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Full text of "Records of the olden time; or, Fifty years on the prairies. Embracing sketches of the discovery, exploration and settlement of the country, the organization of the counties of Putnam and Marshall, incidents and reminiscences connected therewith, biographies of citizens, portraits and illustrations"

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In the following pages we have endeavored to trace the early settle- 
ment of that portion of our State embraced in the counties of Putnam 
and Marshall, gathering up the forgotten records of each township and 
neighborhood, and telling for the benefit of their descendants the story of 
the brave men and women who wrested their homes from the savage, and 
turned a desert into the fairest land that beams beneath the sun. 

It is not a "history," and does not claim to be, nor should it be judged 
as such, but in its pages we have sought to tell in plain, simple language, 
the story of our ancestors' lives, and string together for the amusement 
and instruction of their descendants 1he incidents and happenings- 
solemn, grotesque or ludicrous as they were that made up the warp and 
woof of their daily existence. * 

The old settlers are fast passing away. Many prominent actors in 
the scenes here depicted have paid the debt of nature, and the story 
of their lives is well nigh forgotten. But a few years more, and we 
shall see the last of that noble band carried to their final home. Much 
that is valuable has already passed into oblivion, and to rescue what 
remains has been our study. The faithfulness with which it has been per- 
formed can best be judged by the public. 

At the outset of our task it was found that to reconcile dates and 
even statements of the same occurrence was impossible. Our sole depend- 
ence was restricted to the uncertain memory of a few feeble men and 
women, who had reached the stage of life when the "grasshopper is a bur- 
den," and forgetf ulness is courted rather than deprecated. Human nature 
is weak, and forty years of slowly revolving time dims the brightest 
images graven on the tablets of the mind. At first we strove to reconcile 
these conflicting variations and strike a balance of probabilities, but the 
task was so "hopeless that it was abandoned, and the plan adopted of giv- 
ing each statement as received and allowing it to pass for what it was 


worth. Circumstances have compelled a more hurried preparation of the 
literary portion of the work than was intended or desirable, but such as 
it is we send it forth. 

Success in life is not the effect of accident or of chance; it is the result 
of the intelligent application of certain fixed principles to the affairs of 
every day. Each man must make this application according to the circum- 
stances by which he is surrounded, and he can derive no better assistance 
or encouragement in his struggles than from the example of those whose 
advantages were meagre and worthless compared with ours. He who 
peruses the records of those early pioneers will surely find principles which 
he can safely carry into his own life and use for his own advancement. 

In these latter days, when every acre nearly is appropriated by the 
husbandman or covered with thriving towns and cities, it seems strange 
to read of the trials of those who first broke the soil and opened the way 
for them that followed. It seems so far back when these incidents oc- 
curred that one can hardly imagine it was only the fathers of the people 
of to-day of whom we write. 

With every comfort the mind of man can devise, with every want 
supplied by the creations of these later years, we look back upon the 
lives of our nearest ancestors as tales of an olden time, coeval almost with 
the days when "Adam delved and Eve span." But those deeds of hero- 
ism, those days of toil, those nights of danger were all experienced, were 
all accomplished by the sires whose descendants we are. 

There lives to-day but a remnant of that pioneer band, fast drifting on 
to the confines of time, where they shall leave behind forever the recol- 
lections of those early days, and pass beyond into the glorious rewards of 
their trials and sorrows. But their good deeds will live after them ; they 
will not be "interred with their bones." The record of their lives is the 
property of their descendants, and in the pages of this volume we shall 
endeavor to tell their stoiy so that "he who runs may read," and take 
some useful lessons from the experience of those gone before. 

In conclusion we desire to thank all who have aided in furnishing the 
information desired. Everywhere we met nothing but kindness, and 
gladly would we name them, were it not that it would involve another 
volume to contain them all. Individually they are due, and we desire to 
thank J. G. Armstrong, who industriously assisted in collecting and col- 
lating our information ; the Revs. J. G. Evans, Price and Bruce ; John 

Bettis, of Truckee, Cal.; Jas. G. Allen, of Omaha; Thomas Judd, of 
Evans; Nathaniel Smith, of Nineveh, N. Y.; and the Hon. G. L. Fort; 
also Frank B. Hazleton, of Chicago, overseer of the mechanical part, who 
has patiently and faithfully performed his work; and finally the com- 
positors, one and all, who assisted in its preparation. We desire likewise 
to express our indebtedness to Henry A. Ford's "History of Marshall and 
Putnam Counties," "Ford's History of Illinois," N. M. Matson's "Reminis- 
cences of Bureau County," Baldwin's "History of La Salle County," and 
A. N. Ford for access to his newspaper files. 

As regards the literary value of the work we have nothing to say, and 
do not now expect to see it appreciated ; but there will assuredly come 
a time when the information laboriously sought and perhaps clumsily 
gi^en will be valued, and then our labors, will be appreciated. 





CHAPTER [.Christopher Columbus His Theory, Plans and Difficulties First and Second Voyage*, and 
Discovers' of the West Indies Other Expldrtie Thiid Vojage of Columbus Anoericus Vespucci 

Honor to whom honor is due 17 19 

CHAPTER II. Evidences of Former Discovery Icelandic Explorations from A. D. 986 to 1437 - Her julf son, 

Lief Erickson, I horwald Erickson, Thortin Karlsef ne ttelics of Icelandic Occupancy 20 21 


CHAPTER III. The Garden Spot of the World The Father of Waters Discovered by the Spaniards Ex- 
plorations of Ponce de Leon, Narvaez and De Soto Other Spanish Expeditions 22 26 


CHAP PER IV. French Fishermen in Newfoundland French'Explorations Cortereal, Cartier, Le Jeune, 
Marquette, Nicolet Discovery ol the St. Lawrence Founding Catholic Missions Voyage down the 
Mississippi and np the Illinois 27 35 

CH VPTER V. Cavalier de La Salle and his explorations Hospitality of the Natives Dangers and Hard- 

hhips Encountered Father Hennepin, his Religious Zaal and Intrepid Courage. .. . . 35 42 

CHAPTER VI. Further Explorations of La Salle Down the Mississippi to ite mouth A mid-winter trip 

through Illinois Starved Rock fortified 4348 

CHAPTER VI t. The Mound Builders Evidences of their Civilization, Occupations and Characteristics 

Mounds and Earthworks in Putnam and Marshall Counties 49 61 


CHAPTER VIII.' The Indians Their Habite, Customs, Characteristics, Religion and Superstitions In- 
dians of Putnam and Marshall Counties 62 58 

CHAPTER IX. First Permanent settlement of lllionis-Early French Settlers-Kaskaskia in 1763-The 

County of Illinois Mikes and Jakes Peoria in 1778 69 65 

CHAPTER X. The Massacre at Fort Dearborn Gen. Hull orders the Fort evacuated Implacable Hostility 

of the Indians Heroism of the Women Murder of the wounded after the surrender 66 70 

CHAPTER XL Destruction of i'eoria Isolated condition of the People Dastardly Conduct of Capt. 

Craig and his " Troops" Hospitality of the Indian Chief Gomo 71- 73 

CHAPTER XII.- Extermination of ihe Buffalo Frozen by thousands and Suffocated iu Droves Father 

Bnche's Description of a Buffalo Hunt and his Narrow Ewipe from Death 7475 


CHAPTER Xlll' The Compact of Freedom Indian Territory and the ''Vinsain Legislater" The Territory 
of Illinois First Legislature and First Governor Admission as a State The Randolph County Cove- 
nantersThe first Wedding 7678 


CHAPTER XIV. Earliest Settlers First Houses Boundaries of the County Location of the County Seat 
First Election County Offices and Incumbents Court House and Jail Ferry and Ferry Rates- 
Revenues, Surveys, etc., Division of the County Early Records 79 97 


CHAPTER XV. The Treaty of 1804 Character of Black Hawk Beginning of Hostilities Fruitless Cam- 

paigu of General Gainea \ Brief Peace and Renewal of Hostilities 98104 

CHAPTER XV I. -Disastrous Defeat of Major Stillman Narrative of E. S. Jones Particpante iu the Still- 
nrnn Campaign since Famous Incidents of the Defeat Shaubena's Friendly Warning Savage Cru- 
elty of the Indiana, and Shameless Indignities upon the bodies of murdered Females 106-112 

CHiPTER XVII. -The Captivity of Sylvia and Rachel Hall Their Treatment by the Indians, and Final 

Hansom -Other Fiendish Murders and Outrages by the Indians 115 120 

CHAPTER XVIII. The Militia called out- Muster Rolls of Putiam County Volunteers Measures taken 

for Local Defense -The Mur.ier of Elijah Phillips Death of Adam Payne 121127 

CHAPTER XIX. Continuation of the Campaign -Murder of 8. Vrain Attack by Black Hawk upon Apple 
River Fort, and its vigorous and successful defense by the brave little garrison Battle of Pecatonica 
Instances of Individual Heroism 128 138 

CH VPTER XX. Captain Stephenson's Desperate Skirmish . . A Spirited Campaign Inaugurated Black Hawk 
Driven Northwest Burnt Village ! he Bad Lands of Wisconsin Improvidence of the Volunteers- 
Operations Suspended to Procure Supplies 137142 

CHAPIER XXI. A New Disposition of Forces Insubordination at the Outset Treacherous Guides V 
Forced March Rapid ht-treat of the In iians, and a Vigorous Pursuit Brought to Bay and Badly- 
Whipped Indians Retreat by Night across the Wisconsin River Pursuit, and Battle of Bad Axe- 
Treaty of Peace Signed- Death of Black Hawk 143-^54 

CH \PTER XXII. Topography -The City of Hennephi -Old Time Records- Pioneers The Ferry Stage 

Lines Religous Organizitions--8cnools Benevolent Societies Buel Institute Mills 155 176 

CH VP TER XXIII. Incidents and Anec iotea Great Snow.s Oid Characters A Negro sold under the Vag- 
rant Act Hard for Bachelors A Preacher Answirtd-Out of Mtat A Wolf Story A Still Hunt A 
Starved Recruit Jail Burned A Pioneer Express Indian* Outwitted Fastidious Travelers The 
Indian's Ride 177191 

CHAPTER XXIV. A Noted Rurglary Discovery, Pursuit and Capture of the Burglars Brazen Conduct 

ot Molly Holbrook Escape and Re-capture of the Prisoners 19219? 

CHAPTER XXV.- Union Grove- First Settleis-Schools-An Early Bible Society A Pioneer's Story The 

First Church The Village of Florid Fort Cribs- Newspapers of Putnam County 198208 

CHAPTER XXVI.-General Description Railroads The Earliest Settlers The Village of Magnolia The 

Society of Friends The Old School House- Jeremiah Strawn's Fort 207217 

CHAPTER XXVII. The Good Old Times Joys and Sorrows of Pioneer Life-Social Customs and Domes- 
tic Economy Wages and Cost of Living Strawn's Prairie Robbery of Jerimiah Strawn Birch's Con- 
fession Aaron Payne -Pioneer Plows Recollections of Mrs. Geo. Hiltabrand 218231 

CHAPTER XXVIII. -Benjamin Lundy. Philanthropist and Abolitionist Efforts in Behalf of Universal 
Emancipation Old Time "Shivarees" Stealing a Squaw Indian Neighbors An Indian Sign of 
Peace A Girl who wanted to Marry 232245 

CHAPTER XXIX. Ox Bow Prairie Early Settlers Dnvid Boyle's Primitive Cabin- Hard Times Indian 

Alarms Game Wolf Hunts The Devil Turned Informer Misplaced Confidence 246 251 

CHAPTCR XXX O] d Mills of Magmlia and Vicinity The First Orchard The Great Snow Incidents of 
the Sudden Freeze An Underground Railway Station Hunting Stories Home-made Cloth The 
Village of Mt. Palatine Churches Accidenfakand Incident* An Immense Pigeon Roost 252265 


CHAPTER XXXI.- Topography and General Description Early Settlers- First Religions Services Senach- 
wine's Indian Village Indians at Senacbwine's Grave How a Woman Shot a Deer Senachwine 
Branch U. G. Railway-The Murder of McKee Sickness- Old Time Surgery 266275 


CHAPTER XXXI I. -Topography- First Settlers-The Village of Granville Churches Labors in behalf of 
Education Oranville Academy-Old School Honses-An Obliging Tramp The Hopkin's Tragedy 
The Kamsay Tragedy Lynching of "Joe Smith "-Murder of Dowhower-Lost on the Prairie Anec- 
dotes. Incidents, Etc 276304 



CHAPTER XXXIIt. Organ ization of the County Selecting a County Seat- - Topography of the County- 
Election ot County Officers County Commissioners'' Court Attempt to Impeach County Clerk Shan- 
non Revenue from Taxes Organization of Townships Early Records- Court Houses and Jails 807 319 

CHAPTER XXXIV. The V\ estern Air Line Railroad -Miserable Failure of a Grand and Meritorious Pro- 
ject Liberal Local Investments in the Capital Stock President Schenck's Mission in Europe The 
Enterprise Ruinea by the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion 820321 


CHAPTER XXXV. Topography and General Description The City of Lacon, its Location and Surround- 
ingsBusiness Beginnings Early Settlers Flouring Mill Built Ferry Established Pork Packing- 
Educational Interests Lacon Woolen Mill The Ferry 822344 


CHAPTER XXXVI. rganization of the Presbyterian Church in Lacon, and List of Original Members 
M, E. Church Organized Successive Pastors of Lacon Circuit and Lacon Station The Baptist Church 
of Lucon Catholic Cnurch Congregational Church Episcopal Church Benevolent Societies* News- 
papers The Bai Lacon in the War 345356 

CHAPTER XXXVII. Crow Cree^ and Vicinity- -First Settlers Crow Creek Mills Crow Creek Council 
" Free State '' \n Old Pioneer in Incident of the Black Hawk War Wild Hogs Aii Indian Riot 
Frozen to Death Cy Bowles and Big Bill Hoover 357-370 


CHAPTER XXXVIII.- General Description Pioneers of the Township The Town of Henry Early Im- 
provementsReligious Organizations of Henry Educatioual Institutions Benevolent Societies 
Newspapers of Henry Crow Meadow Prairie Dorchester Webster Hooper Warren Incidents and 
Items 371-390 


CHAtTER XXXIX.- Geneial Description Pioneer Settlers The First School House Saw and Grist Mills 
An Old-time Preacher Fritrdly Neighbors Mrs. White's Long Tramp Game. Incidents and Mis- 
cellaneous Items 393402 


CHAPTER XL. Topography Shipping Facilities Early Settlers- Varna Churches of Varna Lyons- 
Jesse T. Roberts James Hoyt Shaw's Point Chicago as a Grain Market in '29 Pioneer Fruit Cul- 
ture Forts Frozen to Death Tliefts and Robberies ADen of Wolves A Night of Terror Snakes- 
Ague Incidents 403421 


CH VPTER XLI. Description and Origin of the Name Old Settlers The First Schools La Rose Pattons- 
burg Churches of Pattonsburg Births, Deaths and Marriages Indians A Horse plays Detective- 
Hydrophobia Horse Stealing Accidents and Incidents 422433 


CHAPTER XLII. Organizatioa and Topography Rutland \ntioch Church Geological Puzzles V Tor- 
nado A Deer Hunt During the Deep Snow of 1854 Losing a Midwife 434-439 


CHAP1ER XLIII. General Description Pioneers Snrvev of Lands Other Settlers Valuable Improve- 
ments 1'horoughbred Cattle and Blooded Horses Sandy Precinct Politics Churches Schools 
Wenona Schools of Wenona Benevolent Societies Churches of Wenona Wenona Union Fair- 
Evans Station Incidents and Items Newspapers 440463 


CHAPTER XLIV. Topography Round Prairie First Settlers Col. John Strawn Bell's Tavern- Early 
Schools Phelps Chapel The Barnes and Dever Fort John Wier The Murder of McNeil First 
Funeral in Marshall County Rapid Growth of Timber Nathan Owen's Grave Yard Anecdote* and 
Inciden's 464-490 


CHAPTER XLV. Description The Banner Township How Named First Settlers Schools-Edwin S. 
Jones Churches of the Township The Town Hall Stages Lawn Ridge Chambersburg Troy Oity 
Lost and Frozen in the Snow Mystery of Mike Wyle.\ Sad Death of Widow Evans Mysterious 
Disappearance of Willis Wolf Hunting The U. G. R. R. A Scotchman's Apostacy Patriotic Citi- 
zensAccidents and Incidents 491516 


CHAPTER XL VI. Topography and General Description Saratoga Lake First Settlers War Record of 

Saratoga Township A Mirage on the Prairie Centreville 517621 


CHAPTER XLVII. General Description Fir>t Settler* Religious Societies Schools Reeves, the Outlaw, 
and bis Qang Their Expulsion and 8ubseqent History The Murder of Jams Shine Incidents and 
Miscellaneous Items 522538 


CHAPTER XLYIIL How Named Description of the Township Early Settlers The Old Schools Relig- 
ious Items Indians of Sparland aim Vicinitj Scalped by Indians Doc. Allen Anecdotes and In- 
t-idents 639-564 


CHAPTER XL1X. Slavery in the Colonies Early Efforts to Extinguish the System -Rapid growth of Pub- 
lic: Sentiment Pioneers in the Cause of Emancipation Anecdotes and Incidents The "Agents" of 
the Road 665-573 


CHAPTER L.- Black Partridge Illinois Indiana in the War of 1812-The Hunter Hermit of Crow Creek 

Shick Shack and bis Tribe Indians making Sugar 574-584 


CHAPTER L.T.- Early Steamboating Terror with which the first Steamboat Inspired the Indians Keel 

and Platboating 585587 


CHAPTER I. II. The Reed and Donner Party Overwhelmed in a Snow Storm in the Sierra Nevada Moun- 
tainsDeath of John Snyder Ocher Deaths from Starvation and Exposure A Forlorn Hope 588601 

CHAPTER LIII. -Con tin nation of the Narrative of the Graves Tragedy Horrible Suffering at Starved 

Camp A Relief Party organized for the Rescue of the Survivors 602610 

CHAPTER LIV. The Narrative of the Graves Tragedy continued A Mother at Starved Camp 611-618 

CHAPTER LV. Continuation of the Narrative of the Graves Tragedy The Rescue Arrival of Capt. Fal- 
lon's Relief Party The Awful Spectacle which met their sight Kesebarg's Statement The Sur- 
vivors 619632 


Hennepin Township. Putnam County 635663 

Maunolia " " " 664-682 

Granville " ' " 663-670 

Senachwine " " " 671680 

Lacon " Marshall " 681-696 

Henry " " 696-707 

Evans " " " 708-728 

Hopewell " " " 729-733 

Roberta " " " 734-737 

BellePlain " " 738789 

bennineton " " " 740741 

Richland " " 742-743 

La Prairie " " 744750 

Hteuben " " " 751766 

Saratoga " " " 767768 

Wbitefield " " " 759-763 

Al'I'KNDIX.-Sandy Creek O. 8. Baptist Church-Clear Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Chnroh-Eman- 
uel Church of Granville - Mt. Palatine Congregational Church First Baptist Church of Lacon Cum- 
berland Presbyterian Church of Evans Township -Bethel Church, Stenben Sparland -Additional 
Biographies 766-771 








L N the 14th of October, 1492, Christopher Columbus, a Genoese 
mariner in the service of the King of Spain, while sailing 
westward in search of a new route to the Indies, discovered 
the island of San Salvador, then believed to be a new con- 
tinent. This voyage of Columbus, in its results of so vast 
importance to the civilized world, was inspired by a firm 
belief in the theory of the earth's rotundity, and an enthusi- 
astic desire to demonstrate its correctness; for though in 
the year 1356, one hundred and thirty-six years before, Sir John Mande- 
ville, in the first English book ever written, had advanced this idea, and 
clearly proved its correctness by astronomical observations and deductions 
of remarkable accuracy; and though others had vaguely entertained a 
similar belief, none possessed the hardihood to attempt its practical demon- 
stration. For ten years Columbus, an enthusiast upon the subject, aban- 
doning his profession, had traveled from court to court throughout Europe, 
seeking a patron of intelligence, enterprise and means, and finally succeeded 
in securing for his plans the earnest sympathy and approval of the noble 
Isabella, Queen of Castile, and her husband Ferdinand, King of Spain, 
through whose material aid he was enabled to test the correctness of his 

Immediately upon the result of this wonderful expedition becoming 
known, different nations vied^with each other in endeavors to advance 
their knowledge of this strange land, and each sought to secure to itself 



the greatest possible advantages to be derived from conquering, subduing 
and colonizing the new world. To Columbus was due the honor of 
finding, if not the lost and long sought Atlantis, what was of greater 
consequence, vast countries, destined in time to contain half the popula- 
tion of the whole earth. While he discovered San Salvador, Cuba, Hayti 
and Jamaica the rich West Indies he merely got a glimpse of South 
America, at the mouth of the Orinoco, and never saw any portion of the 
northern half of the continent, the future seat of empire of the new world. 
Though he was the actual discoverer of the Western Hemisphere, to which 
his name should have been given, he was denied that honor. He first 
landed upon San Salvador, after which he visited Conception, Cuba and 
Hayti. On the shores of the Bay of Caracola, in the last-named island, 
was erected out of the timbers of one of his vessels a fort,, the first struc- 
ture built by white men in the new world. 

While correct in his opinions regarding the figure of the earth, Colum- 
bus made a great mistake in his estimate of its size, believing it to be not 
more than ten or twelve thousand miles in circumference; and upon this 
assumption he was confident that by this route he could reach, if, in- 
deed, he had not already reached China and the East Indies. Encour- 
aged by his partial successful September of 1493 he sailed on a second 
voyage, which resulted in the discovery of the Windward group of islands. 
On this voyage, also, he established a colony in Hayti, appointing his 
brother Governor. 

After an absence of three years, he returned to Spain, to find himself 
the victim of jealousies and suspicions, but so far overcame them as to 
organize another expedition. On this third voyage he discovered Trinidad 
and the main land of South America at the mouth of the Orinoco. Sailing 
thence to Hayti, he found his colony in disorder, his brother deposed, and 
was liimself seized by Bobadilla, the usurping Governor, and sent to Spain 
in irons. A disgraceful imprisonment followed, but through the influence 
of friends he was liberated and sent on his fourth and last voyage. He 
coasted along the main shore of South America for some time, but disap- 
pointed in the object of his search a route to the East Indies he re- 
turned to Spain, and soon after died, a broken-hearted old man. 

After Columbus, the work of disco veiy was prosecuted with untiring 
energy. One of his captains was Americus Vespucci, who in 1499 visited 
the main land and coasted along its shores for several leagues ; but beyond 
demonstrating that the land to the west of the Windward group of islands 


was not connected with them or with the Bahamas, he accomplished very 
little. He was a pompous man, with a plausible way of expressing himself, 
and on his return gave glowing accounts of his achievements, in which he 
adroitly omitted all reference to Columbus, and took the credit to himself 
of having discovered the new continent, likewise ignoring the fact that it 
was the genius of Columbus which had organized the first expedition, his 
courage that sustained the enterprise, brought the voyage to so successful 
a termination, and rendered further discoveries an easy matter. Jt was 
Columbus who demonstrated that the earth was round, and that islands, 
and even continents yes, a hemisphere, was to be found in the world of 
waters toward the setting sun. The wily Spaniard undermined the worthy 
# Genoese, and won the honor due alone to him. The New World was 
named America, but the great, the lasting fame of its disco veiy remains 
with him whose prow first ploughed the Western seas. 

While the adventurous of all nations participated in the exploration of 
the New World during the succeeding century, the Spaniards, disappointed 
in their thirst for gold and plunder among the natives of North America, 
their rapacity inflamed by glowing accounts of the wealth of the Incas, 
and doubtless also influenced by the more congenial climate, directed 
their attention almost wholly to Mexico and South America, inflicting 
upon those countries to this day the enervating heritage of their own 
indolent, lawless and revolutionary propensities. Important discoveries 
within the territory now embraced by the United States were made by 
Spanish explorers, of which brief mention will be made in their proper 
connection, but the colonization and development of North America was 
fortunately left almost wholly to hardy pioneers from the more northerly 
European countries. 




'HILE to Spain is accorded the honor of having discovered 
the new world, there is a strong probability that the little 
sea-girt, ice-bound island in mid-ocean between Greenland 
and Norway, appropriately named Iceland, may justly 
dispute this distinguished claim. Away back as far as 
A. D. 986, an Icelandic navigator named Herjulfson, who 
had made a few voyages for trading purposes between his 
country and Greenland, while heading toward the land of 
the Esquimaux, was caught in a storm and driven on the coast of Lab- 
rador. He saw there a low outline of rocky and wooded shore, far 
different from that of Greenland. Although sufficiently near, a heavy 
sea prevented him from landing, and he coasted along until a favorable 
wind bore him homeward to tell to incredulous ears the wonderful story. 

Fourteen years afterward Lief Erickson, another Icelander, inspired by 
the story of Herjulfson, determined to test its truth, and gathering a crew 
of hardy Norse sailors, embarked, and in the spring of 1001 touched the 
coast of Maine, and thence drifted southward. Here he saw wonderful 
woods and flowers and wild game such as he had never before beheld, be- 
sides strange red men, wholly unlike the Esquimaux. This to him was a 
tropical clime, a region of enchanting loveliness, and his crew were loth 
to leave it. 

His brother Thorwald came in the following season, and died near 
Fall River, Massachusetts. Afterward others followed, including Thorfin 
Karlsefne, who, with a crew of 150 men, explored the entire coast of the 
New England States, entered New York Harbor, and established friendly 
relations with the Indians, giving the region the name of Vinland. 

From time to time as late as 1437, Icelandic explorers visited the 
north-eastern shores of this continent, but failed to establish permanent 
commercial relations with the Indians, having little to exchange, and small 
demand for what the aborigines had to barter. The gradually increasing 


severity of the arctic climate finally caused all Icelandic voyages hither to 
cease; but the story of their adventures and discovers exists in legend 
and history, and the claim that they first discovered America has a sub- 
stantial basis of fact to rest upon. 

Subsequently, in various places along the New England coast have 
been found relics of a strange race, such as spears and shields, helmets, 
lances, battle axes, and other weapons of war such as the Northmen used 
in the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth centuries. Culinary utensils have like- 
wise been found of the exact pattern of those of ancient Norway. 

The people of Iceland, unlike the Esquimaux, are clearly Europeans, 
in form, habits, religion and color, and their resemblance to their neighbors 
of Norway, six hundred miles eastward, is unmistakable. Between Iceland 
and the northernmost point of Scotland the distance is about five hundred 
miles, with the Faroe Isles intervening midway. But there seems little 
question of the Norwegian descent of the Icelanders. They connect them- 
selves by their chronicles with the f ormer countiy, which they left in open 
boats ages ago. They have old legends, religious beliefs and superstitions 
and ancient traditions in common with the mother country, and trace 
themselves to European ancestry. Their chronicles of the discovery of 
America are equally clear and credible. That they could have crossed 
from Norway 500 or 600 miles of sea, in open boats, with island resting 
places between shores, is no longer doubtful, since only recently the broad 
Atlantic was crossed in a frail craft navigated by a single daring mariner 
and his adventurous wife. 

A few years ago, beneath a rock near the coast was found the skeleton 
of a man encased in armor; and an ancient paper among the archives of 
Iceland tells how a sailor was killed in a skirmish with the natives, and 
his remains buried where he fell, at the foot of a precipice. 





'HE discovery of America was an event of great consequence 
to Europe. It not only marked out a new career for many 
of her people, but changed the destinies of whole nations. 
The safety of a tyrant lies in the ignorance and supersti- 
tion of his subjects. Knowledge is not only power, but 
freedom itself. The people were becoming enlightened, 
and in proportion as they advanced in wisdom, so the 
chains of political servitude became more galling, and far-off 
America, with her grassy plains, broad savannahs, leafy woods and 
crystal streams, loomed up before the' oppressed as a land of promise. 
Monarchy was in danger when the spirit of freedom was aroused, and it 
became a question of Revolution or Emigration ; and both the people and 
their rulers saw in the latter the surer, safer course. 

The people who first settled here found a wonderful contrast between 
the sterile soil of the old world, where the farmer forced a scanty subsis- 
tence from land not his own, and the broad forest regions of New England 
or the mountainous declivities of Virginia or North Carolina; for the land, 
though hilly, was rich virgin soil; and above all, it was free. Whatever 
the fanner raised was his own beyond the reach of rapacious tithes-gath- 
erers. To fell and clear these vast forests and remove from the sunny 
hillsides the stone was joyful work, since it was to make free homes for 
free men and their children forever. This labor of love would cause the 
wilderness to blossom as the rose. 

Luckily, the hardy pioneers who cleared the bleak hills of New Eng- 
land little dreamed of the far-off Eden of the West, made by nature ready 
for the plow, the richest, freest soil under the sun. For thousands of 
years, ever since man began to till the soil to get from it his bread, it had 
lain unturned, waiting the \vliitc man's coming. No soil had heretofore been 
found so rich as to require no dressing. No farm was believed possible 
until some one cut down the trees and removed the stumps and roots, or 


dug up and ' carried away or sunk out of sight and reach of the plow the 
larger stones that cumbered the surface. To tell the Puritans of a land 
still more perfect than their own was to insult their judgment with a 
fictitious impossibility ! 

And yet here lay this broad, beautiful, unsurpassably rich garden spot 
of the world. Here, extending from the copper mines and along the 
southern shore of the largest fresh water lake in the world Lake Su- 
perior, stretching around to the base of the Rocky Mountains, and Alienee 
eastward to the Alleghanies and south to the Gulf of Mexico, enclosing 
the mightiest lakes and the longest livers of the world the peerless 
Mississippi, the turbulent but even larger Missouri, the Platte, the Ohio, 
Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, .Tennessee, and many others, forming 
together a perfect system of drainage and fertilization, lay this grand 
country, the great Mississippi Valley, the richest agricultural region under 
the sun, so far as human knowledge goes. 

A great discovery was that of this grand central plain, once the basin 
of a vast inland sea long ages ago, when hideous monsters of the coal 
period disported themselves among the luxuriant weeds that grew as trees, 
and gigantic saurians hid beneath their branches or lazily wallowed in the 
oozy marsh. Long cycles of time have passed since this great inter-conti- 
nental ocean between the rising hills of the East and the frowning moun- 
tains of the West subsided its flood and slowly, by degrees marked by 
centuries, the finished world emerged from its' chaotic beginning. During 
that vast intermediate space what mighty throes of nature has it witnessed, 
what Titanic convulsions has it experienced? Then came great floods of 
water arid intense heat, followed by the glacial or cold period, when for 
centuries fields of ice hundreds of feet in depth ploughed up the surface 
and harrowed down the hills till, after eons of ages, came man not 
historic man", with his progressive faculties, but the pre-historic first attempt 
of nature toward the genus homo, the dweller in caves, possessing an abun- 
dance of low cunning, and fighting his way with sticks and stones among 
the swarming monsters of earth and sea. Then came the mound-builders 
and what is known as the Stone Age, supplemented by what are termed 
the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Whether these periods resulted from 
gradual progress, or 'were rudely broken off by long intervals of time, is 
not certain. History tells that after the fall of Greece and Rome came 
the Dark Ages, and man seemed to have degenerated thousands of years. 
So between the strongly marked characteristics of pre-historic races there 


may have been wide gaps of time, and nations rose and fell unnoted and 

The Indians whom our ancestors found here, in arts and sciences were-~ 
far behind the ancient people who once inhabited this country. They did 
not have the sagacity to provide for inclement weather or old age. Each 
day was for itself; and so their lives ran, either a feast or a famine. They 
had no traditions of former races, and knew nothing of their own previous 
histoiy. The numerous mounds that covered the countiy excited neither 
interest nor enthusiasm, and the red man is best described by Pope in the 
following lines : 

" To be, contents his natural desire ; 
He asks no angel's wing nor seraph's fire, 
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky, 
His faithful dog shall bear him company." 


The Mississippi River was first discovered by the Spaniards, in the year 
1541, at a point near its entrance into the Gulf of Mexico. Two years 
later Father Hennepin voyaged down the Illinois River to its confluence 
with the Mississippi, and launching his craft upon its rapid current, jour- 
neyed to the falls of St. Anthony, and returning, went as far southward as 
the thirty- third parallel, near the mouth of the Arkansas. These long 
voyages were prompted by Utopian dreams, the Spaniards seeking the 
fabled fountain of eternal youth, and the French a shorter route to China. 

In 1512, Juan Ponce de Leon, Spanish Governor of Porto Rico, one of 
the West India Islands, rich and avaricious, but growing old, fitted out a 
fleet and sailed in search of the fabled spring. On ths 27th of March, he 
came upon the coast of a wonderful land, abounding in limpid springs and 
wood-crowned hills, gay with gorgeous flowers, and tenanted by gaudy 
plumaged birds. He named this enchanting country Florida, "the land of 
flowers." Landing near the site of what is now the city of St. Augustine, 
the oldest town built by white men on this continent, and claiming the 
country for the King of Spain, he promptly organized and vigorously prose- 
cuted his search for the fabulous fountain. After many weeks of fruitless 
exploration among the everglades and flower-laden groves, he turned 
southward, discovered and named the Tortugas, doubled Cape Florida, and 
returned to Porto Rico. The king, to compensate him for the discovery, 


made him Governor of Florida, and sent him to establish a colony. He re- 
turned in 1521, to find the natives intensely hostile, instead of friendly and 
hospitable as before, and had scarcely landed ere they fell upon him in 
overwhelming numbers and drove his men to their ships, Ponce de Leon 
himself being so severely wounded that he died soon after reaching Cuba, 
for which point his expedition sailed in precipitate haste. 

In A. D. 1528, Narvaez was appointed Governor of Florida by the King 
of Spain, and sailed for that province with a force of two hundred and 
sixty footmen and forty horsemen. He landed at Tampa Bay in April, 
and went northward in search of gold and conquest; but where he hoped 
to find ancient cities and vast empires abounding in wealth, he discovered 
only morasses, lagoons and savages. After weeks of peril arid hardship 
they reached the coast, built light barges, and put to sea, but were driven 
by storms again upon the shore. Here Narvaez died. His lieutenant, 
De Vaca, at length reached the Spanish settlements in Mexico with a 
handful of men, having, as some historians allege, discovered the Mississippi 
on his way. As he seems not to have claimed that honor, however, and 
failed to formally take possession of it in the name of the King of Spain, 
as other Spanish discoverers were wont to do, his government never accred- 
ited him with that achievement. 

In 1537, Ferdinand de Soto, a distinguished cavalier of Spain and bosom 
friend of Pizarro, who as conqueror of Peru had just returned loaded with 
the wealth of the Incas, was made Governor of Florida, and came with six 
hundred men to conquer and subdue the country, expecting to find it a 
second Peru in wealth. His men were representatives of the nobility of 
Spain, clad in knightly armor, and they came with all the pomp and cir- 
cumstance of conquerors, bringing shackles for slaves, bloodhounds for 
hunting, and priests to conduct their religious exercises. In June, 1539, 
they first caught sight of land, but instead of the wondrous beauty deline- 
ated in Ponce de Leon's painting, they beheld but a silent beach of marshy 
waste and gloomy morass. Some of the men deserted and returned to 
Cuba. Landing with the remainder of his force, De Sato marched north- 
ward, wading swamps, swimming rivers, and fighting the Indians who 
hovered about his line of march, harrassing his column and seeking to im- 
pede his progress. They wintered in the country of the Apalachians, on 
the left bank of Flint River, and in the spring of 1540 resumed their 
tedious journey, wandering through the interminable wilderness until about 
April or May of 1541, when they reached the lower Chickasaw Bluff, a 


little north of the thirty-fourth parallel, where they discovered the Missis- 
sippi River. After crossing the " Father of Waters," a tedious process, 
requiring several weeks' time, they journeyed to the north- west through 
Arkansas to the southern limits of > Missouri, in the vicinity of New Mad- 
rid, thence w r est about two hundred miles, then south to the Hot Springs, 
where they arrived in the winter of 1541-2. They were guilty of many 
cruelties to the Indians, who were superstitious, and became easy victims 
to the duplicity of the gaudily attired Spaniards. Disappointed in muling 
wealth and spoils, they destroyed Indian towns and villages on their 
route, and cruelly mutilated their captives or burned them alive in pun- 
ishment for real, imaginary or pretended offences. But in the mean- 
time De Soto 'and his followers suffered terribly, sickness and death rapidly 
decimating their ranks. At length they turned eastward and again reached 
the Mississippi River, where De Soto, broken in health and spirits, gave 
way to melancholy, succumbed to the malarial fever incident to the climate 
and country, and finally died. His body was taken to the middle of the 
stream by his sorrowing companions, a requiem was chanted, and in a rustic 
coffin enclosing them, the remains of Ferdinand De Soto were buried be- 
neath the rolling waters of that mighty river w r hose discovery w f as the only 
important result of all his weary wanderings. His companions, after many 
months of further desultory travel over Texas, again reached the Missis- 
sippi, near the mouth of Red River, w r here they built seven brigan tines. 
In these they floated down the river to its mouth, whence they steered 
southwesterly across the Gulf of Mexico, and after fifty-five days' buffeting 
the terrible coast waves, three hundred and eleven survivors of this ill-fated 
expedition reached a Spanish settlement at the mouth of the'River of Palms. 
Other Spanish expeditions, notably those of Lucas Vasquez de Ayllori, 
Pamphilo de Xarvaez and Pedro Melendez, visited portions "of North 
America now comprised within the limits of the United States, mainly in- 
stigated by greed 'and characterized by atrocious cruelties, but devoid of 
important results. Spain retained possession of Louisiana, Florida and ' 
Texas, the former until the' year 1800, when it was ceded to France and in 
turn purchased by the United States; Florida until Feb. ~2'2, 1KU), when it 
was likewise purchased by the United States; and of Texas until lH:M,when 
it passed into the nominal possession' of Mexico, only, however, to raise 
the standard of insurrection, achieve speedy independence and sue for ad- 
mission to the glorious sisterhood Of States when the galling hand of des- 
potism bore too heavily upon the rights and liberties 'of her people. 





iS EARLY as 15 04, fishermen from the north of France sought 
the shores of New Foundland to ply their trade. A well 
executed map made in 150fi, and found among the archives 
of the nation, defines the outlines of the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence and the fishing grounds veiy accurately. In 1508 
two Indians picked up at sea were carried to France and edu- 
cated, afterward becoming very serviceable as interpreters. 
In 1501 Gaspar Cortereal, a Portuguese seaman, sailed 
on a voyage of discovery, and striking the continent somewhere near the 
latitude of Maine, coasted northward a distance of seven hundred miles, 
until near the fiftieth parallel, when floating ice stopped further progress. 
Returning, he captured about fifty Indian fishermen, and took them to 
Portugal, where they were sold as slaves. 

In 1523' an expedition was fitted out in France, consisting of four small 
vessels, three of which were wrecked in a storm before leaving the coast, 
but the fourth, the Dolphin, reached the coast of North Carolina, from 
whence the commander sailed northward as far as New Foundland, where 
he landed and took possession of the country in the name of the king, his 
master, and named it New France. 

In 1534 France sent a new and successful explorer to further view her 
new possessions here, in the person of James Cartier, who, after cruising 
about Nova Scotia and New Foundland, went north and westward, enter- 
ing the estuary of a broad river, which he named, in honor of his patron, 
St. Lawrence. He sailed up this great river past the island of Orleans, 
and extending his journey, reached a beautiful village at the foot of a hill 
in the middle of an island, the location of which had been described -to 'him 
by captive Indians. Ascending the hill and discovering the surroundings 
fully confirmative of what had been described by his Indian guides, he 
named the place Mont Real, and with the usual ceremony took possession 
in the name of the King of France. 


In 1541, about the date of De Soto's disco veiy of the Mississippi River, 
Cartier organized a new expedition from France. The fabulous stones of 
great wealth to be had without labor in the new world were now exploded, 
and the spirit of adventure was dying out; volunteers were slow to offer 
their services, and the king being appealed to, opened the prisons, filled 
with vermin from all parts of Europe, and proclaimed a free pardon for 
all who enlisted, excepting only such as were under sentence for coun- 
terfeiting or treason. By this means Carder's complement was speedily 
made up,' and with a crew of thieves, robbers and cut-throats, the future 
founders of a western empire, he reached the present site of Quebec, where 
he passed the winter. 

For the next fifty years the French seem to have made no effort to 
colonize New France, or to explore its territory. In 1603 De Monts was 
appointed Governor of the country from the latitude of Philadelphia to 
one degree north of Montreal. In 1604 he arrived, and after some reverses 
of fortune, in 1605 founded a permanent settlement on the northwest coast 
of Nova Scotia, and the whole country and surrounding islands, with the 
mainland as far south as the St. Croix River, was named Acadia. 

In 1608 Champlain, discoverer of the lake which bears his name, fore- 
seeing in the fur trade of that region a profitable business, susceptible of 
unlimited expansion, established trading posts for the advancement of that 
industry, and founded Quebec. He vigorously prosecuted this industry, 
the new world's contribution to commerce, yearly extending it up the 
river until 1624, when Fort St. Louis was completed, securing the French 
in their permanent occupancy of the St. Lawrence Valley. 

During this period the Jesuits of France were turning their attention 
to the far-off region of the then Northwest in America, with a view to 
planting the cross of the Catholic Church and converting to its tenets the 
inhabitants of this benighted wilderness. While priests had accompanied 
every expedition here, none had come as missionaries; but in 1632 Paul 
La Jeune, De Noue, and a lay brother named Gilbert sailed from Rouen 
for "that miserable country," as they called it, arriving at Quebec in the 
month of July. 

Le Jeune's first missionary effort was made while seated on a log, an 
Indian boy on one side, and a little negro, an attache of the garrison, on 
the other. As neither understood the language of the others, their pro- 
gress in spiritual matters must have been small. 

After learning the Indian language, he was better satisfied with his 


labors. Others joined him, ambitious young missionaries from the mother 
country, and sometimes folowing, more often preceding the fur traders up 
to and around the chain of the great lakes, they founded posts and missions 
throughout the far North-west to the southern shores of Lake Superior. 
Brave, resolute and self-sacrificing men were those pioneer missionaries. 
Voluntarily forsaking home, friends and country, they went out into the 
far-off wilderness before untrodden save by savage feet, devoting their 
lives to the propagation of their religious faith. Sublime faith, indeed, 
which prompted these heroic apostles of Christianity to place their' lives in 
momentary jeopardy, with death in its most temble form a continual 
menace. The death of Jean De Brebeuf, the founder of the Huron Mis- 
sion in Canada, together with his companion, Lalemont, was horrible be- 
yond description, and has never been exceeded in brutal ferocity or 
intensity of suffering. Savage ingenuity in torture could no farther go 
than in the horrible maiming, flaying alive and burning of these martyr 

In 1632, four years before the missions were formed among the lake 
tribes, a grand council of Indian tribes was held at the falls of St. Mary, 
at the outlet of Lake Superior. In 1660 Mesnard established a station 
near the lake, but perished in the woods soon after. In 1668 Claude 
Dablon and James or Jacques Marquette, afterward a leading character in 
the history of Western exploration, established the mission of Sault Ste. 
Marie, and two years later Nicholas Perrot, agent for M. Talon, Governor 
General of Canada, explored Lake Michigan (then Lake Illinois) to its 
southern limits, or near the present site of Chicago. Marquette also 
founded a mission at Point Saint Ignace, across the Strait of Mackinaw. 

During Marquette' s residence in that region he learned of the existence 
of a great sea or river away to the west, the Indian descriptions of which 
varied greatly; also, that great tribes of Indians inhabited this far off 
region, among them the Winnebagoes, or sea tribe, who had never seen 
the face of white man, nor heard of the Gospel. 

In 1634 Jean Nicolet, a Frenchman who had come to Canada in 1618, 
was sent to the Green Bay country to visit the Winnebagoes. He was the 
first white man they had ever seen. To produce the greatest possible 
effect, "when he approached their town he sent some of his Indian at- 
tendants to announce his coming, put on a robe of damask, and firing 
his pistols, advanced to meet the expectant crowd. The squaws and 
children fled, screaming that it was a manitou [god] or spirit, armed with 


thunder and lightning; but the chiefs and warriors regaled him with so 
bountiful a hospitality that a hundred and twenty beavers were devoured 
at a single feast." 

Paul Le Jeune in 1640 also wrote of the sea tribe, or Winnebagoes, 
and their mighty water, or sea. 

Nicolet undertook to visit this far away region. Ascending Fox River, 
he crossed the portage to the Wisconsin, and thence floated down to 
where his guides assured him he was "within three days of the great 
water," which he mistook for the sea; but he returned without visiting it. 

About this time the Governor of New France, excited by vague reports 
of a great unknown river in the far West, and believing it might empty 
into the Pacific or the South Sea, set on foot an expedition to solve the 
question and open up new territories for his sovereign. He cast about for 
some one qualified to undertake this expedition, and settled upon Louis 
Joliet, a daring fur trader of Quebec and a native Canadian, educated by 
the Jesuits for the priesthood ; and to accompany him as priest, the equally 
venturesome and brave Marquette was chosen. Their outfit was synple, 
consisting of two birch-bark canoes and a supply of smoked meat and 
Indian corn. On the 17th of May, 1673, they set out from Mackinaw 
with five French Canadians as assistants, and passing the straits, and along 
the .northern shores of Lake Michigan, reached Green Bay and sailed 
up Fox River to a village of the Miamis and Kickapoos. Here Marquette 
was delighted to find a beautiful cross in the middle of the town, orna- 
mented with white skins and bows and arrows, offerings of the heathen to 
their Manitou, or god. The pioneers were regaled with mineral waters, 
and instructed in the secrets of a root which cured the bite of the rat- 
tlesnake. Marquette assembled the chiefs and pointed out Joliet to them 
as. an envoy of France, while he introduced himself as an embassador of 
God to enlighten them with the Gospel. Two guides were furnished to 
conduct them to the Wisconsin River. The guides led them across the 
portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, and left them to launch 
their barques on its unknown waters and float to regions where white men 
had never yet ventured. As they started on that strange voyage, they 
remembered the warnings received at an Indian village a few days before, 
on Fox River, where they tarried. The chiefs advised them "to go no 
further; that the banks of the great river were inhabited by ferocious 
tribes, who put all strangers to death; that the river was full of frightful 
monsters, some of which were large enough to swallow a canoe with all its 


contents; that at a high cliff by the river side lived a demon, whose roar 
was so loud as to shake the earth and destroy all boats passing up or 
down the stream; and, that the great liver was full of cataracts and whirl- 
pools which would surely engulf and destroy them." 

But Father Marquette had before starting put all his trust in the 
"Blessed Virgin," and made a solemn vow that if he discovered the great 
river he would give it the name of "The Conception," in her honor. So 
the, voyagers floated on, and were not afraid. After, four days of rapid 
sailing, they. reached the mouth of the river, and on their right lay the ter- 
raced plain afterward the site of the fort and city of Prairie duChien. A 
couple of days they tarried, and then launched their frail barques on the 
broad bosom of the "Father of Waters," "with a joy that could not be 

..Turning southward, they paddled down the rapid stream, their voyage 
unrelieved by the faintest trace of , civilized life, but encountering at inter- 
vals and viewing with wonder great herds of buffalo. Marquette describes 
the fierce yet stupid and bewildered look, the mixture of fear and defiance 
of the old bulls of the herds who stood staring at the intruders through 
the tangled manes of their bushy heads as the canoes floated past. 

They proceeded with extreme caution, not knowing what moment the 
savage war-whoop might startle their ears, the prelude to their capture 
or speedy death; landing at night to cook their meals, and hiding their 
retreat as well as they could, or anchored in the stream, always keeping a 
sentinel on watch. , , 

Thus they journeyed a fortnight without meeting a human being, when 
on the 25th of June they saw foot-prints of men in the mud on the west 
branch of a stream. Joliet and Marquette followed the trail at a hazard- 
ous venture across a prairie two leagues, when they discovered an Indian 
village on the lbanks,of, a river, probably near the present site of Burling- 
ton, Iowa. Here they found a tribe of Illinois Indians, and were welcomed 
in the fashion of these people. "An extensive feast of .four courses was 
set. First came a wooden bowl of Indian meal, boiled with grease, the 
master of ceremonies feeding his guests like infants, with a spoon; next a 
platter of fish, the same functionary carefully removing the bones with his 
fingers and blowing on the morsels to cool them before placing them in the 
strangers' mouths. A large dog, killed for the occasion, furnished the next 
course; but not relishing this, a dish of fat buffalo meat ended the feast," 


Next morning, escorted by six hundred of the people, the Frenchmen re- 
turned to the river and resumed their journey. 

They passed the mouth of the Illinois, discovering "The Ruined 
Castles," as they named the fantastic markings of the rocks at that point, 
produced by the action of the elements. The superstitious fears of the 
Canadian attendants were here aroused by the sight on the face of the rock 
of a pair of painted monsters, "with horns like a deer, red eyes,,and a beard 
like a tiger ; the face resembled that of a man, the body was covered with 
scales, and the tail was so long that it passed entirely around the body, 
over the head and between the legs, ending like that of a fish." This rock 
.was near the ; site of the present city of Alton, and represented the Indian 
manitou, or god. 

Soon after passing these monsters they encountered another terror, a 
toiTent of yellow mud, rushing across the current of the clear, blue Missis- 
sippi, boiling, surging, and sweeping in its course logs, branches, and 
uprooted trees. "This was the great Missouri River, where that savage 
stream, descending in its mad career through a vast unknown region of 
barbarism, poured its turbid floods into the bosom of its gentle sister." 
Their light canoes were whirled on the surface of the muddy vortex like 
dry leaves in the eddies of an angry brook. 

They passed the lonely forest which covered the site of the future city 
of St. Louis, passed the mouth of the river upon which the Indians be- 
stowed the well-deserved name of "Ohio," meaning "Beautiful River," 
and still floating onward, reached the region of perpetual summer, the 
reedy, marsh-lined shores buried in dense forests of cane, with its tall, 
straight stems and feathery foliage, the land of cotton and sugar. 

Above the mouth of the Arkansas they found a tribe of Indians who 
had evidently been in communication with Europeans, for they were armed 
with guns, knives and hatchets, wore gannents of cloth, and carried their 
gunpowder in bottles of thick glass. Here they were cheered by the in- 
telligence that they were only ten days from the mouth of the great river, 
when in fact more than one thousand miles remained to be traversed ere 
its waters found an outlet and mingled with those of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Floating down the stream day after day, past marsh-lined shores 
covered with evergreens, from which depended long streamers of funereal 
moss, the dreary monotony and awful stillness almost frightened them, 
and they grew strangely superstitious. Near the mouth of the Arkansas 
River they landed at an Indian village, and found the inhabitants intensely 


hostile, threatening extermination; but a little strategy saved them. A 
few days later they encountered another tribe of naked savages, who 
proved as hospitable as the others were hostile. They were feasted pro- 
fusely, and in return Marquette made them some simple presents and set 
up a large cross on shore. 

By this time they were convinced the Mississippi neither flowed into 
the Pacific Ocean nor the Gulf of California, and disheartened by reports 
of savage tribes below, and wearied with their long voyage, Marquette 
determined on returning, and on the 17th of June the voyagers turned 
their prows up the stream. The fierce rays of the sun beat upon their 
unprotected heads, and Marquette was prostrated with dysentery, which 
came near ending his life ; but his strong constitution carried him through 
until a healthier climate was reached, when he rapidly recovered. 


These intrepid travelers had discovered the Mississippi, and rode upon 
its broad bosom from the Wisconsin to within a few hundred miles of its 
mouth, passing successively, at the confluence of each with the majestic 
stream upon which they journeyed, the Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas 
and other mighty rivers, and were now about to extend their discoveries 
by a voyage up the Illinois, whose limpid waters and wood-crowned hills 
no white man had ever yet beheld. They entered its mouth probably in 
August, 1673, and followed its course, "charmed as they went with its 
placid waters, its shady forests, and rich plains grazed by the bison' and 
the deer." 

The beauty of the river was highly extolled by Marquette. He says : 
"Nowhere on this journey have I seen a more pleasant country than on 
the banks of that river. The meadows are covered with wild oxen, stags, 
wild goats, and the rivers and lakes with bustards, swans, ducks and 
beavers. We saw, also, an abundance of parrots. Several small rivers 
fall into this, which is deep and broad for sixty-five leagues, and therefore 
navigable all the year long." 

On the way they stopped at a place ever afterward famous in the 
annals of western discovery, the great Illinois Town (near Utica, in 


LaSalle County), called "Kaskaskia," a name afterward transferred to a 
French village in another part of Illinois. Here a young chief with a 
band of warriors offered to guide the explorers to Lake Illinois (now Lake 
Michigan), whither they went, and coasting its shores, reached Green 
Bay at the end of September, having, in an absence of about four months, 
paddled in their canoes a distance of over two thousand five hundred 
miles, traversed the Wisconsin, the Illinois and Lake Michigan, discov- 
ered the Mississippi, and explored the great valley for two-thirds of its 
entire length from north to south. 

Marquette rested awhile from the severe strain to his mental and 
physical organization resulting from his long and perilous expedition, and 
then resumed his labors among the Indians. He visited the Illinois 
tribes again, established "missions" at several places in the Northwest, and 
finally, when, old and worn out, as he was traversing the southern shore of 
Lake Michigan, death overtook him. Retiring to pray, as was his wont, and 
being absent longer than usual, his attendants sought his retreat and found 
him dead upon his knees. His faithful Indians placed the remains in a mde 
bark coffin and bore him upon their shoulders for sixty miles, to his friends, 
where he was accorded Christian burial. Afterward the little chapel be- 
neath which he was interred was burned down, the mission was moved 
elsewhere, and for many years the site of his grave was lost, until acci- 
dent revealed it. Nearly two hundred years later a project was set on 
foot to erect a monument to his memoiy, but which has not at this writ- 
ing been carried into effect. 

It is said that for many years after the death of Marquette, French 
sailors on the lakes kept his picture nailed to the masthead of their ves- 
sels,^ a guardian angel, and when overtaken by storms, would pray to 
him, beseeching him to calm the winds and still the troubled waters, that 
they might reach port in safety. 

Joliet, on leaving Marquette at Green Bay, at the conclusion of their 
eventful voyage, started to Quebec to make his official report to Governor 
Frontenac; but at the foot of the rapids of La Chine his canoe was over- 
turned, two of his men drowned and all his papers lost, himself narrowly 
escaping. In his letter to Count Frontenac, he says : " I have escaj>ed 
every peril from Indians, I have passed forty-two rapids, and was on the 
point of disembarking, full of joy at the final completion of so long and 
difficult an enterprise, when my canoe capsi/ed, and I lost two men and 



my box of papers within sight of the French settlements which I had left 
two years before." 

After a long and useful life in the employ of his government, he died 
in 1699 or 1700, and was buried on one of the Islands of Mignon. 





1643 was born at Rouen, France, Robert Cavelier, known as 
La Salle. He had wealthy parents, and was well educated. 
A Catholic, his training was conducted by the Jesuits, but he 
seems not to have been over-zealous in his religion. He had 
an older brother in Canada, and to him he sailed to view the 
new country and carve out a career for himself. Soon after 
his arrival his genius began to manifest itself. The priests 
of St. Surplice, of which order his brother was a member, 
desired to establish a line of posts along the great lakes to 
the farthest limits of French discovery, to secure the fur trade and control 
the Indians. Young La Salle was chosen to lead this enterprise. He did 
his work well, and in the meantime mastered the Iroquois and seven or 
eight other Indian languages and dialects. He had heard of a river which 
the Indians called the Ohio, which he was told by them rose in their 
countiy, flowing into the sea, but its mouth was eight or nine months' 
journey from them. He concluded that the Ohio and Mississippi merged 
into one, and, thus united, flowed into the " Vermillion Sea" or Gulf of 
California, and must be the long-sought route to China. After many de- 
lays, he succeeded in fitting out an expedition, descended the Ohio to the 
falls at Louisville, and returned. During the years 1669-70 and '71, La- 
Salle's whereabouts seem to have been an enigma to all historians. He 
has left records which establish a possibility that he discovered the Illi- 
nois and even the Mississippi Rivers, before Joliet and Marquette, but 
there is nothing positive to assure it. It is agreed that he seceded from 
an expedition of Jesuits organized at Fort St. Louis, Sept. 30, 1669, near 
the head of Lake Ontario, and, receiving the blessings of the priests, left 
them, ostensibly to return to Montreal. It seems that he busied himself 
in active explorations, kept a journal, and made maps, which were in ex- 
istence in the hands of his neice, Madeline Cavelier, as late as 1756, and 
then disappeared. It is claimed that among these papers was a statement 
showing that after leaving the priests he went from Lake Erie down the 


Ohio, and thence followed the Mississippi to the thirty-third parallel ; 
also, another statement that in the winter of 1669-70 he embarked on Lake 
Erie, passed around to Lake Michigan, crossed over to a river flowing- 
westward (the Illinois), and following it down, entered a larger one flow- 
ing south (the Mississippi), and descended it to the thirty-sixth degree of 
latitude, where he stopped, assured that it discharged itself, not into the 
Gulf of California, but that of Mexico. As he and the priests had 
started on the same mission, that of discovering the great river, it may be 
that this report was manufactured so as to take the glory of this flrst dis- 
covery away from them ; but La Salle was a man of a far higher order of 
integrity and character than this supposition would imply. That he dis- 
covered the Ohio is certain, but whether he saw the Illinois before Joliet 
and Marquette is doubtful, and the alleged voyage by him to the Missis- 
sippi is still more so. 

In 1678 La Salle seemed to have determined upon achieving what 
Champlain had vainly attempted the opening of a passage across the 
continent to India and China, to occupy the Great West, develop its re- 
sources, and anticipate the English and Spanish in its possession; and 
now that he was convinced that the Mississippi flowed into the Gulf of 
Mexico, he would establish a fortified post at its mouth, thus securing the 
outlet for the trade of the interior, and check the progress of the Span- 
iards, the enemies of his king. Spain already laid claim to the mouth of 
the Mississippi and what afterward came to be known as Louisiana, by 
virtue of discovery, and the ambitious Count Frontenac, Governor Gen- 
eral of Canada, determined to prevent an extension of their territory, 
worked out the plan before referred to, and selected La Salle as the right 
man to execute it. 

He chose his men for the voyage, but when all was in readiness Fron- 
tenac had not the necessary means, and La Salle was obliged to seek aid 
in France. There, also, he received nothing better than the privilege of 
doing anything he could for the glory of France, at his own expense ! 
Not only that, he was limited in the accomplishment of his mighty 
schemes to five years' time. His relatives, who were rich, finally helped 
him to money, and he sailed to Canada with thirty men, sailors, carpenters 
and laborers, among whom was the afterward famous Hemy de Tonti, an 
Italian officer, one of whose hands had been blown off in the Sicilian 
wars, and he wore a substitute of iron. 

La Salle needed a priest for his exploring party, and Father Louis 


Hennepin was secured for that sei-vice. When arrayed for his journey 
the priest wore a coarse gray capote with peaked hood, sandals on his 
feet, the cord of St. Francis about his waist, and a rosary and crucifix 
hanging at his side. He carried a sort of portable altar with him, whicli 
he could strap on his back like a knapsack. The party rendezvous was at 
Fort Frontenac, where Kingston now stands. La Salle at once dispatched 
fifteen men in canoes to Lake Michigan, to open a trade with the Indians 
and collect provisions, while La Motte and Hennepin, with a crew of men 
in a small vessel, were sent up the Niagara River, and after many hard- 
ships disco vered the Great Falls. In the meantime La Salle, sailing with 
the Tinto to bring supplies to the advance party at Niagara, had suffered 
the loss of his ^vessel, which was wrecked, and he reached the rendezvous 
at Niagara on foot. But not discouraged, he set about the construction 
of a fort and palisade, and also a new vessel, the Griffin. Leaving his 
men at work, he made his way back to Frontenac, a distance of two hun- 
dred and fifty miles, through snow and over ice, for fresh supplies. He 
returned in July, the Griffin was launched, and they sailed away Au- 
gust 7, 1G79, in all thirty-four men. He made his voyage around the 
lakes to Green Bay, and loading the Griffin with furs, sent her back to 
appease his clamorous creditors. She foundered on the way, and was 
never more heard of. 

La Salle, with fourteen men in four canoes, now started southward on 
Lake Michigan, and after escaping perils by storm and suffering from 
hunger and cold, reached St. Joseph, on the southern shore of the 
lake, in safety. Here Tonti was to have joined him with twenty men, but 
did not arrive until twenty days afterward; bringing a sad tale of disaster 
to his men and loss of supplies. 

On the 8th of December, 1679, La Salle, with a party of thirty-three 
persons, ascended the St. Joseph until the well-known portage was reached, 
where they dragged their canoes a distance of five miles to the waters of 
the Kankakee, a confluent of the Illinois, down which they paddled. 
While looking for the crossing La Salle was lost in a snow storm, remain- 
ing out one day and a night before reaching camp. 

"The stream, which at its source is narrow and fed by exudations from 
a spongy soil, widens quickly into a river, down which they floated through 
a lifeless solitude of dreary, barren oak openings. At night they built fires 
on the ground, made firm by frost, and bivouacked among the rushes. A 
few days brought them to the prevailing characteristic scenery of the 


Illinois. On the right and left stretched boundless prairies, dotted with 
leafless groves and bordered by gray forests, scorched by the fires kindled 
in the dried grass by Indian hunters, and strewn with the bleached skulls 
and bones of innumerable buffalo. At night the horizon glowed with 
distant fires, and by day the savage hunters could be descried roaming on 
the verge of the prairies." 

This soon changed to woody hills, which from their summits disclosed 
a rolling se?t of dull gray prairie, recently swept by fire, and everywhere, 
as far as the eye could reach, a boundless pasture for vast herds of rumi- 
nant animals. 

They passed the mouth of Fox River, the future site of Ottawa, saw 
Buffalo Rock towering isolated in the valley, and below it the far-famed 
Starved Rock, a lofty cliff, crested with trees that overhung the rippling 
current, while before them spread the broad valley of the river, along 
whose right bank was the " Great Illinois Town," or chief village of the 
Illinois Indians, containing, according to Hennepin, four hundred and 
sixty lodges. The town was deserted. The people had gone away on 
their annual fall hunt, but La Salle supplied himself with corn from their 
caches, and pursued his voyage to perhaps near the mouth of what is now 
Bureau Creek, where he landed, and sent out a party to hunt buffalo a 
herd being seen a short distance from the river. Two animals were killed, 
when the hunters returned to camp. The following day being New 
Year's, Jan. 1st, 1680, the voyageurs went on shore at a point thought 
by some writers to have been in the vicinity of Hennepin, where they 
set up an altar and celebrated mass. 

Re-embarking, the party passed down the river, through what are now 
Marshall and Putnam counties, on the 1st, 2d and 3d days of January, 
1680, two hundred years ago, and on January 4th entered Lake Pimiboni, 
"a place where there are many fat beasts," or Peoria Lake, and thence 
down to the lower end, where La Salle proposed to erect a fort. The na- 
tives who met him were kind, but told of adjoining tribes who were 

Continuing their journey, and passing through a somewhat narrow 
passage, they rounded a point, and beheld about eighty wigwams along 
the bank of the river. The Indians crowded the shore at the unwonted 
sight, while La Salle marshalled his men, and with the canoes abreast 
and every man armed, pulled into the bank and leaped ashore. The In- 
dians were disposed to resent the strange intrusion, but La Salle held 


aloft the calumet, the Indian sign of peace, and the amicable token was 
accepted, and a feast of welcome was spread for the weary voyagers. 

The Indians, as a token of highest courtesy, conveyed the food to 
the mouths of their guests, and rubbed their feet with bear's grease. 
When these somewhat extravagant courtesies were over, and all had eaten 
to repletion, La Salle told whence he came and whither he was going ; 
spoke of the great king, his master, who owned all the country, and gra- 
ciously promised them protection provided they remained his friends ; to 
all of which they assented. 

La Salle had left behind him in Canada some bitter and relentless ene- 
mies, who had followed him even to this remote region in the West. 
During his first night here, an emissary from them, a Mascoutin chief, arid 
four or five Miamis, came bringing knives, hatchets and kettles to the Illi- 
nois, and while La Salle was in his camp, after leaving the tribe who had 
been feasting him, and whose friendship he thought he had secured, these 
intriguers assembled the chiefs in secret conclave and denounced La Salle 
as a spy from the Iroquois, the deadly foe of the Illinois. 

Hennepin, in his work printed in 1724, charges the Jesuits with being 
at the bottom of this work, naming Allouez, a prominent member of that 
order, and La Salle's enemy, as one of the prime movers. 

In the morning, La Salle saw a change in the countenances and be- 
havior of his hosts. They looked at him askance and sullen. At length 
one of them, whom the day before he had more completely won over than 
the rest, by liberal presents, came and gave him the secret. La Salle saw 
in this the device of his enemies, and his suspicions were confirmed at a 
feast given in the afternoon. The chief told the Frenchmen, before eat- 
ing, that they had been invited there to refresh their bodies and cure their 
minds of the dangerous purpose of descending the Mississippi. Its shores 
were not only beset by savage tribes in fearful numbers, against whom 
their courage would avail nothing, but its waters were infested by ser- 
pents, alligators and unnatural monsters, while hidden rocks, whirlpools 
and other dangers awaited them. La Salle, however, cared not for these; 
he feared more the secret machinations of his enemies. He astonished 
them by a knowledge of the secret council of the previous night, and 
charged that the presents given by his enemies were at the very moment 
of his speech hidden under the floor where they sat. He demanded the 
presence of the spies and liars who had come in the night to traduce him, 


and dare not meet him to his face, in the light of day. This speech qui- 
eted the chiefs, and the feast went on. 

Next morning LaSalle found that six of his men, two of his best car- 
penters, had deserted and left him. This loss, together with the lurking, 
half mutinous discontent of others, cut him to the heart. Not only this, 
but an attempt was actually made to poison him. Tonti informs us, "that 
poison was placed in the pot in which the food was cooked, but LaSalle 

was saved by a timely antidote. 

. .... . v 

Feeling insecure in his position he determined to leave, the Indian 

camp and erect a fort, where he could be better able to protect himself. 
He set out in a canoe with Hennepin to visit the site for this projected 
fort. It was half a league below on the southern bank of the river, or 
lake, and was intended to be a very secure place. On either side was a 
deep ravine, and in front a low ground, which overflowed in high water. 
It was completely isolated by the ravine and ditches, and surrounded by 
lofty embankments, guarded by a chevaux de frise, while a palisade 
twenty-five feet high surrounded the whole. This fort he called Creve 
Coeur (broken heart). The many disasters he had encountered the toil, suf- 
fering and treachery, coupled with the attempt to take his life, were quite 
enough to suggest the idea of a broken heart. After a time he took courage, 
and not having abandoned his grand scheme of going down to the sea, 
collected and organized such scanty means as he had and began to build 
another ship. While engaged upon this work, he concluded that he might 
get more valuable service out of Hennepin as a voyageur than as a preach- 
er, and much to that priest's surprise, remonstrance and regret, put him in 
a canoe, provided him with two men as companions, gave him food and 
presents for the Indians, and instructed him to explore the Illinois River 
to its mouth. Hennepin wrote, "Anybody but me would have been very 
much frightened at the dangers of such a journey, and, in fact, if I had 
not placed all my trust in God, I should not have been the dupe of La- 
Salle, who exposed my life rashly." 


This intrepid explorer was inspired by extreme religious fervor, and 
possessed a courage almost superhuman. He left an extensive account of 
his experience in the wilderness, but historians are compelled to recognize 


in him habits of exaggeration especially commendatory of his own lofty 
achievements, far above his merit. His vicious attempts to malign his 
commander, LaSalle, and defraud him of laurels justly won, have materi- 
ally detracted from an otherwise glorious record. 

He published a book soon after his return, and while LaSalle was still 
alive, in which he says he went down to the mouth of the Illinois River, 
and thence followed the Mississippi to the mouth of the Wisconsin, where 
he was captured by Indians. Fourteen years later, and after LaSalle was 
dead, he issued a new edition in which he makes a new and surprising 
revelation, claiming to have explored the whole course of the Mississippi 
to the sea, and returning went up the Wisconsin, where he was captured. 
He gives as a reason for not divulging this before, that "his personal 
safety required him to keep silent while LaSalle lived, who wished to re- 
tain all the glory and honor of the discovery. But the two statements 
conflict so materially as to dates and in other circumstances, and especially 
improbable is the time given for the accomplishment of his southern voy- 
age and return, that he is veiy justly disbelieved. Enough, however, of 
both stories has been gathered and corroborated by other testimony to 
make it certain that the party of .three men, of whom Accau, or Ako was 
the leader (and not Hennepin, as he pompously pretends), did proceed 
down the Illinois in the spring of 1G80, to its mouth, and thence to the 
Wisconsin, where on the llth or 12th of April, as they stopped one after- 
noon to repair their canoe, a war party of Sioux swept down and earned 
them off. The prisoners, after innumerable hardships, were taken up the 
Mississippi two hundred miles north-west of the falls of St. Anthony, 
and after two years, were released by a small party of fur traders under 
Greylson du Thut, or (Du Luth), who obtained their freedom, and Hen- 
nepin went to Canada, and thence to France, where he died at an ad- 
vanced age. 


On the 2d of March, 1G80, LaSalle, leaving Fort Creve Coeur in com- 
mand of Tonti, with five men embarked for Canada. They reached Peoria 
Lake and found it sheeted with ice, and had to drag their canoes up the 
bank and through the forest lining its shores. 

They constructed two rude sledges, placed the canvas and baggage 
upon them, and dragged them four leagues through the woods, till they 


reached an open current above the lake. Launching their frail barks they 
paddled on until masses of ice too heavy to be broken stopped further pro- 
gress, again they loaded their canoes and hauled them two leagues over 
a frozen marsh, where they encamped in a rain storm in an old Indian 
hut. On he morning of the 3d of March they pursued their way on land 
a league and a half further, then launched them and breaking the ice with 
hatchets, forced their way up stream. Thus on land and^ice and in the 
water they plodded their weary way until at length they reached the 
great Illinois town, still without inhabitants. On the following day bhas- 
sagoac, the principal chief of the town, and two followers, returned from 
their hunt, and a friendly acquaintance was made, the chief promising to 
send fresh meat to Tonti at Creve Coeur. 

Here LaSalle first observed the remarkable and afterwards historic cliff 
since called "Starved Rock," and determined to erect a fort thereon, sending 
word to Tonti of his intention, and instructing him to make it his strong- 
hold in time of need. On the 15th he continued his journey. The trip 
was a repetition of their experience below. On the 18th they reached a 
point near the present site of Joliet, where they hid their canoes and 
struck across the country for Lake Michigan. This part of their route 
was even more laborious and difficult than what had been passed. For 
many miles the country was a vast morass covered with melting snow and 
ice. A river (the Calumet) and innumerable swollen streams had to be 
crossed ere they reached the shores of Lake Michigan, around which they 
passed, and traversing the peninsula of Michigan, arrived at Detroit, and 
finally on Easter Monday reached Niagara, after sixty-five days of severe 
toil. He had in the meantime received disastrous news from Tonti, whose 
men, described as "two faithful persons and twelve knaves," had revolted. 
"The knaves," after destroying Fort Creve Coaur, had followed LaSalle, 
and having gained recruits now numbering twenty men had plundered 
the magazine at Niagara, and were on the road to waylay and murder 
LaSalle. Hastily gathering a few brave men, he went back to give them 
battle. Taking position where neither himself nor men could be seen, he 
watched the enemy slowly approach, their canoes widely separated. At- 
tacking them in detail, he killed two men and took the restprisoners, 
sending them to Fort Frontenac for trial. 

With characteristic energy, La Salle prepared for another voyage of 


discoveiy. With the aid of friends, he appeased his creditors and raised 
the means to equip an expedition; and with twenty-five men, on the 
1 Oth of August, he set out, taking his f omier course around the lakes 
and down the Kankakee, arriving at Starved Rock, Dec. 1, 1680, to 
find the great Indian town at its base in utter ruin and desolation. 
The Iroquois had, only a few days before, swept down upon its people 
and massacre^them, men, women and children, leaving their charred re- 
mains and ghastly skeletons only, to tell the awful tale. Six posts painted 
red, on each of which was drawn in black the figure of a man with eyes 
bandaged, led him to infer that these represented Tonti and his party, as 

He pushed on down to Fort Creve Cceur, which he found demolished, 
though the vessel which he had built was entire, save the nails and iron 
spikes, which had been drawn. Leaving this, he continued his voyage, 
until he reached the mouth of the Mississippi, the great object of his 
dreams and ambition. 

Leaving a sign and a letter for Tonti, he returned the same way, to 


Although failure and disaster had attended all previous efforts to 
carry out his grand scheme, the intrepid explorer determined on another 
effort. Much time was spent in organizing a new expedition. He had 
heard of Tonti's safe arrival among the Pottawatomies, near Green Bay, 
and sent for him. He next journeyed to the Miami Village, at the head 
of the Kankakee, made a speech to the Indians thwe assembled in grand 
council, and set forth some of his plans, going thence to Michilimacinac, 
where he found Tonti and his followers, and returned again to Fort 

Some time was spent in organizing another expedition, but in the fall 
of 1681 his party, consisting of twenty-three Frenchmen, ten women, 
three children, and eighteen Indians who had fought with King Philip 
against the Puritans of New England - - in all fifty-four persons - - em- 
barked, and reached the present site of Chicago December 21. 

The nvers were tightly frozen up, and constructing sledges, they 
loaded up their canoes and hauled them over the ice and snow to Peoria. 
Dwellers along the river can appreciate the hardships of transporting a 


party of fifty-four persons, with clothing, baggage and provisions, a dis- 
tance of two hundred miles, in mid- winter. 

On the 6th of February, 1682, LaSalle and his party entered the Missis- 
sippi, and sailed down to its mouth. They found a different reception 
from what was experienced upon former expeditions, and occasionally had 
to fight their way ; but on the 6th of April they gained the sea, where 
La Salle erected a column bearing the arms of France, and in a formal 
proclamation took possession of the country of Louisiana in the naine of 
the king, from the mouth of the Mississippi to the Ohio, and from the 
River of Palms (the Rio Grande) on the west, and all nations, peoples, 
provinces, etc., to the frozen northernmost limits. The Louisiana of La 
Salle stretched from the Alleghanies to the Rocky Mountains, and from 
the Gulf of Mexico to British America the great Mississippi Valley. 

Here he rested until his recovery from a severe illness, and then re- 
turned to the Straits of Michilimacinac, where, hearing the Iroquois were 
about to renew their attacks on his friends the Illinois, he ordered Tonti 
to fortify Starved Rock, where he joined him in December, 1682. The 
work was named Fort St. Louis, and consisted of earthworks, with 
strong palisades in the rear, while wary sentinels mounted guard at the 
only practicable approach. The remains of these works are still visible, 
after a lapse of two hundred years. 

La Salle proposed founding a colony and a trading depot for the West, 
where he should rule and reign like some great feudal lord, and thus con- 
trol the entire country. The Illinois Indians were delighted at seeing 
such a redoubtable warrior begin to fortify here, not only to defend him- 
self, but to protect them, as he had promised. They returned to their 
ruined city, and began to rebuild it on a larger scale than ever. Other 
tribes also came to join in a confederacy of peace and unity, and make the 
Indian town their capital. But La Salle was becoming the victim of new 
and complicated difficulties. 

La Barre, the new Governor, a most despicable character, became his 
enemy, and began to undermine and traduce the great explorer to the 
king. La Salle was thus compelled to return to France, and lay the his- 
tory of his many adventures before His Majesty. His character was fully 
vindicated, new honors were heaped upon him, and he was sent to the 
Gulf of Mexico to conquer the Spanish, then at war with France. 

He sailed with four ships, two hundred and fifty men, and a good sup- 
ply of provisions and materials with which to start a colony. Associated 


with him in command was a man named Beaujeau, who proved the evil 
genius of the expedition. He quarrelled with La Salle, and did all in his 
power to thwart him. 

One of the ships was lost on the way, another was taken by the 
Spaniards, and Beaujeau deserted with one ship and returned. La Salle 
was wrecked on the coast, and endured all maimer of hardships while 
wandering in the interior of what is now Texas. 

At length, while making his way overland to Canada, at a point sup- 
posed to be somewhere near Arkansas Post, he was assassinated by one of 
his followers, March 19, 1687. 

Thus perished, at the age of 43, one of the most remarkable of men, 
whose history is embalmed in the imperishable records of the New World. 





death of LaSalle practically ended the era of discovery on 
this continent. The great lakes had been located and the 
lines of the principal rivers marked out, and what remained 
to be done was hereafter to be accomplished by private en- 
terprise. The English colonized New England and laid the 
basis of the great Republic, and the French settled Canada, 
establishing a series of military and trading posts in the 
Northwest, to control the fur trade and hold possession of 
the country. The English colonists pushed across the Alleghanies, and in 
the deep forests of the Ohio encountered the French, and sharp contests 
ensued that were duly reported at the Court of St. James and at Versailles. 
Great events were rapidly ripening, and the French and Indian war of 
1754-63, ending in the discomfiture of the French, and the transfer of the 
country to the English, was the result. In this contest, the few colonists 
in the Mississippi Valley, took little part or interest. The Northern In- 
dian nations sympathised with the French, and parties from the prairies 
joined them in incursions against 1 the New England colonists, but when 
peace came they returned to their homes, and the belligerent tribes sub- 
mitted to the "long knives." 

For ten years or more psaca reigned, and the few settlers pursued their 
avocations unmolested. A few remote frontier posts in the northwest 
were held by the English, and a plan was set on foot by Capt. Clark to 
surprise and capture them. Gathering his forces at what is now Louis- 
vile, he embarked his men and sailed down to the mouth of the Ohio, and 
thence up the Mississippi to Kaskaskia, which surrendered without a blow. 
Without delay he marched to surprise Vincennes, a fortified post on the 
Wabash, which also fell into his hands, arid the influence of the British 
over the tribes of the prairies, was ended. They were not wholly paci- 
fied, however, and numbers of Illinois Indians fought Gen. Harmar and 
aided in defeating him near Fort Wayne, in 1789, and also Gen. St. 



Clair, on the St. Mary, a tributary of the Maumee, where the latter lost 
six Jiundred men. 

In 1794 "Mad Anthony" Wayne signally defeated them at the Kapids 
of the Maumee, and compelled them to sue for peace. In that battle, 
Black Partridge, Gomo, Black Hawk, Shaubena, Senachwine, and most of 
the Illinois Indians participated and lost heavily. Peace followed, and 
continued until British emissaries incited them to fresh massacres in the 
war of 1812. 





OME notice, though a brief one, is due the mysterious people 
, that inhabited the valleys of the Great West previous to the 
advent of the red man. From the shores of Hudson's Bay 
to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Alleghanies to the Pacific, 
are evidences of an extinct race, a mysterious people, far su- 
perior to those whom the first explorers found in possession 
of the country. They have passed away and left no records 
from which the historian can gather the story of their lives, 
except such as are disclosed in the singular mounds found along the great 
rivers and water courses of the West. Although their works are every- 
where about us, whence they came, the age in which they flourished, and 
the time of their decay and fall are all buried in the unknown past. No 
poet has chanted their story; no adventurous Layard has unveiled their 
secrets. The cities they built have vanished; the temples they reared are- 
overthrown, their names are forgotten, their records obliterated, and 
their very existence doubted! 

This much is known, or rather conjectured. They were below the aver- 
age stature of to-day were a purely agricultural people, industrious, pa- 
tient, easily governed, in strict subjection to their rulers, and dwelt in 
large communities. They possessed a knowledge of metals, and were 
probably the artisans who long ago toiled in the mines of Lake Superior, 
and left behind evidences of their work. They were peaceful and un- 
warlike, and to their incapacity for defence is probably due their over- 

When Peru was overran by the Spaniards, they found there a civiliza- 
tion as far advanced as their own. There were houses built of stone and 
wood, and great temples and public works. Excellent roads extended 
into eveiy part of the empire ; yet the people who. reared these structures 


were strangers to the soil, whom tradition said came from the far North, 
whence they were driven by a fiercely warlike'people to found new homes 
in more propitious climes, and the theory is not difficult to maintain that 
the mound-builders of North America and the race inhabiting Mexico 
when Cortez invaded it are identical. 

There is reason for the belief that after their exodus from the Missis- 
sippi Valley, their homes were for centuries in Central America, where 
they built the great cities of Uxmal, Palenque and Copan, and reared the 
vast temples whose remains rival even Thebes in extent and magnificence. 
A portion, meanwhile, settled in Arizona, and built the "Seven Cities" 
described by Major Powell and others, where, in their rocky fastnesses, 
dwell the Moquis to-day, supposed descendants of the ancient mound- 

Numerous remains of this exiled race are found in the counties of 
Marshall and Putnam, but extensive explorations fail to discover in them 
aught more valuable than a few implements and ornaments of stone, with 
an occasional jar of clay, of rude manufacture. 

Beneath the mounds are usually found one or more skeletons, with 
ashes, coals, and other evidence going to show the bodies were first burned. 
Prof. Gifford, who has given the subject careful study, finds, upon micro- 
scopical examination, blood crystals mixed in large quantities with the 
earth, and cites it to prove the mounds were for sacrifice as well as sepul- 
ture. The skulls found show low and receding foreheads, long from front 
to back, narrow at the top and wide toward the base, indicating a patient 
people, with some intelligence, but wholly different from the crania of 
modern Indians. 

These remains indicate that this whole country was once populated 
with a race as old as those who built the pyramids of Egypt. While in 
some places a single mound is observable, in others they are in groups and 
series, in which some trace a resemblance to serpents, animals, etc., and 
term them mounds of worship; but such conclusions are at best fanciful, 
and rest solely on a basis of conjecture. 

Some of these structures are of considerable extent, as witness the 
large mound north of Chillicothe, and the long line which crown the 
bluff s in the rear of ' Squire Taliaferro's, in Senachawine Township, in one 
of which the old chief of that name was buried. 

In the immediate vicinity of Lacon are still to be seen these evidences 
of a remote ancestiy, while on the bluffs of Sparland, extensive and well- 


defined mounds are found, which have never been disturbed; and in the 
lower part of Lacon -township, and across the line in Woodford county, 
near what is called "Low Grap," they are specially numerous. 

The builders, it is supposed, used these works for the combined pur- 
poses of military defence, religious sacrifices and ceremonies, and burial 
places for the dead. The sites were carefully selected with reference to 
their surroundings of country, and generally near some large stream, 
though not always, for they crown the highest hills often, and when so 
found are called " mounds of observation," from which signals of danger 
were flashed in times of war. 

In a few localities, groups of mounds are found, covering a large space 
of ground and laid out with some sort of system, as at Htitsonville, 
111., Fort Aztalan, Ind., and at different places in Indiana, Wisconsin and 
Ohio. In some localities are found articles of finer manufacture, showing 
greater skill and proficiency, such as specimens of pottery, drinking cups, 
ornaments, pipes, etc., etc. 

From all the data that can be gathered, the people of whom we have 
written were overcome and driven from the country by a more warlike 
race, at a period many hundreds of years before the advent of the white 
man. Their conquerers were the supposed ancestors of the Indians found 
in possession, and probably belonged to some Eastern tribe, crossing in 
their boats from the Asiatic shore, though evidence is not wanting that 
the continents were once united, and passage by land easily effected. But 
their triumph was not forever. The "pale faces" came, with engines of 
fire, and the red man, with his bow and arrows, contended in vain against 
the superior Intelligence of the new foe. Backward, step by step, he was 
driven towards the great sea, and the time is not distant when the last 
Indian and the buffalo shall disappear together. 






red men whom the first discoverers found inhabiting this 
continent possessed neither records nor written language, 
and all themselves knew concerning their history was 
veiled in tradition. Some tribes made a slight approach to 
"picture writing," embraced in rough and stupidly devised 
hieroglyphics, at best vague and uncertain to those for whom 
they were intended, and quite as liable to mislead as to con- 
vey correct information. Their language, though rough and 
uncouth to educated ears, is said to have possessed singular beauty, flexibility 
and adaptability. It had a general plan of formation, and its similes were 
derived from nature, partaking of the flowery prairies, the winds of autumn, 
the blackened plains of spring, the towering cliff, the craggy bluff, and the 
great river. The deer was the representative of fleetness, the eagle of 
vision, the wolf of ferocity, the fox of cunning, the bear of endurance, the 
bison of usefulness. The passions were symbolized in tlfe animals and 
birds around them. The elements fire, water and air were mysterious 
agents for their use; the thunder the voice of their terrible Manitou, or 
God, and the lightning His avenging spear! 

While the different tribes, in habits, customs, and even dispositions, 
were marked by great contrasts, in their general characters they were alike. 
Some were more advanced toward civilization than others. Some were in- 
clined to the pursuit of agriculture as a means of obtaining food, others re- 
jected it totally, and relied upon the spear, or the bow and arrow for food. 
The Indians of Maine lived wholly upon the products of the waters ; those 
who dwelt about St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario were all hunters. The 
Algonquins, though ordinarily hunters, often subsisted for weeks upon 
roots, barks, the buds of trees, and the foulest offal. Even cannibalism 


was not unknown, but all historians agree it was never resorted to except 
upon occasions of dire necessity. 

The Hurons, a numerous tribe that once peopled a part of Canada, built 
houses of bark and lived on corn, smoked fish, etc. Among them was 
individual ownership of land, each family having exclusive right to so 
much as it saw fit to cultivate. The clearing process was a toilsome one, 
for Indians, like the first settlers in the West, preferred a field in the tim- 
ber or oak and hazel barrens, rather than one cleared by nature. , The 
clearing was done by cutting off branches, piling them together with 
brushwood around the foot of standing trunks, and setting fire to them. 
The squaws worked with hoes of wood and bone, raised corn, beans, 
pumpkins, tobacco, sunflowers, etc. At intervals of from ten to thirty 
years the soil was exhausted, and firewood difficult to obtain, so the village 
was abandoned and fresh soil and timber found. They pounded their corn 
in mortars of wood hollowed out by alternate burnings and scrapings. 
They had stone axes, spears and arrow heads, and bone fish hooks. They 
had birch bark canoes, masterpieces of ingenuity, and showed considera- 
ble skill in making a variety of articles. 

Wampum, the money of all Indian tribes, likewise an ornament and 
evidence of value, consisted of elongated white and purple beads made 
from the inner part of certain shells. It is not easy to conceive how, with 
their rude and dull implements, they contrived to shape and perforate this 
intractable and fragile material. The New England Puritans beat the 
inventors in making wampum, and flooded the Indian markets with a 
counterfeit, which, however, was far more beautiful and valuable in the 
eye of the Indian than the best he could make. The bogus article soon 
drove the genuine out of existence! 

The dress of these Indians was chiefly made from skins, cured with 
smoke. The women were modest in their dress, but condemned at an 
early age to a life of license or drudgery. 

The Iroquois, who drove out the Illinois, were a warlike, cunning 
race. Each clan bore the name of some animal, as bear, deer, wolf, hawk, 
etc., and it was forbidden for any two persons of the same clan to inter- 
many. A Hawk might many a Wolf, or Deer, or Tortoise, but not a 
Hawk. Each clan had what was called its totem, or emblem. The child 
belonged to the clan not of the father, but of the mother, on the ground 
that "only a wise child knoweth its own father, but any fool can tell 
who his mother is!" All titles and rank came through the mother, and not 


the father, and a chief's son was no better than the son of the humblest in 
the tribe. He could neither inherit title nor property from his father, not 
even so much as a tobacco pipe. All possessions passed of right to the 
brothers of the chief, or to the sons of his sister, since all were sprung from 
a common mother. This rule of transmission of property and titles ap- 
pears to have been universal among all Indians. The Iroquois were 
divided into eight clans, and claimed to trace 'their descent to a common 
mother. Their chiefs were called sachems, and numbered from eight to 
fourteen in each of their five nations, making about fifty in all, which 
body when met constituted their government. 

This great tribe of Indians, which once ruled the greater part of the 
Mississippi Valley, had a form of government closely allied to republican- 
ism. They had various bodies between the people and the High Council, 
or Cabinet, and a completely organized system of ruling on a demo- 
cratic plan. Their deliberations in the Congress of Sachems would shame 
our American Congress in dignity, decorum, and often, we fear, in good 
sense ! Here were some of their rules : "No haste in debate. No heat in 
arguing questions. No speaker shall interrupt another. Each gave his 
opinion in turn, supporting it with what reason or rhetoric he could com- 
mand, first stating the subject of discussion in full, to show that he un- 
derstood it. 

Thus says Lafitau, an eminent writer : " The result of their deliber- 
ations was a thorough sifting of the matter in hand, while the practical 
astuteness of these savage politicians was a marvel to their civilized con- 
temporaries, and by their subtle policy they were enabled to take com- 
plete ascendency over all other Indian nations." 


"The religious belief of the North American Indians," says Foster, 
' was anomalous and contradictory, yet they conceived the existence of 
one all-ruling Deity, a thought too vast for Socrates and Plato ! To the 
Indian, all the material world was intelligent, and influenced human des- 
tiny and had ears for human suffering, and all inanimate objects had the 
power to answer prayer ! Lakes, livers, waterfalls and caves were the 
dwelling-places of living spirits. Men and animals were of close kin. 
Each species of animals had its progenitor or king somewhere, prodigious 


in size, and of shape and nature like its subjects. A hunter was anxious 
to propitiate the animals he sought to kill, and would address a wounded 
bear in a long harangue of apology ! The beaver's bones were treated 
with especial tenderness, and carefully kept from the dogs, lest its spirit 
or its surviving brethren should take offense. The Hurons had a custom 
of propitiating their fishing-nets, and to persuade them to do their duty 
and catch many fish, they annually married them to two young girls of the 
tribe, with great ceremony! The fish, too, were addressed each evening 
by some one appointed to that office, who exhorted them to take coilrage 
and be caught, assuring them that the utmost respect should be shown 
their bones. They were harrassed by innumerable and spiteful evil spir- 
its, which took the form of snakes, beasts or birds to hinder them in 
hunting or fishing, or in love or war. 

Each Indian had a personal guardian or manitou, to whom he looked 
for counsel, aid and protection. At the age of fourteen the Indian boy 
blackened his face, retired to some solitary place and remained without food 
for days, until the future manitou appeared in his dreams, in the form of 
beast, or bird, or reptile, to point out his destiny. A bear or eagle would 
indicate that he must be a warrior; a wolf, a hunter; a serpent, a medicine 
man; and the young man procured some portion of the supposed animal 
seen in his vision, and always wore it about his person. 

All Indian tribes trace themselves back to one mighty pair, Irk e the 
sun and moon, a flood, and some shadowy outline of creation similar to 
that of all other nations of the earth. 

Indian history rests on tradition alone, and they do not trace them- 
selves back beyond a generation or two. The Iroquois were the first In- 
dians in this country that white men could establish with any certainty. 
The Algonquins came next. They embraced all the known tribes, inclu- 
ding the Illinois, Pottawatomies, Sacs and Foxes, Kickapoos, etc. The 
Dakotas occupied the Great West, and claimed sovereignty from the Alle- 
ghanies to the Rocky Mountains. 

The Illinois occupied the region now comprised in this State, the name 
meaning "superior men." They were a confederation of several Indian 
tribes, who built arbor-like cabins covered with waterproof mats, with 
generally four or five fires to a cabin, and two families to a fire. 

After an eventful career, they were nearly all exterminated or driven 
from the State. They gave place to the Sacs, Foxes and Pottawatomies. 
The latter, in about 1600, were numerous about the Southern Peninsula 


of Michigan. The Iroquois drove them to Green Bay, whence they 
spread over Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. They lived in this region 
until expelled by the whites, at the close of the disastrous Black Hawk 


After Tonti's garrison was dispersed, about 1718, the Pottawatomies 
and a few remnants of other tribes continued to inhabit the region of 
country between Peoria and Ottawa. They dwelt mainly at the places 
named, while Indian Town, now Tiskilwa, was always a favorite resort. 
Hennepin, Lacon, Sparland, Senachwine and other localities along the 
river were the homes of certain members of the clan. They raised small 
fields of corn, trapped for muskrats and beavers, hunted wild game, 
and sold honey to the settlers in exchange for such " necessaries " as 
beads, whisky, brass jewelry, tobacco, and the like. They were true to 
all their superstitious beliefs and customs, notwithstanding the teachings 
of the missionaries and the example of the whites around them. They 
seemed attached to their hunting and fishing grounds, but chiefly because the 
river afforded plenty of fish and the country an abundance of game. Here 
were their sugar-camps, and in the bottoms their kindred were buried, and 
many years after their departure small parties were in the habit of re- 
turning and looking upon the graves of their departed friends. The set- 
tlers plowed over the burial grounds and destroyed the landmarks around 
them, so that now the locality of most of these is lost. They had a great 
veneration for their dead, and buried them with great ceremony. 

In the winter of 1831-2, Hemy K. Cassell, an old settler of Lacon, 
witnessed a curious performance by the Indians of this region. They hud 
received word from Lieut. Governor Menard that they must leave their 
homes along the Illinois River, and prepared at once to obey, as by treaty 
they were compelled to do. Their first movement was to collect the dead 
upon the frozen river, packed in wooden troughs. When this was done, 
all hands joined, and with a mighty push they were moved across the 
channel. The white men were asked to assist, but it looked to them very 
much like robbing a grave-yard, and they declined. 

The Indians found here were Pottawatomies, with a mixture of Winne- 
liugoes, Kickapoos, Sacs and Foxes. The leading chiefs were Senachwine, 
whose principal village was on the creek that commemorates his name, one 


mile north of Chillicothe; and Shaubena, whose village was above 
Ottawa, on the Illinois River. Senachwine was a fine-looking Indian, 
and education would have made him a leader in any community. In early 
life he joined the British, and was with Tecumseh when the latter lost his 
life. When peace was declared, he returned to his people, and was always 
after the fast friend of the white man. 

About 1828-9, there came where Rome now stands a settler named 
Taliaferro, the first to rear his cabin upon the site of the "eternal qity." 
His nearest neighbors were four miles away, and when sickness came, and 
neither doctor nor nurse were to be had, he felt that he was indeed a 
stranger in a strange land. 

Old settlers say the "ague never kills;" but it was wonderfully annoy- 
ing, and when the emigrant saw his wife tossing in the delirium of fever 
and no arm to help or assist, he realized how poor, and helpless, and im- 
potent is man, cut off from his fellows. 

One sultry afternoon, while fanning the fevered brow and bathing the 
burning temples of his wife, there dismounted at his door a band of twenty 
or more Indians, at the head of whom was Senachwine. The old chief, 
who was not unknown to the white man, entered unceremoniously, and 
with a gutteral "How," took his seat at the bedside. For some time he 
gazed upon the sufferer, and knowing that woman's aid was most needed, 
asked why he did not go for white squaw to help take care of her. Mr. 
T. replied that he could not leave her alone, when the Indian proposed to 
take his place and tend the patient until his return. The offer was ac- 
cepted, and the chief, first forbidding his people to enter the cabin, sat 
down and fanned her brow and bathed her temples as gently and tenderly 
as could her husband, until the latter's return. 

Senachwine died somewhere about 1830, and was buried upon a high 
mound half a mile north of Putnam Station, in Putnam County. His 
name is given to the township in which he is buried. 

Shaubena was another chief of prominence and influence among the 
Indians of this neighborhood. He was a friend to the whites, and was well 
known to the old settlers. He followed his people to the West, but re- 
turned with his family, -and died about 1859. Another well-known In- 
dian chief had a village at the mouth of Clear Creek, in Putnam County. 
This was Shick-Shack, who was converted and became an earnest preacher 
of the Gospel. He was an ardent temperance reformer, and his code of 
morals would rival the Draconian code of ancient Sparta. 


On the site of Chillicothe was an Indian village ruled over by a chief 
named Gomo. He was sent as a hostage to St. Louis, to insure the per- 
formance of certain treaty stipulations entered into by his tribe. 

Across the river, in Woodford County, at what has long been known 
as the Big Spring, was the village of the noted chief, Black Partridge. 
He was long a friend of the whites, but in revenge for the wanton de- 
struction of his village became their relentless enemy, and during the 
years 1813-14 raided the settlements in the southern part of the State. 
He died peacefully at home. 

Where Lacon stands a band of Indians had their village, led by a 
chief named Mark whet. Their winters were passed in the bottoms west 
of the house of the late Benjamin Babb. They were removed west of 
the Mississippi after the Black Hawk war. There was also a village at 
Sparland, but the name of the chief is not now known. It was probably 
governed by one of those previously named. 





"HE first permanent settlement in the State was begun in 1698, 
when Father Gravier established a mission at Kaska'skia. 
Here came a portion of the dwellers at Starved Rock, where 
LaSalle in 1682 built a fort, which he named St. Louis, and 
founded a colony. . It had a somewhat precarious existence 
until 1718, when the site was abandoned, and its occupants 
joined their friends in the southern part of the (future) State. 
Cahokia was settled in 1702, by Father Pinet. In after 
years it became a town of considerable importance, but its glory long since 

In 1699, D' Iberville, a distinguished Canadian officer, was appointed 
Governor of Louisiana, by which name the French possessions in the 
North and West were known ; and after his death the King of France 
granted it to M. Antoine Crozat, a wealthy nabob, who, failing to .real- 
ize as hoped for, abandoned it in 1717, and the notorious John Law, 
an enterprising but visionary Scotchman, became its owner under cer- 
tain conditions. He was the original "Colonel Sellers," and organizer 
of a scheme for acquiring sudden wealth, since known as the famous 
"Mississippi Bubble." He made Louisiana the principal field of his op- 
erations, where gold and silver mines abounded( ! ), out of which the share- 
holders in the "greatest gift enterprise of the day" were to become mil- 

His schemes all failing, in 1732 the charter was surrendered to the 
king and the territory divided into nine cantons, of which Illinois formed 

After, the destruction of Fort St. Louis by the Indians, and the expul- 
sion of Tonti's garrison, a few white men continued in the vicinity until 
about 1720, when all left, and the country reverted to the possession of 
its original inhabitants. In 1718 New Orleans was settled, and trading 
posts established at different points along the Mississippi River and its 
tributaries. As early as 1690 some Canadian Frenchmen had located 


themselves at a few points, primarily as attaches of tradesmen, and later 
as regular settlers. 

In the summer of 1711, Father Marest, a Jesuit priest from Can- 
ada, preached at Cahokia and made a convert of an Indian chief named 
Kolet, who persuaded Father Marest to go with him to Peoria and preach 
to the heathen there. The proposition was accepted, and in November of 
that year, with two wariiors, the missionary started in a bark canoe. The 
season was late, and alter progressing about five leagues, the ice became 
so film they had to abandon their canoes, and after twelve days wading 
through snow and water, crossing big prairies and subsisting on wild 
grapes with a little game, they reached the Indian village of Opa, a half a 
mile above the lower end or outlet of the lake, and were hospitably re- 
ceived by the natives. 

In the following spring some French traders began a trading post here, 
and a number of families came from Canada and established themselves, 
living at peace with the Indians and generally intei marrying with them. 

Until 1750 but little was known of the various French villages or set- 
tlements in the State. In that year a French missionary, named Vevier, 
writes from "Aux Illinois," six leagues from Fort Chartres, June 8 : " We 
have here whites, negroes and Indians, to say nothing of cross-breeds. 
There are five French villages and three villages of the natives within a 
space of twenty-one leagues between the Mississippi and Karkadiad 
(Kaskaskia) Rivers. In them all there are perhaps eleven hundred peo- 
ple, three hundred whites and sixty red slaves, or savages. Most of the 
French till the soil. They raise wheat, cattle, pigs and horses, and live 
like princes. Three times as much is produced as can be consumed, and 
great quantities of grain and flour are shipped to New Orleans." 

In 1750 the French had stations at Detroit, Michilimacinac, Green 
Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, and were the only possessors, save the Indians, 
of the great valley east of the Mississippi River. 

In 1761, Robert Maillet built a dwelling one and a half miles lower 
down, and moved his family there. This was called. the "New Town," 
in contradistinction from "Old" or "Upper Town." The new place was 
known as La ville de Maillet (Maillet's Village). For fifty years the sole 
settlers of the town were Frenchmen and Indians. 

So far back as 1750, the English began to assert their claims to the 
country west of the Alleghanies, and adventurous explorers sailed down 
its rivers and explored the great lakes. English traders penetrated the 


forest, and competed for the fur trade with their ancient enemies. Collis- 
ions were frequent, and in the deep woods were fought sanguinary battles 
between adherents of the rival nations. A long and bloody war followed, 
ending in the final discomfiture of the French and the transfer of sover- 
ereignty over the northern part of the continent to England. 

In 1763, Canada and all of Louisiana north of the Iberville River 
and east of the Mississippi were ceded to England. The British flag was 
hoisted over old Fort Chartres, in what is now Monroe County, 111., in 1765. 
At that time, it is computed, there were about three thousand white people 
residing along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. The oldest town Kas- 
kaskia contained about one hundred, and Cahokia about fifty persons. 

After the capture of these posts by Gen. Clark, as before stated, he 
sent three men to Peoria to notify the inhabitants of the change of sover- 
eignty, and require their allegiance. One of these messengers was Nich- 
olas Smith, a Kentuckian by birth, whose son Joseph, under the nickname 
of "Dad Joe," became in after years a noted border character, and the 
place where he once lived ten miles from Princeton still bears the 
name of "Dad Joe's Grove." 

In that year the County of Illinois was established, "in the State of 
Virginia," which was to include within its boundaries as citizens "all who 
are already settled or may;" which leads to the belief that the then mem- 
bers of the House of Burgesses of Virginia had a very crude idea of the 
country over which by the right of conquest they assumed sovereignty. 

With peace came the establishment of various colonies in the West, 
and in 1773 the "Illinois Land Company" obtained a grant from the Indians 
by treaty and purchase of a tract embracing all the territory "east of the 
Mississippi and south of the Illinois River." 

In like manner the Wabash Company obtained a grant for thirty- 
seven millions of acres. After the Revolution, eff orts were made in Con- 
gress to obtain governmental sanction to these enormous land grabs, but 
fortunately without avail. 

In 1781, a cqlony from Virginia settled in what is now Monroe County, 
but the hostility of the Kickaj>oos, a fierce and warlike tribe of Indians, 
compelled them to live in forts and block-houses, and their improvements 
were limited. 


During the devastating border wars that preceeded the final breaking 


of the Indians' strength by "Mad Anthony" Wayne, the infant settle- 
ments suffered severely, but with peace came a new impetus to emigration, 
and adventurous hunters, trappers, boatmen arid land surveyors invaded 
the quiet French towns of Illinois. The former were termed "Mikes," 
from a noted flat-boatman named Mike Fink, while the surveyors and land- 
hunters were styled "Jakes," from Jacob staff, a surveyor's implement. 
They were a lawless, turbulent race, given to whisky and broils, but in a 
certain way open-hearted, and generous to a fault. Their advent among 
the quiet, simple-minded French was neither conducive to the happiness 
or good morals of the latter, who are thus described by Gov. Ford, from 
whom we quote: "No genuine Frenchmen in those days ever wore a 
hat, cap or coat. The heads of both men and women were covered with 
Madras cotton handkerchiefs, tied around in the fashion of nightcaps. 
For an upper covering of the body, the men wore a blanket garment, 
called a 'capote' (pronounced cappo), with a cap to it at the back 
of the neck, to be drawn over the head for protection in cold weather, 
or in warm weather to be thrown back upon the shoulders in the fashion 
of a cape. Notwithstanding this people had been so long separated by an 
immense wilderness from civilized society, they still retained all the suav- 
ity and politeness of their race, and it is a remarkable fact that the rough- 
est hunter and boatman amongst them could at any time appear in a ball- 
room, or other polite and gay assembly, with the carriage and beha- 
vior of a well-bred gentleman. The French women were noticeable for 
the sprightliness of their conversation and the grace and elegance of their 
manners. The whole population lived lives of alternate toil, pleasure, in- 
nocent amusement and gaiety. 

"Their horses and cattle, for want of proper care and food for genera- 
tions, had degenerated in size, but had acquired additional vigor and 
toughness, so that a French pony was a proverb for strength and endur- 
ance. These ponies were made to draw, sometimes one alone, sometimes 
two together one hitched before the other, to the plow, or to carts made 
entirely of wood, the bodies of which held about the contents of the body 
of a wheelbarrow. The oxen were yoked by the horns instead of the 
neck, and in this mode draw the cart and plow. Nothing like reins were 
used in driving; the whip of the driver, with the handle about two feet 
and a lash two yards long, stopped or guided the horse as ^effectually as 
tlie strongest lines. 

"Their houses were built of hewn timber, set upright in the 


ground or upon plates laid upon a wall, the intervals between the uprights 
being filled with stone and mortar. Scarcely any of them were more than 
one story high, with a porch on one or two sides, and sometimes all around, 
with low roofs extending, with slopes of different steepness, from the 
comb in the center to the lowest part of the porch. They were surrounded 
by gardens filled with fruits, flowers and vegetables, and if in town, the 
lots were large and the houses neatly whitewashed. 

"Each village had its Catholic churc]^ and priest. The church wals the 
great place of resort on Sundays arid holidays, and the priest the adviser, 
director and companion of all his flock."* 

Prior to 1818 the immigration was chiefly from Kentucky, Virginia and 
Pennsylvania. Some of the emigrants had served under Gen. Clark in 
1778, and the beauty and fertility of the country induced them to make 
their homes here. 

In 1816, the American Fur Company, with headquarters at Hudson's 
Bay, established trading-posts throughout this region, one being located 
near Hennepin, and another about three miles below Peoria, with a dozen 
or so at interior points between the Illinois and Wabash Rivers. 

