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1852, and to Knox County, Illinois, in 1857.
They bought land in Sparta Township, and died
in Oneida, aged eighty-two and seventy-two
years, respectively. Mr. Murdoch was married
to Alta, daughter of Alvah and Jerusha
(Stevens) Wheeler. His second marriage was
with Mary Ellis in Oneida. June, 1877. Their
children are: Myrtle, Alta, Maud, and a
nephew, William h. Hurst, whom Mr. Murdock
has adopted. Mr. Murdoch came to this coun-
try with his parents, and was a farmer until
1873, when he became Cashier of the Oneida
Exchange Bank. In 1876. he became sole owner
of the bank, and formed the now existing
partnership with A. B. Anderson. Mr. Murdoch
is a Mason and a member of the Oneida Lodge,
No. 337, and of the Galesburg Com-
mandery. No. 8. K. T. He served
three years as Eminent Commander, is
a member of Oriental Consistory and the
Mystic Shrine, Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Murdoch
Is a republican, and was elected to the Legis-
lature in the years 1892-94-96; during these
three terms he served on many important com-
mittees. Mr. Murdoch was for four years a
member of the Knox County Central Commit-
tee, and for two years was its Chairman; he
served eight years in the National Guard; was
Brigade Commissary of Subsistance with rank

of Captain on the staff of J. N. Reece, of Spring-
field. Mr. Murdoch is a Presbyterian.

Township; Merchant; born October 20, 183S, in
Kirkcudbright, Scotland. His father, George
Stephenson, was born in North, and his mother,
Isabella (McMillan), in South Scotland. They
were Presbyterians, and died in this country.
October 26, 1865, Mr. Stephenson was married
in Copley Township to Grace L. Stewart, of
Glasgow, Scotland. They have five children:
Frank S.. Milton J., Grace D., Jessie I., and
George Harry. In 1850, Mr. Stephenson came
with his parents in a sailing vessel to the
United States, the voyage lasting five weeks.
They landed at New Orleans, and an additional
two weeks were required to reach St. Louis by
steamboat. After a month they came up the
Illinois River to Peoria, and from there by
team to Knox County. They settled on a farm
in Copley Township, and soon owned eighty
acres of improved land. Here the parents
died, and Mr. Stephenson grew to manhood
and acquired his education in the public
schools. In 1863 he became a merchant in
Oneida, selling first, groceries, and then men's
furni^ing goods. In 1872, he started a dry
good- store which is his present occupation.
Mr. Stephenson is a member of the Presby-
terian Church. In politics, he is a republican.
The reading of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and
"Thaddeus of Warsaw" made him an abolition-
ist, and he was an ardent supporter of Lin-
coln, rendering valuable service to the cause.
In Oneida, he has been Constable, Collector,
City Marshall, Alderman and Mayor. In his
township he has been School Director, Presi-
dent of the Board of Education, Supervisor for
eighteen years, and for thirteen years chair-
man of the County Board. Mr. Stephenson has
been an auctioneer. He is a member of the
I. O. O. P. (ancient), and has been a Mason
since 1862. In Galesburg he joined Chapter
No. 48. now of Oneida; also Galesburg Com-
mandery No. 8. He is also a member of Medina
Temple, Chicago. In 1898. Mr. Stephenson
received unanimous nomination for State Rep-
resentative, but refused to run because the
Senate had refused to reapportion the State.

tario Township; born in Albany County, New-
York. October 12, 1836. His parents were
Aaron and Cath?rine (Ostrander) Van Aukeu.
They had six cnildren: Hannah, Martha, Cal-
vin, John, Harrison and Fletcher. Aaron was
born in Albany County, New Y'ork, as was also
his wife. Catherine; they came to Knox County,
November 10. 1858; he died September 1, 1890.
aged eighty-six, and his wife, January 14, 1892,
aged eighty-four. Aaron's father, John, was
born in 1777. Catherine's parents were John
and Catherine. The family's ancestors came
from Holland.

