velopment of the coal interests in this county in the past ten years.
CAVE TOWNSHIP FIRST SETTLED
In about the year 1804 seven brothers by the name of Jordan, Wm.
and John Browning, Joseph Estes, and one Barbrey settled in what is
now Cave township, the southeast township in the county, and there
built what was known as Jordan's Fort sometime prior to 1806. Here
Barbrey was killed and scalped in 1812. The Brownings came to be
a very important people in the history of the county. The McCreerys,
Cantrells, Swoffords, and the Joneses were early comers. The next part
of the county to be settled was Six Mile Prairie in the southwest part
of the present county. The first settler in this region was Chas. Humph-
rey who came from Philadelphia in 1811. He kept a ferry across Big
Muddy just above where Blairsville is today. After the war of 1812
other settlers came to different parts of the county and by 1818 the
south and east part of the county was sparsely settled.
PIONEER MILLS ERECTED
The early settlers went to Kaskaskia to get their milling done, but
in 1810 a "horse mill" was erected in the Jordan settlement. Other
mills of the same kind were built on Crawford's prairie, on Frizzell's
prairie, and one on Browning's Hill. A water mill was built on Big
Muddy in 1838 at Hillen's fork and another was built about the same
time on Middle Fork near Macedonia. The first steam mill was built
Yol. T 30
HISTORY OP SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
on Hickman's Branch one and a half miles south of Benton by Augustus
Adams in 1850.
. EARLY-TIME ITEMS
Among the early comers was Rev. Braxton Parrish who arrived in
1821. He was born in North Carolina in 1795 and came to Franklin
county by stages through Tennessee. He settled six miles east of Ben-
ton, having married a widow, Mrs. Margaret Knox, in Tennessee. Mrs.
Knox's parents lived in Franklin county. In 1874 the Rev Braxton
Parrish delivered a reminiscent talk in Benton on early life in Frank-
lin county. He describes very vividly the hardships of those early days.
THE HOME OP JOHN A. LOGAN IN BENTON, FRANKLIN COUNTY, WHERE
DOUGLAS WAS ENTERTAINED THE DAY FOLLOWING THE JONESBORO
He paid $12.00 for 25 yards of domestic. He bought it on a credit. His
wife was sick and it greatly distressed her to think they were so greatly
in debt. Mr. Parrish went hunting one morning before breakfast, cap-
tured three otters, and paid the debt with the three otter skins. His
wife shed tears of gratitude and said she would never doubt again an
overruling Providence. The first Methodist class meeting was held in
the home of Nathan Clampets. There were seven persons present.
It is stated in a history of this county that James Eubanks killed
thirteen deer one morning before breakfast in 1840. It appears that
the streams and timber along them were full of game and the traffic in
furs was an important line of business. Regular trips were made to
St. Louis with loads of furs, venison, and farm products.
SLAVES AND LAND
Slaves were held in Franklin county by the leading families, but
after the decision of the convention contest in 1824, many of these slaves
HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 467
were taken to Missouri and sold. In a few cases they were later bought
and brought back to Franklin county and manumitted. A specific case
is that of the purchase of Richmond Inge by Alexander McCreery. Inge
and his wife were put on a farm in Williamson county where they
lived for many years.
The lands not being very rich, the settlement of the county was
slow. By 1850 not more than half of the land was entered. The law of
1854 changed the price of land in Illinois from $1.25 per acre to 12!/2
cents per acre. Thousands of acres of land in Franklin county were pur-
chased of the government under the "Bit Act." When the Congress
granted the lands in Illinois to build the Illinois Central Railroad, 33,078
acres of the grant fell within the limits of Franklin county. For many
years these lands were a drug on the market. The mineral rights in
this county are now worth from thirty to forty dollars per acre.
BENTON, THE COUNTY SEAT
When the county was created in 1818, the county seat was fixed at
Frankfort. The court house and jail were not built until 1826 and
prior to that date the county seat was temporarily in the home of Moses
Garrett about three miles east of Frankfort. When Williamson was cut
off from Franklin in 1839, the county seat of Franklin was perma-
nently fixed "on or near the summit of a mound or hill in the edge of
the timber, and at the south end of Rawlings Prairie." This was to be
the site of the future city of Benton. The court house in Benton was
built in the spring of 1841. It was a small frame building and stood
in the square. A second court house was built of brick in 1845, and
a third, the present one, was built in 1874.