Gurden S. Hubbard, for many years a resident of Chicago, a Vermonter. 
by birth, when sixteen years of age was in the service of the company, in 
1818, going from post to post, distributing supplies and collecting furs. 

In the autumn of 1821, Joel Hodgson came to this region from Clin- 
ton County, Ohio, in behalf of a number of families, to seek a location. 
He traveled on horseback, stopping wherever night overtook him, and 
sleeping in his blanket. 

He crossed the State of Indiana to where Danville now stands, and 
then, with his compass for a guide, traveled northward until he struck the 
Illinois at the mouth of Fox River, wlianca he journeyed southward. He 
crossed the river several times, exploring both sides thoroughly, as well 
as its tributaries, and continued until he reached Dillon's Grove, in Taze- 
well County, when he turned homeward, reporting that he found no suita- 
ble place for the proposed colony. 

The prairies were supposed to be bleak, cold and inhospitable, and 
covered with a rank grass of no value, while the streams were lined with 
thickets, the homes of fierce beasts and deadly reptiles. It was a paradise 
for Indians, but a poor place for white men. But when he saw the coun- 
try rapidly filling up, and the new settlers growing rich, comfortable and 

* Ford's History of Illinois. 


happy, lie changed his opinion, and coming West, settled in Tazewell 
County in 1828. 

When the State was admitted, the Government ordered a survey of 
the country bordering the Illinois, and its division into townships. The 
work was performed by Stephen, Stycia, and Charles Rector, in the years 
1819-20. It was further divided into sections by Nelson Piper, George 
Thomas and J. F. McCollum, and air of the northern part of the State 
named Sangamon County. 

PEORIA IN 1778. 

The messenger sent by General Clark found a large town built along 
the margin of the lake, with narrow streets and wooden houses. Back 
of the town were gardens, yards for stock, barns, etc., and among these 
was a wine-press, with a large cellar or underground vault for storing 
wine. There was a church, with a large wooden cross, an unoccupied fort 
on the bank of the lake, and a wind-mill for grinding grain. The town 
contained six stores, filled with goods suitable for the Indian trade. The 
inhabitants were French Creoles, Indians and half-breeds, not one of whom 
could speak a word of English. Many of them had interman-ied with 
the natives, and their posterity to this day show certain characteristics of 
their Indian ancestry. They were a peaceable, quiet people, ignorant and 
superstitious. They had no public schools, and but few of them, except 
priests and traders, could read or write. In after years there was consid- 
erable trouble abqjjt conflicting titles, growing out of certain " French 
grants," and out of eighteen litigants but three could sign their names." 
Some of their merchants made annual trips in canoes to Canada, carrying 
peltries and furs, and returning with goods for the Indian market. 

"They were a gay, joyous people, having many social parties, wine 
suppers and balls, and lived in harmony with the Indians, who were their 
neighbors, relatives and friends. Real estate was held by the title of pos- 
session, and each settler had a garden adjoining his residence. They had 
likewise extensive farms west of town, enclosed in one field, though the 
lines of each separate owner were well defined. When a young man was 
married, a village lot or tract of land in the common field was assigned 
him, and if he had no house the people turned out and built him one. 
They had fine vineyards, and yearly made large quantities of wine, which 
the Indians eagerly sought in' exchange for furs." 



The pioneer French were said to have domesticated the buffalo, and 
crossed him with their domestic cattle, producing a tough, hardy breed 
which could winter in the river bottoms without feed. Indian ponies were 
the only horses known here, or anywhere in the North-west, until about 
1760, when some were brought from Canada. Hogs and cattle were in- 
troduced by the Spaniards, and through them by the French, about 
A. D. 1700. 

In 1781 a Frenchman killed an Indian, and for a time the white peo- 
ple of Peoria were threatened with destruction by the excited savages, 
who surrounded the place and demanded the murderer, supposing him to 
be hidden in the town. They gave the French three days in which to sur- 
render the culprit, failing in which they threatened to burn the town. A 
great panic prevailed ; some of the people fled to Cahokia ; others took 
refuge in the fort. But at length the solemn protestations of the whites 
that the murderer was not secreted in the village quieted the Indians, 
who made pledges of friendship and departed. 





(ESIDES the usual and expected horrors, eveiy war furnishes 
exceptional scenes of wholesale slaughter or merciless cruelty 
that stand out in bold relief and commemorate themselves 
in history as specially infamous. Among the occurrences of 
the war of 1812, the massacre of Fort Dearborn, at Chicago, 
was one of unusual ferocity, and worthy of record in our 
brief historical resume. 

The garrison consisted of fifty-four men, under Capt. 
Heald. The resident families at the post were those of Capt. Heald, 
Lieut. Helm, a Mr. Kenzie, and several French voyageurs with their 
wives and children were there. 

One evening in April, 1812, Mr. Kenzie sat playing on his violin, to 
the music of which the children were dancing, when Mrs. Kenzie came 
rushing into the house, pale with terror and anguish, exclaiming: "The 
Indians! The Indians are up at Lee's, killing and scalping!" The fright- 
ened woman had been attending Mrs. Barnes (just confined), living not 
far off. Mr. Kenzie and his family at once crossed the river to the fort, 
to which Mrs. Barnes and her infant were speedily transferred, and where 
soon all the settlers and their families took refuge. The alarm was caused 
by a scalping party of Winnebagoes, who, after hovering about the neigh- 
borhood several days, disappeared. 

On the 7th of August, 1812, Gen. Hull, of infamous memory, sent 
orders from Detroit to Capt. Heald to evacuate Fort Dearborn and distrib- 
ute all the United States property among the Indians ! The Pottawatomie 
chief who brought the dispatch, foreseeing the fearful effects of such a 
base, cowardly and treacherous order, advised Capt. Heald not to obey, 
as the fort contained among its supplies several barrels of whisky, and 
knowing its effects upon the infuriated savages, burning with hatred of 
the whites and full of revenge, he foresaw that an indiscriminate massa- 
cre of all who were incapable of defense would inevitably follow. He 


said, "Leave the fort and stores as they are, and while the Indians are 
making the distribution, the white people may escape to Fort Wayne." 

Capt. Heald called a council with the Indians on the afternoon of the 
12th, in which his officers refused to join, as they had reason to fear 
treachery. A cannon pointed at the place of council, however, had its 
intended effect, and the suspected plot was frustrated. 

Mr. Kenzie, well knowing the character of the foe, influenced Captain 
Heald to withhold the distribution of the powder, and on the night of 
the 13th, after the property and stores had been given out to the shriek- 
ing mob of savages, the liquors and ammunition were thrown into the 
river, and the muskets broken up and rendered useless. Black Partridge, 
an influential chief and true friend of the whites, came that afternoon to 
Captain Heald, and said : " The linden birds have been singing in my 
ears all day ; be careful on the march you take." 

The Indians had watched the fort all night, and took note of the pre- 
parations for its abandonment, and the next morning, when they saw the 
powder floating upon the surface of the river, were exasperated beyond 

After the fort had been dismantled and the dejected inmates were 
on the point of starting, a band of friendly Miamis, under Captain 
Wells, appeared on the lake shore, and inspired the garrison with new 
hope. But alas ! their arrival was too late to avert the threatened 
calamity. Wells was an uncle of Mrs. Heald, and bore among the Indi- 
ans the name of "Little Turtle." Learning the ignominious and fatal 
order to Captain Heald, he had secretly left Petroit with his warriors, 
hoping to reach Chicago in time to avert the catastrophe he knew was in- 
evitable; but it was too late. 

On the morning of the 15th, the little garrison matched out of the 
fort at its southern gate, in solemn procession. Captain Wells, who 
had blackened his face with gunpowder, in token of his fate, took the 
lead with his Miamis, followe^d by Captain Heald, with his wife by his 
side, on horseback. Mr. Kenzie hoped by his personal influence over the 
savages to save his friends, and accompanied the retreating garrison, 
leaving his family in a boat in charge of a friendly Indian. 

The procession moved slowly along the lake shore till they reached 
the sand-hills between the prairie and the beach, when the Pottawatomies, 
commanded by Blackbird, flled in front. Wells, who, with his Miamis 
had been in the advance, finding the enemy Hbef ore him, returnee^ giving 


word that the foe were about to make an attack. Scarcely had the words 
been uttered ere a storm of bullets confirmed the stoiy. The Indians, 
though ten warriors to one of the whites, in accordance with their charac- 
teristic cowardly mode of fighting were ambushed among the sand-hills, 
which the white troops charged, and drove them out upon the prairie. 
The cowardly Miamis fled at the outset, and the brave little band defended 
themselves heroically against five hundred savages, resolved to sell their 
lives as dearly as possible. 

Capt. Wells, who was by the side of his niece, Mrs. Heald, when the 
conflict began, said to her, "We have not the slightest chance for life. 
We must part to meet no more in this world. God bless you," and dashed 
forward. Seeing a young wamor, painted like a demon, climb into a 
wagon in which were twelve children, and tomahawk them all, he cried 
out, unmindful of his personal danger, " If that is your game, butchering 
women and children, I will kill too. 1 ' He spurred his horse toward the 
Indian camp, where they had left their squaws and pappooses, hotly pur- 
sued by swift-footed young warriors, rapidly firing. One of these killed 
his horse and wounded him severely in the leg. He was killed and 
scalped, and his heart cut out and eaten while yet warm and bloody. Mrs. 
Heald, who knew well how to load and fire, engaged bravely in the fray. 
She was several times wounded, and when, weak from loss of blood, a 
brawny savage was about to tomahawk her, she looked him in the eye, 
and in his own language exclaimed, "Surely you will not kill a squaw!" 
Ashamed, his arm fell and he slunk away. 

Mrs. Helm, Mr. Kinzie's step-daughter, also had her full share of the 
bloody work. A stout Indian tried to strike her with a tomahawk, but she 
sprang aside and the weapon glanced upon her shoulder as she grasped 
the foe around tfce neck with her arms, trying at the same time to seize 
the scalping knife in his belt; but while struggling with the desperation 
of despair she was seized by a powerful Indian, who bore her to the lake 
and plunged her into the water. To her astonishment, she was so held 
that she could not drown, nor be seen by any of the Indians, and soon dis- 
covered that he who was thus shielding her was the friendly chief, Black 
Partridge, who thus saved her life. 

The wife of Sergeant Holt displayed amazing courage and prowess. 
She was a veiy strong woman, and was mounted on a high-spirited horse. 
The Indians coveted the animal, and tried in vain to dismount or kill her, 
but she warded off the blowsjby which they strove to beat her down, and 


defended herself bravely, with her husband's sword. She escaped from 
her enemies and dashed across the prairie, the admiring Indians shouting, 
"Brave squaw! brave squaw! No hrt her!" but was overtaken by 
an Indian who pulled her from her horse by the hair, and made "her cap- 
tive. She was kept prisoner for several years, and forced to marry among 
them. When nearly two-thirds of the little band were killed or wounded, 
the Indians drew off. Numbers of their warriors had been killed, and 
they proposed a parley. The whites, upon promise of good treatment, 
agreed to surrender. Mrs. Helm had been taken, bleeding and suffering, 
to the fort by Black Partridge, where she found her step-father and 
learned that her husband was safe. 

The soldiers gave up their arms to Blackbird, and the survivors became 
prisoners of war, to be exchanged or ransomed. With this understanding, 
they were marched to the Indian camp near the fort. Here a new horror 
was enacted, for the Indians claimed the wounded were not included in the 
surrender, and they were mercilessly slaughtered, their scalps being taken 
to the infamous British General Proctor, at Maiden, Canada, who had 
offered the Indians large rewards for the scalp of every soldier brought 
to him. 

In connection with the massacre of Fort Dearborn, Matson, in his 
work upon the Indians of the Illinois, gives the following incident whicli 
he professes to have learned from one of the survivors : "A Mrs. Bee- 
son, whose maiden name was Mary Lee, was a little girl at the time, but 
well remembers the frightful event. Her father's dwelling stood on the 
beach of the lake, near the fort, and back of it was a small garden where 
he raised vegetables for the garrison, at a good profit. His family at the 
time of the massacre consisted of his wife, an infant two months old, a 
son, a daughter Lillie, two little boys, and Mary. When the troops left 
for Fort Wayne, Mr. Lee's family accompanied them, the mother and in- 
fant and two younger children in a covered wagon, and the two girls on 
horseback. Little Lillie, ten years old, was a very handsome child, a 
great pet among the soldiers and citizens, but she never appeared more 
beautiful than on that fatal morning. She was mounted on a large gray 
horse, and to prevent her from falling off, was securely tied to the 
saddle. She wore a white ruffled dress, trimmed with pink ribbon, and a 
black jockey hat with a white plume on the side. As the horse pranced 
and champed its bits at the sound of martial music, little Lillie in a 
queenly manner sat in her saddle, chatting gaily -with her sister, uncon- 


scious of the awful fate so near. When the Indians opened fire, Lillie 
was badly wounded and lost her seat, but was restrained from falling off 
the horse by the cord with which she was bound. Her horse ran back 
and forth until caught by an Indian named Waupekee, who knew her 
well, and at her father's cabin had often held her on his knee. In relat- 
ing it afterward, he said it grieved him to see the little girl suffer so, and 
out of kindness he split open her head with his tomahawk and ended her 
misery. He used to say l it was the hardest thing he ever did.' ' 

Mr. Lee and his three sons were killed in the battle, but Mrs. Lee and 
infant and Mary were taken prisoners by Waupekee, who had a village on 
the Des Plains River. This chief was kind to them, and wanted to marry 
the mother, notwithstanding the trifling impediment of having three other 
wives on hand at the time ! But she declined the honor. During her 
stay with him her child became very ill, and both Indian skill and en- 
chantment and her own knowledge failed to restore it to health. She 
consented to let Waupekee take it to Chicago, where lived a French trader 
named DuPin, in high reputation among the Indians as a "medicine man." 
One cold day in the latter part of the winter succeeding the massacre, 
Waupekee wrapped the baby in blankets, and mounting his pony, travel* M! 
across the bleak prairie twenty miles, and arriving at Du Pin's dwelling, 
laid his package upon the floor. " What have you there ? " queried the 
surprised trader. " I have brought you a young raccoon as a present," 
replied the chief, unwrapping the blankets and disclosing the nearly 
smothered child. Du Pin cured the child, and afterward not only ran- 
somed the widow, but married her. 

Maiy, who relates this affair, says she was carried & prisoner to an In- 
dian village after the battle referred to, thence to St. Louis, and ransomed 
by General Clark, where she married a French Creole, and never after the 
fatal day met her mother, but supposed her to have been killed. 





the wars of the Federal Government against the Incjians, 
and the war with England, in 1812, the French people of 
Peoria remained neutral, and, as is now known, neither aided 
nor abetted either party. They were two hundred miles 
froni the nearest American settlement, in the midst of a wil- 
derness. They knew no laws of a*ny king or country save their 
own. They lived so far away from the world, that revolutions 
came, kings were overthrown and new governments erected, 
while they neither knew of nor interested themselves in the changes. A 
peaceful and happy people they were, living to themselves, making and ex- 
ecuting their own laws, paying no taxes, and acknowledging no sovereignty 
or ruler, simply because no one came to claim their allegiance. They had 
lived thirty-four years within, the jurisdiction of the United States Govern- 
ment before called upon to cast a ballot. They had a Representative in 
Congress who never knew them. They had been subjects of France, then 
of England, and finally of the Federal Union, and only learned the changes 
of sovereignty through accident. They were a people "unto themselves," 
speaking a language of their own, and fearing only God, their priests, and 
the hostile Indians. 

The massacre at Fort Dearborn excited widespread horror and ani- 
mosity, not only against the Indians, but all who were believed to be 
friendly with them. Reports had got abroad that their supplies of am- 
munition came through Peoria traders, and that here were incited and set 
on foot raids and expeditions against the defenceless settlers along the 

It was charged that they were cattle thieves, and that Captain John 
Baptiste Maillette, the chief military man of their village, had an organ- 
ized band of thieves, and made forays upon the settlements on Wood 
River, in Madison County, driving off flocks and herds, which found 
their way to the common enemy. These reports were believed, and Gov- 


ernor Edwards called for volunteers to rendezvous at Shawneetown, under 
the command of Captain Craig. Four keel-boats were prepared, with 
rifle-ball proof planking, and mounted with cannon. Two hundred sol- 
diers were taken on board, and on the 5th of November, 1812, the "fleet v 
appeared before Peor'.;>. 

The people, wholly unconscious of danger, were at church; and the 
priest celebrating mass for it was Sunday, - when suddenly they were 
startled by the booming of cannon. Fear and curiosity brought them to 
the beach, when four boats loaded with armed men met their astonished 
gaze. Capt. Craig landed and took position, with guns loaded and bayonets 
fixed, ready for any emergency. 

Father Racine went to meet and welcome the strangers, but neither 
could understand the other, until an interpreter was found in the person 
of Thomas Forsythe. No explanation was vouchsafed, but meat and veg- 
etables were demanded, and promptly furnished. The soldiers dispersed 
about town and committed various outrages, such as breaking into Felix 
La Fontaine's store and taking from it two casks of wine. Numbeis 
got drunk, and entering houses, helped themselves to whatever ple;:sl 
them. It was after dark before Captain Craig succeeded in getting tin in 
on board the boats and pushed the boats from shore to prevent further 
outrages upon the citizens. 

During the night a high wind arose, and to escape the waves the boats 
raised their anchors and dropped down into "the narrows," a half milt- 
below, where they remained till morning. About daylight several guns 
were fired in quick succession in the adjoining tember. Captain Craig, 
thinking it the signal for an attack by the Indians, ordered the boaN 
pushed farther from shore and cannon trained to sweep the woods. 

A council of war was held on board, and it was determined to burn 
the town and make the men prisoners of war, as a punishment for incit- 
ing the Indians to attack the boats. The Frenchmen afterward claimed 
the firing was done by hunters, and as no attack was made and no enemy 
appeared, the statement is doubtless correct. 

Capt. Craig next ] aided his troops, and taking all able-bodied men 
prisoners, set fire to their houses and burned them down, while the women 
and children looked on in terror from a vacant lot where they had congre- 
gated, in the rear of their burning church. The church, with its sacred 
vestments and furniture, was destroyed. The wind-mill on the bank of 
the lake, filled with grain, the stables, corn bins, and everything about the 


town of any value were reduced to ashes ! The stores of La Fontaine, La 
Croix, Des Champs, and Forsyth, full of valuable goods, shared the same 
fate. An old man named Benit, a former trader, who had amassed some 
money, rushed through the flames to rescue it, and perished, -his charred 
remains being found the following spring. Mrs. La Croix, a lady of 
refinement and great personal attraction, who afterward became the wife 
of Governor Reynolds, being alone with three small children, appealed in 
vain to the soldiers to save the clothes of herself and little ones. , 

Thomas Forsythe, a short time previous, had been appointed a Govern- 
ment agent here, and on exhibiting his commission to Captain Craig, he 
pronounced it a forgery! 

When the destruction was complete, the boats returned down the 
liver with their prisoners. Two miles below^the present site of Alton, 
they were set ashore in the thick timber, without blankets, tents or pro- 
visions, and told they might return to their homes ! Meantime, the women 
and children, left without food or shelter, were in a pitiful condition. 
Some of them had been left without sufficient clothing, and suffered 
greatly. It was growing cold, and the nights were freezing. Snow fell, 
sharp frosts came, and the roaring wind lashed the troubled waters 
or moaned in the leafless oaks. Could any situation have been more 
desolate? The hungry mothers could only weep and pray, and draw the 
forms of their little ones to their bosoms ! 

While thus brooding over their despair, an Indian chief named Gomo 
made his appearance. He lived in a village of his tribe, where Chill i- 
cothe now stands. On the approach of Captain Craig's forces, his people 
fled and secreted themselves in the grove of timber at Kickapoo Creek, 
and now the invaders were gone, he had come to render such aid as it was 
in his power to give. Provisions were supplied, temporary huts erected 
for all who desired to remain, and homes in his village given to the older 
women and the children. Afterward, the women (fearing a return of the 
soldiers, and crazed with anxiety to know the fate of those they loved,) 
prevailed upon Gomo to furnish them with canoes and rowers to go down 
the river, hoping their presence might mitigate the fate of their captive 
kindred. After several days of hardship, camping each night on the 
banks, suffering from fatigue, cold and storm, they reached Cahokia, where 
they were provided for by their countrymen, and afterward joined by 
their husbands.* 

*Matson's "French and Indians." 






> AE-L Y travelers assert that the Illinois Valley was the favor- 
ite resort of the American buffalo, or bison, and though 
they had disappeared years before, the first settlers found 
the ground strewn with countless thousands of bones, re- 
mains of the great herds that had been destroyed. Their 
range was., confined to no particular locality, except in 
winter, when they resorted to groves and river bottoms 
for shelter and greater supplies of food. It does not 
appear that the white man had much to do with their 
final disappearance. The French were the only settlers, and they so few 
in number that the buffalo slaughtered by them and the Indians were 
insignificant as compared with their annual increase. 

About ninety years ago, according to Indian tradition, there came an 
Arctic winter, which for depth of snow and severity never had a parallel 
in Indian tradition. Nearly all living animals perished. The intense cold 
drove them to the ravines for shelter, where thousands were overwhelmed 
and suffocated. According to the statements of the Indians, they huddled 
together for warmth, and died in countless droves; and not the buffalo 
alone, but the deer likewise; and when the first settlers crossed the big 
prairie this side of the Wabash River, the ground was strewn with ant- 
lers, skulls and the larger bones of both deer and buffalo. The statement 
that the survivors voluntarily left the country after the cold winter is not 
borne out by the evidence, and the writer who drew the fanciful picture 
which follows must have relied largely upon his imagination for facts. 

"Next spring a few buffalo, poor and haggard in appearance, were seen 
going westward, and as they approached the carcasses of their dead com- 
panions, which were lying on the prairies in great numbers, they would 
stop, commence pawing and bellowing, and then start off again on a lope 
for the west."* 

Father Buche, a missionary about Peoria in 1770, in a manuscript left 
*Matson's 'Trench and Indians." 


by him, describes a buffalo hunt. He says he accompanied thirty-eight of 
his countrymen and about three hundred Indians when they killed so 
many buffalo that only their hides could be taken away, their carcasses 
being left for the wolves. Three leagues west of the great bend in the 
Illinois River they discovered a herd of many thousand buffalo, feeding on 
a small prairie surrounded on three sides by timber (now probably known 
as Princeton prairie). It being about sundown, the hunters encamped for 
the night in a grove near by, with the intention of attacking them, the 
next day. Next morning before it was light, the Indians, divested of 
clothing, mounted on ponies, and armed with guns, bows, arrows, spears, 
etc., anxiously awaited the command of their chief to commence the 
sport. They formed on three sides, secreting themselves in the timber, 
while the French occupied a line across the prairie. At a given 
signal the advance began, when as soon as the animals scented the ap- 
proaching enemy, they arose and fled in great confusion. On approaching 
the line the Indians fired, at the same time yelling at the top of their 
voices. The frightened creatures turned and fled in an opposite direction, 
where they were met by the hunters and foiled in like manner. Thus they 
continued to run back and forth, while the slaughter went on. As they 
approached the line, the Indians would pierce them with spears or bring 
them down with the more deadly rifle. The line continue^ to close in, 
and the frightened buffalo, snorting and with flashing eyes, charged the 
guards, broke through the line, overthrowing horses and riders, and made 
their escape. 

Father Buche continues: "By the wild surging herd my pony was 
knocked down, and I lay prostrated by his side, while the friglitened 
buffalo jumped over me in their flight, and it was only by the interposi- 
tion of the Holy Virgin that I was saved from instant death." 





FTER the War of the Revolution and the recognition of 
American Independence, the Western Territories were 
claimed by Virginia, New York, and other States. After 
much discussion, the claimants agreed to transfer their sev- 
eral interests to the General Government, and in pursu- 
ance of the arrangement, Virginia, in 1 784, ceded the ter- 
ritory that now constitutes the States of Indiana, Wiscon- 
sin, Ohio and Michigan, to the Federal Government, with 
the stipulation that when divided into States they were to 
be guaranteed a republican form of government, "with the same sover- 
eignty, freecfim and independence as the other States." The celebrated 
"Compact of 1 7H7" followed. It was the triumph of Thomas Jefferson's 
foresight and unceasing labors in the cause of freedom. He was ably as- 
sisted by Dr. Cutler, of Massachusetts, and to them jointly is mainly due 
the credit that "slavery was forever excluded from this great territory." 
Yet slaves were held in Southern Illinois for years, having been brought 
thither by the early French settlers, and it was not until 1850 that the 
last bondsmen disappeared from the census. 

On the 13th of July, 1787, Congress established the Northwest Ter- 
ritory, and General St. Clair was appointed Governor. He came to Kas- 
kaskia in 1790, and organized the county of St. Clair, the first in tin- 

The population of Illinois was then about 2,000, and it took ten years 
to add another 1,000. 

May 7, 1800, Indiana Territory including our State was set apart, 
Gen. William Hemy Harrison appointed Governor, and Vincennes made 
the capital. The first Legislature assembled in 1805, but its doings were 
not popular with the Illinoisans, who termed it the " Vinsain Legislate! 1 ." 


In that year the population numbered about 5,000, which in 1810 <>ad in- 
n-rased to 12,282. 

In 1809 the State was severed from its "Hoosier" connection, and 
permitted to set up a territorial government of its own, with Ninian Ed- 
wards for its first Governor. 

In 1812, a Legislature was chosen, consisting of five Councillors and 
seven Representatives, which met at Kaskaskia, November 25. War with 
Great Britain was raging at the time, and much anxiety was felt as to the 
Indians, who, bought over with liberal promises, had generally arrayed 
tin -nisei ves with the enemy. In 1815 peace was restored, and a great im- 
petus given to immigration. 

In January, 1818, the Territorial Legislature of Illinois petitioned 
Congress for admission into the Union as a State. A bill was introduced 
at once, but was not acted on till April, when it became a law. 

As first intended, the northern boundary of the State was to beirin 
at the southern shore of Lake Michigan, running westward, but as this 
would have left Chicago in what is now Wisconsin, the Delegate in Con- 
gress sought and obtained a change to the line that now exists, thus secur- 
ing to the State fourteen additional counties in the fairest portions of the 

Wisconsin afterward claimed the territory, denying that Congress had 
a right to alter the petition of the Illinois Territorial Legislature, but the 
question quieted down, and the disputed territory is now GUI'S as much 
as any other portion of the State. A Convention was called to frame a 
constitution in the summer of 1818, and assembled in Kaskaskia. During 
the session, the Rev. Mr. Wiley and his congregation, a sect of so-called 
"Covenanters," in Randolph County, sent a petition asking the members 
to declare in the instrument they were preparing, that "Jesus Christ was 
the head of all governments, and that the Holy Scriptures were the only 
rule of faith and pfactice." The Convention not only failed to embody 
this doctrine in the Constitution, but treated the petition with no especial 
courtesy beyond its mere reception. Therefore, as Gov. Ford states, "The 
Covenanters refused to sanction the State Government, and have been con- 
strained to regard it as an heathen and unbaptized government, which de- 
nies Christ, for which reason they have constantly refused to work on the 
roads, serve on jiiries, hold any office, or do any act whereby they are sup- 
posed to recognize the Government." They steadily refused to vote until 
1824, when the subject of admitting slavery was submitted to the popular 


vote. Their suffrages were unanimously cast for freedom and a free State. 

Shadrach Bond was elected the first Governor, in October, 1818. Nin- 
ian Edwards and Jesse B. Thomas were chosen Senators, and John Mc- 
Lean, Representative in Congress. Joseph Phillips was chosen Chief Jus- 
tice, and Thomas C. Brown, John Reynolds and William B. Foster, Asso- 
ciate Justices of the Supreme Court. Gov. Ford, who afterward wrote a 
history of the State, did not speak in flattering terms of some of these 
men, and was particularly severe on Foster, whom he styled a "great 
rascal." He was a polished gentleman, and drew his salary with commend- 
able regularity, but never sat upon the bench, and after one year resigned 
and left the State. 

The first Legislature assembled at Kaskaskia in 1818, from whence the 
seat of government was changed the succeeding year to Vandalia. 

In 1823, Peoria County was formed, with Peoria as the county-seat. 
In 1826 the Commissioners of that county fixed the boundaries of Fox 
River Precinct, which extended from Senachwine Creek to the River La- 
Page (Du Page), or from Chillicothe northward, including the counties of 
Putnam, Marshall, Bureau and La Salle, and the territory west to the 
Mississippi River. 

Gideon Hawley and James Beersford were Justices of the Peace, with 
jurisdiction equal with the territory. The voting place was at David 
Walker's house, at the mouth of Fox River (Ottawa). 

Marriages were solemnized only at Peoria, and the first on record 
within the jurisdiction was as follows : 

STATE or ILLINOIS, PEORIA Co., July 29, 1829. 

This is to certify that Willard Scott and Caroline Hawley were this day united in mar- 
riage by me. ISAAC SCABKETT, Missionary. 

The ceremony, if short, was binding, and we may believe the parties 
enjoyed quite as much happiness as follows the elabcfrate nuptials of to- 
day, supplemented with cards, cake, bridesmaids, an expensive trousseau, 
a trip to Europe, and winding up, as is too often the case, with a sensa- 
tional suit for divorce. 





earliest know white settlers who came to what is now 
Putnam County were certain fur traders, who located at the 
most eligible points for their business along the Illinois 
River. The first of these represented the American Fur 
Company. Antoine Des Champs, a Canadian Frenchman, 
was the general agent. He established himself at Pe~ 
oria in 1816, and in 1817 was succeeded by Gurden S. 
Hubbard, now (1880) of Chicago, who will introduce him- 
self in the letter below, addressed to the Hon. A. T. Purviance, County 
Clerk of Putnam County: 

CHICAGO, April 8th, 1867. 

Dear Sir : Yours of the 4th received. The trading house occupied by Thomas Hart- 
zell was erected in 1817, and occupied by Beaubien, in the employment of the American Fur 
Company. The following year I was with him as his clerk, for he could not read or write ; 
besides, was old, and passed most of his time sick in bed. I was then sixteen years old, and 
the had entered the employment of American Fur Company in May of that year. Hartzell was 
at that time trading on the river below, in opposition to the American Company. Some years 
after, I think about 1824 or 5, he succeeded Beaubien in the employment of the American 
Fur Company. There -was a house just below, across the ravine, built by Antoine Bourbon- 
ais, also an opposition trader, who, like Hartzell, went into the employ of the American Fur 
Company under a yearly salary. My trading post, after leaving Beaubien, was at the 
mouth of Crooked Creek till 1826, when I located on the Iroquois river, still in the employ of 
the American Fur Company, and so continued till 1830, when I bought them out. * * * 

The last time that I visited the old spot where the trading house stood, the chimney was 
all that remained. This was made with clay and sticks. Four stakes were driven firmly in 
the ground, then small saplings withed across about two feet apart. Clay mortar tempered 
with ashes laid on long hay cut from the low lands, kneaded and made into strips about 
three feet long and three thick, laying the center over the first round of saplings, twisting 
them in below, until the top was reached, when the chimney inside and out was daubed 
with the clay and mortar smoothed off with the hand. The hearth of dry clay, pounded. It 
was our custom to keep rousing fires, and this soon baked and hardened the chimney, which 
gave it durability. The roof was made of puncheons, I think ; that is, split boards, the cracks 


well daubed with cl;vy, and then long grass put on top, held down by logs of small size to 
keep the grass in its place. The sides of the house consisted of logs, laid one on top of the 
other, about seven feet high. The ends of these logs were kept in place by posts in the 
ground.' The ends were sapling logs set in the ground, upright to the roof, pinned to a beam 
laid across from the top of the logs, comprising the upper sides of the building. A rough 
door at one end, and a window at the other, composed of one sheet of foolscap paper, well 
greased. It was a warm, comfortable building, where many an Indian was hospitably enter- 
tained, and all were jolly and happy. There I first knew Shaubena. His winter lodge was 
on Bureau lliver, at the bluffs. I became very much attached to him, and he to me. I never 
knew a more honest man, and up to the time of his death our friendship did not seem 
diminished. Yours, etc., 


We copy the above because it is reliable and valuable as historical 
fact, and for the reason that it describes the first house ever built by a 
white man in this section of country. 

At these trading houses pelts and furs were obtained from the Indians 
in exchange for powder, balls, tobacco, knives, and beads and other trink- 
ets, and shipped in boats called latteatix to the headquarters of the Fur 
Company, or to the larger independent traders at New Orleans or in 

In 1821, two cabins were built near that of the Fur Company, one of 
which was occupied by Bourbonais, or " Bulbona," as he was called, and 
the other by Rix Robinson, a Connecticut Yankee. Both had married 
squaws, and were raising half-breed children. The Frenchman went to 
what became known as Bulbona's Grove, and established a trading post, 
which he occupied for many years. 

At this time there were few white people north of Springfield, and 
the entire northern part of the State was a wilderness, inhabited by In- 
dians and wolves. Hubbard affimied that in passing from his trading post 
at Hennepin he found no white settlers until within eighteen miles of 
St. Louis. 

In 1825, says Pectfs Gazetteer: "In Northern Illinois there was not 
an organized county, a post-road or a considerable settlement. Chicago 
was little more than a village in Pike County, situated on Lake Michigan, 
at the mouth of Chicago Creek, containing twelve or fifteen houses and 
about sixty or seventy inhabitants. Peoria was a small settlement in 
Pike County, situated on the west bank of the Illinois River about two 
hundred miles above its junction with the Mississippi. A few lead miners 
had clustered about the lead mines at Galena, but a road through the wil- 
derness was not made until late this year, when * Kellogg's Trail ' pointed 


the devious way from Peoria to Galena. Not a white man's habitation 
nor a ferry was to be seen along its entire route." 

The Military Bounty Land Tract was the first to be settlecf by Ameri- 
can emigrants. It was surveyed by the Government, in 1815 and 1816, 
and the greater part subsequently appropriated in bounties to soldiers of 
the war of 1812. It extended from the junction of the Illinois and Mis- 
sissippi Rivers, running north 169 miles to a line drawn from the great 
bend of the river above Peru to the Mississippi, containing 5,360,000 

Pike County was laid off in 1821, and was immense in its boundaries. 
It included all that part of the State north and west of the Illinois River, 
from its junction with the Kankakee to the Mississippi River, and east of 
the Kankakee to the Indiana line, and running north to Wisconsin ! In 
1823 it had seven or eight hundred inhabitants. 

January 13, 1825, among other counties, Putnam was created. It em- 
braced a territory extending from the present northern limit of Peoria 
County, along the Illinois and Kankakee Rivers to the Indiana line, and 
thence north to Wisconsin, and west to a point thirty-five miles from 
the Mississippi ; thence due south 105 miles, and east to beginning, com- 
prising 11,000 square miles! In 1830, Putnam and Peoria Counties 
united contained 1,310 whites, Putnam alone about 700. But this county 
was never organized, however. Its judicial business appears to have been 
transacted at Peoria, when there was any. 

In 1829, '30 and '31, settlers had begun to come in and locate along 
the margins of the timber and at the edges of the larger groves. But still 
they were few and far between. There being no ferries, goods were taken 
across the river in canoes, while horses were made to swim. 

In 1831 Thomas Hartzell established a ferry at Hennepin, the first on 
the river above Peoria. 

In 1831 Putnam County was again created, with new boundaries, and 
in the spring of that year organized in accordance with the act of the 
Legislature of the January previous. 

Chicago had not then a municipal existence, but was a lively village 
of 250 inhabitants, including the garrison of Fort Dearborn. The Indian 
title to most of the land in Northern Illinois had not been extinguished, 
and no land outside of the military tract was for sale. But a single 
steamer had yet troubled the waters of the Illinois River above Peoria. 
There were a few settlers in the vicinity of Lacon and Hennepin, and on 


Round and Half Moon Prairies, in what is Marshall County now, as well 
as on the Ox Bow Prairie, and at Union Grove, in Putnam County. 

The new county, as created in 1831, comprised thirty-eight full and 
thirteen fractional townships, and included nearly the whole of what is 
now Bureau, Putnam, Marshall and Stark Counties a greater territory 
than the entire State of Rhode Island. Commissioners to locate a county 
seat were appointed, consisting of John Hamlin, of Peoria; Isaac Perkins, 
of Tazewell, and Joel Wright of Canton. The act of incorporation pro- 
vided it should be located on the Illinois River, "as near as practicable in 
the center of the county, with a just regard to its present and future sus- 
ceptibility of population, and to be named Hennepin." 

The Commissioners accordingly met early in May, and after examina- 
tion of the various sites along the river, were about deciding to locate the 
county seat where Henry, in Marshall County, now stands, when the 
inhabitants of the Spoon River region interposed a plea that its location 
there would delay them in the formation of a new county, which they 
desired to have set off as soon as population would justify. The Commis- 
sion gave due attention to this plea, and resolved upon another site. As 
an understanding had already gone abroad that the location would IK; 
made at Henry, a chalked board was set up at that point, giving notice 
that another locality had been chosen. On the 6th of June, a report 
was made to the County Commissioners' Court, then sitting near Henne- 
pin, that "they have selected, designated, and permanently located the 
said seat of justice" where it now is. Provision was made in the organic 
act for its location upon Congress lands, if deemed advisable.* 

The boundaries of the new county, as fixed by the act of January 1 ">, 
1831, were defined as "commencing at the south- west corner of Town \'2 
north, Range 6 east, running east to the Illinois River; thence down the 
middle of said river to the south line of Town 29 north; thence east with 
said line to the third principal meridian; thence north with said meridian 
line forty- two miles; thence west to a point six miles due north of the 
north- west corner of Town 17 north, Range 6 east; thence south in a 
right line to the place of beginning." 

The first election under the law was to choose county officers, and was 
held at the house of Wm. Hawes, on the first Monday of March, 1831. 
The judges of election were Thomas Hartzell and Thomas Gallaher, 
while James W. Willis performed the duties of clerk. 

*Ford's " History of Marshall and Putnam Counties." 


The day was cold and dreaiy; roads were unknown save here and 
there a bridle-path ; there were no bridges, and not a great deal of en- 
thusiasm was manifested. 

But twenty-four votes were cast, and as there was but one set of can- 
didates, they were declared elected. They were: Thomas Gallaher, 
George Ish and John M. Gay for County Commissioners, Ira Ladd for 
Sheriff, and Aaron Cole for Coroner. 

Hooper Warren was Clerk of the Circuit Court, Recorder of Deeds, 
County Clerk, and also, when he had nothing else to do, was Justice of 
the Peace. 

Putnam was assigned to the Fifth Judicial Circuit, comprising fifteen 
counties, of which Hon. Richard M. Young was Judge and Hon. Thomas 
Ford (afterward Governor) District Attorney. 

The new county seat was named in honor of Father Hennepin, the 
well-known explorer, and the first white man who is supposed to have 
set foot on the shores of the Illinois at this locality. The name was fixed 
by the law creating the county, so that all the different places seeking the 
location of the seat of justice, and failing, thus escaped the honor' of bear- 
ing the name of Hennepin. 


The first Circuit Court in Putnam County was held on the first Mon- 
day of May, 1831. In accordance with law, the County Commissioners' 
Court had selected the house of Thomas Gallaher, Esq., on the bank of 
the Illinois River, about one-fourth of a mile above Thcjmas Hartzell's 
trading house, as a suitable place for holding court. 

Accordingly, on the day named the Court met, and there being no 
Clerk as yet provided, the Judge appointed Hooper Warren to the posi- 
tion, and fixed his official bond at $2,000. John Dixon and Henry 
Thomas became his sureties. The Sheriff made due proclamation, and the 
Circuit Court of Putnam was declared in session. 

The Grand Jurors for the term were : Daniel Dimmick, Elijah Epper- 
son, Henry Thomas, Leonard Roth, Jesse Williams, Israel Archer, James 
Warnock, John L. Ramsey, William Hawes, John Strawn, Samuel 
Laughlin (foreman), David Boyle, Stephen Willis, Jeremiah Strawn, 
Abraham Stratten, and Nelson Shepherd, 


Summoned, but did not appear : Thomas Wafer, George B. Willis, 
John Knox, - - Humphrey, Jesse Roberts, and Lemuel Gaylord, Sr. 

The Petit Jurors were: Wm. Boyd, Hugh Warnock, Win. H. Ham, 
Lewis Knox, Samuel Patterson, Joseph Ash, Christopher Wagner, Joseph 
Wallace, John Whittaker, Wm. Cowan, Wm. Wright, Ashael Hannum, 
Anthony Turk, John Burrow, John Myers, Ezekiel Thomas, Mason Wil- 
son, Smiley Shepherd, Justin Ament, and William Moms. 

The Grand Jury held its sessions on a log under the shade of the 
trees. The only work done was the finding of an indictment against a 
man named Resin Hall and a woman named Martha Wright. He had a 
cabin in the woods, where he openly lived with two wives, to the great 
disgust of his bachelor neighbors, who thought where women were so few 
there should be a more equal distribution. Before the setting of the next 
court, Mr. Hall and his two wives folded their tents and disappeared. 

There was no further business before this court, which lasted but one 
day and adjourned. At the next term, September, 1831, James M. Strode, 
Esq., was appointed Prosecuting Attorney, pro tern, in the absence of State's 
Attorney Thomas Ford, and Clark Hollenback indicted for malfeasance 
in office as Magistrate. 

Court was afterward held at the house of Geo. B. Willis, and where- 
ever it could find room for a year or two, until more permanent quarters 
could be had. 

At the May term, 1832, John Combs, summoned as a juror, failed to 
appear. The Court sent an officer, armed with an attachment, after the 
delinquent, brought him in a prisoner, and fined him $5.00 and costs. 

David Jones, of rather tempestuous fame, was recognized to keep the 
peace,. and ga^e bonds in the sum of $50.00, with Roswell Blanchard and 
Elijah Epperson as his sureties that he would be peaceful to all the 
world, and especially as to George Ish. 

In May, 1832, Clark Hollenback's case came up, but for some unknown 
reason the State's Attorney quashed it. He had been indicted for some 
crookedness as Justice of the Peace, but the affair never came to trial. 


A new Court House and jail had been contemplated, and October 8th, 
1831, the County Commissioners "ordered that a new Court House be 
built on plans furnished by John M. Gay, Esq., by May, 1832." 


December 9th, 1831, a jail was ordered to be built. It was to be seven 
feet in the clear, the upper and under floors to be made of hewn timber, 
one foot square, the roof "raved clapboard," three feet long. "The 
door to be made of inch boards doubled, nailed together with hammered 
nails six inches apart, to be hung with iron hinges, the hooks one inch 
square, six inches long, boarded, the hasp of the lock to go two- thirds of 
the way across the door, the window to be a foot square, with two bars 
of iron each way. To be twelve feet square, and cost eighty dollars." 

This costly structure was erected according to specifications, and ac- 
cepted; and it is* on record that one of its first prisoners, with a little out- 
side help, pried out a log and escaped. 

August 14th, 1832, "Notice was ordered given in The Sangamon 
Journal (Springfield), that three several jobs of building a court house 
will be sold the third Monday of September, 1832. 

".1st. The foundation to be of stone, fifty feet on the ground each 
way, out to out; wall three feet high, two feet thick, one foot six inches 
under ground. 

" 2d. Brick wall to be equal in extent to foundation, twenty-two feet 
high, first story twelve feet, two and a half brick thick; second story ten 
feet high, two brick thick. 

" 3d. Carpenter work all to be done in good style, and the whole to 
be finished by September, 1833." 

Until 1833, the Circuit Court had no regular place for holding its ses- 
sions, and among bills audited were several for payment of rent of room 
used, the usual price charged being two dollars for the term, which if in 
winter included the firewood used. 

In March, 1833, Ira Ladd was employed to build a new jail, of the 
following dimensions : 

"Lower floor to be double, of hewn timber white or burr oak, one foot 
square sixteen feet square; the lower tier of timber to be laid close side 
by side ; second tier to be of same material and size laid crosswise, so as to 
make both solid making it two feet thick, sixteen inches square, and 
sunk in the ground to a level with the top of the floor, four to eight 
inches above the ground. The outer wall to be sixteen feet from out to 
out, and each way sixteen feet high, of square timber hewn or four-sided ; 
walls one foot thick, logs to be close, the corners plumb, notched dove- 
tail, corners cut down true and smooth, iron spikes in each log at the cor- 
ners, of three-quarter inch iron, to be driven in .in presence of wit- 


nesses; the lower seven feet to be of white or burr oak. Inner wall 
twelve feet square, one foot thick, seven feet high, corners notched; 
one foot of space between inner and outer wall, to be filled with good 
hard timber, except walnut or ash. Space to be filled with one foot 
square timber seven feet long, set on end. Second floor of timber one foot 
square, sixteen feet long; upper story nine feet nine inches high. One 
window, one foot square, in lower story between the fourth and fifth logs, 
grated double, with one and one-quarter inch iron rods, and a door and 
window in upper story, securely made. A hatchway connected the upper 
and lower stories. The cost of this model log fortress was fixed at $334 ! 

The next important record is found January 7, 1836, when it was 
"ordered that $14,000 be appropriated for a court house," and Wm. M. 
Stewart was appointed to make out the plans. The contract was to be 
let March 3, 1836, and an advertisement was ordered inserted in the 
Chicago Democrat and Sangamon Journal to that effect. 

Gorham & Durley obtained the contract for Wm. C. Flagg, a promi- 
nent contractor and builder of the Bloomington, Ottawa, and other court 
houses. The building cost $14,000. 

The temporary court house ordered constructed September 2, 1833, 
was not completed and occupied until December, 1835, and in the June 
following it was formally accepted in behalf of the county, by James G. 
Patterson, Commissioner. The new building being now well under way, 
the temporary one was offered for sale almost immediately upon its 


In early times deeds were not as promptly recorded as now. The fact 
that a man had given a warranty deed to a tract of land was accepted as 
conclusive evidence of his right to do so. The title was still in the United 
States Government for the great body of land in the country, and the con- 
veyances from one individual to another were few. When a settler had ac- 
quired his " patent " he felt safe enough, and was content to exhibit this 
UIK questionable proof of his ownership, the veiy highest title known. 
The precious document was safer with the proprietor of the land it de- 
scribed than elsewhere, and these "patents" were seldom placed upon 
record, not one in fifty ever finding its way to the Recorder's office, at 
least for years after. There was little danger of the Government issuing 


two patents for the same land, and the man in possession had the " nine 
points" of the law. 

Until possible cities began to be thought of, there was but little chang- 
ing of titles among the people. The pioneer having made his claim 
through much hardship and toil, regarded it as his future homestead, and 
was loth to part with it. 

The first conveyance on record in Putnam County is a deed from 
Robert Bird and wife to John Strawn, for a piece of the north end of the 
north-east fractional quarter of Section 35, Town 30, Range 3 west, in 
Columbia (Lacon), August 15, 1831, for $38.00, acknowledged before 
Colby F. Stevenson, Notary Public. This was followed by other convey- 
ances of town lots here and there, and now and then a certificate of entiy, 
for its better preservation, for its loss was a serioiis obstacle to getting the 
coveted "patent." About 1834, Eastern capitalists were attracted to 
the West as affording new and profitable fields for speculation, and 
occasionally a deed turned up for a township or so of land, bought 
" unsight unseen." July 30, 1834, we find a deed for forty-six quarter 
sections of land, from Southwick Shaw to Dr. Benjamin Shurtliff , of Bos- 
ton, for $4,500, 7,360 acres. Also, another from Humphrey Rowland 
to Arthur Mott, for sixty-four quarter sections, or 10,240 acres, for $8,320. 
Another from John Tillson, Jr., to Walter Bicker, of 18,040 acres, for 
$8,000. One dated October 7, 1834, from John Tillson, Jr., to Walter 
Mead, for 30,360 acres, and another to Mead for 57,910 acres, June 30, 
1835. The largest deed, however, is dated December 7, 1835, from 
Stephen B. Munn and wife to Charles F. Moulton, for $220,000, and 
conveys several counties of land. The descriptions in this deed occupy 
twenty-three pages of the record. 


The old financial court of the county, the simple and inexpensive sys- 
tem of county government, which for the sole reason of its economy, has 
many advocates as against the cumbrous, half legislative body called the 
"Board of Supervisors," first met "in special session" at Hennepin, April 
2d, 1831. Present "The Hon. Thomas Gallaher," Judge of the Pro- 
bate Court, and George Ish and John M. Gay, "Associate Justices of the 
Peace," for such were the high sounding titles of those gentlemen of that 
day. Hooper Warren was appointed Clerk. . 


Ira Ladd had been elected Sheriff of the new county, but his commis- 
sion not having arrived to give him such power as the court could confer, 
"he was appointed to discharge the duties of the office of Sheriff of said 
county till said commission should come"! He was also requested to 
designate the place of holding this honorable court, which he did by 
selecting a place in the woods on the river bank! He was likewise re- 
quired to furnish a table, benches, and stationery for the court ! 

On the 6th of June the Commissioners' met, and heard the report 
of Joel Wright, John Hamlin, and Isaac Perkins, Commissioners to lo- 
cate the seat of justice of Putnam County, which was ordered filed. It 
fixed the honor upon the south-west fractional quarter of Section 9, Town 
32, Range 2 west. 

The Court having examined said report, find that the Commissioners 
have made a mistake in the quarter section, and directed the County Sur- 
veyor to examine the levies of said quarter section and report. 

Thornton Wilson, Geo. Hildebrand and John Whittaker were ap- 
pointed the first School Trustees in the county, for the school section in 
their neighborhood Section 16, Town 31, Range 1 west. 

Also, on the petition of Wm. Smith and nineteen others, John B. 
Dodge, Charles Boyd and Sylvanus Moore were appointed Commissioners 
to locate a road from Hennepin to Smith's Ford, on Spoon River, and 
required to meet and begin their labors July 4th, 1831. 

June 17th, 1831, the Court, on the petition of Christopher Hannum 
and seventeen others, appointed Ashael Hannum, John Strawn and Iru 
Ladd to locate a road from Hennepin to the county line between Taze- 
well and Putnam Counties. 

The first tax levied in the county was fixed by the Commissioners' 
Court at one-half of one per cent on personal property only, for county 

James W. Willis was appinted the first County Treasurer, and his 
bond required to be one thousand dollars. Thomas Wafer, Samuel D. 
Laughlin and Stephen D. Willis became sureties, and the bond accepted. 

The county was at this term divided into four election precincts, viz: 

Sandy Including all the county south uf the south branch of Clear 
Creek to the Illinois River. 

Hennepin All the county south-east of the Illinois River, and north 
of the above mentioned line. 

Spoon River To include all of the county south of the direct line 


from the head of Crow Prairie to Six Mile Grover, thence north-west to the 
county line. 

Bureau All of the county north-east of the above and northwest of 
the Illinois River. 


The first election after the organization of the county was held 
August 1st, 1834, and the officers to be elected were, a Member of Con- 
gress, a Justice of the Peace or Magistrate, as they were known, and a 
Constable for each precinct. The vote was small, and was ta^en by each 
elector calling the name of the party for w T hom he desired to cast his bal- 
lot, which the clerk reported, and, along with his name, inscribed in the 
poll book. This is what is termed voting "viva voce." We give for the 
benefit of their descendants a list of persons who voted at that election : 


Judges Wm. Cowan, Ashael Hannum and John Strawn. Election 
held at the houses of Jesse Roberts, John H. Shaw and Abner Boyle. 
The voters were : Ashael Hannum, Wm. Cowan, John Strawn, George 
H. Shaw, Abner Boyle, Lemuel Gaylord, William Hart, Lemuel Horrarn, 
Robert Bird, Wm. Hendrick, John Knox, James Finley, George Hilde- 
brand, Hiram Allen, Daniel Gunn, Zion Shugart, Jesse Roberts, Isaac 
Hildebrand, John S. Hunt, William Eads, Wm. H. Hart, John Hart, 
Ephraini Smith, Peter Hart, Obed Graves, Hartwell Hawley, William 
Graves, Wm. Lathrop, Jesse Berge, Ezekiel Stacey, Litel Kneal, William 
Hawes, Wm. Knox, Marcus D. Stacey, J. C. Wright, Thos. Gunn, John 
Bird, Samuel Glenn, Elias Thompson, Robert Barnes, James Adams and 
John G. Griffith 42. 


The Judges of Election were: Thornton Wilson, Aaron Payne and 
George B. Willis; Smiley Shepherd and John Short, Clerks. Election at 
the ferry house, opposite the mouta of Bureau Creek. 

The voters were : James W. Willis, Ira Ladd, Hooper Wan-en, Chris- 
topher Wagner, David Boyle, James C. Stephenson, Samuel McNamara, 
Alexander Wilson, John McDonald, Wm. H. Hamrn, John Griffin, James 
G. Dunlavy, Colby T. Stephenson, James A. Wai-nock, John E. Warnock, 


Jeremiah Strawn, Aaron Whittaker, Aaron Thomasson, Aaron Payne, Jos. 
Warnock, Stephen D. Willis, Madison Stndyvin, Samuel D.- Laughlin, 
Hugh Warnock, Anthony Turck, Jonathan Wilson, Joseph Wallace, 
James Garven, Geoiye Ish, Joseph D. Warnock, Robert W. Moore, James 
G. Ross, James Hayes, John L. Ramsey, Williamson Durley, Thos. D. 
Hayless, Thornton Wilson, John Short, George B. Wilson, Smiley Shep- 
herd, James S. Simpson 41. 


Judges Win. Smith, Greenleaf Smith and Wm. B. Essex; John C. 
Owing and Benj. Smith, Clerks. Election at the house of Benj. Smith. 

The voters were: W. D. Garrett, Sewell Smith, John B. Dodge, Syl- 
vanus Moore, Benj. Essex, Thomas Essex, Thomas Essex, Jr., David 
Cooper, Harris W. Miner, Isaac B. Essex, -- Greenleaf, B. Smith, Win. 
Smith, Benj. Smith, John C. Owings 14. 


Judges Henry Thomas, Elijah Epperson, and Leonard Roth, at tin- 
bouse of E. Epperson. 

The voters were : Henry Thomas, Elijah Epperson, Leonard Roth, 
John M. Gay, Mason Dimmick, Samuel Gleason, Curtis Williams, Justice 
Ament, John Ament, John W. Hall, Henry M. Harrison, Abner Strut- 
ton, Elijah Thomas, Hezekiah Epperson, Edward W. Hall, Adam Tay- 
lor, Daniel Dunnic, Thomas Washburn and Anthony Epperson. 

In all the precincts there were but one hundred and sixteen votes 


By order of the County Court, all business men were required to take- 
out licenses, for which fees were charged according to their supposed 
profits. Peddlers were looked on with suspicion, and a fee was exacted 
double that reraiired of the merchant, who could secure one while court 
was in session for eight dollars, but in vacation the Clerk was directed to 
assess sixteen. This we suppose was to make men respect the Court's 

The county being hard up, George Ish and Thomas Gallaher were au- 
thorized to boiTow $200 on its credit, to purchase the land of the United 


States Government upon which the State had located the seat of justice, 
but here a new difficulty arose ; for County Surveyor Stevenson having, 
in accordance with the request of the Court, surveyed the fractional quar- 
ter section upon which the Commissioners had located the new county- 
seat, and found it to contain only twelve acres far too little for the 
future great metropolis, the Court appointed John M. Gay to proceed 
to the residence of any two of said Commissioners and get them to alter 
their report so as to include the south-east quarter, or else to inake 
a new location. They were easily persuaded to amend it in accord- 
ance with the merits of the case; so they designated the south-east 
fractional quarter of Section 9, Town 32, Range 2 west as the future seat 
of justice, and George Ish was sent to Springfield to enter the same at the 
Government Land Office, for the benefit of the County of Putnam. 

September 5, 1831, John B. Dodge, Thomas Gunn, William Smith 
and Thomas G. Ross, having been elected Constables in August, pre- 
sented their bonds, and the same were approved. 

September 6, Dunlavy & Stewart took out a license to sell merchand- 
ise from August 1, 1831; also a like legal authority to sell goods was 
granted to J. & W. Durley, from August 11, 1831. 

September 7, 1831, twelve blocks of the future town of Hennepin 
were ordered to be surveyed, and Ira Ladd allowed eighteen and three- 
fourths cents per lot for surveying. 

A road leading from Hennepin west to the State road from Peoria to 
Galena, was ordered to be surveyed ; also a road to Smith's Ford, on Spoon 
River, to be re-surveyed and marked, and another to be laid out from 
Hennepin to Holland's settlement in Tazewell County (now Washington) ; 
another was laid out from the county seat to the McComas place. 

The first sale of lots in Hennepin was ordered to be made, at public 
auction, on the third Monday of September, 1831, half the purchase money 
to be paid down, and the balance in two payments, in six and twelve 
months. A general sale was ordered to take place on the first Monday of 
December, 1831, on similar terms, to be advertised in the newspapers at 
Springfield and Galena, Illinois, and Terre Haute, Indiana, the then most 
considerable papers in the west. 

The first Commissioner of School Lands was Nathaniel Chamberlain, 
who was appointed September 26, 1831. 

The ground where the new town was located was heavily timbered, if 
we may credit the following notice "from the Court," which "Ordered, 


that notice be given to all persons cutting timber on the streets of Hem ic- 
pin, to clear tlie whole tree they cut down from the street even with the 
ground, and all who infringe upon this rule will be prosecuted." 

Ira Ladd was next called upon to survey eight additional blocks, and 
he complied by laying out eighteen, for which he was paid $3.50. Sam- 
uel Patterson was auctioneer at this sale, and was allowed the surprising 
sum of one dollar for " crying " them. 

December 8, 1831, George H. Shaw, Thomas Wafer, Elijah Smith and 
Benjamin Smith were appointed Overseers of the Poor the first in this 
county. The same day the Court confirmed a permit issued in vacation 
to James S. Simpson, to sell goods; and also tranferred a license from Ira 
Ladd to Thomas Hartzell, for merchandizing. 

March 6, 1832, James W. Willis was appointed Treasurer, and filed 
his bond at the same time. 

Up to March 7, 1832, all efforts had failed to acquire title to the land 
set apart as the seat of justice, and a new endeavor was made. 

The taxes of 1832 were fixed at one and a half per centum on all per- 
sonal property. 

At this session of the Court, Erastus Wright and Win. Porter, who 
were running a ferry at the mouth of Sandy Creek, were taxed $5.00 for 
the privilege. This was March 16, 1832, and was probably the first ferry 
established at Heniy. 

July 2, 1832, the Precinct of Columbia was created out of Sandy Pre- 
cinct, and embracing "all the country east of the Illinois River, south and 
south-west of Geo. H. Thompson's. Robert Bird, James Dever and Rob- 
ert Barnes were appointed judges, and the first election was ordered to be 
held at the house of John Strawn. 

No title to the land where Hennepin stands had yet been acquired, 
although Hooper Warren had specially visited Springfield for the pur- 
pose, and at the July session James G. Dunlavy was dispatched to St. 
Louis upon the same errand. 

Elisha Swan was granted a license to sell goods at Columbia, Septem- 
ber 3, 1832. 

James W. Willis, for assessing the entire property of the county, was 
allowed $25.00. 

September 3, 1832, Thomas Gallaher, Jr., for selling goods without a 
license, was brought before Hooper Warren, a Justice of the Peace, and 
fined $10.00. 


September 10, 1832, Aaron Whittaker was employed to build a "stray 
pen, according to law." 

John Lloyd, John Myers, and Bradstreet M. Hays were appointed to 
locate a road from Hennepin to Ottawa, and a former survey on that 
route was ordered to be vacated. 

The Commissioners of Peoria County having granted a license, De- 
cember 3, 1830, to Thompson & Wright to keep a ferry at the mouth of 
Sandy Greet (Henry), the Commissioners of Putnam, October (I, 1*832, 
.ordered the same continued in the name of E. Wright and Wm. Porter, 
who seem to have in some way succeeded the former owners. 

The new ferrymen were required to pay to the county $2.00, and give 
bonds in the sum of $100 that they would run the ferry according to law 
and the following ferry rates : 

Foot passengers, each 6 j cents. 

Man and horse 12J " 

Dearborn, or one-horse wagon 25 " 

Sulky, gig, pleasure carriage with springs, chaise or other wheel car- 
riage drawn by one horse 50 " 

Same, or wagon or cart drawn by two horses or beasts 37 " 

Same, by four horses or beasts 75 " 

Each additional horse 6 " 

Each head of cattle 6} " 

Hog, sheep o r goat, each 3 " 

Goods, per 100 pounds Q\ " 

When the water is out of its banks, double the above rates. 

Ira Ladd was authorized to keep the Hennepin ferry. 
October 6, 1832, it was ordered that a lot be donated in Hennepin for 
the benefit of the public schools, and lot 17 of block 7 having been se- 
lected, the same was deeded to the school district. 

October 6, 1832, a road was ordered surveyed from Columbia (Lacon) 
past Strawn's and Dever's places, south to the county line of Putnam 
and Tazewell. John Robinson, Anthony Turck, and B. M. Hays, Com- 

October 6, 1832, "Lemuel Gaylord came before the Court and made 
affidavit that he was aged sixty-seven years ; that he entered the service 
of the United States Government for one Ithurial Hart, of the Quarter- 
master's Department, under command of Captain Tuttle, in June, 1 780 ; 
continued till December, 1780; re-enlisted in April, 1781; drove team till 
December 27, following; was with the expedition to Yorktuwn, and after 
the taking of Cornwallis, hauled a piece of artillery to Newburg, and 


baggage back. In April, 1782, enlisted again; went to headquarters at 
New burg, remained under the command of Major Skidmore till December 
20, following, and believe myself entitled to a pension," etc. 

This affidavit bears the signature of Edward Hale' and Peter Ellis, 
ministers of the Gospel, who certify to Gaylord's good character and 

In further explanation, it should be stated that Gaylord was a minor 
at the time, and his father was entitled to the pension, but the latter hav- 
ing been killed by the Indians at the massacre of Wyoming, it had never 
been allowed. Mr. Gaylord was fortunate in securing what he was so 
justly entitled to, and spent his remaining days at his home on Sandy. 
He was universally respected, and after living to an advanced age, Avas 
gathered to his fathers, and sleeps in an honored grave in Cumberland 

December 25, 1832, Roswell Blanchard surrendered his license to sell 
goods, and in its stead applied for one to keep a tavern at Hennepin, 
which was granted for a fee of fifty cents, and bonds required in the 
amount of $200 that he would, among the duties of landlord, strictly live 
up to the following rates of charges : Horse one night, 2 5c.; one feed, 
12ic. ; one horse twenty-four hours, 37^c. ; man, one meal, 18fc; night's 
lodging, 6c. ; whisky one gill 6c., half-pint 12^c., one pint 18|c. ; 
brandy, rum, gin and wine, one gill 12^c; half -pint 25c., pint 50c. 

December 20, 1832, Captain Brown's Rangers, a body of militia organ- 
ized to protect the white people of the frontier against the Indians, were 
quartered near Hennepin, and occasionally had to use the ferry. The 
Court made the following special order: "Captain Brown's companv of 
Hangers are granted the use of the ferry to cross at Hennepin, for $2.00 
over and back, or $2.00 per week, as Captain Brown may choose. 

March 6, 1833, Hooper Warren, Justice, reported that he had fined 
Roswell ,,Blan chard $3.00 for an assault upon Leonard Roth. Also, George 
Wilmarth seems to have perpetrated an assault and battery upon the de- 
voted person of David Jones, somewhat noted as a pugilist. George hav- 
ing apparently got the best of this encounter, the Justice fined him $5.00 
and costs. 

The entire taxes collected in 1832, in the County of Putnam, amounted 
to cash,. $88. 19, and county orders, $104.62.1. 

A road from the mouth of Crow Creek, up the Illinois River, under 
the bluffs, through Columbia, and along the bottom to the mouth of 


Sandy (opposite Henry), was ordered to be laid out, and Jesse Sawyer 
and the County Surveyor were appointed Commissioners to perform the 
labor, June 3, 1833. 

Peter Earnhardt, paymaster of the Fourth Illinois Militia, filed his 
bond in $200, as by law required, and the same was approved. 

September 2, 1833, J. "W. Willis was sent to Springfield to get patents 
for the land occupied by Hennepin and the county buildings. All previ- 
ous efforts in this direction had regularly failed. The county had been 
selling and conveying property to which it had as yet no title, and ner- 
vous purchasers and tax-payers who feared that some audacious claim- 
jumper might steal the county property, or that which had been claimed 
for court house and jail purposes, kept the Honorable Commissioners' 
Court in the warmest of hot water, and every previous attempt to get titles 
having so wretchedly miscarried, they were becoming desperate. 

December 16, it was ordered that the Commissioners' Clerk and Sheriff 
relinquish their fees for this term of Court. No explanation is vouch- 
safed, and we are left in the dark as to whether the county was unable to 
pay its public servants, or the Treasurer had grown so weak he could not 
draw the necessary orders. 


September 1, 1834, Alex. Tompkins was granted a license to run a 
ferry at the mouth of Negro Creek, at the house of John Cole. 

Elisha Swan was allowed a ferry license at Columbia, March 2, 1835, 
and was taxed $15.00; and at the same time was granted a merchant's 

March 2, a license was given Wm. Hammett to run a ferry at the 
mouth of Crow Creek. 


By 1835 Putnam had 3,948 whites and eight negroes, of whom two 
were registered servants, or more plainly, slaves. 

The county was growing rapidly, and the location of the county seat 
being found inconvenient for many, the project for a new county was agi- 
tated, and the result was the formation of the magnificent county of Bu- 
reau, with Princeton for its county seat. 


This was followed by another division, and Marshall County 
formed. Thus from being the largest county in the State and leading all 
others in population, wealth and political influence, Putnam was shorn 
of its fair proportions, and made the very smallest. The student of his- 
tory as he reads this will wonder why this wrong was permitted, and ask 
if there were none in the Legislature to plead for and protect her just 
rights. We cannot answer. 

In the "Bribery Act" of 1837, whereby millions of money was voted 
to railroads never constructed, the consent or silent approval of counties 
not benefitted was secured by loans of money, and under its provisions 
Putnam was entitled to and received $10,000 as her portion of the "steal." 
But " ill gotten gains are treacherous friends," the proverb hath it, and 
so it turned out, for the Treasurer, Ammon Moon, loaned it out so se- 
curely that it has never been recovered. 

The last act of the Commissoners was to divide the county into town- 
ships in accordance with an act of the Legislature and vote of the people, 
and this duty was assigned to Guy W. Pool and Jeremiah Strawn. 

The labors of the old County Commissioners 1 Court ceased April Hi, 
1856, when the new County Supervisors met at Hennepin and took upon 
themselves the dignity of office. The first Board consisted of Townsend 
G. Fyffe, of Magnolia, who was elected chairman, and James S. Simpson 
of Hennepin, Benjamin F. Carpenter of Senachwine, and Joel W. Hopkins 
of Granville. 


Colby F. Stevenson was the first Probate Judge of Putnam County, 
and pel-formed its duties in addition to those of Surveyor. 

The first case for adjudication was the estate of Daniel Bland, of Round 
Prairie, who died on the 8th day of February, 1831. The circumstances 
of his death will be more particularly referred to hereafter. His widow, 
Nancy Bland, was appointed administratrix, under bonds of $1,250. Rob- 
ert Bird became her surety. 

John P. Blake was the next Judge, and his first official act was admin- 
istering upon the estate of Zion Shugart, who died February 13, 1833. 
His widow was appointed administratrix, arid Samuel Glenn became her 
surety. Dr. Condee, of Columbia (Lacon), appears to have been physician 
to deceased, since his bill is allowed. 


Aaron Payne, the missionary, "presents a bill of $11.25 for officiating at 
the inquest of Daniel Gunn, who hanged himself on Oxbow Prairie, and 
the same was allowed. 

December 8, 1831, James Reynolds died, and Jane M. Reynolds was 
made executrix. 

Another record is the indenture of Caleb Stark to Elias Isaacs, who 
agrees "for three years' service" to instruct his apprentice in tne "art, 
trade or mystery of currying." After one year's service the contract was 

September 7, 1831, Wm. Wauhob, Sr., died on JRound Prairie. January 
5, 1835, Robert, his son, comes to the County Court and complains that 
his brother William has appropriated the entire estate of their father, 
and wants an account rendered and a division. After a long contest over 
the matter, the parties got into court and settled. 

James Dever died in December, 1834, and his will was proven in Jan- 
uary, 1835. 

We close- our records with the following death notices of settlers whom 
many will remember: Thornton Wilson died March 9, 1835; Jos. Babb, 
April 7 ; Oliver Johnson, August 6 ; Alexander Wilson, July 22 ; William 
Britt, June 25; and Naomi Ware, October 3, of that year. The last named 
left by will a considerable portion of her estate to the New School Pres- 
byterian Church of Hennepin. 





>H1S important episode in the history of Marshall and Putnam 
Counties demands extended notice, and for what follows we 
are mainly indebted to Ex-Governor Thomas Ford, who 
was a personal actor therein, and probably the veiy best 
man that could be found to tell the story. In order to a 
full and complete understanding of the causes that led to it, 
it will be necessary to refer to a treaty made by General 
Harrison, at St. Louis, in 1804, with the chief of the Sac 
and Fox nations of Indians, by which those Indians ceded to the United 
States all their lands on Rock River, and much more elsewhere. 

" This grant was confirmed by a part of the tribe in a treaty with 
Governor Edwards and Auguste Chouteau, in September, 1815, and by 
another part in a treaty with the same Commissioners in May, 1816. The 
United States had caused some of these lands, situate at the mouth of 
Rock River, to be surveyed and sold. They included the great town of 
the nation, near the mouth of the river. The purchasers from the Gov- 
ernment moved on their lands, built houses, made fences and fields, and 
thus took possession of the ancient metropolis of the Indian nation. It 
consisted of about two or three hundred lodges made of small poles set 
upright in the ground, upon which other poles were tied transversely 
with bark at the top, so as to hold a covering of bark peeled from the 
neighboring trees, and secured with other strips sewed to the transverse 
poles. The sides of the lodges were secured in the same manner. The 
principal part of these Indians had long since moved from their town to 
the west of the Mississippi. 

"But there was one old chief of the Sacs, called Mucata Muhicatah, 
or Black Hawk, who always denied the validity of these treaties. Black 
Hawk was now an old man. He had been a warrior from his youth. He 
had led many a war party on the trail of an enemy, and had never been 


defeated. He had been in the service of England in the war of 1812, and 
had been aid-de-camp to the great Tecumseh. He was distinguished for 
courage and for clemency to the vanquished. He was an Indian patriot, 
a kind husband and father, and was noted for his integrity in all his deal- 
ings with his tribe and with the Indian traders. He was firmly attached 
to the British, and cordially hated the Americans. At the close of the 
war of 1812 he did not join in making peace with the United States, 
but himself and band kept up their connection with Canada, and , were 
ever ready for a war with our people. He was in his personal deport- 
ment grave and melancholy, with a disposition to cherish and brood over 
the wrongs he supposed he had received from the Americans. He was 
thirsting for revenge upon his enemies, and at the same time his piety con- 
strained him to devote one day in the year to visit the grave of a favorite 
daughter buried on the Mississippi Biver, not far from Oquawka. Here he 
came on his yearly visit, and spent a day by the grave, lamenting and be- 
wailing the death of one who had been the pride of his family and of his 
Indian home. With these feelings was mingled the certain and melan- 
choly prospect of the extinction of his tribe, and the transfer of his coun- 
try, with its many silvery rivers, rolling and green prairies, and dark 
forests, the haunts of his youth, to the possession of a hated enemy; 
while he and his people were to be driven, as he supposed, into a strange 
country, far from the graves of his fathers and his children. 

" Black Hawk's own account of the treaty of 1804 is as follows. He 
says that some Indians of the tribe were arrested and imprisoned in St. 
Louis for murder; that some of the chiefs were sent down to provide for 
their defence ; that while there, and without the consent of the nation, 
they were induced to sell the Indian country ; that when they came home, 
it appeared that they had been drunk most of the time they were absent, 
and could give no account of what they had done, except that they had 
sold some land to the white people, and had come home loaded with 
presents and Indian finery. This was all the nation ever heard or knew 
about the treaty of 1804. 

" Under the pretence that this treaty was void, he resisted the order 
of the Government for the removal of his tribe west of the Mississippi. 
In the spring of 1831 he re-crossed the river, with his women and children 
and three hundred warriors of the British band, together with some allies 
from the Pottawatomie and Kickapoo nations, to establish himself upon 
his ancient hunting-grounds and in the principal village of his nation. He 


ordered the white settlers away, threw down their fences, unroofed their 
houses, cut up their grain, drove off and killed their cattle, and threat- 
ened the people with death if they remained. The settlers made their 
complaints to Governor Reynolds. These acts of the Indians were con- 
sidered by the Governor to be an invasion of the State. He immediately 
addressed letters to General Gaines, of the United States army, and to 
General Clark, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, calling upon them to 
use the influence of the Government to procure the peaceful removal of 
the Indians, if possible ; at all events, to defend arid protect the American 
citizens who had purchased those lands from the United States, and were 
now about to be ejected by the Indians. General Gaines repaired to Rock 
Island with a few companies of regular soldiers, and soon ascertained 
that the Indians were bent upon war. He immediately called upon Gov- 
ernor Reynolds for seven hundred mounted volunteers. The Governor 
obeyed the requisition. A call was made upon some of the northern and 
central counties, in obedience to which fifteen hundred volunteers rushed 
to his standard at Beardstown, and about the 10th of June were organ- 
ized and ready to march to the seat of war. The whole force was divided 
into two regiments, an odd battalion and a spy battalion. The first regi- 
ment was commanded by Col. James D. Henry, the second by Col. Daniel 
Lieb, the odd battalion by Maj. Nathaniel Buckmaster, and the spy bat- 
talion by Maj. Samuel Whiteside. The whole brigade was put under the 
command of Maj. Gen. Joseph Duncan, of the State Militia. This was 
the largest military force of Illinoisans which had ever been assembled in 
the State, and made an imposing appearance as it traversed the then un- 
broken wilderness of prairie. 

The army proceeded in four days to the Mississippi, at a place now 
called Rockport, about eight miles below the mouth of Rock River, where 
it met General Gaines in a steamboat, with a supply of provisions. Here 
it encamped for the night, and the two Generals concerted a plan of 
operations. General Gaines had been in the vicinity of the Indian town 
for about a month, during which time it might be supposed that he had 
made himself thoroughly acquainted with the localities and topography of 
the country. The next morning the volunteers marched forward, with an 
old regular soldier for a guide. The steamboat with General Gaines 
ascended the river. A battle was expected to be fought that day on Van- 
druff's Island, opposite the Indian town. The plan was for the volun- 
teers to cross the slough on to this island, give battle to the enemy if 


found there, and then to ford the main river into the town, where they 
were to be met by the regular force coming down from the fort. The 
island was covered with bushes and vines, so as to be impenetrable to the 
sight at the distance of twenty feet. General Gaines ran his steamboat 
up to the point of the island, and fired several rounds of grape and can- 
ister shot into it to test the presence of an enemy. The spy battalion 
formed in line of battle and swept the island; but it was soon ascertained 
that the ground rose so high within a short distance of the bank} that 
General Gaines's shot could not have taken effect one hundred yards from 
the shore. The main body of the volunteers, in three columns, came fol- 
lowing the spies; but before they had got to the northern side of the 
island, they were so jammed up and mixed together, officers and men, 
that no man knew his own company or regiment, or scarcely himself. 
General Gaines had ordered the artillery of the regular army to be sta- 
tioned on a high bluff which looked down upon the contemplated battle- 
field a half mile distant, from whence, in case of battle with the Indians 
in the tangled thickets of the island, their shot were likely to kill more of 
their friends than their enemies. It would have been impossible for the 
artillerists to distinguish one from the other. And when the army arrived 
at the main river, they found it a bold, deep stream, not fordable for a 
half mile or more above by horses, and no means of transportation was 
then ready to ferry them over. Here ^they were in sight of the Indian 
town, with a narrow, deep river running between, and here the princi- 
pal part of them remained until scows could be brought to ferry them 
across it. 

" When the volunteers reached the town they found no enemy there. 
The Indians had quietly departed the same morning in their canoes for 
the western side of the Mississippi. Whilst in camp twelve miles below, 
the evening before, a canoe load of Indians came down with a white flag 
to tell the General that they were peaceable Indians, that they expected a 
great battle to come off the next day, that they desired to remain neutral, 
and wanted to retire with their families to some place of safety, and they 
asked to know where that was to be. General Gaines answered them 
very abruptly, and told thelfn to be off and go to the other side of the 
Mississippi. That night they returned to their town, and the next morn- 
ing early the whole band of hostile Indians re-crossed the river, and thus 
entitled themselves to protection." 

Says Governor Ford: "It has been stated to me by Judge William 



Thomas, of Jacksonville, who acted as Quartermaster of the brigade of 
volunteers, that Gaines and Duncan had reason to believe, before the 
commencement of the march from the camp on the Mississippi, that the 
Indians had departed from their village, that measures had been taken to 
ascertain the fact before the volunteers crossed to Vandruff 's Island, that 
General Duncan, in company with the advanced guard, following the spies, 
preceded the main body in crossing, and that this will account for the con- 
fusion and want of order in the march of the troops. 

"I was myself in company with the spies, arriving at the river a mile 
in advance of the army. I saw General Gaines ascend with his boat to 
the point of the island; was within one hundred yards of him when he 
fired into the island to test the presence of the Indians; I marched ahead 
with the spies across the island, saw with my own eyes the elevation of 
the land near the shore, which would have prevented cannon shot from 
taking effect more than one hundred yards. I also knew the condition of 
the island as to bushes and vines, and saw the artillery firing from the fort 
stationed on the high bluff on the opposite side of the river. I was on 
the bank of the main river when General Duncan came up, followed soon 
after by his brigade in the utmost confusion, and heard him reprimand 
John S. Miller, a substantial and worthy citizen of Rock Island, for not 
letting him know that the main river was on the north side of the island; 
and I heard Miller curse him to his face at the head of his troops for re- 
fusing his services as guide when offered the evening before, and then cen- 
suring him for not giving information which he had refused to receive. I 
give the facts as I personally know them to be true, and leave it to others to 
judge whether the two Generals, knowing of the departure of the Indians, 
had taken proper measures to ascertain the presence of an enemy, or had 
made the- best disposition for a battle if the Indians had been found either 
at their village or on the island. Much credit is undoubtedly due to Gov- 
ernor Reynolds and General Duncan for the unprecedented quickness with 
which the brigade was called out, organized, and marched to the seat 
of war, and neither of them are justly responsible for what was arranged 
for them by General Gaines. 

"The enemy having escaped, the volunteers were determined to be 
avenged upon something. The rain descended in torrents, and the Indian 
wigwams would have furnished a comfortable shelter; but notwithstand- 
ing the rain, the whole town was soon wrapped in flames, and thus per- 
ished an ancient village which had once been the delightful home of six or 


seven thousand Indians ; where generation after generation had been born, 
had died, and been buried ; where the old men had taught wisdom to the 
young ; whence the Indian youth had often gone out in parties to hunt or 
to war, and returned in triumph to dance around the spoils of the forest, 
or the scalps of their enemies ; and where the dark-eyed Indian maidens, 
by their presence and charms, had made it a scene of delightful enchant- 
ment to many an admiring warrior. 

"The volunteers marched to Rock Island next morning, and here they 
encamped for several days, precisely where the town of Rock Island is 
now situated. It was then in a complete state of nature, a romantic wil- 
derness. Fort Armstrong was built upon a rocky cliff on the lower point 
of an island near the center of the river, a little way above; the shores 
on each side, formed of gentle slopes of prairie extending back to bluffs 
of considerable height, made it one of the most picturesque scenes in the 
Western country. The river here is a beautiful sheet of clear, swift-run- 
ning water, about three-quarters of a mile wide; its banks on both sides 
were uninhabited except by Indians, from the lower rapids to the fort, 
and the voyager up stream, after several days' solitary progress through a 
wilderness country on its borders, came suddenly in sight of the white- 
washed walls and towers of the fort, perched upon a rock surrounded by 
the grandeur and beauty of nature, which at a distance gave it the ap- 
pearance of one of those enchanted castles in an uninhabited desert so 
well described in the Arabian Nights Entertainment. 

General Gaines threatened to pursue the Indians across the river, 
which brought Black Hawk and the chiefs and braves of the hostile 
band to the fort to sue for peace. A treaty was formed with them, by 
which they agreed to remain forever after on the west side of the river, 
and never to recross it without the permission of the President or the 
Governor of the State. And thus these Indians at last ratified the treaty 
of 1804, by which their lands were sold to the white people, and they 
agreed to live in peace with the Government. 

"But notwithstanding this treaty, early in the spring of 1832, Black 
Hawk and the disaffected Indians prepared to reassert their right to the 
disputed territory. 

"The united Sac and Fox nations were divided into two parties. 
Black Hawk commanded the warlike band, and Keokuk, another chief, 
headed the band which was in favor of peace. Keokuk was a bold, sa- 
gacious leader of his people, was gifted with a wild and stirring eloquence 


rarely to be found even among Indians, by means of which he retained 
the greater part of his people in amity with the white people. But nearly 
all the bold, turbulent spirits, who delighted in mischief, arranged them- 
selves under the banners of his rival. Black Hawk had with him the 
chivalry of his nation, with which he re-crossed the Mississippi in the 
spring of 1832. He directed his march to the Rock River country, and 
this time aimed, by marching up the river into the territory of the Potta- 
watomies and Winnebagoes, to make them his allies. Governor Reynolds, 
upon being informed of the facts, made another call for volunteers. In a 
few days eighteen hundred men rallied under his banner at Beardstown. 
This force was organized into four regiments and a spy battalion. Colonel 
Dewitt commanded the First Regiment, Colonel Fry the Second, Colonel 
Thomas the Third, Colonel Thompson the Fourth, and Col. James D. 
Henry commanded the spy battalion. The whole brigade was put under 
the command of Brigadier General Samuel Whiteside, of the State 
militia, who had commanded the spy battalion in the first campaign. 





the 27th of April, General Whiteside, accompanied by Gov- 
ernor Reynolds, took up his line of march. The army pro- 
ceeded by way of Oquawka, on the Mississippi, to the mouth 
of Rock River, and here it was agreed between General 
Whiteside and General Atkinson, of the regulars, that the 
volunteers should march up Rock River about fifty miles, 
to the Prophet's town, and there encamp to feed and rest 
their horses, and a\\,-dt the arrival of the regular troops in 
keel boats, with provisions. 

Judge Thomas, who again acted as quartermaster to the volunteers, 
made an estimate of the amount of provisions required until the boats 
could arrive, which was supplied, and then General Whiteside took up 
his line of march. But when he arrived at the Prophet's town, instead 
of remaining there, his men set fire to the village, which was entirely con- 
sumed, and the brigade marched on in the direction of Dixon, forty miles 
higher up the river. When the volunteers had arrived within a short 
distance of Dixon, orders were given to leave the baggage wagons behind, 
so as to reach there by a forced march. And for the relief of the horses, 
the men left large quantities of provisions behind with the wagons. At 
Dixon, General Whiteside came to a halt, to await a junction with Gen- 
eral Atkinson, with provisions and the regular forces; and from here par- 
ties were sent out to reconnoitre the enemy and ascertain his position. 
The army here found upon its arrival two battalions of mounted volun- 
teers, consisting of 275 men, from tne counties of McLean, Tazewell, 
Peoria, and Fulton, under the command of Majors Stillman and Bailey. 
The officers of this force begged to be put forward upon some dangerous 
service, in which they could distinguish themselves. To gratify them, they 
were ordered up Rock River to spy out the Indians. Major Stillman be- 
gan his march on the 12th of May, and pursuing his way on the south- 
east side, he came to "Old Man's" Creek, since called "Stillman's Run," 
a small stream which rises in White Rock Grove, in Ogle County, and 


falls into the liver near filoomingville. Here he encamped just before 
night, and in a short time a party of Indians on horseback were discov- 
ered on a rising ground about one mile distant from the encampment. A 
party of Stillman's men mounted their horses without orders or com- 
mander, and were soon followed by others, stringing along for a quarter 
of a mile, to pursue the Indians and attack them. The Indians retreated 
after displaying a red flag, the emblem of defiance and war, but were over- 
taken and three of them slain. Here IV^aj. Samuel Hackelton, being dis- 
mounted in the engagement, distinguished himself by a combat with one 
of the Indians, in which the Indian was killed, and Major Hackelton after- 
ward made his way on foot to the camp of General Whiteside. Black 
Hawk was near by with his main force, and being prompt to repel an 
assault, soon rallied his men, amounting then to about seven hundred 
warriors, and moved down upon Major Stillman's camp, driving the dis- 
orderly rabble, the recent pursuers, before him. These valorous gentle- 
men, lately so hot in pursuit when the enemy were few, were no less 
hasty in their retreat when coming in contact with superior numbers. 
They came with horses on a full run, and in this manner broke through 
the camp of Major Stillman, spreading dismay and terror among the rest 
of his men, who immediately began to join in the flight, so that no eff ort 
to rally them could possibly have succeeded. Major Stillman, now too 
late to remedy the evils of insubordination and disorder in his command, 
did all that was practicable, by ordering his men to fall back in order, and 
form on higher ground; but as the prairie rose behind them for more than 
a mile, the ground for a rally was never discovered; and besides this, when 
the men once got their backs to the enemy, they commenced a retreat 
without one thought of making a further stand. A retreat of undisci- 
plined militia from the attack of a superior force is apt to be a disorderly 
and inglorious flight. And so it was here; each man sought his individual 
safety, and in the twinkling of an eye the whole detachment was in utter 
confusion. They were pursued in their flight by thirty or forty Indians 
for ten or twelve miles, the fugitives in the rear keeping up a flying fire 
as they ran, until the Indians ceased pursuing. 

" But there were some good soldiers and brave men in Stillman's de- 
tachment, whose individual efforts succeeded in checking the career of the 
Indians, whereby many escaped that night who would otherwise have 
been the easy victims of the enemy. Among these were Major Perkins 
and Captain Adams, who fell in the rear, bravely fighting to cover the 


retreat of their fugitive friends. But Major Stillman and his men pur- 
sued their flight without looking to the right or the left, until they were 
safely landed at Dixon. The party came straggling into camp all night 
long, four or five at a time, each new comer being confident that all who 
had been left behind had been massacred by the Indians. The enemy was 
stated to be just behind in full pursuit, and their arrival was looked for 
eveiy moment. Eleven of Stillman's men were killed, and it is only 
astonishing that the number was so few. 


As this is mainly a local history, we give the individual recollections 
of Edwin S. Jones of this affair, now and for many years past a respected 
citizen of La Prairie. He was an Orderly Sergeant in Captain Eads' com- 
pany, and enlisted at Peoria, where they were several days in camp pre- 
vious to setting out. They were equipped with the old-fashioned musket 
of that day, and decidedly averse to discipline, each individual considering 
himself a free American citizen, able singly to subdue and capture a half 
dozen Indians. At Boyd's Grove, where they camped for the night, they 
were joined by Captain Barnes and his company, and at Bureau by Cap- 
tain Baughman and twenty-eight men, when they received orders to push 
on to Dixon, where the Indians stole many of their horses. While here 
they were joined by a detachment of the regular army under Col. Zack 
Taylor, and Lieuts. Jeff. Davis and Sidney Johnson. Between the volun- 
teets and regulars jealousy and ill feeling at once sprung up, the former 
looking upon the soldiers as "stuck up" and supercilious, while the reg- 
ulars frowned with contempt upon the "greenhorn farmers," fresh from 
the plow and hoe. The volunteers, burning with impatience to pounce 
upon the foe and capture them, and fearing lest that honor might in any 
way be divided with the regulars, could hardly be held within bounds, 
and when their commander, Major Stillman, received orders to reconnoitre 
the enemy's position, the men hailed it as a permission to attack the 
Indians if found. 

On the 10th;of May, 1832, they started up Rock River in the midst of 
a pelting storm, the volunteers, being without tents or shelter. They 
marched several miles and went into camp, cold, wet and cheerless, re- 
maining until Monday, when they moved forward to Rock River, where 


Major Stillman took charge of the detachment to which the writer be- 
longed, known as the "odd battalion." A portion of the command came 
from Tazewell County, and were an unusually "hard lot." They had 
brought with them a barrel of whisky, of which the men had partaken 
freely, and Major Stillman, fearing its demoralizing effects, ordered it 
taken in charge by Mr. Jones, which duty he performed until relieved, 
when he proceeded to join his company. As he was mounting his horse 
an order came to "Forward," but the Tazewell troops refused to go until 
they had got their "bitters." They smashed in the head of the barrel and 
filled their coffee pots, besides drinking freely; then joined in the march. 
Arriving at what has since been known as "Stillman's Run," then called 
"Old Man's Creek," they found a region of swamps and morasses, into 
which they plunged, and found considerable difficulty in getting through, 
after which the command went into camp. While preparing their dinners 
a party of mounted Indians approached and fired from a distance, which set 
the horses to rearing, and created something of a panic. The ciy of " In- 
dians! Indians!" was raised, when the drunken soldiers mounted their 
horses and went galloping forward, yelling like maniacs. The warriors 
came on in good style and began firing, by which several of our men fell, 
when, with scarcely a return shot, the cowardly rabble turned and ran 
for dear life, throwing away guns, hats and coats. They were frightened 
out of their wits, and their cowardly fear communicated to the whole 
camp, which broke up in wild disorder. But all were not cowards, and 
a few resolute men rode out and met the savages, giving them a blizzard 
which emptied a few saddles and sent them to the right about. Another 
party now appeared, and news came that the Indians had surrounded The 
men who had pursued them, and we pushed on to their relief. On the 
way several dead Indians were found, and three were taken prisoners. The 
captives said they came to make peace and not to fight. We rode on a 
hard canter for five miles, until a wide swamp was reached, beyond which 
the retreating Indians were seen. Orders came to plunge in, and in we 
went. Horses were mired and the men too, and when we had got well 
into the trap for trap it was we were surrounded by the painted devils, 
who came whooping and yelling and pouring the contents of their muskets 
right in our faces. No man who has ever heard an Indian yell will won- 
der that men who had never been under fire became panic-stricken. An 
officer in the rear shouted "Halt!" and then came the word to retreat 
to solid ground. We did so, but the Indians were shooting wickedly, 


and it was impossible to form a line. As fast as one was formed, the 
demoralized mob behind, covered with mud arid mire, would break through 
and "streak it" as fast as their legs permitted. Captain Barnes came 
up and did his best to rally the men, but in vain. We arrived in camp at 
dark, the Indians in hot pursuit, yelling and firing upon us. A detach- 
ment of the savages got in our front, which filled our men with greater 
terror than ever. All order was now lost, each man being chiefly inter- 
ested in getting off with his scalp. Mr. Jones and a man named Miner 
struck up the creek and, in crossing, Miner's horse fell, but both got over 
safely and joined Captain Eads, who had formed some of his men, and hay- 
ing reloaded their muskets, felt better. The Indians were everywhere, 
and several times deluded the whites by crying "Help!" in good English, 
and shooting at any one who responded. The whites .dare not shoot in 
the dark for fear of killing more friends than foes, and so the rout con- 
tinued until Dixon was reached, thirty-five miles away, the Indians dog- 
ging the retreating army at a distance, and watching for stragglers. 

Jones reached Dixon the morning after the inglorious action, about day- 
light, and shared the same blanket with Stillnian, who remarked: "Well, 
Sergeant, the war has begun, and the Lord knows how it will end!" 

Jones credits Stillman with being a brave man and a thoroughly 
skilled tactician, but unable to manage recruits unused to niilitary re- 
straint, and who would not submit to discipline. But the chief cause of 
this shameful defeat and flight and the demoralization of the entire force, 
was that barrel of whisky. 

Our soldiers captured three Indians, whom they shot on the retreat 
while prisoners, an act of barbarity wholly without excuse or apology. 

While breakfasting at Dixon, Mr. Jones met at the same table a num- 
ber of men, some of whom in after years became famous, and others infa- 
mous in the history of the country. They were : Zach. Taylor, afterward 
President of the United States ; Jeff. Davis, Chief of the Southern Confed- 
eracy ; Gen. Sidney Johnson, one of his ablest Generals ; General Atkinson, 
then a man of deserved fame as a good soldier, and Major Stillman, the 
hero of the inglorious defeat mentioned in this chapter. 


The baggage train of Stillman's army consisted of six wagons, drawn 


by oxen and guarded by fifty mounted Rangers, commanded by Captain 
Hacldeton. Among his recruits was a tall, raw-boned lad, said to be the 
homeliest man in the company, and answering to the cognomen of "Abe." 
He was the wag of the command, and the best story-teller in the service. 
When the march was over they gathered about him in crowds, and list- 
ened to his wonderful yarns with an interest that never slacked. In after 
years it was his fortune to command all the armies of the United States, 
and meet his death at the hands of an assassin. With such spirit of 
mischief embodied in one person as he possessed, fun was life in the 
company, and Capt. Hackleton to test the courage of his command, man- 
ufactured an Indian scare. Having made his plans known to the guards, 
with. a few trusty fellows he repaired to the brush and raised a terrific 
war-whoop, while the pickets fired off their guns. 

The whole command was aroused, and the men, fearing Indian warriors 
had attacked them, and would in a few moments be in their midst, cutting, 
slashing and scalping, rushed pell-mell, swearing, praying, and nearly 
frightened out of their wits, to the rear, where a guard with fixed bayonets 
stopped their retreat, explaining the joke. The surgeon of the company 
mounted his horse, but forgot to untie him from the tree. Under the spur 
the animal sprang forward the length of the rope, and then back again, 
striking the Doctor's head against the limb of a tree. Believing himself 
struck by an Indian, the frightened surgeon, at the top of his voice, in sup- 
plicating tones exclaimed : " Mr. Injun ! I surrender. Spare my life ! " This 
became the by-word of the camp, and was the standing joke among the 
heroes of the Black Hawk war for years. 

"In the night, after their arrival at Dixon, the trumpet sounded a sig- 
nal for the officers to assemble at the tent of General Whiteside. A 
council of war was held, in which it was agreed to march early the next 
morning to the fatal field of that evening's disaster. In consequence of 
the ill-advised and misjudged march from the Prophet's town, the waste- 
fulness of the volunteers, and leaving the baggage wagons behind to make 
a forced march without motive or necessity, there were no provisions in 
the camp, except in the messes of the most careful and experienced men. 
The majority had been living upon parched corn and coffee for two or 
three days. But Quartermaster Thomas, anticipating the result of the 
council, went out in search of cattle and hogs, which were obtained of 
Mr. John Dixon, then the only white inhabitant on Rock River, above its 
mouth. By this means, before daylight the next morning the army was 


supplied with fresh beef, which they ate without bread; and now they 
began their march for the scene of the disaster of the night before. 
When the volunteers arrived there the Indians were gone. They had 
scattered out all over the country, some of them further up Rock River, 
and.other toward the nearest settlements of white people. 

Soon as Black Hawk was relieved of the presence in his front of the 
volunteers, he determined on a general slaughter of all the whites north 
and west of the Illinois River, in what now constitutes parts of Marshall, 
Putnam, Bureau and La Salle Counties. Shaubena, learning that such fate 
was in store for all the settlers, hastened to give them warning, riding 
night and day, and calling at every man's cabin. He performed his often 
thankless work of mercy so promptly and thoroughly that all might have 
escaped had they heeded his advice and urgent appeals. He appeared at 
Indian Creek on the 15th of May, and told them of Black Hawk's pur- 
pose. Mr. J. W. Hall started for Ottawa with his family, but at the 
cabin of a Mr. Davis, a Kentuckian, a large, powerful and resolute man, 
he was persuaded to remain. Here were also gathered the families of 
Davis and Pettigrew. Davis had fled to the block-house fort at Ottawa 
the year before, when the Indian scare occurred, and been taunted with a 
want of courage when it was found to have been only a false alarm. 
Rather than be again subject to a suspicion of cowardice, he resolved to 
stay and fight the Indians, should they come. 

In the afternoon of May 20, seventy or eighty redskins appeared and 
began an attack upon these almost defenseless people, killing fifteen per- 
sons and taking prisoners two girls, Rachel Hall, aged fifteen, and Sylvia 
Hall, aged seventeen, the details of whose captivity given in the next 
chapter are mainly taken from Matson's " Reminiscences of Bureau County." 
"The Indians immediately retreated into the Winnebago country, 
^p Rock River, carrying the scalps of the slain and their prisoners 
with them. Indian wars are the wars of a past age. . They have al- 
ways been characterized by the same ferocity and cruelty on the part of 
the Indians. To describe this massacre is only to repeat what has been 
written a hundred times ; but the history of this war would be imperfect 
without some account of it. The Indians approached the house in which 
the three families were assembled, in the day-time. They entered it sud- 
denly, with but little notice. Some of the inmates were immediately shot 
down with rifles, others were pierced with spears or despatched with the 
tomahawk. The Indians afterward related with infernal glee how the 



women squeaked like geese when they were run through the bodv 
with spears, or felt the sharp tomahawk entering their heads. All the 
victims were carefully scalped; their bodies were mutilated and mangled; 
the little children were chopped to pieces with axes; and the women were 
tied up by the heels to the walls of the house ; their clothes falling pver 
their heads, left their naked persons exposed to the public gaze. 











story of the captured girls, which fitly follows, is taken 
from Matson's " Reminiscences of Bureau County," and is 
mainly the personal narrative of Rachel, the elder of the 
two sisters: 

"After being placed on horseback and guarded by two 
Indians, who rode by our side, holding on to the reins of 
the bridles, we commenced our long, tedious journey. We 
rode most of the time on a canter, and the Indians fre- 
quently looked back, as though they were afraid of being followed by 
the rangers, who were at that time roaming through the country. We 
continued to travel at a rapid rate until near midnight, when we halted to 
rest our horses. After waiting about two hours, we continued our jour- 
ney, traveling all night and next day until noon, when we again halted. 
Here our captors turned out their horses to graze, built a fire, scalded 
some beans, and roasted some acorns, of which they offered us some to 
eat, but we declined tasting. We remained in camp a few hours ; during 
that time the Indians were engaged in dressing the scalps, by stretching 
them on small willow hoops. Among these scalps I recognized my 
mother's, by the bright color of her hair. The sight of this produced in 
me a faintness, and I fell to the ground in a swoon, from which I was 
soon after aroused, in order to continue our journey. After leaving the 
camp we traveled more leisurely than before, until about nine o'clock at 
night we reached the camp of Black Hawk, after having rode near ninety 
miles in twenty-eight hours. 

" We found the Indian camp on the bank of a creek, surrounded by 
marshy ground, over which were scattered burr oak trees, being, as we 
afterward learned, near the Four Lakes, (now Madison City, Wisconsin). 
" On our arrival in camp, a number of squaws came to our assistance, 
taking us from our horses, and conducting us into a wigwam. These 
squaws were very kind to us, and gave us some parched corn and maple 
sugar to eat, it being the first food that we had tasted since our captivity. 


" Our arrival in camp caused great rejoicing among the Indians. A 
large body of warriors collected around us, beating on drums, dancing, and 
yelling at the top of their voices. Next morning our fear of massacre or 
torture had somewhat subsided, and we were presented with beans and 
maple sugar for breakfast. They also offered us coffee to eat, which had 
been taken from Davis's house, not knowing that it required to be ground 
and boiled before being used. About ten o'clock, the camp was broken 
up, and we moved five or six miles, crossing a creek, and encamped on 
high ground, which was covered with timber. We were provided with 
horses to ride, and behind us was packed camp equipage, which consisted 
of tents, kettles, provisions, etc. On arriving at our new camp, a white 
birch pole was stuck into the ground, on which were hung the scalps of 
our murdered friends, being exhibited here as trophies of war. About 
fifty warriors, who were divested of clothing and their faces painted red, 
danced around this pole to the music of drums and rattling gourds. Eveiy 
day during our stay with the Indians, this pole containing the scalps was 
erected, and the dance repeated. 

" One morning a party of warriors came to our lodge and took us out, 
placing in our hands small red flags, and made us march around the en- 
campment with them, stopping and waving the flags at the door of each 
wigwam. After this we were taken to the dance-ground, by the side of 
the white pole containing the scalps, and by the side of which a blanket 
was spread. After painting our faces, one half red and the other black, 
we were inade to lie down on the blanket, with our faces to the ground. 
The warriors then commenced dancing around us, flourishing their toma- 
hawks and war clubs over our heads, and yelling like demons. We now 
thought our time had come, and quietly awaited our fate, expecting 
every moment to be our last. When the dance was over, we were taken 
away by two squaws, who we understood to be the wives of Black Hawk. 
By these squaws we were adopted as their children ; although separated, 
we were allowed to visit each other frequently. Each day our camp was 
moved a few miles, always traveling in a circular route. Along the trail, 
at short intervals, the Indians would erect poles, with tufts of grass tied 
on one side, showing to the hunters in what direction the camp could be 
found. Our fears of massacre had entirely disappeared, being adopted 
into the families of these squaws, not being required to do any work, but 
watched closely to prevent our escape. 

" Some days after our arrival in Black Hawk's camp, we were told that 


we must go with two Winnebago chiefs, who had come for us. The 
squaws with whom we lived were greatly distressed at the thought of 
parting with us. The Winnebago chiefs tried to make us understand that 
they were about to take us to white people, but we did not believe them. 
Thinking they intended to take us farther , from home and friends, we 
clung to the squaws, and refused to go. 

"Contrary to our wish, we were placed on horses, behind each of the 
chiefs, and with us they galloped away, traveling twenty miles thaf same 
night. The chiefs said that they were afraid of being followed by some 
of the Sacs and Foxes, who were displeased at our departure. Every few 
moments the chiefs would look back to see if they were pursued, and then 
whip their ponies again into a gallop. 

"Some time after dark we arrived at the Winnebago camp, where we re- 
mained over night. Early next morning we continued our journey, trav- 
eling all day, when we arrived at an encampment on the Wisconsin River, 
where there were about one hundred warriors. During next day a party 
of Sac Indians, dressed in the clothes of murdered white men, came into 
camp. These Indians commenced talking to us, but the Winnebago chiefs 
told us to turn away from them, and not listen to what they said, which 
we did." 

It was afterward ascertained that a petty chief who had captured the 
girls, was off on a hunt at the time they were given up to the Winnebago 
chiefs, and not receiving his portion of the ransom, immediately started 
with a party of warriors to retake them, or kill them in the attempt. 
These warriors did not overtake the girls until they arrived safe at the 
Winnebago camp. 

"White Crow asked if we thought the whites would hang them if they 
took us to the fort. We gave them to understand that they would not. 
White Crow then collected his horses, and with Whirling Thunder and 
about twenty of the Winnebagoes, we crossed the river and pursued our 
journey, my sister and myself each on a separate horse. We encamped 
about dark, rose early next morning, and after a hasty meal of pork and 
potatoes (the first we had seen since our captivity), of which we ate 
heartily, we traveled on until we reached the fort, near Blue Mounds, Wis- 
consin Territory. 

"Before our arrival there, we had become satisfied that our protectors 
were taking us to our friends, and that we had formerly done them injus- 
tice. About three miles from the fort we stopped, and the Indians 


cooked some venison, after which they took a white handkerchief which I 
had, and tying it to a long pole, three Indians proceeded with it to the 
fort. About a quarter of a mile from there, we were met by a French- 
man. The Indians formed a ring, and the Frenchman rode into it, and 
had a talk with our protectors. The latter expressed an unwillingness to 
give us up until they could see Mr. Gratiot, the agent. Being informed 
by the Frenchman that we should be well treated, and that they should 
see us daily until Mr. Gratiot's arrival, they delivered us into the French- 
man's care. 

"We repaired immediately to the fort, where the ladies of the garrison 
(who in the mean time had assembled) received us with the utmost ten- 
derness. We were thereupon attired once more in the costume of our own 
country, and next day started for Galena. 

" On reaching a little fort at White Oak Springs, we were met by our 
eldest brother, who, together with a younger one, was at work in a field 
near the house when we were captured, and when the massacre began, 
fled, and arrived in safety at Dixon's Ferry. On leaving Galena, we went 
on board the steamboat "Winnebago," for St. Louis, which place we 
reached in five days, and were kindly received by its citizens and hospita- 
bly entertained by Governor Clark. Previous to our leaving Galena, we 
had received an affectionate letter from the Rev. Mr. Horn, of Morgan 
County, Illinois, inviting us to make his house our future home. We ac- 
cepted the invitation, and left St. Louis in the steamboat "Caroline," for 
Beardstown, on the Illinois River, where we arrived on the third day 
thereafter. On landing, we were kindly received by the citizens, and in 
a few hours reached the residence of Mr. Horn, five miles distant, in the 
latter part of July, 1832, when our troubles ended." 

The Misses Hall's brother having married and settled in Putnam 
County, Illinois, about this time, he invited his sisters to come and reside 
with him. They did so in the fore part of August, 1832. The elder 
Miss Hall afterward, in March, 1833, married Mr. William Munson, and 
settled in La Salle County, about twelve miles north of Ottawa. The 
younger sister, in May, 1833, married Mr. William Horn, a son of the 
clergyman who had so kindly offered them a home in his family, removed 
to Morgan County, Illinois, and afterward to Nebraska. 

The Misses Hall were captured May 21, 1832. According to the 
foregoing account, they were three days in traveling with their captors, 
and continued five days with the Sacs at their camp. This would bring 


the time up to May 29. They were five days more in traveling with the 
Winnebagoes to the Blue Mounds, which comports with all the reliable 
statements of the time of their being delivered up to the whites, which 
was June 3, 1832. 

