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 63 of 79)
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in South Carolina ; they took i)art in the struggle for independence
in the Revolutionary AVar. Gurdin W. emigrated to New York
when it was a wilderness, his son, Joseph, the father of the subject
of this sketch, died at his son's residence in Sand Prairie townshij),
in 1862, at the age of 72, having ex})erienced pioneer life in three
States. Mr. W.'s first wife was Adeline S. Davis, of New York.
She is deceased. His present wife is Anna Eliza Codding, of Sum- ,
mit county, Ohio. Mr. W. is the father of — Emma J., born Feb.
5, '50; Esther L., Dec. 14, '54, died Oct. 1, '63; George D., Nov.
9, '59 ; Adeline A., Oct. 4, '63 ; Nettie M., Feb. 21, '65 ; Gurdin


A., Jan. 18, '67; Byron M., Jan. 28/70; Alta O., Feb. 13, '74.
P. O., Green Valley.


W.J.Thompson 1850 John Schaffer 1868-69

Lewis Prettvman 1851-55 Moses R. Meeker 1870-72

James Hanison 1856-61 James H. Kilpatrick 1873-74

James Hampson 1863-64 Jesse Black 1875-77

Henry A. Sweet 1865 John Meyers 1878-79

Jonathan Totten 1866-67


William Dickson 1854-60 Samuel Renner 1869-71

William Woodruff 1861 Baltz P. Melick 1872-77

James Hampson, Jr 1863-64 Samuel Ornofield 1878

John C. Edwards 1865-68 Samuel Bradfield 1879


William Woodrow, Jr 1854 William Edwards 1864-68

David W. Ayres 1855 Jesse Black 1869

William Edwards 1856 J. W. Burhans 1870-72

Alex. McCrea 1857-58 Henry A. Sweet. 1873

William Edwards 1859 Anthony Fisher 1874-75

James Kilpatrick 1860-61 Enoch Runvon 1876-78

Moses R. Meeker 1863 P. E. Ripper 1879


David G. Williams 1854 Hubbard Latham 1869

James Hampson 1855 Samuel Renner 1870

David G. Williams 1856 H. Latham 1871

Lewis Shelton 1857 Samuel Renner 1872

Abraham Champion 1858 John Meyers 1873

Benj. Priddy 1859-60 Hubbard Latham 1874

Thomas S. McKasson 1861 I. N. Munson 1875

James H. Killpatrick 1863-64 S. M. Woodrow 1876

Thomas Schureman 1865-66 Peter Ripper 1877-78

Lewis H.Burns 1867 David F. Lawler 1879

William Woodruff. 1868


The soil of this township is not unlike that of Cincinnati, and
the history of its early settlement is similar. Joseph Otfutt erected
a cabin on the border of Spring lake in 1839, and moved in the
following year. The first school-house was built in 1849, on sec.
11, range 7, 23 north. Mr. Offutt was to the expense of getting
the shingles and lumber for this house. The neighbors joined in
and hauled the logs for this building. Daniel Hawkins was the
first to wield the rod in this school-house, the same year. The
children of all the settlers attended. The first sermon preached in
the township was by a Mormon by the name of Woods. This
meeting was held at the house of a man named Grover. Quite a




number of the neighbors went to hear him, not knowing that he
was a Mormon, and they were prejudiced against that people. Two
weeks thereafter he preached by appointment again, but no one went
to hear him. This finished his ministration here. Louis White
tells, that when he settled here, he had but few neighbors, and no
church nearer than Long Pine Church, but he had preaching in his
house occasionally, both in English and German. The nearest mill
was seventeen miles away ; they would start in the early morning
with a load of corn and wheat, and get back the next morning.
The first school in his neighborhood was held at what is now No. 4.
The first teacher's name was Hoagland. This house was used for
school, Suuday-school, preaching, town-meetings, and elections.
The first regular Methodist meeting was began in this house, the
preacher being Rev. Joseph Hart.

The first church organized was the Dutch Reformed Church in
1856. The first death was that of John Owen Offutt, Oct. 10,
1841. The first marriage was that of Chas. Seiwell to Deborah
Claton, in 1842. Among the earliest settlers in the township were
Valentine Haas, Chas. Seiwell, Maxon Claton, James Flemings,
Daniel Devore, and the McLeashes and Hibbards. Mr. Christian
Hermann bought a land warrant of an old veteran of the Mexican
war, named John H. Banker, and settled on the land in 1851. It
is the farm David W. Hermann now lives on. He tells us that
this part of the county, to a great extent, was used as a public range
for stock for many years after the first settlement of the county.
The soil was then regarded as not desirable on account of its sandy
nature, consequently, it was not settled as rapidly as some other
portions of the county. There were other drawbacks besides the
soil. There was no bridge across the Mackinaw, and the settlers
had to depend upon the slow-going ferry of John Bequeaith, and
when the water was high, it was . impossible to cross even on this.
But as the people learned of the productiveness of the soil, it was
rapidly settled. A good iron bridge has taken the place of the
ferry. He also tells us that game was plentiful here. He has seen,
within rifle-shot of where he now lives, twenty-five deer in one
drove. Prairie wolves were numerous, and timber wolves were
often seen. These would destroy pigs, calves, sheep, and other
domestic animals.

