William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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183 Lake Street.



^r^HE history of Jefferson County, after months of persibtent toil and research, is now
completed, and it is believed that no subject of universal public importance or interest
has been omitted, save where protracted effort failed to secure reliable results. We are well
aware of our inability to furnish a perfect history from meager public documents and num-
berless conflicting traditions, but claim to have prepared a work fully up to the standard
of our promises. Through the courtesy and assistance generously afforded by the residents
of the county, we have been enabled to trace out and put on record the greater portion of
the important events that have transpired in Jefferson up to the present time. And we feel
assured that all thoughtful people in the county, now and in future, will recognize and
appreciate the importance of the work and its permanent value. A dry statement of events
has, as far as possible, been avoided, and incidents and anecdotes have been interwoven
with facts and statistics, forming a narrative at once instructive and entertaining.

We are indebted to George M. Haynes, Esq., for his very able history of the Bench
and Bar; to Dr. A. Clark Johnson for the history of Mount Vernon, and to other prominent
citizens for interesting and important facts and data in the compilation of the work.

November, 1883.





Northwest Territory

Early History of Illinois..





CHAPTER I.— Introductory— Geology and Its Practical
Value— How Thoroughly to Educate the Farmers-
Why They Should Understand the Geological Forma-
tions of the Land They Till— Age of the Earth Ac-
cording to the Research of the Geologists— Local Ge-
ology—Configuration—Soils and Timber— Minerals
and Mineral Springs— Building Materials, etc

CHAPTER II.— The Pre-historic Races— Mound-Iiuilders-
Their Occupation of the Country— Relics Left by
Them— The Indians— Speculations as to Their Origin
—Ultimate Extinction of the Race— Something of the
Tribes of Southern Illinois— What Became of Them—
Local Traditions and Incidents — The Black Hawk
War, etc., etc HO

CHAPTER III.— Settlement of the County by White Peo-
ple—Who the Pioneers Were, and Where They Came
From- Andrew Jloore— His Murder by the Indians-
Moore's Prairie, and the People Who Settled It- The
Wilkeys, Crenshaws, Atchisons, etc.— Settlement at
Mount Vernon— Other Pioneers — Hardships, Trials,
Privations, Manners, Customs, etc., etc 121

CHAPTER IV.— Illinois a County of Virginia— John Todd,
the First Civil Governor— Organization of Jefferson
County— The Legislative Act Creating It— Location of
the Seat of .lustice— First Officials— The Courts— Pub-
lic Buildings— Census— The County Divided Into Dis-
tricts—County Officers— J. R. Satterfield— Township
Organization, etc 1^0

CHAPTER v.— Some of the Pioneer Families of the County
—The Caseys— Their Emigration to .America- How
They Served in the Revolution— Facts and Incidents
of Their Residence Here— The .Maxeys, .\uother Old
Family— Their Welsh Descent— Where and When
They Settled— The .lohnsons— They are an Old Fam-
ily, Too— Something of Them and Their Descendants
— Other Pioneers — Incidents, etc., etc 142

CHAPTER VI.— The Bench and Bar— Supreme Court— Its
Location at Mount Vernon— The Judges of the Same
—Breeze and Scales- Other Luminaries— The .\ppel-
late Court— Some of Its Great Lights— Circuit Court-
Judge Tanner and Others— Early Cases Tried in the
Courts— Marshall, Baugh, etc.— Present Members of
the Bar, etc., etc 153

CHAPTER VII.— Political History— Birth of the Whig and
Democratic Organizations— Party Strife and Scramble
for Office— Joel Pace, Finst Clerk of the County— Poli-
ticians of the Times— Zadok Casey — His Life and
Official Services— Gov. .\nderson — Sketch of His Pub-
lic Career — Noah Johnston and Other Distinguished
Characters— Senators and Representatives, etc 179

CHAPTER VIII.— Something More About the Pioneers—
Those Who Came In Later— Their Settlement— Game
and W^ild .Animals- Pioneer Incidents — Mrs. Robinson
and the Panther— Some Rattling Snake Stories— Fe-
male Fashion and Dress — Woman's Life in the Wilder-
ness—Hard Times, Financial Difficulties, etc 196

CHAPTEE IX —Internal Improvements— Early Roads and
Trails— Saline and Walnut Hill Road— The Vandalia
Road— Other Highways and Bridges— Railroads— How
They Grew Out of the Old Improvement .System— Jef-
ferson County's Efforts for Railroads— St. Louis South-
eastern—The Air Line— Projected Roads, Some of
which will be Built, etc 203

