Meager indeed are the results of the laborious and extensive researches of the historian, whose task it is to gather the facts clustered around the early settlement of that part of Clay County known as Louisville Township, situated in Town 4 north, Range 6 east.
It derives its name from the county seat of Louisville, which was named after some old families by the name of Lewis, wherefore the proper way would be to spell the name Lewisville, the mistake having been made by Mr. Blackburn, of Vandalia, who made the plat of the town. The soil of Louisville Township is well adapted to raising grain and corn, but although it can compare favorably with other townships in agriculture, we think that it is best adapted to horticulture, which fact is well illustrated by the many orchards that are dotted over this locality.
It is well timbered and watered, and seems also especially adapted to stock-raising. The timber consists of several different species of oak, and a number of other varieties of hard and soft wood, such as are found in other parts of Clay County, principally along the water courses. A natural system of drainage is produced by the Little Wabash River, which flows diagonally through the township, entering it in Section 4 and leaving it in Section 36. Into it flow a number of tributaries, of which the principal one on the east side is Panther Creek, and on the west Dismal and Crooked Creeks. Buck Creek flows through the southwest corner of the township.
The Little Wabash River was quite a commercial highway in an early day when the railroads were unknown, and for many years it was the only means by which exports, such as grain, beef, pork and other produce could be shipped to more thickly settled countries, mainly New Orleans. It was in the Legislature declared navigable in an early day by the Committee of Internal Improvements, even north of Clay County. However, more in regard to the shipping business will appear further on.
The boundaries of Louisville Township, are as follows: On the north by Blair Township, on the east by Hoosier Township, on the south by Harter Township, on the west by Oskaloosa Township.
Probably the first settler in the limits of Louisville Township was George Goble, who came here from Indiana, and settled here in or before 1820. At least he entered eighty acres of land that year, in Section 23, where Louisville now stands. Little did this old pioneer dream that the land which he entered would be honored by having the county seat located on it in after years. He at one time owned the old water mill on the Little Wabash, the first in the county, and for twenty years afterward it was called Goble's Mill, though its former owner had long ago gone to that bourn from whence no traveler returns. He lies buried in the old Louisville Graveyard. He had sold his land to Crawford Lewis, who improved it mainly. George Goble has no descendants living in this county. His brother, John Goble, lived south of him, he having come here several years later, and is the parent of George, Benjamin and Polly Goble. George Goble has one son named Benjamin yet living in the township. Benjamin Goble married Elizabeth Surrells; his son Gus is also living in town. Polly Goble married Jesse Kinkaide. Another old settler was Grissom Lee, who came here from Indiana about, the time the Gobies did. His two children, Grissom, Jr.. and Ellen Burton are yet living in the State.
The Lewis families came here about 1830; there were five brothers, viz., William, Robert, John, David and Crawford. They came here from Indiana. Crawford Lewis bought George Goble's farm and mill. He improved the land and set out a large orchard, which was situated between the river and the present new town of Louisville. He was an industrious, well-behaved man, and much esteemed by his neighbors. He was fond of the chase, hunting and trapping, and when more people settled around the old water mill he sold out to Dr. Green, and moved to the north part of Blair Township where the game was more plentiful, and where more of the name of the man appeal's after whom Louisville is named. The Williamses were also among the early settlers, and have descendants living in the county. They were also natives of Indiana.
Old Uncle Isaac Martin came here in a very early day. He was conspicuous in the building of flat-boats, and is the father of the following children, viz: Hanson, Isaac. Jr., and Charlotte Erwin. His brother, Abraham Martin, came here about the same time, and ran a blacksmith shop, and died here. Adam Cullum, Sr. , came here later, and married Sarah Lewis, a daughter of John Lewis. The Surrells came to Maysville from Morgan County, Ill., in 1833. There were four brothers, viz., Peter, Jesse, Jordan, James and Richard. They all finally came to Louisville about 1838, and assisted in the building of flat-boats and running them down to New Orleans. Phoebe Surrells, who yet resides in Louisville, was a sister of the above, and her son, Benjamin Surrells, is yet among us.
Another old settler was John Golden from Kentucky.
John W. Sullivan is one of the few old landmarks left of the early settlers of Louisville Township. He was born July 28, 1809, in Pendleton District, S. C. He is a son of James and Elizabeth (Wood) Sullivan. James Sullivan was a native of Ireland, educated in Dublin, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. John W. Sullivan, Sr., came to Clay County in 1828, in company with his brother Paul. He staid about two years, spending most of his time in hunting; then followed the river till 1834, when he once more came to Clay County, locating in Maysville, where he was married in 1838 to Margaret Green, a daughter of Dr. Green. About 1838, he came to Louisville, with which place he has been identified ever since. He carried the first mail that left the Louisville office to the O. & M. Railroad, delivering it near the new graveyard, and, with the exception of about ten months, has carried it ever since.
