William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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were established and flooded the country
with their worthless bills, and then — " bust."
The emigrants so confidently expected did
not come, and hence there was little or no
sale for real estate. The flood of bank notes
had driven out specie, and when the banks
failed there was no money of any kind, and
pelts, tallow, beeswax, wolf-scalps, etc., be-
came the circulating medium of the country,
lender a State law, wolf scalps were made a
legal tender for taxes. These, together with
fox, coon and opossum skins, passed current
for tobacco, whisky and other necessaries of
life. Indeed, it is said that a man would
enter a " grocery — " there were no saloons,
they were all groceries — for a glass of whis-
ky, present a coon skin, receive his glass of
whisky and a "possum" skin in change.
Under these depressing circumstances, the
country improved and settled very slowly
for a number of years. These were some of
the trials and difficulties and dangers the
pioneers of Jefferson County had to contend
with. They wotild appear almost insur-
mountable to us of the present day.



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



203



CHAPTER 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— JEFFERSON COUNTY'S EFFORTS FOR RAIL-
ROADS—ST. LOUIS & SOUTHEASTERN — THE AIR LINE — PEOJECTED
ROADS, SOME OF WHICH WILL BE BUILT, ETC., ETC.



"And fast, and fast, and faster still.

As though some superhuman will

The Iron Horse did guide."

AMONG the internal improvements of a
country, none are of more importance
than its roads and public highways. It has been
said that a stranger may judge of the civili-
zation to which a community has attained by
its system of public roads. In this chapter
we propose to treat of the public roads and
railroads of the county, taking them from
their first inception to their present perfected
system. First, we shall consider the wagon
roads in their order, and then direct our at-
tention to the railroads.

The Saline and Walnut Hill Road. — The
reader will pardon us for giving most space
to this fii'st road, and the one hardest to get of
all our roads. At the beginning, the Goshen
road was the only one, and it crossed the pres-
ent Fairfield road four miles east of town,iust
beyond Samuel Brace's. It was necessary to
have one through the county seat. There
were a few trails, but not even a trail led to
Mount Ve'-non, It was said that all roads
led to Rome, but it was just the reverse in
regard to Mount Vernon — all roads led some-
where else. On the third day of the first
term of the County Court, June, 1819, the
subject of roads came before the Commis-
sioners, and it was " ordered that William

•By Dr. A. rlark Johnson.



Goings, Thomas Jordan, James Abbott,
James Johnson and John Abbott, or any
three of them, do view and make a road the
nearest and best way from Mount Vernon to
where the old road leaves the county. " It was
"further ordered that John Jordan, Nicholas
Wren, John C. Casey, Joseph Reed and
Robert Cook, or any three of them, do view
and make a road from Mount Vernon to
where the Prairie road crosses the east
boundary line of the county, near Hodge' s "
— both boards of Viewers to report in Sep-
tember. These intended roads were what is
now within this county of the McLeansboro
and Centralia roads.

But when September came it brought no
report from Viewers, and a new hoard was
appointed for the whole road It was "ordered
that William Casey, William Jordan, Sr.,
and Samuel Bradford, or any two of them,
do view a road, beginning at or near the
southeast corner of this county, on the near-
est and best way to Mount Vernon; from
thence, on the nearest and best way, to the
lower end of Thomas Jordan's Prairie, tak-
ing into consideration a road hereafter to be
cut out on a direction to Vandalia, and from
Jordan's Prairie, on the best and nearest
way, to where the old road crosses the north-
ern boundary lino of this county, and re-
port," etc.

It was found easier, however, to make



304



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



orders than to induce men to do what they
were not compelled to do, and indeed, hard-
ly knew how to do. On the same day with
the last order — September 7, 1S19 — Curtis
Caldwell, John Jordan and Robert Mitchell
were appointed to view a road from the ford
of the creek near Jordan's — now Garrison's
— to where the new road from Maulding's
intersected the county line. This last was a
road that Maulding had just cut out from his
house in Hog Prairie, a few miles this side
of where McLeansboro now stands, to
Hodge's — late Abe Irvin's — crogsing the east
line of the county n ear the southeast corner.
These men iu due time made a report: "We,
John Jordan and Curtis Caldwell, having
been appointed, etc., do hereby certify that
we have examined and believe that the near-
est and best way is on a straight line from
where Maulding's road intersects the county
to Joseph Jordan's; thence along the old
road to the ford of the creek, interfering
with no person's farm, by the Overseers mak-
ing some small amendments if necessary."
This report was approved, and John Jordan
made Overseer. The " Old Road " here was
a trail from Jordan's to where Lew Beal
lives. The " Old Road " in the previous
orders was the Goshen road. William Casey,
James Johnson and William Goings were
now — October 4 — ordered to view the road
toward Carlyle. But still some were dissat-
i.'ilied with the Viewers' report just received,
and John C. Casey, Samuel Bradford and
Oliver Morris were ordered to view the route
over again.