William Munson, who became the husband of Rachel Hall, a few 
years ago erected a beautiful marble monument at the grave where the 
fifteen victims were buried. It is in view of the public road leading from 
north to south in Freedom Township, near .the banks of Indian Creek and 
the scene of the massacre. The inscriptions are: First "Wm. Hall, 
aged 45; Mary J. Hall, aged 45; Elizabeth Hall, aged 8." Second - 
"Wm. Pettigrew, wife and two children, - - Davis, wife and five 

children, and Emery George." At the bottom, "Killed May 20, 1832." 

Mrs. Munson (Rachel Hall) died May 1, 1870. 


For some days after the massacre at Indian Creek the terrified settlers 
remained close around the Forts at Ottawa and Peru. As no Indians 
were seen, the whites took courage and sent out scouts here and there. 
Those who had hurriedly left their homes were becoming anxious to look 
after their stock and other property the savages had spared. For this 
purpose an expedition, accompanied by a few soldiers, left Ottawa for 
Holderman's Grove and Fox River. A Mr. Schemerhorn and his son-in- 
law, Hazleton, went up to Dayton, on Fox River, four miles north of 
Ottawa, and crossing there to join the expedition referred to, discovered 
on the Dunnovan farm a party of Indians, and turned and fled. A sol- 
dier who had lagged behind his comrades saw them, and also retreated, 
pursued by a dozen savages. The Indians, forbear of alarming the sol- 
diers, did not fire their guns, but threw their spears at him. He escaped 
to Ottawa, and getting help, returned to find Schemerhorn and Hazleton 
both killed and scalped. A small scalp was taken from Hazleton 's head, 
but Schemerhorn being nearly bald, was flayed to the neck. On the same 
day, Capt. James McFadden, commander of a company of home guards in 
Ottawa, James Baresford, and Ezekiel and Daniel Warren were picking 
strawberries south of Indian Creek. They had been thus engaged for 
some time, when one of the Warren's remarked that they were too near 
the bushes, for Indians might be concealed there, -and mounting his horse, 



rode off. The others remained a short time, when a shot was fired from 
the timber, and a dozen Indians were seen. Baresford was killed and Mc- 
Fadden shot through the ankle, the bullet passing through the body of 
his horse, but the faithful animal carried his wounded master beyond the 
reach of Indians before it fell. The Warrens came to the assistance of 
the wounded man, and one of them dismounted and gave McFadden his 
horse, with the singular agreement that if the Indians pursued and were 
likely to overtake the man on . foot, McFadden was to dismount and yield 
his scalp . to the foe ! But the Indians did not pursue, and the three 





jY order of Governor Reynolds, a call was made for two thou- 
sand additional volunteers, a part of whom were directed to 
rendezvous at Hennepin, and a part at Beardstown. The 
year previous the Adjutant General of the State had com- 
missioned John Strawn, of Putnam, a Colonel of Militia, 
and he was now ordered to assemble his command, desig- 
nated as the Fortieth Regiment of Mounted Volunteers, 
and rendezvouz at Hennepin for further orders. Word was 
swiftly sent among the settlers asking their immediate at- 
tendance, and in obedience to the request, nearly every able-bodied man 
presented himself for enrollment. Four companies were quickly organ- 
ized, commanded by Captain Barnes, Captain Willis, Captain Hawes, 
and Captain Stewart the last three named at Hennepin, and the first at 
Columbia. Captain Thompson, of Putnam, also commanded a company. 
Sunday morning, May 20, 1832, the day appointed for the rendezvous, 
the settlers of the infant colony gathered on the site of the future city of 
Lacon, then without a single inhabitant. From the south came Babb and 
Cassell and Easter, and from the north the Sawyers, the Forbes, etc., 
while from the immediate vicinity came John Wier, the Bullmans, Wau- 
hobs, Reeders, Buckinghams, Iliff, Swan, and others; but Round Prairie 
sent the greater number, with Robert Barnes, then in the prime of life, as 
a leader. They met on the ground where the Eagle Mill stands, and 
Colonel Strawn, dressed in full regimentals, with military chapeau, nod- 
ding plume and golden epaulets, formed them in line, and assuming a 
warlike attitude, addressed them as follows: 

"Ye sons of thunder ! Our country is in danger, and the call is 'to 
arms ! ' The great chief Black Hawk, with ten thousand warriors at his 
back, has invaded our State, defeated our armies, and slain our citizens ! 
Not a soldier can be spared for the defence of our frontier, and the safety 
of our homes and our firesides, our wives and little ones, depends upon 
ourselves. Our country calls for volunteers. As many of you as are 


willing to enroll yourselves among her defenders will step three 
forward. Halt ! The next thing is to choose your officers, and ' all who 
wish to present themselves as candidates for Captain will step forward. 
All those who wish Robert Barnes to be their Captain will step to his side, 
and those who wish - - to lead them will join him." 

In this way the officers were elected, and in the afternoon of the same 
day the men were mustered in^at Hennepin. The force thus organized 
was divided into detachments, and detailed for scout duty. A close 
watch was kept at the various fords, all canoes were removed from the 
river, and a vigilant, active search for Indians kept up for weeks. They 
at one time went as far north as the Winnebago Swamp, but as a general 
thing service was confined to guarding the liver from the mouth of Crow 
Creek to the mouth of the Vermilion. After the defeat of Stillman the 
Indians went northward, and the war was transferred to other fields. 
There being no longer any enemies to contend with, there was no necessity 
for keeping the men in the field, and they were paid off and mustered out 
of service on the 18th day of June. For their one month of soldiering, 
each volunteer, and all who could "ring in," received at the hands of the 
Government a title to 160 acres of land. The Putnam County volun- 
teers were also discharged. 

The muster rolls of a portion of Captain Barnes' and Captain Hawes' 
companies are hereby given, copied from the returns in the War Depart- 
ment, and are correct: 

Muster Roll of the Fiel4 and Staff Officers of the Fortieth Regiment of 
Mounted Volunteers, employed in the service of the United States, by 
order of the Governor and Commander-in-chief of the Militia of the 
State of Illinois, from the 20th day of May, 1832, to the 18th day of 
June, 1832, the day of disbandment: 

1. John Strawn, Colonel. 

2. William Cowen, Lieut. Colonel. 

3. Elias Thompson, Major. 

5. Jeremiah Strawn, Qr. Master. 
(5. Peter Barnhart, Paymaster. 
7. B. M. Hayse, Surgeon. 

Henry K. Cassell, Adjutant. 


8. Roland Mosley, Q. M. Sergeant. 

9. Richard Hunt, Surgeon's Mate. 
10. William Myers, Sergt. Major. 

11. Ward Graves, Drum Major. 

12. Michael Reeder, Fife Major. 



Muster Roll of Captain Robert Barnes' Company of Mounted Volunteers, 
belonging to the Fortieth Regiment, Fourth Brigade, and First Division 
of Illinois Militia, called out by the Governor and Commander-in- 
chief; was mustered into the service of the United States by Colonel 
John Strawn, at Columbia, on the 20th day of May, 1832, and mus- 
tered out of service at Hennepin, Putnam County, Illinois, by the said 
Colonel John Strawn, on the 18th day of June, 1832: 


Robert Barnes, Captain. | Wm. McNeal, 1st Lieut. | John Wier, 2d Lieut. 


1. James Dever, Sergeant. 

2. James Hall, " 

3. James N. Reeder, Sergeant. 

4. Nathan Owen, " 

1. Belisha Griffith, Corporal. 

2. Wm. Gallaher, " 

3. James Harris, 

4. H. Buckingham, " 


1. John Kemp. 

2. Joseph Burt. 

3. Joseph Phillips. 

4. Howell Doddy. 

5. Milton Davis. 

6. William A. Hendricks. 

7. John G. Hendricks. 

8. Samuel Hawkins. 

9. John Darnell. 

10. William Burt. 

11. William Davis. 

12. W. W. Davis. 

13. John Bird. 

14. Elmore Keys. 

15. Robert Bird. 

16. William Byrnes. 

17. David Hamilton. 

18. Hiram Barnhart. 

19. William Forbes. 

20. Jordan Sawyer. 

21. Philip McGuyre. 

22. Samuel Russell. 

23. George Easter. 

24. Benjamin Babb. 

25. Peter Barnhart. 

26. Jacob Smally. 

27. Joshua Bullman. 

28. Robert Ileff . 

29. Elisha Swan. 

30. John Johnson. 

31. David Stateler. 

32. George H. Shaw. 

33. Johnson Edwards. 

34. Henry K. Cassell. 



Muster Roll of Captain William Hawes' Company of Mounted Volun- 
teers, belonging to the Fortieth Regiment, Fourth Brigade and First 
Division of Illinois Militia, commanded by Colonel John Strain, 
called into service by the Governor of Illinois, and mustered out of 
the service of the United States at Hennepin, on the Illinois River, 
in the State of Illinois, on the 18th day of June, 1832 : 


Win. Hawes, Captain. | Jas. Garvin, 1st Lieut. | Win. M. Hart, 2d Lieut. 


1. Thomas Gunn, Sergeant. 

2. George Hiltebrand, Sergeant. 

3. Jacob Green wald, Sergeant. 

4. John Hunt, Sergeant. 

1. John Hant, Corporal. 

2. William Kincaid, Corporal. 
3* William Knod, Corporal. 
4. William Lathrop, Corporal. 


1. Hiram Allen. 

2. Julius Stacey. 

3. Thomas Glenn. 

4. Asel Hannum. 

5. Obed Graves. 

6. Samuel Glenn. 

7. Reuben Ash. 

8. Abner Boyle. 

9. George Dent. 
10. Joseph Ash. 

11. William Hart. 

12. John Loyd. 

13. Christopher Winters. 

14. Hart well Healey. 

15. Little Neal. 

16. Aaron Whitaker. 

17. Elias Isaacs. 

18. Garrison Wilson. 

19. Hosea Stout. 

20. George Martin. 


Soon as the call was made for troops the settlers began building block- 
houses, or forts, which willbe referred to more in detail hereafter. *The 
southernmost of these in the county was situated on the farm of James 
Dever, at the lower edge of Round Prairie, seven and a half miles from 
Columbia. It was about eighty feet in length from east to west, and seventy 

*Ford's History of Marshall and Putnam Counties. 


in width ; and was built by strongly fastening pickets of some twelve feet 
height in the ground, with square bastions at the corners, pierced with 
port-holes and so placed as to rake the sides of the fort, in case of attack. 
The cabin of Mr. Dever was inside, and tents were pitched within to 
accommodate the numbers who fled there during the season of alarm. 

About twelve miles north-east of the Dever Fort, and four miles south 
of Magnolia, was a similar protection around the dwelling of Jesse Rob- 
erts, Esq., where seven or eight families gathered for safety 5 and 
five miles east, on the farm of Mr. Darnell, near the "head of Sandy," 
was another, the outpost in that direction. Several forts were constructed 
on the Ox Bow Prairie one on the land of Ashael Hannum, where Cale- 
donia now stands ; another in the woods within a few miles, at Mr. Boyle's; 
and a third around a large barn belonging t James W. Willis, near the 
site of Florid, where twenty-two families (including a hundred small chil- 
dren, one having been born there) and a number of rangers were "forted" 
at one time. This station was called Foil Cribs x from the number of 
corn-cribs in and about the building, and was generally in command of 
Captain Stewart. A portion is still standing. 

A good-sized block-house, well adapted to resist a siege, was erected 
on Front street, in Hennepin, chiefly of the timbers of Hartzell's old 
trading-house; and a smaller one at a little distance from Granville, on 
the farm of Joseph Warnock. Still farther north was the outermost fort 
toward the scene of warfare a mere picket around the dwelling of Mr. 
John Leeper. There were no defenses of the kind west of the river in 
Putnam County, that region being quite or nearly deserted. 

In that part of the county which was thus defended, hostile Indians 
were very rarely seen; and it is believed that attacks were prevented 
solely by the completeness of the arrangements for protection and the vig- 
ilance of the rangers. Black Hawk's spies were occasionally skulking 
about. Two were noticed in the edge of the woods near Fort Warnock, 
and their trail followed to the river. Others in one instance a consider- 
able company were seen near Hennepin; but the savages made no hos- 
tile demonstrations on the east side of the river. 


On the 17th of June, Elijah Phillips was murdered at the Ament 
cabin, sixteen miles north-west of Hennepin. Along with J. Hodges, 


Sylvester Brigham, John S. Ament, Aaron Gunn, James G. Foristal and 
Zeba Dimiuick, a lad of sixteen, he left Hennepin in the morning to 
look after their cattle, now running at large on the prairie. Arriving at 
Ament's cabin, in the edge of the timber, a mile and a half north of the 
present town of Dover, they prepared and ate their dinners, designing to 
return to Hennepin. Soon after it began to rain, and as no Indian signs 
had been seen, it was deemed perfectly safe, and the conclusion was 
reached to remain all night. 

The windows and doors were barricaded with puncheons, and the men 
with loaded rifles by their sides, extinguished the lights and lay down to 
sleep. Adjoining Ament's cabin was an extensive sugar camp, which for 
nearly fifty years a band of Indians had run, and every spring made sugar 
on the premises. The place was sacred to them, and when the white man 
came and opened a farm, it created bitter feelings of resentment. When 
Phillips and his company arrived at the cabin, a party of Indians from 
Black Hawk's camp were hiding in the woods. Cautiously they ap- 
proached to reconnoitre, with the intention of attacking the party as they 
came out of doors, but the rain continued to fall, and the party deciding to 
remain all night, no disturbance came, and at daylight Phillips rose 
first, and was going to the spring, when the Indians fired, and he fell 
pierced with two bullets. The savages, with deafening yells, rushed from 
their hiding places, tomahawked the victim, and surrounded the cabin. 
The inmates closed the door and made ready to fire, when the Indians re- 
treated, and as subsequently learned, went northward. 

After remaining on the watch for several hours, with Phillips' bloody 
corpse at the door, the settlers took courage and canvassed how best to 
extricate themselves. Young Dimmick volunteered to carry the news to 
Hennepin. It was a desperate undertaking, for the Indians were sup- 
posed to be still in the vicinity, but calling a horse to the window he bri- 
dled .and mounted it, and was off with the speed of the whirlwind. 
Eager eyes watched his departure, and they listened with beating hearts 
for the expected crack of the rifle that should tell of his death. But 
when he disappeared in the distance, still safe, they took hope again. 

At Hennepin was a company of Rangers being mustered out of ser- 
vice. None dreamed of danger, and when the messenger, hatless and 

" Bloody with spurring, 
Fiery red with speed," 


rode into town with the fateful news, it created an excitement those 
present never forgot. As usual, a variety of counsel prevailed, and some 
were so base as to propose leaving them to their fate. But volunteers be- 
ing called for, thirty brave men responded, and were quickly ferried across 
the river to their rescue. A gallop of fifteen miles brought them into the 
vicinity, when a slower pace was struck to give the now well blown horses 
a breathing spell, preparatory to the expected sharp work ahead. Belts 
were tightened, primings looked to, and every preparation for deadly con- 
flict made, when they saw a white flag rise above the cabin, and knew 
the inmates were safe. The body of Phillips lay where it fell. One bul- 
let had pierced his heart, and another his stomach. Several strokes of 
the tomahawk were visible, but the villains had not taken his scalp, and 
the remains were taken to Hennepin and buried. His body was prepared 
for sepulture at the house of Hooper Wan-en, and he was the second per- 
son interred in the Hennepin cemetery. 

The Rangers followed the trail of the enemy a short distance and then 
returned. It afterward transpired that they remained in the vicinity 
until the next day, and then went north. 


Adam Payne, a Dunkard preacher, who had for many years been a 
missionary among the Indians, became a victim to savage barbarity during 
the fall of 1832. He had long been a preacher among the Indians, was a 
man of fervent piety, and guileless as a cuild. When told of the risks he 
ran and warned to beware, he gave no heed, believing they would never 
harm one who had so often proven himself their friend. His long black 
beard reaching nearly to his waist gave him a venerable appearance, and 
every settler was his warm friend. He was murdered near Holderman's 
Grove, and when found his head had been cut off and stuck on a pole, 
where the red fiends had held a dance of jubilee around it. 





now take up the general histoiy of the campaign. While 
the new levies were teing raised, a volunteer force was 
made up for temporary service, and placed under the 
command of Colonel Fry. 

The different companies of this regiment were so dis- 
posed as to guard all the frontiers. Captain AdamW. 
Snider was sent to range through the couritiy between 
Rock River and Galena; and while he was encamped 
not far distant from Burr Oak Grove, on the night of the 17th of 
June, his company was fired upon by the Indians; the next morning 
he pursued them, four in number, and drove them into a sink-hole in the 
ground, where his company charged on them and killed the whole of 
the Indians, with the loss of one man mortally wounded. As he returned 
to his camp, bearing the wounded soldier, the men suffered much from 
thirst, and scattered in search of water, when they were sharply attacked by 
about seventy Indians, who had been secretly watching their motions and 
awaiting a good opportunity. His men, as usual in such cases, were taken 
by surprise, and some of them commenced a hasty retreat. Captain Sny- 
der called upon General Whiteside, then a private in his company, to as- 
sist him in forming his men. The General proclaimed in a loud voice 
that he would shoot the first man who attempted to run. The men were 
soon formed into rank. Both parties took positions behind trees. Here 
General Whiteside, an old Indian fighter and a capital marksman with a 
rifle, shot the commander of the Indians, and they from that moment be- 
gan to retreat. As they were not pursued, the Indian loss was never as- 
certained; but the other side lost two men killed and one wounded. Cap- 
tain Snyder, General Whiteside and Colonel ( now General ) Semple are 
particularly mentioned as having behaved in the most honorable and 
courageous manner in both these little actions. 

On the 15th of June, the new levies had arrived at the places of ren- 
dezvous, and were formed into three brigades; General Alexander Posey 


commanded the First, General Milton K. Alexander the Second, and Gen- 
eral James D. Henry commanded the Third. On the march, each brigade 
was preceded by a battalion of spies, commanded by a major. 

The whole volunteer force at this time amounted to three thousand 
two hundred men, besides three companies of rangers, under command of 
Major Bogart, left behind to guard the frontier settlements. The object 
in calling out so large a force was to overawe the Pottawatomie and Win- 
nebago Indians, who were hostile in their feelings to the whites, and much 
disposed to join Black Hawk's party. 

But before the new army could be brought into the field, the Indians 
had committed several murders. One man was killed on Bureau Creek, 
some seven or eight miles above Princeton ; another in Buffalo Grove ; 
another between Fox River and the Illinois ; and two more on the east 
side of Fox River, on the Chicago road, about six miles north-east of 

On the 22d of May, General Atkinson had dispatched Mr. St. Vrain, 
the Indian agent for the Sacs and Foxes at Rock Island, with a few men, 
as an express to Fort Armstrong. On their way thither, they fell in 
with a party of Indians led by a chief well known to the agent. This 
chief was called "The Little Bear." He had been a particular friend of 
the agent, and had adopted him as a brother. Mr. St. Vrain felt no fear 
of one who was his friend, one who had been an inmate of his house, and 
had adopted him as a brother, and approached the Indians with the great- 
est confidence of security. But the treacherous Indian, untrue in war to 
the claims of friendship and brotherhood, no sooner got him in his 
power than he murdered and scalped him and all his party, with as little 
compassion as if he had never known him or professed to be his friend. 

Not long after the new forces were organized on the Illinois River, 
Black Hawk, with a hundred and fifty warriors, made an attack on Ap- 
ple River Fort, situate about three-quarters of a mile north of the present 
village of Elizabeth, within twelve miles of Galena, and defended by 
twenty-five men, under the command of Captain Stone. This fort was a 
stockade of logs stuck in the ground, with block houses at the corners of 
the square, by way of towers and bastions. It was made for the protec- 
tion of a scattering village of miners, who lived in their houses in the 
vicinity during the day, and retired into the fort for protection at night. 
The women and children, as usual in the daytime, were abroad in the vil- 
lage, when three men on an express from Galena to Dixon, were fired on 


by the Indians lurking in ambush within a half mile of the village, and 
retreated into the fort. One of them was wounded ; his companions stood 
by him nobly, retreating behind him, and keeping the Indians at bay by 
pointing their guns first at one and then at another of those who were 
readiest to advance. The alarm was heard at the fort in time to rally the 
scattered inhabitants; the Indians soon came up within filing distance; 
and now commenced a fearful struggle between the small party of twen- 
ty-five men in the fort, against six times their number of the enemy. The 
Indians took possession of the log houses, knocked holes in the walls, 
through which to fire at the fort with greater security to themselves, and 
while some were firing at the fort, others broke the furniture, destroyed 
the provisions, and cut open the beds and scattered the feathers found in 
the houses. The men in the fort were excited to the highest pitch of des- 
peration ; they believed that they were contending with an enemy who 
never made prisoners, and that the result of the contest must be victory 
or death, and a horrid death, too, to them and their families ; the women 
and children molded the bullets and loaded the guns for their husbands, 
fathers, and brothers, and the men fired and fought with a fuiy inspired 
by desperation itself. In this manner the battle was kept up about fif- 
teen hours, when the Indians retreated. The number of their killed and 
wounded, supposed to be considerable, was never ascertained, as they 
were carried away in the retreat. The loss in the fort was one man 
killed and one wounded. One of the men who first retreated to the fort 
immediately passed on to Galena, and there gave the alarm. Colonel 
Strode, of the militia, who commanded in Galena, lost no time in march- 
ing to the assistance of the fort, but before his arrival the Indians had 
raised the siege and departed. Galena itself had been in imminent danger 
of attack ; at that time it was a village of four hundred inhabitants, sur- 
rounded on all sides by the enemy. Colonel Strode, like a brave and pru- 
dent commander, took every possible measure for its defence. 

Even here, in this extremity of danger, a number of the inhabitants 
yielded their assistance unwillingly and grudgingly. . There were a num- 
ber of aspirants for office and command, and quite a number refused obedi- 
ence to the militia commander of the regiment; but Colonel Strode took 
the most effectual mode of putting down these discontents. He immedi- 
ately declared martial law; the town was converted into a camp; men 
were forced into the ranks at the point of the bayonet; and a press war- 
rant from the Colonel, in the hands of armed men, procured all necessary 


supplies ; .preparations for defence were kept up night and day ; and the 
Indian spies seeing no favorable opportunity for attack, no considerable 
body of Indians ever came nearer the town than Apple River Fort. 

About this time a band of Indians visited Fort Hamilton, near what 
is now Wiota, where they killed three men. Fortunately General Dodge 
arrived at this place a few hours later, and hastily gathering what forces 
he could twenty-one men in all, pursued the savages, who hastily 
retreated. What follows is best told by Chas. Bracken, one of the 
actors, and if he still lives, a resident of Mineral Point, Wis. 

"The Indians re-crossed the branch at a point where it turned abruptly 
to the north, and ascended the hill; the General and those with him 
crossed after them, and bore to the right, toward some timber, as if to cut 
them off from it. Seeing this movement, I halted, and was at the same 
time joined by Fitch, Higgenbotham, and Deva. I said to tfiem, 'That 
movement of the General will turn the Indians to the left; if you will 
follow me, we will get the first scalps.' They agreed to do so; turning 
up a hollow to the left, we ascended it to the ridge overlooking the East 
Pecatonica; turning then to the right, and looking down a hollow parallel 
to that which we had ascended, my surmise proved to be correct. There 
were the Indians approaching us; they were moving at what might be 
called common time. Their chief, a gray-headed warrior, was walking 
backward, and appeared to be earnestly addressing his young men. After 
observing them for a few moments, we fired, but I think without effect. 
My comrades, after discharging their guns, retreated down the hollow 
which we had ascended, and I turned westwardly up the ridge overlook- 
ing the East Pecatonica, keeping out of gun-shot, but watching the enemy 
closely. They descended the hill to the creek, turned up it a short dis- 
tance, and commenced crossing at some willows, a short distance below 
where the bridge now stands. 

"At this movement I advanced within gun-shot; with the report of my 
gun, I sent forth a shout that told the General and my comrades yet in 
the rear that I had secured the first scalp; at the same time I received 
the fire of the Indians without injury. 

"The General and the principal part of our men having come up by the 
time the Indians had fairly crossed the creek, a running fight took place, 
the enemy being on one side of the creek and we on the other, until they 
reached the thicket in the bend of the creek. Having effected a crossing 
at the old Indian ford, which is near Williams 1 Mill, and marching thence 


up the stream, we formed on the open ground to the north-east of the 
thicket, so as to have the enemy in the bend of the creek. Parties were 
then, by order of the General, thrown out on the hills to give the alarm 
if the Indians should attempt to escape from the thicket when we en- 
tered it. 

We were then ordered to renew our flints, re-prime our guns, unbutton 
our shirt-collars, and tighten our belts. All being ready, the General ad- 
dressed us: he said, "Within that thicket are the foe, whose hands are yet 
reeking with the blood of our murdered friends! That it was his inten- 
tion to enter it, and in doing so, some of us must fall ; that it might be his 
fate, but that his mind was made up to whip the enemy or die in the 
attempt ! If any feared to follow him, he wanted them to fall back then, 
and not when they encountered the Indians." The word was then given 
to advanc* and in that little band no one was found who did not fear dis- 
honor; more than death ! No one faltered or wavered, as with a coolness 
becoming veterans they followed the footsteps of their gallant leader, 
resolved with him to conquer or die. 

After advancing some distance into the thicket, the trail of the enemy 
was found; here the detachment was- joined by Daniel M. Parkinson, who 
was on horseback. The center was ordered to keep the trail ; we then 
continued our advance slowly but firmly toward our hidden foe. The 
Indians had selected a most advantageous position for defense, had we 
fought them at long shot. It was the bank of a pond, once the bed of a 
creek ; on the edge of the bank was a natural breastwork nearly three feet 
high, formed by one of those tumuli so numerous in our prairies ; under 
this they awaited our approach. 

When they fired on us, our positions represented two sides of a triangle, 
they forming the base, and we the hypothenuse ; although we were close 
upon them, so dense was the thicket that we could not see the smoke of 
their guns. The General, who was on the right of the centre, and in 
front of their line, exclaimed, "Where are the Indians?" He was an- 
swered from the left, "This way." The order was then promptly given, 
" Charge 'em boys, damn them, charge 'em!" My position was on the ex- 
treme right; in the charge we obliqued considerably to the left; when I 
got to the pond I found no enemy before me, and at the same moment I 
heard the General, who was a little to my left, say, "There 's an Indian, 
kill him!" I turned toward him and heard a shot; as I came up, the Gen- 


eral said, "There, by God, I Ve killed him myself!" This was the Indian 

" Passing on to the left, I mounted the natural embankment, and found 
myself in the midst of the Indians ; after discharging my gun, I turned the 
breech and struck at a warrior I saw lying under the bank before me, but 
seeing another very industriously snapping his piece at me, I fell back to 
reload. As soon as my gun was charged I advanced, with the brave but 
unfortunate Wells on my left, and William Cams, of Dodgeville, 'on my 
right. On coming hand to hand with the Indians, Wells fell mortally 
wounded ; Cams first shot and then bayoneted the warrior that killed 
Wells, and I put another in a condition to take his scalp. At the same 
time the only surviving Indian attempted to save himself by flight; he 
plunged into the pond, and was shot as he got out of the water on the 
opposite side. 

" Thus ended the battle. The enemy were completely exterminated ; not 
one was left to tell Black Hawk, his chief, and warriors, how "Old Hairy- 
face" (the Indian name for General Dodge) and his warriors fought. Our 
trophies were seventeen scalps; our loss three men, Black, Wells and 
Morris mortally, and Thomas Jenkins severely wounded. 

"The annals of border warfare furnish no parallel to this battle ; never 
before was an entire war party exterminated with so small a loss on the 
part of the whites, when the numbers engaged were so nearly equal. Al- 
though on our advance into the thicket we outnumbered the Indians some 
five men, yet the advantage of their position, and our having to receive 
their fire, equalized our numbers. 

"None of us, from the General down, had ever heard a hostile gun, or 
burned powder at a foe ; the men had been promiscuously assembled, and 
were untrained soldiers ; they proved, however, by their gallant conduct, 
that American volunteers, when individually brave, will collectively fol- 
low to their death a brave and determined leader in whom they have con- 

"There were individual acts of devotion and desperate bravery per- 
formed, which ought to have immortalized the actors. Our surgeon, Dr. 
Allen Hill, fell into the line, and did duty as a private soldier. When 
the sections were told off, his lot fell number four, a horse-holder; num- 
ber five in the same section was a sickly-looking youth named Townsend, 
about seventeen years of age. The doctor exchanged places with him, re- 


marking that he thought he was better able to perform a soldier's duty in 
the coming fight than he was. 

"In the charge, Levin Leach encountered a warrior armed with a spear. 
Parrying the thrust of the Indian with his bayonet, he dropped his gun, 
sprang on him, wrenched his spear from him, and with it, ran him through 
the body." 

About the beginning of the fight each man took a tree Indian style. 
Thos. Jenkins, who was rather portly, got behind a small one, and when 
he saw an Indian aiming in his direction, drew himself up sideways as 
straight as possible. But the tree was too small to protect all parts of 
his body, and the Indian's bullet hit him in that portion of his anatomy 
where honor is supposed to abide. The slightest reference to being shot 
in the rear was always after sure to provoke his ire. 

One of those who afterward died was struck in the head, inflict- 
ing a severe scalp wound, but by no means dangerous. There was no 
surgeon in the fort, and a long-legged, tow-headed young man, who had 
been studying medicine, took the case in hand, prescribing a strong poul- 
tice of white oak bark. He did not improve under 'the treatment, and 
Dr. Philleo was sent for from Galena, but when he came the man was 
past surgery. The Doctor said that any old woman could have cured him 
with a poultice of bread and milk, but the bark had completely tanned 
the patient's head. The new doctor afterward became a noted physician, 
but it is not probable he again prescribed white oak bark for a scalp 




BOUT this time Capt. James W. Stephenson, of (ralena, 
with a part of his company, pursued a party of Indians 
into a small, dense thicket in the prairie. He commenced 
a severe fire upon them at random, within firing distance 
of the thicket, but the Indians having every advantage, 
succeeded in killing a few of his men, and he ordered a 
retreat. Neither he nor the men were willing to give up 
the fight, and they came to the desperate resolution of re- 
turning and charging into the thicket upon the Indians. The command 
to charge was given; the men obeyed with ardor and alacrity; the Captain 
himself led the way, but before they had penetrated into the thicket twenty 
steps, the Indians fired from their covert ; the fire was instantly returned. 
The charge was made a second and third time, each time giving and receiv- 
ing the fire of the enemy, until three more of his men lay dead on the 
ground, and he himself was severely wounded. It now became necessary 
to retreat, as he had from the first but a small part of his company along 
with him. This attack of Captain Stephenson was unsuccessful, and may 
have been imprudent; but it equalled anything in modern warfare in dar- 
ing and desperate courage. 

The Indians had now shown themselves to be a courageous, active and 
enterprising enemy. They had scattered their war parties all over the 
North, from Chicago to Galena, and from the Illinois River into the Ter- 
ritory of Wisconsin ; they occupied every grove, waylaid every road, 
hung around every settlement, and attacked every party of white men 
that attempted to penetrate the country. But their supremacy in the 
field was of short duration; for, on the 20th, 21st and 22d of June the 
new forces assembled on the Illinois River were put in motion by General 
Atkinson, of the regular army, who now assumed the command over the 

Major John Dement, with a battalion of spies attached to the First 
brigade, was sent forward in advance, while the main army was to follow 


and concentrate at Dixon. Major Dement pushed forward across Rock 
River, and took position at Kellogg's Grove, in the heart of the Indian 

Major Dement, hearing by express, on the 25th of June, that the trail 
of about five hundred Indians leading to the south, had been seen within 
five miles the day before, ordered his command to saddle their hors-- 
and remain in readiness, while he himself, with twenty men, started 
at daylight next morning to gain intelligence of their movements. His 
paily had advanced about three hundred yards when they discovered 
seven Indian spies; some of his men immediately made pursuit, but their 
commander, fearing an ambuscade, endeavored to call them back. In 
this manner he had proceeded about a mile; and being followed soon 
after by a number of his men from the camp, he formed about twenty- 
five of them into line on the prairie, to protect the retreat of those yet in 
pursuit. He had scarcely done this before he discovered three hundred 
Indians issuing from the grove to attack him. The Indians came up 
firing, hallooing and yelling to make themselves more terrific, after the 
Indian fashion; and the Major, seeing himself in great danger of being 
suiTOunded by a superior force, slowly retired to his camp, closely pur- 
sued by the Indians. 

Here his party took possession of some log houses, which answered 
for a foil, and were vigorously attacked by the Indians for nearly an 
hour. There were brave soldiers in this battalion, among whom were 
Major Dement himself and Lieutenant Governor Casey, a private in 
the ranks, who kept up such an active fire upon their assailants, and 
with such good aim, that the Indians retreated with the certain loss 
of nine men left dead on the field, and probably five others carried away. 
The loss on the side of the whites was five killed and three wounded. 
Major Dement had previously sent an express to General Pose}', who 
marched with his whole brigade at once to his relief, but did not arrive 
until two hours after the retreat of the Indians. General Posey removed 
next day a little to the north in search of the Indians, then marched back 
to Kellogg's Grove to await the arrival of his baggage- wagons ; and then 
to Fort Hamilton, ori the Pecatonica. 

When the news of the battle at Kellogg's Grove reached Dixon, 
where all the volunteers and the regular forces were then assembled un- 
der command of General Atkinson, Alexander's brigade was ordered in 
the direction of Plum River, a short stream with numerous branches, 


falling into the Mississippi thirty-five miles below Galena, to intercept 
the Indians if they attempted in that direction to escape by re-crossing 
the river. General Atkinson remained with the infantry at Dixon two 
days, and then marched, accompanied by the brigade of General Henry, 
toward the country of the Four Lakes, farther up Rock River. Colonel 
Jacob Fiy, with his regiment, was dispatched in advance by General 
Henry, to meet some friendly Indians of the Pottawatomie tribe, com- 
manded by Caldwell, a half-breed, and Shauberia, the war-cnief of 
the nation. 

General Atkinson having heard that Black Hawk had concentrated 
his forces at the Four Lakes and fortified his position, with the intention 
of deciding the fate of the war by a general battle, marched with as much 
haste as prudence would warrant when invading a hostile and wilderness 
country with undisciplined forces, where there was no means of procuring 
intelligence of the number or whereabouts of the enemy. 

On the 30th of June he passed through the Turtle village, a consider- 
able town of the Winnebagoes, then deserted by its inhabitants, and en- 
camped one mile above it, in the open prairie near Rock River. He 
believed that the hostile Indians were in that immediate neighborhood, 
and prepared to resist their attack, if one should be made. That night 
the Indians were prowling about the encampment till morning. Con- 
tinual alarms were given by the sentinels, and the whole command was 
frequently paraded in order of battle. The march was continued next 
day, and nothing occurred until the army arrived at Lake Kuskanong, 
except the discovery of trails and Indian signs, the occasional sight of an 
Indian spy, and the usual abundance of false alarms amongst men but 
little accustomed to war. Here the army was joined by General Alexan- 
der's brigade; and after Major Ewing and Colonel Fry, with a battalion 
of the one and the regiment of the other, had thoroughly examined the 
whole country round about, and had ascertained that no enemy was near, 
the whole force again marched up Rock River on the east side, to the 
Burnt Village, another considerable town of the Winnebagoes, on the 
White Water River, where it was joined by the brigade of General Posey 
and a battalion of a hundred men from Wisconsin, commanded by Major 
(now General) Dodge. 

During the march to this place the scouts had captured an old blind 
Indian of the hostile band, nearly famished with hunger, who had been 
left behind by his friends (for want of ability to -travel), to fall into the 


hands of his enemies or to perish by famine. Being, as he said, old, Mind 
and helpless, he was never consulted or advised with by the Indians, and 
could give no account of the movements of his party except that they 
had gone further up the river. One historian of the war says that tin- 
army magnanimously concluded not to kill him, but to give him plenty to 
eat, and leave him behind to end his life in a pleasant way by eating him- 
self to death. The old man, however, was denied this melancholy satis- 
faction; for falling in the way of Posey's men as they were marching to 
the camp, he was quickly despatched, even before he had satisfied liis 
natural hunger. This barbarous action is an indelible stain upon the men 
of that brigade. At this place, also, Captain Dunn, at present a Judge 
in Wisconsin, acting as officer of the day of one of the regiments, was shot 
by a sentinel, and dangerously wounded. 

Up to the time of reaching the Burnt Village, the progress of the com- 
mand had been slow and uncertain. The country was comparatively an 
unexplored wilderness of forest and prairie. None in the command had 
ever been through it. A few, who professed to know something of it, 
volunteered to act as guides, and succeeded in electing themselves to be 
military advisers to the commanding General. The members of the hos- 
tile party were unknown; and a few Winnebagoes who followed the 
camp, and whose fidelity was of a very doubtful character, were from 
necessity much listened to, but the intelligence received from them was 
always delusive. Short marches, frequent stoppages, and explorations 
always unsatisfactory, were the result, giving the enemy time to elude the 
pursuing forces, and every opportunity of ascertaining their probable 
movements and intentions. 

The evening the arniy arrived at the Burnt Village, Captain Early, 
with his company of spies, returned from a scout and reported the main 
trail of the Indians, not two hours old, to be three miles beyond. It was 
determined to pursue rapidly next morning. At an early hour next day, 
before the troops were ready to march, two regular soldiers, fishing in the 
river one hundred and fifty yards from camp, were fired upon by two 
Indians from the opposite shore, and one of them dangerously wounded. 
A part of the volunteers were immediately marched up the river in the 
direction indicated by Captain Early, and Colonel Fiy's regiment, with 
the regulars, were left behind to construct bridges and cross to the point 
from which the Indians had shot the regular soldier. A march of fifteen 
miles up and across the river (fordable above), proved Captain Early's 


report to be incoiTect. No trail was discoverable. On crossing the liver, 
the troops entered upon the trembling lands, which are immense flats of 
turf, extending for miles in eveiy direction, from six inches to a foot in 
thickness, resting upon water and beds of quicksand. A troop, or even a 
single horseman passing over, produced an undulating and quivering mo- 
tion of the land, from which it gets its name. Although the surface is 
quite dry, yet there is no difficulty in procuring plenty of water by cut- 
ting an opening through the stratum of turf. The horses would' some- 
times, on the thinner portions, force a foot through, and fall to the shoulder 
or ham; yet so great is the tenacity of the upper surface, that in no in- 
stance was there any trouble in getting them out. In some places the 
weight of the earth forces a stream of water upward, which caiTying with 
it and depositing large quantities of sand, forms a mound. The mound, 
increasing in weight as it enlarges, increases the pressure upon the water 
below, presenting the novel sight of a fountain in the prairie pouring 
its stream down the side of a mound, then to be absorbed by the sand and 
returned to the waters beneath. 

Discovering no sign of an enemy in this direction, the detachment fell 
back to the Burnt Village, and the bridges not being yet completed, it was 
determined to throw over a small force on rafts the next day. The AVin- 
nebagoes had assured the General that the shore beyond was a large 
island, and that the whole of Black Hawk's forces were fortified on it. In 
consequence of this information, Captain Early's company were crossed 
on rafts, followed and supported by two companies of regulars, under 
Captain Noel of the army, which last were formed in order across the 
island, while Captain Early proceeded to scour it, reporting afterward at 
headquarters that he had found the trail of a large body of Indians ; but 
Col. William S. Hamilton, having crossed the main river three miles below 
with a party of Menominies, reported the trail of the whole tribe on the 
main west shore, about ten days old, proceeding northward ; and it was 
afterward ascertained that no sign had been seen upon the island but that 
of the two Indians who had fired upon the regular soldiers. 

Eight weeks had now been wasted in fruitless search for the enemy, 
and the commanding General seemed further from the attainment of his 
object than when the second requisition of troops was organized. At that 
time Posey and Alexander commanded each a thousand men, Henry took 
the field with twelve hundred and sixty-two, and the regular force under 
Colonel Taylor, now Major General, amounted to four hundred and fifty 


more. By this time the volunteer force was reduced nearly one-half. 
Many had entered the service for mere pastime, and a desire to partici- 
pate in the excellent fun of an Indian campaign, looked upon as a frolic ; 
and certainly but few volunteered with well-defined notions of the 
fatigues, delays and hardships of an Indian war in an unsettled and un- 
known country. The tedious marches, exposure to the weather, loss of 
horses, sickness, forced submission to command, and disgust at the unex- 
pected hardships and privations of a soldier's life, produced rapid reduc- 
tions in the numbers of every regiment. The great distance from the 
base of operations ; the difficulties of transportation, either by water or 
land, making it impossible at any time to have more than twelve days' 
provisions beforehand, still further curtailed the power of the command- 
ing General. Such was the wastefulness of the volunteers, that they 
were frequently one or two days short of provisions before new supplies 
could be furnished. 

At this time there were not more than four days' rations in the hands 
of the commissary ; the enemy might be weeks in advance ; the volun- 
teers were fast melting away, but the regular infantry had not lost a man. 
To counteract these difficulties, General Atkinson found it necessary to 
disperse his command, for the purpose of procuring supplies. 





CCORDING to previous arrangements, the several brigades 
took up their lines of march on the 1 Oth of July, for their 
respective destinations. Colonel Swing's regiment was 
sent back to Dixon as an escort for Captain Dunn, who was 
supposed to be mortally wounded ; General Posey marched 
to Fort Hamilton, on the Pecatonica, as a guard to the 
frontier country. Henry, Alexander and Dodge, with their 
commands, were sent to Fort Winnebago, situate at the 
Portage between the Fox and the Wisconsin Rivers; while General Atkin- 
son himself fell back with the regular forces near to Lake Koshkonong, 
and erected a fort, which he called by the name of the lake. There he 
was to remain until the volunteer Generals could return with supplies. 
Henry and Alexander made Fort Winnebago in three days, Major Dodge 
having preceded them a few hours by a forced march, which so fatigued 
and crippled his horses that many of them were unable to continue the 
campaign. Their route had been in a direct line, a distance of eighty miles, 
through a country which was remarkably swampy and difficult. On the 
night of the 12th of July a stampede occurred among the horses. This is 
a general wild alarm, the whole body of them breaking loose from their 
fastenings, and coursing over the prairie at full speed. By this means a 
hundred or more of them were lost or destroyed in the swamps, or on a 
log causeway three miles in length, near the fort. 

Two days were occupied at the fort in getting provisions ; on the last 
of which the Winnebago chiefs there reported that Black Hawk and his 
forces were encamped at the Manitou village, thirty-five miles above Gen- 
eral Atkinson, on Rock River. In a council held between Alexander, 
Henry and Dodge, it was determined to violate orders by marching 
directly to the enemy, with the hope of taking him by surprise, or at 
least putting him between them and General Atkinson, tlms cutting off 
his further retreat to the north. Twelve o'clock on the 15th was ap- 
pointed as the hour to march. General Hemy proceeded at once to reor- 


ganize his brigade, with a view to disencumber himself of his sick and 
dismounted men, that as little as possible might impede the celerity of 
his march. General Alexander soon announced that his inen were un- 
willing, and had refused to follow ; and Major Dodge reported his horses 
so much disabled by their late march that Jhe could not muster a force 
worth taking along. General Henry was justly indignant at the insubor- 
dination and defection of his companions in arms, and announced his pur- 
pose to march in pursuit of the enemy alone, if he could prevail upon but 
fifty men to follow him. But directly after this a company of mount* <! 
volunteers, under the command of Captain Craig, from Apple River and 
Galena, in Illinois, with fresh horses, arrived at Fort Winnebago to join 
Major Dodge's battalion, which now made his force of men and horses fit 
for service one hundred and twenty in the whole. General Henry's brig- 
ade, exclusive of Dodge's battalion, amounted to between five and six 
hundred men, but not more than four hundred and fifty had horses fit for 

From this place General Henry took up his line of march on the 1 5th 
of July, accompanied by Poquette., a half-breed, and the "White Pawnee," 
a Winnebago chief, as guides, in quest in the Indians. On the route to 
the head waters of Rock River he was frequently thrown from a direct 
line by intervening swamps extending for miles. Many of them were 
crossed, but never without difficulty and loss of horses. After three days' 
hard marching, his forces encamped upon thte beautiful stream of Rock 
River. This river is not exceeded by any other in natural beauty. Its 
waters are clear; its bottom and banks rocky or pebbly. The country on 
each side is either rolling, rich prairie, or hills crowned with forests free 
from undergrowth, and its current sweeps to the Mississippi, deep and 
bold. Here three Winnebagoes gave intelligence that Black Hawk was 
encamped at Cranberry Lake, further up the river. Relying upon this 
information, it was settled by General Henry to make a forced march in 
that direction the next morning. Doctor Merryman, of Springfield, and 
W. W. Woodbiidge, of Wisconsin, were despatched as expresses to Gen- 
eral Atkinson. They were accompanied by a chief called Little Thunder, 
us o-ifide; ami having started about dark, and proceeded on their perilous 
route about eight miles to the south-west, they came upon the fresh main 
trail of the enemy, endeavoring to escape by way of the Four Lakes across 
the Wisconsin River. 

At the sight of the trail the Indian guide was struck with terror, and 


without permission retreated back to the camp. Merriman and Wood- 
bridge returned also, but not until Little Thunder had announced his dis- 
covery in the Indian tongue to his countrymen, who were in the veiy act 
of making their escape when they were stopped by Maj. Murray McCon- 
nell, and taken to the tent of General Hemy, to whom they confessed 
that they had come into camp only to give false information, and favor 
the retreat of the Indians ; and then, to make amends for their perfidy, 
and perhaps, as they were led to believe, to avoid immediate death,/ they 
disclosed all they knew of Black Hawk's movements. General Hemy 
prudently kept the treachery of these Indians a secret from his men, for 
it would have taken all his influence and that of all his officers to save 
their lives if their perfidious conduct had been known throughout the 

The next morning (July 19) by daylight, everything was ready for a 
forced march, but first another express was despatched to General Atkin- 
son. All cumbrous baggage was thrown away. The tents and most of 
the camp equipage were left in a pile in the wilderness. Many of the 
men left their blankets and all their clothes except the suit they wore, 
and this was the case in eveiy instance with those who had been so un- 
fortunate as to lose their horses. Such as these took their guns, ammuni- 
tion and provisions upon their backs, and traveled over mountain and 
plain, through swamp and thicket, and kept up with the men on horse- 
back. All the men now marched with a better spirit than usual. The 
sight of the broad, fresh trail inspired every one with a lively hope of 
bringing the war to a speedy end ; and even the horses seemed to share 
somewhat in the general ardor. There was no murmuring, there was no 
excuse or complaining, and none on the sick report. The first day, in the 
afternoon, they were overtaken by one of those storms common on the 
prairies, black and terrific, accompanied by torrents of rain and the most 
fearful lightning and thunder; but the men dashed on through thickets 
almost impenetrable and swamps almost impassable, and that day marched 
upwards of fifty miles. During this day's march, General Hemy, Major 
McConnell and others of the General's staff often dismounted and 
marched on foot, giving their horses to tiie footmen. 

That night the storm raged till two o'clock in the morning. The 
men, exhausted with fatigue, threw themselves supperless upon the muddy 
earth, covered with water, for a little rest. The rain made it impossible 
to kindle a fire or to cook, so that both officers and men contented them- 


selves with eating some raw meat and some of the wet flour which they 
earned in their sacks, and which was converted into a soft dough by the 
drenching rains. A similar repast- served them next morning for break- 
fast. The horses had fared but little better than the men. The Govern- 
ment furnished nothing for them to eat, and they were obliged to subsist 
that night upon a scanty grazing, confined within the limits of the camp. 

Next morning (July 20) the storm had abated, and all were on the 
march by daylight, and after a march as hard as that on the day before, 
the amiy encamped at night upon the banks of one of the four lakes form- 
ing the source of the Catfish River in Wisconsin, and near the place where 
the Indians had encamped the previous night. At this place the men 
were able to make fires and cook their suppers, and this they did with a 
hearty good will, having traveled about one hundred miles without tast- 
ing anything but raw food, and without having seen a spark of fire. That 
night they again laid upon the ground, many of them with nothing but 
the sky for a covering, and slept soundly and sweetly, like men upon their 
beds at home. All were in fine spirits and high expectation of overtak- 
ing the Indians next day, and putting an end to the war by a general 1 tat- 
tle. The night did not pass, however, without an alarm. One of the 
sentinels posted near the bank of the lake fired upon an Indian gliding in 
his canoe slyly and steathily to the shore. Every man was aroused and 
under aims in an instant, but nothing followed to continue the alarm. A 
small black speck could be seen by aid of the star-light on the surface of 
the lake, but no enemy was visible. 

This day's march was still harder than any which preceded it. The 
men on foot were forced into a run to keep up with the advancing horse- 
men. The men on horseback carried their arms and baggage for them by 

Major William Lee D. Ewing (since a Major General) commanded the 
spy battalion, and with him was joined the battalion of Major Dodge, of 
Wisconsin. These two officers, with their commands, were in the ad- 
vance ; but with all their ardor they were never able to get out of sight of 
the main body. General Henry, who remained with the main body, dis- 
patched Major McConnell with the advance guard, so as to get the earliest 
intelligence of any unusual occurrence in front. About noon of this day 
the advance guard was close upon the rear guard of the retreating enemy. 

It is to be regretted that we have no account of the management, the 
perils, and hair-breadth escapes of the Indians in conducting their retreat. 


All that we know is that for many miles before they were overtaken their 
broad trail was strewn with camp kettles and baggage of various kinds, 
which they had thrown away in the hurry of their flight. The sight of 
these articles encouraged Henry's men to press forward, hoping soon to 
put an end to this vexatious border war which had so much disturbed the 
peace of our Northern settlements. About noon, also, the scouts ahead 
came suddenly upon two Indians, and as they were attempting to escape 
one of them was killed and left dead on the field. Dr. Addison PJiilleo 
coming along shortly afterj scalped this Indian, and for a long time after- 
ward exhibited this scalp as evidence of his valor. Shortly after this the 
rear guard of the Indians began to make feint stands, as if to bring on a 
battle. In doing so, their design was merely to gain time for the main 
body to secure a more advantageous position. A few shots would be ex- 
changed, and the Indians would then push ahead, while the pursuing 
force would halt to form in the order of battle. In this way the Indians 
were able to reach the broken ground on the bluffs of the Wisconsin 
River by four o'clock in the afternoon, before they were overtaken. 

About this time, while the advanced guard was passing over some 
uneven ground, through the high grass and low timber, they were sud- 
denly fired upon by a body of Indians who had here secreted themselves. 
In an instant Major Ewing's battalion dismounted and were formed in 
front, their horses being removed to the rear. The Indians kept up a 
fire from behind fallen trees, and none of them could be discovered except 
by the flash and report of their guns. In a few minutes General Henry 
amved with the main body, when the order of battle was formed. 

Colonel Jones' regiment was placed on the right, Colonel Collins' on 
the left, and Colonel Fry's in the rear to act as a reserve. Major Ewing's 
battalion was placed in front of the line, and Major Dodge's on the ex- 
treme right. In this order General Henry's forces marched into battle. 
An order was given to charge upon the enemy, which was handsomely 
obeyed by Ewing ? s battalion and Jones' and Collins' regiments. 

The Indians retreated before this charge pbliquely to the right, and 
concentrated their main force in front of Dodge's battalion, showing a 
design to turn his flank. General Hemy sent an order by Major McCon- 
nell to Major Dodge, to advance to the charge; but this officer being of 
the opinion that the foe was too strong for him, requested a reinforce- 
ment. Colonel Fry's regiment was ordered to his aid, and formed on his 


right. And now a vigorous charge was made from one end of the line to 
the other. 

Colonel Fry's regiment made a* charge into the bush and high grass 
where the Indians were concealed, and received the fire of their whole 
body. The fire was briskly returned by Fry and Dodge and their men, 
who continued to advance, the Indians standing their ground until the 
men came within bayonet reach of them, then fell back to the west, along 
the high, broken bluffs of the Wisconsin, only to take a new position 
among the thick timber and tall grass in the head of a hollow leading 
to the Wisconsin River bottom. Here it seemed they were determined 
to make a firm stand; but being charged upon in their new position by 
Ewing's battalion and Collins' and Jones' regiments, they were driven 
out of it, some of them being pursued down the hollow, and others again 
to the west, along the Wisconsin heights, until they descended the bluffs 
to the Wisconsin bottom, which was here about a mile wide and very 
swampy, covered with thick, tall grass, above the heads of men on horse- 
back. It being now dark, further pursuit was stopped, and General 
Henry and his forces lay upon the field of battle. That night Heniy's 
camp was disturbed by the voice of an Indian loudly soundmg from a 
distant hill, as if giving orders or desiring a conference. It afterward 
appeared that this was the voice of an Indian chief, speaking in the Win- 
nebago language, stating that the Indians had their squaws and families 
with them, that they were starving for provisions, and were not able to 
fight the white people, and that if they were permitted to pass peaceably 
over the Mississippi, they would do no more mischief. He spoke this in 
the Winnebago tongue, in hopes that some of that people were with Gen- 
eral Henry and would act as his interpreter. No Winnebagoes were 
present, they having run at the commencement of the fight, and so his 
language was never explained until after the close of the war. 

Next morning early General Henry advanced to the Wisconsin River, 
and ascertained that the Indians had all crossed it, and made their escape 
into the mountains between that and the Mississippi. It was ascertained 
after the battle that the Indian loss amounted to sixty-eight left dead on 
the field, and a large number of wounded, of whom twenty-five were 
afterward found dead along the Indian trail leading to the Mississippi. 
General Henry lost one man killed and eight wounded. It appeared that 
the Indians, knowing they were to fight a mounted force, had been trained 
to aim high, but as General Henry had dismounted his forces and sent his 



horses to the rear, the Indians shot over them. This will account for 
so few of Henry's men being killed or wounded. 

After spending two days in preparation at the Blue Mounds, the whole 
force, now under the direction of General Atkinson, was again on the 
march in pursuit of the Indians. The Wisconsin River was crossed at 
Helena, and the trail of the Indians struck in the mountains on the 
other side. Day after day the whole force toiled in climbing and descend- 
ing mountains covered with dense forests, and passing through swamps of 
deep, black mud lying in the intervening valleys. But the march was 
slow compared with that preceding the battle of the Wisconsin. In this 
march were found, all along the route, the melancholy evidences of the 
execution done in the battle. The path of the retreating Indians was 
strewn with the wounded who had died on the march, more from neglect 
and want of skill in dressing their wounds than from the mortal nature of 
the wounds themselves. Five of them were found dead in one place 
where the band had encamped for the night. 

About ten o'clock in the morning of the fourth day after crossing the 
Wisconsin, General Atkinson's advance reached the bluffs on the east side 
of the Mississippi. The Indians had reached the bank of the river some 
time before. Some had crossed, and others were making preparations to 
cross it. The steamboat " Warrior," commanded by Captain Throckmor- 
ton, descended to that place the day before. As the steamboat neared the 
camp of the Indians, they raised the white flag ; but Captain Throckmor- 
ton, believing this to be treacherously intended, ordered them to send a 
boat on board, which they declined doing. In the flippant language of 
the Captain, after allowing them fifteen minutes to remove their squaws 
and children, he let slip a six-pounder at them, loaded with canister shot, 
followed by a severe fire of musketry ; " and if ever you saw straight 
blankets, you would have seen them there." According to the Captain's 
account, the " fight " continued for an hour, and cost the lives of twenty, 
three Indians, and a number wounded. The boat then fell down the 
river to Prairie du Chien, and before it could return the next morning, 
the land forces under General Atkinson had come up and commenced a 
general battle. 

It appears that the Indians were encamped on the bank of the Missis- 
sippi, some distance below the mouth of the Bad Axe River. They were 
aware that General Atkinson was in close pursuit ; and to gain time for 
crossing into the Indian country west of the Mississippi, they sent back 


about twenty men to meet General Atkinson, within three or four miles 
of their camp. This party of Indians were instructed to commence an 
attack, and then to retreat to the river three miles above their camp. 
Accordingly, when General Atkinson (the order of march being as before), 
came within three or four miles of the river, he was suddenly fired upon 
from behind trees and logs, the very tall grass aiding the concealment of 
the attacking party. General Atkinson rode immediately to the scene of 
action, and in person formed his lines and directed the charge. The In- 
dians gave way, and were pursued by General Atkinson with all the 
army except Henry's brigade, which was in the rear, and in the hurry of 
pursuit was left without orders. When Henry came up to the place where 
the attack had been made, he saw clearly that the wily stratagem of the 
untutored savage had triumphed over the science of a veteran General. 
The main trail of the Indians was plain to be seen leading to the river 
lower down. He called a hasty council of his principal officers, and by 
their advice marched right forward upon the main trail. At the foot of 
the high bluff bordering the river valley, on the edge of a swamp densely 
covered with timber, drift-wood and underbrush, through which the trail 
led fresh and broad, he halted his command and left his horses. The men 
were formed on foot, and thus advanced to the attack. They were pre- 
ceded by an advanced guard of eight men, who were sent forward as a 
forlorn hope, and were intended to draw the first fire of the Indians, and 
to disclose thereby to the main body where the enemy was to be found, 
preparatory to a general charge. These eight men advanced boldly some 
distance, until they came within sight of the river, where they were fired 
upon by about fifty Indians, and five of the eight instantly fell, wounded 
or dead. The other three, protected behind trees, stood their ground 
until the arrival of the main body under General Henry, which deployed 
to the right and left from the centre. Immediately the bugle sounded a 
charge, every man rushed forward, and the battle became general along 
the whole line. These fifty Indians had retreated upon the main body, 
amounting to about three hundred warriors, a force equal if not superior 
to that now confronting them. It soon became apparent that they had 
been taken by surprise. They fought bravely and desperately, but seem- 
ingly without any plan or concert of action. The bugle again sounded the 
inspiring music of a charge. The Indians were driven from tree to tree, 
and from one hiding-place to another. In this manner they receded step 
by step, driven by the advancing foe, until they reached the bank of the 


liver. Here a desperate struggle ensued, but it was of short duration. 
The bloody bayonet, in the hands of excited and daring men, pursued and 
drove them forward into the waters of the river. Some of them tried to 
swim the river ; others sought shelter on a small willow island near the 

After the Indians had retreated to the island in the river, Henry dis- 
patched Major McConnell to give intelligence of his movements to his 
commander, who, while pursuing the twenty Indians in another direction, 
had heard the firing where Henry was engaged. General Atkinson had 
left the pursuit of the twenty Indians, and hastened to share in the en- 
gagement. He was met by Henry's messenger near the scene of action, 
in passing through which the dead and dying Indians lying around bore 
frightful evidence of the stern work which had been done before his 
arrival. He, however, lost no time in forming his regulars and Dodge's 
battalion for a descent upon the island. These forces, together with Ew- 
ing's battalion and Fry's regiment, made a charge through the water up 
to their armpits to the island, where most of the Indians had taken their 
last refuge. All the Indians who attempted to swim the river were 
picked off with rifles or found a watery grave before they reached the op- 
posite shore. 

Those on the island kept up a severe fire from behind logs and drift- 
wood upon the men as they advanced to the charge ; and here a number 
of regulars and volunteers under Dodge were killed and wounded. But 
most of the Indians secreted there were either killed, captured, or driven 
into the water, where they perished miserably, either by drowning or by 
the still more fatal rifle. During these engagements a number of squaws 
were killed. They were dressed so much like the male Indians that, con- 
cealed as they were in the high grass, it was impossible to distinguish 
them. It is estimated that the Indian loss here amounted to one hundred 
and fifty killed, arid as many more who were drowned in the river. Fifty 
prisoners were taken, mostly squaws and children. The residue of the 
Indians had escaped across the river before the commencement of the 
action. The twenty men who first commenced the attack, led by Black 
Hawk in person, escaped up the river. The American loss amounted to 
seventeen killed, one of them a captain of Dodge's battalion and one a 
lieutenant of Fry's regiment, and twelve wounded. 

September 21, 1832, General Scott and Governor Reynolds concluded 
a treaty of peace with the Winnebagoes, Sacs and. Foxes, by which these 


tribes ceded to the United States vast regions of country, and agreed to 
remain at peace with the whites; and for the faithful performance of 
this promise, they surrendered Black Hawk and his two sons, "The 
Prophet," and six other leaders or chiefs of the hostile bands, to be re- 
tained as hostages during the pleasure of the President. These Indians 
were afterward taken to Washington, and shown around the cities of the 
east, our navy and army, and our general arrangements for war, offen- 
sive and defensive. When presented to President Jackson, Black Hawk 

"I am a man and you are another. We did not expect to conquer the 
white people. I took up the hatchet to revenge injuries which could no 
longer be borne. Had I borne them any longer my people would have 
said, 'Black Hawk is a squaw; he is too old to be a chief. He is no Sac.' 
This caused me to raise the war-whoop. I say no more of it. All is 
known to you. Keokuk was once here. You took him by the hand, and 
when he wanted to return, you sent him back to his nation. Black Hawk 
expects that like Keokuk, he will be permitted to return too." 

The President told him that when he was satisfied that all things 
would remain quiet, Black Hawk might return. 

Black Hawk died October 3, 1840, and was buried with considerable 
pomp, on the banks of the Mississippi River, near the scenes of his boy- 






ENNEPIN commemorates the name of the great discoverer 
and explorer supposed to have been one of the first white 
men who set foot within its limits. It embraces about 
forty-five sections of land within its boundaries, or 29,800 
acres, in round numbers, as indicated by a recent county 
map. The Illinois River washes its borders for twelve 
miles or more, and its surface is made up of wide-extended, 
fertile bottoms, wooded hills and productive prairies. 
Running through the Township is Coffee Creek, a considerable stream 
which rises in Section 18, thence runs in devious windings through Sec- 
tions 11, 12, 15 and 16, to the Illinois River below the city of Hennepin. 
South of Florid, in the edge of a small prairie united to Grand 
Prairie on the east, rises the stream known as "Nelson's Run," which 
leads southwest through Section 2 to the river. 

Further south Cedar Creek flows through a broken, timbered country, 
and in the northern part of the Township, Allfork Creek, an extremely 
tortuous stream rising in the prairie south of Greenville, makes a detour 
into Hennepin Township, in Section 36, and running west a mile and 
north another, enters the Illinois. 

East of the city is a fine prairie, covered with fertile and highly culti- 
vated farms. The southern portion is broken and diversified with deep 
ravines, wide valleys, rugged hills, " hog-back^," and small patches of bar- 
rens, or little sections of openings and prairies which industrous Germans 
have long since transformed into fine farms, thrifty orchards and large 

There is, or rather was, an abundance of excellent timber in this section 
of the County, but in many localities it has been cut down and the ground 


become cultivated fields. Saw mills put up here and there have been for 
years transforming the monarchs of the forest into lumber. 

There are small prairies here and there, one to the east of Hennepin, 
another at Union Grove and Florid. Here the first settlers built their 
houses, and a few still remain on farms taken up before the red man had 
ceased to be the sole possessor. The soil is fertile and adapted to raising 
grain, live stock or fruits, in all of which the township excels. 


Hennepin, or rather the -prairie on which the town stands, was an- 
ciently called Prairie de Prue, iii honor of a French voyageur and trapper 
who once had a cabin there. The circumstances which called the town 
into being have been narrated elsewhere, and it need only be stated that 
under an act of the Legislature a committee was sent to examine vari- 
ous localities with a view to the location of a county seat, and select the 
one most appropriate and best fulfilling the required conditions. 

At this time a heavy belt of timber ran along its front, extending back 
to the Court House and beyond, so densely filled with underbrush as to 
shut out all view of the river, the bank of which in front of the town rose 
abruptly forty or fifty feet high, but has since been graded down to suit the 
demands of commerce. Properly the town should date back to 1817, 
when Beaubien, a Frenchmen in the employ of the American Fur Com- 
pany, built a trading house one mile above the town, on land now owned 
by A. T. Purviance. Thomas Hartzell at this time was trading at some 
point below in opposition to the American Fur Company, but in 1824-5 
he became their agent and removed here. Beside the old building first 
referred to he had erected a substantial store of hewn logs, which he con- 
tinued to occupy until the location of Hennepin, when he removed there. 
Across the ravine south of Hartzell a Frenchman named Antoine Bour- 
bonais had a cabin built somewhere about 1820. 

The town was surveyed in 1831 by Ira Ladd, Sr., on Congress land. 
Twelve blocks were laid off at first, and eight afterward, to which several 
additions have since been made. Lots were extensively advertised, and 
the first sales were made at prices ranging from $11.68 to $87.86 each. 
(Ford's History). The first lot was sold to J. and W. Durley, at that 
time trading with the Indians in a cabin built by James Willis, opposite 


the mouth of Bureau Creek, one mile above Hennepin. They proceeded 
at once to build on this lot, now the site of the Town Hall, corner of 
Front and Court streets, and when finished, removed their stock there. 

Dunlavy & Stewart built a trading house at the same time, preceding 
the Durleys a few days in commencing business. 

J. S. Simpson and a man named Gleason each built log cabins that 
fall, and Ira Ladd, first Sheriff of the county. 

In the spring of 1832, the first hotel was built. It was a double log 
cabin, built by James S. Simpson, and run by John H. Simpson. About 
this time Hartzell built a store and removed here his stock of goods. 

The old trading house deserves more special notice. Its foundations 
are still seen adjoining the pleasant residence of A. T. Purviance, and 
are a pleasing reminder of the days when the red man held sway over this 
territory, and neither steamboats nor commerce, in the modern acceptation 
of the term, existed on the river. 

In 183 i came the Black Hawk war, and Hennepin was made the head- 
quarters and rallying point of the rangers. When news of the outbreak 
arrived, there was great consternation. Few of the settlers were armed, 
and no means of defense were available. 

In this predicament, Thomas Hartzell came forward and offered to 
donate his log store for a block house. It was a noble act, and bespeaks 
his character. Every man and team in the settlement was set at work, 
and in two days the building was A taken down, the logs hauled to the vil- 
lage, and a commodious block house, with embrasures for riflemen and an 
upper story, constructed, in which the families of settlers took refuge until 
the scare was over. It stood on Front street, and for a dozen years was 
one of the landmarks of the town until the authorities ordered its re- 

When the old building was torn down to be reconstructed into a fort, 
th chimney was left standing. A Frenchman with a half-breed wife oc- 
cupied the Beaubein cabin, and she often repaired to the old chimney to 
do her cooking. One day while thus engaged a high wind blew it down, 
killing her instantly. 

The first election in the new County was held at the house of William 
Hawes, near Magnolia, and beside the Judges of Election, but one voter 
appeared (Warner). Of course there were no "split tickets," and Thomas 
Gallaher, George Ish and John M. Gay were declared elected as County 
Commissioners, Ira Ladd as Sheriff, and Aaron Paine as Coroner. James 


W. Willis was subsequently appointed Treasurer. Hooper Warren filled 
the offices of Recorder, Clerk of the Circuit and County Courts, and 
Justice of the Peace. 

Among the members of the bar who attended Court here were : Sen- 
ator David Davis, who came from Bloomington on horseback, and Judge 
John B. Caton, who came down from Chicago, riding an Indian pony.* 

The first death in the Counties of Bureau, Putnam or Marshall was 
in the family of Aaron Mitchell, who lost a child in August or Septem- 
ber, 1829. There being no lumber in the country, a puncheon coffin was 
made by N. and S. Shepherd, and the child was interred near Captain 

The first corpse buried in Hennepin Cemetery was that of Phillips, 
shot by the Indians, June 4, 1831. No memorial stone marks the place, 
and his grave is unknown. 


Most of the early settlers were young men, and in those days a woman 
or a baby was as much of a novelty and excited as lively an interest as 
ever they did in "Roaring Camp." Some of the men, however, brought 
their wives," and with them came their "sisters, their cousins and their 
aunts," who speedily found husbands; and we find among the early 
records the following marriages: 

John Shepherd to Tennessee McComas, July 5, 1831; by George Ish, 
County Judge. 

Elisha Swan, of Lacon, was married to Zilpha Dent, Februaiy 25, 
1832; by Rev. Zadok Hall. 

Livingston Roberts to Margaret Dent, January 24, 1843; by Hooper 
Warren, Justice of the Peace. 

Lemuel Russell to Sarah Ann Edwards, February 23, 1823 ; by Rev. 
Edward Hale. 

Wm. Munson to Rachel Hall, March 7, 1833, by John M. Gay, Jus- 
tice of the Peace. 

Wm. S. Horn to Sylvia Hall, May 5, 1833 ; by Rev. R. Horn. 

The ladies whose names appear in the last two notices were the Hall 
girls, whose thrilling experience with the Indians is given elsewhere. 

* Warren. 


The early ministers of the township were Revs. John McDonald, 
Elijah Epperson, Wm. Heath and Joel Arlington. 

The first farm opened in the township was that of James Willis, at 
Union Grove, in 1828, and his was the first dwelling house outside of the 
village of Hennepin. 

Elizabeth Shepherd was one of the first white women in this locality, 
coming in 1829. 

Austin Hannum is claimed as the first white child born in the county. 
His parents lived in Magnolia. 

Isabel Patterson, since Mrs. R. W. Bowman, was born in 1832, and 
Augustus Shepherd in 1830. 


In the Court House at Hennepin hangs a large frame with the por- 
traits and names of many old settlers, and the date of their coming to the 
County. It will better preface what follows than aught else we can give : 

1817 Thomas Hartzell. 

1827 Thos. Gallaher, Jas. W. Willis. 

1828 Stephen D. Willis, Smiley Shepherd. 

1829 James G. Ross, Nelson Shepherd, Elizabeth Shepherd. 

1830 Harvey Leeper, Flora Zenor, Augustus Shepherd, Wm. Pat- 
terson, L. E. Skeel, David Richey, Lucy Dick, Olive Skeel, Wm. M. Ham, 
Anthony Turk. Samuel D. Laughlin, Catherine Shepherd. 

1831 Alvira Zenor, Lewis Durley, Lucy Durley, Mary Stewart, 
Mary Shepherd, George Dent, Comfort Dent, Williamson Durley, H. K. 
Zenor, Emeline Durley, E. G. Powers, Louisa Nash, John Gallaher, Aaron 

1832 John G. Ross (born here), Stephen W. Stewart, Nancy Skeel, 
Sarah Stewart, John W. Stewart, B. F. Whittaker, J. W. Leech, Mary* 
Leech, Robert Leech, Mary A. Templeton, S. G. Leech, Sarah Brumfield, 
Thomas Brumfield, Mary Ann Noys, John Brumfield, Aaron Barlow, 
John N. Laughlin. 

1833 Bayliss Culter, Wm. H. Zenor, Elizabeth Durley, Joseph Fair- 
field, Wm. E. Fail-field, Joseph Cassell, Augustus Cassell, Thomas Cole- 
man, Chas. Coleman, Oaks Turner, Wilson Everett, Jeremiah Everett, 
Alex. Ross, Milton Robinson. 


1834 Cyrus Shepherd, William Baxendale, Thomas W. Shepherd, 
Guy W. Pool, Thomas Atwater (the first lawyer), H. J. White, Wash- 
ington Webb. 

1836 Lyle Shepherd, Samuel Holmes, Sr., Alfred Turner, David 

SMILEY SHEPHERD, the oldest living person of Hennepin, visited 
this country in August, 1828, on a prospecting tour. He bought a claim 
from James Willis, at Magnolia, but sold it and selected the well-known 
farm east of Hennepin, where he has ever since lived. Returning to Ohio 
in December, 1828, he married, and in June, 1829, settled permanently at 

When he came to Hennepin in 1828, Hartzell, the Indian trader, was 
doing a prosperous business. He was operating in his own name, and 
had several Indians, squaws and half breeds around him. He was assisted 
by a young man named Benny, who had charge of the business, buying 
and preparing the furs for market, and supplying hunters and traders in 
other localities, shipping his furs to Montreal. 

The American Fur Company had three stations at and near the mouth 
of Bureau Creek, under the management of Gurden S. Hubbard, who gen- 
erally made his headquarters at Chicago, but was often here to look after 
the interests of the company. 

WILLIAMSON DURLEY came to Hennepin August 8, 1831, and opened 
a store along with his uncle, John Durley. They bought their goods at 
St. Louis, brought them up on a boat to Pekin, and hauled them "by 
land" to their new store in the village, which had been laid out in Sep- 
tember, the goods reaching here in October, 1831. 

Mr. Durley first visited this locality in 1828, stopping on the way at 
Bailey's Point, La Salle County, where himself and friends found shelter, 
with pel-mission to "board themselves" in the cornfield. The corn was 
but partially ripe, and had to be planed off the ears and then boiled. 
They found this fare and the hospitality of the people so agreeable that 
they remained two days on these terms. During their stay they explored 
the country thereabouts, returning to their host each night, who on their 
departure refused to take pay for their keeping, saying, "as he had freely 
given them the best he had, and didn't want to be insulted." 

At Covel Creek they found an Indian burial ground, in which the de- 
parted were placed in a sitting posture, back to back, between white oak 


poles fixed in the ground. Mr. Durley likewise remembers one two miles 
south of Hennepin, where the corpses were similarly arranged. 

The mails in early days were irregular. A line extended from Peoria 
to Galena, and a route was established about 1831 running from Henne- 
pin to Boyd's Grove. A few years later a stage line between Chicago 
and Peoria was established, with a cross line to Hennepin, connecting at 
Robert's Point. The next change was from Ottawa via Peru, Hennepin 
and Lacon to Peoria, making three trips a week each way. , 

Mr. Durley's recollections of the old pioneers are valuable. He re- 
members Thomas Hartzell as a man of generous disposition, open-hearted 
and easily duped. He believed all men honest like himself, and lost his 
property by going security for others. About this time a wealthy rela- 
tive in Pennsylvania died and opportunely left him a considerable sum, 
which went in like manner. Again he inherited property, and not long 
after removed to Waukegan, where he died. 

DANIEL DIMMICK The Township of Dimmick, in La Salle County, 
takes its name from an early settler who formerly lived in this vicinity. 
He came to Peoria in 1828, to Princeton in 1829 or '30, and not long 
after to Putnam County, building a cabin in the timber near Hartzell's 
trading house. He is said to have made the first claim and broken the 
first prairie in Putnam County, and sold his " betterments " to George 
Mills. They are now a part of the farm of William Ham. Dimmick lived 
in great seclusion, avoiding society and companionship, and was chiefly in- 
tent on making money. It is said he never had a floor to his cabin, and 
never washed. His single tow shirt sufficed so long as it held together. 
He slept on a bundle of straw in the corner, and his coat was patched 
with an old saddle blanket. In 1833 he sent his son Elijah to Dixon to 
learn if it was safe to venture to the north side of the Illinois River, and 
if the Indians were really at peace with the whites, and the war over. 
On getting satisfactory answers, he packed up his household goods and 
moved over to the prairies and began his new and permanent home, where 
he built a fine residence in after years, and died much respected. 

THE GALLAHER FAMILY played an important part in the early history of 
Putnam, and deserves a more extended notice. The first representative, 
Thomas Gallaher, Sr., came here in September, 1827, and settled on the 
south-east quarter of Section 30, Town 32, Range 1 west, 3d principal 


meridian, four miles south-east of Hennepin. He was accompanied here 
by his wife and eight children, viz : 

Thomas, Jr. Born March 17, 1810; afterward moved to Henry, and 
died August 17, 1854. 

Eliza Born November 13, 1811; now Mrs. Ladd, wife of Ira Ladd, 
first Sheriff of Putnam County. She is now a resident of New Orleans. 

Mary Born March 17, 1814; married B. Willis, and afterward went 
to Hannibal, Mo. 

James Born April 13, 1816; lives at Sioux City, Iowa. 

William Born July 19, 1818; moved to Henry in 1851, where he 
now resides. 

Nancy J. Born February 8, 1821; married Mr. Heath; died in Sep- 
tember, 1848. 

Samuel Born April 18, 1823; died in August, 1879. 

Margaret H. Born August 6, 1825; died May 27, 1874. 

After arriving here, there were born : 

Robert K. May 20, 1828, the "first white child , born in Putnam 
County." Died March 4, 1845. 

John McDonald October 6, 1830; living on the old farm. 

Nathaniel C. August 12, 1833; died of wounds received at Fort 

Elizabeth, Margaret and Robert, born subsequently, remained on the 
old homestead until their death. 

Thomas Gallaher, Sr., was born April 22, 1782, and died of cholera, 
while on his way to Pennsylvania, June 5, 1852, aged 70 years. 

His wife (Elizabeth Kelly) was born March 17, 1792, and died April 
23, 1878, aged 86 years. 

Mr. Gallaher, after arriving here put up a cabin in the fall of 1827, 
and in 1828 broke prairie for eighty acres of corn and wheat. 

The cabin was eighteen feet square, with a "shake" roof, and a fire- 
place so big that logs were hauled through the room by oxen to feed its 
capacious mouth. His first crop was exceeding fine, and Major Elias 
Thompson and Wm. Studyvin helped cut the wheat in 1829 ; wages, 
twenty-five cents per day. 

In 1828 he built a hewn log cabin, fifteen feet square, the first of the 
kind in this region of country. 

These were the first houses in this neighborhood of any description, 
and their ruins may yet be seen on the old historic ground. 


In the fall of 1827, after Gallaher had put up his log dwelling, James 
Willis built a house on ground afterward enclosed within the village 
plat of Florid. He left his family on this claim during the winter of 
1827-8, and went to Bond County, 111., to close up some business 
affairs. He had in his employ a likely colored boy who was a fugi- 
tive from slavery, whom he left in charge. The boy worked faithfully 
all winter, but when spring came and he found himself in debt, he con- 
cluded there was not so much difference between freedom and slavery 
as he had supposed. 

During the winter of 1827, there were no settlers south of Gallaher's, 
none at Magnolia, Roberts' Point, Lacon, or Crow Creek; no one at all 
nearer than the Dillon settlement, on Mackinaw River. 

In those days farm laborers were not numerous, yet the prices for work 
were not extravagantly high, as three bushels of meal, equal to three 
"bits," was considered a just equivalent for cutting and splitting one hun- 
dred 11 -feet fence rails, and eight dollars per month and board and wash- 
ing were the wages for farm hands. 


Prior to 1831, when Putnam was set apart as a county, with a tangi- 
ble boundary and a real organization, the ferry at Hennepin, or rather at 
and above Hartzell's trading house, had been a private enterprise, and was 
generally "run" by whomsoever came along, white, red, or mixed: The 
Indian traders claimed to own the boats, and every one used them, such 
as they were. At the first term of the County Commissioners' Court, that 
wise body took the subject in hand and " Ordered that public notice be 
given of the letting of the building of a ferry boat." Alexander Wilson 
put in the lowest bid and got the job, for a sum not stated, to build the 
first boat capable of carrying loaded wagons. 

September 8, 1831, Ira Ladd, the Sheriff, was appointed to take charge 
of the ferry boat when finished. 

August 14, 1832, James Laughlin was appointed to take charge of the 
ferry boat till next term; also to procure a skiff for the same. 

September 3, 1832, J. S. Simpson was allowed $11.00 for keeping the 

B. M. Hays was appointed to run the Hennepin ferry from December 


17, 1832, one year. A committee was appointed to watch him, see that 
he did his whole duty, and say when the boat should or should not run 
in the season of ice, high water and other dangers. This committee were 
R. Blanchard, John H. Simpson, Geo. B. Willis, Williamson Durley and 
Nathan Skeel. 

In March, 1833, John H. Simpson, then ferryman, was instructed by 
the Court to allow footmen to go free; and citizens upon horseback on 
muster, election and court days, were not to be charged for themselves or 
their beasts. 

The ferry boat having been carried away by ice, Jonathan Wilson fol- 
lowed it down to the island below Henry, captured and returned it, and 
the Court, March 3, 1836, allowed him $6.00 for that service. 

/ / 7 T 

The ferry, instead of proving a blessing to the County of Putnam, was 
a constant source of annoyance, and though its income some years was con- 
siderable, by reason of accidents and the large proportion of patrons who 
managed to shirk payment, it rarely made any profit for its managers. An 
embankment a mile or two in length was needed on the west side, be- 
sides, expensive bridges. This territory was in Bureau County, beyond 
the jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Putnam County, and the people 
of Princeton could see no advantage in improving a road or building em- 
bankments and bridges for the convenience of a rival market at Hennepin. 
Things wore on for years until a goodly settlement of tax-paying people 
had gathered in the bottom and prairies beyond, who demanded a road to 
the river "as an outlet for their products, and at length the Commissioners 
of Bureau County consented to meet with their equally exalted brethren 
of Putnam County, and jointly take action in the all-important question 
of improving the bottoms and making a road and suitable bridges across 
Bureau Creek and other water courses toward Hennepin. 

Accordingly these august bodies met at Hennepin, September 8, 
1845, and after much deliberation leased the ferry for a term of eleven 
years to one Hugh Feeny, who, at his own expense, was to make all 
necessaiy improvements in the roadway, and in addition to the rents 
and profits of the ferry was to have the sum of $275 in cash paid him, one- 
half of said sum by each of the counties. 

This arrangement lasted a couple of years, when Feeny failed to keep 
his contract. We find the two high joint powers at Hennepin again in 
session, declaring that Feeny had forfeited the contract, and legal proceed- 
ings in the nature a quo warranto were instituted to make him surrender 


the ferry. After tedious litigation, lasting until February, 1850, Feeny 
voluntarily abandoned the fight, and the ferry was placed in charge of Wil- 
liam Ray. 

Subsequently an act of the State Legislature was passed giving the 
entire ferry and rights of way in Bureau and Putnam Counties to the ex- 
clusive control of the corporation of Hennepin, where they now rest. 


This enterprising firm were the pioneer stage propiietors of Central 
Illinois. They controlled and operated most of the lines, with general 
headquarters in Chicago. Their monopoly of the business covered a per- 
iod of about thirteen years, from 1838 or 1839, during which their head- 
quarters in Hennepin were with John Lyons, an old hotel keeper. At 
first they ran from Peru to Magnolia, and on to Peoria, but afterward 
took in Hennepin on the route, passing thence through Lacon and down 
the river. 

One night in the winter of 1839 the stage coach was lost upon the 
Hennepin Prairie. There were two passengers inside, and the driver vain- 
ly sought to find his destination. Afterward it was found he had traveled 
in a circle most of the time. 

Mr. Nicholls related how an old English " milord " was once his guest, 
and the trouble the great man experienced. The hotel was a good-sized 
log cabin, and had but a single sleeping room for the accommodation of 
guests, who were expected to be reasonable and share their beds with 
strangers. As nine o'clock came the traveler signified a desire to retire, 
and asked to be lighted to his quarters. Nicholls showed him up, and 
stated that one-half the bed would be occupied by another party. " Do 
you expect me to sleep in this room with other men?" said "milord," al- 
most gasping for breath. Nicholls said he could either do that or sit up, 
as he preferred; arid the old fellow sat in his chair all night, groaning over 
his aches and cursing the "blarsted country." 


The early settlers were pre-eminently a religious people, and one of 
the first things provided for was the preaching of the Gospel. There was 


no lack of earnest, devoted, self-sacrificing ministers, and in the absence of 
suitable places of worship, services were held at private houses or in the 
groves. These services were invariably well attended, and received 
earnest, respectful attention. The good these men did was not interred 
with their bones for most of them have gone to their reward, but it 
lives after them, and bears fruit to this day. 


This society is an old one, dating back to 1833, when the first class 
was formed. The record of the first proceedings, if any was made, has 
been lost, and such history as can be gathered of the organization thereof 
depends upon the recollection of one or two persons who helped at its 
inception. In July or August of the year named, a few of the earnest 
Methodists of Hennepin and vicinity bethought them that as their num- 
bers were nearly large enough to form a church society, it would be well 
to take initiative steps in that direction. After some preliminary conver- 
sation a small meeting was held at the house of Dr. Ritchie, in the vil- 
lage, and the first class was enrolled, consisting of the following members : 
Hiram P. White and wife, Dr. David Ritchie and wife, Miss Betsey Car- 
penter, afterward Mrs. Hays, Mrs. Sarah Bloomfield, and perhaps one or 
two other persons whose names have been forgotten. Another meeting 
was held at the same place in November, 1833, and further steps taken 
toward forwarding the work. About this time Linas B. Skeel was added 
to the list as the first convert, and Mrs. Olive Skeel and Mrs. Emeline 
Durley also added their names to the membership. 

For some time after they had no meeting house nor any convenient 
place of worship, and met from time to time at the dwellings of the 

In 1834, Rev. Zadok Hall, the first minister, on February 16, at Dr. 
Ritchie's, preached a srmon, taking his text from Matt, ix., 12. Rev. 
Wm. Arlington came the same season at a later date, and also Rev. John 
St. Clair, as Presiding Elder. 

Rev. Father Walker, from Ottawa, occasionally came here to look after 
the infant flock, as also did Rev. Jesse Hale and Wm. Royal, all Indian 
missionary preachers. 

During the year 1834 there was a revival of considerable strength, 
and many new converts were made and the Society largely increased in 
numbers and influence. 


In 1835, Rev. A. E. Phelps officiated, and Rev. Asa McMurtry in 

1836. Mr. Phelps contributed his personal efforts largely toward build- 
ing the old church. The latter part of 1836, Hennepin and Pekin circuits 
were divided and changed to Hennepin and Washington circuits. In 

1837, Rev. Win. CondifF was the preacher, and died at the close of the 
year, at Caledonia. 

In 1838, Rev. Zadok Hall and Rev. Mr. Moffit were sent here to the 
work, and were aided by Rev. S. W. D. Chase, of Bloomington, who 
with them made excellent progress in procuring new members. 

Among the other reverend gentlemen who appeared at Hennepin from 
time to time from 1829 to 1835, was Rev. Mr. Cook, a Presbyterian, father 
of Hon. B. C. Cook, formerly of Ottawa, now of Chicago. Rev. Mr. 
Hays was a local preacher of Hennepin and vicinity for many years, and 
among the first who came to this locality. He put up the first frame 
house on Henry prairie, and one of the first frame houses in the village. 

In 1839, Rev. John Morris came and officiated occasionally, and Rev. 
John appeared and took charge of the Church about 1840. 

The first records commence in the Trustees' book, June 14, 1836. 

Efforts had been made to raise money to build a meeting house, but 
with ill success, and we find them in 1837 adopting an order to refund 
the small sums of money which had been raised for that purpose. 

At a meeting of the Lacon and Hennepin Conference, February 25, 
1839, Joseph Caterlin, David Markley, Thomas Forney, Jacob Gr. Forney, 
Hiram P. White, Linus B. Skeel and J. P. Hays were appointed Trus- 
tees of the Hennepin Church, the first Board regularly chosen for this 

March 2, 1839, the Trustees "met at Hennepin for the purpose of 
attempting to build a church." They figured out a plan for a modest 
frame meeting house, twenty-six by thirty-six feet. A subscription paper 
was circulated and the cash returns were such as to warrant the immedi- 
ate prosecution of the work. The house was accordingly built and occu- 
pied the same fall and for years after, and now stands, used as a private 
dwelling, a few rods to the rear of the larger and more pretentious struc- 
ture. The old house, however, was for some time under a cloud of debt, 
which for a long time the young and struggling pioneer church could not 
lift. At length they succeeded in removing this incubus, and on the 1 3th 
of August, 1842, the Trustees met and adopted a resolution, "That all 


persons having claims against the Church present the same forthwith, by 
Saturday following, for full settlement." This seems to have been done, 
and the church dedicated on the next Sabbath, by Elder A. E. Phelps. 

In 1858, the congregation having outgrown the capacity of the old 
building, proceeded to erect the present church edifice, a handsome struc- 
ture of two stories, forty feet by sixty, divided below into lecture and 
class rooms, and above a finely decorated, finished and furnished church 
room, which bids fair to afford ample accommodations for the people for 
many years to come. It cost $10,000, has two good organs, and is well 
seated, having comfortable pews for 450 to 500 persons. It was dedicated 
November 29, 1866, by Rev. Joseph Cummings, of Lacon. Before being 
finished the basement was completed, and services held therein by Rev. A. 
C. Price. 

A neat parsonage stands near by in the same lot with the church, cost- 
ing about $600. 

In 1879, the Presiding Elder was J. D. Smith; Pastor, J. M. Murphy; 
Recording Steward, L. E. Skeel. 

The Society numbers about seventy-five in good standing, and the 
chui'ch and parsonage are free from debt. 


As early as 1845 the Catholic people of Hennepin and vicinity began 
to hold public religious exercises, and the Brothers of the Lazarus So- 
ciety of La Salle sent different priests there to minister to the spiritual 
wants of the communicants of the Church. The first remembered priest 
who visited this place was an Italian, Rev. Father - , who also 

occasionally conducted services in Henry. 

Among the other earlier missionaries of this faith were Rev. Fathers 
Gregory and Anthony, the latter in 1848, both coming at intervals de- 
pending upon circumstances, such as deaths or the sickness of some Cath- 
olic who desired the last sacrament. When here upon such occasions, the 
people would be notified, an altar improvised in some one of the more 
commodious dwellings, and mass duly celebrated; and now and then a 
priest would come from Peoria, or even St. Louis, to minister to the spir- 
itual wants of the faithful and look after the temporal affairs of the Church. 

There was no successful attempt to have regular services oftener than 
once a month, until about June, 1852, when sufficient money was raised 


for the erection of a church building. It was a plain frame structure, 
twenty-four by forty feet. This furnished ample room for the congrega- 
tion till about 1866, when an addition was put up, making the building 
twenty-four by sixty feet, with fifteen feet ceiling. The cost of both was 
about $2,500, and the organ, altars, seats and lamps about $1,000 more. 
About seventy-five families now constitute its regular membership. 

Those who next to the priests took the lead of the Church were An- 
thony Failing, Chas. Trerweiler, Henry Reavey and Peter Feltes/ The 
first resident priest was Rev. Father Deif en brock, who came about 1867. 


In September, 1874, Miss Ella DeVoe, of Hennepin, wrote to Rev. 
Wm. E. Catlin, detailing the needs of a church at this place, and set forth 
the prospects of effecting an organization in such an eloquent manner as 
to induce that gentleman to come and co-operate in the movement. He 
arrived October 17, and on the following Sabbath preached by invitation 
in the M. E. Church, and at the Court House on Sunday, October 25. 

At a meeting for consultation immediately after the Sabbath morning 
service, it was decided to not then take any steps toward the form- 
ation of a society, but a prayer-meeting was appointed for the next Wed- 
nesday evening, and the following paper presented : 

We, the undersigned, believing that another Evangelical Church in this community 
would be for its spiritual and temporal good, have thought it best for the present to asso- 
ciate ourselves together for the purpose of holding public and social worship at such times 
and places as shall appear best, hoping in that way, with God's blessing, to develop such an 
interest as may in time warrant a more perfect organization. To this endeavor we pledge 
ourselves, and invite the hearty co-operation of all who are like-minded. 

This was circulated, but did not receive a single signature ! 

Weekly prayer-meetings were kept up and well attended, but Mr. 
Catlin, discouraged with the propect, finally left the place. The next 
appeal was to John E. Roy, a Home Missionary, who came December 12, 
began and pursued his labors with great industry, and soon accomplished 
the desired end. 

The numbers increased from two to fifteen, when the Church was or- 
ganized with the following membership : Aug. Shepherd, Mrs. Ellen Shep- 
herd, David Field, James Adams, Miss R. Ellis and Mrs. Lucy Ham by 
letters from the Congregational Church, Granville; Martin Nash, letter 


from the Presbyterian Church of Granville ; Miss Ella DeVoe, letter from 
the Congregational Church of Forrest; T. J. Nicholl, certificate from Epis- 
copal Church; Mrs. Ellen Nicholl, same; Chas. M. Shepherd, letter from 
the Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Term. ; Miss Clara Lamm, Miss Emma 
Connelly, Mrs. Elizabeth Durley and P. B. Durley, on profession. 

The officers chosen were : David Field and James Field, Deacons ; Wil- 
liamson Durley, Aug. Shepherd and T. J. Nicholl, Trustees; Miss Ella 
DeVoe, Clerk; P. B. Durley, Treasurer. 

A council was called, and the Church organized December 22, 1874. 
Rev. A. J. Bailey was at once called as pastor, and began his labors Jan- 
uary 24, 1875, the Church in the meantime having been supplied by Rev. 
F. Bascom. Services were held in a room at the public school building, 
the exclusive use of which was offered the Society by the School Board. 

A Sunday School class was organized December 27, 1874. April 5, 
1875, a business meeting was called for the purpose of considering the 
building of a church edifice. A building committee was appointed, and 
by the united efforts of the Society ground was broken May 16, 1875, and 
liberal aid obtained from the citizens generally. The Congregational 
Union contributed $450 in aid of the building, which was completed and 
dedicated December 22, 1875, just one year from the date of the organi- 
zation. The building and site cost $4,317.90. In 1878, a 1,050 pound 
bell was hung, at a total expense of $330.53. 

Forty persons had united with the Church up to April, 1878, in addi- 
tion to the original fifteen, but a few deaths and dismissals had made the 
membership forty-six persons. 

This religious Society, called the "Congregational Church of Christ of 
Hennepin," is organized on the "Declaration of Faith" adopted by the 
National Council of the Congregational Churches held at Boston in June, 
1865, on the spot where the first meeting-house of the Pilgrims stood. 

This Church, in a series of resolutions adopted soon after its organiza- 
tion, and circulated in a histoiy of the Society published in pamphlet 
form, declared that, 

WHEREAS, There is a tendency to the desecration of the Lord's day, by turning it from 
its proper use to a day of social visiting, a time for unusual feasting, for walking the streets 
and driving for pleasure, and in many other ways destroying its sacredness and hindering its 
usefulness for religious edification ; therefore, 

Resolved, That we do earnestly protest against this prevailing sin, and call on Christians 
and all others to honor the Lord by a proper observance of His day ; and we do earnestly en- 


treat all to " Remember the Sabbath day" by reading the Scriptures, by appropriate religious 
exercises at home, by meditation and prayer, by attending the ordinances of God's house, and 
by observing the day in every way as the Scriptures direct. ' ? 

Another resolution recommends daily family worship, another de- 
nounces intemperance, and a fourth is as follows : 

Resolved, That any deviation in business, society or politics, from the strict principles of 
integrity, as taught in the Scriptures, we deem a sufficient cause for censure. 


The first school in Hennepin was taught by Thomas Gallaher in 1833, 
in a log house almost diagonally opposite the present flouring mill site, 
on the lot now occupied by the public Hall. 

In 1835, school was kept in the old Simpson Tavern, in the room used 
sometimes as a hall. 

In 1836 there was a school in the old Presbyterian meeting house. In 
1837 another was held in the old Court House. 

Calvin Dickey in 1842 conducted a private school in a log cabin near 
where Mrs. Reed now lives. 

In 1843 a frame school house was erected on High street, and soon 
after moved further up to near and east of the present public school build- 
ing, where a school was taught until the new house was completed. 

All these schools were run on the subscription plan. The free public 
schools began in 1845, in the building put up by subscription as an acad- 
emy, that scheme having been abandoned and the property turned over to 
the district. 

School houses were poorly constructed, and the rooms were shared by 
others than those seeking to climb the hill of science. One person tells us 
of finding a huge rattlesnake coiled beneath the benches, and occasionally 
a skunk would get under the floor and make it decidedly "warm" for the 
inmates while he remained. Mice were frequent visitors, and one of 
the pupils, now a staid and dignified business man, remembers how 
he and a chum used to place a boy's cap on the floor, with a stick to 
hold one edge up and a string to pull the stick out when the unsuspect- 
ing mouse went under to eat a bit of bread temptingly displayed, and how 


they caught the mouse and then a wholesome flogging at the hands of the 
irate pedagogue. 



October 3, 1849, the Masons of Hennepin obtained a charter and or- 
ganized Lodge No. 70. The first members, as named in that instrument, 
were John Pulsifer, Thomas Hartzell, Ben. R. Wardlaw, Wm. D. Mann, 
Nathaniel Applegate, John Folger, John Hall, Abram Phillips, Brown 
Searls and E. Mott. The officers were : Abram Phillips, M. ; John Searls, 
S. W.; John Pulsifer, J. W. 

The first lodge rooms were in Hartenbower's house, north-west of the 
Court House. They now occupy rooms in Mrs. Flora Zenor's building. 
A Chapter is connected with this Lodge, organized in 1879. 

The fraternity are in a good financial condition, and keep their So- 
ciety in an active and sound state, numbering among its members many of 
the leading citizens of the community. 


Hennepin Lodge No. 118, I. O. O. F., was installed March 24, 1853. 
The charter members were : Oakes Turner, Thomas H. Bradway, N. Pick- 
ering, John S. Margison and Wm. H. Smith. The first officers of the 
Lodge were : O. Turner, N. G. ; J. S. Margison, V. G. ; Wm. Eddy, Sec- 
retary; N. G. Pickering, Treasurer. 

The persons initiated the evening of the installation of the Lodge 
were: A. H. Turner, L. E. Skeel, Wm. Allen, Wm. Eddy, S. B. Wharton 
and Willard White. 

The Society is in a prosperous condition, and numbers among its mem- 
bers many of the prominent citizens of the town. 


This is not only the oldest Agricultural Society in Central Illinois, 
but the first formed in the entire West. The initiatory steps were taken 
to organize it, February 23, 1846, at Lowell, LaSalle County. J. S. Bui- 


lock was Chairman of the meeting, and Elmer Baldwin, Secretary. After 
some general debate and informal talk among the four or five farmers 
assembled, a resolution was adopted "To form a society out of the friends 
of the movement living in that part of La Salle County south of the Illi- 
nois River, and so much of the counties of Putnam and Marshall as may 
choose to unite." 

Elmer Baldwin, R. C. Elliot and L. L. Bullock, of La Salle, Ralph 
Ware, of Putnam, and Wm. M. Clarkson, of Marshall, were appointed a 
committee to draft a constitution and report. 

March 18 another meeting was had at the same place, where a consti- 
tution was reported by the committee, and adopted. The first officers 
were then elected, and were: Elmer Baldwin, President; Ralph Ware, 
Wm. M. Clarkson and John T. Little, Vice Presidents; Dr. J. S. Bullock, 
Treasurer; Oakes Turner, Corresponding Secretary; L. L. Bullock, Re- 
cording Secretary. 

They adjourned to meet at Granville the first Tuesday of June, when 
Mr. Baldwin was appointed to deliver an address. At this meeting and 
subsequent 6nes within a short time, one hundred and seventy persons 
were induced to sign the Constitution and pay into the treasury fifty 
cents, which constituted the membership fee. At this meeting arrange- 
ments were made for discussing important topics connected with fanning, 
stock-raising, fruit-growing and the like, the question to be agreed upon 
at the previous meeting. 

These meetings were to be held every three months, at some place easy 
of access within the boundaries of the Society. 

At the first meeting at Granville the subject was, -"The best mode of 
cultivating corn." At this meeting also an annual fair was decided upon, 
to be held at Lowell, on the first Tuesday of October. 

These discussions took a wide range as to subjects, bringing within 
their scope everything relative to the farming interest, and at an early 
day, almost from the first meeting, people attended from a distance, com- 
ing on horseback many miles at inclement seasons of the year ; and the 
ladies, too, became regular attendants at these gatherings, looking forward 
to their recurrence with pleasing anticipation. They were really profita- 
ble to the thinking fanner, and should be a feature of every agricultural 

The meetings for debates were fixed for the first Tuesdays of Decem- 
ber, March, June and September each year, the place to be chosen at the 


previous quarterly meeting; also, every member was requested to keep -,\ 
memorandum of each crop planted, how tended, harvested, and the re- 
sults, and report. 

The Fair of 1846 was abandoned, in consequence of the great amount 
of sickness then prevailing throughout the country. The quarterly meet- 
ings, however, were regularly held at Lowell, Caledonia, Point Republic, 
Cedar Point, Granville and Magnolia in turn, and leading members deliv- 
ered addresses and read essays, while oral discussions were freely in- 
dulged in. 

Though the general Fair was not held, a local exhibition was gotten 
up at the farm of Wm. Groom, October 3, 1847, and held under the aus- 
pices of the Society, but the record makes no mention of any premiums 
having been awarded. 

The second regular Fair was appointed to be held at Granville, Octo- 
ber 6, 1848, and premiums were offered, probably badges and honorable 
mention, as no amount of premiums is stated. 

At the Third Annual Fair, which was held at Lowell, one hundred 
dollars was voted for prizes, and "two solicitors " were chose\i to circulate 
among the people to raise the funds therefor. "The Executive Commit- 
tee were also notified that they place on their show bills a request that 
there be no horse racing in or near the show ground " ! 

All future fairs were to last two days; evidence that the last fair had 
been too extensive to be satisfactorily viewed in one day. 

Grauville was honored with the Fourth Fair. Upon this occasion 
the Society adopted a resolution as follows: 

Resolved, That this meeting recommend that all male animals be not allowed to run at 

They also considered it wise to advertise the coming exhibition, and to 
this end directed the committee to procure one hundred show bills and 
one hundred premium cards, and the committee were directed if possible 
to procure a "derometer " / 

The membership fee in 1-850 was raised to $1.50 per annum, and the 
next fair appointed at Hennepin. 

The Fifth Annual Fair, the first at Hennepin, was duly held, and was 
rather more expensive than any of its predecessors, but seems to have 
been proportionately successful. The musicians cost $5.00, and the door- 


keeper $2. The exhibitors of fruits donated their samples to the Society, 
which goods being sold at auction, netted as follows: 

C. R. & N. Overman, Canton, Fulton County, $1.50. 

Arthur Bryant, Bureau, 60 cents. 

Underbill & Co., LaSalle, 65 cents. 

A. R. Whiting, Lee County, $1.10. 

Cyrus Bryant, Bureau, 65 cents. 

McWhorter <fe Co., Mercer County, $1.22. , 

L. P. Pennington, Whiteside County, $ 1.20. 

H. N. Shooler, Putnam County, 70 cents. 

This indicates that the Fair was widely known and well patronized. 

The Treasurer's' report for 1851 exhibited: Admissions $74.00. Ex- 
penses music $5.00; printer $22.25; premiums in full, $15.50; and cash 
above all expenses, $144.80. 

This Society is entitled to the credit of first suggesting to the Govern- 
ment a Bureau or Department of Agriculture. In June, 1851, the sub- 
ject came up and was fully discussed by the Institute, and the result of 
this debate was a petition, signed by the leading farmers of Putnam, Mar- 
shall and La Salle Counties, which was forwarded to our Representatives 
at Washington, in which was set forth the importance to the country of 
agriculture, the basis of all pursuits, and urging upon Congress to protect, 
foster and encourage it. Thus the matter came before that body from a 
respectable source, and was not only heard, but acted upon, and resulted 
in forming the Department of Agriculture, as stated. 

The Fairs were held at Peru one or two years, but the disadvantage 
of moving about without permanent buildings or grounds ; the growth of 
the Society, and the importance and increasing size of its annual exhibi- 
tions made a permanent location necessary, and the Society settled upon 
Hennepin as central and sufficiently accessible from all directions for the 

Fairs are held here every year, but of late years the exhibitions of this 
veteran Society are overshadowed by the greater magnitude of the neigh- 
boring fairs at Princeton, Wenona and Ottawa. 


The pioneer mill for grinding any kind of grain in all this region of 
country was put up by Thos. Gallaher, Sr., in the fall of 1828. The 


burrs were "nigger-heads," or dark granite boulders found upon the 
prairies, such as geologists tell us belong to the "drift" period, and were 
brought here from high northern latitudes some hundreds of centu- 
ries ago. Mr. Gallaher dressed these firm-grained rocks himself, drilled 
holes in them and wrought upon them at odd spells for a long time, ex- 
hausting a large stock of patience upon their stubborn and ragged outlines 
before he could reduce them to a fit shape and finish for his purpose. The 
mill was built on a hill or slight elevation in Section 30, one mile south 
of Florid. The building was of logs, sixteen feet square. A shaft was 
set up outside, and holes mortised in it for arms. A raw-hide band was 
stretched around, connecting the shaft with the upper stone, and with two 
or four horses was made to revolve, and thus turned the stones. In this 
primitive manner a couple of bushels of corn could be ground in an hour. 
One of tdese old burrs was sold to a Mr. Trusten, who removed it to 
Sandy Creek, where it was used for a time, and afterward fell into the 
hands of Mr. Bowers, and now is a step in front of Merrill's store in the 
village of Magnolia. At first the corn-meal, bran and all were delivered 
to the customer, but a year or so after a sieve was added, when he also 
began to make wheat flour, improvising some sort of bolting apparatus. 

Two years thereafter Mr. Gallaher employed Mr. Shugart to make 
cog-wheel gearing, which greatly accelerated the speed, and a bolt was 
also put in. With four horses two on each sweep, he could now 
grind and bolt about three bushels per hour. At this time there was no 
flouring mill nearer than Salt Creek, Sangamon County, eighty miles 

About 1832, Hollenback built a mill near Magnolia, the second in the 
County, greatly relieving the pressure on the Gallaher mill, which up to 
that time had done all the grinding for the settlers for many miles around. 

Gallaher's mill continued to run until about 1836. 

In 1831, Simeon Crozier erected a water power mill on Cedar Creek, 
which attracted some little custom from the north-eastern corner of Gran- 
ville Township. 

A mill located at Vermilionville ground much of the wheat for the 
farmers of this region, and sometimes they patronized John Green's mills, 
at Dayton, four miles above Ottawa, on Fox Kiver. 