John Ochiltree was a native of Kentucky, but came here from Wabash County, Ill. In 1836, he entered land in Section 23, and was married here to Martha J. McCawley. He died here. It is said that while living at Maysville, where he officiated as Postmaster, he carried the United States mail in his large hat.
Between the years 1850 and 1860, a number of people came from Ohio to this country. Some of them were good farmers, and proved a valuable acquisition to the township. Among that class we find S. B. Moore, Sr., who lived in Section 17, where he entered land in 1838. His expression of " We Ohioans " is well remembered. He reared a large and respectable family, whose descendants are yet living among us. He was the father of the following children, viz., Perry. Daniel, Sylvester, John, Samuel, Uantha Hortenstine and Martha Lampkin. Of the above, Sylvester has gone to Texas, and Daniel was killed by jumping on a crowbar. He died October 31, 1882.
The people that came here from Ohio were, generally speaking, of a very industrious class, who have added
materially to the development of the county. Among them were a few who seemed to think that they were a trifle smarter than the " Suckers," but after dealing with them some years concluded to give it up and moved back to Ohio.
The first water mill built in Clay County was built by Weatherspoon at the old town of Louisville. It finally passed into the hands of George Goble, and then became the property of Crawford Lewis, who rebuilt it and then sold it to
Dr. Peter Green, who sold it to Sewell, who let it go back to Green, and after passing through several hands it became
the property of P. P. Brown, and after that William Huddleson's.when it was abandoned.
In 1858, John Frowley and James Monroe erected a steam mill in Louisville; it was used for a saw and flouring mill, and is yet in operation, owned by L. R. Bounds. In 1882 the Brissenden Brothers built a new flouring mill with the improved roller process. It is one of the finest in Southern Illinois, and the change from the rude water mill to the present fine mills in Louisville is very great, and marks the progress of the times.
Wherever there is any business activity, the development of a village is certain. Before the shipping business was started, a village had been made. A town was platted by Dr. Peter Green, J. L. Wickersham doing the surveying. The main part was situated on the south half of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 23. The streets of the old town, and also the new one, fit present run north 36° west and south 54° west. The street running parallel with the river was called Water street, and the second Sycamore street.
Dr. Peter Green was a physician of more than ordinary ability, and an active, enterprising man, who realized the central location of the place, and, probably with a view of having the county seat relocated in the future, he began early to buy up land around the town and promote its interest. He was a native of Kentucky, and lived many years near Salem, in Indiana, where he ran a furniture shop, ox mill and distillery, on account of which latter occupation he was expelled from the Methodist Episcopal Church. His fondness for liquor, or at least his persistence in having it around him, caused him much family trouble, and has cast a shadow over the otherwise commendable career of a man who has done much for Louisville, in fact more then any other man. While in Indiana, he also read medicine and practiced it with Dr. Harris for two years before he came to Clay County, which was in 1829, locating in Maysville, then the county seat. The Doctor was married twice. His first wife, Mary Britton, who died in Indiana, was the mother of four children, viz., George, Margaret Sullivan, Mary Johnson and Rachel, who are all dead, but their descendants are yet living in this county and in Indiana.
His second wife, Ann Jean, was a native of Indiana, but died in Louisville. She was the mother of five children, viz., Martha (wife of William Stoker, a prominent lawyer in Centralia), Sarah (deceased, former wife of Dr. J. Hallam, of Centralia), Adeline (deceased, former wife of M. Griffin, once a prominent lawyer of Louisville), Helen (wife of Dr. Allen Barnes, now a resident of Bloomington, Illinois), and Thomas (deceased). While Dr. Green lived in Maysville, he followed his profession mainly.
In 1838, he bought forty acres of land from Crawford Lewis, on which stood the old Goble Mill, whose one-half interest he sold to Morgan. On this land, the old town was laid out. Two houses were already standing; one was used by Morgan as a residence and the other by George Green for a store; this was the first regular store. In this building was afterward held the first court since the relocation of the county seat.
About the time the old town was laid out, Capt. William Linn came here from Vandalia, then the capital of the State, and bought one-half interest in the town and mill of Dr. Green, the firm being known as Linn & Green. They brought on a heavy stock of goods, astonishing the old settlers by their enterprise and their large variety of goods, keeping almost everything. They built an addition to the old store, and also built a pork house and began shipping produce down the Little Wabash River to New Orleans on flat-boats, doing a prosperous and wellpaying business.
The next store was built by Anthony Hobbs, who also kept a general store. He was finally bought out by his father-in-law, Isaac Coleman, who eventually moved his store to Blair Township, on the Little Wabash, where he died. A mill that was erected by him there was well known as Coleman's Mill. Near it one of those bloody tragedies occurred which were too common in that township, and which is recorded in its annals.
The first dry goods and grocery store was put up by Jacob May, from Lawrence County, but now Richland County. He had run a store a long time in Claremont, on the old trail between Vincennes and St. Louis. He kept a fine stock of goods.
