History and Reminiscences Vol. II
FROM THE RECORDS OF
OLD SETTLERS' UNION
Material comprised in
Reports of Committees on History and Reminiscences
for years 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915
Published under the auspices of
Old Settlers Union of Princeville and Vicinity
ODILLON B. SLANE
GEO. I. McGINNIS
"We build more splendid habitations, fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures, but cannot buy with gold the old associations."
THE OLD SETTLERS' UNION OF PRINCEVILLE
Organized August 22, 1906, and first picnic held September 19 of same year.
Object, "To perpetuate the memories of pioneer days, foster a reverence for our forefathers, and encourage the spirit of fellowship and hospitality.''
Annual picnic and reunion last Thursday in August, unless changed by Executive Committee.
Eligible to membership: Any person 21 years of age, having resided within the State of Illinois one year; dues $1.00 per year.
Townships included: Princeville, Akron, Millbrook, Jubilee, Hallock and Radnor in Peoria County; Essex, Valley and West Jersey in Stark County; Truro in Knox County; and LaPrairie in Marshall County.
Committees on History and Reminiscences:
1911: S. S. Slane, Chas. E. Stowell.
1912: S. S. Slane, Chas. E. Stowell, Peter Auten.
1913: Peter Auten, Odillon B. Slane, Geo. I. McGinnis.
INTRODUCTION TO VOL. II.
This book, a companion to Vol. I issued in 1912, is a reproduction with a few corrections and additions, of the various sketches as transmitted by the respective committees to the Union in years 1911 to 1915 inclusive, and the year of writing is indicated on each sketch. Articles on general subjects are given first, then family histories in alphabetical order, and then lists of the burials in the different cemeteries.
Especial attention is called to the "Map of Princeville in 1840 and 1841", to the Diary of John K. Wilson, enroute overland to Oregon in 1850, at close of the history of Aaron Wilson family; and to the lists of soldiers and of soldier dead.
Each of the Reminiscence Committees has realized that the families named in its sketches are but a few taken from among the many worthy the pen of a historian. The Publishing Committee therefore hopes that this volume will be an incentive to the writing of additional family sketches, and also of additional sketches on memorable events or on subjects of a general nature, which may in due time be published in another volume similar to this one.
The families whose history is herein printed are urged to preserve enough copies of this volume for each of their children. Several have indicated their intention of purchasing Vol. I. also, in order to have a complete set of the books from the start; and some are planning to have Vols. I and II permanently bound together.
Price of this Volume, postpaid: Single copies 50 cents; one dozen copies $5.00; half dozen at dozen rate. A limited number of copies of Vol. I may be had while they last at same price as Vol. II. Send orders for either volume to Peter Auten, Princeville, Ill.
SOME EARLY JULY 4TH CELEBRATIONS.
From Recollections of Henry W. McFadden and S. S. Slane, 1912.
From letter of Henry W. McFadden to Publishing Committee of Vol. I: "On the 4th day of July, 1851, I was one of a party of ladies and gentlemen that took a horseback ride into the country about 3 1/2 miles west and north of Princeville and spent the afternoon parading on the prairie. The names of the party as near as I remember were as follows: Ladies, Misses Harriet and Josephine Munson, Miss Slane, Miss S. Henry, Miss Mariah Stevens, Miss Julia Moody and Miss Sloan. Gentlemen were John and Hugh Henry, Milton Wilson and Mr. Burnham (the gentleman that married Miss Sloan). That was a good while ago, 61 years nearly. Question: Who is alive today of that party?
Of the ladies I know of but one Miss Josephine M. Munson, now Mrs. Reynolds of _______ Kansas. Miss Julia Moody and Miss S. Henry and Miss Slane, may be living as I have never been advised of their deaths. Of the men, Milton Wilson is the only man besides myself. My age is 86 years January 26, 1912.
Comments by Mr. Slane: "I remember well the Fourth of July Mr. McFadden mentions in 1851, and remember that on the same day I, together with Milton Henry, went to Chillicothe where the Princeville band was engaged. It was the young people a little older than myself that took the horse-back ride as mentioned by Mr. McFadden. Of that party, Milton Wilson, Mrs. Julia Moody Henry (widow of John Henry) and Mrs. Sarah Slane (widow of B. F. Slane) are now the only ones living besides Mrs. Josephine Reynolds and Mr. McFadden.
Comments by Mr. Slane on reading account of 1844 celebration, as given in Vol. I, History and Reminiscences, p. 61:
"There are some inaccuracies in that. The Blanchard's lived west of town and the Auten's lived in
Radnor at this time, and as a matter of fact the celebration was not in Peoria. It was at Gifford's on Orange Prairie," said Mr. Slane.
"You certainly have a long memory, Mr. Slane."
"Well, those things made more of an impression in those days than they do now."
"How can you remember one celebration from another, though?"
"Well, I can; we came in the year '41 and there was no celebration that year. In 1842 there was as nice a celebration as I ever saw; people came all they way from Chillicothe, Wyoming and Brimfield. There were three Revolutionary soldiers seated there and the men and boys listened to them talk. One was John McGinnis' grandfather, John Montgomery; one was De Lorm Bronson's grandfather, Phineas Bronson; and the other was Eugene Lake, who lived up at Wethersfield, where Kewanee now is. One of them had a fiddle and he would play a while, then they would talk. The three old soldiers had three good eyes between them: Montgomery had two good eyes, Lake had one eye and Phineas Bronson was totally blind. Then there was Hilliard, B. L., the school teacher, had us boys marching. We went 'round and 'round as there were no streets in those days. I remember he told us, "Now, boys, when the big drum strikes, lift your left foot high and march in time."
