pub Chas. C. Chapman & Co..

History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws online

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Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 26 of 79)
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had such a long and favorable run, that we deem a brief synopsis of
the differences quite pertinent in this connection.

Elijah M. Haines, in his " Laws of Illinois Relative to Township
Organization," says the county system "originated with Virginia,
whose early settlers soon became large landed proprietors, aristo-
cratic in feeling, living alone in almost baronial magnificence on
their own estates, and owning the laboring part of the population.
Thus the materials for a town were not at hand, the voters being


thinly distributed over a great area. The county organization, where
a few influential men managed the whole business of the community,
retaining their places almost at their pleasure, scarcely responsible at
all except in name, and permitted to conduct the county concerns as
their ideas or wishes might direct, was, moreover, consonant with
their recollections or traditions of the judicial and social dignities of
the landed aristocracy of England, in descent from which the Virginia
gentlemen felt so much pride. In 1834 eight counties were organ-
ized in Virginia, and the system extending throughout the State,
spread into all the Southern States and some of the Northern States,
unless we except the nearly similar division into 'districts' in South
Carolina, and that into 'parishes' in Louisana from the French

" Illinois, which with its vast additional territory became a county
of Virginia on its conquest by Gen. George Rogers Clarke, retained
the county organization, which was formerly extended over the State
by the constitution of 1818, and continued in exclusive use until
the constitution of 1848. Under this system, as in other States
adopting it, most local business Avas transacted by three commission-
ers in each county, who constituted a county court, with quarterly
sessions. During the period ending with the Constitutional Conven-
tion of 1847, a large portion of the State had become filled up with
a population of New England birth or character, daily growing
more and more compact and dissatisfied with the comparatively arbi-
trary and inefficient county system." It was maintained by the
people that the heavily populated districts would always control the
election of the commissioners to the disadvantage of the more thinly
populated sections, — in short, that under the system, "equal and
exact justice" to all parts of the county could not be secured. The
township system had its origin in Massachusetts, and dates back to

De Tocqueville, in his work entitled " American Institutions, " in
speaking of our political system, very properly remarks that two
branches may be distinguished in the Anglo-American familv which
have grown up without entirely commingling, — the one in the South,
the other in the North. He discovers the causes which led to this
condition of things, which are apparent to the most casual observer.
" They arise, " he says, " not from design, but from the force of cir-
cumstances at the beginning. The planting of the original colony
of Virginia at Jamestown had for its design the single and naked

304'" '^ hist6"ey" OF tIzewell county."

object of pecuniary profit to the proprietors. Its mission involved
no principle for the benefit of mankind. It recognized the crown of
Great Britain, from whence it derived the charter of its existence, as
the source of political power. There was no recognition of the
principle of self-government.

"But the circumstances attending the first settlement of the Col-
onies of New England, so called, were of an entirely different char-
acter. The early colonists in this instance were non-conformists, or
dissenters from the Church of England. They came as exiles, flee-
ing from the wrath of ecclesiastical tyranny, whose displeasure they
had incurred, — cast out as public offenders, 'as profane out of the
mountain of God.' Whilst the colonists of Yirgina came with the
law, those of New England came against the law, or perhaps, more
properly speaking, without law. Thereupon arose on the part of the
latter a positive necessity for the establishment of law for their mu-
tual protection. The result was a written compact, — this being the
first written constitution extant, based upon the general good. It
was the first time since the 'morning stars sang together' that the
people themselves met in council and framed a government based
upon equal rights."

The supervisor is the chief officer and representative of the town-
ship, and it is his duty to prosecute and defend all suits in which
the township is interested. The township clerk keeps the records
of the towsnhip, and the treasurer takes charge of the funds. The
establishment, vacation and repair of the public roads is committed
to the three commissioners of highways. The supervisor, the two
justices of the peace whose terms of office soonest expire, and the
township clerk constitute a township board for examining and
auditing the accounts of the town.

