This little work makes no pretension to a thorough and exhaustive treatment of any one of its topics. The limits of the volume, the difficulty of procuring accurate information upon a great variety of subjects, and the brief time allotted the author for preparation and publication, alike forbade this. The utmost claimed for the present work is that it marks the first movement in the right direction — namely, a full development and permanent record of our local annals. The author trusts that, by newspaper contributions, public correspondence and meetings of old settlers, the formation of historical societies, and future issues in pamphlet or book form, the errors of this preliminary essay may be corrected, and its deficiencies supplied. He believes
vithat the history of localities, however meagre or brief it may be, is richly worth preserving, and will attain in time a value far transcending its apparent and present importance. Under this conviction the work now offered has been projected and executed.
Endeavor has been made to base every statement herein upon reliable authority. To this end libraries have been ransacked, rare works consulted, many files of serial publications and official records carefully examined, a wide correspondence carried on, and numerous conversations held with those who are personally cognizant of facts stated. It would be too much, however, to presume that no errors have escaped notice; though it is believed that the work will be found in the main correct.
It was expected that several local views and portraits of old settlers should embellish the work. But its probable limited circulation, and the cost of engraving, induced the reluctant abandonment of this intention. Should another and enlarged edition ever be called for, they may be added. It has been found advisable to depart in some particulars from the announcements of the prospectus, and also to prefix chapters on European discovery and Illinois history.
In the prosecution of his researches, the author has been placed under obligations to a large number of individuals, for their incidental or direct assistance; and he desires to make public acknowledgment of their several favors to the officers of the Chicago Historical Society, especially to the accomplished Secretary, Dr. WM. BARRY; to the clerks of the Treasury Department, at Washington; to the librarians of the Eureka College, Peoria City, Henry Public, and Magnolia Public Libraries; to Judges BANGS and RAMSEY, of Lacon; to the veteran editor, HOOPER WARREN, Esq., of Henry; to Dr. B. CLARKE LUNDY, of Magnolia, Rev. J. P. HAYES, of Hennepin, DAVID WALKER, Esq., of Ottawa, the editors of the local papers, the county officers of Putnam and Marshall, and many others.
With these explanations and acknowledgments, this humble effort is submitted to the public.
Gazette Office, Lacon, August, 1860.
On page 17, 7th line from top, read "French" for "English." The fort was rebuilt a few years before the English becamemasters of the country.
On page 40, 6th line from top, read "1855" for "1851." The first Board of Supervisors, however, does not appear to have been elected until 1857.
On page 47, 10th line from top, read "2d" for "3d."
On page 57, 15th line from top, read "of" for "off."
On page 87, 9th line from top, read "1833" for 1838."
In the note to page 112, read "so named" for "done." The town was not laid off at the suggestion of Mr. Warren, as might be inferred from the language of the note.
Chapter I. European Discovery in the West.
On an Easter Sunday, in the twentieth year after Columbus first moored his caravals on the shores of the New World, his old comrade, Juan Ponce de Leon, in search of the "Fountain of Youth" fabled to exist far within the recesses of American forests, and also in quest of gold to gratify the insatiable passion of the age, landed in the beautiful peninsula of the South, and named the new-discovered country FLORIDA — "the land of flowers." The gold procured in this region by subsequent adventurers stimulated a desire to penetrate the interior, in hope of finding the boundless wealth believed to be hidden there. — But a few years passed before European discovery in the great Valley of the West was begun by the Spanish under Pamphilo de Narvaez, who perished in the
2wilderness before he reached the "Great River." — His treasurer, Cabeza de Vaca, assuming the command of the expedition, pushed the perilous enterprise forward; and in September, 1534, they, "first of men from the Old World;" crossed the Mississippi as far north as Tennessee. Pursuing their difficult journey westward, many of the wanderers falling under the fatigues and sufferings of the way, a wretched few reached Sonora, near the Pacific shore, whence they were conducted to the city of Mexico, and at length returned to Spain.
Seven years later, followed the ill-starred expedition of Fernando de Soto, a Spanish soldier who had assisted Pizarro in the conquest of Peru. With a numerous and brilliant band of cavaliers, he struck into the wilderness near Tampa Bay, in Florida, and for many weary months toiled through the tangled forests and deep morasses of the South, until the 1st of May, 1541, when his reduced and dispirited followers stood upon the banks of the Mississippi, at about the 35th parallel of latitude. Crossing the river at this point, they pursued their march northward to the neighborhood of New Madrid, passing thence to the highlands of White river, and descending the Washita to its junction with the Mississippi. Here the stout heart of De Soto gave way beneath its disappointments and burdens; and he found a
3grave where he had thought to conquer an empire. Only half his glittering troop, after untold sufferings in their devious wanderings amid hostile Indians and through trackless woods, ever reached their homes.
These explorations in search of the Fountain of Youth, of gold and wide dominion, were barren of results to the West. They founded no settlements, left no traces, produced no effect, unless to excite the hostility of the red against the white men, and to dishearten such as might otherwise have tried to follow up the career of discovery to better purpose.
For a hundred and thirty years after the disastrous termination of De Soto's enterprise, the Valley of the Mississippi was undisturbed by the European. — Meanwhile,
4the French had not been idle. They entered without delay into the competition for the commerce and the soil of America. Within seven year of the discovery of the continent, the fisheries of Newfoundland were known to the hardy mariners of Brittany and Normandy.
5the unknown West with expectant eye, to find the long-sought shorter passage to China and the East Indies. Louis XIV., "Le Grande Monarque," was on the French throne, and the spirit of enterprise was rife among his ambitious subjects. Two Canadian envoys, named Charles Raymbault and Isaac Jogues, were the first to explore the North-west as far as the Falls of St. Mary, which they reached in 1641. No permanent settlement resulted until 1660, when the first missionary station in the Western wilds was established by Father Rene Mesnard, who was lost in the woods a few months after, while bearing the story of the cross to the Indian tribes further west. Five years passed, and Father Claude Allouez came, the first successful missionary to the West, to found a mission at the Bay of St. Theresa, on Lake Superior. Here he lived and labored for two years; opening the way of future discovery, and gathering, at different points, little colonies of French and Indian converts. He was the first European to hear of the great prairies and fertile resources of the Illinois country, through the Indian tribe of that name, who journeyed from their distant homes to see and hear him. In his Journal he writes:
"I have here made known the name of Jesus Christ to eighty persons of this nation; they have carried it, and published it with applause to all the countries of the South. * * I confess that this appears
to me to be the finest field for the gospel; if I had had leisure and opportunity, I would have visited their country, to see with my own eyes all the good that they have told me of it. * There are no forests with them, but many large prairies."
The Mission of St. Mary was founded shortly after at the Falls where the waters of Lake Superior have their outlet, by Claude Dablon and James Marquette, the latter destined to be renowned through all time as the pioneer of French discovery in the Mississippi Valley. In 1670, under instruction from the Government of France, Nicolas Perrot explored Lake Michigan and visited the Miami Indians at Chicago, himself and party being the first white men to tread the soil of Illinois. The succeeding year he summoned an assemblage of all the Indian tribes of the surrounding country at the Falls of St. Mary, when he took formal possession of the whole North-west, in the name of his master, the King of France, and a cedar column was planted in the earth, with the Bourbon arms engraved upon it, in token of his dominion over this vast empire.
Father Marquette had long entertained the design of exploring the "Land of the Great River," of which he had often heard through his Indian visitors, and of carrying the gospel to the distant savages who had never heard its gladsome tidings. His project had the countenance of M. Talon, the Intendant (or
7governor) of New France, by whom the Sieur Joliet, a gentleman of Quebec, was deputed to accompany him, and represent the Government. "My companion," said the good Father, referring to Joliet, "is an envoy from the King of France, and I am an humble minister of God." In the spring of 1673, with five French boatmen and two Indian guides, they left Mackinac in two bark canoes, on their voyage toward unknown climes. Passing up Green Bay and the Fox river, their canoes and little cargo were borne across the narrow ridge of land which divides the waters of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, where their guides left them, "alone amid that unknown country, in the hand of God." Down the sand-barred Wisconsin they floated until the 17th of June, when they reached its junction with the "Father of Waters," and sailed out upon the broad bosom of the long-desired river "with a joy that could not be expressed." Proceeding on their voyage southward, after four days they discovered an Indian trail leading back from the river, which they followed some six miles, where they were welcomed by an embassy of four old men, who offered the pipe of peace, and conducted them to a village of the Illinois Indians, situated, it is supposed, on the Des Moines River, in Iowa. The travelers were entertained with many compliments and presents, and a grand feast of hominy, fish, dog-meat, and roast
8buffalo. In return Marquette instructed them in the" precepts of Christianity, and promised them the protection of his King against the cruel Iroquois, who had extended their warlike incursions from Western New York to the tribes on the Mississippi. Remaining six days among the kindly Illinois, they departed and continued their journey down the river, past the muddy and rushing Missouri, the Piasa rocks near Alton, the Grand Tower, and the Ouabouskigqu or Ohio — all of which were noticed and described by Marquette — but meeting with no adventure until they arrived at the Akamscas, or Arkansas. A great number of hostile warriors rushed to attack them as they approached; but Marquette held aloft the peace-pipe, which checked the onset, and the Frenchmen were hailed as friends, and hospitably treated during their stay. They found axes of steel and fragments of armor among the natives, indubitable proofs of the Spanish expeditions to the same country nearly a century and a half before.
The circle of European discovery was now complete, extending from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Lake Superior, down the Mississippi to the 33d parallel of latitude, thence across the Southern States to Florida, and completely hemming in the English possessions on the Atlantic seaboard.
Marquette had supposed that he should reach the Pacific Ocean through the Mississippi, and thus
9discover the shorter route to the East Indies. But learning from the natives of Arkansas that the river emptied into the Gulf and not into the Pacific, and fearing to brave the dangers of the season, he determined to turn back at this point. On his return, he entered the Illinois river, whose waters now first reflected the face of the white man, and followed its course to the portage between the Des Plaines and Chicago rivers, thence to the lake, along the shore of which he finished his return voyage, reaching Green Bay about the end of September. The beauty of the Illinois country, up whose principal river he sailed, made a lively impression upon his observant mind. He writes:
"I never saw a more pleasant Country than the Banks of that River. The Meadows are cover'd with Oxen, Stags, Wild-Goats; and the Rivers and Lakes with Bustards, Swans, Ducks, Beavers. We saw also abundance of Parrots. Several small Rivers fall into this, which is deep and broad for 65 Leagues, and therefore navigable almost all the Year long."
Marquette afterwards returned to Illinois, and preached to the Indians in the region of Chicago. — The manner of his death was singular and romantic. As he was passing up Lake Michigan with his boatmen, he landed at the mouth of the stream which now bears his name, to perform mass. Retiring a little way in the woods, he erected a rude altar, and
10kneeling beside it, yielded up his spirit while in the act of prayer. He was a pure-minded, self-denying, devoted, and heroic man.
Joliet conveyed intelligence of their discoveries to Quebec, and reported it to the Government. Among those who were excited by their success, and spurred by ambition to follow in their wake, was a young adventurer, Robert Cavalier de la Salle, celebrated in the annals of European discovery in the West. Still deceived by the phantom of a short cut to China, he thought his object might be attained by following the Mississippi northward, or turning up one of the streams which flow into it from the west. — Fully impressed with this idea, he visited France, secured the sanction of the King, and a commission for perfecting the discovery of the Mississippi. On his return to Canada, he at once commenced preparation. Building a vessel of sixty tons, called the Griffin, he embarked from Fort Frontenac, near Niagara, on the 7th of August, 1679, accompanied by an Italian named Tonti, his lieutenant, and Father Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan friar of the Recollet order, and the historian of the expedition. With them he sailed through Lakes Erie, St. Clair, and Huron, and reached Green Bay about the middle of September. The Griffin was sent back with a cargo of skins and furs, and La Salle pursued his voyage in canoes to the St. Joseph's river, in Michigan, from
11which he crossed to the The-au-ki-ki (Kankakee), and dropped down that stream to the Illinois river. Six miles below Ottawa he fell in with an Indian village, which was at that time deserted by its inhabitants. Being in want of provision, he supplied himself from the large quantities of corn stored beneath the cabins. On the 4th of January, 1680, the voyagers entered Peoria Lake, meeting friendly Indians in large numbers. At the foot of the Lake, near the present site of Peoria, they halted, and commenced building a fort, which, in view of his disappointments, the probable loss of the Griffin with its rich freight, and the murmurs of his men, La Salle named Fort Creve Coeur (broken heart.) Early the next spring, he despatched Hennepin on a voyage of exploration toward the South, and leaving Tonti in command of the Fort, with orders to erect Fort St. Louis on Buffalo Rock, a lofty and singular promontory below Ottawa, he started alone and on foot for Fort Frontenae, a distance of at least twelve hundred miles, to look after his interests in Canada.
Hennepin reached the Mississippi in seven days after his departure, and turned his canoes up the stream. On the 11th of April, he reached the Wisconsin river, where himself and companions were made prisoners by a party of savages, who took them far to the north-west. While on their journey Hennepin discovered a large cataract in the
12Mississippi, which he named in honor of his patron saint — St. Anthony of Padua. The French wore kindly treated, and three months afterwards met with a hand of their countrymen in pursuit of trade and game, by whom they were rescued.
In the winter of 1680-1, La Salle returned to his fort on the Illinois, and found it deserted through fear of the Indians. Nothing daunted, he retraced his steps, found Tonti at Mackinac, and began his enterprises anew. In January, 1682, he appears again upon the Illinois, with a large company of natives and French, en route for the Mississippi. During their progress down the latter river, a fort was I built at the Chickasaw Bluffs, named Fort Prudhomme, in memory of a man who was lost in that neighborhood. La Salle reached the mouth of the Great River on the 6th of April, and with much ceremony took possession of the country, which he named LOUISANA, in honor of the reigning monarch. Though delayed for some time by sickness, he reached the lake country again in safety, where he remained a year, engaged in the fur traffic, and completing his fort on Buffalo Rock. He sailed
13once more from France in 1684, with a colony destined for Louisiana. Through difficulties between himself and the naval commander, they failed to find the mouth of the Mississippi, and landed at Matagorda Bay, in Texas. Here La Salle endured the most appalling reverses and sufferings in the vain endeavor to found a colony. On the 17th of March, 1687, he was basely murdered by two of his own men, while striving to make his way to the French settlements in Canada.
With the death of La Salle ends the record of all that is most important in the history of European discovery in the West. A vast country had been opened to the knowledge of the civilized world, and the eyes of monarchs and nations were turned to it, as the seat of future empire.
Chapter II. History of Illinois 1690 — 1825.
The discoveries in the Mississippi Valley were speedily followed by settlements in Illinois. As early as 1690, and possibly before, Kaskaskia and Cahokia were founded by French traders and Jesuit missionaries. The claim of precedence is generally awarded to the former, then known as the. "Village of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin. There is no evidence that the fort near Peoria was occupied after its abandonment in1680; otherwise that city might be regarded as the oldest settlement in Illinois, or west of the Alleghany mountains. lt is said that a mission was established near the ruins of Fort Creve Coeur, soon after the settlements in the south of the State. La Salle's lieutenant, Tonti, remained a few years at Fort St. Louis, on Buffalo
15Rock, where a small colony of Frenchmen settled before the close of the century. Kaskaskia was made the capital of the Illinois country, and thirty years afterwards a Jesuit college and monastery were founded there. The entire West was under the government of Canada, and subject to the French crown.
In 1699, Lemoine D'lberville, a distinguished Canadian officer, was appointed Governor of Louisiana, and Illinois was thenceforth included in that territory. D'lberville ascended the Mississippi some distance, with a view of planting colonies along its banks; but, failing in this, he turned back and built a fort on the Bay of Biloxi, between the Mississippi and Mobile rivers. The next year another was erected in the marshes about the mouth of the Great River, and the vast valley of the West was again formally sworn in to Louis, King of France.
On the death of D'lberville in 1708, M. D'Artaguette was sent out as commissary of Louisiana, who assumed the government, and pushed colonization forward with spirit and energy.
The King of France was involved in pecuniary difficulties at this time by the frequent wars in which he had been engaged; and finding Louisiana an expensive burden, in 1712 he made a grant of it, including
16the Illinois country, to M. Antoine Crozat, a man of great wealth and ability, who nevertheless utterly failed in his schemes for mining and trading losing great sums of money, and at the end of five years he relinquished his grant to the Crown. None of his operations appear to have been carried on as far north as Illinois.
In 1717, the Mississippi Company, or Company of the West, came into being, under the auspices of the notorious John Law, a Scotchman by birth, and gambling adventurer. Obtaining the confidence of the French Regent, he had the Company organize for the further colonization and trade of Louisiana. The amount of stock was fixed at 200,000 shares of 500 livres each. Enormous monopolies and privileges were secured; a charter was granted to Law and his associates, conferring sovereignty over the whole territory upon them; and the wildest expectations were entertained. In 1720, Philip Francis Renault an agent of the Company, arrived in Illinois with two hundred miners and emigrants, and five hundred slaves from St. Domingo, to work imaginary gold and silver mines. Founding the village of St. Phillips a few miles above Kaskaskia, he commenced his search for mines of the precious metals in various parts of Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky, which of course proved unsuccessful, though large quantities of lead were melted and shipped to France. His
17project eventually failed, but many of the emigrants and slaves remained in Illinois.
About the same time, M. de Boisbriant was sent by the Directors of the Company, with a small military force, to erect a fortification in the vicinity of Kaskaskia. It was built at a ruinous expense, and named Fort Chartres. Under the English domination it was rebuilt, and occupied for many years.
In the year 1720, the Mississippi bubble burst, and the Company's stock became worthless. The charter, however, was not surrendered until 1732, when Louisiana again reverted to the Crown.
Upon the bankruptcy of Law, the territory was divided into nine cantons, of which Illinois formed one.
"We have here," he says, "whites, negroes, and Indians, to say nothing of cross-breeds. There are five French villages and three villages of the natives within a space of twenty-one leagues, situated between the Mississippi and another river called the Karkadiad (Kaskaskia.) In the five French villages are perhaps eleven hundred whites, three hundred blacks, and some sixty red slaves or savages. The three Illinois towns do not contain more than eight hundred souls, all told."
But far the greater part of the Mississippi Valley was still a wilderness, at the outbreak of war between France and England. Though as yet there was no English settlement west of the Alleghanies, a claim was preferred against France to a large portion of the valley of the Ohio. Encroachments made by British traders upon French territory were resisted and Fort Du Quesne was built on the site of Pittsburg, to check their inroads and defend the right of possession. Difficulties multiplied, and hostilities soon began. In 1755 occurred the defeat of Braddock on the fatal banks of the Monongahela, which was not succeeded by equal good fortune on the side of the French. The war was pursued with varying success, until the reduction of Fort Du Quesne gave Great Britain the key to the West. Quebec and Louisburg were taken in 1759, and the French power on the American continent was forever broken. On the10th of February, 1760, a treaty was signed at Paris, whereby France ceded to England Nova Scotia,
19Canada and its dependencies, and the whole of Louisana east of the Mississippi. Two years after, Capt. Stirling, of the British army, arrived and took formal possession of Illinois.
The State at this time contained a white population of about three thousand, residing along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The oldest towns were the largest — Kaskaskia containing about 100 families, and Cahokia about 50. There were several small villages in their vicinity, and a considerable settlement had clustered about Fort Chartres. A French village stood where Peoria is now located; and there were probably trading-posts and missionary stations at Chicago and elsewhere in the State.
Soon after the war of the Revolution began, one of the daring spirits of Kentucky, Colonel (afterwards General) George Rogers Clarke, formed a plan for an enterprise against the Illinois settlements, and the capture of the forts on the Mississippi. He obtained an order for the undertaking from Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, and set out for Kaskaskia on the 12th of February, 1778, with only four companies of soldiers. The wilderness between the Ohio river and the French villages was traversed with considerable difficulty; but after an arduous march, his little band reached Kaskaskia, which they surrounded. Feigning great sternness, he ordered the inhabitants to remain within doors, posted guards in the
20streets, and during the night caused his troops to patrol the town with the most hideous outcries and Indian yells. By these means the simple inhabitants were deceived, the fort and town taken without bloodshed, and the British garrison made prisoners of war. Cahokia surrendered on the approach of a detachment of Clarke's men, without firing a gun; and the whole of Illinois was thus easily and quickly annexed to the American Republic. This was the first war between civilized nations which had been carried into this State. Col. Clarke left garrisons at the captured posts, and departed to seek new conquests elsewhere.
The conquered country was comprised within the Commonwealth of Virginia. In October of the same year, the House of Burgesses created the County of Illinois, to include all citizens "who are already settled, or shall hereafter settle, on the western side of the Ohio." John Todd, Esq., of Kentucky, was appointed Lieutenant Colonel and Civil Commandant of the county.
After the recognition of American independence the western lands were claimed by Virginia, New York, and other States. In order to reconcile conflicting claims and secure harmony, the country now covered by Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, was ceded by the several States to the Federal Government. Out of this Congress by
21an Ordinance passed July 13th, 1787, formed the "North-west Territory," and Gen. Arthur St. Clair, a Revolutionary officer of some distinction, was appointed Governor. He came to Kaskaskia in 1790, and organized the county of St. Clair, the first in Illinois. Randolph county was organized five years afterwards, from the southern section of St. Clair.