Harrison Van Auken married Sarah E. Ray
in Knox County, April »7, 1895. Mrs. Van
Auken's parents, Robert and Anna M. (Stake),
were born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.




where they were farmers. Mr. Van Auken was
ertucated in Monroe County, New York; he is
a sutcessful farmer, and owns three hundred
and sixty acres of valuable land. He is a demo-
crat in politics.

Ontario Township; born on the Wetmore home-
stead in Ontario Township, September 23, 1844;
educated in Knox County. His parents, Theo-
dore P. and Eveline C. (Morse) Wetmore, were
natives of New York State; the former from
Y'orkville, Oneida County; the latter from
Herkimer County. His maternal grandparents
were Horace Morse, a native of Massachusetts
and a soldier in the War of 1812, and Thirza
(Underbill), born in the State of New York.
His maternal great-grandfather was a Revolu-
tionary soldier. His paternal grandfather,
Ezra Wetmore. was born in Connecticut, while
his wife, Susan (Palmer), was a native of
Rhode Island. Susan Palmer's father was
Fones Palmer, a Revolutionary soldier from
Hopkins, Rhode Island. The paternal great-
grandfather, Captain Amos Wetmore, was a
soldier in the Revolution; his wife was Rachel
Parsons. Mr. C. B. Wetmore's father died
August 16, 1S76; his mother. May 29, 1892, aged
respectively sixty-six and seventy-eight years.
Mr. Wetmore was reared on the homestead
which he bought from the heirs; the farm con-
sisted of one hundred and sixty aci'es of land
and nineteen acres of timber. August 5, 1862,
he enlisted in Company E, Eighty-third Illinois
Volunteers, and was wounded at the second
battle of Fort Donelson. February 3, 1863. He
was discharged from the hospital at Paducah,
Kentucky, in April, 1863. He has never fully
recovered, anl draws a pension. He was Post-
master at Oneida for two years. January 22,
1868, he was married, in Knoxville. to Thirza
M. Moore. There are three children: Eveline
M., Theodore L. and George E. Eveline M.
married Birney W. Adams: Theodore L. and
George E. are at home. Mrs. Wetmore is a
daughter of Lyman K. Moore, a pioneer of Rio
Township, and granddaughter of Holland Moore,
a soldier of the Revolution. In politics, Mr.
W^etmore is a republican. He has been Road
Commissioner and Township Collector. He is
a member of the A. F. and A. M., Oneida Lodge,
No. 337.


By J. F. Hubbell.
This is one of the most desirably situated
townships in the county, its surface being
chiefly rolling prairie. It is well watered, by
Walnut Creek and several tributary branches;
its soil is unsurpassed in fertility, and fine
farms, with substantial buildings, are to be
seen everywhere within its limits. It is in what
is called the "Military Tract." a section of the
State selected as bounty land for soldiers, be-
cause of its fine soil and undulating surface.

affording an abundance of water courses and
excellent natural drainage.

The township derived its name from exten-
sive groves of walnut timber growing near its
center. Another, Turkey Hill Grove, lies on
the northwest quarter of Section 26; and these
two include all its timber lands, with the ex-
ception of a small tract in its southern end.

There is one village in Walnut Grove, which
has borne various names its final appellation
being fixed as Altona, when the Chicago, Bur-
lington and Quincy Railroad was built through
the place.

The first white men who undertook to make
settlements here were Messrs. Jones and De
Hart, who built a cabin on Section 21, but be-
came alarmed at the hostility of the Indians,
and left at the time of the Black Hawk War.
The ruins of their cabin were still standing in
1838. In 1836. came John Thompson, the fir.»t
permanent settler, who moved here from
Pennsylvania, with his wife Catherine, and
located on Section 16; though a Mr. Smith, a
Mormon, built the first frame house, on what
was originally called the Snow, and afterwards
known as the Wisegarver farm. Mr. Thomp-
son also planted the first crop — a field of sod
corn — in 1837. fencing it in with the first rails
split in the township

Mr. Thompson and Mr. Copps, two of the
first settlers, had been soldiers in the War of
1S12; and the father of Mr. Allen, one of the
pioneers of the township, had served in the
Revolutionary War. After Mr. John Thomp-
son, Levi Stevens was the next to arrive, and
Abraham Piatt the third.

