Grove Township, Warren Co., IL
Spring Grove Township was organized under the Township Organization Laws, April
4, 1854. A meeting for this purpose
was held at the usual place for holding elections.
Thomas Gibson was chosen Moderator,
James H. Carmichael, Clerk.
When the ballots were counted it was found that
Gilmore was chosen Supervisor;
Gibson, Jr., Clerk;
John Ray, Assessor;
Watson Gates, Overseer of the Poor;
and William Walker, Justices of the Peace;
S. R. Boggs and
Averel, Commissioners of Highways;
Joseph Meyers, Constables;
Robert W. Gerlaw, Overseers of Roads
James H. Carmichael, Pound Master.
Spring Grove is situated in the middle of the northern tier of townships, number
12 north, or range 2 west. The
county of Mercer is at the north, and on the east, south and west sides lie
respectively the townships of Kelly; Monmouth and Sumner. The nature of the land is the greater
portion of the township is rolling; in the western part it is in places quite
broken. It is literally watered by
the Middle Henderson, Cedar Creek and tributaries, which meander westward into
the Henderson River. Along the
water courses the township is pretty will timbered. The facilities for drainage are good,
and there is but little dead land in the township, nearly all being subject to
cultivation, and very fertile.
James Humphreys has the credit of being the
first settler in the township, having located here in 1833. He was soon followed by
Gilmore and family, of who
James T. and L. H. Gilmore were
members. He located on section 25,
which he subsequently sold, and bought a farm on section 24.
John Armstrong and
Miller with their families came in, in 1834.
John H. Frantz and family located in
the township, in 1835, and
David H. McCurry in 1836.
Horace Smith with his family enlarged
the settlement in 1837. He came
from Pennsylvania with his wife,
Margaret, and four children --
Isabelle, Mary and John. Charles
and Owen were born in the township.
Mr. Smith located on section 3, on which place he lived in 1858, when he
died. His widow survived him nearly
a score of years and died in the spring of 1885.
All the children are living.
who was married to
Nathan Pettit is living at Alexis.
Elder Richard Haney was the first preacher to
hold service in the township. He
preached at first in private houses.
Mrs. Wilket, who was quite an elderly
lade, taught the first school, in 1841, in a house built by her brother, on
section 5. She had sixteen pupils
who were very much attached to her and did all they could to please and make her
happy. She long ago passed on to
the other world.
postoffice was opened at Spring Grove in 1835, soon after the Rock Island stage
route was established. There was a
little settlement at this place, and some trading done before the Rock Island &
St. Louis R. R., was built and the town of Alexis was started, when the
business, with most of the settlement here, moved to the latter place.
Spring Grove is a beautiful township, many parts of it very picturesque, and
containing some grand farms. It
ranks second in the production of stock, and is very fair in the production of
Rock Island & St. Louis R. R. was completed through the township in June, 1871. It enters in the northeast corner of
section I, and running south by west, passes out on section 34.
people do their trading mostly at Alexis, and at Gerlaw, from which places
considerable stock is shipped. In
1880, the population according to the census, was 1,400 and it is estimated now
to be about 1,500.
is a United Presbyterian congregation at Spring Grove, which was organized by
the Monmouth Presbytery, June 22, 1855.
J. C. McKnight was the first pastor, serving from June, 1856, until
March, 1860. He was succeeded by
Graham, who served the Church until 1863. Then they were without a pastor for
about a year, when they secured the services of
Patterson, who remained until December, 1868.
Rev. David Inches then took charge
and remained until 1874, and was followed by
Rufus Johnson, Wm. J. McCroney and
Johnson, the present pastor, who was installed Aug. 25, 1885, this
being his first charge.
have a good church building costing about $3,500, also a good parsonage. The membership is about 85. In addition to the services they have a
section 10 there is located a religious society called Church of God. It was organized in 1865 by
White. The first meeting
of this society was held in school-houses.
In 1869 they completed their church building at a cost of some $1,500. No regular services are held here now,
but sometimes they have preaching by a woman of the faith who comes from
the County Superintendent's report for the year ending June 30, 1885, the
following statistics have been obtained:
There were 10 school districts in the township with one graded school,
and 9 un-graded. The 10 districts
embraced 1 brick and 9 frame school buildings; the value of the school property
was $7,050. Of persons under 21
years of age there were 695, of whom 412 were of scholastic age, 551 being
enrolled. The highest wages paid
teachers was $60; the lowest $25 per month.
