William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

. (page 46 of 76)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 46 of 76)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


sasbafras, wild cherry, etc. The principal
stream is a branch of Big Muddy, which has
its source in the north part of the township.
No railroads intersect it, but the country is
thoroughly a farming one, and is occupied
by a set of thrifty and industrious farmers.
Corn, wheat, oats, hay, etc., are the principal
crops. But little attention is paid to stock-
raising, except horses.

The first settlers in what is now Rome
Township are supposed to have been the
Maxwells. Mr. Johnson says t'lero were
three brothers, viz., Robert, William and
Archibald Maxwell. Another authority, how-
ever, says that Robert and Archibald were
the sons of William Maxwell, and that the
latter came about 1816-17, locating on Sec-
tion 7. He was from Bourbon County, Ky.,
and sold out and left here about 1824. He
is ^^escribed as a man somewhat wild, dis-
sipated and reckless, and when under the
influence of whisky, a little dangerous. His
boys would have choked him to death on one
occasion, for some of his devilment, but for
the interference of the neighbors. He was
a good kind of man when sober, but, like
hundreds of others, even at the present day,
he let whisky steal his senses and then he
was almost ungovernable. His sons, Robert
and Archibald Maxwell, came soon after him,
and Robert Maxwell entered the first tract of
land in Jefi'erson County, and paid the full
price in cash for it. He lived in Section 11,
nortliwest of where Mr. Bruce now lives.
Archibald Maxwell died in the county, and



had quite a large family; Robert had no
family but a wife. He left his property with
M. D. Bruce, and went back to Kentucky
about 1848-50. where both he and his wife
died. Mr. Bruce settled up his estate by
order of the court, and after paying Maxwell's
debts, turned over the residue to the Count}-
Treasury.

William Goins was an early settler here,
and kept a tavern, one of the first kept in
the county. He had a bad i-eputation, and
was accused of being connected with horse-
thieves, counterfeiters, and all sorts of law-
less characters. He finally left, for the good
of the community, as detailed in a preceding
chapter. His tavern was the head- quarters
of a band who committed, as was supposed,
many dark deeds. Even murders were at-
tributed to them. But as the country set-
tled up, a better class of people came in, and
the lawless band who frequented Goins'
tavern were cleaned out, and, like their king-
bee, Goins, were forced to leave for the
good of the country.

Davis and Philip Whitesides, brothers-in-
law of Thomas Jordan, settled in Jordan's
Prairie very early. They were noted fight-
ers, and considered the bullies of the lieigh-
borhood. Billington Taylor, originally from
South Carolina, was also an early settler in
this township, as well as his son-in-law. Nel-
son. The latter, however, finally went to
Salt Lake and joined the Mormons. A Mr.
McDaniel settled in the South end of Jordan's
Prairie, and died there. Mr. M. D. Bruce
came in 1838, with his father, and were from
Tennessee. The elder Bruce was known as
one of the best farmers in the county. James
Lewty settled early, but sold out and went to
Texas. He afterward returned to this county
and died. Ai'ba Andi-ews located in this
township, and built the first horse mill in
this part of the county.



362



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



Thus the township was settled, and the
wilderness reclaimed from its wild and natu-
ral state, and converted into a fine agricult-
ural region. But the labor required to do
this was great, and required many years to
accomplish. When we consider the rude
simplicity of the times, and the few and in-
ferior implements the people had to work
with, we find ourselves wondering that they,
succeeded in their great work. Their mill
facilities were meager, and as rude as the
implements they had to work their farms
with. The latter consisted of bull-tongue
and shovel-plows, and the old " Gary," with
the wooden mold-board These were made
by Ai-ba Andrews, who was the first black-
smith, as well as the proprietor of the
first horse mill. He is said to have been
quite a "mechanical genius." He made
plows and stocked them for the farmers. He
built a horse mill, the first mill in the town-
ship, an institution largely patronized for
miles around, and a great accommodation to
the people. He also made all sorts of agri-
cultural implements, such as plows and har-
rows, and even essayed horse-power thresh-
ing-machines. He put up the first steam
mill in the township, but previously o])erated
a horse-power circular saw mill, and earlier
had a wind-power mill for grinding corn,
and earlier still, a common horse mill. This
steam mill stood a little south of Rome Vil-
lage, and Squire Carpenter now has the
original engine in his mill. Several other
horse mills were put up in the township in
early times, but the history of one is the
history of all.
/ The educational history of Eome is similar
to that of other portions of the county. So
much has already been said upon the subject,
that but little can be added here. The first
schoolhouse in the township was a log cabin,
18x18 feet, on the land of M. D. Bruce, and



