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The History of Carroll County
Chicago - Munsell Pub. Co., 1913.

Volume 2 Pg. 617-629

Before entering upon the history of the people who made their homes in this beautiful country, it may be well to consider the natural conditions they found here; conditions which determined them to cast their lot here, and to build up com­munities and create a new civilization for them­selves; a country and a civilization which they might leave as an inheritance for the genera­tions that should follow them.


The great Mississippi river, any school boy or girl will tell you, is the longest river in the world, it bounds the county on the west; the thread of the main channel of the river is the state and county line. The eastern bank of the river in the south part of the county is bordered with timber interspersed with bayous and runfling sloughs forming many wooded islands. The principal of these is Turkey Slough in the southwest corner of the county, between this and the meandering slough, so called, is Big Island, next east Little Island and Marble Island, and Marble Slough, so named after an early settler.

In early days these islands were covered with magnificent trees, some were nut bearing trees, the fruit of some was a very large hickory nut and there were smaller sheilbark hickory nuts and walnuts in great abundance. Here the squirrels, of which there were several varieties, did not want for a plentiful store of nuts for winter use. Neither did the early settlers who greatly relished this addition to their not exten­sive bill of fare. The waters were filled with the finest kinds of game fish, and game of all kinds was very abundant, on the islands; and on the waters there were several kinds of wild geese and a great variety of ducks, and there were also wild turkeys and deer, and pigeons in great numbers. East of the islands is a treeless almost level plain, called the Sand ridge, about five miles in width, not much above the level of the river in high water, extending from below Savanna south between the bluffs and the river, to the southern boundary of the county.


Situated near the eastern boundary of this plain, In Mount Carroll and York Townships is Sunfish lake, called also Dyson’s lake, after William Dyson, a pioneer of 1837, who took up a claim on the western shore of the lake. At­tempts have been made to drain this lake by digging a ditch through low-lying marsh ground northward to Plum river, but they have only succeeded in lowering the surface of the water in the lake a few feet, and draining a part of the surrounding lands temporarily; the ditch has invariably been filled up with sand and mud, washed into it by heavy floods in the streams to the east of it, particularly Deer creek, which flowing west past Hickory Grove, carries down from the hills a great deal of the soil, which is deposited in the ditch, especially when the waters in the Mississippi and Plum rivers are high. There is very little fall from the lake and consequently no current running northward to carry the sediment out of the ditch, on account of which conditions it seems to be an impracticable undertaking to drain Sun­fish lake. The first ditch was dug in 1871 by the county and cost nearly seven thousand dol­lars and was paid from the sale of swamp lands successfully drained by the county ditch, running south through the Willow island tract of land. The last attempt to drain this lake was made by the owners of land to be benefitted under the drainage law. The ditch, however, filled up as before and an attempt is now being made to pump the water out of the lake into the ditch.


Apple river flows through the northwest corner of the county and empties into the Mississippi river on Section 11, Range 2, Washington Township. At its mouth is Apple River Island. A little farther east Rush creek flows through the center of the same township, on Section 17; in an early day it was McKillups dam and water power. This stream empties into, the great river on Section 28, where the Burlington Railroad crosses this creek. A little west of the bridge near Marcus station, is where the noted train robbery occurred in 1902. One of the principal tributaries of Rush creek is Camp creek. It gets its name from the fact that during the Blackhawk War and about the time of the attack on the fort at Elizabeth a large body of Indians were camped at the large spring in the beautiful valley which is the headwaters of the creek.


A little further down the river from the mouth of Rush creek is McFarland’s bay, in early days used as a favorite and safe place for wintering rafts of pine logs that were then floated down the river from the pineries, also for wintering steamboats. Below the bay the river flows quite close to the high bluffs, in early days called the Council Bluffs of the upper Mississippi river. They are the highest bluffs anywhere along the river and the most picturesque; here can be seen high upon one perpendicular bluff the profile of an Indian face, in these bluffs is also the noted Bob Upton’s cave. In early days steamboats burned wood and got large supplies from Savanna. At one time, great piles of red cedar taken from the bluffs above the town were to be seen at Savanna waiting for the arrival of some steamboat. This gave some of the early settlers the impression that the much talked of Savanna where they were to land, was “only a wood pile.” For some years the railroads consumed great quantities of wood to make steam in the engines; they got large supplies from timber along the river, most of which belonged to Uncle Sam,—conservation of the forests had not then been thought of. When walnut wood became valuable the great walnut trees, centuries old, were felled by the woodman’s axe. Below Savanna is the big slough through which Plum river enters the Mississippi river, west of this was Savanna lake.


Between the valley of Rush creek and Plum river valley is a ridge road from which fine views are had over both valleys. Plum river is the longest stream in the county. The government survey gave its Indian name as Pecatolikee and marked it, “navigable,” up to “Bowen’s Ferry,” just below where the mill dam of Bowen’s mill used to be. In the north part of Woodland its two branches East and West Plum river come together, the east branch is fed by Crane’s run, on which was Crane’s fort; further up is the Lyn Grove branch, which rises near Lyn Grove on Section 16, Cherry Grove Township and Cherry Grove branch, on Section 13, Feedom Townsuip, on which in years gone by was Bolinger's saw mill.


In the south part of Woodland township the waters of the Waukarusa flow into Plum river, and about twenty rods below its junction on Section 32, there was a sulphur spring, so marked on early maps. The Waukarusa takes its rise south and east of Shannon, the Badger springs starting one of the head branches. Cedar creek is a small stream that flows into it from the south a little above its junction with Plum river, the Pecatolikee. At the head of Cedar creek there is a spring which feeds a fish pond made by Samuel Preston, in which he raised many fine fish.


Plum river and its branches drain the entire north half of the county. Along the dividing line between Plum river valley and Johnson creek valley on the south, there is a ridge road to Savanna. From this road there are beautiful views over the valley on either side extending for many miles, and toward the west as far as the Iowa bluffs along the great river. When the early settlers came from Savanna, having disembarked there from a Mississippi steamboat after a long and wearisome journey, and traveled along this road and looked eastward over the beautiful praries, there spread out before them, they thought they had indeed reached the “Promised Land.”


The southern half of the county is drained by smaller streams. Johnson creek in the west part has its beginning near the center of Salem township, flows through the southeast corner of Mount Carroll township, thence through York toward the Mississippi river bottoms. There originally it was lost in the sands, but some enterprising farmers of that township made dykes on both sides of the channel so as to confine its waters in flood time, thus recovering from the floods and consequent standing waters, some of the most valuable land in the county. The county ditch, dug in 1866, through the Willow Island tract, leading south into Whiteside county, added to the area drained.


In the northeast corner of York township on what was the Tomlinson farm is an artesian well. It was bored by some strangers, who came to this county prospecting, thinking that they would find coal because there was a shale saturated with some kind of oil cropping out in the neighborhood. They were skeptical of the way the geologists read the book of Stone, viz.: that coal is not found in this geological formation, and the deeper they bored the farther they were getting from the coal bearing rocks; they bored down through a very hard rock and at five hundred and fifty feet struck a white sand stone so soft they could not secure a core, and water rose to the surface in a fine flowing well.

In the city of Savanna they get a fine flow of water by boring about four hundred and fifty feet, and two of these wells supply the city with water.

At Mount Carroll the city had a well drilled, with the intention of going deep enough to get flowing water, but no water was reached except in small quantities, until at a depth of two thousand five hundred feet the white sand­stone was struck and the water rose to within forty feet of the surface; it has been frequently analyzed and found to be of the very finest quality. This well is listed as one of the deep wells of the earth.

Rock creek, the headwaters of which begin just south of the city of Lanark, flows south to the southwest corner of Wysox township, where it is joined by Otter creek which takes its rise in the east half of Rock creek township; further east is Elkhorn creek whose headwaters drain Lima township. It was so named on account of the elk horns that have been found in the grove of the same name, some of which are still preserved by citizens of the county. Further east and near the county line is Eagle creek; in an early day on section 16 was Eagle creek mill dam.


On the ridge between the valleys of the Waukarusa and Rock creek a little east and north of the southeast corner of Section 10 in Salem township is what is called High Hill, said by the government surveyors to be the highest point in the county. Near here the roads cross, the one running east and west is called Cyclone Ridge, from the fact that on May 18, 1898 a "Cyclone" passed along this road doing a great deal of damage. From this high bill there is a beautiful view looking out over the once prairie country, which was then treeless but is now dotted with farm houses, school houses and country churches with small clusters of trees and orchards about them. Spread out before the observer are variegated colored, cultivated fields, changing color with the seasons of the year. Here and there can be seen the roofs of immense barns and innumerable smaller buildings for the housing of the farmer’s grain, stock and machinery, and commodious dwellings in many of which at this day, are all the modern conveniences which tend to make life comfortable, gas, light, heat and water systems, while wind mills and pumping engines enable the farmers to be no longer dependent upon springs. The numerous lines of poles remind the observer that neighbor can talk with neighbor over the telephone, and all the world at large.