The Board of Supervisors convened for the first time just one
month after the adjournment of the County Court. It assembled at
the court-house in Tremont May 6, 1850, the following members be-
ing present : R. W. Briggs, Tremont ; William S. Maus, Pekin ; W.
J. Thompson, Jefferson ; R. N. Cullom, Deer Creek ; B. F. Oren-
dorff. Little Mackinaw ; W. W. Grossman, Delavan ; Seth Talbot,
Elm Grove ; C. J. Gibson, Fond du Lac ; George L. Parker, Grove-
land ; Samuel P. Bailey, Cincinnati ; Nathan Dillon, Dillon ; Ly-
man Porter, Mackinaw ; Horace Clark, Morton ; Charles Holder,
Highland ; Hezekiah Armington, Union ; George H. Daniels, Spring
Lake. Hon. Richard N. Cullom was chosen chairman.


The last meeting of the Board at Tremont, was held August 26,
1850, when the Board moved in a body to Pekin and held a meeting
on the same day in the new court-house, built by that city.

Since 1850 the business affairs of the county have been under
the guidance of a Board of Supervisors, at present composed of 24
members. It would be unprofitable, as unnecessary, to present in
detail the numerous orders, reports, resolutions, etc., of this body.
Their proceedings partake a great deal of the nature of a legislature.
Among so many men there are always some cool business heads, as
well as a good many glib tongues. Some of them are practical, in-
dustrious workers, others are of the buncombe order, always ready
to make a speech or a voluminous report. This has always been the
case with such assemblies, and we suppose always will be.

By an act of the Legislature, approved Feb. 2, 1849, in regard to
the disposal of the court-house at Tremont, it provided that in case
the countv-seat was moved to Pekin, a deed of trust of the court-
house, should be made to Joseph L. ShaAV, Wells Andrews, Lyman
Porter, Thomas P. Pogers and William A. Maus. The building was
to be used and occupied exclusively for the purpose of education
and for the use and benefit of the people of this county. Accord-
ingly when the vote was taken and it was decided to make the move,
and when the move was made, the above act was complied with, and
for several years a high school was conducted there.


This structure, which stands near the south-east corner of the
public square, was ordered erected by the Board in 1857. The
contract for its erection was awarded to J. P. Hall, and it was
completed in the spring of 1859. The building committee of the
Board consisted of R. B. Marley, David Hainline, James Mitchell,
G. H. Rupert and William S. Maus. The committee ajipointed
Dr. Maus superintendent. He was also authorized to provide for
furnishing the office with suitable furniture. The idea of introduc-
ing iron furniture was considered rather a novel one, but it was
urged that while the building might be rendered fire-proof as to the
exterior, the interior fixtures being constructed of wood, there
would really be no certainty that the records would be protected
from fire. It was believed that in nearly every case where
court-houses or other buildings containing records had been de-



stroyed by fire, the cause originated in the interior. In such a case
fire-proof walls alone would prove but a slight protection. The
good sense of the Supervisors convinced them that iron cases, shelv-
ing and furniture would prove the best kind of insurance they could
place upon the records of the county.

Acting under authority from the building committee. Dr. Maus
visited several establishments in the East where iron furniture was
manufactured. On his return he perfected a plan for the furniture
needed, the drawing of which was executed by Thomas King.
The building was first occupied the latter part of May, 1859, and
ever since has kept the public records, which are invaluable, in safe

At a meeting of the Board May 2, 1861, Supervisor Pratt intro-
duced a resolution that, whereas our forts, arsenals and government
stores had been seized and, "whereas many of our citizens have
volunteered in defence of our country, and have come forward with
the same spirit that actuated our sires in the days of ' 76, leaving
their wives and children, homes and firesides, with their lives in
their hands, periling their all at their country's call, and many of
them without money or means to pay a single day's board, and their
families entirely unprovided for, trusting to the God of mercies for
the means of their sustenance," — therefore resolved that the Board
pay their board and expenses while and before being mustered into
service ; also maintain their families during their absence. The
resolution was tabled and a substitute offered by Supervisor Maus,
and passed, to the effect that a committee be appointed to examine
all accounts and expenses incurred in raising volunteers, as well as
such relief as may be necessary for the support of the families of
such married men during their absence, and report the result to the
Board. Said committee was appointed, and at the next meeting
reported claims " for the support of women and children where hus-
bands and fathers have volunteered," to the amount of $1,100.
The whole matter was turned over to the Board, when $132.75 of
the amount was allowed.