Emigration from the States had now begun to set in slowly. The first settlement of Americans was made in 1781, near Bellefontaine, in Monroe county, by a small company from Western Virginia, who were soon joined by others. They were much annoyed by the Kiekapoos and other predatory tribes, and were obliged to live for the most part in "stations " or block-house forts, built for their protection. Settlers were frequently picked off by the Indians, and the scattered inhabitants lived in a state of almost continual alarm. Many Indian troubles in the West were fomented by the British in Canada and along the frontiers.
The population of Illinois, in 1790, did not much exceed 2000 white persons, and ten years after was only about 3000.
22to get off the whole of it west of the present State of Ohio, and constitute it "Indiana Territory." This was done on the 7th of May, 1800, the act to take effect on the 4th of July following. Gen. Wm. H. Harrison, then a delegate in Congress, was appointed Governor. During this year he negotiated a number of treaties for the cession of Indian lands in Illinois; and in November obtained from the Sacs and Foxes the immense tract of country bounded by the Mississippi, Illinois, Fox, and Wisconsin rivers, comprehending about fifty millions of acres.
In 1805, Indiana Territory passed to the second grade of territorial government, as provided for in its organic act, and became entitled to a Legislature. It met at Vincennes, the seat of government.
Illinois continued to increase in population. In 1805 it contained four to five thousand whites; five years afterwards the census returned a population of 12,282. Feb. 9th, 1809, Illinois Territory was created, and Ninian Edwards, of Kentucky, appointed its first Governor. In 1812, by vote of the people the Territory advanced to the second grade of government, and elected a Legislative Assembly of five Councillors and seven Representatives, which met in Kaskaskia on the 25th of November. The counties of Madison, Gallatin, Pope, and Johnson were erected this year, by proclamation of the Governor.
The last war with Great Britain brought many sufferings and terrors to the settlers of Illinois, as the Indians were generally enlisted in behalf of Britian. A horrible massacre occurred at Chicago on the 15th of August, 1812. A small United States fort was located there, in command of Capt, Heald, who received orders from Gen. Hull to evacuate it. He did so, and set out with the garrison for Fort Wayne. At a little distance from the fort they were attacked by an overwhelming force of Indians, and two-thirds of the number slain. In revenge for this and other outrages, Gens. Hopkins and Edwards inarched troops against the Indians on the Illinois and Wabash rivers, destroyed their villages, and laid waste their fields.
In January, 1818, the territorial Legislature petitioned Congress for the admission of Illinois into the Union. The population was nearly 45,000; though there was not a white inhabitant on the waters of the Sangamon, and very few north of Bond county. — Fifteen counties had been organized. In April the petition was granted, and the State admitted in December. A Constitution was formed the same year; Shadrach Bond elected Governor, and Ninian Edwards and Jesse B. Thomas United States Senators. John McLean was then Representative in Congress. The first Legislature assembled on the first Monday of October in Kaskaskia, whence the seat of government was transferred to Vandalia in 1819.
A code of statute law was passed at the session of 1818-19, mostly made up from the statutes of Kentucky and Virginia, in which code occurs the famous act concerning negroes and mulattoes, re-enacting all the severe and stringent laws to be found in a Slave State.
In 1822, Gov. Bond was succeeded by Edward Coles, who was elected over three other candidates, as an opponent to slavery. This was now the leading issue in Illinois politics, following the agitation of the great "Missouri question;" and elections were fiercely contested. A powerful effort was made to procure an amendment to the Constitution, making Illinois a Slave State; and the "Border Ruffian" Legislature of 1822-3, by a series of outrageous acts succeeded in passing a resolution recommending a Convention for that purpose. The people, however at the August election in 1824, rejected the proposition by two thousand majority.
The Legislature of 1824-5 re-organized the judiciary, creating a Supreme Court, and set off a number of counties — among them the county of PUTMAN.
Chapter III. The Old County of Putnam.
The opening of the year 1825 saw Illinois a State of less than a hundred thousand inhabitants, and the whole of its northern half still a wilderness, without an organized county, a post-road, or a considerable settlement. Chicago was little more than "a village in Pike County, situated on Lake Michigan, at the mouth of Chicago creek, containing twelve or fifteen houses, and about sixty or seventy inhabitants."
26eastward or southward was not made until late this year, when "Kellogg's Trail" pointed the devious way from Peoria to Galena.
The "Military Bounty Land Tract" was the first to be settled when the tide of American emigration began to flow with some rapidity to Illinois; and at a very early day pioneers had located at various points on its broad prairies.
The necessity of a county organization on the Military Tract, for judicial and other purposes, was early apparent. In 1821, Pike county was laid off by the Legislature, including all that part of the State north and west of the Illinois river from its junction with the Mississippi to the Kankakee, and north of the latter to the Indiana line, covering a vast extent of territory. It was described in 1823 as containing between 700 and 800 inhabitants.
Ten counties wore organized within three years after the State government was formed; but only three were created within the next two years, showing that emigration had received a check, or that the previous grants of the Legislature were nearly equal to the demand for new counties. A considerable number were set off at the session of 1824-5. During the years since the State organization, the Military Tract had increased its population more, perhaps, than any other section of the State
28On the 6th of December, 1824, in the House of Representatives, Nicholas Hansen, the member for Pike county, presented a petition for its division in sundry counties. It was referred to a select committee, of which Hanson was Chairman, who reported "an act forming a now county out of Pike and the attached portion thereof." On the second reading, it was referred back, with directions to inquire it would not be expedient to lay off the whole Military Tract into counties, and if so, to report by bill. A new Committee was soon after appointed, with definite instructions to divide the Military Tract intocounties, under such regulations as they should deem expedient. Accordingly they reported" An act forming a new county in the vicinity of Fort Clark (Peoria county,) and "An act forming new counties out of the counties of Fulton
This act provided for the formation of Schuyler, Adams, Hancock, Warren, Mercer, Henry, Knox, and PUTMAN counties.
Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That all that tract of country within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the point where the township line between Townships 11 and 12 north touches the Illinois river, thence up the said river to the south fork thereof, thence up the said fork to the line dividing this State from Indiana, thence up the said line to the north-east corner of this State, thence west on the north boundary line thereof to the range line between ranges 4 and 5 east, and thence south on said range line to the line between Townships 11 and 12 north, thence east to the place of beginning, shall constitute a County, to be called the County of Putnam.
These boundaries, stretching from the present northern limit of Peoria county along the Illinois and Kankakee rivers, the Indiana line, lake shore, and "Wisconsin boundary to a point only 35 miles from the Mississippi, and thence due southward 105 miles, included nearly 11,000 square miles, being the tract now covered by Bureau, Stark, Kendall, Lee, Ogle, DeKalb, Kane, Boone, Lake, DuPage, McHenry, Stephenson, Winnebago, and Cook counties, and portions of later Putnam, Marshall, Henry, La Salle,
30Grundy, Will, Kankakee, Carroll, Whiteside, and Jo Daviess. Chicago was the only town in this great wilderness county.
As soon as the county had 350 inhabitants, they were authorized to organize and elect county officers, for which the Judge of the Circuit Court was directed to issue an order. In 1830, Putnam and Peoria counties (whose census returns were united) contained 1,310 whites;
Chapter IV. History of Putnam County.
Six years had passed since the setting off of "Old Putnam." The population of Illinois had increased to more than 160,000, and the Stats had fairly entered upon its career of greatness. Emigration was flowing to the upper part of the Military Tract, and to the prairies north of the Sangamon and the Mackinaw. A few adventurous settlers had penetrated the wilderness, whence the Indian had not yet fled; and along the streams, and on the margins of timber skirting the prairies, the settlements of civilization "were beginning to cluster. Chicago and Galena were giving indications of their future importance, and a county — Jo Daviess, the first in Northern Illinois after those mentioned in the last chapter — had been formed in answer to the demands of the latter.
But though Northern Illinois was thus opening its resources to the world, much the greater part of it was still in its primeval state, unbroken by the hand of the white man, when the later county of Putnam was formed. Chicago was not yet laid off, though a flourishing village of some 250 inhabitants, besides the garrison of Fort Dearborn; and Galena was the only surveyed town in the north of the State. The Indian title to the country had not been altogether extinguished, and little or no land outside the Military Tract had been offered for sale by the General Government. There were few roads except Indian trails, and not a post-route save the one from Peoria to Galena. But a single steamer had yet vexed the waters of the Upper Illinois, and public improvements, aside from a ferry at long intervals, there were none. "Within the limits of Putnam, at the time when it was created, there was not a settler upon the site of Hennepin, Lacon, Princeton, or Toulon, now the flourishing scats of justice for as many counties; and there was nowhere a cluster of houses of sufficient size to be termed a village. Settlements had begun on Round and Half-Moon Prairies, in what is now Marshall county; the Ox-Bow Prairie, and the neighborhood of Union Grove, in Putnam county, were somewhat thickly .ted with farms; a number of settlers had located on Bureau Creek, and about the Bite of Princeton; and a very few
33pioneers were scattered over the region of Spoon river. The population of the whole county probably numbered about eight hundred. No commerce was carried on, except by two or three Indian traders. There was not a post-office in the county, and but one or two log churches and school-houses.
At the session of the Legislature during the winter of 1830-1, a bill was introduced for "An act to create and organize the counties therein named," which passed without difficulty, as the country was beginning to demand their formation, and there were no conflicting interests of counties already formed to rise in opposition.
341548 miles — 38 full and 13 fractional townships, comprising more territory than the State of Rhode Island — was thus included, being nearly the whole tract now occupied by Bureau, Putnam, Marshall, and Stark counties.
Joel Wright of Canton, Isaac Perkins of Tazewell county, and John Hamlin of Peoria, were appointed by the act Commissioners to select the county seat which should be called HENNEPIN, and be located on the Illinois river, as near as practicable in the centre of the county, "with a just regard to its present and future susceptibility of population." The Commissioners accordingly met early in May, and after examination of the various town sites along the river, were about deciding to locate the county seat where Henry, in Marshall county, now stands, when the inhabitants of the Spoon river region interposed a plea that its location there would delay them in the formation of a new county, which they desired to have set off as soon as population would justify. The commission gave due attention to their plea, and resolved upon another site. As an understanding had already gone abroad that the location would be made at Henry, a chalked board was set up at that point, giving notice that another part of the county lad been chosen. On the 6th of June, a report was made to the County Commissioners' Court, then sitting near Hennepin, that "they have selected, designated,
35and permanently located the said seat of justice" where it now is. Provision was made in the organic act for its location upon Congress lands, if deemed advisable. As it was so located, two of the County Commissioners were early instructed to borrow $200 on the credit of the county, and send one of their number to make purchase of the site at the Springfield land office. Some difficulty was experienced in effecting the purchase, as the land of that region was not yet in market; and nearly three years passed before the title was obtained from the General Government. Nevertheless, several public sales of lots in the county seat were made during 1831 and '32; though deeds for them were not given until 1834 — the first bearing date March 3d of that year.
The act of the Legislature ordered an election to be held at the house of William Haws (now near Magnolia), on the first Monday in March ensuing, for three County Commissioners, a Sheriff, and Coroner. The day was one of the most unpleasant of that inclement season, and the roads were almost impassable. A very small vote was cast — twenty to thirty, it is said; but some of the voters came from considerable distances to exercise their privilege, and a number were obliged to remain over night. Thos. Hartzell and Thos. Gallaher, sen., were Judges of this election, and James W. Willis Clerk. Great unanimity of sentiment prevailed, and the candidates
36elected were chosen by triumphant majorities. They were Thomas Gallaher, George Ish, and John M. Gay, County Commissioners; Ira Ladd, Sheriff; Aaron Pain, Coroner. James W. Willis was appointed County Treasurer in June, giving a bond for only $1,000.
Putnam had been assigned to the fifth judicial circuit, which comprised fifteen counties, and extended from the mouth of the Illinois to Chicago and Galena. Hon. Richard M. Young was then upon the Bench in this circuit, and Thomas Ford (afterwards Judge and Governor) was State's Attorney. It was made the duty of the County Commissioners, by the organic act, to provide some suitable place for holding Court, until a Court-house could be erected. — Accordingly the first Circuit Court in Putnam was "begun and. held," as the record shows, "at the House of Thomas Galaher, Esq., on the Bank of the Illinois River, about a fourth of a mile above Thomas Hartzell's Trading House,"
37May, 1831. The Grand Jurors for the term were David Dimmick, Elijah Epperson, Henry Thomas, Leonard Roth, Jesse Williams, Israel Archer, Jas. Warnock, John L. Ramsey, William Haws, John Strawn, Samuel Laughlin (foreman), David Boyle, Stephen Willis, Jeremiah Strawn, Abraham Stratten, Nelson Shepherd, Thomas Wafer, George B. Willis, John Knox, — Humphrey, Jesse Roberts, and — Gaylord, sen.
The arrangements for the accommodation of bench, bar, and juries, were of a somewhat primitive character. The Grand Jury held its sessions upon a large log, under the shade of the neighboring forest. The only indictments found were against a couple charged with bigamy. The jury happened to be composed,
38with few exceptions, of bachelors; and one of them gave as a jocular reason for the presentments that "a man ought to be indicted for having two wives, when most of us haven't been able to get one." No business came before the Court at this term. It lasted but one day, and adjourned to the September term, which was held in a house owned by Geo. B. Willis, opposite the mouth of Bureau Creek, and which also had no civil business to transact. About this time a temporary Court-house was ordered built by the County Court; which seems never to have been carried into effect until June, 1833, when a new order was issued, and a large wooden building erected for public purposes, which was superseded in 1837-8 by the present structure, which, being built in a time of general inflation and abundant "wildcat" funds, cost about $14,000.
The first County Commissioners' Court was held in the house of Thomas Hartzell, on the 2d of April. Little business was transacted. The Clerk, Mr. H. Warren, was instructed to correspond with the State Auditor, with a view of obtaining $350, which the county was entitled by law to draw from the State treasury, in lieu of taxes on the military bounty lands west of the river. At the June term, viewers were appointed to mark a road from the seat of justice of Putnam to the county line of Tazewell, in the direction of Holland's settlement (now Washington),
39in the latter county. A tax of one half of one per cent, on all personal property was levied for the current year, for county purposes. Licenses were granted to a number of merchants and pedlers to sell "foreign merchandise," for which permits a charge of $6 to $16 was made. The county was divided into four districts for the election of county officers, as follows: Sandy Precinct, including all the county south of the south brunch of Clear Creek, to the Illinois river; Hennepin Precinct, including all the country south east of the Illinois river, and north of the above mentioned line; Spoon River Precinct, including all the county south of a direct line from the head of Crow Prairie to Six Mile Grove, thence north-west to the county line; Bureau Precinct, including all the county north-east of the last above mentioned line, and north-west of the Illinois river.
40Each of the two precincts west of the river contained much more territory than was assigned to the counties afterwards created in those portions of Putnam. In subsequent years, the county was re-districted several times, as the increase of population or the division of its territory demanded. In 1854, after several refusals of the people to sanction the proposal, the county organized under the township law, and was divided into the townships of Hennepin, Granville, Magnolia, and Snachwine, which division has been retained to this time.
At the September term of the County Court, 1831, several sales of lots in Hennepin were ordered, and terms of sale prescribed. At the December term, two of the Commissioners were authorized to contract for the building of a jail twelve feet square and seven feet high in the clear, with a window a foot square; to be constructed — upper and lower floors and walls— wholly
41of hewn logs. This little box proved insecure, as the first prisoner confined therein, a man named Tallmadge, made good his escape, some soldiers outside assisting him by taking out one of the logs. The log jail, which cost but $80, was replaced jn 1833 by a larger one, costing $334, which in turn was pulled down, and a commodious brick jail erected. In 1835, the population of Putnam county had increased to 3,948, divided as follows: white males, 2,178, white females 1,762, negroes 8, of whom two were "indentured and registered servants." The number of men subject to militia service was 688. The towns of Hennepin, Princeton, Columbia (now Lacon), and Henry, had been surveyed.
Movements had been early set on foot for dividing the wide territory of Putnam into counties, as the distance of many of the settlements from the county seat rendered the transaction of their public business exceedingly inconvenient. In the winter of 1836-7, the large county of Bureau was set off", leaving Putnam in a shape which soon demanded another division. In January, 1839, Marshall county was created from its southern half; and in March, 1839, Stark was formed of the part remaining west of Marshall, leaving Putnam dwindled from its former magnificent proportions to one of the smallest counties in the State, covering an area of scarcely a hundred and sixty square miles. To compensate in some measure
42for this loss, an act was passed March 2, 1839, adding two townships on the east to Putnam, (and the same number to Marshall,) provided the citizens of those townships would agree by vote to be detached from La Salle county, and annexed to the other counties named. The measure failed of success; and Putnam has remained within its shrunken boundaries.
In the visionary act "to establish and maintain a general system of internal improvement," approved Feb. 27th, 1837, which nearly proved the irrecoverable ruin of the State, those counties through which no railroad or canal at public cost was provided for were bribed into countenance of the scheme by an appropriation of $200,000, "of the first moneys obtained under the provisions of the act." Putnam county thus became entitled to nine or ten thousand dollars, which were drawn by Ammon Moon, then Treasurer of the county. It is said that "he loaned it partly to friends, and part he used himself. * * The money was squandered so that Putnam county never realized but little benefit from it." The same writer, however, expresses his belief that "the present jail was built from the proceeds of that fund."
From this time the history of Putnam, as a county organization, presents few points of interest. The course of events upon its soil will be narrated in chapters VIII. and IX., as the history of its several towns and settlements.
Chapter V. The Black Hawk War.
The year after Putnam was formed was the year of the Indian difficulties which have been dignified by the title of the "Black Hawk War." Had it not been for the terrors it awakened, the large number of troops called out to crush a feeble band of half-starved savages, and the highly-wrought statements of interested writers, the affair would never have assumed importance. A single battalion of soldiers, skilled in Indian warfare and judiciously commanded, might have repelled the invaders, and brought the troubles to a speedy conclusion. As it was, considering the blunders and cowardice of many of the volunteers, the foolish alarms with which great part of Illinois was rife, and the bombast of its "heroes," the full history of the war must include much of the farcical) with the serious and tragic.
A treaty was made and executed at St. Louis in 1804, between Gen. Harrison and five Indian chiefs or head men representing the united tribes of Sacs and Poxes, whereby the latter ceded a vast tract of country west of the Illinois river to the United States. This treaty was ratified by part of the nation in 1815, and by another part the year after, as also in 1822; but Black Hawk, who was the chief of a band of Sacs known as the "British Band," from their acknowledged sympathies, always resisted the treaty, and refused to accede to its terms. His village was situated on the point of land between the Mississippi and Rock rivers at their junction, a little below the site of Rock Island. The Government had caused some lands in the vicinity of and including the village, to be surveyed and sold; and white settlers had moved upon them. Most of the nation removed to the territory assigned them on the west side of the Mississippi. In the spring of 1831, Black Hawk recrossed the river with some three hundred of his band, determined to regain his ancient village and hunting-grounds. He committed some outrages on the settlers, and ordered them away, with threats of death if they remained. Complaints were sent to Gov. Reynolds, who called out a volunteer force to co-operate with Gen. Gaines, then in command of the regular army in the West. The latter repaired to Rock Island with a small force, while the Governor
45hurried fifteen hundred volunteers over the prairies from Beardstown. Black Hawk and his band retired to the west side of the river just before they arrived, and were frightened into peace by the presence of such an overwhelming force. On the 30th of June, a treaty was concluded at Fort Armstrong, on Rock Island, in which the treaty of 1804 was recognized, and the chiefs and braves of the band agreed never "to recross said river to the place of their usual residence, nor to any part of their old hunting-ground east of the Mississippi, without the express permission of the President of the United States or the Governor of the State of Illinois."
Early the next spring, the disaffected troop of Black Hawk, influenced by his counsels and the invitations of "the Prophet," a Winnebago chief who had a village on Rock river, some thirty miles above its mouth, came across the Mississippi again, in direct violation of the treaty. He expected that the Kickapoos, Pottawatamies, and Winnebagoes would at once join his standard; and he had been assured of an active co-operation on the part of his "British Father" at Maiden, Canada.
46which were never realized, he marched confidently up the Rook river country, at the head of about five hundred warriors, accompanied by their women, children, and all their little wealth.
This second inroad appears to have spread general alarm through all the frontiers of Northern Illinois. Many settlers, in fear of the untold horrors of savage warfare, abandoned their homes and fled with their families — numbers of them never to return. Putnam county lost not a few of her early citizens from this cause. Others who remained sent away their families farther toward the interior of the State, while they staid behind to cultivate their crops, a very necessary resource in those times. In some parts of the county men became accustomed to work their farms in companies, with their arms near them while one or two stood on guard. Others, particularly in the southern part of the county (now the county of Marshall) labored alone upon their little spots of ground, apparently fearless of the Indians. The few settlers on the west side of the river deserted their homes, and sought the forts at Hennepin and elsewhere for protection. Some residents in the Bureau settlement fled as far south as Springfield. All in that region were obliged by fear to leave their stock to run at large on the prairies, until they could muster courage to return and drive their cattle across the river. It was while on an errand of this kind
47that Phillips was murdered on Bureau Creek, as is hereafter related.