Mr. Amos Ward soon followed {in 1838), and
was, in 1839, elected the first Justice of the
Peace. Township organization was effected in
April, 1853.

As has been already said, Eliler M. Smith,
of the Mormon Church, built the first frame
house, in 1840, on Section l.'J, and in 1842 sev-
eral hundred of his co-religionists had located
here. They designed building a temple, on Sec-
tion ."), but, before carrying out their plans,
left for Hancock County, on the advice of
Joseph Smith. As they had entered and pos-
sessed themselves of nearly all the timber land,
and designed building up a community of their
own faith, the other settlers were not sorry to
see them depart. Since then, settlement has
been rapid, and there is nowhere to be found a
more flourishing and intelligent community
than that now living in Walnut Grove.



The first boy born In the township was John
Thompson, Jr.; the first girl was Helen
Ward, now Mrs. A. P. Stephens. The first
couple married were Austin Frederick and
Elizabeth Finney. The first death was that of
Mrs. Hinsdale, a sister of Amos Ward, who
died in August, 183S, at the residence of Abram
Piatt, on Section 15, where she was also

In 1844, John W. Clarke was appointed the
first postmaster. He was succeeded by S. Ellis,
in 1845, and he by Amos Ward, in 1846.

The first school house was built on the south-
west quarter of Section 16, in 1840, and Miss
Robey Tabor, a Quakeress from Massachusetts,
was the first teacher. She married afterward,
moved to Henry, and died in 1896. Another
early teacher was E. L. Gross, afterwards a
distinguished attorney of Springfield, and
editor of the Illinois Statutes.

Elder Samuel Shaw organized the first
church (after that of the Mormons). It was
known as the First Baptist Church, and had
eight members, with a place of worship on
Walnut Creek. There are now eleven schools,
one of which, is graded, with two hundred and
eighty-four pupils out of four hundred and fifty
persons under twenty-one years of age. The
eleven school buildings have cost nearly ten
thousand dollars.

The first township officers, elected April 5,
1853, were Amos Ward, Supervisor; A. F.
Ward, Clerk; H. L. Sage, Assessor; James Liv-
ingston, Collector; H. L. CoUinson, Daniel Al-
len and C. Copps, Highway Commissioners;
Reuben Cochran, Overseer of the Poor; Amos
Ward and David Livingston, Justices of the

The population of Walnut Grove was, in 1860,
eleven hundred and twenty; in 1870, nineteen
hundred and sixty; in 1880, seventeen hundred
and eighty-one; in 1890, thirteen hundred and

Altona, the only village in the township, is
situated on the Chicago, Burlington and
Quincy Railroad, about eight miles from Gales-
burg. Around it lies as rich a farming country
as is to be found in Illinois; and the village
itself is the center of a considerable trade, be-
ing one of the most prosperous in the county.
While the Central Military Tract Railway (now
called the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy) was
being built, in 1853, many laborers employed on
the road came and camped in the edge of the
wood, near the railroad line. To supply their

wants Cyrus Willard and J. S. Chambers built a
store, eighteen by thirty-si.\ feet in size, near
the center of Section 16, on the northeast quar-
ter of that section, on land then owned by
Daniel Allen. This was the first building
erected in Altona, and was the pride of the
community, as it was the only store between
Galesburg and Kewanee. The second store,
built the same year, was owned by Samuel
Whiting. Altona was, for several years there-
after, a good business point, there being no
other villages suSiciently near to compete with
it in trade. In 1854, Nils P. Peterson, of Mo-
line, built a flouring mill, with a distillery in
connection with it; the latter, being in opposi-
tion to the popular sentiment, was discontin-
ued after one year. The mill, however, con-
tinued in successful operation for ten years,
and was the only mill or factory ever con-
structed im the village. In 1855 an elevator was
built. In 1854, Needham Rogers built the
"Walnut Grove House," which is still run as a
hotel. The second hostelry, the "Altona
House," was constructed and opened by Mrs.
McKee, a year or two after.

