William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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ty court thereupon, March 7, 1836, made
the following order:

"Ordered the Clerk advertise in the West-
ern Voice at Shawneetown and the State
Register at Vandalia that this court will at


30 7

the next June term reoeive sealed proposals
for the building of ihe brick coiirt house on
the public square in Mount Vernon, and that
Noah Johnston, John "SY. Greetham, Down-
ing Baugh and A. M. Grant, who in connec-
tion with the Clerk of this court, shall con-
stitute a committee whose duties shall be to
superintend the advertising, planning and
building of said house, subject at all times
to the direction of the court and liable to be
removed by said court."

Still the Commissioners, Barton A tchisson,
James Sursa and William Bullock, did not
fully surrender their authority to " said com-
mittee. " They all mounted horseS and rode
to Carmi, examined the coui-t house there,
thought it good enough, and in spite of the
earnest protest of the committee, determined
to take it as a pattern. So that, June 5,
1836, it was " Ordered by the court that the
Clerk shall advertise in the Shawneetown
newspaper that they will let on the 20th of
July the building of a court house in Mount
Vernon on the plan of the court house at
Cai'mi, 111., and of the same size and finish."
William Edwards got the contract at $5,500.
He was an Englishmaa, married Sarah Hyde
in London, came to Washington, there got ac-
quainted with Gov. Casey, bought land of
him in Grand Prairie and moved out just in
time to get this contract. He was a Method-
ist preacher; of his family let us further
say, that Francis H., his oldest son, finished
his education here, became a physician, mar-
ried Miss M. E. Hicks and died recently at
Sandoval. Joseph, the youngest son, also
a physician, married Miss Higgins and lives
at Mendota; and the daughters married Will-
iam Kidd, William McLaughlin and William
Gibberson. The court house was finished in
1840. But the county was hard run to pay
for it. Orders were issued for small sums,
but these were not quite satisfactory. In De-

cember, 1840, the Legislature was petitioned
for authority to borrow money, and in May,
1841, the Clerk, E. H. Ridgway, was au-
thorized to make a loan of S2,200 at the
Bank of Illinois at Shawneetown. But not
till October 14, 1841, was the final settle-
ment made. It then ajj pears that Edwards
had drawn in orders 13,061.61; he took
notes on different parties to the amount of
$474.86, and four bonds due June 8, 1848,
for the remainder. This settlement did not
settle. In September, 1842, Edwards re-
turned the orders and bonds and took five
$500 bonds, bearing 12 per cent, due June
8, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852. This court
house was forty feet square, square roof,
cupola supported by pillars and surrounded
by railing, court room below. Judge's seat
on north side, stairways in southwest and
southeast corners, floor, half brick outside
bar, bar cut off by railing with gates, four
rooms for offices above, front door south,
plain doors east and west. Cattle and sheep
used the old house all through vacations, but
by the efforts of Dr. AV. S. VanCleve, the
public square was now fenced for the lirst
time, and the bushes and weeds cut. So it
looked well.

About the time of the court house excite-
ment, the Methodist Chui'ch was finished,
the old Academy was built and the town was
incorporated, but these will come up under
the heads of churches, schools and city gov-
ernment. It was in the time of this prosper-
ity, all in five or six years, that Jonas Eddy,
Castles, Baltzell, Phelps, Dr. Short, Schanck,
Hinman, Thomas, Clement, Dick Nelson,
Haynes, Robert Wingate, Shaffner, Scates,
Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Roe, Dr. Gray, Rahm,
Stephenson, Palmei', Barrett, Tromley, Alex-
ander Barnes, and many others located in
Mount Vernon. Then followed nearly ten
years with much of the slow and heavy move-



ment of the olden times. The pulse quickened
a little -when the Central Railroad Company
was chartered, but became irregular again as
soon as it was located. Among the acces-
sions to our population worthy of note were
Dr. Green, Tanner, Mills, Thatcher, Preston,
McAtee, Began and Condit.

