William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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did a considerable business in that line. He,
too, was quite a hunter, and spent much time
in the woods. He afterward moved up and for
some time had charge of Tunstall's mill. His
death is described as novel and peculiar. He
was at the house of one Harlow, at some kind



of a public gathering, and while at dinner
choked to death with a piece of pie. It
seems he was a rather rapid and hearty
eater, and having his mouth well filled with
pie, something amusing oceuiTed, when
throwing back his head to laugh, the pie
went the wrong way, choking him, and he
died at the table in a very few minutes.

William and Jonathan Wells came into
the township in 1828 and settled in Wolf
Prairie. Jonathan was a blacksmith and
had the first shop in the township. He did
the work for the entire community for sev-
eral miles around. W^illiam Wells, Jr., still
lives in the township and is in good circum-
stances. Simon McClellan settled here in
1823, on the place now owned by Samuel
Jones, and it is said the township was named
for him He has a son now living in Texas.
Other additions to the settlement of the
township were James Quinn, James Bodine,
Philip Osborne, Joseph Hays, Solomon
Ford, Thomas Porter, and perhaps others,
whose names we have failed to obtain.
Quinn came in 1826 and settled in the north
part of Elk Prairie, where his son Washing-
ton now lives. Bodine settled near Quinn
and is still living.

Osborne first settled in Dodds Township,
but moved into this about 1830 and settled
in the north part of Elk Prairie. Hays set-
tled on the place where Dickens had lived.
His death is supposed to have been the first
to occur in the township. He was among
the early pioneers laid away to their last
sleep in Old Union Cemetery. Ford settled
in the western part of the township and is
still alive, and one of the old landmarks of
the county. Proctor came in 1830; he was
a plain farmer and lived well.

The pioneers lived what we would term,
in this fast age, a hard life, but most of the
few still left will tell you that times gener

ally were better than they are now; that peo
pie were more social, more disposed to help
one another, far more honest and confiding
than in the present degenerate times. A
neighborhood was a kind of brotherhood — a
mystic band of Freemasons, ever ready to
lend a helping hand to the needy. They
were brave, generous and strictly honest, and
despised meanness in any shape it might
present itself. It was true there were neigh-
borhoods with a rough element in them al-
ways ready for a disturbance. These, upon
the slightest provocation, would get up a
fight, and in the old rough-and-tumble-
knock-down-and-drag-out style. Yet, the
fight once over, they were read}" to drink
friends, get roaring drunk and savagely
friendly. The bill of fare was often meager,
and consisted of coarse and homely food.
The pioneer's ritle supplied the meat; bread
was provided often from meal pounded in a
mortar. In summer, there were plenty of
berries on the prairies and in the woods, and
crab apples and wild plums were abundant.
Crab apples were gathered and buried in
the ground for winter use. These, cooked
in honey, made delicious preserves, and
wild honey was plenty and to be had for the
finding. Thus the life of the pioneers
passed, if not always in peace and plenty,
at least enjoyable to a certain degree.

Among the pioneer improvements of Mc-
Clellan Township were roads and mills. The
first roads were merely by-paths through the
forests and over the prairies. As the people
increased in wealth and provided themselves
with wagons and teams, roads became neces-
sarv, and were made by cutting out the tim-
ber along these trails where they passed
through the forests. At first and for a num-
ber of years there were no bridges over the
streams, but as _the people could afford it,
bridges were built and travel thus rendered



more safe. There are now some three or
four substantial bridges spanning the streams
in the township.

One of the tirst mills was a little horse-
mill built by Jonathan Wells, which had a
capacity of only a few bushels of corn per
day. Prior to this, some of the early settlers
used to go to the Ohio Eiver near Barker's
Ferry to mill. A number of neighbors would
join together, and with teams and pack
horses take the corn of the neighborhood and
get meal in return. It took about three
weeks to make a trip, and while they were
gone the men who were left in the settle-
ments would visit every family daily to see
that they were not molested by Indians or
wild beasts. This means of procuring the
"staff of life" was resorted to until mills at
home rendered it no longer necessary. A saw
mill was started in the township a few yeai-s
ago, and sawed up considerable of the timber,
which was used mostly by the people on their

John Lee put up a distillery in 1866,
which he used exclusively in distilling fruit.
It closed business in 1878, and, to the credit
of the township be it said, it is the only en-
terprise of the kind ever within its limits.
To educate the masses is the grand aim of
this great country of oiu-s. That every child
shall have a chauce to obtain an education is
the great objeiit of our excellent common
school system, and the times are near at hand
when every child will not only have a chance,
but will be compelled to attend school. Many
of the States are passing compulsory educa-
tional laws, and soon these laws will bH en-
forced. This is as it should be, for, while
education leads to enlightenment and pr(js-
perity, ignorance is a direct road to crime
and all sorts of lawlessness.

