William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

. (page 17 of 76)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 17 of 76)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ceived, and the selection made by them be-
cams the seat of justice of the new county,
an honor which it has retained to the present
day. There was, as is always the case, some
little dissatisfaction at the selection thus
made. Mr. Isaac Hicks wanted it near him,
and offered a site known as " Post Oak Hill,"
which was a fraction nearer the geographical
center of the county. Another " eligible lo-
cation " was on the high grounds between
Mrs. Samuel Casey's and Mrs. Dodds' resi-
dence. But Lewis Barker, one of the Com-
missioners, was the father-in-law of William
Casey, and there were hints at the time that
it was through his influence the present site
was selected. Be that as it may, the loca-
tion selected is a beautiful one for a town,
and could scarcely be surpassed by any of the
other sites offered. For their services in
" fixing the permanent seat of justice," the
court allowed Maulding S8, and Barker and
Richardson §512 each. Maulding lived in
Hog Prairie, a little this side of the present
town of McLeansboro ; Barker owned the
ferry at Cave-in-Kock, and Richardson lived
in the vicinity of Carmi. Of the laying-out
of the seat of justice, and its growth and de-
volopment as a town, the reader is referred
to the chapters devoted to ilount Yernon.

The Courts. — Thus the county court was
organized, the seat of justice established and
the legal machinery of the newly created
municipality put in motion. The first ses
sion of the coui-t was taken up with the re-



port of the Commissioners for locating the
seat of justice, as already noticed; James
Kelly and Jacob Barger applied for a writ
to condemn a " mill seat;" license for retail-
ing goods was fixed at $15, and the Clerk em-
powered to issue them when called on for the
same; the laying off a town ordered, also the
building of a court house, etc., etc. At the
second session of the coui-t, held June 25,
1819, James Kelly was appointed County
Treasurer; a list of the taxable property was
ordered; Lewis Watkins took out tavern
license, for which he paid a fee of $-4. At
the third term of court, held September 6,
among other business, the court house was
received and the survey of the town ordered
to be recorded. Also, W. Casey and J. Pace
were ordered to " stake out" the town, and
several roads ordered to be viewed and laid
out. In this humble and unpretentious way,
the county moved along quietly. The busi
ness coming before the county court was of
a general character, as above given, and
was dispatched without much debate or
wrangling. The last session held by this
(the first) board, tavern keepers' rates of
charges were fixed as follows: A single meal,
37i cents; lodging, 12|^ cents: keeping horse
all night, 50 cents; a single feed, 25 cents.
The first term of the Circuit Court convened
in the town of Mount Yernon (then compris-
ing but four cabins) on Monday, October 28,
1819, Hon. William Wilson as Judge and F.
A. Hubbard, State's Attorney. Joel Pace was
sworn as Clerk, and gave bond in the sum of
$2,000. Lewis Watkins was Sheriff, and
gave bond in the sum of .?10,000, with Zadok
Casey, Joseph Jordan and John Wilkerson,
secui'ities. But thirteen men could be found,
outside of the officers of the court, to serve
as grand jurors. These were as follows:
Edward Maxey, F. McBride, J. C. Casey,
W. Jordan, L, Johnson, A. P. Casev, John

Wilkerson, H. P. Maxey, Isaac Casey, James
Johnson, S. Gaston, J. Lee and A. Harris.
After receiving the usual charge from the
court, they repaired to the jury room, which,
in this case, was "G'id's first temples," and
after an hour's deliberation returned into
court, presented the indictments and were
discharged. The next term of court was held
on the 15th and 16th of May, 1820, Judge
Wilson again presiding, and Henry Eddy
acting as State's Attorney. But we will not
follow the prooeadings of tho courts, as our
readers would find them, doubtless, dry
reading. The brief extracts have been made
merely to show the commencement and or-
ganization of this important branch of the
county's machinery.

