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

. (page 46 of 79)
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 46 of 79)
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native of Virginia. They were married in 1869, He entered the
land of his present home, in Woodford county, and settled on
the same, in 1830, where he has since made his home. He is
now living in quietness, surrounded by his relatives and friends.
His experiences of pioneer life, and the dangers that often visited
his abode, are interesting in the extreme. At one time he was
visited by a stalwart chief of the red skins, who demanded whisky,
and upon refusal raised his tomahawk and would have plunged it in
his skull, but the keen eye of the settler was upon him, and he
wrested the weapon from hira, and with the aid of friends the assail-
ant was secured. But he never forgot it, and always threatened his


The second oldest living settler of Fond du Lac township is
Jacob L. Wilson, a resident of Washington, Illinois, who, with his
father, Jacob, and family, in company with Jakey Phillips, Joshua
Walker, Thomas Banks and Elisha Green, started from Wayne Co.,
Ind., in the fall of 1823. They stopped at the farm of Isaac Wil-
son, grandfather of Jacob L., through the holidays. His large area
of acres are now covered by the costly stores and palatial residences
of Indianapolis, Ind. In the midst of winter, with two sleighs
drawn by ox teams, this little colony ploughed their way through
deep snows and high waters. When they arrived at the Vermillion
river, it was deemed unsafe to cross on the ice, and after consulta-
tion it was decided to break the ice, and, if prossible, ford the
stream. Accordingly, heavy clubs were cut from the timber skirt-
ing the stream, and the band of heroic explorers began the task.
Ere the day dawned the ice was broken, and the Egyptian pilgrims
passed through with water nearly over the wagon box, and en-
camped on the opposite shore. A blinding snow storm set in, which
made further progress impossible. AVhile hunting in the woods for
game the party were surprised to find six large fat hogs, feeding
leisurely upon acorns and other growth that the woods afforded. It
is supposed that this stock strayed from a drover, or was the stock
of an unknown pioneer. However, the swineships were slaughtered,
skinned, and divided equally among the party, whose provisions
had began to show a famished condition. With this fortune came
bright sunny weather, and the little party journeyed on until they
reached the banks of the Illinois river, where they landed in Febru-
ary, 1824. Of this number but few remain to tell the story of their
trials and difficulties. Uncle Jacob, by which name he is familliarly
known, is the only one who has clung to the home of his boyhood.
Among those who came in afterward were Cyrus J. Gibson, who
came in 1830, and settled on section 11 and 12. His son, who
accompanied him, is now a prosperous merchant of Washington,
111. Austin and Horace Croker, Elza Bethard, Thomas Camlin
and Jacob Funk, who was shot by the Sheriff; Major Donohue and
David Mathews, whose families all grew up in this township ; Jos.
Schertz, who came in 1830, is still a living resident near Farmdale;
also, William and Samuel Moberry, brothers, who settled in Grove-
land, in 1832, and have experienced all the hardships of pioneer
life. There are many others equally worthy of notice, but want of
space will prevent the mention of an extended number of names.


William Blanchard hauled the mother of Jacob Minch to her
grave over the bare ground on a sled, it being the only conveyance
among the settlers at that time. Samuel Beck came in early and
made his living by hunting deer.

The first mill built in Fond du Lac was in 1832, on Ten Mile
creek, by Samuel Parks. This mill was aftewards sold to Abraham
Lewis. It was burned and after\vards re-built. The first saw-mill
was built on the same creek, in 1828, by Hugh Woodruff and
David Baily, of Pekin. It has passed away in the debris of time.
The first religious meetings were held in this mill by the pioneers.
Samuel Brown, a Methodist minister, preached the first sermon.
He was soon followed by Zadock Hall, an early pilgrim who settled
in this township. Buckeye school-house, on section 11, was built
in 1835. It was used as the first church. It has been torn down,
and the erection of a substantial structure is being considered. On
the same section it was our pleasure to visit a mound, which had,
until 1877, been covered by a heavy growth of timber. On this
mound has been found the remains of human skeletons of large
proportions. These were, no doubt, the remains of the Mound-
Builders. Near this mound stood the relics of a mighty oak, which
had spread afar out its garland of geeen sweeping branches for
scores of years, and beneath which both the Indian and pioneer
children sported in childish glee. In the hollow of this mighty
monarch of the forest was imbedded in the debris and bark, a
human skull. This was a common curiosity for some years. It
was taken out at a later day, and secured by Dr. Hazard, now
deceased. Since the Doctor's demise all traces of it has been lost.

