Samuel Preston's

Carroll Co

As it originally appeared in the Carroll County Mirror in 1894
Transcribed by Alice Horner from the Mirror Democrat Reprint of 1930


In January 1836, my father boarded Winter’s four-horse coach, three miles north of Princeton to go to Galena, where the land office of the state of the northern part was kept, to enter a tract of land on Bureau Creek bottom. Arriving at Swaggert’s Tavern, Cherry Grove, where the stage made a short stop, and liking the looks of the country, inquired if there was a good chance to take up land claims in the region and timber. "Yes, west toward the Mississippi River." "Can I get any nearer to it by stage than I now am?" "Yes, go to the crossing of East Plum river and go southwest." Making arrangements with the driver to ride out the rest of his ticket at some other time if he desired, left the stage and struck out as directed. Coming to an opening of about forty acres surrounded by beautiful timber, the Woodland township, concluded that it was better than land he was going to enter and started for home, walking to Dixon, where he waited for the stage going south. As he was about to get aboard the stage, the agent called for his fare. He informed the agent that he paid his fare going to Galena for about the same distance which he did not use, and did not see it to be robbery to use it over other portions of the road. "This is contrary to the rules," the agent said. Being well acquainted with the driver, Lyman Chase, who gave Father the wink to start on ahead, overtaking him over the summit, he carried him home.

We went to work and made a "pung", hitched it to our only horse, put on a board a box of provisions, grain for the horse, blankets, an axe and rifle. Started for the promised land, reaching Swaggert’s Tavern the second day in the evening. Paul D. Otis, who was driving Winter’s stage from Cherry Grove to Winter’s Station, half a mile south of the present town of Elizabeth; left the stage that night. Granville Mathews, agent for Winter’s made his home with him. In the morning we accepted the advice of Swaggert and others to look at the land east of Garner’s Grove, Mr. Garner going with us to show us how far out his land extended. The prairie looked all right but the timber was all taken up. The cause of the interest taken in us will appear later on. The next morning we took the road leading to Savanna. Called at the cabin of John Owen, the last habitation between there and Savanna, who gave us valuable information. Some one had laid out a claim to the beautiful white oak grove, erected a cabin of logs but not covering it, afterwards finished and occupied by William Daggert and now owned by Mrs. Anna Graham.

The roads we were traveling intersected the road from Chambers and Elkhorn Grove’s road to Savanna, a little east of the Mt. Carroll depot, passing over the rise of ground a little to the south of the fair ground. From this point a beautiful panorama was unfolded. To the east an endless prairie, to all appearance without a tree, to the south, Black Oak Grove, to the west a gradual prairie slope to Cedar Creek, so called from the red cedar that adorned its banks, to the north, the evergreen white pine and cedars that grew on the perpendicular walls of rocks for miles on both sides of Carroll Creek, with a background of beautiful oak timber. Nothing could be more enchanting, and here we decided to make our home.

Our prairie claim having been well mapped out, our next object was to secure timber. Leaving the Savanna road, which then ran over the ridge about thirty rods north of the residence of John Kinney, to avoid crossing a branch, and going north, striking Carroll Creek and crossing it just below the Fulrath’s dam, the same place being used as a ford for about fifty years later. "Here." Said Father,, "has a good mill site and we will lay claim to it." We then turned east, following the Indian trail before mentioned, and on top of the ridge struck some good timber. "This," said Father, "will do, as it is handy to the mill site." We felled a white oak tree about twelve inches in diameter near the section line between Sections 2 and 3. Just then two men came on the trail from the east carrying a hatchet. They were Glenville Mathews and Paul D. Otis. Said they were making a claim taking the mill sites, had claimed all above there and heard of another below. Father said, "I have claim to that." Then they retreated their steps. The cause of the interest of the people about Swaggert’s Tavern for our welfare now dawned upon us. It seems that Otis and Mathews had in view of jointly making a large claim somewhere in this vicinity and Otis laid in with the Swaggert people to keep us back until he and Mathews had come and get ahead of us. That white oak tree was the first timber cut for the purpose of improvement in Mt. Carroll township. After we got through with that tree, the day was well advanced, the sky was pretty suddenly covered with clouds threatening a storm and where to go to find lodgment for the night gave us no little anxiety. The Indian trail might lead us to an Indian camp, to a settler’s cabin or a place worse than where we then were. But it was evident that we needed a shelter from the impending storm, which we finally found under an overhanging rock down the little Keefer branch below the Daviel Weidman homestead. Our situation that night was not a comfortable one, as three inches of fresh snow fell during

the night. In the morning we started for a human habitation. Taking the Indian trail, we followed it to Arnold’s Grove and stopped at the cabin of William Thomson before mentioned, where Father made arrangements to have me board, I to watch the claim and cut rail timber, he to return to the family in Bureau and come for me about April 1st.


About the 10th of March, 1836, the Indians drove a cow past Mr. Thomson’s to Mr. John C. Owens’, saying that she and her calf had been on Plum river all winter at the mouth of Carroll creek and that they could not get the calf to follow. This was on Saturday. That same day, a Mr. Isaac Ament, whom I had known in Princeton, came in search of a claim. That night about six inches of snow fell. Next day, Mr. Thomson, Ament and myself started out on an exploring expedition, going north to East Plum river, following the same to the junction of West Plum river at Polsgrove; then going north to the farm owned by Mr. C. Shutt, where Mr. Thomson had made a claim (the first in Woodland township). He had begun the building of a log cabin and had got it about five logs high. Here we partook of our lunch, consisting of corn dodger and bacon fed, not fattened on rattlesnakes and acorns. I read with much interest Dr. Shimer’s articles on rattlesnakes but must dissent from his premises that the reason that the bite of a rattlesnake does not kill a hog is that the fatty covering prevents the virus from reaching the tissues. It was the primitive hogs that were supposed to kill the snakes and they were all tissues. But perhaps the Doctor in his next article will give us more light.

Our lunch disposed of, we started for the mouth of Carroll creek to see about the calf. We struck over the ridge of the western bend of the river and saw about fifty deer in one drove. The river was well stocked with all kinds of fur-bearing animals, especially the otter of which we saw several and signs of many more. Wherever there was a steep bank, and at the base an air hole, the otter would go to the top of the bank and in the new fallen snow slide down into the air hole making paths not unlike school children sliding down a bank. They were enjoying their sport all unconscious that in a few short years their skins and silken covering would, through the skillful manipulations of David Muma, be made into garments for the comfort of man.

Arriving at the place where the Indians had left the calf, we found that the timber wolf had preceded us, attracted there probably by the cries of the calf for its dam. They had crimsoned the snow with its blood and scattered its bones over a half acre of ground.

The weather had turned out cloudy and cold and twilight was closing the day when we took the Indian trail and started for home. When about opposite Jacobstown, we met William Owens going west on horseback. He also had been to hunt the calf, and on going home had got bewildered and unconsciously was going in the opposite direction. We reached home about eight o’clock in the evening, tired and hungry. It was a "Sabbath day’s journey" that I did not care to repeat.

The spring of 1836 opened late; as far south as Princeton there was three feet of frost in the ground as late as April 1st and it was well into May before any seeding was done.

Father visited the claim in June and made arrangements with Mr. Thomson to break twenty acres of the prairie on the farm now owned by Samuel Colehour and Otis and Mathews had thirty acres broke on the farm now owned by Jacob Christian which was all the ground broke in Carroll township that year.

In August after having harvested and stacked the small grain, hitched a span of horses to a "Prairie Schooner" so called from the curved wagon box having a sag in the middle and high at each end, covered with sheeting, loaded it with provisions and bedding and on the second day anchored it on the S.W. Quarter of Section 11 where Father concluded to erect his cabin. Our party consisted of Father, G. A. Gunn, an uncle, and myself. In the evening of the second day, after our arrival, we heard voices at the east of us, singing that familiar hymn:

"Jerusalem, my happy home,
O how I long for thee."

When present two young men appeared, saying that they had passed there the day before carrying a chain to survey a road from Savanna to Elkhorn Grove and had walked from Elkhorn and were tired and hungry. We accommodated them with shelter and food, but it was close quarters for an August night. Their names were Nathan Lord and Royal Cooper. Mr. Cooper was a painter by trade and was elected the first Clerk and Recorder after the county was organized; also planted the trees in what is now Chestnutt Park, Savanna. A few days subsequently, Mr. Aaron Pierce and Mr. Elijah Bellows of Savanna passed through our camp on horse back going to John Owens to vote at the presidential election that resulted in the election of Martin Van Buren. That was the only voting place in what is now Carroll County. Another voting place was at Buffalo Grove, which took in Elkhorn Grove. All general elections at that time were held in the month of August.

For a time after our arrival, thunder storms were frequent, accompanied by high winds and our sheeting cover was but poor protection against the driving rains, and storms.

Our first duty was to provide hay for our stock during the winter, and provide our selves with better shelter which was done by placing two hay ricks end to end eight feet apart, splitting rails and laying them across from rick to rick and covering them with hay, which made us a very comfortable lodging house. About the same time Otis and Mathews put up stacks of hay on Market street near the residence of Otis Grim.


Our supply of hay secured, which was a tedious task, as we had to rely entirely on the whet stone to keep our scythes in order, and some of the old settlers now living know how hard it was to put upland prairie grass in August. We then set about building a cabin. 18 x 28 feet was the size Father decided upon, rather large for a log cabin, but none too large as the sequel will show. Our first object was to make a fire place, we wanting something better than the sticks and mud then in use. (Note from Alice Horner -"This cabin was built a half-mile north of the present Mt. Carroll - Savanna road -- the road at that time going past it. When the drawing of the section lines was completed, the road was changed to its present location. The log cabin stood near the corner where four roads met.

One went north to the top of the hill, then northwest to the Mill, perhaps two miles distant. At the time the road to Savanna was mostly through timber." - from "Log Cabin Days" by Eliza Eliza Preston Downing This cabin was built at the northern edge of what was in 1908 was a 90.33 acre farm owned by W. B. Hartman and in 1951 by Jesse Colehour. The farm was in the south west part of Section 11. Long before 2004 all roads to this area were removed and changed to farm land. The area is inaccessible to the public and no trace of this cabin remains.")

Five large stones were found in the ravine now owned by George Sutton, the largest 4 x 5 feet, we used for the back, two for the jambs each 2 x 5 and one for then mantle about six feet long. To get them to the place wanted, we swung them under the hind axle tree and fitted them to lock together. That kind of fire place was a great saver of fuel and proved a great source of comfort. To get suitable logs we had to go into Woodland township to a beautiful white oak grove upon a ridge a little northeast of Fulrath’s mill. We got the body of the cabin built when we found it necessary to return to Princeton about the first of October to secure the crops.

The next six weeks had nearly elapsed when Father was to return for me the first of April. He put in his appearance two or three days ahead of time coming this time with a one-horse wagon. While away he had rented a farm of a Mr. Fellows one mile south of Princeton to work on shares the year of 1836, to get supplies to carry us over until we could raise them on our own claim. We left Mr. Thomson’s on the thirty-first day of March, striking southeast until we struck the Savanna road, then going east until we reached the junction of Chambers and Elhorn Gorve roads, then southeast over the untrod prairie, striking the old stage road a little south of where the city of Polo now stands. Up to this point there was a member of our party I have omitted to mention. And as everything connected with the early history seems to be of interest. I will here give it a place. A day or two before we boarded our one-horse "pung" to go north, I was passing the cabin of John H. Bryant, (brother of William Cullen) of Princeton, a poet also and a politician of considerable note, who stopped me and said, "I hear that you are going north to take up a claim and will be there alone for some time and perhaps you would like company. I have a dog here that I will make you a present of." I was always fond of a dog and accepted his benevolent gift with thanks.

People in those days were given more to controversy than they are now. They read less and talked more from the fact that literature was not cheap and as plentiful as it is now. The only paper then published in the Northwest was the Galena Gazette. The controversy ran much on metaphysical propositions, one of which was whether there was such a quality in the human heart as "disinterested benevolence." Here thought I (as I was almost a stranger to Mr. Bryant) is a practical demonstration that such a quality exists. But on further acquaintance with that dog my skepticism, whatever I had was not disturbed. He was a yellow dog of the cur species. There was a stereotyped saying among Western people, when they found a man particularly mean, "He was as mean as a yeller dog," and I thought that whoever originated that comparison must have had that dog as a subject. The only time he manifested any pluck or ambition was when we met Indians on my way to a rail chopping, when they were on their way, all riding ponies, to Flack’s trading post. He would bristle up his hair and bark at them. He was a very fastidious dog about his diet. Our lunch which was one routine of corn dodger and bacon, the former he would take into his mouth, masticate it a little then eject it. The result was that I had to let him have most of the bacon and I ate the corn dodger, when it was not frozen too hard. Then nights he had no shelter as Mr. Thomson’s dogs seemed to have caught the inspiration that yellow dog was a not fit associate and would not let him come near the kennel. The supply of bacon was too limited for the demands of nature and being too weak to follow us home, the last seen of him was crossing the Polo prairie. The demise of the wife of "Boniface" resulted from not letting the ale take its natural course, and a like experience with corn dodger caused the death of my dog.

Some one dilating upon the human animal said: That man, although the most helpless at birth of all animals, would thrive under the vicissitudes that would be fatal to all others. Father said that during the six weeks he was away, he saw no evidence in me of physical disability, but rather the reverse. We reached our 12 x 14 foot log cabin on Bureau Creek the first of April, the last twelve miles over an uninhabited prairie in a blinding snow storm.

In some former writings, I stated that we had but one horse, but subsequent events showed we had two. Upon our return to Princeton in October, we found an Indian pony awaiting us.

The year previous to 1835, soon after Father bought his Bureau Creek farm, he also bought of Lyman Chase, the stage driver before mentioned, an Indian pony, and soon after our family were prostrated with chills and fever, a disease from which few escaped in the early days, who lived on or near the creek bottoms. The pony was then turned loose upon the prairie with no one to look after her for several days and when she was wanted, she could not be found. The next August (1836) when we were up here, the U.S. Government moved the Winnebago Indians on to their reservation west of the Mississippi River. They went into camp near Bureau Creek bottom on the land that Father had owned the year before. They had several hundred ponies with them and Mr. Chase who was a horse dealer and could identify any horse that he had ever owned, searched among them for our lost pony and found her there though much disfigured by branding. He went to the agent who was in charge of the removal and told him that they had a stolen pony. They then went to Shabbona, the chief of the Winnebagoes, and Mr. Chase satisfied him that the pony had been stolen and he had her given up.


About the 15th of October several inches of snow fell and it was near the last of the month before we had our crops secured ready to go north again to finish our cabin. My uncle, having had enough of frontier life, we took in Nathan Downing, who with his family, had just moved on from Massachusetts. About the middle of November we had the cabin so far completed that Mr. Downing went to Princeton for his family. About this time a fracas took place on the Otis and Mathews claim that came near resulting fatally.

A Mr. Kellogg, who lived in the old stage road near Pleasant Valley and who was a claim speculator, jumped a portion of Otis’ and Mathews’ timber claim and set the late Hiram G. Francis, who was working for him, to cutting the timber. It was a case of "Diamond cut Dimond." Mr. Otis got wind of what was going on and met Mr. Kellogg at work in the timber. An altercation ensued when Mr. Kellogg drew a pistol and fired. But Mr. Otis having on a heavy overcoat, the force of the ball was spent when it struck his breast. Mr. Otis went to Galena and got Mr. Kellogg indicted by the grand jury. Mr. Francis, who saw the shooting and would be an important witness, went back to his old home in York state, where he remained for two or three years. Meantime the case was continued from term to term of court and finally nolleprossed. Mr. Kellogg gave them no more trouble in regard to the claim and as before stated, remained in peaceable procession until he sold out.