Incredible as it may now appear, all those
orders and views and reports failed to ac-
complish anything; and this arose from the
fact, wo suppose, that, as is now the case
when a railroad is talked of, almost every
man thought he lived exactly where the road
ought to be made, aud a man was unwilling j



to offend so many of his neighbors as did
not live on the route he might recommend.

But at length a bold and working board
was found. January 4, 1820, William Jor-
dan, James Abbott and Reuben Jackson were
ordered to view and mark the road, and James
Kelly was requested to procure the services
of William Hosick as surveyor. A month or
more elapsed and Hosick came not. It was
then ordered, February 10, 1820, that the
order authorizing Kelly to employ Hosick he
rescinded, and Joseph Pace be appointed in
his stead. Let this rej^ort speak for itself:

" We, James Abbott, William Jordan and
Reuben Jackson, appointed, etc., met at
Mount Vernon on Thursday, the 24th day of
February, and viewed to the creek (Muddy)
and adjourned until the next day; 25th,
met at the creek below the ford at a suitable
place for a bridge, viewed on thence, cross-
ing the little prairie at the upper end;
thence on to the Little or Jordan's Creek,
which we crossed, about a quarter of a mile
above Hood's Ford; thence on to an arm of
Moores' Prairie, at the Bushy Ridge; thence
on to Watkins', and, it being night, ad-
journed; 26th, met and ran on a straight
line to Crenshaw's; thence, with the general
direction of the old road to where the new
road cut by Thomson and Crenshaw inter-
sects the said old road; thence down said
new road to the county line. We met on
Monday, the 2Sth, agreeably to apjjointment.
at Mount Vernon, viewed to the right of
Henry Wilkinson's, thence on a line through
a corner of Harlow's tield, thence on by
Elisha Perkins', thence on to a small creek,
and, it being night, adjourned till morning.
Tuesday, the 29th, we met agreeably to ap-
j)ointment, and continued our course on
through an arm of Jordan's Prairie, running
within a quarter of a mile of Wren's place;
thence on to Gaston's, thence on to the old



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



207



road where it comes to the base line. We
do hereby certify that we believe the above
to be the nearest and best way for a road
through the county, and as near to the
prayer of your petitioners as one can be got."

This report was dated March 10, 182U; the
road was ordered to be made on the route sur-
veyed; it was to be opened eighteen feet wide,
and for their services Abbott, Jackson and Jor-
dan, the Viewers, and A. P. and G. P. Casey,
the chain carriers, were ordered $12 each,
and Joseph Pace §24 as sm-veyor. Daniel
Crenshaw was appointed Overseer from the
county line to the ninth mile tree; Joseph
Reed, from the ninth mile tree to Muddy;
A. P. Casey from Muddy to the fifth mile
tree, northwest of town; and Samuel Gaston
the rest. Just one incident: Two of the
Viewers, Jordan and Abbott, were veiy fond
of drink, and when they , started out of town
the second time they took a bottle of whisky
along. When they' got near Harlow's, as
mentioned in their report, they began to
drink, and after drinking freely themselves,
they gave Uncle Joe Pace the bottle and he
tvu-ned away and emptied it on the ground.
But he was too late. Jordan already had
more than he could carry, so he sat down to
rest while the others went on. We believe the
rest all put up at Perkins' that night; at any
rale, no Jordan appeared till some time next
day. "When he had rested sufficiently to
travel, he had lost his way and spent the
nigh' in the wouda.

The road crossed no stream requiring a
bridge but Casey's fork of Muddy. Here
the first bridge in the county was built by
Ben Hood and Carter Wilkey. From the
settlement at the March term, 1821, it
seems that the structure cost $44.15. Hood
and Wilkey sawed the lumber by hand. As
soon as the bridge was done, old Mr. Harris
came along and was anxious to be the first



man to ride over. The workmen considered
it unsafe, as the old man had taken some
"tea;" but they compromised, the old man
dismounted and led his horse, and so got
safely over. The road still runs very nearly
where it was originally located throughout
its entire length.

