is located in the
northeast corner of the county, and is numbered 12 north, of range,
1 west. Mercer County lies on the north, Knox County on the east,
Cold Brook on the south and Spring Grove Township on the west. The
territory now embraced by t5his township was settled as early as any
other portions of the county. James B. Atwood was the first pioneer
to move in and make a home here, which was in the early part of
1828. He located on section 27. Mr. Atwood sold his place to Edmund
Adcock, a few months later, and moved away. Mr. Adcock and family
came from Buckingham Co., Va. He was born Nov 23, 1800, and died May
7, 1859, at the old farm. His son, J. W. now owns and lives on the
place. Andrew Robison with wife and six children, moved in September
20, 1829, and settled on section 33. He subsequently ascertained
that he had located on land that had been bought by David Ingersoll,
and he moved to section 31. See biography. The land they first
settled on is now occupied by the cemetery. Mr. Atwood was the only
settler in the township when the Robison's came in, and at that time
there were no settlers in Spring Grove Township. Andrew Robison died
at his home Aug. 6, 1849, and Nancy, his widow, at the same place,
March 15, 1876. William A. Lair came in October, 1832, and located a
home on section 30; he is now dead; and Foxie's Note: buried in the
Gerlaw Cemetery. Benjamin H. Gardner, from Kentucky, came into the
county in 1834, spent the winter in Monmouth Township and made his
location in Kelly, on section 30, in the spring of 1835. James Brown
came in 1830, settling on section 25; Mr. Brown is now dead, Foxie's
Note: buried in the Hope Cemetery, He served in the Black Hawk War.
Of the other settlers that came in from 1829 to 1835, there were
David Ingersoll, wife and six children, James, Jane, Anna, Nellie,
Adelina and Thomas, who was a baby; Henry and John Peckenpaugh,
William Lair, Stephen Mitchell, John Miller, Henry and Edward
Martin, James Stevens, John Miles, George and James brown, Ezekiel
and Olive Terpening & family Foxie's Note: my ancestors; and Calvin
Glass, with their families. Hiram Ingersoll, son of David Ingersol,
followed in his father's foot steps in the latter part of 1835. Mr.
Ingersol is living with his wife near Alexis. His father died July
10, 1842, and Foxie's note: is buried in my family Terpening
Cemetery, His father died July 10, 1842, at the old Homestead; his
mother many years before. From this nucleus grew a large and
The first child born in the township and the first female child said to be born in the county, was Margaret Ann, daughter of Andrew and Nancy Robison, Nov. 1, 1829, and was their seventh child. This daughter married James Gardner, in May, 1852. She, with her husband, are still living on section 2, in Cold Brook Township.
During the early days of the settlement, many of the seasons appeared to have been backward and cold, the natural results of which were light crops. By planting the Indian maize, commonly called "squaw corn," which they procured from the Indians, they succeeded in raising a fair crop, as this species of corn matured much earlier than any other. They would also use the maize for re-planting when the other corn did not come up. The winter of 1830 and 1831 was long and cold and there was much suffering in the new settlements. A deep snow fell in December, and the corn had not been harvested at this time. The settlements were isolated from each other, and it was hazardous for the settlers to pass from one house to another, and often it was attended with frozen feet or other parts of the body.
At this time there was but one mill in the county, known as Smith's mill, which was about two miles east of Oquawka. Hand mills and mortars were brought into requisition, corn was dug from beneath the snow, dried, placed in the mortar, pounded into meal and then cooked and placed before the cold and hungry families. There was but little stock, and what there was took care of itself. The Stock near the bottoms, or about the timber, got along tolerably well and very few died. This winter was alike hard on the Indians. The watercourses were heavily crusted with ice, upon which laid a deep body of snow, which made it impossible for them to procure fish., The feathery tribes had sought Southern climes and the deer had gone to other and more congenial quarters.
The first grist mill was put up by Calvin Glass, in 1832, on the banks of the Henderson, on section 12. It was rather primitive arrangement; nevertheless, it was very welcome to the pioneers of that day, and much better than the mortar, which they had often used to pound up their corn. It was run by waterpower, but the power was none too strong, and the bolting was done by hand-power. The second mill was started by Chester Potter, and was located on the banks of the main Henderson, section 22.
The people in the early days traded at Monmouth, Knoxville, Oquawka and Old Hendersonville, as it was called.