Public Buildings. — At the first term of the
County Commissioners' Court, it was resolved
to build a court house. This building was
unpretentious, but it served the purpose of
those early days when we were not as proud
as we are now. It was of hewed logs, and
was 18x30 feet in dimensions. A stray
pound was ordered, and at the February term,
1820, the court ordored a jail to be built.
These early public buildings, however, will
be noticed by Mr. Johnson, in his sketch of
Mount Vernon, and all the facts pertaining
to them and their successors will there be
given. The part they bear in the organiza-
tion of the county requires some reference to
them in this connectiim, but this brief allu-
,sion must suffice.

Among the first acts of the court was laying
off the county into civil divisions. At first
it was divided into two districts, or town-
ships, called respectively " Moore's Prairie"
and "Casey's Prairie." At the Juue term
of the court, in 1820, Walnut Hill Precinct
or Township was formed It included all of
Jefferson and Marion Counties north of the
line dividing Townships 1 and 2 south. The



next change in the civil divisions, of which
we find any account, is in June, 1832, when
Grand Prairie Precinct was formed. It was
in the northwest part of the county, and was
eight miles square. The voting place was
fixed at Poston's mill. In June, 1834, Horse
Creek Precinct was laid oif. It extended
seven miles from the east line of the county,
and was bounded north by the county line
and south by the Fairfield road. The voting
place was at Frank Haney's. Gun Prairie
Precinct was formed in 1835. It began, the
records say, where the "new hurricane"
crossed the west line of the county, " ran
with the hiu'ricane to Morgan's mill, to A.
Toney's, to W. Toney's, to the edge of
Moore's Prairie, and on to the south line of
the county." The voting place was to be at
the house of William King. The next pre-
cinct was formed in 1845. and was called
Long Prairie. It was bounded by the West
and Middle Forks of Muddy River and the
Grand Prairie road, with the voting place
at the house of H. Hicks. In 1846, Elk
Prairie Precinct was formed. Its bounds
were from the mouth of Dodd's Creek to
Mendenhall's quarry, west to Middle Fork,
down it to the county line, then up the creek
to the beginniag. The voting place was fixed
at J. Kelly's. A.t the same time. New
Moore's Prairie Precinct was formed, includ-
ing Township 4 and Range 4, with voting
place at Wilbank's. With, perhaps, a few
other changes in names and boundaries and
geographical position, the county moved on
for several decades, under the old precinct

The population of the county has increased
regularly since its organization. At the cen-
sus of 1820, the first taken after the county
was formed, it had a population of 691;
in 1830, 2,555; in 1840, 5,762; in 1850,
8,107; in 1860, 12,965: in 1870. 17,864: in

1880, 20,686. If it has not increased as
rapidly as some other counties in population.
its growth has been steady and good, and its
class of citizens will compare favorably with
those of any portion of the State.

County Officers. — As a matter of interest to
our readers, we present herewith a very full
and complete list of county offcers, from the
the formation of the county to the present
time. It has cost considerable time and
labor to prepare it, and it is believed to be
substantially correct.

The County Commissioners come first, and
are as follows: In 1819, they were Zadok
Casey, Fleming Greenwood and Joseph
Jordan; in 1820, William Casey, Joseph Jor-
dan and Barton Atchison; in 1822. Samuel
Gaston, William Hicks antl Barton Atchison;
in 1824, W. J. Tunstall, John Jordan and
H. B. Maxey; in 1826, Edward Maxey, Arba
Andrews and M. Ham; in 1828, Edward
■Maxey, Arba Andrews and M. Ham: in 1830,
Edward Maxey, Arba Andrews and M. Ham;
in 1832, Arba Andrews, Barton Atchison
and Willoughby Adams; in 1834, Bai-ton
Atchison, George W. Watters and J. M.
Scott; in 1835, Noah Johnston succeeded
Watters; in 1836. Willoughby Adams. Barton
Atchison and A. Bruce: in 1838, William
Bullock, James Sursa and Barton Atchison;
in 1840, James Sursa, B. Atchison and James
Kirby ; in 1841, Willoughby Adams succeeded
Sursa; in 1842, Willoughby Adams, James
Kirby and John Breeze; in 1844, James
Kirby, F. S. Casey and A. D. Casey; in 1845,
E D. Andrews was appointed to fill "out
Kirby's term; in 1846. A. D. Estes, E. D.
Andrews and F. S. Casey; in 1847, W.
Adams, .John Troutt and F. S. Casey; in
1848, F. S. Casey, Dr. W. Adams and John
Troutt; in 1849,* W. Dodda was elected