From an early day considerable mining has been done for lead; principally in Woodland and Mount Carroll townships, although some lead has been mined in Savanna. The geologists say, the mode of the occurence of the galena in the upper mines of the Mississippi river is extremely simple. The geological age of the groups of strata in which the ore is found is lower silurian. In these mines the principal lead bearing rock is a crystaline limestone from two hundred and fifty to two hundred and seventy-five feet in thickness where not partially removed by erosion. The upper portion of this formation is somewhat argillaceous; the middle a very pure heavy bedded dolomite; the lower silurian rock containing numerous flinty masses. This group of strata is locally known as the upper magnesian limestone. It is separated from a rock of very similar character, called the lower magnesian limestone, by three groups of strata, which are commonly designated as the blue limestone, the buff limestone and the St. Peter’s sandstone. The first of these is thin bedded, highly fossiliferous purely calcareous rock.

At Savanna large masses of the rock are composed of casts of pentamorits; some trilobites are also found there. The blue limestone is from fifty to seventy feet in thickness; the buff fifteen to twenty and the sand stone eighty to a hundred. The blue and buff limestones are about the same geological age as the Trento and Black river groups of the New York geological survey. The yield of the upper mines is gradually diminishing; and this will continue to be the case, since the extent of the lead bearing rock is limited and the vertical range of the crevices confined to a moderate thickness. There is no probability that paying mines will be discovered in the lower magnesian limestone. This corresponds with the experience of the miners in this county; the crevices do not extend very deep and are usually very narrow and very few of them; no caves as in the mines about Galena, which often contained large quantities of lead ore. The early miners in Carroll county were usually stopped by the water coming into the shaft, in later years improved machinery was used and the water lowered but with no favorable results. No great strikes were ever made in these mines; sufficient mineral however was found to pay fair wages for the labor expended. The ground most dug over was the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 3 in Mt. Carroll township. This was called the Still House Forty Lead Mine. Whether it was dug over so much on account of its being productive of mineral or because it was convenient to the stillhouse, is a question.


Ten years ago some gentlemen from St. Paul, Minn. prospected quite extensively on Sections 19 and 30 on the farm of Samuel B. Adams for iron ore and other minerals. They leased a number of other tracts for the same purpose. It was thought at one time that they would develop quite an extensive iron mine, and the matter of building a branch railroad from Savanna up the Plum river valley, to haul the ore to Chicago smelting furnaces was talked of; but what ore was taken out, said to be a fine quality of hematite ore, was hauled to Savanna by wagon loads and thence shipped by rail to Chicago; but not finding it in sufficient quantity to warrant the erection of furnaces at the mine or the building of a railroad, the mine was abandoned. There were indications of a more valuable metal which the prospectors expected to find by going deeper into the earth, but so much water interfered with the sinking of the shaft, that project was abandoned. Some of the farmers in that neighborhood still think there are valuable minerals to be found underlying their farms. A more certain fortune however is to be gained by tilling the fertile soil on the surface.


This is situated on the farm that belonged to the late Beers B. Tomlinson on the southeast quarter of Section 35 in Mount Carroll township.

A strata of bituminous shale was discovered in boring for coal. The vein is about six feet thick and covers over one hundred acres, so far as explored. The shale after undergoing a certain process was found to make a very fine inexpensive paint, especially useful in preserving iron. To manufacture the paint a company was formed at Freeport and incorporated, called the Natural Carbon Paint Company. The late Michael Schauer of Shannon, until his recent death, was president of the company, which bought grounds and some buildings and erected others on the north bank of the Pecatonica river at Freeport. Not having sufficient means to carry on the manufacture of the paint they leased the plant to a large paint manufacturing company of Chicago, who are preparing to do an extensive business. The process is to roast the shale in closed retorts, some gas comes off which is burned for heating the retorts, and tarry oil comes off, which has medicinal properties, which have not been thoroughly investigated but it was found that there was a large percentage of carbolic acid in the tar.

The plant is now used for reducing the shale to a dry powder, which is shipped to Chicago where it is manufactured into paint. The capacity of the plant is to use about a car load a day. It has to be hauled ‘by teams from the mine to the Mount Carroll station and loaded on the cars. This mine is not very far from the cutoff, on the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad, and eventually a switch will probably be run into the mine and shipments made by rail. This same kind of bituminous shale is found at another place in the county much nearer the railroad and more convenient for shipping or being manufactured into paint.


Quite a number of Indian mounds are to be seen in different parts of the county. They are always objects of interest, and the unanswered questions arise, as to what human hands raised them, and when, and for what object? Certain it is, they were made by the aborigines and they are the only record there is of the existence on this continent of an ancient people. A very interesting work on the mound builders was written by William Pidgeon of Mount Carroll, called the Traditions of De-Coo-Dah; published by Thayer, Bridgeman & Fanning N. Y. 1853. This work has been considered by archeologists to be a very valuable contribution on the subject of which it treats. In our neighboring state of Wisconsin, great interest has been taken in the preservation of these prehistoric remains. The Wisconsin Archeological Society, the State Federation of Womens’ Clubs and local historical societies, have taken it in hand to procure the title to the land on which the mounds are found, and to convert these plats of ground into small parks, wherein the mounds can be preserved from destruction. These parks are used by the public for holding field meetings, picnics and so forth.


The title to Mr. Pidgeon’s work, shows its scope, “Traditions of De-Coo-Dah and Antiquarian Researches; comprising Extensive Explorations, Surveys and Excavations of the wonderful and mysterious earthen remains of the mound builders of America.” “The Traditions of the Last Prophet of the Elk Nation Relative to their Origin and Use, and the Evidences of an Ancient Population more numerous than the Present Aborigines." By William Pidgeon.

“Embellished with seventy engravings descriptive of one hundred and twenty varying relative arrangements, forms of earthern effigies, antique sculptures, etc. Mr. Pidgeon was one of the pioneers of Carroll county, his daughter was the wife of John B. Christian , the first watchmaker and jeweler in the town, who sold clocks and regulated the time for all the inhabitants. He told when the sun was on the meridian from the shadow that his door jamb made with reference to a crack in the floor of his shop and thus obtained the correct time. Tradition has it, that Mr. Pidgeon was a very intelligent gentleman, quite a learned man, spoke several languages. In conversing with the Northern Indians and with De-Coo-Dah he employed an interpreter. It is said Mr. Pidgeon’s treatise was first written in blank verse after the manner of Homer, but the subject being such a matter of historical fact, his publishers advised rewriting it in prose. It is further said that he wrote the book over the cattle pens, where he was employed in feeding the stock on the slops from the distillery in Mount Carroll.


In Chapter XXII, page 175, he gives this account of the “Unfinished Earth Works on Straddle Creek, Illinois :“

“There is, at the junction of Straddle creek with Plum river, four miles west of Mount Carroll, a group of mounds some of which are apparently complete, but many others are in an unfinished state.

“De-Coo-Dah represents these works to have been constructed by a people who were accustomed to burn their dead. The rings or circular mounds shown in the cut, page 59 are from twelve to twenty feet in diameter, and about two feet in height. The earth appears to have been thrown from within, forming a ring and leaving the interior in the form of a basin.

“Each family formed a circle that was held sacred as a family burying place or funeral ground; and when one of the family died, the body was conveyed to this place, and fuel being prepared was placed in the basin and burned. After the body was entirely consumed a thin covering of earth was spread over the ashes. The next death called for similar ceremonies, and so on until the enclosure was filed. Then the ring was raised about two feet, and thus prepared for further use; and this process was repeated as often as became necessary, the diameter of the circle being gradually diminished at the erection of each addition to the ring, giving it finally a conical form. Some of the rings shown in the cut are full, and present a flat surface. There are also two battle burial mounds attached to this group. I sank a shaft in one and was fully satisfied of the correctness of the traditional history, from the fact that after sinking about ten inches, I struck a bed of earth and ashes mingled with particles of charcoal, extending to the bottom of the shaft, which I sank some twelve inches below the bottom of the surrounding surface. This mound was constructed in the form of a tortoise without head, tail or feet, and I presume it contains the ashes of a portion of that nation.” He examined several other mounds and found them constructed in the same manner and composed of the same material.

Continuing, Mr. Pidgeon says, “In the vicinity of this group and about forty perches to the south of it, there is another complete group, where tumular burial was practiced, without fire. The traces of bodies in decomposition are evident. Drs. A. and J. L. Hostetter sunk shafts in two of these mounds, in one of which they found the jaw bone with the teeth of a human being apparently of gigantic proportions. They still retain it in their drug store at Mount Carroll. I presume however, that this was a relic of some recent deposit, as there were also other bones in better state of preservation in the same mound. The other mound adjacent to it was fcund upon examination to contain nothing more than the usual strata of decomposed matter. After a thorough examination of the group, I was satisfied that there had either been a change at some past era, in the common mode of burial, or that region was inhabited by an immense population, at different eras, who practiced tumular burial in different ways. The traditions of De-Ooo-Dah sanction the latter conclusion; and it is further corroborated by the fact that, west of the Mississippi, as far as our researches have extended, we have found in all burial mounds examined, the traces of fire in deposit of charcoal and ashes, while on the east side of that river from the junction of the Missouri to the Fall of St. Anthony we have only found an occasional isolated mound of that description with the single exception of the group on Plum river.

“From these facts in connection with the traditions of De-Coo-Dah, respecting the ancient iiihabitants of these regions, as of various languages, customs and color, we are led to the conclusion that at least two distinct races of men have occupied this territory at different eras, and that both became nationally extinct, anterior to the occupation of the present Indian race.” That these mounds are ancient we know, from the fact that the North American Indians were never known to have erected tumuli at any era known to history or tradition. They did however use these ancient mounds as places for burying their dead, in shallow graves.


