibald Mains, and was 
one of the first show horses in this part of 
Illinois, and was awarded first prize at the 
St. Louis Exposition in 1002. A number of indi- 
viduals and firms and companies later began 
the breeding of draft horses, on seeing that 
the trotting horse was not so profitable as had 
been anticipated, and that the market for 
roadsters was much more limited than that of 
the draft or general purpose horse. The latter 
venture proved much more successful and many 
are still engaged regularly in this industry. 


The census of 1S40, the first taken after the 
organization of Cass County, gives 582 persons 
engaged in agricultural pursuits in this county. 
By 1S70 there were 2,231 engaged in farming, 
and we had 92,902 acres of improved lands, and 



of unimproved woodland, 33,493 acres; other 
unimproved lands, 6,604 acres. All of this land 
was valued at $4,591,535. It will be interesting 
to note that in 1910 the farm lands amounted to 
207,007 acres, and the woodland land, 20,114 
acres, and the unimproved included in or con- 
nected with farms, 13,161 acres. The value of 
all farm lands was placed at $24,458,480. The 
values have nearly doubled since 1900, when they 
were at $12,658,084, an increase of 03.2 per cent. 
A comparison of the figures of the production 
of the cereals in the county in the years 1870 
and 1910 will show 1 letter than any words what 
progress has been made in agriculture. 

1870 1910 

Wheat, 139,219 bu. Wheat, 765,025 bu. 

Corn, 1,146,980 bu. Corn, 2,675,166 bu. 

Oats, 2,772 bu. Oats, 393,285 bu. 

Rye, 4,136 bu. Rye, 5,203 bu. 

Hay. 4,130 tons. Hay, 10,337 tons. 

All other crops have increased in like ratio. 

Quoting of additional figures would add little 
to the value of the information. The above 
clearly proves that the farmers of Cass County 
have kept up with the improved conditions and 
the progress of the times. 


The homes of the farmers have been greatly 
Improved, and many indeed that within the mem- 
ory of persons yet living, had but log cabins or 
other rude, comfortless houses, now have every 
modern convenience, including a water supply 
throughout the house, electric lights, and hot air 
or Steam heat, and every detail the ingenuity of 
man has provided to make home life enjoyable, 
in the way of material comforts. 


About 1853 the matter of organizing agricul- 
tural societies and of holding county fairs was 
agitated throughout the state, and many such 
were organized. <>n January 2, L856, the Cass 

Oounty Agricultural Society was organized at 
the courthouse at Beardstown. At a subsequent 
meeting held at Virginia, on June 15 of the same 
year, a constitution for the society was reported 
by a committee which had been previously 
appointed to draft and present the same, and 
was adopted. Nothing further was done thai 
year, hut in the following year it was thoughl 

best to incorporate a Fair Grounds Association, 
and an application was made to the Legislature, 
through Dr. Samuel Christy, who then repre- 
sented Cass County in the lower house, and a 
charter was granted on February 17, 1S57. The 
incorporators named were : John Prunty, William 
Stevenson, Samuel II. Petefish. Jacob Ward, 
James M. Hill, David Epler, and Isaac M. Stri- 
bling. The name given the organization was 
The Cass County Fair Grounds Association. This 
association purchased of Robert Hall Pi acres 
of ground adjoining Virginia on the west, and 
leased it to the agricultural society which had 
been organized the previous year. Both societies 
were composed of nearly the same persons, and 
frequently the same men were elected officers 
of both organizations. The first officers of the 
agricultural society were: Francis Arenz, presi- 
dent; Ezra Dutch, treasurer; John W. Sweeny. 
secretary, and John W. Seamon, James lib-key. 
Milton Stribling, John Prunty and Ebenezer 
Fish, directors. This organization continued in 
existence and held annual fairs until about 1886, 
when it was discontinued. New officers were 
elected each year and exhibits of live stock and 
agricultural products were encouraged by the 
offer of liberal prizes. These fairs were a great 
source of entertainment, education and culture, 
and their effect was felt by the agricultural com- 
munity, and aided materially in producing the 
excellent results in farming shown by the com- 
parative figures given above. 


The Virginia Park Association had been organ- 
ized and incorporated July 8, 1881, by R. W. 
Baliourn. George Coiiover and J. X. Gridlev. who 
opened hooks for stock and a large Dumber of 
persons interested in agriculture and stock rais- 
ing subscribed. The last few county fairs were 
held under the auspices of this association which 

had bought tl Id fair grounds. The last one 

was held in L889. Following that a few racing 
meets were held, but no agricultural fairs until 
1891, when John .Molleury and Charles M. Mar- 
tin com linled to attempt the holding of a fair 
themselves. The association offered generously 
to donate the use of itv grounds, and these two 
gentlemen proceeded t,> select a suitable corps 

of assistants and held wnat was known as "The 
Big Pair." and it was, in fact, a big fair. The 
farmers' Alliance was then still in existence, 
ami it was thought advisable to Interest that 



body. The best a! trad ions were sought and 
many obtained. That year was about the begin- 
ning of the scheme of sending out "advertising 
cars" by some of the western land companies 
to advertise their land by exhibiting products 
of the soil, etc. One of these exhibits was 
secured from Texas, and the B. & O. S. W. Rail- 
road Company was induced to lay a spur track 
into the grounds. The car made a very attract- 
ive and interesting exhibit. Another feature of 
the lair was addresses by prominent persons on 
the afternoon of each day. No county fair in 
the state ever gathered together on four suc- 
cessive afternoons so many prominent and able 
men of national repute as were gathered in 
Virginia the second week in August, 1891. There 
were: Gov. Joseph Fifer, of Illinois, who was 
then in the executive chair; ex Governor Hub- 
bard, of Texas, who had been ambassador to 
Japan under President Cleveland; ex-Governor 
and Senator Palmer of Illinois, and Senator 
Peffer, the Populist, of Kansas. It is needless 
to say that this array of prominent visitors 
attracted a large audience, which, together with 
all the other attractions and exhibits, made the 
fair very successful. The next year the same 
persons held a fair, however with less success, 
but without financial loss, but, feeling that the 
risk was too great, and because of the further 
fact that the World's Columbian Exposition was 
to be held at Chicago in 1893, and many people 
believing, with excellent reason, that there would 
be very little interest taken in local fairs, it was 
decided not to hold another fair. The appre- 
hension of the interference of the World's Fair 
proved to be well founded, as county fairs all 
over the state suffered very materially thereby. 
Cass County has never since held an agricultural 
fair. At the March term of the Circuit Court of 
Cass County, in 1910, a bill was filed to dis- 
solve the Park Association, upon which bill a 
decree was rendered during the January term 
of said court in 1911, and on February 11, 1911, 
a sale of the real estate of the association, the 
old Fair Grounds, was made to Marcellus C. 
Petefish, who built thereon a fine residence, and 
turned the beautiful park into a splendid 
suburban home. 

farmers' institutes. 

By legislative act, approved June 24, 1S95, 
Farmers' Institutes were organized, regular 
meetings being required held in each of the con- 

gressional districts once a year. County organ- 
izations were formed, and Cass County, which 
has always been active in any movement to 
advance the interests of the farming industries 
or better its condition, formed an organization, 
and has been holding meetings annually for a 
number of years. The purpose and original 
design of this organization was to encourage 
practical education among the farmers, and to 
assist in developing the agricultural resources of 
the state. To this end, at the meetings, such 
topics as cultivation of various crops, the care 
and breeding of domestic animals, dairying, 
horticulture, farm drainage, and improvement of 
highways, are discussed, and a lecture is usually 
delivered on some one or other of these subjects 
by some one scientifically and practically 
informed. The effect of the work of this organ- 
ization has been materially felt, and the excel- 
lent results are seen in every locality of the 
county. Very much of the increased production 
and valuable improvement are traceable to the 
active participation in this movement by the 
energetic farmers of Cass County. 

















/^70cAy^r X', 



**''»«; L£M0X AMD 
1 "LB6W r ouwo ;j 







The educational interests of Cass County are 
represented almost exclusively by the public 
schools. With the exception of a few parochial 
schools, maintained by some of the church organ- 
izations, which do not in any way interfere with 
the attendance of their pupils on the public 
schools, the whole school system and institutions 
of learning are under the supervision of the 
officers created by the school laws establishing 
a free school system for the state of Illinois. 
The state was very slow in adopting the sug- 
gestion made in the ordinance of 1787, "for the 
government of the territory northwest of the 
River Ohio,'' which appears in Article III of that 
ordinance and is as follows : "Religion, morality 
and knowledge being necessary to good govern- 
ment and happiness of mankind, schools and the 
means of education shall be forever encouraged." 


The act of Congress of April 18, 1818, to enable 
the people of Illinois to form a constitution and 
state government, commonly spoken of as "the 
enabling act,'' emphasized the idea that schools 
should have governmental support by submit- 
ting for acceptance by the state, the proposition 
contained in an act of Congress passed May 17, 
establishing the rectangular system of land 
measure, that section number 16 in every town- 
ship (and when such section has been sold or 
otherwise disposed of. other lands equivalent 
thereto, as contiguous as may he) shall be 
granted to the state, for the use of the inhab- 
itants Of SUCh township for the use of schools. 
The constitutional convention for the new state 

of Illinois t at Kaskaskia, and on August 26, 

ISIS, passed an ordinance accepting the ena- 
bling act, Including the proposition concerning 
the reservation of section 16 of every township 
for the use of the schools. Notwithstanding this 
reminder before them, the delegates to that nm- 
vetition omitted to mention the subject in the 
constitution. Not a word was said about schools 
in the entire Instrument, and although there was. 
under the reservation, thousands of acres of 
valuable land set aside as a source of revenue 

for this most laudable purpose, -no safeguards 
were thrown about the control or management 
of this vast estate. There was no word of 
encouragement, much less any mandatory pro- 
visions concerning the establishment of schools 
to reap the benefits of the wise and generous 
donation of the general government. Nor was 
the second constitution any better. It made no 
reference directly to the establishing of schools, 
hut only incidentally mentioned the subject in 
section 3 of article 9, providing that certain 
property including necessary school property 
should lie exempt from taxation, and again in 
section .". of the same article, vesting corporate 
authorities, including school districts with power 
to "assess and collect taxes for corporate pur- 

It was not until the constitutional convention 
of 1870 that the citizens of the state appear to 
have deemed the subject of sufficient importance 
to entitle it to notice. That constitutional con- 
vention devoted an entire article of the new 
constitution to education. 

The first section is in the following manda- 
tory language. 

"The General Assembly shall provide a thor- 
ough and efficient system of free schools whereby 
all children of this state may receive a good 
common school education." These words are 
few, but are broad and sweeping in their import. 
They have received a very liberal construction 
by the Supreme court of this state. 

The second section provides for the faithful 
application of all school funds, donations of prop- 
erty, grants and gifts to the objects for which 
rhey were made. Had some provisions of a like 
character been incorporated in the first consti- 
tution, or even in the second, there would have 
been k>ss devastation of the school property and 
especially of the school land reserved by the 
government. There would have been no selling 
of vast territories of the school lands at inade- 
quate prices, and the money borrowed by the 
state to pay current expenses. The third section 
prohibited the making of ; ;uiy grant or appropria- 
tion of public funds for or In aid of any church 
or sectarian purpose. The last section provided 
for the election and qualification of B county 
superintendent of schools for each county. The 
public schools are products of evolution in the 
educational line, it is true thai altera certain 
period in the life of our state, and for that mat- 
ter of all the western states, there appeared to 
be a new birth of educational thought and meth- 



ods of pedagogy, and indeed in everything per- 
taining to the teaching and training of the child 
mind, lint, nevertheless when it is examined 
closely, it will he found to be an evolution of 
the early system of subscription schools. 


The first attempt to establish a free school 
system for the entire state was made by Hon. 
Joseph Duncan, in 1S25, then state senator from 
Jackson County, who subsequently became a 
congressman, and later governor of the state 
of Illinois. The act was passed in January, 1825, 
and provided that two dollars out of every hun- 
dred received in the state treasury should be 
appropriated and distributed to those who paid 
taxes or subscriptions towards the support of 
schools. The aggregate revenues of the state 
at that time, however, were so small that the 
sum realized from the measure amounted to 
less than $1,000 per annum. While nothing defi- 
nite came of this act, and it was repealed in 1S29, 
yet it was in the right direction, and no doubt 
had its influence on later legislation. The 
appointment of a state superintendent of public 
instruction was agitated from about the time 
Cass County was created, 1S37, and was urged 
by educational conventions and by the limited 
educational press, and even in the legislature, 
but there was no provision of law for it, and it 
was not until 1854 that an act was passed creat- 
ing the office. The Hon. Ninian W. Edwards 
was appointed by Gov. Joel Matteson and held 
the office for two years. 

The legislature of 1855 passed an act which 
was approved February 15, 1855, providing for 
a complete system of free schools for the entire 
state. The constitution of 1S4S was then in 
force, but although it said nothing in encourage- 
ment of schools, free or otherwise, yet it did not 
limit the powers of the legislature in matters 
of school legislation, and hence it was slow 
methods of evolution that delayed the enact- 
ment of any measure helpful in a general sense 
towards building up an efficient school system. 
The constitution of 1870, as has been intimated, 
did not interfere with the prior school legisla- 
tion, but made it mandatory upon the legislature 
to maintain what legislation we had. or enact 
better, in order that the state might have an 
efficient free school system. A great many 
amendments have been made to the school law 
of 1S55, but the general system that law laid out 

yet prevails and under it Illinois has evolved as 
excellent a school system, and as practical educa- 
tional institutions as are to be found in any of 
the states of the Union. 

As was said in the beginning of this chapter, 
Cass County has the public free school system, 
only. It has no seminaries, universities or col- 
leges: At one time there was a seminary, which 
was later changed in name at least to a college, 
but that is long since out of existence. In 1857 
the legislature passed an act approved Feb- 
ruary 16 of that year, incorporating the "Vir- 
ginia Seminary of Providence Presbyterian 
Church," with the following persons named as 
incorporators : James White, A. G. Angier, 
George Wilson, R. B. Conn, J. N. White, John 
Rodgers, H. R. Lewis, Samuel McClure, William 
Stephenson, A. Taylor, S. W. Xeely, J. Van 
Eaton, and N. B. Beers. No seminary ever seems 
to have been built, bought or conducted by this 
corporation so far as can be learned. 

By an act of legislature approved June 14, 
1852, the "Virginia Seminary of the Cumberland 
Presbyterian Church" was incorporated. This 
corporation purchased a tract of land in the 
southwest corner of section 3, and a small tract 
adjoining in section 10, township 17, range 10. 
west, in Cass County, and by 1854 had built a 
good sized edifice to be used as a seminary. The 
school was opened and conducted until the 
spring of 1857, when for some reason which is 
unknown and cannot be learned, an application 
was made to the legislature for a change of 
name, and by an act of that body approved 
June 1, 1857. the name was changed to the 
"Fnion College of the Cumberland Presbyterian 
Church," and by that name succeeded to all 
corporate rights and property of the former cor- 
poration. It is not known who the first instruct- 
ors were. I. H. Miller had charge in I860, and 
Rev. McDowell from about 1803 to 1865. The 
college did not prosper, and the church digni- 
taries who had originally founded it became 
discouraged, the building was becoming greatly 
in need of repair, and it was thought best by 
the incorporators and the Presbytery to dispose 
of the property. Upon investigation, however, 
it was found no authority existed in the trustees 
to sell of dispose of their burden, and to relieve 
the situation, a new corporation was formed, and 
incorporated as an amendment to the two pre- 
vious acts mentioned. The act was approved 
and in force March 8, 1869. The original name 
was assumed, the new incorporators being : 



Thomas Wilson, Henry H. Hall, John Itodgers, 
Henry Freeman, Milton Berry, William Camp- 
bell, A. C. Crandall, J. B. Craft, Z. W. Gatton, 

and their successors. They were vested with all 
the rights and property of the former seminary 
and the Union College, and power to sell and 
convej the property was conferred. The school 
continued for another year, and then, it being 
very apparent that even under the new cor- 
poration it had not long to live, the Sangamon 
Presbytery of the Cumberland church, pursuant 
to the authority granted them in the last named 
act, concluded to sell and dispose of the property 
before it became absolutely useless. Thereupon 
it met upon September 2. 1870, and directed the 
trustees to sell the property, adopting the fol- 
lowing obituary resolutions: 

"Whereas, the Virginia Seminary of the Cum 
berland Presbyterian Church is in a dilapidated 
condition, unsuited to keep a school therein with- 
out extensive repairs, and whereas, there is no 
money in the board treasury with which to 
repair, and whereas, the seminary has ever 
failed to meet the wishes and expectations of its 
best friends, and whereas, three of the school 
districts including Virginia, have consolidated 
for the purpose of establishing and maintaining 
a graded school in the town, and whereas, the 
directors of the united districts have caused 
an election to be held which has resulted in 
authorizing them to borrow $5,000 to be spent 
in purchasing school property, and whereas, they 
have determined to commence building this fall 
in the event they cannot buy the seminary, in 
which case we could not compete with this school 
nor sell the property: therefore, resolved: That 
as Presbytery we instruct our hoard of trustees 
to sell the entire seminary property to the 
directors of Union District No. I. town of Vir- 
ginia, diss County, ill., for school purposes 

The price was fixed at $5,000, and the trustees 
were lei i to agree upon such terms as they 
thought besl as to payments, interest on deferred 
payments, etc. Following this authority, the 
trustees sold the property to the trustees of 

schools of township 17. m. range Hi. \\\. for the 
use of the inhabitants of the Union District. 
The deed hears dale of May 17. L871. The orig- 
inal building was built by George W. Weaver, 
a contractor and builder of Beardstown, and 
after the Union Districl tools possession 

extensive repairs were made ami the building 

served as a public SChoo] for many years. The 

seminary went by the name Union College for 
a long time, even after the name had been 
changed back to that under which it was first 
incorporated. With this one exception, however, 
as before stated, institutions of learning in Cass 
County have been the public free schools. 


A review of the early schools of the county 
will he of interest. Outside of the towns and 
villages and even in some of them, it is difficult 
to obtain definite information, as to the estab- 
lishment of schools in the various parts of the 
county before ami about the time of the adoption 
of the free school system, but the following is 
fairly accurate, and will at least serve the pur- 
pose <>f enlightening the present and future gen- 
erations of the difficulties under which the rudi- 
ments of an education were obtained by our 

Thomas S. Berry came from Virginia in IS29, 
a distance of over 900 miles, on horseback, carry- 
ing all he possessed in the way of worldly goods 
in saddle bags. lie stayed with Benjamin Strib- 
ling on a farm about one and one-half miles 
west of the present site of Virginia, the first 
winter, and the next two winters he taught :i 
subscription school in a cabin near the Strib- 
ling home. He seems to have been the first 
teacher in the central part of Cass County. 
William Holmes, afterwards the first representa- 
tive in the legislature from l';i<s County, taught 
the first school held near Sugar Grove, now a 
part of Philadelphia Precinct, in 1831. The 
school was held in the cabin of .Mr. Bolmes, 
which he had built when he came into the county, 
and had abandoned for the new frame bouse 
he buill further north. Mr. Holmes is said to 
have been an excellent teacher, hut rather too 
kindhearted and lenient with the unruly. Keel- 
ing Berry taught a subscription, or what was 
sometimes termed a select school from November, 
1839, to September, 1840, in a log house buill 
on section 27, township 17. range l". 

EABUESl IN l II i l li 1 n. 

Monroe Precinct seems to have I ecu the eurll- 

est ill the field with a sd 1. .lame- Davis had 

come to tiu> neighborhood in L820, ami entered 

the west half of the southwest c|Uartef of - 
tion 12, town-hip 17. range 11. and being of a 
progressive nature and realizing that it was 



necessary to facilitate legitimate progress by 
providing opportunities for the children to 
acquire some schooling, proposed to the neigh- 
bors, in 1829, that if they would render assist- 
ance, he would permit a schoolhouse to be built 
on ins land, suggesting as a location a spot south 
of his house on the south side of the highway 
which ran westerly about where the present 
highway is along the (ieorge Davis farm, and 
that he won Id contribute money and labor as 
well in order to provide a place where the chil- 
dren might he taught at least their "a-h-abs." 
Within a month from the time this generous 
offer was made, an appreciative collection of 
settlers had a log schoolhouse up and provided 
with puncheon benches for the children to sit 
on. and a large 2-inch plank set up on four stout 
legs or pegs for the teacher's desk ; and some 
greased paper pasted over the openings cut in 
certain of the logs, for windows. Behold the 
temple of learning was ready for use. Jesse 
Tierce was the first teacher, and had for some 
of his pupils the Clark children, David, Thomas 
and Patience ; James A., Julia Ann, John and 
Thomas Davis; Emily Spencer, Jake Shoopman, 
James and Nelson Graves, George Savage, Logan, 
Samuel and Mary Wilson, and Isaiah and Syl- 
vester Huffman. William Chapman was the 
next teat-her and taught for one term, when he 
was followed by John Gelespie. who was an 
excellent teacher and remained several terms. 
The burning of the old schoolhouse terminated 
his connection with the district. The chimney 
of this schoolhouse was built like most of the 
chimneys of the residence cabins, that is with 
sticks laid up like the logs of a house, and 
daubed with mud. Inside the fireplace the daub- 
ing was thicker and was supposed to be burned 
hard like brick and impervious to the fire, but 
a portion had cracked and fallen out and one 
night the chimney got on fire and soon spread 
to the building and burned it to the ground. The 
people soon had another cabin up and supplied it 
with glass windows, much to the delight and 
pride of the children. 

The Walnut Grove schoolhouse, on the south- 
east corner of the southwest quarter of section 
25, township 17, range 10, was built in 1S33, 
and this was known as the Princeton school for 
a number of years, as the children from that 
hamlet attended there before a building could 
be found or erected in Princeton for school pur- 
poses. It cannot be learned who taught the 
first school, but one of the early teachers was 

Joel C. Borinson, who taught during 1835 and 
1S36, and perhaps earlier. The schoolhouse was 
of logs and served well as a school building 
until 1S45, when a storm in the nature of a 
cyclone, in June, 1S45, scattered its logs through 
the timber. 

In 1S42 Alexander Huffman taught a private 
school in his own house, in Monroe Precinct. 

In 1830 a rude log schoolhouse was built on 
section 35, township 19, range 9, on the Peters- 
burg and Beardstown road, in what is now Rich- 
mond Precinct. It was about where the Dick 
schoolhouse of the present is located. An Eng- 
lishman named James L. Grant, taught the first 
school. Among his pupils were C. J. Wilson, 
Pollie Dick, John Hash, James and Levi Dick, 
and Henry Taylor. It is said that Mr. Grant was 
an excellent teacher. At Puncheon Grove, south- 
east of Mr. Grant's school, the Baptists erected 
a church building in 1S42, which was used as a 
schoolhouse during the week days. 

In Hickory Precinct, which was then named 
Bowen, the first subscription school was taught 
by B. F. Nelson in the fall of 1834, in a vacated 
log cabin, standing near the site of the Jacob 
Houk residence, on the Sangamon Bottom road. 
Mr. Nelson is described as a person prepos- 
sessing in appearance, scholarly, and gentle- 
manly in his manners, but entirely without 
energy and industry. The cabin caught fire and 
burned down from his carelessness, so it was 
thought, and this ended the school for that sea- 
son and for several others, as no more school 
was held in that neighborhood until 1S36, when 
William Cole built a small cabin for the sole pur- 
pose of a schoolhouse' and tendered it to any 
person competent to teach. Carlton Logan 
accepted the challenge and subscriptions and 
taught during the winter of 1S36. In 1S40 a 
log schoolhouse was built on the present site of 
the Hickory schoolhouse, which served the pur- 
pose of a schoolhouse for seventeen years. A 
new frame building was erected in 1S57, and for 
five years the distinguished L. U. Revis wielded 
the birch, or more properly speaking, the split 
clapboard, as no birch grew in that neighbor- 

In 1S39 a schoolhouse was built on the present 
site of Bluff Springs, but its exact locality can- 
not lie ascertained, but it is believed to have been 
located where the store building of John Clark 
was burned a few years ago, at the crossing 
of the two public highways. Henry Babb was 
the first teacher, and Mary Ann Lindsley the 



roil: t 



I hi i;c|l. BE IRDSTOWN 


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second. Miss Lindsley was the wife of John L. 
Buckley, to whom she was married June 2, 1S44. 
The third teacher was Mr. Humingston. whose 
Christian name is not known. In 1860, Bluff 
Springs built a substantial frame school build- 
ing about half a mile south of the present village, 
and has since added another room, and now has 
as excellent a country school as may be found 
in the county. 

Oregon Precinct secured a schoolhouse at what 
is now known as Quebec as early as 1840, 
through the efforts of James Garner, Elijah 
Carver and James Mathews. Its first teachers 
were William Pallet and Miss Dorothy Major. 
The next school built in Oregon was at the point 
near the center of the precinct which had borne 
the name Oregon from about the time of the 
organization of a church society in the neigh- 
borhood. In 1855 a congregation of Methodists 
was established and a schoolhouse built for the 
common purpose of a school and meeting house 
for the church. Until about this time all the 
schools mentioned heretofore had been conducted 
on the subscription plan. There was no such 
thing as a public tax for the maintenance of 
schools. Nearly everyone in a neighborhood who 
had children to send to school paid something, 
if they did not have money they paid in produce 
of some kind, and almost any kind was regarded 
as legal tender in those pinching days. A col- 
lege education was not necessary as a qualifica- 
tion for a teacher in pioneer days. A knowledge 
of "readin", 'ritin' and 'rethmetic,*' and in the 
latter branch of those mysterious arts, to be 
able to cipher to the double rule of three was 
deemed sufficient for all practical purposes. 
Many of the early teachers, however, did know 
much more than these rudimentary branches, 
hut did not deem it wise or safe to reveal their 
more advanced learning. Had a teacher been 
discovered demonstrating a problem in Euclid 
he would have been regarded as a necromancer, 
and looked upon with grave suspicion. 

In villages and cities, the beginning of local- 
ities which have since developed into schools, 
was much the same as in the districts which 
have remained rural. In the Panther ( 'reek set- 
tlement, which ultimately became the thriving 
village of Chandlerville, the flrsl school was con- 
ducted by .Mrs. Henry Infills, w 1 pencil ami 

taught the school in her private residence, south 

Of the Dr. ('handler home. After several terms 

she discontinued the work and was succeeded by 
Mrs. Emily Chandler Allen, a sister of Dr. 

Chandler, who permitted her the use of his 
home for school purposes. The school was con- 
ducted for a year. John Packard taught a school 
at his residence on the farm south of the set- 
tlement, known for many years as the Hash 

In 1838, Dr. Chandler becoming tired of having 
his private residence used as a schoolroom, built 
a small frame house toward the east, and near 
the present business part of the village, where 
Mrs. Ingalls resumed teaching, and continued 
until the spring of 1841, at which time a church 
society had been organized and a church build- 
ing erected and the small schoolhouse becoming 
crowded, the church building was tendered for 
use as a schoolroom, and from the beginning of 
the winter term of that year on there was a 
regular school, taught in turn by Miss Dunham. 
Miss Pease, and Miss Hosford. Others who 
taught subsequently were: David Craig. Peter 
Piekard, Emily Chandler and Helen Cotton. 
These schools were all subscription, and this 
kind of school prevailed until 1856, when the new- 
free school law began to be put into action. 
That year a frame building was erected on lot 
CO of the original town, which is the site of the 
present school grounds, and that answered for 
a school building until 1868, when a portion of 
the first brick school was erected. In 1STS the 
brick building was completed then containing 
five rooms. The attendance however Increased 
to such an extent that in 1900 a new, substantial 
brick building with many modern conveniences 
was built, and Chandlerville now has a first class 
school in its limits, and a number of country 
schools in the precinct. 

Arenzville Precinct had the same experience 
with the early schools as did the other parts of 
the county. A church building was erected in 
1^.'!'.>. within the present town limits on ground 
donated by the proprietor of the town. Francis A. 
Arenz, which was used during week days a- a 
school. Aboul 1858 a school building was erected 
on the south half of block I of the original town. 
and used as a school until ls77. when lot :; of 
the same block was purchased ami a building 
was erected. It served the village until IS92, 
when grounds and buildings were sold to the 
village trustees, and arc now a8ed a- town hall 
ami calaboose. In June, 1891, the district bought 
a pari of out lot :i and commenced at once to 
erect a new school building, it was completed 
in IS92 and was occupied until November 11, 
1908, when it was burned ;it 2:30 p. m. ami com- 



pletely consumed. Prompt action was taken 
by the school board and in 1910 a splendid new 
up-to-date building was ready for use. and has 
furnished the village and school district with 
every accommodation deemed necessary for 
school purposes. 

Ashland did not come into existence as a 
village or precinct until the free school system 
was in operation, yet it had some difficulty in 
getting schools inaugurated. In 1859 a school 
was organized and an old abandoned building 
previously used as a grocery store was fitted 
up as well as possible, and there George Collin 
taught the first school within the village limits. 
The only school outside the village prior to that 
date was one known as the Beggs school. For 
three years school was conducted in the old gro- 
cery building when the present site was pur- 
chased, in block 97 of the original town, and a 
frame building erected which served until I860. 
In that year a new brick building of two rooms 
was erected, but the next year it was badly dam- 
aged by a storm. It was repaired and lasted 
until 1881, when the present building was 
erected under the supervision of William Doug- 
las. William Jones and Silas Hexter. Ashland 
schools have a well developed progressive system 
of grade and high schools. 


Beardstown, the village, the town, the city, 
has been most active, energetic and successful 
in establishing and maintaining a public school 
system, that now stands in the very foremost 
rank of city public free schools. The founder 
of the town, Thomas Beard, and his most inti- 
mate friend and associate, Francis A. Arenz, 
were both graduates of colleges, and appreciated 
highly the advantages of an education. Although 
these men. as well as many other enterprising 
early settlers of Beardstown, lent their aid in 
every way possible under the environments and 
primitive conditions, Beardstown had many of 
the experiences that other parts of the county 
had in laying a foundation for the education of 
the children. The history of the Beardstown 
schools is presented in a brief sketch entitled 
"Educational Progress in Beardstown," by Hon. 
John Listman, clerk of the city court of Beards- 
town, and secretary of the school board for a 
number of years. 

"Early education in Beardstown was carried 
on under very discouraging conditions. There 

were no free schools, and all the schooling the 
children received was from subscription schools 
common in those days. Such schools were main- 
tained by the heads of families, by paying so 
much per month for each child. These schools 
were taught by parties who had sufficient learn- 
ing to give instructions, including the 'birch* and 
'hickory,' but had no special preparation for 
teaching. These schools were hard on the chil- 
dren of the poor. If a man could not pay the 
fee he could not send his children. These schools 
were held in shops, warehouses, and other build- 
ings very poorly equipped for school purposes. 
The first school taught in Beardstown was a 
subscription school kept in an unused building 
facing on State street, between First and Second 
streets. In the year 1833, Thomas Beard, the 
founder of the city, erected a building on Sixth 
street, immediately east of State street, which 
he donated to the public for educational pur- 
poses; and later the building was occupied by 
Dr. Hoffman as an office and chemical laboratory. 
During the forties, an old warehouse, situated on 
the corner of La Fayette and Second streets, was 
used as a schoolhouse for several years. Be- 
tween the years 1830 and 1853, schools were held 
in different buildings; and parochial schools 
were also maintained during that time by vari- 
ous churches. In 1852, Beardstown began the 
erection of a spacious brick school building, 
known as the Brick School, on block 36, March 
and Beards' addition, where now stands the 
Central building. This building was completed 
in 1853, and was the first free school in the city. 
It served the people until 1884, when the present 
Central building was erected at a cost of over 
$26,000. In 1887, two rooms were erected in the 
East ward, and two rooms in the West ward. In 
1889, two more rooms were added to the West 
ward building, and in 1890, two more rooms were 
added to the East ward school, now called the 
Washington school. In 1893, the Second and 
Fourth ward buildings were erected. In 190S, 
the Second ward building was removed and the 
Lincoln building was erected on the same lot: 
and was opened in the spring of 1909, and is now 
the home of the high school, which is growing 
rapidly. Two more rooms have been added since 
to the Washington school, making it a six-room 

"But the problem of taking care of the chil- 
dren of the west side of the city has been for 
some time, so to speak, the child of sorrow, to 
the board of education, and was not easy of solu- 



tion. The Fourth ward building had for a time 
been considered unsafe, and yet could not be 
dispensed with unless other provision could be 
made to house the children residing within the 
bounds of the west side district of the city. But 
the solution came sooner than anyone expected 
or looked for. In the spring of 1913, during the 
extreme high water, it became evident that the 
Fourth ward building was unsafe, and had to be 
condemned and abandoned. It thus became im- 
perative for the board of education to take some 
decisive action in reference to making provision 
for the children residing within the West ward 
district, and to erect a building on some site 
centrally located within the district and easily 
accessible to all children residing within its 
bounds. It so happened that this site became 
available, a bond issue of $2">,000 was voted, and 
after due deliberation the board proceeded 'to 
erect a school building of eight rooms, and which 
should be artistic in its architectural aspects ; to 
be equipped with all modern devices, and to make 
it in all respects as nearly as possible an ideal 
school building which would be a credit to our 
city, and in which we all could feel and take 
pardonable pride,' the board being prompted by 
the principle that the best is only good enough 
for our children. The building known as the 
Beard school, situated on the site of the old city 
cemetery, was completed and formally dedicated 
October 30. 1914. The total value of our school 
property today, including this building, is about 
$170,000. The enrollment in our schools last 
year was 1,421 pupils." 

Thus it appears the public schools of Beards- 
town have made a most creditable progress. 
About thirty years ago when the idea was first 
attracting the attention of school boards and 
teachers, manual training was introduced in the 
Beardstown schools, but did not remain long 
enough to give it a fair test as to Its utility, but 
five years ago it was reinstated and seems to be 
gaining in favor. A new feature in school work 
is the organization of Parent-Teachers' Associa- 
tions. They have SUCh an association DOW in 
Beardstown. and it is proving of eery great help- 
fulness to the discipline of schools. Truancy of 
pupils iii Beardstown has been reduced to the 
minimum. A circumstance connected with the 
Beardstown schools especially worthy of note is 
tile fact that one person was for so many \ears 
employed as a teacher. The Illustrated lured 
ory of ('ass County Schools, published by A. !•'.. 

Iiiniiers. then county superintendent of schools, 

1002, contains a portrait of Mrs. J. G. Dowler, 
and the editor has this to say : 

"We take pleasure in presenting the picture of 
Mrs. J. G. Dowler, who is a pioneer school 
teacher of this county and perhaps of the state. 
Mrs. Howler has taught for forty-four consecu- 
tive years in the Beardstown schools. A great 
many of Beardstown's prominent citizens were 
at one time pupils of hers. In addition to her 
many years of experience, Mrs. Dowler keeps 
abreast with the times and is well posted on the 
modern methods employed in teaching. We be- 
lieve that Mrs. Dowler*s record as a teacher can 
hardly be duplicated." Mrs. Dowler continued 
with the schools as a teacher until 1907, making 
in all forty-nine years' service in the public 
schools of her native city. 

The schools of Beardstown and the two rural 
schools in the district are under the supervision 
of Prof. H. G. Russel, superintendent, while the 
school board of education has a system of com- 
mittees by which the general management is 
attended to. These committees are: Buildings 
and Grounds, E. E. Nicholson, chairman. Dr. G. 
E. Soule and John Listman : Rules, Forms and 
Complaints, A. S. Coil, chairman. Charles F. 
Kenedy and John T. Garni : Teachers and Sal- 
aries, John Listman. chairman, and Dr. C. E. 
Soule ; Auditing and Finance. Dr. C. E. Soule, 
chairman. John T. Garni and E. E. Nicholson: 
Supplies and Expenditures. John T. Garni, chair- 
man, John Listman and E. E. Nicholson; Text 
Books and Library, C. F. Kenedy, chairman. A. 
S. Coil and Dr. ('. E. Soule: and Printing. Dr. 
J. T. Sehweer and .John Listman. Dr. J. T. 
Schweer is president of the hoard. 



School experience at Virginia does not differ 
materially from that of other points in the 
county. The earliest schools and their teachers 
outside of the city have been mentioned. When 
the town of Virginia was platted a few lots were 
designated as school lots. One of these was 
north of the presenl site of the new Methodist 

church, and ii i- -aid on that lot a- ea iT 

LS37 a cabin was buiil and used for school pur- 
poses. It Is doubtful aboul the building being 

a cal in. hut there was n school Kept in a build- 
ing there ami Miss Ann Jordan was the first 
teacher. Her successor was a Miss Williamson. 
Above the room used as the Harris Chair fac- 
tory, on the west vide of the public s piare. there 



was a vacant space, a sort of attic, but it was 
fitted up and used ;is a school room for girls and 
small children. Another school was kept in the 
upper story or loft et' the Protestant .Methodist 
church building, en one <>f the lots designated on 
the plat as a church l<>t. and being lot No. <i4 of 
the original town. Still another school was held 
in the Dwelle property on South Front street, 
which was a private residence. All the schools 
were subscription or select ones. Among the 
early teachers other than those mentioned were: 
MiSS Mary Ann Lindsley, later Mrs. John Buck- 
ley. W. M. H. Carpenter, who subsequently be- 
came county clerk, a Mr. Morgan. David Blair 
and others whose names are forgotten, all of 
their pupils having passed away long ago. 

In 1845, the county seat having been removed 
to Beardstown from Virginia, the courthouse, 
which had been erected in 1S3S, became vacant, 
and the county commissioners for the advance- 
ment of education, entered an order at the July 
term of the Commissioners' Court on July 14, 
1845, directing the clerk of the board to make a 
lease of the public square and the buildings 
thereon, being the house erected for a court- 
house, to the trustees of township 17, ranee 10, 
for a term of ten years, for a consideration of 
one dollar, the directors of District No. 1 of 
said township to have control of the property 
with authority to make necessary repairs and 
modifications of the building to fit it for use as a 
schoolhouse. The lease was executed and the 
building fitted up and used as a schoolhouse 
until 1851, when, at the December term of that 
court, on December 3, the commissioners, pur- 
suant to a petition from the inhabitants of Vir- 
ginia, and the school district, finding it was the 
wish of the people of the county, donated the 
said property to the trustees of township 17. 
range 10, for District No. 1 of said township, for 
school purposes, with provision that if the prop- 
erty or any part thereof be used for any purpose 
other than for schools, it should revert to the 
county. The property was accepted and used 
until 1867, when the building was remodeled. 
From then on it was used as a school, being the 
only school building in the city until the purchase 
of the seminary property as before described. 
After the purchase of the seminary building, the 
old building was used for a primary building 
and continued as such until May .""». Kill, when 
it caught fire and the upper parts were so badly 
damaged that it was remodeled as a one-story 
building and is still in use for the primary de- 

partment. Some of the early teachers were : 
John A. Loomis, Henry Phillips, now Judge 
rhillips of Beardstown, Miss Melvina Blair, and 
later in the sixties, J. N. Gridley, R. II. Beggs, 
Miss Mary Hansford and Miss Sallie Ross. 

The old seminary building and spacious 
grounds were contracted for in 1870, but the deed 
was not made until May 17, 1871. In this old 
building the high school of Virginia was inaugu- 
rated in 1873, with a three-year course. The 
first class to graduate was that of 1876, under 
Prof. Johnson, now a lawyer of California, and 
consisted of four members only, namely: Miss 
Flora B. Bergstresser. a daughter of a leading 
merchant of Virginia at that time : J. C. Cherry- 
holmes, a son of Abraham Cherryholmes, an 
early settler of Virginia ; Miss Nellie Snyder, a 
daughter of Dr. J. F. Snyder of Virginia ; and 
Miss Sallie Ruth Beadles, now the wife of Judge 
Charles M. Martin. 


In 1892 the school board and the citizens gen- 
erally believed the city should have a new and 
more modern building for the increasing school 
population. They immediately set to work. The 
old seminary building was torn down to make 
room for the new building, and on September 
IS, 1893, the new school building, which had cost 
.$20,000. and was a model structure, with all 
modern improvements and conveniences, was 
opened. Professor T. W. B. Everhardt was the 
superintendent of the city schools when (he new 
building was dedicated. With this splendid new 
building and the old one in excellent repair and 
conveniently remodeled on the interior, Virginia 
people felt they were well provided with school 
buildings of which they were justly proud, and 
which would serve them for generations to come. 
Alas for human hopes and calculations. In a 
few years both buildings were burned. The new 
high school building caught fire on the night of 
January 11, 1912, and was almost consumed by 
the flames before anyone was aware of the fire. 
It was a bitter cold night, the temperature at 
zero, and nothing could be done to save the 
building. All the school books, the records and 
the splendid library were at the mercy of the 
flames, and became a total loss. The year 1911 
and the first few days in 1912 were disastrous 
times for the schools of Virginia. First there 
was the burning of the primary building: then 
the cyclone of November 11, 1911, which damaged 



the high school building very badly, and then 
the culmination of the disastrous fire of January 
11, 1012. 