The people of McClellan Township took
an early interest in educating their children.

When the settlements were still very sparse,
schools were established. These were rude,
when compared to our present system, but
they were better than no schools at all. The
first teacher, or one of the tirst to wield the
birch in this section was Judge Baugh He
taught in a small log cabin on J. W. Lea's farm.
It was of small round logs, about 18x20 feet
in dimensions, and had been built by the
Christian Church for a temple of worship in
1837. A second schoolhouse was built on
Silas Rogers' place very early. At present
there are six schoolhouses in the township,
conveniently located, comfortable in arrange-
ment and well fui'nished. They are located
respectively on Sections 1, 8, 14, 17, 24 and
26. In these, schools are maintained each
year for the usual terms.

There are not many church buildings in
the township, but it does not follow that the
people are not religiously inclined. Several
of the schoolhouses are used for church and
Sunday school purposes The first chiu-ch
edifice erected was the one already referred
to as having been used for school purposes.
It was, as already stated, erected by the ,
Christian denomination, and among the early
members were John Lee and wife, Rev.
William Chaffin and family — they were from
an adjoining township — and John Scott and
family, from what is now Dodds Township.
The Chi-istians now have a church in Wolf
Prairie — a frame building about 40x60 feet.
Services are held in it every Sunday, either
by the Christians, Baptists, Methodists or
Universalists. A Sunday school is carried
on, which is attended and supported by all

John A Merrill was a clerical fraud in
the early days of the township. He came
into the community early and represented
himself as a Baptist preacher. He stopped
at Isaac Hicks', and held meetings in the



neighborhood for several days. While this
was going on, he stole Hicks' books, passed
several dollars of counterfeit money, and,
instead of making himself the exemplary
shepherd of a flock, he turned out to be one
of the very blackest sheep.

McClellan Township is thoroughly an ag-
ricultm-al region. The people are beginning
to pay some attention to stock and to fruit.
It was for many years that sheep could not
be raised on account of the wolves, and
even now the worthless dogs of the county
prey on them nearly as fatally as the
wolves used to do. The early settlers in-
vented many devices for ridding themselves
of the wolves that infested the country in
the early days, and trapping wolves and
wolf hunts were among the most exciting
sports of the pioneer. After a premium was
offered for wolf scalps, the animals began to
disappear rapidly. As the dangers from
them were lessened, farmers paid more atten-
tion to shee^J raising. Were they to carry
it still further, it would be so much the bet-
ter for them. There is but little question
that Southern Illinois is bettor adapted to
sheep than wheat raising. The sooner the
farmers here turn their attention to stock and
fruit, the more remunerative they will find
their farms.

As a matter of some interest to our read-
ers, we append a list of township officers
since township organization, which took
place in 186U. The first officers, however,
were elected the next year. The list is as

Supervisors. — W. A. Davis, 1870; D. C.
Jones, 1871 to 1873; L. Allen, 1874; S.
Ford, 1875; S. Allen, 1876 to 1878; W. A.
Davis, 1879-80; D. C. Jones, 1881; W. A.
Davis, 1882; and E. Collins, 1883.

Town Clerk.— W. A. Davis, 1872-73; J.
M. Hays, 1874-75; D. Millner, 1876; R. A.

Dale, 1877; T. B. Ford, 1878-79; R. A.
Dale, 1880-81; J. M. Hays, 1882; and R.
A. Dale, 1883.

Assessors.— J. W. Bradly, 1872; J. P.
Downer, 1873; W. A. Davis, 1874; J. W.
Robinson, 1875; J. M. Hays, 1876; V. G.
Rosenberger, 1877; G. W. Bodine, 1878; J.
M. Hays, 1879-80; J. W. Davis, 1881; G.
W. Bndine, 1882; J. M. Hays, 1883.

Collectors.— J. E. Farthing, 1872; J. C.
Quinn, 1873; V. G. Rosenberger, 1874 to
1876; G. W. Bodine, 1877; G. W. Dicker -
son, 1878; G. W. Bodine, 1879; A. Barrister,
1880; G. W. Bodine. 1881; J. E. Gilbert,
1882; J. W. Davis, 1883.

