Of Warren County, IL
Berwick was among the earliest townships to be settled, and in this Solomon Kaisey was the pioneer, casting his fortunes here as early as he spring of 1829. He located on section7. With him came his family, and his brother-in-law, Solomon Perkins, and family. Mr. Perkins located on section 4. These men, with their strong and true-hearted life partners, after securing their lands, settled down to construct for themselves and children, homes for the future. In the midst of plenty, surrounded with all the comforts of civilization, with all our wants supplied, we are too apt to forget the pioneer to whom we are indebted for all these comforts. Soon after the above named settlers, came Peter Scott, Mr. Smith, and Jonathan Tipton, who located in the neighborhood. In 1832, Isaac, Daniel, and Elisha, brothers of Solomon Perkins, the two latter with their families, moved in and located near the settlement. Isaac went to the Black Hawk War, and was killed. Robert and George Ray came in 1831-1832, locating in the timber, on section 6. With these men came their families. They and their wives are dead. H. M. Lewis, W. H. Cable, and E.W. Allen came into the township in 1935, and were followed soon after by many others. These early settlers formed a nucleus, around which gathered in a few years and extensive settlement.
Miss Jane Allen taught the first school in the township, in 1835, in a log school house built by Thomas Pearce, near where the village of Berwick now is. This school house had no doors or windows, or what these are understood to be in modern times. There were holes in the wall to admit light and air, and one also for egress and exit. And this was all. And here in this rudely constructed cabin the first children of Berwick Township, with the ruddy glow on their cheeks, with the bright sparkle in their eye, with innocence and hope in their young hearts, commenced their education, directed by their devoted teacher, Jane Allen. Here they commenced to learn lessons in books and lessons in life, and fit themselves for the duties which in after years were to be imposed upon them. What hopes and aspirations may have filled these young hearts just entering upon this world’s stage! What ties formed here, that may have been stronger in after years than chains of brass or steel! What a contrast between this rude cabin and the finished school-house of today! And yet withy all our improvements and what we call our advanced civilization, with our Female Seminaries and Boarding Schools, and all our modern adjuncts to study, is there any one prepared to say that the pupil of to-day learns better than those did then?
Miss Jane Allen was married to Judge Ivory Quinby, March 14, 1839. She died February 7, 1847. The second school taught in the township was by Miss Sarah Cable, in 1837.
Berwick was organized as a township, April 4, 1854. The proceedings of this election either were not recorded or have since been lost, and hence the first officers under the new organization cannot be given. It is numbered 7 north, of range 1 wet, of the fourth principal meridian, and has for its northern line Floyd Township. On the east lies Knox County, on the South Greenbush Township, and the west Roseville Township. The streams, Nigger Creek, Cedar Creek and Cedar Fork meander southwesterly through the township, which afford good opportunity for drainage. Along and adjacent to those streams the land is somewhat broken and liberally timbered. The remaining portion of the township is rolling prairie. It is a good farming country; the farms are well cultivated and mostly owned by those who work them, the dwelling houses are well built and comfortable.
The Iowa Central runs through the township, entering at the northwest corner and running along through the northern tier of sections. It was completed through here in January, 1883. In 1880, Berwick had a population of 1,003 souls, and this is about the number of inhabitants at the present time.
The following statistics are given regarding the schools in the township, which were taken from County Superintendent's annual report, ending June 30th, 1885. There were eight school districts in the township, with a valuation of school property amounting to $3,500, and the buildings are constructed, one of brick, the rest of wood. Of person under 21 years of age, there were 451, of whom 257 were of scholastic age, 272 being enrolled. The highest wages paid to teacher was $45, the lowest $30 per month.
From the Assessor's report of 1885, the following items are obtained:
Number of acres of improved land, 22,572; number of acres of unimproved land, 160; value of improved lands, $294,770; value of unimproved land, $1,330; total value of lots, $7,002; number of horses, 775, number of cattle, 1,484; asses and mules, 55; sheep, 429; hogs, 2,824; steam engines, 1 carriages and wagons, 225; watches and clocks, 159; sewing and knitting machines, 106, pianos, 4; melodeons and organs, 27. Total value of personal property, $30,430.
Below we give the names of the citizens who have represented this township as Supervisors: E. C. Lewis, 1854-64, S. B. Crane, 1865; H. M. Lewis, 1866-78; W. D. Miller, 1879-85.
Berwick was very early in establishing church organizations, which indicates that the early settlers were zealous in matters of religion.