In 1836, Luther and John Bawden built a saw mill on Plum River on the opposite bank of the Kitchen’s grist mill. The pine logs to supply the mill were rafted down the Mississippi River and up the Plum River to near the mill. This was a great convenience for the settlers in building their cabins as it did away generally with the puncheon floors. We also used lumber to roof our cabin, the first year boarding up and down and battened which, while the lumber was green did very well until the heat of the sun shrunk and warped the lumber so that in a driving rain it was of little better protection than canvas sheeting. Mr. Downing was detained a few days beyond the expected time so that our larder was reduced for several days to flour and salt. We took water, seasoned it with salt stirred in flour to thicken it and then soaked our unleavened bread with it. Mr. Downing came about the first of December, bringing his wife and my sister, Ellen, who later became the wife of Howard Fewsmith. Mr. Miller was an apprentice in the Mt. Carroll mill soon after it started where he learned the trade of a miller.

It was now our turn to go to Princeton and bring the rest of the family. We staid at Dixon the first night at the double log tavern kept by Henry McKenney, uncle of our townsman, O. F. McKenney. That night I witnessed an Indian "pow-wow." They made a large bonfire a few feet distance from the cabin and then went to drinking fire water and between drinks would dance around the fire disturbing the repose of those within by their savage yells until too drunk to stand, then laid down in a circle around the fire with their feet to the fire. It was a cold night and an old squaw remained sober to keep their bodies covered with their blankets which they would throw off in their unconscious stupidity. By daylight they had sufficiently sobered up to go off by twos in every direction.

It was the 19th of December before we were ready to start on our journey, our outfit consisting of two sleds covered with canvas and each drawn by a yoke of oxen with a horse on the lead, called in New England parlance a "three cattle team." One of the teams we hired and a Mr. Phylander Cook to drive it. The wind was south east and threatened rain. We made sixteen miles the first day stopping at "Dad Joe Grove." It rained all that night and until three o’clock the next day. It was twenty-one miles to Dixon, and the last fourteen miles over a bleak prairie without a house. About three p.m. The wind shifted to the north and the rain turned to snow and the temperature to intense freezing was but the work of a few minutes and our wet clothing was made as still as a coat of mail. We were yet four miles from Dixon which we must reach or perish. Our family consisting of Mother, three sisters and two small brothers, one 16 months old, were all covered with bedding. Every sag in the ground was full of water and in an instant our sled froze fast so that we had to double our teams and break the ice from around the sled before we could get through. We reached Dixon about six o’clock, making four miles in three hours.

I have dwelt longer on this storm than will be interesting, perhaps, to our readers, but so sudden a transition from warm to intense cold has never been equaled in the state. It is referred to by early historians as the "great storm." The history of Sangamon county in referring to it, said: "A man riding into Springfield on horseback, when on trying to alight found himself froze to the saddle. Several men took him and the saddle to a fire before they could be separated. Men were driving 1500 hogs across the prairie when the storm came upon them; they had to abandon their hogs and on going for them, found them all dead. They piled up, smothering those in the middle and freezing those on the outside.


The dawn of December 21st brought no abatement of the severity of the "great storm." The snow had ceased to fall from above but was whirled through space at a lively rate. Those who ventured out for a few minutes without muffled protection to nose and ears found them no proof against the frost. But the large open fire place in that part of the double cabin that Landlord McKenney kept apart for his guests was run to its full capacity so that all within doors were made comfortable. The 22nd the temperature had so far moderated that we resumed our journey. But a new trouble now confronted us. The ravines that were before the freeze a sheet of water were now a sheet of ice and our oxen which were not shod would slip down and the horse drag them across with the load. That day we made twelve miles to Wilson’s Mill. But the last day we had but little trouble with the ice as now, instead rain had fallen, reaching home late in the evening where we found Alvin Humphrey and one of his sons who had been with an ox team to Savanna to get supplies. The cold weather had exhausted the wood pile and Mr. Downing made a hand sled and went to the timber a half mile away to haul wood to keep from freezing. Paul Otis, after his trouble with Kellogg, fixed up a shanty at the point of the rocks at the southern most bend of Carroll Creek on land now owned by J. C, Christian. A space in a perpendicular ledge of rock was selected which made two sides of the "bachelor hall", the other two sides boarded up and down and battened with slabs. The fireplace was made in the corner where the two sides of the ledges joined, the smoke going up the corner when the wind would permit. Here Mr. Otis, Nelson Swaggert and Rezin Evarts spent the winter. Mr. Evarts was from Laporte, Indiana, a son of Dr. Evarts, and came here fresh from Lane Sminary, Dr. Lyman Beecher its president. Mr. Evarts made rails that winter for Otis and Mathews.

Nathan Downing put up a 12 x 14 cabin that winter on the John Kinney farm and moved into it. Our nearest grist mill was Wilson’s mill, a small log mill on Buffalo Creek near its confluence with Elkhorn. Mr. Wilson was a Quaker and considered a pretty honest miller, unlike, as was said of some western millers, that they took the grist for the toll and then contended for the ownership of the sack. Mr. Wilson had posted up in his mill in large letters this notice: "No unmarked bag nor grain in unmarked bags will be accounted for at this mill." The mill was run to its full capacity but that was not sufficient to prevent his customers from waiting two or three days for their grist. The crossing of a twenty-mile prairie in mid-winter without a house was often attended with great risk. Roads were blown shut with snow as fast as opened which made traveling slow. Father took a load of grist to the mill and was gone a week, meantime a blizzard swept across the prairie and we became uneasy about his safety. When he returned he said: "I knew you would worry about me but I thought it better for you to worry and me be safe than to attempt to come home and run the chance of perishing."

During the year of 1836, cam an influx of immigrants to make homes on the western prairie.

The year 1836 was an era of speculation. The country flooded with bank note paper having only a fictitious value. The territorial legislature of Michigan passed a banking law chartering all banks that had capital sufficient to pay for engraving their bank bills which gave to Michigan money the name of "wild cat." The government, also, through a scheme of President Jackson (after he had vetoed the re-chartering of the U. S. Bank, which was made the depository of the surplus funds of the government) to distribute the funds pro-rata in loans to the states, which kindled a spirit of speculation throughout the entire country. The fever got into the state legislatures, and in our own session of 1835 and 1836 became delirious. A bill was passed requiring the state to build 1300 miles of railroad, designated as the Illinois Central and branches, and to get support of the counties that the road didn’t touch, a bonus was given to them in cash.

As Dixon and Savanna were points named in the charter that the main line was to strike, it was evident that the road must pass through our county and township. The financial crash of 1837 came upon the country suddenly and unexpectedly. Those who thought themselves well-to-do in this world’s goods found their fortunes suddenly swept away and to recuperate their losses many sought homes in Northern Illinois along the proposed line of railroad; and no more attractive locality could be found than from Savanna east and south. Savanna was now becoming the emporium for the entire country as far as Rock River from Rockford to Prophetstown. The goods being brought up by boat to Savanna and hauled to their destination by teams and our cabin being the only one along the road for miles, made tavern keeping a necessity. There stood in the early settlement of our prairie, upon the elevated land in Mr. Colehour’s field about twenty rods distant from the nearest timber a lone black oak tree, which could be seen by the travelers coming from the east for ten miles away, which gave our prairie the name of "Lone Tree Prairie." The first settlers in Elkhorn Grove, the Humphries, the Knox family and the Eatons and others in going to Savanna for supplies used to stay at Father’s over night when our prairie gradually assumed the name it now bears.

In the year 1837, Rezin Evarts and myself rented the ground that Otis and Mathews had broken the year before and in July of the same year they sold out their claim to George Swaggert, Daniel Christian, S. M. Hitt and Nathaniel Swingley for $1500, Mathews receiving $800 as his share. It was a large amount of money for one person to have in those days and Mathews expressed himself at a loss to know what to do with it.


James Mark at this time worked for Garner Moffett for $10 per month. The financial crash which came upon the eastern states early in the year, was not felt here until mid-summer when flour cost $12 per barrel, bacon, ham 18 cents per pound, which was brought up the river and sold by the Savanna merchants.

The entire country was short of bread stuffs which had to be imported. Banks suspended, factories shut down, bread riots in New York, and the U. S. Treasury so depleted that the President had to wait for his salary.

In 1835 and 1836, Luther H. Bowen established a ferry at the mouth of Plum River, which was made necessary in time of high water, as it was the only way to Savanna from the east and south. About this time he also made a large claim in our township on Section 30, where the Doty estate now is. Mr. Bowen had made many rods of sod fence and had high anticipations of making it a model farm of the county. Robert Ashby came in advance of the family in 1837 and picked out locations for a colony coming from Canada, consisting of the Ashbys, Bashaws, and others; part locating in this and part in Savanna Township.

Abner Downing came this year and took up a claim on Section 15, where his son Sumner now lives. Heman Downing came a little later buying out his brother, Nathan, on Sections 10 and 15. Edward C. Cochran came about the same time and laid out claim to the southwest quarter of Section 14, where Widow Cummings now lives. Four families, Abner Downing and wife, Nathan Downing, wife and child; Heman Downing, wife and child; E. C. Cochran, wife and child, and Boyd, a boarder, all lived for a time in that log cabin built by Nathan which was 12 x 14 feet. Joseph D. Bailess laid claim to the south-east quarter of Section 14, known as the Shearer and Campbell farms. David Masters came the same year and located in Mt. Carroll at the Depot in Salem Township and 1838 set out the white pine trees that now adorn the place; also the hard maples, bringing them from Elkhorn Grove on his back.

William Dyson in 1837 settled in York Township, building a cabin under the bluff alongside of Dyson Lake.

A man by the name of Patrick laid claim to the mounds five miles north of Thomson, I hauling him the lumber for a house in January from Bowen’s mill, which, I believe, was the first lumber ever taken to the town of York.

Dr. Elias Woodruff, this year settled in Savanna, being the only physician in what is now Carroll County. This poet Downing probably had him in view in his poem of the "Pioneers" when he said:

"The doctor lived so far away,
That the patient got well (so the old folks say)
Before he could come with his powders and pills
And saddle bags from over the hills."

John Paynter and Menasses Nikirk settled that year in Elkhorn Grove. William Renner and John D. Renner settled in Freedom.

Late in the season of 1837, Moses Hallett, then sheriff of Jo Daviess County, went to Cherry Grove to hunt a petit juror for the fall term of court; but all had an excuse for not going, but told him there was an old Massachusetts Yankee living on the Savanna road about half way to Savanna and to go and take him. As Mr. Hallett was from the same state he was easily persuaded. When he came we were at work putting an additional half story to our cabin to accommodate the increasing travel and also riving and shaving red oak shingles to cover it, as shingles had not yet become an article of commerce. Mr. Hallett made known his business and refused all excuses which Father made against going. A juror was then allowed one dollar per day and no mileage, although parts of Jo Daviess County were a hundred miles from Galena. Farther went and served a week, and much court business yet to dispose of he went to Judge Stone, the circuit judge, and told him how he was situated at home and asked to be excused, which was granted. He was given a county order for six dollars for six days in court. But when he went to the treasurer to have it cashed, there was no money, and finding that the order had no cash value, he went to a store and gave the order for one pound of stocking yard valued at 75 cents, so his jury experience footed up about as follows:

Hotel and traveling expenses _____________________$10.00
Nine days time ________________________________ 9.00
Total: ______________________________$19.00
Buy 1 pound stocking yarn _______________________ .75
Balance ____________________________$18.25


On the first day of March 1838, there stopped at Father’s a man on horseback saying that we was on the hunt of a place to locate a colony from York state. He needed no further endorsement than that was his mission, for his words and actions stamped him as a leader. He was a lumberman and was caught in the financial crash of the year before while on his way to the market with a large lot of lumber. But Colonel Beers Tomlinson was not a man to "cry over spilled milk" and came west to retrieve his loss. We directed him to Johnson Creek Valley, before mentioned, which took his fancy. He hired Father to go strike a furrow around half of the town of York; and claiming also the grove of timber on the south part of Sections 35 and 36 in Carroll Township.

Claim secured, Mr. Tomlinson started for his home in York state, riding his horse to Chicago, but as horses were hard to convert into cash, he traded him for lake fish and shipped them home.

This year, came Daniel Christian Sr. And family and moved into the cabin that Mathews had built for his father who had occupied it a year or so. It stood near the old barn recently burned down when struck by lightning. Sumner Downing came this year. Uriah Green settled in Woodland township and Miles Z. Landon in Elkhorn.

The company that bought out Otis and Mathews built a saw mill on Carroll Creek on land now owned by J. C. Christian, his father hewing the timber and putting up the frame; the mill was in running order that fall, and the late William Mackay and John George just from Nova Scotia rented it to run that winter.

The engineers of the I. C. R. R. Came and pitched their tents near Father’s cabin and their cook, an Irishman, became dissatisfied and left. The engineer and business manager of the section was G. W. Clark; gave me a flattering offer to take his place, which I accepted. Mr. Clark said to me one day that the next day the chief engineer of the road, Mr. Gilbert, was coming over the line about dinner time and wanted an extra dinner prepared. Two Misses Downing, Emerenci and Jemima, had come on the prairie to live and were pressed into the state service of preparing pastry consisting chiefly of pumpkin pies. They were from a pumpkin pie ancestry running back to the time of Mother Hubbard, when --

"Little Jack Horner
Sat In A Corner
Eating pumpkin pie..."

They were gotten up in a style and taste that their ancestral grandmother would not have been ashamed of. Mr. Gilbert came on horseback and alone but in no condition to partake of the menu prepared for him. He had sampled a watermelon on the way which had brought on a colic. The entire force of engineers seemed to be sorely disappointed and one of them, a Mr. Hubbel, in a plaintive tone exclaimed: "The table is groaning with luxuries and Mr. Gilbert cannot partake of them!"

The boundary set up by Otis and Mathews overlapped the boundary of our claim. Their original claim comprised of Sections 1, 2, 11, and 12, not a modest claim for bachelors to make. Mr. Otis used to take a layoff every two weeks from his stage duties and spend a couple of days looking after their claim, boarding also with Mr. Thomas. Our relations for a time were not of a most cordial kind. An episode occurred which gave us a "cheek for jowl" affinity for each other. He said: "I lived in Chicago last summer and I believe I got acquainted with your father’s family. In July they landed there from the Brig, "Illinois", and they had to wait there a week before they could get a team to take them to Princeton. Your father, I saw only at a distance, but I noticed that he walked a little lame." All of which was true. Father had a thigh broken when he was a boy that shortened the leg and inch and a half. Other land claimants crowded onto the Otis and Mathews claim the following year, on the south so that their claim finally included Section 1, each half of Section 2, and the northwest quarter of Section 11 and north half of Section 12, of which they remained in undisturbed possession (with one exception, which will be noticed later), until they sold out their claim. I mentioned in a former paper that I frequently made calls at the cabin of John C. Owens. It was at one of these calls that I first met Luther H. Bowan, under circumstances to him of deepest sorrow. Like "Jephet," he was in search of his father, with no hope, as he said, of ever finding him alive. He had just received a letter from his brother, Dr. Bowen, of Joliet, that his father had started on foot three weeks before to visit his four sons, Luther, John, David, and Sherman, then living in Savanna. Mr. Owens informed him that his father had left there two weeks ago before at about three o’clock in the afternoon to go to Savanna, and had asked him to remain over night as it was too late in the day to start walking over a road which was strange. But being anxious to see his sons, started off in a brisk walk. Mr. Bowen returned to Savanna and secured assistance and came back to where Lewiston trail struck the Savanna road. This trail was made during the Black Hawk war by the United States Army marching over it from Prophetstown to Galena and struck the Savanna road a little to the east of the U. B. Church. Following this trail to within a few miles of Prophetstown, there frozen still, they found the object of their search. The prairie fire had burned over him, scorching his clothes. He traveled about forty miles after leaving Mr. Owens’ and, exhausted, laid down never to rise.


