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Etta Mae Allison. 

Pioneers of Coles County Illinois. 


Hollinger Corp. 
pH 8.5 


Pioneers of 
Coles County 


Published January, 1942 

Written by Etta Mae Allison 




When David Dryden started to 
Illinois from Farmington, Bedford 
County, Tennessee, he put my 
grandmother, Hannah Eveline Dry- 
den on one of the horses, not 
hitched to the covered vv'agon, to 
help drive the cattle they were 
bringing to a new and strange 
country they had never seen be- 

This was June 10, 1834 and when 
my grandmother v^'as 98 years old, 
she told the story of their j:>urney 
northward as follows: 

"Ninety-eight years ago my folks 
and myself lived in Bedford Coun- 
ty, Tennessee, near a small town 
called Farmington which consisted 
of a few houses, a small store, sad- 
dler's shop and my father had a 
blacksmith's shop. 

"Farmington was situated on a 
small branch fed by a monstrous 
spring. The spring was 20 feet 
across and was on a slope. The 
water boiled up continually in the 
middle and poured over the side 
making a stream of water large 
enough to run a water mill for 
grinding grain one-half mile be- 
low the spring. The water from 
this spring was very cold and every 
one in the village went there to get 
drinking water. 

"We lived eight miles from Shel- 
byville, Tenn., and 18 miles from 
Nashville, the capital, but I was 
never in either place for children 
stayed at home then instead of go- 
ing with their elders as they do 
now. We had no stores to go to 
and buy everything we wanted as 
we do now. Almost everything was 
hand made, such as plows, shears, 
nails, ix)ts, pans, harness, saddles, 
in fact a hardvvare store wasn't 
thought of and there wasn't much 
money in the country those days. 

"I was born June 7, 1822, and 
in 1827 we moved to a small farm 
on the banks of a creek called 
Sugar Creek. My father built a mill 
and blacksmith's shop and done all 
the blacksmithing for the people 
for miles around. 

"When I was old enough I was 
sent to school and went until I was 
12 years old. My first teacher was 
Amos Balch who served in the 
Revolutionary War. 

"In school we had no seats or 
desks — only rude boards with pegs 
driven in them which served as 
seats and desks both. 

■'After my father got his shop 
fixed up, my younger brother Bill 
was called 'Billy Nail, the Shoe 
Toter' because he carried nails and 
shoes for my father to shoe horses. 

"The country was beautiful 
around Sugar Creek. Ti-ess and 
bushes grew everywhere. Wolves 
were plentiful and it was almost 
daily we saw deer running awa^' 
through the trees. 

"We children never were remem- 
bered with presents at Christmas, 
but if it snowed we thought it the 
best present of all for it very, very 
seldom ever snowed. We would 
often go down to the creek to play, 
taking the baby and setting it in 
the sand while we dug wells and 
waded in the water. If we got our 
clothes wet we got a good spanking 
when we returned to the house. 

"When the great slave question 
arose, my father did not know what 
to do for he did not believe in 
owning slaves. Our closest neigh- 
bors owned slaves and sometimes 
my father would hire a ne^ro boy 
to help with the work. Sometimes 
when the work was done this negro 
boy and my older brother, Nat, 
would build a huge bonfire in front 
of the house and with all of us 
sitting aorund this negro boy would 
tell ghost stories. 


'.- i 

"Finally, land became so high and 
the slavery question so hot, my 
father decided to move to the new- 
state of Illinois, where land could 
be entered for $1.25 per acre. 

"About a year after we began to 
start planning to go north, we broke 
up our home and began our long 
journey June 10, 1834. There were 
father, mother, four sisters, five 
brothers and myself. We had two 
teams of oxen, four horses and 40 
head of cattle, our bedding and 
several cooking utensils. We came 
through Princeton, Ky., where there 
was a fine college. 

"Om- supply of food was getting 
low by the time we came to the 
Ohio river. We crossed the river at 
a place called Ford's Ferry, on a 
ferry boat. When we got across we 
caught some fish out of the river 
and cooked them on the bank. We 
started with a five-gallon jar of 
honey, but it was broken on the 

"As we came on it got hotter and 
hotter but we saw more timber.. The 
wolves howled more frequently. Fin- 
ally, we came to Equality, a small 
town. A few miles this side of 
Equality we came to an old camp 
where salt had been made. Great 
kettles were lying around and one 
which was about 10 feet across was 
broken. For almost a mile around 
this old salt camp the timber had 
been cleared off and small trees 
and brush had grown up so thick a 
person could scarcely get through 
My father had to cut a way for 
the wagon to pass through. It v/as 
so dense and dark in there that we 
lost two head of cattle and stayed 
over a whole day looking for them 
but had to go on without them. 

"Several miles farther on we came 
to the open prairie. It was so hot 
and the flies swarmed so bad around 
the cattle that we stayed in the 
shade all day to let the cattle rest. 
At dusk we would move on and 

drive the cattle many miles while 
it was cool. We were all barefooted 
and the snakes were thick for the 
grass was thick and tall. We could 
hear the whippoorwills which scared 
me at first but I soon liked to hear 
them and would lie awake at night 
listening for them. 

"After many hardships and much 
suffering from the heat, we came 
to a settlement called Paradise, 
near Etna in Coles County, Illinois, 
on July 8. 1834, lacking two days of 
being a month from the day we 
started, a distance of over 400 miles. 

"From Paradise we traveled east 
to Muddy Point where we were 
neighbors of Tommy Lincoln, Abra- 
ham Lincoln's father, and stayed 
with Billie Dryden and family who 
had come to Illinois in 1829. When 
Uncle Billie heard we were at Para- 
dise he came to meet us riding a 
white horse. 

"The following year, 1835, we 
moved three-fourths of a mile east 
of the village of Farmington, which 
was named for the village we left 
in Tennessee. My father built a 
brick house there in 1849. While 
we lived there we were again neigh- 
bors of the Lincoln's. I remember 
well one year we lived there. Abe's 
father had a watennelon patch and 
every evening my younger brother 
and sister carried water from their 
well. One evening they were com- 
ing slowly along the edge of the 
melon patch. First my brother 
w^ould thump a melon and say "I'll 
bet this'n ripe," then my sister 
would say, "I'll bet this'n ripe," and 
just as she pulled it Tommy Lin- 
coln came out. Tliey were very 
much frightened at first but when 
he told them to take all they want- 
ed they were so tickled they ran 
all the way home and always held 
Tommy Lincoln in high esteem. 