Another Fourth I remember old man Cameron made the speech and old man Klinck read the Declaration of Independence. Mrs. Hewitt's father, Jonathan Nixon, as bright a man as ever lived in the town said, 'The day was pretty well spent, but we are pretty hard up when we have to send to Canada for a man to read the Declaration of Independence and to Scotland for a man to make a speech on the Fourth of July.' "
EARLY DAYS IN HALLOCK AND ADJOINING
By Edwin C. Silliman, 1913.
Reprinted from Chillicothe Bulletin.
I have been repeatedly asked to write a historical sketch of Northern Peoria County, as remembered by myself, and supplemented by documents in my possession. What I shall write is not a critical history, but merely an off hand sketch of many old time happenings.
The first settlement was at Old Fort Clark, now Peoria, by a few people in 1819 and 1820. In 1825-6 there was a settlement started in the vicinity of "Union" and Northampton, along the hills between these points, as the settlers came from a timbered country, and chose the shelter of the woods and hills. It was known as the ''Upper Settlement''; the first settler was Lewis Hallock, who came to Peoria about 1820, and soon after settled at the mouth of ''Hallock Hollow" west of Union. Hallock was a Quaker and did not believe in war. He was known by the "Red Man" as "The man of Peace," as he would take no part in any disputes between the Indian and the White man, but was always the staunch friend of the Indian.
He married the daughter of an early settler, Hiram Cleveland, her name Mrs. Wright. She had a daughter Harriet, and they one, named Clarissa, that married Henry Robinson, a son of Lyman Robinson, one of the first settlers of Blue Ridge. The township of Hallock was named for him. He died in 1857 in the house that is the Marion Reed homestead.
In 1825 Simon, Aaron and Samuel Reed settled in their respective homes, Samuel going on to Buffalo Grove northwest of Dixon. In 1826 came Francis Thomas, father of Major Joseph F. Thomas of the 86th Ill. Regt. and grandfather of Dr. Ora Thomas of Chillicothe.
In 1828 came the Sillimans, Roots and others, and in 1830 Joel Hicks and others. Most of these people
were originally from Connecticut, moving to New York and after the war of '12-14 to Ohio.
In 1828 Simon Reed went back to Ohio after his parents, and piloted through ten teams, known as "The big Train." The mother of the Reeds, Mary Benedict Reed, died in 1832 and is buried in La Salle cemetery. The father, Samuel Reed Sr., made a visit on horseback to his son Samuel at Buffalo Grove in 18:33, where he was taken sick and died suddenly on August 17th, 1833. He was the first person buried in the Reed cemetery at Buffalo Grove, now Polo, Ill.
Samuel Reed Jr. was the first settler in Ogle county with the avowed purpose of farming and not keeping a hotel. His daughter Sarah was the wife of our esteemed ''Old Settler" Lucas C. Hicks. All the children of Samuel Reed are dead.
Aaron Reed's son-in-law Reuben Hamlin laid out the town of Northampton in 1835, and he built the first Tavern in 1835-6. It was a noted stopping place in early days and is mentioned by several early writers of "Western Sketches."
Cyrus Reed and Erastus (Major) Reed were sons of Aaron Reed and his wife Sally Goff, who was a noted cook and housekeeper in early days. Cyrus Reed married a daughter of Nathaniel Chapin, who was noted as one of the finest penmen in the country. Cyrus Reed was one of the '49ers, in the California race for gold, and others who went were Samuel Hicks and James Mitchell.
Simon Reed married Currenee Sanford, and his brother Samuel married her sister Phebe. Simon rams I a family of 14 children, of whom only three are living. His son Amos was the first white child born in Hallock township, and James Root, the son of his sister. the first child born in Chillicothe. Amos Reed moved to Iowa in an early day and died there. Sanford, the oldest son, lived and died on the farm adjoining the old Reed homestead on the East.
From Union to Northampton, the early settlers were William Crispin, Levi Sprague, Walter S. Evans,
Francis Thomas, Enoch Thomas, Wm. Bryden and Jacob Moats.
Samuel Merrill and wife Nancy came to Peoria in 1821, moved to Medina township and then to a farm two miles north of Chillicothe. In a Peoria paper dated Dec. 17, 1841, I find the administratrix notice of the estate of Samuel Merrill signed by Nancy Merrill. They were the parents of the late Mrs. John G. Kendall, and grandfather of Alva Merrill.
Joseph Meridith was another old settler and kept a tavern north of Northampton, which was the Stage Station. He was the father of Mrs. Lyman Reed. I remember him as a great hunter in my boyhood days, and always dressed in Buckskin suit. A nephew of his was William H. Meridith, Superintendent of Printing and Engraving, in the Treasury Department at Washington under Roosevelt.