We give below a few personal sketches of citizens of this town-
ship, in order to more fully detail its history :

Jacob Amen, farmer, sec. 11 and 12 ; P. O., Fond du Lac; born in
Alsace, Germany, April 5, 1820, and emigrated to America, in 1837,
with his parents, David and Barbara (Bard) Ames, who settled in
Richland, Woodford Co. ; lived with his parents until he was unit-
ed in matrimony to Miss Henrietta Pfeffer, at Metamora, Feb. 28,
1850. She was born in Germany, Nov. 26, 1827, and emigrated to
America in 1848. He purchased 52 acres of land in Partridge
township, where he lived until 1863, when he moved to this Co.
and settled on his present farm of 160 acres. Of their several chil-
dren there are living — Henry, born Dec. 3, 1850, married Miss
Hannah Haedicke Aug. 8, 1876, and resides in Kansas; Charles,
born April 25,1857; and Mary Magdalen, born Sept. 19, 1860.
They lost three twins, Sophia, born Oct. 20, 1853, married John


Conrad, Dec. 25, 1872 ; and died May 23, 1877 ; one not christened
and Jacob, born Jan. 20, 1855, died March 1, 1855.

Thomas Andrews, miller, sec. 2 ; P. O., Fond du Lac ; born in
Mercer Co., Pa., in 1834, came to this Co. in 1852, and engaged on
the premises of his present estate, where he remained five years,
when he went to California prospecting ten years, at the end of
which time he returned and purchased the farm of 109 acres. He
afterward formed partnership with Abraham Lewis and erected the
mill he now occupies. In 1808 he was married to Miss Sharlotta
Lewis, a native of this county, where she was born Nov. 16, 1845.
Mr. Lewis died in 1871, and was succeeded by Mr. A. in the busi-
ness, where he has conducted a prosperous trade. Charles A., Mary
M., Martha E., Amanda and Susan are their living children.

J. J. Arnold, farmer, sec. 26, P. O., Hilton; born in Licking
Co., O., in 1847. His parents were Umphrey M. P. and Patsy
Maddox Arnold, natives of Va., who emigrated to O. at an early
day, and to this State in 1854, settling in McLean Co., where he
lived three years, when he came to this Co. and settled on the pres-
ent estate. He subsequently moved to Woodford Co., where he
died in 1873. His wife still survives him at the age 70 years and
resides on the homestead. In Feb., 1865, Mr. A. enlisted in the
150th I. V. L, Co. A. and served one year. Was married in 1869,
to Miss Mary A. Allen who was born in England, in 1850. Samu-
el P., Charles A. and Daisy P. are the living children. His moth-
er still owns the farm of 185 acres.

/. TF. Cunningham, postmaster, Farmdale, sec. 36 ; born in Fond
du Lac township, in 1852. His parents were John and Mary
Goodman (Cunningham), natives of O., who emigrated and settled
in this township in 1838, where he lived until his death, in 1867.
His mother survived him until May 12, 1879. The subject of this
sketch still resides on the homestead, and was appointed P. M. in
1876, since which time he has filled that office. The same year he
opened store, keeping a general stock of goods, and conducts a small
yet prosperous trade. Is also School Director and is well known
throughout the county. His parents numbering among those of the
early settlers. Jane L., a sister, remains at home, and conducts the
affi\irs of the household.

Avery F. Dehor if ij, farmer, sec. 26 ; P. O. Hilton. Born in
Licking Co., O., Dec. 9, 1833. His parents were George W. and
Mary Draper (Dehority) natives of Del., who emigrated to O. in
1821, and to this county in 1838, settling on the present estate of
160 acres, where they resided until 1854, when his father moved to
Woodford Co., thence to El Paso, where his father died Dec. 9,
1874; mother died in Palestine township in 1855. Mr. D. has
always lived on the homestead and was married to Miss Matilda
Cross, at Columbus, O., in 1860. She was born in Franklin Co.,
O., Nov. 19, 1833, and left parentless when young. She was adopted
in the family of Alexander Moberry, and at eighteen years of age


commenced teaching school, and engaged in that capacity until mar-
riage. Mr. D. has filled the office of town Treasurer three years ;
town Clerk six years and Constable two years, and always been
identified with the interests of the town and county.