As horrid reports continued to be spread daily, the panic increased. Word was sent by Gov. Reynolds to the frontier settlements that they must provide for their own protection, as all the volunteers would be needed in active service. Orders were issued through the Adjutant General to Col. John Strawn — who had been commissioned previously as chief officer of the 40th Regiment in the 3d Brigade of Illinois militia — residing near Columbia (now Lacon), to raise a sufficient force of rangers for the defense of this part of the State. At a council of leading men of the county held soon after in Hennepin, it was determined to make this region the frontier, instead of retreating further South; otherwise it was feared the whole country to the Wabash would be swept by the savages. In accordance with his orders and this resolve, Col. Strawn sent runners throughout the county, calling upon volunteers to rendezvous in Columbia at nine o'clock in the forenoon of Sunday, May 20th, and in Hennepin at three o'clock in the afternoon of the same day. All the settlers fit for service, with scarcely an exception, assembled on that day and the next, equipped with the implements of war, and were formally mustered into service as rangers. The Colonel appeared in military state at the places of rendezvous, with "Bonaparte
48hat" and laced coat. His method of organizing the companies was unique and simple. Drawing up the men in line, he summoned those who desired to present themselves candidates for the several offices to advance ten paces to the front and wheel, and then ordered the rangers to move each to the man of his choice. He who had the largest cluster about him was the elect of the company. In this manner were organized four companies in the county — one at Columbia, with Robert Barnes, Esq., for Captain; William McNeil, First Lieutenant; John Wier, Second Lieutenant; together with eight noncommissioned officers and thirty-four privates. At Hennepin three companies were mustered into service: Company No.1, George B. Willis, Captain; Timothy Perkins, First Lieutenant; Sam'l D.Laughlin, Second Lieutenant; eight non-commissioned officers, and fifty-two privates; — Company No. 2, Wm. Haws, Captain; Jas. Garvin, First Lieutenant; Wm. M. Hart, Second Lieutenant; eight non-commissioned officers, and twenty privates; — Company No.3, WILIAM M. Stewart, Captain; Mason Willson, First Lieutenant; Livingston Roberts, Second Lieutenant; seven non-commissioned officers, and twenty-six privates. The Hennepin companies do not appear to have begun service until the 21st of May.
49rangers were on duty until the 18th of June, when they were discharged at Hennepin by Col. Strawn, and paid off by U. S. Paymaster Wright. Each afterwards received 160 acres of bounty land from the General Government.
About the same time that troops were raised, the settlers commenced building block-houses and picketed stations, called by courtesy "forts." The southernmost of these in the county was situated on the farm of Mr. James Dever, at the lower edge of Hound Prairie, six miles from Columbia. It was about a hundred feet in length from east to west, and eighty feet in width; and was built by strongly fastening pickets of some twelve feet height in the ground, with square bastions at the corners, pierced with portholes and so placed as to rake the sides of the fort, in case of attack. The cabin of Mr. Dever was enclosed by the picketing; and tents were also pitched within, to accommodate the numbers who fled there during the season of alarm.
About twelve miles north-east of the Dever Fort, and two miles south of Magnolia, was a similar picketed station around the dwelling of Jesse Roberts, Esq., where seven or eight families gathered for protection ; and five miles east, on the farm of Mr. Darnell, near the "head of Sandy," was another, the outpost in that direction. Several forts were constructed on the Oxbow Prairie — one on the land of
50Asahel Hannum, where Caledonia now stands; another in the woods within a few miles, at Mr. Boyle's; and a third around a large barn belonging to James W. Willis, near the site of Florid, where twenty-two families (including a hundred small children, one having been born there) and a number of rangers were "forted" at one time. This station was called Fort Cribs, from the number of corn-bins in and about the building, and was generally in command of Capt. Stewart. It is still standing.
A good-sized block-house, well adapted to resist a siege, was erected on Front street, in Hennepin, chiefly of the timbers of Hartzell's old trading-house; and a smaller one at a little distance from Grranville, on the farm of Joseph Warnock. Still farther north was the outermost fort toward the scene of warfare — a mere picket around the dwelling of Mr. John Leeper. There were no defences of the kind west of the river in Putnam county, that region being nearly or quite deserted.
In that part of the county which was thus defended, hostile Indians were very rarely seen; and it is believed that attacks were prevented solely by the completeness of the arrangements for protection and the vigilance of the rangers. Black Hawk's spies were occasionally skulking about. Two were noticed one day in the edge of the woods near Fort Warnock, and their trail followed to the river. Others — in
51one instance a considerable company — were seen near Hennepin; but the savages made no hostile demonstrations on the east side of the river.
But though none of the tragic scenes of Indian warfare were enacted in that part of the county, genuine or false alarms were by no means rare; and many ludicrous anecdotes have been related of the needless and foolish fright sometimes excited — of which a few only will answer the purposes of this History. One quiet day in June, a number of Capt. Barnes' rangers, who had been scouting up and down the river in search of "Indian sign," but finding none, halted a few miles below Columbia, and fired off their guns together, in a spirit of mischief and to clear them out before returning home. An old settler, who was unsuspectingly at work with his son in a field at some distance, hearing the reports and instantly taking the alarm, shouted to his son: "Indians, Ben, Indians! Run! Strike for the fort, and rouse the settlement!" Ben struck for the Round Prairie Fort, which was several miles distant, with the least possible delay, and in due time arrived in a most pitiable state, much of his clothing being torn from him and his skin lacerated by the briers through which he had forced his way, wet by the creeks he had been obliged to ford, and of course extremely terrified. The panic spread, and bid fair to become general, when the rangers came up, explained the affair, and quieted the gathering fears.
In the Roberts Fort one evening, just as the shades of night were settling around, some trifling but singular noise was heard without, probably caused by cattle. One of the men sprang up and exclaimed, "What noise is that?" at the same time getting upon a grindstone-frame which stood near, and looking out. A Frenchman bearing dispatches from the army to Gov. Reynolds, who had stopped to spend the night in the fort, immediately buckled on his arms and began to swagger about the cabin, talking valorous things; while the women set up loud lamentations, declaring that they "had been penned up in that place just to be slaughtered," with many other like remarks. As nothing further occurred outside, the fright was over in about half an hour; but one of the inmates took the precaution to put an axe at the head of his bed before he retired for the night.
An alarm was given near the Darnell Fort during the war, by some boys who had been bathing in the adjoining creek, and who returned in great haste, with the assertion that they had been fired upon by a blanketed Indian, who rose from a thicket on the bank. A small force of minute-men turned out, and scoured the woods and surrounding country, but discovered not the smallest sign of Indians.
A cry of "Indians! Indians!" raised without cause by some startled woman in a little school-house in the vicinity of Fort Cribs, where Mr. John P.
53Blake, of Union Grove, was teaching, broke up the school in the greatest confusion.
Two other alarms, which took place at Hennepin, were more serious, and in all probability were well founded. The first was given by the passengers and crew of the steamboat Souvenir, which came down the river late one afternoon from "Crozier's," at the foot of the rapids. They reported that, about two miles above Hennepin, on the same side of the river, they saw a number of Indians dart from the water side into the woods. The Captain of the steamer was well known to citizens of the town, and reliance was placed upon his statement. The inhabitants of Hennepin, and those who had fled thither for protection, quickly assembled, and measures of defence were agreed upon. The women and children were put upon an empty keel-boat which lay at the landing, and a sufficient number of men detailed to manage it, with instructions to push out into the stream and float down or cross to the other side, should the town be attacked. Col. Strawn, who happened to be on the ground, formed the remainder of the men into a company, and divided it into watches for the night. He then made a short speech, exhorting to deeds of bravery, and threatening to shoot down the first man who turned his back upon the painted foe. A part of the company mounted guard with such arms as were at hand, walking their rounds in the manner of
54camp sentinels. For want of a better weapon, Mr. Hooper Warren, who was in the first watch, equipped himself with the longest-handled pitchfork to be found in Durleys' store. The night passed without any disturbance from Indians, and next morning the keel-boat was relieved of its burden.
The second alarm occurred soon after the killing of Phillips, which filled the town and country with consternation, and made the people doubly watchful On the Friday after the murder, near sunset, Dr. B. M. Hayes came hurrying through the town, with a countenance in which the utmost terror was depicted, declaring that he had seen about a dozen Indians cross the road and go into the woods, some quarter of a mile above. The block-house had just been finished, and men and women from all directions ran there for shelter, quite filling both the upper and lower stories. Preparation was made to give the enemy a warm reception; but no attack was attempted, and the alarm was ere long dissipated.
An amusing incident is related as having occurred in the northern part of the county, about the middle of June. In obedience to the second call of Gov. Reynolds, a large number of volunteers assembled at Hennepin, whence they were ordered to Fort Wilburn, a small fortified post on the south bank of the Illinois river, about a mile above Peru. Here the army was organized in brigades and battalions. A
55spy battalion was formed, under command of Major John Dement, which was ordered to proceed to Fort Dixon, via the Bureau Settlement, and there report to Col. Zachary Taylor.
On another occasion, as a body of regular troops under Gen. Atkinson was pursuing the Indian trail from the Illinois to Fox river, while passing at some distance from Lost Grove, where Capt. Willis' company of rangers was encamped, each party mistook the other for Indians. The regulars gave way, and the rangers, hastily mounting, started in pursuit. A
56chase of several miles ensued, when, as Willis' company gained upon the fugitives, the latter began to suspect from the appearance of their pursuer, that they were not the dreaded savages. Two of their men at length ventured to stop and reconnoitre; and ascertaining the character of the pursuing party they signaled the main body to stop. As Capt. Willis rode up, he is said to have rebuked Atkinson in round terms for his cowardice, which had caused all parties so much inconvenience and annoyance.
Many mistakes and alarms similar to those related occurring in all parts of the theatre of war or panic mingle a large share of the ridiculous with whatever of the tragic there may be in the history of the war The only incident that marks with blood the annals of Putnam county during the Black Hawk difficulty, is the murder of Phillips, a settler on Bureau Creek, near Dover, now in Bureau county. He was killed by a party of savages on Monday, the 18th of June, 1832, the same day that the rangers met at Hennepin to be disbanded. Parties of Indians had been previously seen moving about, dressed in red blankets (a token of war); and the white settlers including Phillips, had been frightened away. On his return, he was warned of danger by passing soldiers, as "Indian sign" had been lately noticed in the vicinity, but remained to meet his death.
"Some six or seven, among whom were, Messrs. Phillips, Hodge, Sylvester Brigham, John L. Ament,
57Aaron Gunn, J. G. Forestall, and a youth by the name of Dimmick, left Hennepin and came over to the settlement after their cattle, which were kept at the cabins of Messrs. Ament and Phillips, then situated near the present residence of Mr. J. G. Forstall, (north of the village of Dover.) Indians were then lurking about in ambush, ready to pick off the settlers as they might have opportunity, and of course our friends were obliged to be on the watch, for that they were running the risk of their lives the sequel of our story will show.
Arriving at the cabin of Mr. Ament, he (Ament) stationed his companions at the doors and windows as sentinels, while he prepared their dinner, which, as soon as ready, was partaken off by part at a time, the others keeping a sharp look-out for the enemy. After dinner, a consultation was held as to the expediency of remaining in their present situation until morning, or returning immediately; the rain then pouring down in torrents, and Indians in all probability around them. Failing to agree in the matter, Phillips, who was somewhat of an eccentric character picked up a board, saying, "Well, boys, this board must decide our course," at the same time placing it in an upright position; "if it falls toward the north, we are safe, and will remain; if to the south, we must be off." The board fell toward the south, and thus by common consent shaped their plans; and, as soon as their cattle could be collected, they started for Hennepin. Their cattle, however, proved unmanageable, (being afraid to go near the timber for fear of Indians,) and after chasing them for miles, they were obliged to give up the attempt, and leaving them near Mr. Musgroves cabins, they returned to Hennepin as they came.
"Some two weeks later, the same individuals rived at Mr. Ament's cabin, for the purpose of making a second attempt to secure their stock. Mr. Phillips retired to his own cabin, and commenced, writing a letter, but while thus engaged thought he heard the alarm of Indians, and going to the door, met Mr. Ament on his way to the cabin which he had left a few moments before. The two returned together, and concluded to spend the night there having seen no sign of Indians. During the night a terrific thunder-storm arose, the rain pouring down in torrents. One of the number remarked that they "guessed there was no danger from Indians that night; but they little dreamed that the cabin was surrounded by some thirty or forty savages, who were peeping through the cracks between the logs, and endeavoring by every continued flash of lightning to count the numbers within! Little did they at that moment think that in the morning one of their number would fall a victim of the foe, and all barely escape! But such was the case! Morning came — a morning ever to be remembered by those six survivors. Messrs. Brigham and Phillips went out upon the porch in front of the building, and not noticing the deep trail around the cabin or the marks of the Indian moccasins on the floor of the piazza, continued standing there for several minutes, engaged in conversation. At length Mr. Phillips stepped off the porch, saying, "I will go over to my cabin and finish writing my letter;" to which was replied by Mr. Brigham, "Wait a moment, and I will go with you;" and turning round he entered the cabin, but had scarcely closed the door ere the crack of a rifle was heard, followed by the shrill war-whoop, and poor Phillips lay a corpse, pierced
59by two balls! The Indians then rushed toward the cabin and buried their tomahawks in the body of their unfortunate victim. Some of the survivors had the presence of mind to grasp two or three guns with bayonets, and point them through the door at the Indians, which act, without doubt, saved their lives. The savages knowing that bayonets were used by soldiers, it is supposed that on seeing these guns they concluded there were soldiers within, and consequently made a hasty retreat, leaving some of their blankets behind them, which were afterwards found in a thicket near by.
"It was then thought best to dispatch one of their number to Hennepin for troops. Young Dimmick, then a youth of sixteen or seventeen years, being anxious to go, a horse was called to the door, upon which he mounted, and in a few hours reached the fort in safety and gave the alarm. A small company of rangers or soldiers immediately proceeded to the cabin, and found the remaining five individuals safely harbored within its walls, and the body of Phillips still lying where he fell. No Indians were to be found; they had taken ‘French leave.’
"Mr. Brigham has since often remarked that it seemed to him a striking providential circumstance that he entered the cabin as he did, instead of going immediately with Mr. Phillips, he having no errand whatever within! Had he not entered the cabin then, he would in all probability have shared the same fate of his companion."
The distance to Hennepin was sixteen miles, which
60the boy Dimmick rode in little more than an hour (instead of a few hours, as stated above.) Many of the rangers had collected about the fort, for the purpose of being dismissed from service; and a call was at once made for volunteers to proceed to the scene of murder. Men were prompt to offer themselves; and as rapidly as they could be crossed in the very small boat then at hand, they gathered on the opposite river-bank until a party of about thirty were over when they started with all speed for the Bureaus settlement, several horses giving out by the way. The company were under no command, though Captains Stewart and Willis were among the volunteers. Reaching the house, they found the body of Phillips undisturbed since his death, lying in the door-yard with face upturned. One bullet had entered his left breast in the region of the heart, and another had pierced his stomach. There were marks of tomahawk strokes across one eye and upon the neck. In their haste to be off, the savages had neglected to scalp him. The remainder of Phillips' party, as stated were found unharmed within the cabin, whence they had not ventured since the murder, but had hung out a little colored flag from the roof, as a signal of distress. A small detachment soon hastened all the Indian trail, which led toward the Winnebage swamp, in the extreme north of the county. The trail was quite fresh, and many articles were found
61beside it, which had been cast away by the Indians in their flight. The pursuit was continued until within four or five miles of the swamp, which the Indians had doubtless reached ere that time, and where it would be futile to follow them. The rangers returned to Hennepin in the afternoon with the remains of Phillips, which were prepared for interment at the house of Mr. Warren. A large number of soldiers and citizens attended the funeral, which took place the next day.
In the relation of incidents of the war occurring in Putnam, its general history has been lost sight of; and an epitome of its chief events will fitly close this chapter. When information of Black Hawk's second invasion reached the Governor, a new call was made for volunteers, and promptly responded to by eighteen hundred men. With these, under Gen. White-side, the Indians were pursued up Rock river. On the 5th of May, a mounted, battalion commanded by Maj. Stillman, of Tazewell county, fell in with the enemy at Old Man's Creek, (now Stillman's Run, in Ogle county,) and was ingloriously defeated, losing eleven men, and the whole force being routed, almost without striking a blow. Aaron Pain, of Putnam county, who participated in this affair, was thrown from his horse, and remained in the grass all night, without being discovered by the savages, who were
62killing and scalping in every direction around him.
Several other murders were committed by the marauding Indians; and an additional force of two thousand volunteers was called out, to supply the place of the first levies, who were discharged the last week in May. Beardstown and Hennepin were appointed places of rendezvous; and for a few days, while parties of volunteers were coming in, the latter
63place swarmed with men, until they were ordered to fort Wilburn. Twelve to fifteen hundred soldiers are estimated to have been encamped in Hennepin.
The new army marched toward Dixon, to join the United States force under Gen. Atkinson. Meanwhile an attack was made by Black Hawk and a band of Indians on the Apple River Fort, near Galena, which was successfully defended. Several skirmishes between the whites and Indians ensued, and the scene of war was transferred to Wisconsin in July. From that time the frontier settlements in the latitude of Hennepin were relieved from dread of the savage. The forts had been deserted, and men had returned to their customary avocations.
Black Hawk and his starving train of followers were tracked to the heights of the Wisconsin, where they stood at bay and suffered a disastrous defeat. About sixty Indians were killed, and a great number wounded; the American loss was only one killed, and eight wounded. Unable longer to resist, the old chief retreated in haste to the Mississippi, which he attempted to cross. Before he could accomplish this, however, the battle (or rather massacre) of the Bad Axe nearly annihilated his band, and terminated this famous war. Black Hawk and several other chiefs were taken down to Jefferson Barracks, where a treaty was concluded September 21st, 1832.
Chapter VI. Early History of Bureau and Stark Counties.
An account of the early settlement and progress of those parts of Putnam county which were set off to form other counties, and also of the facts connected with and attending their separation, forms an important topic in the history of Putnam.
The first settlers upon the territory now within the limits of Bureau county were Henry Thomas and a Frenchman named Bulbona, in 1829. Mr. Thomas and others had been engaged the year before in surveying a stage-road from Galena to Peoria, and his eye had been attracted by the beauty of the country. He made a claim at Bureau Grove, and moved upon it the succeeding year. About the same time Elijah Epperson came from Ohio to the Bureau Creek, near Princeton, and settled there; Chas. S. Boyd located soon after at Boyd's Grove; Joseph
65Smith at Dad Joe's Grove; John Hall at Hall's Settlement; and others at various points.
In the summer of the same year, a considerable colony from Northampton, Mass., came into the neighborhood of Mr. Epperson. They had organized, and also formed a " Hampshire Colony Congregational Church," before leaving New England. Dr. Nath'l Chamberlin was the principal man and physician of the colony; Rev. Lucien Farnham pastor of the church. On emigrating to the West, the party stopped at Bailey's Point, in La Salle county, and sent committees in various directions to "prospect" the country. In June the location upon Bureau Creek was determined, and claims were made accordingly. Movements were soon made for a town, to be situated upon the school section in that township. At the December term of the County Commissioners' Court of Putnam, John P. Blake, John Musgrove, and Roland Moseley were appointed trustees of school lands in the township, and a petition for permission to sell the same was presented the next February. A partial survey for a town thereon had been made in 1831, which was completed August 23d of the
66following year. After much discussion, the new town was named Princeton, (from the literary metropolis of New Jersey, at the desire of Mr. Musgrove, who was a native of that State.) No building was erected upon the site until the fall of 1833, when a log cabin was put up by S. D. Cartwright; the next year the first store was opened in the place; and in 1835 a small frame meeting-house was built on the public square by the Colony Church. Since that time its progress has been steady, and at times rapid. It is now a large and flourishing city.
During the years following the Black Hawk war, the country improved slowly. A post-office or two was created, but no new towns were laid off until the speculative times of 1836-7, when they suddenly became numerous. The first was WINDSOR, situated nine miles west of Hennepin, which was surveyed Jan. 15th, 1836, for Augustus Langworthy, proprietor. It was a fine-looking town — on paper. A "Great Public or County Square" was conspicuous in it; and there were roads branching from in every direction — towards Ottawa, Hennepin, Knoxville, Rome and Peoria, Boyd's Grove, Galena, Rock Island and the Rapids of Rock River. A "Market Square, and Liberty "Square" were devoted to the uses of the public, and there were reservations for church and seminary purposes. It was a very fair specimen of the "paper towns" of that inflated age. ln March of the same year, large addition was
67made under the name of " West Windsor," with streets bearing the sounding names of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, etc., and a "Judicial Square" and "Pleasant Square " by way of parks, or breathing places for the (prospectively) crowded population. This addition was vacated in less than a year. Another — a very small addition — was laid off by Mr. Langworthy in 1837, just before Bureau became independent of Putnam. The village of Indiantown afterwards sprang up in the immediate vicinity; and in 1840 the Legislature united the two, giving the new town the name of Tiskilwa.
KIN-NOR-WOOD was the fanciful title (obtained by joining the first syllables of the proprietors' names) applied to a town located between the Illinois river and Bushy Creek, a few miles below Peru. Col. H. L. Kinney, of Nicaragua celebrity, Geo. II. Norris, and Robert P. Woodworth, were the proprietors; March 11th, 1836, the date of the survey.