Again Supervisor Pratt attempted to get aid for the volunteers
by making a motion that $2.50 per week be allowed on all bills for
boarding volunteers while being organized. This motion was also

It seemed the majority of the people were in favor of the Board
contributing means for the support of volunteers. A petition to


that eifect was presented to the Board. The City Council of Pekin
also took cognizance of this refusal to aid troops. At a special
meeting held Thursday, May 23, 1861, seemingly for no other pur-
pose. Alderman Harlow offered the following :

"Whereas, the Supervisors of Tazewell county have been peti-
tioned to bear a portion of the expense of volunteers and have
refused, therefore, resolved, that we, the Board of Aldermen of the
city of Pekin, do utterly disapprove and condemn the action of said
Board of Supervisors, and, with all good and loyal citizens, feel that
old Tazewell has been disgraced by the action of said Supervisors."

While the Board was not as liberal in this respect as some would
have had it, yet it paid out considerable money for the support of
families of soldiers. In September, 1864, the Board decided to
give a bounty of $150. to each volunteer under the first call of that
year for 500,000 men. In January, 1865, a bounty of $300. was
offered. The sum of $128,000 was appropriated to pay said bounty.
This was based on the quota of the county being 400; but in
February it was found to exceed that number by 144, and a further
sum of $53,000 was appropriated. To raise this a tax of three
cents on the dollar was levied. A special assesment was made, and
the tax collected in short order. The levy was made upon the
property of soldiers, which was unavoidable, but the Board subse-
quently refunded such tax.

The Board have experienced much difficulty in regard to the
swamp lands of the county : indeed, we believe they have been
the source of the greatest trouble and expence to the Board. A
vast system of drainage was undertaken, which proved highly
beneficial although quite expensive, and for years more or less
controversy was had in regard to this matter. The present Board is
composed of the following gentlemen :

Chairman, Richard Holmes, Delavan ; John H. Anthony, Wash-
ington ; Peter Fifer, City of Washington ; John Eidman, Cincin-
nati ; Daniel Sapp, Spring Lake ; Matthias Mount, Dillon ; E. J.
Orendorff, Hopedale ; D. John Bennett, Elm Grove; Asa Hicks,
Little Mackinaw; James K. Pugh, Malone ; John Meyers, Sand
Prairie ; William Smith, Morton ; S. C. Hobart, Tremont ; Jacob
Brennamann, Boynton ; James Mitchell, Deer Creek ; C. S. Worth-
ington, Groveland; J. H. Porter, Mackinaw; John Q. Darnell,
Hittle ; Samuel R. Mooberry, Fond du Lac ; C. B. Cummings, J.
M. Gill, I. Lederer, City of Pekin ; Thomas Skelly, and E. Schur-
man, Pekin township.



AX interest paramount to every other in agricultural pursiiits
is that of stock-raising. Many of the farmers have realized
this and have turned their attention largely to this branch of agri-
culture ; and the result is that Tazewell county can boast of as fine
stock as any other county in Illinois. While this chapter is headed
as if to treat on stock indiscriminately, yet as cattle are receiving,
and have received, more attention than any other class of domestic
animals, we shall devote most of the space to cattle. As thorough-
bred stock was introduced into Tazewell county at a very early day,
as early indeed as in almost any part of the State, we will speak of
the first introduction of such stock into Illinois. The first, perhaps,
that were brought into the State were by James X. Brown, in 1834,
when he arrived in Sangamon county with the progenitors of his
afterwards famed herd of "Island Grove." Some grades of the
"Patton" stock are said to have been found in Madison and in some
other southern counties' even earlier. G. W. Fagg, of Perry county,
advertised a short -horn bull in the Union Agriculturist in 1841.
The Prairie Farmer notices the Devons of James McConnell, near
Springfield, in 1843. A letter of Gov. Lincoln, of Massachusetts,
to Gov. Reynolds, of Illinois, published in the Union Agriculturist
for 1841, shows that the former sent some crosses of Ayrshire and
short-horn cattle to a son in Alton that year, which was, perhaps,
the first introduction of Ayrshire blood even in a diluted state.
The Prairie Farmer, in 1844, chronicles the arrival at Chicago of
an imported short -horn for Bronson Murray, of La Salle county.
By the time of holding the first State Fair at Springfield, in 1851,
the short-horn appeared in very respectable numbers, and Devons,
although not much shown, were said bv the Prairie Farmer to be
already found in quantity in the northern part of the State. In
1857 the formation of the Illinois Stock Importing Association,
and their importations and sales, among other animals, of twenty-
seven short-horns, increased the interest in breeding.


