William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

. (page 49 of 76)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 49 of 76)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Township Clerks — J .W. Johnson, 1872;
John Pierce, 1873; M. A. Morrison, 1874;
John Pierce, 1875-80; J. Burke, 1881; J.
Young, 1882; Charles Burke, 1883.

Assessors — W. L. Young, 1872-74; F. M.
Harvey, 1875; M. A. Morrison, 1876-77;
William Summers, 1878; ^\'. L. Y'oung,
1879; S.C.Clark, 1880; W. L.Young, 1881;
W. L. Young, 1882; J. B. Young, 1883.

Collectors— L. B. Gregory, 1872; J. P.
Clark, 1873-74; W. L. Young, 1875; J. D.
Alton, 1876; G. W. French, 1877; Charles
Burke, 1878; C. S. Burke, 1879-80; J. Will-
iams, 1881-83.

School Treasurers — M. A. Morrison, 1874
W. L. Young, 1875; S. Brookman. 1870-77
W. L. Young, 1878; W. E. Wilson, 1879



384



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



W. L. Young, 1880; W. D. Morrison, 1881;
E. French, 1882; J. McCormaughty, 1883.

Highway Commissioners — L. Buffington,
J. Bradly, Pinckney Green, J. Bradly, S.
Greenwalt, B. M. Burns, James Norman, B.
Sledge, J. Cooper, J. Sumner, William T.
Fry and "W. Wilson.

Justices of the Peace — J. W. Johnson,
Isaac Dodds, Piuckney Green and J. Bradly.

Constables — Robert French, t. M. Hay-
nie, W. R. Donohoo, John R. Webb, M. Red-
burn, J. R. Cameron, J. Norman and C.
Donohoo.
^ The village of Farrington was laid out
June 2, 1856, and was surveyed by A. M.
Grant for Jehu J. Maxey. It comprised six
acres of ground adjoining Mr. Johnson's
place, and there wers two blocks of five lots
each and two of eight lots each. Maxey
& Johnson built a store-house, the first
house erected after the town was laid
out. George Lear came next and then
Abram Casey, and after him Kirk & Under-
wood. The next comer to the new town
was, perhaps, Dr. Bradford; Dr. John
son also built a house in the town. When
the latter left the place, Munsell came; then
Bradford and Ingalls. John Bagwell had a
shop some distance from Farrington, but
afterward put up one in town, and he and
Perry Maxey worked in it. About the be-
ginning of the war, King Maxey put up a
mill just south of town. He sold it to a Mr.
Powers in 1862, and after the close of the
war William Summers came home from the
army and bought an interest in it; some
foiu- years later it was sold to a man named
Snow, and moved to Walnut Hill. W. A.
Dale came soon after the town was laid out,
and started a tanyard, which was carried on
a number of years. April 15, 1857, an addi-
tion to Farrington was laid off by Johnson &
Collins, which was surveyed by Ambrose



Meador. A schoolhouse was built and a
few years later an excellent church was put
up, which was blown down in a storm a few
years afterward. Farrington is in a beauti-
ful place for a town, but it seems to have
reached the zenith of its glory, and now to
be on the downward road to the " vale of ob-
scurity." A town of 2,000 or 3,000 inhabi-
tants could be built here upon as pretty a
location as ever a town stood on.

Logansville, a little northeast of Far-
rington, consists of the post office of that
name and a small store kept by Dr. Greg-
ory. He commenced selling goods here some
fifteen or twenty years ago, and about the
same ,time, through the influence of Gen.
John A. Logan, then in the United States
Senate, he got a post office, and honored the
"swarthy Senator" by giving it his name.
Although rejoicing under the high sounding
name of Logansville, there is no town, nor
has there been a town laid out here.

At the present time there is no church
building standing in the township; Mount
Zion Baptist Church was burned a few years
ago and has never been rebuilt. A church
was erected in the northeast part of the town-
ship, but was never finished, and, as al-
ready stated, the church in Farrington was
blown down in a storm a few years ago.
So now the township is dependent upon the
schoolhouses in order to hold religious service.