The next town in the order of time was Concord, four miles north of Princeton, on the road from Galena to Hennepin. It was founded March 26, 1836, by Jos. Brigham, and vacated Feb. 28, 1837.
Greenfield, a town site of considerable size, was laid off twelve miles north-east of Princeton on the 15th of April, 1836, by John Kendall and Tracy Reeve. There being several other towns of the same name in the State, another designation was afterwards
68found advisable; and in 1840 its name was changed by Legislative act to Lamoille.
FAIRMOUNT, seven miles north-east of Princeton, was called into being June 18th, 1836, by Eli Nichols. It was vacated by act of the Legislature Feb., 1840, after the bubbles of speculation had burst.
Within two miles of Fairmount, in a south-west direction, Livingston was laid off July 1st, 1837, by Eli Lapsley.
Providence (from the capital of Rhode Island, whence the colony that settled it came,) dates from the 14th of July, 1836, when it was founded by Edward Bayley, Lamed Scott, and Simeon G. Wilson. The greater part of the colony for whom this beautiful prairie site was selected, consisting of thirty or forty families, arrived a year after, and were cordially welcomed by the local press and people.
At the formation of Bureau county, its population was estimated at about 2,000, mainly scattered about tie vicinity of the towns mentioned above. The large county of Putnam had grown cumbersome as the number of its inhabitants increased; and a division was now imperatively called for. The proper petitions were forwarded to the Legislature; and on the 28th of February, 1837, an act was approved creating the county of BUREAU.
69defined as "beginning at the north-east corner of Putnam county, running thence south on the east boundary line of said county to the centre of the main channel of the Illinois river, thence down the main channel of said river to the place where the line dividing townships fourteen and fifteen north intersects said river, thence west on said line to the west line of said county, thence north on the western line of said county to the northern boundary thereof, and thence east with said county line to the place of beginning." A considerable county was thus set off, embracing 814 square miles. Additions have been made since, from the western border of Putnam, so that the county now comprises nearly 25 townships.
The provisions of the act, however, were not to be carried into effect unless a majority of the voters in Putnam county, including those of the contemplated county, should elect to make the division. The election came off on the first Monday in April, and was one of the most exciting ever witnessed in the county. The voters west of the river, within the proposed limits of Bureau, voted almost en masse for the division; those on the east side were almost as strongly opposed, except a few in certain localities, who believed the removal of the county seat of Putnam probable, if Bureau were set off, and that their local interests would thus be promoted. The proposition prevailed by a majority of between thirty and forty.
70So mush interest was felt in the result, that a general rejoicing took place throughout Bureau when it was fully known. By the citizens of Princeton the news was greeted with many huzzas, bonfires, torch-light processions, and other tokens of joy.
William Stadden, Peter Butler, and Benj. Mitchell, were appointed Commissioners to designate the seat of justice for the new county. They performed their duty in May, and located the county seat at Princeton. On the first Monday in June, the first election was held, when Arthur Bryant, E. C. Masters, and Wm. Hoskins were chosen County Commissioners; and Bureau entered upon its separate history.
In that portion of Putnam from which Stark county was constituted, there were very few settlers prior to 1835. In 1834, a cluster of farms known as Essex's settlement existed near the junction of the east and west branches of Spoon river, which had a grist and saw-mill in operation, and a post-office.
71and Walnut Creeks, and about Fraker's Grove, by the time the county was formed. The first settlers were for the most part Kentuckians.
Stark obtained its full share of towns during the speculating mania of 1836-7. The first laid off was WYOMING, in the Essex settlement, founded May, 3d, 1836, by Gen. Samuel Thomas. The progress of this place was very slow. Nearly two years after its survey the only building (a store and post-office) upon the site is spoken of as "a second-hand seven-by-nine log smoke-house."
OSCEOLA was situated on a large piece of ground eleven miles north of Wyoming, with a fine "Washington Square " in the centre. It was surveyed July 7th, 1836, for Robert Moore, James C. Armstrong, Thos. J. Hurd, D. C. Enos, and Edward Dickinson, proprietors. The town-plat was vacated by Legislative enactment Feb. 14th, 1855.
MOULTON was laid off three miles west of Wyoming, "in the Military Bounty Tract," on the 29th of August, 1830, by Robert Sehuyler, Russell H. Kevins, Wm. Couch, Abijah Fisher, and David Lee.
MASSILLON was situated seven miles nearly due south of the present site of Toulon, not far from the southern boundary of the county. Its proprietor
72was Stephen Frecke; date of survey April 13, 1837.
LAFAYETTE, on the western border, in that part of the county which was taken from Knox, was also laid off before Stark was formed.
The people of the Spoon river country had early felt the great inconvenience of attending courts and transacting their public business at Hennepin; and movements for a new county had been inaugurated before Bureau was erected. At the same session of 1836-7, when the act creating the latter was passed, an act "for the formation of the county of COFFEE" was approved. The new county was to be 18 miles square, comprising nine full townships — six taken from Putnam, two from Knox, and one from Henry county. Benj. Mitchell and Richard N. Cullom, of Tazewell, and Samuel Hackleton, of Fulton, were the commissioners to select a site for the county seat, which, if located on land not before laid out as a town, should be called RIPLEY. Courts were to be held at the house of Elijah McClanahan, Sr., unless otherwise provided by the County Commissioners, or until public buildings should be erected. The act was not to take effect unless a majority of the voters in Knox and Henry counties, at an election on the 10th of April, 1837, should sanction it. Putnam was allowed no voice in the proceeding. The project failed on the vote, and Coffee county was no more.
A fresh effort was made at the session of the Legislature the next winter, for the creation of a new county on Spoon river; but with no better success. A gentleman of Hennepin, Thomas Atwater, Esq., was then representing Putnam in the General Assembly; and it was believed that his action was shaped so as to defeat the wishes of his constituents in the western part of the county.
A more vigorous attempt was made in 1838, continuing through great part of the year. The question of a new county was made the leading issue in the canvass for another Representative. As early as February, a meeting was held at the house of James Holgate, near Wyoming, where it was resolved by a majority to petition the next Legislature for a new county; to protest against the Illinois river as a boundary on the east, which had been proposed by a portion of the people; and to nominate Col. Wm. H. Henderson for Representative, in order to the success of their plans. After adjournment, a meeting of the disaffected minority, some fifteen or twenty in number, was held, and resolutions passed to accept the river as a boundary, and to put Thos. S. Elston, Esq., of Bureau county, in nomination for the Legislature. Mr. Elston, however, does not appear to have become a candidate. Others were nominated in different parts of Putnam and Bureau; but only the names of Col. Henderson, of the Wyoming neighborhood
74Ammon Moon and B. M. Hayes, of Hennepin, and Andrew Burns, of Magnolia, were conspicuous in the canvass. In an address to the electors of the district, published in the local papers, Col. Henderson stated that in relation to the division of Putnam county he should lay down as a basis for his action two lines, to wit, the line dividing ranges eight and nine east of the fourth principal meridian, and another which had reference to the formation of Marshall county. He was elected by a plurality of nearly one hundred over his competitors, receiving the almost unanimous vote of Spoon River, Lafayette, and Lacon precincts.
Notice of a petition for a new county was advertised according to law in October. On the 16th of January, 1839, in the House of Representatives, Col. Henderson presented the petition of citizens of Putnam, Henry, and Knox counties, praying the formation of a new county; which was referred to the proper Committee. In due time a bill was reported for an act to establish the county of STARK; which was twice read, and referred to a select Committee, who returned it with several amendments, which were adopted by a close vote. The bill was unsatisfactory to certain local interests, and was lost upon the final reading, as also the next day upon a reconsideration of the vote. On the 20th of February, the Committee on Counties presented the same object
75in a different shape, under the title of "An act to dispose of the territory west of the Illinois river, in the county of Putnam, and for other purposes." It passed the House with a little difficulty, and was amended in the Senate, the title being changed to "An act for the formation of the county of Stark, and for other purposes." The amendments were concurred in by the House, and the Council of Revision approved the act March 2d, 1839.
Stark county contained at this time about 1,000 inhabitants, 200 of whom were voters. The boundaries of the county were designated as they now exist — six townships being taken from Putnam, and two from Knox county (provided, in the latter case, that a majority of voters in the two townships should give their consent, which they appear to have done). An election for county officers was ordered to be held on the first Monday in April following, at the house of Elijah McClanahan, Sr. The County Commissioners, when elected, were instructed to demand of the Treasurer of Putnam a sixth part of $9,870, received by him under the Internal Improvement act. The county seat, when located, should be called TOULON. Provision was not made for the selection of its site, however, until the next year, when the Legislature passed an act to that effect, appointing Commissioners to make the location, who chose the present site, where not a house then stood.
Chapter VII. History of Marshall County.
The lower half of Putnam county, on both sides of the river, had gained strength enough, by the opening of the year 1839, to demand county privileges of its own. Lacon was beginning to assume some importance; Henry had made a promising commencement; there was a flourishing little village on the site of Webster; and the prospective cities of Dorchester, Bristol, Auburn, Lyons, Chambersburg, and Troy City, had been staked out upon the prairies or by the river side. About ten years had passed since the first settlers of Marshall made their claims at "Roberts' Point" and near "Strawn's Woods;" and settlements had spread far out upon the Round Prairie, and were skirting the Half Moon — had thinly .ted with farms the high prairies west of the Illinois, and scattered habitations about nearly
77every grove and through" the strips of forest belting every stream. But there were wide tracts of unoccupied prairie still in its primeval wildness on the eastern and western borders, and "magnificent distances" between many of the fields in the settled districts. The population of the territory set off to form Marshall county was not far from fifteen hundred, and was rapidly increasing.
In 1836, a considerable colony arrived from Ohio, and settled in Lacori (then called Columbia). The new settlement comprised a number of men of large intelligence and enterprise, who at once gave an impetus to the infant town and surrounding country. At the first session of the Legislature after their immigration, several chartered privileges were granted to the colony; and two years after, in great part through their exertions, movements for a new county were begun, and prosecuted to a successful issue. — On the 13th of January, 1838, a meeting of the citizens of Lacon precinct was held, ostensibly to nominate candidates for Senator and Representative, to be supported at the ensuing August election, but evidently with a view to the formation of another county from Putnam. The meeting expressed "a high opinion of the ability and integrity of Col. W. H. Henderson, of Spoon River," and recommended him to the district as a candidate for Representative. John
78Hamlin, of Peoria, was also "recommended" for reelection to the Senate. A Committee — Dr. W. H. Efner, Ira I. Fenn, Esq,, and Jesse C. Smith — was appointed to "act and correspond" as might be necessary in forwarding the objects of the meeting. A few weeks subsequent, some fear being entertained in Tazewell county that its territory would be abridged to the amount of two townships, in the event of the division of Putnam, a meeting was held at Washington for the purpose "of consulting on the best means to prevent the citizens of Putnam county from curtailing our county on the north" (that part which is now Woodford county). Learning this, the Lacon Committee of Correspondence promptly disclaimed any such intention; and the matter rested there.
As already noted, the vote of Lacon precinct was cast very largely in favor of Col. Henderson, the Representative elect, who was expected to carry out in the Legislature the measures already taken for a new county. The local press favored the project, even that at Hennepin giving a qualified approval, as many inhabitants there feared they would lose the county seat, if a division were not made. All things promised success; and the usual advertisement of intention to present a petition for dividing Putnam county was made in October.
On the 10th of December, Col. Henderson presented a numerously-signed petition from citizens of
79Putnam, praying the establishment of a new county to be called Marshall. It was one of the first petitions presented in the House, and met with speedy favor. A bill was reported two days afterwards, in accordance with the prayer of the petitioners, which had an easy passage through the House, as it proposed to cut off territory from no other county than Putnam, and hence there were no local interests to oppose it. On the 1st of January the bill went to the Senate, where it received some unimportant alterations and passed. The House agreed to the amendments without a contest; and the bill became a law Jan. 19th, 1839. This was only three days after the petition to establish Stark had been presented.
This act fixed the boundaries of Marshall as they now are, except that the two townships on the east, then belonging to the county of La Salle, were not included. At the same session, however, an act was passed "to add range one to the counties of Marshall and Putnam," which provided for the addition of these two townships to Marshall, if the qualified voters therein gave their assent. This was not obtained, and the measure failed. Four years later, a similar attempt was made with better success, under an act approved March 1st, 1843, which granted part of range one to Marshall alone, upon the same condition, which was fulfilled by the voters of the two townships, and the annexation effected.
The Commission to locate the seat of justice for the new county consisted of William Ogle of Putnam, D. G. Salisbury of Bureau and Campbell Wakefield of McLean county, who were "faithfully to take into consideration the convenience of the people, the situation of the settlements, with an eye to future population and eligibility of the place." If selection were made of any town already laid off, the proprietors should be required to donate to the county a quantity of lots equal to twenty acres of land, or a sum of $5,000 in lieu thereof, for the purpose of erecting public buildings. Under these requirements, but one town was likely to become a candidate for the honor, as Henry was owned by a school district, and neither of the "paper towns" answered the other conditions of selection. The Commissioners accordingly reported (6th April, 1839.) that "they have selected and hereby located the seat of justice for the County of Marshall at the town of LACON, and designate Lots number four and five in Block number forty-five on the plat of the addition to the original town of Lacon, as the place on which the Courthouse shall be erected; also Lot number three in the same block, on which the other public buildings are to be erected, said lots having been donated by the proprietors of said town for the aforesaid purposes." The proprietors also, with their characteristics libeney,
81to commence the erection of county buildings. Otherwise there was not a dollar in the treasury.
The organic act provided for an election of officers to take place on Monday, the 25th of February, of which fifteen days' notice were given by Geo. Snyder, Esq., a Justice of the Peace in Lacon Precinct. Twenty-eight candidates offered themselves for the several offices, no less than eight of them being for Sheriff; and a considerable interest in the election was excited, though the canvass was a short one. — The candidates chosen were Elisha Swan, William Maxwell, and Geo. H. Shaw, County Commissioners; Wm. H. Efner, Probate Justice; Chas. F. Speyers, Recorde; Silas Ramsey, Sheriff; Anson L. Iteming, Treasurer; A. S. Fishburn, County Clerk; Geo. F. Case, Coroner ; and Jordan Sawyer, Surveyor.
The Commissioners met on the Saturday following their election, in Lacon, at the house of John D. Coutlet, and organized the first County Court. Upon casting lots, Wm. Maxwell was made Commissioner for the term of one year, Elisha Swan for two years, and Geo. H. Shaw for three years. Ira I. Fenn was appointed Clerk pro. tem. The county was laid off into justices' districts or precincts, two past and two west of the river, to which the names of Henry, Lafayette, Lacon, and Lyons, were given. John Wier was appointed School Commissioner, and Mr. Shaw authorized to demand and receive a third
82of the internal improvement funds paid into the treasury of Putnam county, to which Marshall was entitled under the act for its creation. Several endeavors were made afterwards, through various agencies, to get a proportion of the fund, but without success, for reasons mentioned on a preceding page.
The first Circuit Court began on Tuesday, the 23d of April, and was held in the Methodist Church, in Lacon, a building now occupied for a carpenters' shop. Hon. Thomas Ford sat as Judge, and J. M. Shannon was appointed Clerk. The Grand Jurors were Ira F. Lowry, foreman, Lewis Barney, Joel Corbell, Jeremiah Cooper, Allen N. Ford, Charles Rice, Wm. Gray, Enoch Sawyer, Zorah D. Stewart, Elijah Freeman, jr., Nathan Owen, George Scott, Samuel Howe, Robert Bennington, John Bird, Andrew Jackson, Henry Snyder, and Allen Hunter. — The Jury had no criminal business brought before them, and were discharged on the day of their organization. There was no Petit Jury, and but little business, at this term of Court.
A movement toward the building of a Court-house was made in June, 1839, and one of the Commissioners instructed to ascertain the probable cost of materials for its construction. Proposals for putting up such public building were soon after advertised for; and in December a contract was concluded with White &; Shepherd, of Tremont, for the erection of a
83Court-house forty feet wide and fifty-five feet long, with superstructure of brick and underpinning of stone. It was built the following year, at a cost of $8,000, and stood until the afternoon of the 5th of January, 1853, when it was burned to the ground, through a defect in one of the chimneys. All the records, books, papers, and furniture, with a portion of the structure, were saved; and, as an insurance of $5,000 had been effected upon the building, the process of re-construction was commenced without delay. The present handsome edifice was built by two Peoria firms, for $7,300.
The destruction of the Court-house incited the citizens of a portion of the county to attempt the removal of the county seat, or the formation of a new county west of them river, of which Henry should be the seat of justice. A meeting was held, and a Committee appointed to draft a memorial to the Legislature, and to procure subscriptions for a Court-house in Henry, should the county seat be removed thither. But the prompt rebuilding of the Court-house, and the discovery of an article in the State Constitution prohibiting the division of any county so that the boundary of the new county passes within ten miles of the county seat already existing, prevented the prosecution of their purposes.
The first jail was erected in 1844. It was a square building of hewn timber, two stories in height. It
84appeared to be strongly constructed, but proved insecure, many prisoners escaping from it. In 1857 it gave place to a new and much larger prison, built of brick and stone, at an expense of $12,000.
At the November election in 1849, the system of township organization was adopted. The townships were set off the next February by the County Commissioners, with the advice and assistance of citizens from different parts of the county; and were organized in April. The original township lines, according to the surveys, were retained throughout, and the townships named respectively Evans, Roberts, Hopewell, Lacon, Riehland, Belle Plaine, Henry, Whitefield, Fairfield, and Steuben. Fairfield has been since changed to La Prairie; and Bennington and Saratoga have been organized in townships where then population was too limited to justify organization.
Some excitement was created in 1855 by the absconding of the School Commissioner, Lucius Loring, with a large portion of the school fund. His sureties were held for it, however, and the county was not largely the loser.
Only the leading events in the history of Marshall as a county organization have been outlined in this chapter. Other facts in the history of its people and early settlement will be related under another title.
Chapter VIII. History of the Towns of Putnam County.
The first habitation for civilized man in the neighborhood of HENNEPIN, or anywhere in Putnam Co., was erected at a very early day — probably before 1825 — by Gordon S. Hubbard, a trader in the employ of the American Fur Company, which at that time had trading posts among the Indians in many parts of the Western country. His rude log cabin stood on the river bank near the head of the island, some two miles above Hennepin. Mr. Hubbard was not a permanent resident there, his business requiring him to travel frequently from point to point; and it was soon afterwards occupied by a Frenchman named Robinson, also an Indian trader, with a native wife and half-breed children. In 1829, Mr. Thomas Hartzell, a Pennsylvanian of German descent, who had been trading up and down the river for several
86seasons, built another log cabin near the bank within a little distance and north of Hennepin, and resided there for several years. In a year or two a house was built about a quarter of a mile above him by Thomas Gallaher, Sr. and a mile east of him was the residence of Nathan Skeel, another early settler. — Wm. H. Ham, George Ish, George B. Willis, and one or two others, were also residing in the vicinity when Putnam county was organized.
The steps which led to the selection of the present site of Hennepin for the county seat have already been mentioned. It was surveyed by order of the County Commissioners in August and September, 1831, by Ira Ladd, Sr., on Congress land. Twelve blocks only were laid off at first, but eight additional blocks on the south side were shortly after ordered surveyed.
In July, 1831, Messsrs. J. &; W, Durley came to Hennepin from St. Louis with a small stock of goods, and built the first house upon the town site, which they moved into the following winter.
Hennepin was the head-quarters of the Putnam county rangers during the Black Hawk war, where they met for enlistment and discharge; and was once appointed by Gov. Reynolds a place of rendezvous for a portion of the Illinois volunteers. Such incidents of its history as relate to this period will be found under a preceding head.
The town progressed slowly, as the surrounding
88country filled up with settlers. In 1836 its population numbered not far from two hundred and fifty. On the 13th of February, 1837, the town was incorporated under the general act, twenty-six voting in favor of incorporation, and three against it. Jos. J. Holt was the first President of the Board of Trustees; Hugh N. Schooler, Clerk.
Hennepin participated to some extent in the speculating mania of 1836-7. A number of additions to the town were laid off, and a "Bridge Company " was formed, which was incorporated March 2d, 1837, being "authorized and empowered to erect a bridge over the Illinois river, at Hennepin, which shall be of sufficient elevation to freely admit the passage of steamboats and other vessels navigating said river at any stage of water." This project totally failed.
In May, 1837, the "Hennepin Journal," the first newspaper in Putnam county, made its appearance. It subsisted until December of the following year, when its valedictory was made. About this time the first number of the sixteenth volume of the "Genius of Universal Emancipation," an abolition sheet which had been published in several States, was printed in Hennepin. Owing to certain threatening indications, it was thought advisable to issue no more numbers there; and it was thenceforth printed in Lowell, La Salle Co. Several papers have since been published in Hennepin, but generally for limited periods. The one now existing is the "Putnam Co. Standard."
In 1844, Hennepin bad a considerable commerce, over 200,000 bushels of grain being shipped that year. A heavy capital was invested in the various branches of business then engaged in.