There is not much to add respecting the
general history of Mount Vernon. Most of
what remains to be told is included in the
various sub-headings that follow, or is suffi-
ciently set forth in the biographical and
other departments of this work. A general
outline reaching up to the present may be
given in few words. The most conspicuous
improvments in 1854 were the Johnson
House and the Methodist Episcopal Church.
John N. Johnson came to town a few years
before, with little means, practiced medicine
a while, got a small stock of goods, managed
with eminent judgement, won everybody's
confidence, built up rapidly, and by a very
large purchase of hogs in the fall of 1853,
made about $5,000. With part of this
money he biiilt the hotel that bore his name
for several years, but has been most recently
known as the Commercial Hotel. He died
the next winter, and the business, the
church, the lodge, the town, the whole coun-
try, felt the loss. In 1857, Strattau and
Pavey came out from Ohio, bought the farm
of John Johnson, the writer's father, south-
east of town, traded it to Thorn for a very
large stock of goods, and from that time to
the present, Strattan & Pavey, in conjunction
with Fergerson, Allen, Taylor, AVestbrook,
and other associates, have occupied a very
large space in our little business world and
contributed largely to the growth of the
town and the development of the country.
Strattan & Fergerson built the store now oc-
cupied by J. D. Johnson in 1859, and Strat-
tan & Johnson the three-story block south-

east of the public square in 1872, both the
Johnsons just named being sons of John N.
Johnson above mentioned, and the last
named, Alva C, being Strattan's son-in-law.
Pavey i& Allen built the store now occupied
by Hudspeth, Taylor & Company, in 1875. and
Strattan his residence in 1873. George H.
Varuell was the next important accession to
the ranks of business — proving indeed an
accession to the town and the entire vicinity.
He is brother-in-law to John S. Bogan, who
has been so intimately connected with our
history for thirty years, and came from
Washington City in October, 1861. In the
winter of 1802-63, Joseph J. HoUomon came
from near Humboldt in Tennessee. He had
bought of Mr. Elder, of Gibson County,
Tenn., thirteen tracts of land in Franklin,
Jefferson and Washington Counties, contain-
ing about 1,300 .'acres, for something over
$13,000. He erected a tobacco warehouse
east of town, now inside the city limits, and
did a lively business here until it was burnt
down in 1864. He and Varnell built the
" New York Store," northeast of the public
square, in 1863, and the mill now owned and
run by Hobbs & Son in the same year. Hol-
lomon sold out to Varnell in 18G5 and returned
to Tennessee. Varnell pushed along. He
built the Continental Hotel in 1877 to 1880,
and the block north of the Episcopal Church
in 1872. Henry W. Seimer came earlier than
some of those just mentioned, built up a
fortune gradually, and has contributed much
to the improvement of the town and the
activity of its business. A tailor by trade,
he has shown himself fitted for other kinds
of business, and has succeeded in all. In
March, 1869, the old court house was burnt,
and the officers found rooms in the Phoenix
Block, and the court a room in the Presbyte-
rian Church. At the September term, 1870,
the Board of Supervisors ordered an election



on the question of building a new court
house to cost not over $30,000; and in
April, 1871, a contract was made with W.
E. Gray, of Alton, at $29,315. The Build-
ing Committee were G. W. Evans, Q. A.
Wilbanks, Samuel Johnson, D. H. Warren,
John C. McConnell and Henry Breeze, and
the house was to be finished by March 1,
1872. The rest of its story is well known.
The new jail was erected in 1872-73. The
town received a wonderful impetus fi'om the
railroad as long as it was a terminus, uver
seventy houses being built in as many weeks.

The township was known in land descrip-
tions, but had no political existence for
many years. In August, 1841, James Sursa,
Aai'on Year wood and Armstead W. Bruce
were appointed Trustees of school lands in
the township, like Trustees being appointed
at the same time for all the townships.

