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Hancock County, Illinois

Written by Ralph W. Crain to the Editor of ?
Transcriber has added exact data written with this manuscript

Transcribed by Leslie Riney

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It is no light task to attempt an accurate history, whether it be of a nation or of a neighborhood, in fact, nations are made up of neighborhoods, and a true picture of the country at large must depend upon a correct portrayal of the many small communities of which it is composed.

Historical works of world-wide or national scope are not lacking in number or variety. These are necessary for our proper education, but since they treat for the most part of places we can seldom visit, and of people far removed by time and distance, they do not hold for us the same keen interest as do the narratives which treat of scenes nearby, and of family names with which we are familiar.

The original settlers of this community were men and women of integrity and high ideals, whose influence for good has made itself felt to the present time. A few of these pioneers survived until recent years and some have left us written records of the events of early days. In preserving these treasured records in permanent form we are doing nothing more than our simple duty to the generations which are to follow us.

While visiting in Augusta in the summer of 1920, I was requested to prepare the Pulaski section of the history of Augusta then being compiled by the Martha Board Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The limited time at my disposal was spent in interviewing as many as possible of the oldest surviving settlers, who had either come here in their youth, or were born here, some of them more than eighty years ago, when the settlement was new. In Augusta I found certain volumes of county histories, and discovered still others in the Newberry Library in Chicago. I copied from these such portions as would be of interest to our community, and also copied some old manuscripts existing in the neighborhood, as well as extracts from records in the court house in Carthage. All this material I brought with me to Havana, and for several months have been devoting my spare time to rewriting and compiling it, together with other historical data already in my possession. Much attention has also been given to reproducing old portraits, as well as late photographs of many of the places described.
Writing as I am of a rural community, without definite boundaries, it is difficult to know just where to draw the line; the temptation is to go on and on a little farther, but the space allotted to this chapter will not permit wandering far. Therefore, it has been unavoidable in some cases to stop short, including the story of one family and omitting that of their next door neighbor. When it has been necessary to select from a number of pioneer families, I have endeavored to include those whose descendants still live in the community. But no matter how much care has been exercised, many worthy names must be omitted, and many interesting incidents left unrecorded.
In the earnest effort to arrive at the real truth of events, this chapter will be limited mainly to extracts from old manuscripts and published histories, and also from verbal accounts given me in person by the oldest settlers now living in the neighborhood. If any repetitions occur, the one version will serve in the main to corroborate the other, even though they may differ slightly in minor details. Having spent the greater part of the past twenty-two years in foreign countries, I am somewhat out of touch with the more recent home events, but from childhood can remember many of the fine old pioneer characters herein mentioned; this, with my general recollection of the neighborhood, has been of much help to me in preparing this chapter; however, all of the principal items here recorded are based not upon my own memory or opinion, but upon some definite authority, either written or verbal. Wherever possible, the source of such information has been stated.
Ralph W. Crain
Havan, Cuba
May, 1921

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A blank square where a photo would be inserted in handwriting under it states:
The house of George Ketchum, one of the oldest buildings in Pulaski

Less than three miles southeastward from Augusta, beyond the timber bordered Williams Creek and the "Big Hill" stands the little cluster of houses known as Pulaski. Older by several years, this settlement maintained for a time its supremacy, but the coming of the railway to Augusta in 1855 put an end to Pulaski's chance in the race. Since that time the little village has hardly held its own, although throughout the prosperous agricultural section surrounding it, many commodious and attractive farm homes have been established. But while progress has left it behind, it has not robbed the little village of its quaint charm and historical interest. It stands today almost unchanged since before the Civil War, save that the trees have grown larger, and the little old fashioned houses more ancient and weatherbeaten.

A blank square where a photo would be inserted in handwriting under it states:
The little brick church

The annals of this community are bound up in the records of the little brick church, which has been from early days the religious and social center of the neighborhood. And not only here, but throughout our great country, and even in foreign lands are fond hearts who will never forget the little cemetery down by the edge of the forest north of the church, where their best beloved have been laid to rest. Carpeted with blue grass, the ground slopes gently to the west, and northward to the woods. Growing here and there are pine and cedar and elm trees; and for Memorial Day the roses bloom, and there are clusters of lilies and peonies, planted many years ago by loving hands. Thin marble slabs mark the earlier graves, while of later years the monuments are of more solid and enduring form. In this well kept "God's Acre" is recorded in marble and granite much of the annals of our neighborhood. For here lie buried most of the original pioneers who founded the community. In this spot may be found the only grave in Augusta Township of a Revolutionary War Soldier.

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A blank square where a photo would be inserted in handwriting under it states:
Photo of Pulaski Cememtery to go here-See the halftone I had made in Quincy in which John Newcomb is shown in uniform near the Wm. H. Crain monument Decoration Day, May 30, 1920 and put suitable title beneath or like Harry's if better.

Here follows the Honor Roll of those who have fought their country's battles and in his hallowed ground have found their final resting place:

Richard Rose, a soldier of 1776 -
Basil Waring, a soldier of 1812
Jesse Christian, of the Mexican War
James Adams, of the Mezican War
Major James Crain McGinnis, Mexican War and Cilvil War.