In 1856, the citizens of Hennepin were much exercised by a project for a Railroad from Bureau Junction to Fort Wayne, Ind., crossing the river at their town. The matter was agitated in various ways, but carried to no practical result. Hennepin was also expected to be a point oh the Illinois River Railroad, incorporated 1853, but not yet constructed.
In June, 1857, the population of Hennepin was 711 — 393 males, 313 females, 5 colored. Increase during the previous eighteen months estimated at 200. The amount of capital invested by prominent business men was $579,500. There were two public schools, with 80 or 90 scholars; two select schools, with 45 scholars; five dry goods, seven grocery, and three drug stores; two hotels; a distillery in operation, and another going up; with a number of brick stores, a flouring mill, and other buildings in progress.
WEST HENNEPIN was laid off in February, 1836, by Lewis Durley, Anthony S. Needham, and G. T. Gorham, on the bank of the river opposite Hennepin. It once contained several large warehouses and dwellings; but is now almost deserted, most of the town property being in "water lots" at certain seasons.
Magnolia is situated in the extreme south-east corner of the county, 13 miles from Hennopin. It is the oldest settled town in Putnam. In the fall of 1826, claims wore made within a mile north of the site, by Capt. Wm. Haws, James W. Willis, and Stephen D.Willis, who are believed to have been the first to penetrate that part of the wilderness with the intention of settling.The next year John Knox arrived, and located upon the site of Magnolia. His second house, built in the summer of 1829, is still standing. The town was laid out by Thomas Patterson May 23d, 1836, by which time the settlement in its vicinity had become somewhat dense. It received its title from the beautiful Southern tree of that name, so called from its large leaves (magns folia.) A large addition, extending almost around the original plat, was made in December of the same year by Mr. Patterson, who made reservations for a burying-ground, church, and school house. Another addition was made Aug.16th, 1842, by Wm. Boman and Thos. Patterson; and a moderately large one on the 28th of July, 1857, by Capt. Haws.
The progress of the town has kept pace with the improvement of the adjacent country. By the opening of 1859, it had attained sufficient size to make an organization for local government advisable; and it was accordingly incorporated as a town, a large majority voting in favor of the measure. On the 22d of
91January, Elias Wright, John F. Thornton, N. H. Letts, Geo. W. Ditman, and A. Reynolds, were elected Trustees. At the first meeting of the Board, Mr. Reynolds was elected President, and K. E. Rich, Clerk. A prohibitory liquor law was early adopted.
Magnolia has exhibited considerable enterprise in the manufacture of agricultural implements, which was commenced in 1844. It is claimed that the first reapers made in the State were manufactured there. Threshers, reapers, and corn-shellers in large quantity are now turned out by the establishments in operation at this point.
GRANVILLE was surveyed April 7th, 1836, for Felix Margrave. A small addition was made Oct. 18th, 1858, by Thos. Ware, James Parr, Wm. Smith, Clarissa Ware, Andrew E. Hayslip, and Margaret Hay-slip. The town has a beautiful prairie site, five miles east of Hennepin. It was named from Granville in Massachusetts, at the suggestion of Mr. Thomas Ware, who was the first settler in the place, having emigrated thither in 1833, and built the first house there the next year. At that time the prairie westward was an unbroken wilderness for many miles. — A few cabins were put up in the vicinity in 1834, and during the summer after the town was founded, two more houses were erected upon the site — one by Mr. Ware and one by Jas. Laughlin. The town has since made steady progress in proportion to the
92increase of population in the farming region about it; and is now a flourishing village of several hundred inhabitants. It was incorporated under the general act on the 17th of March, 1859, and an election for town officers held in April, when John J. Delatour, Thomas Ware, Hiram Colby, Harvey B. Leeper, and Wm, McKnight, were chosen Trustees. Under the new organization, the corporation limits enclose a tract of land a mile square.
Movements were very early made in behalf of religion and education. Ground was broken for an Academy building in the spring of 1836, to erect which a subscription had been started a year or two before. A charter was obtained from the Legislature during the following winter, in which Thomas Hartzell, Daniel Shepherd, William Paul, Nathan Gould, James Mears, James G. Laughlin, Ralph Ware, Felix Margrave, and Benj. R. Shelden, are named as Trustees of the institution. The building went on to completion without serious delay; and the school was set in operation in December, 1837. Rev. Otis Fisher was the first teacher. The Academy organization was continued with success for many years, until 1859, when the property was transfered to the school district. The building is now occupied for a public school, on the graded plan.
The first church in Granville was organized by the Baptists, in 1837. The Presbyterian church dates
93from April 27th, 1839, when it was organized by Revs. Elliot of Lowell, Dickey of Union Grove, and Spaulding of Peoria. It began with 27 members, and there were many admissions during the year. Rev. H. G. Pendleton was the first Pastor.
MOUNT PALATINE occupies a situation on the eastern border of the county, six miles north of Magnolia. Its buildings form a prominent object upon the prairie, and command a wide view in every direction. Improvement was commenced at this place by Christopher Winters, in 1839, when the country for miles around was still unbroken prairie. He began the cultivation of a farm; and about the same time, being desirous to have a seminary of learning in his neighborhood, and believing that an eligible location, he donated eighty acres of ground for educational purposes. Upon this tract Mount Palatine was laid off in 1839, and a number of lots sold. The unsold property, however, was held by Mr. Winters until an act of incorporation was obtained, (March 3d, 1845,) and the Academy became empowered to hold property, when it was transferred. By this time, many settlers had arrived, most of them emigrants from the towns of Leverett and Wendell, in Massachusetts. Among the early comers were Elders Otis Fisher and Thomas Powell, Isaac Woodbury, James Curtis. Hiram Larned, Ephraim Reynolds, William Johnson, Joel Reynolds, George and Nathan Kingsbury
94and others. The town grew at first with some rapidity, and, being located on the State road from Peoria to Ottawa, it enjoyed for a number of years a considerable income from travelers and visitors, as well as from students. The construction of the Illinois Central Railroad diverted the travel; and the school having gone down also. Mount Palatine has made little progress for several years past.
The charter of incorporation named Isaac Woodbury, Thomas Powell, Otis Fisher, Hiram Larned, Christopher Winters, Wm. Johnson, Wm. Johnson, Jr., Nathan Kingsbury, and Peter Howe, Trustees of the Academy, which was under the auspices of the Baptist denomination. Subscriptions were promptly set on foot, and a large building was erected in 1845 and the ensuing year, at an expense of over $3,000, A school was begun therein in December, 1846, under the instruction of Rev. Otis Fisher. It was continued as an Academy, attracting at times a large number of students from different sections of the country, until the winter of 1850-1, when the Legislature granted a new charter, giving the institution collegiate privileges, and changing its title to that of "Judson College." In 1853, Rev. Chas. Cross was elected its first President. A few years after, it fell into difficulties, and was sold under the hammer of the Sheriff. It is now in the hands of the Catholics, from whom the people of Mount Palatine are making a vigorous effort to set it free.
CALEDONIA is a small country town on the Ox Bow Prairie, between three and four miles west of Magnolia It is in the midst of an old-settled region, and the first post-office in the county existed in this vicinity. There were three houses upon its site in July, 1836, when the town was laid out by Asahel Hannum, Jervis Gaylord and Obed Graves. — Several blocks in the town-plat were vacated in 1841, by Legislative enactment. It reached its present size about fifteen years ago, with the exception of two or three houses. A small Methodist church was erected near it in 1854, and a Baptist church in 1857. The town now occupies about ten acres of ground, and contains a population of some seventy-five persons, with two stores, a blacksmith's shop, and a wheelwright's establishment. The Ox Bow post-office is located there.
FLORID was founded by Wm. M. Stewart and Aaron Thompson, on the 10th of December, 1835. It is situated about three miles south-east of Hennepin, where there is the smallest prospect of ever building up a considerable town. It attained some growth, however, at an early day. In 1841, there were 27 buildings in it (more than are now standing upon its site), and a number were in progress. It had a tavern, a store, steam-mill, and six or eight shops for manufacturing. At present it is much dilapidated, and exhibits no business activity. One of the handsomest
96and best country school houses in the county stands in the immediate vicinity. A small addition was made to the town many years ago, by W. White.
PUTNAM was the name of a "paper town" staked off Sept. 3d, 1835, on the prairie two miles northwest of Magnolia, and about the same distance from Caledonia. A whole quarter section was laid off, the streets being named after Washington, Lafayette, Madison, La Salle, and other heroes of history. It once contained a house or two, which have long since been removed; and nothing remains to mark the site of this thing of speculation.
SNACHWINE — About a dozen lots have been surveyed within a few months at Snachwine Station, on the Peoria and Bureau Valley Railroad, in that strip of the county west of the river. A number of buildings, including two stores and a post-office, stand up at the lots or in the vicinity; and a town will no doubt grow up at this point.
Chapter IX. Country Settlements in Putnam.
UNION GROVE — This settlement lies in the great bend of the Illinois river near Hennepin, having on one side the belt of timber which skirts the stream, and toward the east extending out upon the great prairie which stretches almost uninterruptedly to the Wabash. In the north-eastern part the village of Granville is situated, and Florid in the southwestern. The country comprised by it is among the most fertile and beautifully diversified in the State, and landed property commands superior prices.
This region was settled in 1829-30, and increased more rapidly in population than any other part of Putnam county. The early settlers were plain, intelligent farmers and mechanics, for the most part emigrants from Ohio, with some from Pennsylvania and New England. Among them were Jas. G. Dunlavy,
98Smiley and Nelson Shepherd, the Willises, Thomas Gallaher, Sr., Wm. M.and James G. Stewart, Jarnes A., Joseph, Hugh, and John E. Warnock, George Ish, John L. Ramsey, Sam'l D. Laughlin, and John P. Blake. The first church erected in Putnam Co. was put up in the Grove in 1830 — a little, rude log building in the wilderness, whither the pioneers and their families for many miles around repaired for the worship of God. Here, in the season of Indian difficulties, there was an appearance of the warlike mingled with the devotional, as many settlers carried their guns to meeting, to guard against surprise from the savage foe. A strong religious sentiment pervaded the entire community; and the settlement was named UnionGrove, in token of the peace and harmony which reigned there, and which it was hoped would abide forever within its borders. The first school in Putnam was taught near the Grove by Mrs. Martha Ramsey, in the summer of 1830; and another in the autumn of the next year, by John P. Blake, who received $10 per month, and "boarded round." The log church was replaced in 1837-8 by a large brick building — an unusually good one for that early time, in a country settlement. It is occupied by the Presbyterians, who formed the original church.
In 1838, the settlement comprised about sixty families.
Ox Bow Prairie. — This prairie takes its name from the semi-elliptical shape given it by the winding of the creeks in the vicinity, and the consequent encroachment of forest upon the prairie. The beauty and fertility of this region attracted settlers at an early date, many arriving before 1830, after which it filled up with considerable rapidity. In 1834 it was referred to as already "overspread with fine farms."
The principal early settlers were Asahel Hannum, Jeremiah Strawn, David Boyle, Daniel Gunn, Isaae and Geo. Hilderbrand, Lemuel Gaylord, the Glens, and others. The first post-office in the county was established here, which was kept at Mr. Boyle's during the early part of 1831. A school was also kept the previous winter, by Geo. H. Shaw.
One of the most daring of the many robberies committed by the notorious "banditti of the prairies" in 1844-5, occurred on this prairie during the night of June 9th, 1845, at the house of Jeremiah Strawn. — From its circumstances, and the evil fame and traffic fate of some of the participants, it has achieved unwonted celebrity, and calls for lengthened notice.
"The thieves that were to attack Mr. Strawn's house, and had their plans all laid for that purpose,
100were a little disconcerted by a man named Bridges being arrested and sent to the penitentiary. This Bridges was the captain of the band that was to commit the deed, and to prepare the way one of the number must first go and view the house, as they never ventured until they knew what they had got to encounter. Accordingly in December, 1844, a stranger, peddling oilcloths, called at Strawn's and traded with the women, but as Strawn came in to dinner at one door the man left at the other, so that he did not see him. This man, as afterwards appeared, was Birch, one of the robbers. But on account of the arrest of Bridges the project was postponed, but not abandoned. In the spring of 1845 another man called there, selling types and ink, and instructing the girls how to use them; he too left without Strawn having seen him. This was Fox, another of the robbers. On the Sunday evening previous to the robbery, another of the gang, named Long, called on Strawn and requested the privilege of staying all night. Strawn, with his usual hospitality, granted his request. He was riding a very good horse, and, although dressed well, he wore a pair of light pumps on his feet. He said that he came from the south part of the State, and was in search of a farm which he wished to purchase for his father, and that Jacob Strawn, of Jacksonville, recommended him to come to this county or La Salle. His father was not in very good health, and wished to buy a small farm in a neighborhood where they could enjoy the advantages of meeting, as they were all religious. — He employed his time whilst there mostly in reading the Bible, and in answer to a question from Mrs. Strawn, said that he was a Presbyterian. He staid until after breakfast, and then concluded that he
101would go to La Salle county, and call and see Strawn on his return, if he did not get a farm to suit.
"They intended to visit him the next night; but when Long, the man that had been there, got to their headquarters at Peru, he found a man there from Chicago, from whom they had stolen a horse; it was necessary then for them to flee, and they went across the country nearly to Quiney, then came east and crossed the Illinois river near Beardstown, and up almost to Lacon, where they had a private stable under ground. There they left their horses and came up and reconnoitered, went back, got their horses, crossed the river, and came up on the west side about opposite of Strawn's house, about three miles distant. The gang then (consisting of Robert Birch as Captain, John Long, Fox, and Luther) crossed the river in a skiff, having secreted their horses in the thick brush, and on their way to Strawn's stopped and got supper with Jos. Regenold, a German. They had plenty of whisky, and left there before night, and went south.
"Mr. Strawn that night went to bed, and left the window near the door of their room raised about an inch. About one o'clock Mrs. S. said to her husband, "There is somebody getting into the house," but before he could get up the door was opened, a light struck, and a man stood over him with an axe in his hand, and ordered him to lie still at the peril of his life. Birch and Fox stood to keep guard inside of the house, and told Mr. S. that there were twenty men outside, when in reality there was only Luther. Long commenced to search the house for money. They found the trunk containing his papers and money under the bed of the girls. They hauled it into the room where Mr. S. was, and proposed to
102take it out doors; but Mr. S. told them that he wished they would not destroy his papers, and that was all the money he had in the house. They scattered the papers about the floor, and took something over a hundred dollars in change, and a hundred dollars in canal scrip. Long then inquired if anybody slept in the other part of the house, it being the room he slept in the Sunday night previous. He was told that a Mr. Burr, a Methodist preacher, was there. He went into the room, and in doing so awakened him. He told him to lie still or he would make him, all the time using such horrid oaths that it was enough to make a man shudder. Fox hallooed to him to "kill him, as he was a minister and would go to heaven." They got what little money the preacher had and his watch, and were continuing their search, when the man outside came in and told Birch that some one had got out of the house and ran away. — Birch then asked Mr. S. if he intended to follow him, saying he had better be in h—l than to do so. They then left, and carried off much less than they expected to have got; for a Mr. Schooler, from Ohio, had been there, and had considerable money, but had left a day or two before. Birch told Strawn just the amount that Schooler had that they intended to get. "Mr. S. soon set himself to work to ferret out the robbers. After hunting some time, he visited the jail in Rock Island. As he went in, Birch, who was confined there as one of the murderers of Col. Davenport, knew him, and called him by name. He also recognized him as the man that was a little too nigh him one night in the June before, holding an axe over his head. Birch then told the whole transaction, and said that a certain Mr. L., in Peru, was at the head of it all, and planned it all for them. — Strawn
103returned, got a warrant, and the Sheriff went to Peru and arrested Zimri Lewis. The Grand Jury found a bill against him, and he took a change of venue. Birch was taken back to Knoxville, his trial having been changed to Knox county. Lewis gave bail to appear at Court at Ottawa. In the meantime Col. Davenport had been murdered, and Long, one of the robbers, had been hung. Fox, after having been arrested, effected his escape. Luther died in Indiana. As the main testimony against Lewis was Birch, it was necessary, if possible, to get him out of the way. This was accomplished in the following manner. A man committed an offence in Knox Co., so as to get confined in the same jail with Birch. — Another went to Knoxville and took a school, and got board with the jailor. He succeeded in gaining the confidence of the jailor, and under pretence of sympathy for the prisoners, he was allowed to visit them in jail; and as the man confined with Birch was sick, they were allowed to go out of their cell in the day time. By this means they succeeded in digging under the stone, and then digging up on the other side, until they came to frozen ground. One night the school-teacher was missing, but nothing was thought of it until the next morning. When the jailor visited the jail, the prisoners were gone, and he found a piece of writing informing him that he need have no fears for his horse, as it would be returned to him, which was accordingly done. It appeared that the frozen ground had been bored away with augers. Neither Birch nor any of his friends at Knoxvil'e have been seen in that part of the country since. It is believed that Birch was thrown into the Mississippi river, and drowned. As there was now but very little evidence against Lewis, the indictment
104merit was quashed. Thus ended one of the most exciting scenes ever enacted in the county."
SNACHWINE. — This settlement comprises all that part of the county west of the Illinois river. The township contains much timber and bottom land, and hence is less thickly populated than any other in Putnam. There is a considerable settlement; however, in the rich, fertile country at the head of Henry Prairie, where there is a railroad station, and a beginning for a town has been made. The Peoria and Bureau Valley Railroad (which is a branch of the Chicago and Rock Island Road) passes through this township, being the only railway touching Putnam county. An Indian village formerly stood in the valley a mile above the station, where lived Senach-e-wane, an Indian chief of some local renown, who has given his name to the town.
Snachwine had scarcely an inhabitant before 1835, and its history is comparatively uneventful. Considerable excitement was created in October, 1853, by the base murder of John McKee, of Henry, by one Wm. Williams, in the woods near the residence of S. C. Bacon, Esq. The murder was accomplished by cutting the throat of McKee; and, so far as is known, was committed purely for gain.
Chapter X. History of the Towns of Marshall County.
LACON is the oldest town in Putnam, Marshall, Bureau, or Stark counties, and one of the oldest in Northern Illinois. The site was selected early in 1831, by Gen. Jonathan Babb and Maj. Henry Filer, of Somerset, Ohio, who left a sum of money with Col. Strawn, a farmer residing in the vicinity, to enter the fractional tract of land "adjoining what is known as Strawn's Landing," at the next Government land sales in Springfield. It was purchased in July, and a small town (130 lots) laid off upon it the 6th of August, 1831, to which the name COLUMBIA was given. The town remained unoccupied, except when the rangers in the Black Hawk war met upon its site to be enlisted or afterwards to perform guard duty, until the autumn of the next year, when a small frame house was put up by Henry K. Cassell, but
106not made ready for occupancy. In the spring of 1833 another building was erected by Elisha Swan, a young trader who had been selling goods for several months at the bluff back of the town. He removed to Columbia the same season, with his family, and opened a small store. They were the first white inhabitants of Lacon. The Indians had not yet altogether fled the country; and parties of them frequently came to trade with Mr. Swan. Thaddeus W. Barney, from Western New York, arrived the following year, and built a two-story log cabin on Main street, which was afterwards occupied for hotel purposes. His family becoming sick, he left for St. Louis in the fall of the same year — taking passage, for lack of better facilities, in a large canoe. Mr. Cassell had meanwhile removed to his house in Columbia. George Snyder and family arrived from Ohio the same autumn; also Jesse C. Smith and Jos. H. Johnson, who obtained a donation of lots from Col. Strawn, and commenced the erection of a large steam flouring-mill. In 1835, Gen. Babb, one of the proprietors of the town, with a number of others, settled in the place, which probably contained fifty persons by the opening of 1836. That was the principal year of colonization. A considerable colony, including Ira I. Fenn, Esq., (who had purchased an undivided half of the town site,) Wm. and Norman Fenn, Wm. Fisher, Sam'l Howe, Sr., Sam'l Howe,
107Jr., Chas. Barrows, Hartley Malone, Wm. C. and Dr. Robert Boal, D. W. Barney, and others, emigrated from Hamilton, Dayton, and Oxford, Ohio, to make their homes in Columbia. An addition of nearly one hundred was made to the population this year. The construction of a steam saw-mill was set about, which was ready for operation the same season; and other public improvements were begun. A Temperance Society was formed July 28th, 1836, and a Presbyterian Church organized soon after. — A post-office was also established this year; but the existence of another town of the same name in the State occasioned much annoyance in the reception of mail matter; and an act of the Legislature was obtained Jan. 19th, 1837, changing the name Columbia to LACON. At the same session, charters of incorporation were obtained for the "Lacon Manufacturing Company" and the "Lacon Academy" — two projects which were never carried out. This year the town became incorporated under the general act, by a vote of 18 to 1; which gave place to an organization under a special charter granted Dec. 10th, 1839.
108and some printing materials were brought on for the publication of a newspaper to be called "The Lacon Agriculturist;" but they were found unfit for the purpose; and negotiations were opened with Allen N. Ford, who was then publishing a paper in Hartford, Conn. He was induced to link his fortunes with those of the rising place; and the first number of "The Lacon Herald" made its appearance under his auspices in December, 1837. Its title was afterwards changed to "The Illinois Gazette;" and it is still issued under that name by the same editor.
