One of the Oldest Settlers of Warren County, IL
Do You Remember? Away back When........ "Old Timer" column, November 9, 1937 REVIEW ATLAS NEWSPAPER, Monmouth, IL, (source)
As mentioned Saturday, "Old Timer" has heard of several old burying grounds in Warren County that he missed in the list he thought he had finished about a week ago.
One of these, and so near the city limits of Monmouth that most everyone in town should have known about it, but didn't, is on the Leary place about a quarter mile northwest or the northwest corner of the city. It is in the south west quarter of section 19 in Monmouth Township, a quarter which James Hodgen, one of the early settlers of Warren County, obtained by patent from the government in 1832, although he had made his claim there and occupied the quarter earlier. The place was know as Hodgen's Grove as early as 1830, and Hodgen's home was the voting place in the Second precinct at the election on August 1830 when the county was organized. Mr. Hodgen was a judge of the election and was elected constable at that time. He was also a witness to the will of Adam Ritchie, the first will filed fro probate in the county.
Hodgen seems to have established a family burying ground on the hillside a few rods northwest of where the Leary barn now stands. "Old Timer" was told that at one time " in the memory of the oldest inhabitant: there were four tombstones standing there, surrounded by an old iron fence. What became of the fence and the stones, except one, no one appears to know. A visit last week revealed a broken stone in memory of Deldamia, wife of James Hodgen, born June 23, 1803, died March 1849. There was also a bit of another stone, with some inscription but not enough to identify anything.
Court house records show several transfers of portions of the quarter section in the early days, but Hodgen seems to have made his final disposition of it to A. C. Harding and others in the early "50's", soon after the death of Mrs. Hodgen. What became of Mr. Hodgen, the writer has not been able to yet ascertain. The property has been in many hands during the more than a century.