Early Days of Greenbush
by William L. Snapp
Was created on July 18, 2006
Patrick Lynch lived in Greenbush in the later part of the "30 and '40s. He was an Irishman and spent considerable time riding about the country swapping horses. He traded a horse for lots eight and nine on section sixteen, afterwards known as the Henry Beam place.
During the presidential campaign of 1840, when Martin Van Buren was running against William Henry Harrison, Patrick rode into the village of Greenfield on a horse possessed of high mettle, of which Patrick was very proud. Some four or five men stood on the corner near a store, talking. Patrick took occasion to ride by them shouting for Van Buren. This did not please Harvey Darneille, who was one of the men in the group, as he was a staunch Harrison man. He told Lynch to shut up and go away from there. Patrick rode around the second time, shouting for Van Buren. Harvey again told him to go away, saying: "If you come around here again, I will fix you."
In a short time Lynch made another circle, riding up nearer the group and making the same exclamations for Van Buren. As he went to pass them, Harvey stooped down and picked up an old queens-ware crate that happened to be there. This he swiftly threw over the head of Patrick. The crate being lengthy, when one end was over Patrick's head, the other end dropped over his horse's hips after the style of breeching.
The horse immediately became wild and frantic. Patrick in trying to hold him had no time to lift the crate off his head. Every man in town did his best to separate the crate from Patrick and his horse, but it was not an easy thing to do. But the horse was finally caught and the crate removed. No bad results followed, although Patrick was somewhat tired and said nothing more about Van Buren.
On the tenth day of January, 1862, William Patterson and Elza Magers went to the steam saw-mill of William G. Bond, which was then located near the residence of Major John C. Bond. Patterson and Magers had had a log there for sled crooks. when they arrived at the mill, they concluded the log was too long. So Magers went up to the residence of John C. Bond to get a cross-cut saw to use in sawing off one end. It was noontime and all the hands had gone to dinner, except Leander Bond, who was then engineer; he was at the engine which was attached to the boiler, and William Patterson was standing in front of the furnace warming himself.
A loud report was heard by those who were near the mill; and upon going there it was found that the boiler had burst and William Patterson was found dead. The explosion had thrown him about 60 feet from the boiler. He was badly burned and mangled.
Patterson was a son of John Patterson who was deaf and dumb, and was a brother of Thomas and John Patterson. He left a wife and three children. His wife's maiden name was Sarah Magers. She was a sister of Elza Magers.
William Patterson was buried in the McMahill graveyard in Greenbush Township.
The murder of Harvey J. Hewett, in 1850, caused great excitement all over the country. Everybody talked about it and everybody was anxious that the murderer's should be brought to justice.
Mr. Hewett was an honest, upright citizen, well known in Warren county and highly esteemed by all who knew him.
In 1850, one of Mr. Hurd of Fondulac, Wis., bought some cattle of Harvey J. Hewett; he also bought some cattle of Franklin G. Snapp and some of John A. Butler. Mr. Hurd told these men they would have to go to Peoria for their money, as he had a deposit in a bank there.
It was finally agreed that Hewett should go to Peoria and get the money. Snapp told Hewett he ought to be armed. Hewett took a toothpick from his pocket and jokingly replied, "This is all the arms I need."
Mr. Hewett arrived in Peoria later in the evening, driving a small bay mare to a buggy. He put up at a hotel. During the evening he inquired of the landlord about what time the bank would open in the morning. It is supposed that some of the robbers heard this talk and commenced to set up their job for procuring the money.
The next morning Hewett went to the bank to draw his money. Three men were around the bank waiting and watching for him; Thomas Gitte, whose real name is not known, and who was the leader in the matter; Thomas brown, and George Williams.
They watched Hewett draw the money and then followed him. Hewett left the bank, got in his buggy, and drove to the foot of Kickapoo hill. Here he got out of his buggy and started to walk up the hill, driving his mare. Brown and Williams were close to him and Gitte was a short distance behind.
When Hewett had got about half-way up the hill, Brown and Williams Attacked him. In the scuffle Hewett came very near being too much for them until one of them hit him on the head with a stone, fracturing the skull. They then took the money and fled.
It has been said that Brown and Williams helped Hewett into his buggy. At any rate Hewett was again in his buggy and the bay mare, being very gentle, proceeded on the journey. After going some six or seven miles on the road, the mare went up to a house and stopped. Here it was found that Hewett was badly injured. He was taken in and cared for. He lived about a week and died October 18, 1850, at the age of 54 years.
As soon as it was found out that Mr. Hewett was robbed, the alarm was given. The people turned out and finally tracked Brown and Williams to Springfield, Illinois, where they were found in a bed at a hotel. They were brought back to Peoria, tried, convicted and sentenced to be hung.
The day for their execution was set in December, 1850, but the Governor Ford issued a stay for fifteen days in order to get Tom Gitte from New Orleans to Peoria so that Brown and Williams might identify him as being connected with the murder of Hewett.
On the day set in December for the hanging many people has assembled in Peoria to witness the sight; and when they found the hanging had been put off, there was much dissatisfaction, Finally a mob was raised who proceeded to set up the gallows which was then framed and near the jail. This they had ready about 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
The mob then got long heavy timbers and battered in the front door of the jail; they then went into the jail hall. Brown and Williams were in opposite cells, one on the north the other on the south. They worked hard until 4 o'clock. At that time they had only succeeded in getting Williams, but somehow failed to get brown out of his cell. They finally put Williams back in his cell, gave up the job and disbanded.
Again the people assembled in large numbers in January, 1851, to witness the hanging of Brown and Williams. The stage had arrived that morning, bringing Tom Gitte, who was identified by Brown and Williams as their leader.
The hanging occurred in the south part of Peoria, then an open prairie. Under the bluff the platform was suspended by a rope. Brown was very anxious that the rope used in hanging him should be so adjusted that the fall would be sure to break his neck. After the arrangements were all made. Brown from soem cause turned his head around, the drop fell, and Brown struggled a long time, the rope having turned under his chin. Williams seemed to die easy.
Brown and Williams made a confession which was published in pamphlet form in Peoria and met with a ready sale. Gitte was convicted and sent tot he penitentiary, where he died about a year afterwards.
After Mr. Hewett's death, his body was brought to his home in Greenbush township, where his funeral was preached by Benjamin Applebee, a minister of the Methodist Church. One of the hymns sung at the Funeral was
"Plant ye a tee That may bloom over me,
When I am gone, I am gone."
His remains were laid to rest in the McMahill Graveyard.
Mr. Hewett was born in Waldo County, Maine. He moved with his family in 1831 to Licking county, Ohio; came to Greenbush, Warren county, Illinois, August, 1837, and located on section 29, where he resided up to the time of his death.
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