CHAPTER X.— Educational— Early Eflorts at Free Schools ^, - -
— The Duncan Law — Education at Present — Statistics—
The Press— Editor John S. Began— First Newspapers-
Mount Vernon a Newspaper Graveyard— The Press of
To-day— Religious History— Old-Time Christianity-
Pioneer Ministers — Churches Organized — Rev. John
Johnson, etc 218

CHAPTER XL— Agriculture— Its Rank Among the
Sciences — How to Keep the Boy.s Upon the Farm— Edu-
cate Them To It— Progres,s of Agriculture in the County -^
— .Some Statistical Information- County Fairs and .Asso-
ciations-Officials of the Same— Horticulture- Value of
Fruit Growing— Statistics— The Forests, etc 236

CHAPTER XII.— War History— The Revolution and the
War of 1812— What We Gained ByThom-rTbe Mexican
War— Jefferson County's Part in It— Her Officers and
Soldiers— The Late Civil War— Sketches of the Regi-
ments in which the County was Represented — Gen.
Anderson, Col. Hicks and Other Veterans— Incidents,

etc., etc..


CHAPTER Xin.— Odds and Ends— De Omnibus Rebus Et
Quibusdam Aliis— A Brief Retrospection— Millers and
Mills— Blacksmiths and Other Mechanics -Births, Mar-
riages, Deaths— A Batch of Incidents— Buck Casey
Playiug Bull Calf— Donnybrook Fights— Forest Fires—
A Runaway Negro— Counterfeiting— The Poor Farm,
etc., etc 264


PART in.



CHAPTER I. — Mount Vernon Township — Description,
Topography, etc.— Early Settlement— Old Surveys and
Land Entries — A Closer Acquaintance With the Pio-
neers—Who They Were and Where They Located —
Their Good Traits and Peculiarities— The Selecting of a
Site for a Town— .Mount Vernon Chosen as the County
Seat, ete 275

CHAPTEE II.— City of Mount Vernon— The Laying-out and
Beginning of the Town— .Sale of Lots— Erection of Pub-
lic Buildings— The First Court House— Stray Pound,
Gaol and Clerk's Office — Stick Chimneys, Court House
Lock, etc.— The Pioneers aud First Settlers in the Town
— Their Genealogical Trees, etc 283

CHAPTER III.— City of Mount Vernon— IVIore About Ita
Early Citizens — Some Pen Photographs— The Second
Court House— Mount Vernon From 1824 to 1830— A Few
of the ( lid Houses— Relics of a By-gone Period— More
Township Items, and a Triple Weddiug— Later Settlers
—County Roads— The First Churches Outside of Town,
etc., etc 290

CHAPTER IV.— City of Mount Vernon— The Decade From
1830 to 1840- Growth of the Town— New Buildings and
New Business— A Look Beyond the Town- Brief Retro-
spect— .\nother Court House — .Some of the Business
Men and What They Did— Still Another Court House—
The .Jail— Organization of Mount Vernon Township-

Officials, etc..

CHAPTER v.— Mount Vernon— Its Religious History— The
Methodists, the Pioneers of Christianity iu the Couuty
—A List of Ministers— The First Church— Presbyterian
Church— Baptists— Catholics and Other Denominations
—Churches of the Township— Schools In and Out of the
City, etc., etc 3[q

CHAPTER VI.— Mount Vernon- Town Surveys aud .Addi-
tions-" More Than Any Man Can Number "—Casey's
Addition— Green's, Strattan's and Several Others— The
Number of Acres Covered by the City— Municipal Gov-
ernment—City Officials, etc., etc 326

CHAPTER VII.— Mount Vernon— Temperance Movements
—Their Good Work in the Community— Village of East
Mount Veruon-Mystic Orders-Masons, Odd Fellows,
etc.— Miscellaneous— Which Comprises Fires, Fire De-
partment, and Many Other Local Items-Births, Deaths
^^- "" 335

CHAPTER Vlll.-Shiloh Township-General Description
—Topography and Boundaries— Early Settlement— Pio-
neer Hardships and Privations-Mills, etc.— An Incident
—Births, Deaths and Marriages— Roads and Bridges-
Stock-raising— Schools and Churches— Woodlawn Vil-
lage, etc., etc g^

CHAPTER IX.— Pendleton and Moore's Prairie Townships
—General Description and Topography— The First Set-
tlers-Moore's Prairie a Historical Spot-Pioneer Hard-
ships aud DilHculties-Early Industries and Customs-
Township Officers-Churches and Schools-Lynchburg
-Belle Rive and Opdyke-TheirfJrowth, Business etc
etc ' „.,