is still standing. The first school in it was
taught by Mahulda Martin, who came here
with her parents from Kentucky. Other
early teachers were William Dill, S. An-
drews, now a merchant in Centralia, and C.
Andrews. The township now has eight good,
substantial schoolhouses, and supports good
schools.

■^ The township is well supplied with
churches, and if the people are not religious
it is their own fault. Among the churches
are Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Ebenezer
Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the
Methodist Episcopal Church at Rome Village.
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church was organized
about 1850-52, and among the original mem-
bers were Freemen and Mary Walker, B. B.
Harvey and wife, James Ward and wife, Levi
Williams and wife, and R. Whitlock and wife.
It was formed in a log cabin, and the first
preacher was Elder James Keel, now dead.
The present church was built in 1867, is a
frame 34x40 feet, and cost $1,375. It has
122 members, under the pastorate of Elder
W. W. Hay, of Mount Vernon. It has a
good Sunday school, with an attendance of
eight)- to ninety, of which Andrew Riley is
Superintendent.

The Methodist Episcopal Church South
was organized in 1863. Among the first
members were Elijah Wimberly and wife, S.
W. Carpenter and family. The present
membership is about ninety, under the pas-
torate of Rev. C. M. Whitson. A Sunday
school is kept up, under the present su-
perintendence of J. M. McCormick. The
churchis an excellent brick edifice, built
about 1865-66, and is 34x50 feet in dimen-
sion.

The Methodist Episcopal Church in Rome
Village was built about 1867, is 36x40 feet,
and cost about 13,000. It has some fifty
members, and Rev. Mr. Boyer is pastor. A



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



363



Sunday school is maintained, of which Will-
iam Ayers is Superintendent.

Originally, this portion of the county was
embraced in Grand Prairie Precinct, but
when the county, in 1869, adopted township
organization, it became Kome Township, and
received the name from the village. Since
township organization, the following is a
complete list of township officers:

Supervisors. — G. L. Cummings, 1870; Will-
iam Wood, 1871-72; W. A. Boggs, 1873; G.
L. CuDiraings, 1874; Eobert White. 1875;
Robert White, 1876; G. L. Cummings, 1877;
J. V. Bruce. 1878; Matthew Tilford, 1879;
Matthew Tilford, 1880; Matthew Tilford,
1881; W. Snow, 1882; A. J. Riley, 1883.

Town Clerks.— J. D. R. Brown, 1870-73;
J. M. Thompson, 1874; A. J. Riley, 1875;
A. J. Riley. 187(5; J. M. Thompson, 1877;

A. J. Rile'y, 1878; W. Cobb, 1879; J. H.
Rupe, 1880; J. H. Rupe, 1881; G. W. Lee,
1882; G. W. Lee, 1883.

Assessors.— J. V. Bruce, 1870-73; T. W.
Self, 1874; T. W. Self, 1875; R. Casey, 1876;
J. H. Claybui-n, 1877; Matthew Tilford,
1878; B. J. Hawkins, 1879; W. Cobb, 1880;
J. M. Thompson, 1881; R. White, 1882; M.
Jennings, 1883.