"When my father built the brick 
house there were only a few houses 
in Farmington and it was not 



'-% 3^ 

David Dryden 

Louisa, V. Evving 

Mary Ellen Hughes 
W. J. Hughes 

Joseph Allison 

Jeff Adams 

known by any name. My younger 
sister, Caroline, gave it the name 
of Farmington after Parmington, 

"Some years later a new house was 
built and a family lived there by 
the name of Hall. Mrs. Hall was a 
step-sister of Abraham Lincoln. 

"My father owned a blacksmith's 
shop and Thomas Lincoln assisted 
him when more work came in than 
he could do himself. 

"After Abe was elected president 
of the United States, before he went 
to Washington to live, Mrs. Hall and 
Sarah Bush Lincoln gave a dinner 
in his honor in this new house. 
Everybody who knew he was com- 
ing came to this house to see him. 
He was eager to speak to everyone 
and no one felt he had had such 
an honor and responsibility be- 
stowed upon him." 

The Di-yden's were of English ex- 
traction being descended from Sir 
Richard Baxter. 

David Dryden was born in Ii'e- 
land in 1718, and came to America 
in 1740 immediately after his mar- 
riage to Barbara Berry. His wife's 
brother, James Berry, was killed at 
the battle of Horseshoe Bend dur- 
ing the Revolutionary War. Nath- 
aniel Dryden, a brother of David 
Dryden, was killed at King's Momi- 

David and Barbara had eight 
children. The second son, Jona- 
than, was born in 1770 and he mar- 
ried Hannah Duff in 1792. To these 
were bom 12 children, the eldest, 
David, born Sept. 25, 1793, in Wash- 
ington County, Virginia. 

David moved to Tennessee in 
1808 or '09 and was married to Mary 
Appleby, Dec. 25. 1817. He served in 
the War of 1812. 

To David and Mary were born 
10 children, the oldest daughter, 
Harmah Eveline, bom June 7, 1822. 

Mary, his wife died Sept. 6, 1857, 

at the home of her daughter, Mrs. 
Eliza Bovell, in Coles County. Illi- 
nois, only a few miles from Farm- 
ington, where she lived after com- 
ing from Tennessee. 

On Nov. 18, 1859, he married Har- 
riet Miner. In 1865 he moved to 
Madison, Wis., living near his sons, 
Nathaniel and William. In 1869 he 
moved to Charleston, 111., living 
there until 1872 when he moved 
to Farmington where he died Jan. 
16, 1879. 

He was an elder in the Presby- 
terian chiu-ch at Indian Creek for 
many years and served as justice 
of the peace. He was school treas- 
m-er at the time Thomas Lincoln 
bought his farm near Farmington 
which was a part of the school land 
and was paid for in installments. 
When the payments came due and 
Thomas Lincoln could not meet 
them, often Abe Lincoln would call 
on David Dryden and make ar- 
rangements for paying the amounts. 

David Dryden was a man thor- 
oughly respected for his sterling 
integrity and of decided positive 
opinions. His interest in public af- 
fairs never waned and at the time 
of his death he was a wide reader. 

These characteristics were very 
noticeable to the fourth generation. 
My grandmother, Hannah Evelyn 
Di-yden lived to be over 101 years 
old. "When far in her 90's I re- 
member visiting her to find her 
with three volumes of "A Histoiy 
of the Jews," reading them care- 

She was married to Andrew Hem-y 
Allison, Dec. 30, 1845. To them 
were born eight children, the oldest, 
Mary Ann, living almost 91 years. 
My father, Henry Cathy, was born 
Aug. 27, 1860, and is still living. 

My grandfather died in Novem- 
ber, 1864, at the close of the Civil 
War. It took an unusual woman 
to shoulder the responsibility of 
raising eight children, working in 

the field in the daytime and knit- 
ting, patching, baking com pone 
on the fireplace at night. She 
never borrowed trouble and calmly 
lived each day as it came. She 
never hurried through her meals, 
ate slowly and was always careful 
to cook her food well — no "raw" 
biscuits were served at her table. 
Her oldest son, Tom, still owns and 
lives on the farm that grandfather 
bought from the government when 
he married in 1845. 

This land was known as "Goose 
Nest Prairie" and was covered with 
ponds where the wild geese nested 
in the spring. My father helped 
drain those ponds by digging ditches 
and putting in slabs of wood to 
hold the dirt and let the water nm 
off. Later tile was put in which 
still serves to drain the land. 

Ttt^o or three years after David 
Dryden's death friends and relatives 
begun holding a reunion on the 
Saturday nearest Sept. 25, his birth- 
day. They met at Indian, Muddy 
Point and Long Point churches but 
finally decided on Lower Muddy 
church where shade and water were 
plentiful. For over 40 years this 
gathering was known all over the 
country. Relatives came from In- 
dianapolis, Ind., Chicago, Nebraska, 
Minnesota, Iowa, Arizona, Arkansas 
and many other parts. Great ket- 
tles of coffee were made and long 
tables of food were the delight of 
our lives. Sometimes as many as 
200 were served. 

This church was located by the 
Clover Leaf or Nickel Plate rail- 
road and we as children enjoyed 
seeing the engineer and fireman 
wave when the trains went by and 
we were eating all that food, feel- 
ing sure they wanted some too, for 
they usually blew the whistle long 
and loud. 

After the food was gathered up 
and put away in boxes, baskets and 
tubs everyone went into the church 

for the programi. Hymns were sung, 
a rep>ort read of all the marriages, 
births and deaths since the last 
meeting. Talks were made by those 
from a distance or some one prom- 
inent in the community. My uncle, 
W. D. Allison, of Indianapolis, Ind., 
would play the old church organ 
and sing. His songs were beautiful 
and can never be forgotten, such 
as "My Mother Told Me So," "If 
the Waters Could Speak as They 
Flow Along," and "The Little Old 
Log Cabin in the Lane." 