Farrington Township is an excellent farm-
ing region. Corn, oats, rye and wheat are
produced in large quantities, and also fruits
and vegetables. Many farmers, too, have
gone into stock-raising. Dr. Gregory and
Mr Bradford are, jjerhaps, the most exten-
sive raisers and dealers in the township.
But others are beginning to pay more or less
attention to the business, and doubtless in a
few years Farrington will become quite a
stock-producing community.



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



387



CHAPTER XV;



GRAND PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP— BOUNDARIES AND TOPOGRAPHY— EARLY SETTLEMENT— HARDSHIPS

OF THE PEOPLE, ETC.— FIRST MILLS AND ROADS— BIRTH, DEATH AND MARRIAGE— AN

INCIDENT- FIRST VOTING PLACE— TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS, ETC.— SCHOOLS

AND SCHOOLHOUSES— CHURCHES, ETC., ETC.



" ramble for our delight, • ^

For the world's all free, and we may choose," etc.

— Hood.

FOR some years after the trappers, fish-
ers and pioneers began to skirt with
sparse cabins the Ohio River, Fort Massac
was the only point within reach where these
people could resort for the little trading iu
those essential supplies of ammunition, etc.,
that they were compelled to have. For a
long time, too, this place was a landing
point for all those pioneers from the Southern
States that came down or crossed the Ohio
River on their way to the Illinois settle-
ments. At first this was a route for nearly
all the immigration into Southern Illinois,
much of which came down the Ohio River on
batteaus, pirogues, canoes and skiffs, while
some crossed the river at Shawneetown, but
the larger number (in the earlier years of
immigration) at Fort Massac. But by the
time settlements had begun in Jefferson
County and the country immediately coutig
uous thereto, Shawneetown was the gateway
into the territory. Nearly seventy years
have passed since the first settlement by
white people in what is now Jeflferson Coun-
ty. There is a tradition, however, not well
authenticated, that several years prior to this
a man had settled in Moore's Prairie, the
facts of which have been given in preceding
chapters of this work.

*By W. H. Perrln.



Few people of Southern Illinois know the
history of its possession by their own race.
In the early part of the eighteenth century
there were white men passing up and down
the Ohio River, and the governments that at
different times had possessions, had erected
Forts Massac, Wilkinson and Jefferson, and
at these forts were stationed soldiers. These,
however, were merely guard-posts of armed
men for the purpose of keeping the posses-
sion and retaining the ownership of the
country. Often the Indians would gather
in great force and besiege the place, and
bloody battles would ensue, and then for
years the place would be untenanted. The
tenure of these places was frail and uncer-
tain, as they were often the j^rizes of un-
principled white men as well as of the native
savages. But much of this preliminary his-
tory is given iu other chapters of this work.
In this chapter our attention and that of the
reader is directed to a single division of
the county.

Grand Prairie Township is situated in the
extreme northwest corner of Jefferson Coun-
ty. It has Washington County on the west,
Marion County on the north, Rome Town-
ship on the east, Casner Township on the
south and in the Government survey it is
known as Township 1 soutli, and Range 1
east of the Third Principal Meridian. Per-
haps as much of this township is prairie as
any one township in the county. It fakes



388



HISTORY OF JEFFEUSON COUNTY.



its name from the preponderance of prairie
land in it. The surface is generally level
or slightly rolling and undulating, and drains
well without artificial means. The timber is
the same as in other portions of the county.
The principal streams are a branch of the
Big Muddy and Rayse Creek, with a few
smaller brooks and branches, which drain
the land well and aiford an abundance of
stock water. Grand Prairie is a fine farming
and stock-raising region, and can boast of
some of the best farms and some of the most
prosperous farmers in the county.