Altona was laid out and platted in 1854, by
John Piatt, for the heirs of John Thompson.
The same year, E. B. Main and Daniel Allen,
on whose land the first building of the village
was erected, laid out an addition, just northeast
of the first location. The place was then called
LaPier. After the railroad was completed, how-
ever, at the instance of the railroad officials,
the name was changed to Altona. The name
of the postofflce, however, being Walnut Grove,
a confusion resulted, and an attempt was made,
in 1863, to change it; and the name of Reno
was chosen, in honor of the famous general of
that name. But about that time three despera-
does by the name of Reno, who had made the
patronymic decidedly unsavory, were lynched
in Indiana; so that the citizens rejected it, and
united on the name of Altona for village, sta-
tion and postofnce.

The village was incorporated, by special char-
ter, in 1856, and under the general law in 1S62,
and again in 1874.

Altona has always been noted for the excel-
lence of its schools. There has been a good
graded school there since 1858. The local senti-
ment of the place and surrounding country
has always been strongly in favor of temper-
ance. During the intense excitement attend-
ing the agitation of the slavery question, the
opposition to the extension of a system of



human bondage was so pronounced, that the
place was reputed a "hot bed of abolitionists,"
a term considered much more opprobrious in
those days than now. It has been always noted
for intelligence and education, and, being the
center of a prosperous farming community, has
shared in the prosperity of the rich agricultural
locality in which it is situated.

The population of the village was, in 1S70,
nine hundred and two; in ISSO, eight hundred
and sixteen; and in 1S90. six hundred and fifty-

Altona has five churches, a bank, a newspaper
and several societies.

Of the churches, the first to be organized was
that of the Methodist Episcopal denomination,
in August, 1853. It had a membership of thir-
teen, and was under the pastoral charge of Rev.
James Quimby. In 1857, a church edifice was
erected, and later a parsonage. The two are
valued at five thousand dollars. The present
pastor is Rev. A. M. Barlow, who also has
charge of the Nekoma Church, in Henry
County. Their joint membership is ninety.
The Congregational Church was founded Febru-
ary 21, 1857, with nine members, under the
charge of Rev. A. Root. A building costing
four thousand dollars was dedicated November
9, 1866. The present membership is forty-nine,
but the congregation has no pastor, and wor-
ships with the Presbyterians. George A. Ward
is Clerk. Revs. I. N. Candee, D. D., T. S. Vaill
and J. T. Bliss organized the Presbyterian
Church (Old School), on April 25, 1857, there
being twenty-one members. Rev. J. T. Bliss
was the first pastor, and Rev. J. Rugh is at
present in charge. The formation of the Luth-
eran Church took place in 1859. In 1869. the
congregation erected a building costing four
thousand dollars, and later a parsonage. The
first pastor was Rev. Philip Direll. The de-
nomination has steadily grown in numbers,
there being at present three hundred and twen-
ty-five communicants and one hundred and
thirty-five in the Sunday school. Rev. J. G.
Dahlherg is the pastor. A Swedish Baptist
Mission was opened in 1876 by Rev. J. W.
Stromberg, but no church was built, and the
flock is at present without a pastor.