Samuel T. McKean was an old resident, who came in 1832, and was a County Commissioner. He was among the followers of Whitman to Oregon in 1846, who after a terrible ''voyage'' across the plains, arrived at the Dalles on the Willamette River. As the Indians were warlike and it was late in the season they left their goods and went down the river to Vancouver to winter. The Indians captured the Fort, stole and burned all the goods, and in the Spring the party were dependent upon the charity of the settlers for a start in that new country. McKean finally settled at Portland. In 1851 his son having gone to California in the Gold excitement, was attacked with consumption, and McKean went to him. Having to go forty miles from San Jose for medicine for him, he was caught in a terrible storm when half way back, was taken sick at a hotel near Palo Alto and died in five days, his son outliving him.
His brother J. Harvey McKean came with his brother-in-law Jacob Booth in 1835. Booth was the father of the late Levi Booth and Mrs. Perry Root. Harvey McKean settled at Blue Ridge where he was a shoemaker for years. He was a very intelligent man in many ways; was a good writer and his letters were
pointed and bright. He was a rabid Democrat, and during the war was a leader of the anti-war sentiment In his community. He died October 5, 1912, at Wyoming, Ill., aged 94 years. I visited him to get a few items of olden times, only a few weeks before his death.
Thomas B. Reed came in October, 1829, and lived for a time in a cabin of i1is brother Simon. then for a year on the Hyde farm. He then entered the home farm on which he lived his lifetime. It is now owned by his daughter Mrs. James Preston. Joseph Silliman married his oldest daughter, Amy, and moved upon the old Silliman farm, building a brick house on it in 1846. On this place is located La Salle cemetery, the land for which was given by Gershom Silliman, who reserved the lot upon which are buried quite a number of the family.
Gershom Silliman and Joel Hicks were both soldiers in the war of 1812, the former a Lieutenant in Captain Denio's Company of Colonel Fitzwilliams Regiment of the 1st New York Militia.
Joel hicks was a sergeant in Captain Frederick P. Foote's Company, also was in Captain Homer R. Phelps' Company 13th (Farringtons) Regiment New York Militia, enlisted August 24th, 1812, discharged Feb. 10th, 1813, and allowed 13 days pay to go home. These records I have from the War Department. Joel Hicks was a son of Levi Hicks and Mary Waters, who were horn in Rhode Island and moved to Nova Scotia, where Joel was born. When he was three years old they came to N. Y., and to Richmond, Ohio in 1817. His father was accidentally drowned, in Salt Creek. Ohio. His mother then married Judge Samuel Reed. who was a Judge thirty years and died at Piketon, Ohio, aged 77 years. All of Joel Hicks' children were born in Ohio but the youngest Mrs. Louisa Patterson who died in 1878 at the age of 81 years. Of 14 children only two are living, Lucas C. Hicks and Mrs. Ann Thomas.
Joel Hicks was a natural mechanic. He and my father made the first Sash Plane in Peoria County, and
it went from Mossville to Toulon. He built a dam across the creek, with a mill race, and located his carding machine about twenty rods North of his brick residence. The wool was washed by the settlers, tied up in a blanket and brought to the mill. It was carded and fed on to a draper, which carried it under a fluted roller that pressed it into rolls. These dropped into a pile and were put into the blanket and securely pinned up with Sweet Locust thorns, which I as a boy delighted to gather for the purpose.
Joel Hicks was Post Master in name, but my father was in fact; being only 19 years old he could not hold the office and his uncle did. I find by his old book that his returns to the Government March 31, 1834, were $5.00 for two quarters. The Office was on the Galena Road in the double log house on the Silliman farm. Every two weeks Harris Miner came from the Essex settlement, Stark County, and carried back the mail on foot in a meal sack. It took two weeks to get mail from Springfield, and longer in proportion from the East.
Linus Scoville, son of Linus Scoville and Elizabeth Seelye, of Conn., settled in Medina Township in the early thirties. He had a sister, Mrs. Geo. Hoyt. His father died in 1840, his mother in 1862 and he died in Chillicothe in 1902. The Seelye's came about the same time. William Seelye was a cabinet maker and lived in Chillicothe in 1837, when he made a spinning wheel for my parents, which is now in my possession. He and Samuel Seelye, father of Israel Seelye and Mrs. Jack Bennett, both settled on the ''High Prairie" as then called, near the old Southampton Post Office. About 1840 another brother Henry, went to Seelye's Point, Stark County, where he lived and died. O. L. Nelson and Benjamin Hulburt were the only near neighbors they had.
At the time of the Black Hawk War Samuel Reed came in, and he and others built the Block House near Simon Reed's. He went back home as soon as the trouble was over. The soldiers in 1832 from that neigh-
borhood were, Edwin S. Jones, William Wright, John Stringer, John E. Bristol, John Clifton, Hiram Cleveland, Elias Love, Jacob Moats, Lucas Root, David Ridgeway, Thomas B. and Simon Reed, Jefferson Tallifero, Linus Scoville, Minott Silliman; and others were in other commands.