School Treasurers.— J. W. Mayfield, 1872
to 1878; Thomas Gray, 1879; J. W. May-
field. 1880 to 1883.

Highway Commissioners. — Benjamin Pars-
ley, 1872; Samuel Lacy, 1873; S. E. Gil-
bert, 1874; J. E. Farthing, 1875; Samuel
Lacy, 1876; H. McLaughlin, 1877; J. D.
Quinn, 1878; J. M. Rutherford, 1879; S.
Ford, 1880; J. M. Hicks, 1881; E. Collins,
1882; and G. A. Lambert, 1883.

Justices of the Peace. — John W. Hagle
and S. Reeves, 1870; Peter A. Bean and S.
Reeves, 1872; E. W. Gilbert and D. S. Gray,
1874 to 1876: W. A. Davis and D. S. Gray,
1877 to 1880; J. M. Rutherford and W. A.
Davis, 1881 to 1883.

McClellan Township is without villages,
towns, manufactories or railroads. Its ship-
]>ing point is Mount Vernon, which is but a
mile or two from the northeast corner of the
township, and by hauling to that city rail-
road facilities can be obtained for all the
best markets of the country. To sum it up,
the farmers of McClellan Township have a
prosperous future before them, and they only
need to be true to themselves and to guard
their interests faithfully to reap a golden
harvest at no distant period. They have



good lands and valuable farms, and must
sooner or later attain all else that is desira-
ble, if they only work to their own advan-

tage. To this end, then, they should look more
to stock-raising and fruitgrowing and less
to grain.





A.nd so in their turn, perchance, our

" And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb."

— Holmes.

IN the rush of invention and discovery,
men give but little time or care to the
preservation of facts and incidents that ren-
der history valuable and instructive. As the
period of mortality shortens, activity in-
creases and selfishness becomes a predominat-
ing motive. The dead and the past are too
quickly forgotten in the hurry of the present
and the anxiety for the future. But the re-
flecting mind always derives satisfaction in
reviving the events of preceding years and
forming a mental contrast between the then
and now. Could we but again go back to
our boyhood days, and handle the old wood-
en plow, the sickle and cradle, and once more
listen to the hum of the spinning-wheel in the
old log cabin, after so long enjoying the ben-
efits of modern implements and machinery, it
would seem to us impossible that the people
of the olden time could live as contentedly
as they did. But the old settlers have, many
of them, passed away. The slow plodding
ox team has given place to the more rapid
Norman sjjan. The reaping-hook of our
fathers has become a curiosity to our chil-

* By W. H. Perrin.


grandchildren may laugh and wonder at the
implements and machinery which we now use
and consider so perfect. The methods of
harvesting and machinery in use by the com-
ing generation may put our boasted self-
binders and steam threshers to shame. These
changes are inseparably blended with the
changes in population and with the progress
in civilization and social life. It is the duty
and task of the historian to make note of all
these transitions, and the history of Field
Township would be imperfect without this
reference to the old-time ways and customs,
which are yet dear to the memory of many
stilJ living.

Field Township is situated in the north
tier of townships, and is boituded on the
north by Marion County, on the east by Far-
rington Township, on the south by Mount
Vernon To\vnship, on the west by Rome
Township, and is Congressionally known as
Township 1 sottth of the base line, and
Range 3 east, of the Third Principal Meridian.
It is divided between woodland and prairie,
the former predominating. The timber is
mostly oak and hickory, with a few other
kinds common to this section of the country.
Casey's Fork of the Big Muddy is the princi-
pal stream, and flows south thi-ough the west



siae of the township. Adam's Ftirk has its
sonrce in the northeast part and flows west-
wardly. These, with a few other small
brooks, constitute the natural drainage.

Field Township has no railroads or manu-
factories, but is thoroughly an agricultural
region, and many prosperous farmers, who.se
well-kept farms are proof of their enterprise,
are found here.

The settlement of Field Township is of
much more modern date than some other
portions of the county. Among the early set-
tlers were the Fields, for whom the township
was named. Jeremiah Field, the patriarch
of the family, came to Marion County in
1826, but never lived in this township. Sev-
flral of his sons, however, came here, among
them Nathan, James and Henry Field.
Thomas MeCrary settled the farm now
owned by John Osborne, in Section 17, and
was from Alabama. He died about 1877-78,
and left several children.