Baptist Church,--This society was organized July 28, 1833, at John Smith's House. Sheldon Lockwood and wife, John Smith and wife; and Elizabeth Hanon constituted the first membership. Revs. John Clark and John Logan presided at this organization. Rev. G. Bartlet was the first Pastor, taking charge August 1, 1833, and serving until December, 1834; then they were without a pastor for over a year, when Rev. R. M. Wilbur assumed charge, serving until September, 1844. He was followed by Rev. Isaac Matteson, who served the church until June, 1835, giving place then to Erastus Minor, who remained until June, 1847. Rev. Joel Sweet was the nest pastor in charge, serving the Society until February, 1850. Rev. Joseph Elliot came in December, and remained until May, 1851. Following Mr. Elliott was Rev. Wm. T. Bly, who served his flock until 1853, when Rev. G. D. Simmons took charge, remaining until October1854. Rev Truman Gregory accepted a call March, 1855, and remained until June, 1856, when he was succeeded by Rev. H. S. P. Warren, who took charge in March. Mr. Warren served until 1859, and was followed by Rev. C. E. Bailey, who remained until January, 1861. Rev. P/P. Shirley took charge in September, the same year, and was with the church until May, 1864, when Rev. R. L. Caldwell assumed the pastorate, reaming until July, 1866. He was succeeded in September by Rev. J. B. Congers, who served until October, 1868.Rev. Cary Telsberry became pastor March, 1869, remaining until February, 1870, and was followed in June by Rev. Homer E. Norton, who remained until November, 1874. He was succeeded by Rev. D. G. Zaak, who took charge in June, 1875, and served the congregation until death took him home, September 25, 1876. Rev. George Gray was the next to accept the call, January 1, 1877, and remained until January 1, 1881. Rev. J. F. Caldwell followed in August, remaining until 1884, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, J. F. Meriam. The congregation has a membership at present of 115; total membership since its organization 541. The first building was erected in 1840, and was located a little north of the present edifice. It is occupied now as a dwelling house by R. A. Beck. The present church building was receded in 1856, at a cost of $3,000, and was dedicated in 1857. A good parsonage is attached to the church, costing $1,400. A good Sabbath School is one of the interesting features of this organization, having a member ship of 145. It is a large commodious building, wand well furnished. The society is prosperous and the members active.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1832, in the early part of the year. Rev. Mr. Cordier was the first preacher to hold service about this neighborhood, which was at Thomas Pearce's house. Rev. Barton Randall organized the first class, in the spring of 1833. This class was composed of ?Thomas Pearce and wife, Barton H. Cartwright and wife and Robert Ray and wife. This was the beginning of the Methodist Church at Berwick. They held their first meeting at Thomas Pearce's house and other private houses until 1837, when the organization was permanently located at Berwick Village. After it was located at this village the society was served by Rev. Thomas Hobart and Thomas Kirkpatrick. In 1852 they erected the first church building. This is now used for a store by Mr. Beck. In 1868 they erected a new edifice at a cost of $4,000. It is of Gothic architecture, and is an attractive building, or was when it was new. It is now sadly out of repair, and if not attended to soon will be worthless. With the church is a good parsonage. Present membership is about 30. Rev. G. B. Snedaker has charge, holding service every two weeks. Mr. Snedaker also serves the Cameron Church.
This cemetery was laid out in 1840, and was among he earliest located in the county. It contains four acres of ground, and is a very pretty resting place for the departed. The first person buried here was the son of Franklin Ogden, 1840. It is under a trustee's government. In this cemetery are some very neat little tombstones, and the grounds are well cared for.
In 1836 Thomas Pearce and Samuel G. Morse thought that the township was of sufficient importance, in population at least to warrant them in founding a village. Accordingly they laid out their plat. It was located on the west half of the northwest quarter of section 5, and the east half of the northeast quarter of section 6, and contained fifty and five-eights acres. It was first called Bowling Green, but was subsequently changed to Berwick. It was surveyed by Peter Butler, and the plat was recorded July 14, of the same year.
This little village is nicely located and has a fine agricultural country surrounding it. At one time there was quite a trade carried on here, and it is yet a good shipping point for stock and grain. The shipping is done by the Iowa Central Railroad, which has a station here. Its population numbers about 175 persons. The village is laid out with a plaza or square in the center, after the Southern or Mexican style of laying out towns.
Miss Sarah Cable taught the first school here, in 1837. They have at present a good school in the village, with an average attendance of 35 pupils.
R. A. Beck is the present Post-master, and has a tenure of office for some 16 years.
It business is represented by Beck & Lewis, and Dement & Sheldon, who have general merchandise stores. Dr. F. K. Morse keeps a drug store, and is also a practicing physician. C. Oseran has a boot and Shoe store, and Thomas Brown does the black-smithing for the village. J. Stormet supplies the people with a market.
The people of this village have provided for the education of their children by erecting a good school building, and securing the services of a good teacher. They have an average attendance at the school of about 30 pupils.