The Virginia people, having the characteristics 
of the American people everywhere, did not lose 
courage but provided for continuing the schools 
in the vacant rooms wherever a class could be 
bunted. The directors then proceeded to arrange 
for rebuilding. A bond issue of $20,000 was voted 
by the people of the district, which, together 
with the insurance money received for the 
burned building, provided means for erecting a 
new building and it was dedicated April 4. 1013. 
This building is of the most modern design, 
plain in exterior appearance, but equipped on 
the interior in a manner the experience of 
teachers and architects has demonstrated is best 
suited for school purposes. It cost about $33,000, 
and is built upon the same ground as the pre- 
vious building. These grounds comprise about 
nine acres, and are well shaded with trees and 
the property is one of the best in the county. 
Some objections were made by the citizens of 
the district to the location on account of the fact 
that it is so far from the center of population, 
it being at the extreme southwest corner of the 
city, but the grounds being so exceptionally 
suited for a school campus, and no steps taken 
to secure another location, the subject was 
dropped. The school has a department of man- 
ual training which contains some features Of 
domestic science. Prof. A. M. Santee is at pres- 
ent the superintendent of the city schools. These 
schools are upon the accredited list and are as 
progressive as any schools of the county. 

There are no high schools outside of (lie vil- 
lages and cities; the legislature, however, by an 
act passed and approved June 26, 1913, provided 
for attendance upon high schools by pupils from 
districts where no high school is maintained, and 
the work of the school does not go above the 
eighth grade. The parent may select the high 

school for his children to Which he wishes to send 

them, but this selection must have the approval 
ot" the directors of the district in which the pupil 
resides, and tuition is to he paid by SUCh district. 


There are sixty two rural districts in the 
county, two of them, the Lynn school in town 
ship 19, range 8, and die Bluff Springs school. 

Each lias two rooms and employs two teachers; 

therefore there are sixty-four rural teachers an- 
nually employed in the county. In the villages 
and cities the number of teachers are as follows : 
Arenzville has four teachers, including the prin- 
cipal. Ashland has nine teachers, including the 
principal, and has, in addition, a teacher who 
superintends the musical department. Chandler- 
ville has a principal and five teachers. Beards- 
town has a superintendent besides thirty-four 
teachers, eight assigned to the high school and 
twenty-six to the grades. Virginia has a super- 
intendent, four teachers in the high school, and 
eight in the grades, besides a director of the 
musical department. Teachers' institutes are 
held regularly each year during the vacation 
months, and teachers' meetings are held fre- 
quently during school terms. 


Prior to the amendment to the school law, ap- 
proved February Id, 1805, relative to the election 
of a county superintendent for each county, an 
officer called a school commissioner was elected 
in each county, whose duties and prerogatives 
were very similar to that of the county superin- 
tendent in that act provided for. The persons 
holding the offices mentioned in this county since 
its organization have been as follows: School 
commissioners — Richard S. Thomas, John P.. 
Shaw, Frank Holenger, and James K. Vande- 
ruark. The county superintendents of schools 
have been as follows: James K. Vandemark, 
the late Dr. Harvey Tate, of Virginia: John 
Gore, Allen J. Hill, who served from l.sTT to 
USSii ; Andrew L. Anderson. 1882-1886; I barles 
A. Schaeffer two terms to 1894; John G. Pearn, 
1894-1898; Albert E. Hinnes, 1898-1906; Henry 

Jacobs. L906-1914; and Walter E. Buck, Who was 
elected in 191 I for a term of four years without 
any oppositioi any ticket. 



0HUW M 0BG \m/ m ION \m> ia ' tOIOl - BO< [I i I 
en \.;\. i i B 01 i:i I IGIOI S BENTIlflENl in I iBl Y 
nMEfi i n:-i SI k\ ICES HELD IN ' iBINS 01 PI« 















The early settlers of Cass County came from 
so many different parts of the United States and 
of European countries, that it was but natural 
that there should be equally as great a variety 
of religious opinions and views. When Eli Cox 
came into the eastern part of the county, and 
when Thomas Beard located at the "Mound vil- 
lage of the Indians on the Illinois River, there 
was no organized religious society anywhere 
north of Jacksonville, nor was it certain that 
there was any such society even at Jacksonville, 
for that place was then but the merest straggling 
village, and was not even laid out as a town until 
several years later. It is true that the French 
priests had passed up and down the Illinois 
River for a number of years before that period, 
and had established missions among the Indians, 
but even these missions had been abandoned and 
the natives had relapsed into a renewed state of 
barbarism not at all in keeping with the teach- 
ings of the kindly disposed priests. So the re- 
ligion of Cass County, prior to 1835, may be 
said to have been that of the faith of each con- 
tingent of emigrants, which they had imbibed 
from their ancestors, and brought with them over 
the long, rough roads, through the forests and 
unbroken prairies, or across the wide sea from 
England, Ireland, Germany and other countries 
which all sent many excellent men and women 
to blaze the trail of civilization. Whatever de- 
gree, however, or variety of religion each com- 
munity or individual had, it was mostly con- 
sidered orthodox, and little attention was paid 
to the distinctions between denominations. There 
were no church buildings for several years after 
the white settlers began to arrive. As a matter 
of course people who had any religious sentiment 
at all, wanted their children educated to some 
degree at least, and so schoolhouses were erected 

as the first public buildings, and these, such as 
they were, were thrown open by the people for 
the purpose of holding religious services in them. 
The dwellings of the settlers were also opened 
to the itinerant preachers whenever they came 
along, and any and all people were welcome at 
the meetings. In the summers the meetings were 
often held out of doors, under the magnificent 
forest trees, and as the country increased in 
population, and preachers became more numer- 
ous, regular meetings, which were called camp 
meetings, were held in the groves and in the 
timber. People would come from points many 
miles distant to attend these camp meetings, and 
a great religious revival would ensue. Perhaps 
the most noted camp meeting grounds were those 
near the farm of William Holmes, east and north 
of the Cunningham tan-yard, about six miles in 
an easterly direction from Virginia. As time 
worked changes for the betterment of conditions, 
the people in the settlements built houses of 
worship, all sects usually uniting for this pur- 
pose. The first church buildings were of logs, 
covered with clapboards, but after the sawmills 
began to make their appearance, and the trees 
were converted into excellent lumber, very sub- 
stantial structures were erected. Most of these 
old buildings have disappeared, and the congre- 
gations that once so loyally supported the preach- 
ing services, have long years slept in the little 
graveyards that were to be found in close prox- 
imity to the church. 


The first itinerant preachers in Cass County, 
and some of the first to permanently locate here, 
were Protestant Methodists, although the Meth- 
odist Episcopals, the Baptists, Presbyterians and 
Cumberland Presbyterians, and some of the 
Christians or Disciples, came at a very early 
day. The source of information concerning early 
preachers, and of the early churches and re- 
ligious organizations, is so meagre, and of such 
traditional character that little that could be 
regarded as authentic, can he said. Rev. Red- 
dick Horn was certainly in the county in a very 
early day. and taking an active part in stirring 
up the sinners, and was chaplain on the staff of 
Governor Reynolds in the Black Hawk cam- 
paign, when the soldiers rendezvoused at Beards- 
town. It is said he was very erratic and dis- 
putatious, and the records show that he was sued 
several times in the first few terms of the Cass 



County court, and he in turn sued a number of 
delinquents. He served one term as circuit clerk 
for the county. The records also reveal the fact 
that he engaged in business transactions, and 
bought and sold real estate, purchasing some of 
the first town lots sold at Beardstown and Vir- 
ginia ; took an interest in politics ; was an un- 
compromising Whig, and withal, preached wher- 
ever and whenever he had an opportunity. In 
1S32 he preached in the schoolhouse at Beards- 
town, erected by Francis A. Arenz and Thomas 
Beard, and also in the courthouse at Virginia, 
built by Dr. Hall in 1838, under contract with 
the county. On one occasion, Judge Dummer, at 
Beardstown, announced that on the next Sab- 
bath, the president of the Protestant Methodist 
church would preach. A large congregation 
gathered, among them being X. B. Thompson, 
then circuit clerk, a man of great dignity, always 
scrupulously dressed in the latest fashion. He 
invariably wore a high silk hat, commonly called 
a "plug.'' When the hour for preaching arrived, 
to the disappointment of those assembled to hear 
the stranger, in walked Reddick Horn. Mr. 
Thompson was a Democrat, and disliked the 
Whigs cordially, and Mr. Horn especially. While 
the preacher was a good, Christian gentleman, it 
was said he "would walk a long distance to hate 
a Democrat." In order to make his dislike and 
disgust more noticeable, Mr. Thompson waited 
until Mr. Horn arose to read the scriptures, 
when, placing his "plug"' hat on his head, he 
walked down the aisle and out the door. The 
reverend gentleman, however, met the emergency 
with the ready wit of the early backwoods 
preacher, and while the distinguised Mr. Thomp- 
son was Hearing the door. Mr. Horn quoted in a 
loud, distinct voice: "The wicked flee when no 
man pursueth," and then expounded the doctrines 
of tlie scriptures as lie understood them, for an 
hour or more, without any further notice of the 


The Protestant .Methodists built the first 
church at Virginia. It was Located on one of the 
lots designated on Dr. Hall's plat of the place, 

as a church lot. and stood oil the present site of 

the Groodell Sidles Lumber yards. Another early 
'diner of that denomination was the Rev, Wil 
liain II. Collins, who was born in Sligo, Ireland, 
November 21, I7'.i~>. His parents emigrated Crom 

Ireland in 1796, and look a goal wit 1 1 them on 


board the vessel so that little William might be 
sure of having milk. The family lived in Mary- 
land for a time after their arrival in this coun- 
try, but later went to the state of Virginia, and 
from there to Ohio, where William married Miss 
Rebecca Brinkerhoff, April IS, 1825. He left 
working as a saddler to become a Protestant 
Methodist minister, and after preaching in vari- 
ous places in Ohio, came to Illinois about 1834, 
evidence of this being found in an advertisement 
in the Beardstown Chronicle, published by Fran- 
cis A. Arenz in that year. It has been frequently 
suggested that the expression "preaching at 
early candlelight" was the invention of some 
irreverent vaudeville stage performer, but not so. 
Here is the expression in the following adver- 
tisement or announcement : 

"The Reverend Wm. H. Collins from Ohio, of 
the Methodist Protestant Church, will preach in 
Jacksonville, on Thursday night, the 20th Last; at 
early candle lighting, and on Friday night at 
New Lexington, and on Saturday and Sunday 22 
& 2."., at Wm. Babbs, and on Thursday 27th at 
Beardstown in the new schoolhouse."' The date 
of the paper is March 15, 1S34. Mr. Collins was 
a fearless preacher, and a man personally of the 
highest integrity. Although not possessing much 
means, he was frugal and saving, and acquired a 
comfortable home for his family according to 
the standards of those times. During his resi- 
dence at Beardstown, he owned his own hoi 
and when he went to Virginia, he built a resi- 
dence on the east side of Main street, now ad- 
joining the livery barn property, a half a block 
south from the public square at Virginia. The 
house is yet standing, and in fair condition, 
being still used as a residence. 


The Methodist Episcopal church, established 

at Beardstown about 1836, had sent representa- 
tives to preach much earlier. A church building 
was erected in L848, at the corner of Fifth and 
State streets, and an addition was made to it in 
1^7 1. The old buildings were torn away in L8S9, 
and a splendid, commodious, up-to-date church 
erected, with Sunday school rooms, parlors and 
all modern conveniences. It also has a line pipe 
organ. The church lias a Large membership, a 

well organized Sunday school that is attended by 
the older members as well as the children. It 
has never been without a pastor since its or- 
ganifcal ion. 




On October 12, 1853, the Illinois Conference 
was held at Beardstown, the Rev. Bishop Scott 
presiding. At that conference, the Old Quincy 
district, which included Beardstown and Vir- 
ginia stations, was changed, and the Pleasant 
Plains district formed. Rev. Peter Cartwright 
was appointed its presiding elder. This new dis- 
trict was composed of the following appoint- 
ments: Beardstown station, Meredosia circuit, 
Havana, Jacksonville circuit. Sangamon. Virginia 
and Island Grove. Elder Cartwright had been a 
presiding elder of several districts prior to his 
appointment to the Pleasant Plains district, in 
both Kentucky and Illinois. It may be interest- 
ing to the present elders, or superintendents as 
they are now called, to hear what Elder Cart- 
wright said of the early districts. Writing of 
them some years later, and referring to the Old 
Quincy district, he said : 

"In 1S51, my four years having expired on the 
Springfield district. I was appointed to the 
Quincy district, where I had traveled fifteen 
years before; then my district extended from 
the mouth of the Illinois River to Galena, and, 
indeed, as far north as was inhabited by the 
whites; and yet further still, into the Indian 
country, where I superintended the mission 
among the Pottawatomies. My district was then 
between four and five hundred miles from north 
to south, and I suppose I would average one 
hundred miles from east to west. I thought then 
the district was a small one, for when I was 
first appointed to a district in the Illinois Con- 
ference in the fall of 1826, my district com- 
menced at the mouth of the Ohio River, and ex- 
tended north hundreds of miles, and was not 
limited by the white settlements, but extended 
among the great unbroken tribes of uncivilized 
and unchristianized Indians." Most of the pre- 
siding elders, and nearly all the itinerent preach- 
ers of every denomination of that early day. had 
the same experience. They traveled their cir- 
cuits, whether large or small, on horseback, 
through pathless timber, with a broken road 
only now and then; through the wide stretches 
of prairie, following a narrow path where the 
tall grass waved above them and their horses; 
over streams that were not bridged, oftentimes 
crossing on fallen trees, leading the faithful 
horses through the water beside them. Some- 
times the horses would swim the deeper streams, 
carrying their riders over in safety. These 

preachers slept out of doors, with their saddles 
for pillows, and the saddle blankets for covering. 
They found no well-heated, well-lighted, com- 
fortable church buildings in which to preach 
at the end of their journey, but more frequently 
delivered their religious message in some set- 
tler's cabin: and later in the log schoolhouses 
that began to multiply as the country increased 
in population. 

Rev. Peter Cartwright was a unique figure in 
those early days, and gained great fame and 
notoriety throughout Illinois, and, indeed, in the 
whole jurisdiction of the Methodist church, as 
an eccentric backwoods preacher of great per- 
sonal power and force of character. He, too, en- 
gaged in politics and was elected to the Illinois 
General Assembly, but when he came to try for 
a place in the national Congress against Abraham 
Lincoln, he was unsuccessful, although many 
Whigs who otherwise would have voted for Mr. 
Lincoln, could not resist the opportunity to vote 
for their long-time friend and spiritual adviser. 
Peter Cartwright was born September 1, 1785, in 
Amherst County, on the James River, Va. His 
father was an American soldier in the Revolu- 
tionary war. In 1790, the elder Cartwright 
moved to Kentucky with his family, and there 
Peter Cartwright was sent to school where he 
learned to read and write, and cipher a little. 
When about sixteen years of age, he was con- 
verted to religion, and soon began to ride a cir- 
cuit as an itinerant preacher of the Methodist 
Episcopal church. He remained in Kentucky 
preaching and filling the office of presiding elder 
until 1N23, when slavery, which surrounded him 
on all sides, became so obnoxious to him, he de- 
cided to emigrate to Illinois, hoping not only to 
get away from undesirable conditions, but also 
to better the prospects of his growing family. 
Accordingly, in 1823, with two companions, he 
set out on horseback for the beautiful land of 
the Illini. They crossed the Ohio River into 
Indiana ; went up the east side of the Wabash 
River towards Vincennes, and crossed into Illi- 
nois; followed the valley of the Wabash up to 
the grand prairie and across that to Fort Clark 
on Lake Peoria, where they crossed the Illinois 
River, and soon emerged from the bluff coun- 
try into the military tract. Making an investi- 
gation of the prairies and rolling uplands of that 
part of Illinois, they made their way south and 
back again to the Illinois River to the Mound 
village, which, at that time, says Mr. Cartwright 
writing of the journey years later, comprised 

0^041 - 




lmt one white family and one cabin, beside In- 
dian tepees. From tins place they traveled up 
the Sangamon River valley, then across in a 
southerly direction until they reached Richland 
Creek, in Sangamon County. Finding a tract of 
land with a double log cabin in fair condition, 
which suited him pretty well, Mr. Cartwright 
purchased it, and arranged to have it looked 
after until his return. Following a short stay, 
the little party started back for Kentucky, pass- 
ing through the squalid little muddy village of 
Springfield. In the fall of 1*24, Mr. Cartwright 
returned to Illinois with his family, and settled 
on the land he had purchased, and which he re- 
tained as his home the remainder of his busy, 
active life. The farm home of Rev. Cartwright 
was near to and a little north of Pleasant Plains, 
in Sangamon County, and there the most famous 
itinerant preacher of Illinois died, September 25, 


Rev. Levi Springer was another early itinerant 
preacher in central Illinois, and was really the 
first resident minister of the Methodist Episco- 
pal church in Cass County. Levi Springer was 
born near Springfield, Ky., January 22, 1797. 
He came to Cass County in 1S26, and July 11, 
1S27, he purchased of the Rev. Reddick Horn, a 
part of section 12, township 17, range 10, which 
Mr. Horn had entered from the government in 
1826. In LS30, Mr. Springer entered eighty acres 
of land in the same section, and in 1835, 120 
acres more, the balance of the section having 
been entered by Archibald Job, and Rev. Horn. 
On his land Mr. Springer built a cabin, a little 
north of the state road, which then ran near 
his premises on its way from Springfield to 
Beardstown. There was then no town of Vir- 
ginia. A few years later the cabin burned, and 
Mr. Springer built a new frame house a little 
further to the west. It was built of lumber 
sawed from logs cut in the woods nearby, and 
most of the Lumber, including the weather board- 
ing, is of walnut. The house still stands in 
excellent condition, and is occupied as a resi- 
dence by the only child of Rev. Springer, John 
S. Springer, who operates the Old home farm. 

Mr. Springer had a large circuit over which 
to ride to his appointments and be officiated at 
the funeral of many early settlers at quite a 
distance from his home. Be preached the 
funeral sermon of l>r. Ephraim Rew (the flrsl 

physician of Beardstown and of the west end 
of the county) near Bluff Springs, May 24, 1842. 
His first wife, Elizabeth Short, died February 
19, 1851. He afterwards married Elizabeth 
Freeman, a daughter of Silas Freeman, an early 
settler in the vicinity of Virginia. Some time 
prior to his death, Mr. Springer left the min- 
istry, and devoted his attention to farming. 
When he died, November 13, 1871, he left an 
excellent farm for his wife and son, it being the 
land he had entered from the government. Rev. 
Springer is buried in the family graveyard on 
the southeastern part of the farm. 

From the time Rev. Peter Akers, D. D., took 
charge of the mission station at Beardstown, in 
1830, the Methodist Episcopal church increased 
in Cass County, and charges were established 
at a number of points. Virginia charge was 
established in 1851. Services were held in the 
public schoolhouse, on the old west public 
square, which had been built and used for the 
first courthouse in the county. In 1S55 the first 
Methodist Episcopal church building was erected 
in Virginia, on lots 58 and 59 of the original 
town, on the north side of west Springfield 
street, one block west of the courthouse square. 
It was a frame building, about 30 x 50 feet, of 
oblong shape, and fronted south. It had a wide, 
double-door entrance, and a square bell tower 
above the front. The sawed timbers used in its 
construction were hauled in the fall of 1S54, by 
teams from the steam sawmill on Mauvisterre 
Creek, a few miles north of Jacksonville. Rev. 
Peter Cartwright preached the dedicatory ser- 
mon. The first pastor of the station was Rev. 
William Owen, in 1851, and the charge has been 
regularly supplied by the conference every year 
since. The old building served the congregation 
for forty years, but on July 25. 1896, the corner- 
stone of a new building was laid, and the edifice 
was dedicated on January 26, 1896, and stands 
on lots S3 and 84 of the original town, on the 
north side of State street, one-half block east 
of the courthouse square, it is a substantial 
brick building of gothic style of architecture. 
with a large main audience room, and Sunday 
school room to tin' side which may be thrown 
open with the main room. It has parlor and 
reading rooms on the second floor, is supplied 
With all modern conveniences, is beautifully 
finished ami decorated, steam heated and elec- 
tric-lighted. <>n November 11. 1911, it was 
almost totally destroyed by the terrible cyclone 
which is elsewhere described, but was inunedi 



ately rebuilt and restored without a change in 
design. The church has a splendid pipe organ, 
an excellent Sunday school largely attended, and 
supports aid societies organized according to 
modern ideas, so that the church organization 
is kept in the foremost rank of religious activ- 

At Chandlerville, a number of the Methodist 
faith were preached to in private houses until 
about 1850, when a regular pastor was secured 
for the charge, and the Congregational church 
building rented for service. In 1S52 a frame 
building was erected on a lot donated by Dr. 
Chandler, and the society has been kept up 
ever since. The remodeled church is a conven- 
ient place of worship, and the members of the 
congregation are prosperous. 

The Methodist Episcopal church at Ashland 
was organized in 1857, using the Mitchell school- 
house, southwest of the village, for meeting pur- 
poses for some time. In 1SG1 it was reorgan- 
ized, and meetings were held in vacant store 
buildings, and later in the village schoolhouse. 
A substantial frame building was erected in 
isTo, and the congregation increased and pros- 
pered, and having outgrown the old building, a 
splendid new brick building of modern stive and 
convenience was erected in 1011, on the same 
site. Walter S. Rearick, who has been president 
of the county Sunday school association for a 
number of years, has been superintendent of 
the Sunday school of this church, and one of 
the most energetic and active members of the 
Ashland congregation for over twenty years. 

Arenzville has a fine congregation of active 
and energetic members who erected a handsome 
new building in 1905, where they have regular 
services weekly, and a progressive Sunday 

There were a number of Methodist charges 
established in the rural parts of the county, 
some in a very early day, and others later on. 
Quite a number of them have been disbanded, 
and the church property reverted to the donors. 
or was sold and taken to other districts. There 
are yet churches at Monroe, Garner Chapel, Bluff 
Springs, Griggs Chapel. Richmond and Zion in 
Princeton Precinct. The Centenary Church, near 
the home of John Beggs, north and west of Ash- 
land, was built and named in honor of the hun- 
dredth anniversary of the Methodist Episcopal 
church in America. It is in an excellent com- 
munity, and is well supported. 


The first church building to be erected at 
Beardstown was placed on the corner of Fifth 
and Washington streets and designated the Ger- 
man Evangelical church. The building was com- 
pleted late in 1841, and served the purpose of the 
German Evangelical congregation until a change 
in the organization of the society itself was 
made in 184.". when the name was changed to 
the German Methodist church. At least a large 
I Nation of the former congregation adopted that 
name, and although the Evangelical church con- 
tinued in existence for a time, it disintegrated 
and the building was sold to H. T. Foster, who 
turned it into a dwelling. The other branch, 
known as the German Methodist, continued to 
exist for a number of years. 


The second church edifice at Beardstown was 
built at the corner of Third and Washington 
streets, in 1845, by the Presbyterians, but in 
February, 1S50, the organization became a Con- 
gregational church, and is known as the First 
Congregational Church of Beardstown. This 
church includes within its fold many of the 
best citizens of Beardstown, and the surrounding 
country. In 1909 the old brick building that 
had stood as a landmark on the public corner 
for so long a time, was torn away, and a new, 
up-to-date building was commenced. This was 
completed and dedicated in 1912. It is a hand- 
some structure and so built and apportioned as 
to meet the requirements of the prosperous con- 
gregation and the excellent Sunday school. 

There is but one other Congregational society 
in Cass County, and it is located at Chandler- 
ville. This society also started as a Presby- 
terian organization under the guidance of Revs. 
Hale and Baldwin, in October, 1S36. Services 
were held in the house of Dr. Chandler, but in 
1841, a church building of moderate cost was 
erected, and regular pastors employed. By a 
vote of the members, the organization became 
the Congregational church, and the change was 
made a matter of record in 1S47. This congre- 
gation had some noted people as its pastors or 
occasional preachers, including President Stur- 
tevant and Prof. J. B. Turner, of the Illinois 
College at Jacksonville, as well as Rev. Thomas 
Lippincott, father of General Charles E. Lippin- 
cott. These ministers were all noted men in the 



early history of Illinois, and their respective 
biographies, which appear in the first volume 
of this work, are very interesting and worthy 
of perusal. In 1879 the congregation believed it 
time to erect a new house of worship. The little 
old church which had stood the storms for forty 
years was still in fair condition, but no longer 
suitable for the needs of the large congregation 
that had grown up in the progressive village. 
The old building was sold to a carpenter, Jacob 
Metzmaker, and moved off the lots, and a new, 
commodious frame building erected. It was 
dedicated January 14, 1881. This building 
served until 1901: when, while it was under- 
going some repairs, it mysteriously caught fire 
and was totally destroyed. A new building was 
commenced soon thereafter and finished, being 
dedicated December 9, 190G. It is of frame, of 
handsome design, and stands in a beautiful 
grove on a tract of high, rolling land, originally 
donated by Dr. Chandler, the founder of the 


Among the early Baptist ministers were Rev. 
Cyrus Wright and Rev. William Crow, the latter 
being said to have preached at many places in 
the eastern part of the county as early as 1827. 
Rev. Cyrus Wright preached at most of the 
appointments in the county throughout the 
country regions, and in Virginia and Beards- 
town. He later entered politics, was elected to 
the lower house of the legislature, and served 
his constituents well in that body. 

The Baptists now have a good sized congre- 
gation and a now and unusually handsome, 
modern church building, at Ashland. In that 
community, although long before the idea of its 
developing into a town or village, William Crow 
and a few other devoted members of the faith, 

had preached the gospel to the scattered settlers. 

At .Mt. Olive, on the upper Sangamon bottom 
road, iii Richmond Precinct, there lias been a 
Baptist Church for about forty years, but its 
Services are very Irregular, and it seems difficult 

to keep a pastor employed, although the com- 
munity is composed of as excellent citizens as 
are to be found in the county. There is also 

a I'.aptist church at Beardstown, organized 
recently, that seems to be gathering sum.. 
strength. At Virginia, where the Baptists are 

not numerically strong, there is a very com- 
fortable church edifice, but no regular services 

have been hebl in it for some time. 


The Lutheran church at Beardstown and else- 
where in the county has a number of church 
societies and houses of worship. The church at 
Beardstown, known as the Fourth Street 
Lutheran church, was instituted by certain 
members of the German Methodist church, who 
felt that a new organization would better enable 
them to conduct their services aud exercise their 
faith in accordance with their views of the 
teaching of the scriptures, than they could by 
remaining with the German Methodists. In 
1S4S a building was erected on lot 1 of block 45, 
original town, which was used as a school for 
the church, as well as for a place of worship. 
.About 1850, the congregation built a church at 
the corner of Fourth and Lafayette streets. 
About 1871, a difference arose among the mem- 
bers, and a new church society was formed and 
a new building erected, on Sixth street, where 
the new congregation worships. In 1894 the 
Fourth street church built a new building, of an 
excellent, ornamental as well as practical design, 
and it is well furnished and handsomely deco- 
rated on the interior, is also supplied with a 
splendid pipe organ, the first one to be placed" in 
any church in the county. Services are con- 
ducted in both German and English. An ener- 
getic Sunday school is an important feature 
of the church. 

At Chandlerville, a local society of the Evan- 
gelical Lutheran church was organized in 1870, 
and in a short time erected a church building. 
Previous to the construction of their building, 
they had held services in the Congregational 
and Christian church buildings. A parochial 
school was organized in connection with the 
church, the minister of the church acting as a 
teacher. The congregation is not large, but 
includes the majority of the German families 
in tlie village and surrounding country. 

Arenzville has a flourishing Lutheran con- 
gregation which has been in existence since the 
platting of the village. A new church building 
was erected later on. the materials used being 
brick ami stone, ami the completed edifice la 
as substantial a structure as may be seen out- 
side of the city of Beardstown. 

A convenient church edifice was built by the 

Lutherans at Bluff Springs iii 1910, where regu- 
lar Services are held which arc attended by a 

fair congregation. 

Aboul two miles north and a little wesl of 



Arenzville, on section 25, township 17, range 12, 
the Lutherans have a church and a school where 
they have ministered to the spiritual wants and 
educational interests of the community for over 
forty years. About six miles west from this 
church, on section 30, of the same township, was 
erected, about 1876, another Lutheran church, 
and a parsonage. It has ever since been main- 
tained for the benefit of the residents of that 
neighborhood who otherwise would be compelled 
to go a long distance to attend public worship. 
At one time a country post office was established 
at that point, and named Lydia. 


The Cumberland Presbyterians were the first 
to erect a church in Arenzville, which was in 
1854, but it appears when completed there were 
not sufficient funds in the treasury to defray the 
expense, and by common consent the building 
was used by all denominations until 1870, when 
the Cumberland Presbyterians paid off the debt 
and became sole proprietors. This denomination 
flourished well and was very prosperous for a 
number of years, and established churches at 
Virginia, where a brick edifice was erected, and 
at Hickory, on the Sangamon bottom, which still 
maintains its organization and au excellent 
country Sunday school. There is a regular 
pastor at this charge. 

The Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian church 
was organized in the neighborhood about three 
and one-half miles west of Virginia, and in 1857 
a frame building was erected, of the style then 
in common use for country churches. It stood 
on section 6, township 17. range 10. and faced 
the highway toward the west. Later it was 
deemed advisable to seek a new location for the 
building of a new church, and the old one was 
disposed of, a tract of land secured on section 
31, township 18. range 10, ou the east side of 
the public highway running north and south, 
and but a small distance north of the line of 
the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad. 
There a new frame building of about the same 
seating capacity as the old church, yet of more 
modern design, was erected, in which the serv- 
ices are pretty regularly held, and a Sunday 
school is maintained throughout the year. The 
church building of the Cumberland Presbyter- 
ians mentioned as having been built in 1S79, at 
Virginia, is no longer used for public worship. 
It stands on the lot on the northwest corner or 

junction of east State and Cass streets. The 
Woman's Club now occupies it as a rest room 
and meeting place for the transaction of club 


On November 21, 1911, the congregation of the 
Central Presbyterian church aud that of the 
First Presbyterian church of Virginia, united, 
and occupy as a place of worship the new church 
built by the latter organization. Upon the con- 
solidation of the two congregations, they adopted 
the name originally borne by the first church, 
that of the Presbyterian church, of Virginia. 
It is the largest and most active church of that 
denomination now in Cass County. The original 
Presbyterian church of Virginia was organized 
on July 4. 1863, upon petition that was signed 
and headed by Dr. G. W. Goodspeed. the well 
known physician who lived and practiced his 
profession for so many years at Virginia and 
in the surrounding country. The church build- 
ing, however, had been erected in 1857, but not 
quite completed that year, although services 
were held therein, and the next year the build- 
ing was completed. This church was thereafter 
used for forty-four years. Rev. John Dale, who 
was the stated supply at the Providence church 
for a number of years, had filled the pulpit at 
Virginia, but when be entered the Union army in 
1SG2. as chaplain, it was thought desirable that 
a separate congregation be established at Vir- 
ginia. This led to the petition above mentioned. 
Upon the organization of the church in 1863, 
Dr. G. W. Goodspeed and David Downing were 
elected and installed as elders, and Glasgow 
Clendenin. J. N. Wilson, J. J. Bergen and A. G. 
Angier were ordained as deacons. In 1865, Rev. 
David J. Strain preached as supply for the 
congregation, and his work was so satisfactory 
that he was extended a regular call, and on June 
20, 1S66. he was installed pastor. He remained 
as a regular pastor until Juue 13, 1880, at which 
time, on account of advancing age, and failing 
health, he resigned. He again was made its 
regular pastor. June 27. 18S4. and continued in 
its service until his death, which occurred March 
5, 1806. No minister of the gospel in Cass 
County, and no minister of any community, was 
more beloved by a congregation, or was more 
highly respected by all people. A beautiful 
memorial window was placed in the new church 
dv the congregation as a testimonial of the love 



and esteem they had for their departed pastor. 
The building mentioned as erected in 1857 was 
put up on lot 111, of the original town of Vir- 
ginia, on the south side of west State or Beards- 
town street, just east of the county jail. This 
building is now owned by Robert Mann, who 
uses it as a photograph gallery. A new church, 
of a beautiful and unique design, was erected 
by the congregation. It was commenced in 1901, 
and completed and dedicated July 6, 1902. It 
stands on lot 3, of Barden and Wood's Addition 
to Virginia, at the junction of Hardin and south 
Cass streets, and is of stone and brick, with ele- 
gant audience room and Sunday school and class 
rooms so arranged that the whole may be thrown 
open together to accommodate a large audience. 
The church is supplied with a pipe organ. There 
is a large basement which is used as a special 
class room and for social gatherings. The cathe- 
dral glass* windows are of exceptionally artistic 
design. The membership of this congregation 
is large, and it has a number of missionary and 
other church auxiliaries, and a most excellent 
Sunday school. The old bell which rang out over 
the prairies for a half a century from the tower 
of the frame building now swings in the new 
tower, the only one left of all the original church 
bells in the town. 


The Catholics of Cass County are represented 
by a number of organizations. The one at Vir- 
ginia is St. Luke's Roman 'Catholic church, and 
was organized about 1840. For a number of 
years it held its meetings in a frame building 
on lot 86 Of the Public Grounds Addition to 
Virginia, south of the first court house square 
in the west part of town. There the local 
church was organized. The first official Catholic 

cere uy that occurred at Virginia appears to 

have been the baptism of Jane, daughter of 
Robert Ma si in and Ellen (Dolan) Maslin, June 
2, 1867, Rev. J. A. Jacque officiating. This priest 
ministered to the wants of Catholics throughout 
Menard and Schuyler, as well as Cass county. 
In 1868 Rev. A. C. Busch took charge, and con- 
tinued his ministrations at Virginia and through- 
out the county, so continuing until is?."., when 
Pather J. A. Mark attended at Virginia. About 
1875 a new church building was commenced on 
lot 1. of the original town of Virginia, at the 
corner of Cass anil Myrtle streets. The w<>rk" 
was halted for some reason, and in 1 s7<> Father 

M. C Ryan took charge and the building was 
completed about 1S78. In 1891 Father P. J. 
McMannus succeeded Father Ryan, and re- 
mained until 1893. From that time until 1895, 
priests from Jacksonville attended. In the latter 
year Father Maskel was appointed, and was 
succeeded by Father Thomas McGrath, who, 
in turn, was followed by Father M. J. Davis, 
who remained until 1900, when the present 
incumbent, Father Cronin, succeeded. A paro- 
chial house was built in 1893 or 1S94', while 
Father Crowe of Jacksonville was in charge. 
Improvements on church and parsonage, costing 
$3,000, were made in 1909-10. From the time 
a priest was located permanently at Virginia, 
in 1873, the Chandlerville Catholics have been 
attended from there. There is also a mission at 
Arenzville, with church building and property, 
which from its organization until 1902 was 
under the care of Beardstovvn, but in that year 
it was transferred to the care of Father Davis, 
and is still ministered to from Virginia. 

Ashland Catholic church was organized in 
1871. and services were held in the schoolhouse. 
In a short time, however, a small building was 
erected, but the congregation grew so rapidly, 
that in 1880 lots were purchased in block 43 on 
west Main street, and plans begun for the erec- 
tion of a new church and parsonage. The build- 
ing was completed in 18S2 and is a handsome 
frame structure that cost about $5,500. 

St. Alexious Catholic church of Beardstown 
was organized about 1871, but there had been 
a Catholic organization prior to that time, and 
regular services held. The church property was 
deeded in 1857 to the bishop of the diocese in 
which Beardstown was located, for the use of 
the Catholic population of Beardstown. A 
building was erected in 1857, and considerably 
enlarged and improved in i860. In 1ST! the real 
estate was deeded by the Bishop of Alton to the 
St. Alexious Catholic church of Beardstown, 
and later a substantial new church was built 
It is of brick with stone foundation, tall spire 

and cathedral -lass windows. It stands on lot 6 

of block 45 of Beard and March's Addition, 
facing south on Sixth street. There is a large 
and prosperous congregation ami a parochial 
school, the building for which is on the same 
Mock, facing on fifth street. 


The Christian or I>is.iple< church came 
into Cass County in a very early day. Elder 



Barton Stone and others preached in various 
places in this and in surrounding counties. In 
1861, Elder D. W. Shurtleff preached at Beards- 
town, and organized a local congregation, but 
it did not remain in existence long. The Civil 
war coming on, the flock was scattered, and 
there not 1 icing enough members to establish 
a strong local church, owing to the strength of 
the other denominations, the project was tem- 
porarily abandoned. In 1S62 Elder Shurtleff 
went to Chandlerville, and at the Pleasant 
Ridge schoolhouse organized a church, with Mr. 
and Mrs. C. J. Wilson, W. D. Leeper and others 
assisting. The congregation grew from this 
beginning, and when it was decided to erect 
a church edifice, Robert Cole, J. A. Raines, S. B. 
Jones and James Armstrong were appointed as 
the building committee to carry out the project. 
Elders Raines and Rice preached alternately for 
some time. Prof. McCaukle, of Eureka College, 
and Elder A. G. Kane, of Springfield, held 
revival meetings, and thereby many were in- 
duced to unite with the church. In 1863 Dr. 
N. H. Boone, a member of the Disciples church, 
located at Chandlerville. and at once took a deep 
interest, and a flourishing Sunday school was 
organized and has since been well maintained. 
In the year 1911 it was deemed most expedient 
to build a new church edifice and the work was 
commenced at once. It is of frame, with a brick 
and concrete foundation, of handsome and pleas- 
ing design in outward appearance, and very con- 
veniently arranged on the interior, no space 
being wasted. The basement is nicely furnished 
and is used for the meeting of the Sunday school 
and for social gatherings of the congregation. 

The Christian church of Virginia built a house 
of worship in 1854, on lots 9 and 10 of Hall's 
Addition to the Public Grounds, at the junction 
of west Beardstown and Job streets. Services 
were held and preaching done by itinerant 
preachers whose names have passed from the 
memory of those now living, and the records 
have been lost. In 1873 the church was revived 
and services held, but not very regularly, until 
1ST5, when the church was fully reorganized. 
Revival meetings were held at various times and 
a regular pastor employed. Part of the time 
Rev. C. W. Elder, a son of Dr. Elder, the first 
physician to locate in or near Cass County, 
preached for the congregation. In 1S79 the old 
building was torn down and the material 
removed to lot 96, of the original town of Vir- 

ginia, at the corner of East State and Cass 
streets, and a new building erected. This served 
the congregation until 1894, when it became 
necessary on account of the increased member- 
ship to have a larger room. The old building 
was therefore remodeled, and a room added in 
the rear for Sunday school purposes. This build- 
ing was dedicated by Elder Raines of Cincinnati, 
Ohio, December 16, 1894, but in June, 1897, it 
caught fire during an electric storm, and was 
burned to the ground, nothing being saved, the 
loss including the Sunday school books, records, 
and furniture. The congregation accepted the 
tender of the use of the Baptist church, where 
services were held until the new church was 
completed on the old site. This was in 1S9S, and 
the dedicatory exercises took place on October 
30th of that year. The new building is an excel- 
lent one of brick and stone, with two corner 
towers, and cathedral glass windows* of beauti- 
ful design. There is a large Sunday school 
room, with a full opening at the side of the main 
audience room, being separated from it by roll- 
ing doors. A fine pipe organ stands in an alcove 
at the left of the pulpit. There is also a fair 
sized basement, fitted adequately and used for 
social purposes and for a class room for some 
of the grade classes. The congregation is pros- 
perous, and the Sunday school is excellent. 

At Ashland there is also a congregation own- 
ing a substantial frame building, but the serv- 
ices have been somewhat irregular. Notwith- 
standing adversities, the brethren here have kept 
the faith and consistently supported the plea 
of a united church for all Christian people. 

Beardstown revived the church at that place, 
or rather organized an entirely new congrega- 
tion, April 5, 1911. Meetings had been held and 
a Sunday school organized in September of the 
year prior to the organization, and the success 
of these undertakings prompted the ones inter- 
ested to incorporate a local church. The first 
pastor of the new church was Elder George W. 
Morton, who still continues in charge. The 
church was incorporated as the Central Chris- 
tian church of Beardstown, 111. Trustees were 
elected and the church property of the former 
German Methodists at the corner of Fifth and 
State streets, was purchased. In 1913, this 
edifice was remodeled so that now it is a very 
convenient and modern place of worship. The 
congregation is prosperous and growing. 




Some of the abandoned churches to which ref- 
erence is here briefly made, that were organ- 
ized at a very early day, continued for a num- 
ber of years and assisted very materially in 
civilizing the communities and in raising the 
moral standard to a high grade. 

The Cumberland Presbyterian church had a 
building on section 6, township IT, range 10, 
on the ground donated by Rev. Benjamin Cauby 
in 1837. Later, about 1S57, a new building was 
erected on the same ground, the old one being 
torn away, but in 1SS9 this building was aban- 
doned. In 1843 the same denomination erected 
a building at Virginia, on lot 91 of Hall's first 
addition to Virginia. The building faced the 
south, and was located near the north end of 
the lot, and the entrance to the front of the 
church was from Job street on the west. This 
building remained in active use until 1870, when 
the congregation built its uew church edifice on 
Cass and east State streets. About 1901 it was 
purchased by the Holiness congregation and 
moved to lot 80 of the same addition and was 
placed facing north on Beardstown street. It 
was used by the above named sect of Christians 
until 1912, when it was destroyed by Are. These 
people, who now bear the name of Nazarenes, 
built a new church edifice and continue to wor- 
ship in it. 

