Copyright
George Washington Smith.

A history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) online

. (page 63 of 65)
Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) → online text (page 63 of 65)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


annoyed certain patriotic states right statesmen and a meeting was held
in the court house in Harrisburg October 25, 1862, to protest against
the presence of these contraband negroes. The Hon. Wm. J. Allen and
James B. Turner were the leading spirits in this meeting. They "re-
solved," but they never could find any one who was willing to take the
resolutions and notify Dr. Mitchell of the action of the meeting. A sec-




REV. SAMUEL WESTBROOK, A SOLDIER IN GEN. POSEY'S REGIMENT IN THE
BLACK HAWK WAR. HE LIVED TO BE 98 YEARS OLD

ond meeting was held and similar "resolves" passed, but Dr. Mitchell
stood his ground. The negroes were not removed. Dr. Mitchell was
indicted under the "black laws," but the indictment was stricken from
the docket.

CIVIL WAR SENTIMENT

The "Knights of the Golden Circle" were very strong and well organ-
ized in Saline county. Three knights went one time to notify L. J. Jobe,
a Union soldier who was home on sick furlough, to leave the neighbor-
hood. He told his wife to bring his gun and open the door, and as he
lay in bed he told them to come in and make their threat good, but they
never ventured in.

Notwithstanding this anti-union sentiment the county contained many
loyal people and kept her quota so full it was never necessary to run a
draft in that county. Quite a good many of the soldiers in John A.



540 HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

Logan's regiment, the Thirty-first, were from Saline. Company B of
that regiment was largely Saline county boys. Company G also was
from Saline largely.

HARRISBUKG

The city of Harrisburg is now an important center. It was laid off
in 1853. Lots were sold and a few houses built. In 1859 after some
litigation the county seat was moved from Raleigh to Harrisburg. It
grew slowly. Dr. J. W. Mitchell was a warm friend of the town and
did much to further its interests. Today it is a city of 5,309, with all
the modern machinery of a young city. The coal interests are largely
responsible for its recent growth. Its reputation for good schools reaches
all Southern Illinois. The city schools are separated from the high
school, the latter being a township school. It is under the principal-
ship of Mr. Harry Taylor.

ELDORADO

Eldorado is a substantial city of 3,366 people. It has grown very
rapidly within the past ten years. It is situated at the crossing of the
Shawneetown division of the L. & N. and the Eldorado branch of the
I. C., and the Big Four. There are coal interests here and considerable
business is done by wholesale firms. There are five coal mines in the
vicinity of Eldorado. These mines, the railroad facilities, the country
trade, and some minor factors give the town a large amount of business.
All about the territory surrounding these towns there are large areas in
tobacco. In some places in the county there are to be seen the tobacco-
drying houses which gives this region an aspect similar to the Kentucky
and Tennessee plantations. Eldorado has a fine township high school.
M. T. Van Cleve is principal.

CARRIER MILLS

In addition to Harrisburg and Eldorado there is Carrier Mills, a
town of 1,558 people. It is on the Big Four southwest of Harrisburg.
Stonefort is a prosperous village situated in the southwest corner of the
county. Galatia and Raleigh are two towns on the I. C. railroad. They
are good business points for business men working on small capital.
They have good country around them.

THE OLD STONE FORT

An interesting feature in this county is the old stone fort which is
found four miles east of the present town of Stonefort. This old fort
is on top of a hill which is almost inaccessible. The walls are con-
structed of large stones and the whole reminds one of the ruins of a
once well constructed fortification. It has gone to ruin more or less in
the past fifty years. A town called Stonefort was laid off two or three
miles west of the old fort in 1858, but there were houses there earlier.
The first house in this immediate vicinity was one built in 1831 by
J. Robinson. The old fort was there in the 30 's and there is no tradi-
tion that seems acceptable to the public. Some scholarly visitor named
the ruins Cyclop Walls, but most people call it old stone fort.



CHAPTER LXVI
UNION COUNTY

FIRST SETTLERS JONESBOKO MADE THE COUNTY SEAT THE WILLARD
FAMILY COLONEL JOHN S. HACKER VEGETABLES AND FRUITS MIN-
ERALS AND MINERAL SPRINGS TOWNS.