Scoaud li. Jlooberry, farmer, sec. 30 ; P. O., Farmdalc. Born in
Franklin Co., O., Jan. 1<S, 1824, and is eldest son of David and
Margaret (Stumbaugh) ]\Iooberry, who emigrated to this county in
1832, and settled in Groveland townsliip, where he entered a large
tract of land, raised his family, and died in 1850. His aged wife
still survives him, and resides on the homestead with her youngest
son, Alexander. Mr. M. was married at Morton Oct. 26, 1845, to
Miss Louisa C. Hughes, who was born in Franklin Co., O., in 1821.
After marriage he moved and settled on his present estate of 240
acres, where he has been successfully engaged in farming and stock
raising. Also owning valuable lands in Nebraska and elsewhere.
Has filled the office of Collector and Assessor a number of years,
Justice of the peace, Supervisor, School Trustee, Constable, and in
fact he has been father to all the town offices, and served with
satisfaction to all. He numbers among those of the early pilgrims
who stood the trials and sufferings of pioneer life. The writer was
shown from his collection of curiosities found in the woods: Fort
Crevecoeur shoe bottoms, or soles cut from stone ; flint arrow heads,
stone ax and mortars, which he has gathered and are valuable curi-
osities. Mr. M. has a family of seven children living — David R.,
born Aug. 30,1840; George E., born Nov. 20, 1847; Evaline,
born March 9, 1853; Alvira, born June 21, 1856; Milton, born
April 28, 1858; Dorcas J., born March 7, i860 and Nettie, born
Feb. 6, 1862. Lost 4 — Floyd, born June 6, 1851, and died Oct.

18, 1853; Walter, born Aug'. 25, 1854, died Feb. 8, 1858; Denna,
born Dec. 29, 1863, died March 22, 1877; Luther B., born May

19, 1849, died Aug. 30, 1877.

William Moobcrry, farmer, sec. 36 ; P. O. Farmdale. Born in
Franklin Co., O., May 26, 1825. His parents were David and
Mary Stumbaugh, natives of Pa., who emigrated to O. in 1806, and
to this Co. in 1832, settling in Groveland townshi]), where he en-
tered a large tract of land. Here he engaged in farming and in a
saw-mill, conducting a successful trade in both branches of business.
His death occurred in 1849, by cholera. His wife is still living on
the homestead with the youngest son, Alexander, at the age of 76
years. The subject of this sketch was married in 1848, to Miss
Matilda Marion, who was born in Franklin Co., O., Dec. 29, 1830.
After marriage settled on his parents estate of 375 acres, where he
has since made it his home, and is one of the early pioneers of the
county. His farm was a dense woodland, which he has cleared by
his own hands. Here he erected a rude cabin without a floor, and
has experienced all the hardships which attended the early settling
of this deeply wooded country. Has been Justice of the Peace two
years, and at different times held nearly all the offices in the town-


ship. Is a strong supporter of Churches and Schools and always
identified with the interests of the town and county, William C.,
Laura M., Lizzie L. and Maggie E., are their living children ; Lost
one — Francis M.

Thomas V. Pinkham, ftirmer, sec. 26 ; P. O., Hilton. Born in
Grafton Co., N. H., in 1841 ; his parents were Thos. and Margaret
(Vincent) Pinkham, natives of New Hampshire, where they died.
Came to this county in 1838, and settled in this township, and on
his present estate of 80 acres, in 1840. Was married in 1843, to
Miss Mariah Camlin, daughter of Thomas Camlin, who settled in
this township in 1823, where he died. Mr. P. is one of the county
pioneers, and has been prominently identified in the interest of the
town and county during his eventful life, having been Justice of the
Peace for seventeen years, and served in about all the offices of this
township. He is a citizen esteemed by all who have the pleasure
of his acquaintance, honorable in all things, and having a just pride
in all his business operations. Emeline, George, Lizzie, Susan,
Albert, Luella and A. J. are their living children.

Joseph Schertz, merchant, Hilton; P. O., Hilton. Born in
Alsace, Germany, in 1827. His parents were David and Annie
(Rosche) Schertz, who emigrated to America in 1830, and landed
at Ft. Clark, now Peoria, in August of that year, where he built a
hut and settled, purchasing a claim for $800., where the family
settled and experienced all the hardships of pioneer life. His fath-
er died in 1859. Mr. S. built the mill near his residence in 1852.
After his father's settlement on the present place, coal was discover-
ed in the hills, and a mine opened, which is still in operation. In
1849 the subject of this sketch went to California prospecting, and
returned in 1851 ; became extensively engaged in milling, and in
1861 he sold out and retired from the active pursuits of life. His
active nature, however, rebelled against a life of rest, and wishing
to advance a son in a successful start in life, he opened a store at
Hilton in 1877, keeping a general stock of groceries where he is
still actively engaged. Is President of the Bridge Association;
has been Town Clerk, and otherwise identified in the offices of the
township. He is well and favorably known for his liberality in the
advancement of the cause of education, and his father spent large
sums of money in the cause of emigration. Was married in Sept.,
1851, to Miss Catherine Belsley, who was born in Germany in
1826. Benjamin F., Mary A., Sarah C, are their living children.
Lost two children — David H., and one that died in infancy.

