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Bureau County Illinois  
Wheatland Township History

Wheatland Township
History of Bureau County Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor, Chicago Publishing Company 1885, Page 437-438

Wheatland is a half congressional township, divided in the center north and south. The most noted spot in the county is Lone Tree. A full account of this is given elsewhere. The town was not organized until 1857, being attached to Milo. Lone Tree Postoffice was originally on Section 16, and was moved to Section 20, and the name changed to Petit, but afterward it was again changed back to Lone Tree.

Locust Spring on Section 7, is another old noted spot. There was a lone locust tree near the spring. Here from time immemorial came the buffalo and game and the Indians to drink of these waters. Old, deep cut trails ran out in nearly every direction from it. Buffalo bones in great profusion at one time were found about this locality and along the Senachwine. This spring was the last place in all these parts that the deer abandoned from the approaching white man.
The Andersons, many of whom are yet in the township, and S. Miller, G. W. Henry, Raleigh Rich, S. M. Clark, J. Merritt, E. and S. Hunter and J. Miller were the early settlers.

John and T. Kirkpatrick in 1841 built a mill on Crow Creek. This was the first settlement in the town. The same year J. Larkins settled on Section 16. Then came Nelson Ballman. Alpheus Cook and Michael Jennett came in 1843.

The township was late in settling up, on account of being in the military tract, and as late as 1845, it was one almost unbroken stretch of prairie, except the fringe of Crow Creek timber on the south.

The town was first divided from Milo, and then placed back again in that township, and finally, as named above, it was again made a separate town. It was named by Justus Stevens after Buchanan's home. But this did not influence the politics of the people, as they always give reliable Republican majorities. The State Road ran diagonally through this township, and this was about the only road the people had until 1856.

The more recent settlers were Joseph Merritt, G. W. Ewalt, John Bell, Joseph Merritt, J. W. Meelick, John King, Abner Fox, Ezekiel Sales, John Pettit, J. P. Swift, R. R. Vail, Thompson Gordon, Simeon Brown, Ralwy Rich, Levi A. Roberts, William Brown, Jusus Bare, John Miller, Gardner Rodgers, R. S. Kirk, Leander Packard, Robert Hunter, N. H. Barto, Thomas Funson, F. M. Wells, John Holly, Christian Zerline, Silas Miller and Thomas A. Runnells.

 Take from the "Map of Bureau County, Ill. with Sketches of its Early Settlement"
by N. Matson, Published by the author, Chicago, 1867.

Page 64

Population 547

This town embraces only one-half township, according to the Government surveys, the other half being in Putnam county. The prairie is good and mostly under cultivation, with many well improved farms. Wheatland was nearly all military land, and from this cause the settlement is of recent date.

Many years ago there was a post offive kept on Section 16, called Lone Tree; it was afterwards removed to Section 20, and took the name of Pettit, but has again been changed to its old name, that of Lone Tree.

Locust Spring, on Section 7, is an old land mark, known by many of the early explorers of the West. It took its name from a locust tree that stood nearby, but has long since disappeared. This spring was a great watering place for buffalos; thirty years ago, deep cut trails were visible running in various directions across the prairie, going to and from this spring. Along the Senachwine, in this vicinity, a large amount of buffalo bones could be seen. This spring was also a great resort for deer, and large herds have frequently been seen drinking and feeding here. As late as 1844, when deer had become scarce in this county, hunters could always find plenty in this locality.

The Lone Tree, which has a notice elsewhere, was located on Section 16.

In 1841, John and T. Kirkpatrick built a mill on Crow Creek, and on Section 28. This was the first settlement made in the town. The same year, J. J. Larkins made a farm on Section 16, byt the Lone Tree, and Nelson Ballman came here soon after. In 1843, Alphius Cook settled on the farm now occupied by him, and about the same time Michael Jennett became a resident of this town.

Henry, G. W. and Raleigh Rich, S. M. Clark, J. Merritt, E. and S. Hunter, J. and S. Miller, and the large family of Andersons were among the early settlers.

The Lone Tree Falls

Taken from The Marshall County Republican, Henry, Illinois
July 12, 1866

From the Bureau County Republican, we learn that the famous oak, the Lone Tree which stood in the south part of the county (Bureau) some dozen miles from Henry, has at length succumbed to the fierce winds of the prairies and is now numbered with the things that were.

This tree, known to all in this section and state, has also a wide reputation east and west, and was marked as a "point" to travellers in the early settlement of the West between Peoria and Dixon, as well as other distant points in a day when travellers were governed by "points" instead of roads. It guided the weary soldier on march under Gen. Harrison when that gallant officer drove the Indians from this country in the war of 1781.

The tree was very tall and remarkable for its beauty, being some twenty feet in diameter at its base, well proportioned, and supporting a magnificent widespread top. It was visible for many miles north, west, and south and stood all alone on the prairie, far from any other trees through all weather and gales. The heavy winds of June 21 rocked it to and fro roughly, and before the close of the day it fell with a crash to the ground.

