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Bureau County Illinois  
Berlin Township History

Berlin Township
[Source: History of Bureau County Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor, Chicago Publishing Company 1885, Page 426-427]
The account of the civil history and the early settlers of this township may be found in preceding chapters.

The town is Malden, and was platted in 1856 by B. L. Smith, who sold to Enos Smith and W. C. Stacy and they laid off an addition north of The railroad. It was originally called Wiona, but when made a post office the name was changed. Joseph Bill opened the first store. The railroad made this an important shipping point.

The first settlement in the township was made in 1829 by Justus Ament on Section 18. This was the farm occupied by James Foristoll for many years. Ament sold to Elijah Phillips, who was killed by the Indians shortly after. In 1834 Elias Isaacs opened the farm on which he lived. The same year Richard Masters settled on Section 6. Mr. Masters was noted for his enterprise in surveying and staking out roads as early as 1836. Thomas Cole came in 1835. J. W. and Israel Huffaker settled on Section 8. About this time John Wise came. In 1836 George Clark built a frame house on Section 19. This was about the first house built out in the prairie in the county. Enos and Sidney Smith made farms in East Bureau. Martin Zearing and Oden Smith made farms on Section 30. Among the early and prominent men in this section were D. Greeley, Benjamin Porter, George Rackley, C. G. Reed, John Ballanger, I. Judd, W. E. Durham, Nathan and Peletiah Rackley, S. Mohler.

Elias Isaac, born February 20, 1804, in Randolph County, N. C. He was a son of John and Anna (Allen) Isaac, of North Carolina, who died in Indiana, leaving six children: Samuel, Polly, Allen, Elias, John and Elijah. The latter died in this county. Elias Isaac footed it from Washington, Ind., to Illinois in 1823. He stopped in Edgar County, where, February 20, 1825, he married Mary Black, who was born March 2, 1805. Elias and wife moved to Tazewell County in 1831, and the next year to Putnam County, and in February 1834, crossed the river into Bureau County (see W. L. Isaac's biography).

As an evidence of the neighborly kindness existing in the early day, we give the following: Mr. Brookbank framed a barn for Mr. Isaac, and when it was raised every man except one was present to assist in the raising from James Garvin's to Lamoille, and from Peru to Green River.

Greenbury Hall, a nephew of the Hall killed on Indian Creek, was an early settler in this township. Rev. P. J. Strong was the earliest preacher. Obediah Britt was an early settler in this section.

 Berlin and Dover townships were settled almost simultaneously in 1829, and by two brothers John L. Ament on Section 13 in Dover, and Justin Ament in Berlin on Section 18. These two section join. Elijah Phillips bought out Ament a short time before he was killed by the Indians. Elias Isaac and Richard Master came in 1834, the latter settling on Section 6. As early as 1836, Mr. Masters became an expert in surveying and establishing roads.

About 1835 Thomas Cole, J. W. and Israel Huffaker and John Wise came. Mr. Wise came from North Carolina.  In 1836, George Clark, the father of Samuel and Josephus, built a frame house on Section 19.  This is said to be the first frame house built in the township and about the first frame house built on the prairie in the county. This old homestead is still in possession of the family, being owned by S. P. Clark. Soon after this Enos and Sidney Smith, Martin Zearing, and Oden Smith made farms on the prairie.  The last two named on Section 30.

Among the early settlers should be named Nathan Rackley, who came here from Vermont in 1836 and settled in Berlin township, on Section 29, where he lived for many years, but in later life lived in Malden, where he passed away a few years since at the ripe old age of ninety-odd years. He was the father of George Rackley, who has been an active and useful citizen of Bureau county during his long life. C. G. Reed, John Ballanger, I. Judd, W. E. Dunham, Pelettah Rackley, and S. Mohler.

The Village of Malden

The village of Malden, in this township, was platted in 1856 by B. L. Smith. Enos Smith and W. C. Stacey bought him out and laid out the addition north of the railroad.  It was originally called Wiona, but was changed to Malden.

Population and Supervisors

The population of Berlin in 1900, including Maldenand part of Dover village was 1052.  The part of Dover village was 37 and Malden 309. The names of the supervisors are as follows:

Enos Smith, 1851-1855
J. L. Olds, 1856
Charles G. Reed, 1857
William W. Lewis, 1858
Enos Smith, 1859
George Rackley, 1860-70
Enos Smith, 1871-73
George Rackley, 1874-75
J. D. Phillips, 1876-78
George Rackley, 1879-82
J. D. Phillips, 1883
W. L. Isaac, 1884
George Bahr, 1885
W. L. Isaac, 1886
M. F. Laughlin, 1887-88
J. A. Perry, 1889-94
J. R. Pierson, 1895-1902
W. T. Piper, 1903-06

Taken From the Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois. Chicago: Pioneer Publishing, 1906, Page 118 - Berlin Township


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