The first introduction of blooded stock into Tazewell county,
together with the history of the progress made in improving the
stock of the county, would be an interesting article to many. We
have not, however, been able to gather sufficient data of a reliable
nature to warrant an article of great lengtli. The first importation
into the county, and among the very first into the State, was made
by Col. Charles Oakley. The importation was made in 1840 from
England, and consisted of horses, cattle, hogs and sheep, of the
following stock and number: one full-blooded Durham roan bull;
two roan cows ; one full-blooded stallion of the celebrated Campbell
stock ; one full-blooded mare of the Bertram stock ; five Berkshire
pigs, and a number of long-wooled Cotswold sheep. Three years
later Col. Oakley again brought with him on his return from England
stock of the following kinds : white Durham cow and calf; a num-
ber of pigs of the Woburn stock, and the stallion Sampson. The
latter was not a direct importation of Col. Oakley's, but he was
brought from New York here. This horse did much in the way
of improving the farm horses of this section, and even now many
of the Sampson breed of horses are to be seen traveling the roads.

Had the people ap])reciated at that early day the value of this
stock imported by Col. Oakley, for many years past Tazewell
county might have been, in regard to fine stock, foremost in the
United States. The people, however, could not see any special
benefit to be derived from investing in animals costing so much,
and but little interest was taken in them. The Colonel's public
duties would not permit him to give his personal ■ attention to his
stock, and the consequence was that in a few years they were scat-
tered here and there, and but few persons ever derived any benefit
from them save from the horses.

We deem it fitting in this connection to speak personally of Col.
Charles Oakley, as he not only made the greatest effort ever made in
an early day to improve the domestic animals of Illinois, but he was
also prominently identified Avith great works of the State, and an
honored and respected citizen of Tazewell county. He w'as born in
AVest Chester county, N. Y., in 1792 ; came to this county with the
Tremont colony in 1834, and erected the first house in Tremont.
He was in the war of 1812, and in the Black Hawk war. In 1839,
during the great internal improvement system, he was appointed
State Fund Commissioner, and went to Europe to negotiate a loan.
It was on his return from this trip that he brought the first lot of


stock. In 1843 he, with Senator Michael Ryan, was by the Gov-
ernor appointed to negotiate a loan to carry on the building of the
Illinois and Michigan Canal. They went to Europe in the early
part of 1843, and returned in November. In 1844 Col. Oakley
again went to Europe, but came home still unsuccessful in borrow-
ing funds. Early in the winter of 1844-5 he again proceeded to
Europe, Ryan remaining at home, and finally succeeded in borrow-
ing $1,600,000. He came home to be appointed Canal Commis-
sioner, which position he held at his death. He again went to
England in company with Charles L. Butler (brother of Ben But-
ler), to secure funds for the completion of the Indiana and Wabash
Canal. For this service Butler was paid, after Col. Oakley's death,
the sum of $25,000, none of which, however, ever found its way to
the Colonel's family.

Col. Oakley was president of the first bank ever established at
Pekin. It was a branch of the Bank of Illinois, and was first
opened in that city in 1840. He was one of the most popular men
in Illinois, during his day, and was once looked upon by his party
as the proper person to succeed Gov. French as the chief executive
of the State. In the very prime of life, however, he was stricken
down. He died at his home in Tremont on the 31st of December,
1848. His widow still survives him, and at present resides at Peo-
ria. She is about eighty years old, and in very feeble health.
Oakley Avenue, a prominent thoroughfare in Chicago, perpetuates
his memory.

It has cost time, labor and money to introduce thoroughbred stock,
but the result of bringing imported stock and a scientific knowledge
of breeding has placed Tazewell in the very front rank of counties
in Illinois in the raising of fine cattle.