On Aug. 14, 1849, Jonathan Thom- 
as Dry den, son of David Diyden, 
died of cholera at Mineral Point, 
Wis., after a few hours sickne-ss. He 
died at the age of 19 years, 9 
months, 7 days. Geo. B. Balch and 
Billy Scott were with him and 
traveled with the body at night 
when brought home for burial. Mr. 
Balch wrote the following poem 
about the incident: 

"Ho, guardian angel pray draw night 
Thy all prevailing powers to lend. 

While I in notes of sorrow sing 
The memory of a departed friend. 

He was kind and generous in heart, 
A wrong he scorned to do — 

Was honest, virtuous and sincere, 
Was also just and true. 

But now he's left this wicked earth 
And gone to worlds afar, 

We hope the crown upon his head 
Shines like the morning star. 

Oh! sad and lonely was the scene 

Around his dying bier. 
But one other friend and I were 

To shed a mournful tear. 

No weeping brother round him stood 
No sister smoothed his dying bed. 

No father, no! Nor mother there. 
To cry, "Alas, my son is dead." 

When David Dryden's oldest son, 
Nathaniel, moved to Wisconsin he 
saw his children settle a new state 

for the second son, William, moved 
there too. Nathaniel married Em- 
ma Balch in Coles Coimty, Illinois. 
Tliey settled near Mt. Horeb, Wis., 
in 1845 and on Sept. 29, 1861, his 
daughter, Elizabeth Ann, married 
James Forsyth. 

The Forsyths lived in Illinois, Iowa 
and finally settled in New Helena, 
Custer county. Neb., in 1874, where 
seven children were raised to man- 
hood and womanhood. This was 
five years before David Dryden 

Two of these children were edu- 
cated for the ministry and the 
following is the memorial address 
by Bishop Francis J. McConnell at 
the annual meeting of the Board of 
Home Missions and Church Exten- 
sion of the Methodist Church, Syra- 
cuse, N. Y.: 

"David Dryden Forsyth was born 
in Wisconsin in 1864. About 1868 the 
family moved near Mason City, la. 
Moving again four years later 
about 20 miles north of Broken Bow, 

Here David Forsyth lived imtil 
he went to the University of Neb- 
raska, where he graduated in the 
Class of 1889. Among his class- 
mates were Dean Roscoe Pound and 
Prof. Holmes. 

During his senior year he was 
taken desperately ill with pneumon- 
ia, so ill that the doctor knelt by 
his bedside and promised the Lord 
to do all possible to persuade the 
young man to abandon the study of 
law and turn to the ministiy if re- 
storation of health were granted. 

The prayer for recovery was ful- 
filled and Dr. Paine told David 
Forsyth of the promise at his bed- 
side. His reply was "It seems to 
me you are very generous in dis- 
posing of other peoples lives," but 
after careful reflection he went to 
Garrett Bible Institute for two years 
and then joined the Northwest Neb- 
raska Annual Conference. 

In a notably brief period David 
Forsythe reached the foremost pul- 
pit of his conference at Kearney, 
Neb., the home of his grandfather, 
Nathaniel Dryden. Later he served 
charges at Cheyenne, Wyo., Delta 
and Grand Junction, Colo. 

The late Bishop Quayle did not 
boast much of his own administra- 
tive ability but he occassionally 
showed positive genius in appoint- 
ment making. Holding the Colo- 
rado Conference in 1910, Bishop 
Quayle became convinced that all 
the Methodist work should be so 
arranged as to put it in one dis- 
trict. In the face of considerable 
protest he reshaped the district and 
put David Forsyth at the head of 

To the objecixars the Bishop said, 
with his inimitable drawl, that he 
had put on the district a man who 
could handle it as easily as a school- 
boy could make and throw a snow- 
ball. The years have proved the 
soundness of Bishop Quayle's judg- 

In the six years of his adminis- 
tration, the Denver district built up 
and turned over to Dr. Auman, his 
successor, the best co-ordinated, 
best unified, the most smoothly 
working city district that I have 
ever known. In those six years 
were revealed also the great abili- 
ties which Dr. Forsyth manifested 
from 1916 to 1926 as the correspond- 
ing Secretary of the Board of 
Home Missions and Church Exten- 

Prof. T. J. Turner of Harvard, 
has written a remarkable book on 
the "Significance of the Frontier 
in American Historv." Prof Turner 
points out that following the foun- 
dation of the Republic, the grov/- 
ing life of. the young nation showed 
itself most uniquely in the con- 
quest of the western wilderness and 
that all the more important policies 
of the U. S., both domestic and 

foreign, for 100 years, take their 
distinctiveness from the activity 
and the thinking and the character 
of the frontiersman who was a 
new and peculiar type in the history 
of humanity. 

Now for 15 years I have thought 
of David Forsyth as the establish- 
ment of the frontier spirit at its 
highest and best. Permit me in 
just a few words to hint at some 
of the experiences which make him 
in fact a man of the frontier. 

As I have said above his earliest 
recollections were of their move- 
ment westward from Wisconsin to 
Iowa, then to Nebraska as a child 
in a frontiersman's family. It has 
been my privilege in these recent 
years to travel extensively v/ith Dv. 
Forsyth. At rare moments he would 
tell enough of his early life to 
give swift but vivid glimpses of the 
old pioneer da^^s — of plowing the 
prairie in his boyhood with a man 
walking ahead of the horses with a 
rifle cocked and ready for instant 
use — of the day in 1876, when, be- 
cause of the Sioux uprising, the 
pioneers, the Forsyth's among them, 
traveled together 100 miles to Loup 
City to face the winter in a set- 
tlement too strong to be attacked; 
hostile scouts hanging in the flanks 
of the marching company— of the 
hundred mile journey to a doctor 
with the sick from widely scattered 
homesteads. I have heard him tell 
of being sent to hold a legal claim 
to land against the protests and 
threats of a notorious bad man, 
who had threatened to kill any 
Forsyth who insisted on defying the 
edict against the Forsyth claim. 
At night time the youthful David 
would see the bad man's dog nos- 
ing around the entrance of the 
Forsyth shack, the man himself not 
quite daring to venture through the 
doorless opening and thus make a 
larget of himself. 