The Vandalia Road. — Before the opening
of the Vandalia road, there was a trail to
Peddling Billy Hicks', where old Mr. Bruce
afterward lived, and a trail from the Carlyle
road by Fleming Greenwood's to the White-
sides settlement, near where Flowns lived
more recently, in Jordan's Prairie. These
were the avenues leading north. But Octo-
ber 5, 1821, Abraham Casey, James Young
and William Maxwell were ordered to " view
the ground from Mount Vernon to Lee &
Hicks' mill and report the nearest and best
route for a road from Mount Vernon to
said mill." Emboldened by this beginning,
the court also " ordered that the said re-
viewers continue the review of said road
from the said mill on the nearest and best
direction toward Vandalia to the county line
of Jefferson County. "

Ou the 3d of December, the report came
in : "By order of the County Commissioners
of Jefferson County, to us, the undersigned, to
view the ground from Moimt Vernon to Lee
& Hicks' mill, and from said mill to the
north boundary line of Jefferson County, ou
the direction of Vandalia, and report whether
there is ground tit to make a road, and
we having received a plat of the Clerk of
the Court, have viewed and marked one as
straight as we possibly could, and report
that we think we have gone as straight as
can be without surveying, and think that the
gromid will answer. Signed by us, Abra-
ham Casey, William Maxwell, James
Young." The report meeting with no oppo-

7



208



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



sition, was received and the said road was
" established a public highway."

For the purpose of opening this road, it
was next day ordered that Elihu Maxey be
Supervisor of that part " that lies between
Mount Vernon and the north line of Section
No. 25, Range 2, Township 1;" to William
Maxwell was assigned the portion " lying
between the north line of Section No. 25
and the north line of Section 23, Range 2,
Township 1 north, with all the hands east of
the county or Carlyle road;" to James
Young fell the part "lying between the north
line of Section No. 23 and the northern line
of the attached part of this county, with all
the hands north of the line where he com-
mences." " The said road to be opened
eighteen feet wide and made passable for
carriages; to be opened smooth," and to be
completed by June.

But the road was not opened very smooth,
and, indeed, was not used a great deal, so
that it was really in danger of growing up.
Hence it became necessary, September 1,
1828, to order "that the Sheriff inform
Thomas D. Minor and William Maxwell,
•Supervisors on the Vandalia road, to pro-
ceed to cut out said road twelve feet wide
and keep the same in rej^air." This impera-
tive demand had the desired effect, and the
road became a permanent highway.

The Frankfort or Golconda Road. — The
idea of this road seems to have originated in
1822, from the people of Franklin County
having opened one leading from Frankfort
to oiix county line. The friendly challenge
from Franklin was accepted by our Com-
missioners, and at their March term — March
5, 1822— it was ordered "that Barton Atchi-
son, Esq., James Dawson and Nicholas Wren
view the ground for a road from where the
Frankfort road intersects the county line to
where the said road will intersect (the Sa-



line) road at or near the bridge." In due
time the report came in:

" Agreeably to an order of the court, we,
the undersigned viewers, have viewed and
marked the intended road, beginning one-
half mile east of the middle line dividing
Range 3, where the Frankfort road inter-
sects our county, thence a little northwest,
until we come to the Gun Prairie; continu-
ing the same course through said prairie
until we striick the above line; thence on and
near the said line to the Saline road near
the bridge. We, the viewers, think this to
be the nearest and best ground for said road,
allowing the Supervisor to vary as he may
think necessary." Dated April 12. 1822.

To open this road, James Dawson was ap-
pointed Supervisor, with all the hands hith-
erto belonging to Moses Ham on the Saline
road, where Ham bad succeeded Crenshaw,
except Young Lenore, Ignatius Atchison,
William Southwood, .Joseph Jordan, Daniel
Crenshaw and John Crenshaw; "and farther
ordered that the said road be opened twelve
feet wide arid it be done by the December
term of this court."

Notwithstanding these orders, it was not
" done by the December tei-m," and at that
time it was found necessary to order that
Amos Chandler be " Supervisor on that part
of said road between the bridge across
Muddy and Rollin.s' Creeks, with all the
hands north of the creek on which Mr. B.
Atchison lives, except the hands formerly al-
lotted to Mr Ham," and that Absalom Estis
supervise the portion south of Rollins'
Creek, with all the hands south of Atchison's
branch, escej^t those formerly allotted to JIi\
Ham. This move secured the opening of the
road. In 1838, William Redman built the
first bridge over Gun Prairie Creek for S175.