Among the prominent lawyers who lived in Franklin or were accus-
tomed to practice before the courts in this county were Judge Walter
B. Scates, Judge Wm. A. Denning, Hon. Richard Nelson, Hon. Wm. K.
Parrish, Judge Andrew D. Duff, Gen. John A. Logan, and others.
LOGAN AND DOUGLAS
John A. Logan lived in Benton from winter 1855-6 to the outbreak
of the Civil war, when he made his home in Marion in Williamson
county. It is stated elsewhere but will bear repeating that he was a
warm friend of Douglas, and when the later was on his way from the
Jonesboro debate to the discussion at Charleston, he stopped at Benton
and received a great ovation from Logan and his neighbors. The house
in which Logan and his wife lived in Benton is still standing but is in
very bad repair. A move is on foot to preserve it and make it a de-
pository of objects of interest connected with the life and services of
this nation's greatest volunteer soldier.
No county did its duty any more loyally than Franklin in the strug-
gle for the preservation of the union from '61- '65.
GROWTH OP COAL INTEREST
The chief interests which attach to Franklin county today is the
wonderful development of her coal deposits. To show something of the
wonderful activity in the development of the coal interests, it is only
468 HISTORY OP SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
necessary to quote statistics from the coal reports of 1904 and 1911. In
1904 the total output of all the mines in the county was 4,240 tons.
This small output came from one mine. In 1911 the tonnage was 2,354,-
839. This output came from fourteen mines. The coal deposit lies at
an average depth of 500 feet, and the veins are from 7 to 12 feet in thick-
ness. There were employed in these fourteen mines in 1911 a total of
3,732 men and boys. The total days of active operation was 176.
The increased interests in coal lands and mines had produced a sort
of speculative spirit and many have made small fortunes while many a
man has in the past year or so discovered that he "let go" too soon.
There are eleven banks in the county, all doing a thriving business.
Several towns have sprung up and other activities have been stimulated.
Among the towns beside Benton are Akin, Christopher, Ewing, Royal-
ton, Sesser, Thompsonville, and West Frankfort. There are several vil-
lages in addition to the above towns and cities.
THE COUNTY'S FIRST WHITE SETTLER FIRST WHITE SETTLEMENT A
LAND OP FLOODS AND LEVEES THE WILSONS GENERAL THOMAS
POSEY OTHER PROMINENT MEN TOWN OP EQUALITY.
Picturesque Gallatin ! With her rounded hills, her precipitous bluffs,
her vast stretches of level sandy low lands, her old Salines, her Indian
AN OLD REVOLUTIONARY FLAG, BROUGHT WEST BY GEN. ALEXANDER
POSEY. Now IN POSSESSION OP ROBINSON BROTHERS, SHAWNEETOWN
mounds and burial places, the historic families and public men the
Wilsons, Carrolls, Marshalls, Poseys, McLeans, Gatewoods, Trammels,
Castles, Temples, Crenshaws', Lawlers, Rawlings, Streets, Logan, Raum,
White, Hargreaves, and a score of others.
THE COUNTY'S FIRST WHITE SETTLER
It is generally agreed that Michael Sprinkle, a gunsmith, was the
first white man to settle within the present limits of Gallatin county.
He is supposed to have come to Shawneetown as early as 1800 where he
remained till 1814 when he removed into the country some four miles.
470 HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
FIRST WHITE SETTLEMENT
Shawneetown without doubt became the first white settlement. There
was a ferry at Shawneetown probably as early as. 1800 or within a year
or so thereafter. Its necessity resulted from the travel out of Kentucky
to the salt works which were at Equality ten or twelve miles up the
Saline river. The continual moving of people back and forth between
Kentucky and Illinois brought many people within the county at an
early date. Settlements sprang up about Equality, Omaha, and in other
neighborhoods. The first settlers at Shawneetown evidently followed
their own sweet will in locating their cabins, but in 1808-9 the general
government ordered the town laid out, which was done. The Indians
still resided in that locality. In 1812 a land office was located in Shaw-
neetown. Many prominent men early gathered about Shawneetown.
A LAND OF FLOODS AND LEVEES
The Indians of the village which was located at this point, gave the
whites to understand that the land overflowed and the people must
often take to the hills for safety. In a very early day the people began
to construct levees for protection against high water. There have been
floods every decade almost since the town was laid out. About 1859-60
the state granted the town a charter to borrow money with which to
build a levee. The state granted aid. The work went forward slowly.