A large addition, much greater than the original site, was made to the town July 3d, 1837, by Jonathan Babb, Wm. Fenn, Wm. Fisher, Sam'l Howe, Jos. Woodruff, Wm. M. Halstead, Richard T. Haines, Elisha Swan, Norman Conde, and Ira I. Fenn.
There was little increase in Lacon during 1838, which was a period of general depression in the West. An unusually interesting revival of religion was experienced during the winter of 1837-8, described by the pastor, a man of long experience in the ministry, as "the most glorious he ever witnessed." A Methodist congregation had been collected at an early day,
109and had enjoyed regular preaching for several year. A frame building was dedicated in 1838 for their use as a house of worship. The leading citizens of Lacon took an active part in the movements which led to the formation of Marshall county; and, after its establishment, secured the location of the county seat at that point. In 1839 building was carried on to some extent, and receded from Main and Water streets to those farther east. A number of substantial houses were erected, the population of the town having increased in proportion. Some attention was paid to literature, and a Library Association was organized in February, which collected a considerable number of volumes, and flourished for a time.
The annals of Lacon from 1810 to 1850 present little that is interesting. The town made progress gradually, and a heavy trade was conducted with the surrounding country. Several public buildings were erected — the Court-house in 1840, a county jail in 1844, a spacious Presbyterian church in 1819, and a new school house. On the 27th of June, 1842, Ex-President Van Buren paid a brief visit to the place, while on his Western tour.
Since 1850 Lacon has attained its greatest growth. In 1852, projects were mooted for plank roads to the Central Railroad, and to Toulon, via Wyoming. A charter was obtained for the latter, and books opened for subscription; but neither road was ever
110constructed. A much greater enterprise was set on foot soon after, chiefly by citizens of Lacon, having for its object the building of a railroad from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Council Bluffs, Iowa, crossing the Illinois river at Lacon. A charter for the "Western Airline Railroad Company" was procured at the next session of the Legislature; numerous meetings were held, and public opinion thoroughly aroused upon the subject; a proposition to subscribe $100,000 in county bonds to its capital stock was carried in April, 1853, by a large majority; and in December, 1855, the citizens of Lacon voted to subscribe $50,000 in city bonds. The work went forward, and a large amount of grading has been done at various places along the line; but no part of it is yet in operation. Lacon was also named as a point in the charter for the Illinois River Railroad, before noticed.
In January, 1853, the Court-house was burned down, which was quickly replaced by a new and superior structure. In 1854, the town received a city charter, and organized under it, electing William Fisher Mayor, 31. M. Sloan, L. V. Blackmon, Wm. F. Palmer, and Jacob C. Garrigus, Aldermen, and Henry Miller City Marshal. A large brick school house has since been erected for a graded school, and other public improvements made. At present Lacon numbers nearly 2,000 inhabitants, and with the prospective completion of her railroad will become a considerable city.
HENRY. — The site of Henry was "claimed" in 1831, by Erastus Wright and Wm. Porter, of Springfield, who procured a license for a ferry across the river at this point. In the spring of 1833, a conflicting claim was made by Elisha Swan and A. N. Deming. Maj. Elisha Thompson had just settled in the vicinity, and built a house a little distance above the present town, where a few remnants of the foundation may still be seen. The opposing claimants compromised their difficulties by agreeing to lay off a town site, and own it jointly. As soon, however, as the surveyor commenced operations, it was ascertained that the tract claimed was on the sixteenth section, which could be appropriated only to school purposes; and the promising speculation was crushed in the bud. Mr. Swan had prepared the frame of a store building, and brought it to the site; but, upon learning that the proposed project was impracticable, he removed it down the river to Columbia.
The same year the few inhabitants of that region set the plan of a town again on foot, attention having been called to it by the enterprise of the previous claimants. By stretching the limits of the township somewhat, the necessary number of signatures was obtained to a petition which went to the School Commissioner of Putnam county on the 7th of December, requesting him to sell, the school section. The petition was accompanied by a certificate setting forth
112that the number of white male inhabitants in the township was above fifty, and that the voters did not exceed fifteen in number. The whole section was laid off into town lots and out-lots April 22d, 1834, by Chas. Nock, Elias Thompson, and Reuben Converse, Trustees of school lands for the township. In their report of the transaction they say:
"Lots from No. thirty to two hundred and ninety-one, inclusive, with the streets and alleys within and thereto appertaining, and the public grounds on said map designated, we propose as a town, by the name of HENRY, in memory of the late General James D. Henry, deceased, who gallantly led the Illinois volunteers to victory over the hostile Sac and Fox Indians, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-two, and who lately died of disease caused by that arduous service."
A public sale of lots was held a week after the survey, in Hennepin, and was conducted by Nathaniel Chamberlin, School Commissioner of the county. — They were mostly bought up by settlers in the neighborhood of Henry, and other citizens of Putnam, there being little competition from speculators; and were sold at very low prices, the out-lots going at Government price, $1.25 per acre, and the in-lots generally at $1 each. When the mania for real estate speculation appeared, this property became a lively article of trade, and was dealt in largely by speculators. Very many of the lots were bought by Eastern
113capitalists through their agents, which retarded not a little the growth of the place. When the bubble burst, however, they paid no further attention to them, and large part of them were sold for taxes.
A small cabin had been built on the town site before 1832, by one Hart, which was soon after deserted, and was not standing when Henry was laid off. At that time there were two log houses in the town, and Maj. Thompson was residing above. There was no further improvement until 1837, when the old "Henry House" was put up by Thompson. In the fall of 1839, the first store (in a small way) was opened by Joseph Bradley, alias Burr, who built a warehouse on the river bank, and was the first Postmaster. Two years subsequent, Mr. Hooper Warren moved upon the site, when only three families were residing there. A blacksmith's shop had been set in operation. Thos. Gallaher, Jr., succeeded Bradley in the same line of trade soon after; and in 1844 he was bought out by Benj. Lombard, who brought in a large stock of goods, as also Messrs. Cheever & Herndon, who arrived about the same time.
From this period dates the substantial progress of
114the place. In 1846, it contained about 30 inhabitants; in the summer of 1848, it had a population of 71 (twenty-four families); in 1850, 401; fall of 1851, 789; Jan. 1st, 1853, 1,009; same date, 1854, 1,301; Jan., 1855, 1,591; Dec, 1855, 1,523; June 1, 1857, 1,673. Its present population is about 1,800.
The citizens of Henry have always been characterized by public spirit and a high regard for local interests. The first school house was put up in 1846, and the present edifice in 1854, under the first city administration. The first church (Protestant Methodist) was built in 1848; a number of others have been erected at various intervals since. A female seminary was established in the immediate vicinity during 1849, by Rev. H. G. Pendleton, which was destroyed by fire Feb. 16th, 1855, and re-constructed soon after, of brick, on an enlarged scale. In 1854, the North Illinois University was instituted in Henry, under the auspices of the Methodist Protestant denomination, for which a charter was obtained the next winter, and a handsome building erected. The "Marshall County Courier " (now Henry Courier) began its publication Dec. 23d, 1852. During the following season, an active warfare was waged through its columns, and otherwise by the people of Henry, upon the proposition to subscribe $100,000 of county bonds to the stock of the Western Airline Railroad; and the township voted with perfect unanimity in
115opposition to it. The Peoria and Bureau Valley Railroad, built in 1854, which passes through the city, met with an equally active support the same year; and a large individual subscription was made to its stock. An extensive fire occurred in Henry March 31st, 1853, which destroyed six buildings on one of the most valuable business blocks, causing a loss of $12,000 to $15,000. They were soon rebuilt.
Henry had been incorporated as a town under the general incorporation act; and at the session of the Legislature for 1854, a special charter was granted, giving it the privileges of a city, which was accepted by a vote of 79 to 4. The first officers under the city organization were Sam'l J. McFadden, Mayor; James Wescott, Police Justice; Aldermen, 1st ward, John A. Warren, Geo. L. Hoyt; Aldermen, 2d ward, Wm. B. Smith, Alex. Kissinger.
In the spring of 1858, the place of permanent location of the Fair grounds of the Farmers' and Mechanics' Institute of Marshall county was awarded to Henry, its citizens having subscribed $2,600, and those of Lacon $2,100. An embankment is now being built across the river bottom opposite the town, at an expense of several thousand dollars, in order to facilitate travel thither; and a bridge is in contemplation, for which a company has been formed, and a charter obtained. A heavy trade is carried on in grain and other articles of barter.
WENONA was laid off on the 15th of May, 1855, by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, on one of the alternate sections granted by Congress for the construction of the Road. It lies on both sides of the railway track, 20 miles below La Salle, and about the same distance nearly due east of Lacon, near the county line. It is one of the most important stations between Bloomington and La Salle.
When the surveyors, in 1851-2, went over the great prairies with compass and chain, to mark the route of the Central Railroad, the region of Wenona was uninhabited for a number of miles in each direction. The first house, a mere shanty for the trackmen, was put up on the site in 1852; and with the completion of the road from La Salle to that point in the next year, the passenger station and freight house were erected, and a good-sized dwelling also built for G.W. Goodell, the Station Agent and first Postmaster, the Post-office being established this year. In June, 1854, the Presbyterian Church was organized — the first in Wenona. During the winter of that year, Wm. Brown brought a stock of goods to the place, and had a building opened for their sale. When the town was laid off, it contained nine dwellings and about fifty inhabitants, besides a floating population of at least thirty. Its progress during the next few years was not marked; but since 1858 it has grown rapidly, and is now a thrifty village of several
117hundred inhabitants, with two hotels, a number of stores, and other branches of business in proportion. A great amount of grain is annually shipped at this point, and a considerable trade is carried on with the surrounding country, which has become thickly settled. The town was incorporated March 5th, 1859, by a vote of 28 to 3; and Solomon Wise, George Brockway, John B. Newburn, F. H. Bond, and Emanuel Weltz, were elected Trustees.
Movements were early made in Wenona toward the founding of a seminary, which were consummated in 1857, and a building erected soon after. The institution is a promising one, and is on a very liberal basis, its laws providing that it "shall be forever tree from sectarian control."
NEW RUTLAND is situated five miles below Wenona, the original town-site being wholly in La Salle county, but the addition of ten blocks, made by Wm. G. Burns Oct. 20th,1856,is chiefly in Marshall. This town is the offshoot of an emigration movement started by a number of farmers in the neighborhood of Rutland, Vermont, in February, 1855. A company was formed in March, styled "The Vermont Emigrant Association," organized "for the purpose of settling a section of country in the West, where social, religious, and civil privileges may be enjoyed." Dr. H. D. Allen was elected President of the Association; Wm. W. Ingraham, Vice President; Dr. O.
118Cook, Secretary; J. B. Kirkaldie, Treasurer; and a Board of thirteen Directors was chosen. In May a Locating Committee, who had been appointed "to proceed to the West, to select a site for a village in the midst of Government lands, where each member may obtain a quarter section or more of land at the minimum price," came out and visited Iowa and other parts of the West named in their instructions. They were unable to find a situation answering all the conditions of the company; but finally determined to report in favor of the present location on the line of the Illinois Central Railroad. This was agreed to by the Association in July; and the land was purchased accordingly, under their direction. Twenty-two thousand acres, lying in Marshall, La Salle, and Livingston counties, were bought of the Railroad Company and of speculators who had recently purchased it from the Government. Provision had been made for the laying off of some central part of the tract secured into building lots, of which the holder of each share of stock was entitled to one, with the privilege of selecting 160 acres of farming land in the vicinity. The town was surveyed in November, 1855, and named from the New England home of the emigrants. Two houses were built during the winter of that year, and a large hotel commenced the following summer. A considerable part of the colony arrived on the ground in 1856-7, and a large amount of building
119was done. A school house was built in 1857; a Congregational Church founded Feb. 15th, 1858, with twenty-six members; and a Baptist Church organized Jan. 15th, 1859. A movement has been made for a Public Library, which will probably be successful. About half the colony (which originally numbered 120 persons, or thereabouts, most of them heads of families,) have arrived and settled; and a number of the remainder are expected to come, as soon as the depression of the times is removed. The community comprises an intelligent and industrious population, who will eventually build up an important town at New Rutland.
WASHBURN. — This town lies on the southern border of the county, twelve miles from Lacon, being in Woodford county, with the exception of two additions made by the original proprietor March 7th, 1856, and July 22d, 1857. It is in the Half Moon Prairie — an old-settled region, where Rob't Barnes, Esq., was the first to drive the stakes of civilization. He came in 1830, and was soon followed by others. The settlement, however, had not so increased as to make the founding of a town advisable, until the fall of 1853, when twenty acres were laid off into lots by Hiram Echols, with a reservation of half an acre for religious purposes, on which a Baptist church was built in 1854. The place was at first named Uniontown; afterwards Mantua, by act of the Legislature
120during the session of 1856-7; and at the subsequent session the name was changed to Washburn, to correspond with that of a post-office removed thither from a neighboring farm-house.
The first house on the site was a small log cabin owned by T. W. Smith, put up there shortly after the town was laid off. A number of buildings, including the church, were erected in 1854; a commodious edifice for a graded school was built in 1857; and there has been some increase during every year. At present the town contains about two hundred inhabitants, and has two stores, one drug-store, several shops, and other branches of business.
SPARELAND. — This is the town laid down upon the published map of Marshall county as "West Lacon," being the cluster of buildings about the Lacon station on the Peoria and Bureau Valley Railroad, one mile west of the county seat. The first settler upon its site was Franklin W. Graves, from Indiana, a man of large intelligence and generous hospitality, who settled in 1830, and perished miserably sixteen years afterwards, amid the snows of the Sierra Nevada, while emigrating to California. His farm was occupied in 1846 by Geo. Spar, from whom the town takes its name. It was laid off June 13th, 1855, by the numerous heirs of Mr. Spar, and consists of two ranges of blocks under the bluff west of the railroad, running parallel with the track. The railway station
121was erected the same year, and a warehouse about that time; a school house was put up the next year, and a Methodist Church organized in 1857. Spared has become a thriving little village, and a large trade is carried on at this point.
PATTONSBURG receives its name from Nathan Patton, who came to the neighborhood in 1836. Several settlers, including Col. R. F. Bell, Jas. Martin, the Benningtons, and others, had previously located in that region, some arriving as early as 1832; The village is situated in Belle Plaine township, six milts east of Washburn, and is a single short row of lots on the east side of the road, which is here called Broad street. It was laid out March 13th, 1856, by "Father Patton." It contains about a dozen houses, with a post-office, store, the usual shops of a country settlement, and a population of 30 to 40.
WEBSTER. — This, as also each place noticed below, is one of the defunct towns whose annals belong to the disastrous period of 1836-7. It occupied a fine position on the river bank nearly two miles above Henry, where there is a superior steamboat landing, accessible at all seasons of the year. A fractional quarter section was laid off here on the 20th of June, 1837, by Robert Latta,
122County Surveyor and his co-workers."
On the 22d of June, 1837, Webster was honored with a visit from its great namesake, the "godlike Daniel," who, accompanied by his wife and daughter, was then passing up the river on the steamboat Frontier, escorted by the Wave. He stepped ashore at this landing, and conversed freely with the few inhabitants who had thus soon settled upon the site. Upon being asked his opinion of the rising town, he stated that he thought it "a very handsome place for a farm," but was quite reserved in his commendations of it as a town. The steamers remained at this place an hour or two, during which time the distinguished statesman was the centre of attraction.
Webster was a short-lived town. The summer and autumn of 1838 proved sickly; it was alleged that the
123proprietors did not fulfill their engagement; and the inhabitants began to desert it rapidly. The last one left in 1842; the mill never got into operation; the houses were gradually removed or destroyed; and it ceased to be considered a town-site after 1843, when it was probably vacated.
Lyons was the name of a town laid out on a beautiful and commanding prairie site, ten miles east of Lacon, by a company of about eighty persons, formed in New York city, ostensibly for the purpose of colonization, but really, in the case of many of them, for speculation. It was named from Hezekiah Lyons, of New York, who came out in 1836, with Josiah L. James and John H. Harris, entered forty-six sections of land for the company, and had a quarter section surveyed and divided into building lots. — Each member of the company who owned a section of the company's property became entitled to sixteen lots in the town, and those who owned less were entitled to lots in proportion. There was a division sale, for preference of location upon the site, among the company in New York city; but
124there was no public sale upon the premises. Mr. Harris also contracted for the erection of a building in the town, as a hotel for the accommodation of such of the colony as might arrive. It was put up, but remained almost unoccupied until 1838, when "Wm. B. Green took up his residence in it, where he has since lived, the town site being now covered by his fields. A very few of the company came to the place, apparently with the intention of settling; but after the crash of 1837, little or no attention was paid by the owners to their town property; and Lyons died an easy death. The only house ever built upon it is that occupied by Mr. Green. Some of the company, however, have held their lands in the vicinity to this time, though the association is dissolved.
DORCHESTER was a "paper town" laid off July 25th, 1836, by Stephen F. Gale and Robert Kerr Richards, on a tract of ground surrounded by a slough, immediately below Henry. Richards resided in Chicago, and was an extensive dealer in towns, owning interests in a large number of sites in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. He seems to have set a high value upon Dorchester, for half of it was transferred by him to Gale for $40,000. — In this estimate he differed from the public, who never built upon the site; and the town proved "of, large promise, and very small performance."
BRISTOL consisted of two ranges of lots along the
125river bank a mile above Lacon, laid off by James Orr on the 6th of May, 1836. One lot in Bristol — no doubt a first-rate business corner — was sold in June, 1838, for $18. The town was vacated Feb. 3d, 1840, by Legislative enactment.
AUBURN, "loveliest of the plain,"
CENTREVILLE is the name of a bad speculation in the shape of a town, laid off in January, 1853, on a school section twelve miles west of Henry, near the centre of Saratoga Township, by Ira Torrey, Samuel Divilbiss, and George Scholes. As yet it has few (if any) other than quadrupedal inhabitants.
TROY CITY, a good-sized town-plat, was staked out Sept. 13th, 1836, by Sanford Klock. It was situated eight miles west of Lacon, and has existed only in name since its founding.
CHAMBERSBURG was located seven miles west of Lacon, and two miles north-east of Troy City. It was surveyed Aug. 15th, 1836, for John T. Shepherd, and has not been heard of since.
Chapter XI. Country Settlements in Marshall.
ROUND PRAIRIE forms a part of one of the grand prairies, which here extends in towards the river, east of Lacon, until it meets the forest which crowns the bluff overlooking the valley of the Illinois. A semi-circular shape is given to this tract by the river woods on the west, the Sandy Creek timber on the north, and the Crow Creek timber on the south. — The prairie is about six miles broad, in its greatest width, and about four miles between the points of the crescent. The first settler upon it was Col. John Strawn, of Ohio, who is, with one exception, the oldest settler in Marshall county. He came to the Round Prairie in the fall of 1827, on a prospecting tour, and made an extensive claim on the western side, three to four miles from Lacon. In September of the following year, he removed thither with his
127family, and made a settlement. Here he remained, the single white resident of the prairie, with only the Indians of the forest for neighbors, until the early part of 1830, when Robert Bird, Sr., and Hoel Daddy, arrived and settled farther to the east. James Dever settled on the southern part in the autumn of the same year, where a fort stood during the Black Hawk war. Several others, with the customary dread of the open prairie manifested by early settlers, made claims along the edge of the forest, and by 1834 it had become almost completely skirted with farms, while a very few had ventured out toward the centre of the prairie. At that date there was no legal road across it, except the old State highway on the eastern border, which ran from Springfield to Ottawa, and a wagon-track to Lacon. The settlers relied mainly upon Hennepin for mail matter and trade. Grain was generally hauled to Chicago with fourhorse and ox teams, a week being consumed in the journey. The settlement of the prairie has steadily progressed, and it is entirely overspread with cultivated farms. The township to which great part of it belongs is called Richland, indicative of the character of the soil, which is very fertile.
In 1852, a spacious church was built near the centre of the prairie, by the Methodist denomination which has since received the name of Phelps' Chapel, in honor of an eminent Methodist Elder.
SHAW'S POINT is one of the horns of the crescent forming the Round Prairie, nine miles east of Lacon. A considerable settlement has grown up in the vicinity, which takes its name from this point of timber; The first to settle here was George H. Shaw, who had been teaching school on the Ox Bow Prairie in 1830; and who removed to his present location the succeeding year. During the Black Hawk war, himself and one or two of his neighbors sent their families to Tazewell county for protection, until a picket was erected near, when shelter was sought there. A brother-in-law of Mr. Shaw, Chas. S. Edwards, who came in Feb., 1832, was next in the settlement. It increased slowly for a number of years; but since the completion of the Central Railroad, many have settled in that region. A foul murder was committed in a grog-shop hear the Point, on the night of Dec. 23d, 1855, while both parties were under the influence liquor. It created a profound sensation.
ROBERTS' POINT is a spur of timber near Sandy Creek, three miles beyond Shaw's. It is the oldest settlement in the county. Jesse Roberts came to the Point in the spring of 1828, and settled there in August. There was then no settlement south of him nearer than Washington, and very few north of him to the Illinois river. A small fort was built about his house during the Indian troubles. Several other settlers came in 1829-30, and the settlement is now thickly populated.