Among the early settlers of what is now
Grand Prairie Township were Abtam Casey,
James Ray, the Baldridges, William Fulton,
the Breezes, Stephen Cameron, James French,
John Roberts, J. A. Taylor, Green Depriest,
Peter Bingaman, Alfred Woods, Isaac Reilley,
John C. Boston, Clark Casey and others.
Abram Casey is considered the lirst white set-
tler in this township, which, however, was not
settled up as early as some other portions of
the county. Casey settled, previous to com-
ing here, near ]N[ount Vernon. He was a
brother of Gov. Casey, and moved about a
great deal, finally moving to Missouri, where
he died in 1841-42. James Ray bought
him out in the township. On Christmas
mornmg, 1828, Mr. Ray accidental Uy shot
and killed his uncle, Elijah Joliflf, near
Mount Vernon. The circumstance is related
in another chapter of this work, and need not
bo repeated here. The Baldridges were from
North Carolina and came previous to 1827.
Daniel and William came with their fami-
lies and still have descendants living here.
Fulton came from the East somewhere about
1826, and settled in the north part of the
township. The Breezes came from Orange
County, Ind., l)ut the family was originally
from Pennsylvania. Robert Breeze used to
boat down the river. He once went down



the Lower Mississippi with a boat, and when
he sold out he came back to St. Louis and
walked from Kaskaskia across the State to
Vincennes, where there was not a house on
the trail lying between the two places. He
and John Breeze came here about 1826 or
1827, and their descendants are still numer-
ous in the county. Cameron was also from
Orange County, Ind., and has descendants
still living. French and Roberts came from
the same neighborhood. Roberts was
French's son-in-law, and they both had large
families when they came to the country.
Taylor settled in the southeast portion of
the township.

Green Depriest, who settled originally in
the vicinity of Mount Vernon, came here
about 1832. He finally went to Missouri.
In 1828, Peter Bingaman settled where
Richard Breeze now lives. Alfred Woods
settled here in 1829 on Section 22. He en-
gaged in making sugar, and also devoted
much time to hunting bee trees. He once
cut down a bee tree, and in its fall a limb
struck him, killing him instantly. Isaac
Reilly settled afterward on the place occu-
pied by Woods. Boston came about 1831.
and had an early mill. Clark Casey also
settled in the township about 1830, on Sec-
tion 28. The people were now coming in
rapidly, and the fine country of Grand Prai •
rie was soon all occupied.

The pole cabins, the homely fare of wild
game and hominy and ash cake of grated or
pounded meal, the old wooden mold board
plows, and other rude pioneer tools, imple-
ments and hardships were common here, as
in other newly settled portions of the State.
The people lived hard; their comforts were
few and their luxuries fewer still. They
had to struggle hard to keep the wolf from
the door, both figuratively and litei-ally. The
wolves were plenty in the forests and prai-



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



38»



ries, and the wolf hunger, often stalked
abroad by day as well as by night. But we
are told that " time, patience and persever-
ance will accomplish all things;" so they did
in this, and with the passing years came
peace and plenty.

The mortar and pestle as a means of pro-
curing meal finally gave way to an os ti'ead-
mill, put up by D. Baldridge, on the place
now owned by his son, James Baldridge.
Joseph Baldridge afterward bought it and
moved it to another locality, but continued
the OS ^tread-wheel power as the means of
running it. John C. Poston put up a horse
mill soon after he came in 1S31, near where
Richard Breeze lives. Jacob and Owen
Breeze operated a circular saw mill near Big
Muddy, which was run by horse-power, but
it proved a poor investment, and they retired
from the business some time before the
war.

The first road that ever passed through
Grand Prairie Township was the old Vin-
cennes and Kaskaskia trace, which touched
the north part of the township. It was im-
proved, as the country settled up, and made a
road. In 1827, this was the only road ex-
cept the Mount Vernon road. The township
has as good roads now and as many of them
as any portion of the county. The fii-st
death which occurred in this section, or the
first one recalled, was Joseph Baldridge, Sr.,
but the date is not now remembered. One
of the first marriages was Clark Casey to
Polly Bingaman, and the ceremony was per-
formed by Gov. Casey. The first birth is
lost among the multitude of events that have
transpired.