The growth of townships as political divis-
ions was very gi'adual. For twenty years
at all general elections, everybody voted at
Mount Vernon. But it was necessary to
have districts for magistrates and constables,
and for these officers to be elected within
the districts. In a preceding chapter, these
different divisions are given from the forma-
tion of the county down to the time of town-
ship organization.

September 10, 1869, S. F. Grimes pre-
sented to the county court a petition for
township organization, as stated in the
chapter on organization of the county,

and an election was ordered for No-
vember. The result was 1,330 for, and
633 against, out of a total vote of 2,182.
D. C. Jones, William Kirk and G. L.
Cummins were appointed Commissioners
to lay off townships. At the March term,
1870, they reported Grand Prairie, Rome,
Field, Farrington, Casner, Shiloh, Webber,
Blissville, Allen, Bald Hill, Anderson,
Spring Garden, Moore's Prairie, each includ-
ing an exact township; Mount Vernon, in-
cluding Township 2, Range 3, and all of
Township 3, Range 3, west of Muddy; and
Pendleton, Township 4, Range 3, and all
of Township 3, Range 3, east of Muddy. At
the nest June term, Anderson was changed
to Elk Prairie and Allen to McClellan; and
at the September term, Dodds was formed of
Township 3, Range 3. The lirst Board of
Supervisors were Jacob Breeze, S. V. Bruce,
W. S. Bumpus, G. L. Cummins, W. A.
Davis, G. W. Evans, E. B. Harvey, Samuel
Johnson, W. A. Jones, John C. McConnell, J.
R. Moss, M. A. Morrison, J. B. Ward, D.
H. Warren, Q. A. Wilbanks, and after
Dodds was formed, R. D. Roane.

The Supervisors of Mount Vernon have
been, 1870-71, D. H, Warren; 1872-73,
1876 and 1877, J. D. Johnson; 1874, G. H.
Varnell; 1875, T. H. Hobbs and J. D. Rob-
inson; 1878, John Klein; 1879, John Gib-
son; 1880, 1881 and 1882, W. H. Herdman;
1883, T. E. Westcott.








" God attributes to place
No sanctity, if none be thitlier brought
By men wlio there frequent."— i/f Wore.

AT the conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church which met in the fall
of 1819, David Sharp was sent as Presiding
Elder, with five circuits in this State — Illi-
nois, Okaw, Cache River, Wabash and
Mount Carmel. On the Wabash was Thomas
Davis, and he included the church at Old
Union in his work. The next year, fall of
1820, two circuits were added to the Illinois
District— Sangamaugh and Shoal Creek.
Davis went to Cape Girardeau, and Hacha-
liah Vreedenburg and Thomas Rice came
to Wabash. In the general minutes for
1822, Mount Vernon first appears upon the
record: Illinois District, Samuel H. Thomp-
son; "Wabash and Mount Vernon, Josiah
Pattison and William Smith." These were
followed by Smith and Ruddle in 1823; these
by William Moore in 1824:; he by Orceneth
Fisher in 1825 for part of the year, Philip
Cole a few months and John T. Johnson for
the remainder of the year. In 1826, Thomas
Files was sent to the Mount Vernon Circuit,
Charles Holiday being Presiding Elder of the
Wabash District. For several years we were
in the Wabash District, then for several in
the Kaskaskia District, before a Mouot Vernon
District existed.

The following is a very nearly correct and

• By Dr. A. Clark JohDSon.

complete list of the Methodist preachers here
from 1825 to the time Mount Vernon Station
was formed in 1854; the date given being
that in which the conference year began, in
autumn: 1826-27, Thomas Files; 1828-29,
John Fox; 1830-31, John H. Benson; 1832,
Simeon Walker; 1833, James W^alker; 1834,

Warren L. Jenkins; 1835, Collins, one

round, or month, and Joshua Barnes for the
rest of the year; 1836, William Mitchell; 1837,
David Coulson; 1838, James M. Massey; 1839,
John Shepherd; 1840, William T. Williams;
1841, James M. Massey; 1842, James H.
Dickens; 1843, James I. Richardson; 1844,
Allison McCord; 1845, Reuben H. Moffitt;
1846-47, Arthur Bradshaw; 1848, David
Blackwell and John Thatcher; 1849, I. C.
Kimber; 1850, John Thatcher; 1851, James
A. Robinson; 1852, John H. Hill; 1853,
Thomas W. Jones; 1854, Norman Allyn.