The first bank in the village was an out-
growth of the general mercantile business of
A. P. Johnson and Company, which was
started in 1851. They cashed checks to accom-
modate their customers, and from this practice
the bank gradually grew into existence. Until

1890, when Mr. Johnson left the place, his was
the only bank in Altona. Then the Bank of
Altona, incorporated under the State Banking
Law, was organized, with A. M. Craig as Presi-
dent; C. S. Clarke, Vice President; George
Craig, Cashier; and J. M. Nickie. Assistant
Cashier. In January, 1896, J. M. McKie was
elected to the position made vacant by George
Craig's death, and 0. E. Peterson was made
Assistant Cashier. It has a capital of $50,000,
a surplus of $27,000, deposits of about $80,000
and loans amounting to some $15,000.

Among the societies is the Altona Forum,
which meets at Peterson's Hall, and has
twenty-three members. As its first ofiicers, it
elected Dr. W. B. Gray, President and Medical
Examiner; Mrs. C. C. Geiler, Secretary; L. K.
Byers, Treasurer. Its present ofiicers are: B.
W. Crandall. President; C. McGrew, Secretary;
L. K. Byers, Treasurer; Dr. W. B. Gray, Med-
ical Examiner. There are also lodges of the
Odd Fellows and of the Order of the Rebekahs.
A Masonic Lodge was organized October 1.
1860. which now owns its own Masonic Hall, on
Main street, and has a roster of fifty-four mem-
bers. The first officers were Hiram Hall, \V.
M.; A. P. Stephens. S. W.; G. D. Slanker. .7.
W.; J. N. Brush. Secretary; J. S. Chambers.
Treasurer; B. H. Scott, S. D.; George McKown,
J. D.; O. S. Lawrence, T. Those holding office
at present are: R. C. Sellon, W. M.; D. U. Mc-
Masters. S. W.; J. W. Mount, J. W.; W. M.
Stockdale, Secretary; G. 0. Snydam, Treasurer;
E. S. Keyes, S. D.; C. W. Main, J. D.; Thomas
Craver, T. A chapter of the Order of the East-
ern Star— organized in 1892— has forty-six
members, and meets in Masonic Hall. The first
officers were: Mrs. C. C. Givler, W. M.; W.
H. Givler. W. P. At present the list includes
Mrs. A. A. Culbertson. W. M.; C. W. Main.
W. P.; Mrs. L. K. Byers. Secretary. The Mod-
ern Woodmen also have a camp here.

Altona can boast of a fine public library,
which is highly prized and in constant use by
its intelligent citizens and by the dwellers in
the country around. With its educational ad-
vantages, its fine location and its superior rail-
road facilities, it is one of the pleasantest resi-
dence villages in the county, as it is one of the
most prosperous business towns.


Rev. John G. Dahlberg. Altona. Walnut
Grove Township. Knox County. Illinois, was
born in Hvetlanda. Sweden. March 28, 1862, and
came to the United States in 1880. During the


years 1880-lS8:i he worked on farms in Mont-
gomery and Page Counties, Iowa. In 1882 he
entered Augustana College and Theological
Seminary, hock Island, Illinois, and graduated
in the Classical course in 1889. In the Fall
of 1889 he entered the theological school of the
same institution and graduated in 1891.

Mr. Dahlberg was ordained a minister of the
Lutheran Church at Chicago Lake, Minnesota,
June 21, 1891, having previously been called as
pastor of the Swedish Lutheran Church of Al-
tona, Illinois. Besides the pastorship of this
important church, he is a member of the Board
of Directors of Augustana College and The-
ological Seminary, and Secretary of the Board,
and is also Secretary of the Illinois Conference
of the Augustana Synod. In 1899 he was elected
a member of the Board of Home Missions of
said Synod and was afterwards made Treas-
urer of this Board.