For the fii-st few years after settlements
were made here, the people voted in Mount
Vernon, but afterward a precinct was
formed including Grand Prairie, and the
voting place was at Poston' s mill. Since



the adoption of township organization, the
following is a complete list of township offi-
cers :

Supervisors. — Jacob Breeze, 1870; Henry
Breeze, 1871; Henry Breeze, 1872; Jacob
Breeze, 1873; John W. Hails, 1874; John
W. Hails, 1875; Henry Breeze, 1876; T. L.
Ratts, 1877; Henry Breeze, 1878; W. L.
Fisher, 1879; Henry Breeze; 1880; I. G.
Carpenter, 1881; I. G. Carpenter, 1882;
Henry Breeze, 1883, the present incumbent.

Town Clerks.— Samuel Copple, 1872;
Samuel Copple, 1873; J. M. Grasamore,
1874; A. J. Hartly, 1875; W. A. Hartly,
who took a mortgage on the place, and has
held fast to it from 1876 to the present
(1883) wi'iting.

Assessors.— H. M. Bogan, 1872; W. Gas-
ton, 1873; A. J. Hartly, 1874; E. S. Nole-
man, 1875-76; L. H. Breeze, 1877; E. S.
Noleinan, 1878; J. H. Fisher, 1879; E. S.
Nolemau, 1880; A. J., Hartly, 1881; J. W.
Fisher, 1882; and T. L. Ratts, 1883. now in
office.

Collectors.— J. W. Fisher, 1872; E. S.
Nolemau, 1873; W. T. Fisher, 1874; Sam-
uel Copple, 1875; T. Beadles, 1876; W. D.
Baldridge, 1877; A. J. Hartly, 1878; G. P.
Baldridge, 1879; R. W. Gaston, 1880; W.
E. Beadles, 1881; W. E. Beadles, 1882; E.
S. Noleman, 1888, at present in the office.

School Treasurers. — Jacob Breeze, E.
Copple, J. Baldridge, Charles Mills, T. B.
Mooie, Sr., H. W. Beal, J. W. Hails, T.
B. Moore, Sr., T. L. Ratts and J. W. Hails,
the present incumbent.

Highway Commissioners. —W. M. Gal-
braith, Essex Payne, T. L. Ratts, I. G. Car-
penter, W. C. Pitchford, Thomas Bald-
ridge, Ira G. Carpenter, W. C. Pitchford,
Thomas Baldridge, William Galbraith, J.
W. Hails and Thomas Baldridge.

Justices of the Peace. —Franklin Cruzen,



390



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



Henry Breeze, T. B. Moore, Sr. , H. Breeze
and T. B. Moore, Sr.

Constables. — N. Rogers, J. W. Due, W.
C. Pitchford, O. P. Moore, S. J. Shaw, J.
H. Dickinson, W. C. Pitchford and J.
Sprouse.

Grand Prairie Township, as we have said,
is a fine section of country, and has many
fine farms. In addition to raising large
quantities of corn, wheat, oats, grass, etc.,
etc., much attention is paid to stock-raising.
Here we may see in all their glory and beau-
ty some of the finest specimens of the Nor-
man horse. Jacob Breeze and Eli (Jopple
imported three of these animals, the first
ever brought to this township. Atuch atten-
tion is now given to the breeding of these
magnificent draft horses. Considerable fruit
is also raised in the township. In the north
part, Mr. Galbraith and Ira G. Carpenter
make a specialty of strawberries, and raise
and ship large quantities aunually. Rich-
ard and Jacob Breeze have a very fine sugar
camp, which is worked every year. There
are several other " camps" in the township,
and hence a good deal of maple sugar and
molasses are made; sugar cane is also raised
to some extent, This diversity of crops and
farming is seen in the thrift and prosperity
of the farmers over those in sections where-
an entire neighborhood is devoted to a single
crop, as wheat, for instance, which every
year is becoming more and more uncertain
in this latitiide.