I have also heard him tell of his 

first appointment. Sent by the 
Bishop to a little church where 
preaching had been intermittent for 
years, he tried without avail to find 
a boarding place, when a gaunt, 
silent, giant of a man sought him 
out, took him to his house and kept 
him through the winter. The bene- 
factor attended church every Sun- 
day during his stay, always sat on 
the front seat and looked out ab- 
sently through the window and 
across the plains. Some months af- 
ter his pastorate closed there, David 
Forsyth learned that the man who 
had befriended him had shot and 
killed an uncle in a frontier quarrel 
years before, and presumably was 
thus working out an expiation of 
kindliness to the nephew. 

The position to which Dr. Forsyth 
was elected in 1916, I repeat, made 
demands upon the qualities develop- 
ed on the frontier. At the 1916 
conference the Board of Home Mis- 
sions and Church Extension was re- 
organized throughout. The scale o.i 
which the Board worked and the 
multitudinous variety of its activi- 
ties made the situation for the sec- 
retai-y unparalleled in our adminis- 
tration history. Moreover, the per- 
iod of our national life was itself 
without parallel. The General Con- 
ference of 1916 closed just 11 
months before our entry into the 
World War. The war brought un- 
precedented problems, with its dis- 
tribution of industry and its re- 
distribution of mass population in- 
to training camps and into war- 
time manufacturing centers. 

Night after night, till far toward 
morning, Dr. Forsyth worked away 
on plans on which the past history 
of Home Missions and Church Ex- 
tension could throw no light at all. 
Then came the Centenary, likewise 
creating new paths. Then the de- 
clining interest on the part of the 
church in the Centenary and World 
Service program, a decline for 

which no individual was responsible, 
a decline coming in part out of dis- 
illusionment after the war, in part 
out of the moral lassitude which 
followed the psychological overstrain 
of the five years following 1917. 

By the time the General Confer- 
ence met in 1924, practically all ths 
official heads of society responsible 
for the Centenary movement had 
passed out of official position or 
were working in other fields. 

To Dr. Forsyth more than to any 
other individual was left the task 
of salvaging the physical and spir- 
itual results of this vast program 
inaugurated by the Centenary. The 
task called for inevitable patience, 
good humor and firmness. Chui'ches 
in wealthy communities, abundantly 
able to take care of their own ma- 
terial needs, came clamoring, often 
angrily, asking for missionary funds 
to complete purely local enterprises 
and blaming him because the funds 
were not available, and yet in prac- 
tically every case the complainant 
went away satisfied with the ex- 
planation of Dr. Forsyth. 

After long intimacy with David 
Dryden Forsyth, who like Abraham 
Lincoln, lived through severe pio- 
neer conditions. I never saw in 
him any trace of roughness or 
coarseness. He was at times frank 
to the point of brusqueness. but 
only in cases where such frankness 
was the part of kindness. He was 
fine by nature, and the pioneer 
lost nothing of its exquisite quality 
by the stern experiences through 
which he lived. 

When the word came to the Bish- 
op's meeting in Denver that David 
Dryden Forsyth had passed away, 
there came at once to my mind 
certain lines Edward Markham's 
poem on Lincoln, phrases as applic- 
able to our fallen leader as to the 
great Lincoln himself: 

"So came the captain with the 
mighty heart. 

He held his place — held his long 
purpose like a growing tree . . . 

Held on through praise and faltered 
not to blame — 

When he went down, he fell as 
when a lordly cedar, full of 
boughs goes down, with a great 
shout upon the hills — 

And leaves a lonesome place against 
the sky." 

Thus we see the remote influence 
of a great grandfather, such as Da- 
vid Dryden upon the making of a 
great nation. David Dryden and 
his family to the third and fourth 
generation, represents only one of 
many, many families who have 
helped to make the United States 
of America. 


Joseph Allison was born in Meck- 
linburg County, North Carolina, 
Feb. 11, 1796 and died Aug. 20. 1862, 
in Coles Comity, Illinois, near the 
village of Farmington. 

He married Margaret Ann Cathy, 
July 13, 1800 and she died Oct. 26. 
1878, near Farmington, Coles Coun- 
ty, Illinois. 

In 1828 or '30 they left North 
Carolina, and moved to Gibson 
County. Tennessee. Two children 
were bom in North Carolina, three 
in Tennessee and two in Illinois. 

My grandfather. Andrew Henry 
and his sister Sarah Caroline, were 
born in North Carolina, he having 
been born Oct. 19, 1823, and moved 
to Illinois from Gibson Coimty, 
Temiessee in 1836. They settled on 
a fai'm near the Nickel Plate rail- 
road between Lerna and Trilla near 
the Lower Muddy cemetery. After 
a few months they moved to a farm 
a mile north of Farmington which 
land he entered from the govern- 
ment. Tliey were neighbors of the 
Drydens and Lincolns. 

Joseph Allison was a hatter and 
made coonskin caps, blacksnake 
whips, saddles and harness. 

For many years he was clerk of 
the session of the Presbyterian 
church at Indian Creek and was a 
devout worker in the chui'ch. The 
Sabbath was kept very strict and 
nothing was done only that which 
was obsolutely necessary on that 

He was very much opposed to 
slavery. When they left North Caro- 
lina, his wife's father gave her a 
slave. This slave was a boy 16 
years old. One day grandmother 
found him stealing sugar out of 
the sugar bowl so she got a strap 
and gave him a whipping. Grand- 
father saw her and sent the slave 
back to North Carolina. Later he 
refused to take money the slave 
brought when sold and told his 
owner to give it to the slave. 

A letter from a brother of Jos- 
eph Allison who lived in Sumner 
County, Tennessee, written Dec. 22, 
1843, expresses some of the views 
current at that time on slavery: 

"In regard to the principles men- 
tioned there has been no material 
change, since I fii'st found any 
principle on the subject. 

"No, my brother, the principle 
difference between brother William 
and myself is, that I believe the 
principles of the Abolition party are 
erroneous and their measures have 
been most disastrous to the interest 
of the colored race, and the cause 
of liberty. I believe, further, that 
if their principles and practices 
were correct in themselves, the 
prominence they give to the sub- 
ject, making it everything, would 
be a radical objection against them. 

