William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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Hood, who came in 1817, with four stalwart
sons, one of whom was a carpenter, and to-
gether with Carter Wilkey, also a carpenter,
built many of the first houses in the coun-
try. In the following winter Theophilus
Cook, the widow Hicks, mother of Col.
Stephen G. Hicks, and several other fami-
lies came in and settled in Moore's Prairie.
Uncle "Ophy" Cook, as everybody called him,
settled near Sloo's Point. He was a most
excellent man, and all who knew him were
his friends. He was a pure and upright
Christian man in his character, was without
blemish so far as man may judge, and as friend
and neighbor he lived above reproach. The
Cooks, W^ilkeys. Mrs. Hicks, Atchisons and
Hoods were originally from Georgia. Mrs.
Hood 'and Mrs. Atchison were sisters, and
their maiden name Hill. Mrs. Hicks was the
widow of John Hicks, who, as stated in a
previous chapter, was killed in the battle of
New Orleans. Soon after the settlement
thus mentioned, a man. Hodge, came in. and
a little later Mrs. Kobinson came; also about
the same time a man named Fipps, Bales,
Fannin and Mrs. Moore, widow of Andrew
Moore, ruoved in and made settlements,
which have been noticed elsewhere. Cren-

shaw, whose settlement has already been
mentioned, sold out in 1822 to Tunstall, and
moved to St. Clair County. In 1824, Dan-
iel Wilbanks bought out Tunstall and settled
in Moore's Prairie, and since that date the
name of Wilbanks has been a prominent
one in Jefferson County and closely con-
nected with its history. Daniel Wilbanks
was originally from North Carolina, but em-
igrated to South Carolina, and from the lat-
ter Slate came to Illinois about the year
1820. He settled in St. Clair County in a
place called Turkey-foot Hill and was en-
gaged in the survey of the lands in that
county. But the malaria fastened [on him,
and to escape its effects he came here in
1824, and, as we have stated, purchased the
Crenshaw place in Moore's Prairie. His sons
were Joseph, Robert A. D., William, Dan-
iel, Davis, and several daughters. One of his
sons, Robert A. D. Wilbanks, once carried
the mail — when Uncle Sam traveled mostly
on horseback —from Belleville to Metropolis,
a fact, perhaps, that many of the old citizens
still remember. He was a prominent man of
his time, and held many offices and positions
of trust, and had also represented his district
in the State Senate. The family is still a
numerous one, and the male members are to
be found among the leading business men of
the county, of whom sketches will be found
in the biographical department of this work.
Robert Wilbanks, the accomplished and ac-
commodating Clerk of the Appellate Court, is
a grandson and an able representative of the
old pioneer, Daniel Wilbanks.

Other early settlers embraced the follow-
ing families: TheHineses, William Jourdan,
Isaac Fortenberry, Aaron Jourdan, Samuel
Atchison, Lewis Watkins, etc., etc. Hines
came very early and left early. There were
bad stories concerning him; he kept a tav-
ern on the Goshen road, and there were dark



deeds hinted at — travelers stopping at this
tavern who were never seen to leave. How
true were these stories, we do not pretend to
know. The time has been so long ago they
are becoming dim traditions. William Jour-
dan settled here in IS 18. He was the father
of a large family, and a number of grand-
children are living in this and adjoining
counties. The old house he built is now
used by George Walters as a barn. Isaac
Fortenberry came soon after Jourdan and
settled on Section 18, but afterward sold out
and moved to Missouri. C. and Aaron Jour-
dan settled in 1825, on Sections 9 and 10.
Descendants are still living. Samuel Atchi-
son came in early. Watkins had a store and
sold the first goods in the precinct. Samuel
Bradford settled near where Belle Rive
now stands, but some years later moved to
Wayne County. James Vance settled south
of Bradford about 1820. He was from Ten-
nessee. Others came ,in, including James
Bellow, Willis Harderick, Isaac Smith and
John Lowrey, and Moore's Prairie was rapidly
settled up, as well as the timbered land ad-
jacent to it.