For many years the Methodists had no
house of worship in Mount Vernon. The
ministers preached at Old Union, and the
people walked out from town. Sometimes
services were held in the court house, some-
times in private houses. In 1834, I think my
father's and Downing Baugh's were the only
Methodist families in town; but very soon
re-enforced by James Ross. They determined
to build. September 8, 1835, James Gray
conveyed what is now Lot No. 1 in Block 19
— the Episcopal Church lot — to John John-
son, Thomas M. Casey, Joel Pace, David



Hobbs, Downing Baugh, Joseph Pace and
James Ross, as Trustees, etc. Here they
built a small, plain house, with no pretense
of a steeple or bell, and with very plain
benches to sit on. It had one coat of plas-
ter and a small box of a pulpit. But preach-
ing was had here monthly, the Sunday school
and prayer meeting sometimes, and occasion-
ally some other kind of meeting. We had
DO Sexton, so the hoTise was not very well
kept, and the tirst one to come, on preaching
days, generally swept the house and made a
fii-e. One very cold winter morning we found
the door standing ojien— and it may Have
been open a week, for it was out of town and
nobody passed that way — and the first act in
the drama was to drag a dead calf out. It
had taken refuge from the storm within the
open door, and died there, perhaps several
days before. The roof was of boards, and
Boon warped, so as to let in some rain and a
good deal of snow. This made it bad on us,
especially in winter. John Van Cleve once
came to hold quarterly meeting. It had
snowed. Judge Baugh had a big dog.
McKay was a tall, lank, sickly, weak-minded
fellow, di'essed in rags; and Baugh's dog had
a mortal hatred for McKay. That morning
both were at church. As the room got warm,
the snow overheau melted, and chunks of
plaster fell. Baugh's dog thought it was
McKay, so he bristled up and growled.
Other chunks fell, and the dog got up,
looked daggers at McKay and growled. At
the third lacket, the dog jumped up, barked
furiously and made for McKay in a way that
made him stretch his long leg's over the
benches with a very unusual show of activity.
It almost bi'oke up the meeting, as the peo-
ple all smiled very loud.

In 1840, funds were raised to fix up this
church, adding ten or twelve feet to the east
end, putting a belfry on it, a new roof, etc.

Before it was done, Circuit Com-t came
on, and as the old court house had fallen
down, court was held in the still unfinished
church — the only room in town big enough.
While the court was in session, Abraham
Lincoln and John A. McClernand, Presiden-
tial Electors, Whig and Democratic, came to
address the people. McOlernand occupied
the noon hoiu" or two intermission, but when
Lincoln's turn came, politics were summarily
put out, and court began. Scates, the Judge,
and Bowman", the Sheriff, were Democrats;
perhaps this was why. But Mr. Kirby said
he was " for fair play, even in a dog fight;"
so he invited Lincoln and everybody to the
shade in front of his hotel, got a huge goods
box, Lincoln mounted it, and the crowd lis-
tened and laughetl and swore at him for an-
other horn* or two. Court over, the house
was finished, having, besides the improve-
ments named, a much larger pulpit, and here
a large variety of meetings were held, besides
the regular services.

At length, a desire sprang up for better
quarters. The church resolved to build.
July IS, 1S53, a deed was obtained from
Ambrose C. Hankinson, of Peoria, to the
Trustees — Downing Baugh, Darius C. War-
ren, William J. Stephenson, Lucilius C.
Moss, John N. Johnson, Joel F. Watson and
Charles T. Pace — conveying Lots No. 05, 66,
71, 72, the present site of the Methodist
Episcopal Chui'ch. The church was erected
in \SiA, at a cost of over §4,000. So it re-
mained, with minor improvements from time
to time, till they put an end to it — in fact,
put two ends to it and a new steeple in
1881-82, at a cost of over $4,000 more.