Senachwine, the chief of the tribe of Pottawattamie Indians, near Chillicothe, died about 1830. My father, Joel Hicks, and a couple of other men were in a boat going to a mill about the mouth of Crow creek, and met two Indians in a canoe with something under a blanket. Our men hailed them and asked if it was venison. They pointed to the blanket and said, "Senachwine dead!" When they returned home the Indians were dilligently searching for "Firewater'' for a grand "Powwow." This they had after depositing all of their guns and hatchets, with one Indian who kept sober and stood guard over the tepee that they were in. There were no Indians here after 1832. They went to Iowa, near Des Moines, and located. These Indians were a peaceful, inoffensive people only when at war. They had many strange delusions. One was that the rattlesnake was controlled by "The Great Spirit" and they protected instead of killing it. My father and his brother, Minott, were building fence one day and an Indian was standing near when they discovered a rattlesnake, coiled ready for business, and one of them went to get a stick to kill it. The Indian made a quick, circular motion with his hand around the snake and caught it by the back of the neck and the body, and thrusting it through the fence, exclaimed "Puck-a-chee," Get away. Sam Allen and Marshall Silliman were alone for two months during the war in 1832, in a double log house on the old Merrit Reed place, which they had stockaded. The only white men they saw were messengers going from Fort Clark to the front, near Dixon. The women and children had been moved across the river to Meacham's Mill, or "Ten Mile" as it has since been called.
The first school in Hallock Township was taught in a house on the present site of the Harrison Reed house, by Lucia Root, daughter of Rev. Jeriel Root, in the winter of 1829. The first schoolhouse was the Hicks schoolhouse, built in 1836, late District No. 4, Hallock. The Easton schoolhouse was built in 1848, with Belle Jones Easton-Wood as the first teacher and seven scholars, Mary Nelson, Cyrenus Russell, Savannah Hulburt, Stephen and William Easton, my brother Norman md myself. The last two are all of that class now living.
During this term of school, Raymond and Warren's circus exhibited at Northampton, and every scholar but my brother and I went to the circus. That was the longest day in school I ever experienced, but one week from that day Van Ainburg's menagerie exhibited at the same place, and I was ''in it'' and saw 'Herr Dresback,'' the lion tamer, enter the cage of lions. He was the first man to enter a cage of lions in a public show in the United States and made a great advertisement.
Northampton was then the trading point for a large circle around it. Richard Scholes moved there from a farm south of Princeville and opened a good store. He was a man of fine character and well liked. When Chillicothe got started and had the advantage of the river transportation, he and others moved there and Northampton's only excitement was election day. Scholes' first wife was a sister of James Dalrymple, and George Scholes of Marshall County was their son. The son went to the Mexican war and on his return married Lola, daughter of Stephen Wilmot. She was working at my father's when married to him.
Scholes' second wife was the widow of Jared Stillman from near Mt. Hawley. Her daughter married Dr. William H. Wilmot. The rest of the family are well known to Chillicothe citizens, as they were a prominent family in its past history.
The village store was a large factor in the life of he early settler. Many people ran accounts and settled
every six months, when the merchant went to St. Louis to buy goods and settle his accounts. He paid also every six months, that being the regular length of commercial credit. In those days a man's commercial honor was two-thirds of his capital, and his customers had to have a good name to secure accommodation. Honesty was more universal among the masses, in general dealing, than today.
The doctors of early days used to ride thirty and forty miles a day. In a sickly season, bilious fever and ague were the main complaints, and quinine, calomel and castor oil were the doctor's mainstay. If he went on horseback the old time leather saddlebags were carried behind the saddle. If he drove a "Gig" they were deposited under the seat.
Dr. Hook was one of the first, and settled at Rome in the early thirties, remaining until about 1845.
Dr. Asahel Wilmot came from Broome County, N. Y., and settled on Blue Ridge in 1843; moved to Northampton in 1847 and to Chillicothe in 1852, where he died aged 83 years. He was probably the best known of any of the early physicians of that vicinity, and rode the largest circuit. He with Nathaniel Smith and Ebenezer Stowell and their wives, were the Charter members of a Congregational Church, organized by Owen Lovejoy at Blue Ridge in 1845.
Dr. Castle was here for a time, but moved to Wyoming, Ill., where he lived and died. Dr. Joshua O. Tomlinson came to Chillicothe in 1840 and lived and died there. Dr. Jos. F. Thomas who came in 1852 had one of the largest practices of any physician in that section, for ten years before he enlisted in the Army.
These were among the earliest practitioners, and their books would probably show a large list of "charity" patients, as they went in those days and gave their service regardless of ability of the patient to pay his bill. Dr. J. F. Thomas when he went into the Army, had a "Free List," or account uncollectable of nearly $4,000; the other doctors probably in the same proportion. The old time Doctor did his duty as he saw it,
and deserves a monument to his memory for kindness and charity in the alleviation of the ills of suffering humanity.
A sturdy and eccentric character was found in Captain Thomas Baldwin, who owned a farm North of Northampton. He came from Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1844. He was a River man from early life. He was a '49er, and was chosen by Commodore Vanderbilt to superintend a line of boats to Greytown, Central America, with a salary of $10,000 a year in gold. The California excitement made that trade very valuable. Baldwin's vessel was once tied up at Greytown. The inhabitants of that country were ''niggers,'' and Baldwin did not appreciate them or their Government, and when a native insulted one of his crew, he immediately "caressed him with a club" or a stick of cordwood, sending him into "the drink," and close to "Kingdom come."
He was seized by the officials and thrown into prison, where he would have suffered severely, if an old Pennsylvania neighbor named Holland had not heard of it. Holland was commander of a U. S. man of war, and going to the officials, told them to "release Baldwin or he would blow their old town into smithereens in thirty minutes." Baldwin was released and boarded his vessel, losing no time in getting under way for New York, where he reported that his health was not very good in the Latitude of Central America, and resigned. He had only served ten mouths, but Vanderbilt paid him his full year's salary. Captain Holland, the friend, who saved him, was afterwards commander of a Confederate vessel during the Civil War.