Collectors.— B.. White, 1872; E. F. Casey,
1873; J. D. Bruce, 1874; Matthew Tilford,
1875; J. D. Bruce, 1876; J. D. Bruce, [877;
J. M. Kellogg, 1878; J. N. Brown, 1879;
J. N. Brown, 1880; M. Jennings, 1881; W.
Talbott, 1882; F. W. Purcell, 1883.

School Treasurers. — W. S. Hodges, 1872-
73; B. P. Maxfiel(f, 1874; W. P. Fizer, 1875;
W. P. Fizer, 1876; W. P. Fizer, 1877; Ed-
win Pufifer, 1878; J. M. McCormick, 1879;

B. P. Maxlield, 1880; B. P. Maxiield, 1881;
J. T. McConnell, 1882; B. P. Maxfield, 1883.

Highway Commissioners. — W. P. Fizer,
J. R. Ward, J. Saunders, H. Milburn, Will-
iam Snow, E. D. Puffer, Hiram Williams,



R. Tate, M. D. Bruce, R. Baltzell, T. Pat-
ton, R. White.

Justices of the Peace. — R. M. Breeze, J.
M. B. Gaston, William Snow, John Tilford,
W. S. Rupe, J. M. B. Gaston, J. H. Ward,
J. M. B. Gaston, J. Roberts.

Constables. — F. M. Purcell, D. Coj^ple, J.
F. Caldwell, S. T. Caldwell, J. N. Hawkins,
S. N. Dakes. J. N. Hawkins.

Politically, the township is pretty evenly
divided between Democrats and Republicans,
while the Greenbackers hold the balance of
power. In old times, this section was large-
ly Democratic. The first voting place was
at James Bates' house, but was afterward
moved to Rome; the vote polled was small —
from 130 to 140 — and the precinct was a
good deal larger in extent than Rome Town-
ship now is. The township has always been
patriotic, and turned out soldiers in the Black
Hawk, Mexican and late civil war. M. D.
Bruce and S. ^\'. Carpenter are old Black
Hawk soldiers. Indians were plenty in this
section when the fijst whites came, and there
are those living who still remember the noble
red men, and saw them often as they hunted
the wild game of the woods, without the
benefit of soap and breeches. Mr. Bruce
well remembers the noted chief Whitefeather.
He was a rather intelligent Indian, and spoke
very good English.

Village of Rome. — Rome, not the mistress
of the world, seated upon her seven hills,
bi;t the little, unpretentious village in this
township, was laid out March 14, 1849, by
Arba Andrews, and the survey made by L. F.
Casey. It is situated on the east part of the
southwest quarter of the northwest quarter
of Section' 13, and comprised four blocks of
five lots each. Andrews afterward made an
addition (December 15, 1857) on the west,
nearly equal in extent to the original town.
The first house was put up by or for .'ohu



64



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



Bostwick for a grocery, as saloons were then
called. He occupied it about three years,
and then went to Mount Vernon, and while
absent from Rome John Caldwell sold goods
in his house. He afterward returned and
occupied it again himself. Since his day,
Dr. Hart, Lakin & Branson, Swain, Thomas
Pace, Harlow and others have used it as a
business house, b\it it is now the reception
parlor of a stable. The nest house erected
was a hotel, built by Andrew Harmon, and
the third was put up by J. R. Brown, a me-
chanic. "William Parker was the village
blacksmith. Hiram Milburn built a store-
house in 1853, and the next year built a
hotel. It is related of this house, or the
frame of it, that it blew down with two men
on the joists, and fell all m a pile, but no-
body was hurt. Milburn and West bought
Lewty's Mill, which stood about a mile from
Bome, and moved it into the town. Isaac
Pierson added a carding machine to it. James
Sursa opened a grocery store, and in 1854-
55, Henry Blalock built a house at the south
end of town, and opened a stock of goods,
but in a few years later sold out to Dr. Jones.
A Bchoolhouse was built in 1854, and Bome
years later (during the war) a church, and in
1869 the brick church was built, and thus
the village became quite a moral little place.
The Doctors of Rome have been Jones,
Booth, Murphy, Darter & Burns, Bui-ns &
Ayres, Ayres & Darter, Skillings, Young,
Nichols, Mabry, Clark, Bradford, et al.