There were some interesting political contests even in that early day. The elections were held at Robison Corners, until the township organization system was adopted. This was where the corners of Monmouth, Cold Brook, Spring Grove, and Kelly Townships came together. The settlers were not without their religious entertainments. Preachers from different denominations came in and held forth, sometimes in school-houses and sometimes at private residences. Elder Haney was among the first to expound the gospel according to the Methodist belief. There were not so particular then as now as to what day they worshipped. Whenever a preacher would come around to administers religious food, they would assemble to partake of the feast at some school-house work private residence, and there be entertained with graphic descriptions of the beauties of Heaven and the terrors of hell. These old pioneer preachers were ardent workmen and very radical in their views. There was no half-way house for them to stop at, and a member of their congregation who was heterodox or sought a road to Heaven, smooth in its course and lined with flowers, had no sympathy form them. Caleb Smith's house was a favorite place for holding these meetings, Sometimes Sister Smith would be spinning when the meetings were held. This supplied the place of a choir, and the music of her wheel would go on while the exhorter was entertaining the audience with his most eloquent passages. Mrs. Smith, who was a very industrious woman, thought that she could not give up her entire time to the religious services, and therefore, kept her wheel in motion, having always one ear to ward the preacher.
The first school in this township was taught by Peter Terpening, Foxie's note: son of Ezekiel & Olive Terpening & brother to my John Peck Terpening, in 1837, in a log school-house which stood on section 28. He was the son of Ezekiel and Olive Terpening, who were early settlers. Ezekiel Terpening died July 16, 1864, aged 82 years, and his widow, Olive, died Feb 8, 1867, aged 79 years; Foxie's Note: they owned the land in which this school-house sat on and are buried in the Terpening Cemetery, Kelly Twp., Warren County, Illinois. It was along the road by the Adcock farm, that the troops, some 1,600 in number, passed on their way to Rock Island, during the first Black Hawk War, in 1831.
In 1839, the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. This church was called the Tylerville church. They held their meetings for many years in private houses and in school buildings. in 1876, a church building was erected at a cost of $2,500, at Utah, which was formerly called Tylerville. A church building was also erected at Ionia, which place is also known by the name of Shanghai. The societies have been served by many pastors, the last being Mr. Bolen.
A Second Advent Church was started at Ionia in 1857, with some 15 members. In 1867 they erected their first building, at a cost of about $2,800. It was a very good frame structure. The first Pastor was Rev. Guy Rathborne, who remained with the Church several years. In May, 1868, this building was demolished by the great tornado which visited this place, but was rebuilt at a cost of about $1,400. Services are held regularly by this society, which has a membership of about 60 and also an interesting Sunday-school. At one time there were stores in Ionia, and a good t4rade was carried on here, but when the railroad came through, and a station was made at Alexis, its business was destroyed and only a post-office now remains.
There were one or two stores also at Tylerville. Tylerville was never incorporated as a town or village. They had a post-office, black smith shop, owned by William Henry Terpening, and one or two other stores. The merchants who located here have sought richer fields for trading, and their buildings are deserted. Tylerville still has a post-office, known, as Utah, and has John Landon for it's Postmaster. It is located in the southeast corner of section 34.
A meeting was held for the organization of the township of Kelly, April 4, 1854, at the Tylerville school-house. This meeting was organized by the appointment of William Graham as Moderator, and E. E. Atchison, Clerk. The result of the election was as follows: John Miles was elected Supervisor; John P. Terpening, Assessor; Ira S. Ingersol, Collector; Samuel Black, Overseer of the Poor; James Stevenson and W. J. T. Wallace, Commissioners of Highways; Aaron Yarde, G. C. Adcock and Christian Mills, Justices of the Peace; David Vestal and Nathan Smith, Constables.
There were quite a little contest about the name of this township. The Democrats wanted it named after Capt. John Kelly, and the Whigs after William Graham. Finally the Democrats were successful and the naming of the township was given to them
The St. Louis branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad passes near the northwest corner of this township.
Kelly is watered by Henderson Creek and its branches. A large portion of the land in undulating, with broad level fields. The southwest portion is quite broken in places and contains much fine timber. People do most of their trading at Alexis; some, however, go to Galesburg.
The population of this township in 1880 was 1,135, and it will not vary much from these figures at the present time.
According to the County Superintendent's report for the year ending June 30, 1885, there were eight school districts, with eight frame buildings. The school property was valued at $3,760. Of persons under 21 years of age, there were 478, of whom there were 333 of scholastic age, 239 being enrolled. The highest wages paid teachers was $5 per month, and the lowest $25. The tax levy for this township was $1,950.