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Warren County Illinois

Genealogy & History

Lenox Township Warren Co

 Lenox Township Warren Co., IL    

       This township completed its organization April 4, 1854, holding its election in the school-house in District NO. 1.  Ebenezer Landon was chosen Chairman; Norman Matteson, Moderator; B.F. Wiggins, Clerk.  There were 19 votes cast at this election, the result of which was as follows: Porter Phelps was chosen Supervisor; B.F. Wiggins, Clerk; Norman Matteson, Assessor; S. Carmer, Collector; E. Landon, Overseer of the Poor; C.C. Dickson, Jacob Jewell and C. Lucas, Commissioners of Highways; James M. Dickson and Jacob Jewell, Justices of the Peace; M. Landon and S. Dickson, Constables; J. Oglesby was chosen Path Master for the south district, and Luther Robinson for the north district.  Messrs. Carmer, Wiggins, Landon, Dickson (Constables) failed to qualify and a special election was held June 13 to fill their places.  N. Matteson was chosen Clerk; S. Carmer, Collector; Ebenezer Landon, Overseer of the Poor; and Enoch Hawkins and Sanford Carmer, Constables.  It was organized under the name of Ripley, but was changed the year following to Lenox.  It is numbered 10 north of range 2 west.

            J.W. Bond and family were the first settlers in the township.  They came in 1833 and located on section 18.  (See Biography).  Seth Murphy and Ephraim Smith came in 1836, the former settling on section 35 and the latter on section 36.  With them came their families.  Mr. Murphy was from Kentucky and Mr. Smith from Ohio.  Mr. Murphy died at the old homestead, and his wife in Monmouth.  Mrs. Smith died on the old farm, and her husband moved to Abington, where he died a few years ago.  Porter Phelps and family, from New York, moved into the township in 1837, and located on section 2, where, after a long life of usefulness, he died on the 14th day of April, 1885.  His wife, Mary Ellen Phelps, died July 26, 1884.  They reared a family of eight children, six of whom are still living.  Mr..  Phelps was a prominent man, not only in his township but also in the county.  He was an ardent patriot and a true hearted Christian, having a passionate love for liberty, home, and his country.  He was an intellectual man, fond of study, and books of poetry, philosophy, and metaphysics.  With a warm and tender heart, and strong attachments for his friends and neighbors, he died regretted by all who knew him, in his 82nd year.  (See Biography).

            Jesse Riggs was one of the early settlers of the county, but did not locate in Lenox Township until 1840, when, with his family, he moved in, locating on section 35, where he still lives.  (See Biography.)  In the latter part of 1840, Garland Ray moved into the township, from Roseville, with his wife and ten children, two sons and eight daughters.  Mr. Ray died at his home, in April, 1882.  His wife had died many years before.  His son, James W., died while on a visit to Missouri.  M.B. is living on section 20.  His daughters, Ann, Harriet, Henrietta, and Letha, are dead.  Clarinda Jane, Julia Ann, Susan, and Elisabeth were married.  Susan lives in Idaho; Clarinda Jane and Julia Ann, in this county, and Elizabeth in Henderson County.

            James Dickson was also an early settler, locating, with his family, on section 31.  He died some years ago, and his children moved away.  Mathew Armstrong was another early settler, locating in the nor-western part of the township.  The children during the early days attend school in Roseville Township.

            In the early part of 1871, the Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis R.R. Company laid its line through the township.  It runs directly north and south, a mile east of the western line.  This line is now controlled by the CB& Q RR Company.  The Iowa Central completed its track through the township in 1883.  It enters in the northern part of the township on section 3, and runs along the eastern line, passing out on section22.

            This township is watered by the Henderson Branch and its tributaries, which heads in section 10, running westerly, and Cedar Creek, which runs southeasterly.  The nature of the land is rolling, with level prairies.  There never was much timber in the township, and there is hardly an acre of ground which cannot be easily plowed.  The principal grains are oats, hay, and corn.  The latter is cultivated extensively.  It is probably the largest grain-producing township in the county.  Certainly there is no township that can present any finer farms, farm buildings, and dwellings.  There are two railroad stations in the Township, Phelps, and Larchland, which afford the people mail facilities, trading and shipping.


          There is a station on the Iowa Central RR line, in this township, on section 13, named after Hon. Delos P. Phelps, who is prominently connected with this road.  The first freight train stopping at Phelps was from Peoria, and it arrived April 16, 1883, and discharged a car load of lumber.  The Methodist Church has an organization here, holding their meetings in the school house, near the station.  Services are held every two weeks, and are presided over by Rev. G. B. Snedaker, who also serves the Methodist Episcopal Church at West Prairie.

          In 1880, the census reports gave Lenox Township a population of 992 souls.  It is not thought that there has been any material change since that time.  The County Superintendent in her report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885, gives the following information regarding the schools of this township:

            There were eight school districts, with one brick and seven frame buildings; the school property was valued at $6,900.                        Of persons under 21 years of age, there were 321, of whom 258 were of scholastic age;  217 being enrolled.                       The highest wages paid teachers was $40 per month; and the lowest $20.  The tax levy for this year was $2,619.46.