William J. Baldwin, who married Jennie Scholes and was a member of Co. C., 86th Illinois, was his son. The Captain during the war commanded the gunboat Romeo, of the Mississippi fleet. He died in Peoria in 1879.
Another prominent early settler was Thomas Mooney, who came in 1835, and settled on the old Mooney homestead, on which the Catholic church and Cemetery
is located, in Medina Township. The La Salle Post Office was discontinued in 1835-6, and Helena Post Office was kept by Mooney until Mossville and Chillicothe caused it to be off the regular route. His wife was Helena Stagg, and he had the office named for her. He raised a large family who were prominent citizens in the last generation, leaving many descendants. He was blind the last years of his life, but tenderly cared for by his daughter, Mrs. Henry Mallen. He never complained but said to a neighbor, "My lines are cast in very pleasant places." He lived to a grand old age and the respect in which he was held was shown by an attendance of over five hundred people at his funeral. Such men live many years after they leave this earthly home.
John Moffat and eight brothers came in 1834; Josiah Moffat settled in Stark County and was a prominent citizen in an early day. John Moffat and his family history is too well known around Chillicothe to need repeating.
John Hammet came in 1830 and settled on section nine, North of Chillicothe. One of the first weddings in this community was celebrated at his home. Hirom Curry was to have performed the ceremony, but did not arrive until late. Rev. Gershom Silliman was passing by and was called in to officiate, and when Curry arrived from near Mossville, the wedding was over and the cake cut.
William Easton and his brother-in-law, William Lake, came to Wyoming in 1836 and to Hallock Township in 1837. His wife died and he then married Sarah Hicks, his third wife being Belle Jones. He has one son living in Creston, Iowa, J. I. Easton. Two sons died, one in the army and the other from the effects of army life. Easton was a carpenter and farmer. In the early days he worked many a night making coffins, keeping a supply of walnut lumber on hand for that purpose. He and Ebenezer Stowell made all the coffins for a long distance around them. Easton also attended all the funerals and led the sing-
ing, in which all the assembly joined, no quartette as nowadays. He was a Justice of the Peace for many years; spent the last years of his life in Chillicothe. He gave $3,000 to the endowment fund of Lombard College at Galesburg, where his sons attended school. He was one of the best citizens I ever knew.
James Love and his brothers came from Parke County, Indiana, in 1824. Daniel Prince, of Princeville, had come from the same place about seven months before, and was one of the Love's nearest neighbors for the first few years here. James Love married a Wilkinson. He was the sexton of La Salle Cemetery almost up to the time of his death. All of his family are gone from this vicinity, or are dead. His brother George died in 1831 and was among the first buried in La Salle Cemetery. Elias Love, another brother, was a soldier in the Black Hawk War, and a few years after that moved to Iowa. They were a prominent family among the first settlers.
Another noted citizen buried in La Salle Cemetery is John J. Patterson, born at Lenox, Mass., May 5, 1787, died August, 1842. He was a son of Gen. John Patterson, Aide of Gen. Washington. He was a member of the New York Legislature, and also sheriff of Monroe County, N. Y. He was the father of Mrs. G. M. Woodbury whose husband was a partner of Peter Sweat in a general store in Peoria. He was also owner of a Mill in Kickapoo Township. Later he moved to Marshalltown. Iowa, and died there several years ago; his wife was related to the Hyde family through the Pattersons.
John Eno is also buried there, died in 1839. He was grandfather of the Bristol's of Medina Township. His ancestors were from Connecticut and several of the Eno 's I find upon the Revolutionary Records of Connecticut and records of his family from the town of Simsbury.
One of the oldest stores in Chillicothe was kept by David W. Heath. I find where my father gave an
order for goods on that store in 1844. Phillip Matthews and John Batchelder bought him out.
The first warehouses were built along the river bank. The farmers hauled their grain in sacks and carried it into the warehouse, where it was weighed on a scale that had a capacity of about 1300 pounds. It had a board platform on it and the sacks were weighed and emptied in a pile, from which the grain was sacked and carried on to the boat, the gunnysacks being sewed up. The first grain ever sold for cash and shipped was bought and shipped by Isaac Underhill from Rome.
The early buyers at Chillicothe were O. W. Young, Robinson, Root and Reed. a firm composed of Erastus C. Root, Henry Robinson and Cyrus Reed; and later Truitt, Hosmer and others. Trade came from Wyoming and South of Princeville until the Rock Island railroad was built through Wyoming and Princeville, which narrowed their territory and hurt the formerly large trade of Chillicothe. Often 150 teams were waiting to unload at the various warehouses, and today instead of hauling twenty-five miles a farmer growls if he has to haul five miles to a station.
In 1845 the Hakes families came to Hallock Township. There were seven or eight brothers when they all arrived, all of whom are now dead but one brother in Kansas and a sister. Mrs. Maxon Austin. of Chenoa, Ill. Their paternal grandfather served in the war of 1812 and was frozen to death on his post as sentinel.
Daniel Hakes was probably the best known of any of the family, as he was a prominent Sunday School worker. Uncle Daniel's annual Sunday School Picnics for thirty years were attended by citizens from far and near, provision being made for all who came and none going away hungry. They ceased only when the weight of years made it impossible for him to superintend them.