There has been so much said in previous
chapters of this work upon the early settle-
ment of Moore's Prairie, that really but lit-
tle additional can be said here without rep-
etition. Moore's Prairie is a historic section,
and deserves considerable space, and we
deem no excuse necessary for the prominent
place we have accorded to it.

The beauty of the country pleased the eye
of these pioneers when they first came here,
and the abundance of wild animals gratified
their passion for hunting. They were sur-
rounded by an enemy subtle and wary, but they
flinched not from the contest. Even their
women and children often performed deeds
of heroism from which the iron nerves of
manhood might well have shrunk in fear.

They had no opportunities for the cultivation
of the arts and elegances of life — of refined
life. In their seclusion, amid danger and
peril, there arose a peculiar condition of so
cioty, elsewhere almost unknown The little
Indian meal brought with them was often
expended too soon, and sometimes for weeks
andjmonths they lived without bread. The
lean venison and the breast, of wild turkey
they taught themselves to call bread, while
the fatter venison and the flesh of the bear
was denominated meat. This was a wretched
"makeshift," and resulted in disease and
sickness when necessity compelled them t.>
indulge in it too long, preceded by weakness
and a feeling constantly of an empty stomach^
and they would pass the dull hours in watch-1
ing the potato tops, pumpkins and squash vines, \
hojsing from day to day to get something to 1
answer the place of bread. What a delight
and joy was the first young potato! What a
jubilee when at last the young corn could be
pulled for roasting ears, only to be still in-
tensified when it had attained sufficient
hardness to be made into a johnny-cake by
the aid of a tin grater. These were harbin
gers from heaven that brought health, vigor
and content with the surroundings, poor as
they were, and were only still further sur-
passed when mills were built and put in

This was the manner in which the people
lived, for the first years of their settlement
here, and is a very brief and feeble sketch
of some of their trials and hardships. The
difficulties they encountered were very great,
and would have utterly discouraged men and
women less brave and resolute. They were
in a wilderness, far removed from any culti-
vated region, and ammunition, food, cloth-
ing and implements of industry were almost

The townships of Pendleton and Moore's



Prairie are devoted principally to grain, and
as we have before stated, is the finest v^heat-
growing section of the county. It is too ex-
clusively devoted to wheat for the good of
the farmers. If they would divide their at-
tention between grain, stock and fruit, they
would soon find a great improvement finan-
cially in the results of their farms. Then
when wheat or fruit failed they would have
the other, together with their surplus stock, to
fall back on.

The early churches and schools of these
townships were on a par with other portions
of the county. The schoolhouses were of
the primitive log-cabin style, often de-
scribed in this work, and the first religious
meetings were held in the cabins of the peo-
ple, or in summer beneath the spreading
trees. The first schoolhouse of which we
can learn anything was a log cabin on Sec-
tion 7 of Pendleton Township, and the first
teacher was a man named Gibbs. The town-
ship of Pendleton now has nine schoolhouses,
and Moore's Prairie has six. These are all
comfortable buildings — palaces, when com-
pared to those the first settlers built and in
which their children obtained their meager
learning. The first church was organized in
the northwest part of Pendleton Township,
and the Estes family wei-e among the origi-
nal members. Of this organization, however,
we obtained very little information.

Pendleton and Moore's Prairie Townships
are closely connected historically, as pre-
viously stated, and not easy to separate the
sketch of them. Originally they comprised
Moore's Prairie Precinct. Upon the adop-
tion of township organization by the county
in 1869, they were divided and the south
end retained the old name of Moore's Prai-
rie, while the north half was called Pendle-
ton, as we have been informed, for George H.
Pendleton, the able Democratic statesman of

Ohio, who was the Vice Presidential candi-
date on the ticket with Gen. McClellan in
1864. Since the adoption of township or-
ganization, the township officials of Pendle-
ton have been as follows:

Supervisors — W. A. .Tones, 1870; Solomon
Patterson, 1871; R. Brown, 1872-73; T. J,
Holland. 1874; A. Knififen, 1875: John Gib-
sou, 1876; T. J. Holland, 1877; R. Brown,
1878-79; W. S. Alexander, 1880^81; J. A,
Wilbanks, 1882; L. E. Jones, 1883.

