S. B. (Simeon Baldwin) Chittenden.

History of Henry county, Illinois : it's taxpayers and voters; containing also, a biographical directory, a condensed history of the state; map of the county; a business directory...etc online

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Online LibraryS. B. (Simeon Baldwin) ChittendenHistory of Henry county, Illinois : it's taxpayers and voters; containing also, a biographical directory, a condensed history of the state; map of the county; a business directory...etc → online text (page 12 of 78)
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not soon be exhausted, but will, as they now are, continue to be a source of
wealth and material prosperity to the county.

Another heavy coal deposit lies in the southeastern part of the county
about Galva and Kewanee. Between this and the Cleveland and Mineral Creek
mines, and over a diagonal strip across the county from the northwest to the
southeast corner, which averages from ten to fifteen miles in width, coal has
been found in many places. The seams, however, are thinner than at the two
corners. Some of the shafts have been abandoned, and some never were worked


at all. I propose to briefly notice some of the coal mines discovered in this
portion of the county, before describing the important coal mines about Galva
and Kewanee.

About one and a half miles northwest of Geneseo, there is an abandoned
shaft, where a coal seam from one and a half to three feet thick was found at a
depth of about sixty feet. This, I believe, is the old Allen's mine. Indurated
clay, limestone and sandstone were all penetrated in sinking the shaft. The
coal was of good quality ; bright iridescent in color ; hard, even fracture, and
rhomboidal cleavage. The seam was considered too thin for profitable working.

At Atkinson, the next station east of Geneseo, on the Rock Island and
Chicago Railroad, the well dug to supply the large steam mill standing near the
depot, passed through a seam of coal three feet thick, and twenty feet below the
surface. One-half mile east of this well there is a shaft still worked, out of
which has been taken about ten thousand bushels of coal. The seam is here
three and one-half feet thick, and twenty-two feet below the surface, and is
operated by a horse gin. There is in this locality a good slate roof over the
coal, ten feet thick, and it is underlaid by a bed of fire clay.

About four miles northwest of Cambridge, in the Township of Oscoe, Mr.
A. A. Crane has put down a coal shaft, striking a seam from thirty-two to thirty-
six inches thick, at a depth of eighty-seven feet. The seam appears to thin out
towards the north and thicken towards the south.

On the farm of Samuel Dixon, in Munson Township, eight miles east of
Cambridge, coal is mined to some extent, the seam being the same as at Atkin-
son, and twenty-four feet below the surface. Two miles south of Cambridge,
a shaft was being put down, when I was there. A boring previously made was
reported to have indicated coal, at a depth which I do not now remember.

Coal is mined in this vicinity about Round Grove, equally distant east from
Cambridge and north from Galva, and in considerable quantities. It is hauled
in wagons to Cambridge and over the surrounding prairies, and thus finds a ready
market at the mines.

In a few more places over this broad strip of country between Cleveland
and Kewanee, coal has been discovered ; but sufficient has been said to indi-
cate the general character of the seams here mined. I come now to the most
extensively worked locality in the county, and perhaps the heaviest deposit of
coal within its limits. Galva and Kewanee, both in the southeastern corner of
the county, but a few miles apart, are widely known as coal-mining localities ;
but at the latter place the mines are worked to much the greatest extent. Five
or six shafts are put down at Galva, known as the shafts of Messrs. Knox &
Co., Cummings, Johnson, Lindsey and Barnum. The following section, made
at one of them, illustrates the character of all. They are in a group, within a
radius of a mile or two, and are as much alike as coal shafts usually are, pene-
trating the same seam, and put down near together through essentially the same
formations and superficial deposits.


1. Yellowish drift clay .32 feet.

2. Hard rock, bottom softer and sandy 12

3. Soapstone, top light color, bottom dark color 14

4. Black or dark colored slate 2

5. Coal, with clay seams No. 6 4

6. Fire clay, about 9

The coal here is of good quality, and similar to the Kewanee coal. The
seam is probably identical with coal No. 6, of the general section of the Illinois
Coal Measures. At Galva the clay and shale partings are not so well marked as
at other points, and at some of the shafts indications of cannel coal may be
seen along the top of the seam.