* Thp law was now cbanired, and the board was composed of :
County or Pribate Justice or Jiidpe and two Associates.



Probate Justice or Judge, and Dr. W. Adams
and F. S. Casey. Associates; in 1852, W.
Dodds. Probate Judge, and F. S. Casey and
Dr. W. Adams, Associates. Judge Dodds
resigned, and J. R. Satterfield was elected to
fill out his term.

Judge J. R. Satterfield, the successor of
Judge Dodds, is one of the old landmarks of
Jeiferson County. Ho came here in the fall of
1818, a stripling of a lad. He is an old man
now, and has grown gray in the service of the
people. Indeed, so long has he been in the
official harness, that he is almost looked
upon as a prehistoric relic. His official in-
tegrity is above reproach, and his name is
the synonym of fidelity and honesty. He
was born in Pendleton County, Ky., and
came to Illinois when but nine years old.
Here he grew to manhood, and here he has
spent an active life. He has been SherilT,
County Superintendent of Schools, County
Judge or Probate Justice for over twenty
years, C()unty Recorder, Deputy Sherifl' and
Justice of the Peace for forty years. He and
Mr. Bogan have been in office so long, that
they could not survive in private life. They
are what the sage has termed " the noblest
works of God " — honest men.

In 1853, J. R. Satterfield, Judge, and F.
S. Casey and A. D. Estes, Associates; in
1857, J. R. ^Satterfield, Judge, Dr. W.
Adams and S. W. Carpenter, Associates; in
1861, J. R. Satterfield, Judge, and W. Adams
and F. S. Casey, Associates; in 1865, A. M.
Grant, Judge, and W. Adams and F. S.
Casey, Associates; in 1866, J. R. Satterfield
was elected to fill out Grant's term, he hav-
ing resigned; in 1869, J. R. Satterfield,
Judge, W. Adams and S W. Carpenter, Asso-
ciates. After this date, township organiza-
tion came into efiect. Since the Board of
Commissioners have been superseded by the
Board of Supervisors, there have not been

many changes in the oflice of County Judge.
Jared Foster was elected County Judge in
1878, and in 1877 was succeeded by C. A.
Keller, and he, in 1882, was succeeded by
William B. Anderson, the present incum-

County and Circuit Clerks — Joel Pace was
the first County and Circuit Clerk. He held
both offices up to 1837. when Noah Johns-
ton became County Clerk. He was suc-
ceeded by E. H. Ridgeway, in 1838, who
held both offices until 1843, when J. F. Wat-
son succeeded him ; in 1857, W. Dodds came
in; in 1865, C. H. Patton; in 1869, W.
Dodds; in 1871, J. N. Satterfield; in 1873,
W. H. Smith; in 1877, J. N. Satterfield; iu
1880, Allen C. Tanner, the present incum-
bent. E. H. Ridgeway succeeded Joel Pace
as Circuit Clerk in iS-tl, and in 1848 was
succeeded by John Wilbanks. X- B. Tanner
came in in 1852, and in 1854 was succeeded
by J. S. Bogan, who is still in the office.
It is a striking example of the "right man in
the right place. " He came very near being
defeated once, that is, he lacked but three
votes of carrying the county unanimously.
This may have been fun for Bogan, but it
was rough on his opponent. The people of
Jefferson County show their good sense in
retaining Mr. Bogan, for we have never been
in a more neatly kept or admirably arranged
office than his. He has a place for every-
thing, and IS particularly careful to keep
everything in its place — even his deputies.