The tax levy was $3,459.86.
the Assessor's report for 1885, the following facts are obtained: Number of acres of improved lands,
21,794; number of acres of unimproved lands, 766; value of improved lands,
$283,140; value of unimproved lands, $3,625; total value of lots $35,150; number
of horses, 849; cattle, 2009; mules and asses, 19; sheep, 440; hogs, 3,706;
steam engines, 4; carriages and wagons, 253; watches and clocks, 54; sewing and
knitting machines, 85; piano, 4; melodeons and organs, 44. Total cash value of personal property,
M. A. Thompson……………..1857
L. H. Gilmore……………...1874-78
R. W. Gerlaw…………………1858-62
L. H. Gilmore………………..1863
A. J. Reid…………………..1880
R. W. Gerlaw…………………1864-65
B. F. Forwood………………1881-82
R. H. Gilmore………………...1866-68
John C. Blaney……………..1883
James B. Porter……………….1869-70
John S. Winbigler…………..1884-85
L. H. Gilmore…………………1871-72
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pretty and attractive little village is situated in the northeast corner of
Spring Grove Township on section I, and on the line of the St. Louis Branch of
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, about 12 miles northeasterly from
Monmouth. It was platted in 1870,
Messrs. Robert Holloway and
J. E. Alexander, and was named after
the latter gentleman. The survey
was made by
Thomas F. McClanahan on the 7th
of September, and recorded on the 16th of the same month. The original plat contains 160 acres, on
section I, in Spring Grove Township, and 160 acres in Mercer County, section 36,
town 13 north or range 2 west. With
the exception of a few residences the town has not extended into the latter
Palmer originally owned this land; he planted the first crop and made
the first improvements here, which was in 1855.
His house stood on the east side of where Main Street now is, near the
little grove, and was the first house built in this part of the county.
Mr. Palmer sold the land to
Lawhead, Sr., and he to
Messrs. Holloway and
Alexander. It was first
named Alexandria, in honor of one of its founders, but there being a name
similar to this in the State, considerable confusion followed in the mail
service and in the shipping of goods.
Consequently it was changed to Alexis.
This name was suggested by the arrival in this country, about this time,
of the Russian Grand Duke Alexis.
O. G. Chapman and
Gates opened the first store in the town in November, 1870, on Main
Street; they also received the first car-load of lumber that was shipped on this
part of the railroad.
T. B. Patterson opened the next store, on
Market Street, near the Baptist Church, or what is now the Presbyterian Church.
Richardson & Riner opened the first hotel at the
depot. This hotel is now kept by
and called the Alexis House. About
the same time,
U. W. Hull started a hotel on the
corner of Main and South Streets, called the Alexandria House.
railroad was completed to Alexis and Monmouth about the 1st of
January, 1871. The post office was
established Jan. 17, following, and
O. G. Chapman was appointed
Postmaster, a position he has held since that time.
town grew so rapidly, the people decided that they ought to have a village
government, and an election was duly called to take this matter under
consideration. It was held June 28,
19873, at Churchill & Wray's Hall.
The County Judge appointed
T. Loveridge, W. T. Richardson and
S. Wray, judges of election.
This was quite an important event to the people of this new town, and the
following named citizens were entrusted with its destinies:
John C. Blayney, A. G. Talbot, O. G. Chapman, O.
E. Bugbee, Daniel Churchill and
trustees met a Flake's Hall, July 28, and completed the city government by
John C. Blayney, President of the
John Douglas, Clerk;
Charles E. Johnson, Treasurer; and
Gilliland, Street Commissioner.
the night of Jan. 24, 1878, fire broke out under the floor of the Masonic Hall
on Main Street, and nearly destroyed the west side of that street. Among the sufferers was
McKnight, hardware dealer, two stores and one dwelling;
Shaw, notions and grocery;
Dr. J. P. McClanahan, drug store;
Loveridge, dry goods and grocery;
Knox, dealers in groceries and clothing;
& Yarde, grocery store;
Benjamin Churchill, restaurant and
Jacob Wolff, harness and saddlery.