About two and one-half miles north of Mount Carroll, on the north side and close to the Arnold’s Grove road, in the field of Mrs. John Souders, are four very interesting Indian mounds. They are conical mounds about seventy-five feet apart, built on the top of the ridge, raised four or five feet above the surrounding surface, each about thirty feet in diameter at the base, and eight or ten feet across the top, which is depressed, forming a basin in the center. About forty years ago some professional men of Mount Carroll dug into one of these mounds, the most easterly one perhaps, as it is disfigured now; they found nothing but bones of some human skeletons. There was then growing on some of these mounds walnut trees two feet in diameter. These mounds are being rapidly destroyed, the depression on the center holds the water from rain and melting snow, and the hogs running in the pasture have made hog-wallows in the top of the mounds, gradually carrying the dirt out so that they have become quite deep holes, of irregular shape. It is unfortunate that something cannot be done to preserve these ancient monuments.


On the ridge on the Bristol farm, on the southeast quarter of section 19, there are three or four conical Indian mounds, and about two miles south of these on the edge of the bluffs, on the old James Wilson farm, in section 29, there are several Indian mounds. These have been superficially examined and bits of skeletons and some relics found. The bluffs here overlook the lakes in the Mississippi valley, where there was an abundance of game. All the mounds thus far mentioned are on high ground, from them there is a fine view of the surrounding country.


There are three distinct Indian mounds on the northeast quarter of section 29 about two and a half miles northwest of the village of Thomson. These are on high ground overlooking the slough and the woods along the Mississippi river. These mounds are in a row north and south almost touching each other at the base and are ten or twelve feet above the level of the ground. From a distance they look quite prominent in the landscape. They seem to he made of sand from the surrounding land with a few rocks that must have been transported to the place. In excavating so as to make an examination of the mounds these rocks interfered so that a thorough examination was not made, by a party that undertook it some thirty years ago. All that this party found in digging into the mound was the bones of the fingers of a human hand.

In the same neighborhood on lower ground, there is one large Indian mound, said to be fifteen rods across at the bottom. It seems to have been made of earth brought from a distance and originally was raised about twenty feet above the natural surface. Where it is located, it has the appearance of having been an island and it is supposed the earth of which it is composed was brought there in canoes, and the object in making it so high was to have the top above the high water in the Mississippi river. It was first dug into by some college students from the south of Thomson; some thirty skeletons were unearthed by this party. Another explorer found in the mound a finger bone that had a thin thread of gold around it. The bodies all lay with their feet toward the center of the mound as appeared from the skeletons found. Nearly every year there is some one digging in this mound, out of idle curiosity to see what they can find. It is also being plowed over for farming purposes, and will soon be a thing of the past. Something ought to be done to arouse sufficient interest in the public so that all the mounds in the country will be preserved and protected from despoilation and destruction.


Many Indian arrows of great variety as to shape and size have been found in the county; also stone axes, weighing from two or three ounces to thirteen and a half pounds, some of them very artistic and with perfectly grooved heads; skinning stones, amulets and a great variety of celts and some Paleoliths and some Neolithic heaps of small stone. These relics are all in the hands of private individuals. Dr. Rinedollar of Mount Carroll has a very fine collection, among which are fifteen stone axes nearly all of which are grooved, and over five hundred arrow heads, about a peck, besides many other fine specimens of the work of the men of the stone age. Captain J. F. Allison had at one time, when he lived at Mount Carroll, a very fine collection of stone axes, found in this county. A permanent organization ought to be formed for the county, for the purpose of preserving historical treasures so that the collections may not be dissipated, and some of the specimens perhaps lost beyond recovery. During the World’s Fair in Chicago, a very fine collection of stone arrow heads and stone axes, made by George Winters of specimens found in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties, was sold to the Illinois World’s Fair Commission. After the fair it was given to the Archeological Exhibit of the University of Illinois.


These now famous walls of rock and beautiful scenery begin just below the city park, Mount Carroll, at Point Rock park, as it is now called, and line the creek on either side for several miles. They are at some places a hundred feet or more in height almost perpendicular. In pioneer days they were crowned with great tall pines that towered an equal stance towards the sky. These walls of rock are so close together at some places, they form what might be called a mountain gorge. They shut out the sunlight, except for a short time during the day, and in the hottest days in summer furnish a delightful shade and cool resort. At other places they also modify the climate in winter; so that at one place, it is as mild as the climate of St. Louis and Southern Illinois; here the paw paws grew and nowhere else so far north. These bushes used to fill the narrow valley along the stream, together with other shrubs and flowers that belonged to a more southern clime. The rocks, which were not entirely perpendicular, were covered with vegetation, and were festooned at all seasons of the year with various kinds of flowers and vines; in some of the damp nooks hanging moss drooped from the branches of the cedars. In winter they were covered with the cedar, and the beautiful dark green hemlock; that drooping over the rugged bluffs seemed to try to cover their nakedness. Intermingled with the green of the cedar and hemlock, was the bitter sweet with its bright red berries.

In spring time these lovely valleys were carpeted with flowers, the trilliums and hepaticas, pink, white, and some tinged with delicate blue, and the anemones and the bluebells, and as spring wore away and the great floods in the creek subsided, so as to make the many fords passable, one could see far up the rugged bluffs, the beautiful columbines, growing out of the crevices of the rocks and covering jutting benches or steps that were only accessible by giant strides. There were many ferns, among which was the beautiful maiden hair fern and that wonder always of children, the walking fern, which in shady places had taken possession of the great moss-covered rocks that lay scattered about the shady valley of the creek. Here also grew that sweetest scented of flowers, the orchis spectabilis, of the same family as the lady slipper, which grew so bountifully in the woods in those days. Later in the fall of the year high up on the overhanging precipices where there ‘did not seem to be soil enough for anything to grow but the mosses and the lichens, of which there was a great variety, grew the beautiful blue hair bell with its long black stem and bell shaped flower, the same that is so much prized by travelers in the mountains of Switzerland.

When the country was new these dells were free to every one and were certainly very grand and beautiful as nature had finished them. The entrance to the dells was by Poet’s Rock. The usual way of seeing them was on horseback; horseback riding was a common means of traveling in those days. Parties were frequently formed for the purpose of going “down to the cave.” Indeed there was no other way in early days to traverse the dells, on account of some twenty-seven times the creek had to be forded to go down as far as the cave. To gallop over the open prairie, and then plunge into the shady recesses of the dells was not an infrequent pastime of the young people of the pioneers.

The cave was a great crevice in the wall of rock, and extended back from the face of the bluff a hundred feet or more, was enlarged, and extended deeper into the ground by the miners digging for lead, which here was found in tiny veins running through the solid rock, so that it and some side chambers could be traversed by man for several hundred feet. To get into the cave it was necessary to cross the creek at this place, either in a rude boat or perhaps a canoe made from a hollow log or on a temporary bridge of poles or planks made by ingenious youths, so that their best girls, they were all best to some of the swains—could get into the cave. In later years the fords were improved so that one could drive down to the cave, mainly through the interest which Judge Patch had taken in having them repaired after every flood which would often make them impassable and sometimes even change the course of the creek, as it does not run straight along its narrow way, but meanders from one high bluff across to another, then back again, and the valley itself was by no means in a straight line, but wound about, some places doubling on itself in cutting through the hills, so that in traversing a distance of nearly two miles in a straight line it winds about for three miles or more. Below the cave is the grotto and along the way are many curious formations which have been given fanciful names, some of which have not been an improvement on those of the early pioneers. What is now known as Point Rock, where one enters the dells, was called Poet’s Rock by the young people of the pioneer days. Here the swains of early days were wont to retire to indite those tender epistles which woii the hearts of the maidens of pioneer days. After this period was passed through the rock became a trysting place for happy lovers. In many places civilization has marred the beauty of these dalles, particularly where they extend through the village; here a dam was built across the narrow valley to raise a water power of twenty feet fall for the Mount Carroll mill.

In the early days this dam formed a beautiful clear lake, very deep and filled with many kinds of game fish. In the summer time it was fine for boating and bathing and in winter for skating, more than a mile in extent, passing up by Day Spring and Day Spring Hollow, which latter places are now fortunately enclosed in the grounds of the Caroline Mark Home , and will in time be made into a beautiful park. When the first settlers came, Mount Carroll was the site of an Indian village, and when the mill dam was being built where the mill pond now is the skeletons of their tepees were still standing. Here it is told that an Indian squaw riding up the stream on her pony placed a foot on either bank and the white man called it Straddle Creek, but the Indian name is Waukarusa. which means, waist deep. Passing further up the stream and two miles from the city, are what might be called the upper dalles of the Waukarusa. Here the natural growth of forest trees has been preserved, and the valley between the bluffs is still filled with great tall walnut, sugar maple, linden, ash and many kinds of oak and other trees, so that within the space of a few acres every kind of tree to be found in this latitude can be seen growing. Here also grows in great abundance the thong wood, of so much use to the Indians in tying together the bark with which they formed their canoes and wigwams.

