Genealogy Trails Calhoun County, Illinois

Calhoun County, IL, Established January 10, 1825
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Source: archive.com
"History of Calhoun County and its people up to the year 1910"
by: Carpenter, George Wilbur

Hamburg

On January 18, the County Commissioners were considering the rebuilding of the court house, but on February 23, they decided that an election should be held to see if Gilead should remain the county seat or if some other town in the county should be chosen.

At this meeting it was decided that Hamburg should be the temporary county seat.

The Wilkinson, Plummers, and Hapers settled in the neighborhood of Gilead at an early date and played an important part in the building of the community.

In 1825 Jacob Crader and his son, Samuel Crader, moved into the Salt Spring Hollow. The Byrds, Wises, Schells, Pillersons, and Stiles arrived soon after. Most of these families came from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in covered wagons, and all, with the exception of the Stiles family, settled north of Gilead.

In 1929, Jacob Crader moved to a point six miles northeast of Gilead and built two water power corn mills. In the same year Samuel Crader moved from Gilead and settled in Indian Creek, where he built a blacksmith's shop and a water power mill.

All of the land upon which the village of Hamburg is now located was once owned by John Shaw.

He moved to this land sometime in the late 1820's, and in the year 1830 a post-office was established. Shaw was appointed postmaster, a position that he held for 23 years.

In 1834 the town site was surveyed by James Shaw, a civil engineer and a brother of John Shaw. In 1834 the town was described, in an emigrants' guide, in the following words:

"Hamburg, a landing on the Mississippi River in Calhoun County, and the residence of John Shaw, Esq., ten miles northwest of Gilead

The landing is said to be good, and the bank high. There is a post office by the same name.

Mrs. Caroline Dewey, an early settler, in speaking of the town in the early days, said:
"Sometime during the latter part of 1840 or 1841, my father sold his place and moved to Hamburg. It was quite a little village at that time. There were a couple of stores and a saloon or two. Lumbering was carried on at that time and this made Hamburg a lively place. My father bought a lot close to the river, and built a house upon the lot. We lived there at the time of the Launching of the steamboat that was built by John Shaw, the pioneer citizen of the village and its founder."

John Shaw and his steamboat have long been a mystery to the people of Calhoun. He built this boat at Hamburg and spent most of his money in the enterprise. He had people from miles around bring their surplus produce to Hamburg to be shipped to the market down the river.

John Lammy, in his short history of the county, said:
"Shaw considered St. Louis too small a place for the patronage of his boat, so he steamed on down the river to New Orleans, from whence it appears he never came back."

At any rate, Mr. Lammy, who was sheriff of the county, did not know what became of Shaw.

In 1891, Percy Epler in one of his artices on Calhoun County that appeared in a Chicago paper, said:
". . . . and he loaded his boat and steamed down the Mississippi. This was the last seen of John Shaw. Whether he succeeded in selling the cargo, or whether the nameless boat fell into the hands of the government is; not known to this day."

Recently the writer of this booklet discovered some of the writings of Shaw in the Wisconsin Historical Collection that were written after he disappeared from Calhoun.

In one of articles, Shaw mentions the steamboat.
"But in 1841'', he says, "I was induced to build a steamboat, and it was the first one on the river above St. Louis, and it bore my name by special desire of my friends. And the total loss of the boat a year after, caused me a loss of $80,000. This so broke me up that in 1845, I came to Wisconsin, and finally located at St. Marie."

Hamburg was selected to serve as the county seat in 1847, when the court house had been destroyed at Gilead.

The first meeting of the County Commissioners was held on March 16, 1847. Only two Commissioners were present as James Guy, one of the Commissioners,, had died sometime between the meeting of February 23rd, and this meeting.

The Commissioners decided to use a house, formerly occupied by John Shaw as a store, as a voting place and a place where official business might be conducted.

On March 18th, Stephen Farrow was granted a license to run a ferry across the Illinois River at Farrowtown (later called Kampsville).

Augustas Barteii was granted a license to run a ferry at Hamburg and was allowed to charge the same rates as the ferry at Clarksville, MO.

On August 12, 1847, the people of Hamburg presented a petition to the County Commissioners asking them to refrain from moving the county seat over to Child's Landing, but this place was selected in spite of the objections of the Hamburg people.

The last meeting of the County Commissioners at Hamburg was held September 8, 1847. At this meeting the sale of the old court house and the old Square at Gilead was ordered.

The first settler in the neighborhood of Hamburg was Mr. Mozier who settled north of the present site of the town and near what is now Mozier Landing.

In 1829, Samuel Crader settled in the Indian Creek neighborhood.

Among the other early settlers were Abner Gresham, Wesley Bovee, Louis and Jackson Swarnes, Asher Squiers, C. C. Squiers, Miltin Stone, Mr. Wineland, Mr. Dorr, Louis Puter- baugh, S. H. Stone, I. N. Jackson, William Phillips, I. J. Varner, H. D. Ruyle, Charles Edwards, Hewt Long, Alfred Games, John and William Lammy, Anton Dirksmeyer, Rotger Freesmeyer, Bradford Gresham, William Poor, Charles Schlieper, Sr, and Silas Wilson
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