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Gallatin County Town Histories

Bowlesville was one of the earliest coal mining towns in Southern Illinois. Joseph Bowles purchased land at Coal Hill. Together he, Thomas Logsdon, and Dr. Tolbert formed the Western Mining Company. In the beginning the company had little success because of the competition from the mines in Kentucky. Around the time of the Civil War, the company thrived and the town began to prosper.
The post office was established in September 12, 1871 which put Bowlesville on the "map". Ezra T. Elliott was appointed the first postmaster. Thomas Logsdon was the last up until Nov. 5, 1889 when the post office was closed. By 1887, the town had shrunk to about 50 people.
No trace of this town is left today.


Even though Cottonwood was never incorporated, it still was the center for education, religion, and commercial needs. Settlers came here as early as 1830.
Cumberland Pres. Church was built here in 1862 with R. M Davis as the Reverend.
Mr. Thomas Boyd served as postmaster until his death and then his wife carried out the duties. The first school was built in 1865 , with land deeded by William T. Gholson. By 1886 there were 125 children attending. And by 1959, it dwindled down to only 12 students. One of the 1st teachers, was James B. Hale born in 1841.
Cottonwood was originally named Oak Grove, but was changed because of the name being used elsewhere.
James B. Hale's son, R.H. Hale opened a store in 1887. By 1910, there was a doctor, Dr. Mc Guire, a general store, a barber,and a blacksmith.
Some of the early settlers were: Boyds, Glasscocks, Sanders, Hollands, Hales and Knights.

Pioneers have lived in the Crawford area for some time.
One of the first families was Rev. John Crawford and his wife Nancy Ramsey Taggert. They arrived in Gallatin County before 1830.
Nathaniel Holderby opened a General Store and a Post Office on Dec 13, 1853.
New Pleasant Pres. church was built, with such members as Jas. Dillard, Sr. John V. Sherwood, Isaiah W. Pettigrew, John Murphy Sr., John Alexander, Jas. Fleming ad Isaac N. Hannah. Ministers were B.F. Spillman, Benj. F. Bruce, and John Crawford.
Soon after, the church built a school. In 1841, the teachers at that time were Isaac Hannah and Benj. Bruce.

After the Civil War, railroads were being built. The line was to come down from Shawnee town. Crawford wanted the train to come through their town as did a neighboring town, New Market. The competition became so fierce that Thomas Ridgway, the president of the railroad co, decided to have the train come right smack down the middle of the 2 towns which created a whole new town and named , of course, Ridgway, which is now known as the Popcorn capital of the World.
The post office closed in Crawford on Jan. 2, 1867.
But Rev. Crawford continued his ministry and was well known for his preaching. He is also recognized as the founder of the Cumberland Pres. Church of Ridgway, Illinois.


This Irish settlement was located on the Shawneetown-Vincennes Stagecoach Road. A country store was built on the mail route and became known as the " Irish Grocery", since many immigrants came to settle there after 1820.
A Post office was located in the store Oct. 16, 1877 and was known as Waltonboro then the name and post office ceased to exist July 21, 1887.
Martin Doherty arrived from Waterford, Ireland in 1860 and married Mary McGuire. He became a farmer, Justice of the Peace and a Director of the Shawneetown Bank. When the Irish Grocery store opened again with a post office on May 28 1890, it was then called Doherty.

Dorsey Valley
Received its name from William H. Dorsey (1824-1877). William Dorsey's decision to buy a farm and build in this area, was most likely influenced by the location being near the Salt Springs.
Sarah Baker, daughter of William Baker, married Dorsey and together they had a large family and made Dorsey Valley their lifelong home.
Wheat and Sugar Cane were harvested in this area.