In September, 1854, the Southern Illinois
Conference met at Mount Vernon, and at this
session the society at Mount Vernon became
a station, with eighty- four members and
eleven probationers. John H. Hill was Pre-



siding Elder of the district, and James Lea-
ton was appointed to the station. This man
Leaton was an Englishman; a thorough
scholar; had been a hard case in youth; had
later been Professor in McKendi-ee College,
and was the most lucid speaker and the most
perfect pronouncer we ever heard. He still
preaches up North. The official members
were John Johnson, L. E. ; Zadok Casey, L.
D. ; John H. Watson, H.Davisson and Samuel
Schanck, Class Leaders; and the Stewards
first elected were Zadok Casey, '-Joel F. Wat-
son, John N. Johnson, Charles T. Pace and
Downing Baugh. At the first quarterly con-
ference, the Sunday school report showed
seventy-five scholars, ten teachers. The al-
lowance for the Presiding Elder was $41.40;
for the preacher in charge, as salary, $272;
table expenses, $150; traveling' expenses,
$50. In August, 1858, the quarterly con-
ference discussed the subject of a return to
the circuit, but action was postponed. The
question came up again at the fourth quar-
terly conference, 1861, and the church here
again become a part of Mount Vernon Cir-
cuit. So it remained till the annual confer-
ence of 1865, when it again became a sepa-
rate station, and continues.

The stationed preachers here have been —
coming about September each year — 1854,
James Leaton; 1855, Norman Allyn; 1856,
Ephraim Joy; 1857, James Leaton; 1858,
Thomas A. Eaton; 1859-60, R. H. Manier;
1861, M. Hoiise; 1862, G. W. Hughey, who
left early in the spring because the place
was, politically, too hot for him, and was
succeeded by John Ellis; 1868-64, John H.
Hill; 1865, D. Chipman, whose health failed
in six months, and Thomas H. Hordman took
his place; 1866-67, B. R. Pierce; 1868, John
Leeper; 1869-70-71. Joseph Harris; 1872-
73, D. W. Phillips; 1874, N. Hawley; 1875-
76-77, C. E. Cline; 1878-79-80, C. Nash;

1881-82-83, John W. Locke. The Presiding
Elders, most of whom removed to Mount
Vernon, have been John H. Hill, George W.
Robins, James A. Robinson, J. P. Davis, Z.
S. Clifford, B. R. Pierce, L. C. English,
J. Leeper, B. R. Pierce again, C. E. Cline,
C. Nash. The most prosperous period in the
history of this church was when C. E. Oline
was pastor. The former parsonage, on Lots
No. 24 and 21 — east half of 21 — was trans-
ferred to the circuit September 19, 1855,
and the site of the present one. Lots No. 64
and 73, Block 11, was bought of Dr. Dixon
March 23, 1867. The present parsonage was
built in 1877 ; cost, $1, 100. The church now
has about foui* hundred members enrolled,
two hundred scholars and nineteen teachers
in the Sunday scliool ; j)ays its pastor $1,000,
and expends about $1,000 on other religious
and benevolent objects; pays $100 on the
Presiding Elder's salary.

The Presbyterian Church. — The growth of
the Presbyterian Church in Illinois has been
more gradual — perhaps, also, more solid —
than that of some others. Up to 1829, the
Presbyterians were included in the Missouri
and Wabash Presbyteries, each of which lay
mostly beyond the State lines. October 28,
1828, the organization of Central Presby-
tery was authorized, and it was organized in
January, 1829. It was central because it lay
between the Missouri and Wabash. In Sep-
tember, 1831, the Synod of Illinois was
formed, with Presbyteries of Illinois, Sanga-
mon, Kaskaskia and Missouri, Kaskaskia
Presbytery, to which this part of the country
belonged, having been formed in 1830. In
r-38, the division of the Presbyterian Church
into Old and New School took place. Mount
Vernon Presbyterians, the few that were
here, being of the Old School. B. F. Spill-
man organized a church here in 1841, with
ten members and two Elders. This church