In March 1837, the Mr. Flack, who kept the Indian trading post at Owen’s Point, died, which closed up that place of traffic. The Winnebagoes had gone west with their tribe which left only a few scattering Pottawattamies through the county whose chief occupation was to beg or steal. Garner Moffett, who bought another of the Thomas Crane’s claims a little west of the Swaggart tavern, and where the Moffett homestead now is, moved his family onto it in 1836, and soon after had a team of horses stolen by the Indians and taken to Mineral Point where he afterwards found them, very much disfigured by branding.

The capacity of an Indian’s stomach is almost incredulous. In the spring of 1837, one called at Father’s about breakfast time, begging something to eat and disposed of eleven cups of coffee.

At about this time, George Swaggart sold his tavern stand in Cherry Grove and bought out Williiam Thomson, who then moved onto his Woodland claim. The grove was then called Swaggart Grove until he sold out to Daniel Arnold in 1840.

In May 1837, several who had taken up claims, wishing to know their boundaries as no sub-divisions of townships had been made, engaged Levi Warner to come and survey out our claims. In order to get the correct bearings to run the east and west lines, I went with him to the south side of the township and from the high ridge of land at the upper end of York township, viewed stretching for the south, the beautiful valley of Johnson’s Creek. When Mr. Warner tried to survey from the bearings he had taken, his lines would not harmonize with the section corners along the township line, which made another trip to York necessary. The cause of the discrepancy then became apparent. There were two lines of mounds running nearly parallel about eighty rods apart, made by two different surveyors, one for the beginning of Mt. Carroll township and the other for the end of York township. The latter, Mr. Warner had taken by mistake. The strip between the surveys was called a "gore" from its triangular shape and was overlooked for several years by the government in bringing it into the market.

Mr. Warner found the variations to be 7 ½ degrees to the left due east and west course. It is now between two and three degrees less, as the magnetic pole is gradually moving to the left. A recent article in the Inter Ocean estimates that its present velocity it will complete entire circuit in 640 years.

Mr. Warner placed the section line where the Savanna road now runs from the George Kenyon farm west but the government surveyors in their sub-divisions six years later dipped to the south twelve rods at the northeast corner of Section 14; and four rods at the northwest corner of the same section striking Warner’s line at the northwest corner of Section 15, giving the east and west lines a zig-zag course across our prairie.

Early in the spring of 1837, Samuel Bayliss made a timber claim on the north side of Carroll Creek on Section 4, now owned by C. Neuschwanger, where he put up a small cabin in which he and his brother, Joseph, lived for a time. He soon after laid claim to 80 acres which took in the present fair grounds, and in June of that year got Levi Warner to lay him out a town. The location was a judicious one as the matter then stood, it being on the line of the proposed I. C. R. R. and about the right distance from Savanna. Mr. Bayliss was from Virginia and as all Virginians were proud of their native state -- the home of Pocahontas and the mother of presidents -- he gave to his town the name of Richmond. Two or three houses were built and Charles G. Hawley, a Justice of the Peace, occupied one of them. The strife for the post office between Richmond and the west end of the prairie as set forth in Kett’s County History, is, in the mail, correct, the year being 1840 instead of 1839; and the name of the post office, Panama. (Named by the post office department, as the state had a Richmond post office) instead of Richmond. Mr. Hawley made a very obliging postmaster, going around and notifying the patrons when any mail came, which he could afford to do, as most of the letters cost 25 cents to get them out. But the settlers in the west end of the prairie did their trading in Savanna and there continued to have their mail sent. And in 1841, the patronage of the Panama post office was so small that it was discontinued.

It was the social quality of the people that made them forget or overlook the inconveniences and hardships of a frontier life. This was especially the case of the people who settled first in Cherry Grove. As before stated, they were from the South and were imbued with true Southern hospitality’s characteristics. Although they were somewhat shy of Eastern people (Yankees, as they called them) there was no lack of civil treatment to them. In their social gatherings which were frequent, all received the same consideration. Log raisings were frequent and wound up with a dance in the evening. About every man was a fiddler and some of the women. In the dance, John C. Owens was the central figure. Although past middle age, he could move about on the puncheon floor with the agility of a cat, keeping time to the music; when not with his legs he was on the knee tatooing with his hands between chin and knee. No city Nobob, rolling in wealth had more genuine happiness that did these people in advance of a more ripened civilization in their log-cabin abodes.


In starting a fire, the flint and steel or an old flint-lock gun had to be brought into requisition; but a fire was seldom allowed to go out. The large open fireplaces were well adapted to retain partly consumed embers for days. I went with Mr. Thomson and family on Saturday morning to visit their Cherry Grove relations and did not return until Wednesday evening and found live coals enough to start a fire. The great desire of the early settlers, especially from the South, was to locate their cabin in a grove near a spring. The quality of the land was of secondary consideration which accounts for many of the earliest settlers taking up claims when they might have had the choicest selections that are now of an inferior quality. Two or three dogs were considered necessary committants to all well regulated households. The pestiferous coon up a tree had no more chance to escape than he did under the unerring aim of David Crockett’s gun.

The anti-slavery agitation was at its height and although the settlers had seen the curse of slavery, the man who denounced the institution in their presence was not taken into their fellowship. Shortly before this time, President Jackson, in a message to Congress, recommended the passage of a law excluding abolition documents from the privileges of the mail which only served to strengthen the cause of the abolitionists.

In 1838, Col. Beers Tomlinson returned with his son and Monroe Bailey. They came with a span of horses and wagon by hand all the way from Steuben County, New York. Their first object was to secure grain to winter their team and learning that Alvin Humphrey of Elkhorn had corn yet to husk, went there and procured a job husking on the shares. Mr. Humphrey was a hog dealer and driver, buying hogs down in the central part of the state and driving them up into the lead mines. He always kept a large number on his farm of the kind called in those days "shad bellies" from their resemblance in shape to that fish. Col. Tomlinson and Mr. Humphrey both were not slow in cracking jokes and Tomlinson said to Humphrey one day: "Mr Humphrey, if the old saying is true, you must have a very choice variety of pork here." "How so?" asked Mr. Humphrey. "The nearer the bone the sweeter the meat."

Col. Tomlinson’s next move was to find shelter for the winter and haul logs to Christian and Co.’s saw mill to get lumber to build on their claims, which they found in Woodland township in a cabin owned by Nelson Swaggart. Charles and Monroe did the chopping and the Colonel the hauling, showing themselves masters of the lumber business by soon stocking the mills with logs; and as fast as they were cut, hauled the lumber on to their claims. Col. Tomlinson built his house on the southeast quarter of Section 35 in Mt. Carroll Township.

Monroe Bailey made a claim for his father, Joshua Bailey, on Section 1 in York Township, now owned by Ansel Bailey.

In the autumn of 1839, Josuah Bailey came with his sons, Elijah and Ansel and Ira, and moved into the cabin Monroe had prepared for them.

This year came together, Benjamin S. Day, Joseph Ferrin, from Vermont, and John Kinney from the state of New York. Ferrin and Day met Kinney in Chicago on their way west to hunt a location, neither having any particular place in view. But meeting James A. Stewart, who was on his way to visit his brother, George W., they took his advice and came with him.

Mr. Ferrin became the owner of the south part of the Colehour farm and built a house where Mr. Colehour now lives. Messrs. Day and Kinney built a saw mill on Carroll Creek, a little above where Cedar Creek strikes it, on land now owned by Wm. M. Smith.

It is remarkable and worthy to note that those three men who came here together are now octogenarians.

This year came John O’Neil in advance of his family, from New York state and he and George W. Stewart laid claim to a part of Section 17 in Salem Township, where the telegraph crosses Johnson Creek and put up the body of the cabin. But they got notice that Hank Hopkins of Savanna claimed that land and was coming the next day to tear the cabin down. They each armed themselves with a gun and went inside the cabin to await the onset. "Hank" came with half a dozen pals from Cherry Grove and Stewart related the scene as follows: "They climbed up on the cabin with our guns pointed toward them and rolled the logs down over our heads." "Did you have your guns cocked?" Stewart was asked. "No, I was afraid it would go off."

The next year, Hopkins sold the claim to George Swaggart where Mr. Swaggart spent the rest of his days.

In the spring of this year, 1839, came on from Nova Scotia, Duncan Mackay and visited his brother, William, at the saw mill.

The time for which John, George, and William Mackay rented the Christian and Co. saw mill having expired, they rented it for a time to John Masters with a small cabin which Masters sublet to one McIntire, who refused to vacate at the time of expiration of Master’s time, intending to hold it as a claim. Mr. Swaggart went before Benjamin Church, a Justice of the Peace, in Savanna, and got out a writ of ejectment. But McIntire demanded a jury trial; the jury being selected a week before the trial. A Mr. Brown, an able lawyer from Sabula, was employed by the plaintiff and John C. Owens for the defendant. Only one of the venire selected was excused. The jury on retiring selected Luther Bowen as their foreman. The jury were not long in agreeing on a verdict, and on returning to the court room the Court asked, "Gentleman, have you agreed on a verdict?" The foreman said: "Yes, two of them, one for ourselves."


Mr. Swaggart took the hint and was prepared for the emergency; pulling out his purse he counted out twelve Spanish silver quarters. McIntire had to vacate, which was the last trouble made by any one to the large claim made by Otis and Mathews.

John O’Neal after having been driven from the claim that he had made in Salem Township by Hopkins, bought of Heman Downing a portion of his claim, on Section 10 and put up a cabin and lived there until he built the large brick two-story house in 1850 now owned by his daughter, Harriett. The house was built for a hotel and used as such for many years. In 1853, there was the third visitation of Asiatic Cholera in this country, being the most violent in the cities along the western rivers and on the emigrant boats on the Mississippi.

Three men landed at Savanna and started to walk to Ogle county and when about two miles west of O’Neal’s one of them was taken suddenly ill. Another came on to Mr. O’Neal’s, wanting him to go and bring him to the house. Mr. O’Neal said: "He probably has the cholera, but I will risk bringing him." It proved to be a genuine case of cholera, so said Dr. B. P. Miller, who attended him. The man died the next day. Then one McGee, a brother of Mrs. O’Neal, took ill and died; then a son, Lewis O’Neal, took ill and died, all within a week. They were buried on the farm, Calvin Gray preaching the funeral sermons. Neighbors went and watched with the sick and at the funerals there was a good attendance but there was no spread of the disease from that house.

In 1841, John Sandiford was added to the O’Neal family. The same year Elanthan Jacobs took up a claim on Section 29, now owned by Thomas Kinney. Mr. Jacobs was working in Mr. Porter Sargent’s powder mill when it blew up and killed Mr. Balcom. The Mirror last year published a holocaust, but as Mr. Jacobs did the first work for me, cradling grain through harvest, after he recovered, I will give the circumstances as he related them to me:

"I had a dream the night before that the mill was going to be blown up and told the lady of the house about it the next morning. It made such an impression upon me that I was on the constant watch. I was working in the building next below the cylinder mill which was about ten rods distant and was looking out of the end door toward the cylinder mill when I saw it blow up and I jumped out of a side door, not a window as the Mirror stated, making three jumps before the building which I had left blew up also. I lacked one jump of getting beyond the rim of the fire. Mr. Balcom, when I jumped, stood leaning over a hopper pouring powder."

Col. Beers Tomlinson gave this account of the scene: "I had just driven up to their boarding house. This house was on elevated ground, which gave a commanding view of the mills and was about twenty rods distant, tying my horses when the cylinder mill blew up and a window of fire went sweeping to the other buildings. Jacobs’ clothes were saturated with powder and the first thing he did was to strip off his burning garments. He was badly burned but Mr. Sargent took him to his own house in Savanna and cared for him until he got well."

Mr. Jacobs many years after removed to Kansas, where fire finally conquered, he being found dead in his field where he had gone to fight a fire.

This year also 1841, there settled in Woodland Township, Mathias Watson, who last year in Chicago was rescued from the fourth floor of a burning building.

In the same year there settled in Salem Township, Jesse Van Buskirk. W. A. J. Pierce, of the same township, came to Cherry Grove with his parents the same year, his father keeping the hotel there several years, and was also postmaster.

George Dwinnell came this year and settled in York on the northeast quarter of Section 12.

Late in the autumn of this year came Nathaniel H. Halderman, who, with David Emmert, bought out the interests of Hitt, Swaggart, and Swingley and organized into a company under the corporate name of Emmert, Halderman and Company, the silent partner being John Rinewalt, for the purpose of building a large flouring mill. Mr. Halderman being a practical miller. Their purchase included the larger part of Section 1, including the saw mill, Mr. Christian retaining his share of the land. The services of an architect, Mr. Chapman of Ogle County, were soon secured to plan and supervise the erection of the mill. Bradstreet Robinson was employed to drive the team consisting of two yoke of oxen to haul the logs to the saw mill to be made into lumber for the mill, which was mostly of white oak.

From the obliging merchants of Savanna, the settlers got accommodations that otherwise would have deprived them of the necessaries of life. Settlers within a radius of thirty miles came to Savanna to trade. Buy and "pay after harvest" was the rule. But to promise money was not always a safe transaction. I was in a store when Alvin Humphrey came in and ordered a large bill of goods, as he had a large family to provide for. "Now," said he, "if I don’t have the money when the debt comes due, I don’t want you to sue me, but come to my farm and take as much stock as will satisfy you."


The merchants bought their dry goods in New York, Luther H. Bowen making annual trips in mid-winter by stage. They bought largely on a credit of six months and a year. Buffalo, New York was, in those days, a paradise of brokers. Those starting east with western money were shaved ten per cent, and those going west were shaved but not so much. Our merchants had to add the brokerage to the price of goods or as was often done when their customers paid down, discount their money ten per cent. No merchant was safe in taking bank bills without first having two or three bank not reporters on the desk before them to see whether the bills were from a solvent bank or counterfeit. In coin, we were not much better off, except it was safer to carry over night. In selling products on the farm, our trade was largely in carrying supplies to the lead mines about Galena and as miners were mostly foreigners, our pay mostly was in foreign coins. An English sovereign was valued at $5. A five-franc piece at $1. An English shilling at 25 cents. American coin was largely in ten-cent pieces from the fact that ten-cent pieces would pass for one-eighth of a dollar. No pennies were in circulation. Dressed hogs had to be hawked through the mines and sold at $1.50 per hundred. But taxes were light; no real estate tax to pay, as the fee simple to the land was in the U. S. Government. No farm machinery to buy or tax as none was used except a fanning mill and one answered for an entire neighborhood. The fanning utensils consisted of a wooden mouldboard plow, a drag and a grain cradle, all handmade, except the scythe.

The threshing was done by scraping off a circle of ground about 20 feet in diameter and setting the bundles in a leaning backward position of about 45 degrees and wide enough for two horses or a yoke of oxen to walk abreast the leaning grain. One hand rode or drove the animals and another stirred up the grain until done; then rake off the straw, pile up the fresh threshed grain and chaff in the middle of the circle and repeat the threshing process. The next improvement in threshing was in what was called a "Bul Thresh", consisting of a spike cylinder and concave brought here by Samuel D. Newell. This took fourteen men to run it, stopping every hour to throw the grain and chaff into the rail pen. But we thought the climax of inventive genius in threshing was reached when Monroe Bailey, in 1844, brought a machine from New York that would thresh and clean 200 bushels of wheat a day. We had no reliable wheat market short of Chicago, until the Mt. Carroll mills started in the winter of 1842 and 1843. In hauling wheat to Chicago, both horse and ox teams were used. In the autumn of 1840, George W. Stewart, Daniel Christian and myself made the trip with oxen, taking us eighteen days.