An ancient oak may be here seen that was probably growing when Columbus discovered America, a stately monarch of the forest,— “What gnarled stretch, what depth of shade is his,” “There needs no crown to mark the forest’s king.” The body of this tree at its smallest girth Is over ten feet in circumference; about fifteen feet from the ground it divides into two enormous, almost perpendicular branches, one of which is over six feet in circumference, and the other over seven; it is sixty feet high and spreads seventy feet in width. In very early days this oak sheltered a hunter’s log cabin; the hearth­stone of its fire place still remains to mark the spot where it stood; from which place can be seen in the distance, looking south, a spring where the deer and elk in early days used to come from the prairies to drink of its cool and refreshing waters. The oak and the violet, which are here such near neighbors, were a few years ago voted by the graded schools of Illinois to be the state tree and the state flower. This old oak overlooks a high bluff where there a perpendicular wall of rock rising from the running water below, some fifty feet in height, and for several rods in length in a straight line, the top is fringed with low bushes and at the upper end of the perpendicular wall of rock is a convenient crevice. This place was used by the Indians in the early days for destroying great numbers of buffalos. Large herds of these animals roamed over the prairies of Illinois in early days. Like many wild animals, they were in the habit of following a leader, and were not easily deflected from the course he was pursuing. The Indians taking advantage of this fact substituted one of their number disguised as a buffalo, with a bison skin with head, ears and horns and no doubt the tail, so that the deception of the dumb animals was quite complete. The herd was then surrounded by the Indians and put to flight towards the one in disguise, who imitating the motion of the erstwhile leader fled towards the cliff with the whole herd following upon his heels. He. took shelter in the crevice of the cliff. The herd having gained great momentum in that direction could not stop, if they would; those in the rear forced the foremost on until they nearly all went over the brink of the precipice to their utter destruction.

In the early days, all along the Waukarusa “bright old inhabitants,” so called by the Indians in a word translated from the Indian tongue, were entirely too numerous for one to be at ease when walking through the woods. This is another of several good reasons parties had for going down to the cave on horseback; these “bright old inhabitants” being very poisonous rattlesnakes. The reader will be glad to know that they are now exterminated in this neighborhood and it is seldom that one is found anywhere in the whole county.

The catamount, that terror of the woods, lived in a cave below the cliff near this ancient oak, when the country was first settled by white men. He no doubt stretched his lithe body along the huge limbs of the old oak and with glaring eyes the blood-thirsty mouth was ready to drop down on his prey, the little rabbit that sought shelter in the depths of the tree’s hollow trunks, or the gentle fawn that was enjoying the grateful shade under its spreading branches. In those days of the early settlers the wild pigeons came to this country in such great flocks as to form clouds that darkened the sun; they used to light on the old oak in great numbers to feed upon its acorns. Further down the stream, above a deep pool, there is a mass of rocks covered here and there with shrubs and cedars and tall trees, over which one can look when standing upon the hillside above. This place and scenery gave to the author of the, “Merchant Prince of Cornville,” some of his ideas, which have since become of world wide notoriety, especially in theatrical circles. This play is claimed by its author to contain the ideas which made such a great success of Edmond Rostand’s great works “Cyrano De Bergerac,” and “L’Aiglon,” and “Le Chantacler.” So near akin is all the world that the palaces of Paris hark back the echoes from the fern clad cliffs of the little stream in Illinois now called the Waukarusa.


Above the upper dells the explorer emerges upon the beautiful prairie, which extends for miles towards the rising sun. In early days it was thought these prairies would never be settled and farmed, although they are the most fertile lands in the country, because there was no water, no wood for building or fuel, nor for making fences to enclose the cultivated fields, to keep off the roving bands of cattle that grazed at large for miles around. The beauty of the scene was however, impressed upon the early settler. In the springtime the prairie was a delicate green; among the blades of grass were such tiny flowers, as the violet and the strawberry, and many others of delicate tints and of unknown names; these covered valley and knoll, making a trackless sea of billowy verdure. The observer soon became aware that he must take note of his bearings, or he would be lost among the green knolls, as there was nothing to mark his way. The horizon was an unbroken circle of green which met the sky. As the season advanced toward mid­summer in the grass were delicate tiny flowers, —the violet and others more conspicuous and gaudy. In the autumn, yellow was the predominating color of the flowers which were then very beautiful. The prairie had a beauty of its own, which beggars description; it has vanished forever; we shall never see its like again.

Volume 2 Pg. 627-


The United States by various treaties with the Indians from 1804 to 1832, had extinguished their titles to the land in the Rock river valley and about the Galena lead mines; the redmen remained, however, until about the time of the Blackhawk war, before they permanently removed to their new homes west of the Mississippi river. Independent of the occupation and ownership of the soil by the aborigines. France and England, as each gained ascendency In their new world dominions, ruled the northwest by turns, until it was conquered from the latter, by the bold and heroic expeditions of George Robert Clark, whose campaigns in Illinois reduced the British posts of Kaskaskia and Fort Vincennes between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.


All epitome of the history of this aucient ownership may fitly introduce this attempt to clothe in historic narrative the following pages of our local annals.

The history of Illinois up to 1809 may be epitomized nearly as follows. Originally its territory, with that of other northwestern states, was a part of New or Canadian France, and was partially under French control.

The Jesuit missionaries were the first white men who discovered the Mississippi river and traversed Its tributary streams. They came to tell the story of the Cross and evangelize the wild tribes of the prairie and the woods. Their relations or journals are the sources of our early northwestern history and primitive settlements. Their heroism and adventurous discoveries founded the empire of New France in the new world. From the month of the St. Lawrence river to the Father of Waters their early labors to proselyte the Indian races were constant and unremitting. The charm of a certain spirit of romance hangs over their lives thus filled with the passion, beauty and heroic achievements of a fervid religious enthusiasm. Nor are incidents almost tragic in their sadness, wanting to complete the historic picture or story. There is no death scene in the history of those days more touching than the death bed of Marquette, one of the explorers of tills very territory, yielding up his spirit in prayer to the God who gave it, by the banks of the small river which hears his name on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, on May 19th 1675. The pathos of that death-bed scene is touching in the extreme.

Between 1715 and 1720, the Northwestern Territory was made a part of Louisiana and was thenceforth governed from New Orleans instead cf Quebec. The southwest had had its ups and downs and fierce conflicts had been waged in the new states of Florida, Louisiana and Texas, between colonies, soldiers and emissaries of France and Spain. By the treaty of Great Britain and France, (Treaty of Paris, 1763), all the northwestern territory Including Canada, was ceded by the latter power to the former, and Captain Sterling in behalf of Great Britain, opened a provisional government at Fort Chartres in Randolph County in 1765. In the following year Illinois and the northwestern territory was placed under the supervision of Canada, and governed from thence for many years as a British Province. Meantime the Revolutionary war broke out In 1778, General Clark, one of the most heroic soldiers and leaders of his time, organized the expedition referred to and after incredible hardships and heroism, captured Fort Vincennes on the Wabash, garrisoned by British troops, under General Hamilton and restored this whole country to the American Colonial government. It was placed under the Jurisdiction of the State of Virginia, which In October, 1778, was organized into the County of Illinois of the Indian Territory* At that time there were two grades of territories recognized. In the first grade the appointed judges and governor made the laws. By a vote of the people in 1812, Illinois passed to the second grade, in which a territorial legislature consisting of a council and house of Representatives, made the laws and exercised the functions of government this first legislature consisted of four councilmen and seven representatives.


In 1900 acting governor Pope by his proclamation divided the state into two counties; St Clair and Randolph, and they were the only counties for three years prior to 1812, at which time by a vote of the people of these two counties, the territory passed to the second grade of government In September of the same year four more counties were organized and an election was ordered which elected the four councilmen and seven representatives of the first legislature chosen in the state.

As the state grew and passed into its state existence In 1818, the carving process went on, and new counties were constantly organized. Peoria county when organized extended from the Illinois river on the east to the northern boundary line of the state.


Finally In 1827 Jo Daviess county was organized out of the northern part of this large territory. It embraced what is now the counties of Lee, Ogle, Carroll and Whiteside and some other territory yet unorganized. In 1830 Ogle was carved off from Jo Daviess and afterward Lee was carved off by dividing Ogle Into two counties. Meanwhile Carroll county remained a part of Jo Daviess. and Its first settlement. Its first county government and Its first resident Justices of the Peace appear while it was yet a part of Jo Daviess county. A few of the oldest citizens In 1870, remembered, when Carroll county was still a part of Jo Daviess and Galena was the county seat, of the former county.


This brings us to the organization and political history of Carroll county, the proper subject of this history. As early as 1837 petitions had been addressed to the Legislature, asking for a separate county organization, signed by the citizens of Savanna and many others.


The town of Savanna had been laid out by Luther H. Bowen, with whom was associated a man by the name of Murray. One John A. C. Clark seems also to have laid off the north part of the town; but none of these plats seem to have been recorded until after the complete organization of the county.

The first petition for county existence contained the novel request that the court house of the new county should be erected on "Murray's Square," In the new town of Savanna.

The act organizing the new county was approved and became a law on the twenty-second day of February, 1830. It provided that an election should be held on the second day of April following; for the purpose of choosing the seat of Justice for the county, and of electing county officers. This act contains some novel provisions, requiring the owners of lands on. which the county seat might be located, or the town of Savanna, in case It should be located there, to donate land or town lots and also to donate thirty-five hundred dollars in cash to he paid to the county for the erection of a court house and other public buildings In six. twelve and elghteen mouth Installments.