The next store was kept by Alexander L. and Robert Byers, who kept in May's old store. John Mellrose kept a harness shop; A William Levitt a blacksmith shop; Star Parvin was a good carpenter and cabinet-maker, and Peter J. G. Terry made shoes for the people. This was the extent of the business men of the old town of Louisville, and though everything was in a primitive state, it was yet thought good enough, and suited the style and tastes of our old-timers.
Dr. Green invested in land in and around Louisville, and at one time owned 600 acres. He was quite a leader in an early day, and a politician of some note. He was elected to the Legislature from this county, and while there presented a petition to relocate the county seat from Maysville to Louisville, and through his influence the Legislature passed a bill and the county seat was relocated. The first court was held in George Green's former store room, and the prisoners were kept in another store building till the old jail was brought from Maysville. This was quite an affair, and more secure than almost any county jail of the present day. It was made out of hewn oak timber. It had three thicknesses on the sides. It was in the form of a blockhouse, minus doors and windows, only one little hole at each end six inches square. Around the first layers of logs was put a second, with a space between, in which were put hewn logs upright, so that if the second, wall was cut through the logs would slip down continually. The top and bottom only had one layer of logs, but at the bottom was a thick layer of rocks. It was two stories high, but the top had doors and windows, and the prisoners were put in the lower part through a trap door, and were let down with a ladder, which was drawn up afterward. But no prisoners could live long in the dark, dismal hole, and when they got sick were sometimes placed in the upper room, which was not as secure, and from which prisoners would sometimes escape, but never from the lower part. It was used till the new jail was built; the outer part of the old jail is now used as a stable by Dr. Boyles.
John Trapp, Sheriff of Effingham County, Faris Foreman, an attorney from Vandalia, and Bowman, Sheriff of Jefferson County, were appointed by the Legislature to relocate the county seat as near the center of the county as would be convenient. They having chosen Louisville, it was platted by Blackburn, from Vandalia. The first addition to the old town was surveyed by John Johnson. The streets ran in the same direction as in the old town, north 36 degrees west and south 54 degrees west. The large blocks east and west of the public square are 80x83 3\4 feet, and the blocks north and south of the public square are 92 feet square; the others are in lots
92x83 3\4 feet. There is a stone planted on the southeast corner of the public square, also another on the northeast corner of Lot 89, and another on the southwest corner of Lot 1.
The house of Crawford Lewis was already standing when the new town was surveyed.
It was then occupied by John W. Sullivan, Sr. The second house was built by Samuel Slocumb, who kept a liquor store. He and Jesse Surrells afterward kept a grocery store in the same building. This house was afterward bought by Dr. Green, who built to it and put it in the shape it is to-day. He kept a very respectable hotel, and also used part of the building for a general store, including drugs. This was one of the best stores that was ever in Louisville, John W. Sullivan acted as clerk for many years. The building was afterward sold to James David, whose widow married Judge L. S. Hopkins, who now keeps the Hopkins Hotel in it.
The third building was put up by Peter Surrells; its weather boarding was made out of inch walnut, plowed and dropped; in it he kept a grocery store. It is yet standing on the southeast corner of the public square.
In 1851, Hungate & Neff put up and kept a store in the northeast corner of the square. Teril Erwin was the first wagon -maker; his brother, Jarret Erwin, was the first blacksmith; another brother, named John, came afterward and was a carpenter by occupation. Isaac Edwards kept the first regular drug store where Muench store now is. He was succeeded by Dr. Winans.
The first hardware store was kept by Moroy & Phi for, succeeded by John Erwin, who is yet in the business. Dolph Steinbrick kept the first harness shop.
Charles Kiggs, the first butcher shop, succeeded by Darling Long. Joseph Holt was the first regular brick mason,
and it is said built the second brick house in Louisville for Allen Davis; it is now the residence of Robert McCullom,
the present Sheriff. The cost of the building was very little, as Davie, who kept a saloon, got most of the work done
The first brick building ever erected in Louisville was the old court house. A man by the name of Samuel Slocumb had the contract to build it. He was a stylish, fine-looking man, a good talker, and as unscrupulous as he was brilliant. His wife was a fine looking woman, and pretended to keep a boarding house. He always had and made lots of money; betting was one of his mild vices, and on one of the Presidential campaigns won between $1,000 and $2,000. Of William Lewis, he won a span of fine black mares with silver mounted harness and a buggy, and also $500 in cash. James McCullom held the stakes. He was always well dressed, and almost constantly wore a plug hat. He had a novel and cheap way of getting the court house built, which was put up on the south part of the square. He paid the most of his men in whisky, and generally the men were just a little overdrawn. Sometimes a man would fall out with Slocumb and quit, but as soon as he would get dry he would resume work on the old plan. Drinking whisky was hardly considered a vice in those days, when even women would so to horse-races and bet.