In 1839, a Mr. Jackson started a distillery in Savanna Township at the point of the bluff near Kitchen’s Mill and about 80 rods south of the Mt. Carroll and Savanna road where there was a spring of water. Jackson, finding that the business was going to be a financial failure, and having become heavily involved to one or two of the Savanna merchants, clandestinely sold out to George W. Stewart, and secretly left for parts unknown, leaving his autograph to promises to pay unsettled. Mr. Stewart removed the distillery to his claim on Section 10 and set it up on Cedar Creek, against the protest from the temperance women of the Prairie. But Stewart repelled them with the argument that, "as we have to have the whiskey curse, we might as well have the profits." But Stewart also found the enterprise as unprofitable to him as to Jackson and became considerably involved in it. But Stewart paid all demands easily as he said as his "creditors were willing to take slabs, or anything they could get."

In the year 1839, in addition to those mentioned in a previous letter there was a large influx of immigrants into the county, the year of the county’s birth.

Among those who settled in York Township in June were: Seymore B. Tomlinson, nephew of Col. Tomlinson. (Kett’s History says brother) and his brother-in-law, Noble Bassett. (The same History mentions a Mr. Whipple, a Presbyterian minister as preaching the first sermon on the Prairie or in our Township; but is silent to the others who contributed largely to the interest of the meetings.) The appointment was made several days in advance, for the meeting to be held in the cabin of Heman Downing; and Mr. Bassett and Mr. Tomlinson, accomplished singers, were invited to come and take charge of the singing. Col. Tomlinson, his son Charles, and Mr. Bailey were present, the minister had the satisfaction of preaching to a full house. Mr. Bassett subsequently taught singing schools on the Prairie and in different parts of the county. He and S. B. Tomlinson took up claims on Section 10. Bassett driving Tomlinson’s ox team a season or two breaking prairie on the shares, with no benefit to Bassett except to strengthen his vocal organs. Farming was not his forte. He gave it up and went to Boston where he found his sphere as vocal teacher in the Mason and Hamlin Conservatory of Music. Cornelius C. Shoemaker settled this year in York on Section 28. Elkhorn Grove had several additions in the persons of Byron and Nelson Fletcher, L. F. A. T. and A. G. Estabrooks, Henry Hunter and J. B. Johnson, ex-county sheriff.

In Carroll Township, John fish settled on Section 19, and in Savanna Township, O. H. Gillett on Section 2.

In previous chapters I have omitted William Carroll, who came to Cherry Grove with George Swaggart in 1835 and was in his employ for several years, taking up a claim in Freedom Township about the time that Swaggart moved onto the Thomson place. Married Miss Louise Christian in 1840 and subsequently moved to York Township on Section 3, living there until his death in 1889.


I stated in a former paper that reading matter was scarce here in the early days. The books read at that time were largely those of Captain Maryatt, and English writer of fiction, and his story of the "Phantom Ship" was about as fascinating to young readers as the adventures of Robinson Crusoe. There is a passage in one of President Lincoln’s messages so nearly parallel to one in the "Phantom Ship", which is suggestive that he might have borrowed it from this book. The language used by Mr. Lincoln in addressing himself to Jeff Davis was: "You have taken no solemn oath to destroy the government, while my oath is registered in Heaven to preserve it."

Capt. Maryatt about 1840 came to the United States, visited the principal cities, where he was lionized, wined, dined wherever he went, returning through Canada stopping at Toronto and giving the following after dinner toast: "Captain Drew and his brave comrades who cut out the Caroline."

That toast was fatal to his popularity in this country and fell like a wet blanket on all of his writings, the country being in no temper to receive such a sentiment.

A. L. Porter was an active Republican worker and the last time I met him was in Freeport where he was a candidate for Congress. He died many years ago. John D. Brown went to California which he probably long since paid the debt of Nature.

About the period we have reached in pioneer history, the state being on the verge of bankruptcy, and the paper money having such a fickle value, the Legislature passed a law that "all taxes shall be paid in silver or gold."

The sheriff in those days was the tax collector. I was in the office of Leonard Goss, Esq., in Savanna, (the same who was caught outside the blockhouse in Savanna when the Indians made an attack upon it during the Black Hawk war; and climbing on the fort on the opposite side from the Indians reached the inside in safety by going down the chimney). When the sheriff, Hezekiah Francis, came in, Mr. Goss said: "I guess I might as well pay my taxes now," and handed out a Sovereign. Francis being a Whig and having more regard for the letter of the law than for the wisdom of the Democratic Legislature who made it, said: "I can’t take that money for all of your taxes, as it is only a partial compliance with the law which says that ‘all taxes shall be paid in silver and gold.’"

Those were the halycon days for the usurers who asked and received twenty-five cents per day for the use of the money.

Upon the opening of spring 1842, the Mt. Carroll Mill Company had their lumber sawed and their stone quarrying well along for the erection of the mill.

Kett’s History reads of the first residence in Mt. Carroll as follows: A log house was built at "Stag Point" on the ground now occupied by Mrs. I. P. Sheldon and in January 1842, the Emmert family moved in and occupied it. My recollection is that David Emmert did not move in, until fifteen months later. Some one must have occupied it and boarded the men but I have found no one that can answer the question.

Daniel Hurley came this year and took up a claim in Salem Township, where his family yet reside. Mr. Hurley’s business was that of railroad grading and digging canals and he came and secured the jobs of excavating for the mill, digging the head and tail race and building the dam. He was master of the business and could make the job pay where others would lose. The mill was ready to start about the close of the year.

John Mackay came this year, a single man and lived for a time with his brother, Duncan and wife in a "dugout" on the Telegraph road in Salem Township, until he was ready to occupy the land where he now resides. Mrs. John Mackay came to the county the same year.

Isaac L. Woodruff came this year to Elkhorn Grove, going from there to Elizabeth, thence to Savanna, where he ran a hardware store for a time, then a hotel until his death in 1891. He took an active part in politics, first a Whig and at the death of the party became a Republican.

Mathew R. Davis came the same year to settle in Freedom Township, afterward residing in Lanark many years, was an active laborer in the management of the county fairs and old settlers meetings and a prominent Democrat in politics. He died in 1887.

I have omitted to mention in the proper place, Jonahan Cummings, who came about 1840 and settled on Section 11. He was a carpenter, joiner and machinist; built fanning mills some of which are now in use, and after half a century’s wear, compare favorably with modern styles. Built the house now owned by George Bickelhaupt where he lived about twelve years and sold to Lewis Bliss who occupied it about thirty-five years. He also built the grist mill now owned by Adam Fulrath, and with his son, Rhuel, ran it for several years. Solomon Mattes, whose obituary was recently published in the Mirror, made the irons for the Cummings mill and also for the Yontz mill at Polsgrove.


The Indian trails in a former letter having been pointed out, it is now my intention to give the names of those who settled in Cherry Grove and vicinity prior to January 1st, 1836.

Thomas Crane seems to have been the first settler, but in what year, I have never learned, but before the Black Hawk war, he erected a blockhouse as a protection against the Indians. He made numerous claims but the blockhouse was used as a tavern and stage house, where John D. Winters changed drivers and horses for his four-horse coach. This claim, Mr. Crane sold to George Swaggart in 1835.

The next settlers seem to have been Francis Garner and Daniel Wooten in 1833, Mr. Garner not moving his family until 1834, their claim (timber) adjoining. Mr. Garner built his cabin mid-way in the grove called Garner’s Grove, and Mr. Wooten near the near west side. The same year, 1833, Mr. Thomas made a claim at what is now called Arnold’s Grove, his claim taking in the land on which the Dunkard Church now stands. His cabin stood about 15 rods east of the church near a spring; a depression made in the ground for a cellar underneath the puncheon floor was there a few years ago. Mr. Swaggart buried his wife in 1835, making four wives he had lost. All of the above named persons were relatives, except Mr. Swaggart, natives of North Carolina, immigrating from there to the southern part of the state. Mr. Swaggart came from Missouri. But I must not forget to mention John C. Owen in connection with the early history, for it would be like "the play of Hamlet with Hamlet let out." As to the year of his settlement, I am not advised, but not later than 1834. He was a useful citizen and one the settlement could not very well do without. He was a Justice of the Peace, school director, the examiner of teachers, adviser in all legal matters, wrote out all legal documents for the settlers and was a fluent talker with both the Winnebago and Pottawattamie Indians. He came from Tennessee. His wife’s nativity was Massachusetts, but went to Tennessee as a school teacher and became Mr. Owen’s second wife. As she was the only person known to me who came from the land of the Pilgrims, I was a frequent caller at their home. She was a good conversationalist and plied me with questions that betrayed her Yankee origin. Asked about my paternal ancestors and where they lived, tracing hers to the same town where my maternal ancestors lived. Mr. Owen sat listening in silence until we got to this point, when in a commanding tone said: "Stop! If you go any further, you will find yourselves related." More anon.

The year 1843 opened as the old year closed, but January did not pass without a thaw. A rain carried off the snow quickly and without much flood as there was no frost in the ground. Five or six cold days followed, then snow at short intervals for the next three months, the weather cloudy most of the time and cold. But during that time there was a blast from Washington, more chilling to the settlers than those from old Boreas. President Tyler had issued a proclamation to have all the land in Carroll, and part of Ogle, placed on the market in November following. The settlers became alarmed, as money such as the government required for the payment of lands was not to be had. Gold, silver and treasury notes were the legal tender stipulations. The state law requiring all taxes to be paid in coin, presented any great accumulation of the former, and the latter were seldom found west of the Lakes. They were issued under Van Buren’s administration to relieve the exhausted treasury run upon the basis of a tariff for revenue only.

In March, 1843, the settlers began to move in the matter. They felt that to have their lands put upon the market would place themselves at the mercy of land sharks. Meetings were called, the first in the northern part of the county at Cherry Grove House, kept by David Emmert. There was a good attendance, Lewis Bliss going with his bugle horn, enlivened the meeting with music. The meeting, after making some preliminary arrangements, adjourned to another meeting about a month hence, to be held in the store of the mill company at Stag’s Point, the same building now forming a part of the Mrs. I. P. Sheldon residence. At this second meeting it was resolved to petition President Tyler to postpone the sale of the land. Tyler had proved treacherous to the principles of the Whig party that elected him and it was humiliating to the Whig portion of the settlers, and they were in a large majority, this being the Whig banner county of the state, to have to petition him for relief. David Emmert, who was a Whig, was chosen to draft the petition which set forth in its true light, the scarcity of money, most of the settlers beginning with no means but their labor and that applied to improving their claims and providing for their families, closing the petition with the following prayer:

"Remember and aid us in this our need, and we will remember you

when aid will be greatly needed."

George W. Harrison, a Democrat, was the first to speak. He said: "I think you had better leave that out, the President will take that as an insult." Seymour Tomlinson, a Whig, was the next to speak. "Yes," he said, "leave that out. I would not vote for John Tyler again to save my farm."

The Hon. Samuel Hit of Ogle County, a friend of President Tyler, was made the bearer of the petition to the President, who after reading it, said: "I am in full sympathy with the settlers in securing to them their lands. "But," he said, "the time set for the sale of the land cannot be postponed, but I will in a special message to Congress, recommend that all settlers who are entitled to the land under the Preemption Act, shall have one year to pay for it from date of application."


Tyler was as good as his word and such a law was passed. Protective leagues were formed in the different parts of the country for the safety of the settlers at the land sales, the land office then being at Dixon and all disputes among land claimants had to be adjusted before the Board of Arbitrators previous to the day of the sale. Each league had one man selected to bid off all the land covered by the league fro such of the settlers who were ready to pay. David Emmert was selected as the bidder in the northern league. He had a plat of lands before him and the 80s marked with the name of the claimant who was ready to pay. A Mr. Eddy, one of the clerks in the department, was crier. The land was put up by the 80 acres, commencing with the east half of the northeast quarter of Section One and going through the townships in the order with which the sections were numbered. He cried off the land as rapidly as he could name the lots, slowing up by a sign, when near a lot to be taken, when the bidder would cry out, "Bid", which meant $1.25 per acre, and the name of the purchaser recorded. Any one raising the bid would have been roughly treated.

The Tyler law proved very beneficial to the settlers, giving them time to prepare paying for their lands and most of them to secure it.

The year 1843 seems to furnish an unusual amount of pioneer history. The large body of snow that had accumulated did not commence to melt until the 10th of April and then went so suddenly that the flood in Carroll Creek swept out the Mt. Carroll mill dam which was made as it now is with a wall of rock 20 feet high and puddled with dirt. The loss of the dam made the people of Mt. Carroll wear sad countenances for a time, as upon the mill depended their support. But Daniel Hurley was equal to the emergency and starting his force, soon had the bank of earth replaced sufficiently to start the mill and rebuild the stone wall afterwards, which for fifty-one years stood the test of many raging floods.

This year settled in Rock Creek township, David Becker, father of E. T. E. Becker, who gave the town its name; he also planted the first orchard in the township. William Finlayson and family came this year from Nova Scotia and laid claim to the southeast quarter of Section 29, in Salem Township where he now lives. Mr. Finlayson was ordered to the World’s Fair at Chicago last year and resumed his place as conductor of a train drawn by the same engine, "Samson", that drew his train sixty years ago. Dennison F. Holmes settled in the same town and became one of the largest land owners in the county. He died in 1893. James Graham of the same town came the same year and lives on Section 28, and is now the supervisor of the town. E. H. Phillips settled this year in York Township on Section 21. Pennel Kenyon in Mt. Carroll Township on Section 29, died in 1881. N. H. Melendy came the same year to York Township and is now a resident and ex-mayor of Mt. Carroll. Harlyn Pyle came this year and lived on his farm on Section 36 in Woodland Township, now owned by White Bros., also ran a blacksmith shop in Mt. Carroll across the street from the mill. His son, Thomas, lived in East Carroll until he removed to town. John Brotherton came this year and for a time kept the books for the mill company, went to the central part of the state and bought a four-horse team and set it to hauling flour to Savanna, where it was shipped south. He was a man of enterprise, introducing the first McCormick reaper about 1845 and gave it a trial in my harvest field. It had no seat for the raker, who had to walk and rake off the bundles. The sickle was a straight bar of steel with the teeth cut transversely.

This year, 1843, was also introduced the Cary Steel mould board plow, the first that would scour in the prairie soil. It was the delight of the prairie farmers and the most important farm implement ever introduced. Our farms were becoming sodded over with June grass which no wooden mould plow would subdue. This year came Robert Petty, father of William and James H. Petty, and settled in Section 15, his cabin standing near the present residence of his son, James. Led the singing, congregational, in the Methodist meetings in Mt. Carroll and also taught singing. Died in 1845. Thomas Lambert came the same year and settled on Section 23, now owned by Michael Markley; died in 1892. Joseph Welty came the same year and settled in Mt. Carroll, and is a carpenter and knows how to make hens produce winter eggs. Eleis Bristol came this year and settled in the southwest of the township. Lewis Bemis came to Savanna this year and for a time was a partner with Porter Sargent in the mercantile and powder business; died in 1892. George Grove arrived this year and took up a claim on Section 29, Freedom Township, now owned by Uriah Green. He also drove a four-horse team for several years hauling flour to Savanna. Jacob Albright came about the same time and took up the adjoining claim now owned by John Mader. George Emmert also came this year and took up a claim in Savanna Township, on Section 8, now owned by David Kingery; built the large house and barn. L. E. Galusha came this year and built the first house in Fair Haven Township. J. H. Zuck and wife came this year and settled on Section 20, in Salem Township.