May 8, 1879, another fire broke out, on the east side of Main Street, which
destroyed several business houses.
town is excellently located and is surrounded by a rich agricultural country. It has a healthy growth, and
improvements are steadily going on.
The industrial interests of Alexis, for a new and small town, are very good. The Alexis tile and brick factory was
established in 1878, by
George Bruington and Thomas
Townsley. The business
was carried on two years by them, when Bruington sold out to
who has since had sole charge and ownership.
Mr. Townsley is prepared with machinery and buildings to do an
extensive business in this line of manufacture.
He has the best of clay, which is easily obtained and comparatively
inexhaustible. At present he has 20
hands in his employment.
Another very important industry for Alexis is
Churchill's wagon and carriage shop.
For hand-made wagons, buggies and carriages,
Churchill has a wide reputation.
Porter Bros. Have also established a
reputation for handling good buggies and carriages.
creamery was established here last spring by
Little, who is making about 1,000 pounds of butter a week.
are several good business houses in the town and all appear to be prosperous.
Alexis is one of the desirable towns to live and do business in. It has a population of 398. Present officers:
N. P. Bruington, D. W. Burt, S. B. Miller, F. J.
Pine, J. S. Canon and W. E. Durston, Trustees.
Mr. Bruington is President of the
Patterson is Clerk;
C. W. Postlewaite, Treasurer; and
Poe, Street Commissioner.
short distance west of Alexis, on the county line road, is the stock farm of
Robert Holloway, one of the most extensive breeders of horses in the
State. (See biography.) He breeds pure Clydesdales, of which he
is a large importer. His large
farm, containing 640 acres, his extensive stables and long experience, eminently
qualify him for achieving success in carrying off the prizes in the Clydesdale
line of stock. At the Chicago
exhibition of 1884,
Col. Holloway won three-fourths of
all of the premiums in the Clydesdale list.
His Carmerogie, a yearling, took the first prize in New Orleans, St.
Louis and Chicago, for the best bred horse in this country from imported stock. Carmerogie Kier, once belong to
Holloway's stables, is now in Scotland, owned by the Duke of
Col. Holloway established his stables about
12 years ago. He has spent many
years of hard labor and large sums of money in improving his stock and
perfecting his breed, and eminently deserves the success that has followed his
Alexis has a good graded school, where a full English course is taught. They have a good frame building, large
enough to accommodate all of the scholars.
J. S. Canon, is Principal;
Miss Ann Bain has charge of the
J. P. Campbell, the intermediate; and
Maggie Boggs, the primary department.
They have an average attendance of 150 pupils.
Alexis is not without its newspaper experience, and, like most all small towns,
she has furnished another field for the entombment of those enterprises.
Journal made its first appearance Feb. 13, 1874, and was a
seven-column, folio paper, edited by
James Everett. The patronage was not enough to warrant
its continuance, and it was suspended at the close of the third volume. The plant was purchased by
Chaffee and the Alexis
Index was started. This was a five-column, eight-page
paper. It had a brief life and
expired like its predecessor. Since
then no one has been enterprising enough to attempt the publication of another
Alexandria Lodge, No. 702, A. F. & A. M., was instituted Oct. 8, 1872, with 11
Alexander was W. M.;
John H. McGrew, S. W. M.;
R. Scott, J. W. M. They
have at present 46 members, with a good hall; they were burned out in the fire
of 1878. The present officers are:
C. W. Postlewaite, W. M.;
McCall, S. W. M.;
Wm. Jackson, J. W. M.;
Truman Lord, Secretary;
The lodge was named after
John E. Alexander, the founder of
Alexis Lodge No. 526, I. O. O. F.--This lodge was organized Oct. 1, 1873, and
received its charter the 15th of the same month. The charter members were
M. Bell, J. H. McGrew, Daniel Churchill, John N. Carr and R. T.
Wray. Thomas M. Bell was
the first N. G.
fire of 1878 the hall of this lodge was burned, together with all their records,
furniture and regalia. They have
now a membership of 77, and are in good working condition. Present officers are:
George Bellinger; N. G.;
Bellinger, B. G.;
S. P. Leonard, Secretary;
They contemplate the erection soon of a fine hall for their use, and have
already purchased a lot.