A terrible tornado passed through the township in 1859, carrying
destruction in its path. It destroyed Mr. Hermann's fine orchard


of 150 trees, leaving but one standing. It destroyed corn-bins,
barns, out-houses, carried off wagons, etc. It carried oiF a spring
wagon which was never heard of afterwards ; destroyed fowls, many
of which, when found, had no feathers on them at all, and were as
clean as though they had been picked. Mr. Christian Hermann re-
ceived an injury from a flying timber, from the eifects of which he
never fully recovered. He was a large, portly man and healthy,
and during the prevalence of the cholera at Pekin, he took upon
himself the care of many a poor suiferer of that dreaded disease.
He was fearless, and although constantly with it, did not catch it


The following account of the disastrous storm of May 26, 1859,
as referred to above, is gleaned from a letter of Dr. C. C. Hodgland,
of Spring Lake, to the Tazewell Register:

"We had a refreshing shower during the night of the 26th, and the early
morning wrapped the hills in dense fog. About 9 o'clock rain began to fall
which continueil at intervals till mid-day. About 4 o'clock our attention was
attracted to a very dark and heavy cloud which arose out of the southwest,
and soon began to show the shape and indications of a waterspout — from the
dark cloud above the eart spiral tubes of vapor, varying and shifting in a
circle, accompanied with vivid streaks of lightning ami heavy thunder in the
distance. Soon the cloud advanced rapidly with a gyrating motion, appearing
very grand and awful, but filling our minds with apprehension as it ap-
proached with the rapiclity of the wind. Rev. Mr. Brumstead's house is about
a mile and a half from mine and it was doubtful whether the cloud was pass-
ing east of his house or over it ; but all doubt was dissipated in a moment
more as the tornado struck his barn and smashed it in a moment, scattering
the timbers and enclosures, and carrying them to great height in the air, whirl-
ing and tossing them as if they were feathers. A young man in the barn hear-
ing the roaring ran out and was overturned at once, and rolled over and over
thirty or forty yards before he could regain his feet. The farm wagon was
taken next and dei)0sited, the fore wheels with the tongue, three hundred
yards from where it stood, while the hind wheels were carried one hundred
yards further. Then a small granary was crushed like an egg shell ; a two-
rowed corn planter was hurled fifty yards over the ruins of the granary and
deposited against a shed in the yard which next shared the fate of the granary,
anil the well-curb was lifted from its place and hurled against the house and
broken in pieces. The kitchen was next in order, and instantly unroofed, the
shingles flying in every direction and the fragments covering the i)rairie for
hundreds of yards with cloth and household fui'niture. Trees were twisted
down and flower gardens and shrubs made a desolation. The fence was broken
thoroughly and then across the prairie the tornado marked its path with the
ruins of fences and buildings. George B. VanNortwick's buildings were next
in range. Here fences, outhouses, well-curb, boxes, barrels, stove furnitui-e
and clothing were at once flying in very direction. The house-door was burst
open, window panes and sash smashed in, and the south lialf of the roof torn
bodily from its place and sent flying over the prairie. Mr. Hermann's fence
was extensively torn up, an out-building demolished, and the house moved
from its foundation several inches.

"It is wonderful that no lives were lost. The minister's four horses were
in the barn, and were covered with the ruins, but Avere taken out uninjured.
In his house he was struck by a falling rafter, but only slightly bruised. Mr.
VanNortwick and his daughter, in trying to close the door, were thrown in
violence across the room but only bruised."


From the earliest period of the county's history down to the
present time, we find that the loss of life by accident has been most
remarkably frequent. Scarcely a week has passed but some home
has been darkened by the gloom cast over it by the loss of one of
its inmates. One of the saddest of these painful accidents occurred
in this township in October, 1865.