The people of Mt. Carroll became jubilant this year over the result of the election by the people of the county, removing the county seat from Savanna to their own town by a majority of 41 votes out of 421.


In the winter of 1843 and ‘44, some of the citizens of Mt. Carroll and vicinity organized a debating society for benefit and pleasure and as there was no unoccupied room in the village for holding public meetings they were held in the log cabin of Daniel Christian Sr., who had built himself a frame house and moved into it. Mr. Christian’s new home was an exact counter part of the house that now stands a few rods west of the Hartman residence near the fair grounds and built for Nelson Swaggart. Among those who took part in the lyceum were Bradstreet Robinson, Rezin Everts, Howard Fewsmith, Franklin Langworthy and others whom I do not now recall. Mr. Langworthy also gave a course of lectures, the same winter, on Geology. He was a preacher of the Universalist doctrine. Went overland to California, wintering on his way at Salt Lake among the Mormons. On his return he published a book of his travels and his observation of Mormon character was not flattering to the Mormons. He lived for several years on the northwest quarter of Section 24, now owned by the Campbell brothers. He moved to Minnesota, where he became a convert to the Methodist doctrine.

John Irvine Sr. came this year in 1844 and became a partner in the store and mill of the Mill Company, withdrew from the company at its merging into the Hydraulic Company. He was active in the cause of temperance, a Methodist exhorter, and in the mercantile business until his death at an advanced age.

William J. Mertz settled in Mt. Carroll this year and ran a blacksmith shop for several years, also built several houses. Died in 1889. William C. Jacobs settled on Section 4, now owned by H. Engleking. H. L. Atherton settled in York Township this year; died in 1876; W. F. Atherton, same town and year; Alonzo Taylor, same town and year; Justice Bailey, same town and year, settled on Section 3, ex-supervisor; died in 1891. Marchus Atherton, same town and year, Morgan Price, same year settled in Woodland Township, was a successful lead ore miner. Lucius Douglas, same town, lives on Section 31; W. D. Gillogly, same town, same year and same section; Frank Bell, same year in Fair Haven, ex-supervisor; Mrs. Lorenzo, Dan Pierce settled this year in Savanna; also Mrs. Henry D. Pierce, both daughters-in-law of Aaron Pierce, the first settler with a family in Savanna in 1828.

Albert H. Heeley settled in Elkhorn Grove on Section 6, same year. Traversed the county in company with Elber Woodruff in the interest of Henry Clay, the Whig nominee for president, Woodruff doing the talking and Healy singing. They held a meeting at the Christian Cabin. Franklin Langworthy, a Democrat and Edward C. Cochran, a Whig, also held a joint discussion in Lewis Bliss’ tavern, Langworthy for James K. Polk and Cochran for Clay. Col. Beers Tomlinson, also a great admirer of Henry Clay, put in strong arguments for him on the basis of a high protective tariff and a National bank.

A court house was built in this year and was so far advanced that it was decided to celebrate the 4th of July within its walls. But June had been a very wet month, running also into July, so that the roof was not finished in time and the 4th dawned with rain, lasting until noon. But the Hon. Thomas Hoyne, of Galena, later of Chicago, having arrived to deliver the oration, it was decided to meet in the afternoon, with the water yet dripping overhead.

Jared Bartholemew came to Mt. Carroll this or the year previous and for years had charge of the coopering for the Mill Company. Was also supervisor and chairman of the board for several terms; and lastly became a student of Dr. Dodd of Whiteside County and set up the practice in Mt. Carroll. The medicine consisted mostly of concentrated calomel. A fatal disease broke out in Galena, which baffled the skill of physicians and Dr. Bartholemew had such faith in his medicine to cure all diseases that he went to Galena to try it on the new disease and he himself fell a victim to it. He was a man much respected by all who knew him.

The court house was in readiness to hold the October term of Circuit Court, presided over by Judge Brown, Samuel Downing, Sheriff. (Note: This is Sumner Downing, not Samuel Downing.) Judge Brown did not have as much patience as the trial judges do of today. When the witness had told all that the judge thought he knew he was quickly ordered from the stand which brought him into disfavor with the attorneys. But as his tenure of office was unlimited until the adoption of the new constitution in 1848, which made the office elective and limited, he was master of the situation.

Mild autumn weather this year continued until November 20th. On the 19th, I started for Galena with a load of truck for market, Robert Petty going with me. That night a warm rain set in continuing until 2 o’clock the next afternoon when the wind changed and a blizzard set in. Left Galena about sundown for home. A steamboat was then lying at the wharf. Drove home that night and learned afterward that the boat had left Galena at nine o’clock that night and the next morning the boys were skating all over Fever River. The boat reached Savanna about midnight and John B. Rhodes, who had business with the boat, informed me that ice had so accumulated as it make it difficult for the boat to leave the landing.


In 1839 also settled in Woodland Township John H. Deeds, becoming owner of a large amount of land which he mortgaged to the Racine and Mississippi R. R., which resulted in a long but successful litigation on his part, against the holder of the mortgage.

This year the Illinois Central R. R. got so far along as to put it under contract for grading between Dixon and Savanna but before any grading was done the contractors got notice that the state’s money and credit were both exhausted and work would have to be suspended.

Fifteen millions of dollars in grading, surveying and indemnity to counties that the lines did not touch and less than ten miles were equipped with rolling stock. The year of 1844 was one of great political strife. It was the Whiggery against the Democracy.

The principles of the Whig platform were retrenchments in public expenditures; a high protective tariff and a national bank, and William Henry Harrison was nominated as the standard bearer of those principles. The Democrats, early in the campaign sounded the tocsin that Harrison’s chief qualification was "to sit in a cabin and drink hard cider," just as they said twenty years later that Abraham Lincoln excelled in one thing, that of rail splitting. The Whigs made log cabin and hard cider the watchword of their campaign.

The platform of the Democrats did not differ materially from their platform in 1892. The Whigs of Carroll County had no more earnest and able advocate of their principles that Col. Beers Tomlinson.

Among the new settlers this year were to Elkhorn Grove: John H. Hawes, Fisher Allison, Simeon Johnson, A. H. Healy, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Tucker. In Salem, Duncan and William Mackay. In Savanna, Charles Pulford. In Freedom, Martin M. Mitchell and Daniel Arnold and sons. In Mt. Carroll Township, Amos Shoemaker and Stephen Kneale. Lewis Bliss and Benjamin Church built a hotel on the west corner of Section 11, now owned by Jacob Hartman. They were expert hunters and many were the gratuitous feasts of venison their neighbors received from them as products of their chase.

Mr. Bliss lives in Janesville, Wisconsin and is 87 years of age and in a letter dated the first of the present year writes:

"We wish you a happy New Year and are reminded of our bygone happy
New Years by your interesting articles published in the Mirror when the
deer and prairie chicken were our neighbor and we often called them in.
We are preserving your record of past events that those who follow in
years to come may learn that the blessings they enjoy are but the outcome
of the labor of others in bygone days."

Mr. Bliss lived for a time in that 12 x 14 foot cabin which was afterwards removed by George Stewart and put up on the land he sold to Samuel Haynes and used as a school house for a time and a harness shop, Mr. Stewart being a harness maker. The cabin sheltered probably more persons per square foot than any other house in the township.

Elijah Stearns, who was among the earliest of the pioneers, became the owner of the Bliss-Church farm about 1852 where he resided for many years.

Among the early settlers of Black Oak Grove was John D. Brown, a Canadian, who came early in the year 1838. Brown had joined the forces of William McKenzie in 1837 who had organized an army to overthrow the British rule in Canada. But the rebellion was of short duration and many of the rebels with Brown fled to the United States.

McKenzie had issued a call for volunteers and many from the state joined his forces when rendezvoused on Navy Island in Niagara River near Buffalo. While McKenzie was holding the island, an incident occurred which, for a time, threatened a rupture between the United States and England. A small steamer called the Caroline was used for making semi-daily trips between Buffalo and the head of the Falls, carrying passengers to visit the Falls. The commander of the English army got notice that Caroline was probably doing some secret night work in carrying supplies to the troops on the Navy Island and sent Capt. Drew with a squad of men one night to destroy her. They found her moored to the American shore, over powered her men and set fire to her and sent her over the Falls. As I was familiar to the general outline of the boat, having worked in 1835 near the dock in Buffalo, where she made her landing and was often aboard her, I will describe her: The size and style of build she was much like a Mississippi River steam ferry boat.

Porter, concluding that the country farther west of Buffalo would be a safer place to live, fled to Dixon, Illinois, joining the corps of engineers and was one of the chainmen who chained the Old Illinois Central railroad line between Dixon and Savanna. In 1843-1844 he was keeping the Great Western Hotel in Dixon, and was afterwards Sheriff of Lee County for several terms. But to return to the Caroline. About three years after her destruction, one Alexander McLeod went to Rochester, got intoxicated and boasted that he was one of the men who helped to destroy the Caroline. He was arrested and thrown into prison and England demanded his release which served to fan the flame of animosity between the United States and that country.


The year 1845 surpasses all previous years in adding to the phalanx of old settlers. Abram Hostetter came this year and settled in Salem Township on Section 8, now owned by his son, C. L.; built a large stone home, was a practicing physician for a time, also ran an exchange bank in Mt. Carroll, and stocked his farm with thoroughbred Shorthorn cattle.

John L. Hostetter, brother of the above, came at the same time, also a physician surgeon in the late war. Built the house now owned and lived in by Judge B. L. Patch. Died in 1877. Phylander Seymour settled this year in Rock Creek Township and served as county surveyor one term, built the large brick house in Mt. Carroll now owned by Mrs. William Mackay. Moved to Rockford where he and his wife are living at an advanced age. Daniel Teeter came this year and settled in Freedom Township, moved to Mt. Carroll and died 1892. Symour Downs settled in Salem Township, removed to Lanark, died in 1884. Samuel Poffenberger settled in Salem Township, died in 1879. T. T. Jacobs came this year and settled in Jacobstown for three or four years, moved to Mt. Carroll and kept a grocery store until age forbid, died in 1886. Peter Shrader settled this year on Section 15, Salem Township, moved to Mt. Carroll and died in 1884. His widow lives on Clay Street. John S. Grove, son of George Grove, born this year and lives in Mt. Carroll and is now serving his second term as circuit clerk and recorder. Charles Atherton settled this year on Section 3, York Township, died in 1883 at the age of 87 years. Daniel Miller came this year to settle in Freedom Township, died in 1886. Daniel Kingery came this year and lives in Mt. Carroll. Amos Wolf, born this year, lives in Rock Creek Township on Section 9. Frank Stedman this year in Savanna, makes himself useful as a clerk in stores and banks. Jacob Bucher this year in Jo Daviess county, soon after enlisted in the war with Mexico, now lives in Mt. Carroll. Willard Wicks came this year to Mt. Carroll, engaged in gardening, orcharding and forestry, adjoining the fair grounds; died in 1892. Henry Teachout and wife came this year and now live in Lanark. Herman Edgerly came this year and settled on Section 20, in York Township. Dr. G. W. Johnson and wife came this year. He is the county coroner and lives in Savanna. William R. Laid came this year and settled in Freedom Township and became supervisor of the town. John A. Iler came the same year and settled in the same township on Section 15. Richard W. Healey came to the county this year, enlisted in the 15th I. V. I. And served through the war. Now resides in Shannon engaged in the insurance and real estate business. James R. Howell came this year and settled on Section 35, Freedom Township, and enlisted in 71st I. V. I., died in 1888. Thomas M. Hawk came this year to Salem Township, located on Section 2; narrowly escaped death at a railroad in 1891 in which his wife and child were killed. Leo W. Miller, same year and same town. Samuel Mitchell settled this year in Freedom Township, now a resident of Mt. Carroll, an octogenarian, hale and hearty. A. M. Wood settled this year on Section 33, Wysox Township. L. Miller settled this year in Lima Township on Section 19. G. W. Hunter settled in Wysox Township on Section 2. Nathan Krebs settled this year on Section 29, Lima Township.

The following are some of the names of the early settlers that have been omitted:

James Garner, in Cherry Grove Township, came in 1834 and was awarded a rocking chair at the Old Settlers’ meeting in 1892, as being the oldest living male settler in the county.

G. W. Knox of Elkhorn Grove who settled in 1835, being the next oldest male settler in the county.

David L. Bowen came to Savanna the same year but three months later. His wife, Sila Pierce Bowen, was one of the first females who came to Savanna, in 1828, was in the block house when the Black Hawk Indians attacked it. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in January of this year.

Timothy Doty came in 1835, lived in Savanna for a time, bought out a claim of Luther H. Bowen on Section 30, Carroll Township, which gave the name "Doty Lake" to that body of water; died in 1890.

David Heffine settled in 1835, near Chambers Grove, although not in this county, but ought to have been, and his name enrolled on the records of Carroll county’s oldest settlers, died in 1885.

Hon. Harry Smith settled in Elkhorn Grove in 1836, was supervisor of the legislature. He also had some experience in hauling forty-cent wheat to Chicago and $1.50 per hundred pork to Galena.

John Orr came to Carroll Township in 1836, had some experience behind the "bull thresher", moved to Savanna and went into the mercantile business; died in 1879.

John Fuller came to Savanna in 1837, married Sarah, a daughter of Robert Ashby and had their golden wedding in 1890. He is 81.

An error got into the old settlers’ records that Mrs. John Mackay came to this county the same year as her husband, in 1842. She came with her mother and uncle, Henry Weitzel, in 1837, being now the oldest living settler in Salem Township.

Adam Daggert settled in Salem Township the same year and was born to them the first child born in the township in the same year, his son, Henry, who now owns the land around "Daggett Station."


The year 1846 was largely memorable as the out breaking of the war with Mexico and President Polk calling for 50,000 volunteer soldiers. The only volunteer from Carroll Township was "Zibe" Leonard, whose father became historical by making the first grist mill on the site now owned by Adam Fulrath, the building being of logs and the mill stones dressed from the quarry of lime stone near by.

Zibe, before enlisting, has proved invulnerable to the fatal result from the bite of a rattlesnake without calling upon the aid of a physician and in storming the heights of Cerro Gordo under Gen. Scott was also proof against the bullets. He returned home at the close of the war without a scratch.

William H. Hawk settled this year in Freedom Township on Section 35, died in 1836. (Note: This has to be a typo; he couldn’t have settled in 1846 and died in 1836.) His son, Robert M. A., enlisted in 1862 in the ninety-second I. I., chosen 1st Lieutenant, became Captain and Bevetted Major; was wounded April 12, 1865, two days before the assassination of President Lincoln, which resulted in the loss of a leg. Was elected county clerk the same year, holding the office until sent as Representative to Congress and died in 1886, the day before he was nominated for the third term in Congress.

William B. Ray settled in Mt. Carroll, ran a grocery story for a time and lastly a farmer in Woodland Township; died in 1887.

Isaac P. Sheldon came to Carroll Township this year, owned and ran a distillery for a time on Section 3, the only distillery that ever proved a financial success in the county; became owner in the Mt. Carroll flouring mill for a time; died in 1890.

Frank Trail settled in Carroll Township this year on Section 24, now owned by Campbell brothers; went overland to California gold fields with the great rush; afterwards owned the farm now owned by John Richter; died in 1882.