The Missionary Baptists built a church edifice 
at Princeton in 1835, but it did not remain there 
long, although there appears to be no definite 
record of its removal. 

In 1838 the Christian church congregation 
built a church edifice on lots 40 and 47, in 
Princeton, and continued to hold services at reg- 
ular intervals until 1867, when, it becoming evi- 
dent that Princeton would not be likely to 
increase in population or Importance, and that 
the membership was decreasing, it was decided 
best to take down the building and move il to 
Philadelphia Precinct, where it was needed. 
About that time meetings had been held in a 
school house at Panther Grove, ami later in the 
workshop of Joseph I'.lack at Philadelphia, and 
thus the Philadelphia Christian church was 
organized. The old Princeton building was se( 
up in Philadelphia Precincl on lots I and '_'. in 
block 8, where ii still stands, but the congrega- 
tion is practically abandoned, there being 
preaching only occasionally. 

The Oregon Methodist Episcopal church so- 

ciety erected a building in 1809. on ground 
bought of Joseph Alison, but after being utilized 
for many years by the community as a church, 
it was abandoned, and is now the property of 
the county, bought in 1914. It is used as a vot- 
ing and general meeting place for the transac- 
tion of the business of the road commissioners 
and other precinct officials. A church structure 
for union services was built in 1851 or 1852 on 
the southwest corner of section 21, township 17, 
range 10, on the Jacksonville road, about three 
miles south of Virginia, but it soon became the 
property of the Methodist Episcopal church and 
continued as a place of worship for that body 
until 1898, when that society was discontinued, 
and in 1909 the building was sold and removed. 

The Clear Creek Baptist church was organ- 
ized in Monroe Precinct, by Rev. John Ray, in 
his own cabin, in 1832. The society continued 
to hold its meetings in the cabins of the settlers 
until 1852, when the community felt itself 
deserving of a church edifice and erected a com- 
fortable frame building, in which they held their 
religious meetings until 1S9S, when, the Baptist 
congregation having disbanded, the building was 
taken over by the people to be used as a business 
house for the precinct, and is so used at the 
present time. The Baptist church built near 
Hickory, not far from the present schoolhouse 
at that point, in 1853, was also abandoned and 
was removed about 1885. 

A Christian church edifice, that was used as 
a union church, was built in a very early day, 
the exact date of which cannot be ascertained. 
on a tract of land adjoining the Indian ('reek 
schoolhouse, in the northwest corner of the 
southeasl quarter of section 29, township 17. 
range 12. It was abandoned about 1875, and 
a few years later torn down. 

At Puncheon Grove, In the aortheastern part 
of the county, the Baptists, under the preaching 
of Rev. Cyrus Wright, became fully organized 
and built a small frame church, which was also 
used as a schoolhouse. Il was creeled in IS42, 
and meetings were held \cry regularly until the 
death Of their minister. Mr. Wright, when the 
congregation became scattered and the building 

fell Into disuse and decay, and was eventually 

torn down. .Methodist Episcopal and Christian 
church buildings are vet standing at Newman- 
\ ill.-, but are not used regularly by either 


The Providence Presbyterian church, about 
four miles southwest of Virginia, had l n 



organized for a number of years before the 
same denomination established a regular charge 
at Virginia, and had been holding services at the 
houses of the various members where the people 
could be accommodated, but, as the congregation 
increased it became almost imperative that a 
special and appropriate building should be pro- 
vided. After the matter was agitated among 
the members, it appears, from the records, that 
on March 22, 1SC)4. William Nesbit made a deed 
to Samuel McClure, Jacob F. Bergen, George 
Wilson, John Dobson and William Petefish, 
trustees of the Old School Presbyterian Church 
of township 17, range 10, as a donation in con- 
sideration of the erection of a church building. 
This church edifice was put up that year and 
is still standing, in comparatively good condi- 
tion, but no regular services are now held in 
it, and so it really belongs among the abandoned 

There are other buildings in the county, or 
decayed portions of them yet remaining, that 
have not been mentioned because there is no 
definite information obtainable regarding them. 
It does not indicate that religious sentiment has 
deteriorated because of these ruins, as the 
majority of the people who were connected with 
them united with other congregations of neigh- 
boring towns or cities, so that it was not deemed 
advisable to longer continue the support of so 
many churches in the outlying districts of the 
county. The lawless class that usually gathers 
along the frontier of a new county, robbing, 
thieving, stealing horses and committing all 
manner of wicked depredations, had been pretty 
well cleared out of the country before Cass 
became a separate county, and therefore as a 
county Cass had but little experience with such 
people. Yet, if it had not been for the spirit 
which prompted Christian organizations, such as 
represented by these same abandoned churches, 
with their unmistakable influence for good, and 
the exemplary lives of the supporters of those 
churches which laid the foundation for Christian 
civilization, we might, possibly, be still living 
in ignorance and the semi-barbarism that pre- 
vailed when Illinois was but a county of the 
Old Dominion. 

While there were many denominational 
churches, and even a greater diversity of opin- 
ions concerning the teaching of the scriptures, 
there appears to have been but one society in 
the early history of Cass County that possessed 
religious fanatics of such a character as to prove 

a menace to the rights or liberties of individuals 
or the peace of the community. In 1834 the 
grand jury of Morgan County indicted some 
religious fanatics. This action presumably 
arose out of an incident which was said to 
have occurred in a small settlement on Middle 
Creek, in Lucas, now Richmond Precinct, but 
the facts have not been fully verified, nor has 
the exact location of the sect been certainly 
determined. It is said they believed in witch- 
craft and if anything went wrong in the settle- 
ment, they charged it to some one in the com- 
munity, whom, they declared, was making use 
of devilish acts. They further claimed, so it is 
said, that such a person should be burned as 
an offering to appease the wrath of an offended 
deity, and they cast lots to determine who was 
the guilty person. Upon the last occasion of 
this casting of lots, the condemnation fell upon 
an old woman. She was bound and placed in 
one end of an old cabin where there was a large 
open fireplace, and a fire was kindled about her. 
She might have trusted to her martyr spirit, but 
it deserted her when the flames reached her 
and she screamed so loudly that she attracted 
the attention of a Mr. Elmore, who was in the 
neighborhood, hunting, and, breaking open the 
door with a rail, he scattered the fire and 
released the victim. The others concerned fled 
to the timber, but Elmore reported them to the 
authorities, and the indictment followed. That 
put an end to witchcraft in Cass County, or at 
least it ended the attempt by any sect to inflict 
so barbarous a punishment upon anyone sup- 
posed to be possessed by evil spirits. 

The foregoing is a meagre but general history 
of all the denominational churches in the county. 
The great number of them and their various 
changes has necessarily limited the history to 
a general statement. Though there may be 
many whose names are not mentioned in this 
or any history, who are recalled by some of the 
present generation, and possibly many whose 
names are forgotten along with their particular 
efforts and sacrifices, yet the civilizing influ- 
ences of all who came in the early days and 
battled with the adverse circumstances and 
conditions of early pioneer life, that they might 
spread the gospel, has been such that the pres- 
ent generation does, and all succeeding genera- 
tions will forever, owe a debt of gratitude to 
those who long since have passed to their 
























A large number of fraternal societies, or. as 
they are more popularly known, secret orders, 
have been organized in Cass County, or es- 
tablished as subordinate lodges or camps of the 
general organization. The prejudice that once 
existed against all secret societies lias almost 
entirely disappeared, and the helpfulness to 
society in general, and the community at large, 
and the special benefits to the individual mem- 
bers, are now recognized and appreciated. 
Probably the first fraternal society whose mem- 
bers were to be found among the early settlers 
here, was the Free .Masons, although the Odd 
Fellows were, perhaps, the firsl to establish a 
local lodge. 



Beardstown.— Arb Lodge, No. 16, I. O. 0. 
v.. of* Beardstown, was Instituted May L3, L846, 
with the following charter members: S. a. 
Oarnau, .1. II. Matheney, J. W. Crosby, Thomas 
P. Norton, Samuel Johnston, Thomas J. Burns, 

Jacob Ritcher, O. M. Warner, John Throp, J. 
B. Taylor, George Moore, William Davis, R. 
F. Knippenberg, B. F. Rusk, David Black, and 
Warren Yaple. The first officers were: noble 
grand, Thomas P. Norton; vice grand, Samuel 
Johnston; secretary, Thomas J. Burns; treas- 
urer, John Throp. This lodge owns its build- 
ing, which is a large, two-story brick structure, 
on the corner of Washington and Main streets, 
on lot 5, of block 10, original town of Beards- 
town, with lodge rooms above and store rooms 
on the first floor. It was erected in 1SS9. 
Judge Henry Phillips of Beardstown was a 
member of Ark Lodge before he moved to Vir- 
ginia, in 1877, when he transferred his mem- 
bership to Saxon Lodge. He was grand master 
of the order for the state of Illinois from Novem- 
ber, 1S93, to November, 1894, after that time 
being a member of the judiciary and appeals 
committee. Subsequently he again transferred 
his membership to Ark Lodge. Goodwin Re- 
bekah Lodge, No. 102, the woman's auxiliary 
of the Beardstown Odd Fellows' lodge, was in- 
stituted on November 22, 188S. The following 
were the first officers: noble grand, Mrs. Stella 
Smith ; vice grand, Mrs. Max Deering ; secretary, 
Mrs. Hattie Garrison. 

Virginia. — Saxon Lodge No. OS, I. O. 0. F. of 
Virginia, was instituted at Virginia, March 14, 
1850, with the following charter members : P. O. 
Bryan, N. B. Newman. R. S. Lord, I. X. White, 
Charles Boyd, W. II. II. Carpenter, and William 
H. Collins. The first officers were: noble grand, 
Rufus S. Lord; vice grand. W. II. II. Carpenter; 
secretary, I. X. White: treasurer. X. B. New- 
man. Virginia Kebekah Lodge. No. 239, was in- 
stituted November 21, 1889, with a Dumber of 
the brethren, and the following ladies as charter 
members: .Mrs. Adah Henderson. Mrs. \Y. W. 
Walker. Mrs. Ella Walker. Mrs. A. A. beeper. 
Mrs. J. F. Robison, Mrs. Belle Biles, Mrs. Sue 
II. Downing, Mrs. M. Craves, and Mrs. Laura 

I'm m hi:.— Oak Lodge No. 341, I. 0. 0. I\. 
was organized at Prentice. Morgan County, Octo- 
ber 9, 1867, but removed to Ashland. October 1". 

l v 77. The lii'st officers, who were a Co charter 

members were: noble grand, John M. Berry; 
rice grand, John W. Crum; secretary, Albert 
short: treasurer, John l. Douglas. The other 
charter members were: John M. Brockman, John 
w '. Daniel. Martin Berry, Sumner Daniel, Sam- 
uel II irt. ami Benjamin Berry. 

A.BENZVILLE. A ren/vil le Lodge NO. 171. I. 0. 



O. F., was organized October S, 1872, and the 
first officers were : noble grand, L. J. Walich ; 
vice grand, W. F. Bridgeman; secretary, Dr. 
Adam Wenger. Other (-barter members were: 
Calvin Ore, William L. Richardson, Henry 
Maule, John A. Smith, and William I. Richard- 

Ciiaxolerville. — Cass Lodge No. 1012. I. O. 
O. F., of Chandlerville. was organized Decem- 
ber 1. 1911, and received its charter November 
21, 1012. The following were the charter mem- 
bers and first officers : noble grand, B. F. 
Owens; vice grand, S. L. Watkins; secretary, 
John W. ('berry; treasurer, H. S. Leeper. and 
Horace Sisson, Jacob Davis, Elijah Needham, 
F. B. Pickrel, 8. E. Hutches. J. M. Milstead, H. 
J. Anderson, Gotlieb Zorn and Smith Work- 


Beardstowx. — Cass Lodge No. 23, A. F. & 
A. M., of Beardstown, was organized in Octo- 
ber, 1843, and on the 4th of that month, the 
charter was granted, but whether at Jackson- 
ville and afterwards moved to Beardstown, or 
granted at Jacksonville for Beardstown, is not 
made exactly clear, but the presumption is that 
it was granted at Jacksonville, for the organi- 
zation of the lodge at Beardstown. That would 
make the Masonic lodge the first and oldest in 
the county. The original charter was destroyed 
by fire. January 23. 1876, but was replaced Jan- 
uary 20. of the same year. The first officers 
were: worshipful master, O. Underwood; A. 
Bonny, senior warden ; W. Basset, junior war- 
den. The names of other charter or early inein- 
bers are not now attainable. The present wor- 
shipful master is G. M. Humphrey, and the 
present secretary is W. F. Thron. 

Virginia. — Virginia Lodge No. 544, A. F. & A. 
M., was organized at Virginia. April 3, 1S67, 
and received its charter October 1, of the same 
year, with the following charter members: G. 
F. Hillig, W. A. Harding, L. P. R. Yaple, Casper 
Magel, T. Underwood. H. II. Hall, James 
Smith. James M. Rodney, William Cox, L. S. 
Allard. Lee Carpenter, and II. Barden. The 
first officers were: worshipful master, G. F. Hil- 
lig; senior warden. William A. Harding, and 
junior warden. ..L. P. R. Yaple. 

Chaxdlervh.i.e. — The Masonic lodge at Chand- 
lerville was chartered October 7, 1874, with the 
following charter members: Linus C. Chand- 

ler, C. C. Brown, John Chandler, J. A. Paddock, 
L. M. Dick, Robert Clark, N. H. Boone, H. T. 
Chandler, N. S. Reed, Isaac Butler, John Ker- 
shaw, John Mullen, J. M. Telles, William Swart- 
wood, T. A. Skaggs, Henry C. Neff, Somodore 
Silvernail, and John Morse. The first officers 
were : worshipful master, L. C. Chandler ; and 
secretary, John Morse. 

Eastern Star. 

Adah Robinson Chapter, Order of the Eastern 
Star, was formed in the fall of 1894 or 1S05, at 
Virginia. A fire occurred a few years later, 
and the records having been burned, the exact 
date of organization cannot now be ascertained. 
The following were the first officers : worthy 
matron, Mrs. Lillie Downing ; worthy patron, 
A. A. Leeper, and associate matron, Mrs. Laura 
Ivors. Other charter members were: Harry F. 
Downing, Mrs. Eva Leeper, H. F. Ivors, Mrs. 
Maggie Mann. R. H. Mann, Mrs. Sue Downing, 
Finis E. Downing. Mrs. Jennie M. Dunaway, 
Thomas Dunaway, Mrs. Louis Montgomery, C. 
S. Montgomery, Mrs. Maggie Gordley, C. A. 
Schaeffer, Mrs. Mary J. Robinson. J. F. Rob- 
inson, A. J. Coons, A. G. Dunaway. Mrs. Louise 
Davis, A. L. Anderson. D. II. Salzebstein, and 
L. A. Petefisb. Beardstown Chapter No. 113, 
O. E. S.. has been organized for some years, and 
has a large membership, it being in a prosper- 
ous condition. Its helpfulness towards its 
members and its uplifting influences have been 
felt very materially in the social affairs of the 
city and community. 


Chaxdlerville. — Pecan Camp No. 530, M. W. 
A., was organized at Chandlerville, February 
29, 1888, with the following charter members: 
A. M. Pendleton, J. H. Kinney, II. S. Leeper. L. 
M. Dick, I. N. Reed, Herman Rethorn, S. C. 
Fiehlen, J. J. Cleg;:. J. C. Morse, F. H. Morse, 
J. O. Upp, Moses Crowell, and Eb. Spink. The 
first officers were: venerable counsel. L. M. 
Dick ; worthy advisor, H. S. Leeper ; esteemed 
banker, J. J. Clegg; clerk, A. M. Pendelton; 
watchman. Ed. Spink : Escort, I. N. Reed : sen- 
fry, Moses Crowell ; managers, Herman Reth- 
orn, J. C. Morse, and S. C. Fielden. 

Virginia.— Virginia Camp No. 5S8, M. W. A., 
was organized at Virginia, April 25, 18S8, with 
the following members who became the first 



officers: venerable counsel, J. F. Robinson; 
worthy advisor, C. M. Tinney ; esteemed banker, 
L. A. Petefish; clerk, Matt Yaple; escort. J. I. 
Parkhurst; watchman, R. L. Duncan: sentry, 
David Web ; local physician, C. M. Hubbard ; 
managers, J. A. Jones, F. E. Downing, and Wil- 
liam M. Henry. 

Beardstown. — Muscooten Camp No. 570, M. 
W. A., was organized at Beardstown, May 22, 
1SSS, with the following charter members : R. 
L. Fulk, J. T. Iston, L. J. Golden, J. H. Swope, 
T. C. Harris, Peter Flannery, J. S. Townsley, 
Peter Gilson, F. Rntzen, Dr. George Bley, W. 
O. Self, A. H. Noe, F. A. Horton, E. E. McKen- 
zie, A. S. Coil, L. J. Selby, H. W. Carter. J. L. 
Kramer, N. Hiltner, J. Weal, X. R. Brash, J. 
D. Colburn, and E. Meyers. The flrst officers 
were: venerable counsel, F. C. Harris; worthy 
advisor, Edward Meyers; esteemed banker, Dr. 
George Bley; clerk, A. S. Coil; escort, J. L. 
Selby; watchman, E. E. McKenzie; sentry, X. 

Arenzville. — Arenzville Camp Xo. GS5, M. W. 
A., was organized at Arenzville, August 18, 18SS, 
with the following charter members who were 
also the first officers : venerable counsel, W. L. 
McCarthy ; worthy advisor, John Rahn ; es- 
teemed banker, H. A. Bridgeman ; clerk, P. J. 
Arenz; escort, T. A. Eaton; watchman. J. S. 
Batis; sentry, II. F. Arenz; camp physician, Dr. 
J. M. Swope; managers, Joseph Polite, W. L. 
McCarty and C. H. Dabman. C. Triebert and 
W. F. Arenz were also charter members. The 
present clerk is Harry F. Triebert, a son of C. 

Ashland. — Mulberry Camp Xo. 14.°/;. M. W. 
A., was organized at Ashland July 14, 1890, with 
the following members who became the first 
officers: venerable counsel, A. F. Burnham ; 
worthy advisor, J. X. Dorand; esteemed banker, 
Prank Cox; clerk. J. L. Martin; escort, B. A. 
Edwards; watchman, W. B, Johnson; sentry. 
E. W. Grogan; managers, D. Lyons. J. X. Do- 
rand and ( '. W. Grogan; camp physician, Dr. 
A. P. Burnham. The present clerk is John X. 

Bluff Springs. — Bluff springs Camp No. 
1 189, was organized at Bluff Springs, Septem- 
ber 30, L890. The aames of the charter mem- 
bers are not available, but the firsl officers were: 
venerable counsel, P. P. Matson; worthy ad- 
visor, A. w. Blohm; esteemed banker, < '. Dupes; 
clerk, C. B. Parry; escort. John Reichert; man- 

agers, Dan. Hewit, William Steel and Engel- 
bert Cramer ; camp physician, Dr. George Bley. 


There are a number of other fraternal in- 
surance orders in the county that have not 
made so much of the fraternal or social side 
of the order as have the Woodmen, and have 
thereby attracted less attention from the gen- 
eral public, but nevertheless have been of in- 
calculable benefit to their members, and also, 
indirectly, to the community at large. Among 
them are : the Court of Honor, with several 
organizations at various points in the county ; 
the Knights of Columbus; the Loyal Legion; 
the Royal Benefit Association; the United 
Workmen ; Knights of Maccabee, and the Fra- 
ternal Army of America. There are also sev- 
eral other orders well represented that are so- 
cial and beneficial in their character, such as 
the Knights of Pythias, the Red Men of 
America, the Elks, and probably some others. 
The Knights of Tythias have a large and pros- 
perous lodge at Beardstown. and the Red Men 
have quite a large membership at both Vir- 
ginia and Beardstown. The Elks own a splen- 
did building on the north side of the Public 
Tark, on Second street in Beardstown, and 
have a large membership. 

women's clubs. 

About 1900 the women of Cass County became 
interested in the organization of clubs, both 
literary and social, and there are excellent clubs 
and societies now organized for mutual study 
and genera] helpfulness of women. That they 
may keep pace with the advancing mental ac- 
tivities of the sterner sex and tit themselves 
for the newer problems and the newei- ave- 
nues of life opening to them in the twentieth 
century. Among these clubs are: the Woman's 
Club, of Beardstown: the Travelers' Cluli. 
of Virginia; the Woman's Club, of Ashland: 
and the Bay View i 'luh. of Chaiidlerville. 
The last of these societies to organize was the 
Woman's (luh. of Virginia. Most of the clubs 
have departments for social, literary, domestic 
and civic study ami Investigation, ami since 
the act ,,i' the legislature, approved June 26, 
1913, granting to women additional right of 
suffrage, considerable attention has been de- 
voted to acquiring a more definite knowledge 



of the particular subjects and branches of 
municipal government upon which they may be 
called to exercise the elective franchise. 

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union is 
a county wide organization, having for its pur- 
pose the curbing of intemperance by Christian 
influence. It is non-sectarion and non-political, 
and has the highest respect of all classes for 
the excellent results it is accomplishing. 


The Grand Army of the Republic is a patri- 
otic and fraternal association limited to men 
who were soldiers or sailors in the Union army 
or navy during the Civil war, and were hon- 
orably discharged. It was founded by Dr. Ben- 
jamin F. Stephenson, a resident of -Springfield, 
111., who had enlisted and served in the Four- 
teenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry from Peters- 
burg, 111. His principal assistant was Rev. Wil- 
liam J. Rutledge, chaplain of the same regi- 
ment. The system provides for grand and state 
encampments and local posts. "Its aims are to 
foster and strengthen fraternal feelings among 
members; to assist comrades needing help or 
protection, and aid comrades' widows and or- 
phans, and to inculcate unswerving loyalty." 
Its first department commander of the Depart- 
ment of Illinois was Dr. Stephenson, its foun- 
der. Gen. Charles E. Lippincott of Chandler- 
ville, Cass County, 111., was department com- 
mander of Illinois during the year 1871. The 
first post was organized at Springfield, 111., in 


McLean Post No. 97, G. A. R., was organized 
at Beardstown, May 12, 1881, with the following 
charter members : James P. Sailor, Capt. B. F. 
Thacker, F. M. Davis, Christ Pilger, Charles 
Opits, John H. Wedeking, David R. Vincent, R. 

B. Fulks, Ezra Fish, M. L. Treadway, Edwin 

C. Foster, M. X. Parsons, N. Parsons, C. May- 
ries, G. F. Allen, August Christianer, J. F. 
Kaufenberger, and Fred L. Wells. 

Downing Post No. 321, G. A. R., of Virginia, 
was organized August 6, 1SS3, with the follow- 
ing charter members : William Murray, Charles 
Kilendall, Joseph Lynch, George Davidson, E 
J. Bingham, J. H. Gruer, John Fisher, G. R. 
McKee, Francis M. Davis, Eli M. Dale, John W. 

Plummer, William Calvert, Joseph L. Wright, 
Henry H. Berry, Gustave Hillig, Samuel Miller, 
John T. Evans, Henry C. Millner, Joseph Hunt, 
James S. McLin, Richard W. Mills, Martin Fox, 
and nine of the above are still living. There 
are a few soldiers now living here who did not 
enlist from Cass County, but who are now mem- 
bers of the post, they being : F. M. Felix, Two 
Hundred and Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer In- 
fantry ; William W. Hare, Eighteenth Ken- 
tucky Volunteer Cavalry; W. S. Hurst, One 
Hundred and Ninety-third Ohio Volunteer In- 
fantry ; Reuben Lancaster, Sixth Kentucky Vol- 
unteer Cavalry; John E. Lacy, First Missouri 
Volunteer Cavalry ; Thomas A. Peters, Fifteenth 
U. S. R. ; C. M. Jacobs, Sixth Missouri Volun- 
teer Infantry. 

soldiers' monuments. 

Under the auspices of the Grand Army Posts, 
many soldiers' monuments have been erected in 
the cemeteries and public squares throughout 
the state. There are two monuments in Cass 
County, and one memorial rock. One is at Vir- 
ginia and the other two at Beardstown. 

The monument at Virginia is a shaft of Bed- 
ford stone, 11 feet high, surmounted by a life- 
size statue of an infantry soldier at parade 
rest The monument was erected under the 
auspices of Downing Post No. 321, and cost $550, 
in addition to the donation by the sculptor, the 
late John S. Martin, who was a resident of 
Virginia, and whose father lost his life as a 
Union soldier during the Civil war. The life-size 
figure is a portrait statue of George W. Cunning- 
ham, of Virginia, an ex-soldier, a member of the 
One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer 
Infantry. Mr. Cunningham was a friend and fel- 
low laborer with the sculptor for years, helping 
him in the erection of many of the finest monu- 
ments in the Virginia cemetery, and other ceme- 
teries in this and adjoining counties. He was a 
faithful soldier, a good citizen, and one worthy 
of the honor thus bestowed upon him by his 
departed friend. The monument stands in the 
Grand Army lot in the beautiful Walnut Ridge 
Cemetery, a mile north of the city of Virginia. 
It was dedicated to the "Soldiers and Sailors of 
Illinois," May 30, 1S95, Hon. Richard Yates 
making the principal address on this occasion. 
Near this monument lies the body of the only 
Revolutionary soldier, so far as known, buried 
in Cass County, that of Phineas Underwood. He 


Founder of Virginia. Built in Virginia in ls:!4. 

Robert Hall born here in 1835 



h mm 

^T. |i . 






Built in 1836 




was born in Vermont in 1703, enlisted in 1781 
In the Vermont line of troops, under Capt. Josiah 
Fish. He came to Illinois in 1820, locating near 
what is now Virginia, entered land in township 
18, range 9, there remained until his death. 
He was buried in a country graveyard but later 
was by Downing Post, G. A. R., removed to the 
Walnut Ridge Cemetery, and a government 
marker placed at the head of his grave. 

At Beardstown, in Oak Grove Cemetery, was 
erected by popular subscription, under the aus- 
pices of McLean Post, No. !)7, at a cost of $800, 
a marble statue of an infantry soldier of heroic 
size. It was dedicated to the "Soldiers and 
Sailors of Illinois," June 10, 1891. 

In the city cemetery, at Beardstown, has been 
erected, under the auspices of the Women's Re- 
lief Corps, and dedicated to the soldiers and 
sailors, a granite boulder, 7 feet high, sur- 
mounted by cannon balls. This boulder was 
brought from Schuyler County, under the direc- 
tion of Christ Bradman, an ex-soldier, now de- 
ceased. The cost, which was nearly $450, was 
defrayed by popular subscription. 









Aside from the miasmatic disl rictS Of the low- 
lands along the river bottoms, and around the 
stretches of sloughs and stagnant ponds on the 
prairies, the early climatic conditions of Cass 
County were fairly good. Since the formation 
of drainage districts in the river bottoms, and 

the introduction of tile draining whereby the 
boggy prairie lands have been all under-drained, 
and both localities relieved almost entirely of 
miasma, Cass County is probably as healthful 
a county as can be found in all Illinois. Not- 
withstanding the general healthfulness of the 
county the early settlers were subject to ail- 
ments that baffled the skill of the old men and 
women herb doctors, and it was hailed as a 
providential circumstance that brought the regu- 
lar, educated and skilled physician into the wild 
and sparsely settled districts of this western 
country. Many of these physicians were grad- 
uates of some eastern college and some of a 
university of a foreign country, and might well 
have located in any of the populous towns or 
cities of the east, and in the course of time 
might have secured a lucrative practice, and 
some there were who did try the experiment. 
Armed with a diploma, which they had secured 
with so much hard mental toil, and which they 
looked upon as a sure passport to immediate 
wealth and fame, they selected a propitious lo- 
cality and hung out their "shingle." Sick people, 
however, cared little for diplomas, and neg- 
lected to call the youngsters, but persisted in 
their simple-minded notion of sending for the 
old and experienced family physician who had 
long since forgotten he had ever possessed a 
diploma. It was this lack of encouragement on 
the part of civilization together with the hire 
of glowing accounts of the beauties of the west- 
ern country and its rapidly increasing popula- 
tion, that led the young doctors to pack up their 
diplomas, their pill bags and lancet, and start 
west for the land said to be flowing with milk 
and honey. 

The herb doctors, mentioned above, should not 
be classed with the regular physicians of a cer- 
tain school who styled themselves "botanic doc- 
tors," but they include the good old grand- 
mothers, and the thoughtful, elderly men to he 
found in every pioneer neighborhood, who had 
learned the medicinal values, and the stimu- 
lative and curative properties of a great many 
of the herbs, barks, plants and roots growing 

wild ill the wooded country, and knew how to 
prepare them tor use as household remedies, in 
cases of simple ailments. Ginseng, snakeroot. 
wild cherry bark. Indian turnip, calamus, bone- 
set, slippery elm and walnut hark, were all 
gathered and stored away in niches and cor- 
ners of the cabins for use when occasion '\<' 





When the regular physicians came, however, 
and located in or near a settlement, they were 
generally welcomed. In the main, they did not 
stand aloof and pose as a superior class, rely- 
ing upon the dignity of their profession as suffi- 
cient evidence of their superiority, but those 
wild succeeded best usually selected a tract of 
land, and either purchased it from the prior 
owner, or entered it from the government, then 
immediately set about as did the other settlers. 
to make a home for themselves and family; to 
advance the interests of the new community, 
and to add what they could to the general 
progress and prosperity. Many are remembered 
as noble, generous hearted and kind, "animated 
by an indomitable spirit of progress and enter- 
prise." Yet, of all the inhabitants of the new 
country, the physicians, perhaps, endured the 
greatest hardships. At any and all hours of the 
night or day they were called upon to respond 
to the call for the relief of suffering ; no night 
being too dark or cold, no storm too severe to 
deter them. They swam their horses over 
swollen streams, and guided them through the 
timber and thickets of underbrush where not 
even a bridle path led to the widely separated 
dwellings of the pioneer. Often drenched with 
rain, and their clothing frozen stiff upon them, 
almost perishing, they plodded on. weary and 
hungry, and for but little remuneration at the 
best. In a measure, however, they had their 
reward. Xo person in all the country round 
was so highly respected as the doctor. The very 
word "doctor"' before his name was the sesame 
that threw open to him every door far and wide. 
The best bed in the house was at his disposal. 
if he could find but a few minutes to take a 
much needed repose, while the very choicest 
the table could afford was placed before him if 
he would but delay on his ride long enough to 
partake of it. He was honored and beloved 
as he deserved, and aside from his professional 
skill was often called on to act in other capaci- 
ties. It was he who was present at the birth 
of the first born, and often at the birth of many 
following children, because in those days the 
family was large, and it was he who stood by 
when the last flicker of life went out from the 
wife and mother, his best skill could not save, 
and closed her eyes and turned to console, as a 
friend and brother, the broken hearted and 
disconsolate husband left with a brood of 

small children to rear alone. Thus the pioneer 
doctor went on his daily and nightly rounds, 
year in and year out, and only an iron constitu- 
tion, which so many of them seem to have had, 
withstood the wearying, grinding experience. 
High was the character of the doctors, in the 
main, who were among the early settlers who 
came to Illinois and were such effective factors 
in advancing civilization, and they merit a spe- 
cial place in the history of every community. 


The first physician to locate near and prac- 
tice in Cass County, was Dr. Andrew Elder, who 
was born at Lexington. Ky., July G, 179S. He 
attended the public schools of that city, and 
also Lexington College, from which institution 
he was graduated in 1820. He later entered the 
medical department of Transylvania University, 
Lexington, and on March 9, 1S23, was awarded 
the degree of Doctor of Medicine. In the fol- 
lowing spring he came with his father to Illi- 
nois, and located on a farm south of Old Prince- 
ton, in what was then Morgan County. In 
1S26, Princeton, which is now one of the van- 
ished and almost forgotten villages of the 
county, had reached such importance as to re- 
quire a postoffice, and Eli Redding was appointed 
postmaster. On January 15, 1S2S, Dr. Elder 
married Miss Hannah Redding, daughter of the 
aforesaid postmaster. This is said to have been 
the first wedding of white people in the terri- 
tory now comprising Cass County. The doctor 
moved into the village of Princeton in 1835, but 
later returned to the farm. Subsequently he 
sold the Morgan County farm and bought one 
on section 18, township 17, range 9, in Cass 
County. After residing on it for a while, he 
sold his farm, and buying another in the edge 
of Morgan County, moved to it with his family, 
continuing his practice as a country physician. 
In 1859, he sold his farm and came back to 
Princeton, but only remained in that village un- 
til the following spring, when he moved to 
Logan County. 111. There, in the village of Wil- 
liamsville, near the southern line of that county, 
he departed this life on March 6, 1S72. His two 
sons. Charles and Ripley Elder, became preach- 
ers of the gospel, and were citizens of this 
county many years. 


Another early physician, Dr. Ephriam Rew, 
came to Beardstowri in 1829. lie was born in 



Massachusetts in 1778. After a trip of six weeks 
on horseback in 1S29, he reached Meredosia, in 
Morgan County, but finding there were already 
two physicians in that place, decided to go fur- 
ther. Learning of the Mound village, on up the 
Illinois River, he made his plans to locate there, 
and returning to his home, settled up his af- 
fairs, and once more came west, bringing his 
family with him. This time he landed at St. 
Louis, and taking a flatboat, loaded it with 
what goods and chattels he possessed, and with 
his family made a laborious trip of six weeks 
to Beardstown, in the same year it had been laid 
out Dr. Rew was the first physician to prac- 
tice his profession at Beardstown. He remained 
there for some time, and then purchased a farm 
ou section 29, township IS, range 11, near the 
present site of Bluff Springs. Until his death, 
May 23, 1842, he continued to reside on this 
farm, managing his property while engaged in 
the practice of his profession. In 1S46, his 
widow married (second) Benjamin Stribling, 
the father of Isaac Milton Stribling, now de- 
ceased, who was one of the largest landowners 
and wealthiest farmers of Cass County at the 
time of his demise. Dr. Rew was buried in the 
old cemetery which he had helped to establish, 
in the city of Beardstown. His daughter, Mrs. 
Cynthia A. McConnell, who was, for forty years, 
a resident of Virginia, is still living at the home 
of her son, Louis McConnell, in McCook, Neb. 


Dr. Charles Chandler was the next physician 
of Cass County, and came as far as Beardstown 
in the spring of 1832, on a steamboat bound for 
Fort Clark on Lake Peoria, but the second Black 
Hawk war was then agitating the people and 
making it dangerous to travel very far to the 
north, so Dr. Chandler stopped off and after 
investigating the country, located near the 
mouth of Panther Creek, the present site of 
Chandlerville. He was born July 2, 1806, at 
Woodstock, Conn. He founded and laid out 
the present village of Chandlerville. where he 
lived and practiced bis profession until his sud- 
den death in ls7!>. 


Dr. Henry Hall was the first physician to 
locate at Virginia. He came to Illinois in 1^::::. 
and entered land, returning later, ami in 183<1 

he laid out the town of Virginia, settling down 
there, where he remained until his death, in 

Dr. Samuel McClure came to Cass County 
from Kentucky in 1834, and settled on land 
which he later made into an excellent farm. He 
laid claim to the southwest quarter of section 
19, township 17, range 10, which he entered 
November 5, 1835. Dr. McClure belonged to 
that school of practice known as "botanic doc- 
tors," or "Tomsonians," but they were styled 
by physicians who regarded themselves as the 
"regular*' profession, as "root and yerb" ped- 
dlers, therefore the right hand of good fellow- 
ship was not extended to Dr. McClure by the 
exclusive circle of "regulars," but nevertheless 
he was highly regarded as a man and citizen, 
even by the old school doctors. He was born in 
Woodford County. Ky.. October 5, 1S00. His 
father was a slave holder, in affluent circum- 
stances, and gave his son a very liberal educa- 
tion. Before entering upon the practice of med- 
icine, Dr. McClure taught school for several 
years. Then, having devoted his spare time to 
the study of medical books written by Dr. 
Thompson, the botanical theorist, he left the 
schoolroom, and began to put to a practical test 
the ideas he had been studying. On March 13, 
1833, he married Miss Louisa Graff, a daugh- 
ter of another well-to-do farmer of Woodford 
County, Ky., and the next spring they came to 
Illinois, making the trip in a wagon. The main 
reason for Dr. McClure leaving the south was 
his antipathy to slavery. Although he had been 
reared in the midst of slavery, his father own- 
ing a large number of slaves, the system was 
very obnoxious to him. and as it seemed impos- 
sible to remove slavery from the southern states, 
rather than live under its blight, he concluded 
to move to the free state of Illinois. During 
the winter of 1834-5, he taught school, and so 
continued during several following winters. The 
public school system had nol then been intro- 
duced, and school teachers, competent or other- 
wise, were extremely scarce. Therefore Dr. Mc- 
( 'lure's advent and the opening of his winter 
school, were highly appreciated by the neigh- 
boring settlers. By patient toil and industry, 
and living a frugal, temperate life. Dr. McClure 
gained something more than a competence, and 
left to his children a splendid farm in a high 
state of cultivation, well improved and well 

stocked. lie had abandoned practice several 

years prior to his death. Three children, two 



daughters and one son, were born to Dr. and 
Mrs. McClure. The younger daughter, Ann Dii- 
puy McClure, was married November 10, 1S59, 
to Robert Hall, a son of Dr. Henry Hall, the 
founder of the town of Virginia. Mrs. Hall died 
at her home in Virginia, July 24, 1S92. Dr. 
McClure was one of the substantial, reliable men 
of Cass County, a good neighbor, and a sup- 
porter of churches, schools and all other agen- 
cies of modern civilization. His influence was 
always given to such movements as tended to 
better the conditions of society. On the farm 
where he devoted the best years of his life to 
hard toil, Dr. McClure died on August 27, 1SG5, 
aged sixty-four years, ten months and eight 


The next physician to follow Dr. Henry Hall, 
in the new town on the prairie, was Dr. Thomas 
Pothicary, who, together with his wife and two 
small children, entered the village from the 
west, having landed from a steamboat at Beards- 
town, on the Illinois River, and from that 
thriving city, drove with an ox-team over the 
state road to the future capital of Cass County. 
Dr. Pothicary was born in Wilkeshire, England, 
April 21, 1797. His advent in the village was on 
July 4, 1836, but two months after Dr. Hall had 
platted a portion of the lands recently acquired 
from the government, into squares, streets, lots 
and alleys. There were but three houses in Vir- 
ginia, when Dr. Pothicary and his family sought 
shelter from the broiling sun that hot July day. 
Where they stopped or where they lived dur- 
ing the succeeding year is unknown. The only 
record of the physician's early attempts to es- 
tablish a home is found in the office of the re- 
corder of deeds. There it appears that on Sep- 
tember 11, 1837, Reddick Horn conveyed to him 
for a consideration of $68, lot 102 in the orig- 
inal town. That lot is the site of the King fur- 
niture store on the south side of the courthouse 
square. On that lot Dr. Pothicary began at once 
to erect a two-story frame building, which, when 
completed, he called a tavern. For many years 
Pothicary's Tavern was known far and wide. 
The stage coaches from Beardstown and from 
Springfield made it a stopping place. It is not 
known where he obtained the sawed lumber that 
went into the construction of the building, but 
presumably at Beardstown, thirteen miles dis- 
tant, as this town at that time had a sawmill. 

Dr. Pothicary also kept a few standard drugs 
and medicines, and thus in embryo, was the 
first druggist of Virginia. The results from his 
sale of these medicaments together with the 
profits of tavern keeping and the remuneration 
received from a necessarily limited practice as 
a physician, brought him some little wealth. The 
records show that he bought and sold several 
lots in Virginia. It is said that Dr. Pothicary 
in religious affiliation, in early days of his life, 
was a Quaker. When he came to Virginia he 
was thirty-nine years old, and there being no 
church building of any sort, nor any religious 
society in existence there, nor for some time 
thereafter, he gave little expression to his views 
on any religious subject. He was, however, al- 
most puritanical in his intolerance and abhor- 
rence of vice and immorality in any form. He 
never used profanity, or vulgar language, and 
detested those who did, nor would he permit the 
use of such language in his tavern or in any 
place where he exercised control. He had the 
honor of entertaining the governor of the state 
for one night at his tavern. In 1S45, the Mor- 
mon troubles were still agitating the people' at 
Nauvoo, in Hancock County, and when they as- 
sumed larger proportions than the local authori- 
ties could handle, the state militia was called 
out. Governor Thomas Ford being advised of 
the difficulty, promptly called the militia to sup- 
press the belligerents. Emulating the example 
of one of his predecessors, Governor John Reyn- 
olds in the Black Hawk war, he placed himself 
at the head of a company of soldiers and 
marched westward from Springfield, the capital, 
until the sun was out of sight behind the Pothi- 
cary tavern, when he and his command halted 
in the town of Virginia, and the infantry went 
to camp on the Public Square, and the artillery 
on the brow of the hill about on the present 
site of the Christian church. The Governor, 
however, did not camp with the private soldiers, 
but established his headquarters at the Pothicary 
tavern, where, after a satisfying hearty sup- 
per, such as the hospitable doctor-landlord would 
naturally prepare and set before bis distin- 
guished guest, the Governor began talking. Then 
occurred an incident which well illustrates the 
characteristics of the doctor. The Governor, it 
is said, was, under certain conditions, addicted 
to the use of language which did not meet with 
the approval of the landlord, who requested the 
Governor to refrain from the use of some ex- 
pressions which offended him. Two versions are 


I— I 




i— ( 






given of the incident. One is that the Governor 
resented the reproof, and asked Dr. Pothicary 
if he knew to whom he was speaking, reminding 
him that he was the Governor of Illinois, to 
which, according to the tradition, Dr. Pothicary 
replied that he would not permit him to use such 
language in his house, governor or no governor. 
The other version, as told to the writer by Hon. 
W. H. Weaver, of Petersburg, 111., who says he 
was present and heard the conversation, was 
that when Dr. Pothicary requested the Governor 
to refrain from the use of such language, the offi- 
cial looked up in astonishment, but apparently 
realizing the error of his conduct, apologized to 
the doctor, and was about to retire, when an- 
other person, the Rev. W. H. Collins, who had 
stepped into the hotel to take a look at the dis- 
tinguished visitor, began to lecture the chief 
executive, and the latter, smarting under his 
humiliation at the just rebuke from the land- 
lord, looked squarely at the little preacher who 
was just about the size of the Governor, and, 
with withering scorn, intimated with emphatic 
language that it was none of his concern what 
he, the Governor, said, and turning on his heel 
went up to his room. 