This election was held on the eighth day of April, 1838. Savanna received one hundred and twenty-six votes. That vote was placed on record and certified to be the majority of all the votes cast, by John Knox, Leonard Goss, Alvin Humphrey, J. C. Owings and Benj. Church, acting justices of the peace in and for the original county of Jo Daviess. Savanna thus became the county sent of the new county. Returns of first election were to be made to these Justices of the (>o&ce. who were to canvass the returns and declare the result, which was done in due form of law.


The new county was attached to the sixth Judicial circuit; and courts were to be held In it twice a year, at such times as the judge should designate. We find afterwards that he held the circuit court or terms of court iu the months of September and May.

Township organization had not then come Into fashion in this part of the state but a County commissioners court, composed of three commissioners did the legal and other business of the county. Sample M. Journey, Garner Moffett and Luther H. Bowen were the first commissioners elected. At their second meeting in June, 1889, they drew lots for the terms of duration of their office. Luther H. Bowen drew the one-year term, S. M. Journey drew tho three-year term, and the two-year term was left for Garner Moffett, he getting what is called Hobson’s choice: but I cannot find that Moffett ever qualified or took part in the county business until about the close of the year 1830.


The first meeting of the county commissioners court was held in Savanna, April 13, 1839. They appointed Elijah Bellows and Alvin Davis the first assessors of the county. Norman D. French the first collector, laid off the county into the road districts; assessed four days’ road labor upon each man If necessary to have so much; granted a license or two to keep tavern, and did some other business. I find afterwards that the fees of the above assessors, were seven dollars to one and seventeen dollars to the other. William Goss was the first clerk of the county commissioners court; Hezekiah Frances was the first sheriff; John C. Owings was the first probate Justice; Mason Taylor was the first coroner; Royal Cooper was the first recorder; Levi Warner was the first surveyor; Leonard (Joss the first notary public; and Vance Davidson was the first public administrator. The commissions of these officers all bore date early in the year 1688; several of them were re-elected and served term after term Iu succession, especially was this true of Frauds Owlngs, Taylor, Cooper and Warner.

The first county order issued by the commissioners was to Captain James Craig for ten dollars and fifty cents for a copy of the law organizing the county. Captain Craig was the representative for Jo Daviess county, who introduced the bill, iu the legislature to incorporate the county.


On the twelfth of September 1830, the first term of the circuit court was held in a building two blocks south of the present residence (1875) of Dr. Woodruff, a sort of a public building in which all public gatherings were accustomed to convene for public meetings. The following are the names of the grand and petit jurors which were selected by the county commissioners court for this term. Grand Jurors for September term 1839; John Knox. A. Fainter, Herman McNamar, Daniel Storier, Thomas I. Shaw, E. W. Todd, Francis Garner, John C. Owings, George Swaggert, Nathan Fisk, Samuel Preston, David Masters, Beers Tomlinson, Aaron Pierce, Thomas Rapp, John Eddowes, John Bernard, John Laswell, Stephen N. Arnold, Elijah Sterns, William Dyson, Jr., William Dyson, Sr., and Daniel Christian.

Pettit Jurors for the same term: William Ayres, Aaron Robb, William Jenkins, Isaac Jones, John Iler, Sumner Downing, Nelson Swaggert, Irwin Kellogg, Vance L. Davidson, Alonso Shannon, John Orr, David Ashby, George W. Brice, William Eaton, Levi Newcomer, John Johnson, John Cummings, George Christian, Paul D. Otis, Ellas P. Williams, Royal Cooper, David L. Bowen, William Bundel and John Fuller. These were among the prominent old settlers, most of them are dead now, sleeping quietly in their coffined sleep; some went off to other states and localities; while a very few may yet linger among the living in the little county they helped to organize and build up.

At the first term of the court the docket contained eight cases; five of them were appeals from assessments of damages, highway cases I suppose; two were forcible entry and detainer suite; one was a trespass on the case suit; most of these cases were continued or dismissed; and the only attorney on record I find, was a man by the name of Wakefield, who must have starved to death if he depended on legal fees for a living.

At the next term of court, May term 1840, there were twelve cases on the docket. Martin P. Sweet, Judge Drummond, a Mr. Chase and a Mr. Hoge appear as attorneys of record. Judge Drummond had two divorce suits and they were the only chancery cases of the term. In fact these two chancery cases are the beginning of the chancery record In Carroll County. The cases were: Jeremiah Humphrey vs. Hannah Humphrey and Dudley C. Humphrey vs. Lavinia Humphrey, both were commenced by the husbands and both husbands were supposedly made happy by obtaining the divorces sought. At the same term there were two slander units Robert Ashby vs. Peter Bashaw and Oliver Bashaw, both suits seemingly dismissed without a trial or hearing. Soon after this the names of E. B. Washburn, Judge Heaton and others whose names became prominent or distinguished as lawyers, began to appear on the dockets as then practicing law in Carroll County. A part of Pierce’s tavern was used as Jury rooms; fifteen dollars were appropriated per term to pay for putting these Jury rooms Iu order, except at one term when the appropriation was only five dollars, to tie up a Jury room in the Mississippi house for some kind of court purposes. Judge Stone of Galena held most of these early courts. Judge Brown succeeded him, of whom many ancedotes were told, some of them still linger In the memories of some of the older lawyers.


As settlements spread over the county and emigrants sought this part of the state, the question of removing the county seat to a more central location begun to be agitated. This agitation was chiefly urged on by the Mount Carroll Mill Company. It culminated in the passage of an act by the legislature, approved March 6th 1843, appointing Moses Hallett, of Jo Daviess county; John Dixon of Lee county and Nathan Helcher of Rock Island county, commissioners to select a proper and more central location. On the 17th day of May of the same year they met and selected forty acres of land donated by Nathaniel Halderman on behalf of the Mill Company, on the hill in Mount Carroll, where the churches now stand, stuck a stake there where the public square was to be, and named the site Mount Carroll. This land and ten acres donated by George W. Christian was laid off into town lots and these lots or some of them were offered at auction on the twentieth of November, A. D. 1843. This plat was laid off by the commissioners, was afterward vacated by the legislature February 5, 1851. Savanna had got out hewed timbers for a block house jail at this time but had failed to build a court house. The Mill Company were not satisfied with the location of the town plat as made by the commissioners, and the result was that no lots were sold by the county at the sale advertised to take place. There upon Nathaniel Halderman offered to build a substantial court house, making the offer for the Mill Company, if the county would deed back the forty acres donated to the county by the company, and also cancel a subscription of one thousand dollars which the company had made towards erecting a court house and public buildings; this offer was accepted.


The building of the court house was commenced in 1843 and completed so that the public offices were removed Into It on the first Monday of September, 1844. Tho right to use the courthouse for church purposes and for other meetings and gatherings was reserved for ten years by those who erected it. The first gathering in this young temple of Justice was a Fourth of July celebration in 1844 before the building was completed, and In those days revival meetings preaching and other meetings on public occasions were regularly held there. Thomas Hoyne of Galena made the oration, at this meeting to celebrate the day. What reminiscences of those early days this old court house could loll, could Its now scattered rocks be gathered up and endowed with speech; but like everything else it had to give place to the progressive spirit of the new civilization.


It Is not nay purpose now to trace this county seat matter further. The history of the county from that time down to the present, shows that November twenty first 1840, George W. Harris qualified as the first county judge and Norman D. French and George W. Knox as associate Judges. Harris resigned a year after his election, and was succeeded by David Emmert, and he by Thomas Rapp. C. VanVechten, Judge Gray and John Wilson and later by Hon. B. L. Patch, who held the office for many years, (until succeeded by A. F. Wingert, and lie hy John I). Turnbaugh, the Incumbent in 1910).

The county clerks and clerks of the county commissioners court have been William B. Goss, John Wilson, Leonard Goss, Valentine Bohn. Benj L. Patch, R. G. Bailey, R. M. A. Hawk and perhaps others who filled the office in those early days (The incumbents down to the present time have been: E. T. K. Becker, F. A. Smith and Andrew B. Adams.)

The county was but a brief period under the supervision of the Judge and hi* two associate Judges. We find that April 8, 1850, the first meeting of the supervisors took place and adjoined for the want of a quorum, to the 23d day of April; on that day the new board met and organized. The following were the names of the supervisors present at the first meeting and there Is no record of any absenteee: Jared Bartholomew, Daniel P. Holt, Rollin Wheeler, Sample M. Journey, George Sword, Monroe Bailey, Henry F. Lowman and John Donalson. Jared Bartholomew was elected chairman.

There has been no change since in the system of our county government and the system is so familiar to all our citizens, that It may be dismissed without further comment It Is the good Republican system adopted by all the counties in the northern part of the state.


As a matter of Interest it may be proper to state that the first business done by the probate court, was the probating of the will of Peter B. Newell, by John C. Owings, probate Justice of the I*ace. September 5, 1830. The first marriage license issued. as shown by these early records was to Marshall B. Pierce, to marry Julia A. Baker, which was dated August 27, 1830. Benjamin Church J. P. tied the knot The first deed recorded was from Bowen and Murray to David L. Harrison and was dated May 20, 1837 and was recorded July 4, 1830.