In 1867 the river covered the entire town and rose into the second
stories. The state and town had spent many thousands of dollars on
the levees and they were thought safe, but in 1875 they broke and the
town was flooded. For several years the floods seemed to come annually.
In 1884 the city was flooded the water rising 56.4 feet above low water
mark. More money was spent and the levees raised. By 1888 or 1890
there were four and a half miles of levees, built at a cost of $200,000.
In 1898, or thereabouts, the levees broke above the city and great dam-
age was done property by the enormous current which swept through
the city. Many homes were swept away and more than a score of lives
were lost. The general government appropriated $25,000 with which
to repair the break in the levee, and thousands of dollars in money,
clothing, and food poured into Shawneetown from every hamlet, village,
and town. In 1907 another severe test arose, the water reaching 52.8
feet. By prompt and vigilant attention by the city the threatened
danger was averted.
A few years ago the state created an Internal Improvement Com-
mission. This commission has expended many thousands of dollars of
state appropriations in an effort to strengthen the Shawneetown levees.
An effort is also on foot to get help from Congress, and there is reason
to believe, since the high water of April. 1912, that the levees are proof
against the waters of the Ohio.
The history of the county, at least in its earliest decades, is identical
with the history of a number of Illinois' great names. Probably the
oldest name among these is that of the Wilsons. Alexander Wilson an
early emigrant to Illinois settled at Shawneetown so early as 1802 or
HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 471
thereabout and operated a ferry across the Ohio river. His son Harri-
son Wilson was an ensign in the war of 1812 and a captain in the Black
Hawk war. Harrison had two sons, Bluford who was adjutant general
of volunteers during the Civil war and solicitor for the U. S. treasury
in Grant's administration. The other son, James H., was born in Shaw-
neetown in 1837. Educated at West Point; held positions in the Engi-
neer corps of several expeditions. Rose to the rank of major general
and was detailed to pursue Jefferson Davis in his flight from Richmond,
Va., and eventually captured that distinguished prisoner. He returned
to private life. When the Spanish-American war broke out he served
as Major General of Volunteers. He has written several books of travel
GENERAL THOMAS POSEY
General Thomas Posey was born 1750 in Virginia. He was captain
and lieutenant colonel in the Revolutionary war. He was at Stony
THE TOMB OP GEN. ALEXANDER POSEY, SHAWNEETOWN, GALLATIN COUNTY
Point and at Yorktown. He held the position of lieutenant governor
of Kentucky, U. S. senator from Louisana, territorial governor of Indi-
ana, made his home in Shawneetown and lies buried in Westwood ceme-
OTHER PROMINENT MEN
Other prominent citizens of Illinois whose lives were connected with
Gallatin county history were John McLean, representative in congress;
Gen. John A. McClernand, warrior and statesman ; John Marshall,
pioneer financier; Henry Eddy, veteran newspaper man; Gen. John A.
Logan, the idol of the Illinois volunteers; Robert G. Ingersoll, the match-
less orator; Chas. Carroll and Thomas Ridgway, noted financiers and
public spirited citizens of later years ; Gen. Michael K. Lawler, a hero of
HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
TOWN OF EQUALITY
Equality is a thriving town on the Saline river some ten or twelve
miles from Shawneetown. It has extensive coal mines and has one of
the largest coke ovens in the state. In this city will be erected a monu-
ment by the state in honor of the public service to the state of Gen.
Michael K. Lawler. The appropriation has been made and the work is
under way. Omaha in the northwest corner of the county, Ridgway
toward the center, and New Haven in the northeast are all towns of
importance. The last named was settled by Jonathan Boone, a brother
of Daniel Boone. Boone settled New Haven as early as 1812 or 1814.
He built a stockade known as Boone 's Fort.
Four miles west of Shawneetown is Bowlesville, a small village whose
chief interest was coal mining. Here lived fifty years ago a gentleman
whom Mark Twain made famous George Eschol Sellers. In Twain's
1 "OHen Age" George Eschol Sellers is dramatized as "Colonel Mul-
berry Sellers," or "Millions in it." The friends of Mr. Sellers remem-
ber him as an honest, industrious, intelligent gentleman who spent his
time in making inventions, managing a great coal company, and culti-
vating silk worms. He had a valuable private library and kept open
house to distinguished visitors.
A PIONEER INDUSTRY
On February 12, 1812, congress created the Shawneetown land dis-
trict. Leonard White, Willis Hargrove, and Phillip Trammel consti-
A SECTION OP A WOODEN PIPE USED IN THE SALT WORKS AT EQUALITY.