The town was named for Rome, N. Y.,
and not for the capital of the Roman Em-
pire. Mr. Andrews, the father of the place,
came from near Rome, N. Y., and named it
in honor of that place. When the post office
was established at Andrews" house in 1830,
it was called Jordan's Prairie Post Office.
But when Rome was laid out, it was moved
to town, and it was then found that there was
oanther Rome in the State, and some other



name must be selected. Dr. Jones, who be-
lieved in " shooting on the spot " any man
who would " haul down the American flag,"'
named the post office for Gen. Dis, the author
of that patriotic injunction, and Dix Post
Office it has since remained. Rome became
the voting place of Jordan's Prairie in 1852,
and when the township was formed in 1869,
it remained the polling place.

Rome was incorporated in 1866, and S.
W. Carpenter, Hiram Milburn, Hay-
worth, J. J. Maxey and Dr. Nichols were the
Trustees. An Odd Fellows Lodge was in-
stituted June 12, 1869, and the following
were the first officers: James Robinson, N.
G. ; L. Leffingwell, Y. G. ; J. N. Maxey, Sec-
retary, and C. Douchet, Treasurer. The
membership at present is twenty-three, and
the officers are George Watson, N. G. ; S.

Davis, V. G. ; Hays, Secretary, and J.

D. McMeens, Treasurer.

A Masonic lodge was organized October 4,
1874, and the first officers were John F.
Robb, W. M.; Robert F. Casey. S. W. ; G.
L. Cummings, J. W.: John C. MeConnell,
Treasurer; Thomas W. McNeeley, Secretary
The present roll of officers are as follows:
R. F. Casey, Master; F. M. Purcell, Senior
Warden; S. B. Bogan. Junior Warden; H. H.
Hutchison, Treasurer; G. W. Lee, Secretary,
and the records show thirty- six members.

The present business of Rome is: R. F.
Casey, dry goods; Dr. W. E. Bradford, drugs
and dry goods; H. Williams, groceries; S.
W. Carpenter & Son, grist mill: David
Thompson, wood-shop; Miller & Shinning,
blacksmith shop; Rachel Bruce and daugh-
ter, millinery store; William Kyser. furni-
ture store; James Fields, boot and shoe shop ;
one schoolhouse, in which two teachers are
employed; two churches, and Drs. Tucker,
Bogan and Bradford, physicians. The town,
though old in years, has never grown to very
large proportions, and never will, but it is
quite a business little place.



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



365



CHAPTER XI.*



SPRING GARDEN TOWNSHIP— GENERAL DESCRIPTION AND TOPOGRAPHY— SETTLEMENT OF THE
WHITES— THEIR EARLY TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS— ROADS, MILLS, ETC.— SCHOOLS
AND CHURCHES— TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS— SPRING GARDEN VILLAGE-
ITS GROWTH, DEVELOPxMENT, ETC., ETC.



"This rannot last;
For I am of the mould that loathes to breathe

The air of multitudes." — Daniel Boone.

NO age fully understands itself or the
place it occupies in the great s(jcular
movement of human history. If we would
catch the " increasing purposes " which run
through the ages, we mtist learn to look at
them in the widely separated epochs which
mark the decline and fall, the rise and
growth of political empire. Though today
be a yesterday and though the morrow shall
be as to-day, it still remains to be seen that
the subtle elements of historical change and
development are constantly at work with a
transforming power which is the more or
less eflScient in its results because it is invis-
ible in its operation. If we wotild clearly
discern the fact of human progress in knowl-
edere and virtue, we must look at the file
leaders of humanity not as they mark time
in the pauses and breathing spells of the
daily march, but as they set up the trophies
which signalize the tiu-ning points of human
destiny, whether it be some decisive battle
which saves Europe from the domination of
the Persian civilization, as at Marathon, or a
transfer of the world's scepter from Pa^an
to Christian hands, as typified by the con-
version of Constantine. And in like manner,
if we would clearly perceive the progress

« By W. H. Perrin.



that has been made by the separate nations
of the world now competing with each other
for the prizes of place and power, we must
contemplate their history in its periodic
times and not in its daily revolutions.