Union county is one of the older counties, having been organized
January 2, 1818. It was previously in Johnson county. The wonderful
resources of Union county are yet almost wholly undeveloped. The
great wealth in the soil is only recently becoming known, and the min-
eral wealth is just beginning to be understood. The county lies on the
divide of the Ozarks. Cobden on the Illinois Central is the highest point
of the road in the Ozark region. Just a few miles northwest of Cobden
is Alto Pass which is the highest point on the M. & 0., and eastward in
the edge of Johnson is Ozark station, the highest point on the Paducah
division of the Illinois Central, and to the south and west is Tunnel
Hill, where the Big Four pierces the Ozarks an eighth of a mile, the
only tunnel in Southern Illinois.

In these hills are hidden wealth that it may take time to reveal.
And on their sides are fruit orchards which yield their owners thous-
ands of dollars.

FIRST SETTLERS

Union county as it is now bounded, had for its first settlers two
families, Abram Hunsaker and George Wolf. These two families had
descended the Ohio to Fort Massac in the year 1803 and had spent some
time along the Cache and were probably on their way to Kaskaskia. They
staid over night near where Jonesboro now is. The next day they killed
a bear and a wild txirkey, and as the water was good they decided to
stay, and in a few days they were building their future homes. For
three years these two families were alone in the forest. In 1805 David
Green built a cabin in the Mississippi bottoms. He was from Virginia.

Settlers were coming to points along the Ohio and the Mississippi,
but none others came into Union county prior to 1809 when the
Lawrences and Clapps came into the south part of the county and set-
tled on Mill creek. Other early settlers were John Grammer and Wm.
Alexander, who had to do with the founding of America in Alexander
county. John Grammar settled south of the present Jonesboro. George
James came in 1811 and Governor John Dougherty came with his parents
who were fleeing from the "shakes" of the earth at New Madrid. By
the close of the War of 1812 the immigrants began to come in large

541



542



HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS



numbers. Among the new names following the war of 1812 are Pat-
terson, Harriston, "Whitaker, Parmelia, Butcher, Crafton, Menees, Lit-
tleton, etc. Jacob Lingle may have come as early as 1807. James Mc-
Lain came about 1810.

JONESBORO MADE THE COUNTY SEAT

By 1818 there were scores of settlers within the limits of the county
as it is today. The new county seat was to be a town to be called Jones-
boro and was to be located on the northwest quarter Section 30, town-
ship 12, range 1. John Grammar gave the land for the capitol of the
county.

The first court met in George Hunsaker's house on March 2, 1818,
and accepted John Grammar's gift of land for the county seat. The




THE OLD HOTEL ON THE EAST SIDE OP THE SQUARE IN JONESBORO, WHERE

DOUGLAS AND LINCOLN HELD PUBLIC RECEPTIONS ON THE

OCCASION OF THEIR VISIT IN 1858

town grew slowly. "Peck's Gazetteer" for 1836, gives the town twenty-
five families, seven stores, one tavern, one lawyer, two physicians, two
ministers, one carding machine, etc. The court house was a frame build-
ing and two stories high. The jail was a brick structure. The court
house stood in the center of the square from which point the land slopes
away in every direction.

Probably the first school was taught south of Jonesboro near a spring
by a man named Griffin ; and later the school was taught by Winstead
Davie and by "Willis Willard.

THE WILLARD FAMILY

The coming of the "Willards to Union county in 1820 was an event
full of meaning for the county. Jonathan "Willard came to Cairo in 1817.
He stopped at Bird's Point only a short time. From here he went to



HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS



543



Cape Girardeau where he soon died, leaving his widow Nancy and four
children Elijah, Willis, Anna, and William. Mrs. Willard came to
Jonesboro in 1820. The oldest son, Elijah, was a young man when he
came to Jonesboro, but he immediately began the life of a business
man. He began life as a clerk and built up a business under the title
of Willard & Co. that reached sales of $100,000 per year. He con-
structed the graveled road across the Mississippi bottom to the river
at Willard 's Landing. This point is almost due west of Jonesboro, nine
miles. The road from Jonesboro to Willard 's Landing was the best
road of its length in Illinois. Here at the landing thousands of dollars
worth of merchandise was landed, destined for the great wholesale
house in Jonesboro of Willard & Co. Elijah died in 1848 and his
business fell into the hands of his brother, Willis Willard. Willis be-




VIEW OF THE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS HOSPITAL FOB THE INSANE, ANNA,

UNION COUNTY

came very wealthy and at his death was said to be worth half a million
dollars.

Willis Willard was public spirited. He built substantial houses, both
residences and business blocks in Jonesboro. He built in 1836, the first
steam saw mill in the county. In 1853 he built a seminary for young
ladies in Jonesboro at his own expense. He brought from Boston two
lady teachers, and this seminary flourished for many years, and supplied
a very pressing need of the people of this region of Illinois. "Mother
Willard" lived to be 100 years old, lacking less than two months. She
died in 1874.