High Howel settled in Salem Township this year on Section 22, now a resident of Mt. Carroll; is 87 years old. Mrs. Nancy Howell, his wife, came in the same year.

Joseph Warfield came this same year and settled on Section 13, Carroll Township; has held the office of supervisor more terms than any one person; is a loaner of money and spends his winters in California.

James Maloney settled this year on Section 28, Carroll Township, now lives in the city.

John A. Melendy in 1844 settled in York Township on Section 29, a large stock raiser and a worker at the county fairs and political meetings; died in 1891.

George N. Melendy settled on Section 29, York Township, in 1846; was also a large dealer and feeder of cattle, removed to Dakota.

Lucius S. Thorpe settled this year in Elkhorn Grove Township, on Section 7; has held the office of county surveyor for several terms.

James Irvine came this year, ran a saw mill for several years in Savanna; was a merchant in Mt. Carroll for a time; now lives with his daughter, Mrs. Stockwell.

Samuel Ludwick came this year and settled on Section 5, Freedom Township, now lives in Mt. Carroll.

This year was built the first saw mill in York Township, on Johnson Creek, Section 20, by Russel Colvin, land now owned by Robert Dunshee. Mr. Colvin came with the Dysons in 1837, they being the first permanent settlers of the township.

This year, 1846, there was tried in the circuit court before Judge Brown, a case, a damage by assault that awakened a lively interest among the settlers. One Henry Green entered an improved farm belonging to one of the settlers, who with several neighbors being too poor to get the money to enter their lands, situated in the southeast corner of Fair Haven Township, associated into a protective league to chastise any one who entered their land and attempt to occupy it. This, Green attempted to do. The league took him and applied a horse whip to him without mercy, who commenced suit against them for damage. He employed James Knox of Rock Island County, one of the ablest lawyers of the state, to prosecute the case. The defendants employed James McCoy of Fulton, and William T. Miller of Mount Carroll. The defendants made no great effort to deny the act, but justified their action on religious grounds. McCoy in opening his plea for the defendants said his clients in occupying the lands to subdue them had gone in obedience to the command of God made to our first parents in the first Chapter of Genesis. The Court House, which by stipulation in the contract in building it, was to be used for religious meetings, always had a Bible laying upon the Judge’s desk. Judge Brown, at this trial, had a law student occupying the desk with him, shoved the Bible to him saying, "Find it." There was a slight movement in the risible muscles of some of the audience when the Judge asked him to find the first Chapter of Genesis. Mr. Miller, in following the same side, said, "My colleague has given you some scripture and I will give you a little more. The Bible promises that where a few are met together for any good purpose that God would be with them, and he did not know any better cause than to trash a man for attempting to rob them of their homes which they had provided for themselves and little ones." Mr. Knox in reply to Miller, said he thought it was a gross misapplication of scripture where the promise was made to those assembled in prayer to apply it to men who got together "to lick a man like thunder."

The settlers who came to the County in 1847, while not so large as in former years, got far toward swelling the volume of pioneer history.


Cornelius Hegerman settled in Rock Creek and has always taken a great interest in the Old Settlers’ meetings. His brother, John, came at the same time; died in 1887. Bartlette Hallett and his brother, James, came the same year to Mt. Carroll and set up business of brick making and lime burning. Held many positions of official trust, and died in 1873. His widow, Anne Emmert Hallett, daughter of David Emmert is living in Mt. Carroll. They were sons of Mose Hallett, who settled near Galena in 1830. James was born in Missouri in 1820, claimed to be the fist white child born west of the Missouri river. His father opened a farm between Elizabeth and Galena and named the place Glen Hollow which is yet retained. Built a blockade there during the Black Hawk war where the settlers spent their time between farming and danger. James was supervisor and superintendent of county farm for several years and followed the brick making business until his death in 1889.

Richard J. Tomkins came this year from Galena, opened a small store in Mt. Carroll and soon got to be the leading merchant of the town. Was appointed postmaster in 1861 which office he held until his death in 1885. John A. Smith came to this town that year, engaged in blacksmithing until his death in 1879. Samuel J. Campbell came this year and opened a tin shop and hardware store in Mt. Carroll which burned up in 1852. His is the oldest mercantile house in the town and I think in the county. John L. Hess came the same year, learned the trade of tinner under Mr. Campbell, worked as a journeyman for Blake and Stowell for a time, moved to Lanark, where he is now a leading hardware merchant. Alburtus Miller came this year and lived in Rock Creek township. Mrs. Sarah L. Laird came this year to Freedom Township. G. W. Nipe, a farmer of Carroll Township and died in 1888. A. B. Hostetter, son of Abram, born this year in Savanna Township, like his father, a breeder of Short Horn cattle, became Secretary of the Illinois Short Horn Breeders Association and lastly member of the State Board of Agriculture. J. H. Zuck settled on Section 20, Salem Township. James Alexander came this year and settled Shannon Township. Gabriel Sarber settled on Section 18, Lima Township; has held office of Justice of the Peace.

Since furnishing you with the account of the law-suit for whipping of Green in the Mirror of February 26th, I have been able to get a more complete account of it. The names of the settlers who did the whipping were Charles Hughes, T. Hughes, John Hill and Jesse Hill. The whipping was done with a rawhide. There were three who entered the lands, Clark, not Henry Green, was given thirty-three lashes and was the prosecutor. Robert was given eleven lashes when he agreed to give up the land and George Maider gave up the land without the whipping.

The Hills were the first settlers in Genesee Gove, and expert hunters. John once stayed with me overnight, and gave some of his hunting exploits, one of which I will relate. Said he: "I shot a big buck deer, dropping him suddenly. I ran up and got astride of him to cut his throat when he suddenly jumped up and ran away with me on him, I holding to his horns and such jumps he made. It wrenched my short ribs every time. The ball struck him at the base of the horn and only stunned him."

The people of Illinois having voted a tax to pay the heavy indebtedness in their futile attempts to build railroads, Senator Stephan A. Douglas, to help relieve Illinois and other states that were in the same boat, introduced a bill in Congress to have donated to Illinois every alternate section of land for twenty miles on each side of the proposed line for the Illinois Central railroad, running the entire length of the state. It was an entirely new and bold proposition and required no little scheming to make it successful. But the author of the repeal for the "Missouri Compromise" was equal to the occasion and made it successful. That bill was the entering wedge to many subsequent similar bills to aid in the construction of other western railroads since the commencement of the Civil war. The Republican party has been charged by the Democratic party of surrendering public lands to swell the coffers of railroad magnates but ignore the fact that such a policy was first instituted by the Democrats themselves. The old Central line tapping the Mississippi River at Savanna was always an eyesore to Galena. And to prevent the road from making a halt when it reached Savanna managed to have all the grading north of the Rock River, put upon the line between Savanna and Galena, the part of the line where it was least needed, as it was near and parallel with the river which was the highway of commerce for at least eight months of the year. It was such a judicious management on the part of the state officials that made the enterprise a failure. But Galena had been fortunate in drawing sustenance from the public crib; result in no benefit save the only money spent for the labor and material in the building; as the late dredging and locking of Fever River is ample proof.

The changing of the old Central Line from Dixon to Galena via Freeport and Scales Mound was largely through Galena influence and also enabling the state to select land from both sides of the line at the upper end. But Savanna, speaking through Porter Sargeant, in controversy with the Galena Gazette gave some valid reasons why the change should not be made.


The land offices along the road remained closed for about two years, to enable the state to select the land. But the state had enough experience in railroad building and conveyed all her rights to the land and franchises, which she had acquired, to an old English syndicate for a consideration of 7 per cent of the gross earnings of the road. And to provide against the whims of caprice of future legislatures it was incorporated into the new constitution of 1870 that no change should be made in the obligation of the state of the Illinois Central Railroad. When the land offices were again opened there was a great rush for the land by claimants and speculators, soon taking all the land thought to be worth entray money.

The names of the settlers enrolled as coming in 1848 are: James H. Iden, settling on Section 23, Savanna Township, Horace M. Ferrin, son of Joseph, born this year now lives in Cherokee County, Iowa, John H. Gaar settled in York. Henry M. Heth settled on Section 4, Wysox Township. T. Marshall Moffett came to the county this year, now a druggist in Lanark. Elias Snoble came this year and settled Section 11, Rock Creek Township. George H. Baker came to this county in this year and now lives in Lanark. The rush for the California gold fields this year probably took more people from the county than were added to it.

Pioneer history may be taking on a wider range than may be interesting to some, while others may be interested to learn of the outcome of the Caroline imbroglio mentioned before. There were questions causing friction between the United States and England during Van Buren’s administration. Harrison, upon taking the reins of government had selected his cabinet, those who were considered sound in carrying out the principles of the Whig party with Daniel Webster as his "Premier" or Secretary of State. But President Harrison lived but one month after he was inaugurated and on his dying bed seemed to have a prophetic distrust of John Tyler, and the last word he was heard to utter, supposed to be address to Tyler was: "Sir, I wish you to understand the principles of the government. I want them carried out. I want nothing more."

Tyler, upon taking the reins invited all of the Harrison cabinet to remain as his. The new Congress was largely Whig, and about the first measure they passed after assembling was a bill establishing a United States Bank, which Tyler vetoed, pointing out the objectionable features of the bill. Congress then passed a second bill, eliminating from the second bill Tyler’s objectionable features, and he vetoed that also. That was more than the Whigs could stand and his cabinet all resigned except Mr. Webster. Alexander McLeod had just been thrown into prison for participating in the destruction of the Caroline, English troops had invaded United States territory to destroy her, a dispute about the boundary line between Maine and New Brunswick, all of which caused Mr. Webster to remain at his post and believing his duty to not desert the government ship because she had a bad captain. Whig conventions passed resolutions consuring Webster, and extolling the rest of the cabinet. But Mr. Webster remained at his post until all of the vexed questions were settled by the "Ashburton Treaty." McLeod was put through the form of trial and a verdict rendered that his complicity in destruction of the Caroline was not proved and he was discharged. Upon the question of tariff, President Tyler was not so stubborn. In 1842, the Whig Congress changed the tariff law, reducing the free importations and placing an average duty of 33 per cent which was followed by a revival of business. In 1845 the Democrats again got control and reduced the tariff about 10 percent; depression followed, save only as war with Mexico and the rush for the gold fields gave a stimulus to business. But to put a quietus to the "goose that was laying the golden eggs" the Democrats, as soon as Buchanan got fairly "into the saddle", reduced the tariff about 10 per cent still farther causing the panic of 1857, just about twenty years from the great panic of 1837, brought on by similar legislation. The tariff of 1857 was ruinous to the government credit as well as to the individuals. It exhausted the U. S. Treasury and government securities had to go begging for takers at 12 per cent interest. That tariff remained until Republicans in 1861 changed it. No country was probably so destitute of means to put down a gigantic rebellion as was the North at the commencement of the war; under a beneficent tariff to protect northern industries, President Lincoln said in his last annual message to Congress: "We are not exhausted, or in process of exhaustion," which means that the assessed valuation of the property of the North was greater at the close of the war than at the commencement. We have been told that panics come under Republican administrations which is true. There was one in 1867 caused by retiring "greenbacks" which our wise (?) Lawmakers thought must be done before specie payment could be resumed, which set the country back several years in the use of coin. There was another serious panic in 1873, caused by virtually demonetizing silver and reducing the tariff on all leading manufactured goods ten per cent, which was more than the manufacturers’ profits. That panic was even more disastrous to the laboring classes than the present one filling the country with tramps and so depleting the U. S. Treasury as to necessitate the drawing on the sinking fund to defray the expenses of the government, just as they now draw on the reserve fund. It is the consolation of the Democratic leaders, like Mr. Hill, that the country must of necessity pass through a panic about every twenty years. But if there has been a panic in the last seventy years, that cannot be traced to unfriendly legislation, or Democratic threatening to make such, I am unable to call it to mind. The tariff reduction of 1873 was again restored in 1875, which ever after gave sufficient revenue and gradually restored the prosperity to the country.


A note from a lady reminds me that I have omitted to mention a Mt. Carroll settler, Captain Livingston, who came in 1843. Captain Livingston was a soldier in the last war with England and sleeps in Oak Hill Cemetery, but seems to have been overlooked or forgotten among the list of deceased soldiers read on Decoration Day. I have heard him recount some of the incidents of that war which were instructive and interesting, one of which I will relate.

The two armies were encamped in sight of each other and set up an artillery duel. The American artillery men seemed to be the best marksmen and after getting range on the enemy sent over every shot crashing into their camp who soon sent out a flag of truce. Some of the men wanted the gunners to continue firing: "No, while we would like to pepper them a little more, it would be a disgrace to our flag to fire upon a flag of truce."

Col. Beers Tomlinson also was a soldier in this war, having raised a company and was chosen its captain, rendezvousing the first night in a hall and one of his York neighbors who was a member of the company used to tell how their captain introduced a military drill not found in "Scott’s Tactics." The hall floor was only large enough for the men to lie down in "spoon position", a position which was necessary to change frequently, and all had to do it at one time. When Captain Tomlinson who remained standing thought they had lain upon one side long enough, he would give the order "right spoon," "left spoon," etc.

The year 1847 seemed to have had less influx of settlers, if the names enrolled on the Old Settlers’ record is a criterion, than for several preceding years, and the war with Mexico being in full blast may account for it. And as this paper commences with army incidents permit me to digress from a subject of local interest and relate from memory some of the incidents transpiring in Mexico.

Gen. Zachery Taylor, "Old Zack", as his soldiers used to call him, was the first general ordered to the front and invade Mexican soil, which he did in seven days after the war was declared against Mexico. His invasion into Mexico was one of the successive victories against the enemy which always outnumbered him three or four to one. Taylor was a Whig and was fast becoming popular with the Whig party who began to talk of him as a candidate for the next President. Polk’s administration began to get jealous of his growing popularity, threw obstacles in the way of his success. Gen. Scott, a Whig, who had presidential aspirations and who was commander-in-chief of all the armies, entered Mexico via Vera Cruz, just one year after Gen. Taylor had invaded it and commenced his march on the city of Mexico. He drew away from Gen. Taylor the flower of his army, among whom was Gen. Grant, then lieutenant, leaving Taylor five thousand soldiers to cope against Santa Ana with twenty thousand at the battle of Buena Vista, which was one of the most stubbornly found battles of the war, Taylor losing many valuable officers among whom were Col. Clay, son of Henry, and Col. Hardin of our own state. Taylor remained master of the field, although Santa Ana claimed afterwards that he had him whipped several times, "but Taylor was such a stubborn old Yankee that he didn’t know when he was whipped."

But the administration let no opportunity escape to find fault with Taylor which made him so indignant that he wrote to the war department that their treatment of him had an apt illustration in the well known fable of Aesop. The fable alluded to was the wolf and a lamb going to the creek and drink, the wolf highest up the stream and wanting an excuse to destroy the lamp accused it of muddying the water.

To the political student of year 1848 furnished important lessons. February 2, peace was declared between the country and Mexico. But the U. S. Army did not evacuate until the following June, the same month that the Whig delegates met in convention at Philadelphia and nominated Zachary Taylor for President. Taylor and Grant were men of the same characteristic mould. Neither of them had ever been beaten in battle and neither of them had ever sought the presidency. Taylor, before the convention was held, was importuned by the leading Whig statesmen as to how he stood on the leading political questions of the day, but to all such questions he remained silent, and to only one question after he was nominated did he give an answer. The usual amount of campaign falsehoods were started against him. A friend wrote him for an explanation in regard to one of them which he answered and said in conclusion, "give yourself no further uneasiness about those stories, for when our opponents disregard the obligations of truth it is useless to contend with them."