Came into existence when a post office was established in William Matherly's store, March 12, 1866.
By 1870, Elba had already petitioned for a new school, had 2 doctors: James C Latham and William G. Hokins, merchants were Dan Files, John Gooch, who were blacksmiths, William S Elder operated a Grist mill and William Mathely was the postmaster.
A stagecoach made many stops there and by 1870 it's population was 125.
There was a covered bridge over the creek, that was said to be haunted, which after being investigated, turned out to be a cow seeking refuge under the bridge.
As the village began to decline, the post office closed permanently on Aug. 15, 1907.
The great flood of 1937 finished Elba for good


Located near an inexhaustible supply of salt, the animals would cling to it. The Indians cherished the place and
were careful to take what they needed.
The French were the first Europeans to make salt here in the early 1700's prior to the English taking over in 1763.
A post office named "Salt Lick" was established and renamed Equality in 1827.
Roads from every direction were built to the salt works.
Equality was incorporated in 1833 and again in 1872.
The Gallatin Academy was established in 1836, with Rev. Benjamin F. Spillman as the first teacher.
In 1827, Gallatin county included all of Saline and part of Hardin County with Shawneetown being the county seat.
The historic town of Equality has been home to some notable men: Michael K Lawler, William J. Gatewood, Edward Jones, and Leonard White.
A monument was erected in honor of Gen. Michael K. Lawler and dedicated on Sept. 14, 1913

Gibsonia grew in the early 1900's and was located where Ford's Road crossed Eagle Creek.

Not much is known about it other than it had a post office in a country store which opened on March 3, 1903 and was discontinued Dec. 15, 1909. George Brinkley ran the store around 1930 along with other proprietors such as: Alfred Leavell, Isaac Black, Jeff Williams, Ernest Lowery and John Vaught.

Gold Hill

Located near Shawneetown, on the old trail that led to/from the Salt Springs to the Ohio River. This was the route to the
Ohio River the taken by the Indians.
The first federal funded roadway in the Territory of Illinois was from Shawneetown to Kaskaskia.
There were a few claims on Gold Hill....
It was once claimed by Kings of Spain, then by the French who would later be taken over by the British, because of its location near the salt licks.
At the end of the French and Indian War, France turned over the area to England by means of the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763.
Later the deciding factor concerning claims to the area, was George Rogers Clark Expedition during the American Revolution.
John Duff, a resident of Gold Hill, was asked by Clark to be his guide to Vincennes. Later this same man was murdered by neighbors, leaving behind a full blooded Indian wife and a large family of children.
The Illinois 6th cavalry trained on Gold Hill. They made history when General Grant was about to take Vicksburg in April and May 1863. They participated in the Grierson Raid riding 800 miles through Rebel territory in just 17 days.
They kept the Rebels occupied and prevented them from being able to re-inforce General Pemberton's forces in Vicksburg.
Today not much is going on at Gold Hill.
Just a few Paleo artifacts have become visible from some 30,000 years ago. They are nearer to the surface on a hill and can be seen due to erosion.

In the 1870's , a small village located about midway on the Shawneetown-New Haven Road. It was named for William Inman, a civil war Veteran and a local landowner.
It was originally called Gwaltney,after Benjamin K Gwaltney. He deeded 1 acre on July 22, 1878 for a school. Gwaltney also established a post office Sept., 1885.
Virgil Downen worked the store part-time and Henry Westphaelinger was the first blacksmith. Physicians who served the area: Dr. J. A. Jones, Dr. E. A. Greene, Dr. J. H. Gregory and Dr. Louis.
The name was changed to Inman Nov. 3, 1885.
April 1898, Inman store was sold and up until the early 1930's, it had changed hands a few times.
The community had dwindled to only 5, closing the post office on July 31, 1907

First named Rollinsville, after Mr. Rollins, who owned a sawmill.
The first post office opened Jun 4, 1884.
The named changed to Junction City May 1, 1888 then to Junction Dec 27, 1894.
The village was incorporated Nov 11, 1909 and because it was near a Railroad, it prospered.
Some of the local merchants were: B. Gates, W. Dorman, D. Dempsey, P. Willis, M. Mangis, H. Moore, E. Rogers, and E. Jennings. the local Gunsmith: V. Winterberger.
Junction reached its peak population in 1940, and since then it has slowly diminished

Located about 8 miles south of Equality. The earliest land entry record found was by David Barnett for 160 acres of land.
A post office was established April 16,1883 under the name of Kedron.
Members of the Social Brethren Church chose Kedron for the name of their post office.
In 1910, the census listed Kedron with a population of eleven.
The post office closed Sept 15, 1912
Around 1932 the roads were graveled and since then it has disappeared except for a couple of empty buildings and Kedron cemetery (also known as Barnett cemetery).