A party of young people embarked on a boating and fishing
excursion on Spring lake, unfortunately, in an old leaky boat,
which cost the lives of three young ladies. The party was composed
of Joshua G. Claton, Silas McLean, the Misses Julia and Susan
Van Bonthusen, and William Van Benthusen, of Bloomfield, Iowa,
Miss Mary ]\Ioore, of same place. Miss Mattie King, and the Misses
Amanda and Bina Claton,of Spring Lake. Happy and jovial were
the party as they left the shore in their fated boat, but ere they had
got sixty yards from shore it began to leak. It grew worse and
worse rapidly and before anything could be done toward returning
to the shore a hole was broken in the bottom of the boat and it
filled immediately. McLean, becoming excited jumped out and
swam ashore, but in doing so upset the boat, precipitating the entire
party into the water. At this critical moment the presence of mind
of Mr. Claton prevented the six young ladies from all going to a
watery grave. He remained with them, directing them to hold on
to the side of the boat. Three of them, with Willie, managed to
retain their hold on the skiff, and Mr. Claton shoved the boat
ashore and saved three. Although he made strenuous efforts to
save the other three, they went doMai before he could rescue
them. The unfortunate ladies were the Misses Van Benthusen and
Miss Bina Claton. The sad catastrophe cast a gloom over the en-
tire neighborhood, which remained for many a day, and even at
present it is referred to only with sighs and tears by those who
.were living there at that time. The grief-stricken parents of the
young ladies, had their bodies removed to their home in Iowa, for

Mr. Benj. Priddy, of this township, was the first to introduce the
Osage orange hedge in the county. About the year 1846, when he
was in Texas, where this tree grows in a wild state, he saw its qual-
ities as a fence. It was there known as " boycdare." The timber
is used for the purpose of manufacturing wagons, furniture, etc.,
where a fine-grained, tough timber is needed, being susceptible of
very fine polish. Another peculiarity of the wood is, that it will


neither swell or shrink. Mr. P. sent home seed to his friends, for
them to experiment on its growing in this climate. Their trials
proved eminently successful, and in 1852, when he came back to
this county, he brought 500 bushels of the seed and introduced it
generally. It is unnecessary to say anything of the usefulness of
the Osage orange for fences, if properly cared for, or to the extent
to which it is used, as it is so general, all of our readers are acquainted
witli those facts.

This country, in an early day, was infested by bands of horse-
thieves, who were regularly and strongly organized. In these bands
were some daring, reckless fellows, and an account of their exploits
is exciting, even in detail. At the close of the career of these des-
peradoes a book was written recounting their adventures and detail-
ing their crimes. This was called " The Banditti of the Prairie."
Abraham Woods had an experience with a member of one of these
bands in 1853. A very gentlemanly appearing man stopped at his
house for dinner. He was sociable, agreeable in conversation, and,
withal, a clever fellow. He claimed to have plenty of money, and said
he was on his way to California. He left, and a few days thereafter
again appeared and called for breakfast, remarking as he entered,
"Treat a dog well and he is sure to return." He was such a fluent
talker, so intelligent and agreeable, that Mr. W. was glad to see him.
He soon left. Mr. W. observed that he had a sharp eye, which
could not be caught for an instant. On coming to the house that
morning he passed the barn and looked at two spans of fine horses,
a gray and a bay team. He expressed much admiration for the
grays, and made inquiries about their gentleness, &c. Mr. W.
replied that they were his " darlings," and were perfect pets.

A week passed, when Mr. W. was awakened during the night by
the running and whinnying of a horse, as if it had lost its mate.
He sent his man out, telling him one of his horses was loose. He
soon returned with two letters, one had been stuck up on the door,
the other was found on the ground. He also reported one of the
gray horses gone. One of the letters read as follows :

"Oh, avick! shurc and its meself that's trying to make a dacent outfit to
go home to Sarah and the childer. As Col. Doniphan said in the Mexican war,
I came across your ranche and made bowld to take into my sarvice two Ille-
gant Gray travellers I found on your premises. I wunst thought of calling
and telling yer Honor what I was after transacting. But thinking it would be
to bad intirely to be Robbing a dacent gentlemon of his Darlings and sweet
sleep at the same time I mean, I hope and trust your Darlings can travel
Handsomely, for I shall be after putting them to their trumps, for a while at
least, for it's no more than likely you'll be after sending the dirthy spalpeen


of a constable after me. Bad cess to the likes of him, He'd be asking my
name and other unconstitutional questions, for what does Will Shakspeare say,

' That which we call the Rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.'

"So you perceive that this settles the point at i.ssue. Perhaps you would
be mighty well obliged should I tell you my name, place of Residence, and
where I am from. AVell, yer honor, I am from every place but this, and shall
be from this Just as quick as your Darling's legs can carry me. Now to con-
clude. Fare ye well, and still'forever fare ye well, Hoping your Darlings you'l
see never, before I can them swap or sell. Acushla Mavourneen."