Charles E. Sheets, postmaster, Fond du Lac. Born in Salem Co.,
N. J., July 12, 1827, and came to this county in the spring of
1859, settling near his present place, where he engaged at his trade,
milling, and where he has since made his home. Married Miss
Ellen Genoways, a native of this State, who died in 1871, leaving
three children, Anna C, John G., and Roland. Was appointed
postmaster in the Spring gf 1876, and has since filled that office.


Is also School Director, and well known throughout the town and


This township received its name from the village of Groveland,
and it from the beautiful groves in the neighborhood. A visit to
the township at this late day shows it to have been very appropri-
ately christened. The first settler to locate here was James Scott.
He built his cabin in the timber on section 35, as early as 1827.
Others who came in shortly afterwards were Milton Shurtleif, John
O'Brien, Daniel and John Mooberry, John Anderson, Joseph Lan-
des, Benjamin Dobsone, Alexander Caldwell and George Dupree.
The only ones of these pioneers now living are John Mooberry,
Joseph Landes and John O'Brien. The first school in the town-
ship was taught by John McGinnis, in a little log cabin built for
that purpose on the southwest quarter of sec. 11, in the winter of
1834-35. Some claim that Mathew Kingman was the first " master."

Mrs. James Scott, wife of the first settler, gave each new comer
into the settlement a hen with her chickens. This was her mode of
welcoming them to their new homes. Austin Harding, when a lad of
ten, remembers well the circumstances attending the gift of his hen
and chickens. With a light heart he carried them home from Mrs.
Scott's, but the hen managed to get out of her place of confinement,
the chickens scattered, and his present, which was so highly prized,
was lost to him. The good motherly Mrs, Scott, however, replaced
it by another hen and her brood. James Scott moved to El Paso
in 1859, where, in 1860, he died. George, son of Joseph Landes,
bought the original Scott farm, being the southeast corner of section
35, (not 33, as has been recorded,) in 1858, of Mr. Elijah Brown,
Mr. Scott's son-in-law, who accompanied Mr. S. to El Paso.

The first settlers here experienced many hardships. During the
winter of the big snow, 1830-31, they suffered greatly. The slight
snow and sleet that fell before the heavy snow came froze the mast
to the ground, which, when the big snow came, the wild animals
were unable to get to subsist upon, and, consequently, many died.
Those, however, that could get to the cornfields lived well. Wild
hogs were quite abundant these times. These were the progeny of
the hogs the old French traders formerly raised about Wesley City.
They would often mix with the hogs of the settlers running in the


timber. Sometimes they would become furious and attack other
stock. One old hog, with ancient and mammoth tusks, became
quite fierce and troublesome. Many eifijrts were made to kill him,
but in vain. His thick callous hide resisted many a shot and rifle
ball. However, Franklin, son of B. J. Montgomery, found his
weak spot one day, and sent the fatal lead to the monster's forehead,
and relieved the neighborhood of their dreaded terror.

For overshoes, Mr. Landes tells us they would tan the skins of
the wolf and ^v^ild cat and work them up, and they made good
shoes, too.

Alexander McKnight had a horse mill here, where the settlers
could get all kinds of grain ground, but the bolting had to be done
by hand. This mill was located on section 1, Elm Grove township,
three-quarters of a mile from the south line of Groveland. There
was another mill in Elm Grove, driven by tread-wheel power,
using horses or oxen. Bolting was also done by hand here. Both
mills did good work. The latter, Mr. Shipman's mill, was running
in 1830, how long previous, not known. A negro by the name of
Mose was the miller. A fuller sketch of this historic individual
may be found in the history of Sand Prairie. The other of the three
mills in the county, at this time, was a small water mill in Dillon
township. This did the bolting by water power ; it could only run,
however, in wet seasons. In an early day there was a saw-mill on
sec. 27. It was first run by horse-power, afterwards by steam. It
was built by Charles Hinnian, but changed hands many times after-
wards. Others have been built and flourished for a time, but only
one remains, and it is in the north part of the township.