Township Clerks.— H. Patterson, 1872; L.
W. Cremens, 1873; W. W. Watters, 1874 to
1876; J. S. Brooks, 1877; R. W. Shelton,
1878; J. W. Gilpin, 1879; C. M. Jackson,
1880-81; S. C. Gilbert, 1882-83.

Assessors.— J. Guthrie, 1872 to 1874; H.
Patterson, 1875-76; O. P. Nesmith, 1877;
J. Guthrie, 1878; E. Price, 1879-80; D. D.
Smith, 1881: W. H. Estes, 1882-83.

Collectors.— J. A. Creel, 1872; T. Cornel-
ius, 1873; J. Maulding, 1874-75; A.
Kniffen, 1876 to 1878; O. M, D. Ham, 1879;
L. E. Jones, 1880; R. G. Wall, 1881; J.
Guthrie, 1882; O. M. D. Ham, 1883.

Highway "Commissioners. — W. B. Good-
ner, W. C. Henry, J. N. Miller, E. Jones,
G. A. Creel, E. Moore, J. W. Miller, E.
Jones, William Barbee, J. Smith, P. Will-
iamson, J. B. Jones and R. G. Wall.

Justices of the Peace. — William Carpenter
and G. W. Bliss, 1870;. Alfred Moore and G.
W. Bliss, 1871-72; O. M. Tennison, 1873
to 1876; G. D. Jones and E. Price, 1877-80;
J. R. Williams and A. C. Jones, the present

Constables. — S. Tennison, W. H. Estes, S.
L. Holder, J. E. Miller, J. Boswell, G. H.
Edwards, S. L. Holder, L. McCann, W. Car-
penter, E. B. Jacobson and William Price.

The following are the township officers of
Moore's Prairie since the date of township



Supervisors— Q. A. Wilbanks, 1870; W.
Oram, 1871-72; R. W. Burshead, 1873-74;
C. H. Judd, 1875; W. G. Casey, 1876; C. H.
Judd, 1877-78; J. H. Smith, 1879; A. J.
Liouberger, 1880; J. D. Kniffen, 1881; A. J.
Lionberger, 1882; G W. Clark, 18S3,

Town Clerks — C. C. Allen, 1872 to 1874;
J. McPherson, 1875-70; J. H. Zahn, 1877-
78; W. a Cofield, 1879; T, N. Woodrufif,
1880 to 1882; J. W, Nooner, 1883.

Assessors— W. G. Casey, 1872 to 1874;
J. H. Smith, 1875; R. F, Heck, 1876; W.
H. Hunter, 1877-78; A. Knififen, 1879; R.
S. Compton. 1880; J. H. Price, 1881; W.
H. Cotield, 18S2; O. H. Birkh-aad, 1883.

Collectors. —J. A. Irvin, 1872; J. D.
Knitfen, 1873-74; H. C. Alleu, 1875; E, F.
Burchead. 1876; A. Kniffen, 1877; W. H.
Cotield, 1878; J. D. Kniffen, 1879-80;
George Shipley, 1881; G. N. Allen, 1882-

School Treasurers.- H. C. Allen, 1875; C.
H. Judd, 1876; VV. G. Clark, 1877-78; D,
S. Hunter. 1879; C. H. Judd, 1880; J. T.
Watters, 1881; C. H. Birkhead, 1882; E.N.
Kara, 1883.

Highway Comaii3sioner.-5. — J. Lionberger,
Henry Bonnett, J. T. Watters, W. P. Wi-
ley, J. S. Brooks. J. Hopkins, W. J. Fin-
ley. Joseph Shirley, William Cofield, J. H.
Zahn and J. A. Smith.

Justices of the Peace. — Edward Price, D.
Boyles, R. S. Compton and H. L. N. Mills.