At this distance of time from the feeble
[ beginning of the progress and development
Y of this county, a point has been reached from
which a survey may be made of the steps
that have so far been taken. Although we
may look back with pride at the progress we
have made, yet our retrospection must neces-
sarily be tempered with some grief for the
loss of those who bore an honorable part in
the great work of subduing the wilderness
and transforming it into the " spring gar-
den " of loveliness. They made history, little
reeking who might come after them to write
and read it. The greatest honor that we can
pay them is to perpetuate their names upon
the pages of the history they themselves
made.

Spring Garden Township is situated in
the south tier of townships in the county,
and takes in quite a little corner of Moore's
Prairie, as fine a body of land as lies out of
doors. Many excellent farms are seen in
this section, and corn, oats and wheat are the
principal crops. Some fruit is raised and if
more attention was paid to it than there is,
it would be much better for the farming
community. It has been very satisfactorily



366



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



demonstrated in late years that wheat in
Southern Illinois is an uncertain crop, and
the farmers sooner or later must see the ad-
vantage of stock-raising and fruit-growing
in this region. Spring Garden is bounded on
the north by Dodds Township, on the east by
Moore's Prairie Township, on the south by
Franklin County, on the west by Elk Prairie
Township, and is designated in the Govern-
ment survey as Township -t south, Range 3
east, of the Third Principal Meridian. In
the woodland portion the timber is that sim-
ilar to other portions of the county. The
streams are Casey's Fork of Big Muddy,
Atchison's Creek, Gun Creek, Poplar Branch,
etc. Casey's Fork runs south and touches
the west side of the township; Atchison's
Creek flows west through the west part and
empties into Casey's Fork, while Gun Creek
and Poplar Branch have their source in the
northeast and east portions of the township
and pass out thi'ough Section 33 on the south
line.

The settlement of Spring Garden Town-
ship dates back sixty -five years or more.
Among the early settlers we may mention the
Smiths, some of the Atchisons, James
Pritchett, Thomas Hopj)er, John D. Vaughn,
Wiley Prigmore, Uriah Compton, John Hull,
Nathaniel Wyatt, E. Crane, James McCann,

Nathaniel Morgan, Thomas Softly,

Armstrong, Matthew Kirk, William Harmon,
Richard and Reuben Sweeton, Daniel Parrett,
etc., etc.

The Smiths and Hopper are supposBd to
have settled here as early as 1S16, but they
were probably not here quite so early as
that. Of the Smiths there was Isaac Smith
and one or two sons, one of whom was named
Abram. Hopper was the father of Abram
Smith's wife, and they were all from Ten-
nessee. He settled on Section 1 and died
there. Abram Smith had a large family of



children, some of whom are still living. His
father, Isaac Smith, was an Old-School Bap-
tist preacher. He organized a church of
that faith very early in a log cabin on Ben-
jamin Smith's farm. Solomon Goddard and
Noble Anderson were also preachers. The
latter was quite an eccentric character.