Daniel Webster, after the nomination, hastened to make a speech at his home in Marshfield, lamenting the nomination as "one not fit to be made", as Taylor had kept quiet as to what would be his policy of his administration and sent Gen. Taylor a copy of his speech. After the election Taylor answered it by saying: "When I first read your speech I was just of your opinion, that is was one not fit to be made, but since the people have ratified, perhaps we had better reconsider our judgment." The nomination of Taylor and Grant was by a movement of the masses of the people, and not of the leading statesmen. A politician in a speech at Mt. Carroll during President Grant’s second campaign said: "The administration of a military president had never been noted for its brilliancy."

The year 1848 gave the people of Illinois reasons for feeling proud of their state. The great debt that had been contracted in the internal improvement scheme, sat like an incubus upon the prosperity of the state. The spirit of repudiating the debt was taking a deep hold on the people. The organic law of the state was also so faulty that it was deemed advisable to call a convention and devise a new Constitution. One of the articles of the new Constitution was made conditional by a separate vote which provided for a tax of two mills upon the dollar to be put into a sinking fund to pay off the state debt. The people decided that honesty was the best policy and voted to pay the debt.

The state of Mississippi became involved in an internal improvement scheme about the same time that Illinois did; also took a vote of the people whether to pay or repudiate their debt and voted to repudiate. Illinois put her indebtedness into state bonds running twenty years, and sent an agent to negotiate them. He called first upon a financial house in London, making known his business and received the rebuff: "We have no money to invest in American securities so long as you have a repudiating state in the Union."

The exodus to the California gold mines overland in 1849 surpassed the preceding year. The move began before winter was fairly over. The territory west of the Missouri river where now stands the city of Omaha was the encampment ground where the proper outfit was obtained preparatory to crossing the plains. There also they organized into bands, choosing a captain as protection against the Indians. But before starting across the plains, a foe more dreaded than Indians came among them. The second visitation of the Asiatic cholera in this country was very fatal to them and many were the gold seekers who ascended the "golden stairs" before leaving the Missouri River.

Among the gold hunters this year was Samuel Bailess, the proprietor of the town of Richmond before mentioned, and also the owner of the farm now the county poor farm, and where rests the remains of his father within the walled sepulcher. Samuel S. was one of the successful ones who "made his pile" in the land of the gold and came back to Council Bluffs where he invested largely in real estate and also became owner of the ferry across the Missouri River, and having found a more lucrative business than farming, negotiated with a county committee, consisting of Messrs. B. W. Bush, David Becker and David Emmert and sold his 200-acre farm for the sum of $1100.

This year wheat sold at 38 cents from harvest to the close of the year; oats at 17 cents, and old corn at 20 cents, delivered at Savanna. At the same time calico sold at 13 cents per yard and Orleans sugar 9 cents per pound.

This year also was the first general introduction of the McCormick reaper with an improvement on the one mentioned before, of a seat for the raker. To raise or lower the cut required the taking of the machine apart. There was no change in the sickle of the one before described and those who have an admiration for antiques can see one of these at the hardware of Thomas Squires, Mt. Carroll.

Among the settlers who came to this country this year are William E. Phillips to York Township on Section 2; John Cole came this time on Section 18, has held several town offices and is now a grain buyer in Thomson. Michael Markley came this year, settled on Section 38, Woodland Township, ran a saw mill at Jacobstown for several years, now lives on Section 22, Mt. Carroll Township. George Hay settled on Section 5, Mt. Carroll Township, land now owned by George Getz, was editor of the Lanark Gazette for a time, removed to Kansas and is now cashier of the Savanna State Bank. James Beattie settled this year on Section 21, Savanna Township; Emanuel Hepler settled on Section 28, Lima Township, supervisor for several years, invented and patented a safety car coupler, died in 1891; Robert Graham born this year now lives on Section 12, Mt. Carroll Township. George C. Kenyon born this year, lives now in Mt. Carroll. Henry B. Puterbaugh settled on Section 6, Rock Creek Township, was a large buyer and shipper of grain and stock for a time. John Divens came to Mt. Carroll, lived on Section 11 for a time, removed to Section 17, Rock Creek Township. Alonzo Heth settled this year on Section 30, Rock Creek Township. Elisha A. Manning settled on Section 9, Wysox Township, sold wheat at 30 cents per bushel. R. H. Crippen settled this year on Section 4, Cherry Grove Township, died in 1887. N. Woodin settled this year on Section 6, Elkhorn Grove Township. Benj. F. Neikirk born this year in Elkhorn Grove Township and lives on Section 12. B. H. Gilbert came this year to Savanna. Nelson Rinedollar, M.D. came to Mt. Carroll in 1848, was a clerk in Dr. B. P. Miller’s drug store for many years, enlisted in 1862 in 92nd I. V. I., was transferred to hospital service and graduated at Chicago Medical College.

April 2, 1894

Note from Alice Horner: The following four articles written by Samuel Preston were originally transcribed by Florence Luella Downing Horner (my mother) from microfilm copies of the original articles published in 1894 in the Mirror, a Mt. Carroll, Illinois Newspaper. Sequentially, they appeared after the twenty-two chapters I transcribed from the 1930 Mirror-Democrat newspaper reprints that I have. I cannot tell whether these four articles also appeared in 1930 and I just don’t have them, or whether they never appeared then. I am transcribing what my mother transcribed; I do not have access to this original microfilm version, or to original newspapers. There may be errors. I note also that according to my transcribed copies, all of the articles originally written by Samuel Preston in 1893-1894 were written under the title "Pioneers of Mt. Carroll", not "History of Carroll County."

But a few names are registered as coming in 1850. Norman S. French settled in Section 20 in York Township, married Mary Helms. Born in York Township John Lambert settled in Mt. Carroll Township on Section 17, where he lived until his recent removal to the City. Israel J. Pettit came to Mt. Carroll where he worked at his trade as plasterer for several years, removed to York township where he became the owner of the flouring mill at Bluffville, said mill having been removed there from Jacobstown, where it was first built by Benjamin Jacobs, which gave the place its name, and run by him until sold to Mr. Pettit. The supply of water in Johnson Creek being too limited to make it a paying investment, Mr. Pettit removed to Mt. Carroll, died in 1894. John N. Keech came and rented the farm in Section 2 in Mt. Carroll Township, then owned by John Rinewalt, now owned by Charles Holman, which takes in the celebrated cave. Mr. Keech made a final settlement on Section 27, and was the first president of the County agricultural fair held on the farm of Monroe Bailey in York township, and was associate county justice for ten years, died in 1879. John Campbell settled on Section 24, removed to Kansas. Lewis Chrisman came this year to Mt. Carroll, taught school and now keeps a county land abstract office. John Henry Keech came with his father, now lives at Oxford Junction, Iowa. John Roger came this year, lives in Shannon. Nicholas Puterbaugh lives on Section 20, Cherry Grove Township, engaged in storekeeping with R. J. Tomkins in Mt. Carroll for a time.

The semi-centennial year was prolific in historical events of a sad nature. Pres. Taylor only lived 16 months after he was inaugurated, but long _____________ (the typewritten copy is too faint to read here) elected him, chief of whom was Henry Clay. Taylor while in the army was a great admirer of Henry Clay, and in the death of his son wrote him from the battlefield of Buena Vista a most pathetic letter, commencing it by saying: "It is with no desire to invade the sanctuary of parental sorrow that I address you." and filling out the letter with encomiums on the character and attachments that he had learned to have for his son. But Mr. Clay before Gen. Taylor was nominated for president, like many other presidential aspirants, was jealous of Taylor’s popularity, and about a month before the meeting of the convention wrote a letter making a bid for the nomination that was mortifying to many of his staunchest supporters.

After Mr. Taylor became President, Mr. Clay "banking" on the admiration that Gen. Taylor had previously manifested for him, undertook to shape the policy of the Taylor administration. But the invincible hero of a hundred battles thought he had some idea of civil government as well. Mr. Clay became morose as Taylor hadn’t sought his counsel, and manifested his chagrin in the Senate. A senator in reply to Mr. Clay, in behalf of the President, said, "The question resolves itself in this, whether the mountain shall go to Mahomet, or whether Mahomet shall go to the mountain."

Zachary Taylor had been but two months in his grave before Mr. Clay introduced and championed the most odious law that ever disgraced the American statutes, that of the "Fugitive Slave Law." That bill coming so soon after the death of Taylor, is presumptive evidence that its not coming before was the fear that Taylor would veto it, if not from principle; his experience with his fugitive prospective son-in-law Jeff Davis would have made pause before giving his sanction to a law that made it the duty of all men to aid in arresting all fugitives from slave labor. That law, made from the previous utterances of its author that he "would rather be right than be president", seems as sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.

Daniel Webster gave his support to the law, but it required the toadism of President Fillmore to complete it. Campaign orators, aspirants for the next Congress of both the great parties vied with each other in denouncing the law, and advocating its repeal, but it remained a festering sore until wiped out by the war.

April 30, 1894

With the influx of settlers in the year 1851 were several mechanics and those who 10 years later went forth as volunteers to help put down the great rebellion. George P. Sutton came first to Elkhorn Grove, remaining there one year, removed to Mt. Carroll Township on Section 3, now owned by Thomas Smith, where he worked at carpentering, afterwards removed to his business in Mt. Carroll, was instrumental in enlisting soldiers in Company "C" of the 92nd I.V.I. And was made a 2nd Lieut., serving to the close of the war, and was elected County Sheriff soon after, serving in that capacity 7 terms, 16 years, and until the law made it prohibitory for sheriffs to be their own successors. Mr. Sutton was always merciful to his prisoners, but guarded them with such vigilance that none ever escaped him. In 1873 Mr. Sutton executed the sentence of the law by hanging one Joseph O’Neal for a murder committed in Whiteside County. Permit me to correct an error on Page 320 of Kett’s History in regard to the witnesses to that execution, which reads: "Every person entitled under the law to witness the execution except V. Armour, States Attorney of Carroll County. He refused to witness the horrible spectacle, his presence being unnecessary so far as the legality of the proceedings." The writer was the first person invited by the Sheriff to witness the hanging, but declined, and the late H. A. Mills, ex-supervisor, accepted the invitation to fill the place. The late Norman D. French, another supervisor, declined also, saying, "If the law made it his duty to be the executioner, he would do it, but like Mr. Armour, he had no desire to go outside the requirements of the law to witness it." This was the only case of capital punishment in the County.

Samuel Stakemiller, a carpenter and joiner, settled on Section 8, Mt. Carroll Township, same now owned by Peter Nicolas, moved to Freedom township, now lives in Mt. Carroll. John C. Rinedollar, a carpenter and joiner, worked his trade 44 years, enlisted in the 15th I. V. I, Company "K" served 3 years. Andrew B. Hershey settled in Savanna, enlisted in the 15th I.V.I, made a Captain of Company "C", married a daughter of Luther H. Bowen, lives in Sterling. Son R. Frazer came with his father to Salem Township, enlisted in 92nd I. V. I., Company "I", experience the hardships of Andersonville Prison from which he was released at the close of the war, edited the Carroll County Mirror for several years until he was appointed state printer expert by Governor Fifer, now lives in Springfield. Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, in Mt. Carroll, practices medicine and surgery until his death in 1880.

Note: A short paragraph follows concerning a man named Jethro J. Jeffries (maybe Jeffries anyway) which is unreadable because of a faint typewriter ribbon. The text picks up again with a sentence I have no idea to whom it is attributed: ...his attention to farming on Section 35, Mt. Carroll Township, where he now lives at the advanced age of 82. W. R. Hostetter, born this year, now lives on Section 18, Salem Township, runs a private creamery and is secretary of the State Dairymans Association. Henry Reuth, a day laborer, settled in Mt. Carroll, died in 1879. Henry Bittner taught school in Mt. Carroll, ran a photograph gallery for a time, later a druggist, was representative in the State Legislature a term, now lives in North Carroll.

Giles Van Brocklin, now deceased, settled on Section 8, Cherry Grove township. Jacob Mehoffer settled on Section 28, Rock Creek township. N. W. Manning settled on Section 25, Rock Creek township, has held the offices of assessor, collector and supervisor.

The enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law, mentioned in my last paper, had more to do with strengthening the anti-slave cause in the north than all the other agencies combined. So great was the hostility to the law that the government in most cases found itself impotent to execute it. In no city perhaps was there a greater change than in Boston. In 1835 a mob of 5,000 broke up a female anti-slavery meeting and dragged Wm Lloyd Garrison with a rope thru the streets until rescued by the Mayor and lodged in jail, to save him from their fury. But in 1851 in the same city a force in the courtrooms overpowered the U.S. Marshals and rescued the slave Shadrach. The same year in Pennsylvania about 40 persons were indicted for refusing to help return a slave, and the government after spending $70,000 to convict them, gave it up as a hopeless job. The appearance of "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" about this time was also an eye-opener to the horrors of slavery.

May 21, 1894

There are the same number of persons on the old settlers record as coming to the County in 1852, as in 1850, viz: 13 each year.

Nicholas Stebler, a native of Switzerland, settled in Salem in 1852, engaged in keeping a saloon and billiard hall, since retired from business. Joseph Dietrich settled first in Freedom townships, afterwards in Mt. Carroll, was street commissioner and died in 1880. Mrs. Lizzie Haller, wife of Dr. Haller of Lanark, her first husband being Capt. Amose W. Hostetter who died of wounds received in battle in 1863. Shirk was her maiden name.

Ruggles Fletcher settled on Section 11, Wysox Township, worked for some time at his trade as carpenter and joiner. J. A. Cooley settled in Savanna, engaged in supplying the meat market. Gould Stephans settled on Section 25, Salem Township. E. L. Byington settled in Cherry Grove Township, later in Mt. Carroll, is now agent for the sale of road graders. John C. Durham settled ________________ (this whole line in unreadable, due to same typewriter problem). James C. Clark settled on Section 21, Mt. Carroll township. This year, 1852, Rev. Milo Reed, a revivalist, was sent to Mt. Carroll in the interest of the Methodist Church. The society had no building of their own to worship in, and were too few in number to build one, and had to take their chance with other denominations of holding meetings in the old stone courthouse. Mr. Reed was quite eccentric in the use of language, so much so that in his pastoral visits, one of his conservative parishioners once ordered him from the house. But reed counted all such treatment a good symptom of his ability to awaken them to a sense of duty to God and their fellow beings. He would call those of his members who couldn’t receive his style of reproof for their luke-warmness, his "silk-stocking" Christians. When he had his members sufficiently stirred up, he started a protracted meeting. People who had heard of his comic expressions went more out of curiosity than anything else, his meetings resulted in a larger percentage of converts per capita than has ever taken place here. Mr. Reed thought the time was now ripe to build a Methodist meeting-house, a subscription was started, and with the result of putting up a brick building now owned by P. B. Cole, the upper story being used for opera purposes and also by the Baptists since the destruction of their church by a cyclone. Mr. Reed after having completed the "harvest of souls" in Mt. Carroll, went to Savanna and started a protracted meeting, keeping it up for 2 or 3 weeks without getting anyone forward to the anxious seat, and in disgust left one morning with another minister who had been assisting him, to walk to Mt. Carroll. As he reached the outskirts of the village, he went to shaking his feet. His companion asking what he was trying to do. "I am shaking the dust from my feet against this ungodly town," said Reed.