The names of the men who have represented the county In the legislature, so far as I can find, are difficult to state accurately on account of the changes frequently made in the representative districts and our changed connection with adjoining counties.

I give as nearly as I can, however, the names of those who have been connected with public affairs and who have been residents of the county, since It was organized with their callings and professions so far as I know them. J. M. Hunter, senator in 27th General Assembly, a lawyer and served one term of two years; H. A. Mills, banker, senator; W. P. Miller, lawyer, 18th General Assembly; Rowland Wheeler, merchant, 10th Assembly; Porter Sergeant, merchant, 20th General Assembly, two years; James DeWolf, farmer, 21st General Assembly, two years; Benjamin L. Patch, lawyer, 22nd General Assembly, two years; J. F. Chapmans merchant, 23rd Assembly, two years; Daniel Dame, farmer, 24th Assembly; Elijah Funk, farmer, and surveyor. 25th General Assembly, two years; Adam Naso, ex-sheriff and carpenter, 26th General Assembly; James Shaw, lawyer, 27th and 28th General Assembly, four years; N. D. French, farmer, 39th General Assembly. [James Shaw was speaker of the House of Representatives during one long session and one or two adjourned sessions. John M. Stowell, merchant, was our representative 1877; Emanuel Stover and Henry Bitner, Dem., 1881; Geo. L. Hoffman, attorney, 1883; Simon Greenleaf, editor. 1885; Levi I. Bray, farmer. 1880; Dan'l L. Berry, attorney. 1891-95: J. N. Brandt, farmer, Dem., 1893; David C. Bussel. farmer, 1897-99; C. W. Middlekauff, attorney, and B. N. Lechtenberger, merchant, Don., 1901; and W. W. Gillespie, farmer, 1903-09.)


The polities of the county up to the organization of the Republican party was always Whig by a small majority. In 1840 it gave Its first vote for Harrison. In 1844 the electoral vote was cast for Henry Clay, as near as I can deter- mine. In 1848 It went for Taylor; In 1852 General Scott was its choice. Since then its vote has been true blue for the Republican party nominees, with some local exceptions.

The circuit judges, as near as I can determine, have been Judge Stone, Judge Brown, Judge Wilkinson. Judge Drury, Judge Heaton, Judge Eustace. Judge Crabtree, Judge Cartwright, Judge Garver, Judge Tutbill, Judge Shaw, Judge Baum, Judge Farrand and Judge Heard.


The early settlers located In favorite spots, where they could procure wood for fuel and building and fencing their crops and water for themselves and their stock. These locations and settlements were known as neighborhoods. The working of the Galena Lead Mines, just north of Carroll County, first attracted settlements and emigration to this part of Illinois. They first led to annual migrations from central Illinois and other southern localities.

The French voyager, LaSeur, in the year 1700, first discovered lead ore in Jo Daviess County, which joins Carroll on the north, and named the stream which flows through Galena, Fever River, or first, perhaps, the River of the Mines. It afterward took the former name on account of the fevers and other diseases prevalllug there. The miners crowded there In great numbers and suffered much from periodic fevers aud ague. Prior to the working of the mines by white men the Indian squaws had sometimes excavated the lead ore and subjected it to their rude smelting processes. Great fortunes were subsequently amassed In this business and many who here secured fortunes went to Chicago and helped to make that city a colossal center of commerce. Early In 1819 a man by the name of Bontillier settled on the east aide of Galena River (Fever River) where the city of Galena now stands, and he is said to be the first white man who settled there. A little later in the season Jesse W. Shull had established a trading post there, or near there, and he was soon joined by A. P. Vanmeter and Dr. Samuel Muir, who had the honor of naming the future wealthy city to grow up there. These men traded with the Indians, and married Indian wives. About 1828 and 1824 the wonderful Galena mines began to attract the attention of the adventurous western and southern people. Permission was obtained from the Indians to mine in certain defined territories. A Colonel Johnson came with a number of men and claimed exclusive right to work the mines by some sort of government permit. In 1826 and 1827 large diggings were found, and a great excitement sprang up all over the state. Captain Thomas surveyed and laid out the town of Galena; government permits were given to settle on the lots, and these were the only titles the first settlers had to their new homes or could obtain until 1838. In 1827 there was supposed to be sixteen hundred miners scattered about these hills and valleys. Indian troubles began to brew. General Gaines of the regular army and Dodge of the volunteer forces scoured the country with troops and the general government about this time paid the Indians some twenty thousand dollars for their claims to these mineral lands.

Peoria, on the Illinois river, had been settled soon after Galena, and malls were carried on horseback by way of Peoria to Galena from Vandalia, the then capital of the state. In those days mining excitement ran high like the Californla fever of 1849, or the Black Hills fever of 1870. Every spring the covered wagons, prairie schooners, from southern Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and other places, wended their toilsome journeys to the mines of northern Illinois. They came in the spring, delved and dug all summer, sold out their outfits, and returned to the south later in the fall. Their appearance In the spring was at the same time the sucker fish filled the small streams and tributaries of Fever River; the people became known as "suckers,” and this name attached itself to the Inhabitants of the state who became known as suckers.

This great annual travel followed these early trails; passed by conspicuous mounds and groves and over natural fords in the streams and wore its tracks so deep into the prairies and woodlands that they may be traced in favorite spots even yet One of these ancient highways or trails crossed Rock river near Prophetstown, in Whiteside County; another at Dixon’s Ferry and others higher up Rock river. The Lewiston trail which crossed near Prophetstown pained up through Carroll County, crossed Johnson's Creek near Amos Shoemaker's farm, passed over the ridge on the old Shannon farm (Section 26, Mount Carroll Township), crossed the ridge west of and near Mount Carroll and continued hence north to Elizabeth and Galena.

The old Sucker trail crossed at Dixon’s Ferry, ran through Buffalo Grove, Chamber’s Grove and Cherry Grove, crossed Plum river at the old Harris place where there was a stage station and post office. At one time John C. Owlngs plowed furrows across the prairies from his house to Buffalo Grove to give direction to tills travel north and south. Kellogg’s trail, made In 1826, passed east of this county between Polo and Mount Morris. Boles trail was from the old Kellogg trail; It began twelve miles south of Dlxon and was the same trail referred to as the Sucker trail a few linen back. An- other trail and old military route between Rock Island and Prairie du Chien crossed the western part of Carroll County along the sand ridge and near the sloughs and timber belt of the Mississippi river between Fulton and Savanna and from thence ran north toward Hanover and Galena. As early as 1820 or 1827 a Peoria man named Bogardis had attempted to establish a ferry at Dixon, but the Indians burned his boat and drove him away. In 1828 a Frenchman named Joe Ogle made a more successful attempt, perhaps because he married an Indian squaw, and was respected by the Indians. Previous to the opening of this ferry the heavy wagons of the miners and stages then passing through Cherry Grove had to be taken apart and ferried across Rock river Iu Indian canoes, while the oxen and horses were made to swim the stream. April 11th, 1830, John Dixon, afterward named by the Indians "Nachusa" “White hair head" arrived at Rock river, bought out Ogle for eighteen hundred dollars, and gave his name to the ferry and subsequent city which soon grew up. By this time Galena had become quite a mining center of, perhaps, five hundred Inhabitants, and had a newspaper, the "Miners Journal."

Thus settlements sprang up at first at the crossing of the streams and at beautiful groves, as it was then believed people could not live through the winter in the open prairies. At first rude tavern stands and ferries were the beginnings of permanent occupancy. Soon, however, the fame of the beautiful Rock river and it* rich surrounding prairie lands was spread abroad through all the southern settlements and through the middle and eastern states and men were prospect lug everywhere for the purpose of permanent settlement and making prairie homes. Indians swarmed over the face of the country in those days. The Sacs and Foxes had the seat of their empire at Rock Island; The Wlnnebagoes lived around Dixon and up and down the beautiful Rock river; the Pottawatomies occupied the territory about Lake Kushkonoug, higher up Rock river.

Prior to this treaties had been made with the Indians to extinguish their titles, but the Indians had not yet left, and did not respect the solemn treaties they had entered into. When the white men saw the country it is not strange they were charmed with it, nor It it strange that the red men were unwilling to give it up without a struggle.

Oh. beautiful Mississippi river, river of the rocky bed, the shining silvery flow and the limpid sweet waters; more than the Mohawk or the romantic Wyoming or any classic stream of Italy's fabled mountains; bordered everywhere by virgin prairies, landscapes all flecked with the wild flowers, and of unexampled fertility and dotted with Island-like groves as Edens; the haunts and the homes of the red deer; the shaggy buffalo and the wild red man. No wonder the miner and the adventurous explorer hastened home, packed up the family penates and goods, and came hither, to carve out new homes in the virgin wilderness and flowery prairies.

At this time a stage line had been established from Peoria and central Illinois, even before Ogle started his ferry across Rock river. Before this the horses and stage coaches had to be ferried and forded across In the old pioneer way or in the Indian style.

When the troops who served In the Black Hawk war returned home they spread the fame of the Rock river country far and wide; that and the restless love of adventure and the fame of the lead mines roused a spirit of adventure which sent a wave of emigration to northwestern Illinois and the famous lead mines.