COLONEL JOHN S. HACKEB

Another family that greatly affected life in southern Illinois was
the Hackers. Colonel John S. Hacker came to Jonesboro in 1817 and
was identified with the interests of Union county till his death in 1878.
He served in the general assembly, in the Mexican war, was a warm



544 HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

friend of Lincoln though of different political faith, was a forty-niner,
surveyor of the port at Cairo from which he was removed by President
Buchanan because Hacker was a Douglas Democrat. He was assistant
doorkeeper of the house of representatives in 1856-7. His sons were
prominent citizens.

VEGETABLES AND FRUITS

Union county is a vegetable and fruit growing county. In 1860 an
express agent carried to Chicago the first express package of fruit ever
sent out of the county. This was in May, 1860. Now hundreds of car-
loads of fruit and vegetables are sent to Chicago every year. Often two
or three cars will be shipped every day from some of the smaller villages
along the Illinois Central. The road runs what is called the Fruit Ex-
press. Berries can be picked as late as 4 o'clock of an afternoon, be
shipped at 5 o'clock p. m., and be on Water street at 9 o'clock the
next morning or satisfying some epicure in the hotel at that hour. The
following is somewhat the order in which the fruits and vegetables come
into the market: Rhubarb, asparagus, raspberries, strawberries, rad-
ishes, onions, peas, beans, early apples, cherries, gooseberries, peaches,
potatoes, blackberries, pears, sweet potatoes, winter apples, and in mid-
winter cold storage apples and sweet potatoes.

It is no uncommon thing to find four or five thousand barrels of
apples and sweet potatoes in storage in any of the towns or villages.
The Caspar brothers, living between Anna and Cobden marketed 100,000
baskets of apples in Chicago in 1911, the growth from one orchard.

MINERALS AND MINERAL SPRINGS

There is no coal in Union county. Her mineral wealth is to be found
in her great quarries, kaolin and silica mines. The development of
these mineral resources has just begun. Considerable lime is being
burned and silica mills are located at Jonesboro and near Willard's
Landing.

Many springs abound and many of these have medicinal properties.
Saratoga Springs are located on the third principal meridian at the
northwest corner of township 12, range 1, west. The story of the effort
to make these springs attractive is truly pathetic. Dr. Penoyer bought
160 acres of land including these springs in 1838. He laid off the town
of Western Saratoga, built hotels and bath houses, advertised and waited
for people to come. His prices of lots were beyond reason, and nobody
bought.

People came by hundreds from many states. They camped out and
drank the water. It was thought to be wonderful in its curative power.
In course of time the hotels went down, bath houses decayed, and today
only the remnants of old buildings are to be seen. The precious water
still flows.

In the west part of the county is Bald Knob, a young mountain of
considerable note. It is about three miles from Alto Pass. From its
top a view of the country for many miles may be obtained.

Perhaps the most noted political event that ever occurred in Union
county was the great Lincoln and Douglas debate, which is described
quite fally elsewhere.



HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 545

TOWNS

The principal towns are Jonesboro, the county seat, Anna the seat
of the Southern Illinois Hospital for the Insane and the location of
Union academy, a school supported by the Presbyterian church. Cob-
den, a cultured town on the Illinois Central at the highest point of the
road, Alto Pass, on the Mobile & Ohio, Douglas, a fruit and vegetable
shipping point and smaller country villages and postoffices.




o
U

a

cc

<

<





5
O



J
J



JM



CHAPTER LXVII
WABASH COUNTY

FOUR TOUGAS BROTHERS, FIRST SETTLERS THE THREE BLOCK FORTS
TIMBER AND SAW MILLS MILK SICKNESS SHIFTINGS OP THE COUNTY
SEAT ABORIGINAL REMAINS NOTES FROM NATURE THE WABASH
AND MOUNT CARMEL LIVE STOCK RAISING.

Wabash county is one of the smaller comities in the state in both
area and population, the former being 220 square miles and the latter
being 14,913. The county was a part of Edwards up to 1824, December
27. It has the Wabash river on the east and south, the Bon Pas creek
on the west and Lawrence county on the north. The early history of
the county is intimately connected with the story of Edwards county.