Presbyterian Church was organized at Blayney's Hall, in 1881, in
connection with the Norwood Church, with 60 members, by Rev. .
were held for a while in Blayney's Hall and afterward in the United Brethren
Church. The organization of the
First Presbyterian Church of Alexis was at a meeting held in the United Brethren
church, May 29, 1883, with 65 members.
In the summer of 1883 they purchased the building belonging to the
Baptist Missionary Association for $1,200, and re-modeled it at a cost of $800. After several removals, the present
membership about 75, and is under
the pastoral charge of
Wm. J. Palm, the first installed
pastor. The Church is steadily
growing with hopeful prospects.
They have a Sabbath-school connected with the Church, with a membership of 100
scholars, presided over by
J. P. McClanahan.
United Presbyterian Church
-- This congregation was organized April 4, 1871, by Rev. J. H. Henderson, with
about 25 members.
W. A. Elder were the first elders.
Mr. Henderson supplied the Church for
a year, and after him
Drs. Black and
Doig. Meetings were at first held in the
school house, near town. In 1873
the society erected a very neat frame building, which is tastily finished,
costing 3,100. With this they have
good parsonage, located on the same lot.
In 1876 they secured the services of
McKerahan, their first regular pastor. He served the congregation until 1882;
they were then without a pastor two years.
In June, 1884,
Rev. J. D. Palmer accepted a call and
is the present pastor. It has a
membership of 63 and an interesting Sabbath-school of 100 members.
Methodist Episcopal Church
-- This Church has a small
congregation here. When first
organized, meetings were held in the grove, then in Caldwell's Hall.
Rev. P. L. Call, from Iowa, preached
for them awhile. They hold their
meetings now in the church of the United Brethern, and have service every two
weeks, being supplied from the North Henderson Church.
Brethern Church have an organization in the village. This society was formed in the township
in 1856. After Alexis was started,
the society located there, where they put up the first church building. It was dedicated in November, 1872. The building is a good, substantial,
frame structure, costing $2,250.
Kline is the present pastor holding services here every two weeks. Present membership about 24, with a
Sabbath-school of 48.
Picture from the 1889 P&B of Warren Co., IL,
click for bigger view
Click on pictutre to see a bigger view. Is the
home of Robert
W. Gerlaw with
the town of
Gerlaw in the
background. It was laid out on his farm and named after him.
Gerlaw post office was established about the 1st of January, 1871,
Elder as Postmaster.
Elder had a long service, remaining until Aug. 1, 1883, when
Foster took charge. It
was established soon after the advent of the St. Louis branch of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railroad.
Gerlaw was founded by
R. W. Gerlaw, who owned the land
about here, and was platted by
Thomas S. McClanahan, May 2, 1871. It is located on the northwest corner of
Section 34. (See view, page 356.)
A. Elder opened the first store in
town. He deals in general
merchandise and grain.
Elder sold out to
Parker & Hart and
sold out to
Parker, in 1883. Subsequently, he took in
Foster as partner.
Dr. W. H. Rupp attends to the medical wants
of this hamlet. J. P.
Lindquist has a wagon shop and there is also a blacksmith and a shoe
shop here. Gerlaw has a good school
building, and a good school, with an average attendance of 30 pupils. Its population numbers about 75.
Christian Church. This congregation was organized June 20,
Rev. L. S. Wallace, at Mauck's Grove,
with 29 members. Of these members,
only three are now living--Sarah Lair, Harriet Carson and
Gardner. They have
erected a house of worship, before organizing, at a cost of $1,100, which is a
very neat and substantial building.
It was moved to Gerlaw, in September, 1873.
Reverend Mr. Lucy succeeded
Wallace, remained one year, and was followed by
Gaston, who also served one year.
Revs. Henry Murphy, H. R. Trickett, J. B. Boyer and Mr.
McPherson followed in succession.
After this the Church had supplies for some years, when, in November,
1883, they secured the services of the
Rev. Chas. Laycock, who is the
present pastor. They have services
every Sunday, with a membership of some 60, and a Sunday school of 30 scholars.
The information on this page was
obtained from my copy the Portrait and biographical Album of warren county, Il,
published by the chapman bros. in 1889. all rights reserved.... Ë©2006 by Foxie Hagerty
Typed and emailed to me by my assistant
Kitty Smith; edited and
reformatted for the world-wide web by Foxie FH©2006
by Foxie Hagerty