The above letter goes to show that the writer was undoubtedly
the stranger who had been so hospitably received a few days before.
As soon as this letter was read, and Mr. W. found his horse gone,
he notified his neighbors. Soon a large number of his neighbors
assembled and prepared for the chase, but ere they had fairly started
the stolen horse returned. It was evident that the thief got alarmed
before he had fairly started. He attempted to take both horses, but
one had broken loose.

It was evident from the other letter found, that there was a regu-
lar systematic gang of horse-thieves running from here to Texas.
It was in a sealed envelope, and was directed to Frederick Gamble,
Galvaston, Texas, forwarded by Patrick Dougherty, and contained
a promisory note for $220, on David C. Jones, of Texas. He states
in this letter that, " Patrick and Jim have gone in the neighborhood
of Pekin to make a raid on fine horses, which they would likely get
away with, as Patrick was a good engineer, and knew the country.
They would stop the first night with a friend on Salt creek, thence
to W. Davis', near Carlinville, from there to Chester, where they
knew the ferryman, who would take them across in the night, thence
proceed with due dilligence to Texas." ^

The town of Spring Lake, which is located on sec. IG, 22 north,
7 west, was laid out May 15, 1862, by Thomas G. Conant. Haines-
ville is on the P., P. & J. Railroad, on sec. 2, 6 west, 22 north.

Spring Lake M. E. Church. — The church edifice is located on sec.
31, of town 24 north, and 6 west, and in size is 36 by 50 feet, with
basement story. It is one of the largest and finest church structres
located in the rural district, that Central Illinois can boast of. It
was erected in 1872,- at a cost of $3,500. A class was organized in
this neighborhood as long ago as thirty years. Meetings were held
at school-houses and at private houses, until their building was
erected. The first pastor after the completion of the duirch was
Rev. Williams ; the present pastor is Rev. Boggess. The Trustees
of the Church are Eli Haas, D. C. Orr, Abraham Woods, Lewis

638 HISTORY or tazewell county.

AVhite, and Mr. Hammer. Abraham Woods is class leader; and
Eli Hass, Jesse Scott, Abraham Woods, John B. Lowry, Edward
Reader, and others, are Stewards. There is a good school in con-
nection with the Church, of which Isaac Larish is Superintendent.
The membership of the Church is about 40, which is also about the
attendance at school.

Spring Garden Dutch Reformed Church. — This is an old well
established congregation, being organized in 1856. As far back as
twenty-six years ago, this people began to hold public religious
services in this township. Some years thereafter a neat edifice for
worship was erected on sec. 5, 23 north, and 6 west. It is a good
frame, and although the congregation has no regular pastor at pres-
ent, yet is in a good healthy condition. Rev. Gilmore was the last

We have occasion, in giving a more detailed history of the town-
ship, to speak personally of some of its leading and representative
residents, among whom we find the persons named below :

Frank E. Adams is a native of West Haven, Vt., where he was
born Aug. 15, 1852. His parents were Edward and Calista Adams ;
the Adams are lenial descendents of the Pilgrims. They came to
America about tw^o years after the "May Flower" landed. Mr.
Frank Adams, the subject of this sketch, took a scientific course of
studies at Ft. Edwards, N. Y. He follows the occupation of
school teaching ; he has taught five school years of nine months each.
He was united in marriage. May 10, 1876, to Miss Mary G. Emens,
a native of Dayton, Middlesex Co., N. J. She is a daughter of
Abraham Emens and Anna Van Arsdale, his wife, natives of Mid-
dlesex and Hunterton Cos., N. J. They came to this county, April
26, 1866, and settled in Pekin, but now live in Spring Lake town-
ship. Mr. A. is connected with the Reform Church of America.
In politics, is a Republican. Post-office, Manito.

John Barnes was born in Fulton Co., 111., in 1835. His parents,
John and Susan (Chandler) Barnes, natives of Kentucky, died in
Mason Co. His father died in 1843, his mother in 1853. The
subject of this sketch was first married to Charity Ide, of New
York. She died in 1863, having one child, William Barnes. In
1868, Mr. B., was again married, this time to Ellen Lawson, of
Sangamon Co., 111. Mr. Barnes, memory carries him back to the
times when wolves were very numerous through this part of the
State. They became very bold, even so daring as to chase a small
dog through the house. Mr. B. was in the war of the Rebellion.
He enlisted in Feb., 1865, in 148th 111. infantry, under Col. H. H.
Wilsie. He was in Co. C, and served till the close of the war.
Post-office, Pretty man.