Johnny McCoine operated a distillery about one mile southeast of town. This was about 1845-50, but ho made
hardly enough to supply the thirsty neighborhood. He kept it up only a few years. The name of “moonshiners” was unknown, nor did the United States Marshals have occasion to make raids, as every one could make as much whisky
as he chose. It was made out of corn costing 12 1\2 cents per bushel, and would sell for 17 or 18 cents per gallon.
The few old landmarks of those good old times who are judges of this beverage, and who are yet living, claim that it was superior to anything made now.
John McGahan, from Kentucky, put up a distillery two miles east of Louisville, where he made whisky about three years. Afterward Alfonso Erwin put up another distillery in town, but broke up after running it a few months. These distilleries were often the resort of the people, the majority of whom drank, and who would often indulge in a free fight
in which pistols and knives were unknown. McCoine also manufactured crockery on a small scale and of poor material.
It looked very yellow, making mainly crocks, jugs and jars. Some of our good old dames who are yet living claim that
that kind of ware was superior to our present ware, but it is only one of those ideas which is characteristic to the whole human race, namely, to cling fondly to those things that existed while we were children, and think of them as being superior. McCoine died here, and has descendants living in the county.
Louisville increased in population slowly, and the free and easy ways people had of buying and selling liquor continued till 1854, when the " Good Templars " started a society; the movement was fought with bitterness; but they increased, and the next year selling whisky was prohibited, and W. H. Hudleson was appointed by the corporation of Louisville to act as agent, and authorized him to sell whisky for medicinal purposes only. He kept two barrels about three months. During that time he often had to get up two and three times in the night to fill a doctor's prescription for men who never got hurt, and, as he often strongly suspected, filled the same bottle three times in one night, got disgusted and quit.
About this time, a " blind tiger " was started southeast of town, so called on account of the blinds hung up in front of the door, behind which the dandies, business men, hunters, farmers and loafers drank their toddies. This saloon was afterward called " King Fish," it being situated near the bank of the river. The name afterward changed to " Horned Rooster," because John W. Sullivan, Sr., had bought a rooster that had a horn on his head, and put it in the house. The price of admission to see the rooster was 10 cents, and a glass of whisky was thrown in. It afforded considerable amusement, and was a financial success. Finally the temperance zeal abated and a saloon was started again in Louisville, only to be again driven out at the revival of the temperance cause.
The land in Louisville Township was not settled very rapidly yet in 1840 the surplus of grain in it and adjoining townships was large enough to think of some way to export it, as there was but little demand at home and, emulating the example of other settlements along the Little Wabash, they began very early to ship their produce down the river. The flat-boats which were used for this purpose were manufactured on the bank of the river by the farmers who used them, though it subsequently became a considerable business, to which some devoted their entire attention, selling a finished boat at $1 and sometimes $2 per linear foot.
At first each man was his own pilot, but as the business increased there were those whose frequent trips down the river gave their judgment a money value. These men, especially on the larger rivers, provided themselves with charts of the river, and set up as pilots.
They were subsequently hired to navigate the boats, and were paid from $50 to $75 a trip, and later, according to the length of the boat, $1 per linear foot. From three to eight hands were employed as crew, at about $30 to $35 per trip, all employees being boarded on the trip, and all paying the entire expenses on their return. The whole cost of such a trip, including boat, was from $300 to $400, though a part of this was recovered by the sale of the boat in New Orleans, their destination, which lessened the net cost by some $25 to $75, or more provided the material was of carefully selected lumber and the market favorable.
The average trips took from three to six weeks, depending upon the weather. The start was generally made upon the spring flood, and, if the nights were clear and light, no snags encountered and no delays occasioned by "tying up" to the bank at night as a matter of prudence, quicker time than the above mentioned could be attained. But many favorable combinations of circumstances were seldom known. These trips, though accomplished by men unfamiliar with the science of navigation, were not free from serious risks of personal danger or financial embarrassment
After steamboats began to ply the Mississippi and Ohio, the danger of being run down by them, was very great in dark nights, and the general practice was to lie by on such occasions. At first the only signal lights were torches, and, later, lanterns. An experience is related: When one of these boats had entered a chute near one of the islands in the Mississippi, the crew heard a steamer coming up the stream. The channel ran close to the island, and the night being dark there was the greatest danger of a collision. A man was placed on the bow with a lantern, but the steamer seemed to be coming directly on the boat. The lantern was waved and everything possible was done to indicate the location of the boat to the steamer's pilot, but seemingly of no avail; but just at the point of contact the steamboat sheered off, but with so small space that the name of the boat could be read by the light of the lantern. On another occasion, a snag struck the rake of the boat so far back as to let the water into the cargo and as it could not be reached the boat began to sink. Fortunately it was loaded with corn in the ear, and after settling down more than half way, the boat floated and was subsequently saved. Though such incidents were common, the voyagers from Louisville never suffered any serious losses or accidents.
In those days, a boat was finished near the mill, then towed up the river two miles and sunk to be raised again in the spring, but when the spring came the boat was found filled with sand and consequently could not be raised.