^ ^O-n^^^


:>r THE




was served, more or less regularly, by IVifr.
Spillman, Alexander Ewing, Blackbur?!
Leffler, and others, Lefflwr residing for sev-
eral years in Mount Vernon. The Kaskaskia
Presbytery held its spring session here in
1846; Judge Scates and Jonas Eddy were
the principal members. But the church
never became strong; and in April. 1852,
upon the I'equest of the members, the Pres-
bytery — of Kaskaskia — dissolved the church,
and the members transferred their member-
ship to the Church of Gilead, at Rome, Thus
ended the Old School organization at Mount

Alton Presbytery, New School, now gave
us some attention, and February 21, 1854,
Eobert Stewart effected an organization.
The first list of members included Warner
and Eliza White, John S. and Louisa M.
Bogau, George and Hannah Mills. John C.
and Juliana Gray, Sarah A. Tanner and
William D. Johnston. The Elders were
Miles WTiite and Bogan. Other Elders: T.
Condit, April 29, 1855, died April, 1861;
James F. Fitch; Samuel Gibson and W. B.
White, January 2, 1870; S, B. Kelso, De-
cember, 1874; James M. Pollock, July 25,
1876. The pastors have been Samuel R. H.
Wylie, a native of Logan County, Ky. , who
took charge July 13, 1854, and died August
11, 1854, aged forty-three; in 1855, William
H. Bird, also a native of Kentucky, and
brother-in-law to Wylie, died 1877; 1856,
Hillery Patrick, a native of Vii-ginia: 1858,
Charles Kenmore, an L-ishman, who went
South, and died, in 1871; 1858, after K.'s
brief stay, John Gibson, also an L-ishman,
who died 1869; 1869-70, R. G. Williams;
1870-73, Gideon C. Clark; 1873-74, Solo-
mon Cook; 1874-76, Adam C. Johnson;
1876, for three months. M. M. Coojjer; 1876
-78, George B, McComb; 1878, J. J. Graham,
employed in June, installed August 16, In

the interval between 18.58 and 1869, the
church was without a settled pastor, but the
Presbytery's missionary, Joseph GordoQ,
made many visits, and other ministers came
occasionally. In the meantime, the members
worked, the Sunday school and prayer meet-
ing went on. The church was organized at
Dr. Gray's house. The public services were
in the basement of the old Odd Fellows Hall,
Rev. Eben Muse has been pastor since Decem-
ber, 1882.

The Odd Fellows, with their usual gener-
osity, gave the church the use of their hall
gratis; but the members desired to be inde-
pendent, and at once prepared to build.
The first design was a nnestory house; but
Judge Scates and Mr. Condit, especially
Scates, wanted it two stories, and promised
to see the extra |2,000 raised to have it so.
The plan was changed, and they saw the
money raised — but saw Mills and Bogan and
Dr. Gray raise it. The house was finished,
almost, at a cost of $4,000, and August 6,
1856, Zadok Casey conveyed Lots No. 7 and
8, in Casey's Addition, to George Mills, John
C. Gray and John S. Bogan, Trustees, To
finish paying for the house, the Trustees now
got a loan of $500 from the Church Erection
Fund, which was not finally settled till 1871,
The church now numbers 100 members, pays
its pastor 1700, and has a Sunday school of
130 members and twelve teachers.

The Baptist Church. — We have already
noticed the earlier Baptist Churches. We
always had Baptists in Mount Vernon, but
no pei-maneut church before the pi-esent.
" The First Baptist Church of Mount Ver-
non" WHS organized August 6, 1868; Rev. J.
W. Brooks, Moderator, Daniel Sturgis, Clerk
of the meeting. R. A. Grant, D. Sturgis,
G. J. Mayhew and G. W. Morgan were chos-

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