The following incident was related to us,
which we give as we heard it, and without
any comment. Somewhere about 1840, one
John Switzer came here and settled the farm
now owned by R. Breeze, Here he lived
until some time during the war, perhaps about
1863. One night three masked men came
to his house and claimed, to be looking for
refugees. There was a man named Tim-



mons at his house who was'a deserter, or sup-
posed to be, from the Confederate army.
This man the maskers took away with them,
but soon two of them came back and robbed
Switzer of all the money he had about the
house or all that the rogues could find. So
far as we could learn, no clew to the perpe-
trators was ever unearthed. Switzer soon
after sold out and left the neighborhood.

The first school, or one of the first, was
taught by a man owning the uncoumion
name of Smith. He boarded with B. Breeze,
but ran away before his school was finished
without even remunerating Mr. Breeze for
his board. The first schoolhouse built was
on the Boston farm, and was a log cabin
sixteen feet square, with slab seats, a punch-
eon floor and stick chimney. The township
now has six good, comfortable schoolhouses,
located in Sections 2,7, 9, 13, 26 and 29, in
which first-class schools ai'e taught each year.

The first religious meetings were held at
the people's houses, and were attended by
everybody in reach. The organization of the
first church society was at the Widow Gas-
ton's. Rev. Samuel Walker, a pioneer Meth-
odist minister, was the organizer of it, and
among the first members were the Gaston
family, Clark Casey and family, and others
of the early settlers of the neighborhood.
The first church was built as a schoolhouse
on the farm now owned by Mr. Hails, and
was a log cabin. It was used both for
school and church jiurposes. Mrs. Gaston's
house was finally burned, and as the church had
been organized at her house, this old church
and schoolhouse was now given her as a res-
idence. The first building put up for a
church exclusively was a Methodist Church
called Pisgah. It was a frame edifice, and
was built about 1852. It is still standing,
but has been purchased by the township and
converted into a schoolhouse.



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



391



Gilead Methodist Episcopal Church on
Section 5, in the north part of the township,
is the only church building, but several of
the Bchoolhoiises are used more or less as
places of worship. A good Sunday school
is kept up in the township, at the voting
place near the center, under the superintend-
ence of Mr. E. S. Noloman.

There is not a railroad nor a town or vil-
lage in Grand Prairie Township. It is de-
cidedly an agricultural region. The people,



^however, do not need towns, as they have a
number in close proximity on the Illinois
Central Railroad, which passes near them.
Eichview and Ii'viugton are near by, and
even Centralia is but a few miles distant,
and thus they have town facilities without
the exjiense of them in their own midst. At
these neighboring towns they do their trad-
ing, shipping, and even get their mail at
them, as there is not even a post olfice
within the limits of the township.



CHAPTER XVI.*



McCLELLAN TOWNSHIP— INTRODUCTION AND DESCRIPTION— TOPOGRAPHY— EARLY SETTLEMENT

—TRIALS, HARDSHIPS AND GOOD TIMES— PIONEER IMPROVEMENTS— ROADS, BRIDGES

AND MILLS — EDUCATION, SCHOOLHOUSES AND TEACHERS — EARLY

CHURCHES— TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS, ETC., ETC.



" Everything has changed so much
Since sixty years ago."

— The Pioneer.