The crews of the boats would return home by way of St. Louis, the trip being made on steamers and costing $3. The trip from St. Louis to Louisville was made by stage and cost $1.50. Therefore, about $25 could be cleared each trip. This was good pay in those days, and as these trips were fraught with danger, they just suited the early settlers who rather enjoyed them. It was therefore always easy to get a crew.
The first flatboat was built by Dr. Green, Peter Surrells, George Goble and others, who took it down the river. The enterprise was watched with much interest, and on their safe return, new boats were built each year, till the Ohio & .Mississippi Railroad was built in 1854, when W. H. Hudleson built and took down the river the last of these flat-boats, the first having been built about 1842. About three boats were sent down the river each year.
It must not be supposed that the men of Clay County lacked business enterprise or were behind in promoting the interests of their county; this will be seen by the efforts that were made to foster agriculture and horticulture, and establish societies and hold fairs. As early as 1858, a society was formed at Xenia, on the O. & M. Railroad, and a fair was held for several years. No grand display attended this first effort, yet it was the starting point of a good enterprise. A space of about 100 feet was inclosed by bolts of brown cotton goods, better known as “domestic”, which was kindly furnished by the merchants. Encouraged by the success which attended this small undertaking, the people of Louisville and vicinity organized an agricultural society in 1860. A stock company was formed, who issued $1,000 worth of stock at $5 per share, nearly all of which sold readily. Messrs. H. R. Neff, J. P. Hungate, Dr. Green and M. H. Davis, who were all prominent men at that time, were the instigators and leaders in the enterprise.
In the fall of the above year, the company bought four acres of land two blocks east of town, inclosed and improved it, and held a fair the same year, which was largely attended, it being a novel feature to quite a number of farmers who had never been at a fair before in their lives; everything was done to interest the people, and to promote the interests of agriculture. As the population of the county increased and greater interest was manifested by the farmers, the old grounds were deemed too small, and in 1871 the society was re-organized and increased their stock to $2,000, and added a horticultural department. The new fair ground was situated three- fourths of a mile southwest of town, where the society had bought fourteen acres of land, which it improved. But it seems that with a change of location came a change of fortune, and although the first two fairs were a financial success, the next three were failures, and the society having to borrow money from W. H. Hudleson, amounting to $600, with which to pay the premiums, which money Mr. Hudleson subsequently lost, as the society, becoming discouraged, was disorganized and its property sold to pay a part of its debts. This ended the Clay County Agricultural Society, only to be revived again in after years at Flora, which being more of a business center, insures greater financial success.
Another unsuccessful enterprise was started in 1856 by G. S. Wooden, who came from Ohio. He in company with John Colclasure and N. L. Martin built a steam saw and grist mill two and one-half miles north of Louisville, on the Little Wabash River, which they operated two years; but it did not prove a success, and was sold and moved away. G. S. Wooden afterward disposed of his property during the war, and in order to avoid the draft went to California, accompanied by his brothers-John, Elias and Joshua.
The A. F. & A. M. fraternity has a number of adherents in and about Louisville. They had a charter granted October 6, 1856. The following were charter members: S. C. Sparks, W. J. Stevenson, Wyatt Cook, Isaac Martin, J. A. Appersen, William McCracken and John Wooden. The lodge was named Louisville Lodge, No. 196. First officers were S. C. Sparks, Master; W. J. Stevenson. Senior Warden; Wyatt Cook, Junior Warden. Present officers: W. R. Whitman, Master; John Erwin, S.W.; G. A. Henry, J. W.; E. H. Hawkins, Treas.; G. W. Mills, Sec. ; John W. Sullivan, S. D.; G. K. Johnson, J. D.; B. F. Surrells, Tiler. The present membership is about forty. Their meetings are held in J. C. McCollum's Hall on Thursday night on or before each full moon. It is the oldest lodge in the county. Its present financial condition is good.
The I. O. O. F. fraternity also had a lodge here a short time, the history of which is recorded in ths annals of Bible Grove Township
Among those things in Louisville Township that are fast passing into oblivion we must here record the resting place of our dead, the old Louisville Cemetery, situated four blocks south of the public square. People would bring their dead here from a distance of fifteen miles. About 300 are buried here. Grissom Lee was the last one interred. No tombstones of any kind exist to mark the places of those that have passed away. Four Revolutionary soldiers are buried here, among them was George Goble, Sr. At one time a man plowed up a good part of the cemetery, but when threatened with arrest, he desisted. A fence incloses a part of the ground which has grown up in brambles and berry bushes.
A small Indian burying ground also exists in the southwest part of the township, which was often visited by the red man of the woods, who, though untutored, yet obeys the voice of nature, and reveres his beloved dead.
The new cemetery at Louisville is just outside of the corporation adjoining the southwest corner of the town. It was located by Dr. Peter Green, who owned several hundred acres of land at that time around Louisville. A daughter of Dr. Green was the first person buried in it; and J. J. Spriggs dug the first grave.