Among the foremost breeders of blooded stock in the county are :
John Trout of Elm Grove, who owns Florence, bred by D. E.
Davis, of Salem, N. J. For pedigree see page 561, Vol. 15 of the
American Herd Book. He also has Breastplate, bred by J. G.
Clark, Champaign county. 111.; pedigree number, 18,236; Elfrida,
red and white, bred by Clark; pedigree number, 11,341; Pearl,
also bred by the same man; pedigree number, 12,578. Mr. Trout
also has Elfrida the Seventh, bred by himself; pedigree number,
28,853, American Herd Book. Thomas Wibray, section 4, Tremont
township, has Duke of Herndoka; pedigree number, 19,485. Jos.
Ropp owns Red Duke, bred by J. G. Clark of Champaign county.


This fine animal was got by Royal Airdrie, pedigree number, 18,236.
Isaac Miars, of Elm Grove, has four head of short-horns, — one of
them from AVyburn's herd, of Bloomington, the other three from
Waltmire's herd, of Tremont. Hon. James Robison has a fine
herd of short-horns, consisting of nine head from John Gillett's
herd, Elkhart, Logan county. 111. There are many others in the
county who are prominently identified with the improvement of the
cattle stock of the county. William Birkett, section 26, has a fine
herd of from 50 to 75 head of imported Jerseys and Durhams. He
runs a large dairy farm, manufacturing with horse-power an aver-
age of 200 pounds of butter per week.

We quote the following from a letter published in a recent num-
ber of the Tazewell Republican, Pekin :

" I find a very marked improvement in cattle in the neighborhood
of the breeders of short-horns in the early days of Illinois. The
average lots of steers in Morgan, Menard, Cass, Sangamon and
Logan average several hundred weight heavier at the same age than
they do in counties that more recently introduced short-horns, and,
besides, the quality in a good high-grade steer will command from
one to one and one-half cents per pound more than common stock.
This difference in price, at the low price of corn last winter, would
buy corn enough to fatten a steer. AVith this difference in size and
price in favor of the short-horns, it is apparent to every calculat-
ing farmer that they cannot afford to raise any but the best stock, and
those well cared for, on our high-priced land. Perhaps no neigh-
borhood is doing more to improve their cattle at the present time
than the farmers in the vicinity of Tremont. They have purchased
and brought to their farms within a few months ten young thorough-
bred short-horn bulls, and quite a number of heifers also. This
new introduction of short-horns will, in a few years, greatly im-
prove the cattle of that vicinity, and there are some lots of cattle
there now feeding that will weigh nearly two thousand pounds.

Tremont, April 17, 1879. Jas. W. Robison.

The improvement in the hog stock of the county is, perhaps,
more noticeable than that of any other class of domesticated ani-
mals. Since the arrival of the first settlers with their hogs, bred
and raised entirely in the timber, and almost altogether upon the
roots and acorns of the native forests, there has been a most wonder-
ful advance in securing better stock. For many years at first it
seems to have made no difference with the farmers in regard to the



breed of hogs. They reasoned that a hog was a hog, and that one
was as good as another, and they therefore made no effort to better
their stock. Several years ago, however, the Poland Chinas, Berk-
shires and Chester Whites were introduced, and as a result the class
of hogs bred in Tazewell county are inferior to none. Among the
many who breed the best grades, is N. M. Saltonstall, who has the
pure Berkshire. He has about 25 head which are said to be the
finest lot of hogs in the county.

In aggregate value the horses of the county are worth more than
the combined aggregate value of all other domestic animals. Much
interest is now being taken to improve the farm-horse stock as mtII
as the roadsters. Among those who are especially interested in this
branch of stock raising, are E. D. Fuller & Bro., of Elm Grove
township. They have imported some of the finest horses brought
to the United States. They have two fine horses which they went
to France and purchased. The famous horse, Rob Roy, which they
own, and which has taken the premium at the State fair, is a perfect
model of a horse. Leon, which they also own, is a fine animal.
This firm has made two importations, two horses each time. They
have a fine herd of about 35 head of graded horses and colts. A. J.
Danforth, of Washington, has a large stable of fine roadsters, some
of which are among the best and fastest horses in the State.

The result of these importations, a scientific knowledge of breed-
ing, the expenditure of vast sums of money and close attention M-ill

Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 26 of 79)