The early settlements and mining camps took their names from the groves that had been named by the hunters and travelers. In Carroll County the names of Cherry Grove settlement. Buffalo Grove settlement, retain their names to this day. Burr Oak Grove. in Stephenson County, had been settled in 1829; Buffalo Grove in Ogle County In 1829 or 1830, by a Mr. Chambers, a Mr. Ankeny, and other settlers were already at Elizabeth and Rush creek at even an earlier day. and in all the surrounding counties the pioneers were flocking in; the loads were spotted with prairie schooners, containing the families of the movers and their household goods.


The first settlement in Carroll County was made at Savanna In 1828. In November of that year George and Vance L. Davidson, Aaron Pierce and William Blundel, with their families, moved from the lead mines to Savanna with ox teams. The place was then known as the Council Bluffs of the Upper Mississippi. The council house of the Indians still stood there and the Pierce family moved into It, until the log cabins could be built. The council house was two stories high; was built with poles and covered with bark of trees and would hold one thousand people. In this house the Pierces lived and entertained travelers and traded with the Indians, who came across, the river in canoes or on the ice In winter. (All that portion of Savanna between Main street and the bluffs was heavily timbered but the trees were all dead, having been girdled by the Indians and the ground under the dead trees was cultivated by them. Some of these trees were of oak and three feet In diameter. The Indians used to have their war dances near where Stranskey's shop was afterward built, and a hundred Indian canoes would sometimes be moored, or rather beached, along the bank of the river, returning from Davenport or Dubuque, at which places there were Indian towns. |M. B. Pierce, in Savanna Times, Jany. 5th, 1870, Old Settlers’ Record fly leaf. Ed.) Wild rushes and tall grass grew In abundance about the place. On these the oxen lived the first winter. Wood was hauled, fence rails were split, and the cabin built during the winter, and in the spring the ground was plowed for the crop of 1829.

In May, 1829, the wife of Captain John B. Rhodes was born. She was the first white child born in Carroll County, and was born in the old Indian Council House, where her father and mother, the Pierces, temporarily resided. The nearest neighbors on the east were at Dixon, on the north at Hanover, on the south at Albany, on the west was the Mississippi river, beyond this there were no white Inhabitants. The Indians were numerous and friendly. Game and fish were abundant, so were mosquitos. gallineppers, raccoons, blackbirds, crown and other birds of prey, in fact, the first cornfields had to be guarded from the depredations of the latter, and especially from blackbirds and crows. River navigation was done mostly In keel boats by cordeling, poling, sailing and rowing, and the usual time of a trip from St. Louis was thirty days. Skiff voyages were often made to St. Louis. In July 1829, Aaron Pierce mid Marshall B. Pierce, his non. went to Bond County In thin state, where they had first made n temporary settlement upon coming to the west, and drove their horses and cows to Savanna. these being the first stock brought to the county. In the spring of 1830 or 1831, John Bernard settled on the place known as the Hatfield place. Messrs. Hays and Robinson the same spring took up the farm lately occupied by George Fish. A man by the name of Corwin took up or owned the farm recently owned by Noah McFarland. Corbin built his house, or nest. In a tree eight feet from the ground to keep out of the way of snakes, which were very abundant there. These men were all bachelors, but subsequently married and became the heads of families.

In 1832 the Black Hawk war broke out. The families of these early settlers were then moved to Galena for safety, the men remaining to cultivate the crops and protect their property. They built a small block house near the point of the bluff where the residence of the late M. Dupuis now stands. This fort stood the Indian Are all one afternoon without loss of life to the settlers, but their horses and cattle were not so fortunate. The day the fort was fired on a man by the name of Bob Upton, who belonged to the settlement, and was a wild, generous, dare-devil, drinking sort of a man. but liked by every one. had quite a heroic adventure. He had been out hunting at the time of the attack, near the Whitton farm, and had shot a deer. He was in the net of cutting Its throat when he saw a band of redskins advancing in a circle with the evident object of securing his capture. He first loaded his gun and then ran for dear life. The ballets flew and sung around him, and it is said one of them cut the strap of his old-fashioned powder horn, but Bob reached the bluff above Savanna in safely. Hearing tho firing on tho fort, he concealed himself In a cave In the rocks about half a mile above the town, ever since called Upton's cave. There he remained until darkness covered the land. When night came the men In the fort made their escape, confiscated a skiff and started up the river for Galena. Upton, from his place of refuge, heard the ascending boat, hailed it, and made his escape with the rest. It is tradition that as the boat drew near the shore its inmates earnestly urged him to Jump in before the skiff was within forty feet of land. It Is also said that before leaving the fort the inmates drew lots to see who should first go out and reconnoiter and find a boat. The lot fell to Aaron Pierce, whose fear made his hair almost lift his hat off; but he did his duty manfully, nevertheless, and the crew safely reached Galena. This block house and little battle Is referred to In one of the early histories of Illinois. William D. Goss had become a citizen of Savanna and wan In the fort at the time of the Indian attack on it. Tradition has it that he was compelled to climb upon the roof and let himself down the chimney as the Indians had command of the regular entrance, where he could have gotten into the fort.


About 1833 the country commenced settling up more rapidly, and many more located in Savanna. In 1832 Luther H. Bowen came to the West, and was engaged as a surveyor, running the boundary line of the state. About 1830 he laid out the town of Savanna. He died about 1876, having been ultimately associated with all its leading interests for forty years. The first law office In the county was established there, and Mr. Bowen was appointed postmaster. He also opened the first store the town had. James White also opened a store soon after Mr. Bowen did. and others did the same. Savanna was then the only settlement of any size between the villages of Galena and Rock Island, and for many yearn afterward It was a place of as much Importance as either. It was the trading post as far east as Rockford. Freeport as late as 1884 was yet the Winnesheik’s Indian village. In 1837, Elias Woodruff, John Fuller, Davld L. Bowen and others well known afterward, had located there. By 1840 Savanna was a village containing two hundred Inhabitants. Besides those already named John B. and Thomas Rhodes, W. L. B. Jenks. Royal Cooper, Leonard Gosh, John Wilson, Porter Sargent, Fred Chambers and many others whose names I have not obtained were lending citizens In early days. Aaron Pierce built his tavern where the residence of Captain Thomas Rhodes stands, in the winter of 1830 and 1837. It was afterward moved down town and was known as the Chambers House, and has, since the writing of the above, been burned. In 1837 Luther H. Bowen built the W«Hxlruff House, which, for a time, was known as the Mississippi House.


About this time Dr. Elias Woodruff taught the first school In a log house where the lower blacksmith shop stood. He was also the physician for the town, and in those days of fever and ague and other sickness, and faithfully attended the sick, pay or no pay. A Mr. Craig built a saw mill in 1835, at Bowen's Mill site, but the next year Luther and David L. Bowen owned the mill.

In 1839 Porter Sargeant built the powder mills near whore the flouring mills of Messrs. Bowen and Kitchen were located. The father of Lewis W. Bemis and some eastern capitalists were largely Interested In the powder mills. They manufactured blasting powder for mining purposes chiefly. In 1845 two of the buildings blew up. killing young Balcolm of the York settlement, severely injuring Johnathan Jacobs and one or two others. James Wilson was superintendent of the works at that time. The mill was promptly rebuilt. Afterward, when the company ceased to run the mills, several fishermen went Into the abandoned building, and in an attempt to light a pipe, another explosion of loose powder took place. One of the men, a Mr. Hicks, was killed; another named Smith was terribly burned, and a third was badly injured.

The same year L. H. Bowen and Royal Jacobs built a small grist mill just above the saw mill on the same stream.


While the circuit court was held in Savanna one of the most noted trials was a murder case on change of venue from Jo Daviess County. A prisoner by the name of Mathews had killed a man In the mines. Every citizen in the county, liable to act as a jury man, was summoned, and most of them passed upon before the Jury was finally impanelled. The prisoner was acquitted.

[The difficulty of procuring jurors for this trial, on account of Savanna being so far to one side of the settled portion of the county, was one of the chief reasons for moving the county seat to a more central location.—Ed.]


The county commissioners were In the habit of fixing tavern rates, among other duties they performed; and I find that on the few occasions they did so, the price of meals was fixed at twenty-five cents, and drinks of whiskey at six and a fourth cents, or a picayune, as those coins were then called.


In the spring of 1830 Thomas Crane came to Cherry Grove, made a squatter's claim, and became the first settler there. He built the first house on what Is now known as the Laird farm. When Judge Shaw wrote his history of Carroll County, it was situated on the Northern slope of the Cherry Grove ridge, near a fine spring. It was built of logs, with a large chimney In the center, which had a fireplace on either side, the chimney forming part of the partition between two rooms in which there was one door. This was called Crane’s fort. An old settler says that when a boy he used to chop bullets out of the posts that formed the palisade, also out of the trees near by, which would indicate fighting there at one time. The house was picketed In regular Indian fort style by setting up split logs on end, pointed at the top and eight or nine feet high, with port holes between the pickets and inclosing a small yard about the cabin. Soon afterward he sold the claim to Samuel M. Hitt of Maryland, who afterward became a resident of Ogle County. [This Crane's Fort was a station on the stage Hue from Peoria to Galena. In May, 1833, the county commissioners of Jo Daviess County commissioned Levi Warner to lay out the road between Galena and Peoria, from which place many settlers came Into this county, coming up the Illinois river In steam boats, which at Pittsburg flew a flag, “Bound for Peoria, Illinois." He certified the distance to be one hundred and forty-five miles, twenty-six and twenty-five hundredths chains. At Crane's Fort the surveying party remained over Sunday, From thence to Galena he notes Crane's branch, east fork of Plum river, and main Plum river. South of the fort on the line of this survey was Chamber's Grove, where Isaac Chambers settled In 1831. Ed.]