BELLE PLAINE. — That part of the county comprising Belte Plaine Township and a largo portion of Bennington was early known by the former name, which is the French term for "beautiful prairie." — It lies in great part about the head of Crow Creek, south-west of the Round Prairie, and is finely interspersed with natural and cultivated groves. Settlement was attracted here but little later than to any other part of the county. In 1831 James Martin arrived and settled near the head of the Creek, and about the same time one or two families named Bird settled in the vicinity, and Samuel Hawkins at Bennington's Grove, upon the farm now occupied by Jos. Bennington, who came in the autumn of 1832, with his brother Robert, followed by Thomas Bennington the succeeding year. A number of settlements were made during the next few years about Crow Creek, and out upon the prairie; but none were made east of Bennington's Grove until about 1850, when Solomon Williams made his home there. Since the construction of the Central Railroad the country has settled up rapidly, and most of it is covered with farms, which command high prices. Belle Plaine post-office was established here about 1835, the first in Marshall county, kept by Col. R. F. Bell. It is now kept in Pattonsburg.
HALF MOON PRAIRIE. — This is located on the southern border of the county, extending some distance
130into Woodford, and takes the name Half Moon, as will readily be conjectured, from its shape. Robert Barnes, from Ohio, was the first settler here, arriving in 1830, and locating upon the upper edge of the prairie. A few years after, one Phillips began improvement two miles below him; in 1835 Rev. H. D Palmer, an eminent minister of the Christian denomination, and Wm. Maxwell, came and settled, followed by James Ledgerwood and others soon after. The village of Washburn stands upon this prairie.
CROW CREEK SETTLEMENT. — This is situated for the most part upon the fertile "bottom" along the lower part of the Creek, for four or five miles, though a number of farmers on the high grounds near the bluffs on either side are usually included within the settlement. The pioneer settler was Solomon Sowards, in 1830, of whose numerous descendants many are residing there. All the land easily accessible to cultivation is now taken up and occupied.
The region about the mouth of Crow Creek, on one or the other side of the river, is identified with incidents relating to several periods of Illinois history. In September, 1681, the year of La Salle's ill-starred expedition and the building of Fort Creve near Peoria, the Chevalier Tonti was recalled from Buffalo Rock, a few miles below Ottawa, where he was building a fortified post, by the news of mutiny in the fort, La Salle being absent. Some of the
131men deserted to the Indians; and Tonti concluded to abandon the fort with the rest. Accordingly he embarked on the 11th of September, in a canoe, with five Frenchmen and two Jesuit missionaries, Fathers Gabriel and Zenoble. They proceeded to the head of Peoria lake, where they stopped to repair their canoe and dry their furs. While thus engaged, one of the missionaries, Father Gabriel, wandered into the woods, and was missing when the time for departure arrived. He was searched for in vain; guns were fired, and fires lighted along the banks; but all without effect. It was afterwards ascertained that he was murdered by "a band of savages called Quicapous" (Kickapoos). He was an old man of seventy years, devoted to the work of the church; and his loss was much regretted.
It was in this vicinity, also, that Gen. Cass held a council with a groat number of Pottawatamie Indians, in June, 1827. A war had broken out between the Winnebagoes and whites, in south-western Wisconsin; and it was feared that other Indians of the West would join the hostile tribe, and a general war be the consequence. Gen. Cass went down the Mississippi and up the Illinois river, pacifying the tribes, and holding councils with them. One of these "talks"
132is said to have been held near the head of Peoria lake, and probably at the mouth of Crow Creek. — At this council the Pottawatamies promised not to assist the hostile Indians.
The chief incident of the expedition against the Indians of the Illinois river, known as "Edwards campaign," in the war of 1812, occurred a little below the mouth of the Creek, on the same side of the river — perhaps outside the limits of Marshall county. The expedition was organized in September, to make reprisals for the savage massacre at Chicago during the preceding month. It was under the command of Gov. Edwards, and numbered about three hundred and fifty strong. An account of the affair has been preserved by Gov. Reynolds, the "Old Ranger," who was then a young man, member of a spy company under Capt. Samuel Judy.
"We next reached an old Indian village on Sugar Creek, where we saw on the bark of the wigwams much painting, generally the Indians scalping the whites. We set it in flames, and traveled in the night towards Peoria, We were afraid that the Indians would know of our approach and leave the villages.
133We traveled on towards midnight, and camped. We had guides along who conducted the army to the village of Pottawatamie Indians, known as the Black Partridge village, situated at the Illinois river bluff, nearly opposite the upper end of Peoria Lake.
"We camped within four or five miles of the village, and all was silent as a grave-yard — as we expected a night attack, as was the case with Harrison at Tippecanoe. Our horses were tied near the camp, saddled, and prepared for action if needed. We lay with our clothes on, and guns in our arms.
"A soldier by the name of Bradshaw fixing his gun, it fired. Every man in the army was sure of a battle; but in a few minutes Gov. Edwards cried out, ‘It was an accident.’ * * *
"Four men, Carlin, Roberts, Davis, and Stephen Whiteside, volunteered to reconnoitre the Indian town, and did so; but were in great danger doing it. They reported to Governor Edwards the position of the enemy. The next morning, in a fog, our company, the spies, met two Indians, as we supposed, and our captain fired on them. Many of us before he shot begged for mercy for the Indians, as they wanted to surrender. But Judy said anybody will surrender when they cannot help it, and that he did not leave home to take prisoners. I saw the dust rise off the Indian's leather shirt when Judy's bullet entered his body. Both Indians were mounted on good horses. The wounded Indian commenced singing his death-song, and the blood streaming out of his mouth and nose. He was reeling, and a man from the main army, Mr. Wright, came up within a few yards of the wounded Indian. The Indian just previously had presented his gun at some of us near him, but we darted off our horses as quick as thought,
134and presented the horses between him and us, so he could not shoot us; but Wright was either surprised or something else, and remained on his horse. The Indian, as quick as a steel trap, shot Wright, and in a few minutes after the Indian expired. As soon as we heard the report of the Indian's gun, Wright cried out with the pain of his wound, which was in his groin. The other Indian, supposed to be a warrior, was a squaw. But before the fact was known many guns were fired at her. It is singular that so many guns fired at the squaw missed her; but when the whites surrounded her, and knew her sex, all was over. She cried terribly, and was taken prisoner, and at last delivered over to her nation. Many of the French in the army understood her language, and made her as happy as possible. * *
"The army moved to, the bluff near the village of the Black Partridge, and near it was a muddy creek, beyond which we saw some Indians jumping from tree to tree, which rendered it almost certain that we would be attacked crossing this creek. Our captain looked back, and I saw he had bullets in his mouth ready to put in his gun to load it. We sat light on our horses when we expected to receive the Indian fire every minute; but it all passed off, much to our satisfaction, without our being fired on.
"When the troops came near the village, no order or restraint could be observed. All pounced on the town pell-mell, with shouts ‘loud and long;’ but just when we came in sight the Indians, men, women, and children, retreated from the village in the greatest hurry and speed. Near the town were swamps, almost impassable, and a great portion of the horsemen were mired before they knew it. My horse fell down in the mud, and I went rolling over his head
135into the swamp. Near me I saw Governor Edwards and horse flounder in a deep mud-hole, both down and covered with black mud. The village was built here on account of the mud and impassable morasses for defense. The Indians saved themselves by the swamps. Horsemen could not act, and the cat-tail and brush were so thick in these morasses that the Indians hid in them, and it was dangerous to approach them. Several parties on foot trailed after the body of the Indians two or three miles across this swampy bottom to the river, and killed some of the enemy on the route and at the river. A few of the army were wounded, but none killed. Three men, Howard, St. Jean, and Kitchen, in the fury of the chase, crossed the Illinois river in the Indian canoes, in the face of many Indians, but were not killed. The Indians had left their horses, camp kettles, corn, and everything on which to support themselves, in the village, which were all taken away or destroyed. The horses were all captured; and among them were some American horses that the Indians had stolen. What corn and other articles that could not be removed were burnt. A complete destruction of the village was effected. Some Indian children were found in the ashes, and saved. A large Indian was wounded, and thereby was unable to run off with the rest. He was starving, and ate bread voraciously when it was given him. He was protected whilst the army remained in the village, but it was said that some straggler behind killed him after the army left.
"During our stay at the village, an Indian warrior deliberately walked down the bluff some couple of hundred yards from our troops, and fired his gun at us. He laughed loud, and slowly walked off. Some men were sent in pursuit, but could not find him. — This
136was an Indian bravado. * * The army started back the same day."
Indian kettles and other articles have been found frequently near the site of this ancient village, and in the adjoining marshes.
HENRY PRAIRIE. — This is an elevated river "bottom" west of the Illinois, not subject to inundation, extending about nine miles in length to the Snachwine settlement in Putnam county on the north, and being three to four miles in width from the river to the bluffs. It would seem that once there had been an expansion of the stream here, forming a lake. In the early day it was known as "Crow Prairie," from the vast number of crows frequenting that region. It has taken its more recent name from the city located upon it. The alluvium of this prairie is very rich and deep, yielding abundant crops.
This part of Marshall county was among the earliest settled. Late in the season of 1832, or early in the following year, Maj. Elias Thompson put up a house near the river above Henry, and Charles Nock took a claim on the prairie some distance below. — Soon after them came the Hart and Reeves families, each quite numerous. Among other early settlers, were Ezekiel and Marcus D. Stacy, Mothem B. and Wm. H. Hunt, Reuben Converse, David Thompson, and Elijah Stacy. In 1835, Warford Bonham settled near the lower end of the prairie, with a number
137of sons and sons-in-law. Since that time the increase of the settlement has kept pace with the growth of the country, and very few uncultivated spots are now left within its limits.
In 1843, and for some years previous, this region was harassed by the frequent visit of horse-thieves and more petty depredators. Suspicion had long rested upon members of the Reeves family, who occupied a secluded residence in the bluffs west of the prairie. Some of them had fled the country, to escape the clutches of the law; and others were known to be pursuing a career of crime. The head of the family was charged with keeping a rendezvous for thieves of every grade, and a depot far their stolen property. His cabins were unusually well supplied with lodging accommodations, from cellar to garret; and suspicious-looking strangers were frequently seen for short periods about his premises. These, with many other circumstances, added to the frequent loss of property in the neighborhood, at length settled beyond a doubt the fact that the Reeves family were leagued with, the infamous "banditti of the prairies," who far several years carried terror to all parts of Northern Illinois. Intense indignation was excited against them throughout a wide section of country, which only awaited some immediate exciting cause to culminate in violence. This was found in June, 1843, in the occurrence of an unusual number of
138robberies about Lacon and Henry, and the subsequent escape of two of the thieves, named Cameron Reeves and John Allison — by the connivance, as was alleged, of certain Peoria lawyers. Intelligence of an intended movement, and a request for co-operation, were sent in various directions; the necessary councils were held, and preliminary measures determined; and, when all things were in train, a summons was sent to the elder Reeves and wife, to attend a meeting of citizens at Robinson's Grove,
139and Marshall. It was organized in an informal way, Hall S. Gregory being recognized as Chairman.
"The meeting having informally organized, Dr. Swanzey, of Bureau, was called. He responded with much warmth, depicted the fears and injuries to which the country had been subjected on account of Reeves, and ended by recommending a resort to violence. Dr. Boal, of Lacon, was then called up. He also spoke under excitement; but his sympathies and views were not in unison with those of Dr. Swanzey. While he expressed his belief, in common with others, that Reeves had rendered himself obnoxious to criminal allegations, he nevertheless contended for the claims of order, law and humanity. He said that if it were true that Reeves was guilty of horse-stealing and harboring thieves, the greatest punishment that the law could inflict would be imprisonment in the penitentiary; and that to deprive him of life would be greater than the crime.
"It was manifestly a task of no small magnitude to stem the current of indignation that was rolling in against Reeves. Demonstrations which made him tremble like an aspen leaf were seen on every hand. Guns were cocked and drawn; and their owners were clamorous to have the cold lead leap from them to its intended victim.
"After Dr. Boal had concluded, Dr. Temple, of Chillicothe, responded to a call. He took a middle course, avoiding the extremes of the first speakers. With Dr. Boal he deprecated anything like a resort to violence, and recommended the observance of order, and concluded by suggesting that a committee of twenty men be appointed to pack their household furniture, conduct them to Henry, and cause their
140departure on the first boat on its downward passage.
"This suggestion proved acceptable to all except a few violent spirits who thirsted for the blood of Reeves. The meeting now scattered, and a committee, in conformity with their instructions, with many others, repaired to the dwelling of Reeves. The goods packed, and the family and all in readiness, Mrs. Reeves by her own request was permitted to return a moment to the house, where, after throwing from the fireplace a quantity of burning coals into some straw on the floor, she passed around the building, and taking a stone from the chimney, drew out and put in her bosom a small bag.
"At evening on Saturday Reeves and family were put on board the steamer Dove, at Henry, where, with emotions of grief and humiliation, they gladly took leave of those from whom they apprehended a more dreadful fate, to try their fortunes among strangers. * Reeves was as humble as a whipped dog — his wife a perfect hurricane of passion. All were stricken with the deepest sorrow — sorrow that their real or suspected crimes had involved them in ruin and indelible disgrace."
The family never attempted to return, and the gang of thieves on Henry Prairie was effectually broken up. The community has since enjoyed comparative exemption from their visitations.
A murder was committed on the farm of George Bonham, at the lower end of the prairie, during a
141sale held March 18th, 1851, Wm. Organ meeting his death at the hands of James Shinn, being stabbed to the heart while quieting a drunken quarrel. — Upon trial and conviction, Shinn was sent to the State Prison for four and a half years. This verdict created much indignation throughout the county.
HIGH PRAIRIE. — This name is given to the broad savanna upon the bluffs west of Henry Prairie, which extends to the great western prairie of the State, constituting large part of the " Military Bounty Land Tract." Whitefield and Saratoga Townships are comprised by it. A few settlers located upon it in the early day, before the formation of the county; but it has filled up mostly since 1846.
CAMPING GROVE is situated twelve miles due west of Lacon, on the line of the American Central Railway, and also on the Peoria and Galena road, the first State highway in Northern Illinois. In early times, when there was no settler within many miles, emigrants were much accustomed to stop at the Grove for the purpose of camping, whence it took the name. In 1840, Francis Grady, a hospitable Irishman, built a residence near, which has long furnished "accommodation for man and beast." The country around is still somewhat sparsely settled, but must eventually become the home of a busy population. The high land in the vicinity is celebrated as among the loftiest eminences in the State, from which views may be obtained into seven counties.
LAWN RIDGE is a continuation of the Blue Ridge of prairie land, which begins in Peoria county and stretches up for several miles into Marshall, where it becomes broader, more level and lawn-like. It is in the south-western corner of the county, and most of the settlement is included in La Prairie Township. One of the first settlers, if not the first, was an Englishman named Wm. Coulson, who located on the farm now occupied by A. Riddle, on the Peoria and Galena road, about 1837. In 1840, Mr. Richard Scholes settled three miles farther north. Since then the township has increased in population with varying rapidity, and is now covered with an almost continuous network of fences and hedges.
YANKEE STREET is the title of a lane four miles west of Lacon, and about a mile and a half long. — There are a number of dwellings on either side of it, inhabited by people of New England or New York descent, who have given the name "Yankee Street" to the settlement. The first here was Joel Atwood, who, with his sons and sons-in-law, Samuel Haynes and Allen Hunter, settled in 1835. Aaron and Levi Fosdick came soon after, and the settlement is now numerously populated.
Chapter XI. Conclusion.
After outlining the history of the past in two of the most fertile and promising counties of the Prairie State, it would seem fitting that a view of their present development of population and resources, as exhibited in the results of the census of 1860, should conclude this work. "We had hoped to have it in our power to present such an exhibit, which, it is confidently predicted, will be one of which the citizens of both counties may well be proud. But the unusual restrictions which the Government has seen proper to impose upon the officials engaged in the work of the census this year, forbidding the communication of facts or figures to the public, until they have gone the slow round of the "circumlocution office" at "Washington, have debarred us from this privilege; and a few general statements relating to Putnam and
144Marshall as they appear in 1860 must suffice for the purposes of this publication.
PUTNAM COUNTY has been largely shorn of its former greatness of territory, having been reduced from 11,000 to 1,600 square miles, and at length, by successive abridgments, to about 160 square miles which it now comprises. There is nearly the equivalent of four townships of land east of the river, and one on the western side. The country is quite equally divided into forest and prairie, but is all susceptible of cultivation — and, with rare exceptions, is under cultivation — save a few tracts of river bottom. The population numbers about 5,650, one person, a woman, having reached the advanced age of ninety-eight. The inhabitants will compare favorably with other communities in point of morality and intelligence; and several towns and settlements mentioned in the preceding pages comprise an unusual amount of intellectual and moral culture. The Illinois river passes through the county, and is navigable for several months of the year. The county is also intersected by Sandy and Clear Creeks, and other small streams, which furnish some water power to a number of mills upon their banks. The Illinois Central Railroad runs near the eastern Border; the Peoria and Bureau Valley Road cuts the western part; and the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad passes within four miiles of Hennnepin. The Teniea & Petersburg
145Road, now in progress, will strike the county on the south-west, making Magnolia a point. With these facilities for transportation of surplus products, combined with the rare fertility of her soil and exemption from public debt, Putnam must become one of the wealthiest and most densely populated of the smaller counties of the State.
MARSHALL COUNTY, the youngest child of Putnam, save one, is unsurpassed in natural resources and capability of development by any county of Northern Illinois. It lies on both sides of the Illinois river, and contains nearly 400 square miles — eight full and six fractional townships. Its territory consists chiefly of prairie, with numerous groves and heavy belts of timber along the river and smaller streams, of which a number flow through parts of the county. The Central Railroad taps it on the east, and the Peoria & Bureau Valley Road on the west, a little distance from the river. The Tonica & Petersburg Road, it is expected, will shortly be completed through the eastern half, and the American Central Railway (formerly the Western Airline) will intersect the entire county from east to west. Large amounts of work have been done on this important link in a national chain of railways, and hopeful arrangements are on foot for its speedy and entire completion. The machine-shops of the Road, by an order of the Directory, are to be located in Lacon
146and the project, if carried to a successful consummation, will add incalculably to the wealth of the county.
The agricultural resources of Marshall are great and have attracted immigrants from all parts of the country. Comparatively little of its territory is left unoccupied; and its population (now numbering nearly 14,000) is increasing from year to year. — Inexhaustible quantities of coal, limestone, and good varieties of building stone, are found in the river bluffs, and are believed to underlie great part of the county. The depression of the times removed, her resources fully developed and great public works constructed, it is fair to presume that Marshall will stand among the foremost counties of Illinois, in population, wealth, intelligence, and enterprise.
From its Organization to the Present Time.
County Commissioners. — 1831, Thos. Galaher, Geo. Ish, John M. Gay; '32, Wm, M. Stewart, J. Strawn, Elias Thompson; '34, Wm. M. Stewart, Joel Hargrove, Aaron Pain; '36, Jos. M. Fairfield, Robert Barnes, Cyrus Bryant; '37, Isaac Parsons, in place of Bryant, resigned; '38, Isaac Parsons, R. Barnes, Hoses Boardman; '39, John Robinson, in place of Barnes, res'd, Townsend G. Fyffe, in place of Boardman, res'd, Williamson Durley; '41, — ; '42, W. Durley; '43, Aaron Bascom ;'45, W. Durley, Richard Harrison; '46, Samuel C. Bacon; '47, John Ong.
Supervisors — 1857, J. S. Simpson. Chairman, T. G. Fyffe, J. W. Hopkins, Jas, R. Talliaferro; '58, A. Wardlaw, Ch'n, S. C. Bacon, Isaac Parsons, Wm. Allen; '59, A. Wardlaw, Ch'n, I. Parsons, H. Stickel, H. M. Schooler; '60, Joel W. Hopkins Ch'n, Wm. Allen, S. C. Bacon, Henry Mills.
Probate Justice. — 1831, —; '33, J. P. Blake; '37, James J. Holt; '39 to '47, Thomas Atwater.
County Judge. — 1847, E. B. Ames; '49, A. Bascom; '53, Joseph D. McCarty.
Treasurer. — 1831, James W. Willis* ; '34, Geo. B. Willis*; '36, Ammon Moon* (also elected in Aug. same year); '39, Joseph Catterlin; '43, Aaron Barlow; '46, John P. Hayes, to fill vacancy; '47, Jos. Catterlin; '48, Oaks Turner.* to fill vacancy; '49, A. Towle; '51, — ; '53, J. P. Hayes; '55, Oaks Turner; '59, Elias Wright.
Circuit Clerk. — 1831, Hooper Warren*; '36, M. P. McAllaster*; '38, Oaks Turner*; '47, William H. Brown*; '48 to '60, George Dent.
Recorder. — 1831, Colby P. Stevenson*, H. Warren*; '35, Major P. McAllaster*; '39, 0. Turner*; '47, Geo.Dent; '48, office united with Cir. Clerk's.
County Clerk. — 1831, Hooper Warren,* ; '34, 0. Turner* (also by election afterwards); '48, George Dent; '53, Wm. Eddy; '57, Amos T. Purviance.