"Such views as these are suf- 
ficient to identify me, in the mind 
of every thorough abolitionist with 
robbers and manstealors. 

"I know further on this subject 
that when the Savior and His dis- 

ciples were here on earth, slavery 
existed in the Roman Empire in a 
much more cruel form than is 
known in any of the American 
states. Yet, how did they oppose 

"By preaching the pure principles 
of the Gospel, and in no one in- 
stance can it be shown that they 
ever directly attacked this or any 
other political institution of that 
day, bad as many of them undoubt- 
edly were. Much less did they lay 
aside their appropriate work." 

Another brother, John Allison, 
from Rutherford County, Tennessee, 
wTites July 11, 1837: 

"I have an anxiety to know how 
the chui'ches in yom" region will 
act in reference to the discussion 
of the last General Assembly. 

"Yom's is called a new school re- 
gion, and I have been apprehen- 
sive that they would all join with 
those who are now exerting every 
nerve to raise a new Assembly and 
call itself the real Assembly and 
appeal to the laws of the land to 
confirm the title. I do not feel 
disposed to endorse for everything 
that the late Assembly have done 
but I do think that the course 
that the defeated party are now 
taking is the most inconsistent with 
the profession of Christianity of 
anything I have witnessed of late 

"May the Lord have mercy upon 
our beloved Union and speedily 
hush all her contentions to peace. ' 

The first church established in 
Coles County was Presbyterian and 
located on Indian Creek about three 
miles northwest of Farmington. 
This is verified by Albert B. Balch 
as follows: 

In searching among some old 
records I find that the first church 
built on Indian Creek was in 1832. 
Two years before, Aug. 30, 1830, the 
Presbyterian church was organized 

by the Rev. B. F. Spillman with the 
following members: 

Thomas Myei-s, Agnes Myers, 
Theron Balch, Ann Boyd, Thomas 
McCracken, Nancy McCracken, 
James Ashmore, Cassandra Ash- 
more, Rachel Ashmore, William 
Wayne, James Logan and Eliza- 
beth Logan. 

They met at the cabin of Theron 
Balch for organization. 

The next summer, June 1, 1831, 
the members met and agreed to 
donate so many days work each 
in building a church of logs 24x30 
feet in size. William Barnett sub- 
scribed 26 spikes, William Wayne 
30 bushels of lime. That fall the 
church was raised and covered. The 
flooring was sawed out by a whip- 
saw, the studding and roof were 
made of slabs, split out with a maul 
and wedge and dressed with an 
adz. The seats were made of long 
slabs placed on tressels, and the 
church remained in an unfinished 
condition about two years. 

The member who had subscribed 
lime, having failed to make good 
his donation. Rev. John McDonald, 
the pastor who possessed energy in 
world matters as well as spiritual, 
with the aid of Patrick Nicholson, 
proposed to remedy the deficiency. 

Lime rock was found on Indian 
Creek, logs were hauled and placed 
on end around it set afire and the 
rocks reduced to lime. Rev. Mc- 
Donald with the aid of his parish- 
ioners made the plaster and with 
his own hands the worthy minister 
plastered the church. It being cold 
weather the floor was partially tak- 
en up and on a bed of sand a fire 
was built which was kept burning 
until the plaster was thoroughly 

In 1834 the congregation secured 
the services of Rev. James H. 
Shields of Indiana to preach one- 
half time but this arrangement did 
not last long and he sent word 

resigning his pastorate. The Rev. 
Isaac Bennett was then called to 
fill the vacancy and he remained 
for several years. Finally, Rev. Mc- 
Donald became the permanent pas- 
tor. Andrew H. Allison and Han- 
nah Eveline Dryden were married 
by Rev. McDonald, Dec. 30, 1845. 

Archible Allison, Josephs grand- 
father was born in Ireland in 1736. 
Andrew Allison, Joseph's father 
was born in Donegal County, Ire- 
land in 1770, coming to Mecklin- 
burg County, North Carolina around 
1790, bringing his father with him. 

Joseph Allison had one son, John, 
in the Civil War who later mar- 
ried Belle Ewing, my grandfather's 

My grandfather, Andrew Henry Al- 
lison, looked after the families who 
were left during the war and died 
from exposure and overwork at the 
close of the war. Men who knew 
him well told how he would start 
the oxen to the field, and he would 
cut some wood to use for cooking 
while they went on, then he would 
run and catch up with them before 
they got to the field. He was a 
good stock man, keeping cattle and 
horses to sell to others. 

When Lincoln made his last visit 
to see his step-mother, grandfather 
was in the road near his home. 
When he saw the carriage coming 
he got on his horse, raced to Farm- 
ington and had someone fire the 
anvils and beat the drums when the 
carriage drove into Farmington. 

Had he lived, manv predicted he 
would have been one of the largest 
landowners in Coles County. He 
was only 41 years old when he died 
November, 1864. 

Grandmother seldom mentioned 
his passing so soon but she said she 
was always lonesome whenever he 
went away, so we know how lone- 
some she was for almost 60 years 
without him. 


When William Ewing started on 
horseback from Grayson Comity, 
Kentucky in 1828 to look for a new 
home, he was accompanied by two 
or three neighbors who were on the 
same mission. They came up into 
eastern Illinois as far north as 

Not liking that part of the coun- 
try he started southwest near the 
present site of Bloomington, then 
into Sangamon County, near 
Springfield, then south and east un- 
til he came to Coles County. He 
settled some five or six miles north 
^and west of Farmington and 1% 
miles northeast of Lerna. 

In 1829 he brought his family, 
which consisted of his wife and four 
children, to this place. My grand- 
father, William McAfee Ewing, was 
born at this place April 21, 1832. 

When they reached this country 
they could not find a cabin to live 
in so they cleaned out a sheepshed 
and lived in that until logs and 
timber enough could be cut to build 
a house to live in. 

Being a very hard working and 
industrious man, he began clearing 
off timber and brush for planting 
corn and vegetables and soon had 
a small crop growing. Then he made 
rails for fences, set out fruit trees 
and built other buildings for use 
around the farm. 