IN our systems of agriculture, we are ex-
hausting our soils, regardless of the les-
sons which the history of by-gone peoples
teach us, and with no thought of the perils
which the present system of robbing the soil
will inflict upon future generations, when
barren fields shall fail to yield the necessary
food for the teeming population which our
vast resources of fertile land is so raj)idly
calling into existence. The exhaustion of
soil in this country is being accomplished
much more rapidly than was the case with
older nations centuries ago. We are living
in a faster age, in a time when the means of
transportation are so much superior to those
of former times, as not to admit of compari-
son. The markets of the whole world are

* By W. H. Perrin.



open to the products of our fields, and we
are taxing ovx soil to its utmost capacity in
order to meet the demand, without making
judicious use of the means at hand to re-
place what this continual drain is taking
from the land. The almost inexhaustible
fertility of the soil, especially the soil of Illi-
nois, which has been spoken of much and
praised so highly, is already being shown to
be something of an idle boast. The prairie
land as a general thing looks much richer
than it really is, and most of the cultivated
fields at the present time would respond
gratefully to a liberal application of barn
yard litter. This is an agricultural section;
this township is devoted wholly to farming,
and the above remarks are applicable and
should be heeded by the farmers. All the
manure and refuse matter about the barns
should be carefully preserved and spread
upon the fields. Because land is still fresh



393



HISTOKY OF JEFFERSOX COUNTY.



and productive is no reason why it should not J
be manured and improved. There is nothing
like beginning in time to improve the quality
of the Land and of restoring its exhausted
strength. McClellan Township lies south-
west of Mount Vernon, and is bounded north
by Shilob Township; east by Dodds; south
by Elk Prairie; west by Blissville; and is
designated as Township 3 south, Range 2
east. It is diversified between woodland and
prairie, and somewhat rough and broken
along the streams. The prairies are all
small, and are Town Prairie, named for the
county seat; Wolf Prairie in the southwest
part, together with a jjortion of Elk Prairie
which extends into it. The timber is
mostly hickory, oak, ash, wild cherry, wal-
nut, etc. Along the streams the timber orig-
inally was rather heavy, but much of it has
disappeared before the woodman's ax. The
principal water-course is Big Muddy Creek,
which flows in a southward direction almost
through the center of the township, and
Rayse Creek, passing through the southwest
corner, and emptying into Big Muddy a half
mile north of the township line. A few small
and nameless branches feed this stream and
contribute their share to the drainage of
the township.

The first settlement in this township was
among the first in the county. Isaac and
William Hicks settled in the northeast part
in the fall of 1817. The Hickses were na-
tives of South Carolina, but had been living
down on the Ohio River for some time before
coming here. Isaac Hicks had a son —
Thomas — born soon after he moved here, and
supposed to have been the first child born in
the county. He (Isaac Hicks) was an exem-
plary man and a member of the Baptist
Church. John Lee came in 1819, and was
from Tennessee, but was a native of South
■ Carolina. He settled where his son, John



Lee, now lives, and had a large family of
children. Israel Lanier was, perhaps, the
next settler in the township to the Hickses,
but of him we learned little beyond his set-
tlement. A man named John Still well came
about 1821 and settled in what is now
McClellan Township. He is described as quite
a sociable sort of a man, one who cared little
for the world's wealth and took but little
pains to accumulate property. He was fond of
hunting, and to range the woods with his gun
upon his shoulder was the sum total of his
earthly happiness. But once upon a time he
took his last hunt. He and the Abbotts went
into the woods one day in pursuit of game in
the vicinity of John Lee's, and during the
day he became separated from them. This
caused no uneasiness, as he was an experi-
enced woodsman, and they expected him to
make his appeai'ance at any time. But a
heavy snow storm came on, and when his
prolonged absence had excite'l strong ap-
prehensions of his safety, search was made.
He was never found, however, and the sup-
position was that he became confused in the
snow storm, lost his course and wandered
about until he perished with the cold, or else
fell a prey to wolves. Several years after, a
gun barrel was found in Elk Prairie together
with a few bones. These were always believed
to be poor Stillwell's. After search for him
was given up, a little fund was raised by the
neighbors for his wife, and she returned to
Indiana, whence they had come.

James Dickens settled here about 1821-22,
in Section 12, and was a cooper by trade.
He started a cooper shop in 1825-26, and



Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 49 of 76)