CHAPTER x:— Rome Township— Topographical and Phys-
ical Features — Occupation by White People — Who the
Pioneers Were— The Maxwells and Others— Hardships
and Trials — Mills and Other Improvements— Township
Officers — Schools and Churches — Village of Rome —
Growth, Improvement, etc 360

CHAPTER XL— Spring Garden Township— General De-
scription and Topography— Settlement of the Whites—
Their Early Trials and Tribulations — Roads, Mills, etc.,
etc. — .Schools and Churches — Township Officials — Spring
Garden Village — Its Growth, Development, etc., etc 365

CHAPTERXII.—WebberTownship— Introduction and De-
scription — Boundaries, Topography, etc. — Early Settle-
ment — Pioneer Life and Trials — Pigeon Post Office — A
Law Suit — Township Officials — Schools and Churches —
Marlow, Bluford, etc.. etc 372

CHAPTER XIII —Elk Prairie Township— Topography and
Physical Features— Coming of the ' Pale Faces— Inci-
dents of their Settlement — Hard Times, etc. — Roads,
Jlills and Bridges — Schools and Schoolhouses — Churches,

etc. — Township Officials — Villages, etc., etc 376

CHAPTER XIV.— Farrington Township— General Topog-
raphy, Boundaries, etc. — Settlement of White People —
Early Industries — Schools and Churches — Township

Officers— Villages — Stock-raising, etc 380

CHAPTER XV.— Grand Prairie Township— Boundaries and
Topography — Early Settlement, Hardships of the People,
etc.— First Mills and Roads— Birth, Death and Marriage
— An Incident — First Voting Place — Township Officials,

etc. — Schools and Schoolhouses — Churches, etc., etc 387

CHAPTER XVI.— McC'lellan Township— Introduction and
Description — Topography — Early Settlement— Trials,
Hardships and Good Times— Pioneer Improvements-
Roads, Bridges and Mills — Education, Schoolhouses and
Teachers- Early Churches— Township Officials, etc., etc. 391
CHAPTER XV II.— Field Township— Topographical, Geo-
graphical, Physical, etc —Settlement by White I'eople —
Life on the Border— Educational Facilities— Churches
and Church Buildings— An Incident— Township Officers

— Summary, etc., etc 396

CH.VPTEB XVIII.— Casner Township— Topography and
Physical Features— Early Settlement— Rough Fare of
the Pioneers— Schools and Churches— List of Township
Officers— Politics, etc. — Roachville Village, the Chicago

of the County, etc., etc 399

CHAPTER XIX.— Dodds Township— Description and Topog-
raphy — Coming of the Whites — Early Facts and Inci-
dents—The Main Settlement— Roads— First Mills, etc.—
Early .'^(jhools — Mode of Paying the Teachers — First

Preachers and Churches — Township Officers, etc., etc 405

CHAPTER XX.— Blissville Township— Description and To-

pograi>hy — Knob Prairie — Settlement — How the People

Lived — Name of Township, aud Its List of Officials—

.yPoads, Bridges, etc. — The Village of Williamsburg —

Churches and Schools — Retrospectiou, etc , etc 411

CHAPTER XXI.— Bald Hill Township-Its Geographical
and Physical Features— Advent of the Pioneers— Their
Trials, Tribulations, etc.— Mills and Roads — Organiza-
tion of the Township, and the List of Officials — Schools,
Churches, etc., etc 416





Mount VernoD — City aud Township 3

Pendleton Townsliip , 45

Shiloh Township .'. 68

Webber Township 73

Rome Township 78

Dodds Township 87

Blissville Township 93

Spring Garden Townsliip 102

Grand Prairie Township Ill

Field Township 119

Moore's Prairie Township 123

Casner Township 130

Farrington Township 135

Elk Prairie Township 138

McClellan Township 144


Bald Hill Township 147

Sketch of C. T. Stratton 149


Anderson, W. B 259

Baldridge, J. C 116

Bruce, M. D 133

Carpenter, S. W 169

Dees, J. A 187

Garrison, W. J 205

Gilbert, Eli 223

Hails J. W 241

Hicks, S. G 151

Holland, T. G 395

Jones, G. D 313

Moss, J. R ;. 331

Norris, 0. P : 349

Plummer, H. S .^ 277

.. n

v\ V






"TTTHEN the Northwestern Territory
VV was ceded to the United States by
Virginia in 1784, it embraced only the terri-
tory lying between the Oiiio and the Missis-
sippi Rivers, and north to the northern lim-
its of the United States. It coincided with
the area now embraced in the States ofOhio,
Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and
that portion of Minnesota lying on the east
side of the Mississippi River. The United
States itself at that period extended no
farther west than the Mississippi River;
but by the purchase of Louisiana in 1803,
the western boundary of the United States
was extended to the Rocky Mountains and
the Northern Pacific Ocean. The new
territory thus added to the National do-
main, and subsequently opened to settle-
ment, has been called the " New North-
west," in contradistinction from the old
" Northwestern Territory."