At Kewanee, much capital is employed in the coal mining business. Dur-
ing the past year (1867) fifty-three thousand tons were raised here, of which
thirty-two thousand were shipped on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Rail-
road to various points, fourteen thousand were used by the railroad company,
and seven thousand were used for home consumption in Kewanee and neighbor-
hood. The revenue thence derived, amounted, during the year, to over one
hundred and forty thousand dollars. The productive mines are within a radius
of three miles north and east of the town. Within this small area, some eight
shafts have been put down, and twenty drifts driven in. The shafts are sunk
from the general level or face of the country ; the drifts are driven upon the out-
crops in some deep ravines, passing up from a good-sized brook three or four
miles north of the town. The face of the country, among these mines, is rough,
and covered with a scattering growth of barren oak timber.

The shafts are operated by the following companies and individuals: The
Platt Coal Company, Messrs. Walker & Co., Breckens & King, McCartey &
Kirby, K. Murchison, T. C. Bowerman, H. Martin, W. S. Carnly, and one or two
others of less note. Of these the Platt Coal Mining Company, whose mine
embraces about one thousand acres of land, located one mile east of the village,
does by far the largest business, and by some arrangement handles and markets
all the cjal dug in all the mines in this vicinity. Their shaft is near the railroad
track, and they have a very convenient mode of loading the coal into the cars.
At the depot, there is also a large elevator-shaped building, used for the purpose
of feeding passing locomotives with their supplies of coal. A section of these
.lines, made at the Platt Coal Company's shaft, is as follows :

1. Soil, subsoil and yellow clay 5 feet.

2. Oily looking quicksand 20

3. Soapstone, light and dark color 25

4. Upper coal seam No. 7'. 2j

5. Fire clay 10

6. Soapstone - ?

7. Sandstone, same as at Galva 30

8. Middle coal seam No. 6 4

9. Alternating soapstone and sandstone -_ . 80

10. Carbonaceous shales and coal traces (No. 4?) - A few inches.

The four and a half foot vein is the same as the Galva seam, and is, prob-
ably, identical with the upper seam at La Salle, and with coal No. 6 of the
general section of the State. The upper seam, some forty-two and a half feet
above the lower, is perhaps No. 7 of the same section. The lower eighty feet
of the foregoing section was prospected by boring an artesian well in the bottom
of the Coal Company's shaft, and ought to be regarded with some doubt as to
whether it shows correctly the indications of coal in the bottom. The bed of
quicksand or shifting sand, No. 2 of above section, was struck near the depot,
in a shaft now abandoned.

The supply of coal at Kewanee and vicinity is very large, and will not
become exhausted for many years. Newly discovered mines will replace those
worked out, and the revenue derived from this deposit of mineral wealth will
build Kewanee into a place of consequence.

In Norwood's report upon Illinois coal, I find a description and analysis
of cannel and bituminous coal, taken from the same seam, at a place then called
" Serrell's Mine," which it may be well to insert, in this place, for convenience
of reference :


"Thickness of the bituminous portion of the bed, four feet, underlaid with fire clay. Coal
bright and dull in alternating layers ; hard, compact fracture tolerably even. Contains thick
seams of carbonate of lime, which cross each other at nearly right angles, causing the coal to
break into slightly irregular cubes. Has sulphuret of iron disposed both horizontally and verti-


cally. The layers of coal are thick and separated with carbonaceous clod. Coke very bright
and good, but swells in coking.

Specific gravity 1.232

Loss in coking 42.2

Total weight of coke 57.8


Moisture 9.0

Volatile matter . _, 33-2

Carbon in coke 52.8

Ashes (gray) 5.0

Carbon in the coal . 52.2


Thickness of the bed from eight inches to one foot ; overlaid with black slate ; underlaid
with four feet of bituminous coal. No analysis of this coal has yet been made ; but judging from
its texture and general appearance, it does not differ from the Wataga cannel coal. The coal is
dull, hard, compact ; fracture slightly conchoidal ; layers 'thick ; contains bright, yellow, vertical
plates of sulphuret of iron."

NOTE. "While engaged during the past Spring In examining the coal deposits of Rock Island, I was
Induced to extend my examinations into Henry County, in part to confirm observations previously made in
adjoining territory, and partly to satisfy myself as to the general development of our workable coal seams
along the northwestern confines of tlie Illinois coal field.