Constables. — J. J. Fannin, F. Hicks, J. S.
Cook, T. G. Barnett, T. Shipley. William
Pearson, T. Shipley, G. Keons and J. W.
Heok, Jr.

These townships, particularly Pendleton,
are well supplied with villages. Lynchburg
was laid out in 1852-53, by VV. H. Lynch,
who immortalized himself by giving it his
name. It is located in Sections 5 and 8 of
Pendleton Township, and originally com-

prised four blocks of eight lots each. Mr.
Johnson gives the following introduction to
the history of Lynchburg:

At the time Lynchburg was laid out, Jon-
athan Belieu lived at Mount Vernon, mak-
ing himself conspicuous as an eshorter, in
a protracted meeting. Lynch moved a small
log house to the southwest corner of his
town, and into this moved Belieu. The lat-
ter built a frame addition to the end of the
house, for goods, but by this time he had no
means left. To replenishj his treasury, he
resorted to measures not becoming a good
Christian and an exhorter. He took one
horse from Mr. Smith in Mount Vernon and
one from a negro near town. These he took
to Fairfield, sold Smith's horse and was re-
tu^-niug home on the othei", intending to turn
him loose on Black-oak Ridge and walk home.
But he missed his calculations by about half
a mile. Just before he came to his place to
change cars, he was met by Capt. Newby,
who at once recognized him and the horse,
and marched him on to town. Into jail he
went. He was visited by his poor, afflicted
wife, who brought him an auger, with which
he bored the door in twain and made his es-
cape. Dr. Gray found him, brought him
back to town, and again he was incarcerated,
this time in the dungeon. Then he tore his
blanket into strips, and by its aid got
through the scuttle hole up stairs, and when
Mr. Thorn went to pass his breakfast down
to him, he slipped out in his sock feet and
again made his escape. This was the last
beard of him and his family soon followed.
This was quite a blow to the town, but Bar-
net Lynch moved into the deserted house
and built a small shop east of it. Then \V.
H. Lynch and Stephen G. Hicks built a
storehouse and opened out a stock of goods.
Lynch bought out Hicks, and in 1854 sold to
Russell Brown. D. E. Lynch came about



this time and built a blacksmith shop east of
Barnet's shop. Soon after selling out to
Brown, Lynch died and Brown undertook to
make an addition to the town, when the fact
was developed that there was no town on
record to add to. So he waited till the
Legislature assembled, when he got Gen.
Anderson, then in the Legislature, to put a
bill through, by which the original survey
of Lynchburg was legalized and the title of
purchasers established. This act is dated
February 17, 1857, but Brown's Addition
beai-s date July 31, 1854 A little later a
post ofl&ce was established. T. O. Brown
joined his brother, Eussell, in the store, but
a year or two afterward they sold out to Dr.
Bhort. He (Short) was a leading and active
spirit until his death, which occurred in 1859.
He built a house just north of town, and
also a mill, and practiced his profession.
Charles Kahm traded his farm for Anderson
& Mills' stock of goods at Mount Vernon, and
moved it to this place, where he flourished
for a brief season.

At one time Lynchburg had a fair, even
flattering, prospect for a railroad, and it ap-
peared accordingly. Houses were built,
stores opened and business flourished. Ben-
jamin Brewer built a house; Davenport also
improved; Richard Lyon, from Mount Ver-
non, opened a stock of goods and built one
or two houses, thus making times pretty
lively. Frank Parker built a two-story
house and Dr. Stonemets came to where
Major Estes lives. Brown made a second
addition to the town and Romine also made
an addition. Dr. Gray for several years had
a business house. About the year 1862, a
schoolhouse was built, with a hall above.
But the poet of Bonny Doon tells us that the
likes of "men and mice gang aft aglee," so
it was with Lynchburg. When the St. Louis
& Southeastern Railroad was built it passed

Lynchburg "by on the other side. " AVith
the railroad came Opdyke and Belle Rive, and
Lynchburg went. Montgomery and Stone-
mets went to Opdyke; Davenport went to
Belle Rive, and so the town scattered. There
is but little left of it now but a store and a
shop or two, with a few dwelling houses.