In comparison with the old Northwest
this is a territory of vast magnitude. It
includes an area of 1,887.850 square miles;
being greater in extent than the united
areas of all the Middle and Southern States,
including Texas. Out of this magnificent

territory have been erected eleven sovereign
States and eight Territories, with an aggre-
gate population, at the present time, of
13,000,000 inhabitants, or nearly one-third
of the entire population of the United

Its lakes are fresh-water seas, and the
larger rivers of the continent flow for a.
thousand miles through its rich alluvial val-
leys and far-stretching prairies, more acres
of which are arable and productive of the
highest percentage of the cereals than of
any other area of like extent on the globe.

For the last twenty years the increase of
population in the Northwest has been about
as three to one in any other portion of the
United States.


In the year 1.541, De Soto first saw the
Great West in the New World. He, how-
ever, penetrated no farther north than the
35th parallel of latitude. The expedition
resulted in his death and that of more than
half his army, the remainder of whom
found their way to Cuba, thence to Spain,
in a famished and demoralized condition.
De Soto founded no settlements, produced
no results, and left no traces, unless it were


that lie awakened the hostility of the red
man atrainst the white man, and disheart-
ened such as might desire to follow up the
career of discovery for better purposes.
The French nation were eager and ready to
seize upon any news from this extensive
domain, and were the first to profit by De
Soto's defeat. Yet it was more than a
century before any adventurer took advan-
tage of these discoveries.

In 1616, four years before the pilgrims
" moored their bark on the wild New Eng-
land shore," Le Caron, a French Franciscan,
had penetrated through the Iroquois and
and Wyandots (Hurons) to the streams
which run into Lake Huron; and in 1634,
two Jesuit missionaries founded the first
mission among the lake tribes. It was just
one hundred years from the discovery of
the Mississippi by De Soto (1541) until the
Canadian envoys met the savage nations of
the Northwest at the Falls of St. Mary, be-
low the outlet of Lake Su'ierior. This
visit led to no permanent result, yet it was
not until 1659 that any of the adventurous
fur traders attempted to spend a winter in
the frozen wilds about the great lakes, nor
was it until 1660 that a station was estab-
lished upon their borders by Mesnard, who
perished in the woods a few months after.
In 1665, Claude Allouez built the earliest
lasting habitation of the white man among
the Indians of the Northwest. In 1668,
Claude Dablon and James Marquette
founded the mission of Sault Ste. Marie at
the Falls of St. Mary, and two years after-
ward, Nicholas Perrot, as agent for M.
Talon, Governor General of Canada, ex-
plored Lake Illinois (Michigan) as far
south as the present City of Chicago, and
invited the Indian nations to meet him at

a grand council at Sault Ste. Marie the
following spring, where they were taken
under the protection of the king, and formal
possession was taken of the Northwest.
This same vear Marquette established a
mission at Point St. Ignatius, where was
founded tiie old town of town of Michilli-

During M. Talon's explorations and Mar-
quette's residence at St. Ignatius, they
learned of a great river away to the west,
and fancied — as all others did then — that
upon its fertile banks whole tribes of God's
children resided, to whom the sound of the
Gospel had never come. Filled with a
wish to go and preach to them, and in com-
pliance with a request of M. Talon, who
earnestly desired to extend the domain of
his king, and to ascertain whether the
river flowed into the Gulf of Mexico or the
Pacific Ocean. Marquette with Joliet, as
commander of the expedition, prepared for
the undertaking.