Lone Tree Post Office and prairie take their names from this famous oak and will serve to keep in memory the revered fallen hero. It has been a faithful landmark, and those who loved it and basked in its shadow, will drop a tear as they recount the scenes that cluster around its history.

Lone Tree Post Office

Established Aug. 16, 1849
Discontinued Feb. 18, 1854
Reestablished Feb. 21, 1861
Discontinues Jan. 31, 1903

Early Postmasters

Jonathan Reid - Aug. 16, 1849
Nelson Bullman - June 21, 1851
Stephen Bunnett - Oct. 18, 1853
Andrew Anderson - Feb. 21, 1861
Samuel H. McAfee - April 7, 1890
Abrham Anderson - Jan. 15, 1891
Dora Anderson - May 23, 1898

 Lone Tree Prairie
Wheatland, Bureau Co.
March 24, 1873

Taken From the Henry Republican, Henry, IL
March 27, 1873

Arriving about noon at Andrew Anderson’s he gave me an invitation to stop and take dinner and have my horse fed. I readily took him up at his generous offer, and got a square meal such as a No. 1 farmer can give in good taste, and in reality cures hunger.  Found his estimable wife and daughters busily engaged in quilting a patchwork quilt, showing clearly that they believe in preparing for the future.

Mr. Anderson farms 500 acres of the best of farming land; has 29 rods of corn crib, 8 feet wide and 10 feet high, supposed to contain 18,000 bushels of corn, raising the two last years; would load 50 railroad cars for Chicago; would cost him $1000 to wagon it to Snachwine. He is thereby convinced that there is too much corn grown, or not enough fed to cattle, hogs, sheep and geese. If his enormous crop was fed to stock, it could be shipped in 20 in place of 50 cars, paying far less freights in these days of extortion.

It would be well for the balance of our farmers to take the same common senses view of the subject, feed more and pay less freights. He is sowing 75 acres of spring wheat; intends to sow largely of the Mediterranean winter wheat and timothy seed the coming August. If the wheat fails, he is sure of a big crop of timothy seed and hay, that will surely pay. He is in favor of mixed husbandry. His wife thinks that growing of geese for feathers at the present prices and goslings sold the next winter, would pay. Mr. A. is of the opinion that it does not matter whether we produce beef, pork, corn starch, sour kraut, feathers, goslings or ice, so that the business is honorable and brings in the money.

He is very much interested in the development of the Henry water power, and thinks home manufacture our best policy for the future. Mr. A. is one of the thinking as well as practical farmers. This town has a farmers club of 50 members. No wonder that he is well worked up to the true interests of the farmers; the fruits of their labor has already developed itself.

I called on our esteemed townsman, Stephen M. Clark’s former residence, a neighbor of Mr. A. Found him sowing spring wheat, showing that he believes that there is a future want to be supplied. He showed me some 8 young horses, two, three and four years old, that he propose breaking, all of the best blooded of horses, showing that the time for driving valuable horses has not yet come, notwithstanding the exorbitant freight and fares.

I called on Dr. Joseph Harris, found him completely absorbed in the great farmers movement; also on John Brown, a well to do farmer, a neighbor to Harris, found him laughing something uncommon these times. On enquiring why he felt so, “Well, he said, “that he had just contracted his entire crop of Willow Twig winter apples, taken from his cellar, at $1.10 per bushel.” No wonder he felt well. What a pity that all the rest of the farmers was not like Mr. P. Have plenty of Stark, Ben Davis and Will Twig apples for sale at the above prices, as compared with the old varieties, selling slowly at from 40 to 50 cents.

My great misfortune on my way home was the loss of a $20 overcoat, that slipped from my buggy. The finder will confer a great favor on the subscriber by sending it to this office, or information where it is.

A. H. Gaston

1878 Wheatland Township Election

April 11, 1878
Taken From the Henry Republican

Township Elections


Supervisor, W. H. Bartow
clerk, Thomas Funson
assessor, E. P. Calef
collector, Wesley H. Runnells
commissioner of highways, W. W. Clements.

1879 Wheatland Township Election

April 3, 1879
Taken from the Henry Republican

Bureau County - Wheatland

Supervisor, Wm H. Barto
Clerk, Thomas Funson
Assessor, E. P. Calef
Collector, Edward Murphy
Commissioner of highways, Robert Hunter
Constable, Jonas Stewer.

1880 Wheatland Township Election

April 8, 1880
Taken from the Henry Republican

Bureau County Town Elections

Wheatland - Supervisor, Abram Anderson; clerk, Jehu L. Dawson; assessor, E. P. Calef; collector, Ed. Murphy; commissioner of highways, Jos. Stever.


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