            West Prairie Methodist Episcopal Church.---A class of this society was formed in the fall of  1856, at the house of Joseph Amie.  John Shelton, Evan Ewan and wife, Joseph Amie and wife, were members of this class, which was organized by the Rev. Frank Chaffee.  Meetings were held in the school house and at private residences until the year 1863, when they erected a house of worship, which was located on the southwest quarter r of section 29, at a cost of $2,000.  It was dedicated by Rev. Henderson Ritchey, who was the first child born in the county.  This society was known as the West Prairie Church.  Rev. Franklin Chaffee was the first pastor.  In 1860 they had a great revival, which largely increased their membership.  This was during the Rev.  Mr. Elliott’s pastorate.  Succeeding Mr. Chaffee were respectively Revs.  Crosier, Beck, Elliott, Sullivan, Carruthers, Farris, Coe, Couch, Fowler, Ellsworth, Brown Ailsworth, and Winsor.  The present pastor is Rev. G. B.  Snedaker, with a membership of about 25.  Their building is a plain, substantial, and commodious structure.  Connected with the Society is a Sabbath School.

            From the Assessor’s report of 1885, the following items are taken:

                        Number of acres of improved lands, 22,296; value of improved lands,  $368,760.

                        Value of lots, $1,955

                        Number of horses, 770.

                        Number of cattle 931, asses and mules, 16, sheep, 22; hogs, 3, 068; Steam engines, 2; carriages and wagons,   265; watches and clock, 138; sewing and knitting machines, 97; melodeons and organs, 25.


                        Total number of personal property, $53, 924.

            The following citizens who have represented this township as Supervisors, are:

                                    Porter Phelps……………1854-63                G.M.Sayler…………..1878-79

                                    Zepheniah Lewis…………1864-65               J.W.Robertson……….1880

                                    G.M.Sayler………………1866-68               G.M.Sayler…………...1881

                                    J.W.Bridenthal……………1869-73             T.L.Capps……………1882

                                    Evan Ewan……………….1874                     J.T.Lewis……………..1883

                                    D.R.Smith………………..1875                     T.L.Capps……………1884

                                    Evan Ewan……………….1876                     H.T.Jewel…………….1885





            Larchland is the railroad station of the St. Louis Branch of the C.B. &Q. R.R., situated near the southwest corner of Lenox Township.  It was formerly called Lenox and was started after the completion of the railroad.  Larchland is quite a shipping point for grain, which is handled chiefly by J.H. Robertson, who has an elevator.  John Hodgson has a large general store and carries on an extensive business, and is also the Postmaster.  The first Postmaster her was Henry Redant, who was appointed in 1870.  He was succeeded by J.M. Young, and  Mr. Young by Mr. Hodgson.

            There is also a blacksmith and wagon shop here.  Larchland has constructed recently a fine new school house which is a very creditable building.  Having secured a good building, they next provided a good teacher to instruct their children, and have now a first-class village school, with a good large attendance.



          The Methodist Protestant Church.  There are two of these societies at this Station; one called Liberty Chapel, and the other Grace Chapel.  In 1863, a class was organized at the school house, about two miles west of thus village,  which was called Prospect Chapel.  It was afterward changed to Liberty Chapel.  This class under the administration  of the Rev. S. M. Davidson, erected a church building, in 1869, and through the zeal of the pastor, was enabled to complete it at a cost of $1,800.  The lot on which this house of worship was erected was presented by Joshua O. Talbot.  Size of the building, 25 x 40 feet.  It was dedicated by Rev. C. Gray, of the North Illinois Annual Conference, Nov. 1869, and named Liberty Chapel, by Joshua O. Talbot.  They have also a good parsonage adjoining the church building, which was built at a cost of $1,000.  The first regular pastor was Daniel McCormick, in 1863.  Rev. Thomas Rook served from 1864- 1865, and John Brook from 1866 to 1867; Rev. S.N. Davidson, from 1868 to 1869.  These were followed respectively, each serving from one to two years, by Revs. J.L. Bortan, W. Williams, W.J. Stubbles, M. Handy, James N. Mayall, Thomas Keely, J.W. Kidd.  Rev. John A. Richard is the present pastor, who presides over a membership of 74.


            Grace Chapel.  A revival meeting was held in Larchland, in 1876, which resulted in the increase of members of this church and the establishment of an organization here.  A meeting of the members was called, at which it was decided to purchase the old Presbyterian Church building, that society having been disbanded, and offering their house for sale.  It was bought for $300, and sold on condition that religious services would be continued there.  The membership of both Chapels is 74, and they are presided over by the same pastor.  This is the only organization of the Methodist Protestant Church in the country.  Services are held at Liberty Chapel in the morning, and at Grace Chapel in the afternoon of each Sunday.  A good Sabbath-school is continued at both places of worship the year around.  J.W. Barber and his wife, Mary A. are the only member now living that were present at the first organization of this church.  This organization in Warren County originated from the Honey Creek Circuit in Henderson County, which was established October 24, 1857, Rev. Madison Haney being the first pastor, and Wilson Nichols assistant.  This same year, a class was organized at Ellison.

            During the tornado of 1858, while Elder Haney was out riding on Circuit duty, and coming toward his home at Ellison, his wife who was at that place was severely injured.  Mr. Haney was the organizer of this church in Warren County.  The Station in Lenox Townships belongs to the North Illinois Conference, of which Rev. W.W. Williams, who resides at Cuba, Fulton Co., IL, is President.




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