On the 13th of May, 1673, the explorers,
accompanied by five assistant French Can-
adians, set out from Mackinaw on their
daring voyage of discovery. The Indians,
who gathered to witness their departure,
were astonished at the boldness of the
undertaking, and endeavored to dissuade
them from their purpose by representing
the tribes on the Mississippi as exceedingly
savage and cruel, and the river itself as
full of all sorts of frightful monsters ready
to swallow them and their canoes together.
But, nothing daunted by these terrific de-
scriptions, Marquette told them he was
willing not only to encounter all the per-
ils of the unknown region they were about
to explore, but to lay down his life in a
cause in which the salvation of souls was


involved; and having prayed together they
separated. Coasting along the northern
shore of Lake Michigan, the adventurers
entered Green Bay, and passed thence up
the Fox River and Lake "Winnebago to a
village of the Miamis and Kickapoos.
Here Marquette was delighted to tind a
beautiful cross planted in the middle of the
town, ornamented with white skins, red gir-
dles and bows and arrows, which these
good people had offered to the great Man-
itou, or God, to thank him for the pity lie
had bestowed on them during the winter in
giving them an abundant " chase." This
was the farthest outpost to which Dablon and
Allouez had extended their missionary la-
bors the year previous. Here Marquette
drank mineral waters and was instructed in
the secret of a root which cures the bite of
the venomous rattlesnake. He assembled
the chiefs and old men of the village, and,
pointing to Joliet, said: " My friend is an
envoy of France, to discover new coun-
tries, and lam an ambassador from God to
enlighten them with the truths of the Gos-
pel." Two Miami guides were here fur-
nished to condnct them to the Wisconsin
River, and they set out from the Lulian
village on the 10th of June, amidst a great
crowd of natives who had assembled to
witness their departure into a region where
no white man had ever yet ventured. Tlie
euides, havins: conducted them across the
portage, returned. The explorers launclied
their canoes upon the Wisconsin which
they descended to the Mississippi and pro-
ceeded down its unknown waters. What
emotions must have swelled their breasts
as they struck out into the broadening cur-
rent and became conscious that they were
now upon the bosom of the Father of Wa-

ters. The mystery was about to be liftea
from the long-sought river. The scenery
in that locality is beautiful, and on that
delightful seventeenth of June must have
been clad in all its primeval loveliness as it
had been adorned by the hand of Nature.
Drifting rapidly, it is said that the bold
bluffs on either hand " reminded them of
the castled shores of their own beautiful
rivers of France." By-and-by, as they
drifted along, great herds of buffalo ap-
peared on the banks. On going to the
heads of the valley they could see a coun-
try of the greatest beauty and fertility, ap-
parently destitute of inhabitiints yet pre-
senting the appearance of extensive man-
ors, under the fastidious cultivation of
lordly proprietors.

On June 25th, they went ashore and found
some fresh traces of men upon the sand,
and a path which led to the prairie. The
men remained in the boat, and Marquette
and Joliet followed the path till they dis-
covered a village on the banks of a river,
and two other villages on a hill, within a
half league of the first, inhabited by Indians.
They were received most hospitably by
these natives, who had never before seen a
white person. After remaining a few days
they re-embarked and descended the river
to about latitude 33°, wliere they found a
village of the Arkansas, and being satisfied
that the river flowed into the Gulf of
Mexico, turned their course up the river,
and ascending the stream to the month of
the Illinois, rowed up that stream to its
source, and procured guides from that
point to the lakes. " No where on this
journey," says Marquette, " did we see such
grounds, meadows, woods, stags, buffaloes,
deer, wildcats, bustards, swans, ducks, par-


roquets, and even beavers, as on the Illinois
River." The party, witliout loss or injury,
reached Green Bay in September, and re-
ported their discovery — one of the most
important of the age, but of which no
record was preserved save Marquette's,
Joliet losing his by the upsetting of his
canoe on his way to Quebec. Afterward
Marquette returned to the Illinois Indians
by their request, and ministered to them
until 1675. On the 18th of May, in that
year, as he was passing the mouth of a
stream — going with his boatmen up Lake
Michigan — he asked to land at its mouth
and celebrate mass. Leaving his men with
the canoe, he retired a shore distance and
began his devotions. As much time passed
and he did not return, his men went in
search of him, and found him upon his
knees, dead. He had peacefully passed
away while at prayer. He was buried at
this spot. Charlevoix, who visited the
place fifty years after, found the waters had
retreated from the grave, leaving the be-
loved missionary to repose in peace. The
river has since been called Marquette.

While Marquette and his companions
were pursuing their labors in the West,
two men, differing widely from him and
each other, were preparing to follow in his
footsteps and perfect the discoveries so well
begun by him. These were Robert de La
Salle and Louis Hennepin.

After La Salle's return from the discovery
of the Ohio River (see the narrative else-
where), he established himself again among
the French trading posts in Canada. Here
he mused long upon the pet project of
those ages — a short way to China and the
East, and was busily planning an expedi-
tion up the great lakes, and so across

the continent to the Pacific, when Mar-
quette returned from the Mississippi. At
once the vigorous mind of La Salle received
from his and his companions' stories the

Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 1 of 76)