OR several years, beginning with 1828, heavy falls of/ snow 
were experienced, of which the early settlers have vivid 
remembrances. In that year Thomas Gallaher, Sr., brought 
up from Dillon's settlement 150 head of cattle, eighty sheep, 
and 100 hogs, known as the Shaker breed, having been 
brought from Ohio. He had secured a crop of hay, but it 
was beneath the deep snow that everywhere covered the 

around, and could not be reached. There was an abund- 


ance of "mast" that season, and his hogs took to the woods, 
and rooting beneath the snow, fared well. Many of them escaped to the 
bottoms and became in a measure wild. His cattle and sheep fared 
worse, many of them dying. 

Seeing the necessity of procuring feed for his stock, Mr. Gallaher sent 
his son Thomas, Jr., and a young man named Kelly to Crozier's, in La- 
Salle County, where it was reported feed could be had. They had a sin- 
gle horse between them, which they alternately rode. They did not suc- 
ceed in finding corn, and were returning by Bailey's Point, when they 
struck a swampy place north and east of Granville, where Kelly got wet 
and froze both his feet. The locality was long after known as Frozen 
Point. \ 

Mr. Gallaher's stock became so weakened toward spring, by reason 
of scanty feed, that he feared their entire loss unless more nutritious food 
could be had, and the nearest or most feasible place where it cotild be 
procured was some distance below Peoria. 

He and Mr. Kelly went to Hennepin, (the young man's feet still much 
swollen, the result of the freezing), where they hoped to get boats from 
the Indian traders, but none were to be had. He next visited Shick- 
Shack's camp, hoping to obtain canoes, but the chief and his men had 
gone to "Coch-a-Mink," as the Indians called Fort Clark, with his boats 
loaded with furs. Although unsuccessful in both these attempts, Mr. Gal- 
laher was not a man to be discouraged. His cattle and sheep were 


not only on short allowance, but his family were " out of meat," and he 
felt that something must be done at once; so he determined to push on 
to the probable land of corn. Young Kelly, though suffering severely, 
insisted on accompanying him, and together they started on foot. The 
river was high, and the streams emptying into it were swollen by the 
melting shows. They had neither guides nor assistance, but reached their 
destination safely. 

They found there plenty of corn and meal, but no boats. Here again 
Mr. Gallaher's grit was put to the test, and getting a couple of axes, he 
and his man went into the woods, and cutting down a suitable tree, made 
and launched a large dug-out. Purchasing one hundred bushels of corn, 
fifty bushels of corn-meal, a barrel of salt and some groceries, they started 
for home, and after many days of hard work, they reached the head of 
what is now the Sister Islands, and landed. This was about the second 
week of April. Grass had begun to grow, but as yet there was but little 
feeding for stock. Having no way to haul his grain to the farm through 
the woods, he drove his cattle to the boat, and there fed such of them as 
could get to the river, and others were assisted until all were able to sus- 
tain themselves. 

But the great snow was in 1829-30, according to some, and in 1830- 
31 according to others, though it is possible both seasons were noted in 
this respect, and each statement is correct. It made the prairies one 
uniform level, over the frozen surface of which footman easily trav- 
eled ; but the sharp hoofs of the deer cut through and made their capture 
easy. Stock was kept in groves convenient to the cabins, and subsisted 
on the tender tops of trees cut down to "browse" upon. There was mudi 
suffering among the few settlers in the vicinity. A man traveling on horse- 
back was reported lost in the snow, and his remains were found the fol- 
lowing spring, south of Peru. According to Mr. Smiley Shepherd's recol- 
lection, it came between Christmas and New Year, falling constantly and 
drifting for three days, and then crusted over so that the Indians were 
enabled to run upon the surface. It lasted until February If), the day 
of the total eclipse of the sun. The next day the weather turned warm, 
and the snow melted and disappeared four days thereafter. 

A man traveling in a wagon, near Florid, was caught in the snow 
and had to abandon his vehicle, where it remained till spring. An- 
other person named Swainford, in attempting to cross from Granville 
to Florid, had to abandon his horse. Returning next day he found it had 


been killed by the wolves. Another man started with a hog in a sled to 
go from Gallaher's to Hennepin, and got fast in the drift. He went to 
a neighbor's, and on his return the hog had loosened the cords that bound 
her and stmck out for itself. He cut eif its tail as a mark, and let her 
go, and the next season found her and a litter of nice young pigs doing 
well. She had managed for herself in a creditable manner. 

The summer of 1836 was exceedingly cold and backward. Corn in 
the neighborhood of Hennepin, and especially on the bottoms and low 
places, was cut down when from eight to ten inches high, on the 16th of 
June, but as the stalks had not yet jointed, they grew again. The weather 
continued cold until fall, which came early, with freezing spells, and but 
little of it matured. The following spring the farmers had much difficulty 
in procuring seed corn, and many sent to the southern part of the State 
for supplies. 


The settlement of a country is usually preceded by a lawless, ungov- 
ernable, uncivilized race, that hang on the verge of civilization and seem 
to think their free and easy existence the acme of enjoyment. As a rule 
they are open-hearted, brave and generous, and their vices all "lean to 
virtue's side." They have a weakness for poor whisky, a contempt for 
danger, are prompt to resent an insult, and ready at all times for a fight. 
Usually they are honest, but being tempted, are liable to fall, and often 
become bandits and robbers. 

A representative man of this class was Dave Jones, of unenviable no- 
toriety. He was brave and fearless, and when news came of the massacre 
of the Hall family, and all were paralyzed with fear, he saddled a horse 
and rode alone to the scene of murder. He once ran a foot race with an 
Irishman for a sum of money. They were to go to a certain point and 
return, and the Irishman started off at his best, while Dave walked leis- 
urely down the track until meeting his opponent on the return, he knocked 
him down, came in first and claimed the stakes. The Irishman deter- 
mined to get even with him, and when Dave was drunk, beat him so 
badly that, believing the man would die, he fled the place. But Dave 
recovered, and lived for many a day after. For years there was not a 
session of court in which he did not figure as defendant in cases where the 
people were plaintiffs. He was the first occupant of the Hennepin jail, 
and its frequent tenant afterward. For several years he lived in the tim- 


ber west of Granville, where he raised a family as wild and untamed as 
himself. He had a stout, healthy daughter, a dozen or more years old, 
whom he undertook to send to school, but with the perverseness of her 
sire, she refused, telling him flatly^he would n't go. She was fleet of foot, 
and when Dave essayed the persuasive virtues of a healthy-sized whip, 
she ran away, with her irate sire in hot pursuit. Not far from the house 
was a pond of water with a substratum of deep mud, round which she 
skipped, but Dave, hoping to cut her off on the opposite side, dashed 
through. The depth was greater than expected, and he emerged covered 
with mud and half drowned, though he continued the race to the school 
house, where pupils and teacher set up a laugh at his plight, in which 
Dave too joined, his hopeful daughter shaking her sides with mirthful- 
ness, and exclaiming, "Golly! I out-run dad." 

" In the spring of 1832 a dead Indian was found in the creek, near the 
present site of the Bureau Valley Mills, with a bullet hole in his back, 
showing that he came to his death from a rifle shot. The corpse was 
taken out of the water by Indians, buried in the sand near by, and the 
affair was soon forgotten. Jones said while hunting deer in the creek 
bottom, he saw this Indian setting on a log over the water, fishing, when 
all of a sudden he jumped up as though he was about to draw out a big 
fish, and pitched headlong into the water, and was drowned when he canie 
up to him. Two other Indians disappeared mysteriously about the same 
time, who were supposed to have been murdered, and on that account it 
is said the Indians contemplated taking revenge on the settlers. 

" One warm afternoon Jones, with a jug in one hand, came cantering 
his old mare up to the Hennepin ferry, saying that his wife was very sick, 
and would certainly die if she did not get some whisky soon. In great 
haste Jones was taken across the river, and on landing on the Hennepin 
side he put his old mare on a gallop up the bluff to Durley's store, where 
he filled his jug with whisky. Meeting with some old chums, he soon be- 
came intoxicated, forgot about his wife's sickness, and spent the afternoon 
and evening in wrestling, dancing ' Jim Crow,' and fighting with some of 
his friends. 

" It was long after dark when Jones started for home, but on arriving at 
the ferry he found the boat locked up, and the ferryman in bed. Jones 
rapped at the door of the ferryman's house, swearing if he did not get up 
and take him across he would pull the house down, and whip him besides. 
But all his threats were in vain ; the ferryman could not be moved. Jones 


went down to the river, took off the bridle reins, with which he tied the 
jug of whisky on his back, then drove his old mare into the river, and 
holding on to her tail, was ferried across the river, as he afterward ex- 
pressed it, ' without costing him a cent.' 

" One afternoon, while Dave Jones was engaged in cutting out a road 
from Hennepin ferry through the bottom timber, his coat, which lay by 
the wayside, was stolen. Although the value of the old coat did not ex- 
ceed two dollars, it was all the one Jones had, and he searched / for it 
throughout the settlement. At last Jones found his coat on the back of 
the thief, whom he arrested and took to Hennepin for trial. The thief 
was at work in Mr. Hays' field, immediately west of Princeton, when 
Jones presented his rifle at his breast, ordering him to take up his line of 
march for Hennepin, and if he deviated from the direct course, he would 
blow his brains out. The culprit, shaking in his boots, started on his 
journey, while Jones, with his rifle on his shoulder, walked about three 
paces behind. On arriving at Hennepin, the thief plead guilty, being 
more afraid of Jones than the penalties of the law, and was therefore put 
in jail. After Jones had delivered up his prisoner, he got drunk, was en- 
gaged in several fights, and he too was arrested and put in jail. At that 
time the Hennepin jail consisted of only one room, being a log structure, 
twelve feet square, and Jones being put in with the thief, commenced 
beating him. Seeing that they could not live together, the thief was libe- 
rated and Jones retained. At this turn of affairs, Jones became penitent, 
agreeing to go home and behave himself if they would let him out. Ac- 
cordingly, the Sheriff took him across the river and set him at liberty; 
but Jones swore he would not go home until he had whipped eveiy person 
in Hennepin, so he returned to carry out his threats, but was again arrested 
and put in jail. 

"A short time after the Hennepin ferry was established, Dave Jones 
was on the Hennepin side of the river with a wild yoke of cattle, and 
wished to cross over, but was unwilling to pay the ferriage. He swore 
before he would pay the ferryman's extravagant price he would swim the 
river, saying that he had frequently done it, and could do it again. Jones 
wore a long-tailed Jackson overcoat, which reached to his heels, and a coon- 
skin cap, with the tail hanging down over his shoulders, the weather at 
the time being quite cool. He drove his oxen into the river, taking the 
tail of one of them in his mouth, when they started for the opposite shore. 
Away went the steers, and so went Dave Jones, his long hair and long- 


tailed overcoat floating on the water, his teeth tightly fastened to the 
steer's tail, while with his hands and feet he paddled with all his might. 
Everything went on swimmingly until they came near the middle of the 
river, where the waters from each side of the island come together; here 
the current was too strong for the steers, they turned down stream, and 
put back for the Hennepin side. Jones could not open his mouth to say 
gee or haw, without losing his hold on the steer's tail, and was therefore 
obliged to go where the steers led him, but all were safely landed some 
distance below the starting place. Jones was in a terrible rage at his fail- 
ure to cross the river beat his cattle, and cursed the bystanders for 
laughing at his misfortune. After taking a big dram of whisky, he tried 
it again but with no better success. Three different times Jones tried 
this experiment, each time whipping his cattle and taking a fresh dram of 
whisky. At last he was obliged to give it up as a bad job, and submit to 
paying the ferryman the exorbitant price of twenty-five cents to be ferried 

The influx of settlers and the establishment of law and order made it 
too sultry for Jones, who returned to Indiana, where he was hung by a 
party of regulators for his numerous crimes. He died as he vowed he 
would, "with his boots on." 

Another family of semi-outlaws were the Harts, living in the bottoms 
below Henry, between whom and the Bakers, living on Ox Bow Prairie, 
desperate war waged with varied success. They were of the class known 
in the South as poor white trash, and were idle, vicious and pugnacious, 
quick to take offense and prompt to resent an insult. The question of 
supremacy was never fairly settled, victory inclining first to one faction 
and then to another. At one time a Baker challenged a Hart, and the 
fight was arranged to come off on a certain day. Hart perhaps feared the 
result and was inclined to back down, but when his wife heard of it she 
declared with an oath, if he did not fight Baker and whip him too he 
should not live with her another day. Like most borderers, he wore his hair 
very long, and in preparation for the contest she sheared it close to his 
head, divested him of everything but his pants, smeared his body all over 
with soft soap, and sent him forth to battle. Baker came on the ground 
stripped likewise to the buff, with a handkerchief "girt about his loins," 
and in the expressive language of the ring, " just spoiling for a fight," and 

* Reminiscences of Bureau County. 






vowing he could whip any two Harts on the ground. The latter was ar- 
rayed in a long camlet cloak that completely hid his warlike preparations, 
and when asked if he was ready, said "He guessed not; he had no quar- 
rel with Mr. Baker, and did n't think he could whip him." This still more 
.excited the latter, who pranced round like a mad bull, saying Hart was a 
coward and dare not fight him. At last the preliminaries were arranged 
and a ring formed, into which the men stepped ; and Hart, throwing off 
his cloak, displayed his gladiatorial form and careful preparations. Baker's 
tactics were to grasp his antagonist, hold him fast and bite or gouge, as 
circumstances warranted; but the latter was slippery as an eel, and 
pounded his antagonist severely, easily winning the fight. 


About 1835, a negro was sold in Hennepin under the operation of the 
infamous black laws of the State. He was a refugee from below, and 
probably reached here on board one of the many steamers plying on 
the Illinois. He possessed "no visible means of support," and either 
cared not to work or could not get the opportunity, and at the instigation 
of interested parties was arrested under the provisions of the vagrant act, 
and advertised for sale for his keeping and costs. There was an active 
Abolition element at Granville and elsewhere in the County, and on the 
day of sale the members were present, but finding there was no claimant 
present for his person, nor any arranged plan to return him to slavery, 
they allowed the sale to go on, and he brought, we believe, one dollar and 
costs. William M. Stewart, of Florid, became the purchaser, who put 
him in the harvest field and paid him regular wages. The "man and 
brother " earned a suit of clothes besides his freedom, and some money to 
take him on the road to Canada. 

A slave was brought to Union Grove in 1830 by Saml. D. Laughlin, 
and remained some time. He was taken to Chicago by Thomas Hartzell, 
and sent on his way. 


In 1833 there were eleven families, all told, in Hennepin, half -a 
dozen marriageable females, and about forty eligible bachelors and wid- 
owers. Of course the former were in good demand among the young set- 
tlers wanting wives, but the widowers had the inside track and carried off 
the best ones. 


In those days an extensive outfit and wedding trip were not thought 
of, for both parties " meant business," and proceeded in a business way. 
The groom prepared his cabin for its new occupant, and she, dressed in a 
clean calico gown, with hair nicely combed, was ready for the ceremony. 
Next the services of a minister were invoked, a few friends called in, and 
a bountiful supper of venison and johnny-cake concluded the festivities, 
after which the bride was conducted to her future home, and their new 
life began. For ten years there was a marked scarcity of marriageable 
women, and the first indictment in the County (as stated elsewhere) was 
found against a man for having two wives. The culprit, a man named 
Hall, lived in the vicinity of Hennepin, in a small cabin, and claimed to 
have been lawfully married to the two women with whom he lived, and 
that his religious views justified his conduct. 

The jurymen, mo,st of whom were bachelors, thought it smacked too 
much of monopoly, and some favored hanging as an example for the future, 
but their advice was not taken. 

What was strange about it was that the women seemed satisfied, and 
on hearing what had been done by the grand jury, voluntarily followed 
their much married husband elsewhere. 


Somewhere about 1831, a minister named Jesse Hale came to Henne- 
pin to establish a mission among the Indians. He was a man of simple 
faith and very earnest, believing himself able to convert and civilize them 
if only a hearing could be obtained. 

Old Louis Bailey was sent for as an interpreter, and the Indians came 
from far and near. Hale mounted a stump in the woods below Henne- 
pin, and harangued his dusky audience for an hour. When the intrepre- 
ter had translated the last sentence into the Pottawatomie dialect, old 
Shaubena came forward, and motioning silence, made reply: "To what 
white preacher say, I say may be so ! Are all white men good ? I say may 
be so ! Do white men cheat Indian ? I say may be so. Governor Cole 
gave me, Shaubena, hunting grounds, and told me to hunt. Your big 
White-sides (General Whiteside) come along and tell Shaubena jwck a cJiee 
(clear out)." Here the angry chief exhibited his papers, bearing the sig- 
nature of the Governor and the great seal of the State, and throwing them 
upon the ground, stamped them under his feet. Hale tried to pacify the 


indignant chief by saying that "Whiteside is a bad white man;" where- 
upon Shaubena retorted, "If white man steal Indian's land, hang him!" 
Hale thought this meant himself, and he fled through the bushes for town, 
nor ever sought to convert an Indian again. 


During the year 1830 the Gallaher boys caught a fawn, which was 
easily domesticated, and became quite a pet. They tied a strip of red 
flannel about its neck, and turned it out to roam the woods at will. It 
grew rapidly, and the neighbors soon got to know it as the "Gallaher 
deer." It rambled through the woods, and even the Indians, though con- 
stantly hunting, never molested it. But one afternoon it ventured too 
near the smoke-house of a certain parson living near Union Grove, and 
was never after seen alive. It was not best to insinuate the minister after- 
ward lived on venison, but his influence with the Gallaher boys was gone 
from that day. 


As previously stated, Mr. Gallaher's sheep did not suffer so much from 
scanty feeding as the cattle, and "came through," though in a very lean 
condition. Their worst foe was the gaunt and hungry wolves, which re- 
quired continual watching. One day the boys on whom devolved this 
duty allowed them to range beyond their sight, and stray over the hill 
into the woods beyond. At night they failed to appear as usual. Search 
was made, and soon the cause was apparent, as scattered along the course 
were the dead and mangled carcasses, but no living sheep. Several days 
later they came upon a ewe alive and unhurt, several miles from home. 
How she had escaped the fangs of the destroyer was a mystery. She was 
taken home and a bell put around her neck, and for several seasons she ran 
with the cattle, unmolested by dog or wolf, as if possessed of a charmed 
life. She was the only survivor of the flock of eighty originally brought 
to the country by Mr. Gallaher. 


When the news of the Indian outbreak, the massacre of the whites on 
Indian Creek, and the killing of Phillips in Bureau had been promul- 
gated, the white settlers, with very few exceptions ? turned out promptly to 


fight the savages. They had no arms save fowling pieces and squirrel 
guns, but hastily arming themselves with these, they hurried to the front. 

Mr. Gallaher relates how he met about sixty 6f these brave defenders 
under Captain Hawes. They had no uniforms, each soldier coming out in 
such clothing as he had, and consequently no two were dressed alike. 
They came singing and shouting, yelling and cat-calling, like so many 
boys on a jamboree, and altogether presented a sight that would have in- 
spired unlimited mirthfulness instead of fear, even in a savage. 

This manner of marching became all the more ridiculous when it is 
remembered that they had started out on a "still hunt," to surprise a foe 
the most cunning and cat-like known to history. 


One evening during the Indian war excitement, while the rangers were 
searching the woods near the mouth of Bureau Creek, they were hailed in 
a weak, piping voice, and found a poor, emaciated fellow in soldier's uni- 
form, barely able to walk, who told his pitiful story with much difficulty. 
He was at Stillman's defeat, on Rock River, and had been hiding in the 
woods, with very little food, ever since, and was nearly starved. He be- 
lieved himself the only survivor, and thinking the country in the posses- 
sion of the Indians, had not dared to venture in the vicinity of the white 
settlements. He was taken to town and well cared for until he recovered 
and joined his company. 


The Hennepin Jail was set on fire and burned down September 27, 
1842. A fellow named Frederick was confined in it for burglary, having 
broken open the store of Pulsifer & Co. and stolen valuable goods, for 
which he was under indictment. It was built of brick at a cost of $3,000, 
was lined with heavy timbers, and supposed to be burglar proof. While 
burning the prisoner was placed in the Court House for safety, but gave 
his guard the slip and escaped. The enraged tax-payers however turned 
out and hunted him down, keeping him safely until his trial. 


Before the introduction of steamboats upon the Illinois, business was 
carried on by keel-boats or pirogues, manned by adventurous boatmen, 


who made regular trips to St. Louis, stopping at intervening points and 
transacting such business as was required. For many years a couple of 
half-breeds ran a light batteau on the river, taking furs and light pro- 
duce to market and filling orders with scrupulous fidelity. When they 
first began the trade they were but boys, and they continued until the 
more rapid steamboat drove them from the river. 

In the absence of banks of exchange, they were sometimes entrusted 
with heavy sums and commissioned to make valuable purchases, /which 
they did with entire satisfaction, accounting for every dollar. 


Oiir of the first merchants of Hennepin was John.Durley, and the fol- 
lowing incident in which he was an actor, though occurring elsewhere, is 
told by his descendants. Previous to his removal/ to Putnam County, he 
resided in Madison County in this State, where in 1824 they were greatly 
annoyed by a band of thievish, impudent Indians, encamped in the vicin- 
ity. Having previously sold their lands to the Government, and consented 
to emigrate beyond the Mississippi, application was made to the Indian 
Agent, who sent a company of soldiers to order their removal. The for- 
mer were few in number, while the Indians were well armed and supplied 
with ammunition, and the advantages, if force were resorted to, would be 
all on their side. In this predicament a ruse suggested by Mr. Durley 
was tried, and proved entirely successful. Accompanied by his son 
Janies, now of Hennepin, he rode over to the Indian village, with the 
chief of which he was on friendly terms, and told him the purposes of the 
Great Father, who had sent a thousand warriors with orders to kill all 
Indians who had riot left the country as agreed in their treaty, adding 
that in half an hour they would pass in front of Sugar-loaf Hill, a small 
conical eminence a mile from the Indian village, and near which they were 
to camp. He advised the chief to leave, or, doubting his word, to hide 
among the trees and count the soldiers. 

Soon after the troops appeared, marching slowly in front of the hill, 
and running at full speed on the opposite side, so as to keep the show in 
front continuous. In this way the duped chief was deluded into counting 
thirty or forty men over and over until they numbered a thousand or 
more, when he broke for the camp, hastily packed the ponies, and left 
helter-skelter for the Mississippi River, followed by the soldiers at a safe 


distance all night. While crossing the Illinois River, the Indians were 
fired upon by the troops and several killed. A pony on which was 
strapped seven little children, while swimming the stream, was shot, and 
its load of helpless infants all drowned. 


Hotel accommodations in 1834-5 were not what they are at present. 
There was plenty to eat, such it was, but French cooks had not been im- 
ported, and cook-books were unknown to our grandmothers. Hog and 
hominy, coffee and molasses were the staples, and the traveler who could 
not appreciate them after a six hours jolt in Frink <fe Walker's "mud 
wagons" was set down as' "too nice for anything." For lodgings, a 
blanket, buffalo robe, or a sheepskin was provided, and the traveler told 
to select the softest plank he could find. As landlords grew in wealth 
they increased their accommodations, and a single large room was devoted 
to sleeping purposes, filled with beds, upon which was a " shake down " 
filled with prairie hay, and a blanket. Sheets were a decided luxury, and 
it was not every "hotel " that afforded them. The traveler was expected 
to share his bed with others, and this "custom of the country" was ac- 
cepted as a matter of course, though occasionally some fine-haired individ- 
uals objected. 

Captain Hawes, of Magnolia, once entertained a choleric fellow who 
claimed to be "a gentleman," said he never in all his life slept with any 
one but his wife, and rather than do it, sat up all night. At intervals he 
would groan and wish himself out of the barbarous country, to which the 
unfeeling lodgers would respond with a hearty "Amen!" 


Indian boys affiliated readily with the whites of their own age, and 
joined heartily in the sports common to both. They were athletic and 
"springy," but usually under size, and could not cope in a fair rough and 
tumble with the pale faces. They did not easily take offense, but wlu-n 
once angered, their wrath was fearful. Mr. William Gallaher tells an 
amusing story of one who was his frequent playmate. Mr. G.'s busi- 
ness was hauling logs with a yoke of oxen, one of which, a very quietly 
disposed brute, he used to ride, while his mate was wild and vicious. The 
Indian one day wished to ride, and G., in a spirit of mischief, put him on 



the wild animal, at the same time releasing him from the yoke. The ox 
has an instinctive fear of an Indian, and unused to such treatment, started 
off at a desperate pace, setting up a bellow that infected every animal on the 
place with a like frenzy, and away they started in pursuit. The Indian was 
good rider and held on like grim death, while the ox tore through the 
fields, brush and briers until he reached the larger timber, when a project- 
ing limb brushed his rider off unhurt. But the Indian never forgave this 
too practical joke, and sought to kill young Gallaher, who was qareful 
ever after to keep out of his way. 





'URING the summer of 1869, the hitherto exceedingly quiet 
city of Hennepin became the scene of a most intense and 
long continued excitement, owing to the stirring events 
here narrated. 

About the 10th of June a rather suspicious person 
made his appearance in town, and wandered about from 
day to day, with no apparent object other than to ask a good 
many questions, look into alleys and by-ways, and make the 
acquaintance of the roughs and idlers of the place. On one 
occasion he went into Leech & Bros', office, where they kept their safe and 
funds, ostensibly to get a $10.00 bill changed, but in fact to note the lay 
of things in the office, the fastenings upon the safe, its lock, and the posi- 
tion of the windows. This fellow also went to Hartenbower's warehouse 
for the same purpose, and asked of a young man whom he had made a 
"chum" of, "Where these grain dealers kept their money?" and "Where 
they lived?" He disappeared the morning before the attempted robbery. 
Another fellow had appeared upon the scene a tall, lank, illy dressed, 
gray-whiskered chap, who was seen in several places, apparently drunk, 
the day before the attempt on the safe was made, and was found next 
morning in a corn-crib near the scene, where it was thought he h.-id 
been "telegraphing" his pals when in the warehouse, but when dis- 
covered was too drunk, or simulated it so perfectly as to completely de- 
ceive his captors, who could make nothing out of him and turned him 
loose. He was either too drunk for a sober man or too sober for a drunken 
one. In three minutes after, when the enraged citizens had begun to con- 
nect him with the gang, he was not to be found ! 

About one o'clock of the morning of June 23, 1869, Mr. John B. 
Gowdey, a respectable tradesman of Hennepin, had occasion to get a 
drink of water. After rising he concluded to go down to his shoe- 
shop for a smoke, when he was astonished to hear the sound of iron 
striking iron close in his neighborhood. Going out softly, he heard 


the noise more distinctly, and followed it up cautiously, till reaching 
a window of Leech Bros', warehouse, he saw three men one hold- 
ing a dark lantern, one a cold-chisel, and the third a sledge-hammer, 
which tools are now to be seen in the County Clerk's office at Hennepin. 
Mr. Gowdey's first impulse was to ''yell" at them to drive them off, but 
as they had not got in the safe, and didn't seem likely to for a few min- 
utes more, he crept away and ran softly to wake up the citizens nearest 
the scene, and secure the burglars if possible. He aroused J. W. Leech, 
Mr. Small and Frank Sunderland. These men and a few others gathered 
around the warehouse as soon as possible. Mr. Leech stationed Mr. Sun- 
derland near the window, going himself to the door toward the river, 
rightly judging that the robbers had come across in a canoe or skiff, and 
would head that way on being alarmed. Some one, in coming down the 
hill near the warehouse, tripped upon a loose stone, and thus prema- 
turely alarmed the villians, who immediately rushed out of the building 
through a drive- way toward their skiff, yelling to the citizens to "stand 
back or get hurt," and the former, with only one gun that was avail- 
able, and not being able in the dark to distinguish friend from foe, could 
not safely fire. The robbers returned to their boat. They were ordered to 
halt, and answered with a shot from a revolver, which fortunately hit 
no one. A lad named Everett had no gun, and began throwing stones 
at the retreating party, whereupon they returned several shots with 
their revolvers. As the boat emerged from the deep shadow of the 
buildings, they opened quite a lively fire upon the crowd which had by 
this time assembled upon the shore. Frank Sunderland took the shot-gun 
and replied with better luck, for the oarsman in the departing boat was 
numerously peppered, one shot lodging in his face under the eye and in 
dangerous proximity to that organ. He fell forward, or rather dropped 
his face between his hands and quit rowing, while his companion seized 
the oars and exerting his full strength; one of them broke, and he was 
obliged to paddle toward the shore with the other as best he could. 

The country opposite town is low and flat, with a single narrow cause- 
way leading to the main land. At all times it is little better than a 
morass, and now the river, swelled by the spring rains, was high, and the 
whole territory, with the single exception of the causeway alluded to, was 
more or less submerged. At the point dwelt two men engaged upon the 
ferry, named Barmore and Thornton, who, hearing the alarm and under- 
standing the situation, came down to the river prepared to give the rob- 


bers the warmest possible reception. Had it not been for the broken oar, 
and knowing the locality well, they would doubtless have gone direct to 
the landing and fought their way out, or at least attempted to; but tin it 
changed all their plans, and the current carried them down stream, where 
they landed in the half submerged timber, seeking what safety they could. 

As soon as it was sufficiently light and skiffs could be procured, the 
people, now thoroughly aroused, turned out, armed with eveiy available 
weapon, and the river bottoms were effectually scoured for the .skulking 
vagabonds. Early in the morning the fellow who had been wounded was 
caught. He maintained a degree of innocence of the attempted crime and 
"knowledge of the whereabouts of his pals that was refreshing! "He had 
been out hunting, and had scratched his face with a thorn," but at a later 
period confessed that he had been shot as above stated, and had fallen be- 
hind his comrades while endeavoring to allay the pain and stop the flow 
of blood from the wound on his face, and while bathing his eye the oth- 
ers had left him, and he dare not call them for fear of attracting their 
pursuers. About eight or nine o'clock in the morning the remaining bur- 
glars were found lying by a log in the edge of a swamp or slough. Mr. 
Thornton, who discovered the culprits, made signs to Holland, Cook and 
others to come to him. The signals were speedily passed along the line, 
and each man, with weapon in hand ready for use, advanced. The leader, 
seeing the situation and knowing his retreat was cut off and resistance 
useless, held up both hands, exclaiming, "Don't shoot; I give up." His 
companion also surrendered. They were searched, and no weapons found, 
but afterward revolvers were found hidden deep in the mud near the 
place of arrest. Seeing themselves surrounded by so many persons all in 
citizens' attire, they feared violence, and begged not to be mobbed. One 
of them was escorted by I. H. Cook, but he pretended entire ignorance of 
what had transpired. He was a poor trapper looking after his traps, and 
could not understand why he should be arrested by armed men. As they 
neared the shore, where a large crowd waited their arrival, he thought of 
the possible lynching that might follow, and forgetting the trapper ><>/< 
enquired "what they did with the other fellow they caught;" to which 
the reply was made that they "hung him before breakfast." 

The prisoners were escorted up town through a dense crowd of excited, 
scowling citizens, only waiting a leader to take the law into their own 
hands and give the villains the justice they richly deserved at the end of 
a rope. An examination was had before a Justice of the Peace, and the 


prisoners placed under heavy bonds to wait the action of the Grand Jury, 
which they not being able to give, were escorted to the jail and a special 
guard put over them. 

Subsequent events proved this to have been a deep laid scheme, c"oolly 
planned by the leading cracksman of Chicago, the notorious Buck Hoi- 
brook, well known to the police and dreaded by them as a desperate scoun- 
drel of herculean strength, cool courage and utterly devoid of fear. Hen- 
nepin had no bank for the safe keeping of valuables, it was an impprtant 
grain market, and they rightly considered if the haul was made it would 
be a rich one. 

Two previous attemps had been made, both failures. In one of them 
they stole a couple of horses and hitched them to a sled, loading the safe 
(a small one) upon it with the intention of hauling it away; but in their 
ignorance they had harnessed an unbroken colt which refused to pull, and 
their plans were frustrated. 

Another was upon the safe of a Mr. Atkins, which they tried with all 
the improvements known to burglars; but the noise alarmed a servant girl, 
'who frightened the robbers off. Various reasons conspired to invite an 
attempt of the kind. The place had no trained police, no watchmen; the 
town stands on the high bluff of a deep river, with its business houses 
near the stream; across the river a wilderness of swamps, lakes, tangled 
weeds, trees, underbrush etc., all afforded splendid hiding places for the 
thieves and their plunder. 

The capture of Holbrook and his pals deeply excited his friends in 
Chicago, who sent messages of condolence and friends to visit the unlucky 
trio in the Hennepin jail. Among the latter came a richly attired female 
claiming to be Holbrook's wife. She was known as Mollie Holbrook, the 


keeper of a noted bagnio, and wore upon her person a profusion of laces 
and diamonds of " purest ray serene." Her will was law among her asso- 
ciates, among whom she ruled like a queen, and it was hinted a golden key 
she carried had unlocked dungeons ere now and set her friends at liberty. 
She played the role of an injured and innocent female, whose husband, a 
perfect paragon of honesty, needed no other vindication of character than 
her word. He was the victim of conspiracy, and should be liber- 
ated without a question. Failing in this mode of attack, she grew in- 
dignant and threatened to burn the town and murder the citizens. She 
obtained permission to visit her husband, and it is believed handed him a 
ten dollar bill in which was hidden some diminutive tools for breaking jail. 


The citizens were prepared. They had observed strange faces about 
the vicinity of the jail, and a class of comers and goers far different in 
their dress, manners and looks from their own people. The Sheriff, if not 
on terms of social intercourse with these suspected persons, was too con- 
fiding in their word of honor, too indulgent to them, so people argued, 
and they recommended a special police force to help guard the jail. The 
Sheriff became angry at this, and intimated that he would attehd to his 
own business, and the citizens, unknown to that officer, guarded not only 
the jail, but the town, a precaution which, though expensive and arduous, 
was rewarded most amply, as will be seen. 

On the night of Saturday, June 28, 1869, a guard of two citizens who 
had been recently placed on duty in a barn near the jail, heard a singular 
noise, like a cat "whetting its claws" upon a tree or fence, as the saying 
is. They watched intently, and became convinced it was near or under 
the jail. Between one and two o'clock of Sunday morning this sound 
ceased, and presently from a hole at the side of the jail emerged the form 
of a man, which proved to be that of Buck Holbrook. Standing a mo- 
ment, he looked cautiously around, and exclaimed in a low voice, ""Boys, 
the coast is clear." In a few moments one, and then the other of his 
companions came forth, when Buck said, "Now for Chicago!" At that 
instant the guard fired, and he fell, his person from the top of the head 
to the lower part of the stomach riddled with shot, eighty-four having 
been counted afterward. He never spoke or groaned, but seemed to have 
fallen dead. The other two men fled ; one around the building, and es- 
'caped, and the other ran to the kitchen door of the jail, and begged to be 
admitted. The former ran across two lots, into Mr. Un thank's barn, crept 
in the hay-mow, and lay hid all that night and next day until evening. 
In the meantime the excited citizens were alert everywhere. They never 
thought of looking for their escaped bird so close to his cage, but sur- 
rounded the town, posted watchmen, and sent trusty men to guard the 
avenues of escape. As the bells were calling people to church in the 
evening, the culprit came forth and joined a throng of people on their 
way to the house of worship. He slipped past and struck out for Peru, 
and at about eleven o'clock P. M., while crossing a bridge, fell into the 
hands of a policeman stationed to intercept him. He was returned here, 
and himself and his "pal," under the names of Watson and Norton respec- 
tively, on the 26th of October, 1869, were tried and sent to the peniten- 
tiary for five years. 


The morning of the shooting of Holbrook, his reputed wife was 
notified of the fatal affair, and at once came down, accompanied by a 
repulsive looking fellow, with "villain" in every feature. They 
proceeded to the Court House, where the dead body of the burglar lay. 
As they entered the room, which was crowded with people, she uttered a 
wail like the scream of an enraged tigress, and he, looking upon the 
corpse, exclaimed, while a scowl of brigand-like ferocity gleamed from 
his hideous face, " Eighty-four buckshot, by - ! " Just then A^atch- 
man Cassell's gun was heard to "click, click," as he raised the hammer, 
ready for any emergency, which the heavy villain interpreted to "mean 
business," and quietly left with his howling charge, making a quick 
departure out of the city. She caused his remains to be expeditiously 
boxed up and shipped to Chicago, where the demi monde, roughs and 
lower order of thieves of the city turned out to honor the memory of 
their fallen chief with a pompous funeral procession. 

The frail and furious Mollie not only shook off the dust of her shoes 
as a testimony against Hennepin when she left it, but, between groan- 
ing and moaning and screaming at the top of her voice, she put in some 
very bitter curses and frightful denunciations against it and all who had 
been concerned in the death of her friend. 

Since then Mollie has served a term in the penitentiary, and Hennepin, 
instead of suffering from the fearful imprecations which the consort of 
Holbrook invoked upon it, has grown and prospered, and there is not 
a town in the State to-day of its size where better order reigns, and none 
which burglars, robbers, thieves and persons of that ilk seem as by gen- 
eral consent so willing to avoid. 





BOUT five miles east of Hennepin, on the line of Gran- 
ville Township, is Union Grove, the name given to a 
fine body of timber that dots the great prairie extending 
eastward almost to the Wabash. It early attracted the 
attention of settlers, and increased more rapidly in popu- 
lation than any other portion of the County. 

The first settler was Stephen D. Willis, who in 1829 
built the first cabin, opened the first farm and planted the 
first orchard. He was followed a few months later by James G. Ross, a 
brother-in-law. His cabin had neither doors nor windows when he moved 
in, and fires were kept up at night to scare away wild animals that 
prowled about. 

John L. Ramsey located at the south side of the Grove in 1828 or '29; 
James G. Dunlavy at the west end in 1830. 

Hugh Warnock made a claim on what is now a portion of John P. 
Blake's farm, in 1828. 

John McDonald, the first Presbyterian preacher, located where Dun- 
lavy afterward lived, in 1829, and planted the second orchard in the 

Mr. Ash settled on the prairie between Union Grove and Granville in 

Rev. James H. Dickey lived in a small log house near Mr. Blake's, on 
the south edge of the Grove, in 1830, and occasionally preached for the 
people at the old log church. 

Mr. Willis was a most industrious hunter, and earned his gun wher- 
ever he went. He used to say he " could raise sixty bushels of corn to 
the acre and never plow or tend it, and hunt all the time!" 

For many years the only post office at all available for the people of 
Union Grove, and in fact the whole country around, was at Thomas's, on 
West Bureau Creek, twenty miles away and across the Illinois River. 
The first temperance society was organized at Union Grove in 1832, and 


Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Strawn rode together on horseback to sign the 

o o 

pledge. Meetings were held at Nelson Shepherd's cabin also, and many 


The first school at Union Grove was taught by Mrs: Ramsey, in a 
blacksmith shop, in the summer of 1831. The building stood about half 
a mile east of the brick church at the west eiid of the Grove. 

In the fall of 1831, John P. Blake was engaged to take charge of the 
school, and remained until 1833. Mr. Blake's school was taught in a 
log cabin which had been erected by the Presbyterian Church Society in 
1830. It was a tolerably good room, eighteen feet square, with the logs 
hewn inside. The first school under this gentleman's management was 
attended by the children of James W. and Stephen D. Willis, Hugh 
Warnock, J. L. Ramsey, Thos. Gallaher, Mr. Leech, Isaac Stewart, Wm. 
M. Stewart and Torrarice Stewart. Among the other pupils were two 
colored people, a young man aged 22 and a girl aged 20 years, runaway 
slaves. They lived with James W. Willis. 


January 12, 1829, the first Bible Society in this part of the State was 
formed at Union Grove Church, under control of the Presbyterian society. 
The officers were James A. Warnock, President; Christopher Wagner, 
Vice President; James W. Willis, Corresponding Secretary; James B. 
Willis, Recording Secretary; Hugh Warnock, Treasurer. 

James W. Willis was Chairman and Geo. B. Willis Secretaiy of this 
preliminary meeting. 

The boundaries of the territory over which this Society had jurisdic- 
tion were co-extensive with those of Putnam County, extending east to 
the Vermilion River, south to Tazewell County, west to the Illinois and 
north to the same river. 


Among the prominent early settlers about the Grove was John Pierce 
Blake, who made his way thither from near Detroit, Mich., in the spring 
of 1831. He had heard much of Illinois, and being impatient to begin 
for himself, joined a company of emigrants from North Hampton, Mass., 
engaging to drive team. There were few roads, and great hardships were 


encountered, and when they reached the present site of South Bend, Ind., 
their teams were so badly used up that by the advice of some old Indian 
traders they concluded to make for the portage on the Kankakee, and en- 
gaging boats, float down to their destination. They built dug-outs, and 
loading their freight and getting aboard, started on their way May 1st, 
1831. Their first night out was marked with an attack of mosquitoes, 
larger, more numerous and voracious than they had ever seen or heard 

The stream was very narrow, and as they had lashed their boats to- 
gether in pairs, it was found that the narrowness and tortuous windings of 
the current would not always permit a passage thus, so they were separ- 

But new difficulties awaited them. Their meat all spoiled and had to 
be thrown overboard, and their meal, wet from the rains, also became 
worthless. There was plenty of game ducks, geese, and even deer, but 
they could not get within shooting distance of any bird or animal. They 
had been out of foo:l two days and nights, save a few spoonfuls of flour 
to each, and were nearly famished, when a chance shot at a long distance 
procured them a deer, which, though old, tough and poor, was the most 
welcome food they had ever tasted. This, however, flid not last long, and 
they were soon as destitute as ever. 

After two days and nights travel they reached Antoine Peltier's trad- 
kig house at Dresden, as since called, where they rested and took in a 
plentiful supply of provisions, and moved on. An accident caused their 
boat to upset, by which their provisions were lost again. On short ra- 
tions, they reached the mouth of Mazon Creek, at Morris, and saw a 
log house in the distance. The owner had gone to Mackinaw to mill, and 
was expected to return that evening. The woman and a couple of child- 
ren were alone, their stock of provisions being a peck of corn meal and 
some pork, which she gave the travelers, thus affording them a comfort- 
able meal. They tried hunting that evening and luckily killed a fat deer 
and several ducks, which they divided with their hospitable hostess, and also 
pounded out a considerable quantity of corn, of which they left a portion 
with her. She told them that Walker's trading house was only twenty- 
three miles below, and Crozier's but nine miles farther, where they could 
supply all their needs, but forgot to mention the rapids at Marseilles, 
above Ottawa, where they were shipwrecked and some of them well nigh 
drowned. At length, reaching Walker's, and buying flour and meal, they 


floated on to where Utica now stands, and there left their boats to ex- 
plore the country and select the site for their colony, sending some men in 
a "dug out" to Peoria for groceries for summer use. 

On the 9th of June Mr. Blake left his companions and walked to 
Bailey's Point, where he planted and raised ten acres of corn. 

In the fall, having* disposed of his crop, and having heard of Union 
Grove as a desirable point for new settlers, he started across the prairie to 
explore this region, stopping on the way at a Mr. Williams', in La 'Salle 
County, who pointed out the way. He found an old Indian trail and fol- 
lowed it across the wide extant of unbroken prairie. On the way he saw 
an object approaching that excited all his curiosity, and coming nearer, 
his fear; for it proved to be an Indian dressed in hideous war paint and 
feathers, armed with gun and knife. 

Mr. Blake stepped aside and bade him "howd'y," but the savage never 
inclined his head or moved a muscle, and passed on in lofty scorn of the 
pale face, who felt relieved as between them time and distance, hill and 
valley crept in and widened into a respectable space. 

On leaving the Vermilion country Blake had been directed to a lone 
tree, which for many years stood a mile east of Union Grove. Keeping 
this in sight, he reached the Grove toward evening, and found entertain- 
ment at the house of Mr. Willis. Here he selected his claim at the east- 
ern limits of the timber, which became his future home. 


[One of the oldest churches of Putnam County is located at Union 
Grove, but its history we have been unable to secure, and all we can say 
upon the subject is copied from Henry A. Ford's History of Marshall and 
Putnam Counties.] 

The first church erected in Putnam County was put up in the Grove 
in 1830 a little, rude log building in the wilderness, whither the pio- 
neers and their families for many miles around repaired for the worship of 
God. Here in the season of Indian difficulties there was an appearance 
of the warlike mingled with the devotional, as many settlers earned their 
guns to meeting, to guard against surprise from the savage foe. A strong 
religious sentiment pervaded the entire community, and the settlement 
was named Union Grove in token of the peace and harmony which 


reigned there, and which it was hoped would abide forever within its 


Florid is the name of a one time flourishing country village, three and 
a half miles north from Hennepin, laid out in 1836 by Thos. W. Stewart 
:md Aaron Thompson. It attained its greatest growth soon after, having 
.i store, steam mill, church, school house and a couple of dozen houses. 
The place has since gone to decay. 

This locality seems to have attracted some of the earliest settlers of 
Putnam County. In 1827, Thomas Gallaher, Sr., made his claim north of, 
and James W. Willis put up the first cabin in the town of Florid. Thomas 
Gallaher, Jr., built a cabin near it, and returned for his family, who came 
here in the spring of 1828. Njlson Shepherd came and located a mile 
south of Florid in 1828. Janus G. Ross and Wm. M. Stewart arrived 
in 1832. 

Another settler worthy of special notice was Samuel D. Laughlin, who 
made his claim adjoining that of Nelson Shepherd, soutti of! Florid, in the 
spring of 1827. Stephen D. Willis put up a cabin for Mr. Laughlin, and 
the latter broke about ten acres of ground that season. He remained 
here until 1830, when he brought his family, consisting of himself and 
wife, and John W., James G. arid his wife, and Mrs. Dr. Davis, all living 
in Mt. Palatine; Maiy, wife of H. P. Leeper, of Princeton; Wm. M., at 
Granville; Sarah A., now Mrs. Wm. McCord, of Onarga; Addison, born 
in Putnam County, April 11, 1832, now living in Wisconsin, and Caroline, 
born here, but now dead. 

It is worthy of mention that during this long journey Miss Mary 
Laughlin, afterward Mrs. Babbitt, rode on horseback all the way, and 
helped drive the cattle and sheep. 

During Mr. Laughlin's a! sence after his family, a claim-jumper named 
Ely undertook to "jump 1 ' his improvements, but the neighbors, at the 
head of whom was Jeremiah Strawn, sat down on him so effectually that 
lie never showed himself again. 

Samuel D. Laughlin remained upon his farm until his death in Febru- 
ary, 1849. His wife, formerly Miss Rebecca Dunlavy, died three days 


before him, and both lie together in the Union Grove Cemetery, which 
encloses the remains of Mrs. Geo. Ish, Mrs. McComas and Mrs. Hugh 
Warnock, the latter probably the first of the old settlers who was buried 


Here in 1832 was erected one of those border forts or block houses for 
defense against the Indians, known as Fort Cribs, for the reason that a 
number of corn-cribs were in the enclosure. It was resorted to by all the 
settlers in the vicinity for safety, as many as ninety-eight being here at 
one time. 

A memorable event was the birth while in this fort of Milton Shep- 
herd, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Shepherd. 

Wm. Stewart, called "Big Billy," commanded the fort. No attack 
was made upon it, though an Indian was seen lurking about in the timber, 
probably a spy. 

Among those quartered here during the scare, in addition to the fami- 
lies of Willis and Shepherd, was James G. Ross, Hugh Warnock, S. D. 
Willis, Wm. M. Stewart, William Stewart, Rev. Mr. McDonald, James 
Harper, Mr. Rexford, George Ramsey, William Ham, Mr. Wagner and 
Geo. B. Willis and their families, besides some unmarried men. 

While the citizens were forted up, the school that had been carried on 
at the "Grove" was removed to Mr. Willis' barn, near the fort, as a place 
of greater safety, where some forty pupils were in attendance. One day 
some little girls playing in the edge of the timber imagined they saw an 
' Indian, and ran screaming to the fort. Mrs. Willis, with motherly in- 
stinct, thought of the unprotected little ones in school, and at the sup- 
posed risk of her life ran to the barn, crying at the top of her voice, "The 
Indians are coming; run for your lives." Tho school room was emptied 
in a twinkling, and all were got safe inside and the heavy do^rs closed. 
The alarm proved false, but it was a terrible shock to the women and 
children in the stockade. 

Another time the fort was thrown into the wildest alaim by Mr. Ram- 
sey, who was on guard, declaring he saw a whole row of Indians march- 
ing right towards the fort. The men got out their arms, but no enemy 
appearing, some over-bold volunteers investigated the matter and found 
his row of Indians was a row of poplars which the shadows gave a dis- 


torted appearance, and his fears did the rest. The poplars were after- 
ward known as "Ramsey's Injuns." 


The first newspaper in Putnam County was the Hennepin Journal, es- 
tablished in 1837 by Dr. Wilson Everett. The countiy was sparsely set- 
tled, the value of advertising but little appreciated by business men, and 
it led a sickly existence until December, 1838, when it gave up the ghost. 
The Genius of Universal Emancipation was established in 1845, but op- 
position to its teachings was so great that it was removed to Lowell, near 
Ottawa, where a more friendly population welcomed it. In 1845 Philip 
Lynch started the Hennepin Herald, and ran it from 1845 to 1848. v After 
this came the Hennepin Tribune, by Birney & Duncan, in 1856, and ex- 
isted for three years. The Putnam County Standard was established by 
J. F. Grable, with Thomas Stan ton editor, in 1860. In 1861 it was run 
by W. H. G. Birney, and in 1863 by J. S. Grable. In 1868 I. H. Cook 
began the publication of the Putnam Record, which still exists. It 
is a neatly printed seven-column paper, very industriously edited, and 
is well supported. The office is supplied with suitable presses, and a full 
outfit for all ordinary printing. 

"Besides these home enterprises, the plan that finally resulted in 
starting at Chicago The Herald of the Prairie, afterward Prairie Herald, 
later and better known as the Western Citizen, was first discussed and set- 
tled by Zabina Eastman, Hooper Warren, and James G. Dunlavy, in 
the log cabin of the latter at Union Grove. This was before 1844. It 
appears from the facts here gathered that from 1837 to 1876 inclusive a 
paper has been sustained eighteen out of thirty-nine years. "* 

* Warren. 






'HE Township of Magnolia contains nearly forty-three sec- 
tions or square miles of land, or 27,520 acres, made up of 
prairie and timber, its southern and western portions broken 
with ravines and seamed with ridges. It is drained by 
Clear Creek and Sandy, with their numerous branches, 
both flowing into the Illinois. It is agreeably diversified 
with prairie and woodland, its surface dotted with small 
groves resembling an extensive park platted by the hand of 
nature, and much of it under the highest possible cultivation. The south- 
ern and western portions are rough, and until recent years unoccupied ; 
but a large colony of thrifty Germans have taken possession, and the 
rough hills and deep ravines are being cleared and made into pleasant, 
inviting farms. This land was for many years held by speculators at high 
prices, under the impression that the necessities of those living on the 
prairies would compel its purchase. In time it was demonstrated that 
the farmer required very little timber, and the speculators, after waiting 
vainly for purchasers, concluded to accept what it was worth. 

The products are mainly agricultural, and much attention is devoted 
to the raising of farm stock, particularly cattle. Formerly large quanti- 
ties of grain, principally corn, were sent to market, but most that is raised 
here is now consumed at home. 

The town has always been foremost in religious and educational inter- 
ests, and a more orderly, intelligent and thinking community cannot be 
found than here exists. 

The County of Putnam is wholly destitute of railroads, and this want 


of the means of transit lias led to several expensive schemes, thus far 
without any result; prominent of which is the building of a line from 
Bureau Junction through the Counties of Putnam, La Salle, Grundy,Will 
and Kaukakee. It was agitated in 1868-9, and meetings were held at dif- 
ferent points along the line in the spring and summer. Putnam County 
voted to subscribe $125,-000; Granville added $10,000; Eound Grove, 
$15,000; Dwight $30,000, Tonica $50,000. La Salle and Livingstone to- 
gether gave $205,000, Bureau $10,000, Kankakee $165,000, making a 
grand total of half a million dollars. In Putnam County the first vote of 
$75,000 had been nearly unanimous for the stock, but when the company 
demanded an increase of $50,000 more, the people were not quite so eager. 
The question was submitted to the voters February 8, 1870, and the re- 
sult was: For the additional sum, 475 votes; against it, 350. February 
26, 1870, the road made an assessment of three per cent, upon its capital 
stock, a sum that though small, was not as cheerfully paid. 

Magnolia had been deeply moved for and against the project, and 
much bitterness of feeling resulted. Finally they voted to subscribe, 
provided the company would build eight miles of the road in this township, 
the work to be completed to the eastern terminus before the bonds should 
be issued. This well guarded provision proved their safety. The road 
was graded in many places in Putnam County, and large sums of money 
expended in the work, but the company failed in making expected loans, 
and it was never finished, its history being that of many other railways 
in the West, where people subscribed bonds in advance of the completion 
of the enterprise. The County, though deeply swindled, is paying her 
obligations in full, thereby setting an example that wealthier corporations 
might copy with profit. 


Capt. Wm. Hawes was the first permanent white settler not only on 
this prairie, but, with the exception of Thomas Hartzell, the first in Put- 
nam or Marshall Counties. He visited this section in the spring of 1821, 
while on his way from Sangamon County to Galena. He was so pleased 
with the general appearance of what is now Putnam County, its fertility 
of soil, fine timber, pure water, high and dry elevation, and general ad- 
vantageous surroundings, that he resolved to mark the spot for his future 


home, and hitching his horse tc n tree, he cut his name thereon and slept 
beneath its friendly branch es. He went to Galena and remained until 
November, 1826, wl.en he more formally took possession of his claim and 
built an exceedingly primitive house, sixteen feet square, of round poles. 
He split puncheons for the floor and door, and carried rocks from the 
creek near by, on !.is back, for the chimney. There was not a nail used 
in its construction, and like the building of Solomon's temple, no sound 
of a hammer was heard, for he had none. He lived there all winter 1 , keep- 
ing " bach," subsisting mainly upon the results of his skill as a hunter 
and some corn which he had brought with him from the South, which 
he pounded into meal upon a stump and baked with fat from venison and 
a little salt pork from his meagre larder. This cabin or pole-shed stood 
near the afterward northern limits of Magnolia, in the edge of the tim- 
ber near the creek, upon the farm he still owns and occupies. 

In the following spring he put up another and more substantial cabin 
near the first, and the latter furnished him and his family a comfortable 
home for many years. 

In the spring of 1827 he cleared away a small patch of ground from 
underbrush, and broke it up for a crop, using an old-fashioned barshire 
plow, stocked by himself. He raised a good crop of winter wheat, which 
yielded twenty to thirty bushels per acre, threshed it out by tramp- 
ing, and cleaned it in nature's fanning mill the wind. He. also obtained 
a fair return of corn by cultivation, which found a ready sale among the 
new-comers at twenty to twenty-five cents per bushel. 

He had no stock worth mentioning then, merely a cow and calf and 
two yokes of oxen, but as soon as he was able, added horses and hogs to 
his possessions, bringing them up from his old neighborhood near Spring- 

During the first few years cows were worth $10.00 to $15.00 each, 
and pork from three to ten per cwt., depending upon the wants of the 
settlers ; but after awhile hogs got wild and bred in the timber, and when 
any one wanted pork, he simply shouldered his gun and went hunting, 
and pork ceased to have any particular value until killed and dressed. 

The settlers also soon stocked up with shsep, and made their own 

John Knox came up with Captain Hawes in 1826, but did not remain 
here. Hawes sent the latter back to look afler affairs at home, with 
two yokes of oxen and a wagon to bring up household goods. 


James W. and Stephen D. Willis and their families came in the spring 
of 1827, and broke ground on the "Parsons" place, where they put up a 
cabin, and each raised a crop of corn. 

John Knox returned in the spring of 1827, and put up a cabin where 
Magnolia stands, and then with Captain Hawes and Stephen Willis re- 
turned for their families. James Willis remained here to attend the 
farms and stock during their absence. They returned early in the fall, 
when Knox took possession of his new home, and Mrs. Hawes and Mrs. 
Willis respectively found their future residences. Lewis Knox came here 
with his father this fall, and made a beginning on what has since been 
known as the Price farm, but afterward sold it to a Mr. Hammett, and 
left for Rock River, and then went to California. 

In the fall of 1827, the Willises sold their claim to Smiley Shepherd, 
and went further north James W. to where Florid is located, and 
Stephen D. to the north-western limits of Union Grove, and were followed 
by Shepherd, who sold to Cornelius Hunt, and established himself on his 
well known farm east of Hennepin. 

In 1827, George H. Shaw visited Magnolia and made a claim on Clear 
Creek; he spent the winter of 1827-8, at Washington, Tazewell County, 
but returned in the spring, and with his brother-in-law, C. S. Edwards, 
settled in what afterward became Marshall County. E. B. Wilson also 
came in 1827 or '28, and made a claim. 

In 1827 there was trouble expected with the Winnebagoes, but it 
blew over. The country was full of Indians, and there was a feeling of 
feverish unrest until General Cass came West and met them in council at 
the mouth of Crow Creek, when a lasting treaty of peace was concluded. 

A few settlers came in during the year 1828, but none permanently 
except Hartwell Haley, who made a claim near the west end of Ox Bow 
Prairie. Louis Knox made a claim on Clear Creek, but afterward sold 
it and went to California. 

In 1829 came George Hildebrant, Isaac Hildebrant, Asahel H annum, 
David Boyle, William Graves, Major Elias Thompson, George Hollen- 
beck, and Aaron Payne, an eccentric preacher, who located at Payne's 
Point, and after the Indian war went to Oregon. Dr. Fyffe located on 
Ox Bow, near Boyles; Christopher Wagner, near Magnolia; Hiram 
Allen, east of Loyds', on the creek; Wm. Kincaid, on Ox Bow, west of 
Haley's; Cornelius Hunt, south-east of Magnolia, toward Sandy Creek; 
Isaac Springer also made some improvements near the village this year. 


In 1830 Lyman Horrom settled near Caledonia; Joseph Ash, near 
Payne's Point; Reuben Ash in the same locality; John Wilson, Aaron 
Whittaker, John Whittaker and Jonathan Wilson settled in the same 
neighborhood; Joseph Funk, north of Caledonia; Aaron Bascomb, north 
of Ox Bow, on the south bluff of the creek. 

In th^same year came also John E. and George Dent and made claims 
on Ox Bow; likewise Ephraim Smith and Lewis J. Beck, who settled near 
the Quaker meeting house. Mr. Smith is the sole survivor of those named, 
and still resides upon the place he entered. 

In 1831 James S. Hunt came to Ox Bow and remained until 
December, 1832, when he moved with his family to Sandy Creek, near 
the Cumberland Church. 

In 1832, few settlers came to the country, and many who were here, 
alarmed at the prospect, abandoned their claims and never -returned. 
After the war was over, a few came in, among them Enoch Dent, and 
settled on Ox Bow Prairie, two miles south-east of Magnolia; also Isaac D. 

O ' 

Glenn, Henry Hartenbower, L. T. and Henry Studyvin arid John German. 

In 1833 James Shields settled on Ox Bow and began his improve- 
ments, buying the claim of Elias Thompson, who moved to Henry. Isaac 
Ash came also, and George Griffith, Robert Dugan, Isaac Parsons and 
William and Joseph Hoyle. The latter moved into a cabin built by a 
Mr. Gunn, who afterward moved to La Salle. It was quite primitive in 
character, and having been built during the Indian war excitement, had 
port holes in the sides for defense. It was sixteen feet square, had a 
"shake" roof and the old fashioned chimney, with dried clay hearth. 
Mrs. Hoyle was a Quakeress, and, like her "friends" noted for extreme 
neatness and tidy surroundings; so about the first thing she undertook was 
to polish up with soap and water that clay hearth, not doubting but she 
could make it clean and white, until it assumed the consistency of a sort 
of mortar bed, when she perceived her error and abandoned the job with 

In 1834 came John Goddard, D. P. Fyffe and Thomas Patterson, the 
latter buying the Knox claim and laying out the village of Magnolia. 

In 1835 came John Lewis, somewhat noted for his energetic devotion 
to the cause of the negro, and settled north of Captain Hawes' farm. 
John Hall settled in Magnolia the same year, and built here one of the 
first houses in the village. Alexander Bowman also came this same 


In 1835 Dr. J. B. Ashley, George W. Ditman, Amos Harvey and Janus 
and William Ramage came to Magnolia. William Lewis, the noted 
Abolitionist, removed from his farm near Hennepin and settled near his 
brother, John Lewis. Sarah Baker settled this year on Ox Bow Prairie. 

In 1837 William and Sarah Wireman, and the family of Benjamin 
Lundy, followed by himself three years afterwards, were added to the 
"Quaker settlement," now gaining rapidly in numbers and influence. 

In 1838 came Joel Hawes, who lived a while on the farm of his 
brother, Captain Hawes, and subsequently bought a claim from Elisha 
Swan, north of and near Magnolia, w r here he has ever since resided. 
William Dixon settled on what is known as the Thomas Filson place, 
which was sold to the latter in 1848. 

In 1840 came William Swaney, and settled north of Clear Creek, on 
his present farm, and Joseph Mills located on the prairie to the eastward, 
in the center of the "Quaker settlement." 

[NOTE. We have given the above names and dates as nearly as could be ascertained, 
though it is not claimed they are correct. Most of the parties named have either moved else- 
where or paid the debt of nature, and dates of their arrival and settlement can only be ap- 
proximated. ED.] 


Magnolia is situated in the extreme south-east corner of the County, 
thirteen miles from Hennepin. It is the oldest settled town in Putnam. 
In the fall of 182G, claims were made within a mile north of the site, by 
Capt. Wm. Hawes, James W. Willis and Stephen D. Willis, who are be- 
lieved to have been the first to penetrate that part of the wilderness with 
the intention of settling. The next year John Knox arrived, and located 
upon the site of Magnolia. 

The first public school house was put up in a field used as a brick 
yard, and was a small log structure, ertcted in 183(i, and Andrew Burns, 
brother of Judge Burns, was the first teacher. Thomas Patcerson, the 
founder of the town, which he hoped to see grow into a populous city, 
built this humble edifice, and dedicated it to science. Though it never 
btcame the initiative of a Yale or Dartmouth College, it grew to be a 
large public school, graded and improved as the times progressed, and now 
affords the rising generation all tlic advantages of a general education. 

The first public house was kept by John Knox, though every house 


those days entertained travelers, for the rules of hospitality forbade to 
turn a stranger from the door. " Knox's Tavern " (a double log house) 
was afterward the stopping place for Frink & Walker's stages, and be- 
came famous along the line for its comforts and conveniences. 

John McKisson and Thomas Patterson were the first merchants, and 
the yard-stick owned by the latter is still in the possession of Captain 
Hawes, who preserves it as a memento of old times. Elisha Swan also 
was a trader here for a time. ' 

For some years after Magnolia was settled the post office was at Rob- 
ert's Point, and Geo. Ditman had to go thither for his mail as late as 1836. 

The first preacher was old Jesse Walker, who visited the future vil- 
lage in 1828. He had a trading post at Ottawa, and obtained goods at 
St. Louis, which he brought up in a keel boat. He preached occasionally 
here and at Hollenback's, as well as other places in this section. He was 
a curious, bluff old man, and rather shrewd in business. His favorite by- 
word or heavy anathema was " I snum!" 

At one time the town gave promise of large future growth, but the 
building up of other centres of business attracted people elsewhere, and 
much of its glory has departed. 


The pioneers of the "Society of Friends," or Quakers, who settled in 
Putnam County, were the brothers Joseph and William Hoyle, English- 
men by birth, who made claims and built their humble cabins near the 
head of Clear Creek, in the spring of 1833. They were accompanied by 
George Griffith, an old neighbor in Eastern Ohio. These three families 
made their homes near together, and formed the nucleus of the " Quaker 
settlement," now an important portion of the community of the Township. 
Jehu Lewis and his family moved to the neighborhood in 1836, from 
Tazewell County. 

In 1837 Sarah or "Grandmother"- Wireman and her two daughters, 
with her son William and his family, came from Eastern Pennsylvania. 
William Lewis and his family, and Elijah Kirk and family had previously 
arrived and made themselves homes. 

In 1839 Joseph Mills visited this locality on a prospecting tour, and 
was so well pleased with the surroundings that he bought a small tract of 


land, determined to make it his future home. His report was so favorable 
that his son Henry was induced to emigrate in the fall of that year. In 
the spring of 1840, Joseph Mills and his family, including Joshua his son, 
now a resident of the settlement, returned to their new home, accompanied 
by Eli Haley and his daughter Elizabeth. 

The first "open meeting" \vas held at the cabin of Grandmother 
Wireman, soon after it was built, in the fall of 1837, where the settlers 
met to worship. This meeting was followed by others at long intervals, 
until their increasing numbers made the narrow limits of the cabin too 
small and in 1840 they changed to a. small log school house standing on 
the north branch of Clear Creek. This was built in 1838, though first 
used in 1840. 

In 1840 William Swaney came, with the intention of making this his 
future home. 

The first death among the members was that of Edith, wife of Win. 
Hoyle, in 1840. 

The first marriage in the Friends' settlement was that of Isaac Griffith 
anl Eliza Luiidy, daughter of Benjamin Lundy, in March, 1841. The 
wedding ceremony was performed at the house of Mr. Joseph Hoyle. 
Marriages among the members of the Society of " Friends " are conducted 
in a peculiar manner. The groom in the presence of the congregation 
promises to "love, cherish, and protect," and the bride to "love, honor, 
and obey." The parties then sign a paper attesting the fact, to which 
those present attach their signatures as witnesses, which is deposited among 
the archives, and the ceremony is finished. No parade or display is allowed, 
and wedding presents are not encouraged. It is a plain, solemn perform- 
ance and when finished, the couple go about their business. 

The new Society was not recognized by the general organization of the 
"Friends" until November 4, 1841, when A. Knight and others cam*' 
from Indiana as a committee, and called a formal meeting for worship 
and preparation, and commenced their monthly meetings. Wm. Lewis 
was chosen the first clerk of the Society. 

They had in the meantime begun the erection of a brick church, or 
meeting house, but it was not finished and occupied until the spring of 

The old log school house, where the Society met and worshipped pre- 
vious to this, has long since passed away, but our illustration represents 
it very correctly. 


During those years the country was rapidly filling up, the members 
were prosperous, and numerous additions were made to the Society. 

Up to this date they had no regular leader Miss Rebecca Fell had a 
certificate as minister according to the rules of the sect, but she lived some 
distance away and could not attend. Joseph Mills was felt to be entirely 
competent to fill the place, but had never been " recommended," as it is 

In 1843, in "the lirst month," as they term it (Jannary), Wm. 'M. 
Price was married to Miss Sarah Wireman, according to the customs of 
the Society, but the ceremony was so much at variance with the customs 
of other religious denominations that some proposed to prosecute the couple 
for living together in unlawful wedlock. So prone are some people to 
mind business not their own! These over-zealous law-abiding citizens 
consulted lawyers and read the statutes in vain, for the laws duly scanned 
declared that a public notice to the world in a public meeting, five weeks 
prior to the day of the intended marriage, constituted a suffi- 
cient notification to make the marriage binding. 

In the year 1845, Joseph Edwards and Ann, his wife, came to the set- 
tlement, she being the second "recorded minister" for this Society; i. e.: 
One whose qualifications have been duly approved by the Socie- 
ty, and therefore allowed to act in the capacity of a minister. She was 
very eloquent and justly appreciated, but her failing health compelled her 
to desist after a short season of labor, and not long after she died. 

The organization, though still not numerous in members, continued to 
grow and prosper, while laboring under many disadvantages, being pe- 
culiarly organized. It was constituted a branch of the Blue River, (Ind.) 
quarterly meeting, to which it was required to report eveiy three months. 
This parent body met alternately at Terre Haute and at New Albany, in 
Indiana, 300 miles away. The distance was so great that these reports 
could not be sent oftener than once or twice a year. 

In the course of time other meetings sprung up within a radius of from 
sixty to one hundred and ten miles, and the Society here applied for per- 
mission to have their quarterly extended to yearly meetings, to be held at 
the brick church on Clear Creek, which was granted, and much advantage 
was derived from the change. 

In the course of time the "Friends" in the West were so strengthened 
in numbers as to enable them to have two general quarterly meetings 
two in Indiana and two in Illinois. This continued until 1874, when the 


Putnam Society embraced all the "Friends" in both States, with Clear 
Creek Church as the central point. A body of Friends in Iowa also 
united with this Society, giving it an extensive scope of territory, forming 
as united, "The Illinois Yearly Meeting of Friends, " a general gathering 
of which was held here in the "ninth month" (September) 1875, and 
worked under the auspices of the Baltimore and Indiana yearly meetings, 
the Illinois section and the Indiana and Iowa Friends all constituting a 
branch of the Baltimore yearly meetings. The assemblage above referred 
to was largely attended, and at its yearly convocations are seen represen- 
tatives from all the societies in the West. 

In 18G9 they built a large and convenient meeting house on the prairie 
northeast of Magnolia, for the yearly assemblies, costing $5,500. The 
total membership of the yearly meetings, composed of a few Friends in 
Indiana and those of Illinois and Iowa, numbers thirteen hundred people. 

In 1878 they adopted a new discipline for the government of the 
Church, which has become vastly popular among the members everywhere. 
"It looks upon Christ as the rock and foundation stone, upon which all 
who worship the Father in Spirit and truth may stand. To Him all can 
come and partake of the waters of life freely, 'without money and without 

The local Society in 1880 numbered 187 persons, and is in a prosper- 
ous condition. The Friends comprise the best citizens of the County, and 
are noted for their industry, good order, honesty and hospitality. Clean- 
liness is recognized as next to Godliness, and in their persons and habits 
and about their dwellings this excellent virtue is a notable, unvarying 
and unexceptional rule. They are clean in person and pure in lan- 
guage. As a community, they are law-abiding, honest and peaceful, and 
cherish sentiments of love and charity toward every animate object. 


The oldest school house in the Township, if not in the County, was 
built in the fall and winter of 1830, and stood on Clear Creek, about one 
mile above the Camp Ground. 

It was of hewn logs, sixteen feet square, with a hole for a window, 
made by sawing out a log. Its roof was covered with sticks, and C. S. 
Edwards, the pioneer pedagogue, opened school therein Januaiy Gth, 


1831, and taught till February, 1832. When he began his labors the 
school house was unfinished, and there was neither a floor nor a perma- 
nent door. The school, during Mr. Edwards' connection and for many 
years after, was supported on the "pay" or subscription plan. The pat- 
rons of this first school, or perhaps during the year between the dates 
given, were: Aaron Whittaker, Thornton Wilson, - Studdyvin, 

Aaron Payne, David Boyle, Hartwell Haley, George Hiltabrant, Wm. 
Graves and Ashael Hannuni. The average attendance at this very primi- 
tive school was about fifteen to twenty in winter, and from ten to twelve 
in summer. 


During the war Jeremiah Strawn protected his cabins by a strong 
stockade, in which dwelt his own family, Mrs. E. Armstrong's family, 
Aaron Payne and Andrew Whittaker and their families. It made quite 
a little community, and all the available space in the cabin was occupied 
at night, the floors being covered with sleeping humanity, large and 
small. During the day the men worked outside, with guns ready for use. 

One Saturday afternoon some malicious person rode past the fort and 
screamed, "Indians! Indians!" The women were nearly frantic by the 
time the men returned, and Mr. Strawn and Mr. Payne rode back to Mag- 
nolia and thence to Hennepin, finding no Indians. 

The news of impending war was brought to" the settlement by Elisha 
Swan, who advised the settlers to volunteer for public defense or they 
would be drafted. Some did neither, but left for the southward some 
to return after the war, and others to remain permanently away. But the 
majority at once shouldered their guns and reported ready for duty. 

They armed themselves, and each man had a uniform peculiar to his 
own notions of war. Some wore coon-skin caps, others wore straw hats 
of home manufacture, while a few boasted no rim at all. Guns were of 
various sizes and different lengths, generally however, much longer than 
the modern style. These home guards were on duty about six weeks, 
and but few, if any of them, saw an Indian during the entire campaign, 
though each received a land warrant from the Government for his services. 





COUNTRY'S HISTORY is made up mainly of indi- 
vidual incidents in the lives of its citizens, and if our 
"Records" largely abound in such, it is that the picture 
may be true to nature. But few remain of those who 
saw this fair land as it came from the hand of the Maker, 
and if we devote unusual space to them the reason is 

There was very little money, and business was con- 
ducted on the exchange or barter system. The farmer raised what food 
was required, also wool for winter and flax for summer clothing. The 
latter was dressed by the men and boys in winter and spun and wove, 
dyed and made into clothing by the females of the household. It made 
dresses for the ladies and shirts and pants for the men. In the winter 
the former wore linsey woolsey, and the latter substantial suits made of 
Kentucky jeans, hand woven in the family loom, and colored with "store 
dyes," or oftener in the "blue dye tub," without which no well regulated 
household was complete. 

For Sunday afternoons, meetings and christenings, a neat calico 
was worn, and their granddaughters of to-day, arrayed in costly silks 
and flounces, never look so pretty as did their rosy-cheeked mothers 
and grandmothers in tlbse days. Their wants were few and their "store 
bills" light. If extravagance was visible in any one thing, it was in the 
intemperate use of coffee. 

Salt was a necessity, likewise tobacco, "ague medicine" and whisky. 
The children went barefoot in summer, and often the men also, but in the 
fall the thrifty farmer procured a couple sides of leather, and the ever 
welcome cobbler came with his kit of tools and regularly shod the whole 
family. It was good and substantial work, too, and lasted a whole year. 
The women, like the men, wore good, honest cowhide, and bade defiance 
to the snows and rains of winter, and neuralgia andthe thousand and 
one ailments that women are now subject to were unknown. 


For lights, a supply of resinous pine knots, gathered along the bluffs 
of the river, furnished a good substitute, and next to this was a dish of 
grease, into which a lighted rag for a wick was placed, called a "slut." 
Then came tallow candles, and it was the duty of the housewife to pre- 
pare in the fall the yearly supply. She also laid in ample stores of dried 
pumpkins, blackberries and corn, and gathered medicinal herbs for sick- 
ness. Every mother was a doctor. Medicine was less relied on than 
nursing, and the simple remedies prescribed were found as successful in 
practice as the more elaborate and costly medicaments of later days. 

The midwife in those days was an important personage, with whom it 
was well to be on good terms. Her will was law, her advice was regarded, 
and her name commemorated in the families of her customers. One of the 
most noted of these was Mrs. John Strawn, who, it is claimed, attended 
to over four hundred cases without an accident. Many gray-haired men 
and women of to-day obtained their first "start" in the world at her 

As before stated, when sickness came, reliance was mainly upon nurs- 
ing, and every neighborhood had its good motherly woman ready to go 
without money and without price, whenever called upon, and many an old 
settler can attest the tender soothing care with which they smoothed the 
ailing brow, or administered the cooling draught. 

Those dear old hands are folded in death, those loving, benevolent 
faces, so full of tender, solicitude, have gone from our gaze forever, the 
eyes of love have lost their brightness, and their voices are hushed 

True and faithful were those tender watchers at fevered bedsides, and 
may we not hope " they too have their reward." 

The latch-string always "hung outside," which meant that visitors 
were welcome, and strangers were not turned away. Hospitality was 
universal, and he who did not practice it would have been shunned. In 
those halcyon days, neighbors were neighbors, and distance was never 
taken into account. Farmers stocked their own plows a clumsey, heavy, 
awkward implement with a wooden mould-board. They tilled corn with 
a sort of shovel plow, which covered corn as well as weeds, and left 
ready for a fresh start as many weeds as it killed. 

Each cabin had a rough pine table, and if the occupant was "well to 
do," three or four splint-bottom chairs; but these were regarded as luxu- 
ries, and most settlers were content with good stout puncheon slabs 


mounted on legs and christened a stool. The bedsteads were made by 
setting up posts and extending transverse poles into the wall, which sup- 
ported a "tick" filled with prairie grass, and on this, if the occupant came 
from the east, was often laid a good feather bed the sole bridal dower 
of the woman of the house. A few plates and dishes of what was termed 
"delf ware" or in their absence, plain tin or pewter plates, an iron spoon 
or two, half a dozen knives and forks, an iron pot for boiling, a tea-kettle, 
an iron baking kettle and cover, on which live coals were placed, and the 
swinging crane or "trammel" on which to suspend the kettles for boiling 
constituted about all the cabins afforded. Outside was a capacious stone 
oven, where once a week the family bread was baked, and when it could 
be afforded, a "tin baker" added much to the housekeeper's comfort ; but 
this was a piece of luxury that did not come until after years. 

The family cradle which must not be forgotten was made from 
the section of a hollow tree split in halves, and rockers added. 

The average farm laborer received from ten to fifteen dollars per 
month and his board. The price allowed for making rails was fifty cents 
per hundred. Female help cost one dollar a week. 

It may be remarked that the cost of living has not materially changed 
between then and now. Though wages have increased, grain can 
be raised as cheaply, now as then, owing to our improved machinery, 
consequently the farmer ought to accumulate wealth as rapidly. 

The plows of those days were clumsy contrivances, merely pushing the 
dirt to one side. They never "scoured," and various were the plans 
adopted to make them. A dweller upon the Illinois River used to stretch 
over the mould board the smooth skin of the gar, a fish allied to the 
shark family, which answered the purpose while it lasted. 

Notwithstanding these disadvantages, they raised corn averaging forty 
to fifty bushels per acre, for which they got about twenty to twenty-five 
cents a bushel. They also raised excellent crops of wheat, which were 
hardly ever known to fail, and yielded twenty to thirty bushels per acre, 
bringing about fifty cents a bushel. They threshed it out with horses. 

In those days labor was plenty and tramps unknown. Book agents or 
canvassers, lightning rod men and insurance agents had not made their 
appearance, and a person who attempted to swindle his neighbor, or spec- 
ulate upon one's misfortune, would have been driven from the settlement. 

The prices for cows was $10.00 to $15.00 per head. A lot of fat 
steers, which a venturesome settler drove to St. Louis, netted him six dol- 


per head. He became disgusted with it as a market, and never 
visited that city again ! Hogs were easily raised, as they got their feed 
in the timber, and pork sold for $3.00 per hundred pounds ; but in 1833, 
owing to a sudden rush of immigration, it went up to $10.00 per cwt. 

The farmers raised sheep enough to make their own clothes, and their 
wives and daughters spun and wove the wool by hand, until they found 
it was more profitable to exchange it for cloth and woolen yarn, which 
was knitted at home. They hauled their wool fifty miles to get it 
carded, and many went as far as the Sangamon Mills near Springfield. 

A dinner in those days cost a "bit" and supper, lodging and breakfast 
three bits. The food was abundant and wholesome. 

From 1826 to 1832, Indians were numerous and peacable, bringing 
the settlers little delicacies which they did not possess such as honey, 
maple sugar, game and fish. 


This fertile region north of Magnolia, in Putnam County, was settled 
by white people over fifty years ago. The first comer was Jeremiah 
Strawn, who traveled on horseback from the Wabash River to Spring- 
field, and thence north to his future home, arrriving there in September, 
1828; and in the spring of 1829, assisted by George Hollenback, Jr., he 
put up a log house on his claim. The logs were too large for two men to 
handle, so they were split in two. Strawn's nearest neighbor was a Mr. 
Payne, on Clear Creek, about two and a half miles away. While himself 
and hired man were building the house they lived on " pork and pone," 
the latter made of corn pounded on a stump, and saturated with hogs fat 
and baked on hot stones laid in ashes. 

Mr. Strawn returned for his family as soon as his cabin was com- 
pleted, and started on his return trip August 19, 1839. He had two 
teams, one a large Ohio wagon, drawn by four horses and the other by 
three. They found no settlers between the Wabash River and Spring- 
field, save one, in a log house, near the head of Sangamo River, as it was 
then called. 

The first birth on this prairie was that of Zelpha, daughter of Jere- 
miah Strawn, in 1832, and the first death was December, 1831, a son of 
Mr. Basone, one of Mr. Strawn's tenants. 


The first wedding was that of Mr. Abner Boyle and Miss Wilson, in 
1831, and the next, a few weeks later, in December, 1831, was the mar- 
riage of James Harper to Miss Ash. 

Rev. Mr. Royal was a circuit preacher then. His circuit was of im- 
mense extent. It reached from Mackinaw, Ills,, to Galena; thence to 
Chicago, arid down the river to Joliet, Morris, Ottawa and Strawn^s, and 
it required four weeks for him to "get around!" He traveled it for a 
couple of years, beginning in 1831. 

The first school house was a log building, put up by Strawn and 
Whittaker in 1833. It was superseded by a frame house in 1836, a 
few weeks after Strawn had finished his own new house, the first frame 
structure in the settlement. He built a fine church and donated it to the 
Methodists in 1856. 


From 1840 to 1846 the Mississippi Valley was infested by a gang of 
robbers known as the "Banditti of the Prairies." They were a regularly 
organized band of villians, ready to steal a purse, rob a house, or cut a 
throat to further their ends. They had rendezvous at different places all 
over the country hiding places for themselves and plunder. Generally 
the keepers of these resorts were quiet, well appearing men, who were 
reasonably free from suspicion in the community in which they lived. 
Whenever it could be done they contrived to get members of their gang 
appointed or elected to office, and especially the, to them, important posi- 
tions of sheriff, jailor and constables, and even now and then a justice of 
the peace. They conducted their business secretly and systematically. 
A horse stolen in one neighborhood was promptly sent to some remote 
settlement for sale or trade. Up to 1845 they had confined their opera- 
tions principally to stealing horses, but this year they concluded to ad- 
vance into the more hazardous and, when successful, more remunerative 
department of house breaking and robbery. 

On the first week of June, 1844, a man made his appearance at the 
residence of Jeremiah Strawn, in Putnam County, pretending to be a ped- 
dler of oil-cloths. He exhibited them to the women, and remained awhile 
as if to rest, but really to take a survey of the premises. On seeing Mr. 
Strawn approach he hastily left, and Strawn did not see his face. This 
was Birch, captain of the robbers. 


On Sunday soon after, a very sanctimonious young man appeared 
and "wanted accommodations all, during the holy Sabbath ah, for 
himself and beast ah, as he never traveled on the Lord's day ah!" 
They kept this pious individual, who spent most of his time in reading 
the Bible, and showed very little inclination to carry on conversation. This 
was Long, the business man of the gang. The horse he -rode he had 
stolen a few nights before from Mr. Lewis. 

Long had with him a pair of old saddle-bags, which Strawn judged to 
be empty, but from the fellow's appearance, supposed him to be some poor 
preacher, and thought no more of it. The fellow said his name was Allen, 
and he wanted to buy a small farm. On leaving he pulled out a five dol- 
lar gold piece to pay for his keeping. Strawn was not disposed to charge 
anything, since he was likely to be a prospective neighbor, but the Rev. 
Allen was very anxious to get the money changed, the object being to 
find where Strawn kept his valuables. 

In a few days there came another confederate, a little old man ar- 
rayed in a suit of clothing a tramp would scarce be seen in. His coat 
would have fitted a giant, but on his diminutive form the waist came little 
above the knees, the skirts were cut down to suit his form, the sleeves 
also being served in like manner. He was barefoot and lame, and had 
straggling gray hair and whiskers. This was Fox, rigged out for the 
occasion, and Fox, as his name indicates, was one of the cunningest men 
in the band. Mrs. Strawn gave him some food and fifty cents in silver. 

O */ 

On the day succeeding Fox's visit came a slick-looking young man, 
who sold types and ink for marking linen. He was extremely voluble, 
arid seemed to be quite a wide-awake and, withal, agreeable youth. This 
was Luther, no relation to the celebrated Christian of that name, 
but a bold villain. All except Long had evaded Strawn, for the reason 
that they did not wish him to recognize them afterward. 

On the night of June 17, 1845, toward twelve o'clock, four ro\> 
bers came to Strawn's house, and Long entered by a window, the occu- 
pants, having no reason to expect such visitors, seldom fastening either 
windows or doors. 

Long was armed with an ax, to be used in an emergency, but especially 
to break open the chest supposed to contain valuables. He at\once un- 
bolted the door and let in his confederates, provided with candles, and 
while some helped themselves to eatables, made their way to 
Strawn's room, who was awakened by a man startling over him with a 


cocked pistol in hand, and ordered to lie still and cover up his head, 
which was done. 

What money Strawn possessed was in a chest under the bed where 
the children slept, in another room. He told the robbers where the money 
would be found, but begged them not to scare the girls. They did not 
frighten the young ladies more than they had already, as by this 
time they were nearly scared to death. The chest was made to yield up 
its contents, and the robbers returned in high passion. They had ex- 
pected to find $8,000 or $10,000, and instead had discovered only about 
one hundred and twenty dollars. They were greatly disgusted, and 
threatened to burn down the house unless more was forthcoming, swear- 
ing it did not pay for the cost and trouble incurred. Next they asked 
who slept up stairs, arid were told it was a preacher, which seemed to 
please them, and they visited his room. The poor minister, a Mr. Burr, 
trembled with fear while they were taking his watch and nine dollars in 
cash, all he had. They debated about killing him, one fellow heartlessly 
remarking there would be little or no harm, as he was a preacher and 
bound to go to heaven anyhow. Once he attempted to look out, where- 
upon a man brandished an ax and told him to lie still or he would split 
his head open. 

They pretended to have a gang of twenty men outside, all armed to 
the teeth, and threatened to kill Strawn if he dared follow or give any 

They tried to find more money, and asked for the keys of a bureau, 
which was locked. Mrs. Strawn told them where the keys were. They 
got them, and on failing to unlock it they were about to slash it to pieces 
when Mrs. S. told them the particular key to use. They searched all 
the drawers in vain, and at length departed, failing to extort a promise 
from Straws not to follow them. 

They obtained one hundred and twenty dollars in silver and a watch, 
and from Rev. Mr. Burr, nine dollars and a watch. There was an old 
black bag which hung in plain sight, which they did not think of open- 
ing. It contained fifteen dollars. 

As soon as they had left Strawn got up and lighted candles. After 
some exertion he managed to get the preacher out of bed, still nearly pet- 
rified with fear. He wanted to have all go back to bed and remain there 
until toward noon, by which time he thought the gentlemen of the road 
would be too far away to molest them ! 


Strawn engaged detectives and officers in various directions, and at 
length found two of the robbers at Rock Island, in jail for the murder of 
Col. Davenport, a tragedy which greatly excited people all over the 
country, and resulted in arresting the ringleaders and bringing some of 
them to the scaffold. 

After killing Davenport they went down to St. Louis, and thence up 
the Missouri River, where they remained in hiding a few days with Reeves, 
an old acquaintance, banished the preceding season from Marshall County. 
Fearing to remain here, they descended the river and went to Ohio, tracked 
with the fidelity of a, bloodhound by an able detective named Bonney, 
who effected their arrest at Sandusky. 

Birch told Strawn that Fox shot Colonel Davenport by accident, as he 
only meant to frighten him and get his money, but the pistol went off 

Two Long brothers and Young were hung at Rock Island. Fox 
managed to escape from an officer in Indiana in some mysterious and unex- 
plained way, and was never heard of after. 

Birch was in prison some time at Knoxville, on a change of venue, and 
finally through the help of two confederates broke jail, and a story after- 
ward got abroad that his accomplices, fearing he would turn State's evi- 
dence and reveal the names of the gang, got him out of jail, and it is sup- 
posed drowned him in the Mississippi River. 


The following confession was taken down from Birch's own lips by the 
Sheriff of Knox County, and afterward read to and signed by Birch : 

"On or about the 17th of June last (1845), Wm. Fox, John Long and 
Wm. Luther [lie leaves out himself, though he admitted being present], 
robbed Jeremiah Strawn of about $100 cash, $100 in scrip, two watches, 
and one horse pistol, which said pistol they flung away in the yard. They 
also got one bogus dollar. One watch was silver case, thick square stem, 
compass, square and some Masonic fixings inside. John Long kept it 
until it was flung into Lake Michigan by Birch, on the way to Rock 
Island. The other watch John Long left with his father, Owen Long, 
who lived near Galena. Fox had the $100 scrip, and gave it to Baxter 
toward his share of the money taken in the robbery of Messrs. Knox <fe 
Dewey's office in June last, and Baxter afterward sold it to Negus, of 


Rock Island. The $100 cash was divided between the boys about the 
first of June. I saw all the above men, and they then infonned me that 
they intended to make the above robbery, to- wit : Intended to rob Strawn; 
and I saw them all again in Nauvoo, 111., between the 10th and 20th of 
June, and they informed me that they had committed the robbery as 
above stated. 

"Fox is twenty-eight years old, low, heavy set, weighs 180 pounds, 
light complexion, large blue eyes, light hair, slow spoken, and talks 
through his nose a little. 

"Lewis, of Peru, who formerly kept tavern there I think his name 
is Jonathan and kept the National, got up the show, and was to have 
a share in the plunder. About the last week in May I saw Lewis in 
Peru. John Long was present. Lewis told us that Fox had been wait- 
ing for us, and became alarmed about a horse that he had stolen and sold 
in Chicago; and then lie had advised Fox to leave and go to Nauvoo, and 
there wait for Birch and Long, and then make arrangements to come up 
and burst Strawn. We then went directly to Nauvoo, and found Fox 
and Luther there. The arrangements were all made, and Long, Fox and 
Luther went up to the neighborhood of Strawn's; and Long went and staid 
one night with him to ascertain the situation of his house, and in a few 
nights afterward they robbed him as before stated, and Luther immedi- 
ately left for Nauvoo, and Fox and Long headed toward Rock Island, but 
all met at Nauvoo. 

"Shortly afterward Lewis stated that Strawn had a large pile of 
money; said that a man who bought hogs of Strawn told him that he paid 
him $200, and that Strawn had more money than he had ever seen out 
of a bank, and also that he (Lewis) knew that he had a large amount. 
"(Signed) R. H. BIRCH. 

"Bock Island, November 15, 1845." 


As stated elsewhere, the family of Aaron Payne, during the Black 
Hawk troubles, found protection in the stockade of Jeremiah Strawn. 
Although a minister and a man of peace, he felt it his duty to avenge his 
murdered brother's death, and when volunteers were called for he became 
a soldier until they were disbanded, and then followed the army in pursuit 


of Black Hawk. While pursuing the retreating Indians, he passed a 
squaw and a small Indian boy crouched behind a fallen tree, but thinking 
the party harmless, passed on without molesting them. After the rangers 
had passed the boy raised his gun and shot Payne from his horse, and in 
return they were riddled with bullets. Two balls entered Payne's shoul- 
der, lodging near the spine, and he was thought to be mortally wounded, 
but was carried to the hospital at Fort Crawford, where the wounds 
healed, but he could not walk upright thereafter. ' 

About three months after this event, Payne, pale and emaciated, rode 
up to his cabin door, and was hailed by his family and friends as one risen 
from the dead. 

The following sketch relating to this event is taken from General 
Scott's autobiography, a book published many years ago : 

"While inspecting the hospital at Fort Crawford, I was struck with 
the remarkably fine head of a tall volunteer lying on his side and seeking 
relief in a book. To my question, 'What have you here, my friend?' the 
wounded man pointed to the title page of 'Young's Night Thoughts.' I 
sat down on the edge of the bunk, already interested in the reader, to 
learn more of his history. 

"The wounded volunteer said his brother, Rev. Adam Payne, fell an 
early victim to Black Hawk's band, and he (riot in the spirit of revenge, 
but to protect the frontier settlements) volunteered as a private soldier. 
While riding into the battle-field of Bad Axe he passed a small Indian 
boy, whom he might have killed, but thought him a harmless child. 
'After passing, the boy fired, lodging two balls near my spine, when I fell 
from my horse.' The noble volunteer, although suffering great pain from 
his wound, said he preferred his condition to the remorse he should hava 
felt if he had killed the boy, believing him to be harmless." 

Payne lived many years at his home on Clear Creek, greatly respected 
by all. He was an earnest preacher of the Gospel, and equally noted as a 
bee hunter. 

Afterward he emigrated to Oregon, where he still lives, a hale and 
hearty old man. He has filled several public offices, and served one term 
in the State Legislature. 

From the crooked stick of the Egyptians to the old-fashioned bull 


plow of our forefathers, with its rough handle and wooden mould-board, 
was a long stride of progress. Then came a two-handled "calamity," with 
cast point and land side, which answered tolerably well in certain soils, 
but on our .rich, "mucky" prairies only stirred it to some extent, without 
turning it over. It required a strong propelling power, and must be 
cleaned every few rods to work at all. These were the plows of the early 
settlers for many a year, and with them the soil of this country was first 

In 1836 George W. Ditman brought to Magnolia two wrought iron 
self-scouring plows, from Philadelphia, but they were not adapted to our 
soil, and failed to do the work required. 

In 1841 or 2, James Ramage, of Magnolia, worked out an idea which 
had found life in his brain that a plow could be made that would scour. 
After one or two experiments he produced the celebrated "Diamond 
Plow," forerunner of all self-cleaning implements of the plow kind. It 
worked well, turning the soil smoothly and neatly, covering up the weeds 
and leaving the soil in the best possible condition. Farmers pronounced 
it a success, and for several years he carried on the business until others 
with better facilities for manufacturing took away his trade. 

Besides the plow manufacture, another enterprise was carried on here 
for many years, and one of vast consequence to the people. This was 
making reaping machines. Mr. Wm. E. Parret came to Putnam County 
in March, 1841, and settled in Magnolia. He claims to have invented the 
scallop-sickle in 1847, and built reaping machines, commencing in 1849, 
putting up the first reaper probably ever built in the State of Illinois. 
They were not the perfect machine of the present day, but the man who 
first invented the sickle-bar, and the place where first made, deserves 
recognition. It was the basis of success of all the machines of to-day, and 
if Mr. Parret can substantiate his claims, he deserves to rank among the 
public benefactors of the age. 


Of those who helped redeem the prairie from a state of nature, few re- 
main lingering on the confines of that bourne from whence no traveler 
ever returned. Among these is Mrs. George Hiltabrand, who with her 
husband came to Ox Bow in March, 1829. He was gathered to his fath- 


ers ten years ago, while she lives in the possession of all her faculties, and 
at seventy-six her memory is distinct, her eye bright, and her face in- 
voluntarily lightens at the recollection and mention of those old time 
scenes, in which she was an actor. To her we are indebted for many 
sketches connected with ye olden time on Ox Bow Prairie. 

The Indian war excitement caused the settlers to band themselves for 
protection, and they hastily constructed a log stockade where Caledonia now 
stands. The room inside the fort for exercise was reasonably large, but 
the eating and sleeping quarters were sadly crowded. The families that 
here sought safety were those of Messrs. Hiltabrand, Hannum, Hunt, Hart, 
Graves, Gunn, Allen, Loyd and Lotripp. They remained here about six 
weeks, which seemed an age to the inmates, and when the day came for 
their release there was a grand jubliee. 

The first school in the vicinity was at Caledonia, taught in 1832 by 
Hosea Smith. It was broken up or suspended during the war troubles. 

The first child born on Ox Bow Prairie was a son to Mr. and Mrs. 
Louis Knox, in August, 1829. Austin Hannum was the second, and the 
third born was Mary J., a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hiltabrand, whose 
birth was October 28, 1829. 

Mrs. Hiltabrand is the only person of the original old settlers who 
brought a family to Ox Bow Prairie. 

Another estimable lady still living is Mrs. Anne Shields, who, along 
with her husband, came to Ox Bow from Tennesse, in 1833. He died 
May 16, 1871. 

Mrs. Sarah Glenn is another venerable lady, relict of Isaac D. Glenn, 
who with her husband came here in 1832. Mr. Glepn died in 1850. She 
is remarkably well and active, and is eighty-three years old. 

The first preacher on the circuit remembered by Mrs. Hiltabrand was 
the Rev. Mr. Young, a Campbellite, who held religious services at the 
cabin of Isaac D. Glenn, in the winter of 1832-3. In that winter a school 
was taught on the farm of Mr. Carter, by a Mr. Hatfield. 

The first settled physician was Dr. Fetter, who came in 1834. 
Among the early marriages remembered by her was Obadiah Graves 
and Mary Fletcher, in October, 1830; Abner Boyle and Matilda Wilson, 
by the Rev. McDonald, November, 1831. 





HIS distinguished philanthropist and Abolitionist ended his 
days near the borders of Putnam County, and was buried 
within its limits, on Clear Creek, his remains being en- 
tombed by his family and friends or the Quaker fraternity 
of Magnolia. He achieved a glorious reputation as the 
"father of the party of freedom," and it is fit that some 
account of his life and labors should be given in this work. 
In an autobiography, prepared by himself and published 
shortly after his death, he states that he was born on the fourth day of the 
first month (January), 1789, at Handwich, Essex County, N. J. His mother 
died when he was only five years old, and he was her only child. He 
had but very limited means and opportunities of schooling, but manauvd 
to learn to read and write when eight years of age, and began the study 
of arithmetic at eighteen. His physical frame being delicate, he was sent 
to travel for his health a year later, and after a tini3 arrived at Wheeling, 
West Virginia, where he served four years at the trade of a saddler. 

It was while here that he was made acquainted with the enormities of 
the trade in human flesh; it was here he saw the barbarities of slavery. 
"It was here," he wrote, "that I saw the traffickers in human souls and 
bodies pass by with their iron-chained chattels. My heart was deeply 
grieved at the gross abomination; I heard the* wail of the captive; I felt 
the pangs of their distress, and the iron entered my soul." It was here 
he IK came a firm, determined and thorough Abolitionist, and resolved to 
d vote his life to the cause of freeing the negro. 

On leaving Wheeling he went to Mount Pleasant, Ohio, where he be- 
came acquainted with William Lewis ;m<l his sisters, one of whom 
eventually became Benjamin Lundy's wife. 

He started business for himself at St. Clairsville, Virginia, and in four 
years had earned three thousand dollars worth of property. Here, while 
industriously pursuing his usual business, he was not idle in the great 


cause which lay so close to his heart, arid in 1815, through his active ef- 
forts, Union Humane Societies were formed. 

About that time Charles Osborne started a newspaper at Mount 
Pleasant, called the Philanthropist, and soon after Lundy took a position 
upon it as assistant editor. He was invited to become joint owner of that 
paper with Osborn, but having a stock of goods on hand to dispose of, 
and the best market being in the far West, he packed up his wares, put 
them in a boat, and floated down the Ohio, the three apprentices he 
had with him working at their trade, while he steered the boat. Ar- 
riving in the Mississippi River, they rowed up that stream to St. Louis. 
While in that city, in 1819, the famous Missouri Compromise question 
was before the people that of admitting Missouri as a slave State. On 
this question he took an active part, in the negative, of course, writing ar- 
ticles for such of the few newspapers as would publish them. Congress 
having decided against his views, he left, not discouraged, but determined 
to watch, labor and wait. In the meantime he had lost several thousand 
dollars, his speculation proving to be a bad one, and he returned on foot 
to his old home at St. Clairsville, a distance of seven hundred miles! 

During his absence Osborne had sold the newspaper on which he had 
previously been employed, and the new publishers had decidedly lowered 
its standard, so Lundy determined to start a paper of his own. A news- 
paper in which he had been promised an interest, at Mount Pleasant, had 
been removed to Jonesboro, Tennessee, leaving the field at Mount Pleas- 
ant open to him. Accordingly he removed there, and in January, 1821, 
he commenced the publication of The Genius of Universal Emancipation. 
Not then having a press of his own, he was compelled to hire his press- 
work done at Steubenville, Ohio, a distance of twenty miles, to which 
place he went to and fro on foot, carrying his printed papers on his 

After having issued eight monthly numbers of the Genius, the owner 
of the former paper which had been removed from Mount Pleasant to 
Jonesboro, Tennessee, died at the latter place, and his paper ceased to be 
published. His friends and the friends of the cause urged him to go to 
that place and, if possible, obtain possession of the press and fixtures of 
the printing office. To this he assented, and at once started to Tennessee, 
a distance of eight hundred miles, about one-half of which distance he ac- 
complished on foot, and the remainder by boat. 

He rented the printing office at Jonesboro, and at once went to work 


to learn the practical or mechanical part of the business of running a 
newspaper, and in a brief time issued his paper from his new location in a 
monthly and weekly form, retaining for it the old but expressive name. 
While thus engaged, in the very heart of the slave-holding region, he was 
threatened with all sorts of violence. In the first place his coming there 
was considered an insult to the slaveocracy, and in the next, his merciless 
denunciation of their peculiar institution of slavery was unbearable. On 
one occasion two ruffians came a distance of thirty miles to demand the 
retraction of an article which had been published in the Genius. They 
invited Lundy into a private room, shut and locked the door, and flourish- 
ing their knives and pistols, undertook to enforce their insolent demand. 
But they were mistaken in the grit and firmness of their man. High 
words resulted, which attracted the attention of^ the owner of the house, 
who came to the assistance of the spunky editor. 

Finding his business prosperous, he sent for his family, who joined him 
there, and there he lived for three years, doing yeoman service, constantly 
provoking the wrath of his enemies, repeatedly subjected to personal 
abuse of the vilest character, both in his office and upon the streets, and 
sometimes personal attacks ; yet bravely fighting for his principles, his 
rights of speech and the freedom of the press, continually pouring red hot 
shot into the foe. 

He was the first delegate who ever attended an abolition convention 
from any portion of the country as far south as Tennessee. He made a 
trip on horseback, at his own expense, a distance of six hundred miles, to 
attend a meeting of the enemies of slavery at Philadelphia, in 1832. 

The Genius of Universal Emancipation had by this time obtained an 
extensive circulation and a wide fame all over the country, and as it was 
the only anti-slavery newspaper in the United States at that time, he con- 
cluded to transfer the publication of it to one of the Atlantic cities, hoping 
thereby to greatly increase its circulation and widen its influence. 

In pursuance of this plan he shouldered his knapsack and set out on 
foot for Baltimore, in the summer of 1824, on his way delivering his first 
public lecture on the subject of Slavery, at Deep Creek, North Carolina. 
So well were the people pleased with this, the first lecture they had ever 
heard on this topic (many of the community happening to be Quakers), 
that they appointed a second meeting, where he again spoke, crowning his 
eff orts tjiere by the formation of an anti-slavery society. 

At another place he went to a house raising and lectured to the per- 


sons there assembled, and at another place managed to get an audience 
at a militia muster, the captain of the day being very liberal in his views 
on the subject of slavery, and some of his hearers belonging to the Society 
of Friends. Here too an anti-slavery society was formed, the militia cap- 
tain being chosen its first president. 

During this trip through North Carolina he organized no fewer than 
twelve or fourteen anti-slavery societies. 

Leaving North Carolina, he passed through Virginia, in which State he 
formed several anti-slavery societies also. 

Mr. Lundy reached Baltimore in due time, and promptly began prepa- 
rations for issuing his paper there, and in October, 1824, the first number 
of the Genius was issued in that city. He brought his family on from 
Tennessee very soon after. 

During his journey to Baltimore he converted a slave-holder, who gave 
up to Lundy eleven slaves, on condition that he would take them to where 
they could enjoy equal rights, and he had them sent to Hayti. 

In 1825 he went to that island to look after his proteges, and while 
there he received the sad intelligence of the death of his wife. On his 
return to the United States he resumed his work of pushing forward the 
circulation of his paper, meeting with considerable success. 

In 1828 he journeyed through the Middle and Eastern States to ex- 
tend the circulation of his newspaper, lecture, and make acquaintances. 
It was during this expedition he met Arthur Tappan, of New York, 
and William Lloyd Garrison, of Boston, neither of whom had at that 
time acquired any of the fame which afterward became so world- wide, 
nor in fact had they even then become publicly known at their own homes 
as abolitionists. After many endeavors he succeeded in getting up a 
meeting in Boston, where the first anti-slavery society was formed. 

He also lectured on the anti-slavery question at Hartford, New 
Haven, Newport, Providence, Nantucket, Portland, and many other 
towns, with varying success. 

In November, 1828, he visited New England a second time, and re- 
quested William Lloyd Garrison to assist him on the Genius; but that 
gentleman was then conducting an anti-slavery paper of his own, in Ver- 

Mr. Lundy's mode of conducting the Genius provoked the deadly ire 
of a man named Austin Woolfolk, a Baltimore slave trader, who in 1829 
assaulted and nearly killed him. The judge before whom the case was 


tried, the assailant having been arrested, said from the bench that " Lundy 
got no more than he deserved," and sent a copy of his paper before the 
grand jury, pointing out to them several passages which he said were 
libelous; but that body failed to find a bill against him. 

In 1829 he went to Hayti a second time, with twelve slaves given to 
him this time by a slave-holder in Maryland, under circumstances similar 
to those herein before related. 

After his return he was joined by Win. Lloyd Garrison in the editor- 
ship of the Genius, and Mr. Lundy made another tour, during which Mr. 
Garrison, less guarded than his chief, or failing to enjoy that warm per- 
sonal friendship which it was the peculiar good fortune of Lundy to secure 
everywhere he went, was arrested and thrown into jail because of his out- 
spoken denunciations of slavery, but was finally released on payment of a 
fine, when he left the city. The paper then fell to Lundy's exclusive 
management, and not being able to secure a competent and suitable assist- 
ant, ilt was changed from a weekly to a monthly publication. The hatred 
which had achieved a victory over Garrison was started in pursuit of 
Lundy, and half a dozen indictments were procured against him in the 
courts, arid he too was imprisoned. On being released, he abandoned 
Baltimore and removed to Washington City. 

In 1830 he traveled extensively in Canada, and awakened the anti- 
slavery sentiment there with a view to secure an asylum in that country 
for fugitive slaves from the United States. He also went to Texas to see 
what could be done toward establishing a grand free labor project there, 
and afterward to Mexico for the same purpose, and until 1836 he spent 
nearly his whole time in making many arduous journeys and fruitless 
efforts to transfer his colony of free negroes in Hayti to Texas or Mexico. 