MANY OF THESE WOODEN PIPES ARE STILL BURIED IN THE GROUND
IN THAT LOCALITY. \
tuted a committee to set aside the land adjacent to these salt works as
a "reservation" for the benefit of the salt works. The timber was needed
for fuel to boil down the brine. Something like 100,000 acres of land
HISTORY OP SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 473
was reserved from sale in the immediate vicinity of the Great Half Moon
Lick which was found near Equality. An additional 84,000 acres were
reserved in other southern Illinois communities.
On the Saline river which rises in Hamilton, Franklin, and William-
son, and empties into the Ohio in Gallatin county, was found one of the
greatest salt licks which is to be found in the United States. There was
also in the immediate vicinity salt springs of strongly impregnated wa-
ter. This lick is within a half mile of the town of Equality, Gallatin
PETER WHITE, EQUALITY, ILL.
In 1844 this man was ten years old. He and three smaller children were kidnapped
in Equality and taken to Arkansas, where they were sold for $800.00. They
were rescued by Walter White, of Equality, a nephew of Gen. Leonard White.
Uncle Peter, as he is called, still lives in Equality.
county; the spring is down the Saline river about three miles. The salt
making process was very simple. Large iron kettles holding from forty-
five to ninety gallons each were brought down the Ohio from Pittsburg
to Shawneetown. Long trenches were dug in the ground and lined with
rock on the sides. The kettles were set over these trenches and the spaces
between filled with mortar or mud, a chimney was constructed at one end
of the long row of kettles and a fire kept constantly burning under the
kettles which were filled with the brine. The brine was gotten by dig-
ging wells from thirty feet to 2,000 feet deep.
The fuel was the timber off of the reservation. This was easily fur-
nished for a few years, but soon the timber was cut for one or two miles.
Then the cost of hauling fuel to the wells and furnaces was too great
to justify the continuance of the business. Then was shown real genius
then came the real forerunner of the present pipe line systems.
The furnaces were now moved to the timber in some instances some
three or four miles away. The water was carried to the furnaces in
wooden pipes. These pipes were made by cutting down trees about ten
to sixteen inches in diameter and into lengths of from twelve to twenty
474 HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
feet. A two-inch auger hole was bored endwise through these logs. At
the butt end the opening was reamed out, while the smaller end of an-
other log was trimmed to enter this enlarged opening. The small end
was inserted into the butt end and the joint made secure by a sort of
To prevent the butt end from splitting, iron bands were fitted over
the log. These wooden pipe lines ran straight from the wells to the tim-
ber, over small hills and across streams. To force the water over the
small hills a sort of standpipe was constructed at the well high enough
to force the water over all points between the wells and the furnaces.
In crossing the streams the pipe line was forced to the bottom of the wa-
ter by heavy iron riders said to weigh several hundred pounds.
In the days of the pipe line system, there were hundreds of men em-
ployed, lumbermen, wood haulers, firemen, hands to attend to the evap-
orating pans, coopers, inspectors, store-keepers, rivermen, hoop-pole mer-
chants, and overseers. The pipes were first bored by hand but soon a
horsepower auger was arranged. Negro slaves were the principal labor-
ers. Later when the improved machinery, etc., was used, they made as
much as 500 barrels a day. The manufacture of salt ceased about Equal-
ity in 1870 because salt could be made cheaper in other parts of the
FIRST SETTLERS JUDGE STELLE'S PIONEER PICTURES WHICH RECTOR
WAS MASSACRED? TOWN OF MCLEANSBORO As TO EDUCATION
JAMES R. CAMPBELL GENERAL INFORMATION.
Hamilton was created out of White by action of the general assembly
on February 8, 1821. It was named in honor of Alexander Hamilton.
Its area is 432 square miles, and its population in 1910 was 18,227, a
loss in ten years of 1,970.
The first settlers in Hamilton county came as early as 1816, but the
territory was then included in White county. David Upton seems to
have been the first settler. He located about six miles southwest of the
present city of McLeansboro, on what is called Knight's Prairie.
Among the names of early settlers were Head, Hardester, Hungate,
Schoolcraft, Daily, Mayberry, Biggerstaff, Bond, Lockwood, Carpenter,
and others. A. M. Auxier was an early settler, possibly earlier than
Upton. Auxier settled on and gave name to Auxier Creek in the north-
ern part of the county.