Co lencing at the northwest corner of the county, coal No. 1 of the Illinois River section is opened and

worked at various points in the bluffs of Rock and Green Rivers, as at Cleveland and near Colona, as show n by
Mi-. Shaw, in the sections given on the preceding pages, and it presents the same general characters here as at
Carbon Clitf, Coal Valley, and other points in Rock Island County. It is overlaid by a peculiar dark-gray
stliclons limestone, and iis accompanying band of flint or chert, that enables any one to identify it without
difficulty. This seam is worked by the Messrs. Perry, at Briar limit, near Green River, in Henry County, by a
tunnel driven into [he hill side. The coal is somewhat variable in thickness, and is sometimes cut off altogether
by what the miners term a. horse-back.-' About loity feet below the coal the shaly limesloues of the
Hamilton group outcrop but a short distance to the northward of the mines. A curious phenomenon was
observed at ihese mines in a remarkable geode-like cavern or pocket, occurring partly In the coal, and extend-
ing into the fiie clay beneath. The cavity was ovate in shape, and about ten feet long by five leet in width and
two or ihree feet in depth, and surrounded by a solid crust. The inclosed caviry was tilled with water and gas.
and when the pick broke tliiongli the crust an explosion followed like the firing ot a blast. On breaking into
the cavity it was found to be thickly set with magnifii -entf crystals of dogtooth calcite, from six to eighteen
inches in lenglli, the points all dii ected towards the center of the cavity like the ciystals on the inner surface
of a gende. unfortunately ninny ol these fine crystals were broken up and destroyed in removing them ; but a
few were preserved, and 1 was lortunate in securing some of them for the State Cabinet.

On tiie S. \V. qr. of Sec. 21, T. 17. R- 1. coal seam No. 2 lias been oi.ened near the top of the bluff and
Immediately under the bowlder clay. The coal is 18 inches thick, and is overlaid by four or live feet of day
shale, forming hut a poor roof. This was llie first exiiosure of No. 2 that we met with in Henry County. The
ooal was umleilaid by a lew feet of fire clay and clay shale, and not sufficiently exposed to be accurately
measured, which was followed by a bed of bluish-gray septaria two or three feet thick, exactly like that found
below the Colchester coal in McDonough County. This coal appeared to be from 35 to torty feet above No. 1 at
this point.

At the Mineral Creek mines I found coal No. 1 worked in a shaft sixty feet in depth, and sunk in the
valley of a small creek, and about one bundled and fifty yards southeast of the shaft the same coal outcrops
seventy-five feet above its level in the shaft. In a boi ing made at this point below ihe coal they reported 7 feet
ol fire clay and 40 ieet of shales, partly bine and partly gray, with a streak of coal fiom two to four inches thick
about half way 10 the boliom. Some layers of saudstbne. and one or more thin bands of iron ore, were passed
through towards the bolton of the boring.

At the Mauch-Chunck mines, abotu six miles west of Geneseo, coal No. 1 Is worked jnst above the level of
the creek by tunneling into the hill along its outcrop. It is here much thinner than it usually occurs in this

Rart of the county, being reported as van ing in thickness from two feet to three feet six inches. No. 2 is tonnd
ere outcropping about forty feet above No 1. A tunnel has been run into it, and considerable coal taken out,
though the seam is here only from to hfteen indies in thickness.

At Geneseo a coal st-atn crops out along the little run on the west side of the town, and is worked by Mr.
May nard in a shaft sunk from a higher level near the outcrop. The beds passed through in this shaft give the
following section :

Ft. In.

No. 1 Soil and drift clay 20

No. 2 Hard rock, (piobably limestone) 1 3

No. 3 Sandsloue 5

No. 4 Blue shale 3

No. 5 Coal 3

No. li-llarddark shale 6

No. 7 Hard rock (concretion ?) 4

No. (j Clay shale, or tire clay 1 3

No. 9 lilue shale 10

No. 10 Black shale

No. 11 Coal 3

Pleuratomuria ptrcarinata, P. JMonr/ortfa
have no hesitation iu referring this coal to


Superficial Deposits. The drift clays of Henry County run from ten to
fifty or sixty feet in thickness. These are the common yellow and blue clays
underlying the soil over most of our northern prairies. No fossils of any note
have been discovered in these clays, so far as I know. No beds of coarse
gravel were noticed ; no drift copper or galena has been picked up in the
county, as in some of the counties farther north. Few bowlders were observed
lying over the prairies. In the valley of Green River, near its mouth, and in
some of the ravines, an occasional bowlder may be found washed out of the
denuded soil and clay. Indeed the Edwards and Green Rivers, in much of
their courses, hardly show even fine pebbles along their banks.