During the absence of Lundy in the South-west and in the land 
of the Montezumas, the Genius was conducted by different persons. 
Under the management of Evan Lewis, in Jamiary, 1834, its place of pub- 
lication was removed to Philadelphia, at which place Mr. Lewis died in 
the same year. It was then taken charge of by Rev. Dr. Atlee, and under 
his management it was suspended for want of adequate support. At that 
time Mr. Lundy had been absent about three years, occasionally writing 
letters and communications for it, but otherwise unable to furnish that 
fire, vim and spirit which had for so many years characterized that staunth 
champion of human rights. It died more for the lack of the brains and 
energy of its founder than anything else. 


In November, 1835, Mr. Lundy returned from Mexico, and issued one 
number uf the Genius, brim full of its old time fire and fury against 
slavery, and in August of the following year began the issue of 
another weekly anti-slavery newspaper at Philadelphia, called The Na- 
tional Enquirer, and in the same month re-commenced the publication of 
the Genius. 

January 31, 1837, a large and enthusiastic convention of the people 
was held at Harrisburg, Pa., which formed a State society. Among other 
proceedings it adopted a resolution complimenting the veteran agitator, as 
follows : 

WHEREAS, By the self-denying zeal and untiring efforts of Benjamin Lundy, he sus- 
tained the " Genius of Universal Emancipation" for eight years of general apathy on the sub- 
ject of slavery, when no pecuniary embarrassment, no privations of society, no cold neglect 
or indifference to his warning voice could dissuade him from his fixed principles of duty, he 
finally drew and fixed the attention of many who were abused by it throughout the land ; 

Resolved, That Benjamin Lundy receive the thanks of this Convention. 

On the 9th of May, 1838, Lundy retired from the charge of the En- 
quirer, and was succeeded by the Quaker poet, John Or. Whittier. 

The Abolitionists of Philadelphia had built and dedicated to the cause 
of freedom a splendid public hall, which cost $30,000. On the night of 
the 17th of May, 1838, a mob broke into and fired the building, which 
was burnt down. In it were all Lundy's private papers, together with 
all his personal effects, which had been stored in a room of the hall, 
awaiting his journey to the West. He wrote concerning the event: "My 
papers, books, clothes everything of value, except my journal in Mex- 
ico, are all all gone, a total sacrifice on the altar of Universal Eman- 
cipation. They have not yet got my conscience, they have not taken my 
heart, and until they rob me of these they cannot prevent me from plead- 
ing the cause of the suffering slave. 

" The tyrant (may even) hold the body bound, 
But knows not what a range the spirit takes. 

" I am not disheartened, though everything of earthly value (in the 
shape of property) is lost. Let us persevere in the cause. We shall as- 
suredly triumph yet" 

In July, 1838, Lundy left Philadelphia for Putnam County, 111., to 
which place his children removed. On his way he formed the acquaint- 
ance of a young woman of Pennsylvania, a member of the Society of 


Friends, with whom he contracted a matrimonial engagement. While on 
this journey, he wrote to his friends that his health was excellent, and 
that he felt happy in being clear of the crowded city. Reaching his des- 
tination, which was the Quaker settlement near Magnolia, on September 
19, he wrote: "lam here at last among my children. This is emphati- 
cally one of the best and most beautiful countries that I have ever seen." 
He afterward on the same day attended an anti-slavery convention at 
Hennepin, composed of intelligent men and women. It passed a unani- 
mous resolution to encourage the circulation of the Genius, and a large 
number of subscriptions were immediately obtained. 

Having been disappointed in several attempts to purchase a press and 
outfit at Hennepin, where he desired to settle, he received a proposition 
from some of the inhabitants of Lowell, LaSalle County, to establish his 
paper there, and accepting their proposition, he went there in the winter 
of 1838-9, accompanied by his son Charles, his other children following 
in the spring. 

In a letter dated February 3, 1839, he says: "I have purchased a 
printing office, and established it at a new town called Lowell ; but we 
have no post office yet, and the Or. U. E. will be published a while at Hen- 
nepin. I have found great difficulty in getting my printing done, but am 
now prepared to go on regularly as soon as I receive paper, for which I 
have sent to St. Louis." Lundy built a house and printing office at 
Lowell, and in the spring purchased a tract of land about four miles dis- 
tant. His paper was irregularly printed for want of funds and help, he 
having, for a portion of the time, no other assistants than his two sons, 
one of whom attended to the farm. Early in August he was attacked by 
a fever of a kind then prevalent in that region, but rallied, and tried to 
work a few days, when he was compelled to seek his bed again, though 
not thought to be dangerously affected. On the morning of the 21st he was 
again in his office, and wrote a note to one of his children, stating that he 
had been quite unwell, but was now better. In the afternoon of the same 
day he was seized with severe pains, and retired to the house of his friend, 
Wm. Seeley. The next day he continued to grow worse, and suffered 
much pain until ten o'clock in the evening, when he grew easier and more 
comfortable. Being told by a physician that his end was probably ap- 
proaching, he replied that he " felt much better he felt as if he were in 
paradise." At 11 o'clock on the evening of the 21st of February, 1839, 
Benjamin Lundy passed peacefully away, without a groan or a struggle. 


His remains, attended by a large concourse of relatives and friends, were 
removed to the house of his son-in-law, Isaac Griffith, near Magnolia, 
whence, on the following day they were removed, and interred in the 
Friends burying ground on Clear Creek. 

Thus terminated the earthly career of one of the most self-sacrificing 
and indefatigable reformers this country has ever produced. Having re- 
solved, twenty-three years before his decease, to devote his life and ener- 
gies to the relief of the suffering slave and the freedom of the colored 
people from bondage, he nobly and heroically kept that pledge, and so far 
as was in his power, redeemed this promise, persevering to the end, un- 
discouraged by difficulties, not dismayed by obstacles nor appalled at 
the magnitude of the herculean task before him. 

In stature he was rather under the average size, of slender form and 
slightly built. His complexion was of the nervous - sanguine order, with 
a cheerful disposition ; always polite and agreeable in conversation ; never 
gloomy or despondent. He was afflicted with a difficulty of hearing from 
an early age, a circumstance which was of great inconvenience and disad- 
vantage to him. He was positive but courteous in defending his opinions, 
and never neglected any opportunity to assert and maintain his views. 


The boys of the present day who think they discount their Ancestors 
in the charivari business are mistaken. When those old fellows under- 
took a thing of the kind it was carried through regardless of time or con- 
sequences. We knew an incident of the kind in early times which was 
kept up continuously every night for three weeks, because the groom 
would not come down with the whisky. It finally became such a nui- 
sance to the occupants of a hotel near by that Wm. S. Hamilton, a Col- 
onel in the Black Hawk war, and the man who surveyed Peoria, treated 
the crowd, and then presented his bill for the same to the groom. He 
refused to pay and was sued, in which the Colonel got beaten. 

Two noted charivaris are mentioned as having occurred at Magnolia, 
which were conducted by the "boys," and as several of those who partici- 
pated are yet living, sedate and gray-haired old men, the mention of them 
here is relevant. 

There was a wedding in the neighborhood, and after the festivities 


usual on such occasions, the lights in the house where the newly married 
couple were, were extinguished and all was quietness and repose. But 
this was not to be of long continuance. John Dent, Joseph Hall and 
Thomas Patterson, as leaders, with a number of other young fellows, all 
bent on having lots of fun, who had concluded to give the young couple a 
charivari and had laid their plans accordingly, having kept their move- 
ments from the knowledge of all who were not to be concerned with them, 
assembled at the quiet hour of midnight and started for a grocery kept by 
a man known as "old Patterson." The keeper of this establishment was 
aware of what was going on, and when the crowd came to his place 
they were supplied with a stimulus which inflamed and incited them 
to excesses which it is probable they otherwise would not have been 
guilty of. Being thus prepared the party started for the house where 
the happy and unsuspecting couple reposed, and as they approached 
they broke forth with a hullabaloo and racket that was simply infernal. 
Beating on tin pans, blowing horns, ringing bells, the barking and 
howling of dogs, lowing and bleating of cattle, and snorting and clattering 
of horses were all exceeded by the shouting, hurrahing, screeching, 
screaming and every other possible noise which could be made by half- 
crazy human beings. 

This pandemonium was kept up around the house unceasingly. No 
persuasion on the part of the groom or the gentleman at whose house he 
was availed anything. They were impelled by a spirit of malicious mis- 
chief to commit an outrage upon decency, and they gave full vent to it. 
From time to time detachments from the party would return to old Pat- 
terson's, fill up anew with whisky, and return to continue their disagree- 
able proceedings, and it was not until after daylight the next morning 
that they became exhausted and retired to their homes. 

The noises and uproar they made caused a stampede among such 
cattle, horses and swine as could get out of their enclosures. About ten 
horses and the same number of cattle belonging to Captain Hawes ran 
off toward the timber, and it was three or four days afterward before 
their owner found them. They had strayed more than fifteen miles from 

home. An individual known as old Billy R , who had proposed 

taking a hand in the fun, became so intoxicated at Patterson's groggery 
that he was unable to go with the "boys," and brought himself to anchor 
upon a stump a fourth of a mile from the scene of action, and con- 
tributed his quota of music by continually howling and ringing a cow 


hell. The maliciousness of some of the participants led them to shave 
the hair from the tail of tin groom's horse, and to take a wheel from his 
buggy and hide it some distance away among the bushes. The wheel 
was not forthcoming until a week afterward, and then it required the 
payment of a fee cf five dollars to secure it. During the melee John 
Dent opened the window of the room occupied by the newly married 
couple, and in true and faultless Indian style gave a prolonged war-whoop. 

The ringleaders of this disgraceful aff air were arrested on a charge of 
disturbing the peace, and taken before a magistrate for trial. The 
offenders employed to defend them a young lawyer who, for the sum of 
twenty dollars cash to him in hand paid, promised to secure their discharge. 
This young man was T. L. Dickey, now one of the Justices of the Supreme 
Court of Illinois. 

The ill-feeling caused by the affair slowly subsided, and in a few 
months' time all the parties were on friendly terms again. 

It was not long before John Dent discovered his affinity, and the sub- 
ject of his approaching marriage was the talk of the whole neighborhood. 
Captain Hawes, who had felt personally offended at the previous affair, 
determined that Dent, who was the foremost spirit and instigator of it, 
and who had given that blood-curdling war-whoop, should himself enjoy 
the pleasure of a charivari on his wedding night. He organized a party 
of about fifty boys and men, saw that they were properly equipped with 
a suitable assortment of musical instruments, and at midnight began 
an entertainment and concert the variety and vehemence of which threw 
the previous affair entirely in the shade. When daylight came the 
serenaders retired, but to return again the next night, and again the next, 
and John Dent was the unwilling recipient of the three times repeated 
compliments of Captain Hawes and his band of musicians. During the 
excitement Dent thought to appease the mob by opening the door and 
trying to argue with them upon the impropriety and ridiculousness of their 
conduct, but when he did so in a moment the house was filled with peo- 
ple, and it was not until he prepared to burn gunpowder that they left 
his apartments. 

Dent, while not fancying the entertainment prepared for him by 
his neighbors, would not have seriously objected to their performances if 
they had been brought to a final close the first night ; but he well knew 
that the continuance of them through three consecutive nights was the 
work of Hawes, and done in spiteful retaliation for what he had himself 


done, and he became so vexed with his old and oft-tried friend that he 
would not speak to him for several months. But finally these asperities 
became softened, and on a certain occasion, meeting with mutual friends, 
they shook hands and became as good friends and as warmly attached as 


In 1832 a Frenchman stole a squaw from some friendly Indians near 
Hennepin. Some time after a couple of Indians of the band to which she 
belonged came past the Frenchman's cabin, and recognizing the squaw, 
seized her and forcibly conveyed her home. The Frenchman on returning 
followed the party until discovering Indian signs, he procured the aid 
of a number of white men, and went in pursuit. He was dangerously 
valiant, and begged as a personal favor that the crowd would let him 
"chaw up the Indians" who stole his wife as soon as caught. 

On their way the party met an Indian on a pony at a creek. The In- 
dian was apparently peaceably inclined, so they rode over in "Indian file," 
the last man to cross being the Frenchman. The Indian waited until he 
was about to enter the creek, and then seized him, exclaiming, "Bad white 
man! steal Indian's squaw eh? and come back to steal she again not 
much eh!" And he pitched into the Frenchman and gave him a good 
"licking." The valorous gentleman from Paris covered his face with his 
hands and shouted, "Sacaree! Ouch! Ze blodee Ingeon! By gar, he too 
mooch gouge moine eye-ouchee ! Mur-r-r-dar ! " But never a blow did he 
strike, while his white companions looked on from across the creek in a 
high state of merriment. 

When the Indian had satisfied himself, he rode away, leaving the ter- 
rified and well-pounded woman-stealer in a sad state. As soon as the 
Indian had gone the Frenchman waxed blood-thirsty again. 

At HartzelTs trading house they met a large number of Indians, in 
anything but a friendly mood. Among the white men was a young man 
named Cummins, a model of physical strength and courage. He, by com- 
mon consent, acted as spokesman for the party. The Indians accused him 
of having come after the squaw, while Cummins denied it. The Indian 
who seemed to lead the party was ugly, and only wanted a pretext to be- 
gin a row. He challenged Cummins to wrestle, which, however, meant 
to fight. Cummins had two pistols, which he kept concealed, and where 
his antagonist could not reach them. Mr. Heed, one of the white men, 


stood over the two as they scuffled, determined to see fair play. The 
match was nearly even. The Indian was the superior in strength, but 
Cummins excelled in agility, and was something of a scientific wrestler. 
It was thought if the Indian had got Cummins under, he would have 
knifed him; but Cummins repeatedly threw his adversary, so finally the 
Indian feeling convinced of Cummings' superiority, was glad to call it a 
tie. The boys got the Indians mellow on whisky, and gladly stole away. 



The Indians were numerous when the prairie was first settled by the 
whites. They lived on the bottoms near the Illinois River, in two camps 
about equi-distant from Strawn's settlement. The lower camps were occu- 
pied by two or three hundred Kickapoos, while the other, three miles above, 
consisted of a fragment of Shaubena's Pottawatomie Indians. Both tribes 
were on the most friendly terms with the settlers, and each race found a 
positive advantage in trading with the other. The Indians brought the 
white people meat and honey in exchange for corn, flour and tobacco. 
They would beg for corn out of the crib in winter, and standing in the 
snow, eat it raw, like squirrels. They never entered a house where there 
was a fire, except for a few moments, and when near the heat made signs 
as if suffocated by it. 

Shaubena's camp of Indians was small from twenty-five to one hun- 
dred people. They were a roving set, hunting at Bureau, Ottawa, or 
elsewhere, and never many at a time in camp, while Shick-shack's tribe 
were more inclined to remain at home. Shaubena's Indians were given 
to drinking whiskey, while the others rarely touched it. 

The Indian braves scorned to do manual labor. They would catch 
fish and leave them in their canoes to rot in the sun if the squaws were 
not near to carry them to the wigwams and dress them. They would kill 
deer and hang them up in the woods, come to the camp, and send the 
squaws and ponies long distances to find them and bring home the meat, 
half putrid sometimes before it was skinned and ready for use! They 
could, if absolutely necessary, very expeditiously skin a deer, but they 
looked upon all labor as degrading, and made the squaws do the drudgery. 

Shick-Shack, the Indian, and his band lived ;it the mouth of Clear 
Creek. He was a large, active and intelligent oil man, respected by 
the whites and venerated by his tribe. He was honest and punctual in 


airhis dealings, and withal possessed considerable ability. He inclined read- 
ily toward the ways of civilized life, and probably was the first Indian in 
this region to avail himself of the Yankee breaking plow to open up the 
soil for cultivation. He raised good crops of corn, and had a sensible idea 
of the relative value of the different articles of barter. He cared little 
for trinkets and gew-gaws, and frequently reproved his men for buying bits 
of colored glass or brass ornaments. 

He was for peace, when Black Hawk plunged the country into war. 
Foreseeing that the natural and lasting animosities which it had kindled 
between the two races would prevent them from dwelling together, he 
deemed it better they should separate ; therefore, bowing to the inevitable 
and unalterable decree of fate, went westward with his tribe in 1833, after 
which no Indians, or at least but a few stragglers were ever seen on this 
side of the Mississippi. 


When Captain Hawes moved to Magnolia, he brought with him from 
Sangamon County a few hogs, as up to that date (1826) there were none 
in the country. He permitted his pigs to run at large, and the woods 
being filled with "mast," the swine fattened and increased, and he seemed 
to have lost all right of property in them. The Indians lived upon them, 
and new settlers shot them whenever they wanted pork. They became 
wild, but never dangerous. 

One fall, in about 1832, Captain Hawes concluded to assert ownership 
over these wandering porkers, and obtaining an Indian guide, started 
on a hunt. After traveling all day they became pretty hungry, and shot 
a wild turkey, which was dressed, roasted and eaten. They slept upon 
the ground under a tree. The Indian before lying down drew forth his 
butcher knife and plunged it into the soil up to the hilt, the Indian sign 
of peace. The Captain took the other side, taking care to leave a respect- 
able space between its sharp edge and his ribs! 


A desire to wed is a pardonable ambition in Eve's daughters the world 
over, and Jeremiah Strawn states a well remembered incident that befel 

Once when on his way from Ohio, he stopped over night at a log 


house on the Sangamon River, and was waited upon at table by a 200- 
pound girl with rosy cheeks and bright eyes, who questioned him about 
the people of the settlement, and when told that wives were in demand, 
begged him to take her along, saying with a sigh that she "had lived 
six months on the Sangamo Bottom without seeing a young man," and 
added that "she could never get married at that rate." Mr. Strawn told 
her to hope on, but she insisted, with tears in her eyes, that there was no 
hope while she staid there, and begged to be taken along, which S., in 
view of her weight and the fact that his pony was small, the distance 
great, and a wife and children already to look out for, declined to do. 




BETWEEN Little Sandy and Clear Creek, a couple of streams 
which enter the Illinois River, flowing from the east, in 
Putnam County, near Hemy, there is a beautiful, irregu- 
larly shaped fanning region, about five miles in length from 
east to west, and varying from one to two and a half miles 
in width, from north to south. This is known as Ox Bow 
Prairie. The name comes from a real or fancied resem- 
blance of the lines of timber around this prairie to an 
ox bow which the settlers used upon their patient animals for draft 
purposes. The likeness, however, is greatly exaggerated, as that region 
now appears, though perhaps before the present growth of younger tim- 
ber had appeared and the original marginal lines of the environing woods, 
as yet unmarred by the axe of the settler, were clear and distinct, the 
resemblance to an ox bow might have justly warranted the title. 

With the exception of a narrow neck at the eastern extremity, where 
the projecting ends of the fancied bow do not join, the prairie is surounded 
by timber, gradually widening the lines of its boundary till near the 
western limits, where they gracefully form into a circle, and meeting, 
form the outlines of the tolerably perfect base of the mammoth bow. 

The timber growing near the two streams named comprises all the 
more valuable kinds and varieties of trees found in this State. In these 
woods there is an abundance of excellent water. There are numerous 
springs, which add their generous contributions to the creeks, ravines and 
gullies, and are reached under the surface of the prairie by wells varying 
from twenty to thirty-five feet in depth. In this way unfailing quanti- 
ties of pure water are obtained and at trifling expense. 

This prairie in olden times was one of the best known localities in 
Northern Illinois, and in priority of date of its settlement by white peo- 
ple, takes rank with the first made between Peoria and the Wisconsin 

In early days Ox Bow Prairie was as well known as Galena, Chicago, 


Peoria or any point in the State. This section, by reason of its geographi- 
cal position, the wonderful fertility of its soil, its fine drainage, its superior 
supply of water, and especially because it was surrounded by heavy tim- 
ber, seemed a very Garden of Eden to the immigrant from the wooded 
countries of the East. 

In consequence of its peculiar location its settlement was rapid, and 
long ago it was so completely improved that not a foot of its soil was left 
unoccupied. ' 



Lyman Horram was one of the earliest settlers on Ox Bow Prairie, 
having located there in October, 1830, selecting a place near where Cale- 
donia was originally laid out. Soon other settlers came in, and he found 
himself surrounded by such neighbors as Capt. William Hawes, John 
Dent, George H. Shaw, Ephraim Smith, Maj. Elias Thompson, Samuel 
Glenn, Isaac Glenn, Hiram Allen, John Lloyd, Mr. McCaleb, William 
Kincaid, Hartwell Haley, Asahel Hannum, George Hildebrand, Isaac 
Hildebrantl, Townley Fyffe and John Boyle and family. Besides these 
there were no other permanent settlers there until about 1832. 

He made his first visit to the West in 1827, and during his meander- 
ings stood upon Starved Rock, in La .Salle County, in the summer of 
that year. This was three years before any white persons had made 
a settlement anywhere in that region of country. Dr. Walker, an 
esteemed and well known missionary among the Indians, had established 
a school for instructing Indian children near where Ottawa now stands. 
There were no settlers anywhere along the Illinois River between Dr. 
Walker's mission school and Peoria. 

These Ox Bow Prairie settlers built a fort for defensive purposes on 
a corner of Lyman Horram's farm. It was a well built stockade, en- 
closing about one-fourth of an acre of land, and had bastions at the 
diagonal corners, from which those on the inside could protect the 
fortification from attack by raking fires along the outer walls. The 
settlers, from fear of danger, occupied their fort at night for about six 
weeks, leaving it in the daytime, to attend to their respective duties. 
Mr. Horram, however, made use of its sheltering walls for but one night 
only, preferring to take his chances while attending more assiduously to 
the care of his growing crops and his stock. One of his fields extended 


on two sides of the fort, in which he had a splendid crop of growing oats. 
When they were being harvested signs were discovered which indicated 
that they had afforded shelter to prowling Indians, who had come within 
easy range of the fort for reconnoitering purposes. If they had ever 
really intended to attack the settlers their plans were abandoned when 
they learned of the to them disastrous termination of the war which had 
been carried on by Black Hawk. 

Among the few remaining dwellers on Ox Bow Prairie is Abner Boyle, 
son of David Boyle, who came to the country in 1829, and with his sons 
built a cabin and raised twenty acres of corn, yielding fifty and sixty 
bushels to the acre. This they got ground at the mills on the Mackinaw 
River, fifty miles away, and with a plentiful supply of venison, made a 
comfortable "live" of it through the winter. Times were hard, but 
their wants were few, and the average of enjoyment compared favorably 
with to-day. 

My. Boyle's cabin was a model of simplicity, being simply a pen of 
loosely laid up logs covered with shakes. The spaces between the logs 
never having been " chinked," windows were not required, and as cooking 
was done out of doors, neither fire-place nor chimney were needed. In 
1830 he was commissioned post master by Gen. Jackson, and the office 
named Ox Bow ; but people had little time to write letters in those times, 
and it cost twenty-five cents to get a letter from the East, so that com- 
missions were not sufficient to pay for the labor of opening and examin- 
ing the mails, and he resigned. 


During the terribly severe winter of 1830-31 the Ox Bow settlers 
were in danger of suffering from want of sufficient food. By adhering to 
a rigid economy, and taking the greatest care of their stocks of provisions, 
they were enabled to pull through, the more needy and destitute having 
their wants supplied by those who were better off. 

In 1831 a hand grist mill was put in operation by Mr. Z. Shugart, by 
which the people were enabled to have their corn converted into meal and 

Dr. David Ritchie acted as physician to nearly all the settlers on 
Ox Bow, having begun the practice of medicine there in 1831. 

Rev. William Royal, a Presbyterian minister, looked after their 


spiritual wants, performed the marriage service for lovers, christened 
the children and buried the dead. Church festivals and donation parties 
were not in vogue in those primitive days. 

The first school house that was built was located near Caledonia, and 
Dr. Ashley was the first teacher who undertook to instruct the young 
people therein. 


During the Black Hawk war, Ox Bow Prairie was the scene of fre- 
quent alarms. The red marauders had been seen skulking on the edge of 
the timber, and in the dense brush along the creeks. They had killed 
cattle belonging to Horrara and Mr. Glenn, near their owners' houses, be- 
sides committing other depredations, and the people were justly' in a state 
of constant fear for their personal safety. 

Shick-Shack brought word that the Indians talked of coming in force 
to drive the whites away, and their daily appearance was feared. While 
the stockade was being built a number of families stayed at Enoch Dent's 
through the day and hid in the bushes at night. Mr. James T. Hunt, of 
Wenona, remembers being sent aloft to watch while his mother prepared 
the dinner below. The savory odor of victuals coming up the chimney was 
more than the boy could stand, so he deserted his post and came down, 
and was bolting a piece of pork when the door opened, and all unbidden 
in stalked a tall Indian. " Not the least obeisance made he," but he said 
in the best pigeon English he could command that he wanted something to 
eat. The boy's hair "straight uprose," while Mrs. Dent jumped beneath 
the bed. He was given the best in the house, and departed. 

On another occasion a number of women had met at the house of 
Enoch Dent, when a squad of Indians came past on their ponies. Some 
children, Mrs. Jas. S. Dent among the number, saw them coming, and gave 
the alarm. Mrs. Hawes ran up stairs, and the others scattered off into 
the bushes. Mrs. Dent ran into the yard and hid under the scant foliage 
of some wild gooseberry bushes, which only covered her back and should- 
ers, leaving her head and feet exposed to the view of the Indians, who, 
pointing to her as they passed, laughed immoderately. 


In 1826, and until the deep snow of 1830-31, Ox Bow Prairie and 
the timber around abounded with, wolves, prairie chickens, quails, 


blackbirds, crows, wild pigeons, snipe, etc. In the fall and spring numer- 
ous water fowl, such as ducks, geese and brant, covered the lakes and 
ponds, and sandhill cranes, for years a stranger to this section, were plen- 
tiful. There were many squirrels, a few rabbits, grey foxes, wild- 
cats, coons, pole-cats, woodchucks, but no pheasants, and but few 
opossums. A few swans were seen at times. That year was very fatal, 
and they were never so plentiful afterward. 

Captain Hawes says the wild hogs found here sprang from tame ani- 
mals brought in by the settlers, and allowed to run wild. Hogs that 
were allowed to ran out a single season got very "scary," and a few years 
would give them all th;j characteristics of the wild hogs of Europe. 

David Stateler states that prairie chickens were never so numerous be- 
fore as that winter and the next season. They scratched holes in the 
snow to the ground, and roosted in those holes safe from all foes. In 
walking through the fields, these places could be seen by hundreds, and 
the chickens would not fly out until you almost looked down upon them. 
But the quail and wild turkeys perished, and nearly all the deer, and for 
several years after that fatal wint< r but few of either were to be seen. 

Besides the wild-cat, or lynx, which the settlers frequently met with, 
they were outrageously annoyed by wolves, which abounded in great 
numbers. They prowled taround in close proximity to the settlement 
in such numbers as to defy the dogs usually found as appendages 
to every well regulated pioneer's family. Pigs, sheep and poultry were 
particularly enticing to them, and upon which they levied heavy tribute. 
A pack of twenty or thirty hungry wolves were too formidable for a few 
dogs to attack, and when they attempted it they usually came off second 
best. When they became too annoying, neighborhood hunts were organ- 
ized, at which many were killed. The Hon. John O. Dent, of Wenona, 
describes one that came off in an early day, the centre of which was about 
a mile south-east of Mount Pleasant, which corralled 250 deer and seventy 
or eighty wolves. Thirty wolves and flfty-one deer were killed. 


One evening in 1829 Captain Hawes and his family attended meeting 
at the Hollenback cabin, and listened to a discourse by the Rev. Father 
Walker. At the conclusion of the services, Adam Payne was called on 
to pray, and having a good opinion of his oratorical powers, "laid himself 


out," as the phrase is, for an unusual effort. He prayed for everybody, 
from Adam down, and seemingly for every thing, at last winding up, after 
exhausting the patience of all his hearers, including the minister. Father 
Walker spent the night with Captain Hawes, and on their way home said 
to the latter, "Brother Hawes, while Brother Payne was making that 
long prayer the devil whispered in my ear that your house was on fire, 
but as he is such an unconscionable old liar, I did not think he told the 
truth !" Captain Hawes was surprised at the strange apparent iytimacy 
between the devil and a good old Christian minister, but made no reply. 
They jogged along without increasing their speed, until coming in sight, 
the house was discovered ablaze around the chimney, and enveloped 
in smoke ! They arrived just in time to save the establishment, which, be- 
ing built of hard wood, had burned very slowly. 

The Captain has ever since been puzzled with the question: "What 
could have been the object of his brimstonic majesty in notifying Father 
Walker of the impending catastrophe ? Was it because he was wincing 
under the telling blows the devout Payne was raining upon him, and 
therefore desired to close the meeting?" To this day it is. an unsolved 
riddle with the Captain, and he can't understand the intimacy between 
the parson and his satanic majesty. 


George Hannum, when a lad of sixteen, shot a half-grown wolf which 
approached too near where he was feeding his cattle, and impaling the 
animal on a pitchfork, strung the young cub across his shoulder and 
started for home. But the animal was neither dead nor asleep, as his 
captor too confidently supposed, and tiring of this mode of conveyance, 
reached down and caught the boy by the seat of his pants, including a 
goodly portion of the young man's person. The astonished, not to say 
terrified youth, uttering a Comanche-like yell of surprise and pain, jumped 
about six feet, and dropping his lively burden, sped for home, one hand 
grasping the wounded "seat of honor," and the other frantically clutch- 
ing at space in general, and yelling for help ! The boys came to his relief, 
and the wolf was again made captive, but any reference to the adventure, 
or casual mention of a "fire in the rear," was ever afterward sure to pro- 
voke his ire. To this day it is said the mention of a wolf will involunta- 
rily cause him to grasp the seat of his pantaloons. 





'HE first mill in the neighborhood of Magnolia for grinding 
corn was put up by Mr. Hollenback in 1830, on Little Sandy 
Creek, near the village. The burrs were a species of blue 
granite found along the Creek, dressed by himself. The 
work of shaping and finishing was long and tedious, but 
when finished theywere very creditable specimens of Mr. 
Hollenback' s skill and patience. They were used for many 
years. The mill at first was run by hand power, the cus- 
tomer contributing his personal strength to the work while his grist 
was being ground. 

Captain Hawes, one of the Lewis brothers and Mr. Knox once ground 
three bushels of corn upon it, devoting to the job nearly half a day's hard 
labor ! The bolting was done at home, each patron taking his grist there 
when ground, and the women and boys removed the bran by means of a 


John Dent had a small hand mill on his place in 1833, on Little Sandy. 

In 1842 Amos Harney built a woolen mill in Magnolia, or else added 
carding machinery to a flouring mill already built. About 1843 Basore 
<fe Simonton removed the machinery from Kestor's mill on Sandy and 
set it up here. 

In 1835 Geo. Griffith had a saw mill on Clear Creek, and in 1837 con- 
verted it into a flouring mill. 

In 1839 Aaron Bascom built a saw mill on Clear Creek, half a mile 
from the liver road. 

In 1850 Mr. Gay lord set up a steam mill in Magnolia, which subse- 
quently fell into the hands of Mr. Bowers. 

Dwellers in this land of plenty can hardly realize the inconveniences 
to which the early settlers were subjected in the matter of food. In 1831- 
31 the stock of flour and corn-meal ran so low that an expedition was 
fitted out to go to " the Wabash " for flour. It consisted of five teams, 




the leader being Captain Hawes. They were absent four weeks, and re- 
turned loaded with provisions, to the great joy of their families. 


The first orchard on the prairie was planted by Captain Hawes, in 
1827, from seeds obtained in the American bottom. Although more than 
fifty years old, some of them are still standing and bear fruit. , Many 
procured fruit trees from Peoria, and others brought them from the older 



Innumerable are the incidents connected with the deep snow of 1830- 
31. Travel was suspended except in cases of necessity. Along the 
roads paths were beaten down, which could be traveled, but a horse or 
ox that got outside was apt to get fast. 

One day a man came to Knox's mill, with an old crowbate horse, for a 
sack of meal. The beast was poor and weak, and staggering beneath its 
load, fell into the snow and could not be extricated. The man took 
the load on his back and started home for help. While gone the wolves 
attacked the horse and ate large pieces out of its hams; yet the animal was 
alive the next morning, and gave a grateful neigh of recognition. 

Mr. David Stateler relates an event which to some will seem humor- 
ous, but to him had no fun to speak of. His family occupied a double 
cabin. In twenty-four hours a vacant room would be full of drifted 
snow up to the roof. All hands would "tackle" and shovel it out, but 
the next morning it would be full again. This had to be repeated day 
after day while the storm lasted. 

Another memorable event was the great freeze or sudden change of 
December 20, 1836, when the weather is said to have changed eighty de- 
grees in a few hours. Captain Hawes distinctly recollects the singular 
appearance of the sky, and says before the change his cattle, which were 
kept about the house, stampeded without any known cause to the timber, 
and could not be stopped. The following incident is related by him : 

On that day three men rode up to a house at Walnut Grove and 
stopped. They did not dismount, nor seem to have any business, or show 
any reason for thus halting. The inmates came to the door, and discov- 
ering that they were nearly covered with ice, rightly divined the cause of 


their silence, and managed to get the unfortunate men removed from their 
horses. Their legs were covered with ice, and so frozen to the girths and 
stirrups, and their clothing to the saddles that it was necessary to cut the 
girths and bring men, saddles and all into the house ! The horses, too, 
were about to freeze, but were taken to a hay-covered stable and cared for. 
After several - hours' work the men were "thawed out" and their lives 
saved, but with badly frozen feet, ears and noses. 

Mr. Studyvin vouches for the fact that rats were seen that day 
actually frozen fast in the mud while crossing the streets. Dead rats and 
pigs were found in the streets and alleys, and especially the former, which 
seem to have perished in large numbers eveiy where. 

Jeremiah Strawn is authority for saying that in five minutes mud froze 
sufficiently hard to bear a horse. 

Enoch Dent and his son John had a like memorable experience. With 
a young and mettlesome span of horses they were going some distance on 
an errand, when the young man was thrown from the wagon and got 
thoroughly wet in the mud and slush. The temperature began soon after 
to rapidly change. A piercing wind came from the north and west, laden 
with fine stinging hail-stones, which blinded the horses and men. John 
soon realized he was in a fair way of being frozen, and becoming alarmed, 
his father covered him with blankets, and " let the mares out." For the next 
half mile the team bounded like deer over the prairies. What had a few 
moments before threatened young Dent's death the water in his cloth- 
ing now froze into solid ice and proved his safety, forming a shield 
through which the Arctic blasts could not reach; but the father began 
to feel the premonitory symptoms of freezing. Fortunately they soon 
reached their destination, but were hardly able to enter the shop with- 
out help, they were so stiff and cold. They had not been inside three 
minutes when a man went out to put the horses under shelter, and 
found the wheels frozen in the tracks, and on attempting to unhitch the 
horses, the buckles were found to be frozen fast. Toward evening, find- 
ing they dare not drive home, they went three-fourths of a mile to Mrs. 
Swan's house, and in that short distance came near perishing. 


Captain Hawes' place was near the Lewis house, long known as the 
underground railroad station of the Quaker settlement. To see wagon 


loads of runaway negroes going past his dwelling toward Lewis' and the 
happy land of freedom beyond, was a common occurrence, one of weekly 
and sometimes of daily happening. The Captain in his quaint way says : 
"It got to be a regular thing. I used to look over toward Lewis' place 
mornings and see niggers roosting on the fence like a row of crows!" 

Sometimes pursuit was made after the escaping chatties, but there is 
no record of any ever having been caught in this locality. Their friends 
around Magnolia, Clear Creek and Ox Bow were numerous and deter- 
mined, and it would have gone hard with the slave catcher or officer who 
dared to venture here to reclaim one of these fugitives. The friends of 
the slave entered heart and hand and with their very souls into the work 
of helping the fugitive onward. 

Stephen and James Willis brought through Magnolia the first escaping 
slaves, in 1827 or 1828. 


Mr. John W. Laughlin was once followed by a large timber wolf a 
distance of two miles, the wolf coming at times within 200 yards of the 
somewhat nervous pedestrian, who did not run, but admitted that he 
" wanted to !" The hungry lupine came up to the house, when the family 
dog was started after him, and both being afraid of each other, the dog 
would chase the wolf out upon the prairie, when the latter would turn 
the tables upon the dog and run him back to the house, a race that was 
two or three times repeated. The gun being out of order, the boys armed 
themselves with axes and pitchforks and came to the rescue of their faith- 
ful "Towser," when the wolf disappeared. 

Some Mt. Palatine hunters remember with feelings of disgust the fol- 
lowing incident : They once drove a deer across the prairie toward Mag- 
nolia, where a man who lived near the timber helped them to capture and 
kill the animal. They carried the deer to the fellow's house by his invita- 
tion, and while dressing it dinner was announced, and they were pressed 
to come in and partake of the meal. A four hours' chase over the prairies 
had given the boys good appetites, and they eagerly accepted the welcome 
offer. When through and about to leave, the host inquired of them " if 
they had not forgotten something ?" They asked, " What ?" He replied, 
"To settle for your dinner." "Wall," drawled he, "I guess the deer 
will make it all right." He took the coveted venison upon his shoulder 
and packed it into the house, coolly adding, " Good day !" They left in 


as completely a disgusted state of mind as could possibly be imagined. 
In 1842 a noted circular hunt came off in the vicinity of Mt. Palatine, 
the " winding up " point being a clump of willows two miles south-east 
of town. Fifteen wolves and several deer were the result. While the 
party were dividing the game at its conclusion, a deer dashed past the 
hunters, and a Mr. Headly killed it with a cooper's adze. 


Illustrative of the inventive genius of the early settlers of this State, 
Mrs. John Laughlin, then Miss Jane Reed, living in Schuyler County, 111., 
remembers an experiment made by her mother, which suggests altogether 
a novel idea in the manufacture of cloth. She took the tall stalks of wild 
nettles, which grew r in abundance among the timber everywhere, and were 
three or four feet high, and putting them through the same process as was 
employed in the treatment of flax or hemp, made cloth of the lint or fibre ! 
It was coarse, strong and durable, and made a sort of towel, which com- 
bined the rubbing qualities of the washboard with the drying but not 
soothing effect of a modem fine crash napkin! 

The men and boys in those days (1830 to 1840) wore buckskin pants. 
After a day's wear in the snow or rain, and dried at night, they would 
stand them up by the beds ready for next morning's wear. As a little 
girl, Mrs. Laughlin remembers these pants standing stiff and ghost-like 
about the room! 


To the eastward of the line of timber bordering the Illinois River, 
and running outward along its tributaries between Magnolia and Gran- 
ville, there lies a stretch of prairie extending to the Vermilion River, in 
La Salle County. This, for beauty, richness of soil and perfection of 
farm improvements has no superior in the State. At the dividing line 
between La Salle and Putnam Counties, about six miles from Tonica, is 
situated the little village of Mt. Palatine. It was laid out June 23, 
1849, by Christopher Winters, and is at the north-east corner of Magnolia 
Township. - 

Winters had bought a large body of land here in 1830, and re-sold it 
mostly to settlers from Massachusetts, designing to start on his land " a 
live Yankee town." He also designed the establishment of an educa- 


tional institution, which when first built was called a seminary, but 
afterward its ambitious projector a:iJ patron succeeded in having it 
elevated, in name at least, to the dignity of " Judson College." 

In 1842 the first house in the town was built by "Deacon" Wood- 
bury, and afterward occupied by Elder Thomas Powell. Otis Fisher, 
of Granville, becama the first preacher in the settlement, in 1841. He had 
a small frame dwelling erected just outside the limits of the town, and 
lived in it for a year. ' 

Dr. Larned Davis first visited Mt. Palatine in J\ily, 1841, and be- 
gan making improvements, and therefore may be considered the first 
settler, though he did not make that place his permanent abode until 
1843. Mr. Winters' residence was built in 1839, and stands a few rods 
north of the village. He preferred not to reside within the limits of his 
projected town, but in a suburb thereof. There were two or three other 
houses built on the prairie near and around the town in 1842. One was 
put up near the meridian line, close to the town, by Mr. Winters, for 
Orrin Whitcomb, of Magnolia, who, however, failed to occupy it. 
Another, which was built in the spring and had been blown down, was 
re-raised in July, 1841, in which labor the few settlers of the country for 
several miles around took part, mustering not over a dozen men and boys. 
The only house within twenty-five miles in a south-easterly direction from 
Mt. Palatine was that of William Johnson, which was a mile away. 
Since then the country has completely filled up with thriving and indus- 
trious farmers. 

The town being an "inland" place, made some growth, but 'its nearest 
connection with the world being Tonica, on the Illinois Central Railroad, 
six miles away, its prospects for future growth are not very flattering. 

The probability of Mt. Palatine becoming a place of any considerable 
importance consisted of a scheme to make it a seat of learning. An acad- 
emy was therefore erected, which was paid for by subscriptions from the 
settlers in the neighborhood. The building, which was begun in the fall of 
1841, was plain and substantial, built of. brick. Rev. Otis Fisher, who had 
done much toward the building up of the academy at Granville, was in- 
duced to come to this new field of labor as superintendent, which he en- 
tered in the winter of 1842. For fifteen years the Academy flourished 
and the village grew in proportion, but the completion of the Illinois 
Central Railroad caused the building up of the rival town of Tonica, six 
miles distant, when the local trade and business, which had been the life 


of Mt. Palatine, ceased, and its further growth was not only stopped, 
but its rapid decline began. The Academy, too, ceased to be attractive, 
and it gradually subsided from its previous flourishing condition, and 
becoming unprofitable, was sold in 1860 to t 1 ^ Catholic people of the 
vicinity. A condition of the sale made between the two parties was to 
the effect that the buyers should maintain a permanent school in the 
building, which they have thus far done. A provision made in the trans- 
fer papers was to the effect that in the event of a failure to maintain such 
school, the title <5f the property should revert to the original owners. 
The building is used by the Catholics not only for school purposes, but as 
a church. 

Among the pupils who attended this Academy at different times were 
the Hon. Thomas Shaw and his sisters, now of Lacon, and Mr. Whittaker, 
who has since been a distinguished missionary to Burmah. 

This educational institution began at first under a charter as an 
Academy, but during the days of Mt. Palatine's brightest prosperity, look- 
ing forward to a higher position as an establishment of learning, the trus- 
tees obtained from the Legislature a charter as a College. Their building 
originally cost about $8,000. 

During the career of this institution there were several distinguished 
persons connected with it, among whom at one time was the poet Coates 
Kenney, author of "Rain on the Roof, : ' who officiated there as a teacher. 

In 1879 there were in Mt. Palatine three churches, a good district 
school, two general stores, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, post- 
office, one physician, about twenty-five dwellings scattered over sixty 
acres of ground, and a population of about one hundred people. Among 
its public institutions are a good village Literary Club and a Red Ribbon 
Society. The first hotel (built in 1852) was owned and run by Samuel 
Puffer, a good brick house, which is now occupied as a residence by John 
W. Laughlin. 

The first store opened in Mt. Palatine was that of Boardman Fulsom, 
where was sold drugs, groceries and dry goods. He began business here 
soon after the town was laid out, and retired from business in 1850. 


The people of this religious faith living at Mt. Palatine and vicinity 


were formally organized into a Society in 1845, and Elder Thomas Powell 
was the first pastor. 

The original members were: Thomas Powjll, Elizabeth Powell, Bar- 
bara Powell, Otis Fisher, Harriet N. D. Fisher, Nathan Kingsbury, Syrena 
Kingsbury, James Curtis, Mary J. Curtis, Isaac Woodbury, Eunice O. 
Woodbury, Jerusha Woodbury, Mary W. Boutwell, Eunice Graves, Na- 
thaniel Graves, Daniel Reniff, Rhoda Ren iff, Nancy Reniff, August Reniff, 
Ruth Stephens, Mary Reese, Wm. Johnson, Hepsibeth Johnson/ Peter 
Howe, Arvilla Howe, Larned Davis, Mary Davis, Hiram Larned, Abbey 
Larned, Orrin Whitcorab, Artemas O. Woodbury and Lydia S. Woodbury. 

The meetings of this sect were held at first at the school house, until 
the Academy building was erected, when they occupied that edifice until 
the dissolution of the Society, which was in 1865, about the time the 
building named was sold to the Catholics. 


January 3, 1869, a business meeting of those favoring the forma- 
tion of a Congregational Society was called, which met, and a committee 
consisting of John W. Laughlin, Robert Gallaher, A. L. Harrington, John 
Larned and John Morrison was appointed to obtain the names of such as 
were willing to enter into the proposed movement. The committee re- 
ported at an adjourned meeting held January 10, and again at a meeting 
held January 17. It was then decided to invite the Baptist and Method- 
ist Societies of Tonica and the Cumberland Church Society to join with 
them for general conference, with a view to the organization of a 
" broad gauge " church. The invitation was accepted, and the Council as- 
sembled February 6, George Gurnea being chosen as Moderator. After 
transacting the general business before the Council, the Congregationalists 
proceeded to effect their church organization, which they did by the elec- 
tion of A. L. Harrington, John Morrison and George Gurnea as Ruling 
Elders, John W. Laughlin, John Morrison and Andrew Powell as Trus- 
tees, James G. Laughlin Secretary, and John W. Laughlin, Treasurer. 

The next day, February 7, the Council again met at the school house 
at Mt. Palatine, the following delegates being present from other church 
organizations: Thomas Ware and Rev. H. V. Warren, from Granville 
Congregational Church; J. C. Hayward and Rev. J. W. West, from the 
Congregational Church at Tonica; Rev. N. W. Curtis, of the Methodist 


Episcopal Church at Tonica ; Rev. J. H. Bums, A. P. Dysart, N. B. Ful- 
som and R. W. Moore, of the Presbyterian Church at Granville ; and Rev. 
J. E. Roy, D. D., agent of the Home Missionary Society. 

This organization was composed of the following named members: 
John W. Laughlin and wife, James G. Laughlin, K. J. Davis, Margaret 
McNab, Caroline Lawrence, John Morrison and wife, A. L. Harrington 
and wife, George Gurnea and wife and Stephen W. Gallaher. 

During the six years preceding 1879, Dr. E. R. Robinson officiated as 
pastor for this Congregational Society, but resigned his holy calling, re- 
sumed the practice of medicine, and is now a leading physician in Mt. Pal- 

The Congregational Church edifice, a substantial building capable of 
seating 300 persons, and costing with its organ $3,500, is an ornament to 
that section of the country. 


For years an exceedingly pretentious building stood upon the prairie, 
near the county line, which was known as the Prospect House. It was 
erected in 1836 by Thomas Patterson, as a hotel or half way house on 
the Ottawa road, and was properly named, being located upon a high 
knoll or rise in the prairie. From the balconies of this house a most 
magnificent view of the country for many miles in every direction could 
be obtained. The central point of the grand wolf hunt of November 11, 
1842, elsewhere described, was at a small willow grove near Prospect 


This Society, one of the earliest religious denominations in the County 
of- Putnam, was organized at Caledonia, Septembers, 1836. The first 
pastor was Elder James B. Chenowith, who began his ministrations Octo- 
ber 1, 1836. The charter members were Wm. E. Larkins, Rachel Lar- 
kins, John Brumsey, Joseph Ash, Elizabeth Ash, Joel Corbell, Miriam 
Graves, I. D. Glenn and Sarah Glenn. Their present house of worship 
was built in 1855. 


In 1850, John Me Williams, a respectable citizen of Caledonia, hung 
himself. He arose from his bed at the usual hour on the fatal morning, 


built a fire and went out. His wife prepared breakfast, but her husband 
not returning in proper time, she supposed he might be busy in the stable. 
She went there to summon him to breakfast, when she was horrified to 
discover him hanging by the neck. His life had taken its everlasting 
flight. No cause was ever assigned for the rash act. 

In 1853, David Trone, a blacksmith, was killed by a remarkable acci- 
dent. He had constructed a contrivance propelled by horse power, by 
which to grind and polish plows. He had started it up on the xlay in 
question, and was making satisfactory progress, when the grindstone burst 
and a piece of it struck him in the breast, killing him almost instantly. 

In 1855 a man named Parsons, who had not been long married, living 
near the head of the prairie, went to the timber for a load of wood. He 
told his Avife he would return about noon. That hour came and passed, 
as did several others, and at about four o'clock she became very uneasy, 
and tried to induce some of the neighbors to go in search of him ; but en- 
tertaining none of the anxious young wife's fears for his safety, no one 
went. When night came and her husband failed to make his appearance, 
tue poor woman persuaded a few of her neighbors to accompany her. In 
this search, which was continued several hours into the night, they were 
unsuccessful, and the unhappy and disconsolate woman went weeping to 
her couch. 

The next morning the almost crazed woman set out alone in search of 
her husband, and as soon as she reached the timber she was struck dumb 
with the sight that greeted her eyes. She found the object of her long 
and painful search lying by the side of his sled, stiff and cold in death. 
He had been crushed by a large log which, in attempting to load upon his 
sled, had slipped and fallen upon him. There he had lain alive for sev- 
eral hours, as the snow within reach of his feet and hands showed the 
unmistakable evidence of his vain struggles to free himself. The horses 
had remained all night by the side of their dead master. After Mrs. Par- 
sons found the corpse, being unable to extricate it, she returned and told 
the dreadful story, and soon willing hands and sympathizing friends hur- 
ried to the scene, returning with their mangled and ghastly burden. .It 
was a sad case, and excited deep sympathy for the poor young wife. 


This estimable lady was a daughter of Mr. John E. Dent, and an aunt 


of Hon. John O. Dent, now a resident of Wenona. Her husband, Mr. 
William Cowan, visited Illinois in 1829, with a view to selecting a loca- 
tion for a settlement. He returned to his home in the East, but early in 
1831 came back, bringing his wife and family, an 1 for many years resided 
about a mile from Magnolia, at which place he died in 1864. 

Mrs. Cowan once had an amusing experience with a party of Indians, 
which she took pleasure in relating. On one occasion a half dozen war- 
riors came to her house and asked for food, explaining that they were 
hungry. She immediately prepared a meal for them, placing it upon a 
table with the usual accompaniment of dishes, knives and forks, and 
placed her copper-colored guests in position to enjoy the bountiful repast 
which she had prepared. They imagined the plates were placed before 
them to catch the juices that dripped from, their mouths as they tore their 
food ; but they examined the knives and forks curiously, and after debat- 
ing the matter, the bright idea struck one of them to dip his hand in the 
dish, sieze pieces of meaj;, stick them on the points of the knife and fork 
before him and hold them there, taking the meat from them with his fin- 
gers for conveyance to his mouth. The idea seemed a feasible one, and 
was immediately followed by each of the others. 


In 1857-8 this country literally swarmed with wild pigeons. Never 
before in the memory of the oldest inhabitant were these birds so plenti- 
ful, and never since has there been any such visitation. They filled the 
woods everywhere between Union Grove and Crow Creek, but, as is the 
habit with this peculiar variety of the feathered tribe, they flocked 
together and formed an immense "roost" in the woods near Jeremiah 
Strawn's house. Here they gathered in large numbers, coming in such 
clouds as at times to darken the sky. They would make a noise when 
disturbed in daytime like the rushing of a mighty wind storm. Their 
roost covered a space of about three-fourths of a mile in one direction and 
nearly double that in the other. They lodged upon trees until they broke 
off large limbs, and bent the tops of the saplings and undergrowth to the 
ground. At nights they were at the mercy of hunters, who, provided 
with flaming torches which blinded the birds, could shoot and slaughter 
at leisure. Persons came from considerable distances to obtain them as 



an article of food, and they generally returned loaded down with game. 
One evening Joshua Bush and his son Isaac killed 750 birds, and on 
another occasion Isaac brought down eighty-eight of them by discharging 
both barrels of his shot gun, firing promiscuously at a tree full of them. 






HE Township and village of Senachwine derive their names 
from a noted Indian chieftain formerly living in the vicinity, 
and whose remains were interred half a mile north-east of 
the village. The Township consists of one whole and one 
fractional township, and contains in all about forty-four sec- 
tions of land. It lies upon the west side of the Illinois 
River, and is made up of alluvial bottom and table land 
of unparalleled fertility. Portions are subject to overflow, 
but year by year the river is receding or the annual deposits raise the land 
so that a larger surface is brought under cultivation. 

The principal stream is Senachwine Creek, known in former times as 
the Little Elbow in contradistinction to a larger stream of the same name 
in the vicinity. 

Senachwine Lake is a pleasant body of water east of the village, about 
two and a half miles long and from eighty to one hundred rods wide, 
noted for its fine fish and for being a pleasant resort for hunting and bath- 
ing parties in summer. 

In 1885 a town was laid out here by B. M. Hayes, but appears to have 
died in the shell, as nothing of its histoiy can be learned. 

Subsequently the village of Senachwine was laid out by Peter Barn- 
hart and Cortland Condit, owners of the land. 

In the year 1 855 the Bureau Valley Railroad was built, and the same 
year James McCurdy opened a store, the first in the place. He was also 
the first postmaster. In that year, too, George H. Ward began the gro- 
cer's trade, and Aaron Haines built a hotel. At present the town con- 
tains about one hundred buildings of all kinds, and 400 inhabitants. It 
has two churches, a fine public school house, elevator, passenger building, 
flouring mill, several good stores, etc. 


The bluffs abound with coal, which, though easily mined, has never 
been developed. 

Early attention was given to schools, and a building for school pur- 
poses was erected in 1838, on an island in the lake, at which most of the 
young men of that day obtained the rudiments of their education. The 
first teacher was Mary Emerson, and her patrons were Messrs. Reed, Ba- 
con, Morgan, Talliaferro, Barnhart and Condit. For many years this 
building served its purpose, but long since gave way to a better structure 
and went to decay. 


The first white settler at Senachwine was James R. Talliaferro, who 
in March, 1835, made a claim on the site of the deserted Indian village. 
The only white settlers then in this valley besides himself were : Tyrrell 
Reeves, Jesse Perkins, Win. Lathrop and Russell Mallory and their fam- 
ilies. For many miles above and below, on the east side of the liver, 
there were no other settlers. 

At Henry there were Major Thompson, Mr. Stacey and Charles Nock. 
With the exceptions of Mr. and Mrs. Talliaferro, there are now none living 
of those first settlers of this Township. 

George Reeves, famous as "the outlaw," lived in a small shanty north 
of Talliaferro's dwelling, which is now known as the James Winship 
place. Reeves' brother Tyrrell at one time lived near the top of the same 
hill, but he subsequently removed to the lower end of Crow Meadow 
Prairie. There was a third brother named William, who lived with them a 
short time, but returned to Indiana. There was still another brother 
named John, who improved the place from which George was afterward 
expelled. Tyrrell and William improved the place which was afterward 
known as the Barnhart place. 

When Talliaferro moved to Senachwine he was accompanied by a 
young man named Asa Mounts, and a young woman, Charlotte Pfief- 
fer. These persons were subsequently, in the fall of 1835, united in 
marriage and settled north of Mr. Talliaferro's place, on the Perkins farm. 

The next settler was Wm. L. Gilbert, who occupied a part of the 
Barnhart farm, and near him Dr. Culbertson, a physician who did not 
practice his profession, also settled and improved the Wm. Wheeler place. 


In the fall of 1837, Samuel C. Bacon and Thomas Morgan settled upon 
the Culbertson claim. 

The wife of James R. Talliaferro came with her parents to LaSalle 
County in 1828, when' she was thirteen years of age; was married in 
1833, and came to live at her new home at Senachwine in 1836. The 
first death that occurred here was their son Norris, on August 21, 1836, 
an infant less than a year old. 

Thomas Morgan came to Hennepin in 1835, and was married to Clara 
Cook, sister of W. E. Cook, deceased, of Lacon, an account of whose wed- 
ding is given elsewhere. 

Peter Barnhart afterward bought Gilbert's claim and settled thereon 
in 1836. On this place he was prosperous, and there he ended his days. 

C. R. Condit came in 1836, and settled south of the Indian mounds, 
where he laid out the town of Senachwine, at first calling it Condit. 
Philip Reed arrived during the same season and made a claim on what 
was afterward the Drake farm. 

Lewis Thompson and Wm. Kidney arrived in 1837, and began improve- 
ments on their afterward well known homestead. James Buchanan came 
in 1838, made a claim and sold it to Matthew Hoyt, who occupied it the 
following year. 

William Williams started from his home in Philadelphia in 1837, went 
to Hartford, Indiana, where he remained till the spring of 1838, when he 
made a trip as supercargo of a flatboat down the Ohio and Mississippi 
Rivers and up Red River, returning to Hartford the next year. Later 
in the year he traveled across the country on horseback to Warford Bon- 
ham's, above Sparland. He afterward opened a claim in the Snyder 
settlement, where he became acquainted with John B. White, for whom 
the town of Whitefield was named. In 1843 he married Miss A. Lyon, 
having previously moved to Senachwine. He was Judge of Putnam 
County for six years, and held many different local offices, among them 
Justice of the Peace, the duties of which office he performed for twenty- 
five years. 

Samuel C. Bacon moved to Senachwine in the fall in 1837, and was 
the first Justice of the Peace of the precinct, and afterward of the town, 
an office which he held for over twenty-five years. 

John Williams came West in 1837, and settled at Hennepin, but after- 
ward moved to Senachwine, and settled on his present farm. 

Loton Frisbee settled near the bluff, in Senachwine, in June, 1835, 


near the line of Henry Township. At that time Russell Mallory lived on 
the prairie, but sold his claim the same year to Colonel Snyder, who pre- 
viously lived on Guy Pool's place. 


The first minister who ever preached in this locality was Elder James 
B. Chenowith, of the Baptist Church. He commenced his labors in 1838, 
and lived on a place about half way between Senachwine and Tiskilwa. 

In 1839 Rev. Mr. Kenyon, a Methodist, came into the neighborhood, 
and commenced a ministration in holy things. He was the first man to 
introduce a McCormick reaper in this section of country. 

In 1857 the Methodists, having 'increased in numbers so that no pri- 
vate house could accommodate them, built a neat and substantial church. 
Their first "class meeting" was organized in 1838. 


Surrounded by an amphitheater of hills, near the mouth of Little 
Senachwine Creek is a beautiful and romantic spot, whereon for ages 
stood a famous Indian village bearing the name Senachwine. This was 
the name of a prominent Indian chief who for nearly a hundred years had 
dwelt in this region. Between this historic place and the Illinois River 
there is a beautiful lake, celebrated for the abundance and excellence of 
its fish. The Indian chief gave his name not only to his village and this 
lake, but also to the creek which enters the valley here; and the town of 
the white people, the voting precinct and the township have all been hon- 
ored with the same title. This was also the name of the postoftice until 
some ambitious person with an unpoetic soul desired a^ change in the 
name of the office to make it conform with that of the railroad station 
near the old town, and had it called Putnam. 

In unknown ages past, this county was the bed of a great inland 
lake, and the bluffs northwest of the village, an island, which, as the 
waters subsided, became the wooded range of hills we now see. These 
mark the southeastern boundary of the small valley which afforded 
a site for the Indian village of Senachwine. These hills are separate and 
distinct from the Illinois River bluffs, and stand out upon the plain to the 
East, a marked feature in the landscape. 

Iji the vicinity are numerous mounds and remains of an ancient civil- 


ization, and on the top of a ridge east of Mr. Talliaferro's residence is a 
series of mounds in which some trace a resemblance to certain animals, 
and claim they were originally constructed for worship. 

The dwelling and a portion of the farm of James R. Talliaferro are in 
this beautiful valley, wherein stood Senachwine's village. Even as re- 
cently as 1835 the country around was strewn with the relics of Indian 
wigwams, and there were visible evidences of the existence of at least 300 
of their rude houses. Early French traders mention the existence of an 
Indian village there which numbered 500 lodges. 

The large number of mounds found upon the hills around this 
little valley can be accounted for on no other hypothesis than that this 
was once densely populated by the aborigines, and probably had been 
for many years an Indian burial ground. 

When Mr. Talliaferro first visited this locality, now more than fifty years 
ago, the grave of the old Indian chieftain, Senachwine (then not long dead), 
was shown him. The stakes which had been placed at each end of the grave 
were there still, and a high pole which had been placed near the spot to 
indicate its locality, still had fluttering at its top a small flag, which the 
old chief 's followers had placed there. Mr. Talliaferro's residence stands 
on the site of a once large and thriving town, inhabited by a race of peo- 
ple whose characteristics were entirely different from ours. Where wig- 
wams stood, the plowman regularly drives his team afield to cultivate the 
soil. The burial places of the red man of the forest are also utilized for 
similar purposes, and the mounds which were made to indicate their rest- 
ing places are being converted by the plowshare of modern civilization 
into corn and wheat fields. 


Senachwine, the famous Indian chief, of whom we have frequently 
made mention, died in 1830 at the Indian village which bore his name, 
and his body was buried with the pomp and ceremony which became his 
station. For many years his grave was an object of interest, not only to 
the white people, but to the Indians also, who came from long distances 
to visit it. 

In 1835 a large number of Pottawattomie Indians came to pay their 
tribute of respect to the memory of this dead chief. When they assembled 
around the mound they were greatly and justly indignant at finding the 




remains had been molested. Some worthless hunters, searching for valua- 

. ' O 

bles, had rifled the dead chief's grave and scattered his remains. Deep 
was their grief and lasting their resentment. It was an insult and outrage 
difficult to endure. They opened the grave and proceeded with much 
ceremony to re-inter his bones. This done, they made a new mound over 
the spot, placed substantial posts in the ground at either end, and about a 
rod away toward the south-west erected a pole, with a small flag at the 
top. When this was accomplished they bitterly turned their faces 'to the 
setting sun and departed, never to look upon his grave again. 


The following incident, related by Mrs. John Williams, shows what 
the sex were capable of in the olden time, and that though woman may 
faint at the sight of a dangerous mouse and go into "conniptions" at the 
explosion of a Fourth of July squib, she can, under other circumstances, 
exercise courage, judgment and self-possession of the highest order. 

One morning in 1846, during the absence of the "men folks," she saw 
from her cabin window a fine looking deer pass by, and taking her hus- 
band's loaded gun from its rest, endeavored to bring him in range, but 
without effect. She had two dogs that came at her call and attacked the 
deer, but after a short run and fierce fight they were disabled. Finally 
she shot the animal in the head, without, however, dispatching him, 
and while she returned for a knife to cut its throat, a disreputable charac- 
ter named Cy Bowles, who had quietly watched the performance, hastily 
dispatched the game, and being a large, powerful man, shouldered and 
carried it off before her return. 


Occasionally a fugitive slave would find the road to liberty through 
Senachwine, sent upon this out-of-the-way trail to avoid pursuit. 

Once a negro, hotly pressed by his enemies, was disguised by his 
friends as a woman, and passed through Senachwine in a lumber wagon, 
in charge of George Cone, who lived between this village and Henry. 

On another occasion a fellow came to the house of Asa Cunningham, 
near the village, and begged his assistance. He was an escaped slave, 
from Missouri, and while resting by the roadside discovered in the dis- 
tance an approaching horseman, whom he at once knew to be his master. 


The negro said: "I was so skeert dat I shet my eyes, afeerd he'd see 
'em, and did n't dar to draw my bref , afeerd he 'd smell 'um, for I 'd a ben 
eatin' wild ingens (onions)." The master was at the hotel, and the slave 
dare not move, for it was in the middle of the day. Mr. Cunningham 
was the village undertaker, and rightly believing no one would hunt a 
runaway in a hearse, hitched up his blind horse and loading the " darkey " 
into a coffin, drove through Senachwine at a melancholy amble, the busi- 
ness gait of the ancient nag. The master saw the cavalcade as it passed, 
and was amused at the oddity of the turnout, while the driver headed his 
course forHennepin and safely delivered his lively "corpse" into the hands 
of trusty friends, who kept him concealed until the pursuers left the 


A number of years ago a man named Anderson McKee was the keeper 
of an inn at Henry. He had us a guest one Williams, a drunken, worth- 
less fellow, who never found it convenient to pay his board bills. This 
delinquency was the cause of frequent disputes between the parties, and 
Williams, becoming angered at McKee's continued demands, determined 
to do him bodily harm. He told McKee if he would procure a horse and 
buggy and go with him to Boyd's Grove, where he said money was due 
him, he would liquidate the debt. McKee consented to the arrange- 
ment, and they started off, not, however, directly toward the place 
they proposed to visit, for they were seen riding about the bluffs beyond 
Senachwine, on the road leading to Princeton. It was while in a thick 
piece of woods on these bluffs that Williams, with a knife with which he 
had that day provided himself, while McKee's attention was diverted, 
deliberately cut the throat of his companion. There was a profuse flow 
of blood from the wound, and the injured man immediately lost con- 
sciousness. Williams, supposing he had fully succeeded in his murderous 
work, dragged the body from the buggy and placed it behind a large log 
lying some distance from the road. Finding water near by, he removed 
the blood stains from the buggy and his person as well as he could, and 
instead of continuing forward on the Princeton road, turned in the direc- 
tion of Henry. When about half way between that place and Senach- 
wine he was met by a man who had seen him and McKee together in the 
buggy before they left Henry, who asked where McKee was. Williams 
gave an evasive answer, and the man continued his journey. Approach- 


ing a farm house a short distance beyond, he found the people there in 
great commotion. It seems that McKee, after having been thrown behind 
the log and left for dead by Williams, revived sufficiently to drag him- 
self to the farm house, not many rods away, and with his remaining 
strength tell his pitiable tale. A physician was summoned, but when he 
arrived it was too late. The vital spark had fled. 

The man who had met Williams, on learning these facts and seeing 
the bloody body of McKee, took a circuitous route, hurried to Henry, and 
procured the issue of a warrant for the arrest of the murderer. An officer 
immediately went in pursuit, readily found the man he was in search of, 
and lodged him in jail. In due time a trial of the case was had, the cul- 
prit was convicted of manslaughter, and served out a term in the peniten- 
tiary therefor. 


The early settlers had many hardships and privations to contend with, 
but their worst foes were ague and malarial fevers. Bad as these complaints * 
are now, they were infinitely worse then, while the remedies now most 
used were then unknown. Physicians were few, and reliance was mainly 
upon roots, herbs, and good nursing. The year 1838 was particularly un- 
healthful, and numerous deaths occurred among the children. In two 
neighboring families in Senachwine, twelve persons were prostrated at 
once, and only one person to wait upon them. Dr. Montfort, of Henry, 
was the only physician available, and his labors were incessant. Mercury 
in its various forms was largely used, often entailing great and untold 
suffering, as in the case of a Miss Reed, one side of whose face was eaten 
away by the poison, leaving the bare and fleshless jaw exposed; her teeth 
fell out, and her jaws became set so that it was with difficulty food 
could be forced into her mouth. Her sufferings were intense ; yet she 
recovered, and modern science restored her fearfully mutilated face into 
at least a semblance of humanity, after which she enjoyed good health 
for many years. This was done by removing the skin from a portion of 
the arm, binding the arm to her face, and then retaining it with bands 
until it grew there, when the piece so attached was cut off and rounded 
into form. The operation was painful, but the woman's will and endu- 
rance made it a success. 





*HE Township of Granville was so named by Ralph Ware, 
after the town from which he came in Massachusetts. It is 
situated in the- north-east corner of Putnam County, and is 
bounded on the north by the Illinois River, on the east by 
La Salle County, on the south by Magnolia and on the west 
by Hennepin Township. It contains forty-four sections or 
square miles of surface. Along its northern boundary are 
the bluffs of the Illinois River, while wooded points extend 
into the prairies along either side of such streams as flow toward the 
river. With the exception of the wooded lands referred to, and the "bot- 
tom" lands adjoining the water-courses, the surface of the country is rich 
and level prairie, covered with fertile, well cultivated farms. 


The first settlers in Granville Township were the brothers James and 
George B. Willis, who came in 1827 ; Stephen D. *Willis, who afterward 
(in 1853) went to Oregon; and John Robinson, a celebrated hunter, in 
1828; George Ish and his son Bazdale, a youth of fourteen years, James 
D. Ross, Roswell Blanchard, Hugh Warnock, - - Creswell and Leonard 
Ross in 1829. In 1830 came - - Burr, Daniel Jones, - Thomas, 
- Williams, - - Daniels. - Hendricks and John D. Blake came 

in 1831. Henry Schooler and James Vintiner arrived in the settlement 
in 1832. In 1833 the population was increased by the arrival of Thomas 
Ware, James Mills, - - Shepard, Robert, John and Alexander Moore, 
Mrs. Mary Mills, Mrs. Ellen Lundy, Mrs. James Harper, Albert Harper 
and Samuel Brown. In 1834, Daniel and J. F. Shepard, Anthony Smith, 
A. D. Hayslip and William Sherman came and settled. In 1835, J. W, 


Hopkins, George B. Hopkins, Luther D. Gunn, Alanson Whitaker and 
, August Brenneman came; and in 1880, Isaac Sprague, Amos Dewey and 

- Benshauer. 

Some of the old settlers of the Township whose names are not given 
above, who either died or moved away, are James G. Lawton, Joseph, 
James and Simeon Warnock, who came in 1829 or 30, and subsequently 
wciit to Iowa; John Burrows in 1829, dead; Isaac Archer in 1830, dead; 
Thomas Wafer in 1830, went to Texas and is dead ' 

The first interment made in the cemetery at Granville was the body 
of Levi Shepard, in January, 1837. 

In 1838, Luther D. Gunn settled two and a half miles from Granville; 
Hugh Warnock lived at Union Grove in 1833, and James Warnock in the 


The village was surveyed and laid off April 7, 1836. Its first settler 
was a man named Creswell, who built a cabin there in 1832-3. The sec- 
ond house, a frame structure, was erected by Thomas Ware, in 1834. 
In April, 1836, an addition was made to the village by Thos. Ware, 
James Parr, William Smith, Clarissa Ware, Archer and Margaret Hay- 
slip. It occupies a commanding site upon the prairie, affording a fine 
view of the surrounding country, approached in all directions by good 
roads. Few localities present scenes of such varied sylvan beauty. The 
farms are highly cultivated, the houses are elegant, the roads are bor- 
dered with hedges, and a profusion of shade and fruit trees beautify the 
landscape and add to its attractiveness. The fathers of the settlement 
" built for all time," and laid its foundations broad and deep in the eternal 
principles of truth and rectitude. Early attention was given to schools, 
and the morals of the country were not overlooked. It is to the credit of 
the citizens that no saloon has ever been licensed in the town, and what- 
ever drunkenness there may have been was imported, and not " to the 
manor born." 

In early times Granville was a bustling, go-ahead place, with a promis- 
ing future. Its merchants were enterprising, and carried large stocks of 
goods. Its public school was known and noted all over Central Illinois, 
and young men came from long distances to avail themselves of its ad- 


vantages. Its ministers of the Gospel were eloquent ; society was refined 
and courteous; newspapers and boks circulated freely, and on all ques- 
tions of public interest the people were well informed and voted intelli- 

Among the earliest merchants were the Laughliri Brothers, who were 
better farmers than merchants, and allowed their sympathies to get away 
with their judgment. They sold goods on time, and soon had to abandon 
the business. They commenced, too, at an ill chosen time, amidst the gen- 
eral crash of 1837. 

Of late years the town has measurably declined. Peru on one side 
and Hennepin on the other have drawn upon its resources, and as they 
grew and increased Granville seemed to decay. 


In the vicinity of Granville and Union Grove the blessings of Chris- 
tianity were taught by missionaries at an early day. Every three weeks 
in the fall of 1829, Rev. William Royal, a Methodist preacher, gathered 
his little flock at the house of George Ish, and also about the same time, 
or perhaps a few months later, performed the same pious duty for the 
settlers about Union Grove and the neighborhood where Florid was 
afterward mapped as a town site. Among the pioneer ministers in the 
same faith were Rev. Mr. Parker and Rev. Edward Haile, the latter 
being described as an incorrigible u old bach " of sixty- two years, and 
almost a woman hater, so marked was his aversion to or terror of the sex. 


Elder Thomas Powell was the first Baptist minister who ever preached 
in Granville. He came there in 1836, and preached to a few people gath- 
ered at the house of Mr. Shepard. A few weeks aftei-ward he returned 
and preached again, his audience including all who could get into the 
building a small unfurnished frame store erected by James Laughlin. 
The congregation was composed of Presbyterians, " Seceders," Congrega- 
tionalists and Baptists. 

The people generally were so anxious to have regular religious exer- 


cises that they invited Elder Powell to divide his time between them and 
his other appointments. He had been sent as a Missionary of the Baptist 
Home Mission Society, to Putnam County. His first stopping place was 
at John Robinson's, between Granville and Hennepin. The Elder, when 
he visited Granvillu on the occasions referred to, was a resident of Vermil- 
ionville, and his duties there prevented him from accepting the proposal 
of the people of the former place. His appointments were at Hennepin, 
Clear Creek, Payne's Point, Magnolia, five miles east of Sandy Creek, and on 
the Vermilion River, where Streator now stands. There were then thirteen 
Baptists in Hennepin and Granville, whom he organized into the Baptist 
Church Society of Granville, which organization still exists and has a 
place of worship. It has furnished four young men to the ministry, one 
of whom, Samuel Whitaker, finished his course in the Asiatic department 
of Foreign Missions in Burmah, and died there; another, E. O. Whitaker, 
died while a Chaplain in the late war; the third, Charles Button, is now 

pastor of a church in Wisconsin, and the fourth, Robinson, established 

a church at the mouth of Columbia River, Oregon, which was said to be 
the first Protestant church on the Pacific coast. 

''The Baptist Church of Hennepin and Granville" was organized April 
15, 1837, by Thomas Powell, Daniel Shepard, Alanson Whitaker, Joseph 
M. Fairfield, Nancy Winters, Elizabeth Winters, Lydia Ann Winters, 
Cynthia Ann Winters, Ruth Ann Gould, Lucy Ann Simpson, Delia Per- 
kins and Ruth Whitaker, who met at Hennepin for that purpose. Daniel 
Shepard was chosen Moderator, and J. M. Fairfield, Clerk. 

At a meeting held by the members of this church in July, 1843, the 
slavery question having became an exciting topic all over the Union, the 
following resolution was adopted : 

Resolved, That slavery is a sin against God and an outrage on human rights, and that we 
as a Baptist Church cannot conscientiously admit a slaveholder to our pulpit or communion 

At a meeting held December 3, 1843, it was resolved to build a church 
at Granville, and W. A. Pennell, J. W. Eames and Harrison Rice were 
appointed a committee to take the matter in charge, measures also being 
taken to incorporate the Society according to law. 

A frame structure, thirty-six by forty-six feet, was promptly built, 
and a bell weighing 1260 pounds was soon after procured and placed in 
the belfry of the church. This is said to be the .first church bell put up 


anywhere in Putnam County. The church building cost about $2,000, 
and is a very respectable and handsome structure. 


The Presbyterian Church of Granville was organized April 27, 1839. 
On that day George W. Elliott, of Lowell, James H. Dickey, of Union 
Grove, and Mr. Spaulding, of *eoria, who had previously been appointed 
by the Peoria Presbytery for the purpose, met at a house in Granville. 
With them were associated James Mears, Polly Mears, Ralph Hears, 
Lucinda A. Ware, John Pool, Thomas Ware, Nancy L. Ware, James G. 
Laughlin, Ruth Laughlin, Asenath Nash, Hannah Ware, Thomas Wafer, 
Elizabeth Wafer, Harriet N. Wafer, James H. Wafer, John Short, Eleanor 
Short, Cyrus H. Short, Prior M. Short, William H. Short, James Hale, 
Marena Hale, J. W. Laughlin, Alexander M. Laughlin, Philena Kidder, 
George Perry and David L. Child. These latter named persons were ad- 
mitted to take part in the organization by reason of their being members 
in good standing in the Church, each of them producing letters of dis- 
missal, or other satisfactory evidence to that effect. After the usual 
preliminary exercises were had the meeting organized. James Mears and 
Ralph Ware were chosen as Ruling Elders, whose terms of office were to 
continue until September 3, next ensuing, and John Pool and Thomas 
Ware were chosen to the same office, their terms to begin on the 
expiration of the time for which their predecessors were chosen. 

The Church then extended an invitation to Mr. H. G. Pendleton, a 
licentiate from Lane Theological Seminary, to become their preacher, 
which invitation was accepted, and he at once entered upon the discharge 
of his duties. The first sacramental communion of the members of the 
new Church was held on the last Sabbath of May, 1839, and on the first 
day of August following, the Church and community were called upon to 
mourn the death of James Mears, one of the first chosen Ruling Elders of 
the infant Church. 

Almost from its inception this Church seems to have been torn by dis- 
sensions, and as a matter of course it could not become prosperous, either 
in a temporal or spiritual view. In August, 1842, Horace Morse, with 
quite a number of other members who sided with him in one of these un- 
happy quarrels, preferred a request to the session for letters of dismissal 


to a church at Hennepin. A motion was made to lay the petition on the 
table, otherwise to refuse the request. This brought on a most stormy 
and acrimonious debate, and after long discussion and the exhibition of 
much hard feeling, the request was granted and the letters issued. 

It seems that the slavery question, pro and con, which was agitating 
the country from Maine to Texas in 1844, crept into the Granville Church 
and proved a fire-brand there. Some of the members were strong Aboli- 
tionists, while others were either indifferent to the question or openly took 
part on tfye other side. It was probably on that account that Rev. Mr. 
Pendleton, feeling that his day of usefulness had ceased there, was 
prompted to sever his connection with the Chuich. About the time that 
he did so those who were opposed to him procured a declaration to be en- 
tered on the Church minutes severely reflecting upon him for entertaining 
pro-slavery views. In August, 1844, at a church meeting, the following 
resolution was adopted: 

Resolved, That Brother H. C. Peridleton having served four years as stated supply, and 
at the end of the fourth year it was decided by a large majority that he was riot satisfactory 
to the Church on account of his pro-slavery sentiments, a portion of the Church deeply sym- 
pathize with him, as he had proved himself a laborious and faithful minister. 

Mi-. Pendleton having severed his connection with the Church, on Sep- 
tember 7, 1 844, Rev. J. A. Hallock was called to its pastorate as a " supply," 
who was followed April 10, 1845, by Rev. R. C. Clark, also as a supply. 

In 1845 the congregation built a neat and substantial church edifice, 
which has been in constant use for religious purposes ever since. 

Dating back for several years this Society was in a bad way. Rent 
by internal dissensions, much bitterness existed among the members. 
Some had gone off and connected themselves with other churches, 
others abandoned attendance upon any church services whatever, and 
those who remained were not happy. 

In November, 1847, one of the persons who had withdrawn from the 
Church in 1842 applied for re-admission. This created a storm from the 
effects of which the Church never recovered, and the work of disintegra- 
tion was complete. A Congregational Church having in the meantime 
been established at Granville, a proposition was made to unite the two or- 
ganizations, and in October, 1850, that arrangement was perfected. 


The labors of the Rev. Mr. Pendleton deserve special notice. His 


name is closely identified with those of the Presbyterian Churches of 
Granville, Lacon, Henry, and Providence, Bureau County ; with the Henry 
Female Seminary, and with the cause of Christianity, education and hu- 
man progress generally in this section of Illinois. 

In April, 1839, the New School Presbyterian Church at Granville was 
organized, and Mr. Pendleton, who was then a licentiate from Lane Theo- 
logical Seminary, was invited to come and preach for them, which invita- 
tion he accepted. In January, 1840, having completed his course of 
studies at the Seminary and passed a rigid and most satisfactory examin- 
tion, he was ordained a minister by Peoria Presbytery, and for four years 
after that time was the beloved pastor of the Granville Church. At 
the beginning of his labors there the membership was twenty-seven, and 
when he retired from its pastorate there were the names of sixty-seven 
active members on the rolls. That church organization now constitutes 
substantially the present Congregational Church of Granville. 

In August, 1844, Mr. Pendleton was invited by the Presbyterian 
Church of Lacon to become their pastor, which position he accepted, and 
remained there for one year, during which time twenty persons were 
added to the church. There are many persons in Lacon at the present 
time who have very pleasant recollections of the days when this gentle- 
man ministered to their spiritual needs. 

In March, 1845, the New School Presbyterian Church at Henry, with 
twelve members, was organized under the auspices of Mr. Pendleton, 
which organization is the basis of the present Congregational Church 
there. While he was acting as pastor of the Henry church, he had pas- 
toral charge of the Presbyterian Church at Providence, Bureau County, 
over which charges he presided for four years. But his labors were not 
confined alone to these. He had eight appointments in as many different 
parts of the country, which he regularly filled, and it was while making 
these itinerent journeys he became impressed with the great lack and 
increasing need of qualified school teachers. This state of things led Mr. 
Pendleton to consider the possibility arid probability of founding an insti- 
tution to be devoted to education and preparation of suitable persons as 
teachers. In his travels he saw that because of the previous absence of 
almost eveiything that looked like schools, the masses of the people were 
very deficient in even the most essential educational accomplishments, and 
that the children who were growing up were equally unfortunate. It is 
true that in most of the villages and neighborhoods some attempts were 


made at school teaching, but these were but, spasmodic eff orts made by 
incompetent or untrained persons without system or correct ideas as to 
what studies should be pursued, usually started or carried on by those 
who had nothing else to do or could find no other employment whereby 
they might make their living, and in log huts which were uncomfortable, 
unhealthy, and not at at all adapted to the purposes for which they were 
used. / 

The more he saw of the want of better arrangements for educating 
the rising generation, the more impressed he became with the neces- 
sity of putting forth his strongest efforts to carry out the idea which 
had possessed him, and the Henry Female Seminary was the result. 
After much scheming, planning and consultations with friends, he suc- 
ceeded in raising money sufficient to erect a building forty-four feet square 
and three stories high, with an ell sixteen by forty feet, two stories in 
height. The Seminary building was well adapted to the purposes for 
which it was built, and was a monument to the good man who had 
labored so long and patiently for its erection. 

On November 12, 1839, the doors of the Seminary were thrown open 
for the admission of pupils, and from that time until the winter of 1855 
the school was well sustained by eager young people, anxious to prepare 
themselves for the profession of teachers; the fall and winter sessions fill- 
ing the building to its utmost capacity. February 15, 1$55, the building 
was unfortunately destroyed by fire. The following summer the ell of a 
new building, twenty-four by thirty-two feet, three stories high, was put 
up on the old site, and during the spring and summer of 1856 the main 
building, forty by eighty feet, was also erected; all at a cost of $15,000. 

November 25, 1856, the doors of the new Seminary were opened, and 
the prosperity attending the old blessed the new. The Legislature 
granted this Seminary a charter at its session of 1856-57. 

The teachers employed in the Seminary were drawn mainly from that 
most excellent seat of learning, the Holyoke (Mass.) Female Seminary, 
from whence has been supplied to all parts of the Union large numbers of 
most thoroughly competent and able instructors. The school was well 
sustained until the financial crash of 1857 prostrated business throughout 
the whole country. Another influence that operated against the pros- 
perity of the institution was the new system of public graded and high 
schools, which were just then corning into operation in the State, and 
took away much of its patronage. 


About the beginning of the late war Mr. Pendleton contracted a sale 
of the Seminary building to the Methodist Central Conference, and sur- 
rendered the premises to their control, with the exception of the rooms 
occupied by his family. The Methodists held the building for about three 
years, when, through the inefficiency of their agent, they failed to fulfill 
their contract, arid the property reverted to its former owner. After this, 
liaving gone through many changes and vicissitudes during which the 
prosperity of the enterprise was becoming continually lessened, in the 
autumn of 1809 it was sold to the German Reformed Church, which 
closed the connection of Mr. Pendleton with the institution. 



To Rev. Naham Gould, the First Presbyterian minister who settled in 
Granville Township, the village of Granville and the Academy which 
was one of its chief ornaments are indebted for their birth and existence. 
His idea was to establish an academy, commencing on a very moderate 
scale, commensurate with the necessities -of the community and its financial 
ability. From such modest beginning he hoped that his pet enterprise 
would rapidly assume more pretentious proportions, which would become 
so enlarged as to convert his academy into a college, with an organized 
faculty and the usual collegiate paraphernalia. 

Having secured the promise of needed assistance from his neighbors, 
he, in 1835, set about the erection of a suitable building for his school, 
and soon he had a strong, well built and convenient house, 24x36 feet 
square, two stories high, finished and ready for occupancy. The neigh- 
bors had turned out with skillful hands and willing hearts, gone to the 
forest and hewed out the necessary parts, the quality of which was so 
good and the workmanship so perfect that the frame of that old academy 
is standing to-day, after having withstood the storms and blasts of many 
winters, and the racking and jostling of having been moved, as perfect, 
sound and useful as though it had just been delivered from the workman's 

The association that had the matter of the erection of the building and 
the establishment of the Academy in charge, procured a charter from the 
Legislature in 1837. This having been obtained, they turned the estab- 
lishment over to the Township Trustees for the purpose of opening a pub- 
lic school, and the doors were thrown open for that purpose in December 


This institution, from a very small beginning, gradually acquired con- 
siderable fame, not only in its own locality, but all over the West. The 
men who took a leading part in the enterprise were the ol(J settlers of the 
Township, and with no endowment save their own energy and public 
spirit, had the satisfaction of seeing their school grow into notice and 
bacome a seat of learning from which afterward many prominent and 
scholarly men and women were to graduate. 

The first teacher who had charge of the new school was Otis Fisher, 
several years afterward ordained as a Baptist minister. After him was 
Miss Lovejoy, a sister of Owen Lovejoy, a man whose name lives in the 
history of his county; and later, Miss Jane Hawks. 

Among those whose names have attained prominence in the State who 
were educated at the Granville Academy, are Harvey Jones, Mr. Jackson, 
Henry Hunter, of Chicago; Judge John Burns, of the Circuit Court of 
Illinois, of Lacon; Benjamin F. Lundy and his twin sister; Rev. Charles 
Bolton, of Fond du Lac ; Rev. Daniel Whitaker and Rev. Thomas Allen, 
missionaries to Burmah; Hon. P. A. Armstrong, of Morris; Ex-Governor 
of Illinois John L. Beveridge and his brother, and many others. 

A new building, much larger, more commodious, and possessing many 
modern improvements, has taken the place of the old one. Its dimensions 
are 40 by 75 feet; built at a cost of $8,000. 

The Rev. Mr. Gale, founder of the prosperous city of Galesburg, then 
unborn and unknown, came to Granville on a prospecting tour, seeking a 
place which would be desirable as a site for a town and college, which he 
was designing to establish. He soon discovered in the prairies, timber, 
soil, climate and surroundings of Granville all the requisites which 
nature could furnish for the purpose, and concluded to invest his capital 
and apply his energy and business capacity here, in the development of 
his scheme. He broached the subject to Mr. Gould, who at once claimed 
a prior determination to the same end and purpose. Mr. Gale very cour- 
teously said: "There is room in Illinois for two such places and colleges 
as we design to create; let us separate. I will seek a location elsewhere." 
He did so, and Galesburg was the result. 

The first school taught in Granville Township was in the fall of 


1834, Miss Bun- being the teacher. It was in a small log cabin, about 
twelve feet square, which Mr. Wafer had put up for a smoke-house, neaj. 
his residence on the edge of the timber, about one mile north-west of the 
village of Granville. The school was conducted on the pay system, and 
was patronized by George Ish, Thomas Ware, Mrs. Laughlin and Mr. 

In the fall of 1835, James Laughlin and one or two others built a log 
school house in the timber, and afterward attempted to move it to the 
center of the district, but did not succeed in doing so. Miss Burr taught 
in this building in the fall and winter of 1835. The same winter a public 
school was opened by Miss Abbie Hawks in the Academy building, before 
it was entirely finished. Since then the Township has so greatly increased 
in population that eleven schools are now taught within its limits, in as 
many different school districts. 


Of James Willis this. story is told: In the spring of 1830 he returned 
to nis former home to settle up some business, and on his way stopped at a 
wayside house of entertainment, where he made the acquaintance of a 
traveler, looking up, as he said, a location. As usual in those days the 
men made known their respective business, and Mr. Willis stated that 
he had been quite successful in closing up his affairs, and was conveying 
home the results. He had some ready money, and proposed to improve 
his farm, and was on the lookout for a suitable man to engage. The 
stranger listened with interest, and replied that he thought of visiting the 
Illinois country, and if Mr. Willis would give him a job he would change 
his route and accompany him home. A bargain was easily made, and the 
next morning the two started out, Willis riding his horse and the stranger 
on foot. In this way they passed the settlements, and entered on an ex- 
tensive prairie, Willis occasionally giving his companion a ride and walk- 
ing himself. As they journeyed along a deer sprung up, and the stranger 
asked to shoot it. His request was granted, but though the chance was 
good, the fellow didn't fire, saying he "couldn't get the hang of the 
tarnal thing." Not long after they again changed, Mr. Willis having 
resumed his gun. The money was carried, be it known, in a pair of saddle- 
bags behind the saddle. After mounting the stranger rode off leisurely 


but in a gradually increasing gait until a sufficient distance was obtained, 
when he raised his hat, bade Willis good bye, and rode off at a gallop. 
Willis brought his fusee to his face and ordered him to stop, but the pow- 
der had in the meantime been removed from the pan, and it would not go 
off. He turned off the regular road arid was soon lost to view. Willis 
meanwhile pushed on hard as he could. A dozen miles or so ahead was 
a settlement where he was known, and a few hours sufficed to gather 
a dozen trusty men on fleet horses, and after a sharp chase of thirty/ miles 
the thief was overhauled, and money and horse recovered. The proper way 
would have been to have strung the fellow up, but Judge Lynch was not 
presiding then, and he was turned over to the Sheriff of the county where 
the capture was effected, and Willis proceeded homeward. 

There was no jail in the county and the Sheriff took his prisoner 
home, placed shackles on his limbs, arid kept him in his own house. The 
fellow took the arrest quite coolly, and appeared to be not at all dissatis- 
fied with the arrangement. It was the beginning of a hard winter, and 
the prospect of comfortable quarters was not at all displeasing. He read 
and sang, played the fiddle, and made himself both useful and agreeable. 
Finding his landlord's household wanted shoeing, he made it known that 
he understood the whole art and mystery of cobbling, and said if his en- 
tertainer would furnish the leather he would do the work. It was done, 
and the good natured tramp made shoes for the whole family, while 
chained by one leg to his work-bench. One stormy day when the Sheriff 
was absent and none about the premises but women, the cattle broke into 
a field where corn was standing in shocks, and the accommodating prisoner 
unlocked his shackles with an awl, drove them out, and then replaced the 
irons on his legs as usual. Toward spring he grew uneasy, and as court 
was about to 'convene he told his entertainers his health was failing, and 
was afraid they 7 d have to part, so removing his shackles in their absence, 
he left. 


Among the mysterious tragedies occasionally enacted where human 
life is taken without apparent cause, and no clue left by which to appre- 
hend and punish the perpetrators, the killing of Thomas Hopkins and his 
young and beautiful wife, in the town of Granville, on July 6, 1867, 
stands out as a marked and remarkable occurrence. 


Thomas Hopkins, aged twenty-five, and his wife, aged about fifteen or 
sixteen years, were the victims of as terrible a fate as fiends in human 
form could devise. To obtain any certain clue by which to track the 
murderers baffled the skill of the sharpest detectives, and to this day the 
perpetrators have never been brought to justice. 

Hopkins was the son of a farmer living near LaSalle, but had aban- 
doned the honorable occupation in which he had been reared, prefer- 
ring an idle life among vagabonds rather than the companionship of 
reputable companions. He obtained a flat boat, fitted it up as a dwelling, 
and floated along the liver, up and down between Hennepin and Peru or 
LaSalle, loading his craft with driftwood, and supplying himself with 
other conveniently reached property, with little regard, it is said, to any 
rights of ownership save that of possession. In one of his trips he became 
acquainted with a girl named Sophia Baker, a rather pretty young lady, 
inclined to idleness, whose parents lived not far from the river in the town 
of Granville. She was attending school at the time, and quit it one day to 
marry Hopkins. They had been married but a few weeks, and little was 
known of their conjugal life. At the time of the murder their floating 
home was moored in the river a few miles below Peru, near the Granville 
side, and within the jurisdiction of Putnam County. 

A man named Sherman, the last person known to have seen this ill- 
fated couple alive, stated that he visited them in the evening of the night 
of the murder to deliver a load of wood and a sack of flour, which latter 
Mrs. Hopkins took from his hands. He left them apparently cheerful and 
happy, with everything about the boat seemingly in good order, and the 
table spread for supper. Returning next morning, he found Hopkins' 
body in the water at the side of the boat, in a standing position, the head 
beneath the surface. Near by a sand-bag club was found, but no marks of 
violence were discernible upon the corpse. The table was spread as he 
had seen it the evening before ; there was no evidence of confusion, scuf- 
fling, or acts of violence such as the forcible removal of one or two persons 
from so small a room would have caused. There was no torn clothing, 
no blood stains, no marks of violence, nor the slightest indication of any 
other persons than the victims having been present. Nothing had been 
disturbed ; their personal effects, and such articles of merchandise as Hop- 
kins had supplied himself with in his trading expeditions were all there, 
and one hundred and fifty dollars were found in the dead man's pockets. 
Mi's. Hopkins was strangely absent. Upon their accustomed hook were 


found her bonnet and shawl, and it was evident she had either made a 
singularly hurried flight or been very cunningly abducted. 

The news of the murder soon attracted the people of the neighbor- 
hood, and prompt efforts were made to sift the mystery. Some one had 
heard the voice of a woman screaming during the night, the sound appar- 
ently coming from a short distance down the river, but as boats often 
passed with drunken men and abandoned women on board, no heed was 
paid to the circumstance. A watchman at the mills at Hennepin, "'when 
he came to think of it," was certain he heard a woman's voice about day- 
light of the fatal morning, calling piteously for help, and simultaneously 
a boat was seen by him floating down stream near the opposite bank. 
The country turned out and searched everywhere, and at length, three 
days afterward, the body of the poor woman was found on a bar below 
Hennepin, about nine miles from where her husband's boat was moored. 
Beside a few slight scratches on her neck, which might have been caused 
by accident, no marks of violence nor evidence of ill-usage were discovered 
upon her person. 


Sometimes by a persistent and long-continued defiance of public opin- 
ion a bold villain exasperates a community past endurance, until scorning 
forms of law, and the law's delay, they sweep all aside, and taking the 
culprit in hand exact justice, deep, terrible and lasting. The instinct of 
self-preservation may justify such a resort, but nothing else, though there 
are seemingly times when the enormity of the crime, the danger of escape, 
or the degraded character of the criminal, make the invokers of Judge 
Lynch at least pardonable. 

One of the early settlers of Granville Township was John C. Ramsay, 
who lived on the bottoms of the Illinois River north of the village. HP is 
remembered as a good neighbor, but not one with whom a person cared to 
be too intimate, and outwaidly sustained a character for morality, sobriety 
and industry. He was circumspect in language and deportment, was a 
member of the Church, an attendant upon its meetings and a Superintend- 
ent of the Sabbath School. His prayers were long ; he dwelt much on 
youthful follies and had little charity for those who went astray. To 
some he seemed a regular pillar of light and a shining example for sinners 


to pattern after, yet there were thpse who believed all this was a masl< 
to cover deep purposes, and beneath a saintly exterior he concealed the 
wickedness of a devil incarnate. 

Reports had gone abroad of strange goings on about his secluded home. 
Property mysteriously missing had been tracked towards his saintly dom- 
icile, and rumors were afloat that his family relations were not strictly 
angelic. After a time his wife died suddenly, and no one could tell how 
it occurred save that she was found dead in the smoke-house. Her deeply 
afflicted spouse related to the jury, with tears in his eyes, that she went 
there, locked herself in, and was found dead. As the smoke-house could 
only be locked on the outside, the jury could not see how a dying person 
could affect it ; but any attempt to get him to explain away this absurdity 
caused the poor man to relapse into paroxysms of grief that were simply 
dreadful. As the jury found no signs of poison, or blows, or violence, 
the twelve wise men looked grave and in effect pronounced the cause of 
her death unknown. , 

Affairs went on as before at his exceedingly pious dwelling, and the 
people continued to lose property and wonder why it was thus. Stories 
again got afloat of a terrible nature, some perhaps "o'er true" and others 
highly imaginative. It was said he had debauched his own daughters, 
murdered their unnatural offspring, robbed his neighbors, and though his 
children were all cognizant of the facts, such was their fear of him, none 
dare make it known. 

Affairs finally reached a crisis. There was a rebellion at home, and 
the ghastly secrets could no longer be concealed. 

On the 16th of April, 1870, Esq. Childs, living at Granville, was noti- 
fied by A. J. Carroll, Constable, that Ramsay had been caught stealing 
goods, and an excited mob had gone to wreak summary vengeance upon 
the perpetrator. Mr. Childs went down to Ramsay's dwelling, where 
he found a crowd of men rehearsing his crimes. The old man had 
gone to Peru, and his family had determined on his return to effect his 
arrest. The Justice questioned the inmates, and Mrs. Patterson with 
many tears told the stoiy of her degradation. From a child she had been 
compelled by threats and punishments to submit to his lusts, nor did they 
cease after marriage with her husband. Her health had been wrecked, 
her life embittered, her home, which she dare not leave made a hell of. 
Then the younger daughter told her pitiful tale. If possible it was more 


harrowing than her sisters. She too had been compelled through fear of 
her life to submit to his desires, and when she rebelled had been whipped 
nearly to death, with dreadful threats that it would be worse if she dared 
reveal the awful secret. 

As the law required that two justices should attend the preliminary 
examination, Thomas Ware was notified and requested to give his imme- 
diate attention, so that the matter might be disposed of before the fast 
gathering crowd took it out of their hands. They were soon ready, arid 
when Ramsay returned the warrant was read, court convened, and the 
witnesses for the State were asked to come forward and be sworn. Up 
to this time Ramsay had shown an air of bravado, but when his daughters 
appeared his courage failed, for he saw the game was up. His crimes had 
run their course and reached the inevitable end when concealment was no 
longer possible. His victims were his equals now, and his brutality was 
no longer feared, his presence no longer inspired terror. He saw the 
odds were against him, and, changing tactics, said he would waive an 
examination and enter into bonds for his appearance. 

His intentions probably were to compel the witnesses to deny in court 
all previous assertions, and secondly, if this failed, to forfeit his bail, take 
vengeance on those who had thwarted his plans, and leave the country. 
The Judges, after consultation, fixed the bail at $5,000. 

To this Ramsay strongly protested, for he foresaw he must go to jail, 
and his chances for vengeance and escape would' be greatly lessened. In 
the meantime events outside were transpiring which excited the fast gath- 
ering crowd to frenzy. 

The story of his crimes was repeated from mouth to mouth, and as the 
stricken, helpless wretches, the victims of his lust and brutality, were 
pointed out, deep oaths were registered that found dread fulfillment. 

One of the sons told how his father had been stealing the grain, cattle 
and hogs of his neighbors, compelling his family to assist when necessary. 
For years they had lived in deadly fear, and he added, " if father goes to 
the penitentiary for this, one of us will die when he 'gets out, for he will 
kill me or I must him." 

It was charged too that Ramsay had purposely burned his own barn 
to secure the insurance, and worse than all, he had murdered their mother, 
compelling her children, who were unwilling witnesses of the act, to re- 
main silent. 


A warrant for his committal to jail was made out and handed to the 
officer. Ramsay, at first so unwilling to go, was now anxious, for a look 
at the dark faces about, convinced him his safety was inside of strong 
walls where he could not be reached, and signifying his readiness to go 
begged Mr. Childs to accompany him. The latter at first refused, but 
yielded to the request, and along with the' Constable, the prisoner and 
Mr. D. Ham got into a buggy and started. It was now about seven 
o'clock p, m. The crowd had pretty much all left, a cheerful circumstance 
to the prisoner as he viewed it, but one not without serious apprehension 
to the officers. 

The party drove about a mile at a brisk trot, on the road to Hennepin, 
when suddenly about fifty masked men appeared, and with weapons drawn 
demanded a halt. Ramsay was taken out, his hands tied, and he was told 
if he had any prayers to make now was the time, for his stay on earth 
was short. 

Evidently he was too dazed to comprehend the situation, and believed 
their intention was to extort a confession and compel him to leave the 
country. A rope was placed around his neck, and at the words "hang 
him" a violent jerk was given that lifted him from his feet, when it 
either broke or was cut and let him down. For the first time he felt that 
things were serious, but no signs of repentance came. He still thought 
to deceive by an assumption of the piety that had befriended him so long, 
and raising his hands and eyes in a sanctimonious manner he prayed with 
the Savior, " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." 

This blasphemous appeal was all that was needed to nerve his execu- 
tioners to duty. The rope was quickly re-tied, and one end being thrown 
over the limb of a tree, fifty strong arms raised the trembling wretch and 
left him hanging by the neck until dead. 

After the body had remained a sufficient time some of the actors cut it 
down, and carried it home, tumbling it out in the yard, very much as one 
might a dead hog. It was duly interred, but a few nights later some en- 
terprising students resurrected the remains, ami they now ornament the 
rear room of a doctor's office. 

The hanging of Ramsay created intense excitement and the Governor 
offered a reward of $1,000 for the arrest of the perpetrators, but no one 
so far as known, attempted to earn it. The majority of the people, while 


disapproving the method, felt that justice had been done the criminal 
and refused to assist in their punishment. 

Thus terminated the career of as sanctimonious a scoundrel "as ever 
stole the livery of heaven to serve the devil in," as sleek and unctous a 
villain as ever disgraced the human form. 

The tree whereon he was hung was, so long as it remained standing 

known as the Ramsay tree, and for years bore this inscription : 


" Here the carcass of Kamsay lies, 
Nobody laughs and nobody cries. 
Where he's gone to none can tell, 
But all suppose he's gone to ." 

In 1879 it was mysteriously cut down and even the roots dug out, 
leaving riot a vestige remaining. By whom it was done is not known. 
Some of his children live in the vicinity and others have gone west. The 
girls were well spoken of and led reputable lives. 


Prior to 1858 the bottoms of the Illinois River near the County line, 
in Granville Township, had been infested by the presence of "Old Joe. 
Smith," as he was called, though not the famous Mormon Prophet of that 
name. This particular member of the multitudinous family of Smith, was 
a man of exceedingly vague notions as to the right of property, possession 
with him not only being the nine points of the law, but conclusive evi- 
dence of absolute ownership ! In his peculiar view the manner of getting 
possession was of little consequence; to possess was to own, with all the 
term implies. 

He was charged with having long been a thief on general principles, 
and specifically a thief of .everything of a portable nature. He had a 
special propensity for cattle and hogs, and what was particularly aggra- 
vating in his conduct was, that, thoiigli 1 ! butcher who supplied the people 
with fresh meat, he never was known to buy any cattle. He stole his 
beeves from the farmers, and sold to them again at full prices. He also 
stole their hams, shoulders and poultry. The hams and shoulders from 
neighboring smoke. houses found a tolerably secure place of concealment 
in his barn, where, among so many samples from all over the country, 


individual property coidd not easily be selected. His depredations, too, 
were extended to neighboring Counties and across the river. He would 
capture, also, newly washed shirts, male and female garments, sheets, pil- 
low cases, and stockings long and short, masculine and feminine ! Farmers 
missed their plows and harrows, and though tracked to Smith's all absorb- 
ing ranche, no sign of them could be discovered there ! 

At length people became so incensed that they determined to inter- 
view Smith and force from him some sort of explanation of the singu- 
lar spiriting away of their goods and chattels.. Accordingly a large 
number of farmers, who had been victims of the aforesaid Smith, met at 
the domicile of the culprit and demanded certain goods, among them two 
plows and a harrow, and other articles, and no satisfactory response being 
made, proceeded to administer to the reticent witness three separate and 
distinct horse- whippings, well laid on ! But he would not confess, and, 
despairing of such gentle means of obtaining information, a clothes-line 
was brought into play, and he was hung up three times, the last well 
nigh choking him "for good," when he yielded and told them where 
some of the missing property could be found. From one plow he had 
taken the stock and had it re-wooded at Peru. Some of the plow irons 
he had burned so as to prevent discovery when hot pressed for a safe 
hiding place; others had been buried and the ground plowed over thnn. 
Some again had been secreted in a similar manner in the neighboring 
woods and fields, and what was remarkable was, all the goods that Smith 
had hidden were so securely and cunningly concealed that it is doubtful 
if any of them could ever have been found by any one except himself or 
"pals," unless by the merest accident. 

He had burned up clothing, hams, smoked and dried meat to prevent 
their disco veiy. On his confession and pointing out where the articles 
were hidden, a considerable quantity of goods were recovered. He was 
given a day or two to get out of the county, a trip which he made with 
commendable speed. Several suspected accomplices, taking the hint, left 
at the same time, and since thenfhe stealing business has had a long, and, 
to the people, most satisfactory rest. 


November 22, 1867, Aaron Sherman killed Samuel Dowhower, both 
residents of Granville, under the following circumstances : 


The two named and a Mr. Wedgewood had been to Peru, and on their 
way home fell into a quniicl, which ended in Sherman being ejected from 
the wagon. The latter swore revenge, and going to the home of a Mr. 
Walker, borrowed a gun, with which he hurried to the dwelling of Dow- 
hower. It was night and the family had retired. He rapped at his vic- 
tim's door, and Mrs. Dowhower arose, lighted a lamp, and opened it. Dow- 
hower had previously told her of his quarrel with Sherman, and as the 
knock was heard, exclaimed, "There he is now!" Dowhower went to 
to the door and was instantly shot dead. 

Sherman was tried, convicted and sent to the penitentiaiy for twenty- 
five years. He served about five years and was pardoned out by the Gov- 
ernor. It afterward transpired that the principal getter up of these 
petitions was hired to obtain them and paid liberally for the service; and 
it is also charged that influential names on the petition were placed there 
by others than themselves. Sherman went out West, and is said to be 
now living in Texas. 