After the county seat had been removed to 
Beardstown, in 1S45, and so many merchants of 
Virginia had gone to the new county seat or else- 
where, Dr. Pothicary remained at Virginia, for 
two years, when he, too, capitulated, and moved 
to Beardstown, where, down on Main street, near 
the river in that town, he conducted a tavern for 
about a year. He then returned to Virginia, 
and bought a farm near Sugar Grove, in town- 
ship 17, range 9, containing KiO acres. There 
he and his family lived until 1S49, when, on 
gold being discovered in California in such 
quantities as to excite the interest of the whole 
country, Dr. Pothicary, with a number of others 
from Virginia and its vicinity, went to Califor- 
nia. He was not successful as a miner, and 
soon came lack richer in experience only, and 
continued to live on bis farm for thirty-two 
years. During the Civil war he was appointed 
provost marshal when it was deemed expedient 
to draft men Into the service, lie served his 
country faithfully and well during that trying 
period in that exacting position. No man, not 
even a Palestinian tax gatherer in the days of 
Herod, was so cordially hated as the provost 
marshal. However, Dr. Pothicary was not per- 
forming his duties along that line to receive the 

approbation of his fellow citizens, or to avoid 

their hatred. He was intensely patriotic 
towards his adopted land, and was doing all in 
his power, in his advanced age, to assist the 
federal government in its hour of sore distress. 
In 1S70 Dr. Pothicary and his wife moved to 
Virginia, his family having in the meanwhile 
grown to maturity and married. There he pur- 
chased a lot in Stowe's Addition, built on it a 
comfortable house, and there they lived until 
July 23, 1S7S, when he died from the loss of 
blood from a wound inflicted by his own hand. 
He had reached the ripe age of eighty-one years, 
two months and twelve days, and was buried in 
the Robinson graveyard near his farm home. 
Thus passed away one of Cass County's unique 
characters, one who had been a peculiar and 
familiar figure in and about the central portion 
of Cass County for forty-two years. 

Dr. Mahlon H. L. Schooley was born in Lees- 
burg, Loudoun County, Va., December 12, 1812. 
There he received a common school education, 
and advanced sufficiently in learning to qualify 
for teaching school, in which work he engaged 
for several years. In 1837 he cast his fortune 
with the great wave of emigration that set 
towards Illinois, and with a number of others 
landed at Beardstown, in the spring of that 
year. He learned of the settlement on Panther 
Creek, up the Sangamon bottom, and of the 
generous, kindly Dr. Chandler, who had started 
that settlement, and so trudged on foot up to 
that point in Cass County. The young man 
found a place with Dr. Chandler, with whom he 
studied medicine for three years, and then, 
upon the advice of the good doctor, went to 
Virginia, 111., in 1840. He soon acquired an 
excellent practice, and in the summer of 1841 
was married to Catherine J. Gatton, a daughter 
of Thomas Gatton, one of the pioneers of Cass 
County, locating in it when it was still a por- 
tion of Morgan County. Dr. Schooley, after his 
marriage, bought two lots in the first addition 
to Virginia, which had a small frame house <>n 
them, and there he lived until he was attacked 
by the gold fever of 1849. In the meanwhile he 
had been presented as a candidate to the people 
by the Whig party for the office of county 
recorder, he being a hearty supporter of that 
party. Dr. Schooley was elected al the regular 
election in August. 1843, hut a vote being taken 
in September of that same year on the county 
seat question, resulting in its removal tn Beards- 
town, the doctor resigned bis office when the 
records were removed two years later, as he 



did not care to give up bis practice as a physi- 
cian, as tie would have been obliged to do if he 
had followed them to Beardstown. He was an 
enterprising citizen, and engaged in a milling 
business with N. B. Beers, as has already been 
mentioned. In 1S49 he closed out his business 
and in company with Dr. Pothicary, Joseph 
Cosner, John Buckley and others, went to Cali- 
fornia by way of New Orleans and the Isthmus 
of Panama. After spending a year in California, 
he returned to ('ass County, but if lie brought 
any great amount of gold back with him. he 
very carefully concealed the fact. He soon 
regained his practice, and his leadership in his 
community. When the company for the building 
of the Illinois River Railroad, afterwards called 
the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville Railroad, was 
formed, he was elected its secretary. Prosper- 
ing, he soon built a very large and substantial 
residence on the lots he had formerly purchased. 
It is the property now known as the Samuel 
Petefish residence on west State street, and is 
yet regarded as one of the best in Virginia. 
The doctor, however, found his health failing, 
and so sold all his belongings in Cass County, 
and moved to Bath, in Mason County. There 
he remained for two years without any appre- 
ciable improvement in his health, so again sell- 
ing, he went to Cass County. Mo., where, in 
1S77, he died at the age of sixty-five years and 
two days, having expired just two days after 
the anniversary of his birthday. December 12. 


Dr. Theodore A. Hoffman was born in Saxe- 
Altenburg, a district of Saxony. Germany, on 
November 9, 1808. He was thoroughly educated 
in the better schools of his native land during 
his youth, later being apprenticed to a promi- 
nent chemist of Neustadt, where, during his four 
years indenture, be became remarkably profi- 
cient and skillful. He attended for three years 
the University of Jena, an institution of wide 
reputation, his principal studies there being 
chemistry, botany, physiology and pharmacy. 
In 1829 he removed to Hamburg, and from that 
place, in May. 1831, he set sail for the United 
States, landing at New York in August of the 
same year. Settling at Brooklyn. N. Y., he 
there established a laboratory where the first 
artificial borax was manufactured in the coun- 
try, the process being at that time known only 
jn Germany ; one year later went to Northamp- 

ton, Pa., and associated himself with Dr. Wesse- 
hoft, but moved from there to Philadelphia. In 
1835 he visited St. Louis, and after a summer 
in that city, came to Beardstown, where he at 
once engaged in the practice of medicine, and 
also opened and conducted a small drug store. 
In 1S47 he sold his drug store to Menke & Bro., 
and revisited Germany with his family, consist- 
ing of his wife and three children. On his 
return to America, he resided a year at St. 
Louis, but then came back to Beardstown, where 
be repurchased his drug store, and resumed his 
practice. Once more he sold the drug store to 
Menke & Bro.. and opened an office at his resi- 
dence, where, for a number of years, he devoted 
his attention to perfecting scientific methods. 
He received from the national government in 
1S5S a patent for the improved manufacture of 
dextrine, sugar, alcohol, etc. In 1866 he received 
a patent for a respirator, and in 1S70, one for 
an aspirator, designed to prevent the overheat- 
ing of bulk grain, etc.. for which he received a 
diploma at the St. Louis Fair of 1871. Again, in 
1S72, he received a patent for the improvement 
in the generation of ozone, as a remedy for 
diseases of the respiratory organs. Dr. Hoffman 
was married in September, 1S39, to Lucia E. 
Menke. and he died at Beardstown. June 30, 
1890, at the age of eighty-one years, seven 
months and twenty-one days. 

Dr. Frederick Ehrhardt. another highly edu- 
cated German, who came to Cass County in an 
early day. was born at Grund, in the Hartz 
Mountains, in southern Hanover. Germany, on 
March 15, 1817. He received an excellent early 
school training in his home schools, and when 
twenty-one years of age. in 1838, he entered 
Gottingen University in the Kingdom of Han- 
over, from which he was graduated in 1S42, and 
then passed a state or government examination, 
in which he received the highest honors of his 
class. Two years later he determined to cast his 
fortunes with the American republic, and after 
an interesting trip in a sailing vessel, he arrived 
at Baltimore, Md., where he remained practicing 
his profession, thinking for a time that he would 
make that city his permanent home. Many 
Germans coming to this country, however, had 
gone to more western states, especially to Mis- 
souri. St. Louis attracting them, as it then had 
prospects of becoming the great metropolis of 
the West, and after two years at Baltimore, Dr. 
Ehrhardt took a stage trip over the Alleghenies 
to the Ohio River, and went by boat to St. Louis. 



There he was establishing himself fairly well 
in practice, when he received from an old school- 
mate of Gottingen University, a pressing invita- 
tion by letter to come to Beardstown, glowing 
accounts being painted of the future of the little 
village on the Illinois River. Yielding to impor- 
tunities, he therefore came to Beardstown in 
1847, and at once began the practice of medicine. 
Two years later, in January, 1N49, he was united 
in marriage at Beardstown, to Miss Caroline 
Havecluft, a daughter of one of the very earliest 
pioneer settlers of Cass County. Dr. Ehrhardt 
was a man of broad education, of a scientific 
mind, and thoroughly schooled in the knowl- 
edge of materia medica. A man of very studious 
habits, he was yet sociable and companionable 
in his intercourse with his fellow men, and a 
highly esteemed' resident of Beardstown for 
many years. He died in that city in November, 
1881, and his wife on October 10, 1911. One son, 
Dr. Henry Ehrhardt, resides at Beardstown, 
where he has been a successful medical prac- 
titioner for many years. 

Another of the early settlers of Cass County 
in the medical profession was Dr. Harvey Tate, 
who came to the county in 1841. He was born 
February 20, 1810, in Miami County, Ohio, and 
there studied medicine and practiced for about 
ten years, when he came to Beardstown. From 
that place he drove over the rough roads to 
within three miles of Virginia, and there set- 
tled, remaining for a short time, and during 
that period practiced his profession, then moved 
to Virginia, and soon securing a lucrative prac- 
tice, continued a resident of that town the 
remainder of his life, except for a brief period 
when he lived at Nauvoo, and one season when 
he traveled in eastern states, hoping the change 
would prove beneficial to his wife's health. Dr. 
Tate held several of the town offices, and was 
at one time county superintendent of the public 
schools of Cass County. He died at his home in 
Virginia. June 21, 1891, at the advanced age of 
eighty-one years. 

Other physicians came to Beardstown and 
Virginia at an early day, but little can be Learned 
of them, except that they were well educated 
and highly trained in their profession. They 
became highly respected residents of the county. 
who lent their aid in every way to secure an 
uplifting of the communities in which they 
located. Iii is:: I. there were at Beardstown the 
following physicians: l>rs. Christ, Bochstetter, 
Owen .M. bong, and J. ( !. Smith. Between thai 

time and 1848, came Drs. V. A. Turpin, Charles 
Sprague, C. C. Emmerick and George Van Ness, 
and perhaps others came, but, remaining for 
only a short time, have slipped from the memory 
of the old residents. Dr. Charles A. Hathwell 
came to Jersey Prairie and located about a half 
mile east of Princeton. Later he moved into 
Virginia, where he divided the practice with 
Dr. Rufus S. Lord, Dr. Conn and Dr. Stockton. 
Dr. Charles E. Lippincott, another early physi- 
cian, located at Chandlerville in 1849. Dr. Samuel 
Christy came to Beardstown in 1849, and after 
practicing and conducting a drug store there 
until 1852, moved on a farm which he purchased, 
in Lancaster (now Philadelphia) Precinct. 
There he gained an extensive country practice, 
and when a postoffice was established in the 
precinct, he became the first postmaster. While 
there he was also elected to the legislature. Fur- 
ther mention is made of Dr. Christy in another 

Dr. David M. Logan was born in Belmont 
County, Ohio, January 4, 1821. When he reached 
his majority he was graduated in medicine, and 
located at Newmanville, Cass County, in 1859. 
He continued in the hard, toilsome country prac- 
tice until 1889, when he moved to Ashland, but 
his health having given way, he went to live 
with an elder brother in Boone County, Iowa, 
where he died July 14, 1900, aged seventy-nine 
years. His body was brought back to Cass 
County and buried in the Newmanville cemetery. 
Drs. Charles Houghton and Charles S. Mathews 
were also practicing physicians at Newmanville. 
Dr. Mathews endured the hardships of country 
practice for a number of years. Dr. William G. 
Unland was born in Cass County, and was grad- 
uated in medicine. After practicing in several 
localities in this state, he finally settled in 
Beardstown, in lsso. Dr. Joseph Falonie was 
active in the medical profession at Beardstown 
prior to 1881. In that year an epidemic of 
smallpox occurred in that city, and Dr. Falonie, 
after ministering professionally to many of the 
afflicted, himself contracted the disease, and died 
from its effects, in April, 1881. Dr. Hans II. 
Littlefield was born at Wells. York County. .Me.. 
September 2.1. 1823. He located at Beardstown 

in L848, Du t remained only for a short time, 
moving over into Schuyler ( 'onnty. later returned 
to Cass ( 'onnty. again locating at Beardstown in 
I860, and made that city his home during the 
remainder of his life. He served for two years 



as a surgeon in the Civil war. His death 
occurred at Beardstown June 2(i, 1903. 

Dr. George W. Goodspeed was located iu Old 
Princeton for a few years, but in 1S59 moved to 
Virginia, where he purchased lots and built him- 
self a comfortable residence, becoming identified 
with the growth of the city, and so continuing 
until late in life, when he moved to Colorado, 
and there died April 14, 1890. His remains were 
brought back to Virginia and buried in the beau- 
tiful Walnut Ridge cemetery which he had 
helped the. cify of Virginia to acquire and ray 
out. Dr. N. S. Reed came from Geauga County, 
Ohio, to Chandler ville in the spring of 1S52. He 
was a young man and had just been graduated 
in medicine. Having some means which he 
desired to invest, and also desiring to secure a 
home and settle down to the practice of his 
profession, he purchased a tract of land near 
the village of Chandlerville, and provided him- 
self with a comfortable home. He had a widely 
extended practice, and a great circle of friends 
and acquaintances who had learned to respect 
him very highly, when he died August 11, 1901, 
at his home in Chandlerville. His daughter, 
Mrs. Morse, still lives in the village of Chandler- 
ville, of which place her son, Albert Morse, is 
the present mayor. 

Dr. N. H. Boone, of Chandlerville, was born 
at Troup, Ga., June 6, 1836, and practiced medi- 
cine at various places prior to coming to 
Chandlerville in 1S64. Here he has since 
resided, being engaged in an active practice until 
within a few years of the date of this writing, 
when he retired, having accumulated consider- 
able wealth. Dr. John Francis Snyder came to 
Virginia in 1S64, and soon acquired a very 
extended practice and retained it for about a 
half a century, when he voluntarily retired. He 
is so closely identified with the history of Cass 
County and of the state that nothing further 
need to be said here to acquaint the reader with 
one of the ablest physicians and surgeons of 
central Illinois. Dr. Watson W. Gailey was 
born in Pennsylvania, near Newcastle, in 1842, 
and came to Illinois, locating in the village of 
Prentice, Morgan County, in 1865. A short time 
later he moved into Ashland, a few miles north 
of Prentice, and resided there the remainder of 
his busy life. Dr. L. S. Allard was a resident 
physician of Virginia for several years before 
the Civil war. He organized a company and 
was enrolled in the Nineteenth Illinois Volun- 
teer Infantry, and served throughout the war. 

He then returned to Virginia, and later removed 
to Arkansas. 


The foregoing, with perhaps some few excep- 
tions of physicians who were in Cass County 
for but a short period, covers all who came in 
the first half of the county's existence. As the 
county increased in population, many other phy- 
sicians came, some remained, and are still here, 
while others soon thereafter removed to differ- 
ent localities. The physicians residing and 
practicing in Cass County at the present time 
(1915) are the following: Beardstown — Drs. 
George W. Bey and his son Walter, T. J. 
Schweer, C. E. Soule, M. J. Palmer, Henry Ehr- 
hardt, Roy H. Garni, Charles E. Soule, Thomas 
G. Charles, W. G.. Unhand and J. F. Jones. Ash- 
land — Drs. J. A. Glenn, D. S. Gailey, D. Lyons 
and W. S. Taylor. Chandlerville — Drs. N. H. 
Boone, Howard B. Boone, John G. Franken and 
G. Eversole. Arenzville — Drs. J. M. Swope and 
A. F. Streuter. Virginia — Drs. Charles M. Hub- 
bard, A. R. Lyles, J. A. McGee, H. L. Day and 
W. R. Blackburn. Newmanville — Dr. R. C. 

The corps of physicians in active practice in 
Cass County numbers as able, intelligent and 
conscientious men as are to be found in any 
community in the state. Their activities in life 
are not limited to the lines of their chosen pro- 
fession, but they are to be found in the front 
ranks of the supporters of schools, churches, and 
every movement projected for the elevation of 
society and the promotion of the general wel- 
fare of the particular community in which they 

cass county medical society. 

In 1906 a medical association of the county 
was formed taking in almost all the resident 
physicians. It has been maintained to the pres- 
ent time and holds monthly meetings, at which 
the various phases of diseases and the latest 
discoveries and usages in treatment are dis- 
cussed. Frequently lectures or addresses are 
given, or papers are read, of a high scientific 
character, and are extremely interesting and in- 
structive to the medical fraternity, and thereby 
beneficial to their patients. 














The financial standing of any community de- 
pends largely upon the stability and integrity of 
its banking institutions. The banking laws of 
the state of Illinois were not, until rather late 
in its existence as a state, of such a character 
that the mere fact of the institution being a 
banking firm or corporation was any evidence of 
the financial stability of the concern. But later 
legislation under the stringent provisions of the 
constitution of INTO, and the present federal 
banking laws, though not as perfect as might 
be desired, have placed safeguards around the 
banking business, so that persons who become 
depositors, or have dealings with well founded 
banks now may feel comparatively secure. The 
days of "wildcat" banking are passed forever 
in this state. The people will DO longer submit 
to anything of the character in that Line we had 
prior to the constitution of 1870. The salient 
features of our present organic state law upon 
that subject are: that no state bank shall here- 
after be created, and the state shall not own or 
be liable Cor any stock for any banking com- 
pany or corporation; that no law creating or 
authorizing any corporation with banking pow- 
ers, or any amendment to such law shall go into 
effect until the same has been submitted to and 

approved by vote of the people; that every stock- 
holder in such institutions shall be individually 
responsible and liable to its creditors over and 
above the amount of stock held by him or her, 
to an amount equal to his or her respective 
shares so held, for all its liabilities accruing, 
while he or she remains such stockholder ; that 
the suspension of specie payments by banking in- 
stitutions on their circulation created by the 
laws of this state, shall never be permitted or 


A period of fanatical internal improvement 
and the wild financiering and speculative craze 
that began in 1837, culminated in a financial 
crash in 1S42 that precipitated many a bank- 
ruptcy and brought dire distress and ruin to 
thousands of honest men who found themselves 
without means to meet their obligations. In the 
rural districts money became so scarce that all 
business transactions were reduced to barter 
and exchange of commodities. To aid in local 
transactions, the merchants issued due bills to 
their customers, which passed current, at cer- 
tain discount, where the parties issuing them 
were well known, and as has been casually men- 
tioned heretofore in these pages, the county com- 
missioners of Cass County attempted to come 
to the assistance of the people by providing for 
the issuance of county warrants that might be 
used as a medium of exchange. On March 10, 
X842, at the March term of the county commis- 
sioners' court of Cass County, it was ordered 
by the court that Henry H. Hall, who founded 
Virginia, he appointed to procure a suitable 
plate of steel, copper or some other suitable 
metal, for engraving notes to be issued as county 
warrants for the county of Cass, and state of 
Illinois, and that he procure a supply of blanks 
for the present use. The county commissioners 
at that time were: John C. Scott. Marcus Chan- 
dler and William II. DeHaven. Nothing further 
seems to have been done about the matter, ami 
no person Living seems to remember that any 
smh notes were ever in circulation. Recently, 
however, some of the old blank warrants were 
found. They bear no date, but are printed from 
an excellent steel engraving in very artistic 
design, in the similitude of one dollar bills, a 
renewed search of the ancient records, page by 
page, they not being Indexed, revealed the fol- 
lowing fad concerning the plate and notes. In 



the record of the proceedings of the county com- 
missioners' court of June S, 1844, appears the 
following : 

"It is ordered that Henry H. Hall he notified 
to deliver, or cause to he delivered, to the county 
commissioners' court, at their July called term, 
to be held on the third Friday in July, 1S44, 
the steel plate for striking Cass County orders, 
and all blank orders in his possession." The 
records of the proceedings of the July called 
meeting of the commissioners makes no mention 
of the subject: The legislature had invalidated 
all such warrants or orders, and forbidden any 
municipality to issue any such. It is presumed 
the commissioners got back their plate and blank 
warrants, and thought it was unnecessary to 
say so in the record, as the people of Cass 
County did not receive the benefits intended by 
the accommodating county commissioners. 


Xo regular banking institution appears to have 
been organized in Cass County prior to 1855 
or 1856. There was, however, some banking or 
bankers' property subject to listing in 1857. The 
state auditor's report for 1857 shows in the list 
of bankers' property that Cass County had $3,000 
worth of property. James C. Leonard was a 
private banker in I860, at Beardstown, but 
failed in 1S66. 

The Beardstown Banking Company was in- 
corporated in 1869, by act of legislature ap- 
proved March 30 of that year, with a capital 
stock of $100,000. The incorporators were: 
James C. Leonard, John A. Ames, Edward B. 
Leonard, George H. Nolte, Herman Engelbach, 
Martin L. Read, Franklin A. Hammer, Fred- 
erick Ehrhardt, Henry T. Foster and Chauncey 
Rice. The name, John A. Ames, is probably an 
error in print, and most probably is intended for 
John A. Arenz. This institution was organized 
and conducted as a bank until about 1875, when 
the Cass County Bank was organized. It opened 
for business in 1876 with Abner Foster as presi- 
dent. In 1878 Frank A. Hammer was elected 
president. The Cass County Bank continued in 
business until 1SSS, when it was succeeded by 
the First State Bank. 

The First State Bank of Beardstown was 
organized December 24, 1SS8, and a charter from 
the state of Illinois was granted February 26, 
isso, to conduct a banking business under the 
laws of the state of Illinois, according to an 

act passed shortly before that time, permitting 
banks to be incorporated by the state. The first 
board of directors elected to serve this bank 
consisted of the following well known men : 
Adolph F. Sielschott, William Huppers, Philip 
Kuhl, Anton Rink, John W. Xewburne, Henry 
Ehrhardt and Henry Garni. On January 12, 
1SS9, Adolph F. Sielschott was elected president 
of the corporation ; Henry Garni, vice president ; 
and T. L. Mathews, cashier. The bank was then 
located at No. 114 Main street, in Beardstown, 
which place was occupied as a bank office until 
June 2, 1896, when the bank, in connection with 
Cass Lodge Xo. 23, A. F. & A. M., purchased 
the building of William Huppers on the corner 
of Main and State streets, which they occupied 
until 1914, when they moved to their present 
quarters on the corner of State and Second 
streets. This building was erected by the bank 
during 1913 and 1914, and was opened on June 
2 of the latter year. The present location is a 
prominent comer in the business district of 
Beardstown. The bank building is of dark, hol- 
low, Bedford stone on the exterior. The interior 
is finished in Sienna marble, with Heautville 
marble trimmings. The vault is particularly 
well protected and constructed in every way 
looking to the safety of the bank, and the entire 
interior decorations and equipment are of the 
mosf modern pattern, as well as the building 
itself, and Beardstown feels that it has one of 
the most modern banking buildings in central 
Illinois. The stockholders are certainly to be 
congratulated upon such a fine building and lo- 
cation and the increased volume of business it 
is bringing them justifies the expenditure. On 
March 1, 1892, T. L. Mathews resigned as cashier 
of the bank and Malcolm H. Wallace was elected 
lint resigned on May 25. 1892. when R. H. Garni 
was elected and filled the position continuously 
until January 1, 1915, when he was elected pres- 
ident of the bank. H. M. Schmoldt had suc- 
ceeded A. F. Sielschott as president, on April 
2, 1895, and continued to act as such until his 
death in June, 1908, when Werner Steuernagel 
was elected and he served until he was suc- 
ceeded by Mr. Garni, in 1915. Henry Garni 
served as vice president of the bank from the 
time of its organization until his death in 1S99, 
when he was succeeded by William Huppers, and 
when he died, in 1909, was succeeded by Phil 
Kuhl, who continued as vice president until 
January 1, 1915, when Thomas V. Brannan was 
elected vice president. The present board Of 



directors consists of the following members : R. 
H. Garni, president ; T. V. Brannan, vice presi- 
dent ; A. H. Krone, Philip Kuhl, Werner Steuer- 
nagel, E. L. Oetgen and William P. Beatty. The 
bank when originally organized commenced busi- 
ness with a capital stock of $25,000. On July 

I, 1890, this was increased to .$50,000, and on 
April 11. 1004. it was further increased to $100,- 
000. The capital and surplus is now $200,000, 
the surplus being equal to the capital, and was 
attained in 1011. 

The Beardstown State Bank was organized 
April 2, 1910, under the state laws of Illinois, 
with a capital stock of $50,000, and surplus of 
$10,000 fully paid up. The incorporators were : 

II. W. Hackman, E. H. Kinney and E. T. Hunter. 
The bank opened for business December 19, 
1910, with the following officers and directors : 
Charles F. Johnson, president; H. W.- Hackman, 
vice president: E. H. Kinney, cashier; E. T. 
Hunter, assistant cashier ; and Charles F. John- 
son, H. W. Hackman, E. H. Kinney, J. W. Al- 
bright. C. E. Williamson, Thomas R. Williams 
and William Huppe, directors. The bank build- 
ing was erected in 1910 at a cost of $40,000, and 
is owned by the vice president, H. W. Hackman. 
It is a handsome building of vitrified brick, ar- 
tistically finished on the interior, and is lo- 
cated on the corner of Washington and Second 
streets, across from the Park Hotel, one of the 
central locations. The present officers are : 
Charles F. Johnson, president; H. W. Hackman, 
vice president; E. T. Hunter, cashier; William 
H. Huppe, Charles F. Johnson, H. W. Hackman, 
Thomas R. Williams, B. E. reek, J. L. Long and 
E. T. Hunter, directors. This bank has had a 
remarkable growth since its organization, its 
total resources now being over $145,000, and 
with the co-operation of its TOO stockholders 
scattered throughout the entire community, sub- 
stantial increase is predicted in the next few 

The Peoples Bank of Beardstown was organ- 
ized as a private bank in 1877, with John II. 
Harris as president, and Thomas K. Condit as 
cashier, and with the following board of di- 
rectors: John II. Harris. John II. Hagener, Wil- 
liam Jockisch, J. A. Arenz, and S. L. Calif. The 
capital stock was $10,000. The bank prospered 

and in L882 increased its stock to $15,1 In 

L888 the bank changed from a private bank to 
the First National Bank of Beardstown, and 
has steadily Increased in business until It Is 
now considered the strongest bank in the county. 

It has a capital stock of $100,000, and a surplus 
of $125,000. A report of the business of the 
bank at the close of business, March 4, 1915, 
shows resources of $1,182,335.08. This hank be- 
came a member of the Federal Reserve in 1914. 
The location of this institution is on the corner 
of Main and State streets, which is lot 1 of block 
in of the original town of Beardstown. This lot 
is owned by the bank, and in 1910 a new and 
modern building of handsome style of architec- 
ture was erected on this lot to replace the orig- 
inal one then standing. It is exceptionally well 
furnished with every modern convenience and 
device for absolute safety of deposits and valu- 
ables intrusted to its keeping. The building, 
fixtures and furniture are valued at $40,000. 
Thomas K. Condit has been cashier of the bank 
since its organization, and John H. Harris was 
its president from the organization of the bank 
until his death, March 4. 1911. He was suc- 
ceeded by John Schultz, who still maintains that 
position. Upon the death of Henry C. Meyer, 
A. E. Schmoldt succeeded as vice president. 
Floyd M. Condit is the present assistant cashier. 
The board of directors is composed of the fol- 
lowing: John Shultz, T. K. Condit, A. E. 
Schmoldt, Martin McDonough, George H. Kuhl- 
niiin, William H. Deppe and J. T. Schweer. 


The Peoples Bank of Arenzville was estab- 
lished about February 1, 1882, with A. J. Savior 
as president, and Charles H. Condit as cashier. 
This hank continued as a private bank and a 
branch of the Peoples Bank of Beardstown, until 
about the time the parent bank was changed to 
the I'Mrst .National Bank of Beardstown, when 
it became the First National Bank of Arenzville. 
Charles II. Condit resigned as cashier after the 
change, and went to Winchester, 111., where be 
is in a banking business. Then George Engel- 
bach became cashier and is still serving. Her- 
man Engelbach is the president and .1. M. Swope 
is the vice presidenl of this bank, which has a 
capital stock and surplus of $120,000, owns a 
substantial bank building, and enjoys a large 

In 1910 the PAEMEBS ,V Mi BCH \ \ I - STATE 

Bane was organized to be opened for business 
;it Arenzville, and a charter granted August 31 
Of that year. A new hank building had 1 ecu 
erected, and the bank began business with a 

capital sleek Of $25,000. William II. Witte Is 



the president, A. E. Crum is the vice president, 
and John Theivagt is the cashier. The new 
hank has a large number of stockholders and 
there is every indication of its having a long 
and prosperous existence. 


The State Bank was chartered in 1903. The 
banking business of Chandlerville was started 
by Barr, Chandler & Company in October, 1871. 
H. T. Chandler was an active trader and needed 
a bank convenient to take care of his private 
business. Mr. Barr had been a practical banker, 
in business at one time at Jacksonville, and 
was induced to come to Chandlerville and take 
charge of the bank. The other, the third mem- 
ber of the firm, was Mrs. Emily (Chandler) 
Lippincott, wife of Gen. Charles E. Lippincott 
and a daughter of Dr. Chandler. As Mr. Barr 
did not appreciate the necessity of coming from 
Jacksonville every week to look after the busi- 
ness, and as his wife did not care to move to 
Chandlerville, in the spring he severed his con- 
nection with the bank, and Linus C. Chandler, 
a younger brother of H. T. Chandler, who had 
just been graduated from a Chicago college, was 
taken Into the bank as assistant cashier. He 
soon decided, however, to engage in a law prac- 
tice, and was elected state's attorney of Cass 
County in the fall of 1S72, and his place was 
then filled by William K. Mertz. Mr. Mertz had 
been employed by George Plahn, a well remem- 
bered pioneer merchant of Beardstown, but had 
later gone to Bath in Mason County, to take 
charge of a branch store for Mr. Plahn. Mr. 
Chandler was recommended to secure the serv- 
ices of Mr. Mertz, and did so in 1872. The 
bank had, in the meanwhile, taken Gen. Lip- 
pincott in as a partner, the firm being Lippin- 
cott, Chandler & Co., and it was conducted un- 
der that name for three or four years, when. 
Gen. Lippincott retiring, the firm became H. T. 
Chandler & Co. In 1880 the bank was bought by 
Samuel H. Petefish, George Conover, W. K. 
Mertz and Oswoll Sidles, and was given the 
name of Petefish, Skiles & Mertz. Business was 
continued under that name for several years, 
when Mr. Petefish sold his interest, and the 
firm name was changed to Conover, Skiles & 
Mertz. It continued under that caption until 
December S, 1903, when the bank was chartered 
under the state banking law, and opened for 
business January 1, 1904, as the State Bank of 

Chandlebville. George Conover was elected 
president; J. G. Franken, vice president; and 
W. K. Mertz, cashier, with a capital stock of 
$50,000, and so continues to the present time. 
From the above record it appears that Mr. Mertz 
has been connected with the Chandlerville bank- 
ing business and with the one institution, for 
forty-three years. In that time he has been 
the trusted financial agent for more of the peo- 
ple than any one man in the entire community ; 
a trust and confidence that has not always re- 
munerated him personally, but, notwithstanding 
the valuable time spent gratuitously for others, 
his business life has been an exceptional success. 
The bank has prospered from the time he took 
the management of it, and it is one of the most 
substantial financial institutions of Cass County. 
A new bank was opened at Chandlerville, in- 
corporated as the Peoples State Bank of 
Chandlerville. Its certificate of incorporation 
bears the date of January 7, 1904, and the bank 
immediately began business with John C. Morse 
as president, William T. Pratt as cashier and 
Henry Leeper as assistant cashier. It has a 
capital stock of $25,000, and has been doing an 
excellent business, having among its stockhold- 
ers and patrons some of the best business men 
of Chandlerville and the surrounding country. 


The Centennial National Bank of Virginia 
was organized in 187G. When the one hun- 
dredth anniversary of the independence of the 
United States of America came around, and 
many and varied celebrations of the event were 
being held, some of the gentlemen of Virginia, 
Cass County, conceived the idea of making a 
permanent monument there to that great event, 
and caused the incorporation of a national bank, 
calling it the Centennial National Bank of Vir- 
ginia. It was organized under the federal na- 
tional banking law, and the organization was 
completed February 24, 1S76, at which time the 
following directors were elected : A. G. Angier, 
John A. Tetefish, Daniel Biddlecome, T. J. Crum, 
J. H. Bates, A. Struble, Robert Hall, W. L. 
Black and Thomas Dunaway. These directors 
met on February 28, IMC. and elected John A. 
Petefish. president ; T. J. Crum, vice president ; 
and John II. Wood, cashier. Its capital stock 
was $50,000. John H. Wood remained its cashier 
until June, 1S7S, when he resigned and on June 
14 of that year, James B. Black, who had been 



county clerk of Cass County for a number of 
years and was still in office, was elected to fill 
the vacancy in the bank. He remained with the 
bank as cashier until his death, September 2, 
1S95. On September 10, 1895, Miss Kate Wilson 
was elected assistant cashier, a position she 
still fills, being one of the few women of the 
country so employed, and has been proved emi- 
nently trustworthy. From the time of the death 
of Mr. Black, the duties of cashier were per- 
formed by Miss Wilson and William Epler, the 
latter being president at that time, until May 
1, 1S96, when John J. Bergen was elected cash- 
ier, and began service immediately, and con- 
tinued in that position until January 13, 1914, 
when he resigned, but remained with the bank 
for a few months more, assisting the new 
cashier, Henry McDonald, in becoming familiar 
with the business. The present officers are : 
W. B. Black, president ; Daniel Biddlecome, vice 
president; Henry McDonald, cashier'; and Kate 
Wilson and A. J. Coons, assistant cashiers. The 
bank owns its building, which is of brick con- 
struction, with red stone front and of handsome 
design. It occupies the east part of lot 103 of 
the original town, on the south side of the court- 
house square. The bank has been very pros- 
perous and joined the Federal Reserve bank 
under the federal banking law of 1913, on Feb- 
ruary 14, 1914. 


In September, 1881, a private bank was es- 
tablished at Ashland, under the firm name of 
Sidles, Rearick & Co. The firm consisted of 
members of the firm of Petefish, Sidles & Co., of 
Virginia, with the addition of Walter S. Rearick, 
of Beardstown, who had been connected for 
some time with the Cass County Bank of Beards- 
town. The private bank opened for business in 
;i room in the rear of a drug store at Ashland, 
and remained there until its own building was 
completed, and in December of that same year, 
took possession of the new quarters, on lots 12 
and 1-'! of block 53 of the original town. This 
building served the bank adequately until 1909, 
When a new building was erected on the same 
grounds. It is handsomely fitted up, in modern 
style, and with every bank convenience. In 1905 
this hank organized under the state banking 
law as a state hank, retaining the old name of 
Sidles. Rearick & Co. Mr. Rearick. who had 
been the cashier, and had had the general man- 

agement of the business from the time of the 
original establishment of the bank, was elected 
president of the new state bank, and James J. 
Wyatt was elected cashier. These gentlemen 
still occupy these positions, and Eugene Clein- 
mons is the assistant cashier. The volume of 
business done in and about Ashland made it im- 
perative in a business way to have a banking 
establishment in its midst, and from the success 
of this concern, and the confidence reposed in 
the managers, the venture proves to have been 
a wise and opportune investment, and has been 
of special benefit to those engaged in extensive 
shipments of stock and grain from that point, as 
well as to the many and varied other business 
interests of the community. 

The municipality of Ashland had grown to 
such an extent, and the business interests had 
so rapidly developed, that in 1905 it was deemed 
advisable to establish another bank. In August 
of that year the Farmers State Bank of Ash- 
land was organized. Its certificate of incorpo- 
ration bears date of August 25, 1905, and it im- 
mediately opened its doors to the public for busi- 
ness, with Fred C. Walbaum as president, and 
T. C. Richardson as cashier. The original cap- 
ital stock of $30,000 was increased in June, 1906, 
to $50,000. The bank has a substantial building 
on lot 7 of block 62 on the corner of Hardin 
and Editor streets. Its ten years of business 
life is evidence that it is one of the permanent 
institutions of Ashland. 

The Farmers and Mechanics Bank of Vir- 
ginia, by an act of the legislature of Illinois, 
was chartered by John McHenry, J. M. Epler, 
George Conover, Philip Buraker, George Virgin, 
John H. Tureman and Samuel Petefish. They 
were authorized to open books for subscription 
of stock, hut nothing appears to have been done, 
at least no such bank was ever opened at Vir- 
ginia. In the next year. 1870, a private bank 
was established under the firm name of Pete- 
fish. Sidles & Co.. the firm consisting of Samuel 
II. Petefish. Ignatius Sidles and Jacob Epler. 
Business was begun at Virginia with Richard 
Elliott in charge as cashier. After the first year 
Mr. Epler retired, and George Virgin was ad- 
mitted to the Arm. In September, 1^72. Mi-. El- 
liotl resigned as cashier and the bank was placed 
in charge of Edward T. (diver, in AfJril, 1^7.".. 

[gnatiUS Skiles died, hut his interests in the 

hank were Looked after by his administrator 
until September, l^7."">. when Oswell Skiles, his 
brother, was admitted as a member of the Brm. 



Iu 1876 Mr. Virgin retired and the firm became 
S. H. Petefish, Oswell Sidles, Edward T. Oliver, 
William Campbell and George Cram. This asso- 
ciation continued for a number of years, when 
Mr. Oliver withdrew, moving to Springfield, 111., 
and George Conover was made cashier. In 1886 
Matt Yaple went from the Centenial National 
Bank, where he had been bookkeeper, to the 
Petefish, Sidles & Co. Bank and later became its 
assistant cashier. On September 24, 1902, a 
charter was granted from the state of Illinois, 
under the state banking laws, to S. H. Petefish, 
L. A. Petefish, Matt Yaple and Oswell Sidles, 
incorporating the bank as Petefish, Skiles & 
Co. The stockholders elected George Conover, 
president; and Matt Yaple, cashier. Mr. Con- 
over served as president until 1904, when Os- 
well Skiles was elected to that office and con- 
tinued until his death in 1908. L. A. Petefish 
was elected to succeed Mr. Skiles, and served 
until 1912, when M. L. Crum was made presi- 
dent, and so continues. L. A. Petefish is vice 
president, Matt. Yaple is cashier, and George 
H. Widmayer and Ignatius Yaple are assist- 
ant cashiers. The bank has a capital stock of 
$60,000, and has been one of the most success- 
ful and substantial banking institutions of the 
county. During all the years of its existence, 
until removal to the new building, the bank oc- 
cupied the building on lot 72, original town of 
Virginia, on the corner of Front and Beardstown 
streets. On January 1, 1910, the bank opened 
the doors of its new building on the opposite 
corner of the street, on lot 107 of the original 
town, which was erected by the bank expressly 
for the purpose of a banking house. It is a 
splendid structure of stone and brick, hand- 
somely finished and decorated on the interior, 
and is fitted with modern improvements and 
safety deposit vaults. 