Thomas Jordan settled here very early,
and lived near the line, in the prairie which
bears his name, and which lies in this and
Rome Township. He kept a tavern on the old j
Goshen road, and had a large family of
children. The Jordans were among the ear- j
liest settlers in this portion of the State, but [
they first located in Franklin County, where
they lived for some years and built a block-
house. They afterward scattered out, and
several of the name Ijecame settlers in differ-
ent portions of Jefiferson County, Thomas lo-
cating in this township, as above. James
Foster was an early settler, and improved the
place where John MeConnell now lives.
Ml-. Maxwell and David Garrison settled ear-
ly, W. J. Gam son, a descendant, has always
lived here. D. Easley settled the place now
occupied by Alfred Finn. John and Benja-
min Hawkins came in about lS40,and settled
in Section 8. They were good farmers, and

came originally from Indiana. Thomas Mi-
nor settled in the southeast part of the town-
ship prior to 1840, and still lives there. W.
D. Claybourn came about 1840, from Tennes-
see, and is still here. Thus the township
settled up, and the land was all entered and
improved within a comparatively short time
from the first settlements.

Field Township, as we have said, was of
more modern occupatioQ than some of the
contiguous portions of the county, and hence
the first settlers did not experience as great
trials as some of the first pioneers did. Mills
had already sprung up in many localities,
and life was becoming quite easy to what it
was when the first whites settled in the coun-
ty. It was not all flowers and su^nshine here,
however, for a number of years. The people
had their hardships and dangers, and enough
of them, too, but they managed to outlive
them and to see peace and plenty around

The old Goshen road was one of the first
highways through Field Township, but so
much has already been said of it that we will
but make this reference to it here. As the
township settled up, other roads were opened
to accommodate the increasing population,
and substantial bridges were built where
they were needed. There are now some three
or four good bridges in the township.

An amusing incident is related of the ear-
ly history of Field Township, which is
somewhat as follows: Thomas McCrary, who
is mentioned as an early settler, was what
was termed in those days an Abolitionist. He
used to burn charcoal for a blacksmith named
Storman, and the i)it where he burned it was
on big Muddy Creek. He burnt all the coal
Storman used for several years. Blacksmiths
then used charcoal entirely in their shops.
Being an Abolitionist, McCrary, of oom-se,
kept a station on the underground railroad,



a line that trafiScked between the Slave
States and Canada, and was more or less ob-
noxious to his neighbors, according to their
political sentiments. A man named Harmon
living just over in Rome Township, had
boasted that if any negroes came about him
they would be roughly treated, etc. One day
Andrew and William McCray, two of Tom
McCrai"j''s boys, blacked their faces at the
charcoal pit and went to Harmon's. The
women were washing at the spring, and when
they saw the " niggers, " they ran to the
house'for protection, very much frightened.
The boys disappeared into the woods, and at
the first branch washed the black from their
faces and then joined the immense crowd
that had turned out to hunt the " niggers,"
whom, we may add, they did not succeed in
finding. The joke was too good to keep, and
the McCrary boys finally told it. This led
to a regular " Donnybrook fight" on the next
election day, between the friends of Harmon
and the McCrarys.

The first schoolhouse in Field Township
was built on Big Muddy on the MeCrary
farm. It was a log cabin about sixteen feet
square, and of the usual pioneer pattern,
with its slab seats, puncheon floor and old-
time fire-place. .'„ There are now in the town-
ship six good, commodious schoolhouses, well
furnished and well patronized during the
school terms.

Field Township is well supplied with
chui'ches, and if its citizens are not religious
it is for no lack of church facilities. Oak
Grove Baptist Church, on Section 28, is a
neat and tasty frame building. New Mount
Zion Methodist Episcopal Chui-ch, on or near
the line of Section 25, is a handsome frame
edifice. Panther Fork Baptist Church, on
Section 11, is an excellent frame building.
The Campbellites, or Christians, have a new
frame church on Section 18, near the line of

Rome Township. Thus, as we have said, the
people do not lack for church facilities.

As a matter of some interest to our read-
ers, we append the following list of township
ofiicials since the adoption of township or-
ganization in 1869:

Supervisors — John McConnell, 1870; John
McConnell,1871; JohnSprowle, 1873; W. J
Garrison, 1874; W. J. Garrison, 1875; W.