"A place for idle eyes and ears,
A cobwebbed nook of dreams;
Left by the stream whose waves are years
The stranded village seems."

Belle Rive was laid out April 1, 1871, on
Section 27 of Pendleton Township. It was
surveyed by Mr Williams for Moses Wat-
ers, William Caniield and Jesse Laird, the
owners of the laud upon which it is located.
The original plat was sixty-seven blocks;
WatCTS afterward four blocks and Laird
eight blocks, and like all new railroad towns,
it improved rapidly. It drew inhabitants
from the other hamlets in the county until
they were left almost depopulated. Lynch-
burg and Spring Garden particularly suf-
fered in this respect. A number of men
came from the latter place; Bai-bee moved
in from the prairie and put up a mill. Drs.
Hughey and Eaton, from Harris Grove,
moved in, and Mr. Wall came from Farring-
ton; Boudinot came from St. Louis and
opened a store, and Howard opened a lumber
yard; other mills were built. A schoolhouse
was built, and soon every branch of business
is represented in the live little town. At
present the business of the place is about as
follows: R. J. Eaton, W. S. Chaney, J. W .
Wright, S. T. Grimes, general stores; S. C.
Guthrie, di'ugs; J Guthrie & Son, dry
goods and post office; R. M. Seeley, M. D.
Guthrie, J. Parks, J. Griffin, grocery stores;
T. L. Boswell, hardware; G. P. Yeakley,
tinware; Hunter & Davenport, lumber and
farming implements; John Garner, harness
and saddlery; J. W. Miller, fui-niture; J. H.



Gilpen, restaurant and family grocery;
Belle Rive Hotel, by Jesse Laird; Miller
Hotel, by John Miller; Buchanan & Co.,
lumber yard; physicians, W. R. Ross, W. A.
Hughey, E. M. Miller and R. J. Eaton; J.
W. Piper, Police Magistrate; Rudd &
Maulding, blacksmiths; E. E. Fancher and
Smith, wagon and blacksmith shops; L. D.
Davenport, blacksmith; L. C. Waters, attor
ney; F. M. Goodwin, tailor, and Miss
Leake, millinery.

A Christian Church was organized about
1873-74; a good frame edifice has been
built. Elder B. E. Gilbert is present pas-

A Masonic lodge was organized in 1871,
with C. S Todd Worshipful Master. They
meet in a hall over Dr. R. J. EatonV. store.
The membership is about forty-five, with C.
S. Todd, Master; Edward Miller, Senior
Warden; E. IS. Karn, Junior "Warden; R.
M. Seeley, Secretary. In 1878, this lodge
was consolidated with the lodge of Middle-
Ion, Wayne County.

Belle Rive was incorporated under the
general law in 1872, and the present are the
Board of Trustees: B. R. Gilbert, Jesse
Laird, Scott Cook, C. A. Baker, H. A.
Shields and "W. A. Hunter. Of this board,
B. R. Gilbert is President and J. W. Piper,

Opdkye was laid out April 14, 1871, and
like Belle Rive, its neighbor, was the result
of building the railroad. It is located in
Section 17 of Pendleton Township, and had
almost as many proprietox's as blocks in its
plat. Among them were George D. Edgar,
James K., Jonathan, Jefferson H. and Alonzo
Jones and D. T. Philips. It covered origi-
nally about 160 acres of ground and em-
braced some sixty- four blocks. The first res-
idences in the new town were built by Dr.
Stonemets and another by Dr. Montgomery.

Dr Stonemets built a house which was for
some time used as a store room. Joshua Al-
len then put up a store house; W. S. Ales
ander also built a house; also Carpenter;
James K. Jones and John Keller put up a
mill. The town, like Belle Rive, improved
rapidly, and became quite a lively place.
Its business still continues, and ^is even
growing constantly, as the country increases
in wealth.