The Farmers National Bank of Virginia was 
organized in 1865, with S. S. Vance as its first 
president, Henry H. Hall as its first vice presi- 
dent, and John II. Wood its first cashier. The 
first board of directors was composed of the fol- 
lowing men : S. S. Vance, Henry H. Hall, L. M. 
Stribling, William Stevenson, John A. Petefish, 
X. M. Thompson, and A. G. Angier. At first the 
bank had a capital stock of .$50,000, with a cir- 
culation of $45,000. but later increased the stock 
to $150,000 and the circulation to $145,000. 
Subsequently the capital stock was reduced to 
$50,000. In 1876 Mr. Wood resigned as cashier, 
and J. T. Robertson was elected to fill that 

position and retained it until 1912. Henry H. 
Hall was elected president of the bank in 1S67, 
and the other presidents in succession have 
been : A. G. Angier, John A. Petefish, John Rob- 
ertson, George Virgin, Z. W. Gatton and Henry 
S. Savage, the last named, elected in 1912, still 
being in office. The other officials are: James 
Maslin, vice president ; R. C. Taylor, cashier ; 
and V. E. Robertson and Frank Robertson, as- 
sistant cashiers. The directors are : H. S. Sav- 
age, R. C. Taylor, James Maslin, Deterick 
Brockhouse, V. E. Robertson. In 1S74 the bank 
built a brick structure on the southwest corner 
of the public square, on lot 106. It was a two- 
story building with banking house below, on the 
ground floor, and office rooms above. On Au- 
gust 27, 1897, at the time of the disastrous fire 
at Virginia, this building was totally destroyed. 
The bank immediately contracted for a new 
building, and within a year was again within 
its own property, which is a handsome structure 
of brick with a red stone front, containing bank- 
ing rooms of modern design and equipment be- 
low, and office rooms above. This bank was 
the first national bank to organize and do busi- 
ness in Cass County, and has been exceedingly 
prosperous. It joined the Federal Reserve banks 
in 1914, under the new federal reserve bank 

On June 23, 1874, a certificate- of incorpora- 
tion was issued for the Cass County Bank, to 
do a banking business at Virginia, to J. N. Reece, 
L. E. Johnston and J. W. Johnston, but no such 
bank was ever opened in the county, although 
there was a Cass County Bank at Beardstown 
for a number of years. There is nothing to 
indicate that the two had any connection. The 
capital stock was to be $100,000, and the bank 
was to open for business June 25, 1874. 

other financial institutions. 

Other financial institutions of the county are 
principally building and loan associations. 
There are three of these at Beardstown, namely : 
the Beardstown Building and Loan Association, 
the Homestead Building and Loan Association, 
and the Mutual Loan and Savings Association. 

The building and loan association at Virginia 
operates under the name of the Virginia Build- 
ing and Savings Association. 

The Ashland building and loan association 
operates under the name of the Ashland Build- 
ing, Savings and Loan Association. 



Cliandlerville has a similar concern which 
does business as the Cliandlerville Building and 
Loan Association. 

These associations were organized soon after 
the law was enacted permitting such organiza- 
tion, and have been very prosperous and suc- 
cessful. They have been instrumental, more 
than any other institutions, in helping the wage 
earners to secure for themselves and families 
comfortable homes on the most liberal and gen- 
erous terms. 


















The first railroad to enter Cass County was 
secured through the efforts of Dr. Charles 
Chandler, Hon. R. S. Thomas and Dr. M. H. L. 
Schooley of Cass County, and Judge William 
Thomas, of Jacksonville, Morgan County. In 
1S53, Hon. James M. Ruggles of Bath, in Mason 
County, represented the counties of Mason, 
Menard and Sangamon in the state senate. That 
legislature, or the people back of it, seemed to 
have a mania for incorporating railroads, 
whether there was any immediate prospect of 
the building of the roads or not. Everybody 
seemed to want a charter for building a rail- 
road, and the legislature was willing, and it ap- 
pears gave a charter to every body of men that 
asked for one. The Eighteenth General As- 
sembly convened at Springfield, January 3, 1853, 
and adjourned February 14 the same year, being 
in session forty-three days. In that short time 
it passed thirty-seven acts granting charters to 
companies for building a railroad, and if Sun- 
days are deducted from the total days in ses- 
sion, it will leave an equal number of legislative 
days and railroad charters granted. Among the 
charters granted was one secured by Mr. Rug- 
gles, February 11, 1853, for the building of a 
railroad from Jacksonville, in Morgan County, 
through Virginia in Cass County, and Bath in 
Mason County, to Pekin in Tazewell County, 
and thence through Laeon in Marshall County, 
to La Salle in La Salle County, and to be known 
as the Illinois River Railroad Company. Cass 
County was represented in the lower house of 
the assembly by Hon. Cyrus Wright, Baptist 
preacher, who. no doubt, voted for the measure, 
as he made his home in and near Cliandlerville. 
The capital stock of the company was fixed at 
81.000,000, but might be Increased to $2,000,000. 
James M. Ruggles was one of the Incorporators, 
but no Cass County person appears to have been 
at that time directly Interested. The right of 
way was secured from Pekin to Bath, and about 
$100,000 of the stock subscribed, and there the 
project stopped. The Incorporators bad not or- 
ganized but bad only opened books for the sale 
of the stork and made efforts to secure the 
right of way. it seemed as it* the road were 
built at all it would terminate at Bath. It was 
then that the Cass County people mentioned 
above took hold of the matter and assisted in 
securing the right of way through the northern 
part of Cass County to Virginia, and also oh- 



tained additional subscriptions for the stock. It 
was not until September, 1857, that they were 
ready to formally organize. In that month the 
interested parties met at Chandlerville and or- 
ganized a company by electing Judge William 
Thomas, of Morgan County, R. S. Thomas of 
Cass County, J. M. Ruggles and Francis Low of 
.Mason County, and Joshua Wagonseller of Taze- 
well County, directors. The directors met im- 
mediately and completed the organization by 
electing Hon. Richard S. Thomas, president; 
Dr. M. H. L. Sqhooley, secretary; and Thomas 
Plasters, treasurer; all of Cass County. 


The road was finished and opened from Pekin 
to Virginia in 1859, thus giving the products of 
Cass County a new market at Peoria, and a di- 
rect connection from that point on to Chicago 
and the East. The new railroad magnates of 
Virginia and Cass County did not enjoy their 
distinction for any great length of time. The 
road had been mortgaged for rolling stock and 
material, and for other expenses attendant upon 
its completion, as its charter provided it might 
be, but when the notes began to fall due there 
was no money in the treasury with which to 
meet the indebtedness. As a consequence, in Oc- 
tober, 1S63, the mortgage was foreclosed and 
the Illinois River Railroad Company, one of the 
few roads to be built out of the great number 
chartered, was a thing of the past. 


In 1S64 the road went into the hands of a new 
company, called the Peoria, Pekin & Jackson- 
ville Railroad and the rural wits immediately 
dubbed it the "Push, Pull & Jerk" road. In 1869 
the road was extended to Jacksonville. A prop- 
osition had been submitted to the people of 
township 17 north, range 10 west, in Cass 
County, to vote a tax for $15,000 of bonds to 
assist in securing the right of way through the 
remainder of Cass County, but the voters would 
not consent to the tax, and the measure was de- 
feated. This offended the railroad people, and 
they blamed the citizens of Virginia especially 
for the result, so when they completed the road, 
they deflected the right of way from the line 
over which it was originally intended to pass 
through the town of Virginia, and turned it 
straight down the section line, thus missing the 

town by a quarter of a mile or so, and placed 
their depot far out beyond the corporate limits 
to the northeast. It is told that a traveling 
man once asked a Virginia boy why they put 
the depot away out there. The boy declared : 
"»So it would be near a railroad." The traveler 
moved on and it is not known whether the boy 
later got into the legislature or a reform school. 
The city has spread out in that direction since 
then and the depot does not now appear so in- 
conveniently remote. The freight track which 
extends to the Savage elevator, was the orig- 
inal main track, in fact was all the track for a 
long period. There was not even a "Y" to turn 
the engine, and it was run backward to Bath, 
until the inconvenience was relieved by the 
building of a turntable which was located on 
what is now Duncan avenue, a little south of 
the right of way of the Baltimore & Ohio South- 
western Railroad. The writer, with other boys, 
many times enjoyed the novel experience of 
assisting to turn the table that reversed the 
great, big, wonderful engine. The depot was a 
very small frame box of an affair, and located 
south of where the elevator now stands, but on 
the west side of the track. There was but ofle 
train on the road for a long time, which made 
a daily round trip from Pekin. In 1865 its 
schedule time to arrive was about 11 :00 A. M. 
It had a habit, however, of coming in when- 
ever it saw fit, a habit which the passenger 
train due to arrive about that time, still ad- 
heres to. There was no other carrier of pas- 
sengers or mail into or through Virginia at that 
time except the two stage lines from Jackson- 
ville and Springfield to Beardstown. They usu- 
ally arrived about the same time as the railroad 


On the morning of Saturday, April 15, 1865, 
the stage from Springfield reached the old Dun- 
away Hotel, which it made its stopping place, 
a little earlier than usual. The manner in which 
the driver cracked his whip over the four horses 
and urged them with all speed up the hill from 
the Clear Creek bridge east of town, indicated 
that he had something more than ordinary in 
the way of passengers or news. He proved to 
be the bearer of the horrible tidings of the 
assassination of President Lincoln. The word 
spread rapidly and great excitement prevailed, 
hut the boys who had gathered to go out "to 




W^Uk ^^Bfekv 







see the train come in" and ride on the turn- 
table, were not so deeply impressed with the 
seriousness of the situation until they saw the 
train coming up to the little old station, with 
the engine heavily draped in black and white, in 
mourning for the dead president. Everyone, 
passengers and employes, seemed sorrowful and 
depressed, and were either silent or spoke in 
low tones as though the body of the president 
was aboard the train and they feared to disturb 
his repose. President Lincoln was well known 
personally by every employe and officer of the 
railroad. The great man, the old neighbor and 
friend of these people, had breathed his last at 
7 :22 A. M., in the city of Washington, and this 
public manifestation of mourning by draping 
the engine with the insignia of death within a 
few hours of Mr. Lincoln's death, was but the 
beginning of a pageantry of mourning from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, the like of which had 
never been seen or heard of in the history of 
this country. It was continuous from that day 
until the fourth day of May, when he was laid 
to rest in the beautiful Oak Ridge Cemetery, at 
Springfield. The sight of the engine draped as 
it was, was an awe-inspiring one to the boys, 
and only a few of the older ones approached 
the engine on the turn table to help to reverse 
it that morning. 


The road continued under the management 
and name of the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville 
Pail road until 1879, when another mortgage 
foreclosure turned it into the hands of the Wa- 
bash. St. Louis & Pacific Railroad. In a few 
yens this road also defaulted and a receiver 
was appointed. In 1887 the road was reorgan- 
ized under the name of the Chicago, Peoria & 
St. Louis Railroad, which name, with a great 
Struggle, it has home ever since. From 1890 
until about 1896, there were two through pas- 
senger trains daily each way between St. Louis 
and Chicago, and trains from Peoria to Jackson- 
ville each way. A number of freight trains 
were also run and passenger and shipping facili- 
ties were excellent. There are but two local 
trains each way now from Jacksonville to Ha- 
vana, where they connect with the main line 

for Peoria and Springfield. 


The Baltimore A Ohio Southwestern Railroad 

in Cass County was originally chartered in 

1867, as the Pana, Springfield & Northwestern, 
but before the work was done west of Spring- 
field it was consolidated with the Illinois & 
Southeastern Railroad, under the name of the 
Springfield & Illinois Southeastern Railroad. 
The road was built and opened for traffic in 
March, 1871, extending from Beardstown to 
Shawneetown. In 1873 it went into the hands 
of a receiver, the fate of most railroads in those 
days, and in 1N74 was sold under foreclosure 
proceedings, and March 1, 1875, passed into the 
hands of the Ohio & Mississippi, which had been 
incorporated in 1851. In 1893 it was consoli- 
dated with the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern 
Railroad, and has been under that name and 
management ever since. The people of Cass 
County for eighteen years had known and 
done business with the road under the name of 
the Ohio & Mississippi, and it was difficult for 
them to get used to the change in name. The 
road has now three passenger trains daily each 
way from Beardstown to the eastern terminus, 
with direct connections with the Baltimore & 
Ohio, being under the same management, for 
Washington and New York. Very excellent 
service, both passenger and freight, is rendered 
the public by this road. Jesse Neer, the di- 
vision passenger agent of the line, now residing 
at Springfield, 111., was for a number of years 
a most efficient and accommodating local agent 
and resided at Virginia. The x - oad has little 
more than twenty-five and three-quarter miles 
of main track and six and eight-tenths miles 
of side track in the county. It starts from 
Beardstown in section 14, township 18, range 
12, west, and runs southeasterly through the 
following villages and cities in which it has sta- 
tions : Bluff Springs, Cass, Virginia, Burlingame, 
Philadelphia. Curney and Ashland, passing out 
of the county from the southeast quarter of 
section 2s, township 17 north, range 8 west, into 
Sangamon County. 


The same session of the legislature that 
granted the charter for the Illinois River Pail- 
road, gave two other charters bo companies in- 
cluding some Cass County residents. < m> Feb- 
ruary 11. 1853, a charter for the Beardstown & 
Petersburg Railroad was granted to Amos Dick, 
Dr. Charles Sprague, Dr. V". A. Turpin, E. R. 

Sanders and Dr. Charles Chandler, and others 
from other counties. The road was to he built 

from Beardstown, down the Sangamon river 



In it torn, and then across to Petersburg, taking in 
Chandlerville. This would have been a splen- 
did route for a railroad, and very beneficial to 
the farmers along the Sangamon valley, hut it 
was never constructed, not even any stock be- 
ing subscribed, as far as known. Another char- 
ter was also granted to some Cass County peo- 
ple and others. Incorporating the Upper & Lower 
Mississippi River Railroad. Among these in- 
corporators were Dr. Charles Sprague and Dr. 
V. A. Turjiin, enterprising physicians, who were 
residents of Beardstown. The road was to be 
constructed from Jacksonville to Rock Island, 
by way of Beardstown, Rushville, MeCorub and 
Monmouth. Nothing was done with this pro- 
posed line, and it remained for the next incor- 
poration running a line through Cass, to at least 
make a beginning, though the subscribers to the 
stuck would rather, a little later on, that this 
road had gone the way of the previous one. 
But Drs. Sprague and Turpin were not content 
with battling, quite successfully, with the green- 
head flies and the miasma of the Illinois river 
bottom, but sought something which promised 
more remuneration for their labors, and relief 
from the dreary, monotonous round with pill- 
box and lancet. Their next venture in the rail- 
road line was the incorporation of the Rock 
Island & Alton Railroad. A charter was granted 
by the legislature February 15, 1S55. Among 
others from Cass were : John Webb, Horace 
Billings. David Burlington and S. D. Skillings. 
The road was authorized to be laid out and 
constructed from Rock Island to McComb, thence 
to Rushville, thence to Beardstown, thence to 
Winchester, and from there to Whitehall in 
Greene County. The capital stock was to be 
$3,000,000, and might be increased to $5,000,000. 
A great amount of stock was subscribed for this 
road by people of Cass County, and there was 
a provision that counties through which the 
road might pass might become subscribers for 
stuck and issue bonds to pay for the same. Sub- 
scriptions were made to this enterprise, and also 
to other railroad schemes, by the county and 
by private persons, amounting to over $150,000. 
In 1886 grading was begun through the town 
of Beardstown and through the county south of 
Arenzville, and up the hill beyond Arenzville 
into Morgan County. One of the chief engineers 
was Ira Merchant, well known and well remem- 
bered as a resident of Beardstown, a brother- 
in-law of Thomas Finney, so long circuit clerk of 
Cass County. It is worthy of note that the line 

of survey which his engineering skill selected 
for the grade up the big hill beyond Arenzville, 
is the same line subsequently adopted by the 
road which ultimately became the property of 
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. The 
line through the town was west from the pres- 
ent road ; it crossed the river at the foot of 
Jackson street, and ran on Jackson to block 13, 
and then turned south. Some of the early set- 
tlers say it was on Beard street, which is one 
block further west, but a subsequent lease to 
the Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis Railroad, 
including Jackson street, would indicate that 
to be the original line. Whichever was the cor- 
rect line, grading was done and ties were 
brought by river and unloaded and hauled out 
over that part of town in great quantities, but 
were never laid on the grade, nor w 7 as ever a rail 
laid on the proposed road. The project was soon 
abandoned and the stockholders suffered great 
financial loss. The prospect of a railroad for 
Beardstown seemed almost hopeless. Dr. 
Sprague and other promoters were blamed, but 
this did not bring back the hard-earned cash 
that had been invested, nor build a railroad. 


By act of February 1G, 1S65, the Rockford, 
Rock Island & St. Louis Railroad Company was 
incorporated, but no Cass County person's name 
appears among the list of incorporators. This 
railroad company secured from Beardstown a 
lease, on April 1, 1869, for the right to lay a 
track from the southeastern limits of the town 
over Morgan and Jackson streets to the Illinois 
River, and to lay a track along the north ends 
of all streets from Morgan to Jackson street. 
Pursuant to the authority granted, work was 
commenced that year and pushed rapidly for- 
ward. Thomas Doyle, now chief of police of 
the city of Beardstown, had charge of a long 
section of the road, and employed many men, 
and it is needless to say the work under "Tom"' 
Doyle would not be delayed. After the road 
bed was graded to a certain extent, it was 
deemed advisable to have a construction or 
work train to assist, so arrangements were made 
to get an engine and some flat cars. One bright 
morning in the summer of 1809, the sound of 
a boat whistle was heard up by Muscouteen Bay, 
and a large and interested crowd of Beardstown 
people rushed to the river to "see the train come 
in," and the first train, or at least the engine, 



came in on a boat from Peoria, was promptly 
unloaded and placed on an improvised track, 
and in a day or two was at work, with Louis 
Rodgers as engineer. A track laid along the 
river front, had enabled the train to gather the 
material from along the bank, but the first or 
second trip resulted in a disaster from the road 
bed haviug slipped and the rails spreading, pre- 
cipitating the engine into the river. It was a 
problem how to extricate it, but the genius and 
muscle of those hardy constructionists soon 
conquered, and the rails were raised and a track 
built under them. As soon as the damage was 
repaired, work was resumed. The engineer, 
Louis Rodgers, is still living, residing at some 
] K ant in Colorado, being at Denver when last 
heard from by Cass County people. George 
T. Saunders, the present police magistrate of 
Beardstown, was also an employe of the road, 
and recalls many interesting incidents connected 
with its early history. The first train out of 
Beardstown was in the summer of 1S70, and was 
an excursion one to Arenzville. Flat cars were 
provided with seats and they and the engine 
well decorated with willow boughs and branches 
from shrubbery. It was a gala occasion and 
brought joy to the people who had worked so 
faithfully and spent such large sums of money 
to secure a railroad. A bridge had been built 
across the Illinois River the year previous and 
this road has always been a success, although it 
has changed hands several times, and is now a 
part of the vast and magnificent system of the 
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Com- 


Beardstown was destined from the first to be 
a division point, and lias continued as such to 
this day. Tlie first shops were small and seem- 
ingly Insignificant, but it must lie remembered 
that, all railroads and their equipment were for 
many years entirely different from those of to- 
day. Tlie first roundhouse had but six stalls. 
The work simp was also a small affair, housed 
in a frame building, and from 15 to 20 men were 
able to do all the work. Since then as high as 
1,000 t" 1,200 men have been employed who make 
their homes at Beardstown, <>n a day. seme 
six years ago, the pay roll for the company 
amounted to over $72,000. it aow amounts t" 
over $50,000 per month, in the panic of 1893, 

when rash was difflCUll Of attainment, and the 


banks of Beardstown, which had been able to 
handle the business usually without trouble, 
found themselves in a very tight quarter. Pay 
was held back for a day, and then the mer- 
chants and other business men of Beardstown 
came to the rescue and offered to carry the 
pay checks, and together with the banks, tided 
over the crisis. No people in the state or else- 
where in the country, have been more loyal to 
their local enterprises than have the people of 
Beardstown. This road is now known as the St. 
Louis. Rock Island and Chicago division of the 
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and has 
of the first main track 57,307 feet, and of the 
second main track 43,982 feet, and of side track 
130,000 in Cass County. It enters the county 
from Schuyler County by crossing the Illinois 
River at the foot of Morgan street, and runs 
southerly through Arenzville and out into Mor- 
gan County at the south side of the southeast 
quarter of the southeast quarter of section 31, 
township 17 north, range 11 west. It has a sta- 
tion named Hagener, on section 13 of the same 
township and range. Its passenger service is 
excellent, south to St. Louis, and north to Chi- 
cago, St. Paul and the great northwest. It- 
freight business is enormous. Thus good faith. 
excellent judgment and energy have made 
Beardstown in the railroad line what it is in 
other business matters, one of the mo>t pro- 
gressive of the smaller cities in Illinois. 


The only other railroad in the county is the 
Chicago & Alton. It was incorporated in 1851 
under the name of the St. Louis. Jacksonville & 
Chicago Railroad. It was opened for business 
in January. 1858, hut in ls»;s p was sold to the 
Chicago & Alton line, ami in lss| became a part 
of the main line of that road. The first cor- 
poration secured the right of way with all im- 
provements of the old Tonica & Petersburg road. 
The Chicago & Alton Railroad was the first 
railroad in the world to put on Pullman sleepers 
and dining cars, ami tin- first to u-e free re- 
clining chair cars. It runs through only a small 
portion of Cass County, entering the county 

from the south half of section 32, town-hip 17. 

range 8, and passim.' through tlie Tillage of 
Ashland, exit- into Menard county from the 
northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of 
section 28, same township and range. It was 

the advent of this road into the coiintv which 



induced the laying out of Ashland. The road 
has of main track in the county 12,S08 feet, 
and of side track 5,114 feet. The road has no 
other station in the county except Ashland, 
which is regarded as an excellent shipping point 
for all the east end of Cass County, as well as 
for a large territory in Sangamon and Menard 
counties which lie contiguous to Ashland. 


Before the railroads came into the county, the 
only mode of transportation for either pas- 
sengers or freight were the stage coach and 
freight wagon, running along the public high- 
ways. The main highways were from the south- 
east part of the county through the present 
site of Ashland, to Beardstown, covering nearly 
the same route as the present highways from 
and between those points. The earliest road 
from the vicinity of Ashland ran nearly west 
to Walnut Grove, then north to Archibald 
Job's farm. The state legislature provided for 
the laying out of the public highways and sev- 
eral acts are on the statute books concerning 
the State Road from Springfield to Beards- 
town. The one passed in 1S37 provides that 
after the road reaches the Archibald Job farm 
it shall run in a direct angle until it strikes 
the east end of Springfield street in Virginia. 
Another principal highway was from Beards- 
town along Sangamon Bottom to Petersburg, 
with a branch east of Panther Creek through 
the timber and bluffs to Springfield. The first 
road from the south was the one starting from 
St. Louis and running through Jacksonville to 
Fort Clark. It struck what is now Cass County 
at old Princeton, in the southeast quarter of 
section 36, township 17, range 10 west, and 
ran on northerly past Allendale and the Cun- 
ningham tan yard. A part of that road is still 
in use in Cass County. 

Another main road from the south came from 
Jacksonville, northerly to New Lexington and 
from there into Cass at about the place where 
the present road enters the county in section 
33, township 17, range 10 west, and continued 
on north to Virginia, with a branch turning 
west about the Morgan County line and run- 
ning westerly to the west side of the Rexroat 
place, or what was in an early day the Peter 
Conover land, and there turning north to the 
Jefferson Cram farm, in early days owned by 
George H. Bristow, who died there and who is 

buried in the old abandoned graveyard nearby, 
and from that point <>n northward towards Mon- 
roe, a little hamlet platted in 1833, passing by 
the old tavern or inn built in 1838 by John 
Savage, which house is still standing in excel- 
lent condition, on the west half of the north- 
west quarter of section 14, township 17, range 
]1 west. This house was made a stopping place 
for the stage line from Jacksonville to Beards- 
town, and known as the "Halfway House" be- 
tween Jacksonville and Beardstown. After the 
road reached Monroe it ran over the line marked 
out by a special committee of the early settlers 
of that neighborhood who desired a way to 
get to the market at Beardstown. They had 
no such outlet until this committee, consisting 
of Joshua Crow, James Davis and Benjamin 
Mathews, opened the way northwesterly to in- 
tersect with the State Road from Springfield 
to Beardstown. Other lines of road were now 
rapidly opened and in looking over the records 
it appears that Beardstown was like ancient 
Rome in one respect at least, for all roads led 
to it. About 1855 some enterprising Beardstown 
people built a plank toll-road across the sand 
ridges east towards Virginia. One early settler 
told the writer that when he was a boy he well 
remembers that plank road, especially upon 
one occasion, when he had helped to thresh 
out a couple of wagon loads of oats, by driving 
horses in a circle on the ground threshing floor, 
and then fanned out the chaff with a primitive 
fan-mill. After that the grain was loaded and 
he drove one of the teams to Beardstown, over 
the plank road. He says the boards on the 
road were mostly cottonwood and the sun had 
curled up the ends and edges and it was truly 
a hard road to travel, although it was possible 
to haul a heavier load over it than could have 
been hauled over the sand. His troubles were 
not at an end when he reached Beardstown, for 
there he found a long string of loaded wagons 
waiting turn to get into the great warehouse, 
and he had to sit in the broiling sun for two 

Many thousands of dollars in actual money, 
and many more thousands of dollars in labor 
value have been spent on the public highways 
of Cass County, but until within a very few 
years there have not been any very good roads 
for any considerable portion of the year. More 
scientific grading and the system of dragging 
recently introduced, have given us roads that 
are some better at least. A few hard roads 


7 s - / 





have been made in the county, the first being 
under tbe state experimental road law, and ex- 
tended easterly from Beardstown one mile on the 
highway commonly known as tbe State Road, 
to Virginia, and was laid in 1909. Tbe next 
year a mile of bard road was laid easterly from 
Beardstown on tbe Sangamon Bottom road, and 
about tbe same time a hall mile of concrete 
road was laid westerly from Cbandlerville. Tbe 
last of the bard roads to be constructed was the 
mile of State Aid road, under tbe road law of 
1913, commonly known as the "Tice" law. Some 
pessimistic and cynical people say that if sucb 
progress is continued, Cass County will have, 
within twenty-seven years, a bard road from 
one side to tbe otber. 


Of tbe old stage line tbat ran from Spring- 
field to Beardstown or from Jacksonville to Vir- 
ginia and Beardstown, very little can be learned. 
No advertisements appear in any of the copies 
of tbe early newspapers so far as investiga- 
tion discloses, except in the newspaper of Fran- 
cis Arenz. publisbed in 1833, in wbicb a Mr. 
Kineer says he has established a large barn at 
the tavern opposite Beardstown, across tbe Illi- 
nois, where he has good horses, new carriages 
and hacks which be will use as public convey- 
ances. <>r let out at private hire, and that his 
line will be an extension of tbe Smith & Sanders 
stage line from Springfield to Beardstown, on 
into tbe Military Tract. From that alone is 
Learned who owned tbe stage line running 
through tbe county at that time. It is said 
upon pretty good authority that the celebrated 
Frink & Walker stage line at one time had all 
the branch lines through Cass County. Jacob 
Dunaway of Virginia was a driver for the stage 
line in 18-49, from Jacksonville to Virginia and 
from Virginia to Beardstown, but abandoned 
that exalted position in 1852 for a mercantile 
business, and in 1854 purchased the stage line 
from bis former employers and conducted it 
until the railroads put him out of business. The 
Stage made its last trip from Jacksonville to 
Virginia in the summer of 1869, and tbe people 
along the old stage road who had been accus- 
tomed t<> see it make its regular trips day after 
day for forty years, felt they had been moved 
away back from civilization when it ceased to 
travel, and New Lexington of early days, which 
had become old Arcadia, saw its finish. In look- 

ing over old records of highways especially, it 
is seen that tbe name of New Lexington often 
appears as a starting point, or place through 
which the road mentioned should run. No one 
of tbe present generation could recall where 
such a town had been, but a look through the 
private laws of 1853 disclosed the fact tbat cit- 
izens of that embryo city bad applied to the 
legislature and that on tbe anniversary of Lin- 
coln's birthday, February 12, 1853, changed the 
name from New Lexington to Arcadia. 


Beardstown from 1826 had only one way of 
getting tbe denizens of Schuyler County across 
the river, and tbat was by the ferry of Thomas 
Beard. Tbat mode of transfer became obsolete, 
and in 1SS8, by money advanced by liberal resi- 
dents, tbe city council caused a wooden toll- 
bridge to be constructed across the river from 
the foot of State street to the Schuyler bank 
opposite. Subsequently, with money obtained in 
tbe same manner, this body caused a gravel 
road to be constructed from the bridge landing 
in Schuyler County to Frederick. By tolls 
collected up to 1S9S, the total cost of the bridge 
and road had been paid with the exception of 
$G,500, but the wooden bridge by that time was 
so worn that it was beyond repair. A new 
bridge was necessary and to meet the emergency 
the Beardstown Bridge Company was formed 
and a new steel bridge was built at a cost of 
$26,911.60. The city council provided by ordi- 
nance for taking over the bridge from the new 
company, and consummated tbe plan and bave 
paid for tbe steel bridge, which is still in ex- 
cellent condition and making money for the 
city. Tbe mayor and aldermen who were in 
office at that time and bad charge of the plan 
were: John J. Beatty, mayor: and .1. II. Swope, 
Sylvester Wildes, X. II. Sexton. Daniel Draser, 
James G. Xeeley, Theodore Schaar, John Madine 
and George Lnkemeyer. aldermen. Tbe attor- 
ney who prepared the plans and engineered the 
legal part of the transaction, was the late lion. 
.Milton McClure. 

Tbe old bridges of wood and iron on tin' high- 
ways throughout tbe county are fast being 
replaced with concrete structures, which are 
much more substantial and durable. It is hoped 
that Cass County will soon gel into the proces 

sion demanding g 1 roads, and then construct 




The first telegraph line in the county ran 
along tlif highway from Jacksonville through 
Monroe neighborhood to Beardstown. The first 
telephone line through the county was erected 
in L896, the right of way being -ranted by the 
county hoard July 20, 1896, to the Central Union 
Telephone Company. On March 21, 1898, the 
county board granted a right of way also to 
the Illinois Telephone Company. These compa- 
nies changed hands several times. The Bell 
Company now has a through line, and the 
Cass County Telephone Company has a line of 
connections through most of the county, as well 
as exchanges, and there are several private 
lines, so that now Cass County has a complete 
system of telephone lines and connections reach- 
in- to almost every point in the entire county. 




























The products of the press of Cass County have 
been limited almost exclusively to the issuance 
of newspapers. In that particular line of the 
printing industry, the county has certainly been 
very prolific. Only a few books have been writ- 
ten and published by citizens of this county, and 
some literary work has been done which found 
a place of publication elsewhere. Xevertheless, 
it is interesting to marshal the list of news- 
papers printed and published in the county, even 
though the limits of this work necessarily re- 
quire the mention of each to be exceedingly 

While Cass County was yet a part of Morgan 
County, there came to Beardstown an enter- 
prising man, frequently mentioned in the pages 
of this history, Francis A. Arenz, who estab- 
lished the first newspaper plant founded in any 
part of the state north of Jacksonville, and south 
of Chicago. It was named the Beardstown 
Chronicle and Illinois Bounty Land Advertiser. 
A brother of Francis A. Arenz. Judge John A. 
Arenz, now deceased, in writing of his brother, 
and mentioning the newspaper, said : "He es- 
tablished the paper as one of the several enter- 
prises he engaged in for developing the new 
country and incidentally promoting his own busi- 
ness interests." There are but few of the copies 
of the paper now in existence, one being in the 
State Historical Library at Springfield. It is 
interesting to note in looking over the columns, 
the advertisements appearing therein. Its first 
issue was June IS, 1833, and it was continued 
until the fall of 1S34. when the plant was sold 
and moved to Rushville. The paper had a wide 
circulation; it carried advertisements from Mc- 
Bonough, Schuyler, Knox, Fulton, Warren, 
Adams. Hancock. Morgan. Calhoun and Henry 
counties. Air. Arenz was a Whig in politics, but 
the paper was neutral, and was under the man- 
agement of John B. Fulks. a long time resident 
of Beardstown. 




There was no other paper in Cass County un- 
til 1845, when Sylvester Emmons of Beardstown 
established the Gazette. The first issue was 
August 15, 1845. Mr. Emmons was a lawyer of 
Beardstown, but had been induced by some 
gentlemen who had started an anti-Mormon 
paper at Xauvoo, to move to that place to act 
as editor for them. He succeeded in getting 
out one issue of the Expositor, as the Xauvoo 
paper was called, on June 7, 1S44. On June 10 
the Xauvoo council declared the paper a nui- 
sance and directed the mayor to have the es- 
tablishment removed. Joseph Smith, the Mor- 
mon leader, was the mayor, and the order of the 
council was immediately carried into execution. 
After the destruction of the press, the mayor 
and sixteen others were arrested for riot. This 
brought on the Mormon war. Mr. Emmons 
hastily returned to Beardstown where he re- 
sumed the practice of law until the following 
year, when he issued his Gazette. He was born 
iu Hunterdon County, X. J., February 28, 180S, 
and studied law at Philadelphia, Pa., coming to 
Hancock County, 111., later on, and there he was 
admitted to the bar-, in May, 1843. He moved 
to Beardstown as before stated, prior to going 
to Xauvoo. After founding the Gazette, he con- 
ducted it until 1852, during which time it was 
a Whig in policy. The paper during the Cass 
and Taylor campaign of 1848, was very ably 
edited, and made a strenuous and locally suc- 
cessful campaign for the Whig party. As a re- 
sult of his efforts, Mr. Emmons was appointed 
postmaster of Beardstown in 1841). He was 
mayor of Beardstown for two terms, was niaster- 
in-chancery for the county, and in 1852 was 
elected circuit clerk of the county. Mr. 
Emmons was a highly respected citizen, and 
a very able man, whose death occurred Novem- 
ber I.",. 1881. 

When Mr. Emmons was elected circuit clerk, 
lie sold his paper to J. L. Dickerson, who re- 
tained it less than eight months, and then sold 
it to J. I.. Sherman, who changed the name to' 
the Beardstown and Petersburg Gazette, and 
issued it under that name from December '•'. 
1852, to about 1854, when, the exact date is not 
known, it was sold to I'.. ( '. Drake, who changed 
the name to the Central Illinoisan. .Mr. Drake 
continued to conduct the paper as an exponent 
of the Whig doctrines until the organization of 
the Republican party, in 1856, when lie joined 

that party. During the Lincoln-Douglas debate 
he issued a daily. It is said he continued the 
daily until the opening of the Civil war, but this 
cannot be fully verified. He did, however, con- 
tinue his weekly until 1861, when he closed the 
office and enlisted as a soldier. A weekly paper 
named the Democrat was established at Beards- 
town. March 12, 1858, by W. D. Shurtliff. This 
was the first Democratic paper to be published 
at Beardstown, and was edited by Shurtliff and 
Davis. In 1862 J. K. Vandemark was made the 
editor. He resigned in the fall and in 1863 
Charles R. Disk and wife bought the paper and 
continued it until the close of the Civil war. 
In 1860 a man by the name of Mitchell started 
a Republican paper, naming it the Gazette; con- 
ducted it until the fall of that year, when it was 
taken over by a number of Republicans as a 
stock company, and they changed the name to 
that of the Central Illinoisan. 


The paper was managed and edited by Logan 
Uriah Reavis for several years, then by the 
office foreman until March, 1867, when John S. 
Nicholson took charge. Logan Uriah Reavis 
was an unique character, but an able editor and 
a man of strong convictions. lie was born on 
a farm in the Sangamon bottom, March 2d. 1831, 
and worked on a farm and early attained such 
an education as he could from the limited school 
facilities of the times, hut soon qualified himself 
for teaching and for five years taught the public 
school at Hickory in the precinct of that name. 
From about 1861 he conducted the Central Illi- 
noisan until 1S66, when he went to St. Louis. 
From then on until his death he spenl his life 
agitating the removal of the national capital 
from Washington to St. Louis, lecturing and 
writing and issuing pamphlets on the subject. 
He attracted considerable attention; even the 
cartoonists took notice and pictured him as 
going about with the capitol building on Ids 
shoulders. Among other volumes, he published 
a life of Horace Greeley, and his tieai l; occurred 
at St Louis, April 2.".. 1889. 

MEBGING 0] tt\ w SPAP] BS. 

John s. Nicholson conducted the paper until 
1883, when lie sold it to James G. Rice, owner 
of the c.iss County Democrat, who merged the 
two papers under the name of the Ulinoisnn- 



Democrat. In October of the same year the 
paper was sold to Eugene Clark, who dropped 
the Democrat and called the journal the Illi- 
noisan, later selling it back to John S. Nichol- 
son. In April, 1884, it was changed into a semi- 
weekly, and in 1899 it was consolidated with the 
Star of the West, as the Illinoisan-Star. H. C. 
Allard had established the Star in 188S, and 
made it a daily in 1892. After the union of 
these two papers, the publishers were Nicholson 
and Allard until 1902, when Allard retired, and 
Nicholson and* Fulks published the paper for 
some time, when it became the property of 
Nicholson and his son. E. E. Nicholson, who 
edited and published it under that name until 
the death of John Nicholson, April 19, 1911. 
From then on it was conducted by the son, the 
surviving partner, until the spring of 1914, when 
he sold to Schaeffer and Son, who abandoned 
the weekly and continued the daily. The plant 
was consolidated with that of the Enterprise, 
owned by Schaeffer and Coil. Mr. Coil retired 
from the firm and the Daily Enterprise was dis- 
continued. The one remaining plant now at 
Beardstown issues the Weekly Enterprise and 
the Daily Illinoisan-Star. 

In 1872 a paper named the Herald, which was 
established by Henly Wilkinson and J. W. Lusk 
as an "out and out" Democratic paper sig- 
nified a willingness to support Horace Greeley 
for president as against Grant. Greeley was that 
year nominated by so-called Independents, and 
was endorsed by a great portion of the Demo- 
cratic party. However, the regular nominee of 
the Democratic party was O'Ccnor. At the elec- 
tion on November 5, 1N72. the Democrats car- 
ried the county for Greeley by a plurality of 
only seven, and a week following the election, 
an election taken regarding the removal of the 
county seat, resulted favorably towards Vir- 
ginia; all of which so discouraged the pro- 
prietors and editors of the "out and out"' paper 
that by the next spring they were "down and 
out.** and the paper was taken over by D. G. 
Swan, who changed its politics to that of liberal 
Republican, but this sugar-coated application 
did not revive its circulation, and it was soon 
removed to Bushnell. 111. 

A paper called the Champion was started Sep- 
tember 25, 1ST5. by George Dann as editor, and 
George Dann. Jr.. and George W. Thompson, as 
associate editors. It was independent in poli- 
tics, and suspended in the summer of 1876. 
Then George Dann, Sr., began the publication 

of the Cass County Messenger as a Democratic 
paper. In the latter part of that year, Forest 
H. Mitchell became associate editor, but in 
August, 1877. withdrew and was succeeded by 
W. B. Bennett. In 1S79 Mr. Dann sold to J. P. 
Sailer, who changed the name to the Cass 
County Democrat. Mr. Sailer conducted the 
paper until 1SS2, when J. S. Fulks and George 
W. Martin became associated with him, and a 
daily was issued for about a year, but it was not 
a successful venture, so it was sold to Darb. 
McAuley, who sold to James G. Rice, this being 
the paper formerly mentioned as owned by Mr. 
Rice when he purchased the Central Illinoisan 
in 1883 and consolidated the two. A large por- 
tion of the population of Beardstown and the 
surrounding country was German and it was 
thought that a paper published in the German 
language would be readily subscribed for and 
financially sustained. Acting upon that belief, 
Rev. A. Schaberhorn established the Beobachter 
Am Fluss, in the year 1877. He did not retain 
control of it long, but in the fall of 1878 sold 
to Theodore Wilkins. who changed the name to 
the Woehenblatt. and continued its publication 
until his death in 1881, when the plant was sold 
to Ross and Son. who removed it from the city. 


In the meantime Virginia had been establish- 
ing and conducting some newspapers — that is, 
some of its more enterprising citizens had. The 
Observer was the first. It was a Democratic 
paper established by Henry H. Hall, a son of 
the founder of the town. Dr. Hall, and a few 
others, and it was said, it was started "for the 
advancement of the town.*' Mark W. Delahay 
was the editor, and A. S. Tilden, said to have 
been a relative of Hon. Samuel J. Tilden of New 
York, was the practical printer. The paper was 
issued April 12. 1848, and continued until some 
time in the fall of 1849, when it was bought by 
A. S. Tilden and soon thereafter taken to Naples, 
in Scott County. 111. The Owl, a society paper, 
was conducted for a short time in the winter of 
1S4S-'.i by a compositor named Dedrich. 

The Cass County Times began at Virginia, 
September 9. 1856, being started by Richard S. 
Thomas, a neutral in politics, and for the pur- 
pose of promoting the interests of the Illinois 
River Railroad in which Thomas and a number 
of other Cass County people were interested. 
Early in 185S he sold to John Bradley Thomp- 



son, who employed Rev. J. S. McDowell to 
edit, and Robert M. Taggart to publish it. Late 
in the same year Thompson sold to Taggart, 
and in the fall of 1S50 the paper suspended and 
reverted to Thomas, who seems to have retained 
a lien on it. Thomas sold to Hezekiak Naylor, 
and that sale appears to Dave resulted in the 
establishment of the Cass County Independent, 
in January, 1860. He took as a partner Lafay- 
ette Briggs. The paper was at first neutral, 
but, Briggs withdrawing, Naylor made it a rad- 
ical Republican organ, and vigorously supported 
Abraham Lincoln for president. In 1861 the 
paper suspended and the plant was removed to 
Pekin, 111. 