Cedar trees were still standing 80 
years after he planted them there. 
for my sister, Carrie Allison Ash- 
brook, started housekeeping in 
the very house he built, used 
water out of the same well and 
her boys played under those trees 
until they were six and nine years 
of age. But all that he made has 
been torn away now and only a 
memory of it all is left. 

The Ewings originally came from 
Scotland to North Ireland in the 
vicinity of Londonery for some 

years, and then three brothers came 
to America, settling in Pennsylva- 
nia in the early part of 1700. It 
was here that Samuel Ewing, father 
of Judge William Ewing lived. 

Judge William Ewing came to 
Grayson County, Kentucky, in 1794. 
He settled near Litchfield and im- 
proved a farm there. His only son, 
William, was born there in 1797. 
Judge Ewing came to make his 
home with his son in 1831 in Coles 
County, Illinois, and died Jan. 11, 
1834, and was buried in the In- 
dian Creek Cemetery. 

A copy of a leter written by 
Judge Ewing to his son April 22, 
1831, shows he was making plans 
to come to Illinois, reads as fol- 

Dear Son: 

By this opportunity I would in- 
form you that we are at present 
enjoying tolerable health, with 
hopes that you and your family are 
also favored. 

I rec'd your letter by the hand 
of Samuel Williams which gave us 
the satisfying account of your wel- 
fare. We heard some very distress- 
ing accounts from your state, which 
made us the more anxious to hear 
from you. We heard that there 
were a good many people perished 
with cold, and their stock froze 
standing up. We had the hardest 
winter here that I have ever seen 
in Kentucky, and the snow some- 
thing like 18 inches deep and I 
was very ill prepared for a haru 
winter, having but a very short 
crop of corn but I got as much of 
Charles Wortham's, rent corn as 
I needed, and have not lost anv 
stock except some younj pigs that 
come in cold weather. 

I would be willing to move to your 
country if I could sell my place for 
money, but that is what I do not 
expect, and I have an idea that a 
man has no business in your coun- 
try except he has some money to 

help himself. I have offered my 
place at $300.00 paid down. Samuel 
Wortham sent me word that he 
would give my price, if I would take 
$70.00 in money and a new wagon 
and the balance in horses or other 
property at cash price. But I do 
not think that kind of pay would 
answer my purpose. 

I have collected the $50.00 that 
was due from Benjamin Rogers 
and have sent it to you by Sam- 
uel Williams. I also gave him the 
horse I rec'd from Rogers last fall 
and he has been trying to sell him, 
but I am afraid he cannot sell him 
for the money before he starts 
home. The other horse and sad- 
dle that is coming from Rogers will 
not be due until the last of October 
next. He says if it would suit you 
better to take the balance, all in 
saddles, he would pay it in that 
way by your giving him notice in 
time to have them made. He will 
I)ay one horse agreeable to bar- 

Charles Wortham's family is well. 
John Jamison's family is also well. 

No more but a request to "be 
remembered to all enquirers. 

Your affectionate father. 

Judge William Ewing. 
William Ewing married Louisa 
Villars Williams in Grayson Coun- 
ty, Kentucky, and 14 children were 
bom to them, four of which came 
with them to Illinois. 

Louisa V. Williams was born in 
1803 in Kentucky and died near 
Areola, Douglas County, Illinois, in 
September, 1897. Her father was a 
slave owner in Kentucky and he 
gave her one when she married 
which she sold for $900.00. 

Samuel Williams, her brother, 
settled in the same neighborhood in 
Coles County, Illinois. Those who 
remained in the south were south- 
em sympathizers during the Civil 
War and still owned slaves. Two of 

William Ewing II 

her sons, Joe and Tom, went back to 
Elizabeth town, Ky., with another 
brother, Cap Williams, where they 
took horses to sell just before the 
war. Uncle Cap had trouble with 
another man over politics and Tom 
Ewing had to rescue him at the 
point of a gun to keep him from 
being hurt. This was shortly after 
"John Brown's Raid." 

Grandmother could remember the 
soldiers marching home from the 
War of 1812. 

Three of her sons, Joe, Tom and 
William fought in the Civil War. 
Tom was taken prisoner at Ander- 
sonville, but was released and fin- 
ally discharged as a first lieuten- 
ant. Joe and William, my grand- 
father, belonged to 5th Cavalry, 
121st Illinois Regiment, and served 
three years. 

The vivid descriptions my grand- 
father told of the many incidents 
that happened during the Civil 

UPPER LEFT: Home of Andrew H. and Elveline Allison, lbbU-t)4. 

UPPER RIGHT: Cabin en Klckapoo occupied by Henry C. and Ella Allison. 1883. 

LOWER LEFT: Ewing Homestead— 1830. 

LOWER RIGHT: Cabin where Nancy Allison Nicholson lived, 1876. 

War will never be forgotten. 

He married Sarah A. Hughes, Oct. 
2, 1855, and my mother was the 
second of three children. She was 
born Feb. 1, 1861. 

When grandfather came home 
from the Civil War she did not 
know him, which probably made 
him feel very badly. 

During the war he was taken very 
ill and sent to a Hospital at Cairo, 
111. Grandmother took my mother, 
who was a babe in arms, my micle 
and gi-andfather"s youngest brother, 
Robert Ewing, and went to see 
grandfather. He cried when Uncle 
Dan went running to him in the 
ward. After talking things over 
with grandmother and Uncle Rob- 

ert, grandmother got a suit of cit- 
izens clothes, put them on grand- 
father and got him out of the hos- 
pital. It did not take long for 
him to recover and he went back 
and served the remainder of the 
war in his company. 

In 1851 he went to Califcrnia to 
seek his fortune in the gold fields. 
He often told of the journey across 
the plains and the desert in Nevada, 
how their tongues were so swollen 
from thirst they could not talk. How 
they ate so many buffaloes he never 
could tolerate beef, butter or milk. 
He came back on board ship around 
Cape Horn and South America to 
New York. Wliile enroute he con- 
tracted ship fever and would have 

S 0K5 cl\^6 

I «'<>^ c e ^6. 