JUDGE STELLE'S PIONEER PICTURES
The early life of the settlers has been described by Judge Thomp-
son B. Stelle. He tells how the settlers lived, how they made their meal
by pounding corn in a "hominy mortar," which was a hollow place
burned in the side of a log. The pestle with which they pounded the
corn was attached to a spring pole which lifted it after each stroke.
"Johnny cake" and "corn dodgers" were the staff of life. Johnny
cakes were baked on a board placed before the fire, while dodgers were
baked in the hot ashes and coals. The meat was venison and bear meat.
Buckskin clothing was a very common article.
Here, as elsewhere, log cabins were the first homes. Timber was
plentiful along the streams, among which the principal one was the
North Fork of the Saline River. This stream runs southeastward
through the county. The country, especially along the streams, swarmed
with small animals which were killed for their furs or for their flesh,
though others were harmful, such as panthers, foxes, wolves, catamounts,
ets. The farmers went to Equality for their salt, and to the Wabash
for their milling.
HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
WHICH RECTOR WAS MASSACRED ?
The Indians were plentiful as late as the coming of the earliest
settlers. A story is told in Reynold's "Pioneer History" of the narrow
escape of Nelson Rector who was surveying on Saline river. He was
shot through the arm and in the side, but his horse carried him safely
away. It is also said that the records of the county the surveyor's
field book contains this: "John Rector died May 25, 1805, at the
section corner of Sections 21, 22, 27 and 28; buried from this corner,
South 62, west 72 poles; small stone monument; stone quarry north-
west 150 yards." This purports to be the records and if so there is some
discrepancy in names. The one killed, according to Reynolds, was Nel-
ATTRACTIVE ARCHITECTURE, MCLEANSBORO, HAMILTON COUNTY
son in 1814; the one said to be on record was John. Tradition has it
that John Rector was massacred by the Indians.
TOWN OP MCLEANSBORO
In the act creating the county of Hamilton, the commissioners to
locate the capital of the county were to meet at the house of John Ander-
son till a permanent seat of justice was selected. On April 9, 1821, the
first county commissioners' court was held in the house of John Ander-
son. The first act was to appoint Jesse C. Lockwood county clerk. The
court then received the report of the commissioners who were to select
the county seat. The commissioners had selected the present site of
McLeansboro. It was on land donated by Wm. B. McLean and the
county seat was named McLeansboro.
The court house built in McLeansboro was of logs, sixteen feet square,
eight feet high, one window, one door, covered with clapboards. The
county court met in the new capital on Monday, June 4, 1821.
The first residences of the town of McLeansboro were built of logs.
The first frame house was built by Jesse C. Lockwood. The first doctor
HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 477
was Wm. B. McLean, and the first lawyer was Samuel S. Marshall. Mr.
Marshall came to be the most noted politician, judge and lawyer in all
Southern Illinois. He lived to a ripe old age and died in McLeansboro
Following the organization of the county, settlers came in large num-
bers but they were mostly farmers. The county seat grew but there
were no other towns of any importance in the county till the coming of
the railroads. At present the population is largely rural. McLeans-
boro has a population of 1,796, Dahlgren 654, Macedonia 200, Brough-
ton 470, Belle Prairie 87.
As TO EDUCATION
The people of Hamilton have always taken an interest in education.
Of course in an early day the whole matter was in an undeveloped stage
and meager results were obtained, but the people were patient and
persevering and now the interest and work is of a high grade. The
first school house in the county was the oft-described log structure
12 by 14 feet and stood near the present depot in McLeansboro. There
was only a dirt floor, and the room was heated by a fire in one corner
with a hole in the roof for a chimney. The second and the third schools
were of logs. The schools of today are well organized under the oversight
of Whitson W. Daily as county superintendent. There is but one well
organized high school, that of McLeansboro, but there are seventy-eight
rural and village schools.
The Catholic church maintains a flourishing school at Piopolis, a
small village six miles north of McLeansboro. A college known as Ham-
ilton College was in operation in McLeansboro from 1874 to 1880. It
graduated several students. It was chartered and would have flourished
but a quarrel as to the location of the college buildings blasted the
enterprise and it closed its doors in 1880.
JAMES R. CAMPBELL
Probably the most widely known citizen of the county is the Hon.
James R. Campbell. He comes of a noted family of Scotch-Irish. Edu-
cated at Notre Dame, Indiana, member of the bar, served in the legis-
lature, member of congress, colonel of the Ninth Illinois Volunteers in