The Louisville Baptist Church was organized in the year 1841, by Rev. Thomas Vandinier, formerly of Washington County, Ind. This man of God had considerable ability as a preacher, whoso history and labors belong to Indiana. There is but little known of this church from this date up to January 22, 1848. From that day to the present, the church has kept a record of all her proceedings. On the above date, the brethren met at the house of Deacon John Connely for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church. Rev. George Stacy was chosen Moderator, and Stephen Blair, Clerk. The minutes Bhow the names of twelve persons who were recognized as members of the church. This church was called " Hoosier Prairie Regular Baptist Church." From this day the good Lord seemed to bless our brethren abundantly. Many precious souls were converted and added to the church as the fruit of the faithful labors of Rev. M. Stacy. He was the companion of Rev. J. M. Peck, formerly of New York, but sent to Illinois as a missionary by the Home Mission Society. He preached one year, and during this time the church prospered in faith as well as in numbers. About this time Rev. Blair was moved to exhort the people to flee from the " wrath to come. " He had uncommon powers as a speaker, and in 1849 the church called for his ordination.
On the third Sunday of July, 1850, Brothers I. H. Elkin and Blair commenced a protracted meeting in Louisville, which continued fifteen days, and resulted in the conversion of thirty persons, twenty of whom united with the church and were baptized during the meeting. This interest continued about five years. July, the 4th, Saturday, 1850, was the last meeting of this church in Hoosier Prairie. The church by unanimous vote moved to Louisville, and assumed and retained the above name, holding their meetings in the court house. They soon found this place unsuited for their meetings, and built a frame meeting house which cost about $2,000. It was built by Isaac Martin, Sr. This was the first Baptist meetinghouse in all this region of country. This old church seems to have been the center of influence for Baptists It was the mother of the following churches, viz., Union, Flora, Macedonia, Xenia, Oskaloosa, Indian Prairie and others. The deed to the ground of this old church was made March 25, 1851, by * Jephtha and Rebecca Allen.
The following is a list of pastors since January 22, 1848, viz: Elder George Stacy, I. H. Elkin (who served the church till November, 1852), Stephen Blair, Joseph Odell, S. Blair, J. Odell, Jesse Kennedy, L. B. Wharton, J. W. Wharf, J. H. Crow, William B. Livley, J. M. Billingsley, F. Holland, G. G. Dougherty, J. M. Stancil. No regular minister at present. Most of the above ministers have served more than one term. The old meeting-house was in such bad shape in 1876 that it was torn down and a good brick meeting-house, 30x50, erected on the same site of the old church, costing about $2,600. Present membership is fifty-six. Present officers are William H. Hudleson, Deacon; S. R. Jones, Deacon; William E. Murphy, Deacon; and S. R. Jones, Clerk. Trustees, William H. Hudleson, S. R. Jones and J. J. Spriggs.
A Sunday school has been maintained for the past twenty- five years; attendance good; general average about eighty; generally carried on winter and summer. Present officers: Superintendent, S. R. Jones; Assistant Superintendent, J. W. Sullivan, Jr.; Secretary, U. S. Spriggs; Treasurer, M. E. Jones.
About forty years ago, a Christian Church organization existed in this township, but they had no regular meeting house. Revs. Schooley. William Bryant and other ministers officiated in an early day. The organization finally moved to Louisville about 1857, and had John A. Williams for their pastor. The meetings were held in the Baptist Church till they built a brick building of their own. The church went down several times, but was revived each time by ministers.
In 1870, Rev. George F. Adams a district evangelist, was in charge of the Christian Church in Louisville, and during a protracted meeting, which lasted nearly six weeks. 120 members joined the church and were baptized. Under the excellent management of Rev. Adams, the present fine church building was projected and completed, costing about $5, 000. The members seemed to feel the church debt for many years afterward, and it seems they never fully recovered from the strain put upon their purses.
Rev. Adams, who was a native of Kentucky, where he was also educated, preached here ten months, when he left for other fields of labor, after having witnessed the completion and dedication of the building. He was succeeded by R. B. Henry, E. J. Heart Lathrop, J. B. Lucas, James A. Stewart and Abraham Herrald. About 1876, the interest in the church began to decline, and at times no meetings of any kind were held for months, almost years. But at present a better interest is taken, and a brighter future is dawning for the Christian Church.
The Methodist Episcopal Church dates its organization as far back as 1845. Before this, however, traveling ministers had held services in the homes of old settlers. After the church was organized, it began to hold its meetings in the first log schoolhouse ever built in Louisville. The following were the first members: Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Fields, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Sullivan, Mrs. Dr. Peter Green and her daughter Adeline Green, Mary Erwin, Francis Apperson, wife and daughter, Joshua Wooden, Rachel Moore, Sarah Morris, and Mr. and Mrs. George Wooden. The present membership is about seventy. The first local minister was Rev.John M. Griffith, who preached a number of years, and who was esteemed by the whole congregation. He was generally required to officiate at funerals and weddings, and was indispensable at their revival meetings, even after he moved out of the neighborhood. Revs. Joe Helm, Joseph Blundel, Cavil Lambert, David Standford and Lathrop were some of the first ministers.