In 1836 Roswell and Isaiah Nurse and Ebenezer Stowell came from near Binghamton. N. Y., to Peoria County, most of the distance on foot. Isaiah Nurse brought his rifle with him, and they took turns in
carrying it. When near Danville, Ill., in crossing a slough, they saw something moving in the tall grass, and soon several large wolves appeared in an open space, headed by a monster black one. Stowell slipped along until within range and dropped the black one. The rest halted, but he did not have the ammunition, and before he could get it the rest of the pack disappeared. Stopping that night at the cabin of a settler they related the incident. The landlord was so elated over it that he kept them for nothing, as this pack of wolves had clone much damage to young stock all over the country and they had been unable to trap them.
I own that rifle now, my father having bought it of Mr. Lamoree, the father of Ezra Lamoree, who was a gunsmith and had traded a larger one for it. This man Lamoree lived about eighty rods north of the Ferguson school house in the fifties with his son Ezra. At an election I think in 1856, at the Ferguson school house, some one asked Ezra if his father was coming to vote. He said, "father can not ride, only sit in a chair, but he said this morning he would like to cast one more vote for a President before he died.'' Some one suggested that we young fellows go up and carry him to the polls in his chair. About a dozen of us, among whom were the Shane, Weidman, Ramey and Ferguson boys and myself, went after him, and brought him in his chair and set him down by the polls. Joseph Gallup said, ''Let all uncover while the old Patriarch casts his last vote," and every man and boy raised his hat. It was the most pathetic scene that I ever witnessed on a public occasion. He sat until tired of visiting, and we carried him home after his saying, "My friends, goodbye, this is my last vote." Although all of us were not voters, we felt that we had done our duty and served our country well.
Another prominent man was Robert Will, who came with his parents from Pennsylvania in 1837. He married a daughter of Lyman Robinson. He taught school in the Hyde district in 1847. He was a Justice of the
Peace for twenty years, was also County Surveyor. He was a fine penman and in those days his services were often sought. He was a farmer but did a large business for years as a stone mason.
John Ferguson came on horseback from Binghampton, N. Y. in 1836 and moved here in 1837. On his trip on horseback he carried a pair of brass candlesticks in his saddle bags for a wedding present to my mother, who was a sister of his wife. They are still in the family.
He, Isaac Weidman and David Shane were among the first settlers on the prairie South of Edelstein. They were the leaders in the organization and building of Mount Hedding church. The name was suggested by Ferguson who was a relative of Bishop Hedding, and wanted it named for him.
William Robinson of Mossville came to Illinois in 1826, went back to Pennsylvania and returned 1833. He married Catherine Weidman. The Neals were also here in an early day.
Charles Stone came from Pittsfield. Mass, in 1845, and settled on the old Stone homestead north of Lawn Ridge Corners. He named it "Long Ridge" and it was known by that name until they applied for a Post Office at the corners. When the appointment came it was spelled ''Lawn Ridge'' much to the disgust of the citizens, but it had to remain so named.
Stone brought on a large flock of sheep. which he kept at his farm in the summer, and at Elijah Hyde's place several winters as the timber was a fine shelter, and the bare prairies of that day were subject to genuine western blizzards, now and then. He sent his wool and that of many of his neighbors East for a time and then to Ottawa, Ill., where a mill was started. He brought back cloth and sold to those who wanted, mostly satinet and jeans.
In 1850 that whole country began to settle up. and in a few years every road was at right angles, instead of a straight line across the prairie. The "Under ground Railroad" was running in this country long
before the iron rails were laid. For a few years before the war it did a rushing business, notwithstanding it was a criminal offense to harbor or help a runaway slave.
There were many people who considered the breaking of this law more righteous than obeying it. A line ran from Peoria to Chicago, with depots at the homes of Jonathan Rice, Samuel Seelye, Deacon Nathaniel Smith and on to Boyds Grove, Princeton and Chicago. There was also a line up the Galena road through Northampton, and connected at the Grove, but it did not do much business. Many a colored person was carried up this line, in the daytime under straw or cornfodder, and at night in a closed carriage. And some of the men are alive today that drove over that route.
Hospitality was universal among the early residents. The log cabin sheltered all who applied for food or lodging.
I have listened to many of the adventures of those days around the old fire place in the log cabin where I spent my early days. They have a fascination for me still, and to a certain extent it is inherited by the descendants of the old settlers. I have written these rambling lines hoping to interest a few of those who bear the names not unfamiliar to them in this article. The dates are historically correct, and can be used in future history as absolutely correct. If I have given an hour of pleasure, or an item of much desired information to any one, I am well repaid for the hours spent in preparing this paper.
"They do me wrong who say I come no more When once I knock and fail to find you in;
For every day I stand outside your door, And bid you wake, and rise to fight and win."
By Elijah H. Ferguson.
(From a letter published in Peoria Star, 1908).
Times were very bad when we arrived in Illinois. No money in the state; no sale for grain except to travelers or emigrants. Groceries, boots and shoes had to be paid for with cash. Pork was all the farmers had that would sell for money. Fisher & Chapin bought hogs at Lacon, always paying for them with North Bank of Boston bills. The money was new, stamped F. & C.Fisher & Chapin. It paid taxes in Peoria, Marshall and Woodford Counties. It was currently reported that Fisher paid 60 cents on the dollar for the money in gold, and had to redeem every dollar in gold that came back to the bank in Boston. That was good financiering for both parties, and a fair sample of early day business. Fisher always had a New Orleans boat come up every spring during the high water to take his pork to New Orleans.