The following incident, which happened in 1829, will bring to the 
recollection of old settlers many similar experiences, doubtless, of which 
they were personally cognizant : 

In November of that year Jeremiah Strawn and three others, after- 
wards residents of Magnolia Township, traveled from the "Wabash 
country " westward, heading for Putnam County. They had no map of 
the route, and there was practically neither roads nor trail, so that when 
they lost sight of the settlements they were as much at sea as if sailing in 
the broad Atlantic. Strawn had traveled over a portion of the route, 
understood the topography of the country in general, and believed that 
by travelling due West they would strike the Illinois River. They were 
provided with a pocket compass and a small supply of provisions. 

For twenty miles or more traveling was passable, but here they struck 
one of those vast sloughs foi- which the country is noted, and came 
to a halt. Far as the eye could see the country was one vast sheet of 
water, whose depth none of them knew. Hoping to "head it off" they 
traveled northward some miles without success, and then retraced their 


steps south, until despairing of finding a passage, they returned to their 
resting place of the night before. 

In the morning they took a new direction toward the south-west, fol- 
lowing an old buffalo trail all day, and at night coming upon a party of 
Kickapoo Indians destitute of supplies. 

The travelers were without provisions, their horses jaded and worn 
down, and the grass all dead. The Indians could speak but little 
English, but they pointed to a certain star in the north-west and indicated 
that a white man lived there, and with this vague direction the wanderers 
resumed their journey. One man was to watch the star and see that 
their direction did not vary. After some hours of travel it grew cloudy, 
and fearing the direction might be lost, they concluded to encamp. The 
night was bitterly cold, and to keep from freezing they beat down the tall 
grass and ran foot races. In the morning they took their bearings with 
the compass and found they had become completely turned about. They 
now resumed their journey, plodding wearily along all day with nothing 
to eat. Late in the afternoon they were delighted with the sight of a 
settler's cabin. The inmates had corn and pork, and the wayfarers had 
to pound the former and wait for its cooking before their hunger was sat- 
isfied, but all agreed in pronouncing it the best meal they ever ate. After 
a while the owner came in with a fat deer, and insisted upon their eating 
again, to which they readily assented. They remained all night, and the 
next morning were directed on their route, reaching their destination with- 
out further adventure. 


Granville was a popular stopping place on the underground railroad 
for colored men and women who were seeking to free themselves from the 
galling chains of bondage. The people generally sympathised with them, 
and if there were any who were not active in aiding the fugitives forward, 
they remained neutral. On one occasion as many as sixteen negroes were 
seen in the village at one time, having come in on the " night accommoda- 
tion train." They had made their way from St. Louis without money or 

In 1835 two negro women, who were pursued by their owners and 


were likely to be captured, were hidden in the cellar of James T. 
Laughlin's house (where S. Harrison now lives), and there remained a 
night and a day. The weather was exceedingly stormy and cold, and the 
pursuers were kept in a continual dance from one place to another on 
false scents and rumors, until they were nearly dead from fatigue and ex- 
posure. The citizens, while pretending to help the confiding slave-catch- 
ers, were deluding them all the time, and the fellows finally gave up their 
job and returned home. Of course the poor fugitives were sent 'in the 
opposite direction as fast as possible, until they were safe among the 
friendly Canadians. 

Harvey B. Leeper was a very active conductor on this underground 
road, and a well known citizen of Granville, who devoted much of his 
time and means to the cause of freedom. 

The massacre of the Hall and Pettigrew families has been referred to 
before. They had lived in Bureau County, not far from Hennepin, and 
when they were on their way in 1830 to their proposed new home at Fox 
River, passing through Granville, they stopped several weeks at the resi- 
dence of George Ish, and enjoyed his hospitality. It was during this visit 
that William Pettigrew courted arid won the hand and affections of Mrs. 
Campbell, a young and handsome widow living in the neighborhood. A 
wedding day having been appointed, invitations were sent in to the neigh- 
bors to come and assist at the festivities. They came, and a good, jolly, 
old-fashioned time they had, and many were the wishes made for the fu- 
ture welfare and happiness of the newly married pair. 

The bride accompanied her husband to their new home, where we may 
imagine their lives passed like those of most other settlers in a new 
country. But this happiness was not to be of long continuance. About 
two years after they had reached their new home the Indian war broke 
out, and they were barbarously murdered as related in the story of the 
Hall family. 

The saloons of Peru have been hotbeds of vice, prolific of crimes whose 
consequences were severely felt in Granville Township. It is safe to assert 
that scarcely an outrage mentioned as occurring here but had its incep- 
tion in some quarrel instigated by poor whisky, or the perpetrators were 
habitual drinkers whose supplies came from over the river. There be- 


ing no saloons in the Township, they must necessarily come from else- 
where, and in Peru they were mainly obtained. In addition to the long 
series of crimes already scored to this cause must be added the Gallaher 
homicide and the killing of De Long. This latter occurrence took place 
about 1 844 or later. De Long and a brother-in-law named Osborne were 
returning from a turkey-raffle at Peru, where both had imbibed freely, 
and was into a quarrel in which De Long got badly cut, and died a few 
days after. Osborne was arrested and placed in jail, but managed to 
escape and was never seen in the country again. 

In June, 18(56, Mt. Pleasant was the scene of a most dastardly out- 
rage. A sprightly young German girl, whose name it is not necessary to 
give, had been for time employed in the family of a man named 
Droll, also a German. She was an unusually bright young woman, and, 
besides being a neat housekeeper, had a general business turn, which made 
her useful to her employer as an accountant. He was not much of an 
English scholar, but had considerable business with his Yankee neighbors, 
and her services were indispensable as an interpreter. Mr. Droll had two 
daughters, one older and one younger than the subject of this sketch, but 
they took no particular interest in their father's business, and neither had 
the will or ability to learn it, and left it all to the servant, who managed 
everything in her own way. She was* the good genius of the household, 
and the family felt for her all the regard they could for a sister. 
Although quite pretty, she was not infatuated with the young men who 
sought her company, and seemingly found more pleasure in attending to 
business affairs than in their conversation. On the occasion referred to, 
at the hour of midnight the Droll family were awakened by an alarm at 
their door, which the old man answered. He found there a man whom 
he did not recognize, and who told him there was something wrong at the 
barn with the horses, and to come and see. Droll went with him. No 
sooner had he reached the barn than a handkerchief was forced into his 
mouth and he was tied to the manger. The girl, hearing an unusual 
noise, came out in her night clothes to see what was the matter, when she 
was seized, gagged and put into a wagon, which was driven off to the 
prairie. There were seven or eight persons engaged in this infamous pro- 
ceeding, but being unable to speak, and in great fear of her life and of a 
fate more to be dreaded by a pure woman than death, she could but weep 


in silence. About two miles from the village, in a south-westerly direc- 
tion, the wagon was stopped; the crowd of ruffians gathered around the 
terrified girl, cut off her hair, removed her from the wagon, stripped her 
of her scanty garments and deliberately covered her body with tar and 

This infamous performance having been completed, though shocking 
in itself, was a relief to the mind of the poor girl, since it assured her 
her that only this indignity was in store for her. When these cowardly 
scoundrels had finished their valorous performance they got into their 
wagon and drove off. Covered with feathers and without clothing, at a 
dead hour of the night, two miles from any house, the villains left her, 
gagged and insensible. How long she lay thus is not known, but the bit- 
ter cold restored her senses, and after several hours' wandering about she 
reached the house of a kind neighbor, who cared for her distresses. 

The terrified old man after some delay was able to attract the atten- 
tion of his family, and was released. The abduction of the girl was not 
known until they went to her room to tell about the strange event. The 
astonishment of the household knew no bounds when her absence was dis- 

In the morning a messenger came for the girl's clothes, and when the 
story of her wrongs became known the people were justly indignant and 
excited. As soon as she was sufficiently recovered from the shock she 
went before Esquire Laughlin to tell all she knew which might throw 
light upon the matter and lead to the arrest of the wretches. But her 
evidence was insufficient. They had not spoken a word, and of course she 
could not identify them by their voices. There was nothing by which they 
could be distinguished, or that gave her the slightest clue to the cause of tne 
fearful indignity. Mr. Droll and his wife and daughters came and bore 
witness to the uniform good conduct of the girl. They had known her 
from childhood, and for years she had been an inmate of their family, and 
during all that time she never had in the slightest degree departed from 
the strictest rules of propriety, nor in any way deviated from the most ex- 
acting laws of correct deportment or maidenly modesty. She was a model 
of frankness, diligence, good sense and excellent temper. Her conduct 
toward young men had been extremely reserved; in fact, she had avoided 
rather than encouraged their society. In this latter fact there seemed the 
only possible clue to the mystery. Was it possible that certain young 


men whose advances she had met with indifference or coldness, and whose 
addresses she had refused, could have committed this dastardly outrage 
in revenge ? Inquiry around the neighborhood satisfied Mr. Laughlin 
that none of the American or Irish boys of the settlement were absent 
from their homes on the night in question, but there were a few young 
Germans who could not or would not explain their absence from their 
beds at about the time when the wrong was being perpetrated. These 
fellows were promptly arrested, and several long and tedious trials re- 
sulted, but there not being sufficient evidence against them to convict, 
they were all acquitted. 

The young woman continued to live in the family of Mr. Droll and 
manage their affairs as usual for some time after this, until she married a 
respectable young man living in a neighboring county, where she yet lives, 
respected by all who know her. The affair is only remembered as one of 
those outrages which innocent people sometimes suffer, and for the per- 
petration of which the guilty escape richly merited punishment. 

One of the denizens of the settlement about Granville was a Mrs. 
Cresswell, a virago of Amazonian strength and warlike propensities. She 
was the governor of her household, her husband meekly accepting the 
second position in family affairs. She "wore the pants," not only figura- 
tively, but literally, being frequently seen dressed in her meeker half's 
unmentionables, astride an old horse, going to market. She made her 
thoroughly subdued husband cook, wash, iron and do the housework, 
while she bossed the outside of the ranche to suit herself. Besides other 
eccentricities, she was a sort of "yarb doctor," and pretended to know 
many hidden virtues in various barks, weeds, roots and flowers, and is 
accredited with having first introduced " gympson weed" into the country. 
Her nag usually wore a bell, and its familiar tinkle, indicating her 
approach to the village, repressed all unnecessary gaiety and subdued any 
approach to merriment, for the masculine members shared with her timid 
spouse a well guarded respect for her muscular arms and number ten 

On one occasion Mr. Wafer and James Laughlin desired to cross her 
field, it being the shortest route to their destination, and asked permission 
as gently as possible, but the female, with arms akimbo, gave a fierce re- 
fusal. They held a council of war, and concluded, as the case was urgent, 


to force their way, while she brandished a formidable bunch of "fives" and 
dared them to come on. The battle began, one of the men attacking in 
front while the other by a flank movement reached the rear, and grasp- 
ing her arms, held them as in a vice while his companion let down the 
bars, and driving the team through, replaced them and signalled his com- 
rade, who then turned and ran. Our informant avers the magnitude of 

' , O 

her curses has ever since prevented anything but the detested gympson 
weed from growing on the spot. 

One of the early settlers was John Robinson, an old Indian hunter, 
who is known to have lived here in 1828. He was a keen sportsman, and 
very successful. During the Indian troubles he refused to go into a fort, 
and so remained in his cabin, sleeping at night with arms by his side. 
No Indian came to claim his scalp. He was an original genius, and when 
asked how long h*e had lived in the State, said it was so long he couldn't 
tell, but when he came the Illinois was only a small brook. 

Another well known citizen was George Ish, who originally settled 
in Peoria County. He was an old Indian fighter in the war of 1812, when 
he served under General Harrison. 

The ability of the aborigines to withstand cold is shown in an incident 
related by Mr. Ish. During the severe winter of 1830 there came to his 
father's cabin a squaw, nearly perishing with cold. She was taken in, 
and such restoratives as were handy applied until her half frozen members 
were thawed out and the circulation restored. Although solicited to re- 
main all night she refused, and, soon as able, re-mounted her pony and 
proceeded, although the atmosphere was such that a white man could not 
travel without risking his life. 

Mrs. Gunn tells that when they came to the country, ten men, women 
and children wintered in a cabin twelve feet square, and did n't feel partic- 
ularly crowded! 

Here Mr. Gunn came in search of a wife, and pleasantly recalls their 
courting "under difficulties." But where there 's a will, woman's wit will 
find a way, and a private parlor was improvised by hanging a quilt across 
one corner. 

Mr. Willis finding himself "out of meat" once, undertook to go after 


supplies. His trip was made in a dugout, and he had to go somewhere in 
the vicinity of Beardstown. It took a month to make the trip, and when 
he returned the family had been on short rations for a week. 

In 1836-7, when paper towns were springing up all over the State, 
certain individuals laid out the town of Barcelona, along the eastern limits 
of Granville. A hotel was contracted for, and a steam mill was to be 
built, but nothing ever came of the enterprise. 

The early settlers lived on plain food, and had plenty of exercise. 
They dressed plainly, kept regular hours, abstained from excesses, and as 
a rule enjoyed good health. The exception to this was the fever, that 
" smote them by day and wasted them by night. From this there seemed 
no escape except to wear it out. Large families were the rule, and the 
cabin that could not show its round half dozen or more of tow-headed 
boys and girls was an exception. The farmers returns in the field were 
not more regular than the periodical yield of the cradle. Occasionally the 
measles or some such disease "got loose" in a family and created an 
unusual demand for catnip tea and other medicinal herbs. Once the 
measles got into the family of Hugh Wanock, and a commiserating neigh- 
bor inquiring how many were "down" was answered, " only twelve of the 

It was the custom in early days for farmers to exchange work during 
haying, harvest and other heavy labor. In estimating such labor, a day's 
work was counted 'equal to two bushels of wheat. 

Wheat in those early days was frequently hauled .to Chicago by horse 
or ox teams, and the price was as low as 37^ to 44 cents. Then calicos 
at Hennepin were worth 31 to 37 cents per yard; eggs 3 cents per dozen; 
butter (5 cents a pound ! 

The settlers did not regard times as desperate or hard in any sense. 
They had plenty to eat and wear, and little need of money. People were 
were healthy, hearty and happy. 

The strange, wild beauty of the prairies will never be forgotten. They 
were one vast parterre of flowers, changing their hues each month of the 
season. In the fall great fires swept them over, leaving only a blackened 
waste, but still sublimely beautiful. Upon the prairies of Granville deer 
were plenty, and were sometimes seen in great droves or flocks like cattle 


or steep. They were not much hunted, and would come near the wood- 
chopper and visit the feeding places of the cattle. 

Wolves, the pests of the barn-yard in winter, were numerous. Now 
and then they were run down on horseback and killed, but not often, as 
it was a difficult job and worth a good horse's life to attempt it, for the 
wolf is long-winded and very difficult to capture in this way. Many good 
horses were ruined in attempting it. 

During the cold winters they became ravenous for food and would 
come to the very doors of the cabins in quest of it. They would 
visit men chopping in the woods, coming so close that they could almost 
strike them with their axes. 

The Indian had a superstitious dread of prairie wolves, and did not 
molest them, but would kill the timber species because they scared their 
ponies, and, when occasion permitted, destroyed their young colts. 

Snakes were abundant everywhere, and the venomous rattlesnake was 
justly dreaded. Mr. Gunn once found one coiled beneath his chair, which 
had crept into the house unobserved. It was despatched, and the next 
day its mate was discovered and killed near the same place. These rep- 
tiles always go in pairs, and when one is killed its mate invariably seeks 
it. Deer are the deadly foes of snakes, and a citizen describes the killing 
of one east of the village of Granville. He was traveling the road, when 
he saw a group of deer seemingly greatly excited) and striving to stamp 
something beneath their feet. They would go off a few steps and then 
return, striking viciously and rapidly with their fore feet. The traveler 
watched the performance until it closed, and on going to the place found 
a large yellow rattlesnake cut to pieces with their sharp hoofs. 

The Indians never fed their ponies, that white men knew of. These 
little beasts, no matter how long they had been used, would be turned, 
out at night to .skirmish around for food among the dead leaves and hazle 
twigs as best they could. 

Previous to the winter of the great snow, opossums were -very numer- 
ous, but that year they nearly all died off, and not for many years after 
did they become plentiful. The somewhat unpopular, but pretty and 
sometimes highly perfumed Mephitis Americanus, or skunk, was no 
stranger, but was found in the swamps, timber, and on the prairies, and 
the traveler on horseback was frequently glad to give the saucy little 
white-necked, black-eyed, bushy-tailed, odoriferous creature not only the 
whole road, but several rods margin beside. 


Another animal often seen was the badger, as pugnacious and full of 
fight when cornered as to-day. Mr. Ish describes a combat he once saw 
between a sow and one of these fellows ; in which the sow got decidedly 

No coal has been found in Putnam County, and probably from the 
character of the formation none exists in the vicinity of Hennepin, as the 
limestone formation which is reached near the surface and has been bored 
to the depth of 800 feet precludes the idea. But, toward the eastern 
limits, on the prairies at Tonica, and in the country south and south-west 
is found this useful product, garnered in nature's storehouse for man's 
future use, and as the surface and character of the earth so far as tested 
are exactly similar to the coal region immediately adjoining, there is no 
reason to doubt but that a stratum of coal underlies both Granville and 







>HE increase of population after the war was rapid, and by the 
close of 1837 there were large and flourishing settlements 
in various localities, and the question of forming new coun- 
ties and county seats was sharply discussed. 

The people hereabout were clamorous for a county of 
their own. Lacon, Henry and Webster were looming up as 
future cities, and numerous towns with high-sounding names 
had been built on paper! Such as Troy City, Lyons, 
Chambersburg, Auburn, Bristol, Dorchester, etc. Robert's 
Point, Strawn's Woods, Round and Half Moon Prairies were for 
those times, populous farming sections. A few farms here and there 
dotted the vast prairies on the west of the Illinois, and the territory that 
aspired to become a separate county had a population of 1,500 people. 

A colony of energetic people from Ohio had settled in Lacon in 
1836, and at once gave the infant town a surprising "boom," to use a 
phrase then unknown. 

January 13, 1838, a meeting of the citizens of Lacon and vicinity was 
called, ostensibly to nominate candidates for legislative honors, but really 
to form a new county. Colonel Henderson, of Spoon River, having been 
previously sounded and found to be "solid" for the scheme, was recom- 
mended to the voters as a man "of ability and integrity," and he was 
named for Representative ; and John Hamlin, also known to be right on 
the all-absorbing question, was recommended for the Senatorship. 

Doctor Effner, Ira I. Fenn and Jesse C. Smith were appointed a com- 
mittee to act and correspond as might be necessary in forwarding the 
objects of the meeting. 

The gentlemen composing the meeting knew that the county question 


would be unpopular with their neighbors in the vicinity of Hennepin, and 
also along the line of Tazewell County, whose interests would be antago- 
nistic to the proposed dismemberment, hence a "still hunt" in the prem- 
ises was deemed best. The people of Tazewell getting wind of the 
scheme, and discovering that two of their townships were coveted by the 
" Laconites," called a meeting "for the purpose of consulting on the best 
means to prevent the citizens of Putnam County from curtailing our 
county on the north." Learning this, the Lacon committee shrewdly dis- 
claimed any such intention ! 

The vote of Lacon Precinct went almost to a man for Colonel Hender- 
son, who felt under obligations to return favors to his enthusiastic and 
warm supporters. The local press even that of Hennepin favored the 
project, as many of the people there feared they would lose the county 
seat if the proposed division was not made. 

Petitions were circulated and numerously signed praying for the estab- 
lishment of the new County of Marshall. They were presented December 
10, 1838, by Colonel Henderson, at once acted upon, a bill reported two 
days afterward, and by January 19 became a law. 

Three days afterward, petitions for the formation of Stark County 
came in, also numerously signed by Hennepin people. So eager were 
they to save their county seat that they consented to the loss of almost 
the entire county. The act fixed the boundaries as at present, except that 
it did not include the townships of Evans and Bennington, then a portion 
of La Salle ; but the law was afterward amended to include them, pro- 
vided the people therein were willing. They, however, refused, and it 
failed; but under an act approved March 1, 18 , they yielded, and the 
towns named were duly annexed to Marshall County. 

The Commissioners designated by law to select the county seat were : 
D. G. Salisbury, of Bureau ; Wm. Ogle, of Putnam, and Campbell Wake- 
field, of McLean County. They came into court and reported that "they 
had examined the different proposed sites for the seat of justice in Mar- 
shall County, taking into consideration the convenience, and the situation 
of the settlements with an eye to future population of the place to be 
chosen. Lacon possessed the natural advantages of location, and all 
other requisites, and they had accordingly chosen this town as the seat 
of justice of Marshall County. They also reported that they had se- 
lected Lots three, four and five, in Block forty-five, as the ground for 
a Court House and other buildings; also, that the proprietors of the 


town had donated said lots to Marshall County, giving their notes and 
bonds in the sum of $5,000 to the County, payable in equal instal- 
ments of $1,666.66, in six, twelve and eighteen months from date, with 
interest. The men who executed these notes were : Win. Fenn, Samuel 
Howe, Elisha Swan, Ira I. Fenn, Jonathan Babb, Robert Boal, Wm. 
Fisher and George Snyder. 


Marshall County, as at present constituted, consists of eight full 
townships of six miles square each, viz: Bennington, Evans, Belle Plain 
and Roberts on the east, and La Prairie, Saratoga and Whitefield west of 
the Illinois River. The others, made more or less fractional by the wind- 
ing of the river, are Hopewell, Lacon, Henry and Steuben. 

The river bottoms are from three to five miles wide. The bottom 
land is remarkable for its richness of soil, and some exceedingly profitable 
farms are to be found. 

The chain of hills bounding the west of the valley are full of ex- 
cellent coal, obtained by drifting into the bluffs, and supplies the wants 
of the people of the villages and farmers on the prairies with fuel at very 
low rates. 

The law fixed the 25th of February, 1839, as election day, to choose 
the new county officers. 

George Snyder, Esq., a Justice of the Peace of Lacon Precinct, gave 
the notices fifteen days before the event, and candidates swarmed around 
the polls. There were twenty-eight worthy gentlemen who were willing 
to sacrifice themselves upon the altar of their country, to hold different 
offices, eight of whom wanted to be Sheriff. 

The candidates chosen were: Elisha Swan, William Maxwell and 
George H. Shaw, County Commissioners; Wm. H. Effner, Probate Jus- 
tice; Chas. F. Speyers, Recorder; Silas Ramsey, Sheriff; Anson L. Dem- 
ing, Treasurer ; A. S. Fishburn, County Clerk ; Geo. F. Case, Coroner ; 
and Jordan Sawyer, Surveyor. 


The Governmental history of the new County is best told in the rec- 
ords of the County Commissioners' Court, which, before township organi- 
zations, supplied the place of the present Board of Supervisors. 


The first acts of the members, whose first meeting was at the house of 
John D. Coutlett, March 2, 1839, was to look to the credentials of the 
various officers, and see that bonds required were satisfactory ; after which 
the county was divided into election districts, as follows : 

No. 1. La Fayette Precinct. All that part of Marshall County west 
of the Illinois River, south of the line of Townships Nos. 12 and 13. 

No. 2. Henry Precinct. All of the County west of the river, and 
north of the line of the towns above, adjoining La Fayette Precinct ; vot- 
ing place at the house of Elias Thompson. 

No. 3. Lacon Precinct. All the County east of the river, and west 
of Ranges Nos. 1 and 2, west of the 3d principal meridian; elections 
to be held at the County Clerk's office. 

No. 4. Lyons Precinct. All east of the dividing line of Ranges 1 and 
2 ; elections to be held at the house of W. B. Green. 

The County was also divided into fourteen road districts, and three 
days' road labor required of every able-bodied man subject to such duty 
by law. George H. Shaw was appointed a commissioner to receive the 
money due Marshall County from the Internal Improvement fund, which 
the State had appropriated to Putnam County in 1837. The proportion 
due Marshall was $3,290.00, with interest. John Wier was appointed 
School Commissioner, and gave bonds in the sum of $10,000. For want 
of better accommodations, the Circuit Clerk, County Commissioners' Clerk, 
County Recorder, and Probate Justice of the Peace, were obliged to hold 
their offices in one room, in a building owned by Elisha Swan, who was 
limited in his charges to a rental not exceeding $75 per annum. 

The Commissioners voted themselves $2.50 per diem, and the Clerk 
$2.00; and they allowed Coutlett $2.00 for the use of his house and fire- 
wood for four days, which would strike the reader as being reasonable. 
The pay of jurymen was fixed at 75 cents per day and "find themselves." 

Among the first things to claim the attention of the Board was the lay- 
ing out of new roads, and by their orders the present highway from Lacon 
to Spoon River was laid out June 3, 1839, and the same month the 
" State Road " was located through the eastern part of Marshall ; and also 
a road through the towns of LaPrairie and Saratoga ; likewise others. The 
sum of $50 was appropriated for improving a "slew" near Lyons ; a like 
sum to be expended near Owens' Mills, on Crow Creek, and $100 to be 
expended on the road from Lacon to Wyoming. 

In June, 1839, the home Board began to indulge in luxuries, and or- 


dered six chairs and a map of the State, at a total cost of $9.00. They 
were bought of Fenn, Howe & Co. They also invested $1.75 in a Bible, 
on condition the seller threw in an ink stand and sand box. A. N. Ford 
files a bill for printing to the extent of $2.00. Dr. Boal asks pel-mission 
to run a ferry, which is granted on condition that he pay a fee of $15.00, 
which, in September, was cut down to half that sum. 

The first County Clerk elected by the people was James M. Shannon. 
He was a man of fair education and excellent qualifications for the place. 
He filled the office until March, 1845, when his habits became objectionable 
and could be no longer tolerated. He was complained of by information 
signed by two of the County Commissioners, of habitual intoxication, 
using abusive language, and insulting the Court in open session. 

In June, 1845, the information filed came up for examination. The 
Commissioners tried it before themselves Shannon, the defendant, as 
well as the complainants, appearing by attorneys. They refused to grant 
the accused a change of venue, or to sustain a plea as to their own juris- 
diction, and saw no impropriety in trying a case before themselves brought 
by two of their own number, a majority of the Court. After hearing the 
evidence, they "bounced" the bibulous clerk and appointed David David- 
son, June 3, 1845. 

Long and tedious proceedings followed, Shannon having appealed to the 
Supreme Court for a hearing. During the trial at Ottawa, many wit- 
nesses were compelled to attend, costing the County several hundred dol- 

In the mean time Shannon had gone before the people with his griev- 
ances, and petitions circulated everywhere in the county to " re-onstate " 
him were numerously signed and laid before the Board, of which that tri- 
bunal took no notice. The fall election, however, settled the whole mat- 
ter, for the people re-elected Shannon by a triumphant majority. He held 
the office until December 20, 1845, and then handed in his resignation, 
which was filed December 30. 

His successor was Samuel C. Cochran, who was appointed to fill the 
vacancy, and at the next election was chosen t j that office by the people. 

In June 1847, Cochran resigned, and Silas Ramsey was appointed. He 
was afterward elected by the people. He held the office until 1849, when 
he became County Judge, and Washington E. Cook, Clerk. 

In 1839, the total tax levied was $875, and of this sum, Silas 
Ramsey, who was both Sheriff and Collector, raised- $78 7. 12, showing him 


to have been a very efficient officer. Forty cents on each one hundred dol- 
lars valuation was the sum assessed for county purposes. 

In June 1840, the general census was taken, and Samuel Howe re- 
ceived the appointment of enumerator. He was a well known Aboli- 
tionist, and his appointment drew from one of the Commissioners the fol- 
lowing spirited protest: 

"The undersigned being opposed to the principles avowed by modern 
Abolitionists for the immediate emancipation of the slaves of the United 
States, do hereby enter my solemn protest against the appointment of Sam- 
uel Howe as Commissioner to take the census of Marshall County, on the 
ground that said Howe is in favor of immediate emancipation of the slaves 
aforesaid. ELISHA SWAN." 

In September, 1840, David Myers brought into Court certain papers 
and a small amount of silver found in the purse of an unknown man who 
died at his house, and claimed $15.00 for his care and burial, which was 

7 " 7 


About this time, also, Geo. F. Case was allowed $14.00 for holding an 
inquest on the body of James McBride. 

William Fisher was allowed at the same time, $8.50 for paper and 

/ " i j. 

quills, steel pens not having been introduced. 

March 2, 1841, Joseph Burr was licensed to keep a ferry at Henry, 
and the license was fixed at $2.00. 

In March, too, Anson L. Deming resigned the office of Treasurer. He 
had received and paid out during his term $9.31.43, all of which save 
$40.00 was in County orders. The account was closed thus: "Com- 
missions, $38.80; balance, $1.20. This sum was found to be safe, and 
was duly turned over to his successor, Lundsford Broaddus. 

Putnam County, up to this date, had not paid over the internal im- 
provement fund quota. Edward Jones, Esq., of Tremont, Tazewell 
County, was appointed to prosecute and collect the money, March, 1841. 

In September of this year, William Fenn was directed to see about 
putting up lightning-rods on the Court House. He had them made at 
home, by blacksmiths, and the job cost $53.96. 

Up to 1845 there had been no jail, and prisoners had to be guarded 
at the cost of the County. Thus we find a man named Andrew Zellar had 
been guilty of larceny, and bills were allowed as follows : Jesse Oran, 
guarding Zellar twenty-four hours, $1.00; George Durat, forty-eight hours, 


$2.00; J. O'Connel twenty-four hours, $1.00; Sam'l B. McLaughlin, 
twenty-four hours, $1.00; J. W. Bettis, committing Zellar and guarding 
him, $2.00. After getting him in some sort of a place, they had to feed 
him, and the bills were: $1.75, $4.06 and $3.62|. This, with similar 
cases, awakened the Commissioners to a*h appreciation of the needs of a 
good jail, and we find them debating it soon after. 

All efforts to compel Putnam County to pay over the funds she held 
belonging to Marshall, it seems, failed, and the latter paid her attorneys 
in the case, Messrs. Fenn & Peters, one hundred dollars. 

Lundsford Broaddus, in June, 1842, resigned the office of County 
Treasurer, and Hezekiah S. Crane was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

In 1841 the tax levy was fifty cents on each one hundred dollars of 
valuation. The Commissioners appear to have gone into the "furnishing" 
business, and the records show this entry: "Addison Ramsey is allowed 
$3.00 for a pair of pants furnished the infamous Andrew Zellar." The 
next year the assessment system was changed, and Peter Temple, for 
assessing the whole county, was allowed $104. 

James Hoyt was the Assessor for 1843. State bank paper had suf- 
fered a sad depreciation, and the Treasurer refused to receive it. He 
was ordered to take it at fifty per cent discount, and give tax-payers 
the benefit of " the rise." 

In June, 1843, Sampson Rowe was licensed to keep a ferry at Henry, 
by paying the usual license of $2.00. 

Sandy Precinct, a new election district, was organized this session, and 
elections fixed at the house of Enoch Dent. 

Town 29, Range 1 west, and 29, Range 1 east was organized into an 
election precinct, and Pierce Perry's house designated as the voting place 

Wm. Maxwell was re-elected County Commissioner in August, 1843, 
and Levi Wilcox, Treasurer. James Hoyt assessed the county this year 
for $57.50. 

C. F. Speyer, Recorder of Deeds, resigned June, 1844, and County 
Clerk Shannon was appointed to take charge of the books and papers of 
the office till further orders. 

C. S. Edwards was again re-elected a Commissioner in August, 1844, 
and Levi Wilcox assessed the county for $ln>. 

Doctor Boal was again granted a license to run a ferry at Lacon, he 
paying the usual fee. 



In March, 1844, a petition was presented asking the county to pur- 
chase the Lacon ferry, signed by Silas Ramsey and a number of promi- 
nent citizens, but for some reason this sensible project was abandoned 
and the petition withdrawn. 

In March, 1846, $300 was appropriated by the County Commissioners 
to build an embankment through the sloughs from Lacon ferry to Spar- 
land, on condition that the citizens would contribute $400 in addition for 
the same purpose, and F. D. Drake was appointed a Commissioner to ex- 
pend the money and superintend the work. 

In March, 1846, the town of Lyons, near where Varna is now, was 
dropped from the Assessor's books and assessed as lands. 

Thomas Gallaher, who had transcribed such of the records at Henne- 
pin as related to Marshall County, was allowed $250 for the work, the 
books having been received and approved. 

In this year the ferry at Lacon passed into the hands of Wm. Fisher 
& Co., who were licensed to run it upon payment of $15.00. 

The cost of assessing the county in 1844 was $150. 

December 8, 1845, Richard Viuecore made application for license to 
keep a grocery in a brick building opposite the Lacon House. "The 
Court, taking into consideration the subject of said application, and be- 
lieving that l groceries ' are not conducive to the public good, reject the 
application!" was the discouraging result of this petition. 

In June, 1847, David M. Robinson was allowed $14.00 for boarding 
Thomas Dobson, accused of and in custody for the killing of Hollenback. 

In September, 1847, Richard Vinecore came again with his grocery 
petition, and met with better luck, being allowed to run his proposed 
saloon for $40.00 per year license. 

In June, 1848, a standing reward of fifty dollars was offered for the 
apprehension of all horse-thieves escaping from the County. 

In December, 1849, under a new law Silas Ramsey was elected County 
Judge, and Thomas Cowan and J. W. Bettis Associate Justices of the 
Peace; Washington E. Cook, County Clerk; Abram Wall, School Com- 
missioner; Resin B. Rogers, Treasurer. 


In March, 1850, the new law, providing for township organization 
took effect, and Samuel Camp, Addison Ramsey and Nathan Patton were 



appointed Commissions to divide the territory into convenient townships, 
which they did as follows : 

Congressional Town 30, Range 1 west, 3d parallel meridian, to be 
named Roberts. 

Town 30, Range 1 east, 3d parallel meridian, Evans. 

Town 30, Range 2 west, Hopewell. 

Fractional Town 30, Range 3 west, and Fractional Town 29, Range 3 
west, Lacon. 

Town 29, Range 2 west, Richland. 

Town 29, Range 1 west, and Town 29, Range 1 east, Belle Plain. 

Fractional Town 13, Range 10 east, 4th parallel meridian and road 
on the east side of the line leading from the ferry in said town, and here- 
tofore held by the County of Putnam, Henry. 

Town 13, Range 9 east, 4th parallel meridian, and Town 13, Range 8 
east, same parallel meridian, Whitefield. 

Town 12, Range 8 east, 4th parallel meridian, Fairfield. 

Town 12, Range 9 east, 4th parallel meridian, Steuben. 

The law provided that in selecting the names for towns under the 
township organization law, that the Commissioners should avoid getting 
the names of towns in other counties, and as "Fail-field" had been 
adopted numerously elsewhere, County Judge Ramsey changed " Fair- 
field, 1 ' the first choice of the people of that region, to " La Prairie," their 
second preference. 

The first Board of Supervisors of Marshall County met at the Court 
House in Lacon, November 11, 1850. There were present: Theodore 
Periy, Henry Snyder, John B. White, Chas. S. Edwards, James Gibson, 
Albert Ramsey, Reuben F. Bell, Wm. Maxwell, Amasa Garrett, George 

W. Bettis. 

Saratoga was set off in September, 1855, and Bermington, Dec. 17, 1856. 

Greenberry L. Fort was chosen Messenger of this body, an office of great 
ornament, which subsequent boards of supervisors have dispensed with. 

On motion of Edwards, Wm. Maxwell was chosen the first Chairman. 

In March, 1851, Silas Ramsey, W. E. Cook and G. L. Fort were chosen 
Commissioners to purchase eighty acres of land for a county poor farm. 

The first deed recorded in the new Court was from Daniel Davis to Al- 



exander Mclntosh, March 26, 1838, for a piece of land in Putnam County. 
The next, from Robert Bird and Rachel, his wife, to John Strawn, August 
15, 1831, for a piece of land in Columbia (Lacon), for $38; witness: James 
Dever and John Kemp ; before Colby F. Stevenson, Justice of the Peace. 

The town of Columbia was surveyed by Colby F. Stevenson, August 6, 
1831, containing 130 lots, for John Strawn and others. The first convey- 
ance of lots in Columbia was from John Strawn to Jesse Sawyer, October 
6, 1831. 

The first marriages recorded are : David Gwynn and Harriet Jane 
Martin, March 10, 1839, "by Henry D. Palmer, elder and minister of the 
Gospel." The next was Joel B. Perkins and Margaret Burt, by the Rev. 
Henry D. Palmer, April 4, 1839 ; John D. Coutlett and Sarah E. Dever, 
by Rev. Zadock Hall, April 6, 1839; Samuel Mitchell was married to 
Mary Work, May 29, 1839, by Rev. James H. Dickey. 

The first Circuit Court in Marshall County began in Lacon, April 23, 
1839. Thos. Ford was Judge; James M. Shannon, Clerk; Silas Ramsey, 
Sheriff. It was held in the old Methodist Church, long since turned into 
a mercantile establishment. The first case before the Court was that of 
Luther P. Frost vs. Long & Ramsey, which was dismissed at the plain- 
tiff's cost. 

Another was The People vs. Solomon Brewer, for assault and battery. 
The jury, after being out all night, returned a verdict of "not guilty." 
Ira Fenn, Esq., talking for the State, moved for a new trial, but it was 

The Grand Jury met at the M. E. Church, and was composed of 
Ira F. Lowery, foreman ; Lewis Barney, Joel Corbett, Jeremiah Cooper, 
Allen N. Ford, Chas. Rice, Wm. Gray, Enoch Sawyer, Jonah D. Stewart, 
Elijah Freeman, Jr., Nathan Owen, Geo. Scott, Sam. Howe, Robt. Ben- 
nington, John Bird, Andrew Jackson, Henry Snyder, Allen Hunter. 

No business claimed their attention, and they were discharged. 

At the next term, October, 1839, a peddler put in his appearance as a 
defendant in a case in which he had been indicted for selling clocks with- 
out a license. At that time there existed a deeply-rooted prejudice against 
Yankee clock peddlers, which appears to have come down to this day. 
Besides, clocks were regarded as extravagant luxuries, the sun being con- 
sidered the best regulator and indicator of time. 

The peddler, whose name was Erastus Higbee, had been jerked up and 


accused of selling without a license. He pleaded guilty, was fined fifty 
dollars and costs, and told to travel. And it is on record that he did 

At the same time Chas. H. Bevins was indicted for larceny, convicted 
and sent to the Penitentiary for three years, being the first convict from 
Marshall County. 

The first divorce applied for or granted was that of Elizabeth Gibbons 
vs. James H. Gibbons. 

In the first court docket, on a fly leaf, is written a portion of the Lord's 
Prayer, ending with the word " trespasses," which, being a legal one, was 
deemed a proper introduction to court proceedings. 

Thomas Fitzpatrick and Dennis Daily were the first foreigners who 
were naturalized in the County, having been admitted to citizenship at the 
April term of the Circuit Court, 1840. 

The first Circuit Judges presiding here were : Thos. Ford, from 1839 
to 1842; John D. Caton, from 1842 to 1848; followed by T. L. Dickey, 
Edwin L. Leland, J. L. Richmond and John Burns. Judge Richmond 
died before the expiration of his term, and Mark Bangs was appointed his 
successor. He was an able and upright officer, and presided with impar-. 
tial fairness. 


The Court House question began to agitate the Court at the first 
meeting of that body, and Elisha Swan was directed to get from the 
"machanicks" an estimate of the cost of building one, "say forty-five 
feet wide and fifty feet long, the foundation and superstructure to be of 
brick." The contract was awarded in December, 1839, to Edward White 
and Thomas F. Shepherd, and signed January 14, 1840. The cost was 
fixed at $8,000. It was to be 40x55 feet, two stories high. The con- 
tractors were required to give bonds in $16,000, or double the amount of 
the cost of the proposed building. 

In January, 1840, they were allowed to draw, as part payment on 
their job, $5,000 in county bonds. 

December 8, 1840, the building was finished and turned over to the 
County, and the additional bonds in payment therefor were issued. 

September 7, 1843, a contract was entered into with John Guthrie to 



build a jail for $515, and soon after Thomas Weir became his partner in 
the work. 

Wm. A. and Elijah Bird for fencing the Court House received $52.80, 
and $6.00 for making stiles. 

In June, 1846, the Commissioners decided to erect a house as a dwell- 
ing for the jailor, and advertised for bids for the work. John M. Lindley 
obtained the contract, for $450. 

The Court House caught fire at eight o'clock on the morning of Jan- 
uary 5, 1847, from a defective flue, on the west side, near the roof, and 
was burned down, being a total loss of the building and fixtures in the 
court room as well as below. The books and papers and movable furni- 
ture were all saved. 

Immediately after this event the Board of Supervisors met, and meas- 
ures for rebuilding were taken. Fortunately there was an insurance 
of $5,000 on the old building, which was at once available. The old 
material saved was ordered sold, and W. E. Cook appointed to collect the 
money and hold it subject to the order of the Board. To make the 
County secure, he gave bonds in the sum of $10,000, and in a short time 
reported every dollar on hand. 

In the meantime the Board rented a room from Mr. Wm. Fenn, at the 
rate of $125 per annum, for county purposes, where the records mostly 
saved were stored, and the different officers quartered therein. 

Albert Ramsey, Theodore Perry and James W. Maxwell were a com- 
mittee on building, and soon as plans and specifications could be prepared, 
the contract was awarded to Comegys & Bro., and Card and Haggard at 
the February session, 1853. John W. Bettis, Theodore Peny and H. L. 
Crane were appointed to superintend the work and suggest such changes 
and alterations as might be beneficial to the County. 

The Building Committee reported the work done, and the building in 
the hands of the Board in November, 1853, for which they had paid, for 
the original contract, $7,050.50; alterations, $301.39 total, $7,351.89. 

In September 1856, the old Jail having proven defective and inade- 
quate to the wants of the County, H. L. Crane, N. G. Henthorn and Ed- 
ward White were appointed a committee to draft plans for a new jail and 
Sheriff's house. 

In December, plans and specifications were presented and bids invited. 

In January 1857, Edward White received the contract to do the work 



for $12,000, and H. L. Crane, N. G. Henthorn and W. E. Cook were 
chosen a committee to superintend the work. It was done during that 
spring and summer, and as the records have it, duly "excepted." 

During these years the County east and west was rapidly filling up, 
and land was advancing in value. The river aff orded the only outlet for 
the rapidly increasing volume of products, and enterprising parties began 
to look for other modes of transportation. 





>HIS once famous projected road was to run from Phila- 
delphia to Fort Wayne, Ind. ; thence across the prairies of 
our State, through Marshall County from Wenona to La- 
con, where it was to cross the Illinois River ; thence west 
to Wyoming, Stark County, and onward over the Missis- 
sippi at New Boston, in a direct line to Council Bluff s, on 
the Missouri. It was grand in its inception, but failed mis- 
erably in execution, and involved the County and individ- 
uals in large losses, entailing debts not yet liquidated. 

Lacon, in its corporate capacity, voted $50,000 in aid of its construc- 
tion, and Marshall County $100,000, to be invested in the capital stock of 
the road. The firm of Fisher & Co. subscribed $10,000, and the sum 
total swelled to large proportions. 

Much of the credit of originating the enterprise and giving it force is 
due to Ira I. Fenn and Theodore Perry, both at that time citizens of 
Lacon. To give it character, the Hon. Robert Schenck, of Ohio, was 
made President, while Mr. Fenn was elected Treasurer and E. A. Whip- 
pie, Secretary. The Board of Directors were: William Fisher, Silas 
Ramsey, S. L. Fleming and Theodore Perry. 

The headquarters of the company were at Lacon, and Ira I. Fenn was 
the principal worker. He had great faith in the ultimate success of the 
project, and devoted most of his time to the interests of the road. 

Work began in 1853, and in November of that year the Board of Su- 
pervisors, carrying out the wishes of their constituents, caused the bonds 
voted to issue, bearing ten per cent interest, with twenty years to run. 
In the meantime there was considerable opposition manifested, and in 
March, 1854, the Clerk of the Board was ordered to withhold their deliv- 
ery, the vote standing 7 to 3. 

In December, 1855, Ira I. Fenn, on behalf of the Railroad Company, 
came before the Board and demanded $30,000 worth of the bonds. A 
lively fight resulted, and finally the subject was tabled till June, 1856, 


when a motion to issue $35,000 was lost by a vote of 4 to 8, but the next 
day reconsidered and passed, 6 to 4. 

In March, 1856, Fenn came again and demanded the eighth and ninth 
installments of $5,000 each. Meantime an injunction had been granted 
restraining the Board from issuing any of the preceding amounts. 

In September, they passed an order by a vote of 6 for and 5 votes 
against, to issue $40,000 of the bonds, requiring an indemnity against loss 
or expense of exchange between Lacon and New York city, where the 
payments were to be made. December, 1856, those remaining unsold were 
ordered delivered, and found ready purchasers. 

In 1861 President Schenck was sent to Europe to negotiate for iron 
and rolling stock. He was supplied with bonds of different counties and 
towns, about $5,000 worth of which he hypothecated before starting, to 
raise money for expenses. While there the war broke out, and British 
capitalists refused to invest money in our "blarsted country" in the 
beginning of a civil war the end of which could not be clearly foreseen, 
and Schenck returned, to become a Federal General. 

The bonds which he had hypothecated were put up at a forced sale 
and advertised in the New York papers. The conveyance or trust deed 
to secure a loan was one of those "cut-throat" documents which give all 
the advantage to the money lender and places the borrower completely at 
his mercy. This intrument gave the trustee power to sell the entire road- 
bed if the money was not paid when due ! 

Judge Thompson, of Oledo; Olof Johnson, of Galva; Wm. Thomas, 
of Wyoming, and one or two others living along the line of the road west 
of the Illinois River, having money, saw a chance for a speculation at this 
sale. They formed a sort of syndicate, sent one of their number to New 
York, and bought the entire road-bed, right of way and everything it had 
of value, which they subsequently sold in parcels to suit customers. The 
C., B. &. Q. Company became owner of most of the line in this State, and 
afterward transferred that portion lying between Lacon and Dwight to 
the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Company. 

Judge Thompson was severely censured for this course, and not long 
after emigrated to California, where he has since resided. 





'ERIVING its name from the principal town within its 
borders, this township is conspicuous for its varied sceneiy, 
though what resemblance there may be between Laconia, or 
Sparta, in ancient Greece (from which the town is named), 
and this division of Marshall County, topographically or 
otherwise, is not apparent. The surface is diversified by 
hill and dale, prairie and woodland. It is about ten miles 
in length from north to south, and at its southern extremity 
near the mouth of Crow Creek, is four miles wide, gradu- 
ally diminishing toward its northern limit. Across its southern border runs 
Crow Creek, a deep, quiet stream ordinarily, but capable of indefinite ex- 
pansion when it spreads over almost the entire country. 

The bluff s are picturesque, and at their base is a valley aff ording good 
pasturage and arable land, subject to occasional overflow. The bottoms 
are filled with ponds, sloughs, small lakes, and patches of excellent timber. 
Several minor streams intersect it beside the first named, known re- 
spectively as Pigeon Creek, Strawn's Run, Dry Run, etc., all of them 
flowing into the Illinois. 

A short distance below the city of Lacon, the bluffs bend to the east- 
ward, leaving a prairie from two to three miles in width. It is on a 
second plateau, or level, about midway between the river bed and the top 
of the outer bluffs, and covered with well tilled farms. 

The soil is a deep sandy loam made, up from the deposits of long ages 
ago, but affords reasonably good crops, and is especially adapted to fruit 
growing and vegetables. 

The bluffs along the eastern line of the town and the ravines are cov- 
ered with timber, much of it of very fair quality, consisting of white, 
red, black and bur oaks, ash, hickory linden wood, and black walnut. 


The timber line extends from two to three miles inland, and the 
quality is good, affording at this day an abundance for fuel and building 

Along the streams and bordering the fields and roads, when allowed to 
grow, are thickets of sumac, crab-apple, wild cherry, paw-paw, the bril- 
liant flowered red-bud, etc., while in the bottoms of the Illinois is still to 
be found the pecan tree, bearing the delicious and peculiarly American 
nut of that name. They are not found, we are told, north of the latitude 
of Lacon. 

Paw-paws grew everywhere near the rivers or larger streams, and 
were in great request by the Indians and some of the whites, not all of 
the latter being able to cultivate a liking for the extremely rich and 
strongly flavored fruit. 

The principal business outlets of the township are the river, the Chi- 
cago and Alton Railroad, and the Bureau Valley Branch of the Chicago, 
Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, through its station at Sparland. 


The first explorers who looked upon the site of Lacon must have been 
struck with its singular beauty and the possession of every requirement 
desirable in the location of a city. Beginning at the river, there was a 
gradual rise for half a mile, and then a level prairie extending a mile 
further to the wooded terrace beyond. The surface intervening was 
dotted with knolls, eminences, and occasional miniature lakes, since 
drained or filled up. In summer the prairie was one vast bed of waving 
grass and brilliant flowers, changing their tints with each month. 

Along the river's bank a belt of oaks, cottonwood and red maples, 
with an inner lining of willows extended, through which, at intervals 
glimpses of water were had, which in the sunlight shimmered like molten 

What is now Water street was covered with a dense thicket of hazle 
brush, with .here and there a large tree. At the upper end a bayou 
opened into what was afterward known as "Swan's Basin," and below 
town a similar outlet gave egress to the surplus water of the numerous 
springs along the bank. A thicket of hazel brush covered the ground 
where the woolen mill stands, and extended down .to the cemetery; and 


the bottom where the old slaughter house stood was dotted with trees 
and patches of plum and crab-apple thickets,' while Johnson's grove ex- 
tended in the shape of a V northward to the Court House square. Scat- 
tering trees covered the bottom west of W. E. Cook's, and thence around 
to the Benson (now Henry Fisher) place. Another belt followed the 
brewery ravine, covering the ground where Hoffrichter's slaughter house 
stands, and extending to the timber on the bluff s. All else was prairie, 
covered in summer with tall grass and gaily painted flowers, where 
the wild deer roamed, the wolf made his covert, the prairie chicken beat 
his tattoo and called his floqk together, and each spring and fall the 
migrating duck and wild goose tarried for rest and recreation during their 
long voyages " from lands of sun to lands of snow" on the shores of 
Hudson's Bay. 

The setting of this sylvan picture on the east was a line of bluff s cov- 
ered with heavy forest trees, unvexed by woodman's ax and their occu- 
pants undisturbed by hunter's rifle. The children of the forest whose 
houses were in the valley below roamed through its leafy labyrinths, and 
with bow and spear struck down the lordly buck and timid doe. The 
river swarmed with fish, the prairies and forests with game, the earth 
brought forth bountifully, and the red man, the only dweller unmolested 
for centuries, hunted, fought, sung his death song and died. 

But a change came over the scene. The pale faces made their appear- 
ance and the Indian gave way before the civilizing influences of whisky 
and gunpowder. 

The first white man who looked upon the site where Lacon stands 
cannot be named. Over two hundred years ago La Salle and his adven- 
turous companions explored the river and built a rude fort opposite 
Peoria, where they passed the winter, followed by Champlain and others; 
but the thick fringe of trees that curtained the bank here, shut out all view 
from the river and we have no evidence of their effecting a landing. 

Adventurous trappers and land explorers undoubtedly traversed this 
section, and the Government surveyors who laid out the military tract 
across the river in 1815-16 probably came over to view the panorama 
spread before them from the western bluffs, but the first positive visit to 
the place we have record of was by John Strawn and a man named Haver, 
in the summer of 1828. In the succeeding year Strawn removed with his 
family to the prairie three miles east, reaching there the 21st day of Sep- 
tember. The country in the vicinity of Beardstown had been under cul- 


tivation several years, and Strawn, seeing the importance of laying in sup- 
plies for the winter, proceeded there on horseback, and chartering a keel 
boat, loaded it with corn, etc., which was propelled up the river and landed 
near the site of the old mill below town, where its contents were unloaded 
and hauled to their destination. One pleasant Sabbath in February of 
that winter Rachael (Mrs. Bane), aged eleven, and Mary Jane (Mrs. 
Thompson), aged nine, started unattended, and following the track made 
by the wagons, reached the river in due time, and were undoubtedly the 
first white females who saw the place. A company of Pottawatomie 
Indians were camped in a grove near where the woolen mill stands, and 
looked curiously upon the pale faced squaws, but did not molest them. 
A few rods distant were a couple of low, covered pens made of poles, 
from which a sickening stench emanated. Looking through the crevices, 
the decaying remains of several Indians were seen placed in sitting pos- 
tures, with their guns and blankets at their sides, ready for departure when 
the Great Spirit called. They were the victims of a drunken debauch of a 
few days previous, in which five persons were killed. The girls visited 
the river bank, gathered a few pebbles as mementos of their visit, and 
returned unmolested, to the great relief of their anxious mother, who 
very much feared she would never again behold them. 

The Legislature of 1824-5 organized the County of Putnam, embrac- 
ing all the territory east and north of Marshall to the State line of Wis- 
consin, west to Warren, and thence southward 105 miles, covering about 
11,000 square miles, out of which has since been formed twenty-three of 
the richest counties in the State. The County, however, was never 
organized, the few hunters and trappers in the territory caring little for 
form, and being, as it were, a law unto themselves. 

In 1830-1 Putnam was re-organized, including in its territory the pres- 
ent Counties of Marshall, Bureau, Putnam and Stark, and Hennepin made 
the county seat. Settlements had already begun on Round and Sand 
Prairies, and a few families had opened farms in what since became Rob- 
erts' Township. Although the west side was surveyed in 1815-16, no 
attempt at settlement had been made up to this time. In the spring of 
1831 General Jonathan Babb and Major Henry Filler, of Somerset, Ohio, 
companions in arms in the war of 1812, journeyed on horseback from 
Ohio to Illinois, and visited the present site of Lacon, then known as 
Strawn's Landing. They were struck with the beauty of the place and 
its favorable location for a town, and as the land was coming into market 

326 BECORDS otf THE otDEtt TIME. 

in July, they left with John Strawn a sum of money to secure the entiy 
of the fractional tract next the river, on joint account. 

On the 18th of July, 1831, the first day of the Government land sales 
at Springfield, Strawn, in behalf of Babb & Filler, entered the south-east 
fractional quarter of Section twenty-six, in Township thirty, north of 
Range three, west of the third principal meridian. It embraced 67 15-100 
acres, being that on which the greater part of the original town was laid 
off. Strawn entered it in his own name, for the convenience of transfer, 
and with the alleged consent of the other parties donated certain lots to 
induce the investment of capital. These transfers the parties refused to 
confirm, and out of it grew a long and acrimonious lawsuit, running 
through all the courts and ending in the defeat of Strawn. The tract in 
controversy covered the territory west of Washington street and north of 
the woolen mill. 

The patent of the land was not issued until October 27, 1835, and 
bears the signature of Andrew Jackson, President. 

The fraction of land below Second street and west of Prairie was en- 
tered by Robert Bird, one of the oldest settlers of Belle Plain Township, 
and sold by him to John Strawn. The instrument of sale bears record of 
August 15, 1831, and was the first deed recorded in Putnam County. 

The land lying between Washington and High streets (80 acres) was 
entered by Morgan Buckingham, and that lying between High street and 
the Barnes place (80 acres) was entered by Isaac Buckingham, and by 
them transferred October 2, 1833, to Ira I. Fenn for $2,600. The Barnes 
property (160 acres), jthe Reddan, Hoffrichter and Jahu Buckingham 
places were originally entered by Jacob and Frances Reeder. South and 
west of this was 160 acres of school lands, divided into ten-acre tracts, now 
covered by Wilcox's, Henthorn's and Ball's additions, Mrs. Ramsey's 
farm and Johnson's Grove. 

The town was laid off in August,, 1831, and named Columbia, the sur- 
veys being made by John Stevenson, Surveyor of Sangamon, and Colby 
F. Stevenson, Surveyor of Putnam County. It was acknowledged Au- 
gust 19, before Thomas Gallaher, a Justice of the Peace at Hennepin, and 
was the first town plat recorded in Putnam County. 

It is worthy of mention that at this time a large part of Northern Illi- 
nois was still a wilderness. Six years before a Mr. Schoolcraft traveled 
from Peoria to Chicago without finding a civilized habitation on the way. 
Chicago was not laid off, though a thriving village of forty or fifty houses, 


with two hundred and fifty inhabitants and five stores covered the site. 
Peoria was a village of some promise, and the lead mines about Galena 
had been worked for several years, but the future cities of Princeton, 
Henry and Chillicothe had not a single inhabitant. 

About twelve miles eastward Jesse Roberts had reared a cabin where 
his son Livingston now lives, and Geo. H. Shaw and Chas. Edwards had 
selected their future homes at the "Point." A few homes skirted the 
forest along the edge of Round Prairie, and a single settler looked out 
upon the fertile waste of Half Moon. Three and a half miles east of the 
river the hospitable log cabin of John Strawn stood, with its latch-string 
always outside, and upon the bluffs where they reside to-day stood the 
cabins of Lot and Joshua Bullman, with that of their brother-in-law, Bel- 
tha Griffith, hard by. On the south came James Hall and Newton Reeder, 
who built a little east of the dwelling afterward erected by Lundsford 
Broad us, where the latter 's son Irving lives to-day. Further south an 
Ohio emigrant named Hamilton had made a claim which he sold to John 
Wier, and down the river Joseph Babb had opened a farm. John Arm- 
strong had made a claim on land afterward owned by Robert Rickey; 
in the neighborhood lived Geo. Easter, and north of town a family named 
Waughob and another named Lancaster had temporary residences. 

The future site of Lacon was covered with a dense growth of coarse 
grass, and to make the surveys correctly William Strawn was mounted 
on a strong horse attached to a log of wood, with which he traversed the 
principle streets, thus enabling the engineers to run their lines. 

The survey made, the streets named, the lots numbered and the place 
christened, it was advertised in the few papers in the State, and a pub- 
lic sale of lots held on the 28th day of September of that year. The 
auctioneer was John Knox, and Robert Barries acted as clerk; some 
fifteen persons attended the sale. Among the sales made were lot 1 in 
block 2, and lots 1 and 2 in block 21, to Jesse Sawyer; lots 7 and 8 in 
block 21, to Samuel Russell; lots 5 and 6 in block 2, to Henry K. Cas- 
sell; lots 3 and 4 in block 2, to Thaddeus Barney; lot 4 in block 8, 
and 1 and 4 in block 5, to William Haws; lots 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in block 
9, to A. N. Dening; lot 1 in block (>, to Elisha Swan; lots 3, 5, 6, 7 and 
8 in block 8, lot 8 in block 6, and lot 2 in block 7, were bought by Jesse 
C. Smith and Joseph Johnson. 

These sales were either made at the time or soon after, the considera- 
tion paid varying from five to ten dollars each. No improvements were 


made this fall, but in the winter of 1831 H. K. Cassell, who was living 
on the Babb place, assisted by John Shaner, hewed and framed the tim- 
bers for a house, which he set up the spring following where Mrs. John 
McEntee now lives, but before completion the breaking out of the war 
changed his plans, and it was not finished and occupied until the spring 
of 1834. The windows and door frames were made of hackberry, split 
and smoothed with a drawing knife. The chimney was made of sticks, 
and the lime was obtained west of the river. In getting it to the bank 
he was assisted by Franklin Graves and George Sparr, obtaining it from 
the latter. 

In 1831 General Neal, of Springfield, in anticipation of trouble with 
the Indians, came to the settlement and organized the nucleus of a militia 
force, appointing John Strawn Colonel, and designating it the Fortieth 
Regiment of Illinois Militia. Black Hawk's re-crossing the Mississippi 
and Stillman's defeat are matters of history, and immediately thereafter 
Strawn was ordered to enroll whatever number he could and muster them 
in for duty. In obedience to this runners were sent out, and such as 
could bear arms assembled where Lacon now stands, May 20, 1832. The 
men were mounted, and each was armed with rifle or shot-gun, w^ith 
haversack and powder-horn strung at the side. 

The duty assigned them was to patrol the river and give notice of the 
approach of Indians. Their farthest march was to the Winnebago Swamps, 
but they never encountered the enemy. In a few weeks it was demon- 
strated there was no danger or need of military protection, and they were 
mustered out at Hennepin, June 18th of the same year. 

In the summer of 1831 Elisha Swan brought a stock of merchandise 
to Columbia and opened out in a cabin built by Newton Reeder, standing 
in the Irving Broadus field, south of Mrs. Vernay's, near the foot of the 

In the summer of 1833 he hewed out the frame of a new building and 
hauled it to where Henry now stands, intending to start a town and open 
business there, but finding the site covered by the Sixteenth (school) Sec- 
tion, and unable to procure titles at the time, he changed his plans and 
determined to set it up and establish himself in Lacon, which was done. 
This was in the fall of 1833, and hence to Elisha Swan belongs the honor 
of being the first settler of this town. 

The building stood on the ground afterward occupied .by Miller's 
Brewery, since burned down. It was a one and a half story building, 


20x36, and served for a time as both store and dwelling. The boards for 
the floor were brought on a keel boat from St. Louis, but the weather 
boards and shingles were riven by hand. It was a rather pretentious 
building for the times, and served its purpose well. Afterward it changed 
hands, and for a number of years was known -as the old "Gapen House." 

Swan opened business soon as the building was completed, and here 
during the same year was born his daughter Louisa, afterward married to 
W. Robinson, and the first white child born in the place. ' 

The firm name under which Swan operated was that of Swan & 
Deming, and their stock was unusually large and good. It embraced 
articles required by the new settlers, and also for the Indian trade, 
many of whom came in early times to barter furs, feathers or game for 
whatever suited their fancy. Stocks were brought from St. Louis on keel 
boats. Mr. Swan purchased one called the "Dido," which he loaded with 
wheat and took to St. Louis in the fall of 1833, his crew consisting of 
himself, Robert Bird, Jr., H. W. Cassell and two men named Chaplin and 
Bronson. Returning, they loaded with merchandise, making the trip in 
two weeks. 

Mr. Swan extended his business as the country settled up and trade 
increased, and assisted largely in developing the interests of the town; 
but through an extended credit got into financial difficulties and failed, 
after which he removed to Naples, where he died a few years later of 
cholera. His wife was a daughter of Enoch Dent, and still survives. 

In the spring of 1834 Cassell moved from his claim south of town to 
his residence in Columbia, and soon a well defined path between his house 
and Swan's store marked the line of what is now Water street. 

In June of this year an election for Constable and Justice of the Peace 
was ordered for the precinct, and fifty votes were polled, the voting place 
being at John Strawn's. 

In August of 1833 Thaddeus Barney and wife came from Northern 
New York, being the first emigrants from abroad to Columbia. Engaging 
board for himself and wife at Swan's, and afterward at John Wier's, he 
set about the erection of a cabin on the lot now occupied by Richard 
Boyd, a part of which is still standing. It was two stories high, cov- 
ered with the usual "shake" roof, and had a substantial chimney of mud 
and sticks at the end. It was soon finished and occupied, but his wife 
getting sick, he became disheartened and disgusted, and determined to 
abandon the place forever. Packing their household goods, they awaited 


the return of a boat known to be up the river, and had the inexpressible 
mortification of seeing her pass without landing. It was known to be the 
last trip of the season, and Mrs. B., utterly discouraged, declared her 
intention of going to St. Louis in a dug-out sooner than remain here. It 
was indeed their only recourse, and the suggestion was acted upon at 
at once. A few indispensable articles were thrown in, a couch made for 
the invalid, and the frail craft paddled out into the stream. They reached 
St. Louis in safety, and after three years absence returned to the town 
and opened the "Marshall House," long afterward the leading hotel in 
Lacon. Mr. Barney died in 1844 and was buried in the cemetery below 
town, and Mrs. Barney became the wife of John Rogers, with whom she 
lived until 1 8 , when she too died, and sleeps beside her first husba'nd. 
She was formerly from Wheeling, Va., and while living here two nieces 
came to visit her from there, one of whom became the first wife of Robert 
Davis, the banker of Henry, and the other married William Hadley. 

The fourth house in Columbia was a two-story log cabin built by Greo. 
Snyder, in the fall of 1834, but was not occupied until the following 
spring. With Jacob Reeder he came from Ohio on the steamer Joe Da- 
viess, with their respective families, Mr. R. buying a log cabin and an acre 
of land near where John Hoffrichter's slaughter-house stands, for $40.00. 
The forty acres adjoining was still in market, and was entered by him. 
Snyder's cabin stood west of Fisher's brick house and next to the distil- 
lery. He kept open doors to the new settlers, and was genial and hospit- 
able in the extreme. The rooms were partitioned with cotton cloth, and 
a some-time occupant has humorously told how its scanty proportions 
served for a drug store, a harness shop, a law office and a young ladies 
sleeping apartment, besides the families of the owners and numerous 
boarders and visitors. 

Dr. Robert Boal visited Columbia this year, but did not remove to the 
place until later. 

In 1834 came Jesse C. Smith and Joseph H. Johnson, from Cincin- 
nati, Ohio. The former at one time was doing business in Wheeling, Va., 
where he became acquainted with John Wier, which fact probably 
induced him to visit the new town. Smith and Johnson journeyed on 
horseback, sometimes camping on the way. They proposed, if a suitable 
place could be found, to go into the milling business, and Strawn, to 
secure their location in Columbia, made them a liberal donation of lots in 
the new town. The site selected was that now occupied by the Lacon 


elevator. The castings, machinery, etc., were brought from Cincinnati, 
and the mill was opened for business in 1835-6. By their agreement 
with Strawn they were to pay the- nominal sum of $10 for each lot 
"donated," but Strawn's partners refused to confirm this, and the Courts 
compelled them to pay $50 per lot. The sums advanced were all repaid 
after the mill was completed. 

Though Columbia had made little progress at this time, the country 
to the eastward was rapidly filling up, and those living in the vicinit/may 
very properly be named in this connection. Three miles below town 
Joseph Babb had located in 1831, and built a double log cabin, where he 
dispensed a generous hospitality. He had a son named Benjamin who 
succeeded to the estate, and several daughters married to well-known citi- 
zens. He died in 1835, and at his request was buried on the point of the 
high bluff near the road north of his house, so that he could see (as he 
expressed it) "his old friends and neighbors when they passed by." 

Near where Henry Wier lives, two men named Hurlburt and Hardesty 
had made a claim and built a house, which they sold to Hezekiah Crane. 
In the old cabin upon the brow of the bluff John Wier lived, having set- 
tled there in 1832. He bought a claim of 240 acres of Samuel Hamilton 
for $500, and entered 240 more at the same time. 

Among the prominent settlers in these times wa's a family named 
Waughob or Walkup, who emigrated to the County from Pennsylvania, 
along with John Strawn. It consisted of William Waughob and wife, 
the latter bed-ridden two sons and four daughters, one of them married 
to a man named Easter, who built a cabin where the brick school house, 
two miles below Lacon, stands. 

Another emigrant was James Shaner, who made a claim where James 
Hall lives, and built a part of the old house, which is still standing. Mr. 
Waughob laid claim to the property afterward owned by the Bullmans, 
and to various tracts elsewhere. He entered the eighty acres where St. 
Clair Bullman lives, but got into litigation, and part of it went to Judge 
Caton for services. He was the first, also, to claim the Shafer place. Mr. 
Waughob, Sr., died in the fall of 1831. He was the first person interred 
in the Broadus Cemetery. Mrs. Waughob died October 6, 1838. The 
only living representative of the family living in this County, so far as we 
know, is an old lady named Overmire, who lives on Sandy Creek. Of 
George Easter, wedded to one of the girls, it is said he at one time broke 


his leg, and there being no doctor nearer than Hennepin, John Wier set 
the limb, and the man got well. 

In the fall of 1831 James Hall same to the country and settled where 
he has ever since lived, and there likewise came with him a man named 
Johnson, and William McNeil, afterward brutally murdered. In thf 
spring of 1832 came the Bullnians Lot and Joshua. The latter was 
married at the time, and Lot afterward wedded Ann, daughter of Joshua 
Babb. With them came a brother-in-law named James Smalley and built 
a cabin on the hill north of Joshua. His wife died not long after and he 
wedded Mary, daughter of James Orr, afterward Mrs. Asa Thompson, 
who still lives in the enjoyment of a green old age. He was something 
of a speculator, and along with Mr. Orr laid out the long forgotten tmvn 
of Bristol, on the grounds of the latter north of John Fisher's. Only one 
lot was sold and this was traded for a box of hats in St. Louis, which 
never came, so the expected future Chicago dropped out of existence. It 
never had an inhabitant. A little south of this William Feazle, who died 
a few years ago, lived in a cabin built by Virgil Lancaster. He was mar- 
ried to a sister of Silas Ramsay, and one day while standing by a fire- 
place a bolt of lightning struck her dead. In the field at the bottom of 
the bluff north of Joshua Bullman's lived a man named Beltha Griffith. 
He sold his claim to Fenn, Howe &, Co., and here Ira and Norman Fenn 
and their families spent their first winter in Lacon. The place where 
Henry Fisher lives was first settled by a man named Gage. 

The Vernay place was entered by Robert Iliff, who sold it to David 
Vernay, whose widowed companion still lives there. In the Irving 
Broadus field not far from John Hoffrichter's slaughter house stood the 
cabin of Jacob Reeder, owner of the Barnes' property, which he sold soon 
after to Theodore Perry, who first improved it. 

We now return to Columbia. The year 1835 brought little change. 
Work upon the new flouring mill progressed slowly. The building was 
large, and facilities for construction were wanting, so that it was nearly 
two years from commencement to completion. It was set in operation in 
the fall of 1836, and at once gave an impetus to the business of the place. 
People came to it from an hundred miles away. The Grand De Tour 
plow works were just starting in business, and came here for their first 
supplies. In 1838-9 there was a great scarcity of flour in Galena, and 
Johnson loaded five teams, with ten barrels each, and sent them there, 
realizing $20 per barrel. 


During its construction the proprietors kept a store in a small build- 
ing opposite, now owned by Mrs. Conroy, the license for which was 
issued by the Commissioners' Court of Putnam County, June 1, 1835. 
For some time they kept "bachelor's hall" with their employes in a log 
building, on Water street, one block north of the distillery. The cellar 
of this building was quite a resort for snakes, which paid unceremonious 
visits to one of the proprietors (Smith) as he lay sick upon the floor above. 

The mill did a flourishing business up to 1857, when, owing to 'the 
death of one of the partners, it was sold at administeator's sale, and was 
bought by William Fisher & Co., for $2,000. They expended a large 
sum in enlarging and improving, and had just ordered new boilers for it 
when* it took fire and burned down, about the year 1855. 

In March, 1832, Swan obtained a license from the authorities of Put- 
nam County for the establishment of a ferry, paying five dollars for the 
privilege. Formerly crossing had been done in canoes, and if anything 
bulky was to be taken over, two were lashed together and a platform 
laid upon them. Horses or cattle were made to swim. Mr. Swan put on 
a small boat, but the amount of travel at the time was very small, and 
the enterprise far from being profitable. 

Roads had previously been surveyed eastward toward Metamora and 
to Caledonia on the way to Hennepin, and in 183(5 the Commissioners' 
Court ordered the survey of one iom the bank of the river opposite 
Columbia westward, to intersect the road running from Peoria to Galena. 
Previously there had been no authorized road coming to the ferry. 

The year 1835 witnessed various improvements. The proprietors of the 
town, to induce settlers, made offers of certain lots at nominal prices to 
those who would erect houses two stories high, and on those conditions 
two or three were built, one of them by Philip McGuire, a single man, 
and another by William Burns, a relative of John Wier. 

The cemetery below town was laid out in 1830. It was thickly cov- 
ered with hazel brush at the time, and scattering oaks of various sizes. 
The first person interred was a daughter of Virgil Lancaster, and the 
second was James Henthorn, who died in September. He assisted in 
forming the Methodist Society and was its first class-leader. 

About this time, too, or a few months earlier, Barrows <fe Case built a 
steam saw-mill at the lower end of town, and the same year Dennis 
Barney erected one on the Babb place, three miles bel6*w, and not long 
after added a wool carding and fulling machine. 


The new settlers began raising sheep at an early day, and in the 
course of time Mr. Barney's modest ventme grew into a first-class carding 
and wool dressing mill, 45x46 feet, three stories high. He was on the 
high road to prosperity, when on the night of June 14, 1843, it took fire 
and was entirely destroyed. He had no insurance, and the loss was irre- 
parable. He began again in a small way at Crow Creek, but met with 
poor success. 

Dr. Condee was the first physician in the place. He came in 1834 and 
taught a term of school in a cabin south-west of Irving Broadus' place, 
built by William Waughob. He became a partner of Dr. Boal, and built 
a residence across the railway track from the packing house, into which 
Dr. Boal arid family moved on their arrival, and wherein their daughter, 
Clara, wife of our eminent townsman, Colpnel Fort, was born. The house 
still stands on Broad street, east of the Pomeroy cooper shop. 

Dr. Condee returned to Rushville, Indiana, and died in 1838. 

In 1835 a man named O'Neal opened a store and built a cabin where 
the Eagle Mill stood, which passed into the hands of William Hadley. 

Dr. Effner was the second physician. He came from Bloomington in 
1834, and began a two-story log house on the corner opposite the old 
brick hotel. It was not completed until some time after, and fell into the 
hands of Fenn, Howe & Co., who sold it to a man named Boyle. It was 
burned down in 1856 and the lot sold to James Hadley, who built a two- 
story frame building thereon, since burned down. 

Another physician of Lacon was a Dr. Wolfe. He was addicted to 
drinking, and when the saloon keepers here refused to longer sell to him, 
took a couple of jugs and went to Chillicothe. He swam the river and 
got them filled, and returned in like manner, losing one of them on the 
way. With the other he reached home, mixed the liquor with opium, 
and drank himself to death. 

In 1835, too, came Gen. Jonathan Babb and Nelson G. Henthorn, who 
reached Columbia on the 30th of September, and took up their temporary 
abode with friends below the town. The General began at once the con- 
struction of a substantial frame house near where the office of the Phoenix 
Mill long after stood. When that was built, the old house was removed 
up town, and still stands. 

In 1835 Ira I. Fenn, a young and rising young lawyer, of Dayton, 
Ohio, in company with Samuel Howe, journeyed West on horseback, 
visiting Lacon and the country surrounding. They were so well pleased 


that they purchased a half interest in the new town, and prepared for re- 
moval. They were the pioneers of the so-called Lacon Colony, embracing 
the three brothers Fenn, viz: Ira I., Norman and William, the Rev. 
Augustus Pomeroy and Dr. Robert Boal, with their respective families, 
William Fisher, Augustus Pomeroy, Jr., and Samuel Howe, a single man. 
Later in the season came William Hancock, Hartley Malone, H. L. and 
H. P. Crane. They were all men of character and standing, and would 
exert an influence for good in any community. To them more than fcny 
others Lacon is indebted for its good name, its social standing, and its high 
literary and moral status. 

The name of Fisher deserves more than the brief mention accorded 
above. William, who preceded his older brother, had been doing busi- 
ness with the latter at Rossville, Ohio, but dissolved partnership, and 
purchasing a two-ninths' interest in the new town of Columbia for $4,000, 
became a partner in the firm of Fenn, Howe <fe Co. As this market 
seemed overstocked with goods, he took a portion of their stock to Hen- 
nepin, and remained until the completion of the brick on the south-east cor- 
ner of Fifth and Main streets, when he returned to Lacon. In the fall of 
1838 he withdrew from the firm to form that of William Fisher <fe Co., and 
opened a store in a building north of Reil's livery stable. They also be- 
gan packing pork, and the first year cut up 750 hogs, mostly from La Salle 
Prairie, west of Chillicothe. 

It is proper to state here that the first pork packed in the place was 
by Fenn, Howe &, Co., in 1837. Swan also went into the business, cut- 
ting up, in 1839, 3,000 hogs. 

Jabez Fisher having decided to concentrate his western business in 
Lacon, extensive preparations were made, and the old slaughter house 
below town and several other buildings were erected in 1840. In 
1849-50 the brick packing house was built at a cost of $10,000. At the 
time it was considered the most complete of its kind in the West. The 
number of hogs packed by them ranged from 750 (the first year's product) 
to 11,000, and the amount annually paid out varied from $50,000 to 
$300,000. It was no unusual thing for steamers to take on an entire 
cargo of pork and its products and proceed to New Orleans without 
breaking bulk. It furnished a market for all the surrounding country, 
and hogs were driven here from territory now covered by eleven counties. 

Another important interest connected with it was the coopering busi- 
ness, employing throughout the season from six to. twenty men. The 


pioneer cooper was Samuel Porneroy, and the business was the means of 
bringing, to the place such men as Calvin Chapman, Abner Shinn and 
George F. Wightman. 

The currency in circulation at the time was pretty nearly worthless, 
and would not be received for taxes. There was little gold or silver in 
circulation, and the financial situation was deplorable. Mr. Fisher brought 
good money, and such was the confidence in his integrity that tax collec- 
tors gave public notice that "Boston money," as the funds he paid were 
called, would be receivable for all public dues. To his credit be it said 
and no finer tribute could be paid that during his long business life 
this confidence was" never shaken. 

In those times there were neither railroads nor express companies in 
the West and exchanges and collections were attended with difficulties. 
The mail and stage coach were the means employed for the conveyance of 
valuables, and it was the usual custom to insure packages and then start 
them on their long journey. Occasionally they were lost, but not often. 

Somewhere about the year 1852 a package sent from Boston was 
missed. The Postmaster here was a one-legged Mexican soldier named 
Williamson, who was believed to be a person of the strictest integrity. 
The Fishers were instructed in advance of the shipment of packages and 
knew when to expect them. There was seldom any delay, and hence 
when two packages of fifteen hundred dollars each failed to arrive it oc- 
casioned endless wonder and comment. Williamson was well connected 
here, his brother being married to a daughter of Norman Fenn, and was 
not suspected, but the Postoffice Department concluded he was the 
guilty party, and placed detectives on his track who soon obtained evi- 
dence that convicted him, and he made a clean breast of the matter. He 
was sent to the Alton Penitentiary for ten years, and died there. 

The rapid development of the country and the competence that many 
men enjoy to-day is due to this firm. They made a market for hogs when 
there was none other between Chicago and St. Louis, and paid good 
money when most needed. Misfortunes came in after years, and the riches 
laboriously piled up were swept away ; yet they can say with the old 
Roman, " All is not lost while honor remains." 

In 1836 the name of the town was changed to Lacon. The credit of 
suggesting it rightly belongs to D. C. Holbrook, of Cincinnati. He was 
one of the founders of Cairo, largely interested in the extensive im- 
provements undertaken by the State at this time, and a personal friend of 


Jesse C. Smith. General Henderson was Representative from the District, 
and Smith and Ira Fenn went down to lobby the measure through. 
There they met Holbrook, who gave them some assistance and contributed 
the name. The matter was referred home, discussed and adopted. 

Reference has been made to the firm of Fenn, Howe & Co., wh6 be- 
came part owners of the town site and built a store in the winter of 1836, 
east of the present elevator, which was afterward removed, and it now 
forms part of the dwelling and restaurant of Fred. Roth. Swan, at a 
later date, removed his storehouse to the corner, where the brick hotel 
stands, which, after his failure, burned down, and the lot fell into the hands of 
Dr. Wilcox, who erected on the ground a two-story frame building, and 
that likewise caught fire one fourth of July and was consumed. 

William Hadley was another emigrant who came in 1836, and his son 
James is one of the leading merchants of Peoria. 

Other early settlers were Jesse Bane, who married Rachel, eldest 
daughter of John Strawn, and J. C. Coutlett, who for many years carried 
on the merchant tailoring business. About this time, too, came Barrows 
and Case, Cochran and Perry, merchants, Lindley and Fishburn and 
many others. 

In the summer of 1836 the street leading to the river was cleared and 
a substantial road made through the morass by placing timbers side by 
side and covering them with brush and dirt. The succeeding winter the 
timber fronting the town was chopped down, and a great freshet in the 
spring carried it away. Instead of the shallow ponds now seen, they 
were deep and clear, being fed from springs in the bottom. 

In 1837 the town was incorporated under the general act, and elected 
a Board of Trustees, with William Fenn for President, and Ira I. Fenn, 

The postoffice was established in 1835, and Dr. Effner appointed post- 
master. Before this the citizens relied upon the office of Crow Creek, at 
Bell's Ford, for mail facilities. A letter from the Eastern States cost 
25 cents postage, and correspondence was small, as compared with the 
present time. The new Postmaster, it is said, carried the entire mail in 
his hat, and distributed it among the owners as he found them. Mails 
were carried in four-horse stages, and the route was from Peru to Henne- 
pin, via Granville, and thence to Bell's Crossing, over Crow Creek, and 
so on to Peoria; but after the establishment of the postoffice here it was 


changed so that stages came directly down the river from Hennepin, and 
crossed the Illinois at this place. 

In 1838 Frink & Trowbridge obtained contracts for all the routes in 
this country. Their headquarters were in Chicago, and the schedule called 
for a daily mail between that place and Peoria. 

In this year (1837) the Presbyterian Church was organized, an ex- 
tended notice of this and the other churches being given elsewhere. 

From this time the new town grew rapidly. In 1838 Norman Fenn 
built the house where George W. Wightman lives, and Ira I. Fenn com- 
pleted the dwelling where he lived until the day of his death. 

The Fisher brick, as the corner store was called, was begun in 183 7 by 
Fenn, Howe & Co., and finished the succeeding season. Samuel Howe 
built the house formerly occupied by Owen McEntee as a flour store and 
still standing, and the Rev. Mr. Pomeroy built the " Jake Foster" house. 
The front room was made purposely large for prayer meetings, but we fear 
its "days of grace" are ended. 

The new proprietors of the place early turned their attention to educa- 
tion, and in 1836 the "Lacon Academy" was organized, and $1,000 
pledged to its support. A building was put up in that year capable of 
holding sixty or seventy pupils, which for several years afforded all the 
educational privileges needed. It was used for church purposes, town 
meetings, elections, lyceums and all public purposes for many years, and 
afterward was turned into a dwelling house. Later still it served as a 
work-shop, and finally was turned around facing the street, a more pre- 
tentious front added, and became the store which William Fisher oc- 
cupies. Here in the spring of 1837 was taught the first school in Lacon, 
by Jane M- Kilgore, now a well preserved matron of sixty, and wife of 
Henry M. Barnes. Among her pupils were the three children of Norman 
Fenn, Sarah Ann, Adaline and William Porter. Sarah married Samuel 
Dunham, builder of the Presbyterian Church, who in less than one month 
died, and she became a widow, after which she wedded Eleazer Pomeroy, 
dying many years ago. Adaline married James N. Williamson, moved 
to Chicago, and died in Michigan in 1878. William Porter enlisted in the 
Seventy-seventh Illinois Ingantry in the war of the rebellion, served with 
credit until after the capture of Mobile and died of the small pox. 

Gen. Babb sent three children Jane, Evaline and Erastus. The two 
girls became wives of the Rev. John T. Devore, a noted Methodist min- 
ister of early times, and both died in Oregon. Erastus also died there. 




William Hadley sent his two sons, at present living in Peoria; and the 
Rev. Augustus Pomeroy sent two, Henry and Augustus. They re- 
moved elsewhere at an early day. 

Samuel Pomeroy sent Cornelia, Samuel and Frank. Cornelia became 
the wife of Judge Bangs, for many years a resident of Lacon, and now of 
Chicago. Samuel was for several years with William Fisher, and died in 
Peru, and Frank lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Ira Fenn sent three nieces named respectively Matilda, Laetitia and 
Maria McMillen. Matilda died in Lacon; Laetitia married Geo. Eckley, 
became the mother of two children, removed to California, and now lives 
with her daughter in the Sandwich Islands. 

There were two children named Lindsay, Benjamin and Dorcas. 
The former was for many years a conductor on the C. & A. Railroad, and 
the latter married George Wightman. There was also among the pupils 
a girl named Jemima Orr, who afterward became the wife of Philip 

The old school house served its purpose for several years, and was re- 
placed by a larger one, afterward reconstructed into the dwelling now 
occupied by the family of the late Hemy L. Crane. 

In 1856 the present High School building was erected at a cost of 
$8,000, and was reconstructed in 1878. The public schools of the place 
have always stood high, and still maintain their reputation. 

The act establishing the County of Marshall passed January 19, 1839, 
and under its provisions Lacon was made the County seat April G, 1839. 
The first Circuit Court was held in the old M. E. Church (long since con- 
verted into a place of business). April 23d of that year, Thomas Ford 
presided as Judge, and J. M. Shannon was appointed Clerk. The Grand 
Jurors were Ira Lowrey, Lewis Barney, Joel Corbill, Jeremiah Cooper, 
Allen N. Ford, Charles Rice, William Gray, Enoch Sawyer, Zorah D. 
Stewart, Elijah Freeman, Jr., Nathan Owen, George Scott, Samuel Howe, 
Robert Bennington, John Bird, Andrew Jackson, Henry Snyder, Allen 
Hunter. There being no jury cases on the docket, no petit jury was 

A movement toward constructing a Court House was begun in June, 
and in December, a contract was entered into with White & Shepherd, of 
Tremont, for putting up a building with stone foundations and brick 
superstructure, 40x55 feet, for $8,000. It stood fourteen years, and 
burned down January 5, 1853, through a defect in one of the chimneys. 

342 HEcoRbs of THE 

The present edifice was built in 1854, by two Peoria firms, and cost $7,300. 

The old log jail, still standing in the rear of the Court House, was 
built in 1844, by George and Thomas Wier, for $500. It proved quite 
insecure and inadequate for the purpose, many prisoners escaping from it. 
The present structure, with comfortable rooms for the Sheriff, etc., was 
built in 1857, and cost $12,000. 

About this time a movement was set on foot for constructing a rail- 
road from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Fort Wayne, Ind., crossing the river at 
this point. A charter was obtained from the Legislature, and the County 
voted by a large majority to subscribe $100,000 to the capital stock. In 
December, 1855, the city of Lacon also voted bonds to the extent of 
$50,000 for the same purpose. Individual subscriptions to a considerable 
amount were likewise procured, and a large amount of grading done ; but 
it was evidently too early for so great an enterprise, and the return of 
hard times compelled its abandonment for lack of means to carry it 
through. The bonds voted by the city were paid with interest and the 
debt extinguished in 1878, but a portion of the County bonds are still 

The Township of Lacon voted $60,000 toward building a branch of 
the Chicago cfe Alton Railroad from Wenona to Lacon, which was com- 
pleted, but there appears to have been some informality in the proceeding, 
and their legality is disputed. 

Among other improvements worthy of extended note may be men- 
tioned the milling interest of Lacon. The Phoenix Mill, built in 1855 by 
William Fisher, cost $42,000, and the Model Mill, built by Fenn, Perry 
& Dodds, cost a like sum. The former burned down about 1871, and 
was not rebuilt. In 1857 a distillery was added to the Model Mill, which 
burned down in the spring of 1862. The next year the Thayer Bros., of 
Chicago, purchased the property and greatly enlarged its capacity. Au- 
gust 12, 1864, the boilers of the distillery exploded, damaging the prop- 
erty to the extent of $25,000 and killing five men, viz : Michael Sullivan, 
James Howard, Daniel Barnhouse, Daniel Foltz and - - Stephens. In 
a single year it paid the Government a revenue tax of one million nine 
hundred and ninety-three thousand dollars. After the death of the 
Thayers the works were run in a desultory way for some time and then 

Another enterprise of which Lacon is deservedly proud is its Woolen 
Mill, where ' are made the celebrated and widely known Prairie State 


shawls. So far as known, it is the first establishment of the kind west 
of the Alleganies, and such is the excellence of their manufacture that they 
successfully compete in style and finish with the best Eastern-made goods. 
Their annual production is about 30,000 shawls of various patterns and 
styles, as well as a large quantity of piece goods. The project originated 
in a letter upon the subject of manufactures written by Spencer Ellsworth 
for the Chicago Tribune, which attracted the attention of William F. 
Sague and John Grieves, out of which grew a correspondence leading' to a 
meeting of a half dozen citizens and the appointment of William Fisher 
and Mr. Ellsworth as a committee to meet and confer with those gen- 
tlemen. Their report was considered so favorable that a company was 
organized and incorporated with a nominal capital of $100,000, afterward 
increased to $123,000. Books of subscription were opened and a Board 
of Directors chosen, consisting of Archibald Riddell, Andrew Smith, Rob- 
ert Pringle, John Grieves, William Fisher, D. E. Thomas and Spencer 
Ellsworth. D. E. Thomas was chosen President, and Spencer Ellsworth, 
Secretary. During the winter the capital subscription was worked up 
until $50,000 was raised, when the buildings were put under contract and 
finished that summer. They furnish employment to some sixty-five per- 
sons, and with little intermission the mill has run continuously since its 


The first ferry across the river was established by Elisha Swan in 1832, 
who built a flat for the purpose and propelled it with oars. Its principal 
use was the conveyance of coal from the Sparland banks. In 1837 he 
sold his interest to Dr. Boal, who built a larger flat capable of carrying 
two teams. It was constructed on the bank near the lower saw mill, so 
as to run it out at the slough entrance. 

On the opposite shore the track turned up the river bank for a quarter 
of a mile, and then followed the high ground near the creek to what was 
known as the Reddick House. A very good road was found for most of 
the way. 

Joseph Johnson and Charles Ballance, of Peoria, secured the fractional 
tract of ground across the river, above the ferry, with a view of establish- 
ing a rival ferry, but sold their interest to William Fisher. William 


Fisher & Co. bought Dr. Boal's interest, and several years later, while 
the Doctor was in the Legislature, secured a charter through him. A 
larger boat was* constructed, which served until 1849, when a new one 
was built. The receipts were small and the franchise was not considered 

The first ferryman was Joseph Mac Taylor, and Richard Vinecore ran 
it for several years. He was succeeded by a man named King, who got 
drunk, fell off the boat and was drowned. Josiah Martin ran it several 
years, and John Jason also. Ed. Corcoran was the "boatman pale" for 
seventeen years, and a better. man 't were hard to find. 

The road and its repairs across the river has cost, according to William 
Fisher, $12,000. The County paid Sparr toward constructing the first 
bridge $300. 

In 1857 William Fisher became sole owner of the property for a con- 
sideration of $20,000. He built a new boat and added steam power. He 
also purchased a steamer for use in seasons of high water, and made the 
crossing popular with the public. 

In January, 1869, it passed into the hands of Jabez Fisher <fe Co., and 
in 1879 was sold to the city of Lacon for $6,000. 




'HE Presbyterian Church of Lacon was organized mainly 
through the aid of the Rev. Augustus Pomeroy, assisted by 
a few devout Christian men and women, who had been in 
the County but a short time. Among those prominent in 
the good work may be mentioned the three Fenn brothers, 
Ira I., William and Norman ; likewise Samuel Howe, Heze- 
kiah T. Crane, and others, who had known and listened to 
the ministrations of Mr. Pomeroy in Ohio, and at whose 
solicitation he had agreed to accompany them into the wilderness. Serv- 
ices were held in private houses, and as considerable interest was manifested 
in the cause it was decided to organize a society. Accordingly the 12th 
of May, 1837, was set apart, and due notice being given, a large congre- 
gation assembled at the residence of the Rev. Mr. Pomeroy. Here a ser- 
mon was preached by Rev. Mr. Farnum, by direction of the Peoria 
Presbytery, assisted by the Rev. Augustus Pomeroy, after which those 
qualified and desiring to enter into a Church organization wei^ advised to 
come forward. 

Thirty-eight persons presented themselves, exhibiting satisfactory evi- 
dence of previous good standing, and were enrolled, as follows: 

Samuel M. Kilgore and his wife, Jacob and Frances Reeder, William 
and Eleanor McCuen, David and Harriet Mitchell, Norman Fenn, Ira I. 
and Eunice B. Fenu, Hezekiah and Clarissa Crane, Thaddeus and Ann 
Barney, James and Margaret Work, Susan Work, Isabella Work, Wm. 
and Maria Fenn, Martha Ramsay, Jane M. Kilgore, John T. Shepherd, 
Charles and Mary Barrows, Mrs. Susan L. Pomeroy, Mary Ann Pomeroy, 
Rev. Augustus D. Pomeroy, William Fisher, George and Mary Snyder, 
William and Priscilla Dodds, Mrs. Mary Murphy, Samuel and Sarah 
Howe and Mary J. McEwen. 

The Articles of Faith and Covenant of the Presbytery of Ottawa were 
adopted, and Charles Barrows, David Mitchell Hezekiah T, Crane and Ira 


I. Fenn were elected Elders. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was 
administered for the first time June 14, 1837. 

The Rev. Mr. Pomeroy, who had previously labored a part of the 
time at Hennepin, was employed to devote Ms whole services to the 
Church here. 

July 29, Ira I. Fenn was elected Clerk August 1, Samuel Pomeroy, 
Mary Pomery, Elijah Pomeroy, Isabella Kilgore, Emily Spangler, James 
Work, Jr., Samuel Work, Mary Work, Elizabeth and Margaret Work 
joined. January, 27, 1838, twelve new members were enrolled, and eight 
admitted for examination. January 28, five persons were baptized, the 
first recorded. 

During the winter the most remarkable revival in the history of the 
Church took place, and on the 19th of February thirty-four persons made 
profession of faith and were received in the Society. 

February 19, six persons were baptized, and April 7, six additional 
members joined. 

In March, 1838, there were five dismissals of members who wished to 
join other churches. 

In July, 1837, William McCune was removed by death, and on the 
14th of August Eunice B. Fenn, and in February, 1838, Harriet Mitchell. 
In September, 1838, Mrs. Sarah W. Johnson ; November, Mary Pome- 
roy; June 20, 1839, Jacob Smalley. 

September 15, 1838, four new converts were secured. 

February 25, 1839, the Rev. Mr. Pomeroy asked to be relieved from 
the care of the Church on account of failing health, which was granted. 

The first minister of the Society, as stated before, was the Rev. 
Augustus Pomeroy, who began in the fall of 1836, and closed by resigna- 
tion February 25, 1839. 

The second was the Rev. H. T. Pendleton, who commenced his labors 
in June, 1839, and served one year. He was succeeded by the Rev. 
David Jones, who preached three years. 

In October, 1843, the Rev. David Smith was engaged and labored one 
year, when his services were terminated by death. 

On the 4th of August, 1844, Hemy Gr. Pendleton began his labors, 
preaching one year. 

August 19, the Rev. Joseph Fowler was secured and preached until 
April, 1853, a longer time than any other minister since the organization 
of the Society. 


In 1854 the Rev. Mr. Christopher began preaching as stated supply, 
and served the Society four and a half years. He was dismissed in No- 
vember, 1858, and died in 1879. On December 1st of that year the Rev. 
Mr. Waldo was hired and labored eighteen months. He was succeeded 
by the Rev. Mr. Parsons, who preached for three and a half years. 

In July, 1865, the Rev. Mr. Felch took charge of the Church, and con- 
tinued until dismissed in 1865. During his pastorate about one-half the 
congregation seceded and formed the Congregational Church. Both 
societies got along pleasantly together until 1879, when joint services 
were resumed again under the ministration of the Rev. Mr. Tracey. Mr. 
Felch afterward abandoned the ministry and went into the insurance 

December 10, 1865, the Rev. John McLeish was engaged as "stated 
supply," and preached two years. He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. 
Curtiss, who remained three years Snd six months. After Mr. Curtiss 
came the Rev. C. F. Littell, Rev. T. S. Vail, and Rev. S. D. Wells, who 
was succeeded by the present incumbent, the Rev. William Tracey. 

Public worship was first held and the Church organized at the resi- 
dence of Mr. Pomeroy, and afterward at the house of Hemy L. Crane, in 
a room occupied jointly with the Methodists. This served until the old 
public school house was built, which accommodated all denominations 
alike for years. The attendants sat on benches of the rudest construction, 
and the minister stood at a table equally primitive. 

The present house of worship was begun in 1849, and finished in 
1851, at a total cost of $4,000. It contains a fine bell, and a pipe organ 
costing originally $1,500. The Society is in a flourishing condition. 


The Methodist Episcopal Church of Lacon dates back to the spring of 
1836, when so far as known the first sermon heard in the place was 
preached in the unfinished Jesse Smith mill, by the Rev. Quinn Hall. 
The families of Hartley Malone and Henry L. Crane, both Methodists and 
ardent workers, had reached the place a few days before, and took 
an active interest in the cause. At this meeting a large congregation 
assembled, coming from the country round about, and notice was given 


that service would be held the Thursday following at the cabin of James 
Hall, east of Lacon, and the Rev. A. E. Phelps would officiate. This 
worthy and pious man, of remarkable ability, and John McMurtry, 
a sweet singer of Israel, traveled the Pekin circuit, embracing all the 
country between Hennepin and Pekin and the Illinois and Vermilion 
Rivers, making the "round" once in two weeks. The Methodists of 
Lacon, requesting the appointment be changed to the village, on 
his next arrival Mr. Phelps held services at the cabin of Mr. Ma- 
lone. At this meeting the little band of Methodists handed in their 
"letters" or credentials of standing, and from this may be dated the first 
organized class and society of the place. The names of those uniting at 
this time were : James Henthorn, Sarah Henthorn, Nancy Henthorn, Sarah 
Effner, Jonathan Babb, Mary Babb, E. H. Williamson, Catherine Wil- 
liamson, H. L. Crane, Elizabeth Crane, Hartley Malone, Julia Malone, Wil- 
liam Hadley, Sarah Hadley, D M. Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson. James 
Henthorn was appointed leader, but died in September. He was the sec- 
ond person interred in the new cemetery, a daughter of Virgil Lancaster 
being the first. After the death of Mr. Henthorn, H. L. Crane was ap- 
pointed leader, in which capacity he served faithfully for many years. He 
died in February, 1880, and with a single exception (Mrs. Hartley Ma- 
lone) was the only survivor of the original class. For the first year 
services were held in a frame building erected by Dr. Condee that stood 
near the Fisher Mill. It had neither fire-place nor stove, yet during this 
time served both the Methodists and Presbyterians. 

The first Church was erected in 1837, and dedicated in November by 
the Rev. Wm. Cundiff, pastor. It served the Society for twenty years, or 
until the completion of the present fine structure. After that it became 
a workshop, and then a store. At present it stands on the south side of 
Fifth street, and is used as a merchant tailor's shop. The building of the 
present Church was begun in 1855, and dedicated Sunday, June 24, 1860. 
At eleven A. M., Dr. O. S. Munsell preached in the audience room, and A. 
C. Price in the basement. F. Smith preached at three P. M., and Dr. 
Munsell in the evening. The dedicatory services were held at the close 
of the evening service. 

1838, Z. Hall was pastor. 

1839, Lacon became the head of a "circuit" embracing all of Putnam 
and Marshall Counties east of the Illinois River, with what is now 


Tonica, and Cedar Point, in La Salle County David Blackwell, pastor. 

1840, David Dickinson. 

1841, C. Atkinson, J. B. Houts. 

1842, J. C. Pinckard. 

1843, "supplied." 

1844, J. F. Devore. 

1845, Francis Smith. 

1846, C. Babcock, T. F. Royal. 

1847 and '48, W. C. Gumming, A. D. Field. 

1849, Lacon became a station, B. C. Swartz, pastor, who was suc- 
ceeded as follows : 

1850 and '51, L. R. Ellis. 

1852 and '53, Z. Hall. 

1854 and '55, Joseph S. Frost. 

1856, Ira Norris (supply). 

1857, Ahab Keller. 

1858 and '59, B. Applebee. 

1860, S. B. Smith. 

1861 and '62, C. C. Knowlton. 

1863, J. S. Millsap. 

1864, G. M. Irwin. 

1865, '66 and '67, J. W. Haney. 
1868, William Watson. 

1869 and '70, Jarvice G. Evans. 

1871, W. P. Graves. 

1872, P. A. Crist. 
1873 and '74, A. Bower. 
1875, L. B. Kent. 
1876 and '77, S. Brink. 

1878, A. C. Price. 

1879, L. Springer. 


The Baptist Society of Lacon was organized in February, 1855, under 
the ministrations of Elder I. L. Mahan, of Connecticut, who, 'guided by 
Divine influences, selected Lacon as a field for his operations. 

At first meetings were held in various places. It was nearly a month 


before a Baptist Society was formed, and it was not until January 4, 
1850, that they decided to erect a church. Before this, however, unsuc- 
cessful attempts had been made to collect money by subscriptions to 
procure a building suitable for Divine worship. The originators and 
founders of the Baptist Church consisted of the following, eight in num- 
ber: L. Holland, B. T. Baldwin, Lucius G. Thompson, James McWhitney, 
Jane McWhitney, Esther A. Bauharn, I. L. Mahan, H. Jane Mahow. 

The latter part of the year 1857, by untiring diligence and hard labo*-, 
nearly $4,500 was raised, and with this the Society determined to erect an 
edifice and consecrate it to the good work, trusting in a Divine Provi- 
dence for aid to complete it. 

The first pastor of the Church was Rev. I. L. Mahan, who succeeded 
in increasing the membership "a hundred fold." During his two years 
pastorage the number of members increased from eight to twenty souls. 

During the first two years eight of the members were expelled, and 
three died. Notwithstanding, the Church was in a very good condition 
when Rev. Mr. Gray was called, after the resignation of Elder Mahan. 
Since then Rsv. Mr. Thompson, Rev. A. P. Graves, Rev. J. P. Agen- 
broad and Rev. D. Shields have supplied the pulpit. Since the first 
steps that were taken in the foundation of this Society it clearly shows 
that the overruling hand of Providence prospered these few people, and 
made the Church what it now is. 


The Catholic Church of Lacon was established at a comparatively re- 
cent date, but previous to that time services were held and masses cele- 
brated at the houses of individuals, notably that of Jack Kelly. The 
earliest person we can identify was Rev. Father Montori, an Italian, who 
came once a month. A lot for church purposes was donated by the pro- 
prietors of the place, and a building, part frame and part log, erected 
thereon, and served as a place of worship several years. It now forms a 
part of the Jesse Whittaker residence. 

Father Montori was succeeded by Father Rinaldi, likewise an Italian, 
through whose exertions a frame building was erected, which served the 
purposes of the Society until 1807. He also built the Mrs. Thompson 
residence, and lived there with his sisters as housekeeper. After him 


came Rev. Thomas Lynch, in December 31, 1853, who served until his 
death, July 15, 1856. Following him came Father Francis McGuire, and 
he was succeeded by Father Mehan, date unknown. To him succeded 
- Father Thos. Ogden, 
" Walter H. Power, 
John N. Harrigan, 
" James Wall, 
\ " E. Delihanty, 

John Kilkenny, 
" P. Flanagan, " 
" M. McDermott, 
" P. J. Campbell, 

John F. Power, the present incumbent. 

Under Father Kilkenny's administration the building of the present 
church edifice was undertaken and finished in 186 7. It is probably the 
the costliest church building in the County, and cost when completed 

Rev. Father Campbell's services were terminated by death, in May, 
1877. He had many friends, and died greatly regretted. 

Under the ministration of Father Power a fine school building was 
erected, and a flourishing school in charge of sisters of the church estab- 


The First Congregational Church of Lacon was organized October 1 , 
1865, with a membership of forty persons, viz: Mark Bangs, H. C. Bangs, 
C. H. Madeley, H. P. B. Madeley, E. C. Turner, Abigail Turner, William 
B. Thomas, C. B. Meyer, Emma M. Meyer, C. Belle Hamaker, Mrs. John 
M. Shields, I. H. Reeder, John Hutchins, Helen E. Hutchins, Samuel 
Pomeroy, Susan Pomeroy, Mrs. E. A. C. Roberts, Miss Margaret Madeley, 
E. F. Pomeroy, Mrs. E. F. Pomeroy, Euphemia Blodgett, Mrs. D. G. 
Warner, Martha Mosier, John P. Shepard, Eveline Shepard, Mrs. 8. J. 
McFadin, Mrs. A. E. Hutchins, Miss Anna T. Hutchins, John S. Bane, 
Ephriam Williamson, C. C. Beadle, Mrs. C. C. Beadle, D. W. Coan, Mrs. 
A. Stephens, Mrs. H. F. Akeroid, Lucy A. Eckley, Millie P. Ball, Mrs. 
A. Page, Mrs. W. E. Cook, Minnie Ross. 

They erected their Church building during the autumn of 


year, at a cost of $4,200. The lots were given by W. E. Cook, and were 
at that time* valued at $1,000. The house was dedicated in November of 
that year. 

The first Deacons were Samuel Pomeroy, Edward C. Turner, Mark 
Bangs and Charles H. Madeley. 

Trustees Mark Bangs, John Hutchins and C. B. Meyer. 

First pastor, Rev. S. S. Reeves ; followed by the Rev. Mr. Stevens, now 
of the First Congregational Church of Peoria; Mr. Codington, a graduate 
of Chicago Theological Seminary, 'who received his first ordination here; 
Mr. Williams, from Boston, Mass.; Mr. Clifton, a graduate of Chicago 
Theological Seminary; and Rev. William Tracy, the present pastor of the 
Union Church. 

The Church received an accession of about forty members during the 
first year under the pastorate of Mr. Reeves. 

The succeeding Deacons were Ira Norris and John Hutchins. 

In April 1879, the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches united 
as the Union Church of Lacon, upon a basis of Confession of Faith, com- 
mon to both organizations. 


In 1858 an Episcopal Society was organized under Rev. Mr. Lay, 
with about a dozen members, and a liberal attendance of outsiders. They 
built a church the succeeding year, and flourished for a while, but most 
of the leading members moved elsewhere, and services were not sustained. 
The building is unoccupied. 