Sheriffs — Lewis Watkins was the first
Sheriff, and was appointed in 1819; the next
was W. L. Howell, who was appointed in
1821; in 1823, Howell was again appointed
to the office; in 1824, Nicholas Wren came
in; in 1828, James Bowman, who, it seems,
filled the office to 1842, when W. J. Stephen-
son became Sheriff, and held the office until
1848, and was sitcceeded by Elijah Piper;



in I80O, J. R. Satterfield came in; in 1852,
AV. Dodds; in 1854. J. R. Allen; in 1856,
James Westcott; in 1858, John Bagwell;
in 1860, C. G. Vaughn: in 1862, J. B.
Goodrich; in 1864, C. G. Vaughn; in 1866,
William Dodds; in 1868, W. E. Cofifey; in
1870, 1872, 1874, J. B. Goodrich; in i876,
1878, 1880, George W. Yost; in 1882, Thomas
M. Gray.

Treasurers — The first Treasurer of the
county was James Kelly, who was appointed
in 1819. He had but little trouble in taking
care of the funds, and perhaps spent few
sleepless nights through fear of " thieves
breaking through and stealing" the funds of
which the countj' had made him the custodian.
In 1821, Edward Maxey came in; in 1826,
John Wilbanks; in 1829, Joseph Pace; in
1833, S. Goddard, in 1835, J. Livingston;
in 1837, G..P. Casey; in 1839, H. B. New-
by; iu 1843, A. B. Watson; in 1850, J. H.
Watson; in 1851, Elijah Piper; in 1857, J.
Q. A. Bay; in 1861, H. G. Goodrich; in
1863, W. M. Hicks; in 1867, S. W. Jones;
in 1869, W. H. Smith; in 1871, S. W.
Jones; in 1875, C. D. Ham; in 1877; G. L.
Cummins; in 1879, C. W. Lindley.

School Commissioners — D. Baugb was the
first School Commissioner of whom we have
any account, and was appointed in 1836; J.
R. Satterfield was the next, and was ap-
pointed in 1845; he was succeeded by J. H.
Pace in 1847; in 1850, W. H. Lynch; in
1851, J. H. Pace; in 1859, J. R. P. Hicks;
in 1861, J. M. Pace; in 1869, G. W. John-
son; in 1873, J. D. Williams, the present

Miscellaneous — Of the early Surveyors we
can learn but little. From 1850 to the pres-
ent time, they have been as follows: L. F.
Casey, 1850 to 1854; W. B. Anderson, 1854
to 1865; J. D. Williams, 1865 to 1871; B.
C. Wells, 1871 to 1875; W. T. Williams,

the present incumbent. The first Assessor
was James Kelly, and the next Edward
Maxey. Among the early Justices of the
Peace were the following, in their order of
appointment: O. Morris, Lewis Watkins
and W. Maxwell, in 1819; William Maxey
in 1820, and in 1822, J. Roberts, James Ab-
bott, J. Pace, John Jordan, W. L. Howell,
Barton Atchison and Samuel Gaston.

The votes cast at the November election,
1882, by townships, were as follows: Grand
Prairie, 92; Casner, 115; Blissville, 139;
Bald Hill, 98; Rome, 194; Shiloh, 213;
McClellan, 166; Elk Prairie, 176; Field,
193; Mount Vernon, 731; Dodds', 182;
Spring Garden, 250; Farrington, 105; Web-
ber, 174; Pendleton, 304; Moore's Prairie,
180; total, 3,312.

The following is a partial vote of the
county :

For Legislature — Varnell, Democrat, 2, -
775; Jennings, Democrat, 2,8351; Crews,
Republican, 3,241; Judd, Greenbacker, 779.

County Judge — Anderson, Democrat, 1,-
972; Anglen, Greenbacker, 1,239; Ander-
son's majority, 733.