Sarah A. Hughes^^,'a.Hanna Eveline Hryden A Jft 5^vc 
Andrew Henry Allison / William McFee Ewing: 

been detained either on board ship 
or in a government hospital had 
not some of his friends helped him 
walk off the boat. 

About 1873 several families, in- 
cluding my grandfather's, went in 
covered wagons to southwest Mis- 
souri to live. Three years of poor 
crops and bad health sent most of 
them back to Illinois. 

He bought the farm we now live 
on about 1878. When my father 
and mother were married grand- 
father bought a small farm in the 
north edge of Lerna and sold the 
farm to my father. After living 
there six or eight years they moved 
to Mattoon where grandmother died 

April 7, 1900. Grandfather develop- 
ed cancer of the throat about that 
time and suffered for six years but 
never made others feel his trouble 
was more than others v\'ere endur- 
ing. He lived with us those years 
and we always enjoyed his stories 
about the war and his journey 
across the plains. He died Jan. 16, 
1906, and was buried at Indian 
Creek cemetery where both his 
father and grandfather were buried. 
His love for horses and ability to 
care for and train them for farm 
work was known throughout the 
neighborhood. He often told us 
grandmother was the prettiest girl 
and the best cook for miles around. 

We could vouch for the cooking 
for her cookie jar was never empty 
when we went to see her. 

Thus, we see another family who 
helped develop Ck)les County, and 
help made it a good place in which 
to live. 


William J. Hughes was born near 
Richmond, Va., Nov. 15, 1807, and 
died in Coles County, Illinois. Sept. 
10, 1884. 

He and his brother, Samuel, left 
Virginia and settled about 15 miles 
north of Chillicothe, Ohio. He mar- 
ried Ellen J. Martin in 1833 and 10 
children were bom to them, my 
grandmother Sarah Hughes Ewing. 
being the oldest, was bom in Ross 
Co., Ohio, May 3, 1836. Grandmother 
Hughes was born March 17, 1817. 
and when 16 years of age she mar- 
ried William J. Hughes. She died 
in Coles County, Illinois, July 11. 
1886, both she and her husband 
are buiied at Indian Creek ceme- 

They settled two or three miles 
east of Charleston, 111., when they 
came to Coles County, then moved 
north of Farmington about five 
miles and three miles east of where 
Lerna is now. 

He had an apple orchard, built 
a granary, apple house and other 
buildings most people did not have. 
He also played the violin and no 
one enjoyed anything more than 
he did than for his children to 
dance the Virginia Reel while he 
played the music on his violin. His 
farm was known throughout the 
neighborhood for its clean fence 
rows, neat buildings and well-kept 

His children all grew to manliood 
and womanhood In Coles County 
but some of them moved 
to other states. One son, James, 
married Lucretia Ewing. Their son. 

Walter is a lawyer in Chicago, 111. 
A daughter. Lide Hughes Edman, 
died in California Dec. 15, 1928, and 
her son, Charles, is a real estate 
man at Monte Vista, Colo. The 
youngest daughter. Meek Hughes 
Balch. died at Greeley, Colo. 

The Hughes were known for their 
hospitality, and no one could leave 
their home without being served 
to apples and cider when in sea- 

Grandfather had the best tools for 
doing carpenter work of any one in 
the county. He could make furniture 
and in Ohio was recognized as a 
cabinet maker. His ability as a 
livestock farmer was not as good 
as for grain and keeping everything 
in good repair. 

We have no record of his having 
been prominent in religious or po- 
litical affairs. Whenever they at- 
tended church it usually was at the 
Indian Creek Presbyterian church. 

Honesty and right living was the 
rule he lived by and no worthier 
thought than that can any man 

Thus the Hughes family lived and 
helped make Coles County a good 
place in which to live. 


The village was all astir. Every 
one was up when the sun rose over 
the Ambraw hilLs. When the chil- 
dren assembled on the play-round 
before school, women were seen 
scurrying toward a humble frame 
cottage on the outskirts of the vil- 
lage with buckets, pans and aprons 
bulging with food, all talking in ex- 
cited voices. Soon it was learned 
what it was all about — President 
Lincoln was coming to see his step- 
mother before going to Washington 
to assume the resF>onsibilities of the 

Walter Hughes 

Dan W. Ewing 

W. D. AUison 

John Dryden 
Kearney, Neb. 


And what a Homecoming it was! 
The dinner was cooked and served 
in his aunt's home — "Old Til 
Moore" as the school children call- 
ed her, for she was a tall, thin, 
grouchy woman who treated chil- 
dren as a sort of pest she should 
not be bothered with. 

All the pretty girls came to wait 
on the table and assist in any way 
his kind old step-mother. The ta- 
ble was decorated with glass dishes 
from the entire village and snowy 
white sheets were used for table 

The school children all came over 
to shake hands with this tall, kind 
son of Aunt Sarah's. Many of the 
children were too bashful to ap- 
proach him but those who did re- 
ceived a kind word and loving smile 
they never forgot. One little girl 
was carrying her hand and arm 
in a sling due to an accident at a 
sorghum mill, and he stopped and 
kissed her asking how the accident 

"When he entered the village one 
of the farmers nearby overtook 
President Lincoln in his carriage 
and as he wns on horseback he hur- 
ried on to Farmington, got out the 
drums and had men fire the an- 
vils when Lincoln entered the vil- 

During the day he visited his 
father's grave at Shiloh Cemetery 
and later drove back to Charleston, 
the county seat, to make his way to 

The sun rose Sept. 25th, 1932, over 
the same Ambraw hills, not many 
were moving about the village, an 
occasional motor car stopped for 
fuel near the little framCcottage 
where Abriham Lincoln ate din- 
ner with his step-mother for the 
last time. 

Later in the day as the noon hour 
approached, more cars came and 
parked on the playgromid by the 

schoolhouse. Boxes, baskets, pails 
and pans were carried to long tables 
in front of the building and by one 
o'clock dinner was served to all who 
cared to eat. Another Homecoming, 
it was, in Farmington! 