The streams of the township are the South, Middle and North
forks of Lick creek, named from the Deer licks of salt springs. At
the lick on the Middle Fork, Mr. B. J. Montgomery found the
skeleton of two large bucks, that had locked their horns together,
and unable to separate themselves died. He kept these horns for
many years. This same gentleman also describes the Indian bury-
ing places of this section. A pen was made about the size of a cof-
fin, of split timber about four inches square, nicely locked together
at the corner, joints all very close. These were covered with
bark. A hole was cut through either side of this pen, one for the
good spirit to go in, and the other for the evil one to go out. These
when first seen were somewhat decayed. The bones, beads and an
old hat were all that was visible in the enclosure, where, evidently,


an Indian woman, with a child abont four years old, were laid to
rest. As many as half-dozen of these pens were seen on ths east
bluff, near Wesley City, section 6.

The pioneers had many novel rules that are lost to the present
generation. For instance, rules for trailing Indians and wild beasts.
The course taken was known by the way the grass leaned, or had
been pressed by the foot. The Indian travels with his toes turned
in, the white man with his pointing outward. The panther, wolf
and other like animals make a hollowing track, with grass gently
bent. The deer, with its small sharp hoof, cuts or makes a short
bend in the grass. These points were all noted. Children were
also taught to do many things whereby their course might be fol-
lowed, should they be captured and carried away by the Indians.
One was to break spears of g'rass, leaning them the way they were
going. Also to tie as many knots in strings as there were Indians
in their company, dropping them in their path. This was done, to
show the force of their captors.

The oldest house in Groveland is owned by Thomas Hancock,
section 27. Some twenty years ago it was moved from the bottoms
near Wesley City, and is said to be over fifty years old. It is made
of logs and looks quite pioneer-like, as also the present owner, who
believes in old-time ways and customs, and has never been on a
railway car. Although he does not believe in sewing machines and
many other modern improvements, yet we see he has a modern
mowing machine. Still he is of that liberal turn of mind which
leaves every one, without let or hindrance, to enjoy his own chosen

The first sermon, it is said, was preached in 1<S34, by Rev. Neele
Johnson, but Joseph Landes tells us he heard Rev. Wm. Brown
preach a sermon in 1831, on a farm on section 25, near where the
cemetery now is. The first church organization was by IVIormon's,
in 1831 or '32. There are five churches now in the township.

Fird M. E. Church.— The first M. E. class was formed in 1840,
at Nicholas Burroughs' residence. Rev. Zadock Hall formed the
class. In the early part of the winter of the same year, Reuben H.
Moffatt being the preacher in charge, a protracted meeting was held
at the tavern house, built by Homer Roberts, at which sixty were
converted, most of whom joined the M. E. Church. The First M. E.
Church is located on lot 7, block 4; is a frame, erected in 1848, and
cost $1,500. It was organized by Zadock Hall. The Church con-
tributes $800 per year. There are in the Sunday-school 75 scholars.


Presbyierlan Church. — Mrs. Jane Harding, wife of Alijah Hard-
ing, formed the first Sunday-school in Groveland township, in 1834,
in her own house, which was a double log cabin in the north edge
of Pleasant Grove. She seemed to be the right person to do this
work. She stepped forth to the task, and did her work well. Rev.
Flavel Bascom came into the neighborhood soon after and formed
a Presbyterian Church, which organization continued till about
1855, when it was abandoned. Moses Pettengill and wife, Jan. 20,
1837, deeded the ground for the erection of the Church edifice.

Zions Church of the Evangelical Association of North America. —
The church edifice is located on sec. 17, and is a frame 36 by 56,
and cost $3,000. It was erected in 1876. William Kolp was first
pastor. The trustees are John Roedee, Frederick Ramige, Simon
Swartz, Nicholas Eller, Joseph Strickfaden. Present membership,
121 ; value of church building, $5,000; contribution $800 per year.

Mennonite Church is located on sec. 26. It is a good frame 30 by
50; was built in 1878, at a cost of $1,100. The pastors who served
were, Peter Hochstadler, Nicholas Roth and Michael Mosselmen.

The old Mennonite congregation have no church building, but
meet around in houses of members. Andrew Ropp is Bishop, and
Peter Ropp, Daniel Roth, John Bachman and John Birkey, minis-
ters. This denomination has a large Church at Hopedale, and also
at Washington. The people of these congregations design erecting
a house of worship soon.

The village of Groveland, which is located on sections 26 and 27,
was laid out by Isaac Roberts, May 30, 1836.

Among the leading and representative men of the township we
would mention the following :

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 46 of 79)