FOUR TOUGAS BROTHERS, FIRST SETTLERS

The first white people in the county were four brothers, August,
William, Joseph, Francis Tougas. They settled in 1800 where the river
village of Rochester now is. It is said that the Indians held them in
great respect. The first English settlers were Levi Compton and Joshua
Jordan. They settled in 1802. Levi Compton built Fort Compton in
1810. It had a palisade and contained building to accommodate people
and stock. He also built the first mill in the county at his fort in
Wabash precinct. John Stillwell came from Virginia in 1804, bringing
a negro slave whom he freed in 1822. Enoch Greathouse, a native of
Germany, settled where Mt. Carmel is, in 1804. He moved to Centerville
where he died at the age of 110. In 1816 a little band left Alleghany
county, New York, to try their fortunes in the great west. They came
by water all the way and landed at a point on the Wabash called old
Palmyra. Here they suffered from privations and sickness, losing many
of their numbers, after which they moved to different parts of the
county. One of that band, Rozander Smith, now 95 years old, still
lives in the county. He wrote with his own hands a very full sketch of
his county for which the author wishes to thank him.

THE THREE BLOCK FORTS

Rozander Smith says there were three block houses or forts in
Wabash county. One on Barney's Prairie, seven miles north of Mt.
Carmel. The fort was sixty by one hundred feet. The palisade was
of split logs, four feet in the ground and fifteen feet above ground, and
enclosed about one-half acre. The palisade and fort would accommo-

547




H

s

as

<!

O
I



D
S
O

I



I

o
o

B



HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 549

date about 50 families in times of danger. There was one in the south
part of the county, and another called the Bon Pas block house, not
far from the village of Lancaster. In the stockade there was a well
which is still there. In addition to these three there was the Compton
fort, making four in all.

Mr. Theodore Risley, who has written a very excellent history of
Wabash county, tells of a horrid massacre which occurred in Copper
precinct in 1815. A Mr. Cannon came into this precinct out of Indiana
and built a cabin. The first day they occupied the house, while Mr.
Cannon was cutting a bee tree, Indians fell on the settlers and killed
all except Mrs. Cannon, a son and daughter. These were carried away
into captivity. The mother and daughter were subsequently ransomed.

TIMBER AND SAW MILLS

Wabash county was quite heavily covered with timber, and the early
settlers were accustomed to all of the activities we find among settlers
in timbered regions. The whip-saw, a thing unknown by many people
of today, was the first saw mill. Later the water mill was installed. The
people constructed their own furniture and utensils and farm imple-
ments. Most of the farms had to be cleared and log rollings were very
common, and many thousands of dollars worth of lumber was burned
up in the logs.

MILK SICKNESS

Milk sickness was common in Wabash county. People took the dis-
ease if they drank the milk or ate butter of milk-sick cows. It was also
claimed that the beef of milk-sick cattle would when eaten, poison the
system of people, and they sometimes died. It was therefore customary
to run an ox or cow a half mile before deciding on killing it for beef.
If the brute was trembly and exhausted and lay down, it was not killed,
but if there was no sign of exhaustion, the beef was killed. The symp-
toms in people was sickness at the stomach, indigestion, fainting spells,
nervousness, and extreme langour. The old settlers thought that whiskey
was about the only remedy for the disease.

SHIFTINGS OP THE COUNTY SEAT

Edwards county, when created by proclamation of the governor in
1814, included all territory east of the third principal meridian and
north of the present counties of White and Hamilton. The county seat
was fixed at Palmyra. This future town was two and a half miles
north of the present site of Mt. Carmel. It was a very unhealthful
place and in 1821 the capital of Edwards was moved to Albion. The
Mt. Carmel people were very angry at the removal of the capital to
Albion and actually organized four companies of militia to recapture
the records. Albion compromised by promising to assist in securing a
division and thus create Wabash county. The division occurred in 1824
and Centerville chosen as the county seat. This town was to be three
miles northwest of where Mt. Carmel now is. The county seat remained
at Centerville till 1829 when it was removed to Mt. Carmel.




w
SS

5

6



o

fc



M



d



>H

Q



I

p

OS

I



HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 551

ABORIGINAL REMAINS

This county is rich in prehistoric and Indian remains. There are
several mounds in the county which are thought to be of the Mound
Builders type. From these mounds and from other sources large col-
lections of stone axes, pipes, vases, bowls, etc., have been made.