County Clerk — Tanner, Democrat, 2,010;
Hobbs, Greenbacker, 1,262; Tanner's major-
ity, 748.

Sheriff— Gray, Democrat, 2,036; Wall,
Republican, 1,236; Gray's majority, 800.

County Treasurer — Carroll, Democrat,
1,931; Legge, Republican, 1,340; Carroll's
majority, 591.

Township Organization. — The State con-
stitution of 1847-48, contained the provision
of township organization — a provision that
was to be voted on by the people of each
county, and leaving it oprional with them to
adopt or reject it in their respective counties.
So, in accordance with the provisions of that
constitution, the first township organization
act was passed by the Legislature. But the



law, in attempting to put it into practical
operation, disclosed radical defects. It was
revised and amended at the session of 1851,
substantially as it existed until the recent
revision in 1871. The adoption of township
organization marks an era in many of the
counties of the State. The northern part of
the State adopted it first. The people who
had settled there were mostly fi'om the East,
and were familiar with the township system
and its practical workings. The people in
the southern part of the State were much
more slow to take hold of the new system.

Jefferson County adopted township organ-
ization in 1869 though township officers were
not elected until the following year. At the
time of the change, the election precincts of
the county ,were Blissville, Elk Prairie, Gun
Prairie, Grand Prairie, Horse Creek, Horse
Prairie, Jackson, Jefferson, Jordan Prairie,
Knob Prairie, Long Prairie, Moore's Prairie
and Mount Vernon; total, thirteen. The new
system involved a few changes, and the civil
and Congressional townships were made to
correspond, and the following are their
names and the first Supervisors of ea(;h as
elected: Mount Vernon Township, H. War-
ren, Supervisor; Field, John C. McConnell,
Supervisor; Shiloh, John R. Moss, Super-
visor; Casner, Elijah B. Harvey, Supervisor;
Pendleton, William A. Jones, Supervisor;
Spring Garden, William S. Bumpua, Super-
visor; Rome, Gilbert L. Cummings, Super-

visor; Webber, S. V. Bruce, Supervisor;
Blissville, Samuel Johnson, Supervisor; Elk
Prairie, George W. Evans, Supervisor; Far
rington, M. A. Morrison, Supervisor;
Grand Prairie, Jacob Breeze, Supervisor;
Moore's Prairie, J. A. Wilbanks, Supervisor;
Bald Hill, John B. Ware, ^Supervisor; Mc-
Clellan, William A. Davis, Supervisor;
Dodds, Robert D. Roane, Supervisor. The
following are the Supervisors at present:
Thomas E. Westcott for Mount Vernon;
Henry Breeze for Grand Prairie; William J.
Bledsoe for Casner; J. B. Norris for Bliss-
ville; R. T. Wright for Bald Hill; Andrew
Riley, Jr., for Rome; John C. Tyler ^for
Shiloh; Elijah Collins for McClellan; S. H.
Dolby for Elk Prairie; William J. Garrison
for Fields; William S. Bumpus for Dodds;
C. M. Brown for Sjiring Garden; Thomas
F. Mooi'e for Webber; L. E. Jones for Pen-
dleton: G. W. Clark for Moore's Prairie;
L. B. Gregory for Farringtou.

The township system of Illinois is not
closely modeled after the New England
States. There, a representative is sent from
each town to the Lower House of the Legis-
lature. In New York, owing to her vast ex-
tent of territory, this was found to be im-
practicable, and a county assembly, denom-
inated a Board of Supervisors, composed of a
member from each township, was theti estab-
lished. This ^modified system has been
copied almost exactly in this State.





■• How wondrous are the changes
Since sixty years ago,
Wlien girls wore woolen dresses.

And boys wore pants of tow,
When shoes were made of calf-skin,

And socks of homespun wool,
And children did a halt-day's work
Before the hour of school."