In 1860 a number of radical Democrats, in- 
cluding Jacob Dunaway, Jacob Ward and Wil- 
liam Petefish, established the Cass County 
Union, and secured the services of Lafayette 
Briggs as editor and manager. In 1S63 Briggs 
quit and Stearns DeWitt Rich became editor 
and remained with the paper until its demise in 
1864. The Cass County Democrat was estab- 
lished May S, 1866, with M. B. Friend as first 
editor, and financially supported by several cit- 
izens who wished to have a newspaper in the 
town. After several changes in the editorial 
staff, the paper fell into the hands of J. G. 
Fuss and J. N. Gridley, but, owing to some diffi- 
culty with some of the former associate propri- 
etors about the name, Democrat, Fuss and Grid- 
ley changed the name to the Cass County Times, 
and the journal was conducted by them under 
that name until 1869, when it was sold to JJeers 
.•Hid Company, who managed it, with J. K. Van- 
demark as editor, until 1870, when it went into 
obscurity as had so many of its predecessors. 


The Cass County Courier was established 
July 25, 1866, by John S. Harper, the veteran 
"starter" ami editor of newspapers. It was Re- 
publican in politics, and after a few issues, L. S. 
Allard became the editor and proprietor. In 
1867 be turned it over to Leroy Carpenter, who 
was soon succeeded by II. C. Allard. a son of 
the former proprietor, and" in 1870 the Dame 
was changed to the Virginia Courier, and was 
owned and edited by H. C. Allard. who in Oc- 
tober, 1871, changed the name hack to the Cass 
County Courier. Allard sold an interest to N. 
M. Purciance, bill soon repurchased it. The pa- 
per did not prosper, and Allard sold a half in- 

terest to Mathew Summers, in 1872, and the 
paper was continued under the new name of 
the Gazette, beginning February 23, 1872, and 
has been continued under that title ever since. 
On March 14, 1873, Allard sold to Summers, and 
in August, 1875, the latter sold an interest to 
Joseph Anderson. These two continued together 
until late in the winter of 1875, when Mr. Sum- 
mers died. The paper suspended for a brief 
period, but resumed on February 26, 1876, with 
A. M. Brownlee, and H. C. Allard, a former 
proprietor, as editors and publishers. Allard 
withdrew in August, 1S77, and later the same 
year Mr. Brownlee sold to Trevanyon L. 
Mathews and W. H. Thacker. Mr. Mathews 
was a member of the Thirty-third General As- 
sembly as a Republican from Cass County, 
elected in the fall of 1882. He was the last 
Republican representative from the county of 
Cass. Subsequently he moved to Nebraska, and 
became a United States marshal. W. H. 
Thacker was the William H. Thacker whose 
poem, "The Scene of Frontier Days," appears 
elsewhere in this work. Mr. Thacker did not 
remain long with the paper, but soon sold to 
Mathews, who in turn sold to Allard in 1870. 
Allard sold to Charles M. Tinney, in April, 1881, 
and he conducted the Gazette from then until 
July 10, 1013, when he sold to Henry McDonald, 
who had been for a number of years his busi- 
ness manager. Thus it will be seen that Mr. 
Tinney was the owner and editor of a newspa- 
per in Cass County for thirty-two years, a 
longer period than it has been the lot of very 
many persons to sit in an editorial chair. It 
was during all that time a Republican paper in 
a county that was continuously a Democratic 
county by overwhelming majorities. Yet Mr. 
Tinney made his paper a very popular one. and 
what was of still greater importance, a finan- 
cial success. He became widely known through 
his paper, throughout the entire state, ami be- 
came the president of the Illinois Newspaper 
Association. He has the unique distinction .if 
having served as private secretary to two gov- 
ernors, Richard Yates and Charles s. Deneen. 
Mr. Tinney was born in Marion. Crant County, 
Ind.. November 11, 1850. In 1859 be was taken 
by his father to Pekin, ill., where be attended 
the public schools, and later spent a year in a 
college in Iowa. He returned borne and studied 
law, being admitted to the bar In 1873. After 
two years - practice in his home town, be came 
to Virginia, where he entered into partnership 



with Cashias M. Whitney, a distinguished lawyer 
who was at that time the district state's at- 
torney for the district in which Cass County was 
situated. The comity seat fight was on for the 
last time in Cass, and the firm of Whitney and 
Tinney was among the number of lawyers en- 
gaged in that memorable contest. About 1879 
Mr. Whitney moved from Virginia, and the 
partnership was dissolved, and in 1881 Mr. Tin- 
ney purchased the Gazette, as has been stated, 
and practically abandoned his law practice. Had 
he seen fit to remain to practice, it is certain he 
would have become one of the leading lawyers 
of central Illinois. Mr. Tinney continued his 
residence at Virginia until he sold the Gazette, 
when he took up bis legal residence at Spring- 
field, where he had in fact been living ever 
since his entry into the Governor's office as pri- 
vate secretary. After the close of the Deneen 
administration, Mr. Tinney became secretary 
of the Business Men's Association of Spring- 
field, which office he still holds. 


The Virginia Enquirer was established by 
Reemsten and Company, the company being John 
S. Harper, July 3, 1875. After nine weeks the 
company revealed himself to the public as John 
S. Harper, publisher and editor. In November 
of the same year he sold to a syndicate com- 
posed of Ignatius Sidles, William Easley, Charles 
Crandall, Cash. Whitney, Samuel Petefish, and 
others, who secured Thomas M. Thompson as 
editor and J. J. Bunce as publisher. In a few 
weeks the paper was sold to W. T. Dowall. Wil- 
liam T. Dowall and Company became publishers 
in January, 1876, with Forest H. Mitchell as 
manager. On March 23, 1877, Mr. Dowall sold 
to John Frank, J. M. Beatty became editor for 
a short time, and Mr. Frank remained with the 
paper until September, 18S2, when R. H. Norfolk 
became the editor, and continued as such until 
March 29, 1884. Mr. Beatty then became the 
owner and editor and kept the paper until No- 
vember 1.". 1890, at which time he sold to Charles 
A. and William Schaeffer. William Schaeffer 
sold his interest to Charles Schaeffer in April, 
1891, and on September 2G of the same year, Mr. 
Schaeffer sold to Finis E. Downing, who con- 
ducted the paper until September 7, ISO!), when 
he was succeeded by his son, Harry F. Downing. 
H. F. Downing continued as editor and publisher 
until March, 1904, when Albert Hinners, who 

had been for six years county superintendent 
of the public schools, bought a half interest. In 
1000 Mr. Hinners resold his interest to his part- 
ner, Mr. Downing, but on January 1, 1910, agaiu 
bought a half interest in the plant, then becom- 
ing the associate editor, and on November 1, 
1911, became sole proprietor and editor, and has 
continued so to the present time. The paper is 
the official organ of the county by resolution 
of the county board and is in a flourishiug con- 
dition and a well conducted and well edited 

The Jeffersonian w r as established at Virginia 
by John J. Bunce, April 3, 1870, and was duly 
issued from week to week until it was discon- 
tinued, December 20, 1873. 


At Ashland, John S. Harper, the veteran 
editor and publisher, who claimed and possibly 
bad the distinction of having started more news- 
papers in Illinois than any other person, estab- 
lished on March 2, 1876, the Weekly Eagle. 
After seven issues the weekly was dropped as 
a part of the title and the paper for four months 
was conducted as the Eagle, and then sold to 
A. F. Smith, who removed it to Virginia, and 
started the Temperance Bugle in July, 1876, con- 
tinuing this journal until February 27. 1879. 
A paper named the News was published at Ash- 
land for a few years, being first issued in the 
summer of 1879. John J. Smith was the editor 
in 1880, and the matter has been lost track of 
since, but some time about 1883, A. E. Mich con- 
ducted the Sentinel, although whether he 
bought the old plant, or secured an entirely 
new outfit, is not known. In a short time he 
sold to S. Darb. McAuley and Company, who in 
a short time sold to I. H. Stanley, a lawyer 
who was the proprietor and editor until about 
1896, when the plant was sold to Mann Brothers. 
They kept it for a year, and on May 15, 1S97, 
it was sold to F. W. Bast, who has ever since 
maintained it, and has published an excellent 
country newspaper, with a large subscription 
list and a paying job and advertising depart- 

The village of Chandlerville has had several 
newspapers. The New Era was established 
February 7, 1874, by J. J. Bunce and Son. 
The Cass County Journal was established by 
Charles A. Pratt, August 5, 1876, and conducted 
as a Democratic paper until August 3, 1S78, when 



he sold it to John W. and Gilbert Skaggs, who 
changed the name to the Independent. John W. 
Skaggs edited the paper only one month, after 
which time the other brother bought his inter- 
est and managed the paper as editor and pub- 
lisher until December, 1S79, when he sold to 
Ebenezer Spink. In 1881 Mr. Spink resold to 
Gilbert Skaggs, but after an absence of one 
year from the editoral sanctum, Mr. Spink 
again purchased the paper and changed its 
name to that of the Sangamon Valley Times, and 
under that pastoral title issued the paper regu- 
larly every week until 1SS7, when he again 
changed the name, this time to the Chandler- 
ville Times, which it has born to date. E. O. 
Spink became the business manager in 1904, 
and in 190S purchased the plant and continued 
as both editor and manager until the summer 
of 1911, when the present editor, Ora Shank- 
land, became the owner. The paper is a well 
printed, well edited weekly, and is liberally 
patronized by the people of the village and 
community. Regular files of this paper are re- 
tained in the office. 

The Arenzville Independent was established 
about 1908, with R. J. Hoagland, a practical 
printer, as proprietor and editor. He continued 
the paper until his death in 1911, and from that 
time until the present, his widow, Mrs. Anna S. 
Hoagland. has conducted it with the assistance 
of Lloyd S. Yeck as editor. It is a weekly pa- 
per and has a good circulation in the south- 
western part of the county, and that part of 
Morgan County bordering on Cass County on 
the southwest. It is to be regretted that so 
few of the publishers kept files of their papers. 
Newspapers may not seem of great importance 
at the date of their publication, but as time 
passes many changes occur in every neighbor- 
hood, and especially in the smaller towns and 
Villages, the early sett lei's die. some remove to 
other parts of the country, and many things 
seemingly insignificant in themselves happen 
week after week. The local papers give a 
moving picture of the transitory things of life. 
and ought by all means to he preserved. Very 
few copies indeed >d' any of the many newspa- 
pers mentioned in the foregoing brief outline 
of the press of Cass County, can now he found, 
:ind could they lie had for perusal, they would 
aid very materially in correcting the many errors 
that unavoidably creep into historical writings. 
The Virginia Gazette and the Virginia Enquirer 
have files for a number of years hack, and there 

may he others of the county papers also having 
tiles preserved, but we have not had access to 
them if they can be found. 


There have been other publications of more 
or less literary and historical value, long since 
out of print, accredited to Cass County. 

A wall map of the county, with plates of the 
towns and villages and some biographical mat- 
ter, was once published, with an outline of the 
various precincts as they were constituted at 
that time, and also some lithograph pictures 
of business and residence buildings in existence 
at the time of publication, some of which are 
still standing and in use. The map has, also, a 
list of the business interests of the towns and 
villages, a perusal of which would revive many 
pleasant and interesting recollections of early 
days. The date of the publication does not ap- 
pear on the map, but as Hezekiah Naylor is 
given as proprietor of the Cass County Inde- 
pendent, and as he held that position only dur- 
ing 1SG0, it is but natural to infer that this map 
was issued some time during 'GO or '61. The 
lithographs are very good pictures. Henry F. 
Kors, for several years circuit clerk of this 
county, is authority for the statement that 
the pictures were made from ambrotypes taken 
by a Dr. J. W. Sherfey, who, at that time, was 
a teacher in the Beardstown public schools, and, 
as a side line, conducted a picture gallery. Mr. 
Kors further says that he was a hoy then and 
traveled around with the doctor from place to 
place in a spring wagon; that the parapher- 
nalia was carried in a large box. which was also 
used as a "dark rooin," and that bis job was that 
of chief bottle washer and plate cleaner. 

The next publication of this character was 
an atlas map of Cass County, published in L874, 
which is also illustrated by a number of litho- 
graphs, especially of farm residences, and shows 
a marked improvement and flourishing condition 
of farm property in the county. A standard 
atlas of Cass County was published in 1899. 
Publications of a purely literary character have 
been issued from the press of Cass County, and 
some of the writings of Cass County authors 
have been published elsewhere. 


Joseph Henry Shaw was horn at Boston, 
Mass., July 25, 1825, where his father. Joseph 
Shaw, was a hook publisher, in L836 Joseph 



Shaw came to Morgan County, 111., bringing 
his family with him, and located on a farm. 
There the son, J. Henry Shaw, which name he 
has always been known by and called, worked 
for his father until he was twenty-one years 
old. He attended such schools as were in ex- 
istence near him, but gained much of his in- 
formation ami learning from newspapers and 
periodicals which his father brought home with 
him from newspaper offices of Jacksonville, 
where he frequently went to assist the publish- 
ers and editors. After arriving at the age of 
twenty-one years, he was advised by the Hon. 
Richard Yates, then a prominent man of Jack- 
sonville, to study law, and upon his consent to 
do so, loaned him law books from his own 
library. Mr. Shaw made rapid progress in 
mastering the mysteries of Gould's common 
law. pleading and other works of the noble 
science of law, and, although devoting his time 
also to work on the farm, yet, when he was 
twenty-five years old, he felt sufficiently ad- 
vanced in the knowledge of his chosen profes- 
sion to present himself for examination that he 
might acquire a license to practice. He was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1850, and removed to 
Beardstown. this county, where he began the 
practice of his calling, and there lived the 
balance of his life. He acquired a fine prac- 
tice and became an influential citizen. He was 
an excellent speaker, although not an orator in 
the highest sense; expressed himself well in 
clear English, and was forceful in arguments 
before the court and jury. He devoted consid- 
erable time to literature, and produced many 
splendid articles for the newspapers and maga- 
zines. He also wrote several poems and was 
endued with something of the true spirit of 
the poetic muse. Had he devoted himself ex- 
clusively to literature he would, most surely, 
have attained distinction in that line. His 
"Legend of Monsoela," a recital in rhyme of an 
imaginary battle between the Muscoutens and 
Miamis. Indian tribes formerly occupying and 
contending for supremacy of the Mound Vil- 
lage on the present site of Beardstown, is in- 
teresting and as nearly true to facts as many 
of the legendary occurrences of Indian history. 
It appears in full in Perrin's "History of Cass 
County." In 1876 the Congress of the United 
States, upon the suggestion of President Grant, 
passed a resolution requesting every city and 
county to appoint some suitable person to de- 
liver on the fourth of July of that year, an 

address which should contain a brief account of 
the local history, that it might be perpetuated. 
Mr. Shaw, on account of the fact that he had 
given some considerable study to the early 
history of the county, as well as for his well 
known ability, was appointed to deliver the ad- 
dress for Cass County. Hence, on July 4, 1S7G, 
Hon. J. Henry Shaw, of Beardstown, deliv- 
ered an address which he had prepared, entitled, 
"Historical Sketch of Cass County," which was 
subsequently published in pamphlet form by the 
('ass County Messenger. It comprises fifty-three 
pages, and is a very interesting work, and 
withal quite valuable historically. Mr. Shaw 
was elected a member of the Thirty-second Gen- 
eral Assembly from Cass County, and was 
again elected a member to the Thirty-fourth As- 
sembly, but his health having failed, April 12, 
1885 he died very suddenly at his hotel at 
Springfield, during attendance on the legislature. 


Publications in book form from Cass County 
include a "History of Cass County." by William 
H. Perrin, editor, published in 1882. but as some 
of the chapters on the general history of the 
county were by Mr. Shaw, the work is famil- 
iarly known as "Shaw's History." 

In 1857 Benjamin F. W. Stribling, second 
son of Benjamin Stribling, one of the very 
earliest pioneers of Cass County, who located 
near Virginia, published a small volume of 
poems of his own composition, on various sub- 
jects of quite a wide range. It was published 
by the Beardstown Illinoisan and contained 238 
pages. Just about that time the promoters of 
the Illinois River Railroad were striving ear- 
nestly to convince the people of Cass County of 
the utility and absolute necessity of building 
the railroad from Bath to Virginia at least. 
Mr. Stribling fired a broadside into the ranks 
of wavering denizens of the woods and prairies, 
which, if it did not aid materially in gaining 
subscriptions for the stock of the proposed road, 
gained some enduring fame for himself. The 
following is one of the verses : 

"Then let us join to build a road 

That's good when dry and when there's mud. 

Come, rise up. boys, no more delay ; 

Procrastination will not pay. 

Let's pledge our faith and yellow dust 

To build the road — we can, we must." 



Frank Stribling will be remembered as a 
genial, wbolesouled man, wbo loved his books 
and bis fireside. He was also something of a 
musician. The writer had the pleasure on a 
number of Occasions, to sit in his presence by 
the old, wide open fireplace, and hear him repeat 
some of his poems, and also sing them to some 
ancient tune accompanied upon his violin. 

In 1906 there was published in Cass County 
by Elijah Xeedham, a book seller and stationer 
of Virginia, a small volume entitled "Adam W. 
Snyder in Illinois History." It covers a period 
of the history of Illinois from 1817 to 1842, and 
was written by Dr. John Francis Snyder of Vir- 
ginia, a son of the Adam W. Snyder named in 
the title page of the book. It is an exceedingly 
well written review of the formative period of 
the great state of Illinois, its growth and prog- 
ress, and blended with it is a biography of the 
principal character, Hon. Adam W. Snyder, who 
was one of the earliest pioneers, and served 
the state as an able representative in the halls 
of congress, and in the state legislature in both 
house and senate. It also contains a brief no- 
tice of a number of the public men of that day, 
with many of whom the author, Dr. Snyder, had 
a personal acquaintance, and with some of whom 
he was quite intimately associated. This fact, 
as well as the excellent literary character and 
style of the work, enhances the charm and in- 
terest one has in perusing its pages, and learn- 
ing, as it seems, almost first hand, of the 
achievements of the great men of that epoch, 
who witnessed the birth of our state and helped 
to lay the foundations of its present greatness 
and glory. No collection of histories of Illinois 
is complete without a copy of this splendid 
though unpretentious volume. In August, 1907, 
a volume entitled "Historical Sketches," was 
published by the Virginia Enquirer. It is almost 
exclusively composed of biographical sketches of 
early settlers, and those who became more or 
less prominent in the county Of Cass, with some 
descriptions of early conditions of the towns 
and villages; also that which is extremely in- 
teresting and especially worthy of presorvat ion, 
the early ami abandoned graveyards with the 

lisl of those who, it can he learned, were In- 
terred therein. .1. X. (iridley, who I'm- a third 
of a century or more was a practicing lawyer 
in this county, and for a great portion of that 
time was the niaster-in-chaneery. is the author 
of most of the articles, and the editor of many 
of the others furnished to him for publication. 

Dr. J. F. Snyder also contributed quite a num- 
ber of sketches, principally of a biographical 
nature. All of the articles are well written and 
graphically portray the scenes of the early times 
in Cass County, as well as give to this genera- 
tion an excellent characterization of the found- 
ers of the county, and will preserve for all 
time to come interesting historical facts which 
might otherwise have been consigned to oblivion. 














The climate of Cass County is practically the 
same as that in all central Illinois. Local con- 
ditions vary somewhat in the prairie and timber 
upland from the Sangamon and Illinois river 
bottoms. The prevailing winds are from the 
south during most of the months of the year; 
the trade winds from the Gulf of .Mexico no 
doubl largely affect the temperature during the 
Summer and autumn. The mean temperature of 
the county Is aboul 50-75 degrees ami although 

we have had some extreme weather, both hot 
and cold, the mean temperature does not vary 
much. The annual rainfall is from '■'>'< to |J 
inches. The parts of the county other than the 
bottom lands have been subject to many violent 
storms, which have done a vast amount of dam- 
age to property and livestock, also causing the 
loss of a number of human lives. 

The flrsi dry season affecting the county oc- 
curred in 1820 when there were hut few in- 
habltants and very little land In cultivation. 



The whole year was without much rainfall from 
April, 1S20, to April of the next year, but the 
soil, being new and thus very productive, those 
settlers who had planted and sowed, reaped a 
fairly good crop. In 1S45 a severe wind storm 
swept the county from the southwest over Little 
Indian Creek neighborhood in Morgan County 
to the northeast into Cass County. It was ex- 
tremely violent, destroying barns and fences in 
Morgan County, and several houses in Cass 
County, one of them being the Walnut Grove 
schoolhouse near old Princeton, but no person 
was injured, although much damage was done 
to the timber, leaving a path through the heav- 
iest tracts of woodland. These paths could be 
seen for years afterwards. 

An anecdote of the hurricane was told in 
the neighborhood long after time and weather 
had effaced the material effects of the storm. 
With some basis of truth, it was probably exag- 
gerated by the irreverent story teller of the 
time. In the path of the storm stood a cabin in 
which lived a family whose name, given as Tay- 
lor, is probably fictitious. The head of the 
household, however, was named Bill, and the 
other members of the family consisted of Bill's 
wile and several little Bills. The family had 
retired for the night when the storm arose, and 
the crashing of falling timber and flying clap- 
boards aroused the wife, who hustled Bill out. 
and about that time the door blew open and 
Bill braced himself against it and placed his 
arms in the loops made to hold the heavy bar. 
The storm increased; part of the roof blew 
away, and the wife thought it time to call for 
help from a source which in fair weather was 
usually ignored, so she told Bill to pray. Bill 
was not an expert in prayerful expression, but 
his instinct for self-preservation and for the 
safety of his family enabled him to ask the 

higher power to intercede and save them from 

utter destruction. But the storm continued with 

unabated fury and the family protector exerted 

more energy in trying to keep the door shut 

than he did in prayer. Suddenly a limb from 

a close by tree fell with a crash across the 

road, shattering some of the clapboards down 

upon the bed, and the wife besought Bill to 

pray louder. The storm, however, and Bill's 

courage and piety gave out about the same 

time, and except for a drenching rain which 

followed the wind storm no damage to the family 

by that time was done. 


In 18.17 a tornado swept over the southwestern 
corner of Cass County, blowing houses and 
fences away, passing over the place where the 
Wagner's Bridge schoolhouse now stands, in In- 
dian Creek Precinct, and took the log cabin 
schoolhouse off the puncheon floor, dashing the 
logs into the creek some distance away. 

In October. 1858, a tornado or cyclone passed 
west of the town of Virginia, felling the trees 
in its path, but it did not encounter any houses 
until near the Needham schoolhouse, which had 
been built the year previously. The teacher, 
Archie Campbell, noticing the dangerous looking 
cloud approaching, sent the children to their 
homes, and he remained in the schoolhouse to 
watch the storm, feeling secure himself, as the 
building was very substantial. The storm, how- 
ever, took but little heed of its style of archi- 
tecture, its qualities for resistance, or its dig- 
nity as a seat of learning, but lifted it up from 
the floor above the head of the astonished 
teacher, and tore it into shreds. The floor was 
left intact with the desks and teacher sitting in 
his chair, but the remainder of the building was 
never found, although the school children made 
diligent search. Other houses northeast of the 
schoolhouse were also badly injured, but no 
lives were lost. 


The deep snow of 1830-31 is, perhaps, the most 
noted meteorological event in the history of Illi- 
nois. It began snowing in the latter part of 
November, 1830, and continued, with brief in- 
termissions, until January, 1831. Then a cold 
rain set in which froze as it fell and formed 
a heavy crust on the snow. More snow fol- 
lowed with a severe cold blast lasting for two 
weeks or more. The average depth of snow was 
3 or 4 feet on a level, but in many places it 
drifted from 7 to 8 feet deep, covering the fences 
and filling the lanes and roads until they were 
impassable. Much of the corn was yet in the 
held, and the snow covered it so deep that it 
was next to impossible to extricate it. Had the 
people expected anything like such continuous 
snow and stormy weather, they would have 
gathered their grain and fodder as soon as the 
first snow began to fall, but the oldest inhabitant 
had experienced nothing of the kind; in fact, 
the winter weather prior to that year from the 



earliest settlement, had been extremely mild, so 
much so that many people were induced to 
come to Illinois by stories of the excellent mild 
climate and short winters. Wild game suffered 
during the deep snow, for want of food, and 
many animals died of starvation. From that 
year on, for several years, game animals were 
very scarce. The deer never were as plentiful 
thereafter. Game birds from the lack of food 
and continuous cold weather, died in great num- 
bers. Domestic animals suffered greatly for lack 
of sufficient food, and many of them also died. 
Altogether it was a disastrous winter for the 
settlers, and the narration of the conditions 
reaching back to the older states, retarded 
emigration to a great extent for some time. 


Two years later, in the fall of 1S33, came an- 
other strange phenomenon, called the shooting 
or falling stars. Those who happened to be 
abroad at two o'clock in the morning of No- 
vember 13, of 1833, saw an awe-inspiring sight, 
as myriads of meteors or stars or star dust, shot 
across the heavens, criss-crossing in wavering 
line and dancing like whirling snowflakes in an 
early autumn storm, brilliantly illuminating the 
sky with repeated showers in this great pyro- 
technic display until dispelled by the light of 
the rising sun. Many persons were terror 
stricken and thought the world had reached its 
end. Although nothing like it had occurred on 
the western continent so far as recorded, in 
magnitude and brilliancy, it was not a new nor 
wonderful thing to students of astronomy. One 
of the earliest accounts of shooting stars relates 
that in 472 A. D., the sky at Constantinople ap- 
peared to lie alive with flying stars and meteors. 
In some eastern annals we are told that in Oc- 
tober, 12(12, "the stars appeared like waves upon 
the sky. They Hew about like grasshoppers, 
and were dispersed from right to left." Hum- 
boldt describes a shower occurring in 1799, say- 
ing : "the sky was covered with innumerable fiery 
trails which Lncessently traversed the sky from 
north bo south. From the beginning of the 
phenomena there was not a space in the heavens 
three times the diameter of the moon which 
was not filled every instant with celestial lire- 
works — large meteors blending constantly their 
dazzling brilliancy with long phosphorescent 
paths of shooting stars." The explanation of the 
phenomena is. as given by astronomers, that 

aerolites, meteors and falling stars have a com- 
mon origin; they are produced by small bodies 
which, like our earth, are revolving around the 
sun. These small bodies in great numbers form 
almost a complete circle about the sun. Their 
orbit intersects the orbit of the earth, and when 
they reach the point of crossing at the same 
time, there is a collision, and the small, luminous 
bodies appear to be falling to the earth. They 
may be seen annually ; in some years in greater 
numbers than in others. The phenomena oc- 
curs most generally about the middle of No- 
vember, but shooting stars may be seen almost 
any clear night in the summer and fall months, 
in more or less numbers. 

On December 28, 1S7G, at eight o'clock P. M., 
the people of Cass County were startled by a 
loud report in the heavens. Those who were 
out of doors, and those who could get out in 
time, saw a singularly beautiful meteoric dis- 
play. A large luminous ball, with a fiery trail 
of twenty degrees or more in length, passed 
over from the southwest in a northeasterly di- 
rection. The sky was brilliantly illuminated as 
the meteor passed rapidly over, and a whitish 
green light remained for some time after the 
fiery ball had disappeared from sight. From the 
reports in the daily papers of the next day, the 
occurrence was not local, but was visible at 
about the same moment of time all over central 
United States from the Rocky mountains to the 
Alleghanies. No account was ever given as to 
what became of it for the reason, no doubt, that 
no one could learn its origin or destination. 
It came with a noise and a light. It was but 
momentary in its passage over the earth, and 
by the time the last echoes of its noise were 
heard, its weird light had too disappeared. Awe 
inspiring in its grandeur of appearance, it will 
be vividly recalled by those fortunate enough 
to witness its dazzling race through the sky. 


Although the temperature of Cass County, like 
other portions "f central Illinois, is aboul an 
average of .~>i degrees, yet it has been subject 
to many very sudden changes. The temperature 
often runs as high as 100 degrees in the shade 
during the summer months, thus continuing Cor 
several days. In the winter it often drops sud- 
denly without previous warning to a very low 
degree: This peculiarity of climatic conditions 
is very distasteful to some people who regard 



those changes as undesirable for a residence 
district. The conditions, however, are usually 
so generally favorable, and the climate so de- 
lightful for such a Large portion of the year, 
that few people having settled here and become 
accustomed to the environments ever leave on 
account of occasional discomfort. The most 
remarkable fall in temperature recorded or re- 
membered in this part of Illinois, occurred De- 
cember 20, is2i;. Several inches of snow had 
fallen in the early part of the day, but the 
temperature was so mild that the snow soon 
melted, and in the afternoon a light, warm rain 
began to fall. About 2 P. M. it began to grow 
suddenly dark, from a heavy cloud rising in the 
muthwest. A strong wind swept over the land 
with a bellowing noise and almost instantly the 
temperature fell to the freezing point. Those 
who were away from home hastened to get to 
shelter from the cold; but no one anticipated 
the change would be of such marked character. 
Those who were at some distance from the 
house in the fields or away from home on the 
road, suffered greatly. Dr. Charles Chandler, 
founder of Chandlerville. was out on one of his 
professional calls, up the .Sangamon bottom, 
several miles east of his home. Although used 
to hardships and all kinds of weather, he found 
it necessary to stop at the first place where he 
might warm himself. This was at the general 
store kept by Henry T. and Aimer Foster, about 
six miles east of the present site of Chandler- 
ville. After warming up, the doctor again 
started for home, but soon found himself freez- 
ing again. He stopped at the next house, and at 
the next, until, before he reached his own home, 
he had been compelled to make four stops; and 
then when he did arrive to within a short dis- 
tance of his own door, his horse, exhausted by 
the cold and the rapid gait at which he had 
been urged on. fell and threw the physician to 
the ground. Fortunately members of his fam- 
ily saw him coming and ran out immediately 
and dragged him into the house, he then being 
almost frozen to death. 

Small, shallow pools of water, caused by the 
rain and melting snow, froze in waves as the 
water was blown about by the wind. Chickens 
and small pigs running through the slush and 
mud were frozen fast to the ground. At Beards- 
town, where Thomas Beard was then running 
a ferry across the Illinois River, the ice formed 
so rapidly that the ferry-boat could not be 
propelled, as the long poles used to push the 

boat would freeze fast in the slushy river water, 
and the boat finally had to be abandoned and 
the ferrymen taken to a cabin on the bank of 
the river. Two young men were frozen to death 
near Kushville. One of them was found sitting 
with his back against a tree, his horse's bridle 
over his arm, and the horse frozen in front of 
him. The other was partly kneeling, a tinder 
box in one hand, and a flint in the other. Both 
eyes were open and peering at the tinder and 
flint as if intent on striking a light. Many 
other unusual casualties were reported. There 
appears to have been no thermometer record 
of the drop in temperature, but the ice froze 
in the streets to a thickness of G inches in one 
hour, and by the next morning ice was more 
than a foot thick. On January 28, 1S73, the 
temperature fell to 40 degrees below zero. Snow 
covered the ground to a depth of 16 inches, and 
that day is said to have been the coldest ever 
known in Illinois. Other very sudden and re- 
markable changes have occurred in the tem- 
perature, but none so extreme as the two cases 

In 1855 a very severe snow storm prevailed 
over the entire central and northern portions 
of the United States. The snow was packed 
heavy and deep in Cass County, and its inhab- 
itants were shut in from the rest of the world 
for several days. However, there was no rail- 
road in Cass County at that time to be block- 
aded, but the stage coach travelers spent the 
time at the wayside inns. The winter of 1877 
was extremely mild; really no winter at all. 
It rained at frequent intervals during the 
entire winter months, and the roads were almost 
impassable the entire winter through. Many 
country people went to their towns on foot, and 
others contrived to make a two-wheel cart out 
of the fore part of the heavy- wagon, and even 
with that light vehicle it was all that two 
horses could do to pull through the mud with 
the necessary store goods the farmer tried to 
take home to his immured family. Those who 
lived near the railroads were better off, using 
them for making their market trips to town. 


In February, 1S83, came a great sleet storm 
that covered the trees and everything else in 
sight with heavy ice. The disturbance was 
general throughout the central West, and the 
changing temperature from cold to warm 

VJf\.V>j-v/OVV ^/vttJVv^ 



melted the snow that covered the ground, 
another change converting melting snow to a 
sheet of ice, covering the earth and bending 
the trees almost to the ground with its weight, 
doing great damage to forest, fruit and orna- 
mental trees, many of the limbs being broken. 
May IS, 1883, opened as a very mild day, with 
a strong southerly wind blowing, which, as the 
day wore on, increased in force, until about 4 
o'clock P. M., when a light rain set in, but it 
ceased by nightfall. About S o'clock 1*. M., a 
heavy cyclone, which bad seemingly been dip- 
ping down along the southern part of Morgan 
County and reaching over into Sangamon 
County, returned to the northern part of Mor- 
gan County, rising above the city of Jackson- 
ville, and again swaying to the earth completely 
destroyed the village of Literberry. Then it 
passed on into Cass County, taking a northeast- 
erly direction almost in the identical path of 
the cyclone of 1845, doing immeasurable dam- 
age to fences, barns, houses and outbuildings 
and leveling and tearing up by the roots great 
stretches of timber through which it passed. 
No lives were lost in Cass County, although 
ten were killed and twenty-four injured at Lit- 
erberry. One family in Cass County bad a 
very narrow escape. George W. Leonard, who 
now lives at Virginia, resided with his wife and 
one small boy on the William Melone farm in 
township 17, range 9. He also had a hired 
man living at his house, and it is to him that 
the family owe their escape. All had retired 
and .Mr. Leonard was asleep when the peculiar 
and dreaded sound of the approaching storm 
was beard by the farm hand, who had previ- 
ously lived in Kansas, where he had passed 
through enough experience in cyclones to learn 
to heed at once the angry mutterings of that 
kind of storm. Jumping out of bed and get- 
ting himself into a few articles of clothing, he 
called loudly to the others of the household 
to run for the cellar. Mrs. Leonard, already 
aroused by the thunder, threw some bed clothes 
around her. and Mr. Leonard, more asleep than 
awake, caught up the Infant boy, and wrapping 
the child and himself in a bed-quilt, hurried 
with the others Into the cave outside, which 
had served for a cellar, just in time to sit in 
personal safety and hear the roaring, frightful, 
hideOUS Storm catch up his bouse and tear it 

Into a million parts, it was hurled for miles 
over the prairie, together with everything in it. 

The Storm left them with not even a stitch of 

clothing, nothing to wear but the bed clothes 
wrapped about them. Nothing was ever recov- 
ered. This was the most disastrous wind stomi 
within the memory of the oldest inhabitant of 
that time. The spring had opened propitiously 
for the farmers, and they were well along with 
the usual spring work. Oats were growing 
splendidly, and corn was up from four to six 
inches. The next night, after the cyclone, the 
temperature fell very low, with a heavy frost, 
which cut the corn to the ground, and killed all 
the garden vegetables that had been left unpro- 


There have been a number of periods of 
extreme high water in Cass County, which have 
done great damage to persons and property. In 
1826, the year in which Thomas Beard estab- 
lished the first ferry across the Illinois River, 
the Mississippi and Illinois rivers were higher 
than had been known for forty years. In 1S28 
the waters were very high and surrounded the 
Mound village, creeping close up to the foot of 
the great mound and flooding all the bottom 
lands. Four years later the whole Mississippi 
valley was submerged ; the river at St. Louis 
being 54 feet above low water mark. The great- 
est flood in this part of the country that has 
ever been recorded, as one person said who wit- 
nessed it, since the days of Noah, occurred in 
1844. Every river west of the Alleghany moun- 
tains, and north of the Gulf of Mexico, seemed 
to rise simultaneously. More than 400 people 
were drowned, and many horses, cattle and 
other animals lost their lives. In the city of 
I'eardstown the water was one foot deep on 
Main street, and the place became an island 
with water 10 feet deep between it and the 
bluffs on the east. Many towns and villages 
in the Mississippi valley were inundated and 

washed away, it was the most disastrous ti 1 

that had occurred in Illinois from its remotesl 
history up to that time. The high water of 
1 — 11 has been a term of comparison for high 
stages of water ever since. The frequenl recur- 
rence of the floods and high stages of water 
along the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi 
river bottoms has greatly retarded the develop- 
ment and Improvement of the naturally fertile 
and valuable lands, but in recent years many 

levees have been constructed which have pro- 
tected the lands from the dangers Of an extra"]'- 



dinary freshet, unci the lands, under-drained by 
tiling, and surface-drained by open ditches, 
together with pumping .stations, have been re- 
claimed, a wide expanse of splendid alluvial 
soil unexcelled in productiveness anywhere 
upon the globe. It is somewhat surprising to 
find upon investigation, how frequently since the 
settlement and platting of the city of Beards- 
town, that place, along with a great portion of 
the Illinois bottom, has been subject to high 
stages of water, and threatened with inunda- 
tion. Vet the energetic people of Beardstown 
have always met the emergencies with a judg- 
ment and courage that has prevented any 
serious damage to person or property. In 1S49 
the hooded condition of the river again brought 
the waters up to a level with Main street. The 
years 1852, 1856 and 1858, saw the waters rise 
almost as high as in any previous year. Often, 
in such stages of water, large steamboats passed 
upon the east side of the city. There have 
been a number of other floods and periods of 
high water extending from above Chandlerville 
along the Sangamon valley to Beardstown and 
on down the Illinois valley. At such times 
drainage ditches would overflow and levees give 
way, entailing thousands of dollars of loss upon 
the unfortunates who inhabited the low lands. 
The last, and the highest since 1S44, occurred in 
April of 1!»13, when the waters rose to within 
a few inches of the high water mark of 1S44, 
and, as indicated by the Meredosia gauge. Of 
the twelve drainage districts in Cass County, 
there was not one but what suffered damage to 
its levees through their being washed away. In 
some places the lands were overflowed to a 
depth of 1 and 5 feet. There was not only 
great financial loss, by reason of the necessity 
for rebuilding the levees, and clearing out the 
ditches, but the farmers withiu these districts 
were unable to get in any crops until so late 
that year that they did not mature well, and 
were of little marketable value. Beardstown's 
streets were again covered with water a foot 
deep or more. This time.' however, the water 
in the streets was caused by the backing of tho 
sewers. Hundreds of men were employed night 
and day by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad com- 
pany, to keep their tracks from washing out 
along the low lands east of the town, where the 
river, in former years, would always endeavor 
to take a short cut for St. Louis. The method 
employed to hold the embankment was to fill 
sacks with sand and place them along the track. 

It took thousands of sacks of sand, and ener- 
getic labor with eternal vigilance, to keep back 
the swirling waters until the floods subsided. 

Man may guard against the ill effects of 
freshets and overflowing streams by building 
embankments ; he can even keep out the waters 
of the sea by those methods, as he has done 
effectively by dikes in Holland and Belgium; 
and he can protect himself and his household 
against the rainfall by covering his humble 
cabin with clapboards or his hewn-stone man- 
sion with a slate roof, unless he belongs to that 
type found by the traveler in Arkansas who 
did not shingle his house because when it was 
not raining he did not need a roof on it, and 
when it was raining it was too wet to work at 
it. No means, however, have yet been discov- 
ered whereby the downpour of rain can be 
checked, or that mau can protect his land and 
crops from the drenching precipitation when 
nature gathers her vapors in superabundance 
and "drops her garnered fullness down. - ' 

On August 25, 1912. at about G o^clock P. M., 
two large black clouds, one from the south and 
one from the northwest, came together over Cass 
County, and then began one of the heaviest 
rains ever seen in this part of the state. It 
was a steady downpour without any accom- 
paniment of wind, and by 10 o'clock at night all 
the creeks were out of their banks, and rapidly 
widening. It seemed to be general all over the 
county, as all the water courses, large and 
small, became raging torrents and washed away 
bridges and fences and anything else that was 
found in their paths. Thousands of dollars of 
damage was done to the bridges on the high- 
ways. Some of the most substantial iron 
bridges, with concrete abutments, were washed 
out. and travel was impeded for weeks on some 
of the roads. No such rain has been experienced 
in this part of the state within the memory of 
any living person. It was not a cloud-burst, as 
has often given heavy downpour, in certain 
localities for a short period, but was a steady 
rain in great volume, spread over the entire 
county; reports of the storm showing but little 
difference in various sections of the county, and 
the territory adjoining. It did not raise the 
water level even in the lower lands to high 
water staL r e. as it ran off in a short time, the 
damage done being mainly confined to destruc- 
tion of bridges and fences. 