The Covington or Richview iJoad.— Cov-
ington, as many of our readers are awai •



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY



209



was origiaally the county seat of Washing-
ton, and stood on the Okaw, near the mouth
of Crooked Creek, about fourteen miles north
of Nashville. Indeed, it still stands there,
but in considerably reduced prop ortions.
When Clinton was formed out of the north-
ern part of Washington. Covington was no
longer central, and for a short time before
Nashville arose, Georgetown, almost a vil-
lage, a few miles west of Nashville, was the
county seat. Clinton County was formed in
1S25.

Well, the Grand Prairie people, who had
only a winding trail by which to come to
town, and the town people who wished to
build up, asked for a road to Covington,
June 4. 1822, the court ordered that Jacob
Norton, Isaac Hicks and James E. Davis view
and mark the route as far as the county line,
and report in September. This certainly
was sufficient time, but September brought
no report, and it was necessary to issue a
new order: " Agreeable to an order asrreea-
ble to a petition handed into this court at
the June term, on which Viewers were ap-
poi nted, but have failed to act, therefore ordered
that Curtis Caldwell, Thomas Jordan, Jr..
and William Casey be appointed to act as
Viewers, to be viewed on the straightest and
best way on ;i direction to Covington, as far
as the Washington County line, and make
return at the December term."

This order was slightly mixed, but "agree-
able" and easy to be understood; yet it was
entirely without effect. Nor was a "' view "
obtained till after March 4, 1823, when
Thomas T. Tunstall, Felix McBride and
William Deprist were ^appointed for the
purpose June 10, they reported that they
had marked the road on the nearest and best
way, to the best of their knowledge, and that
the " course generally runs west of north-
west." This road ran not far from where
the Eriohview road now runs.



Still the road was not opened till Decem-
ber. Then. December 1, 1823, "for the
purpose of opening said road," it was " or-
dered that William Deprist be and he is hereby
appointed Supervisor on that part of said
road bptween SEount Vernon and the Middle
Fork of Muddy, with the hands as follows,
to wit: Isaac Deprist, Jordan Tyler, Lewis
Johnson, John T. Johnson, Nicholas John-
son, James E. Davis, Nicholas Stull,

Overbay and his son-in-law, Rhodam Allen,
William Maxey, Charles H. Maxey, Joshua
C. Maxey, Edward Masey. Zadok Casey,
Samuel Hirons, Jarvis Pierce, William Wil-
kerson, Joel Wilkerson, Samuel Reed and
Asahel Batemen." A. P. Casey was Su-
pervisor on the rest of the road, " with all the
hands west of Foster's Creek, including the
Long Prairie settlement," " said road to be
opened by the March term of this court
wide enough for carriages to pass." In
1828, this road was vacated, but in a
few years it was restored as the Grand
Prairie, afterward the Richview, road, a
change being made at the west, and under
Jacob Breeze, Joe Baldridge and John
Switzer, and at the east end under L. F.
Casey, H. D. Hinman and J. C. Maxey, all
in 1844. The present western terminus was
at last located in 1846 by Duncan Cameron,
Esq., Isaac Casey, Jr., and Samuel Watkins.

The Georgetotvn or Nashville Road. — At
the June Court, 1828, at the same time the
last road was vacated, a new one to George-
town was called for. It was to " cross the
Middle Fork of Muddy near Shiloh Meeting
House and the West Fork near Hamlin's."
Most of our readers will no doubt recollect
Noah Bullock's and Bill Maby's " meeting
house " better than this Shiloh that stood
about the same j)lace. William Casey, Robert
Holt and A. Buffington were the viewers,
and on their report the Covington road was
vacated and the Georgetown road estab-



210



HISTORY OF JEFFERSOX COUNTY.



lished. Green, Dysnish and Jim Johnson of
Long Prairie were chosen to open the road.
It issued from town at the west end of Main
street, and ran nearly southwest by west to
W. Casey's house on the hill.

The Fairfield Road.— In 1824, John Sum-
mers bought A. P. Casey's improvement east
of town; and June 5, 1826, he and others
petitioned for a road toward Fairfield. Ac-
cordingly, he and Joe Jordan and Isaac
Casey were appointed to view the route.
September 4, they made their report:

"Pursuant to an order of the County Com-
missioners' Court at their June term, 1826,
we, John Summers and Joseph Jordan, have
viewed and marked for a road from Moimt
Vernon to the county line to Fairfield, com-
mencing at the court house; thence to John
Summers'; thence to William Jordan's;
thence intersected the road from Fairfield at
the county line." John Summers was ap-
pointed to open the road, together with
Bridges Hynes, Edmund Hines, Jesse Green,
Thomas Hopper, John Vance and Hiram
Hodge. The next spring court gave him
the hands in Adam's Prairie also. The road
as then established, ran near where it now
does, except that it struck out nearly due
east from the court house ran by a cabin
that stood where Dr. Green lives, ran nearly
a hundred yards south of the Shields House,
tlien wound around to the ford below where
the old bridge was. In 1838, Coleman Smith
built the first bridge over Seven Mile for
$25. 87^ In 1839, James Ross, John John-
son and E. H. Ridgway, in accordance with
an act of the Legislature, relocated the road
from town to the creek, throwing it into
Main street, and so on, nearly where it is at
present.

The Brownsville and Pinkneyville Roads.
— The roads toward Brownsville and Pinkney-
ville attracted a good deal of attention, con-



sidering how little business we ever had at
either of the places. The Brownsville road
began in 1834. September 27, " the Viewers
appointed to view and mark a road from
Mount Vernoa to intersect a cart way in
Horse Prairie and on a direction to Browns-
ville, do make the following report: That we
have viewed the same to run from Mount
Vernon, the present leading road to John
Hays' at Elk Prairie; thence angling down
said prairie near the east side of John
Black's farm; thence down a little arm of
said prairie to the lower end of the same;
thence crossing Muddy below the hurricane;
thence to the county line above the head of
Honey Point." Signed by Samuel Boswell
and John Hays.

In 1835, Isaac Casey, A. Buffington and
Jesse Green were sent to view a road toward
Pink-neyville, and failing to do it the job was
next year assigned to John Dodds, I. T.
Davenport and AVilliam Hicks. They located it
by .Tohn Dodd's house from the Nashville road,
by Rhodam Allen's field across the prairie, and
so on to the Brownsville road. Thus it re-
mained till 1839, when A. Milcher, P. Os-
born and J. A. Dees were sent out to see if it
were not useless. For anybody but Dodds
and Rhodam Allen, it certainly was, so
there it died. Then an Elk Prairie road
sprang up, 1837, running between Joseph
Pace's and Dr. Greethan's, to Bodinis, to
Reed's ford, across Muddy, and to the old
road at the county line. After changing
routes frequently, the Pinkneyville road, was
located not far from where it now runs, in
March, 1845, by Sam Boswell, Sid Place
and Jesse A. Dees, the route having been
suggested by J. R. Allen and Eli Gilbert
in 1844.

Other Roads. — We have given details of

; the first old roads, not only to show when

and where they were located, but to give an



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



211



idea how we got them; and the recital also
gives an idea that the best evidence as to
where they run, is the fact that they run
there, the record evidence of exact location
being slim. At length, however, roads be-
came literally too numerous to mention. We
note the principal ones: In 1838, a road from
Nashville to Equality, across the southwest
corner of the county, was laid out under the
direction of George W. Lee, Thomas Thompson
and George McCary. The same year, a road
was opened from Salem to Chester, across the
northwest corner of the county, and Allen
Dolson was the first Supervisor. It was also
in the same year that the Maysville road was
located. Isaac Casey, Azariah Bruce and
Lloyd BuflSngton were the Viewers, and it
was described as running with the Fairfield
road to a point near the Goshen road; thence
to Wright Ballard's, thence to the bridge
over Shiloh Fork above Slocum's mill. In
1839, the new State road from McLeans-
born to Mount Vernon was located, Ben
Hood, Ophey Cook and Wm. Sturman being
the Viewers. It was described as coming
through John Lowry's field, through Willis
Holder's and to a post of Atchison's mill and
to the old road between Atchison's and Os-
born's. In 1848, a road was opened from
the Academy by Short's mill on the creek
and by Samuel Atchison's to the county line
at or near the Spuriock place. The Farming-
ton road was located in October, 1849, by Jona-
than Gregory, Joe Bufiington and Lafayette
Casey. In the same jear, the Richview &
Fairfield — now the Richview & Farmington
— road was located by G. P. Casey, N. S.
Johnson and P. T. Maxey. The east Long
Prairie road from Seven-Mile bridge was
laid out in March, 1850, Abram Marlow,
Alexander Moore and Peter Bruce being
Viewers. The same year, the Frog Island
road began, A. D. Estes, J. Y. Shelton and



Andy Elkins locating it from the Frizzell
bridge to A. D. Estes', and southeast to
Shelton's mill. The route from Ashley to
Willbanks' was completed by S. S. Manner)
and S. K. Allen in September, 1852. A road



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