Lawler- Ginniville
was a station on the Railroad. It was named after the Civil War General, Michael K. Lawler whose farm was located at the top of the hill, directly across the field from Hickory Hill (
the old slave house).
Ginniville was also located nearby. It was a very small coal mining town consisting of white framed houses that belonged to the Ginniville Mining Company. The mine closed in 1929.
A sign that reads "Lawler Ditch" is the only visual reminder of either location, other than the Lawler-Crenshaw Cemetery on the hill west of Rt. 1, where both families are buried.

located in Eagle Creek, the west part of Gallatin County.
Dr. S. R. Cone, from Leamington, England named this town. The post office opened Oct. 27, 1879 and closed
July 31, 1904.
Owners of the store: Ola Bentley, H.J. Moore, James Lockwood, Charles Jackson, Jacob Barnett, Hubert Vineyard and Lawrence Williams.
Clyde McClusky was the last Smith.
Across the road from where the store once stood, is the Brinkley-Leamington Cemetery.
The Leamington Social Brethren Church sits near the old village site and is the only reminder of the village

New Haven

New Haven is located on the Little Wabash River and is the 3rd oldest town in the State.
It was settled by Jonathan Boone , his son Joseph, and Joseph's father in law, Samuel Dagley in 1812.

Jonathan Boone was a brother to Daniel Boone, the famous settler of Kentucky.

Shortly after arriving, a stockade was built along the banks of the Little Wabash and it was called Boone's Fort.
It protected a rather large area of land. They also had a mill named of course, Boone's Mill. The Boone's
didn't stay long and soon sold their land to William P. Robinson & Roswell Grant then they moved to the
Arkansas Territory.

In 1818, a survey of the town was made. It consisted of 261 lots, each being 70' by 140'. The name of
the town was changed from Boone's Fort to New Haven in honor of Roswell Grant's home town, N ew Haven , Connecticut.

In 1834, New Haven was purchased again and a new survey was made by Albert Gallatin Caldwell.

William Parks, Gatewood, Kirkham,. & John Wood owned General Stores. Some merchants listed were
Thomas Hick, James Dagley, H.P.Howell & Hinch , & McDaniel.

The Blacksmiths were Henry Stone & John Ellis, and the Grist Mill was run by Handmore and Gallagher.

The first hotel owners were Hazel Moreland, J. Sheridan , and J. Mervin. Abraham Lincoln rested
and ate a noon meal at the Sheridan Hotel in 1858 on his way to Jonesboro for a debate with Stephen A. Douglass.
In 1859 the Grady Hotel was built and became a popular stop on the Shawneetown-Vincennes Stage Route.
William Jennings Bryan delivered one of his famous speeches, "Price of Peace" from the front porch of this hotel.
The first Post Office was established Jan. 25, 1819.
The town itself was incorporated Feb. 15, 1839.

Being near the Little Wabash greatly influenced the growth of the town. Most of its materials and goods
arrived by canoe or boat.
The first school was taught in a cabin by Lizzie Boyd in the winter of 1849. Other teachers were Samuel Murry, Levi Hitchcock, Rodger Frame, Jesse Fuller, Lucy Rowe, & William Carter.
George Knight taught the first Public School in 1855.

New Market
James Dillard Sr. and family settled at the site of New Market in the early 1800's. It consisted of 160 acres of land and was located near the intersection of New Haven /Salt Springs & near Shawneetown /Bear Creek roads. The village was platted in 1854 with over 200 lots.

The Blacksmiths were Joel Lamb, John Hancock, & Nathan Lamb. Frederick H Sellers was the 1st merchant. He was also the Justice of Peace & opened the 1st Post Office in his store in 1857. Other merchants were David Philower & Joseph Smith. Adam Zuck operated a Grist Mill. Benjamin L Jackson was the chairmaker. The Master carpenter was William Brown.

The Post office closed in 1871 after a new railroad was constructed by Thomas

Ridgway & was laid out a mile east of New Market, causing people to move closer to the new town of Ridgway.

Ridgway was remembered as being a large and productive town.

[Source: History and Families of Gallatin County, Illinois, Turner Publishing - Submitted by Deanna Heneghan]


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