Cass County, although it has had its share of 
storms, electrical displays, wind, rain and snow, 
had been extremely fortunate in the small 
amount of damage done to property, and to life, 
until the fearful cyclone of 1911. Even that 
calamity was confined largely to the central 
portion of the county, and fell most heavily 
upon the city of Virginia, and its immediate 
neighborhood. It will be remembered by those 
who were in its midst, and those who stood 
on the outer edge of its dreadful path and wit- 
nessed the fearful onslaught upon the peaceful 
little city, that late autumn day, as long as 
memory availeth them, or the roar of thunder 
and flash of lightning are heard and seen. The 
grass was an emerald green from the late rains 
and many leaves of the deciduous trees yet 
clung to the branches. All nature in its deca- 
dent beauty seemed to welcome the dreamy, 
hazy Indian summer. It was the eleventh day 
of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of 
the new century, November 11, 1911. A light, 
gentle breeze came up with the autumn sun that 
morning and ruffled the carpet of golden leaves 
upon the ground, and brought with it from the 
south the breath of spring. The few remaining 
migratory birds sang as blithely as though they 
had but just returned from their winter home. 
The sunlight was warm, and as the day wore 
on the warmth increased to heat. The gentle 
morning breeze grew into a strong wind. By 
mid-day the heat was intense, and the strong 
wind had become almost a hurricane. The air 
was filled with dust from the streets and high- 
ways, and with leaves from lawns and fields; 
whirling and dancing hither and thither, cir- 
cling high, then dropping low, piling up upon 
the ground, lying quiet as if listening to the 
dismal moan of the wind in the bare tree tops: 
then a sudden depressing stillness. The rays 
Of the sun heat more fiercely, the birds ceased 
their Singing and stood with wings uplifted, 
panting for breath as in the scorching heat of 
Summer. A light shadow overcast the sun. 
The barnyard fowls walked about uneasily, and 
turned their heads, casting their eyes towards 
the sun. The cattle and swine were restless; 

the children win. played joyously with the whirl- 
ing leaves, lost their interest, 'their shouts and 
merry laughter were silenced. The men and 
women came out of their houses, or stopped 
their toil where they were, and looked at the 


skies. They searched the horizon and the arch 
above, but there was nothing but the horizon 
and the distant blue sky to see ; nothing to hear 
but the occasional sigh of the wind that had 
become almost as gentle as the breeze of the 
early day. Yet in the very warmth there was 
a chill as of a seeming dread of approaching 
danger. The sun had passed the zenith and 
was hurrying towards the close of day, yet 
pouring down its heat with unabated force. 
The clocks on the mantels had struck the hour 
of four, and were ticking on unconcerned ; they 
had nothing to do but poiut to man the passing 
of time. Then there was a rumbling in the 
south and West, a slight shiver among the trees, 
then a louder rumble, and a flash of lightning, 
scarcely visible above the glare of the sunlight. 
This was followed by a fiendish roar as of a 
multitude of fierce wild animals clutching their 
prey, mingled with the frantic, despairing 
shrieks of the victims. Trees were torn into 
shreds, and huge pieces of their mighty branches 
were hurled through the walls of houses whose 
roofs were already whirling and crashing 
through the air. Children were screaming in 
wildest terror for father and mother; men and 
women were crouching in fear beneath any 
object that offered protection against the infuri- 
ated, demoniacal elements. A darkness as of 
midnight swooped down upon the earth. Vehicles 
were overturned in the streets, and the horses 
drawing them were dragged down among the 
crashing debris of electric wires and poles and 
falling timbers. Cattle broke from their en- 
closures and rushed about in sheer madness of 
fright, mingling their discordant bawling with 
the roaring and screeching of the storm. Soon 
it was gone, as suddenly as it came, leaving 
utter and awful destruction in its wake. 


The storm struck the city of Virginia at its 
southwest corner, just grazing the wesl side of 
the high school building, ami passed on to the 
northeast, demolishing everything in its path ><( 
nearly a quarter of a mile wide. It seemed to 
rise after it reached the northern edge of the 
town, and passed out over the Baltimore & Ohio 
Southwestern Railroad depot, then reached down 
and tore up the large ice hoii-e. on the f\^o of 

Henderson Lake, its fury was nol yet satiated, 

as it turned on the row of beautiful shade trees 

along the highway to Walnut Ridge cemetery, 



and ruined the most of them, and greatly dam- 
aged the houses and other buildings along the 
eastern side of the road. Then, lifting again 
slightly, but still running low enough to destroy 
many trees and buildings upon the farms for 
several miles along its path to the northeast, 
taking about the same direction as the cyclone 
of 1S58, it went its way. The disastrous storm 
did not terminate with the passing of the 
cyclone, for a heavy downpour of rain set in 
that soon turned to a blizzard of snow, which 
made the work £>f rescue that had begun as 
soon as the cyclone passed, extremely difficult 
and disagreeable. The temperature rapidly 
dropped, and the streets, covered with wreck- 
age, became a glare of ice. Every man in the 
town, however, and many of the women, began 
the search for the missing, and in a short time 
it was ascertained that no one had been killed, 
and very few injured, the only one seriously 
disabled being Mr. Otis Middleton, who had 
suffered a broken arm and collar bone, and two 
fractured ribs. The escape of many seemed 
almost miraculous. The three small children of 
William Whitaker, who lived in a two-story 
frame house in that part of town where the 
storm first struck, were in the second story of 
the building, and when found after the sub- 
sidence of the cyclone, were in the basement 
under furniture and bedding that had fallen 
with them in such a way as to protect them 
from the falling walls and timbers of the house, 
which was utterly demolished. Like all cyclones, 
this one was freakish. When it reached as far 
north as the center of the city it seemed to 
stretch out a long right arm and clutch the 
Methodist church, four blocks east, and the 
Mann hotel and livery barn, across the street 
south. The church was torn to pieces, leaving 
only a part of the north wall and the founda- 
tion standing. The large pipe organ, back of 
the pulpit near the center of the west side of 
the building, was uninjured. The third story 
of the hotel was blown off and the livery barn 
stripped of its covering. Roofs of several of 
the business houses were blown off, and a num- 
ber of the shade trees in the City and Court 
House parks destroyed. Very little damage was 
done to any other buildings in that part of the 
city. George Leonard, who had been in the 
Literberry cyclone in 1883, was now living at 

Virginia, and being in the pathway of the storm 
again suffered, having his roof torn from his 
house and blown so far away he was unable to 
find any part of it. The chimney top went along 
with the roof, but this time he lost none of his 
household goods or wearing apparel. 

The cyclone district presented a desolate sight 
the next morning, with the temperature down 
near zero, and the streets and yards filled with 
a strange mixture of household goods, broken 
windows, pieces of wagons, harness and bug- 
gies pinned under limbs of trees, twisted, shat- 
tered and splintered. How any human being 
passed through it all without injury is beyond 
comprehension. It was a sad day for many. 
The most of the destruction was among the 
smaller homes belonging to those who had 
struggled with adverse circumstances and con- 
ditions in life, and had finally secured for their 
waning years a small home, only to have it 
snatched away and ground to splinters in a 
moment without warning. These people were 
hopeless and in despair, with scarcely enough 
courage left to make them thankful that their 
lives had been spared. Aid was at hand. 
Homes were thrown open to those who had lost 
all or who were without shelter ; and every 
man and mechanic who could wield a trowel or 
drive a nail proffered his assistance, and large 
contributions of money were made by sympa- 
thetic citizens and fraternal organizations. In 
a short time the wreckage was cleared away, 
homes were rebuilt, and although but a few 
years have passed since then, scarcely a trace 
is left of the most dreadful and most destruc- 
tive storm ever experienced in Cass County. 


Until February, 1914, the great snowfall of 
1830-31 was the most noted historical meteor- 
ological event in Illinois, but in the former year 
it was equalled if not surpassed. Washington's 
birthday, 1914, ended with the beginning of a 
fierce and prolonged snow storm. The winter 
had been unusually mild until the latter part 
of January, and even from then on, it was not 
regarded as being more than the ordinary win- 
ter weather of this latitude. The day did not 
give evidence of the approach of an extraor- 
dinary storm. The temperature from morning 

R+t**4-Q^++Jt< r 

until 2 o'clock in the afternoon ranged at about 
15 degrees Fahrenheit, but about that time the 
wind whirled from the west to the north, then 
to the northeast, and blew a perfect hurricane 
of snow. By sunset it was a most terrific bliz- 
zard, which continued the whole nigbt long. 
When morning came there was no relief in 
sight, for there was no cessation of the storm. 
No sun appeared to warm the atmosphere. It 
seemingly kept out of sight and reach of the 
howling, screeching, crashing, shrieking, mani- 
acal wind, filled with biting, freezing, tearing 
pellets of icy snow. All through the lengthened 
day it drove, with unabated fury, its icy pellets 
into every crevice of the houses and barns, 
sheds and sheltered nooks. On and on as if it 
never would and never intended to cease, it 
raged. On the morning of the third day, the 
sun rose bright and clear, looking down, how- 
ever, upon a strange scene in Cass County, one 
the like of which it had not seen since the win- 
ter of 1830-31. The roads were full of snow 
from 4 to G feet deep. The road commissioners 
were obliged to employ a large force of men to 
literally cut the road open before there could 
be travel of any sort. For weeks the only 
roads were narrow driveways just wide enough 
for a team and wagon, with the snow banked 
high on either side. Railroad traffic was 
blocked. No mails came into the towns and 
villages of Cass County lor many days. The 
railroad train on the Chicago, Peoria & St. 
Louis road was snowbound in the prairie about 
a mile south of Virginia, and there remained 
for several days. Other engines brought to pull 
the train nut. only found themselves stuck fast 
in the snow. On the Baltimore & Ohio South- 
western road, three trains got into Virginia 
and were unable to go further until the road 
was cleared of the heavy fall of snow, and that 
was a herculean task that took several engines 
and many men working Qight and day for 
nearly a week. The Chicago, Burlington & 
Quiney road had similar trouble, hut got 
through much sooner, as did likewise the Chi- 
cago & Alton, in the eastern pari of the county. 
Had the conditions been similar to those of the 
"deep snow" and could a comparison have been 

made, it would have shown the snow of Febru- 
ary, mil. to have been of greater depth on a 
level, and a fiercer, more disagreeable storm 
than thai of the early days aboul which early 
settlers delighted to talk, and historians loved 
to write. 

















Cass County was seventy-eight years old 
March 3. 1915, it having been created March 3, 
1S3T. Twenty-three years prior to that time, 
or one hundred and one years ago, there was 
not a white man's dwelling, nor a white man 
living anywhere in the territory now comprised 
in the boundaries of Cass County. What sim- 
ilar progress in the way of civilization is there 
known to the present generation, or which may 
be exhibited to future generations by the pages 
of history, or in any manner, than that evinced 
in the remarkable record of this past century 
in Cass County. 

If it were not proven by historical facts such 
advancement as has been made would seem 
incredible. Cass County, one hundred years 
ago, was an unbroken wilderness; now it is one 
of the garden spots of the world. Then it had 
nothing that civilization requires; now. with 
few exceptions, it has all that goes toward pro- 
ducing the most advanced conditions, in any 
pari of the world. Science and industry have 
joined forces and Illinois can well he proud of 
the result. 

ni;.\i\ \<.i . 

<>ne of the most remarkable changes t he 

years have brought, is the reclamation of what 
were once considered Useless ~-\\ .1 ill] i land-, into 



some of the most productive sections of the 
county. To be sure, Cass County is not alone 
in this reclamation work, but it has done its 
part well and is reaping vast benefits from this 
form of progressiveness. 

Along the Sangamon and Illinois bottoms, 
when the county was first settled and up to 
within a very recent time, there were to be 
seen a large number of lakes and marshes, sup- 
plied with water by the annual overflow of the 
rivers and also by the waters from the creeks 
coming down from the hills. These made mag- 
nificent fishing and hunting resorts, but the 
land lying under the ponds and lakes was 
thought by people in general not to be of suffi- 
cient value for it to be reclaimed. In fact, it 
would have been utter folly for private owners 
to have made an attempt to redeem it. A new 
era came with the passage of the amendment to 
the state constitution which permitted the for- 
mation of drainage districts. Since that time 
many drainage districts have been formed in 
Cass County, and thousands of acres of land 
formerly overflowed and thought worthless, have 
been reclaimed and the whole face of nature, 
as it were, has been changed and beautified. 
Productive farms now flourish where formerly 
lived only the mosquito, and but rushes and 
wild onions could be grown. 


Many acres of the more sandy lands in the 
Illinois bottom were thought to be even more 
worthless than the submerged lands. It did 
not seem possible that anything could lie grown 
upon them. A man came from the East, one 
who had some experience in cultivating similar 
soil, and he taught the people of Cass County 
how to raise garden truck for the market upon 
this land, which was found to be especially 
adapted for watermelons, nmskmelons and sweet 
potatoes. Later the cow pea was introduced, 
and was found to be a very valuable crop not 
only for the market, but in building up the soil 
so that after a year or two of raising cow peas 
and turning under the foliage and straw of the 
plant, the land would produce fairly large crops 
of corn and oats. Thus by drainage and scien- 
tific cultivation, lands that had been worthless 
and sold for taxes, were redeemed, and have 
advanced in value until they are now held at 
$200 per acre. 


Schools have been so developed that illiteracy 
is at a minimum and all classes have an equal 
opportunity for securing an education. The 
charities of the people are broad. Religious 
teaching and sentiment predominates and sec- 
tarian dissension and bitterness have largely 
disappeared. Citizens are no longer so closely 
bound by political party ties that they can see 
no good or merit in those holding different 
opinions from their own. Drunkenness and 
even intemperance is passing away. Taking 
conditions as a whole, the requirements of good 
citizenship are upon a much higher plane than 
ever before, and as far as local conditions go 
comfort, content and happiness are almost uni- 


The following table gives the population of 
Cass County by decades from 1S40 to 1910 : 

1840 2,9S1 

1850 7.253 

I860 11,325 

1870 11,5S0 

1SS0 14.494 

1890 15,963 

1900 17,222 

1910 17,372 
















There are rive municipalities in Cass County, 
organized as cities and villages, under the gen- 
eral law or charter, according to Act of 1ST2 
of the Legislature. These are : Arenzville, Ash- 
land. Beardstown, Chandlerville and Virginia, 
and will be taken up in the order named. They 
were all platted and organized aud chartered 
by the legislature under special acts, for that 
was the method of incorporation prior to the 
Act of 1ST2. However, the many advantages 
accruing under the latter act were early recog- 
nized by each of the municipalities, and they 
soon discarded the original charter and- re-incor- 
porated under the general law. 


Arenzville is organized as a village, under the 
general law. but as a hamlet or unincorporated 
town it has been in existence for many years. 
About lS2f James Smart found his way into 
that part of Morgan County, and seeing the need 
of a gristmill in that locality, and also being 
impressed with the natural advantages offered 
for water power on Indian Creek, erected a 
small mill which was a boon to the people scat- 
tered along the Illinois valley, and on the upland 
prairies to the cast. On October 31, 1S2T, Mr. 
Smarl entered the east half of section 31, and 
on April 6, 1829, the west half of the same 
section, and continued running his mill until 
August, 1S31, when he sold bis land to Bennet 
Smart. On .Inly 30, 1832, Francis Arenz pur- 
chased the southeast quarter section, together 
with the mill, ami operated it together with his 
other business interests, witli very indifferent 
success, until aboul 1853 when he sold to Her- 
man Engelbacb and Peter Arenz. 

In the meantime, Francis Arenz had laid off 
a few lots and sold them to settlers who formed 
the nucleus of the future thriving village, in 
1852 Mr. Arenz had John Craig, the county 
surveyor of Cass County, survey and plat, 

together with the lots already sold, a part of 

the southeast quarter Of section 31, township 17, 

range 11, for a town, to which be gave the name 
of Arenzville, although that part of Morgan 
County had been designated Arenzville Precinct 

for some time before Cass County was formed. 
Mr. Arenz certified to the plat and acknowl- 
edged it before his brother, John A. Arenz, a 
justice of the peace, June 20, 1852, and filed the 
plat for record on July 30 of the same year. 
Mr. Arenz died in 1856, and his executors, in 
the next year, made an addition to the town, 
naming it the "Addition of the Executors of 
Francis Arenz," and recorded the plat. In 1876, 
Thomas V. Finney, for a number of years cir- 
cuit clerk of this county, made a complete plat 
of Arenzville, and the additions, which was 
recorded October 22. 1870. On May 22, 1S78, the 
trustees of the village adopted the plat by ordi- 
nance, as the limits of the town. The first 
organization of the town was July !). 1853, and 
a hoard of trustees elected. The first president 
of the board was Francis Arenz, while the clerk 
was Dr. Julius Philippi, the treasurer was Her- 
man Engelbach, the supervisor was John Goebel, 
and the town constable was Charles Heintz. 


When Arenzville Precinct was established it 
extended to the Illinois River, with the voting 
place at the town of Arenzville, but in 1S57, the 
west part was cut off and made into a voting 
district or precinct, and named Indian Creek. 
There are three water courses traversing the 
precinct, Indian Creek the largest, which enters 
the county from Morgan County, just south of 
the village of Arenzville, and making a great 
bend north of the village runs in a westerly 
course, bearing a little north, and empties into 
the Illinois River; Clear Creek, which runs 
westerly across the center of the precinct into 
Indian Creek; and Mud Creek, which is a small 
tributary of Indian Creek, running from the 
south line of the precinct near Arenzville, north- 
westerly for about six miles. Both Indian Creek 
ami Mud Creek overflowed badly and kept the 
lands west of Arenzville in a wet and unhealth- 
ful condition, and rendered ir un tit for cultiva- 
tion except in an unusually dry season. The 
land was too valuable t" be left iii that condi- 
tion, and the enterprising farmers who owned 
it ind had purchased it at a very low price. 
organized a drainage district about IS99 ami 
have reclaimed the land, and now have bun 
dreds of acres of excellent soil, producing abun- 
dant crops annually. Being now free from the 
fear of overflow and* destruction from high 
water-, the farms have been well Improved, and 



the lands that formerly were scarcely saleable 
at any price, are now worth from $150 to $200 
per acre. 

The eastern portion of the precinct is very 
much broken until the prairie is reached about 
three miles from Arenzville. From that on to 
the east line of the precinct there is a fine open 
expanse of more or less level farming land of 
the highest value. The village is situated on 
the easterly side of Indian Creek, nestling 
against the high bluffs which terminate at the 
very edge of the eastern corporate limits. From 
these bluffs may be had an excellent view of 
the entire village, which presents a picturesque 
appearance, with its churches and school houses 
of architectural beauty, neat cottages and hand- 
some residences, splendid business buildings and 
wide, clean, well-shaded streets and parks. 

Besides those already mentioned who made 
this attractive place their home in an early day 
were : Pompious Philippi and his son, Dr. Julius 
Philippi, John Altman, Frederick Lang. Jacob 
Heinz, J. L. Cire, Omar Bowyer, Christian 
Lovekamp, Frederick Brauer, W. H. Houston, 
Frederick Lovekamp, Henry Wedeking, Isaac 
Drinkwater, Herman Lippert, Peter Schaaf, 
Charles Cooper, George Treadway, Victor Krue- 
ger. Henry Goodeking, Philip Yeck, George Heg- 
ener, Henry Lovekamp, Adam Schuman, Wil- 
liam Tielkmier, Herman Lovekamp. Frederick 
Hackman, Herman Eberwein, Henry Menke, 
Charles Merz, Joseph Kircher, Dr. George Engel- 
bach and his son, Herman Engelbach, and John 
Rahn. Many of the descendants of these pio- 
neers yet remain in and about Arenzville and 
are the substantial citizens who, with others 
who have been attracted later to the village, 
have the credit for the progress and permanent 
growth of the village of Arenzville, and the 
rural districts surrounding it. Seven district 
schools beside the high school and the grade 
schools in the village, are maintained in the 
precinct ; and the highways are kept in as good 
condition as the nature of the soil will permit. 
The old log cabins have all disappeared, and 
new modern farmhouses and outbuildings have 
taken their place. Everything shows such evi- 
dence of thrift and progress that could Francis 
Arenz, the early advocate of all these improve- 
ments, now look upon them, it would bring 
delight to the spirit of one who identified him- 
self with every movement for the advancement 
of civilization in his community. 


Francis A. Arenz was born in Blankenburg, 
Province of the Rhine, Prussia, October 31, 
1800. While yet a young man, he engaged in 
the mercantile business in his native country, 
and about 1S27 emigrated to America, settling 
first in Kentucky, where he remained for two 
years engaged in merchandising. Learning of 
the lead mines of Galena, 111., and the prospect 
of successful business deals in the lead line, he 
went to that point in 1829, but did not find con- 
ditions as satisfactory as he had hoped, and 
after a short stay in business there, he again 
sought a new location. A number of persons 
had come up to Galena from the southern part 
of Illinois, and also from the vicinity of 
Beardstown, then just laid out, and from de- 
scriptions of the place and its surroundings, 
Mr. Arenz believed that locality destined to be 
at least an excellent shipping point on the Illi- 
nois River. Arriving at Beardstown about 1831, 
he was very favorably impressed with the situ- 
ation, and began at once to prepare for his 
permanent settlement. He engaged iu his favor- 
ite pursuit of merchandising, and filled his store 
with everything he thought the pe<5ple of the 
new country might need or be induced to buy. 
Among the goods bought in the East was a 
cargo of light, brass-barreled guns, which had 
been manufactured for a South American gov- 
ernment, but did not meet the requirements, and 
so were sent west to Mr. Arenz. He expected to 
dispose of them to the settlers for shooting 
water fowl, and like birds, but a more for- 
tunate condition arose in the matter of trade. 
The Black Hawk war broke out and many of 
the soldiers called to rendezvous at Beards- 
town, found themselves without arms, and the 
state had none with which to supply them. Mr. 
Arenz tendered his brass-barreled guns to Gov- 
ernor Reynolds, who was on the ground in 
charge of the troops, and they were immediately 
purchased, at a handsome profit for Mr. Arenz. 
He also furnished many other supplies to the 


After the close of the Indian outbreak, and 
normal conditions had returned to river traffic, 
Mr. Arenz thought it would be an excellent idea 
to establish a newspaper, which he did, calling 
it the Beardstown Chronicle and Illinois Bounty 








3? - 

- ■ | 















Laud Advertiser. The paper was conducted for 
a year under the management of John B. Fulks, 
then sold and the plant was moved to Rushville. 
The Illinois legislature had declared the Sanga- 
mon River a navigable stream, and Mr. Arenz 
thought it would be well to shorten the distance 
and make a more direct route to Beardstown by 
cutting a canal across to Miller's Ferry. He 
secured a charter from the state in 1836, incor- 
porating the Beardstown and Sangamon Canal 
Company, and was made its president, with Dr. 
O. M. Long of Beardstown. one of the earliest 
physicians of the county, as secretary. A 
brother of Mr. Arenz, John A. Arenz, was one 
of the chief engineers. A survey was made, 
but the panic of that period coming on, caused 
the project to fail. The majority of Mr. Arenz's 
many enterprises were very successful, but one 
that did not prove satisfactory financially, was 
the gristmill which he bought of Mr. Smart. In 
1S35 he closed his mercantile business at Beards- 
town, and moved to his farm about six miles 
southeast from Beardstown. where he con- 
structed a substantial house of unique design. 
It was built on high ground, along the upland 
bordering the wide Illinois River bottom, and 
gave a splendid view of that expanse of rich 
alluvial land which has since become as valu- 
able a tract as any farm land in the state. 
He remained there until 1839, when he moved to 
the village to which he had given the name of 
Arenzville, and there he lived until his death. 
He delighted in polities, and was an ardent 
Whig. A man of excellent education, he was a 
fairly -ood writer, frequently contributing to 
Hie local and slate newspapers. No legislature 
of tlio state assembled without Mr. Arenz being 


Ill 1844, while living at Arenzville. Mr. Arenz 
was elected a member of the lower bouse of the 
General Assembly from Morgan County. Arenz- 
ville being then in tin' territory known as the 
Three Mile strip. Mr. Arenz added his Influence 
te that of <'ass County's representatives, and 
secured that strip for Cass County, but he was 
not re-elected to the assembly, in is."!' he was 
sent to his native land by President Fillmore, as 
bearer <>\' dispatches to the American legations 
.ii Berlin ami Vienna, in 1853 be assisted in 
organizing the state Agricultural Society, ami 
continued a member of it during the remainder 

of his life. He also helped to organize the 
Cass County Fair Association and became its 
first president. Mr. Arenz did not live to see 
all his hopes and ambitions fulfilled, and laid 
down the burdens and responsibilities of his 
busy life at Arenzville, April 2, 1856. Resolu- 
tions of respect were adopted by the executive 
committee of the state board of agriculture and 
they were published in all the Springfield, Jack- 
sonville and Cass County papers, and copied in 
many others of the state. 


Arenzville did not grow fast to any great 
extent, but was the center of a large German 
settlement, many of whom were not farmers, 
lint had been well educated to other lines of 
business in their native land. On coming to 
this country they thought it would be an easy 
matter to engage in agricultural pursuits, the 
soil and climatic conditions being so far superior 
for that purpose to that of their own land, but 
few indeed remained farmers, the most of them 
gathering in the villages. Some remained at 
Arenzville and some went elsewhere to engage 
in the various pursuits to which they had been 
trained in their youth. A business directory 
published in 1S60. gives the following for Arenz- 
ville: J. B. Class, physician and surgeon; 
Charles E. Yeck and Bro.. merchants and gro- 
cers; J. L. Cire, merchant and justice of the 
peace; H. Engelbach, merchant and miller; 
Charles Coerper, miller; II. Schaeuer, boot ami 
shoe dealer; Charles I'ilney. carpenter and cab- 
inet-maker; N. Brill and S. Gephardt, wagon- 
makers and blacksmiths; and A. Boehme, mer- 
chant. In 1870 the railroad was built through 
from Beardstown to St. Louis, and the village 
began to expand. It became a shipping point 
for all the products grown in a large area of 
country, ami on February 13, 1893, it was incor- 
porated as a village under the general law, and 
is now quite a prosperous community, it had. 
I'm- a number of years, a brewery and several 
saloons, but at the village election in lull, 
with the assistance of the women voters, the 
saloons were voted out On December 24, 1913, 
ahoiit midnighl a disastrous tire occurred which 
destroyed a greal Dumber of the business houses. 
l m t they were rapidly rebuilt. 

At the present time there are at Arenzville, an 

excellent Souring mill, four grocery stores, 
three general stores, two dry goods stores, two 



drug stores, two harness dealers, two hardware 
and agricultural implement stores, two butcher 
shops, three blacksmith and repair sbops, one 
jewelry store, three restaurants, two hotels, two 
physicians, a telephone exchange, four churches, 
grade and high schools, one weekly newspaper, 
two banks, one lumber yard that handles gen- 
eral merchandise as well, two barber shops, one 
garage, a brick yard, and several masons, car- 
penters and painters. It has one policeman and 
one calaboose, neither being in great demand. 











Ashland Precinct occupies the southeast cor- 
ner of the county, and is wholly within the 
prairie district of the county. It was formerly 
included in the old Lancaster Precinct, wherein 
was the town of Lancaster, laid out by John 
Dutch, in May, 1S37. He built there the tavern 
known as the "Halfway House," as it was about 
half way between Beardstown and Springfield. 
Dutch sold half of his town to Erastus W. 
Palmer, who, in a year, sold one of the lots 
for a dollar and turned the rest back to Mr. 
Dutch and disappeared. Some say the entire 
plat of land or lots was conveyed to Palmer for 
$400. However as that may be, he received the 
full value of the one lot for business or town 

purposes. The plat covered the greater portion 
of the northeast quarter of the northwest quar- 
ter of section 25, township 17, range 9, west. 
Mr. Dutch built a few other houses, besides his 
own residence, in which he kept the tavern, but 
there was so little to attract anyone to that 
bleak spot in the open prairie that the place 
was soon abandoned, so far as any attempt to 
make a town of it was concerned. In 1843 the 
plat was vacated. The precinct bore the name 
of Lancaster, however, until 1876. The Duling 
house on the north side of the public highway 
near the flag station Guerney, is on the site of 
the old Halfway House. It is said that John 
Dutch went back to the east from which he 
had emigrated after having been a sea captain, 
and there took up a collection to build a church. 
He really did build a church at Lancaster, but 
it was later moved away and used as a barn. 


The village of Ashland is the youngest born 
of all the towns and villages in Cass County. 
In 1857 the Petersburg and Tonica Railroad was 
surveyed through that part "of Cass County, and 
the same year a land company composed of 
James L. Beggs, Elmore Crow, William G. Spears, 
Richard Yates, the famous war governor, and 
others, laid out the town of Ashland upon lands 
owned by Beggs and Crowe. As they were all 
Whigs and worshipped in greater. or less degree 
the idol of that party, Henry Clay, who had a 
home in Kentucky which he called Ashland, 
these promoters gave their new town the name 
of Ashland in honor of the great compromiser. 
Ashland proved a success to an extent that 
surpassed the best wishes of its friends. It did 
not suffer the fate of some of the other early 
towns. The railroad actually was built as pro- 
posed, and lots were soon disposed of in great 
numbers ; people came to it for permanent set- 
tlement. They could get to Jacksonville, or 
Bloomington, and even to Chicago by the new 
railroad, and it was also on the state road or 
public highway to Springfield, with a first class 
stage line running every day. 


The boundaries of the village as given on the 
plat are. as follows: Commencing at a point 
one-fourth of a mile due west of the southeast 
corner of section 29, township 17, range 8, west, 



in the county of Cass, running tuence due north 
one-half mile, thence due east one mile, thence 
due south one mile, thence due west one mile, 
thence due north one-half mile to the point of 
starting. It contained 144 blocks besides the 
public squares and commons. There was but 
one house on the lands platted, it being the resi- 
dence of Mr. Crowe, who was a farmer and had 
a splendid crop of corn that year. The house is 
still standing and it is used as a residence, 
although for many years it was the Douglas 
Tavern, or boarding house. About forty build- 
ings were erected in the town the first year, and 
the sale of lots amounted to over $100,000. W. 
R. Hunter became the first merchant and built 
a store on Main street. About the same time 
William Goble and Alexander Mansfield opened 
a store, but after a few years became embar- 
rassed and retired in favor of the sheriff, who 
kindly disposed of their stock of goods. Crowe, 
Beggs and Spears, three of the original town 
proprietors, built the Brick Hotel which is still 
used for hotel purposes. Blacksmith and 
wagon and repair shops were built soon after 
the organization of the town. Schools and 
churches were organized, as previously related 
in separate chapters, and the village continued 
to grow. It only had one general store, how- 
ever, from 1SG3 to 1SG5. A post office had been 
established, and Mr. Hunter, the merchant, was 
appointed postmaster. 

By 1869 the place had reached such a stage 
of population and business that the people 
thought best to have it incorporated. On Janu- 
ary 18 of that year a meeting was called and 
a vote taken on the question of incorporation, 
which resulted in thirty-five votes for anil four 
against. Pursuant thereto application was made 
and on April lb, 1869, a village charter was 

granted I'r the state. The first village oiiicers 

were Stephen Barnes, president; W. it. Hunter, 
clerk; J. <:. Smith, police magistrate, and 
.lames L. BeggS, A. I.. Corson and -I. G. Smith, 

in L871, the railroad which is now the Balti- 
more & Ohio Southwestern, was bulll from 
Beardstown to Springfield through Ashland, and 
this gave the village additional opportunity for 
progress. In the meantime the new state con- 
stitution had taken effect, and the Legislature 
bad. pursuant to its authority, provided lor gen- 
eral Incorporation of cities ami villages-. No 
provision was made for Incorporating towns, so 
there are QO towns in the state under the gen- 

eral law. Ashland soon saw the advantages of 
being under the general law, and on December 
28, 1872, took a vote upon the proposition 
whether it should incorporate under the new 
law, or not. The result of the vote was forty 
for the proposition, and fourteen against, and 
the village was incorporated as of that date, 
but did not see fit to have its charter granted. 
The legislature by an amended act in 1895, 
authorized the secretary of state to issue cer- 
tificates of incorporation upon the filing of tran- 
scripts of organization proceedings, and a cer- 
tificate was issued to Ashland. June 1, ls!»7. 
By the census of 1880 Ashland had a population 
of only G09. It now has over 1,2U0. and is enti- 
tled to organize as a city any time it sees fit 
to do so. 


Iii 1877 a fire visited the village and swept 
away the larger portion of the business houses, 
the common fate sooner or later of all cities and 
villages that do not have an adequate water 
supply and fire protection. Ashland, like all 
other places where there are courageous citi- 
zens, soon had buildings of a better character 
above the ashes of the old ones. 

Ashland has made rapid strides in a business 
way and now has four churches, two hanks, 
graded and high schools, one weekly newspaper, 
three dry goods stores, two drug stores, four 
groceries, two furniture stores, one hardware 
store, three grain elevators, three barber simps, 
two harness shops, two butcher shops, three 
restaurants, two hotels, two millinery stores, 
one book and stationery store, one lumber yard, 
a telephone exchange, one undertaker, several 
notaries public, one livery and feed harm one 
garage, four physicians, and one dentist. Ii 
has Odd Fellow, Masonic and Woodmen Lodges, 
while its private residences are away above 
the average Of Village ami small city prop- 
erty. 'Idle village is but twelve miles from 
Virginia, the county seat, twenty-one miles 
from Springfield, the state capital, and sixteen 
miles from .Jacksonville, and 200 miles from 
Chicago, ami whenever the people desire t" \i-it 
any of these places, they iind excellent accom- 
modations at the Union depot in the uortheasl 
corner of the village, where twelve passenger 

t rains stop daily. 

























Beardstown is the largest municipality within 
the county limits, and its history has lieen 
almost completely told throughout the foregoing 
pages, in fact the beginning of the history of 
the territory now comprised in Cass County 
was at Beardstown. although there was a set- 
tler, Eli Cox. who came to the east end of the 
county a few years before Thomas Beard 
located at the Mound Village. The lands upon 
which Beardstown is built were entered by 

Thomas Beard and Enoch C. March, although it 
is frequently stated, following no doubt upon 
the undisputed statement made by some early 
settler, that the lands were originally owned 
by a man named Downing. The records do not 
show the title to any part of these lands to 
have been at any time in any one named Down- 
ing. Some of the early settlers spoke of a 
Downing's Landing being the site of Beards- 
town, but even this cannot be verified. The 
records of the land office show that Thomas 
Beard and Enoch C. March entered the north- 
east fractional quarter of section 15, township 
IS, range 12, west, on September 23, 182G, and 
on October 8, 1827, the same parties entered 
the northwest fractional quarter of the same 
section containing fifty and a fraction acres. 
These quarters of the section were made frac- 
tional by reason of the Illinois River running 
in a southwesterly course and cutting off the 
northwest portion of the section. 


On October 10, 1S27, Mr. Beard alone entered 
the east half of the southwest quarter of 
section 15, township IS, nortb, range 12, west. 
The original town of Beardstown was platted 
and laid out in September, 1820. The certifi- 
cate bears date of September 0, 1S20, and was 
recorded the same day, and states that the plat 
is on the north fractional half of section 15, 
township IS, north, range 12, west, in Morgan 
County, 111. The original town contained 175 
lots lying adjacent to the river, extending south- 
ward. The explanation states that Main street's 
course is north 52 degrees east, and vice versa. 
March and Beard made an addition to the town, 
March (1, 1S33, containing 2GS lots, one of the 
blocks being on the easterly side, and the 
remainder south and west. On May 0, 1S36, 
Thomas Beard and NoTte A. Ware made another 
addition. Ware certifies by his attorney in fact, 
Francis A. Arenz. John Ayers made a small 
addition on July 10, 1S36, and in July, 1837, 
Beard and Arenz made an addition. Havekluft 
& Ehrhardt, Clendennin and Denison. Ravens- 
wood and several others made small additions. 

Section 16, which, by act of Congress, was 
donated to each township for school purposes, 
had but a very small portion in the county. 
Under the terms of the same act, other land 
might be donated in lieu of section 1G, or por- 
tions of it, that had been sold or disposed of or 








was not in existence, and pursuant to that pro- 
vision of the law, Congress donated portions of 
section 15 in township 18 north, range 12 west. 
These lands were, by the school commissioners 
of Morgan County, platted and sold for the 
benefit of the schools of township 18, range 12. 

The first town organization was in 1834, when 
a board of trustees was elected, consisting of 
Haywood Reed, president; John B. Fulks, then 
the manager of the first newspaper in the 
county, clerk ; Edward Tull, assessor ; Martin 
S. Trent, collector ; Isaac Spence, treasurer ; and 
William Xelins, supervisor. In September of 
that year the first ordinances for the govern- 
ment of the town were enacted. This organiza- 
tion existed until under an act of the legis- 
lature passed February 10, 1S49, there was a re- 
organization as a town ; on February 4, 1850, the 
proposition was adopted, and the following per- 
sons elected as officers : mayor, John A. Arenz ; 
aldermen : First Ward, Thomas Eyre, father of 
William Eyre, who has had charge of the court- 
house at Virginia as janitor for several years, 
and Jesse Riggins ; Second Ward, James Hope 
and Joseph Stehlin ; Third Ward, George Guen- 
ther and Jacob Ritcher. Sylvester Emmons was 
appointed clerk, Dr. T. A. Hoffman treasurer, 
and Eli S. Houghton was appointed marshal. 
Some doubts having arisen concerning the legal- 
ity of organization, the legislature of 1S57, by 
an act approved February 1G of that year, legal- 
ized the incorporation, and all official acts of 
its officers, and. by section 4 of the act. fixed 
the corporate limits of the town as follows: 
"That hereafter the corporate limits of the city 
of Beardstown shall embrace a territory of one 
and one-half miles square, extending three- 
fourths Of a mile from the center of the public 
square, east. west, north and south, unless where 
said line interferes with the Illinois River, and 
there the boundary of said city shall run to the 
middle of the channel of said river; provided, 
that where the new territory included by this 
acl shall not be laid off into lots or out lots, 
said territory so annexed shall not lie subject 
to taxation for city purposes without the con- 
senl of the owners of the land not laid Off Into 
lots or old lots." 

On the same day the above net was approved, 

another act was passed and approved, establish- 
ing the "Beardstown Oakwoods' Cemetery Asso- 
ciation" near Beardstown. Dr, Charles Sprague, 

Christopher II. C. llaveklnft. Horace Billings, 

Henry E. Duinmer, Ebenezer Fish, William 

Chase, Edward Parker, Charles Norbury and 
Thomas Eyre, and their associates and suc- 
cessors were created a body corporate and poli- 
tic, under said name. 

On February 11, 1857, the legislature granted 
a charter incorporating "The German Literary 
Association of the City of Beardstown," and 
constituted C. H. C. Havekluft, Frederick Ehr- 
hardt, Frederick Krohe, Ferdinand Gibbers, Alex- 
ander Lammers, Emil Lippert, and Joseph Streh- 
lin, and their associates and successors, a body 
corporate and politic by that name. The object 
of the corporation was stated to be "to unite 
Germans of all creeds and classes in a literary 
bond of brotherhood and mutual friendship, in 
the pursuits of science and literature.*' 

Encouraged by the good will of the legis- 
lature towards them, a number of these same 
citizens, with others, were emboldened to ask 
and received from the legislature at the same 
session on February 10 a charter for the Beards- 
town Gas Light and Coke Company. The in- 
corporators were: C. H. C. Havekluft, Charles 
Sprague, Horace Billings, Thomas Eyre, Henry 
E. Dummer, Francis Rearick and J. Henry 

The history of Beardstown, as before stated, 
has been so fully covered in preceding chapters 
that nearly all that may be said would be but 
a repetition which could serve no especially in- 
teresting purpose. Every subject touched upon 
heretofore was not considered in any sense com- 
plete without the inclusion of historical and 
interesting matters pertaining to Beardstown. 
It has been a most important place in the settle- 
ment of Illinois; the earliest French voyageurs 
made a settlement here; the mound builders 
Located some of their most beautiful mounds 
upon its site; here their successors, the Ameri- 
can Indians, pitched their tents and built their 
Wigwams, and used iL as a center of a DlOSl 
happy hunting ground, and here, into their 
midst, came the founder of Beardstown, Thomas 
Beard, who laid the foundation of the present 

splendid City. The subject Of early industries, 
business enterprises, banks, schools, churches 

and railroads, discussed in former pages with 
the necessarily brief biographical Dotices >>( the 
men who have made Beardstown what it Ls, 
have presented to tbe reader as full a histor- 
ical review or thai city as the limits of this 
work will permit. 




For the benefit of succeeding generations there 
should be some record of present conditions of 
the city. Like most cities, the value of building 
lots, especially the business lots, increase in 
value as the city -rows older, if there be any 
material progress, and as a consequence the first 
buildings, which were well enough when erected, 
must give way to more modern as well as to 
umre commodious ones. The first buildings 
erected at Beardstown have nearly all disap- 
peared, and most of those erected by the second 
ami third generation. The first flouring mills, 
the great warehouses along the river bank, 
owned by so many firms whose names are now 
almost Eorgotten; the great packing houses and 
retail store buildings, all have disappeared, and 
the very spots where they stood are now often 
in dispute. Some of the older people will re- 
call the large two-story brick building of C. A. 
Bussman, known as the sash, blind and door 
manufactory, and the Phoenix Foundry, Ma- 
chine Shop and Agricultural Works, of Thomas 
Weld) & Co. Then later was the great distillery 
owned by McCormick, which was burned in the 
early seventies. The first schoolhouse is still 
standing, it being the brick house on Sixth 
street, known as the Dr. T. A. Hoffman resi- 
dence and laboratory. The Park Hotel, built in 
1853, is still one of the most substantial buildings 
in the city. It was put up by Horace Billings, 
and was away out of proportion to the size of 
the city at that time, in fact it was such a finan- 
cial failure that at one time it was given over 
rent free to a tenant who would look after it 
and keep up the insurance. The city finally 
grew up to the building, and since Martin Mc- 
Donough. the present owner, obtained posses- 
sion of it, has been a great financial success, 
and is maintained and known among the travel- 
ing public as one of the best hotels in central 
Illinois. The old opera house which stood on 
the northeast corner of State and Second streets, 
and which had been remodeled by the Opera 
House Company, and used as the only place for 
entertainments for many years, has recently 
been abandoned; and though the building is a 
substantial one. and used as a storeroom on the 
first floor by a firm of clothing dealers, the room 
above used as the opera house has been taken 
over for storage and warerooms. Two splen- 
did new theatre buildings have been erected, 
with the entertainment rooms on the ground 

floor. They are on lots 5 and G in block 32, 
original town, one facing west on State street, 
and the other south on Fourth street. New 
churches, new schoolhouses, new business build- 
ings, and hundreds of new residences have been 
built until now little if any of the old or first 
Beardstown, and scarcely any of the second re- 
mains. While there is a feeling of sentiment 
connected with those old historic buildings and 
scenes, that feeling has to yield to the inevit- 
able onward march of progress. 