Francis Garner made a claim to a large tract of land at Cherry Grove adjoining the Crane claim, having selected the location while a soldier of the Black Hawk war. In 1834 he moved his family from the southern part of the stale, bringing a wife and seven children, some of whom lived here in 1870.

In 1833 William Thomson settled west of the Crane place, and John C. Owings settled at Owing's Point, being the west point of the grove. In the same year Levi Walden settled In the grove, and one year later George Swaggert came and for a time kept a tavern at the Grove. Mrs. Swaggert died December 5th, of the year of her arrival, and was the first hurled in the Cherry Grove Grave Yard. She had selected the place of her burial before she died.

In 1835 Garner Moffett came with his wife and three children. He bought a claim and lived In the original log cabin on It from 1836 to 1848. In 1837 William Daniels made his claim where George Reasoner now lives, and in the same year George W. Harris came with his family to look after the Interests of Hitt, who had large claims in connection with others In the county. Harris moved into the picketed house and for three years kept a tavern and post office there a few yearn, and then moved to the “Old Harris Place,” on Plum river, now known as the Noble farm. Here he kept stage house and post office until 1847. the stage route having been diverted from Cherry Grove to pass through Mount Carroll. The writer well remembers when the first stage coach left the old stone hotel in Mount Carroll, there was much more excitement in the little town than when the first train arrived at the station about twenty years later. Before this time the Mount Carroll people had to go to Cherry Grove, six miles away, for their mall, once or twice a week; now (1912) It is delivered at every farmer's door every day. Ed.] With Harris' folks came Peter Myers, his wife and sou Paul, and John Her and family. After about three years Harris built the old Cherry Grove House for Hitt on the ridge near the old fort. This was a frame house of some pretensions In architecture. It was used for a hotel and kept by Harris for several years. The travel from Rock river to Galena passed by it. The building was afterward moved to Lanark, and Is now the livery stable connected with the Taber House. About 1840 Cherry Grove was the only stopping place of any importance In that part of the country, and many of the early settlers made this their temporary stopping place. A heavy line of stage coaches then traveled through this settlement between Peoria and Galena.

In 1838 Sarah Moffett was born. She was the daughter of Garner Moffett, and was the first child born at Cherry Grove. She married Emanuel Stover. Gamer Moffett died in 1856. He was much respected, and held many of the offices at that time, and was an honest man.

James Mark came to Carroll County in 1837, without money or property, and a year or two later made a claim of what became the great Marks homestead.

Nathan Fisk and family came and located on the north side of the Grove.

Israel Jones located out In the prairie at the big springs. In those days it was thought that people could not live on the bleak prairie away from the groves and timber.

In the same year A. G. Moffett claimed a tract of land lying south of the J. Owings place. Bradstreet Robinson had settled east of the grove In 1830. The elder Beattie and the elder Mr. Laird (father of John Laird), came also about this time and either made claims or bought out a claim.

Mr. Brotherton came also at an early day, and soon after 1840 John Wolf and many others settled in or near the Cherry Grove settlements. The stockade house was built near a big spring on the farm formerly owned by Emanuel Stover and the claims were made along the stream and grove and extended Indefinitely out into the prairie towards Carroll creek. George Swaggert soon left Cherry Grove, and settled in what is now called Arnold's Grove, buying out the claim of William Thomson, who had located there and made a claim at Cherry Grove. He sold out this place about 1840 to Daniel Arnold and Henry Strickler; and went to Missouri where he spent the most of his money. Finally he returned and settled on the Swaggert place about two miles southeast of Mount Carroll. Bowman's Grove was settled by Adam Daggert about the same time. Adam Daggert kept a post office at his place for several years. After Harris removed from Cherry Grove, the stage line was diverted to pass through what is now Hostetter's Grove and Daggert's Grove. Daggert kept the mall in a box aud every one who came for mail looked It over and selected his own If he could read the writing on the letters. Mr. Owings was one of the early settlers and was honored with many of the local offices. He sold out in 1868 and removed to a place near Marshalltown, Iowa, where he now resides.


In the month of November, 1834, George W. Knox found n trail lending from Kellogg’s old station at Buffalo Grove to the east end of Elkhorn Grove, to the place now owned by Uncle Henry Smith. John Ankeny had settled there in 1831, but had been driven out by the Indiana. He came back in 1833 or 1834 and lived on the Harry Smith place. Just west of there was another house built by Thomas Parish in 1830 or 1831. He was probably the first settler in the grove.

Levi Warner, the first county surveyor of the county. In 1884 lived In n house on the south side of the Grove; one of the Belding family lived with him. They were both surveyors and kept bachelors’ hall. The place is now occupied by John H. Haynes. [We should not omit here Mr. Warner’s episode, with reference to the house of John D. Winters near the present site of Elizabeth, who ran the line of stages from Galena to Peoria. At this place Mr. Warner “took some bearings," that were not mentioned in Gunther. He was then a bachelor thirty-eight years old. His life had been spent with his compass and chain, surveying the western wilds. At this house resided a comely widow named Martha Winters, formerly Mnrthn Bailey of Cincinnati, Ohio. This fact no doubt made an Impression on Mr. Warner’s mind and through the sights on his compass he often saw this welcome cabin of Mr. Winters’, for In the spring of 1835 he returned again to this cabin and married the charming widow Winters on April 12, who survived to be his companion through life. One daughter was born to them, who is the wife of Lewls Reynolds of Elkbora Grove. She was the first white child born in that township. Ed.]

In the winter of 1834 and 1835, Alvin Humphrey settled at the northwest corner of the grove and about the same time Levi Newman and a man by the name of Scott settled on the west end of the grove, and Tilton Hughes and Caleb Dalns nettled at the southwest comer. In the fall of 1834 a man named Peter, a millwright, built a house on the creek bottom, some thirty rods east of the mill, near Mllledgevllle. Sickness discouraged him and he gave up his claim to Jesse Kester, who built a saw mill and a small corn cracker mill. Keater sold out his claim to A. C. Knox. The latter built a grist mill and had it in operation in 1839. In 1835 Jehu Knox made a claim and planted the first orchard In the county, on the south side of the grove.

The first child born in Milledgevllle was Eliza J. Knox, and the first death was that of Albert Knox, both children of A. L. Knox. The first celebration of the Fourth of July was at the house of Alvin Humphrey In 1887. The oration was by Felix Conner; Elijah Eaton built the first saw mill In 1837. In 1835 Uncle Harry Smith and Sample Journey had arrived. Miles Z. Landon, Father Hunt, Elder Paynter, Steven VanDusen and several others whose names were somewhat prominent, came afterward and later Milledgevllle had grown into quite a village so that a post office was established there In 1844, with Jacob McCortie as postmaster.

(In early days the roads over the prairie were traveled so little and the tracks were so scattering and grown up with grass that travelers sometimes lost their way. This led to plowing the longest furrow in a direct line that was ever plowed In Carroll County. Mr. Humphrey, of Milledgeville, father of Mrs. VanVechten, offered to furnish the plow and team, two yoke of oxen, no doubt, to any one who would mark the road to Mount Carroll and Savanna. So Mr. Spencer, father of Mrs. John Hegeman, held the plow and made a furrow from Thomas Randoms' in Elkborn Grove township out to Lewis Blisses in Mount Carroll township; from there the road was traveled so much It was plain. An old settler, Jabez Todd, who lived in Elkhorn Grove township used to like to puzzle the young settlers, by making this statement; that when be came to this country he settled in Jo Daviess County, and has lived at the same place ever since; how could that be when Elkhorn Grove is in Carroll County? Ed.J)

When settlements first commenced, before any road was regularly laid out the leading trail lagged through the grove up to where John C. Owings lived, at Cherry Grove, thence on to Galena; this trail left the old Peoria Trail twelve miles south of Dixon, crossed Rock river south of Gass Grove, passed through Sugar Grove and thence by the present site of Wilson’s Mill to and through the center of Elkhorn Grove. In 1832 Samples M. Journey was married to a daughter of Mr. Ankeny who then lived at Buffalo Grove. All the neighbors except Kelloggs’ family were invited to the feast; there wag a feud between the Ankeny and Kellogg families about their tavern stands in Buffalo Grove hence the latter family was not bidden to the wedding, but a large company danced all night and no doubt did Justice to the feast. Journey must have taken up his residence in Carroll County soon after this event. This is all I have found of the very oldest settlers of Elkhorn Grove.


In those days a number of rich men prospecting out west started one day from the west end of the grove to go to the residence of John C. Owings, which could plainly be seen over the wide intervening prairies. When half way across, such a feeling of loneliness came over their spirits that they stopped; rearranged their money belts, and came to the grave conclusion that this prairie country was nothing but a wilderness and would never amount to anything; whereupon they departed from it as fast as possible. Think of that, you farmers who now rate your farms at one hundred dollars per acre in this very part of the country.

To Be Continued