The alluvial deposits, however, are very marked in the Green River swamp
lands, and in certain curious sand ridges and hills in the northeastern part of the
county. No regular peat beds seem to exist in these swamps ; but the tough
sward of many grasses and sedges scarcely prevent one from sinking into the
oozy muck and black vegetable mud covering these fresh-water marshes. For
some cause the peat mosses have not flourished here as in the Whiteside County
sloughs ; but a good illustration of the origin of the prairies, according to Pro-
fessor Lesquereux's theory, may be seen almost anywhere along these Green
River swamp lands. The sand hills of this swampy region present a more
curious phenomenon still. Chains and curious-shaped round hills, fashioned
into shapes fantastic, and gathered and piled up by the roving winds, extend in
ridges and groups from Rock River to and among the VVinnebago swamps
proper, in Bureau and Lee Counties, and touch the northeastern portion of
Henry. In the reports upon these latter counties more will be said upon these
shifting and roving hills and'chains of sand.


Coal. From the foregoing pages a good idea will be obtained of the extent,
quality, and accessibility of the coal deposits in this county. The supply of this
useful mineral is not likely to soon become exhausted. As opened mines are
worked out, new ones will be discovered. But a small portion of the productive
coal seams underlying so large a part of the county, diagonally from its north-
west to its southeast corner, has been properly or thoroughly prospected.
Sources of wealth hidden away from the eyes of man are yet to be developed,
and the coal of Henry County, for a long time to come, will furnish abundant
supplies for home consumption, and a still more abundant supply for neighbor-
ing markets. Such minerals as coal, iron, lime, and the like, which minister so
largely to the economies, utilities and conveniences of life, are not only desir-
able in and of themselves, but become sources of wealth and the highest
material prosperity. Coal is second only to iron in every quality that can make
it desirable. Especially in the prairie counties of Illinois, where fuel is scarce,
coal, in even ordinary workable quantities, becomes of more than ordinary
interest and value. As a steam producer for the lower Rock River valley, when
all its manufacturing and milling facilities shall be developed, these coal fields
bordering on the stream will obtain a new value. They will then be sought
after eagerly and developed to their full extent.

Stone. The supply of building stone, as will have already been surmised,

development of our workable coals along the northwestern borders of the coal field that could hardly have
been expected. The coal obtained from this seam has a tendency to split into thin layers, with partings of
charcoal, and is a harder coal than that obtained from No. 2, and quite unlike that from either of the lower

On Mud Creek, a few miles further east, another coal is said to outcrop, which is probably No. 4 of the
general section, and at Sheffield, Kewanee and Galva, No. 6 with its characteristic part ing of clay shale, is found,
thus completing the range of our most valuable coals, and showing their full development within the limits of
Henry County. The general trend of their outcrop is from northeast to southwest, and the dip of the strata is
to the southeastward, but at a very slight angle. In closing these brief notes on Henry County, I desire to
acknowledge my obligations to A. W. Perry, Ksci., of Gencseo, who placed himself and whatever conveyance
was required at my disposal, nnd kindly acted as both guide and commissary during my stay in the county.

A. H. W

Major A. GOULD,


is quite limited. The cap rock over the Cleveland coal seam will furnish plenty
of stone for cellars, wells, and ordinary mason work in that part of the county.
Stone of a better quality can there also be quarried from the Hamilton lime-
stone in and near the river. The supply of limestone at Aldrich's coal mine is
small, but of good quality. The sandstone outcrops below Cleveland and on
Mineral creek can also be made to furnish abundance of a sandstone that will
be useful for many purposes. The other outcrops and stone quarries in the
county furnish only limited amounts of rather poor building stone. All the
railroad towns now draw their supplies of stone from the quarries at Athens,
Joliet, and other places in their vicinity, and will continue so to obtain them.

Clays. Great abundance of the usual drift clays can everywhere be
obtained. These, with proper treatment, burn into a good article of common

Agriculture. But the distinguished characteristics of this county are its
coal deposits and agricultural resources. In the latter respect Henry County
ranks among the best counties in the State. Its surface is mostly a high, roll-
ing prairie ; its soil is good. The staple crops of Northern Illinois give abun-
dant annual returns. Its population, its wealth, and its material resources are
rapidly increasing. As a fruit county it also ranks among the first in this part
of the State. The orchards around some of the older settled towns seem to do
well; but fruit growing in the county has not received the attention its import-
ance demands. Fruit growing and timber raising should both be looked after
by the farmers of Henry County.