Sheriff. — 1831, Ira Ladd; '32, B. M. Hayes; '34, O.C. Motley; '36, James S. Simpson; '44, Jas. Durley (died in office Sept., '47; there being no Coroner at that time, James Gr. Todd was appointed Elisor); '48, J. G. Todd; '50, And. Wardlaw; '52, Wm. D. Wardlaw; '54, Amos T. Purviance; '56, Jefferson Durley; '58, John P. Gerberich.
School Commissioner. — 1831, Nath'l Chamberlin*; '37, J. P. Hayes* (also by election); '47, Hiram P. White; '49, Luke S. Kimball; '50, B. C. Lundy, to fill vacancy; '53, C. Cross ; '59, G. D. Henderson.
Surveyor. — 1831, C. F. Stevenson,* Ira Ladd*; '32, B. M. Hayes* ; '39, T. Atwater; '48, John P. Blake; '57, J. H. Widmer; '59, J. P. Blake.
Coroner. — 1831, Aaron Pain; '32, John Robinson; '34-6, — ; '38, E. F. Skinner; '40, Wm. Clinginpeel; '42, E. F. Skinner; '46, Jesse Oren; '47, A.
149Towle, to fill vacancy; '52, Sam'l Winter; '54, Jos. P. Keiser; '56, — ; '58, Hiram P. White.
County Commissioners. — Feb., 1839, Geo. H. Shaw, Elisha Swan. Wm. Maxwell; Aug., '39, Warf. Bonham; '40, R. F. Bell; '41, C. S. Edwards; '42, Elias Thompson; '43, Wm. Maxwell; '44, C. S. Edwards; '45, C. S. Woodward; '46, Lewis Black; '47. David Myers; '48, John W. Bettis; '49, Jesse B. Bane.
Supervisors. — 1850, Theo. Perry, Henry Snyder, J. B. White, C. S. Edwards, James Gibson, A. Ramgey, R. P.Bell, Wm. Maxwell, Amasa Garrett; '51, Perry, Maxwell, White, Bell, Ramsey, re-elected, T. Harless, Nath'l Gants, Jas. Mellen, Geo. W. Mead, Joshua Powell; '52, Bell, Ramsey, Powell, Gants, Mead, re-elected, John Ramsey, Matthew Hoyt, J. W. Maxwell, Thos. Judd, D W. Danley; '53, Judd, Danley, Powell, re-elected, C. S. Edwards, Wm. A. Perkins, Sam'l Maxwell, Jesse B. Bane, A. Garrett, Joseph Holmes, John Burns; '54, Edwards, Danley, Perkins, Garrett, Holmes, re-elected, A. Ramsey, J. Caldwell, Wm. Maxwell, C. Springer, J. H. Brown; :55, Edwards, Ramsey, Danley, Caldwell, Garrett, Brown, Perkins, re-elected, James Miller, Samuel Camp, H.L. Crane; '56, Edwards, Ramsey, Crane, Camp, Garrett, re-elected, A. S. Sherwood, B. Fowler, Thomas Ellis, Sam'l P. Henthorn, B. W. Halstead; '57, Camp, Danley, Halsted, Crane, Ramsey, Sherwood, re-elected) Henry Sargent, Lewis Black, A.H. Trowbridge, John A. McCall, Alex. Wright, J. C. Townsend; '58, Ramsey, Black, Trowbridge, Sherwood, McCail, Crane, Camp, Halstead, Townsend, re-elected, Enosh Dent, B. A. Welton, Amasa
150Garrett; '59, Crane, Camp, re-elected, L. Broaddus H. B. Barnes, W. A. Perkins, J. M. Vandervort, N Moore, H. S. Gregory, Wm. T. Lytle, Alden Hull Wm. Atwood, Alex. Wright; '60, Camp, Vandervort, Barnes, Moore, re-elected, John Burns, Wm. Cornwell, A. Garrett, Jos. Buchanan, H. Gregory, A. S. Sherwood, James Hoyt. William Hancock.
Probate Justice. — 1839, William H. Efner; '43, Hezekiah T. Crane.
County Judge. — 1849, Silas Ramsey; '53, P.M. Janney; '57, G. L. Fort.
Treasurer. — 1839, Anson C. Deming; '41, Lunsford Broaddus; '43, Levi Wilcox; '45, — ; '47, R. B.Rogers; '51, Theodore Perry; '53, Sam'l Maxwell; '59, Ira Norris.
Circuit Clerk. — 1839, James M. Shannon*; '46, John Burns* (in '48 by election); '52, G. L. Fort; '56, James Wescott.
Recorder. — 1839, C.' F. Speyers; '44, J. Burns.
County Cleric — 1839, Ira I. Fenn* A. S. Fishburn, James M. Shannon; '45, David S. Dickinson*, to fill vacancy; '46, Sam'l C. Cochram, to fill vacancy; '47, Silas Ramsey; '49, W. E. Cook.
Sheriff. — 1839, Silas Ramsey; '42, Addlison Ramsey; '48, H. L. Crane; '50, G. L. Fort: '52 and '56, Crane re-elected; '54, A. Gardner; '58, Thos. Ellis.
School Commissioner. — 1839, John Wier; '47. L. Wilcox; '49, A. Wall; '51, S. Camp; '53, L. Loring '55, Chester Covell, Jas. Miller: '59, W. W. Heath.
Surveyor. — 1839, J. Sawyer, H. Atwood; '45, T. Patterson; '55, W. H. Bushnell; '57, M. M. Stimpson; '59, James M. Vandervort.
Coroner. — 1839, George F. Case; '44, J. W. Bettis; '46, D. M. Robertson; '48, — Green; '50, H. L. Crane; '52, Lewis G. Keedy; '54, Manuel Snyder; '56, Ira Norris; '58, John C. Gore.
Thomas Hartzell, one of the earliest residents of Putnam county, was born in Northampton Co., Pa., in 1790, of German ancestry. In 1819, he visited the Western country, traveling on horseback as far as Kaskaskia, whence he returned to his native State. Three years afterwards, he came back by way of the lakes, coasting along the shore in a Mackinaw boat, passing through Chicago down the Illinois river to Crooked Creek, then in Pike county, where he halted to trade with the Pottawatamies. From that time for a number of years he continued trading with the Indians of the Illinois river, remaining among them during the cold season, and returning to his headquarters at Mackinaw or Grand Island in the spring. He spent the winter of 1827-8 in traffic with the Indians of the Putnam county region, meeting with considerable opposition from the American Fur Company, who had a station near Hennepin. — The next winter was passed in Peoria, and in 1829 Mr. Hartzell took up his residence at Hennepin, building a rude log trading-station in the wilderness, as it then was. Here he remained for several years, trading with Indians and whites, and witnessing the growth of civilization around him. In 1836 he sold out his stock of goods, having amassed a large property by the toils, privations, and hardships he had experienced in savage and pioneer life. Some years afterwards, he removed to Chicago, and thence to Waukegan, where he now resides. He is very aged and feeble, and has suffered much for three years past from various diseases, no doubt induced by the exposure and hardship of his early career.
Capt. William Haws, the oldest settler in Putnam county, was born in Madison county, Va., Sept. 23d, 1800. His grandfather on the paternal side was a soldier of the Revolution. At the age of five years, he was taken with the family to Warren Co., Ohio where they resided for many years, meeting with some annoyance from the Indians of that locality. About the age of seventeen, he set out to do battle with the world for himself, and went to work as apprentice to a tanner and currier at Wilmington, the county seat. While still a youth, he heard the distant roar of the cannonading at the gallant defense of Lower Sandusky, by Croghan. In 1821, Capt Haws came to Sangamon Co., in this State, and started a tan-yard about six miles south of Springfield. Sangamon then extended north over a vast wilderness tract to the Indian line, and Springfield was a village of five or six log houses. Nov. 13th. 1823, he was married to Miss Lucinda Southwick, whose parents had emigrated to Madison Co. in 1819, and to Sangamon the next year. In Sept., 1826, with two others named Slater and Knox, he prospected the Putnam country, returned for his family, and removed to his present location near Magnolia the same autumn. There was then, save him, no permanent settler in Putnam county. The first preaching and first election in the county, and the meeting of Commissioners to locate the county seat, were at his house; and he was a member of the first Grand Jury of Putnam. On the breaking out of the Black Hawk war, he promptly offered his services, and was chosen Captain of a ranging company. In 1847, he was appointed to lead a large body of emigrants across the plains to Oregon, which he successfully accomplished, and returned via California, Mexico, South America,
153and Cuba. He is still in the enjoyment of vigorous health, has acquired a handsome fortune, and lives much respected by his neighbors and friends.
James W. Willis. — In the Peoria Register and North-western Gazetteer for Sept. 8, 1838, an article appears distinguishing Mr. Willis as "the first white man that planted corn in Putnam county." It is there stated that in the spring of 1819, Mr. W., then living in Ohio, came to the West and looked over the southern counties of Illinois, finally settling in Bond county. In the fall of 1826, he set out to look at the upper country, which he explored as far as the region of Magnolia, in Putnam Co., Where he made a claim, returning the next spring with his brother. Mr. Willis believed that "he was the first white man who had penetrated thus far into the wilderness with the intention of immediately settling." The brothers put up a cabin, broke ten acres of land, and planted it with corn and potatoes — the first, Mr. W. claimed, in Putnam county. They wore frightened away by news of the Winnebago war that year, but returned in the autumn, and found that a fine crop had grown, unfenced and uncultivated. The younger brother took this claim shortly after, and the elder removed to the Union Grove Settlement.
Hooper Warren, Esq., has been identified to some extent with the early history of the State as well as of Putnam county. In 1819, he established the "Spectator" newspaper at Edwardsvilie, which was for years the only journal in Illinois opposed to slavery, then a much and fiercely agitated question. — During the memorable contest of 1823-4, upon the issue of slave or free institutions for Illinois, Mr. Warren was among the leaders of those opposed to a Convention, and his paper, says Gov. Reynolds.
154"waged a fiery and efficient warfare during the whole canvass." He has since been connected with a number of journals, mostly in the interest of the Liberty or Abolition party; and is, with a single exception the oldest living editor in Illinois. When Putnam county was formed, he was residing in Galena; but being appointed Clerk of the Circuit Court by Judge Young, he removed to Hennepin early in 1831, where he gave prominent assistance in the organization of the county, and received, in addition to the office of Circuit Clerk, successive appointment or election to the offices of County Clerk, Recorder, and Justice of the Peace, all which he held at one time. In 1839, Mr. W. removed with his family to Henry Prairie, in Marshall county, and in 1841 to the site of Henry, where he has since resided, with occasional intervals. Though far advanced in years, he still retains much of the intellectual and bodily vigor of his maturity.
Gen. Jonathan Babb, one of the founders of Lacon, was a native of Maryland, born in 1789 or 1790. While yet a child he was taken with his parents to Perry Co., Ohio, where he was brought up, and subsequently discharged the duties attaching to the offices of Sheriff and County Auditor with acceptance. During the war of 1812, at the call of Harrison for volunteers, he led a company to the defense of the north-western frontier; and was afterwards Brigadier General in the Ohio militia. In 1831, he purchased the site of Lacon, and had a town laid off thereon, in connection with Maj. Henry Filler, of Somerset, O. Thither he removed in the fall of 1835, and was conspicuous in his efforts to build up the infant town. He expired at his residence near Lacon, after a lingering illness, on the 12th of May, 1843, deeply regretted by the people of the whole county.
Rev. Henry D. Palmer has long been held in honor as one of the most laborious and self-denying of the pioneer preachers of Illinois; and his is a great and venerable name in the churches of the Christian (or Campbellite) denomination. He was born April 19, 1782, in Oland Co., N. C. When about a year old, the family removed to the neighborhood of Winsborough, S. C. and thence in a few years to Wilson Co., Tenn. In 1804, he was married to Miss Patsy Aingell, of Trumbull Co., and shortly after commenced preaching, being ordained in 1809 as a minister of the Christian Church. Subsequently, his convictions became aroused on the subject of slavery, and he determined not to rear his family under the influence of the "peculiar institution." Collecting a colony of Tennesseeans of similar views, he emigrated to this State, and settled in Edwards Co., while Illinois was a Territory, and that part a wilderness. In 1818, he moved into Indiana, founded a church near Carlyle, and gave the name to "Palmer's Prairie." He also represented Sullivan Co. two years in the House of Representatives, and assisted in the formation of the first Revised Code of statute law for Indiana. In 1835, he again emigrated to Illinois, settling with a numerous family on Half Moon Prairie, in Marshall Co. In 1847, he was elected to the Convention to form a new State Constitution, and served with honor and conscientious fidelity. All this time his pulpit efforts over a wide field of labor were scarcely intermitted; nor did they cease until his physical powers were totally prostrated. His last sermon was delivered in the summer of 1859. He now resides in Eureka, Woodford Co., very much enfeebled, but calmly and peacefully awaiting the summons to his reward.
There is no intelligible memorial left of the Illini Indians in this part of the State; but, since the explorer La Salle found a large village of these natives a few miles below Ottawa, and met them in large numbers about the head of Peoria Lake, it is an easy inference that the intervening country was inhabited at intervals by some tribe of the Illini confederacy — probably the Kickapoos. The nation of the Illini was nearly exterminated by the Mohawks and Pottawatamies, the latter of whom were found in possession of this region when the first white settlers came. They were a filthy and degraded race, peaceable enough when sober, but infuriated demons when intoxicated, and, with rare exceptions, possessing none of those noble traits which sometimes elevate the savage character, and make Indian history worthy record. They were generally on good terms with their white neighbors while they remained, and went off quietly at various times from 1831 to 1835, to the lands assigned them beyond the Mississippi.
Shau-be-na (Shab-bo-na or Shab-ba-nee) lived but little, if any, in Putnam county; but as he frequently hunted in this region with his band, and was well known to many of its old settlers, who owe a lasting debt of gratitude to him for timely warnings during Indian troubles, he deserves notice in this work. — Shau-be-na was an Indian of the Ottawa tribe, but was long a leading chief among the Pottawatamies. He was always a warm friend of the whites, but not invariably on the side of the Americans. He was with the British at the battle of the Thames, as Tecumseh's aid, until that king of red men had fallen, and he observed Proctor's forces retreating. Then, said he, "Shau-be-na run too, and never fight for
157British any more." Ever after this, he was friendly to the Americans; was prominent in his efforts on behalf of the whites at the time of the Chicago massacre, and also in the prevention of another outbreak among the Winnebagoes and Pottawatamies, in 1816. Previous to the Black Hawk war, strong inducements were held out to him to assist in the foray upon the white settlements. He pretended to fall into the enemy's arrangements, but managed to get away from them, and by traveling night and day, gave the settlers on Indian Creek and at Holderman's Grove timely notice of the intended outbreak, which some of them unhappily disregarded, and paid the forfeit of their lives. The settlers of Putnam also received early warning from him. For these acts he incurred the deadly hatred of the hostile tribes, and lived long in constant fear of his life. His eminent services during the war were recognized by the General Government, which made a reservation of land for him at what is called Shau-be-na's Grove, where he lived for some time, until the Government, regardless of his claims, had the tract surveyed and sold. He dwelt afterwards with his tribe on their reservation west of the Missouri; but was driven back by fear of the Sacs and Sioux, who retained their old hostility, and murdered one of his sons and a nephew. Twenty acres of land below Seneca, on the bank of the Illinois river, were purchased for him by the citizens of Ottawa, where he resided until July, 1859, when death railed him away, at an age of over eighty years. — He was buried, contrary to his wish, at Morris, where no mark designates the resting-place of this unwavering friend of the white man. One of the last visits of Shau-be-na was to his old friends at Hennepin, accompanied by a number of his children and grandchildren, dressed and mounted in true savage style.
Se-nach-e-wane (Senachwine, or Snachwine), lived in a beautiful valley along the stream called by his name, in western Putnam. He is also stated to have lived at some period at the mouth of another creek of the name, which flows through parts of Marshall and Peoria counties.
Has echoed the sound as I uttered my dream;
As, clothed in the language of hope or despair,
The thoughts of my bosom thy wild winds would bear.
Have rested my limbs 'neath thy cottonwoods’ shade;
Delighted I've wandered thy wild scenes among —
O how can I leave thee, fair theme of my song?
Not much longer can I 'mid thy strange beauties stray;
The Great Spirit bids us depart — it is well!
The soul of Senachwine shall never rebel.
My blessing I leave you, while sadly I go;
And I fondly look back, with a tear of regret,
To scenes, O Senaelnvine, I ne'er shall forget.
My warriors will soon mourn the death of their chief.
My body they'll bury on yonder green hill,
My spirit as guardian shall watch o'er thee still."
Shick-Shack was the name of a petty chief who lived near the mouth of Clear Creek, in Putnam Co.
159He was an intelligent Indian, said to be of mixed Kickapoo and Pottawatamie blood. One of the early white settlers was employed by him to break up his ground for more thorough cultivation of crops than is usual among the savages.
Crow was another petty chief who lived in the Belle Plaine region, Marshall Co. From him the name of the prairie (Crow Meadow) and of Crow Creek was derived.
Black Patridge had his town below Crow Creek, near the southern border of Marshall Co. The destruction of the village, and the massacre of his band, have been related in chapter XI. of this work.
Mark-whet (or Nar-po-et) lived in the neighborhood of Lacon, with a small tribe. He generally resided at a village near the railroad station, west side of the river, and was very friendly to the whites.
Gomas was a chief of some note, stated by Shau-be-na to have had a village two miles below Lacon, where traces of Indian occupancy are very numerous. Nothing was known of him by the earliest settlers.
There are a number of earth-works in Putnam and Marshall which may clearly be referred to the times of the mound-builders, but exhibit no striking feature of magnitude or peculiarity of form. They are usually mound-shaped, generally round, but sometimes long and barrow-like. In one instance (on the brow of the bluff opposite Lacon) they are disposed in a quadrangular manner, bearing a distant resemblance to a fortification, which would seem to be appropriately located at that point. In many cases large forest-trees are growing upon the works,
160proving that centuries have passed since their formation. Like other erections of this strange, unknown race of men, they are found generally in the vicinity of streams of water. Mounds of widely-varying size appear on the hills overlooking the Snachwine valley; on the farm of the late Guy W. Pool, Esq., a J few miles below Hennepin; a range of about thirty on the farm of Michael Weiss, three miles south of Henry; a number on the bluff west of Lacon, about half a mile from the railroad station; several small mounds in Lacon; also on the Sawyer farm, two miles below; and in a few other places throughout the two counties. None of them have yet been excavated with any satisfactory result.
Indian antiquities are numerous. Arrow-heads, pipes, kettles, beads, tinsel ornaments, and other articles of Indian manufacture and use, have been frequently picked up. Burying-grounds of the savages are found wherever their settlements were, and their skeletons are sometimes exhumed from the top or surface of the ancient mounds. The sites of their villages may usually be traced with considerable accuracy, by depressions in the earth marking the places where "corn-holes" were dug. At times the lodge-poles have been found still, remaining where a village stood.
Sandy. — Lemuel Gaylord, Win. Hart, Lemuel Horraml, Robert Bird, William Hendrick, John Knox. James Finley, George Hilderbrand, Hiram Allen, Daniel Gun, Zion Hugais, Jesse Roberts, Isaac Hilderbiaud, John S. Hunt, William Eder, William M. Hart, John Hart, Ephrraim Smith, Peter Mart, Obed Graves, Hartwell Haley, William Graves, William Lathrop, Jesse Berge, Ezekicl Stacy, Litel Kneal, Hiram Hawse, William Knox, Mareus l). Stacy, J. C. Wright, Thos. Gun, John Bird, Samuel Glen, Elias Thompson, Kobert Barnes, James Adams, John J. Griffith, Asahel Hannum, William Cowen, John Strawn, Geo. H Suaw, Abner Boyle.
HENNEPIN — James W. Willis, Ira Ladd, Hooper Warren, Christopher Wagner, David Boyle, James C. Stephenson, Samuel Mannon, Alexander Wilson, John McDonald, William H. Hamm); John Griffin, James G. Dunlavy, Colby F. Stevenson, James A. Warnoek, John E. Warnock, Jeremiah Strawn, Aaron Whitaker, Aaron Thomson, Aaron Payie, Joseph Warnock, Stephen D. Willis, Madison Studdevin, Samuel D. Laughlin, Hugh Warnoek, Anthony Turck, Jonathan F. Wilson, Joseph Wallace, James Garven, George Ish, Joseph S. Warnock, Rob't W. Moore, James G. Ross, James Haves, John L. Ramsey, William Durley, Thomas P. Hayslip, Thornton Wilson, John Short, George B. Willis, Smiley Shepherd, James S. Simpson.
SPOON RIVER. — Wm. D. Grant, Sewell Smith, John B. Dodge, Sylvanvts Moore, Benjamin Essex, Thomas Essex, Thomas Essex, Junior, David Cooper, Haris W. Miner, Isaac B. Essex, Greenleaf Smith, Wm. Smith, Benjamin Smith, John C. Owings. Bureau.— Henry Thomas, Elijah Eperson, Leorjard Roth, Johu M. Gay, Mason Dimmick, Samuel Gleason, Curlas Williams, Justice Ament, John Ament, John W. Hall, Henry H. Harrison, Abram Stratton, Ezekiel Thomas, Hezekiah Epperson, Edw'd H. Hall, Adam Taylor, "Danl Dimunic, Tbos. Wasburn A. Epperson.