One spring about 1843, or possibly a year or two later, David Heath, a merchant of Chillicothe sent 100 sacks of corn to St. Louis, and sold it for money, getting about 15 cents per bushel. Immediately on getting returns from the shipments, he sent word all around that he would take grain in payment for boots, shoes, groceries and debts. That was the first shipment of grain that I ever heard of.
A little later that same year Isaac Underhill of Peoria had Captain Moss of Peoria come up and take a load of his rent corn to St. Louis, and he got cash for it. After harvest he sent up word to the farmers of La Salle Prairie that he would have a boat at Rome at a certain date if they wished to sell their corn. They all got busy quick, as that was the first chance they had to sell it for cash. There were two boats loaded with corn that fall at Rome. Always after that there was a market for grain at some price for money.
My father made three trips to Chicago with wheat. On one of these trips the load brought 40 cents per bushel. He brought back shoes, tea and a dollar's worth of coffee and sugar, which mother made to last until the middle of the summer. I think this was in 1841. The dry year, the year of the big prairie fire, the mill at Senachwine dried up and no flour could be obtained. My mother grated corn on a tin pan punched full of holes for a grater. to make corn bread and cakes for about two weeks, until we could get a grist ground at Crow Creek mill, east of Chillicothe, about where the Santa Fe railroad is now.
Two of my mother's brothers, Elijah and Norman Hyde. came to Peoria about 1823 or 1824. Norman was county surveyor, postmaster and county judge when Chicago was in Peoria County. I have his text book and surveying instruments in my possession now.
Too true! Life's shores are shifting
And we are sea-ward drifting
Old places changing fret us;
The living more forget us;
There are fewer to regret us,
But the truer life draws nigher
And its morning star climbs higher
Earth's hold on us grows slighter,
And the heavy burdens lighter,
And the dawn immortal brighter,
A HISTORY OF THE T. D. AND M. A. A.
Setting Forth An Account of Their Early Organization,
Their Subsequent Growth and Progress and
Their Interesting Adventures.
Wm. H. Wisenburg, S. S. Slane and Addison A. Dart. Reprinted from "Princeville Telephone" of January 30. 1902.
Far back in the history of Princeville there was organized a society which has proven to be one of the most useful organizations that has ever blessed a town or community. That society is the Thief Detective and Mutual Aid Association. It has been and is, to its members and the community at large, an invaluable means of protection from theft, and it has proven a thorn in the flesh and a menace to all miscreants who dare to despoil the property of others. As its name implies it has for its purpose the recovery of stolen property and the detection and capture of the thief. A brief review of the history of the organization shows how well it has served its purpose and how truly it merits its name.
Necessity is not only the mother of invention; she has other children, and the T. D. and M. A. A. is one of them. It was to meet a keenly felt want that the organization was called into existence. In 1861, the year that the civil war broke out, there came to be a great demand for horses and mules for government service. Throughout the country they were brought up by the hundreds to supply this demand. and a ready market was found at various points where buyers paid a good price and asked no questions. This condition of things made it easily possible to market horses taken clandestinely, and soon the country became infested with gangs of horse thieves who worked cooperatively and systematically until their illicit practice had grown into a lucrative business. Every-
where horses were stolen and made away with, and the confusion attending the numerous sales and shipments at that time, together with the assistance of parties interested in the theft, made it easy for the culprit to market his ill-gotten possessions and escape without detection.
The vicinity of Princeville was unmolested until along in 1863. During the summer of '62 a well dressed and apparently well behaved stranger made his appearance in the town and established a shipping point here for horses with headquarters at what is now A. C. Washburn's barn. The enterprise was remarkably successful from the start. Horses came in from all directions, and very frequently strange men came from a great distance with horses to be sent from here to points in the South. This unusual activity of the horse market at this place and a knowledge of the prevalence of horse stealing at other places, finally caused some of the leading citizens of the town to regard with suspicion the strange horse buyer and his business. Their suspicion once aroused, further evidence served to strengthen their belief that the stranger and his confederates were nothing less than a gang of horse thieves. Strange men would come to town in the night time, stay a few days and disappear as mysteriously as they had come; trunks passing through Princeville on the old stage line running between Galva and Peoria would mysteriously disappear; horses were brought in and sent out at night; and finally news of an occasional stolen horse near here confirmed the opinion that they had surmised the truth. It was high time that something be done by the citizens in the way of protection to their property.
Moved by the spirit of mutual dependence and believing that in united action was the only efficient safeguard against such an emergency, five of the prominent men of the town of that day quietly met together in August, '63, to consider some feasible way of banding themselves into an organization for mutual aid and protection. These men were William P. Smith, Solo-
mon Bliss, Charles Beach, Vaughn Williams and S. S. Slane. From an account which they found in a Knoxville paper, of an organization similar to what they wished to perfect, they got some desired information and drew up a constitution and by-laws. They then set to work to secure secretly more members, as they had not enough to fill all the offices called for by the constitution. These were soon secured, and a board of officers was immediately chosen. And thus the mutual aid and detective association, which we now know as the T. D. & M. A. A., had its beginning.