Lacon Lodge No. (>1 A. F. <fc A. M. is one of the oldest in this part 
of the State, having been chartered October 4, 1848. In th$ disastrous 
fire that destroyed Cook's block all its records and charter were destroyed, 
and the only information attainable comes from the records of the Grand 
Lodge. From it we learn that William Fenn, Abner Sbinn, Joseph Ra- 


ley and Addison Ramsay were charter members, and William Fenn its 
first presiding officer. 

The affairs of the Society are in a very flourishing condition, and it 
numbers about fifty active members. 


This Society was organized October 17, 1851, the charter menibers 
being W. E. Cook, Silas Ramsay, Charles I. Wood and John T. Pride. 

The oldest living member of the organization is George Johnson, 
whose membership dates from the year 1852. 

There are about eighty active members, and the Society is in a very 
flourishing condition. In the fire that burned their hall their records and 
much valuable furniture were destroyed, but all their former prosperity 
has been regained, and contracts have been let for a new and better one, 
and the Society has a surplus fund on hand of nearly $2,000. 


The newspaper history of Lacon dates back to the year 1837, when 
Allen N. Ford, an enterprising young printer of Hartford, Connecticut, 
entered into a contract with the proprietors of the then town of Columbia 
to transfer himself, family and material for issuing a weekly paper to the 
new town. The proprietors of Columbia possessed both enterprise and 
intelligence, and were quick to discover that printer's ink was the talisrnanic 
"open sesame" leading to success. So early as 1836 an effort was made to 
start a paper in the new town, which fell through, and negotiations were 
then began, through the Rev. Augustus Pomeroy, with Mr. Ford, and 
carried to a termination satisfactory to all parties. The' conditions were 
that he accept a bonus of $2,000, subscribed by the citizens, and publish 
for them a paper at least two years. As men of all shades of opinion, 
religious and political, contributed to the purpose, it was necessarily non- 

Mr. Ford having accepted the conditions, early made preparations to 
depart. An office outfit was purchased, exceptionally good for the time, 
and shipped via New Orleans, while the proprietor and his family, con- 
sisting of himself, wife, and two little boys (one of whom is now an 


influential political writer and the other a practical printer), set out for 
the West, making the long journey by railroad, steamboat and canal. 

At Alton he engaged two printers to assist on his paper, one of them 
a brother of the martyr Lovejoy. 

It was seven weeks after their shipment before his press and fixtures 
arrived, and finally on the 13th of December, 1837, the initial number 
appeared, christened the Lacon Herald. It was a neatly printed and well 
edited seven column paper, and in general news compares favorably with 
the newspapers of to-day. There was a notable lack of local news, an 
entire absence of fun and facetiae, but in solid instruction and useful in- 
formation it was the equal of more pretentious papers to-day. The selec- 
tions were excellent particularly of poetry, most of the cotemporary 
gems of the day appearing in its pages. The paper was printed in a small 
building standing where Brereton's carriage shop now does, and appeared 
with greater or less regularity for two years, when the proprietor changed 
its name to the Illinois Gazette, and espoused the Whig side of partisan 

In 1858-9, owing to failing health, Mr. Ford sold the office to Joshua 
Allen, a young printer from Hartford, Conn., who associated with him- 
self in its publication J. H. Bouham. Failing in his payments, the office 
reverted to its former owner. When the war of the rebellion broke out 
Mr. Allen enlisted as a private in Captain Shaw's company of the Elev- 
enth Regiment, and fell at Fort Donelson. 

In the later years of the Gazette, Capt. Henry Ford, a son of the pro- 
prietor, contributed many scholarly and well written articles, in the 
absence of the editor taking entire editorial charge of its pages. He is 
now engaged upon the Cleveland Leader, and has won a deservedly high 
reputation as an educator and journalist. 

In 1866 the Gazette passed into the hands of Spencer Ellsworth, its 
present owner, who changed its name to the Home Journal, and has con- 
tinued its publication to the present time. The office is equipped with 
every appliance required in first class offices, having steam power and 
cylinder presses for newspaper and jobbing, and in circulation and influ- 
ence compares favorably with country newspapers throughout the State. 

The records of the Democratic press here are vague and indefinite in 
spite of our efforts to obtain them. No records or files appear to have 
been preserved. About 1850 Jesse Lynch, assisted by the party, pur- 
chased a press and outfit and started the Lacon Herald. How long he 


continued in its charge is not known, but it afterward passed into the 
hands of Robert Burns; he gave place to J. W. Mason, and he in 
turn to Chandler <fe Golliday. P. K. Barrett was the editorial succes- 
sor of Chandler. He was a caustic writer, and long remembered by the 
citizens. At some time unknown the name of the paper was changed 
to the Sentinel, and in 1854 John Harney became its owner and 
turned it into the Lacon Intelligencer. Three years later Deacon 
Ira Norris was its purchaser, and continued its publication sudcess- 
fully until 1869, when he sold to William Tranch, a practical printer 
and editor, formerly connected with the Peoria daily press. He was a 
conscientious writer and an honest man, respected by all. The publica- 
tion was continued by him until its sale to Meyers &, Bell, when it under- 
went another change of name and became the Illinois Statesman. 

Mr. Bell was an able political writer, but neither himself nor Mr. 
Myers had a practical knowledge of the business, and wishing to dispose 
of it, a purchaser was found ostensibly in the person of J. L. Mohler, who 
bought it for Spencer Ellsworth, and its publication was suspended. The 
press and much of the material were sold to parties in Galva. 

In 1867, J. G. Ford, a Kentuckian, brought an office here and started 
the Lacon Democrat, a very good paper, which he published one year, 
but not meeting the success anticipated, removed to Pontiac. An office 
was subsequently brought from Chillicothe and its publication continued. 

The Marshall County bar has always ranked high, and individual 
members have won eminent positions in the judicial and political histoiy 
of the State. The father of " all lawyers " in the place was clearly Ira I. 
Fenn, who as counselor and advocate maintained an excellent reputation. 
One of his first students was Silas Ramsey, and another was Mark Bangs, 
at one time Circuit Judge, and for four years United States District At- 

Another noted lawyer and upright Judge was S. L. Richmond, who 
wore the ermine for several years, and won a high reputation for judicial 
fairness and knowledge of law. 

Another lawyer with a national record is the Hon. G. L. Fort, present 
Member of Congress and prospective Governor of the State. He has won 
promotion by fair and honorable service, and deserves the honors thrust 
upon him. 

Another name "honored among the people" is John Burns. Fred. 


Shaw was a promising lawyer, killed at Donelson ; and Henry Miller, a 
victim of consumption, had many admirers, as likewise did Robert CT Hara, 
a young lawyer and printer of stainless reputation, who found an early 

It is safe to assert that Lacon, as insignificant a place as it occupies on 
the map, has contributed more public men to the service of the nation 
than most places of its size, and that all began life as lawyers. In 
proof of this, during its brief existence it has furnished one Congressman, 
four Circuit Court Judges, and one United States District Attorney. 

During the war of the rebellion Lacon bore its full share of burdens, 
contributing liberally in men and means. Company D of the Eleventh 
Regiment Illinois Infantry was mainly recruited here, and in the disas- 
trous fight of Fort Donelson many of its bravest men went down, among 
whom were Capt. Fred. Shaw, killed upon the field, and Lieutenant Wil- 
cox was dangerously wounded and came home to die. Our limits will 
not admit a record of their names and glorious deeds, and to give it of 
this place alone would be an invidious distinction we care not to make. 
A company was raised here for the Seventy-seventh, of which Robert 
Brock was Captain and J. D. Shields, Lieutenant. No mention we can 
make does justice to their bravery and patriotism, a volume would be 
required to fitly do it. 






I SETTLEMENT was made in the vicinity of what is known 
as Crow Creek at an early day, the new comers being at- 
tracted by the rich alluvial bottoms, the clear springs of 
water, and the general attractiveness of the locality. The 
hills widen as they approach the Illinois River, and 
leave an extensive tract of rich farming land in the valley 
between them. 

The bluffs here, in addition to their beautiful con- 
formations, varieties of shape and commanding prominence, become inter- 
esting from their historical associations and Indian traditions. They are 
covered with timber, and the sides where not precipitious are lined with 
Indian graves, to which investigation has assigned a pre-historic age. 
Stone utensils curiously wrought and specimens of pottery have been 
brought to light, which scientists agree in ascribing to the artisan- 
ship of an unknown race of people whose rise, existence, decline and 
final extermination remain among the dim uncertainties of ages long 
since past. 

When the first settlers saw this region, fifty years ago, there were 
indisputable evidences of long continued Indian occupation. 


The first cabin on Crow Creek stood not far above the bridge, where 
there was a good body of timber. Daniel, the father of James Sowards, 
cut logs for his house there in 1833. 

John Hunter lived upon a claim made by himself, where he afterward 
died, and near where his widow still remains, having sold his first claim 
to Samuel Gibbs. 

Nathan Owen also lived here, and Samuel Headlock arrived in 1833 


from Walnut Grove. Bird sold his claim to Obediah McCune, who after- 
ward removed to Tazewell County, and was buried there. 

Headlock and Frazier Sowards came here together. 

Among the settlers of the vicinity is James Sowards, who as boy and 
man has been a citizen of the locality since 1832. He drove team and 
made himself generally useful for several years about the mills, and still 
remains upon his farm. His recollection of the early settlers- is tliitt Robert 
Bird had a cabin up the creek where the McCune farm is, before the 
Owen mills were built. 

In the spring of 1831 the waters of the creek and Illinois River were 
four feet higher than they have been at any time since that date. 

The first school, house in this locality was built in 1835, about one 
hundred yards from Samuel Gibbs' dwelling, and Charles Richards taught 
school therein during the winter of that year. Messrs. Irwin, Cummings 
and Ogle are remembered among the early teachers. 

A school house was also put up near the roadside not far from Owen's 
Mills, at an early day. 


Timothy Owen came here in 1834, and about the same time Nathan 
Owen, Preston Conley and William Davis made claims in the vicinity. 
The Owens built a cabin on what was afterward the Martin place. 

In the fall of the same year and the winter and spring following, the 
Owens and Samuel Headlock erected a saw and grist mill not far above 
the present crossing. The saw mill was first completed, and attained 
an excellent reputation and a large patronage. The flouring mill was 
completed in 1834, and did excellent work. At first nearly all the 
machinery in both mills was of wood, made by the Owen brothers, a third 
brother, Roderick Owen, who was a blacksmith, contributing such iron 
work as was indispensable. 

The toll for grinding was one-eighth of the product. 

For sawing walnut lumber the price was 75 cents per 100 feet; if the 
millers sold the lumber, $1.50 per 100 feet. Ash lumber was about the 
same, and oak a trifle less. After the grist mill was completed and in 
successful operation the saw mill was abandoned. 

Neither of these mills proved a profitable investments: Although 


not often troubled with high water, or other hindrances, the mill running 
continually, there was very little ready money to be had, and the credit 
system which extensively prevailed everywhere required a large capital. 
Much of this credit was never turned into cash, either by the Owens or 
those to whom the mill was leased. 

Timothy Owen leased his interest and settled upon his farm in Rich- 
land, but afterward continued a partner in the management of the 
mills, until in June 185-, when they burned down, and as there was no 
insurance, involved a loss to him of about $5,000. 

/ TT 7 

Mr. Owens' brother-in-law, Mr. Headlock, made a claim on Crow 
Creek, at the mouth of Dry Run, in 1838. 

In 1834 Joe Martin put up a mill on Crow Creek, about forty rods 
below Owen's Mill, but his dam backed water upon the latter, and he 
could get no sufficient head. A lawsuit grew out of this aff air, and 
Martin finally abandoned his mill project here and went farther down the 
stream, where he began again on a saw mill, but shortly afterward sold 
to Samuel Headlock and he to Dr. Temple, who in a year or so turned it 
into a grist mill, ran it five years, sold to Temple and Hull and went to 

Part of the dam at Owen's Mill was on Congress land, and had not 
been included in the lines of a tract entered by that firm, which they sup- 
posed enclosed their mill site. The fact of the defective title was dis- 
covered by an unprincipled fellow, who happened to let it leak out that 
he intended to steal a march on the Owens and get to Springfield and 
obtain the title before they knew it. A race ensued, which was won by 
the millers. 

In 1840 Dennis Barney built a carding and fulling mill on Crow 
Creek, above Owens' Mills, near and below the Gibbs place, he having 
been burned out of a similar enterprise near Joseph Babb's. 


In May, 1827, rumors reached Washington that the Indian tribes of 
Indiana and Illinois were uniting preparatory to a general uprising against 
the whites. General Cass, at that time Indian agent for the north-west, 
proceeded immediately to Peoria, where he called a council of chiefs repre- 
senting the' diff erent tribes to learn their grievances, and, if possible, avert 
threatened calamity. 


This council convened at the mouth of Crow Creek, June 21, 1827. 
General Cass made a conciliatory speech, promising them many reforms 
and urging them to withdraw from their alliance with the Winnebagos. 
Presents were distributed among the discontented savages and pledges of 
friendship passed. Girty, the infamous outlaw, acted as interpreter, and 
it is said many of the presents stuck to his fingers in passing through his 
hands. However, he succeeded in so favorably impressing General Cass 
as to receive from him a silver medal in recognition of his services in this 
important council. Twenty-five years after General Cass, in adverting to 
this council, spoke of it as one of the most agreeable events of his life. 


The region round about the m< mth of Crow Creek for many years bore 
the pompous title of "Free State." The majority of the people who 
first settled there were, as a class, prone to be a law unto themselves; 
that is, they did not puzzle themselves with poring over law-books and 
blindly-worded statutes to ascertain their rights or learn the technical 
name of their rights and grievances, but each individual took his own 
course, and depended upon the strength of his arms or the agility of his 
legs to get him out of any trouble. True, they understood themselves to 
be an important part of the nation on election days, and voted early and 
often, showing "Free State" to be generally solid for any person or party 
lucky enough to win its support. 

They did not acquire their highly complimentary name from being 
above all law, however, because they took unto themselves the right to 
make laws and execute statutes in their own way. They elected justices 
and constables enough, but not so much to enforce the laws as to go 
through the forms, for every man of commanding muscle was his own 
justice and constable, judge and jury. The early justices who held high 
court here dispensed justice in a manner from which there was no appeal, 
because an attempt to appeal from their decisions was a direct insult to 
the court, amounting to an impeachment of the judicial purity and legal 
qualifications of the judge, and the penalty was invariably a fight or a 
foot race the appellee pursued by an indignant judge armed with a club, 
his insignia of office. 

At the sittings of these early courts, black eyes and bloody noses con- 


stituted a regular part of the proceedings, and "The Court 1 ' was usually a 
lively participant in thesa trials, frequently coming out second, third or 
fourth best, but never grumbling, because these were a legitimate and 
important part of its duties. The fees, it is said, were always payable in 
whisky! As an evidence of the perfect independence in these very early 
courts from the cumbersome hindrance and delays of the law, a pioneer 
Justice of the Peace once foreclosed a mortgage before himself, issued an 
execution, and actually sold out a delinquent debtor's farm, all in fifteen 
minutes' time! Where could one have found a Freer State than here? 

This highly independent community had a prejudice against all 
gentlemen of the cloth, whether lawyers or preachers. They managed 
their law suits in their own peculiar way, as we have seen. When a 
preacher's ill-fated stars sent him here he would be allowed to eat and 
"bait" his horse, if in day-light, or to obtain a night's lodgings peaceably, 
but any manifestation of an intention on his part to preach or abide among 
them would be promptly met with a notice served by the authorities of 
"Free State," giving him twenty-four hours in which to get away! They 
were never known to defy such a notice! 

Sometimes they did not deem it necessary, or were unwilling, to try 
the question of their misunderstandings even before their expeditious 
courts, and instead referred their causes to the ancient legal method of "a 
wager by trial of battle." One case, that of "Ben. Headlock vs. old 
Jeff Sowards," is remembered, in which the plaintiff and defendant met 
on the open plain, near where the present school house stands, stripped to 
the buff in presence of many witnesses, and argued the case for half an 
hour, during which three rounds were fought, and neither succeeded in 
proving his superior claims to a verdict in his favor. The Court, one of 
the Justices of the Peace, declared that they had "no cause of action," and 
on each party paying his own costs, i. e., the whisky, the case was dis- 
missed ! 

During election times "Free State " was the scene of great commotion. 
The boys would vote at one poll, cross the County line into the next 
voting place, and there also give their favorite candidates a lift, provided 
the other party was not too strong; and if nearly equal, a general pitched 
battle was the result of denying these extremely free American citizens 
their right to vote early and often, "a right inestimable to them, and 
formidable to tyrants only!" 

In these conflicts, as detailed by an eye witness, besides brawny fists, 


such, weapons were used as clubs, fence stakes, pieces of broken rails, hand- 
spikes, and such stones as could be found lying around loose. In one of 
these skirmishes a then well known young man of that section had his 
entire clothing stripped off, and was obliged to wend his way homeward 
under cover of a horse blanket. 

"Bill Sowards," elsewhere mentioned, also lived here, and was never 
an idle spectator of such performances, lie was, in fact, an active spirit 
among them, and when properly "liquored up," usually went around 
"spoiling for a fight" and anxious to "chaw some one up." 

For years Bill "ruled the roost" like a tyrant, but at last met his 
match. Among others, he had deeply insulted George Hedlock, a dimin- 
utive fellow, but full of grit, who determined on revenge. Getting 
together a number of "the boys," pledged to see fair play, he took a 
handful of red pepper in one hand, and challenging Sowards to a contest, 
filled the bully's eyes with the pungent powder, completely blinding him, 
and then pounded his victim until the latter prayed for mercy and promised 
to ever after behave himself. It was Bill's last fight, and he became a 
quiet, peaceable citizen. 

In justice to Bill, it should be said that when sober he was a generous, 
warm-hearted man, upright and industrious; but when inflamed by drink 
his brutal qualites were developed. 


Joseph Babb, an old pioneer of Lacon Township, came to the country 
in the fall of 1831, and erected a cabin three mijes below town, on what 
has since been called the " Babb place." He stayed two weeks at John 
Strawn's while selecting a location and building a cabin, and the night of 
moving into it was surprised by the appearance of a large body of In- 
dians, mounted on their ponies, whose camping ground he had unwit- 
tingly invaded. They were returning from their annual fall hunt, and 
came back, as was their custom, to spend the winter here. Mr. Babb 
having seen his family comfortably settled, returned to Ohio to close up 
some unfinished business, and for four months his unprotected family, 
consisting mainly of women, were exposed to the ignorant and when in- 
flamed with whisky infuriate whims of three hundred savages. Of his 
six children, five were girls, and his only son a stripling of nineteen. 


Mrs. Babb was an exceedingly timid woman, arid the agony and terror 
they suffered cannot be described. 

The life led by Mis. Babb and her family, alone in the woods, over a 
mile from any white settler, in the edge of this hell of blood-thirsty de- 
mons, was fearful beyond description and how she passed through it is a 
marvel. One of the actors, then a timid girl of fifteen, still lives (Mrs. 
Lot Bullman), and to this day her recollection of the terrible scenes seems 
like a hideous nightmare. The days were hard enough, but the nights 
were worse, and when the drunken savages grew too demonstrative it was 
the mother's custom to take her little children and flee to the woods in 
the rear of her cabin, where sheltered behind some friendly log, wrapped 
in blankets, they lay exposed to the pitiless cold until morning. These 
orgies were of daily and nightly occurrence, and not once but many times 
did the poor wife and children lay in their blankets upon the bleak hillside. 
Toward spring a Mr. Newton Reeder, learning the state of things, volun- 
tarily rode to the Indian Agent's below, who promptly came to their 
relief and compelled the chief |and his people to remove their camp across 
the river, threatening if not done to send his soldiers arid shoot every In- 
dian found. As the lands had been already sold to the Government, and 
the savages had no longer any right to remain, they had to comply. 

Nacqiiette, the chief, had seven wives whose wigwams were ranged 
round his own, and who reigned supreme. He had a son, a fine looking 
Indian, who desired to marry Anna Babb (now Mrs. Bullman), and one 
day presented himself before her father's cabin, arrayed in the killing 
outfit of an Indian brave, and formally proposed to "swap" a dozen or 
more of ponies for the comely white squaw, and great was his grief when 
his offer was declined. 


During the Black Hawk war it was greatly . feared by the settlers of 
Round Prairie and neighborhood that the Indians would pay them a 
visit, destroy their homes, and massacre their families. Joseph Babb, 
who was a most courageous and energetic man, declared from the first, 
however, that he was confident they would not be molested, and en- 
deavored in many ways to imbue his neighbors with a like feeling of con- 
fidence. His wife, however 1 , was a very timid lady, and the many wild 
rumors which reached the settlement from time to time tended to greatly 


excite and alarm her, and in obedience to her wishes he removed her and 
the children from his own house to Mr. John Wier's. 

At Mr. Wier's quite a number already had collected, and the first 
night the Babbs were there twenty-two persons slept in one room, which 
was scarcely larger than an ordinary sleeping apartment in our days. 

It was reported that the Indians had appeared in large force some dis- 
tance up the Illinois River, and that they had killed a Mr. Phillips, west 
of Hennepin. The rangers thereupon hastened to the scene of their re- 
ported depredations. 

In the meantime orders had been given that from sunrise to sunset no 
guns should be fired, lest their report should create unnecessary alarm 
among the settlers, and it was determined that a fine of five dollars should 
be imposed on whoever should be guilty of disobedience. This was well 
understood throughout the vicinity and everyone was exceedingly careful. 

One day about three o'clock in the afternoon, the party assembled at 
Mr. Wiers were suddenly startled by a heavy discharge of firearms. All 
were seized with terror and fright, for it was immediately supposed that 
the long expected and much dreaded savages had come at last, arid that 
scenes of havoc, bloodshed and outrage were about to be enacted. 

Momentarily expecting to hear the fearful war-whoop, they awaited in 
terror and almost breathlessly for the appearance of the painted fiends, 
but hours passed and yet no enemy appeared, nor did any alarming sounds 
greet their ears. 

Evening came at last and with it Mr. Swan and Miss Price, both on 
horseback. All rushed forth to meet them, anxious to hear the latest 

Mr. Swan said the Indians had encountered the Rangers and fired 
upon them, about sixteen miles up the liver, and that they intended to 
attack the settlement that night. He advised everyone to flee at once to 
Colonel Strawn's a mile or two distant whither he and Miss Price 
were going, and assist in fortifying the place. With this he and his com- 
panion rode on. 

Mr. Babb and Mr. Wier determined, however, to remain where they 
were and began to make preparations for defense. Mrs. Babb was a very 
religious woman and possessed great faith in the efficacy of prayer. 
Calling Mrs. Wier to one side she whispered to her and together they 
withdrew to the woods near by, where they remained a short time. 


When they returned, Mr. Wier, assisted by Mr. Babb, was rolling a 
wagon up against a window to still further strengthen their position. 

" Joseph," cried Mrs. Babb to her husband in a peculiarly joyous tone 
of voice, " you need n't fortify any more against the Indians, for I have 
been out in the forest and on my bended knees I have prayed to my 
Maker for protection and He has answered my prayers, and told me in 
His way that there is no danger." 

Bath men gazed at her in surprise and reverence akin to awe, for 
her cheeks were like roses, her face shown with an unusual light and her 
eyes sparkled with a singular brilliancy. So impressed were they by her 
words that they made no more attempts at fortifying, and such confidence 
had been restored by her surprising speech and appearance that all 
thought of danger seemed to have faded from their minds and they went 
to bed that night at the usual time. 

About midnight, however, they were awakened and again startled. 
On this occasion by a loud knocking on their cabin door and by the bark- 
ing and howling of dogs. " The Indians have come ! " exclaimed some 
one, and in a moment all was confusion, Guns were seized, locks were 
hastily inspected and they prepared to sell their lives as dearly as possible, 
but the sound of a familiar voice outside soon allayed all their fears. It 
was Mr. Swan, who, having learned that all rumors of the presence of 
Indians in the neighborhood were false, and thinking that the people at 
Wier's would all be sitting up and anxiously watching the turn of affairs, 
had very considerately come to acquaint them with the glad tidings. 

The firing they had heard was done by the Rangers themselves, who 
had returned home about three in the afternoon, and having been absent 
when the agreement about the use of firearms had been made and being 
ignorant of it, had discharged their weapons, as it was the custom to do 
in the days of flint-locks. 


The first settlers in the country found the river bottoms abounding in 
hogs, and when a diet of fresh pork was wanted a few hours' hunt would 
yield a supply. We have been told that in 1825-6 a man named Funk 
used to drive hogs from the vicinity of Springfield to Galena and many 
escaped by the way, from which sprung those found in this section. 
They were tall and raw-boned regular rail splitters as the settlers said, 


and as ferocious as they were wild. Numerous instances are told of 
settlers being "treed " by them, but no worse accidents happened. One 
Billy Marsh, from the vicinity of Crow Creek, was returning home one 
night in a jubilant mood when he ran into and wakened a brood, which 
pursued and compelled him to take to a tree for safety; and once on a 
time Sam Headlock and Roderick Owen, going home from Lacon at night, 
disturbed a drove near the mouth of Crow Creek, and were compelled to 
climb trees for safety. The infuriated porkers gashed the trees with 
their teeth and tried to shake them down, but failing in this they retired 
a few rods and kept sharp watch of their prisoners until morning, when 
they wandered off and allowed them to escape. 


In the spring of 1831 Robert Bird, Jr., and John S. Armstrong, now 
a prominent citizen of La Salle County, nephew of Col. John Straw n, 
visited the camping place of the Indians, a little north of where the Laroii 
cemetery is located. As the visitors were entering the camp a violent out- 
break occurred among the red men, in which knives and tomahawks were 
freely used, and a fearful tumult of cries arose. As they passed the tent 
of Nauquette, the chief, he rushed to the door and exclaimed, " /' </,< t<-//ce 
(clear out), Indians drunk, Indians kill chirfiokaman" (white man). They 
left as directed, but returning next day found the place deserted, and in a 
rudely constructed pen the bodies of five dead Indians lying stark 
and stiff, killed in the melee of the day before. One fellow's head, 
had been -nearly cut off. By his side near one hand the carcass of an 
opossum was placed. The bodies were laid side by side upon mats made 
of flags from the neighboring swamps, with pipes and tobacco at the left 
and a knife by the right hand of each. Blankets were laid over the bod- 
ies and the heads of the dead were all turned toward the east. Around 
this strange grave, on an elevation a foot or more above the general level of 
the ground, there was built a pen of maple and ash poles, and a few poles 
covered the same, which were weighted down by heavier logs and stones, 
which the boys had no difficulty in removing to get a better view of the 
bodies, some of which were hacked and cut in a frightful manner. 

It. appears that a number of the Indians the day before had re- 
turned from " Cock-a-mink,"- the name by which Peoria was known to 


them where they had bartered furs, venison and fish for knives, blankets, 
tobacco and whisky, with results as above stated. 


The remarkable change of temperature that took place December 20, 
1836, is noted all over this section, and has its place in the memory of 
every old citizen. One person describes it as follows: 

The morning was mild, with a settled rain gradually changing the 
snow on the ground into a miserable slush. Suddenly a black cloud came 
sweeping over the sky from the northwest, accompanied with a roaring 
wind. As the cold wave it bore struck the land, the rain and slush were 
changed in a twinkling into ice. 

It is stated upon the authority of many that the change of tempera- 
ture was so great and so swift that "chickens and geese, also hogs and 
cows, were frozen in the slush as they stood, and unless they were extri- 
cated by cutting the ice around their feet, they remained there to perish." 
It is reported that a drover on the large prairie north of Springfield, with 
a herd of 1,000 to 1,500 hogs, was overtaken by the sudden cold on the 
prairie eight miles from town. He left his hogs and drove with his men 
to the village for safety, all of the party more or less frozen before 
shelter was reached. The abandoned animals piled one upon another for 
warmth. Those on the inside smothered, and those on the outside froze; 
and next morning a pyramid of 500 dead swine was heaped up on the 
prairie. The remainder wandered about, but eventually perished of cold. 

Almost every locality has its separate story of suffering and exposure, 
which will be told in their appropriate places, but the crowning horror 
happened just across the line of Woodford County, in Black Partridge 
Township. A laborer, named Butler lived there his family consisting 
of himself and wife, a grown up daughter named Margaret, and a son 
about ten years old. They were in very destitute circumstances, and fre- 
quently objects of public charity, the neighbors supplying them with 
clothing and provisions. 

That fatal afternoon Mr. Butler and his daughter left the house in 
search of an estray cow. When they started a light rain was falling, and the 
g.'j was covered with mud and slush. How far they had journeyed 
is not exactly known, but from circumstances it is presumed when a 
mile or two from home, on their return, the fearful change began. They 


were most thinly clad, tlie girl's clothing consisting of a calico dress, a 
single under garment, and an old shawl thrown across her shoulders. 

They traveled as fast as possible, but the intense and piercing cold so 
affected the girl that she could go no further. They were less than a mile 
from home, and her father removing his coat and putting it around her; 
put his boots upon her feet, and placing her in a sitting position against 
a tree he left, hoping to return and save her. 

He started home coatless and barefoot, and reached a running stream, 
where appearances indicated he turned to restore circulation to his frozen 
feet by placing them in the water. 

On the following morning neither of the unfortunate people having 
returned, search was made and he was found at the creek frozen stiff, his 
feet encased in a sheet of ice. The girl was found sitting against the tree 
dressed as stated and so frozen that it was impossible to compose her 
limbs so as to fit an ordinary coffin. They were buried a couple of days 
afterward, the unusual spectacle attracting people from long distances. In 
the locality the noted change is commemorated as the "Butler Snap." 


Cy. Bowles was the bully of all this country until the advent of big 
Bill Hoover. He came from the vicinity of Hennepin, and numerous 
stories are yet told in the liver towns of his fights and arrests. He 
could not bear a rival, and when Hoover came upon the scene would not 
rest until he had tested his strength. Report credited him with coming 
purposely to provoke a quarrel with his rival, and that he began the 
contest is proven. Hoover sat in Vinecore's saloon, when Bowles entered 
with gun in hand, and setting his foot on Hoover's knee, gave him a push, 
upon which Hoover remarked he "had best let him alone." Bowles re- 
peated the act, when Hoover rose, and catching him round the waist, 
doubled him down on the floor as he would a ten year old boy. 

In all of this no temper was exhibited by the parties, but it is evident 
Bowles, who was a man of ungovernable passions, was deeply angered at 
his discomfiture, and going over to Fenn's store, procured a heavy dirk 
knife and hid it in his sleeve. Some one told Hoover of this, and he was 
cautioned to beware of him. Presently Bowles returned, and the men, 
warily watching each other, began bantering for a fight and passed out of 


the door. Going out Bowles made a pass at Hoover and cut him in the 
back and again in the breast, and the fight began. 

Hoover was unarmed while his antagonist held a knife in one hand 
and his gun in the other. It was the aim of the former to knock the 
knife from Bowies' hand by striking his wrist, and twice he tried it with- 
out effect, but the third time succeeded. Bowles then grasped his gun 
by the muzzle and aimed a fearful blow, which Hoover dodged with sur- 
prising agility, recovering himself with incredible quickness. The' gun 
was broken to pieces, and Hoover, warding off the blows, wrenched 
it from his hands, when Bowles ran into the street. 

Prudence, it seems, should have taught the man the futility of a longer 
fight and warned him to let Hoover alone. But he was insane with 
passion and incapable of reasoning. Procuring a stout cudgel, he returned 
to renew the contest. Hoover waited until he saw his enemy, and then 
went to him. The latter aimed a blow with his cudgel, which was turned 
aside, when Hoover's weapon descended on Bowies' head, cutting it clear 
open and exposing the brain. He lived but three days. 

Mac Robinson was Constable, and tried to arrest Hoover, but the lat- 
ter told him to stand aside. He went to Peoria for a time, but the Grand 
Jury refused to find a bill against him, he returned. In 1852-8 he went 
to California, and was finally killed there in a row. 


A noted character here in early times was the individual named 
above. He was a Hercules in form and muscle, stood six feet in his 
stockings, and weighed 248 pounds. One who saw him stripped said he 
was the finest specimen of physical manhood he ever looked upon. He 
was quick as a mountain cat and fearless of danger. His disposition was 
quiet and peaceable, but he was addicted to drink, and when in his cups 
was like an enraged tiger. 

At one time while living in Peoria he attended Mabie's circus, and 
became enraged at some remark of the clown, whom he wished to punish 
in the ring, but being prevented, went to the hotel where the latter 
stopped and knocked him down. Attached to the circus were three men 
who, priding themselves on their fighting abilities, determined to have 
revenge. Bill had gone to the Franklin House, where he boarded, and 


sat by the fire playing with a poker when they entered and asked the 
landlord for their man, who, suspecting trouble, answered evasively, 
while Bill passed into the dining room and secreting a large butcher 
knife in his sleeve and further arming himself with the poker returned. 
"Have you seen Bill Hoover?" they asked, as he entered, and the answer 
was given, "That \srne." Quick as lightning came a blow that felled 
him to the floor, but he was on his feet in an instant, knife in hand, with 
which he dealt his assailant a deadly blow across the ribs and laid him 
out. The next one he struck across the face, making a gash that cut 
one eye out, laid open the side of his head, and nearly severed an 
ear. The third he knocked down with the poker, and the battle was 
over. He was arrested by the Coroner and discharged, as he had acted 
clearly in self-defense. 





'HIS is a fractional Township consisting of ten full and eight 
parts of sections, or portions of eight sections. The Illinois 
River in a devious way washes its eastern boundary, and 
Senachwine and Whitefield bound it north and west. 

Along the river borders it is low and swampy and unfit 
for cultivation, but soon rises into arable table lands cap- 
able of high cultivation and yielding large returns to the 
husbandman. This portion is known as Crow Meadow 
Prairie, once a favorite hunting ground for the Indians, and long noted 
for its unrivaled beauty. 

On the west, a border of low wooded hills enclose it when the leaves 
are out with an emerald setting, while on the east the bolder bluff s of the 
Illinois sweep round in a graceful curve, and then bend away again to- 
wards Lacon. 

The river is navigable for boats of the largest size, and here is located 
the finest lock in the West, built at a cost of half a million dollars. The 
town is well situated for business and commands a heavy trade in grain 
and lumber. It has likewise an energetic set of business men and mer- 
chants, who have pushed their enterprises far beyond the usual limits of 
trade and draw traffic from all the towns surrounding. A steamer con- 
nects it with Peoria, making daily trips throughout the season of naviga- 
tion, and the Bureau Valley Railroad connects the place. with Chicago, etc. 
The first known resident here was a man named Hart, who built a cabin 
on the present site of the town in 1830, which was soon after deserted. 
About 1831 another cabin was built, near the site of the old mill, north 
of the ravine, and for some time was occupied by a man named Stacy, 
who built a log house in 1832 on the site of Webster. Elias Thompson 


came next. His house stood on the edge of the ravine, near or on the 
ground afterward occupied by Bower's mill. For a long time it was the 
only hotel, and occasionally served as a church, the proprietor, in addi- 
tion to his other duties, being a local preacher of deserved note. 

Mr. Thompson and his son David opened the first farms in the Town- 
ship, the former at the head of the ravine, east of where he lived. They 
devoted their time principally to raising vegetables for the "tavern." 

At this time settlers hugged close to the timber, the prairies being con- 
sidered too bleak arid exposed for cultivation, and only fit for pasturage. 

Another log cabin is known to have stood under the river bank as 
early as 1833, and was occupied by a hunter named Hatfield, who some- 
times served as ferryman. 

There stood a small log building near the corner of School and Front 
streets, and across on the north side of School street, nearly opposite the 
present bridge, stands the first frame building erected in the city. It 
was built by Mr. Hale, and occupied by him in 1835, and is now a part of 
Mrs. St. Glair's residence. 

In 1831 or '32, Erastus Wright and William Porter, of Springfield, 
visited this section, and foreseeing a good prospect for a future town, made 
a claim. They also procured a ferry license from the Commissioners of 
Peoria County, a transcript of which they filed upon the organization of 
Putnam County, in the proper court. 

In 1833 Anson L. Deming and Elisha Swan, of Columbia, also made 
claim to the town site, and to strengthen it procured a boat and contracted 
with Major Thompson to run a ferry for them, and Swan made prepara- 
tions to build a store. 

The rival claimants after some wrangle concluded to jointly lay out a 
town and divide the profits on the lots as fast as sold. They sent to 
Springfield for a surveyor named Porter, when the discovery was made 
that being school land it could not be sold, so Mr. Swan abandoned his 
plans and returned to Columbia, and Thompson became possessor of the 
ferry property. 

The school officers soon after circulated petitions asking of the Super- 
intendent of Schools permission to sell the Sixteenth Section, setting forth 
there were fifteen voters and fifty white people in the Township. It was 
granted, and B. M. Hayes appointed to survey and lay it out, which was 
done, and the Trustees in their report say : 

"Lots from number thirty to two hundred and ninety-one inclusive, 


with streets and alleys within and thereto appertaining, and the public 
grounds on said map designated, we propose as a town by the name of 
Henry, in memory of the late Gen. James D. Henry, deceased, who 
gallantly led the Illinois volunteers to victory over the hostile Sac and 
Fox Indians in the year 1832, and who lately died of disease caused by 
that arduous service." 

To Hooper Warren, an intimate friend of General Henry, is due the 
credit of suggesting the name. ' 

A public sale of lots was held a week after the survey in Hennepin, by 
Nathaniel Chamberlain, School Commissioner. There was but little com- 
petition by speculators, the lots generally being bought by citizens and 
settlers of Putnam County, at prices equivalent to $1.25 per acre, or one 
dollar per lot. When the real estate mania broke out in 1837 these lots 
were snapped up by speculators and held at high prices, and the growth 
of the town sadly retarded. 

As before stated, the first farm in Hemy Township was made by Elias 
Thompson and his son David in the spring of 1833, that of the former 
now being known as the "Davis place." 

Sampson Rowe and William Lathrop came in 1834. Elias Thompson 
soon after built the old Henry House, and had a small garden patch 
broken the year previous. He subsequently sold out and went to Cali- 
fornia, where he died. He was a preacher, bee hunter and man of vari- 
ous trades. 

John Hale, a preacher, came to Henry soon after, in about 1835, and 
did some work as a carpenter on Thompson's tavern, besides keeping a 
grocery store, and Mr. Burr or Bradley succeeded him in the latter busi- 
ness in 1836. He afterward went to Kansas and is reported to have 
died there. 

David B. Culver and Orson Culver, sons of Orsemus Culver, broke 
ground for their places in 1835. The Mallorys came very early, in 1835. 
Loten Frisbee in 1835, and Andrew Styles the same season. Styles 
brought the first threshing machine to the Township. 

In 1836, William Kidney and Simeon Pool arrived. 

George Klein arrived in 1837, and Fred W. Bell the same year, as 
also did George Hiller, Fred Reinbeck, J. W. Jones, Dr. Templeton, 
Andrew Styles and Anton Appel. 

Valentine Weis came in 1838, and Augustus C. Asherman the same 
year. Also Anton Sidel, James Dennis and Walter Plato. 


In 1839 Fred W. Troenly and Balser Klein. In that year lands first 
came into market here. 

We cannot give the year in which Major Thompson built the " Henry 
House " and the postoffice was established. It seems to have given the 
first impulse to business and enterprise. 

The first prominent merchant was a man named Bradley, who came 
here under the pseudonym of Joseph Burr. He had failed in business in 
the East and to escape his creditors, changed his name, came to this 
locality with the remnants of his fortune and opened a business in which 
he was very successful. He was strictly honorable, and when sufficient 
means were accumulated went back to his former home and paid every 
dollar. Returning, he assumed his full name and was known as Joseph 
Burr Bradley. He was the first Postmaster of the place and built the 
first warehouse. 

Another firm was Lloyd Brothers, who came here in 1849 from 
St. Louis, and did a flourishing business; Harless <fe Lancaster, Cheever 
<fe Herndon, Thomas Gallaher, and Ben. Lombard, were well known 
merchants. The last named made extensive improvements and then 
removed to Chicago, where reverses overtook him. He now lives in Gales- 
burg. In 1837-8 a blacksmith shop was started on the site of Lloyd's 
land office. 

In this year a frame building was erected on the site of B. Yeager's 
saloon by Sampson Howe; and the building known as the Paskill House 
was built about 1839. 

In 1837 two accidents occurred that of Reuben Converse, who was 
drowned from off the ferry, and a Mr. Lyon, who fell from a hotel win- 
dow and was killed. 

Hooper Warren, in an article in the Gazette, published August 12, 
1848, says: " Up to 1844 there were but two or three families permanently 
settled in Henry, but now there are twenty-four. Here are four stores 
at which general assortments of merchandise are kept, one drug and medi- 
cine store, one lumber yard, one shoemaker's shop, four carpenters, two 
blacksmiths, two coopers, one gold and silver smith, and a wagon-maker's 
shop soon to be built. There are four churches for worshipping congre- 
gations, viz: Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist and the Protes- 
tant Methodists building or meeting house. A Catholic Church is to be 
erected, also a Female Seminary, by the Presbyterians, on the prairie, one 
mile north-west of town. 


The first school house in the place was a log building that stood at the 
head of the ravine east of town. It was built in 1838, but the new 
settlers needing the services of their children, it was turned into a smoke 
house by an enterprising merchant, and when not required for this pur- 
pose was used for religious meetings. 

Dr. Boal, of Lacon, for many years was the only physician for all this 

When the canal was opened, in 1848, J. C. Holla, for Wm. 'H. 
Kellogg, loaded and shipped the first boat load of grain that ever left 
Putnam Counly for Chicago. Mr. Kellogg had a small office, and bought 
grain at what was known as Hall's Landing, four miles above Henry, on 
the east side of the river Shortly after, a second shipment was made in 
the same direction, for toe same owner. 

The first canal boat load of wheat ever sent to Chicago from Henry 
was shipped by the same individual, in 1852. 

The first flour mill was built by Ben Bower & Bro., in 1850. The 
only mill for grinding corn on the west side of the river for years was one 
built in 1833 by John Hamlin. 

Henry began to make substantial progress in 1844, and in 1850 had 
401 inhabitants; in 1851, 789; in 1853, 1,009; in 1854, 1,306, and at the 
last census 2,000. 

The cemetery of Henry, is one of the neatest burial grounds in 
Marshall County. It is laid out with artistic taste and when ornamented 
to the full measure of its original design will be exquisitely beautiful. 
It was platted by the Henry Cemetery Association, under whose super- 
vision the various improvements have been made, is attended with care, 
and is a credit alike to its managers, to the citizens of Henry, and the 

Henry was incorporated as a city under the general act, at the session 
of 1854. 

In 1858 Henry and Lacon competed for the location of the Fair 
Grounds of the County Mechanics' Institute, and the former won, having 
raised $3,600, while Lacon fell short $500. 

Opposite the town is a magnificent lock and dam, elected by the State 
as part of a general system for improving the navigation of the river. 

Beside the magnificent lock and dam before alluded to, a costly bridge 
spans the river, with a high embankment reaching to the bluff a mile dis- 
tant. It has been of great value to the city, opening up as it does at all 


seasons, the fertile country on the east, that otherwise might seek other 


The first church organized here so far as can now be told was by the 
Rev. Mr. Devore in 1840. 


In the spring of 1849 William Wycoff removed to Hemy, his wife 
being an active member of the Protestant Dutch Church. In the fall of. 
the same year they were followed by Richard Lloyd. Mrs. Lloyd was 
likewise a believer, and through their influence, in the winter of 1850 the 
Rev. E. S. High, under the direction of the Board of Missions, preached 
once in four weeks to such congregations as came to hear, continuing his 
labors for two years. 

In 1855 came Rev. John Marquis, and steps were taken which resulted 
in an organization August 17, 1855. The Ruling Elders were Lucas Y. 
Hoagland, James Petrie and William P. Williams. The following per- 
sons presented certificates of membership : Mrs. Elizabeth Wycoff, Lucas 
V. Hoagland, Anna M. Hoagland, Amelia Hoagland, Sarah W. Hoag- 
land, Harriet N. Hoagland, Wm. P.^Williams, and Petronella his wife, 
Harriet C. Black, Harriet Robertson, Abagail Nock, Elizabeth Marquis, 
Clementina M. Marquis and James Petrie. 


The First Christian Church and Society, of Henry, were organized the 
9th day of February, 1850, in the Protestant Methodist Church, in Henry, 
by Elder S. L. Pervier, with sixteen members, namely : Thomas Harless, 
Hemy B. Burgess, William Bell, Henry Harless, John S. Scott, S. L. 
Pervier, Isaac Rickets, Adna Buckout, Polly Scott, Viletta Bell, Abelim 
Wiley, Catharine Rickets, Polly Burgess, Clarisa Burgess, Rebecca Harless 
and Philena Pervier. 

Their place of worship was in the Protestant Methodist Church, until 
they built a substantial brick 35 by 50 feet (some twenty-five feet from 
ground to roof), which was dedicated in June, 1851, Elder Josiah Knight, 
of Ohio, preaching the sermon of dedication. Thomas Harless and Rich- 


ard Garretson were the principal contributors to the fund for the erection 
of this building. 

S. L. Pervier was the first pastor; Thomas Harless, Henry B. Bur- 
gess and S. L. Pervier, the first Trustess; H. B. Burgess, first Church 
Clerk; Thomas Harless and B. F. Carpenter, first Deacons; Wm. D. Rob- 
inson, first Collector; Richard Garretson, first Treasurer. 

In 1852 Elder Chester Covell, of New York, was called to take charge 
of the Church, and in 1860 Elder J. C. Goff, of Irvington, N". J., 'was 
chosen, who remained some thirteen years as pastor. 

In June of 1852 this modest edifice was the scene of a nine-days dis- 
cussion which attracted wide attention at the time, the subject being The 
Divinity of Christ. The participants were Revs. Luccock, of Canton, and 
Phelps, of Princeton, 111., of the Methodist Episcopal Church, affirmative; 
Rev. Oliver Barr, of Aurora, 111., and Revs. H. Summerbell and A. L. 
McKinney, of Ohio, of the Christian Church, negative. A reporter was 
employed with a view to the subsequent publication of the proceedings 
and arguments in full, but his notes were never prepared for the press. 


On the 22d of March, 1857, Rev. J. R. Hibbard, Superintendent of 
the Illinois Assembly of this denomination, at the request of Charles 
Davis, Henry Vogelsang, Joseph Holmes and others met the persons de- 
sirous of organizing a church, and after services did so organize. Their 
"platform" as laid down is in substance: Belief in the Divine word and 
the ten commandments, and doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg. Their 
officers were : Charles Davis, Joel Morgan, Joseph Holmes, Trustees ; O. 
H. Tyler, Treasurer; and J. W. Taber, Secretary. These officers were 
elected March 28, 1857, and Rev. Thos. Story was invited to lecture once 
a month. 

In 18()5-6 a church was built capable of seating two hundred persons, 
and dedicated July 30, 18f>(>. 

The ministers who have officiated here were the Rev. Thos. Storey, of 
Peoria, Rev. A. I. Bartels, and R. B. Edrninster, who officiated nine years. 
The Rev. O. L. Barler, of Canton, next took charge, coming here once 
each month. 


The Catholics of Henry had no regular place of worship or established 


priest until about 1850. Up to that time priests from abroad came occa- 
sionally to say Mass, visit the sick, bury the dead and perform like offices. 

In 1852 the foundation of a church building was laid, now known as 
the German Catholic Church, and after a rest of two years a line brick 
structure arose thereon.. It is 35x56 feet and 22 feet to the ceiling. A 
graceful steeple adorns it, and its interior is tastefully ornamented. It 
has a gallery and is well and comfortably seated; it has a good organ, 
bell and altars. Near by is a still larger building, devoted to the sister's 
school. It was erected not many years ago. 

The different priests who from time to time officiated at Henry for the 
Catholics before and since the church was built, were in the order named : 
Father Montori, 1848; Father Joseph Staley, 1849, who came pretty reg- 
ularly till about 1851, when Father Kramer came. There being no 
bishop at Chicago, when the Catholics of Henry wanted clerical help they 
had to apply to St. Louis. 

Other priests came here occasionally, among them Fathers Lynch and 
Powers, of Lacon. The resident priests were: Father O'Garry, Louis 
Cartaville, Lightner, Koehne, Reck, Schreiber, Albrecht, Von Schwerdler, 
and Schamoni, the present clergyman. 

In 1874 the congregation becoming too large for the building, and 
many of them being Germans, an arrangement was made by which the 
two people separated, the Germans retaining the building and paying 
$4,000. The Irish portion then built St. Mary's Church, a very fine 
structure, and a priest of their own nationality was given them. The 
congregation has since largely increased and the Society is in a flourishing 

The priests who have ministered to them are : Fathers Heafy, Mur- 
taugh, Corcoran, and the present Rev. Father Thos. Quigley. 



The fine building occupied by the Henry High Sohool owns its exist- 
ence to Rev. Mr. Fowler, of the Protestant Methodist Church, who 
conceived the plan of founding a first-class educational institution under 


the auspices of that denomination. He traveled and 'lectured extensively, 
meeting with success. 

It was finished, in 1854 a^; a cost of $28,000, and opened the same 
season under the name of the "North Illinois University." Rev. G. B. 
McElroy was the first principal, with Goff and Fox assistants. 

For a time it was quite successful, but the hard times of 1857 came 
and its patronage fell off. After several attempts to revive it, the build- 
ing was sold to the city of Henry and devoted to public school purposes. 


The Catholics of Henry and vicinity have long been rioted for their 
religious zeal. About twenty-five years ago, recognizing the importance 
of beginning an early training of their children in the faith, they started 
schools in their behalf, at first supporting small private schools in different 
localities of the town. In 1859 Mr. Oner taught a select Catholic school 
in a private house a few months and was succeeded by Mr. Hertzog, who 
had a respectable and well attended gathering of Catholic pupils in Weis' 
building, a few doors above Warren's grocery store. 

In 1860 a frame building was put up near the German Catholic Church 
and used for school purposes. The attendance was large for some time, 
school was also taught in the church itself at times. The frame building, 
originally built as a stable, was used some time, until the applicants became 
too numerous for its capacity, when the project was started of erecting a 
fine Catholic primary school which should be a credit to the place and ac- 
comodate that portion of the rapidly increasing population holding to this 

A large two-story brick structure was built near the Church, dedicated 
to this purpose, and taken in charge by the sisters of the Notre Dame So- 
ciety of Milwaukee, who had conducted the former schools in the old frame 
building. These zealous sisters relinquished the charge to "The Sisters of 
the Precious Blood" in 1871, who now manage the educational interests 
of the Catholics in a highly creditable manner, the school being very pop- 
ular. The building is substantially built and well furnished, costing 
about $5,000. The school is simply an elementary one, where the rudi- 
ments of the English and German languages are taught, the latter to such 
as wish it. It is patronized by about ninety families, mainly the member- 
ship of the German Church, and is under the general superentendence of 


Rev. Father Schamoni, the resident priest. A neat and comfortable par- 
sonage stands in a large lot near the church and school. 


The Masonic organization of Henry is a large and influential society, 
and is in excellent working order. The first steps toward a lodge here 
were taken in 1857. October 25, of that year, a dispensation was obtained 
from the Grand Lodge, and the 119th Society of their Order in the State 
was duly instituted, with the following officers: Amos Boriney, W. M.; 
W. J. Culton, S. W.; H. H. Graves, J. W. 

The Masters of Henry Lodge since its organization in 1851 embrace 
the following: 1851, Amos Bonney; 1852, Daniel McNeal, M. D.; 
1853-4, W. B. Smith; 1855, John J. Higgins; 1850, W. B. Smith; 1857, 
J. W. Sinclair; 1858-9, G. Frank Lloyd; I860, G. F. Harpst; 1 86 1-2-3, 
W. B. Smith; 1864, Lewis Kaufman; 1865-6-7, G. F. Harpst; 1868, S. 
C. Hyndshaw; 1869-70-71-72-73, James G. Hull; 1864, J. K. McCon- 
nell; 1875, J. D. Culton; 1876-7-8-9, J. C. Wooley. 

Until recently Marshall Lodge, No. 63, I. O. O. F., occupied the same 
room, but retired in the fall of 1878, when the Masons re-arranged and 
dressed their hall anew, at an expense of several hundred dollars, and now 
are very elegantly located. The hall is draped in blue, the ceilings, walls, 
curtains, carpet, chairs, etc., being also of that color. The carpets were 
made to order, and covered, as are the curtains and walls, with rich and 
tasteful emblems, peculiar to the fraternity. 


The first newspaper in Henry was the Henry ('ou-rier, commenced by 
Robert H. Ruggles, December 23, 1852. The material he brought up by 
steamboat from Edwardsville, Madison County, in this State. Its size 
was a five column folio. Afterward it was enlarged to an eight coin inn 
paper, and again reduced to a six column. July 1, 1862, the material and 
good will was sold to Jonas D. Woodward, as proprietor, and until June, 
1866, was edited by C. S. & J. D. Woodward. 

The Marshall County Democrat was commenced April 11, 18*63, by 
Charles R. Fisk; in July or August, 1864, F. M. Mills become purchaser, 


continuing the paper but a few months. The material of this office was 
purchased by Spencer 8. Burdick, in April, 1865, who commenced the 
publication of the Marshall County Telegraph, a seven column folio. In 
September, same year, George Burt, Jr., purchased an interest, the firm 
name being Burdick &, Burt. 

In June, 1866, a consolidation of the Henry Courier and the Marshall 
County Telegraph was effected and the paper changed to the Marshall 
County Republican, with S. S. Burdick, Geo. Burt, Jr., and J. D. Wood- 
ward as proprietors, under the firm name of Burdick, Burt <fe Woodward 
(the interest of C. S. Woodward being purchased by the new firm.) 
Three months later the interest of S. S. Burdick was purchased by the 
other partners, Burt <fe Woodward continuing the Republican until Jan- 
uary, 1869, when Geo. Burt, Jr., became sole owner, who is still its pub- 
lisher. At one time the .paper was run as the Marshall County Republi- 
can and Putnam County Register. The name was finally changed to 
the Henry Republican. It has an engraved head, giving an accurate 
view of the Illinois River, the bridge, and lock and dam at this place. It 
is a six column quarto, and furnishes more reading matter than any of its 
county cotemporaries. 

The Republican is equipped with a Campbell cylinder press and other 
material necessary to the outfit of a first class job and newspaper office. 
As a local newspaper it is unsurpassed, and in circulation, business and 
influence it leads most country papers in the State. 

The Henry Bulletin, a small paper, was published here several years. 

The Reformed Missionary, edited by Rev. C. Coit, was printed at the 
Republican office for some time ; it was afterward moved away, and is now 

The Coming Woman, an eight page paper, was printed %t the Repub- 
lican office for a couple of years; editress, Mrs. M. E. DeGeer. It was 
afterward moved to Chicago, and is discontinued. 

The Normal Institute, an educational paper, is now being printed at 
the Republican office, Prof. J. A. Holmes, editor. It is an eight page 
journal, and devoted to the interests of school teachers. 

At the north-west corner of this Township there lies a beautiful 


and fertile region known as Crow Prairie. Its first settlers were Benaijah 
and Russell Mallory, who made a claim here in 1834 and put up the first 
cabin, and sold to Col. Snyder in 1835. 

In the latter year Loton Frisbee came, and after a short time opened his 
farm, near the corner of the town at the edge of the timber. At that time 
there was neither fence nor house on the prairie, save Malloiy's or Snyders, 
and no frame house in Henry. David and Orsemus Culver had begun 
breaking ground at the lower end of the prairie, and there were cabins at 
Bonharu's and Howe's. 

There were no settlers on the west side of this prairie near Frisbee's 
till 1838, when Jerry Jones came. A man named John Smith made a 
claim in 1835-6 to lands afterward owned by Ward and Wilson, latterly 
by Mr. Emerick. 

Mr. Templeton built a sod house in 1837. Mr. Snyder' s was the first 
frame house built on the prairie. The pioneer school house was built of 
logs in 1838, and was known as the "Snyder School House." It was 
replaced by a frame structure in 1848-9. Two of Mr. Lyons' daughters 
were among the earliest teachers in the old building, where Preacher 
Devore and Father Cummings held forth to the Methodists and Elder 
Chenowith to the Baptists. 

The first marriage was that of one of Mr. Snyder to Miss Lyons. 

The first child born on Crow Prairie was Hiram, son of Mr. and Mrs. 
Loton Frisbee, July 25, 1836, and about the same time but shortly after, 
one was born to Mr. Kellogg. 

The prairie was named from the plentif illness of crows, but why they 
were more numerous here than elsewhere is not known. 

During the summer and fall of 1838, billious fevers and ague pre- 
vailed to a ffarful extent, and the few well persons, especially among 
the pioneer women, found their time and services constantly in demand. 
Mrs. Frisbee and Mrs. Williams were constantly "on the go" on errands 
of mercy to the families of their neighbors, and neighbors in those days 
sometimes lived five to seven miles apart. 

Between Henry and Webster is an old graveyard, where lies interred 
Mrs. Dennis, Mr. Plato, Mr. Latta, Sallie Snyder and others. 


This town, whose existence is only remembered by the early settlers, 


was laid out by Stephen F. Gale, July 26, 1834, Wm. H. Adams being 
the surveyor. The land in the vicinity had been purchased by others, 
when one Bichareson, a lawyer of Chicago, and a German named Ginder, 
bargained for the site and laid out the town, expecting to realize from the 
sale of lots sufficient to make all concerned wealthy. No lots were sold 
and the property reverted to its original possessors. 


This was another paper town of great promise and small perfomance. 
A man named Lorenzo Stacy, said to have built the first cabin in Henry, 
is known to have lived here in 1830-31. A man known as Esq. Dennis 
also lived on the ground, and burried his wife here, whose grave can still 
be seen. About 1836-7 a fractional quarter section was laid off into lots 
by Robert Latta, Alvin Dascomb, Walton Plato and Maj. P. McAllister, 
and named Webster in honor of the great expounder. It occupied a beau- 
tiful plateau two miles above Hemy, and had a very convenient steam- 
boat landing accessible at all seasons. The projectors of the town were 
energetic business men, and lots sold readily. A saw and grist mill to be 
propelled by steam were contracted for, and machineiy brought upon the 
ground, but sickness of the proprietors suspended operations and they 
were never completed. A blacksmith shop was set up, a dozen cabins 
erected and a small store opened by Josiah Hayes, better known from his 
diminutive size and certain characteristics as " Little Hayes." He after- 
ward moved to Olathe, Kansas, and, as Shakspearfc says, " achieved great- 
ness," becoming a Colonel in the Union army and Secretary of State. His 
first wife was a Miss Fanning and his second a Miss Nancy Potter, 
a school teacher. The death of Col. Latta gave the place its finishing 
blow. The settlers left and the cabins were removed elsewhere. In 1837 
it was honored with a call from the u god-like Daniel," whose critcism up- 
on it was that it was " a good place for a farm, but had been badly dam- 
aged by driving sticks (corner stages) into it." Some slight depressions 
in the soil are all that remain of this supposed rival of Henry. 


Among the many distinguished individuals who in early times espoused 
the anti-slavery cause, one who deserves especial mention because of his 


devotion and zeal was Hooper Warren, of Henry. He was a co-worker 
with the leading spirits of the country in behalf of freedom, and by a long 
life of useful, though to himself most unprofitable labor, earned a high 
niche in the temple of fame. 

Mr. Warren was born at Walpole, "N". H., in May, 1 790, and brought 
up in Woodstock, Vt., where he learned the trade of a printer. In 1817, 
when twenty-seven years old, he removed to St. Louis, and in 1819 estab- 
lished himself at Edwardsville, Madison County, 111., where he started 
the Edwardsville Spectator, the third newspaper published in the State. 
It was a fearless abolition organ, assailing the slavery question from that 
standpoint in front and rear, and soon obtained prominence and influence, 
not only in this State, but in the entire North. No newspaper in the 
Union was more liberally quoted from, either to criticise and condemn 
or approve and applaud its doctrines. Hitherto the few publications 
which had objected to slavery had been mildly expostulatory with 
their Southern brethren, and touched the vexed subject in a gingerly and 
apologetic manner, while his was boldly aggressive, denouncing not only 
the system itself, but all who upheld it. All manner of personal abuse 
and ill-treatment fell to his lot in the hot pro-slavery section around him, 
and even personal violence was not only repeatedly threatened by known 
as well as anonymous persons, but actually committed upon him. At 
length finding himself too far from the capital of the State, the seat of 
news and headquarters of politicians, in 1825 he removed his paper to 
Springfield and called it the Sangamo Spectator. It was the pioneer 
paper of that region, and its publication was continued with varying suc- 
cess about three years. 

In 1828 he went to the lead mines, then the great center of attraction 
of the country, and established the Galena Advertiser, where he remained 
three years. 

In 1831 he removed to Hennepin, the county seat of Putnam County, 
and there accepted the position of County and Circuit Clerk, declining the 
offer of a similar position at Chicago, as he deemed the prospects of the 
the town at the supposed head of navigation on the Illinois, immeasurably 
superior to those of the dingy mud-hole at the foot of Lake Michigan. 

About the same time the citizens of Springfield, remembering him as 
a fearless and able editor, offered him $750 in cash to return and conduct 
a newspaper, but this offer he also declined. 

In 1835 he changed his location to Chicago, and there founded the 


Commercial Advertiser, issuing the first numbers October 11, 1836. He 
continued his connection therewith about a year, when he returned to 
Hennepin in the fall of 1838, and in the spring of 1839 removed to Henry, 
where he afterward, till his death, made his home. 

In the fall of 1840, in conjunction with Z. Eastman, at I^owell (Ver- 
milionville), LaSalle County, he started the (Genius of Liberty. This was 
a weekly newspaper devoted exclusively to the anti-slavery cause, and at 
once became its ablest champion. Besides his own keen, logical efforts, it 
contained speeches, sermons and letters from the foremost literary men of 
the day on the vital question, and speedily attained an exalted and influ- 
ential position. But with no local advertising, without State, county or 
other official patronage, and with a subscription list necessarily limited by 
reason of being confined almost exclusively to the few and scattered anti- 
slavery zealots of that day, the paper, despite the strenuous efforts of its 
publishers and ardent friends and admirers, proved a financial failure in 
Lowell, and at the end of the year Mr. Warren retired from its manage- 
ment, and it was removed to Chicago, where it attained no special promi- 
nence, being mainly remembered as the forerunner of the Chicago Tribune. 

In 1851 Mr. Warren became editor of the Bureau County Advocate, 
which position he retained two years and then retired from the journal- 
istic field. He was a good practical printer, familiar with the details of 
the business, and as an editor quick and ready upon all subjects, especially 
such as came within the scope of his political convictions, seldom writing 
out his "copy," but composing his lengthy " leaders " in his stick, at the 
case. He was a firm temperance man, his habits as to intoxicants being 
strictly abstemious, but never a member of any society or organization 
based upon this principle. He died at Mendota, Illinois, at the house of 
his daughter, Mrs. Littlefield, August 24, 1864, passing painlessly away 
after a long and busy life, at the age of seventy-four years. 


The great staple of trade in early days was potatoes. Every farmer 
raised them, and never were such abundant crops seen. The many thou- 
sand bushels sent South cannot be computed, nor the fortunes made (or 
lost) by the parties engaged. One year so many bushels were thrown 
overboard as to be a positive nuisance to boatmen, and a bar in the river 


against which they lodged and grew, achieved the name of " Potato 

The river towns along the lower Mississippi were where markets were 
usually found, and it was the custom to build keel boats, and loading 
them with the plentiful esculent, float them down to market. After a 
sale of the vegetables the boat was sold for its value as firewood. 


On one occasion a wagon-maker in Henry named Brown traded a 
wagon to Geo. Dent for 2,000 bushels of potatoes in the fall, the latter 
agreeing to plant a certain variety of seed that Brown desired. They 
grew to a fabulous size, and Brown was delighted, until he cut one open 
and found a " goneness " he little anticipated. They were about as hol- 
low as a bla4der and not much more valuable. They were too big to 
measure and too numerous to count, so he sent word to Dent to count out 
a couple of thousand of the hollow things and keep the rest. 

Charles Nock's farm was on the Island, below the city. Here was a 
large settlement of thrifty Germans. 

Among the earliest settlers was a man named Van Kirk. He wore 
no hat, but tied a handkerchief tied around his bushy and unkempt locks. 
He regarded a beard as an abomination, and regularly plucked his out by 
the roots with pincers. He was unmarried, and lived about as a general 
utility man. When a small lad he had seen the battle of Trenton from a 
distance, and from constantly dwelling on the subject came to believe him- 
self an active participant who ought to have a pension. He was intensely 
patriotic and on each recurring Fourth of July procured a gallon of 
"blackstrap," and retiring to some secluded grove, read the declaration of 
Independence, and made a speech, closing with toasts, which were loyally 
and enthusiastically drank while the jug lasted. When he first came to 
the place he had considerable money, which, having occasion to make a 
journey' he tied into an old handkerchief and chucked into a crack of the 
logs, telling Thompson it was some "old duds" he didn't care to take 
along. The "old duds" were $2,800 in cash. Vankirk lived many 
years and finally died in the poor house. 

George W. Ditman, of Magnolia, was once pursued by a pack of 
black wolves, and "saved his bacon" by hurriedly climbing a tree, where 
he remained through the night, while the yelling horde kept watch until 


Mr. Edmund Britt, an old man well known about Henry many years 
ago, was considered "lightning proof." He was once knocked prostrate 
and his clothes and shoes torn off , but suffered no farther damages. On 
another occasion a bolt of lightning knocked him down and scorched his 
hair and whiskers, but he again escaped serious harm ! 

He was once digging a well when the windlass broke and he was 
buried in the sand, but came out " sound as a dollar." Another time 
the well caved in, burying him several feet deep in sand and clay, and 
everybody expected to see him taken out dead, but he came up "fresh 
and smiling " after several hours' imprisonment. 

In the winter of 1852, a Mr. Snyder had been across the river hunting, 
and while returning broke through the ice at the mouth of Sandy Creek. 
He could touch the bottom with his feet and stood with his arms on the 
ice, yet he could not extricate himself. He hallowed for help and was 
heard by different persons for hours, but each one supposed it was some 
hunter calling a companion and no one went to his relief. The following 
morning he was found standing in the position described, dead. He had 
perished from exhaustion and cold. 

During the Indian war excitement " Deacon " John L. Ramsey was 
going toward the ferry at Henry, when he saw a person approaching. 
The Deacon, who was given to joking, threw a red blanket on his 
shoulders and hid in the grass, arising just as the unsuspecting traveler, 
Mr. Frank Thomas, had neared his hiding place. The latter taking him 
for a redskin leveled his musket to fire, and then it was Ramsey's turn to 
get scared, and he threw off his blanket and yelled : "Do n't shoot, for 
God's sake, it's only me!" 

The large wild cat of the timber is naturally a cowardly beast, but the 
following incident shows they are not averse to human flesh when "out of 
meat." Mr. Pools' two boys were once returning from school when they 
encountered a gang of them, whose threatening demonstrations caused the 
boys to take shelter in a tree. The varmints made demonstrations of 
attack, but the appearance of a dog put them to flight. 

A hunter named Ward was once followed by a lynx, which he fortun- 
ately shot with the last bullet in his possession, and Guy Pool killed one 
close to his door, on Clear Creek. 


Wild hogs were numerous and worse dreaded than any wild animal. 
They were fearless of man and beast, and quite frequently horses were 
badly wounded by these brutes. They were more savage when dogs were 
about, and would follow a man on horseback a long distance if accompan- 
ied by one to get at the latter. The attacks of wolves upon their 
offspring had rendered them the enemy of dogs, and they seemed to detect 
their presence in the timber at a long distance. fc 

The cold snap of 1836 was the cause of a remarkable accident. A 
traveler whose name is unknown, riding a horse and followed by a dog, 
was being set across one of the primitive ferries, the flat being propelled 
by oars. The fast gathering ice swept them down stream where a landing 
could not be made, but the men escaped on the ice to the shore. The 
faithful dog remained with the horse and the next day both were found 

At the mouth of Clear Creek, on the farm of Guy W. Pool, the body 
of an Indian was found suspended in a tree. Near by were Indian graves. 
In the same locality another Indian, a child, had been " buried " in a 
peculiar way. The body of a willow tree was split open and the remains 
of the infant being placed between the halves in a hollow dug out. 
Around the whole were bound numerous hickory withes. 

Christmas day, 1835, at a shooting match near Henry, a man named 
Little, a stranger, looking for a farm, strolled up to the crowd and was 
accidentally shot through the head by a drunken fellow named McKinney. 
Little had barely arrived when McKinney's gun was discharged, and 
Little dropped dead. 

A man, still occasionally seen on the streets of Henry, wished to marry 
in the olden time, and having no money to pay the minister, bargained to 
pay him in coon skins, his intended promising to see it carried 

A well remembered event in early days was the upsetting of a 
coach load of passengers, near Pools, which rolled down a steep precipice, 
going over several times without serious harm to the inmates. 







'HIS Township is said to have been named by Lundsford 
Broaddus. It contains nearly thirty-six sections of land, 
much of it broken and mainly valuable as pasturage, though 
some of the best farms and residences in the county are 
within its borders. Sandy Crek washes its northern boun- 
dary and the Illinois River its western, and the territory 
contiguous is broken and often swampy, but the eastern and 
southern portions are fertile and under a high state of im- 
Its products are live stock and grain. Its farms are well 
cared for and their owners generally "well to do." 

The pioneer white settler, George Wagner, arrived in the Township 
in the spring of 1830, and put up a cabin, the first in this locality. He 
sold it to Edward Harris, who lived here many years and died upon the 
farm now owned by Jerry Feazle. 

The next old settlers were James Hall, William McNeill and Newton 
Reeder, who came together in 1831, and made claims, where Hall still 
resides. McNeill, a blacksmith, settled in the timber north-east of Lacon, 
and Reeder upon what is now the Broaddus farm. 

Lot and Joshua Bullman came here the same year and began their 
respective farms, and near them Jacob Smalley stuck his stakes. 

In 1831 Elisha Swan and Hanson L. Deming put up a double log 
house at the foot of the hill, in what is now known as the Broaddus field, 
where they embarked in the mercantile business, keeping such goods as 
the trade of the new country demanded. This was the frontier store of 
Columbia and vicinity. 


Robert Antrim and Peter Barnhart came in 1832, and settled, the 
former on his well known place and the latter on what is now the Han- 
cock farm. Lemuel Russell made a claim in 1833. Joseph VanBuskirk 
and William Boys came in 1832, and William Hancock in June 1836, 
buying Barnhart 's claim. 

Jeremiah Evans and his son Silas Evans came in 1834, and settled in 
the edge of the timber, on the south side of Sandy Creek. Jesse Sawyer 
and Caleb Forbes, with their families, came in 1831. 

In 1833 the Freeman's came, likewise William White and John Benson. 

The first marriage in the Township was that of Josiah W. Martin and 
Courtney Forbes, in 1832. 

John Brumsey settled on Sandy in 1833, where his son Nathan still 

Antrim was an odd character, and for years partially insane, a disease 
which grew on him until he committed suicide by hanging himself. His 
first wife he married in Ohio, his second was Martha Harris, and the third 
Nancy, a sister of the famous "Si." Bowles. 

The first school was taught by Miss Caroline Smith, in 1834. 

The first camp meeting in Hopewell was held in the timber, between 
William Strawn's and Lacon, in June 1843, when the Reeves gang did 
some stealing. Elder Phillips presided. The attendance was large, con- 
sidering the sparsely settled condition of the country. 

Apple trees for the early orchards of this region were obtained first by 
John Strawji, who went to Princes nursery, in the southern part of the 
State, in 1832. In 1833 Wier, Strawn and others obtained some by going 
to Peoria for them in keel boats. 

Barnhart brought seedling trees from Lawrenceburg, and planted them 
on his claim in 1832, which did well, some of the fruit being of a very fine 

There were other pioneers who lived for a while in Hopewell, but did 
not become permanent citizens. Among these were John Shaner, George 
Easter, Robert and William Waughob and Robert Waughob, Jr., who 
came out as early as September, 1829. Some of them located near 
where Mr. Ramp's orchard is located, and other's made claims at the 
timber near the line, in Richland. 

The first funeral was that of Robert Waughob, who died in Septem- 
ber, 1831. There being no lumber in the settlement a rough coifin was 


made of wooden slabs or puncheons, and the deceased placed therein and 
buried in the Broaddus Cemetery. 


This was located about two miles west of Sawyer's. It was of the 
prevailing style, had one door, and a log cut out on one side gave ample 
ventilation and a little light. It was built in 1836. A Mr. Lee, first 
taught the Hope well ian ideas how to shoot. 

A notable old time school house stood in the ravine south-east of 
Irving Broadus', where most of the present dwellers in the vicinity 
obtained their "larninV It was built in 1835 by Lemuel Russell, John 
Wier, James Hall, John Strawn, James Kane, William Hancock, the 
Bullman's, and other patrons of the school. 

Two schools had been previously taught in the township, one in a 
cabin belonging to a man named Waughob and the other in a cabin near 
Lemuel Russell's. The first taught here was by a man named Elmore. 
Beside serving for school purposes it was used for debating clubs, church 
services, public meetings, itinerating shows, etc. The old school house 
served its purpose, and then gave away to something more pretentious and 
its timbers were made into a stable. Forty-four years after its erection a 
meeting of the surviving pupils was held on the spot, and a very interest- 
ing time was had. 


The first saw mill in the Township was put up by Jesse and Enoch 
Sawyer, in 1835. It stood not far from where the "old Henry road" 
crosses Sandy Creek. The Sawyers run this mill about four years, when 
they sold it to Ebenezer Pomeroy. 

Mr. Caleb Forbes, in 1833, had a horse power saw mill near his farm, 
on the south side of Sandy, in the timber of the bluffs, that did good work 
for several years. 

Nathan Brumsey also had a saw attachment to his grist mill, near the 
present home of Mrs. Broaddus. 

The pioneer miller ^ /as Zion Shugart, who came to Ox Bow Prairie 
in 1829 and afterwards located on Sandy Creek, near the present residence 
of Mrs. Christopher Broaddus. He made his own mill stones, fastened the 
lower one to a stump and with appropriate machinery revolved the upper 


one by horse power. It was slow and very hard work to grind or crack 
corn on this mill. It did not reduca it to meal, but rather left it in small 
fragmentary grains, but still as a labor saving machine it was a decided 
improvement upon the plans heretofore in use. 

In 1831 Mr. Shugart constructed a corn and flour mill to run by 
water. When the conditions were favorable water plenty, corn dry, 
machinery properly lubricated, and all else in harmony, this mill could 
grind about two bushels of corn into tolerable meal and bran every hour ! 
The bolting apparatus consisted of a hand sieve, shaken by the customer 
whose grist was being ground. 

This mill flourished until spring, when a freshet swept away every- 
thing belonging to it except the naked stones, which were taken away 
and put in a mill at Caleb Thompson's farm, where a good horse mill was 
built in the spring of 1832, and for about two years did about all the 
grinding for the country. 

After this Mr. Shugart commenced a larger mill, but sold it before 
completion to John Brumsey. It had all the usual facilities and did good 
work. Brumsey sold it to a Mr. Trusten, and the latter to James Croft. 
William Fisher <fe Co. became the next owners and finally Mr. Broaddus. 
Only a few timbers remain to tell of its existence. 


Among the more noted settlers of Hopewell were Jesse Sawyer and 
Caleb Forbes. They came to this locality in the summer of 1830, on 
horseback, from North Carolina, and concluding to locate returned for 
their families, packed up their effects, and left Albemarle Sound in April, 
the journey occupying five months. 

The family of Mr. Sawyer consisted of himself, wife, and five boys, 
one being a step-son, Mr. Lemuel Russell, then unmarried. Mr. Forbes 
had two sons and two daughters. They crossed a part of Tennessee, 
traveling through Kentucky and Indiana. 

After many trials and hardships the party arrived here September 2, 
1831, having traveled a distance of over eleven hundred miles. A rude 
cabin was put up near a large elm tree, a half mile south-east of the 
present residence of Enoch Sawyer. (Mrs. Jesse Sawyer died in her new 
home several years after, at the good old age of eighty-six years, and Mr. 
Jesse Sawyer, after getting his children here comfortably fixed, went to 


California in 1840, and while on a journey from San Francisco to Oregon 
became sick and died, and was buried in the sea.) 

Mr. S. explored much of the country for miles along the eastern 
boundaries of the Illinois River, but found no place that suited him better 
than the spot chosen, and which became his future home. His cabin 
was a log structure, one story high, with a stick and mud chimney, and 
only one room, in which his family and two hired men lived the first 

During this time Forbes had erected a roomy house of hewed logs, 
and when the Indian war broke out this was turned into a fort for the 
protection of the two families. Doors and windows were heavily 
barricaded, port holes were made and the most elaborate means taken 
for offense as well defense, and to this fortress the two families retired at 
night, the "men folks" following their usual avocations during the day. 


About 1832 or 1833 Mr. Sawyer's father went to Springfield to enter 
land. A man named Howard kept a sort of tavern at Holland's Grove, 
near where Washington now stands, and there Mr. S. put up for the night. 
The landlord was short of beds and he was given a bed-fellow a Metho- 
dist minister named Mitchell. After retiring these gentlemen struck up 
a conversation, in which Mr. Mitchell disclosed his profession, and, the 
further fact that he was hard up for money. He said if he had $500 he 
could put it to good use and make it pay him well, and that if he knew 
where to get it he would pay fair interest for the same. Mr. Sawyer was 
a man of some means, and had more ready money than he desired to use, 
and though a careful business man he loaned the preacher the required 
sum, taking his note therefor. After parting with his new friend and 
thinking the matter over he concluded he had been too precipitate. It 
was not " business," and the conclusion arrived at was that he had been 

He had never seen or heard of Mitchell before, and only knew that his 
name was such from the man's own statement. Mrs. S., good, careful 
woman that she was, did not approve his conduct, and more than once 
expatiated upon the "old man's foolishness" in trusting the unknown 
preacher with so much money. Time rolled on one, two, three, four 
and five years passed, and no account came from Mitchell. 


By this time the old lady's fears had become realities, and he gave it up 
as "a bad speculation." One day business took him to Hennepin, and it 
being Sunday, he went to the Methodist Church. Imagine his surprise 
as service was about to begin, when the long lost Mitchell walked into the 
pulpit ! The preacher took occasion to give his hearers a forcible sermon 
on the subject of temperance, painting in strong colors the fate of the 
drunkard, and condemning in the strongest terms "regular" and "occa- 
sional" drinking, and promising unending punishment for the bibulous 

When services were over Mr. Sawyer left the church, unnoticed by the 
preacher, and went home without seeking an interview. He related to 
his family the circumstances, and, of course, all hopes of seeing his $500 
were gone. 

At noon on the following day the preacher rode up to the gate and 
asked for dinner. There was no pretence of a recognition on either side, 
but Sawyer managed to whisper to his wife, "that's our preacher!" The 
good lady surveyed him with much dissatisfaction. 

Mr. S. was in the habit of "taking something" before dinner, and 
moreover, feeling indifferent as to the preacher's sentiments and in defi- 
ance of the temperance lecture of Sunday took down the decanter and 
invited the preacher to imbibe. To the utter bewilderment of the old 
lady and surprise of Mr. S., the pious man poured out a goodly "horn," 
fixed it up with artistic skill and drank it down with evident relish! 
Whatever weak hopes Mr. Sawyer had for his money were now ban- 
ished. Soon after each took another liberal "nip," and when dinner had 
been satisfactorily disposed of, the preacher said: "Mr. Sawyer, I have a 
little business with you." To this Mr. Sawyer replied: "All right, Mr. 
Mitchell ; come this way." 

This was the first time that either had spoken the name of the other! 
They sat down and the preacher drew from his coat pocket a well-filled 
bag and counted out the $500, with interest, to a cent, and handed it over 
with "much obliged." This done, he mounted his horse and disappeared. 

The old lady's opinion as to the character of that preacher underwent 
some modification, but still remained considerably mixed. 


The Indians often visited the Sawyer cabin and made themselves quite 


at home. These red skinned inhabitants were numerous and had the 
faculty or habit of becoming exceedingly free on short acquaintance. 
They would come to the cabin in cold or wet weather and squat around 
the fire-place, monopolizing every inch of room without leave. They 
would lift the covers off the dinner pots to see what was being cooked, 
and were frequent applicants for food, a favor which was never denied 
when reasonable. 

On one occasion not long after the cabin was built a dozen savages 
entered the door unbidden and sat down upon the floor to dry themselves. 
Mrs. Sawyer was alone, except Enoch, the family being in the woods 
making rails. Mrs. Sawyer was badly frightened, as they were the first 
she had seen, ?hid retreated to an adjoining room for safety. Not a 
word of English could the copper-colored visitors speak, and after sitting 
so long as pleased them they departed, greatly to the relief of the inmates. 
One of the Indians arose and drawing his scalping knife motioned to 
Enoch to approach. Mrs. Sawyer, who was intently observing them, felt 
sure their time had come, but the savage by pantomimic signs made it 
known that he only wished to sharpen his knife on Sawyer's grindstone. 

When Black Hawk proclaimed war and repudiated the treaty made 
by his tribe the Pottawattomies were in a quandary, and did not know 
whether to join the Sacs' and Fox's or remain neutral. A large number 
of the tribe, through the counsel of Shaubena, did not take up arms, and 
remained true to their pledges, but by far the greater number did. 

In the spring of 1832 a rendezvous of Indians favorable to the war, 
was made at Holland's Grove, and the disaffected marched north, toward 
Dixon. Their trail was visible for years up the east side of the Illinois 
Kiver, at various distances from it, but generally on the edge of the 
prairie, to avoid deep ravines and thick forests. They marched past Mr. 
Sawyer's on their ponies, going in single file, each warrior arrayed in war 
paint and looking as solemn as a funeral procession. 

The winter after the war, the boys were sent to the woods to cut tim- 
ber, and while absent from their team, half a dozen Indians came along 
and ate their dinners. The boys were indignant and vowed revenge, so 
taking their axes they followed the miscreants until their tracks became 
dangerously fresh and then returned. 


Hopewell furnishes the starting point of the original tramp, or the first 


great feat of long winded pedestrianism on record in this country. It was 
in 1833, when a Mrs. White and her son, who had come from North Caro- 
lina the previous year, determined to return to their old home. They were 
very poor, with not sufficient means to bny food on their way, letting 
alone transportation, and withal she was past the age allotted to man or 
woman, yet such was her love for her old home and so strong her desire 
to see it again, that braving all obstacles she started, and actually made 
the long distance on foot. Her simple stoiy made friends everywhere and 
food and shelter were had for the asking, without money or price. Thus 
they journeyed slowly on and reached their destination after a nearly 
eleven hundred mile tramp. 


The early settlers of Hope well found an abundance of game of all 
kinds in its season, and the river and tributary streams swarmed with 
fish. The ground was covered with the bones of buffalo and elk, and it 
was no unusual sight to see deer in droves of twenty and thirty crossing 
the prairie in single file. Among the feathered tribes, sand-hill cranes 
were the most numerous. They went in large flocks, and seen at a dis- 
tance upon the bare prairie, were easily mistaken for sheep. 

Gray foxes were numerous, and the highly perfumed Mephitis Ameri- 
canus, not long after introduced himself pretty numerously. Gray squir- 
rels too, were plenty, but the latter as well as foxes of the same color 
afterward gave place to red foxes and red squirrels, the only kinds now 
found in this section. Wild turkeys were not abundant until 1840. 
Bee trees were found everywhere in the timber, and the people needed no 
syrup for corn cakes. 

Wolves, both the prairie and timber species, black and gray, were nu- 
merous, and the farmers' greatest dread and constant annoyance. On 
more than one occasion has Mr. Sawyer been called upon not only to exer- 
cise his skill as a marksman, but under critical circumstances, where a 
sure aim and steady nerve were needed. He was an expert and enthusiastic 
hunter, and brought with him from his Southern home a pair of superb 
hounds from which sprung a numerous progeny, with whose aid he has 
waged war against these "varmints" for many years. In the winter of 
1833-34 he had occasion to go to mill. His conveyance was a sled upon 
which was a Pennsylvania wagon box, drawn by three yokes of oxen. 


The mill was at Seybold's on the Vermillion river, and as Mr. Sawyer was 
returning with his grist through Sandy Creek timber on a bright moon- 
light night, he heard a low growl which he recognized as that of a wolf, 
and perceived a large gray timber wolf not ten feet away. It was crouched 
as if ready to spring, and its eyes glared with a flashing yellow green pe- 
culiar -to the feline tribe. Young Sawyer was justifiably alarmed, and 
giving the brute a sharp cut with his long whip jumped into the sled. 
At a wayside cabin he borrowed a gun, and when the animal reappeared 
a lucky shot laid him out. 


As illustrating the rapid growth of timber in this countiy it is related 
that north and east of Hancock's house, forty years ago, there was a 
growth of low hazle brush, small oak and other trees. From the door of 
the house during fall and winter could be seen the white spots or tails of 
the deer as they browsed or frolicked through the thickets. On that 
same patch of what was once hazle-brush and saplings, large trees have 
grown, and within the last four or five years from eighteen to twenty 
cords of wood per acre were cut therefrom. 

The old settlers in this like those of other localities had no flour or 
meal save such as they made themselves on a grater, in a stump mortar or 
pestle, with a spring-pole beater, the pound-cake mill of the olden 
time. When they desired to put on style, they went to mill forty to one 
hundred miles away. Mr. Hancock remembers going to Dayton to mill, 
four miles above Ottawa, on Fox River. 

They hauled their wheat to Chicago, where they found a market at 
fifty-six cents per bushel, and brought back lumber and salt, which they 
sold at good prices, the latter bringing as high as $5.00 per barrel. 

The farmers' wives knew nothing about saleratus or fancy baking pow- 
der. When they wanted fine rising, they made pearl ash by burning 

Wm. Strawn, whose parents were Methodists, and looked upon dan- 
cing with abhorence, took his first lesson in tripping the "light fantastic 
toe " in this way : His mother had been baking bread in an old fashioned 
oven. William, in his bare feet, came near the fire to warm, and unwit- 



tingly stepped upon the large flat stone which, heated to a cherry red, 
forms a covering for the primitive oven. He lifted his foot with an ago- 
nizing yell of mingled surprise and pain, but in doing so placed the other 
on the same scorching surface. And then ensued a series of gyrations, 
contortions and fantastic steps, accompanied by howls and groans, 
which proved highly amusing to the other children, but which William 
to this day cannot recall without an involuntary shifting of his pedal 





'HIS Township derived its name from the first settler in Mar- 
shall County, Jesse Roberts, who made his claim in a point 
of timber south of Sandy Creek, and for many years lived 
there noted as an eccentric but hospitable and generous man. 
The Township contains thirty-six sections or 23,040 
acres of land. The principal water course traversing its 
territory is Sandy Creek, a large stream coming from Ev- 
ans Township on the east and flowing through Sections 
one, two, three, four, five and six nearly due west to the town of Hope- 
well, and thence to the Illinois River. From the south this stream is fed 
by Shaws', Myers'. Graylord's and a number of smaller branches, and from 
the north* by Little Sandy and its tributaries. The entire town is well 
watered and abundantly supplied with timber. Between the branches 
named and those referred to there are stretches of prairie and openings that 
come down near the verge of the bluffs along the southern line of Sandy 
Creek. To the north and south these prairies widen, and beyond the sev- 
eral points of timber unite in a vast expanse of deep and remarkably rich 
soil, now covered with fine farms. 

The Western Division of the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Rail- 
road runs through this Township from section twenty-five on the east 
to Section thirty on the west, connecting with the other great lines of 
railroad and affording . an outlet for the products of the Township. A 
branch of this road also diverges south from the main branch at Varna, a 
village in this Township. While the soil is very deep and productive, 
the lands in some parts are less rolling than west of the Illinois River. 
When their roads have been improved to the general standard of excel- 
lence prevailing in other townships this will be. a model farming region. 


The objection of very level lands does not prevail along the timber, nor 
for two or three miles back therefrom, the surface in. this part of the 
Township being a succession of gently rolling or undulating swells. 

Fine large orchards are a special feature of Roberts. Apple trees of 
enormous growth are found on all of the older farms, and some of the 
orchards are of surprisingly extensive acreage. Many of the farmers 
along Sandy Creek are superior horticulturalists, especially "read up" in 
the culture of the apple, and by careful study and experiment have re- 
duced fruit culture to a science. Profiting by experience they cultivate 
choice varieties almost exclusively, and only fail when the season is un- 


The first settlers here were: 1828 Livingston Roberts; 1829 Dr. 
J. Gaylord, Abel Estabrook, Horace Gaylord ; 1830 Enoch Dent, Geo. 
Morton, G. H. Shaw, Wm. Cowan; 1831 Samuel Redmond, Eli Red- 
mond; 1832 David Myers, Chas. S. Edward, David Stateler, Samuel 
Beckwith, Wm. McMillan, Jerry Hard enbower, John Myers; 1833 
David Myer's family, Hiram Myers; 1834 B. Reynolds, Abram De 
Long; 1835; Wm. Swartz, Zeb Swarz; 1837 Mr. Davidson, Mr. Ellen- 
borg; 1838 Mr. Usher, James Hoyt; Aaron Gaylord came to Marshall 
County about 1833, and settled in Roberts Township on the Keys farm. 
Mr. Gaylord himself and two daughters died in 1834. His wife Maria 
was left with a large family and raised them successfully. Among them 
were: Dr. Ed. Gaylord, of Magnolia; Dr. Hiram Gaylord, of Pontiac; 
James S. Gaylord, of Western Kansas; Orange Gaylord, who went to 
Oregon many years ago; Mrs. T. Beckwith, now in the south part of 
Evans Township. 


This well-known village, born of railroad enterprise, was laid out Sep- 
tember 10, 1870, on the south half of the north-east quarter of Section 
28, Town 30, Range 1 west., by George Straut and wife, on the prairie 
along the Western Division of the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad. 
Additions have since been made from time to time until the town, on the 
maps, has assumed creditable proportions. 

The original town is all north of and adjoining the railroad. It stands 


on the level prairie to the east of Shaw's Point, and is the first station 
on the above mentioned road east of the County seat. 

The first house in the village was built in 1870, a store, by Mr. John 

B. Brotherhood, who added a dwelling to it the same fall, and soon after 
Bobbitt and others followed his example, until a number of neat dwel- 
lings, stores, warehouses, churches and a good public school building, 
constituted the general make-up of the village. Its leading features are : 
Four churches, German Lutheran, Swedish Lutheran, Germali Episco- 
pal and Methodist two grocery and general stores, two drug dealers, 
one hardware store, two boot and shoe shops and stores, one harness shop, 
two carpenters, two meat markets, a livery stable, four blacksmith shops, 
one lumber yard, two grain merchants and stock buyers, two hotels, two 
wagon shops, two dealers in agricultural implements, a tile manufactory, 
two milliners and a doctor. At the last election the poll books showed 
sixty-eight voters in the village. 

Varna has the credit of maintaining an excellent public school. No. 
8, which embraces the village, was organized in 1869, and Thomas Quain- 
tance was the first teacher for two years. The school building erected in 
the summer of the year named, is a large frame structure, capable of 
accommodating one hundred pupils, and contains all the modern improve- 
ments for the graded system, on which plan the school is conducted. 



The natives of Sweden living in the vicinity of Varna first began to 
hold public worship about 1866. The only church then in this region of 
their faith was at Caledonia, west of Magnolia. About 1874 they held a 
largely attended and successful revival meeting at Varna, upon the con- 
clusion of which they organized a Society, Rev. Mr. Lindall lending his 
aid to the success of the movement. 

They selected as their first deacons and trustees, Andrew Lindall, O. 
P. Nelson, Charles Esterdahl, John Humstrom, Andrew Angstrom and 

C. A. Peterson. 

The leading members were: C. Esterdahl, O. P. Nelson, Andrew 
Lindall and C. A. Humstrom, who constituted the building committee. 

The church building was erected in 1874. It is a frame structure 25 
x72 feet, 18 foot ceiling, neatly finished, and furnished with an organ, 
comfortable seats, etc. It cost entire $4,500, and was built by subscrip- 


tion. The original membership was 125, but it has now nearly doubled, 
and the Society is in a prosperous condition. It conducts an excellent 
Sunday School, which is managed, in turn, by four of the deacons. 

The ministers have been : Rev. Mr. Londerblau, who occasionally vis- 
ited Varna in 1870; Rev. Mr. Mai berg, who came from time to time in 
1874; succeeded by Rev. P. G. Brodiue, who, in 1879, gave way to Rev. 

G. O. Gustafson. 


This Society, at Varna, was formed in June, 1872. The trustees were 
Christian Koch, William Koch and Christian Benkendorf. About eleven 
persons organized the church, and built a small place of worship the same 
year, costing $1,800. 

The preacher who was mainly instrumental in the foundation of the 
Society was Rev. Barnard Ruch, and in January, 1880, the pastor was 
Rev. Mr. Danner. 


This Society was organized at Varna in 1871. The first preacher was 
Rev. J. Johannes, to whose personal efforts its success was largely due. 
The trustees of the congregation were: Michael Kemnitz, Reinhardt 
Kitzman and George Sanwald. 

Their meeting house was built in 1873. It is a frame structure, 43x60 
feet, with a steeple and bell, comfortably seated, and was built by sub- 
scription, costing $2,300. The congregation is small, but earnest in the 
work, and a good Sabbath School is kept in a flourishing condition. 

The first services were by Rev. Mr. Kercher, and / afterward Rev. 
Walter Krebs, who also had the spiritual wants of the Society in charge 
for years. The minister in 1879 was Rev. A. Sipple, of La Rose, who 
alternates his work between the church here and at the latter place. 


Among the numerous towns that sprang up like mushrooms in a single 
night, in this region on paper during the speculative fever of 1835 
and '36, the above is an example, and in its rise and fall is presented the 


history of thousands equally ambitious and ill fated. Lyons was started 
by an Eastern company, its projectors residing in New York. It was laid 
out in 1836, but the plat, which contained one hundred and sixty acres of 
land adjoining the present village of Varna on the West and south-west, 
was never recorded. 

The Association entered forty-six sections of land, mainly in 
this part of the state, and assessed twenty-five dollars per quarter section 
to build an agent's house here and provide for the expenses of surveying 
and selling the lots. This was the first building of any kind on this 
prairie for many miles, and was put up for the company by Henry Long, 
of Lacon. Its materials were hard wood and a frame of hewn logs, after 
the manner af all buildings beyond the limits of the timber in those days. 

A committee of the Company made deeds of such few lots as were 
sold, which were so worded as to contain no streets and alleys, and as 
none of these had been dedicated to the public and no rights accrued by 
prescription or use ; legal questions as to the right of buyers to fence them 
up and block up highways were avoided. As no clause was inserted in 
these conveyances compelling the owners to build upon the property thus 
bought a provision inserted in similar conveyances of lots in some other 
new towns, no house was ever erected within the limits of Lyons, save 
the dwelling of the agent. 

When the sole resident of this city moved here, and became monarch 
of all he surveyed, his nearest neighbors were the few settlers along the 
line of Sandy Creek and C. S. Edwards and G. H. Shaw at Shaw's Point. 

The land bought by the New York company was scattered about this 
region within a scope of six or seven miles and Lyons was laid out as the 
central point. The lots brought at the rate of from one to five dollars 
per acre, and were sold between 1847 and 1856, by which time the 
original company had parted with its interest in the property. Some of 
the lands sold as low as fifty cents an acre, but this brought no new 
settlers. Some "commanded," as the advertisements had it, $20 per acre; 
the latter lying near the " city limits." 

The town was surveyed for the Association by Jordon Sawyer, a 
brother of Enoch Sawyer, of Hopewell. 


The man from whom the Township derives its name and the first set- 


tier in the County deserves a more extended notice than is given to most 
of the pioneers. This was Jesse S. Roberts, who was born on the Little 
Pedee, South Carolina, May 11, 1876. His father took sides with the 
mother country in her efforts to subdue the colonists, and at the close of 
the war was expatriated, taking up his residence at St. Johns, New Bruns- 
wick, where we believe he subsequently died. His family remained loyal, 
and were permitted to occupy the valuable property he held, which, by 
the law of primogeniture then in force, reveited to the oldest son, leaving 
the others, among whom was the subject of this sketch, to care for 

Until eleven years old he lived at home with his mother, going to 
school occasionally and assisting in the labors of the farm as he could. At 
that age he was indentured to a saddler and harness maker, serving his 
master the full time of seven years, as was the good old custom. As be- 
fore intimated, his father's estate was inherited by an elder brother, and 
the manifest injustice so embittered him that he determined to leave the 
countiy and seek out a home for himself in the new and fertile regions 
beyond the Ohio. 

It was six hundred miles to his proposed destination, the road leading 
over mountains, through sparsely settled districts, and hostile tribes of 
Indians. Nothing daunted, however, he shouldered his axe, put a spare 
shirt or two in his bundle and set out, walking the entire distance. 

He passed over the now justly celebrated "blue grass region," think- 
ing it too destitute of timber, and proceeding to the vicinity of Smithland, 
Kentucky, selected a location among the heavy timber of the region, 
and putting up a cabin of rough logs open at one end, plied his axe in- 
dustriously for three months, living by himself and doing his own cook- 
ing and washing. 

Leaving his new home at this time he started back to South Carolina 
for a helpmeet, receiving along with her a feather bed and an old frying 
pan. With his wife and dowry mounted on an old mare his sole worldly 
wealth and himself trudging by her side, he again made the journey to 
the El Dorado of his hopes. His wife proved a most worthy companion, 
and together they cleared up a large farm, while children were born and 
their fortunes grew apace. 

In course of time he owned slaves a woman to help his wife and two 
stout fellows to assist him on the farm. He also built a flat boat and 
commenced making voyages to New Orleans, loading his craft with 


grain, sheep, hogs and poultry, which he converted into cash and returned 
on foot, carrying about his person as high as six hundred dollars in silver. 
His road lay through the Indian nation, where he found cabins erected 
for the entertainment of travelers, who were expected to furnish their own 

On one occasion he took down a likely young negro named Obed and 
bargained him away for six hundred dollars. The chattel was unusually 
sharp, and divining the nature of the transaction, "lit out" before the 
delivery of the property, reaching home two weeks before his master. 
There was some difficulty over the sale, but Roberts insisted that he sold 
him on the run, and it was compromised by the seller accepting four 
hundred dollars. Obed continued to light the fires and perform any service 
required until he heard his master was coming, when he started for Can- 
ada and was not seen again. 

Slave property was in very good demand. Roberts paid at one time 
for a likely young black, seven hundred dollars in cash and one hundred 
and fifty acres of land. When he left the country he was the owner of a 
motherly old slave named Judy, who had nursed all his children, and as 
she did not wish to leave, he sought out a master satisfactory to her, ami 
sold her for three hund.ied dollars cash, a barrel of whisky and a keg of 
powder. It is needless to say the whisky was all imbibed by the crowd 
which came to bid them adieu. 

Wishing to educate his family beyond the influences of slavery, Mr. 
Roberts in that year sold his farm, came to Illinois and settled in the 
vicinity of Hillsboro, remaining there two years. In the meantime he 
came north, and renting a piece of land above Ottawa, raised a crop of 
corn there in 1828. During that summer lie came into Putnam County 
and was advised by Mr. Knox to make the claim upon which he lived 
until his death, August 7, 1841, aged sixty-five. 


James Hoyt was one of the first settlers of the prairie south of Sandy 
Creek in this Township. He came to the vicinity of Varna in 1838, 
making his home at Green's house, put up as the City Hotel of the 
prospective city of Lyons, and remained in the neighborhood until 1843, 
when he built a frame house about one and a half miles north of Varna, 
on the tract known as the Kestor place, where Dr. Gaylord had formerly 


lived. The only building in this locality other than those of the farmers 
joining the timber were a log cabin built by David Meyers and one by 
his son John, in 1 843 or '44, one-half mile west of Hoyt's. 

In the fall of 1842 Mr. Hoyt went to Chicago with a load of wheat. 
He made the journey under all sorts of difficulties, but arrived safely, sold 
his grain for fifty cents per bushel, half "store pay," bought a stove, got 
sloughed not "slewed"- frequently coming home, and lived on raw 
bacon all the way. As he fared sumptuously on chickens fixin's going 
up, he realized the abominable contrast in diet with well defined and deep 

The winter of 1843 was an uncommonly hard one. Snow came early, 
covered the ground to the depth of one and a half feet and remained 
until the January following, when there was a ten days' period of thaw, 
followed by a new crop of snow, which did not wholly melt until the 10th 
of April, 1844. 

Mr. Hoyt moved into his new place in the fall of 1843. The first day 
after his arrival there the deep snow fell, and then his troubles began. 
He had little or no fuel, and was four miles from where he could fiet fire- 
wood. He had to go the next morning, Sunday though it was, after 
wood, and kept up these long trips regularly and frequently all that 

Next to Jesse Roberts the first permanent settler in Roberts was James 
H. Shaw, who made a claim at the point of timber that has since borne 
his name so early as 1831. It was long a prominent landmark, and the 
proprietor was widely known and respected. He came to Tazewell 
County in 1827, taught school in Magnolia in 1830, and finally settled 
down as a farmer as stated. His nearest neighbors were C. S. Edwards, 
whose fine farm afterward passed into the possession of Reuben Broaddus. 
The two men took opposite sides in politics, and each filled stations of 
public trust and honor. The former has been gathered to his fathers, but 
the latter still remains. During the Black Hawk troubles their families 
sought protection in the Roberts stockade, and remained until danger was 
past. One night an alarm was raised and the men gathering their shoot- 
ing irons rushed to defend their fortress. A valorous Frenchman made 
himself conspicuous by flourishing a big horse pistol and exhorting the 


crying women and children to "die like men." It was only a scare, how- 
ever, and no harm came of it. 

The route usually traveled from Shaw's Point to Lacon led along the 
timber past the Harris place, until Mr. Edwards "blazed the way" 
through the prairie by the direct route. 



The privations and hardships endured by the early settlers can hardly 
be realized by their descendants, surrounded by every comfort and luxury. 
We know men who are in despair if the mail fails to arrive on time, and 
women who will sit down and cry if a visitor comes to dinner and there 
is no butter in the house; yet these are insignificant trifles compared with 
what our ancestors underwent. Think of living for months on pounded 
corn mixed with water and baked on a board before the fire; of keeping 
house without tea, coffee, sugar potatoes or fruits; of living in cabins des- 
titute of windows, knowing nothing of the outside world, and seeing 
neither friend nor neighbor for months. Yet these were the experiences 
of the older settlers of our state. 

There were no markets to speak of. Hennepin was a small trading 
post where furs and peltries could be bartered for merchandise, but the 
future thriving towns of Hemy, Lacon and La Salle had, in 1829, not a 
single inhabitant. St. Louis was a place of some importance, but at this 
date few adventurous keels had plowed the waters of the Illinois. Galena, 
in the north-west, was a place of considerable mining interest and Chicago 
was looking up as a future lake port of some possible importance, yet at 
this time its wants were so little that an enterprising farmer of this 
County, who sent a -load of oats there in 1839, could not find a purchaser, 
and was about despairing of a sale when he heard of an Englishman 
living five miles up the North Branch, whither he went and disposed of 
his load, accepting a greyhound in part payment. 

The settler was Livingstone Roberts, whose outfit was three yoke of 
oxen, a "prairie schooner wagon," blanket, axe, camp kettle and flint and 
steel for striking fire. The route crossed the Vermillion near the present 
site of the village of Lowell, where he encamped the first night. No 
settlers were passed during the day and he saw no signs of improvement 
until he reached Ottawa, then a thriving town of three cabins, where he 
passed the second night. Fox River was forded a mile above, and that 


day lie made Holderman's Grove, where he found a single inhabitant in 
the person of a Frenchman named Vermet. The fourth day he camped 
beside a big spring near the present village of Plattvile, and the fifth 
reached the crossing of the Du Page. 

The sixth night he camped at the Summit, the only signs of civiliza- 
tion being two settlers' cabins skirting the timber. The next day he drove 
into Chicago and looked with wonder and awe upon the blue waters of 
Lake Michigan for the first time. Tne future city contained two frame 
dwellings and one store, the latter occupied by James Kinzie, the Indian 
trader. Around the fort was grouped the barracks and a few cabins 
tenanted by French and half breeds. Near the forks of the river a man 
named See kept a house of entertainment, where Roberts put up. 

The thriving cities of Morris and Joliet had not even an existence at 
that time, and very few persons were seen upon the way. Occasionally 
an emigrant's wagon was passed, under whose white canvas a robust 
mother and half a dozen tow headed children were seen, while fastened 
behind was the spinning wheel, a crate of chickens and a couple of chairs. 

Mr. Roberts followed the "teaming business" many years, making 
five or six trips to Chicago, and loading on his return with merchandise, 
salt, lumber, etc. His usual train was three teams made up of horses and 
oxen. In those days coffee cost at Chicago 12 cents per pound by the 
sack; sugar, 6 to 8 cents; and tea 25 cents. Salt cost $1.05 per barrel, 
and sold here for $6.00 to $7.00. 

One fall a boat from St. Louis froze up in the river near Henry, laden 
with forty hogsheads of sugar, and Mr. Roberts hauled three of them to 
Chicago for seventy cents per 100 pounds. 

Mr. Roberts house was for many years a well known stopping place 
for travelers and a noted landmark. While the stages ran past he kept 
the station, and provided food for passengers. He was a man of un- 
bounded hospitality, and no man was ever turned away hungry for want 
,of means of payment. He has raised a large family of sons and daugh- 
ters, who have left the paternal home and raised families of their own, 
yet he is still as young in feeling as when he first swung an axe on the 
prairie fifty-two years ago. 