The following is a list of ministers who officiated between the years 1860 and 1883, viz. : Stanford, Lambert, Walker (supplied by Wescott), L. A. Harper, Glaze (supplied by Barnes), J. S. Barnes, Thrapp, A. Myers, R. H. Massey, C. D. Lingenfelter, Flescher (supplied by Leach), N. ,E. Harmon, C. W. Sabine, E. Lathrop, S. J. Harrington, R. M. Carter, J. G. Reeder, A. Snell, G. A. Seed and J. S. Dee.
The meetings were held in the old schoolhouse; also part of the time in the court house and the Baptist Church till 1869, when the brick Methodist Episcopal Church was built. A Sunday school has been maintained by the organization almost from the beginning. At present, N. D. Jamison is Super intondent; Dr. M. Boyles, Assistant Superintendent; Miss Isa Winans, Secretary: Mrs. Mary Farris, Treasurer; M. Tanner, Librarian Mrs. Nellie Weeler, Chorister. Average attendance, sixty.
Louisville Now (1884)
Groceries, N. G. Gibson, Reynolds & Wheeler, James Wilders and L. A. Shepherd, who also sells dry goods; dry goods, H. E. Watson, A. H. Moore & Co., George Roush and Lewis Shepherd; hardware, John Erwin and W. G. Gibson; harness and saddlery, Smith; shoe-makers, Reuben Ginther and Philip Bouquet; furniture and undertaker, J. C. McCollum; drug stores, W. A. McNown and W.C. Winans; physicians, W. A. & H. McNown, J. M. Boyles, H. S Lauchner and G. C. Burton; printer, G. A. Henry, editor of Ledger ;lawyers, F. G. Cockrell, D. C. Hagel, H. H. Chesley, G. A. Henry, John G. Burns, B. D. Monroe and Benjamin Hagel; real estate and abstracters, Burns & Hawkins; broker, William H. Hudleson; civil engineer and surveyor, J. M. Bourne; flouring mills, Brissenden Brothers and L. R. Bounds; saw mill, L. R. Bounds; hotels, Mary P. Griffin and L. S. Hopkins; meat markets, H. E. Watson and John Young; bakery and restaurant, F. Conner; blacksmiths, John W. Sullivan, Jr., R. W. Pierson and Dayton W. Bible; carpenters, Jones & Wood and Barbee & Case; wagon-makers, Enos Clark and S. Hoke; brick masons and plasterers, B. F. Surrells and James H. Manning; tonsorial artists, George Olmsted and George Munch; milliners, Mrs. M. E. Burns and Miss Susan Holt; livery stable, E. D. Vickrey and Davis Hagle.
The population of Louisville, according to the census taken in 1880, is 514. The town, although the county seat, has never had a large population, owing to the fact that the O. & M. R. R. runs through the southern part of the county and the many towns located on it.
At the first town meeting held in the court house in the town of Louisville, Clay Co., Ill., on the 1st day of April, the following officers were elected: H. R. Neff, Supervisor; W. W. De Witt, Town Clerk; John R.Graham, Assessor; C. H. Porter, Collector; R. C. Woods, Overseer of the Poor; James Wilders, Commissioner of Highways; H. K. Farris and Elijah De Witt, Justices of the Peace; John W. Davis and M. H. Davis, Constables.
Overseers of Highways—William Helms, Overseer of District of No. 1; Benjamin F. Hayes, Overseer of District No. 2; Nelson Martin, Overseer of District No. 3; Samuel Rhinehart, Overseer of District No. 4; Levi Hobbs, Overseer of District No. 5.
The following is a list of township officers since the first were elected:
On the 19th day of April, 1862, James Wilders, H. M. Hobbs, D. Long, were appointed Commissioners of Highways for the town of Louisville, deciding their respective terms of office by ballot, which resulted as follows: Hobbs, three years; Long, two years; Wilders, one year; said officers then drew lots to decide which of them should be Treasurer. It was decided that James Wilders be Treasurer; after he moved away, J. J. Spriggs was appointed to fill the vacancy, and it was once more decided by lot that H. M. Hobbs serve two years, and act as Treasurer; Spriggs, three years, and D. Long, one year.
The following is a list of officers to present writing:
Township officers for:
1863—H. R. Neff, Supervisor; R. A. Holt, Town Clerk; J. R. Graham, Assessor; A. H. Porter, Collector; Elijah DeWitt, Overseer of the Poor; John W. Davis, Commissioner of Highways; H. K. Farris and E. De Witt, Justices; John W. and M. H. Davis, Constables. 1864—Wyatt Cook, Supervisor; James Wilders, Township Clerk; J. W. Davis, Assessor; Leander Hopper, Collector; W. H. Hudleson, Overseer of Poor; J. J. Spriggs, Commissioner
1865—Wyatt Cook, Supervisor; Francis Apperson, Township Clerk; William Hudleson, Assessor; John H. Hungate, Collector; Darling Long, Overseer of Poor; J. G. Mc-Scooler, Commissioner.