There are now two mills in the town — Bar-
bee & Co., who own the one built by Jones
& Keller, and the Atlas Mills, by Montgom-
ery & Co. William Poole, Rentchler &
Smith. AVilliam A. Jones, Jesse D. Jones,
general stores; Henry Philips, drugs; A. C.
Jones, harness; Estes Brothers, hardvsrare;
John Adams and G. Hale, blacksmiths; W.
W. Teltz, (iooper shop; physicians, Drs.
Stonemets and Montgomery.

A Methodist Episcopal Church was organ-
ized in 1872. At present it has about fifty
members, under the pastorate of Rev. Mr.
Franklin. A good Sunday school is main-

The school is an excellent one, with two
departments, and an average attendance of
about sixty children.

A Masonic lodge, which was originally
organized at Lynchburg, was moved to this
place about 1876. They meet in the room
with the Odd Fellows. The officers are M.
V. B. Montgomeiw, Master; John Adams,
Senior Warden; W. W. Feltz, Junior War-
den; and William Young, Secretary.

The Odd Fellows !odge'_was also organized
in Lynchbiu-g and removed to Opdyke. The
present officers are George C. JIutson, N. G. ;
J. J. Jones, V. G. ; Alonzo Gibson, Record-
ing Secretary; and J. W. Estes, Permanent

A post office was "established in 1872, and
W. S. Alexander was the first Postmaster.



The present Postmaster is J. C. Tucker. The
village contains about 200 inhabitants, and
■ is an enterprising, stirring little town.

The railroad has been of great benefit to
Pendleton Township, and has increased the
value of property greatly since it was built.
So far, Moore's Prairie Township is without

railroads; but as there are several projected
roads, and which when built may give it
railroad facilities, so the people live in hope.
There are no villages in Moore's Prairie
Township, nor manufacturing industries. It
is an agricultural region entirely, and as
such is not sui-passed in the county.



"Another land more bright than this,
To our dim sight appears.
And on our way to it we'll soon
Again be pioneers."

— William Ross Wallace.

NIGH upon sixty years have been gath-
ered into the Great Cemetery of the
ages, since the first pioneers came to this
division of the county. Thirty years are a
generation's lifetime, and thus the period
alloted to two generations have passed. A
few of the " old guard " remain, but they
are fast hastening to the solemn valley where
"Death sits robed in his all-sweeping
shadow." The life of man upon the earth
is short. Even his "threescore and ten
years " are but a swing of the pendulum of
the clock of Time. Were it not for the duty
which, acted upon, becomes a part of our
moral nature, it would be hardly worth while
to undertake any gi-eat labors, to harbor any
wearing anxieties AVe would be as children
building play-houses of sand upon the shore,
and little caring how we build, for the driv-
ing wave, pulsating to the heart throbs of
old ocean, would soon erase all results of our
task and toil. But while life is short, society

• By W. H. Perrin.

is long. ' ' Men may come and men may go, ''
but society remains forever — an edifice whose
foundations were laid when it was found
" not good for man to be alone." Each gen-
eration adds a story, solid and beautiful,
polished in the similitude of a palace; or,
unsteady and shapeless, daubed with untem-
pered mortar.

The advent of the pioneers is now but a
dream of the past — it is a book, the pages of
which are turned. Few now remember when
the first cabin was erected in Home Town-
ship, and when the first man came to its ter-
ritory. Rome, it is said, was not built in a
day, neither was Rome Township settled in a
day. Its occupation by white people extends
over a period of several years, from the time
the first adventurous pioneer wandered into
the section now embraced in Rome until the
land was all taken up. The first comers were
people who sought homes here because land
was cheap and game plenty. Many of them
wei'e hunters, and spent miich time in their
favorite pastincie.

Rome Township lies in the north tier of
townships in the county, northwest of Mount
Vernon, and is boimded north by Marion



County, east by Field Township, south by
Shiloh, west by Grand Prairie, and is known
and designated in the Congressional survey
as Township 1 soath, and Range 2 east.
The surface is generally level, or slightly
undulating, and divided between prairie and
woodland, the latter predominating, and
covered originally with oak, hickory, walnut,

Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 45 of 76)