Uriah Compton settled at the old springs
called the Compton Springs, and from which
the township finally received its name. He was
a very early settler and improved the springs,
making them quite a resort. Wiley Prig-
more was an early hatter, when hats were
manufactm-ed at home instead of being
bought at the stores. Pritchett settled on
Section 1 and was from Tennessee. He was
a carpenter, and has a son, George Pritchett,
still living here. Two of Barton Atchison's
sous were among the early settlers. Wyatt
settled near the Compton Springs, and is
represented as a very excellent man. Mor-
gan was a good farmer and died in the town-
ship. Hull settled near Crane's mill and
acted in the capacity of miller for Crane,
who owned a horse mill. Hull was a large
man and an Irishman, and, like the majority
of his race, was extremely fond of a " dhrap
of the craythur," and when a little " tight,"
was quite as fond of a tight. McCann was
from Tennessee, and came first to Montgom-
ery County, and from there went to Madison
County; then came here and settled in this
township. Softly came early. He was a
plain but successful farmer; was a candidate
once for the Legislature, but an unsuccess-
ful one. He was as strong as Sampson,
somewhat addicted to drink, and when un-
der the influence of liquor was quarrelsome
and always ready for a tight. Alexander was
a very early settler; he was a cripple and
went on crutches. Finally he moved into
Franklin Count}-. Kirk had a large family,
and many of them are still living.



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



309



The Sweetons and Harmon were early
settlers, but of them we know little beyond
the fact of their settlement. Parrett settled
about one mile from Spring Garden. He was
a strict, close, but honest man, and a mem-
ber of the old " Hardshell " Baptist Church.
William Davis and William Braden were early
ministers of the Baptist Church, as well as
early settlers of the township.

Of a little later date came a numljer of
settlers, among whom we may mention John
D. Vaughn, who came about 1830 or 1832.
He came from Madison County here, but
was originally from Tennessee, and settled on
Section 22. He died eventually in Dodds
Township, and is buried at the Arnold
Graveyard in that township. He had twelve
children, and ten of them grew up and
raised families of their own. Many descend-
ants are still living here. Mr. Vaughn was a
a liberal-spirited man, full of energj- and
enterprise, and did much to better the con-
dition of the neighborhood in which he
lived.

He engaged in a general mercantile busi-
ness, and would exchange goods for pelts and
venison hams. These he would haul to St.
Louis by wagon, bringing back goods in re-
turn. He was also a carpenter, and built
many houses in the township. But liually he
was unfortunate in becoming surety for
friends, through which means he lost heav-
ily and died a comparatively poor man. He
was ever ready to take hold of anything to
make money. On one occasion he and his
son Christopher G. hired to some cattle
dealers to drive cattle from this section up
into Michigan, a distance of about 600 miles,
for which he received 75 cents per day and
his son 50 cents per day. Returning home,
they walked the entire distance, often walk-
ing forty miles a day.

The struggles, the hard times and dangers



to which the pioneers were exposed in the
early history of this division of the county is
but the same as noticed in other chapters of
this volume. One of the most trying diffi-
culties was the procuring of bread, which
sometimes could not be obtained at all. The
mortar and pestle was the usual resort until
horse mills made their appeai'ance. One of
the lirst horse mills in this section was
Crane's, which was liberally patronized by
the people. But, as the country settled up,
other and better mills were built, and this
trouble passed away, as did all the difficul-
ties of the early settlers. .

Who taught the first school in what is now
Spring Garden Township we cannot say, nor
can we give the exact location of the tirst
schoolhouse in the township. The early
schools and schoolhouses were of the usual
primitive kind. The township now has six
comfortable schoolhouses, situated in Sec-
tions 11, 16, 21, 29, 31, and at Spring Gar
den Village, in which good schools are
taught each year.

The chiu'ch history of the township is
somewhat limited, at least so far as church
edifices go. But religious meetings were
held early, and a number of the early settlers
were ministers of the Old-School Baptist
Church. Among these were William Davis,
William Braden, Solomon Goddard, Isaac
Smith and Noble Anderson. Of these, the
latter, perhajss, was the leader. He preached
the Gospel to the simple pioneers pure and
unadulterated as he understood it, not for
pelf, but solely for the good of mankind, and
because, as some of his neighbors used to
say, he was too lazy to do anything else.
There was within him the smoldering tires
of a rough eloquence, that, when once in his
jiulpit and warmed to his work, were soon
fanned into fierce llames, as he drew frio-ht-



Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 46 of 76)