Mr. Dahlberg has remained with his first
charge, although he has had numerous flatter-
ing calls elsewhero. In 1889 he was twice called
to the principalship of Immanuel Academy,
Minnesota. In 1893 he received a call to the
chair of Swedish Language and Literature in
Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. The
Lutheran Church of Princeton, the Lutheran
Church of New Windsor, Illinois, and Zion
Lutheran Churcn of Rock Island have all ex-
tended calls to him to become their pastor.
These invitations he has felt constrained to de-
cline. In the Spring of 1899 he had a call to
the Lutheran Church of Bertrand, Nebraska,
which he declined, but later did accept a sec-
ond call to the Zion Lutheran Church of Rock
Island, Illinois.

Before Mr. Dahlberg was set apart to his
sacred calling by ordination, he had served as
pastoral supply in various places. He had also
taught school and had been an instructor In
Augustana College.

His first wife was Emily C. Envall, of Gales-
burg, whom he married in November, 1891. She
died November 8, 1892, leaving a son, Carl
Johan Emil. no;v living in Galesburg.

During the year 1896 Mr. Dahlberg visited
England, Germany, Holland, Denmark and
Sweden. June 22, 1898, he married Miss Jose-
phine Nelson, of Altona.


John Miller McKie was born in Copley Town-
ship, Knox County, Illinois, June 4, 1844. He is
of Scottish descent, and the son of William
and Margaret (Miller) McKie, who came from
Scotland about the year 1840, and settled in
Copley. His parents were an industrious and
frugal people, and brought up their children
with correct habits and right ideas of economy.

His father was a farmer, and it was on the
farm that the son had his first experience in
earning a living. His early educational ad-
vantages were somewhat limited: but by close
application in the common schools, by reading
books and the general literature of the day, he
acquired a thorough practical education.

His first occupation on leaving school was

teaching. He pursued this but a short time,
when he engaged in farming until the year 1876.
He lueu became a dry goods merchant at Al-
tona, Illinois, and continued in that business
for two years. He then took the position as
bookkeeper for a large grocery firm, which
place he held for eight years. For the next two
years, he became a member of a firm dealing
in groceries and hardware, which ended on ac-
count of a fire which swept through the town,
January 2, 1888.

During all these years, Mr. McKie was
diligent in business, and success seemed to
crown his efforts. He possessed the power to
turn even misfortune to his advantage. In
1889, he aided in organizing the Bank of Al-
tona, and was elected its first Assistant
Cashier. Afterwards, he was' elected Cashier,
which position ue still holds. For four years,
from December, 1894, to December, 1898, he
held the office of County Treasurer of Knox
County, being elected on the republican ticket.
He has also held at Altona several other minor
offices, — such as School Treasurer, School Di-
rector, Village Clerk, and Tax Collector.

Into whatever position Mr. McKie has been
called by the confidence and suffrages of his
fellow citizens, he has filled it most acceptably
and with high commendations. The office has
been honored by his oflScial connection. As a
citizen, he has shown himself worthy of the
friendship of others and worthy of public trust.
In all his public and private relations, he is
honest, faithful, and true, and is a good ex-
emplar for otners to follow. He is kind in his
intercourse with others, benevolent in disposi-
tion, and wears in his countenance and de-
meanor the marks of a Christian gentleman.

In religious faith. Mr. McKie is a Presby-
terian. He belongs to the republican party and
is a constant and ardent supporter of republican

Mr. McKie was united in marriage, February
22, 1872, to Jeannette Gordon McDowell. Her
parents came from Scotland and were early
settlers in Knox County.

Mr. and Mrs. McKie were the parents of two
children: Margaret, born January 30, 1873,
died March 7, 1880: and Mary, born October 9,
1880, died September 15, 1882.


George W. Sawyer was a farmer in Walnut
Grove Township, Section 9. He was a notary
public and insurance and real estate agent in
the town of Altona. and he so conducted his
business as to gain the respect and esteem of
his fellow-townsmen.

He was born in Pergusonville, Delaware
County, New York, August 5, 1828, and received
his education in the common schools. His an-
cestry on the paternal side was English, and his
mother was of German descent. His parents,
Henry and Margaret (Multer) Sawyer, were

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