F. McConnell, 1876; W. F. McConnell,
1877; John Hawkins, 1878; W. F. McCon-
nell, 1879. "W. J. Garrison, 1880; W. J.
Garrison, 1881; W. J. Garrison, 1882; W.
J. Garrison, 1883, the present incumbent.

Township Clerks — Thomas Rollinson,
1872; Thomas Rollinson, 1873; B. R. Car-
penter, 1874: Thomas Rollinson, 1875
Thomas Rollinson, 1876; L. Frazier, 1877
H. Hawkins, 1878; Thomas Rollinson, 1879
E. McMeens, 1880; W. F. Simmons, 1881
W. F. Simmons. 1882; W. D. Deane, 1883,
now holding the office.

Assessors — J. V. Garrison, 1872; James
Brown, 1873; T. B. Cady, 1874; J. M. Ben-
nett, 1875; B.J. Hawkins, 1876; B. J. Haw-
kins, 1877; E. H. Howard, 1878; E. H.
Howard, 1879; R. Raynor, 1880; R. Raynor,
1881; C. F. Hawkins, 1882; R. Raynor,
1883. now in office.

Collectors— B. F. AVimberly, 1872; B. R.
Carpenter, 187B; T. Rollinson, 1874; J. F.
Satterfield, 1875; J. F. Satterfield, 1876; J.

G. Howard, 1877; J. G. Howard. 1878: D.
Thompson, 1879; James Brown, 1880; T. H.
Wimberly, 1881; James Brown, 1882; J. D.
Simmons, 1883, now holding the position.

School Treasurers. — Elias Howard, James
Brown, T. H. Wimberly, J. A. Donahoo, M.
M. Howard, D. Price, W. F. McConnell, J.
Sechrest, D. Price.

Highway Commissioners — John Hawkins,
C. D. Frost, S. W. Maxey, John Hawkins,
W. J. Gamson, R. Smith, J. J. Williams,



W. J. Hawkins, R. Padget, J. J. ^Yilliam8,
J. J. Connoway, R. Pagdet, etc.

Justices of the Peace — John Sprowle, Jos-
eph Hawkins, J. T. Hutchinson, Joseph
Hawkins, J. G. Darnell, Joseph Hawkins, C.
M. Whitsen, J. G. Darnell, C. M. Whitsen,

Constables — William Myers, F. C. Quick,
T. H. Wimberley, J. J. Hawkins, H. P. Field,
M. Bradford, J. E. Gibson.

Field Township contains little to write
about, except the mere fact of its settlement,

as it is without towns, without railroads and
without manufactories. Its population is de-
voted chiefly to farming and stock-raising,
and are an industrious and prosperous peo-
ple. One of the largest stock-raisers in the
township is John McConnell, who devotes
his attention to horses, cattle and Cotswold
sheep, of which he has some line animals.
Others, also, devote more or less time and
attention to stock, and every year stock-rais-
ing, as a business, is increasing in inter-



" Ha! how the woods give way before the step
Of these new comers! What a sickening smell
Clings round my cabin, wafted from their town
Ten miles away."

— Boone.

THERE are few now living who were
here when Jefferson Coimty was formed.
Could you, who have only seen the country
as it now is, borrow their eyes, and through
them look back over the long past, what an
amazing sight it would be to you! The won-
der of Kip Van Winkle was not greater when
he woke from his long nap in the Catskill
Moitntains, and discovered himself no longer
the loyal subject of George III, but the free
and sovereign citizen of the greatest country
upon which the sun shines, than would be
yours could you look back and take in at a
glance the then state of the country in all its
primitive glory. What illusions it would
dispel, what a change it would produce in
your conclusions regarding your county, and

* By W. H. Pernn.

the pioneers who settled it and wrought the
wonderful changes that have taken place.
Men are great and good in this world accord-
ing to the lives they have lived, and the work
they have performed. The trtie story of the
early settlers of Southern Illinois has never
been told. It should be; and when it is, they
will receive their just meed of praise. Then
it will be seen that they are true heroes and
heroines. They were not seeking fortunes,
nor fame; they were intent only upon making
a home for their children, and they loved
freedom to that extent that they took their
lives in their hands and faced death in all
its forms, and laid the foundations of all
this splendid structure of civilization we see
around us, that brings us all our pleasures,
our wealth and our joys. Compared to the
battles and victories of the celebrated war-
riors of the world, the work of these unpre-
tentious, unassuming, unambitious men
should tower above the warriors and states-



Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 50 of 76)