Harman Henri/ Beimfohr. John Henry and Mary (Hokanip)
Beimfohr were his parents. H. H. was born in Minclen, Prussia,
Oct. 30, 1842; was educated in the schools of his native country.
He has held tlie office of School Director. ^Ir. B. was united in
marriao:e, April 2, 1808, to Miss Mary Ann Bortzfield, a daui^hter
of William and Catherine (Musseliyan) Bortzfield. They were
natives of Penn. Mr. B. is now living in Osborn, Kansas. Mrs.
B. died in 1859. The children of Mr. Beimfohr are,-Mjiry^nn
Catherine, born Oct. 22, 1869; Fanny Wilhelmina, born Augr 2^),
'71; William H., Dec. 9, '72'r Mary Magdalena, May 28,^ '75;
Lucy Wilhelmina, born March 2, '77, died Sept. 21, ,78. Mrs.JB.
is a member of the Evangelical Church. Mr. B. acts with the
Democratic party. P. O., address, Prettyman.

John Bernhcvd Beimfohr was born in Minden, Prussia, in 1836.
His parents were John Henry and Mary (Hokamp) Beimfohr.
John B. came to this county in 1854; was educated in the schools
of his native country. He is a farmer ; in politics is a Democrat
He was united in matrimony in Oct., 1856, to Mary Wilhelmina
Baker. They have been blessed with six children — August, born
Oct. 27, '54;" Mary Ann, born Dec. 25, '61; Martha Theresa, Nov.
19, '65; Emily, July 29, '68; John Harmon Henry, Feb. 5, '72;
George Frederick, March 21, '77. Mr. and Mrs. B. both united
with the Evangelical Church in 1867. Post-office, Prettyman.

David P. Black was born in Blair Co., Penn., in 1842. His
parents, George and Rebecca (Mauly) Black, were both natives of
the same county. He came to this county in 1858; received his
education at Green Valley, this county, and has been generally suc-
cessful in business. He was joined in marriage with Somantha H.
Marshall, in 1865. They have one girl — Annie Laura, born in
August, 1866. He enlisted, in 1862, in the 85th 111. Inf , and
served as musician. He was in the battles of Perrysville, Stone
River, INIission Ridge, Atlanta, Jonesboro', and all the battles of
Sherman's army on its march to Savannah. Post-office, Manito.

WiJIiam Ira Callaway, farmer, was born in C-ampbell Co., Va.,
in 1826. He came to the county in 1851, and to the State, with
his parents, Isaiah and licttice Callaway, in 1836. He had only a
common school education ; has served as Justice of the Peace, School
Trustee and School Director. In 1851 he married Ruth A. Lowry,
who died April 1,1878. She bore him six children — Siralda S.,
Sarah B(41, Rhoda J., Louis F., Henry M. and Fannie A." Three
of these are married and live in this township, not three miles from
the parental roof Siralda, w^fe of Wm. McFarland, is living about
two miles away, while Rhoda and Sarah, wives of Isaac Schinick
and John McFarland, respectively, live but a short distance from
their father. His present wife, Catharine Sherrer, he married Nov.
10, 1878. Mr. C. has been a member of the M. E. Church for 13
years. Post-office, ^lanito.

/. G. Claton, farmer, residing upon sec. 27, township 24 north,



range 6 ; was born in Shelby Co., Ind., in 1844. His parents, James
and Sarah Ann (Guile) Claton, were both natives of Ohio. Mr.
Claton was educated in the common schools of Iowa. He came to
this county in 1865. In 1870 he married Sarah E, Vanorstrand,
who has borne him two children — Thomas A., born Dec. 28, 1870,
and Cora, born Oct. 23, 1872. Post-office, Prettyman.

llrs. Margaret Claton. — One of the earliest settlers of the town-
ship is Mrs. Margaret Claton, who, at this writing, April 13, 1879,
is just 86 years old. She is a native of Georgia. Her parents,
John and Anna (Davidson) Gaston, moved to Virginia before she
was two years old, and subsequently to Ohio. While living in that
State, and on July 4, 1812, she was married to Maxon Claton.
They came to this county in 1836, locating in Sand Prairie, and in
1838 moved on the farm where she now lives. Her husband died
Aug. 17, 1839. Mrs. Claton had a family of ten children, only one
of whom is now living. For an old lady, nearly four score and ten,
she is remarkably quick and smart, and has a good memory. To
hear her relate her experiences in early times, is almost like reading
a thrilling romance of border life. At one time all her fences and
her wheat crop was burned by the prairie fire. She hired a man,

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 63 of 79)