NOTES FROM NATURE

Rozander Smith was 23 years old when the deep snow came in 1830.
He writes an account that agrees with all accounts that have been given
of it. The snow covered the fences and people traveled on top of it
and were not conscious that they were crossing fences, streams, etc. He
says some animals lay frozen to death in the snow and that the carcass
was well preserved in the spring and the flesh eaten. He also says that
the Indians who were in that region had a tradition that seventy-five
years before, another deep snow came and that animals and people suf-
fered as did those of 1830.

In 1877 a cyclone passed over Mt. Carmel and almost swept the
town away. The court house was blown down, much property destroyed
and eighteen lives lost. The county had suffered so heavily that the
general assembly appropriated $15,000 to compensate the county and
individuals.

THE WABASH AND MOUNT CARMEL

The Wabash is an interesting stream. It has had so much history.
One thing that is interesting now is the Grand Rapids dam. This is a
piece of government work, and is located about two and a half or three
miles above Mt. Carmel. It contains locks and furnishes the best fishing
place on the Wabash. The dam is 1,100 feet long and eight feet high.
It was built at a cost of $340,000.

Another thing is interesting. That is pearl fishing along the Wabash.
More than a million dollars worth of pearl has been taken from the
Wabash in its course along this county.

Mt. Carmel is a city of 6,934 inhabitants. The railroad shops of
the Big Four are located here and have a payroll of $54,000 per month.
A railroad bridge spans the Wabash and ferries accommodate the general
public.

LIVE STOCK RAISING

Considerable attention is given to stock raising. For 1,092 farms
reporting domestic animals the value was placed at $870,786. This
gives about $870 as an average for the value of stock per farm. This
appears small in comparison with most counties, but more than half of
the 1,092 farms reporting contain less than 100 acres. There is a stock
breeders association and interest in pure-blooded live stock is growing.



CHAPTER LXVIII
WASHINGTON COUNTY

COUNTY SEAT CONTENTIONS NASHVILLE FINALLY SELECTED COURT
HOUSES CITY OF NASHVILLE MINOR TOWNS.

This is an agricultural county lying north of Perry, west of Jefferson,
south of Clinton, and east of St. Glair. It has no mines of any kind,
is not a timbered county and has few manufacturing interests. The
Kaskaskia washes the northwestern side of the county and there are
some streams in that quarter of fair size. More or less timber abounds
along the Kaskaskia and its tributaries. The county, apart from the
territory adjacent to the Kaskaskia, is largely prairie rather poorly
drained, and with a soil similar to that of most of the counties in South-
ern Illinois. The value per acre of farm lands including buildings is
$34.02. Out of 4,285 farms reporting, 2,752 are of less area than 100
acres.

The county was organized in 1818, January 2. The territory was,
prior to its organization, a portion of St. Clair county. There were few
people in the new county at the time of its organization, for in 1820
there were only 1,517 inhabitants in the entire county.

COUNTY SEAT CONTENTIONS

The story of the location of the county seat is an interesting one.
Jacob Thurman, Reuben Middleton, Leaven Maddux were authorized
to locate the county seat. They met March 2, 1818, in the home of
James Bankson, who lived on Ashley creek. Mr. Bankson's home was
near what is now Clinton county. They deliberated and finally located
it on the Kaskaskia ten miles north and west of the present city of
Nashville. There was no town there but the town to be was to be called
Covington. The custom at that time was to ask of the owner of the land
where a county seat was to be established, twenty acres of land for the
benefit of the county. This was done in this case and on July 13, 1818,
the county court met at Bankson's home and accepted the gift of twenty
acres to the county. On July 15, 1818, the county seat was moved from
Mr. Bankson's home to Covington. Here it remained till 1831, when it
was removed to Georgetown. In 1827 Clinton county was cut off of
the north of Washington, leaving Covington at the extreme north edge
of the county. The three commissioners appointed to locate the new
county seat reported that the spot selected was on sections 19 and 20,
township 2 south, range 3, west "near the center of said sections at a
pole put up about 45 yards east of two wells on section 19." Tilghman

552



HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 553

H. West would not donate the twenty acres and the seat was moved to
the lands of John Hutchins on section 17 of the same township.

NASHVILLE FINALLY SELECTED

"When Judge Theophilus Smith of the supreme bench came to hold
court in Georgetown in the fall of 1829 all he found was the wells and
the high pole to mark the capital of the county. He repaired to Coving-
ton, where he held the court. No circuit court was held at Gorgetown
though it was laid off and lots were sold. This site was about four miles
west of Nashville. In 1831, after a great amount of dissatisfaction about
Georgetown, the county seat was ordered moved. Many people had



Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) → online text (page 63 of 65)