Speculation in Illinois lands got fairly under way in 1835. It was
in that year that Henry County was first visited by persons authorized to
purchase large tracts of land for the benefit of certain companies. The
county was then without an organization. The southern boundary was on
the parallel 18 north of the base line, and its western boundary was upon
the 4th principal meridian. It extended five townships, or thirty miles,
east, and north it reached to the 18th parallel north of the base line. Rock
River entered the county on the north about midway from east to west, and
formed its boundary on the northwest for about twenty miles, leaving it
about midway of the fourth tier of townships. These boundaries have
been retained ever since. It extends over no less than twenty-one
entire townships of six miles square each, and four fractional townships
aggregating a little less than three entire townships. The square miles
foot up to about eight hundred and thirty, and the acres to nearly or
quite 530,000. Of this number there were probably about 70,000 acres
of timber land. Exclusive of the timber on Rock and Green Rivers there
were a dozen distinct groves, besides a few clusters of trees dignified
sometimes as groves.

Red Oak, White Oak, Round Hickory, Sugar Tree, Big Barren,
Richland, and a few smaller groves, were found in the southern portion
of the county ; Shabane or Shabbona, Crocker's, Trading House, Eight
Mile, and several other small groves, as well as the timber on the Green
and Rock Rivers, in the northern. It will be remembered that a large
share of what was called timber lands contained only here and there a
tree. The northeastern part of the county contained swamp lands, which
were at that time undesirable as an investment. The balance of the
prairie, excepting a few hilly quarters, was of the most desirable quality
for farming purposes. This was then the inviting prospect held up to
the poor man looking for land for "actual settlement," and to the capi-
talist for hypothetical settlement.

Unfortunately for the growth and prosperity of the count}', the latter
class of settlers were the most numerous, very large portions of the best
land in the county being taken up by them, and the poor man, the actual
settler, was compelled to look elsewhere for a location. Many would not
locate close to the colonies, on account of reports that the organization
intended to swallow all outsiders who settled close to them.

In the early settlement of this county, William Roberts, who after-
wards lived at Andover, and moved thence to Texas and there died, resided
near Quincy, in Adams County. One night a prospector, who had been
through this county, put up with Roberts. He said he couldn't stop in


Henry County ; 'twas too full of colonies. Of course there was much mis-
apprehension as to the character of those colonies. Henry County seems
to have furnished remarkable attraction for them Andover, Wethers-
field, Geneseo, Morristown, La Grange, in an earlier day, thus originated,
and Bishop Hill in a later. This last, however, differed from the others
fundamentally. It required no accession from outsiders for support. The
first mentioned five colonies had educational projects in view; and three
of them, viz. : Andover, Geneseo and Wethersfield, aimed at the dissem-
ination of religious truth. The last named, or Bishop Hill Colony, was
strictly a religious organization, the members of it coming directly from
Sweden, and was the only one that obtained a legal existence. The
modes by which the other colonies endeavored to build up their educa-
tional and religious establishments, though not differing much one from
another, will be delineated when treating of them separately. For the
present it is sufficient to say that all of them had public property, the
proceeds of which, in some form, were to be used to build their schools
or colleges. These five settlements began their existence nearly at the
same time, Andover having precedence chronologically ; then followed
Geneseo, Morristown, Wethersfield, La Grange.

Before the commencement of any of these colonies, Dayton, near
Rock River, had commenced. This is known as " Brandenburg's settle-
ment,' 1 George Brandenburg being one of the earliest settlers. He laid
off the town, and for a long, time his house was the whole of Dayton.
In those days there was a great amount of travel to the land office at
Dixon, and some from Knoxville to Albany, on the Mississippi. Dayton
was at the crossing of those roads, and Brandenburg's hotel was a central
point of great interest. The popularity of the " Judge " attracted a host
of customers, and out of pure regard for their comfort he erected another
cabin by the side of the first, leaving a space for a hall between them,

Online LibraryS. B. (Simeon Baldwin) ChittendenHistory of Henry county, Illinois : it's taxpayers and voters; containing also, a biographical directory, a condensed history of the state; map of the county; a business directory...etc → online text (page 12 of 78)