1866—Jackson P. Hungate, Supervisor; William Y. Sneed, Township Clerk; Charles W. Apperson, Assessor; George W. Hungate, Collector; Darling Long, Overseer of Poor; James EL Collins, Commissioner; A. M. Sargent, Justice of the Peace; S. H. Fawsett, Justice of the Peace; S. R. Jones and David Logan, Constables.
1867—B. J. Rotan, Supervisor; S. R.Apperson, Assessor; H. R. Neff, Collector; J. Apperson, Clerk; P. J. Curry, Commissioner; Darling Long, Overseer of Poor.
1868—B. J. Rotan, Supervisor; S. R. Apperson, Township Clerk; T. J. Farris, Assessor; James Wilders, Collector; Francis Apperson, Justice of the Peace; William H.Hudleson, Justice of the Peace; Alexander Tuck and J. W. Jean, Constables; J. J. Sprigs, Commissioner; P. J. Curry, Commissioner.
1869—Lewis Coggswell, Supervisor; Leander Hopper, Assessor; James Burns, Collector; S. R. Apperson, Township Clerk; T. J. Farris, Constable; William Kellums, Commissioner.
1870—B. J. Rotan, Supervisor; J. W. Sullivan, Sr., Assessor; James Wilders, Collector; H. S. Lauchner, Township Clerk; F. Apperson and W. H. Hudleson, Justices; T. J. Farris and Alexander Tuck, Constables.
1871—William Foreman, Supervisor; Randolph Smith, Township Clerk; A. H. Moore, Assessor; E. T. Potts, Commissioner.
1872—D. C. Hagle, Supervisor; L. S. Hopkins, Assessor; S. R. Apperson, Collector; Randolph Smith, Township Clerk; Thomas T. Austin, Constable; N. L. Martin, Commissioner.
1873—D. C. Hagle, Supervisor; Sylvester Johnson and J. W. Adams, Justices; T. J. Farris, Collector; R. D. Griffin and John McCullum, Constables; William David, Assessor; S. R. Apperson, Township Clerk; Cyrus Fox, Commissioner.
1874—Henry R. Neff, Supervisor; John J. Hill, Assessor; H. F. Detweiler, Collector; William David, Township Clerk; J. C. Creamer, Commissioner.
1875—H. R. Neff, Supervisor; William David, Town Clerk; B. F. Reynolds, Assessor;
William Foreman, Collector; J. J. Spriggs, Commissioner; J. H. Odell, Justice of the Peace.
1876—H. R. Neff, Supervisor; William David, Town Clerk; B. F. Reynolds, Assessor; J. H. Odell, Collector; J. C. Barnett, Commissioner.
1877—G. A. Hoff, Supervisor; William David, Town Clerk; C. A. Steinbruck, Collector; T. J. Farris, Assessor; William Kellums, Commissioner; William Cleveland and T. T. Reeves, Constables; J. W. Sullivan, Sr. , and J. H. Odell, Justices.
1878—J. M. Boyles, Supervisor; C. A. Steinbruck, Assessor; Jacob Burton, Collector; William David, Town Clerk; John Toliver, Commissioner; F. M. Critchlow, Commissioner; L. S. Hopkins, Justice.
1879— J. M. Boyles, Supervisor; William David, Town Clerk; J. W. Sullivan, Jr., Assessor; Henry R. Neff, Collector; J. L. Speaks, Commissioner; J. T. McCollum, Justice of the Peace.
1880—John R. Tanner, Supervisor; William David, Town Clerk; J. W. Sullivan, Jr., Assessor; Hugh Hord, Collector; Gordon Toliver, Constable; John T. Kerr, Commissioner.
1881—J. C. McCollum, Supervisor; Williani David, Town Clerk; C. R. Davis, Assessor;
George W. Roush, Collector; Sylvester Johnson, Justice of the Peace; John W.Sullivan, Sr., Justice of Peace; Jonathan Blair, Commissioner; L. M. Wood and William Kerr, Constables.
1882— W. A. McNown, Supervisor; G. A. Wehe, Township Clerk; C. R. Davis, Assessor;
B. F. Hayes, Collector; S. R. Jones, Commissioner.
1883—J. C. McCollum, Supervisor; William David, Town Clerk; Hugh Hord, Assessor; H. R. Neff, Collector; Peter Thompson, Commissioner; G. W. David, Constable.
In 1870, the people of Louisville Township voted a $15,000 bond to the Springfield, Illinois & Southwestern Railroad Company, for building the road through the township and locating a depot inside of the corporation. Said bonds were refunded April 1, 1882.
[Source: "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884"]
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