As an indication of the business situation, 
and also for the purpose of comparison with 
present conditions, a list of the most generally 
remembered business firms and professions are 
given as they appeared in 1SG0. This list in- 
cludes : Attorneys-at-law Henry E. Dummer, 
Thomas M. Thompson, Thomas H. Carter, C. H. 
Housekeeper, J. H. Shaw, James M. Epler and 
G. Pollard; Doctors Charles E. Parker, F. Ehr- 
hardt, H. H. Littielfield, J. R. Dowler, John 
Fee ; T. A. Hoffman, chemist and physician ; 

E. S. Carter and D. Whitney, surgeon dentists ; 
Sburtleff & Jones, publishers Beardstown Demo- 
crat : Thompson, Fulks and Irwin, publishers 
Weekly Illinoisan ; C. H. C. Havekluft, county 
judge ; J. A. Arenz, notary public and magis- 
trate ; Thomas S. Wiles, notary public and 
magistrate; Thomas M. Thompson, notary pub- 
lic; S. Emmons, magistrate and land agent; L. 

F. Sanders, fire and life insurance agent ; D. C. 
MeiL r s. insurance agent ; C- H. Housekeeper, po- 
lice magistrate; I. EL Harris, land agent; San- 
ders & Stettenus, Treadway & Bro., Adam Fisher 
and J. Livermore, dealers in boots and shoes ; 
Thomas B. Clayton, Christian French, William 
II. Ewing, blacksmiths ; proprietors of brick 
yards, Fred Potter and John Baujan ; J. C. 
Leonard & Co., bankers ; hotels, Park House, H. 
Billings ; National House, C. P. Dunbaugh ; Vir- 
ginia House, Campbell & Goodloe ; and Farmer's 
House, G. Thompson ; druggists. Menke & 
Fletcher. William Whipp, and Rice & Maxwell ; 
dealers in general merchandise, D. M. Irwin, 
Chase, Parker & McLaughlin, Ed. P. Chase, 
Dutch & Brother, George Plahn & Co., Leonard 
Montgomery & Co., Nolte & McClure, M. L. Read 
& Co., George Kuhl. Isaac W. Overall, C. F. 
Frauman, C. Nicholson, G. F. Sielschott, H. 
Boemler, Alexander Lammers, C. H. Seegar, John 
Quigg ; dealers in stoves and hardware, F. H. 



Rearick & Bro. ; H. B. De Sollar, and C. F. 
Morton ; dealers in lumber, H. F. Foster & Co., 
Hitchcock & Montgomery; dealers in groceries, 
Low & Billings, wholesale and retail, Thompson 
& Fames ; commission merchants, Fred Krone, 
J. C. Eberwein, and R. F. Knippenberg ; Thorn, 
Webb & Co., proprietors of the Phoenix foundry 
and machine shop ; C. A. Bussman, manufac- 
turer of sash, doors and blinds ; H. Mohlmann & 
Co., manufacturers of sash, doors and blinds ; 
Durand & Co., undertakers and manufacturers 
of all kinds of cabinet ware; Benjamin Eyre & 
Treadway, manufacturers of wagons and plows ; 
IT. B. De Sollar, manufacturer of carriages and 
wagons ; J. IT. I'feil. manufacturer of carriages 
and wagons; A. Wetterau, wagons and plows; 
C. IT. Bockmeier, manufacturer of plows ; John 
Lehmberger, manufacturer of cigars and to- 
bacco; A. J. Wevers, 'cigar manufacturer; G. W. 
Weaver, proprietor of steam sawmill ; Fish, 
proprietor of flouring mill; E. S. Houghton, pro- 
prietor of flouring mill ; W. E. Pearce, proprie- 
tor of flouring mill ; and Rearick, proprietor of 
flouring mill. 


The city continued to operate under its special 
charter until February 17, 1896, when, by vote, 
it adopted the general charter under the state 
constitution of 1870, and the law pursuant 
thereof, receiving its charter May 17, 1897. The 
first city officers were : mayor, W. IT. Rhine- 
berger; clerk, W. G. Smith; attorney, R. R. 
Hewitt; treasurer, Anton Rink; aldermen: First 
Ward, Ernest Boles and Sylvester Wiles; Sec- 
ond Ward, Edward W. Weddeking and Daniel 
Dresser; Third Ward, Theo. Schaar and J. A. 
Henning; Fourth Ward, John Madine and Henry 


to the water in the miles of water mains 
throughout the city. The water system was 
really installed by the Beardstown Water Com- 
pany, and then taken over by the city by virtue 
of an ordinance passed for the purpose, July 21, 
1S92. The city officers then were : mayor, Henry 
M. Schmoldt; clerk, Christian Pilger; attorney, 
Milton McClure ; treasurer, A. H. Sielschott. The 
aldermen were: William DeHaven, George Bar- 
neycastle, L. W. Pilger, W. IT. Rhineberger, W. 
S. Glover, Theo. Schaar, G. F. Frauman and 
William Deppe, all of whom are now deceased, 
except George Barneycastle and W. IT. Rhine- 
berger. but they have left an enduring monu- 
ment to their enterprise and cleverness. 


An artesian well was also sunk in the city 
and a good supply of medicinal waters is had 
from a well that perpetually bubbles up on the 
south side of the public square near the public 


The postal facilities of Beardstown are excel- 
lent. The postoffice is now located in a rented 
building at No. 102 W. Main street, but the gov- 
ernment has provided for erecting its own build- 
ing and to that end has secured title to the 
lot. on the northeast corner of Main and State 
streets, being lot 5 of block 15, in the original 
town. E. S. Nicholson is the present post- 
master, and his assistant is Miss Ilattie Fisher, 
who has held that office for sixteen years. Three 
clerks are kept busy with the large amount of 
business bandied at this office, notwithstanding 
the fact that there has been, since 1910, a free 
delivery system I'm- the city, employing four 
carriers. There are also three rural routes out 
from Beardstown. 

In 1N!r_>, when Henry M Schmoldt was mayor. 
the city provided for a city water plant ami a 
complete system of waterworks, which has 
proven very successful. The city from that 
time on has been furnished at a very reasonable 
rate with abundance of mosl excellent water. 

The water tower consists of a steel reservoir, 
■Is feet high, with diameter of base 11 feet, 7 
inches, and standing on a brick tower or foun- 
dation 68 feet bigb, making a total height of 
water tower lid feet, and L'ivinu' ample pressure 


iii December, 1906, the city council provided 
.in ordinance tor st reel paving and tiled a peti- 
tion in the county court for paving certain of 

the principal and most frequently used streets. 
They did not stop at that, hut proceeded rapidly, 
forming district after district and completing 

the work Ol each until now all the principal 
streets and CrOSS s| reels are covered with as 
splendid a brick pavement as can he found in 



any city of the state. Concrete sidewalks are 
laid upon most of the streets, replacing the old 
board and rough brick walks that had served 
their day: beautiful shade trees have been 
grown in the parkways between the pavement 
and the sidewalks, and with the handsome new 
modern residences make any of the principal 
residence streets charming. 


In 1901 the citizens of Beardstown organized 
' a public library. The organization was com- 
pleted January 29 of that year. Many volumes 
were purchased and rooms rented, but the or- 
ganization believed there should be an especial 
building for the library and a public reading 
room and in 1904 erected a substantia] and 
handsome building on the lot adjoining the City 
Hall on the west. The organization is known 
as the Beardstown Library Association, and now 
has 5,000 volumes, besides papers and peri- 
odicals. Edward T. Hunter is the secretary of 
the association. 


The Illinois River is noted as being the great- 
est producer of fresh water fish in the whole 
United States. Many thousands of pounds are 
taken annually, and shipped to eastern markets. 
Beardstown has, for years, been one of the ship- 
ping points and it seems almost incredible the 
amount of fish taken and shipped from this city 
annually. A large number of men are engaged 
in the business, and some of the catches have 
reached as high as from 75,000 to 100,000 
pounds. Charles Cole and the Beardstown Fish 
Company do the largest business in catching 
and shipping fish, although some individuals 
have had at times a great harvest in that line. 
Henry Balduff, living south of Beardstown, and 
owning a small lake, in 1909 caught and deliv- 
ered to the Beardstown Fish Company, $4,800 
worth of fish at one haul, and his total sales 
for that season amounted to over $12,000. a 
great variety of river fish are caught, among 
the more valuable and marketable fish being 
the black bass. In 1903 a company of fisher- 
men caught and delivered to the Beardstown 
Fish Company, at one haul, 2,100 pounds of 
black bass. The German carp, which formerly 
were hardly known in the western waters, now 
form one of the best and most marketable vari- 

eties for the market, and are shipped altogether 
to the New York market, and annually a large 
number of car loads are sent out from Beards- 
town fisheries, practically all shipments going 
by rail. 


Another of the river industries at Beardstown 
is the pearl fisheries. This industry did not de- 
velop until about 1000. Mussel shells had been 
lying in great banks in the bed of the river for 
ages without a thought from anyone of their 
commercial value. It was found that remunera- 
tive prices could be obtained for the shells at the 
factories, where they were cut Into forms for 
making pearl buttons, they bringing from $12 
to $20 per ton. A factory was established and 
conducted for some time at Beardstown, where 
the buttons were finished ready for the market, 
but now only the blanks are cut out of the 
shells. There are three factories cutting blanks 
and thus a local market is always ready to re- 
ceive and pay good prices to the mussel fishers 
for their product. There are many fishermen 
engaged in this industry. Sometimes as many 
as 200 may be seen in their mud scows with 
their paraphernalia moving slowly down the 
stream, dragging their four-pronged hooks, and 
transferring their catches to the boats. Pearls 
are not found in all the shells, but some very 
valuable finds have occurred, the highest priced 
one so far as can be recalled by those apprised 
of the facts, was one that brought the finder 
$2,200. Many others have been taken out that 
brought at the local market all the way from $5 
to the price above mentioned. Even the "little 
stuff," as it is termed by the sellers and buyers, 
is saleable, but only by the ounce. It brings from 
$1 to $2 per ounce. This class of pearls is 
sent to Paris, France, and used to ornament 
ladies' gowns. Several pearl buyers come to 
Beardstown annually, during the pearl fishing 
season, and are ready to purchase and pay cash 
for any and all sorts of pearls. 


Beardstown is the division point of the Chi- 
cago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, which has 
its shops and roundhouses here, and employs a 
large number of men. Including trainmen who 
make their home at Beardstown, there are 
probably more than 1,200 men employed by this 

(bMeyvb <*3^wy^^ 



railroad during the year. The next largest in- 
dustry is the Schmoldt Cooperage works and 
lumber mills, owned by Adolph E. Schmoldt, 
who employs from 300 to 400 men, according to 
seasonable work. Beardstown has a population 
of over 7,000 and has grown too large to admit 
of enumerating the business interests in detail, 
but that tbe reader may have some notion of the 
great growth and progress of tbe city since 
I860, reference is here made to the principal 
concerns. Beardstown has, in 1915, the follow- 
ing business houses and industries : three agri- 
cultural implement dealers, four automobile 
establishments, two bakeries, three banks, eight 
barber shops, four book and stationery stores, 
five building material and hardware firms, three 
building and loan associations, two button man- 
ufacturers, seven tobacco and cigar factories 
and stores, two steam laundries, five clothing 
stores, five drug stores, six coal dealers, seven 
confectioners, twenty-four contractors and 
builders, eight dry goods stores, four electrical 
supply firms, four furniture stores, twenty-eight 
grocery stores, two harness dealers, seven hotels, 
two jewelers, three livery barns, three lumber 
yards, eight meat markets, five millinery stores, 
twenty-three saloons, two hospitals and sani- 
tariums, six shoe dealers and many other deal- 
ers who handle a variety of articles and mer- 
chandise. The professions are well represented 
as follows : three civil engineers, five dentists, 
eight lawyers, as follows: Hon. J. Joseph Cooke, 
judge of the city court ; Henry Phillips, master - 
in-chancery of Circuit and city court; W. H. 
Dieterieh, L. W. Felker, It. R. Hewitt, Lloyd M. 
McClure, B. F. Thacker, and Charles A. Schaef- 
fer, attorneys. The physicians and surgeons 
are: I >rs. I'.ley & Bley, the firm being composed 
of Dr. George Bley and his son, Dr. Walter 
Bley; and Drs. T. G. Charles, P. A. Brandon, 
Benry Ehrhardt, R. II. Garm, J. F. Junes. M. J. 
Palmer, T. J. Schweer and Charles E. Soule. 

With .-ill tlic above excellent showing, Beards- 
town is really just entering upon its career :is a 
city, it is fortunately situated mi the largest 
river of the state, ahmit equi-distant between 
St. Louis and Peoria, far enough removed from 
any other Large city to prevent serious compe- 
tition, and having flrsl class railroad facilities 
that give dicem communication with the out- 
side world and the vast cOal fields in the south- 
ern pari of (lie state, and connected with its 

neighboring county across the river with 8 
splendid steel wagon anil foot bridge, under the 

control of the city ; having permanent higlnvays 
leading into the city from every point of the 
compass, there appears to be nothing to check 
the laudable ambitions and hopes of the enter- 
prising people of Cass County's metropolis to 
increase in importance and domain. 













The precinct of Bluff Springs is one of the 
newer voting districts of the county as compared 
with the others, although, for a time an old 
house, now near the center of the district, was 
a voting place, it being designated for a short 
period as such for Monroe Precinct, which then 
extended from the south line of the county 
north beyond the State road from Springfield to 
Beardstown. At ;i very early day. even long 
before Cass County was created, a large house 
st 1 on the north side of the public highway, 

on the present site of the splendid farm resi- 
dence of Charles Jones, about a quarter of a 
mile east of the collection of houses known as 
Bluff Springs. It was known as the Bluff 
House, and served as an inn or tavern. Trav- 
elers often Stopped there for their meals 
although they were only six miles from Beards- 
town. and there also stopped the drovers and 
farmers who were driving their Iiol's p, the 
market at Beardstown. In that day. hogs were 

driven along the highways, from away beyond 

the central part of the state, as Ilea rd-tow n was 
the nearest and best market for them, where 



large packing houses had lieen erected and 
thousands of hogs were annually slaughtered 
and the products packed and shipped by boat 
on the Illinois River to St. Louis, and even as 
far south as New Orelans, there being no rail- 
roads at that time, and for many years after 
the formation of Cass County. One of the first 
schoolhouses in the county was erected near 
this inn. and school was kept up from that day 
on through the evolutions of the school system 
until the present method was adopted, and the 
school edifice now in the district was erected. 


The precinct was formed as a voting district 
September 0, 1882, and Louis Carls, Oliver 
Decker and C. T. Jockisch were appointed the 
first election judges. Parts of Monroe, Beards- 
town. Virginia, Arenzville and Hickory pre- 
cincts were taken to form the new district. The 
first voting place was at the grain office of 
Oliver Decker. 


A station for the railroad was established at 
Bluff Springs, and that name given to it when 
the Springfield and Illinois Southeastern Rail- 
road was laid through there in 1871. It is now 
the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad. 
The railroad ran south of the old State road 
nearly a quarter of a mile, and changed some- 
what the subsequent location of the residences 
ami stores. One store yet remains beside the 
old highway. There was never any organiza- 
tion as a village or town, but some of the 
ground was platted into lots, along the highway 
running north and south, intersecting the main 
highway east and west. The railroad ran 
through a part of the county farm, and later the 
county commissioners platted a small tract of 
the county farm and sold the lots. The county 
almshouse stands a half mile north of the rail- 
road station and is a very imposing looking 
building seen from the west as the hamlet is 
approached, either by the railroad or the public 
highway. The county farm and almshouse have 
been previously spoken of in the chapter on 
county buildings and property. 

There are two general stores for the accom- 
modation of the people of the surrounding 
country, and the residents of Bluff Springs. The 
Modern "Woodmen of America a number of vears 

ago built a substantial hall for the use of their 
society, and the order has here a large member- 
ship and is very prosperous. 


Bluff Springs Precinct contains within its bor- 
ders some of the most productive soil in the 
county. The acreage of corn and wheat is 
annually very large, and the station of Bluff 
Springs is a noted shipping point; more than 
125.000 bushels of wheat are annually shipped 
from that point, and over 150,000 bushels of 
corn. There are two elevators located here, but 
they now both belong to the Bluff Springs Ele- 
vator Company, composed of a number of enter- 
prising farmers of that place. At the present 
time the business of the company is in charge 
of Charles W. Parry, a native of Bluff Springs 
Precinct, and a young man of most exemplary 
habits and business ability. He has just closed 
a four-year term as deputy county clerk of this 
county and was especially efficient in that posi- 


One of the earliest settlers of Bluff Springs 
was Thomas C. Clark, who was born in Penn- 
sylvania, February 24, 1785. From there he 
moved to Barren County. Ky.. where he married 
Miss Julia Ann King, of Greene County, Tenn., 
April 23. 1807. They moved to Tennessee and 
lived there for about seventeen years and then 
came to Illinois, and after trying several loca- 
tions finally settled at Bluff Springs in 1846. 
John K. Clark, a son, is still living at Bluff 
Springs, and he was born in what was then 
Monroe, while the territory was yet a portion 
of Morgan County. May 14. 1S2S. Another son, 
an older brother of John K. Clark, Thomas 
Clark, was born in Tennessee, September 14, 
1820, and came with his parents to Cass County 
while it was yet a part of Morgan County. He 
and his brother John obtained such learning as 
they could in the primitive schools of their 
neighborhood, and later went to Mount Pleasant, 
Iowa, where they took a four-year course in the 
schools of that place. They were above the 
average of intelligence, and each taught school 
in Cass County for several years very success- 
fully. Thomas Clark died November 8, 1878, 
from an attack of lockjaw caused by his step- 
ping upon a rusty nail which penetrated his 



boot to his foot. He left several children, one 
of them being the wife of F. X. Pond, a pros- 
perous farmer of Bluff Springs Precinct; and 
another daughter is the wife of a very well-to-do 
farmer, Cornelius Woodward, of Monroe Pre- 

Another early settler was James Buck, who 
came from Ohio in 1839, and entered the forty- 
acre tract of land on which the almshouse 
stands. The original patent of this laud, signed 
by President James K. Polk, is in the county 
clerk's office at Virginia. Mr. Buck later moved 
to Beardstown. 

Dr. Ephraim Rew, the first physician to locate 
in the west part of the county, moved out from 
Beardstown to a farm in section 29, township 
18, range 11, in what is now Bluff Springs Pre- 
cinct, in 1S33, and remained there until his 
death, which occurred May 23, 1S42. 

John Decker, another early settler, was born 
in Germany and came to Cass County in 1S35. 
His son, Oliver Decker, was born near Bluff 
Springs in 1S39. For one term he was county 
commissioner of Cass County. 

Others here at an early date were as follows : 
Charles G. Jockisch, born in Germany, and bis 
two sons, Gothalf and Charles T., also born in 
Germany, and bis grandson, William Jockisch, 
wlio came with him to America in 1S33, and 
resided near Bluff Springs until his death. 

bonis A. .Tones was the first postmaster and 
station agent of Bluff Springs. His father, 
Luther A. .Tones, operated fbe ferry across the 
Illinois River at Beardstown for thirteen years, 
lnit later moved to Marshall County, 111., and 
there farmed until bis death. Louis A. Jones 
was the father of Charles Jones, who now lives 
on the site of the old Bluff House. 

Another pioneer was Lycurgus bee. born in 
Maryland. September ll. L827, who came with 
his father in 1832, to Cass County. Krne-t 
Arnold came here from Germany in 1840. Tt 

will be seen by the list Of names and their 

nationality that Germany contributed to this 
part of the country a large number of Its early 



modern church on the south side of the public 
highway in the north part of the hamlet hi 1910. 
The eastern portion of the precinct is rough, 
broken laud, but has many productive farms, 
the high bluffs terminating at the eastern part 
of the village, and they overlook a beautiful por- 
tion of the Illinois valley. The water courses 
of the precinct are Lost Creek and Clear Creek. 
They cross from east to west, Lost Creek run- 
ning along the north side of the railroad, and 
cutting the village about the center. Clear 
Creek lies further south. Both finally empty 
their waters into the Illinois River. 














ADMIRABLE PLACE FOB lasim.Mi \ \n 1...1 \nv 

There are two churches in the precinct, the 
t i l—i one buill being the Methodist Episcopal, 

which stands a half mile soiilh of the station. 

The presenl church edifice was buill In i vvV . 
The German Lutherans buill a very neat and 


B01 M> \Kll S. 

Chandlerville Precincl lies in the northern 
pari of the county, and is bounded on the north 
li.\ Mason County, separated by the Sangfl n 



River; on the east by Richmond Precinct; on 
the south by Oregon and Virginia precincts, and 
on the west by Hickory Precinct. It contains 
about twenty-six square miles, a third of which 
lies in the Sangamon Valley, and the remainder 
is the bluffs and some uplands that were for- 
merly covered with a sparse growth of timber, 
but are now largely barren and used for pas- 
turage. There are, however, some fairly good 
productive farms in what are known as the 
"barrens." The precinct occupies a portion of 
four congressional townships, 1S-9 and 18-10, 
and 19-9 and 19-10. It has two principal water 
courses, Job's Creek and Panther Creek. Pan- 
ther Creek crosses from the southeast, after 
having been joined by Cox's Creek from the 


From the very earliest recollection of the 
white settlers the large creek running northwest, 
south of the village of Chandlerville, has been 
known as Panther Creek, but who bestowed the 
name cannot be ascertained. In earlier days it 
was by the natives called "Painter Crick," but 
it was named after the most ferocious of the 
wild animals that infested the timber and bot- 
tom lands along the streams until a very late 
day after the whites began to form settlements. 
Farmers suffered the loss of many a pig and 
lamb, and not infrequently a calf from the 
depredations of these animals, and it is probable 
that on account of so many panthers making 
their homes along the big creek where it had 
washed deep gullies through the hills, the name 
Painter or Panther was given to that classic 
stream. For years the site of Chandlerville was 
known as Panther Creek Station; even the post 
office later located there, bore that name until 
L851, when the government at Washington was 
called upon to exchange it for that of Chandler- 
ville. The new name was given in honor of Dr. 
Charles Chandler, who had made the first set- 
tlement near the creek on the Sangamon bottom. 


Dr. Charles Chandler was born July 2, 1S0G, 
at Woodstock, in Windham County, Conn. After 
a common school education in his native town, 
he attended Dudley Academy in Massachusetts, 
and then taught school for a year or two, the 
proceeds from which enabled him to take a 

medical course at a college in Pittsfield, Mass. 
He was graduated from that institution, and 
received his diploma in June, 1827. Returning 
to his native town of Woodstock, he began the 
practice of his profession there, and succeeded 
fairly well. He was married, May 18, 1829, to 
Mary Carrol Riekard, also a native of Wood- 
stock. In a short time he moved to Scituate, 
R. I., where he was very successful in his prac- 
tice, and by 1831 had built a fine two-story resi- 
dence. The sequence will show why this inci- 
dent in his life is mentioned. 

About that time interesting stories of the 
great west, and particularly Illinois, were being 
circulated, and the young doctor with several of 
his neighbors concluded to come west and inves- 
tigate for themselves. A colony was formed and 
the doctor sold his residence, much against the 
wishes of his wife, who did not relish the idea 
of leaving a nice, comfortable new home for an 
experimental life of hardship in the wilderness 
of the great west. The doctor promised that as 
soon as they were well settled in their new 
home, and he was financially able, he would 
build for her a house exactly like the one he 
wanted to leave. Yielding because of this prom- 
ise, she consented to go, and the little colony 
packed their necessary belongings and started 
by stage and river for their destination, which 
was Fort Clark, now Peoria, on the Illinois 
River. A number of the original company, how- 
ever, backed out, and would not even start, but 
several families did go as far as St. Louis, but 
there learning of the great excitement on 
account of the Black Hawk war, they too turned 
back and left the doctor with his wife and a 
small child, a daughter, to proceed on his way. 
The little party took an Illinois River steamboat 
for Fort Clark, but when they arrived at Beards- 
town, they found a great army there assembled, 
prepared to follow after the noted Black Hawk, 
Indian chief, and expel him and his band from 
the state. As the Indian uprising appeared to 
be fraught with more danger the nearer Dr. 
Chandler came to it. he prudently stopped at 
Beardstown. While waiting there, he learned 
of the country now comprising Cass County, and 
made investigations by riding over on horse- 
back, and finally concluded to locate near the 
mouth of Panther Creek on Sangamon bottom, 
about eighteen miles from Beardstown. So he 
laid a "claim" to 1G0 acres of government land, 
being the east one-half of the southwest one- 
quarter, and the west one-half of the southeast 

4^cd & ^fu^lcjtf, 



quarter of section 31, township 19, range 9, west. 
He built a log house near the center of the tract 
about the site of the present Congregational 
church of Chandlerville, and there established 
his family, but was himself called to attend the 
settlers professioually before he could get a 
stable built for his horses. The doctor, how- 
ever, came near losing his claim, through the 
sneaking meanness of a "land shark" who had 
come into the neighborhood and had been kindly 
treated by Dr. Chandler, who was more than 
glad to welcome any new settler who would 
become a member of the colony on the creek. 
This fellow, learning that the doctor had not 
yet entered the land to which he had laid claim, 
thought he would cut in ahead and enter it 
himself, but being only cunning instead of intel- 
ligent, like many other mean people, he was not 
wise enough to keep his evil intentions to him- 
self, but let it be known to one of the doctor's 
friends, who, as soon as he could, communicated 
the fact to Dr. Chandler. Ready cash, coin, was 
not very plentiful, but the doctor soon gathered 
up enough by borrowing, temporarily, from the 
other settlers, and mounting his horse set out 
for the Springfield land office, riding all night 
through the timber and underbrush until he 
reached the open prairie, within ten miles of 
Springfield, where he overtook two gentlemen 
also riding towards Springfield, who, observing 
the tired and jaded appearance of his horse, 
inquired of him as to his errand and destina- 
tion. Dr. Chandler explained the situation, and 
thereupon one of the gentlemen offered the 
exchange of his fresh horse to the doctor, which 
was gladly accepted, and by this means he was 
enabled to reach the land office ahead of the 
contemptible '•shark" and secured the entry cer- 
tificate for his land. The records show that this 
was on . I nue 2, 1832. Later he entered the 
forty acres adjoining bis west eighty. Dr. 
Chandler was not the only person in those early 
days who was imposed upon by disreputable 
persons. Some were not as fortunate as he, 
but were beaten to the land office and lost all 
their labor and Improvements because of being 
less active than the tricksters. Silas Freeman, 
wlm came here from Tennessee in 1^:;::. and 
laid claim to a part of section 2, township 17, 
range 10, west, just east of the present site of 
Virginia, had a similar experience. He, loo, heat 
the "shark" to the land office, and saved bis 
There is a part <>f the Interesting Incident, 

however, in Dr. Chandler's case that will have 
to lie eliminated. to conform to the facts. It is 
told by all his other biographers, in relating 
this story, that being desirous of having his land 
surveyed he inquired about a surveyor and 
learned of one residing at Salem, and upon 
engaging him he was surprised to find it was 
the man who had exchanged horses with him to 
enable him to get to Springfield on time, and 
that the man was none other than Abraham 
Lincoln. The story is easily believed on account 
of the well known characteristics of Mr. Lin- 
coln, but unfortunately for the story, Abraham 
Lincoln was at that very time with his company 
in the northern part of the state engaged in 
driving Black Hawk and his band of Sacs across 
the Mississippi River. 

Dr. Chandler was very much in demand by 
the settlers in a professional way. his practice 
extending throughout a range of country for 
fifty miles or more each way. By 1836 he felt 
he was able to redeem his promise to his wife 
and did so, building a house exactly like the 
one they had left years before. This house is 
still standing and is in pretty fair condition. 
It was the first frame house with the exception 
of the one built by Dr. Hall the year previous, 
outside Beardstown, in the entire county. 

In 1S33, Dr. Chandler's brother, Marcus 
Chandler, with his wife and son, Knowlton A., 
came to the settlement on Panther Creek, and 
Henry L. Ingalls and wife also joined the settle- 
ment. In 1S34, the settlement was increased by 
Squire Bonny and family, George Bonny, a 
I"-] hew, and Dwight Many and family. By this 
time several families had settled within a mile 
or two of Dr. (handler's place, most of them 
bavin- a number of children of school age, and 
although there was no public school, it was 
thought imprudent to neglect the children, 
whereupon, after due conference and considera- 
tion of the matter, Mrs. ingalls, who was a 
highly educated woman, opened a school in her 
own home in i he spring of 1835. There were 
the Bonny children, tin' Marcy family of six 
children. Robert beeper's children, besides the 
Chandlers. Wings and blasters, and others 

whose names are do< now known or remem- 
bered by anyone and have not been preserved 
in any of the records, but there were enough 
pupils to make quite a respectable school, 
although some of the children had quite a dis- 
tance to walk to reacb the school. Dr. Chandler 

opened bis own bouse t" the children of the 



community, with his sister. Emily Chandler, as 
teacher, when, in the next year, .Mrs. Ingalls 
closed her school. Dr. Chandler was a very lib- 
eral man. and encouraged the maintenance of 
schools and chnrehes and everything that tended 
towards the betterment of the moral and intel- 
lectual condition of the people who were now 
gathering and settling on all sides of him. He 
built a house at his own expense for the express 
use of the pupils, and gave tracts of land and 
contributed liberally to the building of the vari- 
ous churches erected at Chandlerville. He also 
looked after the material advancement of the 
settlement by inducing mechanics, artisans and 
tradesmen to locate here. Among others, he 
succeeded in getting Levi McKee, a wagon 
maker, to come to the settlement by donating to 
him a lot on the principal street for his shop, 
and another lot for a residence. 

Dr. Chandler was a man of sound judgment 
and not in the least visionary, yet he favored 
any and all projects which held out any promise 
of" advancing the interests of the community. 
When it was proposed to build a railroad 
through the village, his name was among the 
first on the list of promoters or of those seek- 
ing incorporation of a company, and it was very 
largely due to his efforts some years later, that 
the Illinois River Railroad came through from 
Pekin to the county. He also desired very much 
to have railroad connection with the river traf- 
fic at Beardstown, and readily joined with others 
in three different attempts through incorporated 
companies to build a line of railroad from 
Beardstown along the Sangamon bottom to 
Chandlerville, and some point beyond, but it 
required large capital, and the farmers along 
the proposed route would not consent, without 
the payment of large damages, to have their 
land cut up by a railroad. 

In order to accommodate the other settlers in 
the neighborhood, Doctor Chandler, in 1835, 
erected a small store building and filled it with 
a stock of goods and endeavored to personally 
conduct the business, but his time was so occu- 
pied with professional calls from all directions 
that he found he could not give sufficient per- 
sonal attention to the store, and in 1S37 sold to 
C. J. Newberry, who did not succeed very well 
in merchandising, and in a very short time he 
sold it to a Mr. Chase, who continued the busi- 
ness for several years, and then sold it back to 
Dr. Chandler and his brother, Marcus. The 
firm did a prosperous business not only in mer- 

chandising, but also engaged in the packing 
business and for a time annually slaughtered 
about 3,000 hogs. In 1S49 they met with a loss 
by tire which burned their store buildings, but 
they soon rebuilt and were if possible more 
prosperous than before. It is said that at one 
time they shipped 400 bushels of pecans to St. 
Louis, receiving for them $3 per bushel, which 
was double the price they had paid for them. 

In 1N47 Dr. Chandler secured the establish- 
ment of a post office at Panther Creek, and was 
by President Polk appointed postmaster. Prior 
to that time the mail was brought from Beards- 
town by the doctor's sons, and from his house 
distributed to the neighbors. 

In 1S40 Mrs. Mary Chandler died, leaving a 
small son. less than a year old, whom the doctor 
had named Harrison Tyler, and four older chil- 
dren, namely : Mary, the little child who had 
made the long journey from Rhode Island, who 
married John Shaw; Emily Webster, who 
became the wife of Gen. Charles E. Lippincott ; 
Maria Louise, who became the wife of David 
Frackleton ; and Charles Emmett. Dr. Chandler 
married (second) Miss Clarissa Child, a sister 
of Mrs. Henry Ingalls. She. too, predeceased 
the doctor, but only a short time, and left two 
sons. John T. and Linus C. Chandler. 


It would be interesting to follow and record 
in detail the incidents in the life of Dr. Charles 
Chandler, for they practically tell the early 
story of this section, but the limits of this work 
will not permit. Of the several excellent biogra- 
phies extant, one of the best was written by his 
acquaintance and friend of many years standing, 
Dr. J. F. Snyder, of Virginia, from which the 
following is selected as a fitting conclusion of 
the above brief notice of one of Cass County's 
most worthy and exemplary citizens. 

"Dr. Charles Chandler was a highly creditable 
representative of the sturdy stock from which 
he was descended. He was a strong man physic- 
ally, intellectually and professionally. In stat- 
ure he was six feet tall, a Daniel Webster in 
figure, robust and well proportioned, with dark 
auburn hair and hazel colored eyes, high, broad 
forehead, and features expressive of his benign, 
unsellish nature. Animated by an indomitable 
spirit of progress and enterprise, he was remark- 
ably active, energetic and industrious. Devot- 
ing himself for many years with zeal and effi- 



ciency to professional duty in his sphere, yet 
he found time to plan, promote and prosecute 
various industries. His energy and power of 
endurance were marvelous, his labors being lim- 
ited only by the limits of his fortitude. No 
fanatic was ever more a slave to the service of 
his religion than was Dr. Chandler to the duties 
of his profession. He never halted to inquire 
about the ability or honesty of those in sickness 
and distress who required his assistance, but 
went to their aid at any and all hours of the 
night or day. Dr. Chandler was a very able, 
clearheaded physician who would have been 
accorded a position in the front ranks of the 
medical profession anywhere. Well grounded in 
book lore and theoretical knowledge, his quick- 
ness and clearness of perception and fine judg- 
ment in the analysis of symptoms rendered him 
almost infallible in diagnosis. He was deserv- 
edly a very popular physician, not only because 
of bis superior ability, but also because of his 
kind, sympathetic nature, his exalted humanity 
and genuine Christian spirit." 


The growth of the settlement was not very 
rapid in the immediate village. In 1848 there 
were but the following families: Dr. Chandler, 
Rev. S. Smith. O. Hicks, J. B. Shaw, Elisha 
Olcutt, D. Marcy, Levi McKee, H. L. Ingalls, 
.Mrs. Harbison, a widow, and Mr. Chase. In 
L849 Dr. Charles E. Lippincott, afterwards Gen- 
eral Lippincott, came to Chandlerville, and 
established himself in practice. From that time 
on from some unaccountable reason the popula- 
tion increased rapidly and by 1851, a village of 
about 200 people was gathered at Panther Creek. 
A Congregational church bad been organized, 
and was now quite flourishing and influential. 
Private schools were regularly kept up with 
efficient teachers in charge, and in 1848 Dr. 
Chandler bad secured the services of J. W. 
Sweeny, tbe county surveyor, to lay out and plat 

bis village. He gave it the name of Chandler- 
ville, and tiled bis plat April •_".», IS 18, in the 
recorder's office of tin 1 county. By L851 Dr. 
i.ii ■pincot i had centered bis affections on Dr. 
Chandler's daughter, Emily, to whom he was 
married on Christmas eve of thai year. In that 
same year Dr. Lippincott bad Interested himself 
in the matter to such an extent tbat he secured 
from congress a change In the posl office from 
thai of Panther creek to tbat of Chandlerville. 


The village of Chandlerville made rapid and 
permanent growth. In 1859 the Illinois River 
Railroad came through from Havana, and by 
LS60, the following business interests were there, 
as exhibited in a business directory published 
with a map of the county that year, it being 
the first authentic record to which reference 
may be had indicating the material progress and 
growth of the various settlements in the county : 
Sylvester Padock & Brother, merchants; W. L. 
Way, merchant; II. McKee & Co., merchants; 
L. P. Renshaw, dealer in grain; Levi McKee, 
postmaster and justice of the peace; K. H. 
Chandler, police magistrate; A. Englis & Co., 
plow makers; Englis & McKee, carriage and 
wagon makers; J. Robinson, miller; R. Ward & 
Company, saddle and harness makers; C. L. 
Robinson, builder of Gilmore's patent bee house; 
J. W. Gladden, carriage and wagon maker and 
sign painter; G. Mayries, boot and shoe maker; 
W. T. Sprouse, blacksmith; Charles During, 
bakery and saloon ; J. Raworth and A. J. Bruner, 
attorneys-at-law ; R. Boles, merchant tailor; 
Thomas J. Brook, carpenter and joiner; Charles 
E. Chandler, physician and druggist; N. S. Read, 
physician; and Charles E. Lippincott. physician. 
A wall map, upon which appears the above list 
Of merchants and professional men. also con- 
tained a number of pictures of residences and 
business houses in the various parts of the 
county, among them being the handsome home 
of Dr. Chandler, built in 1836, and the three- 
story brick building of Sylvester Padock. which 
was burned in 191 1. 


The above array of merchants convinced Dr. 
Chandler, who had spent twenty-eighl years of 
the best period of bis life in building up a town, 
that now was tbe time to safely apply for an act 
of incorporation. Therefor" be secured from the 
state a charter of the town of Chandlerville, 
bearing the date of February 21, 1861, and Includ- 
ing a mile square of territory within its cor- 
porate jurisdiction. The flrsl officers of the 
town board were: Dr. Charles ('handler. J. \v. 
Gladden, W. L. Way. Elisha Olcutt, Levi 

McKee. and Dr. < '. E. Lippincott, clerk. 

Tbe town has grown steadily ever since, in 
1872 the Sangamon Valley Mills were built by 
Padocb & Slink. After two years' prosperous 



business, they were sold to James Abbot and 
William Haworth. In LS74 the boiler of a mill 
exploded, doing greal damage to the building 
and machinery, and killing the engineer, Joseph 

Davis, wlici was an experienced man. but the 
cause of the explosioo was never ascertained. 
In 1875 another gristmill was built by Skagg 
Brothers, but they sold in about two years to 
James Tantum, and later the plant was pur- 
chased by Smith and Carr. and was known for 
years as the Smith & Carr Mill. These mills 
were within the limits of the town, but in earlier 
days there were two or three different water 
mills built up Panther Creek. That stream was 
unreliable, rising rapidly with apparently the 
least provocation, from rain falling into the 
small tributaries in the uplands, and rushing in 
great torrents down through the hills, carried 
the small mills away one after the other, until 
the idea of maintaining a mill on Panther Creek 
was finally abandoned. 


Chandlerville outgrew its old town charter 
by 1874, and on July 21, that year, received its 
certificate of incorporation as a village under 
the new general state law. It now has a popu- 
lation nearly sufficient to entitle it to become a 
city under the same general law. A number of 
additions to the village have been made until it 
now has s] tread over a large tract of land. Its 
substantial growth is evidenced by the fact that 
it now has an excellent high school, with an 
equally Hue graded school, employing seven 
teachers and a principal ; six churches, the Con- 
gregational. Baptist. Methodist. Christian. Lu- 
theran and Catholic; two banks, the Chandler- 
ville State and the Peoples State ; four physi- 
cians and surgeons, Drs. N. H. Boone, Howard 
B. Boone. John G. Franken and Dr. Eversole : one 
lawyer. A. T. Lucas, state's attorney of Cass 
County, who maintains his private office and 
residence at Chandlerville, although his public 
office is at Virginia; a flouring mill, several gro- 
ceries, two boot and shoe stores, two hardware 
Stores, three dry goods stores, a jewelry and 
repair shop, a harness store and shop, several 
meat markets and general stores, several ele- 
vators and grain dealers, a large lumber yard 
with all kinds of building materials, barber 
shops, clothing stores, millinery and furnishing 
stores, furniture store and undertaker, livery, 
feed and sales stable, an electric light system, 

telephone exchange, and a flourishing weekly 

A large plat of ground was left vacant in the 
business center, which is now a beautifully 
shaded park, which, together with the many 
handsome residences, makes Chandlerville one 
of the most attractive villages in central Illinois. 













Hickory Precinct lies directly west of Chan- 
dlerville Precinct, and has Mason County bound- 
ing it on the north with the Sangamon River 
between. Virginia and Bluff Springs precincts 
are o