The first citizen who took an active interest in the cultivation of fruit 


trees was David Myers. He brought here a half bushel of seeds in the 
spring of 1835, and planted them on his farm. They grew finely, and five 
years afterward produced a good crop of excellent fruit. He used to go 
south often for seeds, sometimes getting them near St. Louis and other 
southern places. 

His object was to establish a nursery for supplying others, and in the 
warm and fruitful soil a very few years sufficed to do this. Most of the 
old orchards in the County came from trees first raised by him'. In those 
days fruit was not subject to the attacks of insects that in late years have 
proved such pests, but apples were free from spots and blemishes, and 
perfect in every respect. Those who have seen the nice fruit Kansas pro- 
duces can form an idea of its beauty. Along with settlement and civil- 
ization came mildew, moths, curculios, borers and the thousand-and-one 
enemies of apples, pears, etc. 

Mr. Myers' taste and fame as a fruit culturist descended to his sons, 
who more than maintain that of their ancestor. 


When the Indian war begun most of the settlers volunteered, Living- 
stone Roberts and others joining Stewart's Rangers. Their families mean- 
while sought protection in hastily improvised forts or stockades, one of 
which surrounded the cabin of Jesse Roberts and another the Beck- 
with cabin, while a third and better was constructed at David Griffin's. 
They were made in the usual way of split logs placed endwise in the 
ground, with port holes, etc., for musketry. It was a time of excitement 
and terror, and though the alarms which occurred told to-day seem 
ludicrous in the extreme they were fearfully real to the actors. 

One incident is related of a not very warlike man who hid his wife 
and children beneath the cabin floor and himself climbed down the well. 
The woman and children were the first to emerge from their concealment, 
when the head of the family too, consented to come forth. 

A German had a sick wife who could not well be moved, and he 
stayed behind to protect her, but the moonlight transformed every bush 
and tree into an Indian and he rushed to his wife in great fright exclaim- 
ing: "Katrina, we was all scallupped by the Injines of I don't go away 
so quick as never was. I get on my pony und go under the fort. You 


don't be afraid. Dey not hurt you." Off he went, and she caught 
another horse and reached the fort before her husband.. 

Another incident occurred elsewhere and is strictly true. An eastern 
settler, who had brought with him a stove, caught the prevailing scare, 
and loading his portable property into a cart started to seek safety. His 
stove could not be carried and fearing to risk it with the deadly redskins 
he tumbled it down a deep well. 


In the spring of 1833 the body of an unknown man was found near 
the corner of the Stateler field, by the roadside, where he had evidently 
frozen to death. A passing traveler found the body, a coroner's jury was 
summoned, of which David Stateler and C. S. Edwards were members. 

The investigation proved the corpse to be the remains of a young Eng- 
lishman, who had been teaching school at Partridge Point. A few weeks 
previous he had been to Ottawa, and returning, stopped with Mr. Roberts, 
where he left a satchel with a few things therein, and informed the family 
that he was going to Washington, Tazewell County, to collect his school 
money. Mr. Hawkins had ferried him over Crow Creek on his return 
toward Roberts, about two weeks before the body was found, and he had 
undoubtedly perished from cold. On his person was found a case of 
medicines, indicating that he was a doctor, and in his coat pocket an empty 
bottle that once contained whisky. 

The wolves had eaten his face slightly and otherwise disfigured him. 
Some papers found upon him indicated that he had been an officer in the 
British army, but his name has been forgotten. Letters were written 
according to such addresses as were discovered with him, but no answer 
was ever received. His body w r as buried as decently as circumstances 
would permit, in the corner of Hoyt's field, near where it was found. 


In those days, as at the present time, though not so numerous in pro- 
portion to the population, thefts and robberies occurred. Then the most 
satisfactoiy mode of punishment of offenders was a resort to the law of 
mutual protection, where the people were judge, jury and executioner, but 
there is no record of infliction of the death penalty upon any white per- 
son, that dernier resort being occasionally presented as an alternative of 


leaving the settlement, and the convicted party invariably choosing the 
latter horn of his peculiar dilemma. 

Horses were frequently stolen, but oftener by the cunning red man, 
than by whites. Cattle were occasionally driven away, and depredations 
upon corn-iields sometimes made. 

Mr. John Myers, son of the pioneer of Robert, relates a case 
which occurred in 1837. In the house at the time was a sum of money 
locked up in a chest, the key being hidden in the bed-clothing. 'A young 
man in their employ feigned sickness and remained about the house until 
he discovered where the money was kept, and the hiding place of the key, 
when he soon succeeded in transferring the treasure from the chest to his 
pockets. A few hours later the chap disappeared, and soon after the 
money was missed. The alarm was quickly given and pursuit made by 
the entire male population of the neighborhood. The fellow had tried to 
catch a horse pasturing near by, and thus add the crime of horse-stealing 
to the theft of the money, but failing, was compelled to foot it, and took 
to the prairie, where he was speedily overtaken and captured by Mr. John 
Burns. He had thrown away the money, but threats of lynching soon 
caused him to divulge its whereabouts, and it was all recovered. The thief 
was taken to Lacon for trial, and sent to the penitentiary for three years. 


Late one evening, in 1841, Mr. Green and Morgan Barber were in the 
timber at Shaw's Point, when the dogs drove a she wolf to her den. Mr. 
G. made a fire around the entrance and watched all night, determined to 
catch her, Barber returning for help. About 'daylight four small whelps 
came out and were captured, and later the dam was also caught in a trap, 
her mate the while prowling around but keeping out of shooting distance. 

The whelps were taken home by Mr. Green and tamed, together with 
four small ones captured a few days before, and two more which 
he had bought from a neighbor's boy. He had the whole ten alive and 
playing around his house, under which they borrowed, keeping them for 
a couple of months, but they soon became troublesome and made war 
upon the chickens and turkeys. The old she wolf was given to Mr. 
Edwards to be used as a decoy, and was kept chained up near his house. 
She grew quite tame and apparently harmless, but one night, getting 
loose, she attacked and badly mutilated a cow, gorging herself and remain- 
ing near her victim until morning, when both were shot. 


The old white wolf, her mate, which had successfully evaded pursuit 
and been a terror to the neighborhood for years, was captured at the big 
wolf hunt near Varna the same season, by Livingston Roberts, on which 
occasion Col. John Strawn made a characteristic speech. 

Mr. Green's ten pets having become a nuisance, were beheaded. The 
bounty then receivable for taxes was one dollar for large and fifty cents 
for small wolves. The scalps were taken to Lacon and the bounty drawn. 
The officer who took charge of the scalps was careless in his duty, and 
instead of burning them, as required by law. threw them in a vault near 
the Court House, where a man named Quigg extracted these and other 
scalps and received the reward anew. On discovering the fraud a breeze 
was stirred up and some investigation followed, but as no evidence was 
produced of criminality on the part of the official concerned, the matter 
was finally Cropped. 


In the summer of 1833, a Mr. Hale living south of Beckwiths lost a 
child, and sympathizing neighbors came over to sit up with the corpse 
and comfort the bereaved family. The father, too, was lying very low 
and none but women about, when a pack of wolves, made daring by hunger, 
and doubtless scenting the dead child, came to the house and began to 
howl. They got beneath the floor, and scratched at the doors, seemingly 
determined to get inside. 

The women were greatly terrified and threw brands of blazing fire- 
wood to drive them away. Mrs. Beckwith, who narrates this, says it was 
the most dreadful night she ever experienced. 

Another instance related is of a young mother, who was left alone 
with a sick babe and no one near. The cabin had no windows, and the 
only door was a blanket hung before the opening. During the night her 
babe died, and then began the awfulest uproar outside imaginable. A 
gang of twenty or more wolves appeared and seemed determined to force 
an entrance. 

The mother's fears were for her dead babe, which she wrapped in 
blankets and placed upon a beam over head, and then barricaded the door 
with the table. Throughout that long and dreadful night the poor 
woman stood against the frail protection, through which the infuriated 
brutes outside tried to force an entrance. Morning came at last, and 


during the day her husband returned, and friends came to assist in the 


The wooded ravines and prairies of Roberts specially abounded in 
snakes, and fifty years of unceasing war has not entirely subdued them. 
The common varieties most abounded, but the deadly rattler was often 
found and the settlers were compelled to be constantly on their guard. 

Mr. Joshua Foster relates that in 1834 fifty-three rattle snakes, 
beside a large number of other varieties, were killed on his land. He was 
once removing his pants preparatory to retiring for the night, and thought 
he detected the rattle of one, and the next morning in taking them off the 
floor where they had lain, the source of the music was discovered. Mr. 
Foster had been out late searching for his cows the night before, and the 
reptile had probably struck at him and its hooked teeth catching in the 
pantaloons, was thus brought home. 

It is a fact no less notable than true that the bite of a snake has no effect 
on a hog, and that these animals pursue them and search them out with an 
industry quite remarkable. And the snake, too, which stands its ground 
and seldom retreats from a man, will run at once from a hog. 

A writer says: "The hog, in battling with a snake, strikes its sharp 
hoofs into the struggling folds of the reptile and eats up his erstwhile foe 
with a degree of gastronomic delight known only to the hog." 

Between the snake tribe and the deer there is special animosity. The 
fleet-footed quadruped, one would think, had but a slight means of dis- 
patching its agile enemy, but with its sharp hoofs it stamps them to death 
in a few minutes. 


The year 1849 will be remembered by old settlers for the great preva- 
lence of bilious diseases. It was known as the "sickly season." It was 
ushered in by a wet, dismal spring, a backward summer and very high 
waters in June, running down in August and leaving ponds of stagnant 
water everywhere to rot and breed pestilence and death. Ague was 
universal, even far out on the prairies among the few settlements that had 
been attempted in the wildernesses of grass and sloughs. Along the 
liver bottoms and borders of streams ague was the universal, continual, 
unrelenting and incurable malady; never yielding to anything but its 


higher type of bilious or intermittent fever, either of which in those days 
very frequently ended the patient's career. 

The people were poor in every sense of the wore. Ragged, shrunken 
of form, living skeletons, with nothing to eat, nobody to cook it, and no 
appetite to eat if food were cooked. The prevailing malady not only 
afflicted human beings, but even the dogs and cats dragged their hollow 
carcasses into the sunlight and trembled and shook as if stricken with the 
dread contagion. The calves grew too poor to bawl, cattle, neglected, 
roamed off among the timber, and the very chickens seemed to crow with 
a melancholy languor. Of course, these were exaggerated descriptions of 
the general complaint, but several of our old physicians, then young men, 
who went forth to battle that universal malady, still insist that the 
accounts cannot be overdrawn. During the great freshet in the spring, 
one or two steamboats and wrecks of others were seen in the cornfields 
between Ottawa and Hennepin by Dr. Perry, who soon after had occasion 
to note "the tallow faced" people he met. All were sallow, hollow-eyed, 
blue-lipped and ready to shake on the slightest provocation. Children 
died of fever and dysentery, and quinine, or "queen ami," as they called 
it, was the staple diet of everyone. A store keeper of a neighboring 
county said that region produced two articles, "queen ann and mos- 
quitos." The mosquitos were pests of the most aggravating character, 
and owing to the extent of their breeding places from the unusual over- 
flow and consequent stagnant water, their increase favored, too, by a 
fiercely hot sun, the winged messengers of sharp bills swarmed and grew 
to monstrous proportions, and as the modern appliances of wire screens 
and mosquito-bars were then unknown, the miserable victims of the double 
affliction were defenceless indeed. 

But there is no evil without its corresponding good. The great flood 
drove the ducks out upon the ponds in the edge of the prairies, where 
they reared large flocks. They swarmed the country everywhere, and 
became so numerous and so accustomed to the new haunts of stubble field 
and corn that the settlei-s had no trouble in supplying themselves and 
neighbors with duck meat in abundance. 


Prairie fires were the great bane of the new settlers and usually caused 
immense damage. At one time a "back fire," set out by C. S. Edwards 


and David Stateler, to protect their own property, swept across Sandy 
doing heavy damage, and the exasperated sufferers procured their indict- 
ment, but it appearing there was no malice in the intent they were 
acquitted. At this term of court Stephen A. Douglas was present, and 
served as public prosecutor pro tern. 

Though prairies fires were numerous and the damage to property 
great it was seldom persons were caught in them, yet James Croft relates 
an incident where an emigrant was surrounded by fire and had to abandon 
his wagon. His horses were rapidly unhitched, and lashing them into a 
gallop he crossed the line of fire without danger, but his wagon and all 
its contents were destroyed. 

Late in the fall of 1835 a destructive fire from the neighborhood of 
Martin's Point, or head of Crow Creek timber, swept over the prairies 
and did considerable damage to the settlers along Sandy Creek. It 
burned a half mile of fence on Mr. Shaw's farm and also destroyed his 
wheat stakes, as well as W. B. Green's corn crop. 

All kinds of game was plentiful in those days. In fact there was no 
great demand for venison until the supply had become nearly exhausted. 
Quails were numerous, and any boy old enough to comprehend the mys- 
teries of a stick trap could catch them near any barn yard. But as in 
those halcyon days butter often sold for four cents per pound and wild 
honey was everywhere plenty and very cheap, it was only in keeping with 
other things that the bird which "on toast" tempts the epicurean to ex- 
travagance in the purchase of a single specimen, should then have sold for 
a trifle over a penny when ready for the cook. A good horse which then 
commanded $40 would now sell readily for $150; oats and corn were a 
"bit" a bushel, and hay, $3 per ton. Blue grass had not begun to appear 
in 1843 to 1845, except along the Ottawa and Bloomington road where 
travellers had fed their teams, and now and then a few straggling bunches 
were found around the cabins of the settlers who had brought the seed in 
trappings of their harness or wagons or crevices of feed boxes and wagon 

The old Adam was quite as predominant in those days as in these 
latter times, particularly among school boys, as the following incident 


shows : A teacher named Williamson, who was excessively pious, was 
engaged at the Myers school house. He read and expounded the Scrip- 
tures daily and made long prayers much longer in the estimation of the 
pupils than the circumstances required. Besides it was his custom to re- 
tire early and often to the woods to weep over the sinfulness of mankind 
in private, or, as was surmised, for more worldly purposes. One 
Christmas day, when he had retired as usual, the boys barred him out. 
Great was his wrath, and his prayers for the time savored strongly of 
profanity, but with a rail he forced an entrance and made demonstrations 
of punishing the offenders, when he was unceremoniously hustled out, nor 
was admission given until full pardon was promised and an agreement 
exacted to forego his longest prayers. 

After Roberts the first settler on the prairie was a man named Eli 
Redmond, who opened the farm John Myers now owns and afterward 
sold his claim to John Myers, Sr. His reputation for honesty was none of 
the best, and when settlers began to arrive he deemed it best to emigrate 
and removed to Holland's Grove, in Tazewell County. One day he 
was found with a missing horse in his possession and a hasty change 
was desirable, so he removed to Mosquito Grove, and from thence to Mis- 
souri. While living near Roberts' an old lady called Grandmother Red- 
mond died, probably the first death in the County. 

Some of the young men of Roberts Point remember the notable chase 
and capture of a deer one winter forty years ago. It was minus one horn 
and they had tired it out, and when Sam. Wright attacked it with a fence 
stake, and the deer made a plunge toward Samuel, who in consternation 
threw down his weapon and ran exclaiming, "Thunder! boys, he's after 
me !" The deer was captured, but the discomfitted blacksmith kept at a 
safer distance while it was being dispatched. 

Various were the methods adopted by the pedagogues of those days 
to compel obedience, but the "original Jacobs" in this line was a fellow 
who kept a skeleton in the loft of the room which refractory pupils were 
sent to interview. As a belief in ghosts was universal and few cared to 
see the grisly object, his plan was a success, and he had the best ordered 
school ever taught there. 

At the time of the Indian scare a man named Daniel Sowards lived at 


Low Point, whose principal occupation was hunting bees. He kept a 
few cows, and one day was surprised by a stranger (John Myers) riding 
up to his cabin and asking the way to Roberts. Sowards was churning 
desperately, and never stopped a moment while the following colloquy 
occurred : 

Sowards " My God ! man, where yer gwine to ?" 

Myers "I'm going north to buy land." 

Sowards " Good heavens! man, haint yer heerd the Injuns is a kiHin' 
of the white people up thar, men, wiimnen and children?" 

Myers "No." 

Sowards (churning for dear life) "Yes they be, and the white peo- 
ple's all runnin' away; and I'm gwine too, 's soon as this blasted butter 
comes !" 

The most notable public gatherings of the times were camp meetings, 
at which the entire population of the County was wont to assemble. At 
one of these gatherings, in 1841, Camp Reeves and others of the gang 
made a midnight raid, carrying off the brethren's garments. 

Among others who suffered was John Shepherd, of Granville, and the 
next morning, like Brian O'Linn of old, he had no pants to put on, and cut a 
ludicrous figure among the brethren clad in a horse blanket. A council 
of war was held, while Shepherd stalked about like an Indian chief, his 
scanty drapery displaying his long shanks, to the great amusement of the 
crowd and the grief and chagrin of that worthy man. 

Others were even less fortunate, and had to abide in their tents or 
under the friendly cover of the bushes till they could send to their homes 
for other garments. 

In 1841 a school teacher named John Wright, without apparent cause 
committed suicide, and a lad named Ezra Cowan, whose parents lived on 
the Griffin place, shot and killed his sister. A woman living on Sandy 
named Wilson, hanged herself, and afterward her daughter, Mrs. McCarty, 
put an end to her existence in like manner. 

One of the oldest remembered schools in the Township was taught in a 
log house, half a mile north of Sandy, by a Frenchman named Du Fields, 
in 1832. 

The cholera epidemic raged here in 1850, 1852 and 1854, and several 
fatal cases occurred. 





jELLE PLAINE Township derives its name from Colonel 
Belle, an early settler, who built at the crossing of Crow 
Creek, and for many years kept a noted house of entertain- 
ment. It is six miles square and contains thirty-six Town- 
ships of diversified prairie and timber, watered by Crow 
Creek, Martin's Branch and other smaller streams. 

A fine body of timber borders Crow Creek, and there 
are detached bodies elsewhere, like Hollenback's Grove, 
Bennington's Grove, Four Mile Grove and others. The western division 
of the Chicago & Alton Railroad passes through its western limits, and its 
principal markets are at La Rose, Rutland and Minonk. Its products are 
mainly agricultural, arid its citizens are extensively engaged in raising 
cattle and hogs, which find a market in Chicago. 

Though considerably broken by hills and ravines it is considered one 
of the best Townships in the County, and is populated by an unusually 
intelligent class of people. 

The pioneer settler in this section is James Martin, who visited Hol- 
lenbeck's Grove in 1829 on a prospecting tour, bringing his family the 
succeeding year. He made a claim while here, which was "jumped" 
during his absence, and had to be bought again from the occupant at a 
good round price. This was " squatters' law," from which there was little 
chance of success in an appeal. A man named Hawkins became specially 
notorious as a claim jumper, earning unenviable fame, and remained until 
the exasperated citizens signified that his health would suffer by longer 


The first settlers of the township of Belle Plain, and some of them 


among the first that ventured into the unbroken wilderness of this County, 
located at the grove at the head of Crow Creek, which for years was 
known as Martin's Point. These pioneers came about as follows: James 
Martin in August, 1829; Samuel Hawkins, 1830; Thomas Bennington, 
1831; Jerry Black, Pierce Perry, Joseph and Robert Bennington, 1832; 
Daniel Hollenback, 1833; Nathan Fatten, 1834; John Willson, 1835; 
Forsythe Hatton and James Clemens, 1836; David Hester and William 
Hendricks, 1838; Levi Wilcox and Win. Hester, 1844. 

John Skelton made a claim in 1835 and lived upon it several years but 
left for Iowa in 1845. 

Nathan Patton bought part of his claim of Thomas Bennington which 
had been secured of Hawkins, who built one of his peculiar cabins upon 
it. In 1831 he entered from Government the remainder. 

Forsythe Hatton settled here with six sons, three of whom, William, 
John F. and Andrew, soon made claims, the former on section 30, fol- 
lowed by John F., who located near the town of the family name of Pat- 
tonsburg, on section 36. The latter was an expert hunter, and bears a 
scar on his right arm, the result of an encounter with a wounded buck. 

Daniel Hollenback came in 1833 and settled in the border of the grove 
to which he gave a name, his sons George, Jacob and Daniel, Jr., making 
claims in the vicinity as they became of sufficient age. 

Mark Hatton, a brother of Forsythe Hatton, settled here in 1840. He 
was a soldier of the war of 1812, serving under Gen. Jackson at New 

Nathan Patton's sons were John, who died in 1875, and James, who 
died when twenty-one years old. His daughters were Mrs. Porch, Mrs. 
William Hester, Mrs. McCann, Mrs. James Shankland, and two unmar- 
ried daughters, living in Pattonsburg. 

Perry's farm was partly improved by a man named Bland, who lived 
here in early times, and selling to the former, returned to Kentucky. 

Robert Bird, Sr., made a claim in 1831, which he afterward sold to 
Nathan Patton. 

James Martin first settled on the Hollenack place, but sold his claim to 
James Bird, who subsequently transferred it to Robert Bird, and he to 
Henry Miller. This was previous to 1832. 

In 1836 John Winter, who had lived on Reuben Bell's place, moved 


to the western border of the grove and began the improvement of his 
farm, on Section 35. 


The first school house at the grove or timber at the head of Crow 
Creek was built in the fall of 1836, and school taught that fall and win- 
ter by Geo. Van Buskirk. Miss Mary Jane Hallam managed the school 
the following summer, and among the early teachers were John Burns, 
James Clemens, Samuel Ogle and Mr. Wilcox. The school house was 
built of logs, after the manner of all such buildings in early days, and 
stood near the site of the residence of Geo. D. Hodge. Prior to the erec- 
tion of this building school was taught in the neighborhood by a Mr. 

The first school at Cherry Grove was taught about 1840, when a 
school house was built. 


The village of La Rose was laid out September 18, 1870, by Moses A. 
Gulick and wife, and has had a slow but substantial growth until the 
present time. It contains a fine town hall, built by taxation, several fine 
residences, stores, shops, etc., with elevator, station house, mill, churches 
and postoffice. It is the piincipal shipping point for the Township, and 
annually sends to market large quantities of grain, stock and produce. 
The country surrounding it has no superior in the County. 

The town was first christened Montrose, then changed to Romance, 
and subsequently to La Rose. 

The village boasts a very beautiful church building, not elaborately 
elegant, but of modest, fresh and inviting appearance, that of Trinity 
Society. This organization was effected in 1867, with about twenty- 
five members. The church edifice was built in 1872, at a cost of $1,500, 
and in the following year a parsonage was purchased for $1,100. 

The first preacher was Rev. Mr. Johannes, who delivered a discourse 
June 14, 1872 in the new church. 

In 1876 the Society built a neat school house. 


Pattonsburg is the name of a small hamlet laid out March 13, 1856, 


and named after its proprietor. It contains a good school house, post 
office, blacksmith shop, churches, etc. 

Thomas Bennington came to the grove in the fall of 1831, buying his 
claim of Samuel Hawkins. He brought his family in the fall of 1832, 
and his widow still lives upon the old homestead. Hawkins was addicted 
to strong drink, and one cold night when half delirious from the effects 
of liquor he wandered from home and was found dead in the sno x w near 
Washington, 111. 

Settlements were begun in the western part of the Township in 1833, 
when Robert F. Bell built a cabin on Crow Creek. He had nine children, 
several of whom made claims in the vicinity one, George F., still living 
there. Colonel Bell's military title was won in the war of 1812, when 
he served under General Harrison. 

Other settlers in the vicinity were Wm. Mills, who came in 1840; 
John Wilson at Cherry Grove, in 1835; Wm. Hendricks, 1838, on the 
John Brown place, now owned by Wm. James; Samuel Rogers, in 1840; 
Thomas S. Dobson, on the Feazle claim, about the same date; Allen 
Gray and Jesse Perkins, both north of Crow Creek, in 1840 or '41 ; Jacob 
Fetter, on the south side of Crow Creek in 1842; John Brevoort, 1845. 


This Society was organized in 1857 by Rev. Mr. Ellis. The leading 
members were Rolan Davidson, Milton Davidson, John P. Davidson and 
their wives, Robert Raines, and later John and Lewis Wineteer, Mrs. 
Mary Perry, John Bell, Mr. Bocock, Thos C. Spencer and Sarah Spencer. 
Elder Wm. Brooks, who took part in the organization also, was the first 
minister who regularly visited the flock. Among the other ministers 
were Elder E. D. Merritt, Wm. Parker, Mr. Sampson and Elder Sands. 

A good meeting house, large but not ostentatious, was built in 1858, 
about a half mile west of Pattonsburg. 


This Society, the first organization of this denomination at Pattons- 
burg and in Belle Plain, held a quarterly meeting at the place named, in 
Daniel Hollenback's barn, in July, 1839. S. W. D. Chase, Presiding 
Elder of the Lacon District, attended, and the preachers were Rev. Zadock 
Hall and Rev. R. H. Moffit. 


The organizers and leading members were John Wilson, Martha Hol- 
lenback, Charles Gulick, Dr. Levi Wilcox, Mrs. Nancy Wilcox and John 
Rogers. Services had previously been held at the old school house, and 
in barns as was found convenient, as was the case afterward, until 1859, 
when the first meeting house, a small frame structure, was put up. This 
lasted until the winter of 1867-8, when it was burned down. It stood 
about one-fourth of a mile north of the village. The new one is in Pat- 
tonsburg, and is a neat frame structure, capable of seating 300 persons, 
has a good organ, comfortable pews and tasty church furniture. 

Among the early ministers who held forth here was one named Wheat, 
succeeded by another named Stubbles, from which peculiar circumstance 
the good people were wont to say: "First came Wheat and then Stub- 
bles." Among other noted preachers of the Gospel who visited this 
Society at different times were Revs. David Blackwell, Daniel Dickinson, 
Mr. Babcock, "Father Gumming," G. M. Irwin and A. C. Price. 

Two miles east of Pattonsburg is a small body of timber known to the 
settlers as Wildcat Grove. It received its name from the number of wild- 
cats captured there one winter by a Mr. Lucas, of the vicinity. 

The first cabin at the Grove is supposed to have been built by James 
Martin, and the first sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Palmer, in a 
log cabin at the head of the Grove in 1832. 

The first school house was built in 1836, and stood near the residence 
of Geo. Hodge. 

Jas. Dickey preached here in 1836, at the house of Nathan Patton. 
The Christian Church was organized about 1845. 


The first birth in Belle Plain Township is believed to have been that of 
Nancy Jane Bennington, now Mrs. William M. Hatton. She made her 
first appearance March 22, 1833. Robert Bennington's daughter Eunice, 
died about the same time, and her's is supposed to have been the first 

The first wedding in the vicinity was probably that of Daniel Hester 
and Miss Hallam, when James Martin tied his first official matrimonial 
knot as Justice of the Peace. He says he will never forget the occasion, 
as there were present nearly all of his neighbors large and small, beside 
a number of strangers dressed in " store clothes," and he was so terribly 


"fhistrated" that he hardly knows what he said or how he got through 
with it. He was at first somewhat encouraged when he observed that the 
bride and groom were both very nervous too, but when he came to hear 
the tremulous tones of his own voice in the awful stillness, he felt weak 
and faint-like and devoutly wished he had never in his life consented to 
be an Esquire. But he adds with commendable pride, " The job was 
sufficiently good, as the marriage proved a happy one and no divorce court 
ever overhauled my work or picked flaws in it." 


Indians occasionally came about the Grove, but their homes were 
nearer the river where fish abounded, and they seldom disturbed the 
settlers. Once three or four strapping fellows came to a settler's cabin 
and wanted food and lodging. His meal chest was pretty low, but his 
wife cooked and set before them enough for double the number of white 
men, which they ate, and then, like Oliver Twist, wanted more. In the 
morning they asked for breakfast, but the good wife declared another 
such a raid would produce a famine, and they were refused, whereupon 
they got very angry, but mounted their ponies and rode away. 

During the war Samuel Hawkins and a man named Black were plow- 
ing when the report of a gun set them frantic with fear. Quick as their 
legs could carry them they made for shelter, leaving their teams in the 
field. The man for whom they worked came soon, and though he hallooed 
and yelled and shouted their names, he could not bring them back. They 
plainly heard him but mistook the voice for that of an Indian, and stuck 
close until hunger and mosquitos drove them out. 


On the 26th of February, 1847, a man named Thos. Dobson, who 
lived near Hollenback's Grove, came to Lacon one afternoon, and proba- 
bly became somewhat intoxicated. Dobson was noted as a fast driver. 
He had a splendid span of well-matched horses, and made it a point to 
race with or run past every team he encountered upon the road. He 
drove a spring wagon, one of the first used in the section. On the day 
referred to he was returning, and when near Colonel Strawn's residence he 
saw ahead of him Mr. Harrison Hollenback, a respectable young farmer, 
his neighbor, and with whom, so far as known, he was on the most 


friendly terms.. Dobson, as was his custom when approaching a team, 
gave the rein to his horses when they had approached close to Hollen- 
back's wagon, and tried to pass him. The result was that a collision 
ensued, his wheels catching Hollenback's wagon and overturning it, the 
doomed man falling under the box, the edge of which crushed his skull. 
Hollenback was carried back a short distance to Colonel Strawn's house, 
and in a short time expired. 

Dobson was arrested and bound over to appear at court on a crim- 
inal charge. He gave as sureties Daniel Hollenback, Jackson Parker, and 
another person, and was released from custody. Some time after, the 
term of court approaching, Dobson's conduct did not please his bail, and 
he receiving word that they were about to deliver him up, concluded to 
escape and "leave them in the lurch." Taking one of his horses he fled 
across the prairie, but encountered a man who recognized him and 
informed his bondsmen of his flight. 

They immediately started in pursuit, and in the vicinity of Blooming- 
ton were passing a dense thicket, when the neigh of a horse was heard, 
which was immediately replied to by the horse Dobson had left behind 
and upon which one of the party rode. By some unknown equine tele- 
graphy it had recognized its mate, and in this manner betrayed its master, 
who was stopping at a house in the vicinity. Perceiving their approach 
he started for a slough close at hand and endeavored to escape, but seeing 
them gaining upon him, drew a razor and cut his throat, dying three days 


A most sad and pathetic incident occurred, at Bennington's Grove, in 
the fall of 1838. John Bennington, a son of Thomas Benuington, a 
young man just entering upon the threshold of active manhood, had 
attended a singing school not far from his father's farm, one evening, and 
was returning home, when a dog, belonging to a neighbor, sprang upon 
him without warning and bit him through the hand. He was alone, and 
the brute would not let go, nor could he release himself, and it was not 
until two comrades came with guns and shot it dead that he got away. 

The young man was in a sad condition, his hand fearfully lacerated 
and bleeding, but such treatment as could be was given, and by the 
advice of friends, he was taken to Lincoln, 111., to have a "mad stone" 
applied. It seemingly worked well, and the party returned in light 


spirits, but in a short time grave symptoms appeared and the feeling of 
security gave way to dread ful apprehensions. He became uncontrollably 
nervous, and subject to short spells of insanity, increasing in severity with 
each attack. 

At intervals there was a season of rest, when he would speak of his 
approaching end and give such directions as seemed necessary. Again he 
was taken to Lincoln, but without avail. The paroxysms returned with 
greater severity, and while they lasted he would froth at the month and 
try to bite his attendants. During these attacks he had to be chained to 
the bedstead, and that to the wall. The sight of water turned him into 
convulsions, which lasted until all spent and worn out, when a few 
moments of brief rest was obtained. 

Not long before his demise he asked for water, remarking as he drank 
that it tasted as natural as ever; but soon there came another terrible 
spasm, followed by a gentle sleep, and his life went out forever. 

It is a little remarkable that the same dog bit his master the morning 
in which Bennington was attacked, and no harm whatever resulted from 
it, the wound rapidly healing. 


One of the Reeves gang once bought a horse of a citizen of the town- 
ship, paying for it in counterfeit money. Its spurious character was soon 
discovered, and John Myers, assisted by a man named Patterson, started 
in pursuit. At Hollenback's they heard of their man, and Pierce Perry 
joined in the pursuit. 

Not far from Mackinaw they overhauled the rascal, and to prevent 
escape he was chained to Myers and both put to bed together. Myers 
slept the sleep of the just, but awoke to see his comrade escaping through 
the window. Chase was given again and they came upon him once more, 
when his friends interfered and compelled them to wait and take out 
papers of arrest. This gave him another start, but ultimately he was 
caught and turned over to the authorities of Pekin, from where he again 
escaped and left the country. 


The people of the Grove were at one time greatly excited by the 
mysterious disappearance of Mr. William Wineteer, a well known citizen, 


who took it into his head to run away. He left his family, and nothing 
having been heard of him for several weeks, general anxiety pervaded 
the community. Some one corning across the prairie from the south-east 
reported that he had seen a new-made grave out ten or twelve miles from 
the Grove. On the following Sunday, it being pretty well settled that 
his grave had at last been discovered, a, large delegation of volunteers, 
mounted and on foot, scoured the prairie all day, but found no grave, and 
the fate of Wineteer remained as much a mystery as before. In the fol- 
lowing fall, to the joy of his family and the surprise of the public the 
long lost gentleman came walking in as though he had merely been out 
for a morning walk. He made no explanation of his absence, and those 
who knew him best never asked, while those who made so bold as to in- 
terrogate him upon the subject received no satisfactory response. 

In 1850 Mr. Elijah Van Dement's dwelling house caught fire and 
burned down during his absence from home. His own household goods 
and those of two other families stored for safe keeping were destroyed. 
Mr. Robert S. Hester, who lived a half mile away, ran to the scene, and 
reached there so exhausted that he could do nothing for some time. He 
left saddled and bridled at his door his fleetest horse, but in the excite- 
ment forgot all about his steed, and went on foot. 

Milford Gray, a lad about fourteen or fifteen years of age, was 
killed by an accident in 1840. He was on a sled going for a load of 
hay. The handle dropped through the rack while the sled was moving, 
and the tines being uppermost were plunged into the boy's left side to his 

His brother once had a narrow escape from death from the tines 
of a fork. He had been looking at a new pitch-fork, and having stood 
the handle upon the ground with the tines up, was carelessly leaning with 
his whole weight upon it, when the handle slipped and he fell forward, 
one tine of the steel. instrument running up through his lower jaw into 
his mouth, and to add to his suffering the prong broke off. It was with 
great difficulty that the piece of steel was extracted. 

In 1863 Young Davis, a brother of Mrs. George Hollenback, having 
been a prisoner at Andersonville, was released and taken to Annapolis, 
Maryland, where he died from the effects of starvation. 


Game was exceedingly numerous in the vicinity, a noted hunter one 
day killing five deer, and another day capturing three wolves. Once he 
had a narrow escape from being killed by a deer. He had run it nearly 
down on horseback and was about to strike it with a club, when the dog 
let go his hold, whereupon the deer sprang toward the hunter, who, in 
trying to escape by stepping backward, tripped and fell, but before the 
deer reached its victim the dog came to the rescue, catching the deer and 
holding him until despatched. ' 

He saw no bears in the vicinity, and no opossums until several years 
after his arrival here. Rabbits appeared in 1833 or 1834. It is likely 
that up to this time the wolves kept them cleaned out, but as white men 
began to make farms rabbits found hiding places from their destructive 
foe and increased in numbers. 

Coons wers always plenty and fat, and formed a staple article of diet 
with the Indians. 

In 1848 a Mr. Van Scoyt undertook to ascertain whether his gun was 
loaded. Not being able to make the examination satisfactorily by looking 
down the muzzle, he blew into it, raising the hammer with his foot, 
which of course slipped off. The gun was discharged, and the ball passed 
through his head, killing him instantly. 

Robert Hester was the first to brave the terrors of a prairie home, and 
in 1848 built a residence a* mile east of Pattonsburg, where he lived for 
more than thirty years, when it gave way to the finest house in the 





'HIS is one of the younger Townships of Mai-shall County, 
named from a numerous family of early settlers here. It 
was once a portion of Belle Plain, but after the prairies 
east and north-east of Martin's Grove had begun to fill up, 
it desired independence, arid was set apart as a sovereign 
Township. Bennington is a full Congressional Township, 
containing thirty-six full sections. The territory is mostly 
prairie, and not very well supplied with streams, though 
beneath the surface everywhere there is an abundance of pure water to be 
had by digging from ten to thirty feet. 

The only water courses in the Township are the East and North 
Forks of Crow Creek, the former of which risers on Section 33, runs north 
a couple of miles, then west, then south and west upon Section 3, 
with some smaller streams feeding it. Originally this prairie region was 
covered with chains of ponds or narrow sloughs. These ponds have since 
disappeared and the connections dried up or dwindled into little depres- 
sions, and the extensive use of drain tile of late years will soon transform 
them into solid, dry ground. The North Fork or Branch of Crow Creek 
commences in Section 25, and runs north. westerly to Section 7, where it 
enters the adjoining Township. Along this Creek are a few branches, but 
neither the principal stream nor its tributaries are of much importance. 

Bennington Township lies in the south-east corner of Marshall County, 
bordering on Woodford on the south and La Salle on the east. The Illi- 
nois Central Railroad, which passes close to the eastern line, enters it at 
Rutland, passing to the north upon Sections 1, 12 and 13, affording direct 
communication with Chicago. On the north the Western Division of 
the Chicago <fe Alton Railroad passes at a convenient distance, afford- 


ing them the advantage of competing lines. The Township stands upon 
an extensive coal basis, which future ages may find profitable to tap and 


A small fraction of the village of Rutland lies within the limits of 
Marshall County. This is comprised in Burns' addition, laid out on parts 
of Sections 12 and 13, Town 29, Range 1, East, Third principal meridian, 
with a dozen or so of houses upon it. 

The village is pleasantly located on a somewhat level prairie, but in 
the midst of a highly cultivated and exceedingly productive farming 

The place was called into existence through the necessity of a station 
for the Illinois Central Railroad, and has achieved a reputation as one of 
the best shipping points along the road. 

On the prairie westward vast quantities of corn, cattle and hogs are 
raised for shipment, and enterprising men at an early day built extensive 
warehouses to accommodate the trade. 

It contains five churches, viz: Christian, or Campbellite, Adventist, 
Methodist, Congregationalist and Catholic. Each of these societies has a 
good, substantial building and a residence for a pastor, Also stores, 
shops, a grist mill, elevator, etc. The population of the place is about 
six hundred. 

The first house in the town was put up by John Wadleigh, Novem- 
ber 1, 1855. He hauled the lumber from Wenona Station. For several 
years there was no house but this, and the railroad "grub" or boarding 

Some years later a building was put up here for a saloon, and the 
business carried on successfully until the excited people turned out and 
demolished the establishment. Prosecutions followed and several persons 
who were identified as being among the mob were fined. 

As some indication of the business done during the year ending 
December 1, 1879, there were shipped from this point sixty-one car loads 
of cattle and hogs, and 464 car loads of grain ! Allowing 400 bushels of 
grain to a car this would make 181,600 bushels a splendid testimony of 
the richness of the country around. 

Until the survey and location of the Illinois Central Railway, Ben- 
nington Township was a terra incognita, considered of little value except 


for grazing. A few venturesome settlers made improvements, and the 
large returns that rewarded them proved the extraordinary richness of the 
soil, and their experience demonstrated that the prairies for residences were 
actually preferable to the timber. Lands were rapidly entered, and in a 
very short time there was not an acre of Government land to be had. 
Here was begun the custom of open fields, the farmers finding it cheaper 
to herd their cattle than fence their farms a system that still prevails 
to a greater or less extent. The country, originally low and fiat, is being 
drained, the first built cabins are being replaced with better houses, and 
the Township is coming to the front as one of the finest in the county. 


This church was organized June 4, 1864. Previous to this date there 
had been a small congregation of disciples of this sect in the north-eastern 
part of the town of Bennington for several years. They met occasionally 
for religious worship at the houses of the brethren, but had been unable 
to sustain regular services and had no stated preacher. 

On the day named a large congregation, including many who held 
membership in the church at Pattonsburg, met at the Palmer school house 
and organized, by choosing A. H. Trowbridge and John Q. A. Houston 
as Elders; Joel Skelton, Everett Pomeroy and L. A. Watt, Deacons. 
Sixty-six names were enrolled in the original membership, and 211 mem- 
bers have since been added. 


Mr. Swayze, in digging a well near the northern line of the Township, 
in 1854, on Section 3, at the depth of twenty feet, in a stratum of blue 
clay, came upon a cube of coal of superior quality, the sides of which were 
about fifteen inches square. How it got there is a mystery which we can 
only solve on some far-fetched theory. 

In another well further south, in the same town, a few years ago, at a 
depth of thirty-two feet, imbedded in common clay, were found numerous 
specimens of petrified grass, such as blue-joint and the coarse growth of 
the prairie. They were decomposed into fine ashes, growing upright 
through the clay, thus preserving their forms, stalks, leaves and the 
natural position and perfect drooping of the blades, as they grew, even 
leaving distict the delicate tracery of the veins in the leaves ! 


Some years ago a person was digging a well in the vicinity, and forty 
feet below the surface came upon a rushing stream of water, tending west- 
ward, of sufficient volume to carry away pebbles of considerable size. He 
could not dam the stream and had to dig elsewhere. 

Under the entire country, from the Vermillion to the Mississippi, coal 
exists in one or two, and in some localities three, veins. It was a wise 
provision of nature to thus spread under this treeless soil, a bountiful 
supply of fuel for the coming man. 


Terrific whirlwinds, often exceedingly destructive, swept across these 
prairies in the olden times, and frequently left ruin and desolation in their 

In the fall of 1846 a cyclone suddenly swept across the country, start- 
ing near Roberts' Point and sweeping a broad straight swath to a point 
near Minonk, where it spent its force and disappeared. Its track was 
from ten to twenty rods in width, the margins clearly marked by fences 
carried away, grass twisted into ropes, and tree tops mown through as if 
by a scythe. It blew wheat shocks to pieces and carried the bundles from 
field to field, rendering identification impossible. 

A settler was breaking prairie a few rods from his dwelling, when 
he saw a funnel-shaped cloud coming from the north-west, and could 
discern objects whirling about in the air. It made a noise like the 
rumbling of a heavy train of cars crossing a long high bridge. Ap- 
prehending danger, he ran to the house to see to the safety of his wife 
and infant child. As he neared his frail domicile he saw her coming out 
with the baby, her long hair literally standing on end, while the house 
was just raising for a flight in the air. It was carried about four feet in 
the direction of the wind and set down on a gopher hill, which sprung the 
floor so that the doors could not be closed, rendering the building 
untenable. His hat, too, went gyrating off among the clouds in 
company with an incongruous mass of movable rubbish. The family 
were taken to a neighbor's, the men of the neighborhood summoned to a 
"raising bee," and the house was soon "set on its pins." 


The deep snow of 1854 was very destructive to game. Quail and pra- 


irie chickens were nearly exterminated, and deer perished in large num- 
bers. The severity of the storms drove them to the farm-yards for food, 
and they were often seen feeding along with the farmers' cattle. They 
congregated in groves, where a certain space was tramped down, but be- 
yond this it was death to venture, for their sharp hoofs cut through the 
crust, upon which wolves could run with impunity, and with their sharp 
fangs drag them down to death. One day in the latter part of February 
a drove of nine were descried in the vicinity of the Trowbridge and Skelton 
cabins in Bennington, and all hands were piped for a hunt. A warm day 
followedyby a sharp freeze had left a crust upon the surface, through 
which the deer broke at every step, lacerating their limbs, and making 
locomotion tedious and painful. Soon as the deer were seen every- 
body was on the alert, and preparations were quickly made. Footmen 
weire armed with guns and horsemen with stout clubs, the legs of the 
horses being bound with sacks as a protection against the cutting crust. 
The deer, when alarmed, separated and started at a gallop, but were run 
down by the horsemen in detail and despatched. The exciting game went 
on for hours, and afforded an immense amount of sport. In the open 
prairie a deer at bay is a dangerous animal, but in the deep snow they 
were at the mercy of the hunters, who rode up to their sides and des- 
patched them with clubs. Not a single one of the herd escaped. 


On a certain occasion one of those events was about to occur by 
by which the census is increased, and the prospective father was 
dispatched in great haste to secure the services of Mrs. John Strawn, 
the good genius of "ladies who love their lords," whose fame as a mid- 
wife extended far and near. 

Her home was several miles across the prairje, with scarcely a resident 
on the road, and as carriages were unknown he drove in an ordinary two- 
horse wagon. Mrs. S., by certain means known to the initiated, expected 
the call, and was therefore in a measure prepared, so that a short time 
sufficed to see them returning, she occupying a seat behind him in a com- 
mon kitchen chair. 

Now, to a better understanding of what follows, it needs be said the 
man was slightly deaf, and intent only on the business in hand, urged 
forward his team regardless of his charge. 


The road was rough and the case urgent, so the driver plied his whip 
industriously, while the wagon rattled and bumped along until crossing a 
rut the chair in which the "Howdy " sat upset and she landed in the road 
happily without any harm. The driver, thinking mayhap of his suffering 
wife alone in the lonely cabin, was in blissful ignorance of what had oc- 
curred, and drove on, totally unconscious of his loss until his home was 
reached and he alighted. Great was his consternation at sight of the empty 
chair, but divining the cause, he drove hurriedly back and met his 'charge 
making her way on foot. Owing to his infirmity he had not heard her 
calls, but she had escaped unhurt and was making the best time circum- 
stances admitted, hoping to arrive before her services were required. 

The little juvenile who heedlessly insisted upon his advent into the 
world at this unseemly and inconvenient season is now a useful citizen of 
Kansas, whose name we refrain from mentioning. 





[VANS TOWNSHIP, named from its first settler, has few 
equals in beauty, fertility and general adaptedness to the 
husbandman's requirements. It embraces thirty-six sec- 
tions, nearly every acre of which is susceptible of and 
under a high state of cultivation. With the exception of 
the region bordering on Sandy Creek, the settlements are 
comparatively new, yet in substantial improvements, 
costly residences, fine barns, orchards and well kept 
hedges it were hard to find its superior. It is drained by the creek above 
named and its tributaries, and the soil is admirably adapted to raising 
stock or cereals. Along its eastern borders the Illinois Central Railroad 
extends, crossed by the Chicago &, Alton Railroad, giving the settlers two 
outlets to market. 


The pioneer settlers on upper Sandy appear to have been Thomas 
Brooks, who built a cabin on the eastern end of the timber in 1824; Pat- 
rick Cunningham, who claimed and built a cabin on the Edward Clifford 
place; Benjamin Darnell, whose house stood upon the ground now within 
the enclosure of Cumberland Church Cemetery; James Larkin, living with 
the Darnell family ; Joseph Smith, Horace Gaylord, Alva Humphry, Abel 
Estabrook, William Hart, Samuel Hawkins and George B. Hollenback. 

Mr. Darnell's family consisted of himself and wife, and Enoch and 
Benjamin, Jr., his sons, and his daughter Lucy, who sickened and died 
that season, and was the first interment in Cumberland Church Cemetery. 

In the spring of 1830 came Joshua Evans, who made his claim on the 
north side of Sandy Creek, near the iiead thereof, and hired Patrick Cun- 
ningham to build him a log cabin thereon for a mare worth one hundred 


dollars. The old house was occupied by Mr. Evans for many years, and 
until recently was a well-known landmark of the Township. 

During the season, also, came James Reynolds, Thomas Dixon, John 
S. Hunt, John Darnell, Lemuel Gaylord, John Griffith, Stewart Ward, 
Kirby and Jeremiah Hartenbower. 

In 1831, Justus Jones, Ira Jones, Barton Jones, Abram Jones, Thomas 
Judd, Mr. Ransberger, Mr. Simpson and Abram Darnell. 

James Reynolds died and was buried in the cemetery, the second inter- 
ment, and his family moved away. 

These constituted the settlers up to the spring of 1832, when the Black 
Hawk came with its terrors and rumors of massacre and murder. One 
dark and rainy night the residents of the locality gathered with their 
wives and children, and met at log house in Roberts Township, on the 
place now owned by Mrs. Hutchinson Croft, and resolved to build a fort 
for mutual protection. The next day each able-bodied man, with guns, 
axes and spades, repaired to the farm of Benjamin Darnell, now owned 
by Robert Mann, nd dug a deep trench, enclosing sufficient space, into 
which were inserted split logs ten feet high, with port-holes where re- 
quired for riflemen. A well was dug in the enclosure, and into this the 
settlers brought their families for mutual protection. They were as follows : 

Benjamin Darnell, Joshua Evans, Thomas Brooks, Patrick Cunning- 
ham, George Basore, Mr. Holderman, from La Salle County, Thomas 
Judd, John Ward, G. B. Hollenback, Thomas Hollenback, Alvah Hum- 
phrey, Jeremiah Hartenboner, Stewart Ward, Abram Darnell, John Dar- 
nell, George Martin, Justus Jones, and the wife of Thomas Dixon, her 
her husband having gone as a teamster with the volunteers. John Dar- 
nell and George Martin promptly enlisted in Capt. Wm. Hawes' Rangers, 
and afterward John S. Hunt. In a few weeks peace was restored, and 
the settlers gladly returned to their homes. 

In 1833 we find Justus Jones and family on the Edward Clifford 
farm; Joshua Evans on the homestead where he first began and ever after 
resided; Thos. Judd comfortably started on the place of late years occu- 
pied by Alfred Judd^ Benjamin Darnell "holding the fort" or stockade 
farm; John S. Hunt just across the Putnam County line, then in Evans, 
now the Beckwith land; Geo. Martin where his surviving widow and 
children still live. Martin married Miss Lucy, daughter of Samuel Gay- 
lord, an old settler. Their family were Aaron G. and Sylvia Martin, well 
known residents of Sandy. The widow after the .death of her husband 


married James Gibson, and he too died in 1855. She is the last surviv- 
ing citizen of Sandy Creek, who arrived after the age of maturity, and 
still remains a dweller there, the others having all moved away or are 
dead. Alvah Humphrey was then on the farm now owned by David F. 
Griffin ; Horace Gaylord on the McCall place, and Thomas Dixon on that 
of Mr. Adams. 


In 1834 the general Government caused the lands of this region to be 
surveyed, but the lines, as run, did not conform to the boundaries which 
the settlers had staked out around their claims, and much trouble might 
have been anticipated in consequence. To avoid all disputes, a public 
meeting was held August 7, 1837, of which Justus Jones was chairman, 
and George Martin secretary, and a resolution was adopted to the effect 
that each settler should have the lands he had selected, and that upon the 
entry of the same the settlers should deed to one another according to 
their original claims. Thomas Judd, Joshua Evans and James Caldwell 
were appointed a committee on the subject, who met August 26, at the 
house of Thomas Judd, where they reported a series of resolutions, declar- 
ing that the original claims should be respected, and this was satisfactorily 
managed after the sales of 1838, so that beyond innumerable conveyances 
to one another so as to conform to the ancient land-marks, no disputes 
arose or difficulties followed. 

This will account for the labyrinth of curious lines, which divide the 
timber lots on Sandy Creek to this day. 


In 1834 Alvah Humphrey and Benjamin Darnell sold their respective 
claims to David F. Griffin, who had just moved thither from Pennsyl- 
vani. He afterward sold the Darnell land to Joseph D. McCarty, who 
came^ in the spring of 1835. Mr. Griffin has owned and lived on the 
Humphrey place ever since. Benjamin Darnell moved to Kendall County, 
Illinois, where his sons Enoch and Abram also made homes, all others of 
the family being dead. Mr. Humphrey moved to Rock River, Ills. 

June 19, 1834, Congress passed a law, giving the right of pre-emption 
to each actual settler of one hundred and sixty acres of land, and provided 
that he should live on the same until it was brought into market, which 


* * * * 

would give him the right of entry thereof at $1.25 per acre; or, if two 
persons jointly pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land they 
should be entitled to a "float" of eighty acres each. 

In many instances the early settlers had neglected to set out an 
orchard as soon as they might, an orchard being considered almost con- 
clusive evidence of actual settlement. When this was not done fears of 
speculators outbidding the occupant at the land sales were felt, but no such 
occurrence is remembered among the settlers on Sandy Creek. 

In August, 1835, the new-comers since the former election, as shown 
by the poll books, were David Burch, Archibald Owens, William Brown, 
George Beatty, James Beatty and William Galloway. Wm. Brown made 
a claim on the David Moore farm, at the head of the creek; George 
Beatty, on the Albert Evans land; Achibald Owens commenced on the 
western portion of Albert Judds' farm, and Martin Kennedy on the D. 

Morse place. 

The lands having been surveyed, an almost interminable time seemed 
to elapse before they were brought into market, as the impatient and 
anxious settlers thought. They had made valuable improvements upon 
their claims, and the long continued delay caused them much uneasiness. 
They feared that the speculators were plotting to steal their homes, and 
perhaps were responsible for withholding the lands from public sale. 

In the spring of 1838 the Government ordered all the lands east of 
the Third principal meridian and south of the north line of the present 
town of Evans, to be offered at public sale to the highest bidder in the 
month of September, of that year, at Danville, Illinois. Then every 
available dollar was brought forth from its hiding place, for the time of 
all others had arrived. 

As it was not possible for all the settlers to attend in person, nor even 
necessaiy, since a few clear headed persons could better do the work at 
the state capital, yet, to see fair play, and back up their claims by wit- 
nesses, a goodly delegation attended, provided with ample provisions and 
suitable outfit for camping out by the way. 

William Brown entered the Daniel Moore place. 
Justus Jones " " Clifford " 

Joshua Evans " " Evans " 

Geo. Beatty " " Albert Evans " 

James Caldwell " ' " Love " 


Vincent Bowman entered the Hamilton Griffin place. 

Samuel Cox " Adams " 

John S. Hunt " " Beckwith " 

Jos. D. McCarty " " Robert Moore " 

Thos. Judd " " Old Judd farm. 

Geo. Martin having died in July, 1838, this farm was entered by his 
widow, for his heirs, he having made his pre-emption claim in his lifetime. 

No difficulty was experienced in securing these lands; no speculator 
interfered and the settlers came home in a most happy frame of mind. 
They had secured homes for their wives and children. They began their 
labors with renewed energy and joyful hearts. Every improvement made 
was their own beyond the perad venture of a doubt. They planted out 
orchards, erected small additions to their cabins, some of their sons and 
daughters intermarrying and setting up for themselves. 

The young people had grown quite numerous around the settlement, 
and little social gatherings and visitings to and fro were much in order. 


The want of a saw-mill had been sorely felt by the early settlers, and 
in 1838 Joshua Evans put one up near the M. E. Church, and John S. 
Hunt built another the same season on the afterward Beckwith farm, both 
being actively employed for years. 

John Evans had set up a turning lathe, a new enterprise here in 1834, 
which proved of great utility, as he made chairs with split bottoms, a few 
of which may yet be found in the neighborhood. He also turned table 
legs and a variety of household articles. 

Benjamin Darnell had a blacksmith shop at the Fort in 1832, which 
for years was the only one near, and of indispensable worth to the farmer. 

The first settlers tried sod fences around their patches or fields. A 
ditch about three feet wide and deep was dug, the dirt piled up as an 
embankment from the inside and the sod carefully laid up at a proper 
angle on the outside. It was expected these embankments would turn 
stock, but nothing delighted the cows better than to "horn" them down. 
To this day traces of these old fences can be found around the neighbor- 


In 1840 or 41, Thomas Alexander came from Kentucky and bought 


the old Darnell or fort farm, from Jos. D. McCarty, also the now David 
Moore place from Win. Brown, and the following year sent hither his 
sons Hiram and Hugh who took possession, and the next season came 
with his family consisting of himself, wife and son Thomas, Jr. and daugh- 
ters, and William C. Alexander, a son-in-law. Mr. Alexander and Mr. 
Clarkson, each brought with them a herd of thorough-bred cattle, as fine 
short-horns as could be found in the celebrated blue grass region. This 
stock was a valuable acquisition to the region, and from it has descended 
numerous specimens of superior graded stock. To Mr. Alexander also 
the community is indebted for fine blooded horses. 

Mr. Alexander transferred to an unmanned daughter and to Mr. 
Clarkson the south end of the fort farm, and the latter built the first 
house on what is now known as the Wilson estate in 1845. This was 
the first house built on the prairie, south of Sandy Creek timber. He was 
the lone pioneer in that direction for years. C. W. Barnes had settled 
upon and improved the first farm north of the timber some years previous. 
He afterward moved to Whitefield, where he now resides a prosperous 
and prominent citizen. 

James Miller and D. F. Griffin both, have engaged extensively in rais- 
ing short-horn cattle, Mr. Griffin continuing to this day, and to him there 
is much due for success in introducing and keeping up a breed of pure- 
blooded stock. 

The first school house was built three miles (^own the creek, on the 
land now owned by Geo. Martin. It was built in the fall of 1831, and 
Ira Jones taught school therein, the winter of 1831-2, four mouths. 

The first sermon preached in this Township was by William Royal, a 
Methodist minister and missionary, in the spring of 1832, at the cabin of 
Thomas Brooks. This pioneer "Man of God" then lived at "Roberts 
town," in Enoch Dent's house. 

Among the first white children of Sandy Creek settlement, who were 
born here, were Jarvice and Lucy Evans, whose births were in December, 


This was once an important political division of Marshall County. 
In 1833 it belonged to the jurisdiction of La Salle County, and on the 30th 
day of March of that year an election was held for justices of the peace 
and Constables. The exact spot whereon this important event trans- 


pired is not certain, but the best sources of information point out as the 
probable one a large log near the center of the settlement. 

The poll books, in possession of Thomas Judd, Esq., do not mention 
more than that the voters were : Dudley Humphrey, John S. Hunt, 
John Darnell, Thomas Dixon, Benjamin Darnell, Thomas Judd, Abram 
Darnell, Barton Jones, Justus Jones, George Martin, Josiah W. Martin, 
Joshua Evans, Alvah Humphrey, Horace Gaylord and Lemuel Gaylord. 

Justus Jones and Richard Hunt were elected Justices of the Peace, 
and Barton Jones and George Martin, Constables. The officers of the 
election were: Alvah Humphrey, Joshua Evans and Horace Gaylord, 
Judges, and Thomas Judd and George Martin, Clerks. 

The Justices are said to have exercised their judicial functions with 
credit, and the Constables were sufficiently alert and active. There was 
but little legislation in those days. The law of kindness and mutual for- 
bearance governed, and few sought to take advantages of a neighbor. 
Business transactions were conducted on the principles of right and per- 
fect justice, and crime was unknown in this orderly community, so the 
officers and minions of the law had nothing to do. When misunder- 
standings arose friendly arbitration was invoked by both sides, and no 
appeal was sought. 

On the 4th day of August, 1834, the electors met at the new log 
school house and voted for State officers. Joseph Duncan had fourteen 
votes for Governor, and William Kinney two; Benjamin Mills, ten for 
Representative in Congress; William Stadden, twelve for Sheriff; William 
Richey and Isaac Dimmick had a majority of all the votes cast for County 
Commissioners of La Salle County. There were in all sixteen votes cast 
at this election, being the same persons with one or two exceptions who 
voted at the first meeting. 

In August, 1835, Thomas Judd and Justus Jones were elected Jus- 
tices, and William Brown and Horace Gaylord, Constables. 

In August, 1836, Stephen A. Douglas and John T. Stewart were can- 
didates for Congress. 

The former, on the Democratic side, received nine votes, and the latter, 
the Whig, ten votes. Up to this date politics had been little discussed 
in public. The settlers had come from the east and south, and each had 
brought with him some party predictions, but party agitation had caused 
the voters of Sandy to take sides, with the result as indicated. 

William Stadden and William Reddick, prominent citizens of Ottawa, 


were well known to the voters of this Precinct, and at this election the 
former was elected State Senator and the latter Sheriff. 

At the Presidential election, November 7, 1836, party lines were drawn, 
and eight citizens of Sandy voted the Democratic ticket. The electors 
voted openly for the candidate of his choice. 

In those days political papers had not begun to circulate and stir up 
that bitterness of feeling so characteristic of their efforts, and while men 
voted on different sides but little was said, and no violent language or 
work at the polls disturbed the good nature and serenity of the people. 

The only newspapers in the West were at Galena, Springfield, Chicago 
or- Vandalia, or at Terre Haute, Indiana, and when one happened to stray 
into the settlement it was a month or two in coming. Election tickets, a 
necessity of the secret ballot, had not been invented. The voter merely 
thrust his head in at the window of the polling place, and announced his 
preference of candidates, the clerks recording his name and tallying the 
vote opposite that of the candidate. 

After a county election it was two or three weeks before the poll 
books were all in and the vote counted, and often a month or more 
would elapse before the result was definitely known throughout the 
county, and it required as many months to disseminate the result of a 
Presidential contest. 

The general election of 1840 brought out the most of the voters of 
Sandy Precinct, as it did all over the country, and thirty-three votes were 
polled, sixteen Democratic and seventeen Whig, and tliis was the first 
time that Abraham Lincoln's name was conspicuously brought before the 
public. He was on the Whig ticket as one of the Presidential electors. 

One of the voters at that election was Joseph Warner, who was then 
one hundred years old, and another was Lemuel Gaylord, also a very aged 
man, both soldiers of the revolution. 

In April, 1843, the question of being attached to Marshall County 
was submitted to the legal voters of Sandy Precinct. The great distance 
from the County seat, Ottawa, seemed to be the only argument in favor 
of the proposition. But it was sufficient, and every vote was cast for the 
change. Bennington did the same. There was not then a single inhab- 
itant in the present towns of Osage or Groveland, in La Salle County. 

The next election, after this region had been attached to Marshall 
County, in August of that year, was held at the house of Enoch Dent, 


the name, "Sandy Precinct," being still retained, and including then the 
territory of what is now Evans and Roberts Townships. 

Thomas Judd and William B. Green were elected Justices of the 
Peace, and W. T. Dimen and Albert Myers Constables. Among the well 
known citizens who voted were John O. Dent, R. E. Dent, Enoch Dent, 
Livingston Roberts, Andrew Burns, Thomas Patterson, Joshua Myers, C. 
S. Edward. Jervis Gaylord, Albert Myers, David Stateler, David Myers, 
George H. Shaw and James Hoyt in all forty-eight votes. 

Sandy Precinct remained intact, consisting of the present towns of 
Evans and Roberts, till the adoption of Township organization in April, 
1852. As some evidence of the rapid increase of population of Illinois, 
it might be mentioned here that ifi 1836 we had five electoral votes; in 
1844 nine, in 1852 eleven. 


One of the oldest Methodist Societies in the County is at Cherry 
Point. Early in the fall of 1831 John Dixon, a local preacher of Dry 
Grove, came to Cherry Point to visit his son. While here he held a two- 
days meeting in the cabin of Thomas Brooks, situated on the east bank of 
the little creek on the west side of the Adams farm. 

A Methodist class was organized, consisting of Thomas Brooks and 
wife, Justus Jones and wife, Abram Jones and wife, Joshua Evans and 
wife, Thomas Dixon and wife, and probably Barton Jones. The Jones' 
had just come into the neighborhood. This was the first religious society 
organized in the Township, and has continued with various degrees of 
prosperity until the present time. 

In the fall of 1831 Win. Royal was appointed to the Peoria mission 
which embraced the territory from Peoria northward without any special 
limitation. The mission actually embraced a part of the Fox River 
country. He arranged for services at Cherry Point, but the Black Hawk 
war seriously embarrassed him in his work. His family occupied a cabin 
near where Enoch Dent lived for many years, and considering it unsafe 
here, he removed further south to a place of safety, but returned at the 
close of the war and filled out the year. 

In the fall of 1832, Jesse Hale, an eccentric old bachelor, was ap- 
pointed to the Pekin mission. Some of his brethren thought lie ought to 
get married, and arranged for him to visit a lady they had selected, and 


she willing to make the best impression possible arrayed herself in goodly 
raiment set off with flowers and ribbons in that day quite un-Methodistic. 
The parties were introduced by a mutual friend and results waited. The 
preacher viewed carefully the dress of the lady candidate for matrimony 
and then said, "Sister, are you not afraid the devil will get you?" The 
sequel was not a wedding. 

The following statement of appointments may be valuable for refer- 
ence, as giving the order in which the M. E. Church in this Township has 
been served by Methodist ministers since its organization, in .1831: 

1831, Peoria charge, William Royal. 

1832, Pekin charge, Jesse Hale. 

1833, " Z. Hall, John McHenry. 

1834, " " Joel Arrington, Charles Parker, 

1835, " " Asahel E. Phelps, J. Arlington. 

1836, " " A. E. Phelps, John McMurtry. 

1837, Hennepin charge, William Cundiff. * 




Z. Hall, R. H. Moffett. 




John Maris. 




William Justice. 




Mifflin Harker. 




W. Justice. 




J. H. Devore, L. A. Chapin (supply). 




S. P. Burr. 




S. Stover. 




C. Babcock, T. F. Royal. 




William C. Gumming. 




W. C. Gumming, A. D. Field. 




R. N. Morse, N. Curtiss (supply). 




J. C. Pinckard, J. W. Stogdill. 




H. J. Humphrey, G. W. Mgwrey (supply). 




R. N. Morse, W. H. Harvey. 




A. M. Earley, J. B. Craig. 




J. Matthews, J. C. Long. 




A. Keller, B. E. Kaufman. 




A. Keller, C. A. Stine. 




B. P. Wheat, T. F. Smyth. 




B. P. Wheat, E. Summers. 


1859, Tonica charge, J. G. Evans, A. E. Day. 

1860, Wenona charge, R. A. Cowen. 

1861, " " S. B. Smith. 

1862, Wenona, R. Smithson; resigned the charge in April, 1863, and 
his time filled out by A. K. Tullis. 

1863, Wenona, A. Bower. 

1864, Wenona, A. Bower. 

1865, Wenona, W. C. Knapp; Wenona Circuit, G. B. Snedaker. 

1866, Wenona, D. D. H. Young; Wenona Circuit, G. B. Snedaker. 

1867, Wenona, C. C. Knowlton; Wenona Circuit, C. Springer. 

1868, Wenona, Geo. Montgomery; Wenona Circuit, C. Springer. 

1869, Wenona, P. A. Crist; Wenona Circuit, R. A. Cowen. 

1870, Wenona^R. G. Pearce; Wenona Circuit, R. N. Morse. 

1871, Wenona, R. G. Pearce; Wenona Circuit, O. Jenne. 

1872, Wenona, M. C. Bowlin; Wenona Circuit, J. P. Mitchell. 

1873, Wenona, M. C. Bowlin; Wenona Circuit, T. Head. 

1874, Wenona, W. A. Spencer; Wenona Circuit, T. Head. 

1875, Wenona, A. Fisher; Wenona Circuit, E. B. England. 

1876, Wenona, T. R. McNair; Wenona Circuit, E. B. England. 

1877, Wenona, C. H. Brace ; Wenona Circuit, T. M. Durham. 

1878, Wenona, C. H. Brace; Wenona Circuit, T. M. Durham. 

1879, Wenona, J. -G. Evans; Wenona Circuit, H. C. Birch. 

Asahel Elihu Phelps, whose name occurs in the above list, and who 
was subsequently Presiding Elder, was one of the most profound and bril- 
liant men of Western Methodism. He was not only an orator, but a con- 
troversialist of unusual ability, and is remembered all over Central Illinois 
by the early Methodists as the great defender of their faith. 

The little class organized by John Dixon and taken into the Peoria 
Mission by W. Royal was soon depleted by the removal of Thomas 
Brooks, Thomas Dixon and Abram Jones and their wives. 

The oldest class book in existence is dated August 29, 1834. John 
Sinclair was Presiding Elder, Z. Hall, preacher in charge, and John 
McHenry assistant preacher. Justus Jones was class leader, and the ad- 
ditional members were Sally Jones, Joshua Evans, Elizabeth Evans and 
Barton Jones. Justus Jones remained leader of the class until his death 
in October, 1849, when he was succeeded by his son Daniel W. Jones, 
who retained that position until his death, in 1853. 


In the early part of 1835 the name of Barton Jones disappears, leav- 
ing only four members, namely: Justus Jones and wife, and Joshua Evans 
and wife. In the latter part of that year the names of Vincent Bowman 
and Martin Kennedy appear on the class book. In 1^36 Hannah Rad- 
cliff joined the Society, and in 1837 the class was strengthened by the 
addition of Wm. Evans, Sarah Evans, Daniel W. Jones, Joseph Long, 
Eliza Long and Robert Brown. In 1838 Mary A. Brown, Almira Evans 
and Truman B. Hall were added to the class. In 1839 first appear upon 
the records the names of George Beatty, Effie Bowman, Louisa Jones, 
Parmelia Bowman, William Bowman, John C. Bowman and Joseph 
Warner. The additions in 1840 were Rachel Caldwell, Chauncy W. 
Barnes, Sarah Barnes and Wm. Swarts. 

In 1841 the Society was strengthened by the Alexander family, who 
moved into the neighborhood from Kentucky. The first death in the 
Society was that of Joseph Warner, who died September 5, 1842, at the 
advanced age of 104 years. In October of the same year Rachel Cald- 
well was buried. July 12, 1843, Elizabeth Evans died with the small- 
pox and Jane, wife of Wm. Evans, on the 20th of the same month, and 
with the same disease. Between 1845 and 1850 the Society was very 
much reduced, and even threatened with extinction. The Methodist 
Protestant Church had organized a Society, and for a while seemed to 
have a prospect of taking the community. But in the early part of De- 
cember, 1849, R. N. Morse held a series of meetings in the Evans School 
House, which resulted favorably for the M. E. Church. He was assisted 
part of the time by Rev. - - Johnson of the M. P. Church, but the 
meeting was in charge R. N. Morse, and the M. E. Church was most 
largely benefitted. Thirteen joined the church (also a few from the M. P. 
Church), at the close of the meeting, and out of the thirteen, five became 
ministers, viz : C. Springer, L. Springer, M. C. Springer, J. G. Evans and 
Z. R. Jones. A new impetus was given to the Society, and in 1852, 
under the administration of H. J. Humphrey, the erection of a church 
edifice was projected. It was completed in the spring of 1854, and dedi- 
cated in April 24, by Silas Bowles, of Chicago, Revs. A. M. Early and J. 
B. Craig being pastors at that time. 

The Sandy M. E. Church cost $1,200, Daniel W. Jones, Joshua Evans 
and William Evans being the largest contributors. Since the erection of 


the Church building the Society has been upon a permanent basis, and is 
now one of the strongest and most flourishing churches in the country. 


In the winter of 1832 a man named Anson Bryant was engaged to 
teach school, and a part of the "fort" was put in order for that purpose. 
The names upon his rolls were : John O. Dent, Minerva Dent, R. E. 
Dent, Enoch Darnell, Larkius Darnell, Benjamin Darnell, Jr., Alfred 
Judd and William Evans. Five of the pupils of that pioneer school were 
living in 1879, and some of them have become distinguished citizens of 
this and other counties. 

In the fall of 1833 the necessity of a more ample and convenient school 
room was agitated, and the citizens decided to build a school house. The 
site chosen was near the present residence of Mrs. Lucy Gibson. The 
size was agreed upon, and each of the heads of families was asked to 
furnish his proportion of logs for the building and deliver them upon 
the ground, which was promptly done, and a raising bee followed. The 
house had a puncheon floor, stick chimney and slab seats and desks. 
Fuel was contributed by each patron in proportion to the number of 
children sent. The teacher boarded around with them, and was paid by 

In the winter of 1840 Francis S. Damon, a young man from Amherst, 
N. H., taught school there and gave general satisfaction. Mr. Damon 
taught two winters, and in the spring of 1841, just after the close of his 
school, he became ill and died, and was buried in Cumberland Church 
Cemetery, regretted sincerely alike by patrons and pupils. No slab marks 
his resting place. His brother, William Damon, came here the following 
season to settle up his affairs, and he too sickened and died, and the 
brothei-s sleep side by side. 

In the winter of 1842-3 Thomas Gallaher taught this school, with 
about the same attendance as that of the previous winter. The season 
was noted for very deep snow, and was also memorable as the time when 
the great comet appeared which caused much excitement among the 

Of Anson Bryant the following incident is related: It was cus- 
tomary in those days for the teacher to "board round" and make his 
own fires. In a field contiguous to the school house an old ram was 


pastured who from long possession was inclined to resent the ap- 
proach of visitors as an intrusion. One day Bryant went into the field 
to gather fuel, and was bending over in the act of picking it up, when the 
ram, who had warily watched his entrance with ill-concealed displeasure, 
advanced for battle. The teacher was unconscious of any hostile inten- 
tions, and, as stated, was stooping to the ground, which the ram inter- 
preted as a wager of battle, and gave him a "boost" in the rear with the 
force of a thunderbolt, throwing him, as the phrase goes, "heels over 
head." The poor man gathered himself up and felt greatly like resenting 
the ill-concealed merriment of his pupils, but finally joined in the laugh 
himself, the ram meanwhile marching off with the lofty air of a con- 
queror. The pedagogue ever after avoided that locality when gathering 


The town of Wenona was laid out May 15, 1855, on Section 24, Town 
30, north of Range 1, west of the third principal meridian, by the Illinois 
Central Railroad. It stands in the center of a wide expanse of prairie, 
underlaid with rich deposits of coal not yet developed. 

The land upon which the town was built was entered by John 
O. Dent, in 1849. In 1853 the railroad company erected a small station, 
and likewise a dwelling for the agent; .and in the succeeding year William 
Brown purchased the corner lot opposite the freight depot and erected a 
building, which he occupied as a store and boarding house. He came 
from the head of Sandy. 

Another merchant was a Mr. Gilbert, who opened a store in the 
station house. He subsequently erected a store and dwelling near 
Fowlers' corner, but was not successful and soon left. 

Charles Brown built the first hotel the Wenona House which 
burned down in the big fire. The house built by Gilbert was sold to 
Silas Gray, who converted it into a saloon and boarding house. John L. 
VanAllen succeeded Mr. Goodall as station agent. 

About 1855 John B. Newburn opened a store. Other prominent citi- 
zens and business men were W. and J. Todd, who came from the Vermil- 
lion. James Barton had charge of theii business the first year. About 
this time .Hon. N. Moore came to the place and entered into a partnership 
with J. B. Newburn. The next year Mr. Moore .sold his interest to S. J. 


Taylor, going to his farm, two miles west of town. The firm of Newburn 
& Taylor did a large business for some time, but was finally dissolved, 
both members retiring from the business. 

In 1855 the village greAv rapidly, and in 1857 organized a municipal 
government, with F. H. Bond, Solomon Wise, George Brockway, John B. 
Newburn and Emanuel Welty as Trustees, and John Brown as Police 

Mr. Bryant taught the first public school in Wenona. 

Rev. J. R. Dunn was the first minister to locate in the new town. 
Under his supervision the Presbyterian Church was begun in the fall of 
1855. Mr. Dunn was the pastor for many years, the church under his 
care was prosperous, and from a few members increased to a large congre- 
gation in a few years. 

The town is regularly laid out, its principal street being built up with 
substantial, well filled stores, occupied by energetic business men doing a 
very extensive trade with the country surrounding. It has numerous 
elegant private dwellings surrounded with trees that tame the fierce heats 
of summer and add greatly to the beauty of the place. 

In 1872 the population was 1,135, which has since largely increased. 


The public school building of this village is a fine frame structure, 
34x80 feet, two stories high, and with an addition of nearly equal size 
affords ample room from its numerous attendants. The main portion was 
commenced in 18(>3 and the wing in I860. The entire cost was about 

Evans Township is divided into nine public school districts, with a 
respectable school house in each. 


Wenona Lodge No. 344, of A. F. & A.M., was organized August 22, 
18(50, Wilson Ong W. M. ; S. A. Gray, S. W. ; O. S. Davidson, J. W. 

The charter members were W. Ong, S. A. Gray, J. N. Taylor, W. R. 
Phillips, L. Luddington, C. C. Radmore and O. S. Davidson. 


The I. O. O. F. of Wenona Lodge No. 283, was established October 


11, 1860, the charter members being Geo. F. Brunick, Arthur Orr, John 

B. Newburn, O. L. Davidson and Chester H. Helm. Their first elected 
officers were : Arthur Orr, N. G. ; O. L. Davidson, V. G. ; Chester Helnie, 
Secretary, and J. B. Newburn, Treasurer. The charter bears date March 
5, 1800, and the Society is in a very flourishing condition. 



The Catholic people of this vicinity had no regular services at "Wenona 
until about 1865, when steps were taken to build a church. The people 
of this faith in the town and country around were few and their means 
limited, but a little personal effort convinced the leaders in the enter- 
prise that the people wanted a church, and were willing, even at great 
personal sacrifice, to furnish the necessary means. 

Sufficient funds were raised or guaranteed to warrant building, and 
the church was soon completed, being dedicated to public worship by 
Father Murphy within the same year. It is 40x50 feet, with fourteen-foot 
ceiling, has convenient seating capacity, and with altars, ornaments and 
decorations of all sorts, cost about $5,000. The present membership is 
about three hundred. 


On the 26th of. June, 1852, the Presbyterians of Wenona met to or- 
ganize a church of that denomination. Those present were Newton Erwin 
and wife, Ira F. Lowrey, Henry W. Lowrey, C. B. Rushmore and wife, 
Samuel Horner and wife and Win. H. Lowrey. The Confession of Faith 
of the Peoria Synod, was read and taken as the basis of the organization. 
The name selected was: "The Hebron Presbyterian Church of Marshall 

July 10, 1852, they met again, when Rev. Joseph Fowler, of Lacon, 
preached. Newton S. Erwin and Samuel Horner were elected Elders, 
and Evans Township school house was chosen as the place of worship. 

The building of a house of worship, coming up at the next meeting, 

C. B. Rushmore, Newton S. Erwin, and Henry and William Lowery were 
chosen a committee to raise money for that purpose. 

May 7, 1853, a Sunday School was organized, and C. B. Rushmore 
was appointed Superintendent, and Mrs. Lindley, assistant, the place of 
meeting being the station house of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. 


This Company afterward donated to the Society a lot on which they built 
a house of worship, finishing it in 1856. 


In 1856 Ahab Keller visited Wenona and made arrangements for 
regular preaching in the village. He organized a class of six, of which 
Solomon Wise was appointed leader. For about two years the Metho- 
dists, by the courtesy of the Presbyterian brethren, were permitted to 
hold their services in the Presbyterian Church. 

\ In the spring of 1859, under the administration of B. P. Wheat, the 
erection of a church was planned. The enterprise was difficult, as the 
Society was small and we:ik financially. During the summer the building 
was enclosed. In the fall the Society was connected with Tonica. J. Gr. 
Evans was in. charge of the work. The building was plastered in the fall, 
used in an unfinished state during the winter, completed in the spring and 
dedicated in April by O. S. Munsell, D. D., President of the Illinois 
Wesleyan University. 

In 1865 Wenona was made a station, and the Sandy M. E. Church 
became the center of a new charge, under the name of Wenona circuit. 
Since then the two charges have been maintained separately, each support- 
ing its own pastor. There is an aggregate membership connected with 
the two churches of about two hundred, being perhaps more than double 
the membership of any other denomination represented in the Township. 
The congregations at both churches are large, the Sunday Schools good, 
and the societies prospering under the administration of the present 


This enterprise, of which its citizens are so justly proud, owes its ex- 
istence to a few public spirited farmers, who used to meet at the Evans 
Central School House and discuss matters pertaining to their interests. 
The Club had been merely a local affair, attracting to it only such farm- 
ers as lived in the vicinity, but it being desired to extend its operations 
and add to its influence, a special meeting was called for the purpose 
April 8, 1871. 

The idea was favorably received, and the interest spreading it was 


deemed best to make it a District organization, including the Townships 
of Evans, Roberts, Groveland and Hopewell. A committee was appointed 
to see what could be done, and another meeting called for the 22d of 
April, at which report was made that J. A. McCall <fc Co. would donate the 
free use of their hall, the Wenona Stock Yards suitable grounds for cattle, 
and George Monser his machine sheds and ground for the prospective; 
fair. The meeting unanimously adopted the following: 

Resolved, That the Evans Farmers' Club will heartily co-operate with the people of 
Wenona and surrounding Townships, to aid in getting up a Union Township Fair, to be held 
in Wenona the fall of 1871. 

The plan upon which the organization was effected being found 
defective, several clear-headed practical men, of whom the Hon. John O. 
Dent was one, outlined a plan which has carried the Society to a magnifi- 
cent success and placed it upon its present substantial basis, thus: To 
make the shares $25 each, which every subscriber must be legally bound 
to pay in amounts as needed, and no person to own more than a single 
share; the Society to purchase fifty acres of land in the suburbs of 
Wenona, erect "suitable buildings thereon, fence the grounds and make 
other needed improvements. 

A new constitution embodying these features was adopted and the 
name changed, and from this date the association started on the remarka- 
ble career of prosperity it has attained. Its first officers were: President, 
Marshall McCall ; Vice President, James Freeman ; Recording Secretary, 
Thomas Jtidd ; Corresponding Secretary, Cadet Taylor ; Treasurer, John 
A. McCall. 

The committee appointed to solicit subscriptions reported 220 mem- 
bers and $5,500 subscribed, sufficient to purchase the required real estate 
and have a handsome surplus over. The Society at once began prepara- 
tions for their first exhibition by offering $20,000 in premiums, and the 
Fair held October 3 to (> (inclusive), 1871, was a surprising success. 

The fifty-five acres of land were purchased in the south-western limits 
of the town, and convenient buildings large and permanent, were 
erected, also a fine track made, with other desired conveniences. The 
cost of grounds and improvements up to 1880 amounts to $20,000. 

Since then, annual Fairs have been held, each one seemingly an im- 
provement on its predecessors. In premiums, number of exhibitors and 


attendance it fairly rivals the State Fair, and its success promises to be as 
lasting as it is satisfactory. 


Between Varna and Wenona, on the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis 
Railroad, is located Evans Station. The oldest settler in the Township, 
dating from his occupancy, is Dr. Cornelius Perry, who came in 1853. 

The next to settle in the vicinity were Joseph Frazer, one-half mile 
south, and David Baker the same distance north of the Station, in the 
same year. L. A. Watt came in 1855, making his home one and a fourth 
mile from Evans. John Algoe came in 1856. 

The first school house was in District No. 8, built in 1859. Their 
nearest church was a,t Sandy, five and three-quarters miles distant, or, 
later, at Wenona, a trifle further away. 

In this vicinity, it is said, is the greatest elevation between the Illinois 
and W abash Rivers, though the statement needs verification. Standing 
here on a clear day a good pair of eyes can see the towns of Wenona, 
Lostant, Minonk, Rutland, Pattonsburg, Varna and the spires of the 
churches at Mt. Palatine. 


In 1844 or 1845 Rev. Mr. Woolston, a minister of the M. P. Church 
visited the head of Sandy and established a regular appointment. He was 
succeeded by J. P. Strong, who organized a class, which was quite pros- 
perous for a few years. George Beatty, James Caldwell, Vincent Bow- 
man, William Swarts, and - - Talbert were among the leading members. 

The ministers who traveled the circuit to which the appointment at 
Cherry Point belonged, were Woolston, Strong, Fowler, Roy, Johnson 
and Young. 

The Society has long since entirely disappeared. 


In Cherry Point Cemetery, on the farm of Albert Evans, in an unmarked 
grave, lies the honored remains of Joseph Warner, a soldier of the war 


of the Revolution, and in Cumberland cemetery repose those of Lemuel 
Gaylord, whose brief history as repeated by himself has been told else- 
where. Mr. Warner was born on the shore of Chesapeake Bay, of Irish 
parentage, in 1738. He was left an orphan and underwent many hard- 
ships, until he attained his majority. When the Colonies revolted he 
became a soldier and fought at the battle of Germantown, the particulars 
of which he was fond of relating, it being his greatest pleasure in later 
years to gather the children about him 

' Tell o'er his deeds and tales of valor done, 
Shoulder his crutch and show how fields were won." 

After the war he settled near Mount Vernon, Va., where his old com- 
mander resided, and lived there until his removal to Madison County, 
Ohio. He cleared a farm here, and lived until 1838. He was now one 
hundred years old, and many of his immediate relatives had paid the debt 
of nature. His property had been given to his children except " Lib- 
bie," a faithful old horse twenty-seven years old, his companion for 
many years. A grandson, Justus Jones 1 , had settled in Illinois, and 
with the perverse restlessness of old age he determined to search out and 
visit him. His family strongly opposed this, but one day when they were 
absent he mounted his nag and stole away unobserved, turning westward. 
He had no money, but his simple story made friends everywhere, and the 
kindliest care was his until he reached Chicago. He knew nothing con- 
cerning his friends whereabouts, but struck south-westwardly, and fortu- 
nately rode right into .the neighborhood while prosecuting his inquiries. 
He found here kind friends, and remained with them until his death, Sep- 
tember 5, 1842, aged 104 years. 

Among the exciting and ever popular amusements of the long ago, 
were the corn-shucking bees of young and old, at each others houses. 

The corn, plucked off and hauled home, was thrown upon the 
ground, or on the barn floor when large enough, in long piles or 
ricks. The men and boys of the neighborhood were bidden to the "bee," 
sides were chosen, t^e corn divided and "then came the tug of war," the 
contest sometimes lasting two or three hours. At its conclusion the vic- 
torious side bore their captain on the shoulders of three or four stalwarts 
in triumph to the house to receive the plaudits and congratulations of the 
ladies, the vanquished following in their wake in mournful procession. 
Then all partake of a bountiful supper prepared by the ladies, who 


invited to contribute their part to the festivities of the occasion, would 
come in their prettiest outfits, and after the tables were cleared an old- 
fashioned party would follow, lasting usually till the "we sma' hours" of 

Alarms were frequent during the Indian troubles, and one of them 
was rather serious. Mr. Evans was a man of considerable nerve, and 
while others were forted up he remained on his farm. One day while at 
work with his son William and a Mr. Basore, guns were heard and a 
couple of men were seen running over the hill, as if pursued. William 
was quickly mounted and directed to ride swiftly to the house and carry 
the family to the fort, while Evans senior and Basore remained to retard 
pursuit, and if need be, sell their lives dearly. The alarm was a false one, 
however, as no Indians were seen. 

One night as Benjamin Darnell was standing guard, he saw something 
in the moonlight, which he took to be an Indian. His fLiing alarmed the 
inmates, when it was discovered to be the family cow. ^ 


The village of Wenona has supported a newspaper since February 23, 
1805, at which time Grable <fe Crosby, two young printers, established the 
News Index. Mr. Grable had experience in newspaper management for a 
time during the war, at Hennepin, while Mr. Crosby was in the service, 
coming here upon the close of the war. The Neivs Index was a seven 
column folio, creditable alike to its publishers and the village, and was 
well patronized by the community. 

August 17, 1865, Mr. Crosby sold out to his partner, but the next 
week bought out Grable and became sole publisher and proprietor, con- 
tinuing control until February 15, 1867, when he sold to William Parker. 
He had long been a sufferer from consumption, and died in the June fol- 
lowing at Clinton, Iowa. He was a noble young man and a spicy writer. 

Mr. Parker continued alone in the management ^intil June 26, 1868, 
when Cadet Taylor bought a half interest, the partnership lasting until 
June 2, 1870, when Mr. Taylor bought the whole establishment. 

Mr. Parker was a genial gentleman, with whom it was a pleasure to 
have dealings, and during the continuance of this partnership both the 
Index and its proprietors prospered. 


After the accession of Mr. Taylor to the sole management he invested 
the proceeds of his business from time to time in new material and dropped 
the word ^ News" from the name of his paper. In politics the Index is 
independent within Republican limits. From the time it was established 
it has deserved and received a very liberal support. 

During the last year of the war Mr. L. B. Barnes, a telegraph opera- 
tor, printed a small sheet, entitled the Sentinel, which was well received 
as an amateur publication. 

In 1875 a Mr. Burroughs started the Wenona Tribune, but suspended 
after a three month's struggle. 





'HIS Township was named by John Strawn from the place 
, from whence he came in Ohio. It is six miles square, made 
up of prairie and timber and is unusually fertile and pro- 
ductive. Crow Creek passes through its southern border 
with intersecting streams that cut the surface into rug- 
ged bluffs and deep ravines, with well cultivated fields 
in the valleys. Other minor streams are Pidgeon Creek 
and Strawn's Run. Although possessing much broken land, 

its numerous advantages, fine soil and timber, made it the choice of the 

early settlers in all this region. 


The fertile prairie east of Lacon, in the Townships of Hopewell and 
Richland, now covered with highly cultivated farms and princely resi- 
dences, was named by the early settlers "Round Prairie," indicative of its 
general appearance. It is semi-circular in form, about six miles long by 
four wide, surrounded by thrifty groves and ranges of timber, skirting 
which the first settlers made their claims. It was first visited, so far as 
we have any record, by John Strawn, who came here on a prospecting 
tour in 1828. 

While to John Strawn belongs the credit of being the earliest perma- 
nent settler, the patriarch of Round Prairie was Robert Barnes, who, 
along with his family and a brother-in-law named James Dever, settled 
here in November, 1829. They first visited Hennepin, and after a short 
stop moved into a vacant cabin near Jesse Roberts', when leaving their 
families, they started upon a prospecting tour to Colonel Strawn's, from 
whom they bought a claim near the Babb place, to which they brought 


tlieir families ; but the sight of the large swamp in front discouraged the 
female portion, and deterred them from remaining. 

A few days were spent in searching a new locality, when they selected 
a claim on Section fifteen, to which they drove their wagons and began to 
get out logs for a cabin, which was raised November 18, 1830. Their 
cabin was raised and roofed the same day and they slept in it that night. 
Next day they put up a stick and mud chimney, and as soon after as pos- 
sible a puncheon floor. The chimney had only been finished up to the 
rafters when a storm come on and prevented its completion. 

The winter was a hard one, deep snow covering the ground, and to 
add to their labors the cattle had to be subsisted on the tender tops of 
trees cut down for the purpose. In the little cabin food, such as it was, 
was pentiful, but it consisted mainly of corn. A kind neighbor, who 
came in that fall, had a supply of pork, which was kindly proffered and 
accepted with thanks. Deer abounded in the woods, but they were poor 
and their flesh of little value. 

In this condition the two families passed the winter known as that 
of the great snow. They were shut in from the outer world, but peace 
and contentment reigned, and they looked forward with confidence 
arid hope that never faltered to the coming of spring, which would 
clothe the now bleak prairies with "living green." Although their 
low cabin seemed cut off from the world, they were not wholly 
separated from friends and neighbors. On the southern edge of 
the prairie Robert Bird had built a cabin, and a Mr. Burt and Mr. 
Phillips were in the vicinity, also a family named Waughob lived on the 
"Tommy Jones " farm, and Daniel Bland had built a cabin on what after- 
ward became the Thompson place. He came from Indiana and designed 
moving here in the spring, but sickness came, long delaying the execution 
of his plans. Before fully recovered, he loaded his goods and started on 
their long overland journey, arriving late in the fall. A cabin was put 
up, but the labor was too great, and his overtaxed system gave way. For 
a long time he hovered between life and death, and then his weary spirit 
took its flight. 

H. B. Barnes came in the fall of 1834 with his mother and little 
daughter, he then being a widower. Th< y found a home with his sister, 
Mrs, Nancy Dever, until June, 1836, when he began to improve his pres- 
ent homestead, and built a log house, which in the spring of 1839 took 
fire, and was burned to the ground with all his household effects. The 


family had left it in the morning and gone away with everything safe 
from fire as was supposed, but on returning at nine P. M. found it all 
ablaze. The fire was attributed to accident. He at once rebuilt, and his 
new residence was probably the first frame house in the settlement. 
Another early settler was Col. Samuel M. Kilgore, who removed here 
in 1834. 

John Dever came in the fall of 1833, and located near the farm of 
James Dever, who died on Christmas day, 1834, and John died a week 
later in January, 1835. Both were buried at the corner of Section 15, 
but have been taken up and interred in the Barnes cemetery. The widow 
of John Dever still lives with her son in Lacon. 

Robert Iliff located near the Barnes place at an early day, and Joseph 
Burt made a claim near what was afterward the farm of Harvey Scott, 
about 1831. 

John, William and Allen Gray made claims where the present Drake 
farm is, about 1834. 

Archibald Johnson made a claim near Owen's place during the fall of 
the same year. 

Benjamin Fort and family came to Kichland in the spring of 1834, 
and opened a farm near the homes of John and James Dever, brothers of 
Mrs. Fort. Mr. Fort's family consisted of himself and wife and daugh- 
ters; Sarah, afterward Mrs. Chas. Gapen; Mary Ann, who became Mrs. 
Joseph Titus; Washington W. and Greenbury L. Fort, Member of Congress. 

The old homestead of the Fort family, after the death of Benjamin, 
became the property of Greenbury L. Fort, and by him was conveyed 
to William Spangler. 

H. B. Barnes was married in 1839 to Jane M. Kilgore. They have 
had six children born to them, and still live on the old homestead. Their 
children were, Isabella K., living at home ; Louisa (Mrs. Willliam Kil- 
gore, of Livingston County); Dr. Samuel M. M. and Dr. H. E. W., both 
atFairbury; Alvira S., at home, and Erastus T., dead. 

Abraham Keedy came in 1834, settling on what has since been known 
as the Joseph Sharp place. He had six children, and three were born after 
his arrival. He lived in a rail pen for several weeks until he could con- 
struct a suitable cabin. 

Another settler was Hoel Doddy, who improved the Hoover place. 

Virgil Lancaster in 1835 owned a claim which he sold to Wm. Mur- 
phy. Murphy Game in 1836. John Foster arrived here the latter year, 


and John C. Foster in the spring of 1840, the latter, the father of Mrs. 
Allen J. Keedy. Mrs. Keedy has a bureau and chair brought by Mr. 
Foster to this country. Mrs. H. B. Barnes has also an interest- 
ing heirloom, being a knife box made in 1814, by Thomas Barnes, the 
father of the Barnes family, who moved thither from Scioto, Ohio. 

J. Allen Keedy came here with his father, Abram Keedy, and in a 
few years settled on his present place. 

The Remley's father and son, came about the same time. They 
were cabinet makers, and worked occasionally at their trade. 

Woodford Fisher "took up" the Pichereau place in 1835. 

Wm. Spangler came here in 1835, James Work also. 

John Gray, in 1836, bought the Robert Barnes homestead, lived there 
two years and sold to John Ramsay. 

John Ramsay settled on the Barnes farm in 1838. Joseph Titus came 
in the fall of 1839. His brother Jesse Titus followed, and, having died, 
his widow married John Titus. 

Joseph Brown located on the prairie, near J. A. Keedy's, in 1842. 
Wm. B. Thomas, near Strawn's about the same time. 

Andrew Jackson arrived here in 1835, and settled on the Hoover 
place, which he bought from Colonel Latta, of Webster. 

Another settler on the prairie was James Thompson, who married a 
daughter of John Strawn, and raised a numerous family of enterprising 
business me'n. Densil Holland came, too, many years ago, as did Jesse 
Bane. The former died about 1866, and his son still lives upon the 
family homestead. 

Another early settler was Robert Bird. He came to Walnut Grove, 
Tazewell County, in the fall of 1827, and lived there until 1830, when he 
bought a claim of one of the Waughobs, where he lived until 1849, when 
he emigrated to Oregon and subsequently died. His family consisted of 
Robert Bird, Jr., now a citizen of Rutland; John, William and Elijah, 
who accompanied their father to Oregon, and two daughters. Elijah was 
killed in a fight with the Indians. 

When the Bird family came to Round Prairie, in 1830, the only white 
people Robert Bird, Jr., then seventeen years old, remembers were those of 
Col. John Strawn, James Dever, Robert Barnes, Daniel Bland, Joseph M. 
Burt, Colonel Bell, on Crow Creek, a family of Waughobs, Allen, John 
and William Gray, Capt. Abram Keedy, the Perkins family, living on 
Crow Creek, and James Kain. 


Until McNeill started a blacksmith shop in the bottoms, near 
Columbia, or Lacon, the farmers generally had to go to Walnut Grove, in 
Woodford County, for whatever work in this line they required. Later, 
Captain Keedy opened a shop on Rjund Prairie, in 1832 or '33. 

The nearest saw mill for several years was on Sandy Creek, and a corn 
cracker mill was located on Big Spring Branch, near Peoria, where the 
farmers got their milling done, until Owens started a betttr mill at the 
mouth of Crow Creek. 


The first permanent settler in this part of Marshall County was John 
Strawn, who in company with a man named Haver, visited this County 
in 1828, and removed here with his family in the fall of 1829. 

He was a noted lover of fine horses, taking great pride in the outfit of 
his teams, which along the route created a decided sensation, his wagon 
being twenty-nine feet six inches long, of the "regulation " prairie 
schooner pattern, resembling a Japanese war junk, and drawn by six 
horses, the heaviest he could find. Along with this were additional teams, 
horses, cattle and cows, the proprietor riding at the head like some ancient 
patriarch leading his family into the wilderness. They consisted of his 
wife, two sons, William and Enoch; Rachel, afterward married to Jesse 
Bane; Mary Ann, to James Thompson ; Caroline, to William B. Thomas; 
Emily, to Densil Holland; Salome, to William Orr; Susan, to Enoch 
Owen, and Levicy to A. Pichereau. 

Arrived here, a temporary shelter, closed at the sides and rear and 
open in front, was made, in which they lived until a substantial double 
cabin was put up in time for the winter. He lived here many years, 
bringing up his large family arid bestowing on each a comfortable farm, 
and finally dying July 4, 1872, aged eighty-one. 

Mrs. Strawn, consort of the above, was in many respects a remarkable 
woman. In those days there were no physicians, and of necessity she 
became a mid-wife, going long distances on her errands of mercy and never 
refusing to turn out at the most inclement seasons. 

One bitter cold night in the severe winter of 1830-31 there came a call 
from the family of Daniel Bland, a new comer, living some three miles 
across the prairie, whose wife desired her immediate attendance. Mrs. S. 
could well have refused to go. She had a young babe whom she could 


not leave, and it was risking its life as well as her own to venture across 
the prairie. 

There were no roads, and besides the imminent danger of freezing, 
there was positive risk of becoming engulfed beneath the treacherous 
snow. Over all the prairie it lay two and three feet deep, and the hol- 
lows had drifted full until it was one continuous level. A thaw which 
softened the surface had been followed by the present heavy freeze, and 
horses and cattle walked easily upon the surface ; but beneath the crust 
in the concealed hollows many streams had washed and melted the snow, 
leaving places* treacherously thin, into which the unsuspecting traveler 
was liable to be precipitated, and horse and rider go down together. This 
Mrs. Strawn well knew, but all her womanly sympathies were aroused, 
and she told the guide young Bird, she would accompany him. Brief 
time was allowed for preparation, and binding her limbs in blankets she 
mounted her horse riding astride for safety and departed. The weather 
was below zero and the wind blowed fiercely, but the moon shone bright, 
and Strawn, who realized the full peril of the journey, climbed to the 
top of his cabin to watch the travelers and go to their succor if need 
be. Slowly they proceeded, selecting their route with care, while the 
watcher maintained his post until assured of their safety. But what a 
scene greeted their arrival. In the little cabin with its single room lay 
the sick wife soon to be a mother, and on a rude pallet cold in the em- 
brace of death her husband. There was no woman's ministering hand to 
soothe the last moments of the departed, or tenderly wait on the sick wo- 
man in her supreme agony. The cold was too bitter, the biting prairie 
winds too fierce to oppose except in a case of the direst necessity, but 
Robert Barnes with a heart full of sympathy, was there, and jointly the 
duties of caring for the living and the dead were performed by those two. 
The mother afterward became the wife of John Bird, and her son born 
on that fatal night accompanied her, and the only father he ever knew, 
to Oregon, where if living he still resides. 

Another lime to be exact, on the night of July 15, 1834, Mr. James 
Dever was sent to call Mrs. Strawn to his cabin in hot haste. He 
mounted his horse and started, promising to return with her in an hour 
or two. The distance was about three miles, and he rode across the prai- 
ries by the directest course as he supposed, but after traveling several 
miles in that direction, concluded he had missed the way and changed his 
bearings. He passed several cabins which he thought strange, and ob- 


served the houses were much alike, but his business was urgent and with- 
out inquiry he rode on till daylight, and found that he was half a mile 
from home, and had been wandering about Hound Prairie all night, during 
which he must have gone past his own door a half dozen times. In the 
meantime little Mary Dever had opened her eyes in this world and proved 
to be a pretty and healthy addition to his family, with no thanks to his 
tedious and faultless meanderings or the absence of Mrs. Strawn. But 
his ill-directed journey had cost the excellent midwife $2.00, her fee for 
professional services, and saved him that amount, which of itself in those 
times was a goodly sum of money. 

During the first ten years of her residence here there were few births 
on Round Prairie or about Crow Creek at which she did not officiate, and 
her practice was always attended with success. 

While to John Strawn rightly belongs the honor of being the first per- 
manent settler, he was preceded by a family named Waughob, who, upon 
'his arrival had the foundation of a cabin laid on the place where Samuel 
Ramp lives. Strawn left his family in the vicinity of Bloomington for a 
couple of weeks, while he made a trip of exploiation and staked out his 
claim. In the meantime a cousin named David Letz, knowing his plans, 
"jumped his claim," in Western parlance, and began a cabin not far from 
William Strawn's place. John Strawn on his return bought out both 
of these parties paying Letz $50.00,' and Waughob $20.00, the latter 
going some two miles below and building a cabin on the Jones farm. 

The family of Waughobs consisted of William Waughob and wife, 
and. his son Robert and wife, William, Jr., and some daughters, together 
with his son-in-law, George Easter, and John Shayner and wife. They 
subsequently sold their cabin on the Jones farm to Robert Bird, and made 
various claims elsewhere, one of which was on the Bland farm, and some 
others. They put up the merest semblance of a house, watching their 
opportunity, to sell to the first unsophisticated new comer at a good round 

A family that settled on Crow Creek in early times was that of Wm. 
McCune, who died three days after hi* arrival here, leaving numerous 
descendants. One of the daughters married Harvey Scott, another Wil- 
liam Sparigler, and a third, Jacocb Hollenback. His son Samuel is a well 
known minister, located at Canton, in this State. 

Mr. McCune and wife sleep in the cemetery at Lacon. 


The farm owned by Harvey Scott, was improved by Joseph Burt. 
Mrs. B. died here in 1832. after which he sold out and went to Pattons- 
burg, where he became insane. There were no asylums at that early day 
in the state, and people had to take care of him as best they could. A 
small log house was built on Crow Creek, wherein he was confined and 
kept by Joseph Martin until he died. 

John, William and Allen Gray were among the early settlers near 

James Work lived on the Creek, at what is still known as Work's 
ford. He had two sons, who became active workers in the anti-slavery 
cause and "conductors" upon the underground railroad. A well known 
citizen of those days, speaking of them many years afterward said above 
all others they could be depended on to assist fugitives. Others were 
true, provided the "conditions " were right, but these men could always be 
depended on. 

Colonel Bell kept a " tavern " for many years, where travelers were 
entertained, and it was also the stopping place for the stages. 

Joseph Martin settled on Crow Creek, six or seven miles south of 
Lacon, in the spring of 1832. His children were Isaac, who died in 1849; 
Harriet, James B., Joseph, Mary Ann, Kobert, John D., Susan, Rhoda 
and Sarah. 


The first school house in the town of Richland was a cabin, put up by 
Mr. James Dever, in 1833, for a tenant, but subsequently transformed 
into a school house, the tenant's wife, Mrs. Gallaher, teaching during the 
summer and winter of 1833. Some of the children came a distance of 
three miles to this primitive temple of learning. 

The facilities for obtaining an education in this locality at that time 
were exceedingly meagre. Miss Jane M. Kilgore, now Mrs. H. B. Barnes, 
desirous of becoming a teacher, was sent to Peoria to school, returning 
in 1836 with such knowledge and honors as the school there could 
give her. She taught at Lacon in 1837, and subsequently in her own 
neighborhood, at what was known as the old Bird School House. 

In the winter of 1835 Archie Johnson taught school in the cabin on 
Nancy Dever's farm. 


The old church near Martin Hoover's residence was used for school 
purposes for many years, and is yet so employed. 

The first district school in this part of the Township was in a building 
which stood where D. Rediker lives, burned down in 1841. 

This school house was built in the fall of 1837, a Mr. Bailey com- 
mencing a term of school in September of that year, but was taken sick 
and Irwin Cummings finished the term, also teaching the next summer 
and winter. Two or three years after the destruction of this building by 
fire a frame school house was erected on its site, in which Simon P. Ogle 
and others taught. 

A school house was erected near Mr. Samuel Owen's place, in the 
south-east corner of Section 16, at an early day, of the prevailing material 
and style of architecture. The old log school house, one-half mile south- 
west of the present school house site, was built in 1837, and John Brown 
was the first teacher. 

Jesse Bane taught a school in Lancaster's house in the winter of 1-H;>>, 
his pupils being J. A. Keedy, Emery Foster, Benjamin Foster, Eliza 
Foster, Elijah Bird,' 4 Sarah*Dever, James Dever, Mary Keedy and Louisa 

Mr. J. A. Keedy, who, like his father, has been intimately associated 
with the educational interests of the Township since its organization, has 
in his possession the first school records, from which it appears that "the 
Trustees of Schools of Town 29, North Range 2, west of Third Principal 
Meridian, in Putnam County, met according to appointment, at the house 
of Nancy Dever, on the 27th of July, 1837. Present: R. Barnes, William 
Dodds, T. Owen, David Mitchell arid James B. Work. Abram Keedy's 
name wa