After all had eaten and baskets 
were packed and returned to the 
cars parked around the grounds, all 
journeyed to the little church across 
the road from the Moore cottage 
and listened to the many people 
who had formerly lived in that 
commm:iity and had returned to see 
their friends perhaps for the last 

When the program was well over, 
a modest little lady rose and told 
about her grandfather who gave 
the land for this little village of 
Farmington. "Uncle Jeff" Adams as 
he was known came to this part of 
Illinois before the Lincolns, Drj'dens 
or Allisons. When his wife died he 
married Caroline Dryden and she 
gave this village the name of Farm- 

"Uncle Jeff" fought with Abra- 
ham Lincoln in the Black Hawk 
War and when Lincoln called for 
volunteers in the Civil War, he 
with his two sons, answered the 
call. He was made a Lieut. Col- 
onel of the Fifth Cavali-y. 

This little lady. Uncle Jeff's 
granddaughter, told how he came 
to Coles County together with 15 
grown people and 11 children from 
Tennessee, traveling in three wag- 
ons taking 24 days to come 400 

"Uncle Jeff" had not been mar- 
ried but a year or so but he had 
lots of courage and left Tennessee 
to find a home for his wife and 
baby, who was only a few days old. 
This baby was this littl: lady's fa- 
ther. The hardships were many but 
fortune was kind to him and he be- 
came the owner of many acres of 

When will the next Homecoming 

Soon those boys and girls will all 
be gone who shook Lincoln's hand 
and saw his pleasant smile or knew 
"Uncle Jeff" who rode his pracing 
horse away to war and gave the 
ground on which we woi-ship and 
receive the knowledge we must have 
to make his memory bright. 

When will the next Homecoming 
be? Every year, I hope, in Farm- 
ington but every day where Abra- 
ham Lincoln and Uncle Jeff have 
gone to dwell. 


Way back when apple parings, 
square dances and barn raisings 
were the chief amusements for the 
young folks, my uncle saddled two 
of his best riding horses late one 
evening and went to the little vil- 
lage of Farmington to take one of 
the "fair" ones of the village to one 
of these parties. 

Farmington, as you may know, is 
that village made famous by Abra- 
ham Lincoln's father, Thomas Lin- 
coln and his step-mother, Sarah 
Bush Lincoln. At the time this 
story takes place, over 60 years ago, 
it was a thriving village compared 
to what you see there today. They 
had a mill for grinding grain, a 
blacksmith's shop, store, drug store, 
hat shop, doctor's office, post office, 
school and church. 

The horse, my uncle took for his 
companion to ride, was known 
throughout the community as above 
the average farm horse for speed. 
My father had tried out its gait 
on several occasions and was always 
delighted when he could exercise 
him driving up the cows. 

The young lady in question came 
out and seated herself in the com- 
fortable side saddle. Not realizing 
the energy that her charger pos- 

Hannah Eveline Allison — ^ 00 

sessed, she started putting on her 
gloves, not touching the reins or 
giving a thought to the manage- 
ment of such a docile animal, when 
away he went, flying down the road 
v/ith my uncle following on his 
horse in hot pursuit, but barely 
keeping in sight of such a race 

After flying through the village 
and down a lane he whiiied and 
came back with his companion still 
clinging to the side saddle. My uncle 
went to meet them and succeeded 
in grabbing the rein, riding along 
side of the fractious steed. He tied 
the rein to his horse's bridle after 
which the ride to the party was 

When running down the street, 
my uncle yelled at two men stand- 
ing out in front of the store to stop 
the horse but they made no at- 
tempt to do so. They told the 
story saying that my uncle yelled 
"stop them calves." Of course the 


rider's skirts were flying high and 
the public do not notice such things 
nowadays with so many short skirts 
on parade. 

My uncle is 89 years old now and 
still tells this story with much glee. 


(Written by Pearl Polk Dungan. 
Indianapolis, for the 100th anniver- 
sary of Mrs. Hannah Eveline Alli- 
son, Charleston, 111.. June 7th, 1922.) 

A century of life; 

Has the way seemed long. 

Or the pathway dreary. 

Have things gone wrong, 

Or the heart grown weary? 

Ah, no — 

Looking back thi'ough the years 

I think you must see 

The smiles but not the tears, 

And I think you must see — 

Only flowers on the path 

Where the thorns used to be. 

In the dim distant past 

I think you have known 

Why days over cast 

Have much brighter grown 

Where you heard a Voice say 

"My love shields my own." 

I think you have worked 

That others might live 

And given of yourself 

As only "Mother" can give. 

A centuiT of life 

As the sunset approaches 

With its soft golden gleams 

No shadow will darken 

But to us it just seems 

That a rare precious jewel 

Has been loaned for a time 

To show us and teach us 

That life is sublime. 

A poem written by Geo. B. Balch 
in memory of Thomas Lincoln may 
likewise be read for all the pioneers 
of Coles County, Illinois: 

In a low, sweet vale, by a murmur- 
ing rill, 
The pioneer's ashes are sleeping, 

Where the white marble slab so 
lonely and still, 
In silence their vigils are keeping. 
On their sad lonely faces are words 
of fame, 
But noma of them speaks of his 
When the pioneer died, his age and 
his name, 
No monument whispers the story. 
No mystle, nor ivy, nor hyacinth 
O'er the lonely grave where they 
laid him; 
No cedar, nor holly, nor almond 
tree grows 
Near the plebian's grave to shade 
Bright evergreens wave o'er many a 
O'er some bow the sad weeping 
But no willow tree bow, nor ever- 
greens wave 
Where the pioneer sleeps on his 
While some are inhumed with hon- 
ors of state, 
And laid beneath temples to 
The grave of the father of Lincoln, 
the great, 
Is known by a bullock and boul- 
Let him take his lone sleep and 
quiet rest. 
With naught to disturb or awake 
When the angels shall come to 

gather the blest, 
"To Abraham's bosom they'll take 

This poem was written and read 
by Geo. B. Balch when a shaft was 
erected at Thomas Lincoln's grave 
at Shiloh Cemetery near Farming - 
ton, m., in 1876. 

Since then the Lion's Club of the 
State of Illinois has erected a 
monument for both Thomas and 
Sarah Bush Lincoln and the shaft 
was placed near the entrance to 
the cemetery. 

3 0112 050743274