Rev. Calvin Gray, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, joined with Mr. Reed in the Mt. Carroll revival. He owned the lot upon which is now the residence of Samuel J. Campbell, and built him a house of sunburnt brick, mixed with cut straw, Mr. Gray, not willing to be outdone by the Methodists, built a church of concrete adjoining his parsonage, and had it ready first, in which to hold meetings.

The Misses F. A. Wood and C. M. Gregory also removed their school - the embryo of the present Mt. Carroll Seminary - from an old store building standing upon the present site of the Hotel Glen View, into Rev. Gray’s church, which they occupied until a seminary building was ready for occupancy.

The year 1852 was a presidential year. Both parties, Whigs and Democrats, in the national conventions, endorsed to the Fugitive Slave Law. The Democrats elected their candidate by a popular vote over the Whigs by 200,000. That was the last national rally of the old Whig party. A third party calling themselves "Free Soil" held a national convention and nominated their candidates, and in their platform denounced the Fugitive Slave Law. They failed to carry a single state, but became the nucleus for the formation of the Republican party two years hence. Its organization in Carroll County will be mentioned in a future paper.

June 7, 1894

Among those who came to the County in 1853, a large percentage subsequently became office holders. Volney Armour held the office of Circuit Clerk for one term, and States Attorney for several terms, moved to Iowa and engaged in farming, where he now lives. R. G. Bailey held the office of County Clerk for 11 years, was Master of Chancery for several years, and lives in Nebraska. Benjamin L. Patch was elected to the Legislature in 1860, and County Judge in 1865, which office he has held continuously. The probate business was in a state of chaos when Judge Patch took control. No records showing a settlement of estates, many of the executors, administrators and guardians had died or left the County, but some of their bondsmen were found, which time had erased from their memory their liabilities in the matter, but thru the efficient County Clerk, Captain Hawk, the records were put in the best possible shape under the circumstances.

All admire the beautiful park that now surrounds the Courthouse, but we will let the muses speaking thru T. T. Jacobs in his contribution to the interest of Old Settlers meeting in 1875, tell how the park came there:

The Courthouse too, which may be seen,
Standing on a lovely green,
A shady grove around it stands,
Planted by Judge Patch’s hands.

Supervisor Cook took occasion to allude to those trees as "Judge Patch’s" children. It is for the voters of the County to decide whether or not these trees shall become orphans.

Emanuel Stover came in 1853, went into the exchange business in Mt. Carroll with J. P. Emmert, was a member of the Legislature one term, died in 1890. Henry Ashway came to Mt. Carroll, kept the store for a time, was President of the First National Bank, died in 1891. William K. Lang came with Mr. Ashway, was cashier of the same bank for a time, removed to Chicago. John Kaldler settled on Section 3, Wysox township, removed to Polo where he now lives, was one of the original stockholders of the First National Bank of Mt. Carroll and the only one now living, his wife, who came to the county with him, is still living and they seldom fail to attend the Old Settlers meetings. ________________________ (there is a whole line on the page I can’t read, caused by the same typewriter ribbon problem, and the sentence ends with): ... chant for several years, was appointed postmaster, which he held until his death in 1891. Joseph Cushman settled in York, was a carpenter and inventor of windmills, worked at the business nearly up to the time of his death in 1890, being 91 years old. His son, Josiah B., also a machinist, lives in Mt. Carroll. Charles Atherton came to York township and lives with his brother, Marchus, on Section 3, born in 1796, died at an advanced age. A. T. Dunshee lived on Section 32, York township, was chiefly interested in organizing the Mt. Carroll Township National Fire Insurance Company, and has been its President since its organization. Francis Craig settled on Section 34, Mt. Carroll Township. Henry H. Gordon settled on Section 36, Woodland township, now a retired farmer he lives in Mt. Carroll.

Mrs. Reuben Gray settled with her husband in Savanna, he was deputy county surveyor under Elijah Funk, a merchant and county swamp land commissioner until his death in 1873. George C. Slick lives on Section 23, Freedom township, has held all of the important town offices from supervisor down. Jerry L. Slick lives on Section 23, same township, has held important town offices. William H. Hess is a merchant in Lanark. George Thornton settled on Section 35, Cherry Grove Township, now deceased. George Pape, like Mr. Thornton a native of England, settled on Section 21, York township, always took an interest in county affairs and old settlers meetings, died in 1890. N. R. Ross settled in Rock Creek Township, was for a long time city marshall of Lanark. Henry L. Isenhart settled on Section 21, Fairhaven Township, now keeps a restaurant in Mt. Carroll. Volney Ellithorpe settled in Savanna. John Crouse settled on Section 27, Mt. Carroll township, died in 1892, aged 87.

A. H. Hawk settled in Rock Creek township, engaged in business at Lanark as stock and grain buyer and shipper, removed his business to Chadwick where he now lives. Mrs. Wm Libberton, wife of Rev. Libberton, settled in Mt. Carroll.

This year, 1853, was introduced the Atkins Self-Rake Harvester, the first successful machine of its kind. It was then thought that the acme of labor saving in the field had been reached. Its movement was into water, a new principle in mechanism, and was placed on exhibition the same year at the World’s Fair in New York. It was manufactured in Chicago, and Duncan Mackay became the general agent for the sales of them in the northern part of the State.


Note: Some of these corrections and letters were reprinted in the Mirror-Democrat in 1930, and others were transciptions originally made by Florence Luella Downing Horner from microfilms of the original 1894 newspapers. They are being transcribed from both sources by Alice Horner.)

Note: In copying the notes in last week’s issues, it was made to read (Note: the following is the incorrect information): Samuel Stakemiller, a carpenter and joiner, settled on Section 8, Mt. Carroll, now lives in Mt. Carroll. John C. Randecker, a carpenter and joiner, worked at his trade forty-four years, now lives in Mt. Carroll. Mark Rinedollar, a blacksmith, lives in Mt. Carroll; enlisted in the 15th I. V. I., made Captain of Company C; married a daughter of Luther Bowen; lives in Sterling.

Samuel Stakemiller, a carpenter and joiner, settled on Section 8, Mt. Carroll Township, same now owned Peter Nicolas, moved to Freedom Township, now lives in Mt. Carroll.

John C. Rinedollar, a carpenter and joiner, worked at his trade forty-four years, now lives in Mt. Carroll.

Mark Rinedollar, a blacksmith, lives in Mt. Carroll, enlisted in the 15th I. V. I., Company K, served three years.

Andrew H. Hershey settled in Savanna, enlisted in the 15th I. V. I., made Captain of Company C; married a daughter of Luther H. Bowen, lives in Sterling.

The following correction originally appeared at the end of the April 2, 1894 article, and apparently was a letter from an unidentified reader:

From Elkhorn Grove, "an oversight in Pioneers of Mt. Carroll": Pearson Shoemaker moved into a log house abandoned by Sample S. Journey and J. Ankeny on what is now the T. G. Smith farm. The builders of the first house in the township had to take refuge in the fort at Galena. Mr. Shoemaker was a resident of Carroll County until he built a house in Eagle Point in _____ (there is one last word here I cannot read because the type is too faint.)

The following contributions were received by Mr. Preston, and are reprinted along with his Carroll County History:

Baileyville, Kansas, January 8, 1894
Dear Friend:
I have been reading with much interest your articles in the Mirror entitled "Pioneers of Carroll County," and the idea struck me very forcibly that you were on the right track to compile and give to the inhabitants, both old and new settlers, a true and living history of the county as you have witnessed its start and growth in all its varied forms of progress, you have lived here before it became a county; always in the same place and having been identified with all or nearly so of the general movements and organizations for the upbuilding and the pushing forward to maturity, everything to ennoble and raise the standard of excellence for which the county stands and holds today. And when you are through, put your articles in book form, and me down for two copies of the same.
From your old friend,
Monroe Bailey

Mt. Carroll, Feb. 4th, 1894
Samuel Preston: Dear Sir: I have desired for some time to thank you for the articles you are contributing to the Mirror in reference to the early pioneers of this county. I hope you will continue in the good work. You are furnishing rich material for our local history, and in illustration of the early days in the north-west.
Very truly yours,
James Shaw

Through the courtesy of Mr. Preston we are permitted to publish the opinion of Judge Shaw, relative to the merits of Mr. Preston’s letters on the primitive history of Carroll county, immediately succeeding the exit of the Indian and the Buffalo.

The letters detailing the history of the pioneers of Mt. Carroll written by Hon. Samuel Preston, are attracting wide spread attention. Dr. Shimer called at out office today and was full of praise for the efforts of the writer. The Dr. Is preserving them in his scrap book. He also stated that in the Geography he studied in his school days there was a vacant strip of land on the south of Jo Daviess county, which has since been named Carroll county, and little did he then dream that his life would be spent on this vacant strip.

S. Preston, in the Mt. Carroll Mirror, is giving from week to week reminiscences of the pioneer days in Carroll county. Those recollections ought to be carefully preserved for posterity.

Polo Press

Des Moines, Iowa, February 10, 1894
Mr. Samuel Preston: Your "Pioneers of Mt. Carroll" are very interesting to me and they have been carefully read. I believe you are mistaken in the year John Mackay came. It was in the autumn of 1843, that he in company with my parents and brother, George, then a very sick baby, not quite a year old, came to Carroll County. Also Mr. William Graham and family, consisting of James Graham, Supervisor of Salem Township, Mrs. B. L. Brown of Lanark, and William Graham who at the time of his death was on the Chicago Board of Trade; also a daughter, Ellen, now Mrs. John Becker of Nevada. They were accompanied by Mrs. Hurley, Mr. John Mackay’s youngest sister. My parents and their companions walked all the way from Chicago to Oakville, then called Black Oak Grove. I think a wagon belonging to Mr. Duncan Mckay carried their baggage. They arrived in early autumn and the winter following was so mild that Father went in his shirt sleeves all winter and they found a paradise in the climate. My parents said there were few if any sidewalks in Chicago when they passed through and they thought it a poor place to settle but were pleased with the Fox River country not far this side. For the first few years after coming my parents and many others were very sick with old-fashioned ague, and of course, their scanty means were soon expended. Their medicine was chiefly Lobelia and Colomel. The cause of the prevalent illness as I now understand it as a physician was due to so much decay of vegetation, incident to the breaking plow everywhere in operation in the new country. Father and Mr. Daniel Hurley built the dam and dug the race course for the flouring mill at Como, a small place on Rock River, near Sterling, Whiteside county, during the first twelve months after the autumn of 1843. Rev. Calvin Gray of Mt. Carroll was their first Presbyterian minister who called at a very early date. I saw him the year of his death, a very old may, at Fort Dodge in this state, during my visit there a few years ago. Give my kind regards to Mrs.
Preston and your family.
D. W. Finlayson

Editor of Mirror: I noticed in your Mirror of October 24 the sketch in regard to the big Indian slayer, by Samule Preston, and wish to say he is correct in saying that Alexis Jackson killed the big Indian. He was my grandfather, and used to tell it over again to his children and it is well remembered and often told by them. He came home from the war dressed in the Indian’s clothes, gayly decorated with beads and bringing his tomahawk and one of the big chief’s hands as a trophy. The hand was hung in a tree and his daughters with pardonable pride told of their father’s bravery to a number of girl friends and took them to the tree and showed them the hand. In the meantime my grandfather had hidden near by to have some fun, and as the girls looked at the hand he said in sepulchral tones: "This is my hand, touch it not!" And the girls thinking the Indian’s ghost was near, gave a warhoop and ran to the house frightened to death. Without a doubt, Alexis Jackson was the one who killed the big Indian.

Inez Humbert, Shannon, Illinois
Chatfield, Minn.

Editor Mirror: As I have been much interested in the items of the early history of Preston Prairie and Mt. Carroll, I will contribute my mite.
It was Albert Hawley, grandfather of Charles, Albert, and Melvin Kinney, who occupied the house in Panama and was postmaster, his wife being deputy. His brother, Charles G., and family came there on May 31, 1841 and lived with him until the spring following, when C. G. Moved on a claim south of Joseph Warfield’s farm, where he lived for a number of years.

The same spring, Albert moved to Genesee Grove, returning to his brother’s in the fall where Mrs. Hawley died and the family was scattered. That is probably one reason the men have been confounded. Another reason is that Charles G. Adopted and raised his baby boy, Charlie, the Kinney boys’ uncle. I do not know whether Albert was a Justice or not, but C. G. Was for several years.

The first school taught by Sarah J. Hawley was in a slab house on Hollis Cummings’ farm, near the present residence. Had an opportunity to teach another the next summer at one dollar per week. Told them she would prefer to cook and wash dishes for some one at that price. "But," said Mr. Seymour Tomlinson, "just think, you will only have to work 5 ½ days for a week and only six hours per day. See how much easier it would be." But she could not see it and declined the honor/. Afterwards heard the school was taught at that price.
--- An Old Settler

Note from Alice Horner: This article on Indian Trails was written by Samuel Preston as the first article published in 1893 in the Mirror, a Mt. Carroll, Illinois Newspaper. Subsequent articles written in this series by Samuel Preston, which continued into 1894, were written under the heading "Pioneers of Mt. Carroll." This article did not appear among the reprints I have that the Mirror-Democrat newspaper reprinted in 1930 (under the heading History of Carroll County, Illinois). I don’t know if this article was reprinted in 1930 and I just don’t have it, or if it was never reprinted. It was originally transcribed by Florence Luella Downing Horner (my mother) from a microfilm copy of the original article. I am transcribing what my mother transcribed; I do not have access to the original microfilm version, or to original newspapers. There may be errors.

November 30, 1893 Indian Trails - Subsequent Highways

The "Pathfinder" to the Pacific Coast - John C. Fremont - found that Indian trails were the most feasible routes for the highways of travel.

The earliest settlers found this to be true. The chief trails were along the dividing lines between the watercourses. In the northern part of the County a trail, much traveled by the Indians, entered the divide between Plum River and Carroll Creek at the confluence of these streams, following the same through Arnold’s Grove to a trading post at Owings Point, the highest point of land in the County, kept by a Mr. Flack, brother of the Mr. Flack living at Rush Creek mentioned in Mr. Warner’s survey of the old Galena and Peoria stage road.

Another trail left the Carroll Creek bottom, climbing the bold bluff on the north side near Fulrath’s dam, following the ridge where the road now runs and intersecting the main trail near the Woodland schoolhouse on Section 35. Another trail intersected here from the north via Polsgrove. Another trail left the creek bottom at the head of Fulrath’s pond, running along the south bluff through George Sutton’s land. The object of this trail probably was to hunt for game along the creek. It was while walking in the latter trail for the same object in the month of August 1836, that I saw for the first time a rattlesnake, coiled up in the path ready to spring as I was about to step upon him. It was the only game I captured that day. August, the month when they are said to be blind, but the most venomous and strike with unerring aim.

On the creek bottom where this trail left it, the Indians had some kind of industry. A hole was mortised through a tree about 12 feet from the ground, and a pole thrust through it in the form of a cross. Two skeleton wigwams stood upon the west side of Mr. Colehour’s farm, probably put there at the time of the Black Hawk War for the use of sentinels, which gave there a commanding view for many miles east and south.

A trail extended along the divide between Carroll, Johnson and Rock Creeks to Chambers Grove, which became a traveled highway several years later. The road from Savanna to Elkhorn Grove also followed this trail for about 18 miles east from Savanna.

Aaron Pierce and family in 1828 were the first to enter Council Bluffs (now Savanna) with a team, following an Indian trail which afterwards became a highway, running north to Galena. Vance L. Davidson and Marshall B. Pierce kept a trading post at Savanna where the Indians came in canoes or on the ice to trade.

* * Samuel Preston Farm * *
As It Looks Today

* * Samuel Preston Family * *
Biography and Family History

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