The first man to serve as captain of the association was William P. Smith. He was one of the earliest settlers here and was acquainted with every topographical feature of the country, having long made it his business to look for stray cattle and horses. He ws a man of shrewdness, and of action, with a keen insight into human nature, and had been from the first an enthusiastic promoter of the organization, all of which well fitted him to direct the company's first movements. He was succeeded in office by Solomon Bliss, who served a number of years. Then followed in succession H. F. Irwin, John G. Corbett, Solomon Bliss, J. D. Hammer, and S. S. Slane, who is the present incumbent.
The company's attention was directed at first, of course, to the horse buyer and the movements of his men, and although they had worked quietly and secretly, it was soon evident that the horse buyer and his men were in turn directing their attention to the newly organized society, having apparently divined its purpose. The meetings at first were held weekly in the old stone school house, but later the company found out they were being watched nd changed their place of meeting to the third floor of the building then standing on the present site of the town hall. Here the meetings had continued but a short time when one night during one of their regular sessions a stranger, who was recognized as an assistant of the horse buyer, entered the room and asked permission to join the
society. Feigning absolute ignorance of the fact that the association regarded him or his friends suspiciously, he told the society that a certain party had offered him a certain sum of money to steal a fine matched team of dun mares belonging to Miss Libby Beach, and that if they would admit him to membership he would divulge the name of the party and also furnish other information which would be of value to them. The members at once designed his purpose, yet neither party wished the other to know of their suspicion, and to reject the application and not disclose to the man the fact that he and his party were suspected by the company was a task of some delicacy. Captain Smith was equal to the occasion, however, and with characteristic shrewdness he informed the applicant that they were newly organized and must move with some trepidity in the matter of accepting new members, and that as he was to them a comparative stranger, they could not act upon his application without due time for consideration. He was baffled in the attempt to gain admittance to the society that he might familiarize himself with their projects and their plans and thus keep his comrades informed as to their movements.
Not long after this the horse traders suddenly pulled up stakes and betook themselves to fairer fields, taking their nefarious business with them. Obviously they were convinced by the society's action upon the application for membership that they were under suspicion, and, regarding the company as a serious obstacle in their way and one that must be reckoned with, they withdrew from this vicinity. For very fear of the company they had left the country, and many dollars worth of property, no doubt was thereby saved to the owners. It was the company's first and signal victory. They had accomplished the purpose for which they were organized, and with much less trouble than was anticipated.
The organization was maintained. Its usefulness had been manifested. Similar contingencies in the future might necessitate the company's service, so steps
were taken to further perfect the society. In 1867 they obtained a charter from the state. They altered their constitution and by-laws to conform to the new charter and found themselves a strong society, well officered and equipped with powers, and established upon a well organized basis. From that time the company grew in numerical strength until they now number over seventy members, who represent the best blood and sinew among the men engaged in the farming and business interests of the community. They at first insured all property against theft, but found after experience that it was not good policy to insure more than horses and mules, and so restricted insurance to these, binding themselves, however, to search for anything of value which the members might lose. In case a stolen horse or mule cannot be recovered the company indemnifies the owner with a reasonable valuation of the animal. The company have never yet, however, be it said to their credit, had a case of stolen property of any considerable value that they have not been able to recover.
The society has been called out for service on numerous occasions, sometimes for minor thefts and sometimes for graver offenses, and in several instances not a little excitement has attended their escapades. The first time they were called out to look for a stolen horse was in 1866. The horse was stolen from Albert Hoag, who, as a member of the organization notified the company. They acted with promptness and the thief soon discovered that the swift wings of justice had overtaken him before he had got far on his way. Capt. Bliss and Wm. P. Smith located the man at Wyanette and within a few hours the horse was restored to its owner and the thief turned over to the officers of the law. The thief proved to be a young man by the name of Tom Evans, who had come here supposedly as a "bounty jumper" from the army and had been working some time in this community. He served three years in the penitentiary for the theft.
Soon after they had recovered Mr. Hoag's property the society was again called out to search for another stolen horse. Vaughn Williams was this time the victim of the theft. A certain party, well known to the members, was suspected and by the next morning Capt. Bliss and some of the members had found a clew and were in pursuit. They traced their man as far north as Wyoming and when they had proceeded a little farther on they found the horse in the road. Evidently they had gotten too close to the fugitive for his comfort and he had taken to the woods, leaving the prey to his pursuers. They had secured the horse, but they never got any further trace of the thief.
The "McCoy Raid," which occurred in February of '67. furnished the company with an excellent opportunity to exercise their ingenuity and show their nettle. Revival services were being held that winter in the old M. E. Church which stood on the present site of Mrs. Martha Adams' home. One night during a meeting three horses were stolen from the hitching rack back of the church, and great was the excitement when the fact was discovered. Two of the horses belonged to members of the T. D. and M. A. A. and the society lost no time in making preparations to restore the property and bring the thief to justice. Suspicion at once fell upon a man by the name of McCoy, who was well known in the community. He was a shrewd man and desperate character, and it was agreed by all that his capture and retention would necessarily entail some trouble and perhaps some danger. The first clew obtained was a pistol, which was found in the public square and which was supposed to have fallen from his pocket in his haste to escape. Tracks were also found which indicated that he had gone north. He was tracked to Wyoming and from there west; but soon every trace was lost, and, after a vain search for some time, the chase was abandoned temporarily. Correspondence was kept up, meanwhile, with the authorities at different points, and the vigilant eyes of the officers of the society were ever on guard for a clew that