— Anonymous.

ri^HE early settlers of Jefferson County
_L were mostly from the States south of
the Ohio Eiver. The great majority of
them were poor in worldly wealth; they were
whai was termed " poor white trash" in the
South, in old slave limes, and when the lirst
of them came here, Illinois was still a Terri-
tory, reposing under the famous ordinance
of 1187. Since the late war between the
States has forever blotted out slavery, it may
be interesting to know what was ^the " com-
pact " or " ordinance " of 1787, so often
quoted, coneerning the Northwestern Terri-
tory. It was as follows:

I. No person in peaceable demeanor was
to be molested on account of his mode of
worship or religious sentiments.

II. The inhabitants were guaranteed the
benefit of the writ of habeas corpus and
trial by jury, a proportionate representation
to the Legislature and judicial proceedings

*By W. H. Pcriin.

according to the course of the common law.
"All persons shall be bailable, unless for
capital offenses, where the proof shall be evi-
dent or the presumption great. All tines
shall be moderate, and no cruel or unusual
punishment shall be inflicted; no man shall
be deprived of his liberty or his property
but by the judgment of his peers or the law
of the land; and should the public exigencies
make it necessary for the common preserva-
tion to take any person's property or to de-
mand his particular services, 'jfull compensa-
tion shall be made for the same." No law
ouo-ht ever to be made or have'^force in said
territory that shall, in any manner, interfere
with or affect private contracts or engage-
ments made in good faith and without fi-aud.

III. Religion, morality and knowledge
being necessary to good government and the
happiness of mankind, schools aod the means
of education shall forever be encouraged.
Good faith, justice and humanity toward the
Indians was to be observed; their lands and
property not to be taken without consent
and peace and friendship to be cultivated.

IV. The territory and States to be formed
therein were to remain forever a part of the
United States, subject to her law, the inhabit-
ants to pay a just proportion of the public
debt, contracted or to be contracted, not to



tax the lands of the United States nor those
of non-residents higher than those of resi-
dents; the navigable waters of the lakes to
remain forever free to all citizens of the
United States.

V. The Territory was not to be divided into
less than three States, and, at its option,
Congress might " form one or two (more)
States in that part which lies north of an
east and west line di-awn through the south-
erly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan."
With 60,000 free inhabitants, such States
were to be admitted into the Union on an
equal footing with the original States.

VI. " There shall be neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude in the said territory,
otherwise than in the punishment of crimes,
whereof the party shall have been duly con-
victed," this section providing also for the
reclamation of fugitives from labor.

Such was substantially the fundamental
law of this vast territory, which has ever
had a controlling influence upon the destiny
of the States carved out of it, and saved some
of them from the permanent blight of slav-
ery. Many of the pioneers of Southern Illi-
nois have left upon record the fact that they
sought homes in this country because the
land would not be blemished by Negro slav-
ery, or that civil or social distinction would
be yielded only to those who owned " nig-
gers." A fat soil ready for the plow, " land
flowing with milk and honey," and a tem-
perate climate were not peculiar to Illinois
or Jefferson County. But the pioneers
thought not of this. Their grand aim was
a home — a home free and untrammeled by
arbitrary rules of social equality, and in-
spired by this noble purpose they plunged
into the wilderness. They did not come
in great rushing crowds, but alone or in
meager squads, and they settled down to live
where polite accomplishments were among

the lost arts, and even where language was
almost a superfluity. Rough they were, un-
cultivated, unrefined, bixt still noble in a
rugged way and possessing the true qualities
of heroism, courage and humility. They
were men of action, and whetted their in-
stincts in the struggle for existence against
the wild game, the ferocious beasts and the
murderous savage.

In a preceding chapter, we sketched the
principal settlers and settlements, so far as
we could obtain them, up to the organiza-
tion of the county. In 'this chapter we pro-
pose to tell something of these pioneer fam-
ilies, also some of the later comers to the
county, who they were, what they did, how
they lived and what became of them. They
found the soil when they came here unbrok-
en by the hand of husbandry and the still-
ness of the forests undisturbed save by the
noise ol the hunter's tread and the crack of

Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 17 of 76)