Civil War
Benjamin Franklin Hoyt............72nd Illinois Infantry (mortally wounded at Vicksburg, 1863)
Wilbur Fisk Newcomb............... " " " (mortally wounded at Vicksburg, 1863)
William Landon Newcomb......... " " " (mortally wounded at Franklin, 1864)
Hiram Johnson.........................137th " "
George W. Pickens..................... " " "
John Wiggens...........................119th " "
William A. Young..................... " " "
Madison Koontz....................... " " "
John Bailey............................... 47th " "
Jesse Curtis.............................. 78th " "
Robert Newingham................... 99th " "
Martin H. Belton...................... 2nd " Artillery
William Wallace Bagby............. 7th " "
A. J. Walker............................ 29th " Calvary
John Eaves.............................. 7th Missouri Calvary (also 26th Illinois Infantry)
James M. Bridges.................... " " "
Uriah Tomlinson..................... " " "
Seely Ketchum....................... " " "
O. A. Warner......................... " " "
John Hand............................. 45th Indian Infantry
Samuel Matticks...................... 166th Ohio Infantry
D. C. Owens........................... Hospital Corps
Robert Hiland......................... Transportation Service

A. G. Ament, Co. C, 72nd Illinois Infantry

Thre are _____ marble slabs bearing the following names:
John E. Eaves, Co. B, 7th Missouri Cavalry
John H. Eaves, 16th Illinoia Infantry
Hooley Eaves, Co. G, 7th Missouri Cavalry
William T. Eaves, Co. B, 7th Missouri Cavalry
Enoch J. Eaves, Co. B, 7th Missouri Cavalry

(For transcription purposes, penciled-in information by Mr. Crain is underlined and handwritten notes are in italics).

Note to Editor: I have written lightly in pencil words to be changed if not correct. I know there is but one of the Eaves family, but know nothing as to the reason why all 4 or is it 5 of these headstones are there. This is interesting enough to investigate the truth of it before it is too late. I have simply indicated the form of the statement but do not know a thing about it. I do not know whether it was father or sons or all brothers. I think some may still be living.

Of the five, only one is buried here, John Eaves, who died put in date. The other four were his brothers?, and all of the other headstones were placed there at the same time.
[Editor, Harry will give you the facts about this, or reason why. RWC] as it was planned that all of them would be eventually buried there.
Reynolds Hoyt said is was John Eaves buried there of the 9th Mo. Cav & the 16th Ill. Inf. It seems that of the 5 names given one may be repeated. There surely would not be 2 John's unless one was father to the others. See Ned Cannon or Ben Crain or Joe Ketchum & get it straight.

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Eloquently does this Honor Roll bear witness to the patriotism of our community, and well might this secluded little burial ground be worthy of that inspiring dedication found inscribed in our national cemeteries:

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread
And glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

Alexander Oliver was the first settler in or near what is now Pulaski, and during the early years the entire vicinity for miles around was called "Oliver's Prairie". In the "History of Adams County" published by Andrea Lyter & Co. at Davenport, Iowa, in 1872, appears the following account:
"The first settlement in Northeast Township was made in Section 2, in the year 1830 by Alexander Oliver; he came here from Ohio with his wife and ten children, five sons and five daughters, and built a log cabin and made the first improvements. Two of his sons became Methodist ministers. Mr. Oliver and his family lived here during the Black Hawk War, also during the winter of the "Deep Snow", and they suffered many privations and hardships, much owing to their limited circumstances".
In the office of the Register of Deeds in the Carthage Court House, the records show that on September 8, 1831, David Crawford, a merchant of Orange County, New York, deeded to Alexander Oliver the southwest quarter of Section 35 (now Augusta Township, Hancock County) for $160. David Crawford had purchased this quarter section in the year 1818 from one Joshua Kent "late a private in Captain Humphreys' 41st Regiment of Infantry." Joshua Kent was evidently a soldier of the Revolutionary War, or possibly of the War of 1812, who was given in payment for his services this quarter section in the Military Tract of Illinois, and he states: "I was duly placed in possession of the said patent for the land conveyed in this deed by receiving the same from Captain Charles Humphreys, and I have not previously sold or conveyed the within described land, and further I say not" Then follow the signature: "Joshua Kent, his mark".
This same southwest quarter of Section 35 (less such portion as went to form a part of the village of Pulaski) is now (1921) known as the "Ed Gordon place"; here it was that the Oliver family lived for a number of years. Their cabin stood just west of Pulaski, on or near the site of the present Gordon brick residence. The Oliver

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family, according to the Andrea Lyter history, would appear to have first settled over in Adams County, on what was later the Benjamin Gould place (in the northern half of Section 2, Northeast Township), but this without doubt is an error, since the records in the Adams County Courthouse at Quincy show that Benjamin Gould was the original purchaser from the Government of said land, and furthermore, none of the oldest settlers ever knew of the Oliver family living anywhere else in this community before moving to the present Ed Gordon, Jr. place just west of Pulaski. In 1844, Alexander Oliver sold this farm, together with other nearby lands, to Thomas Colley, an Englishman, whose son William, in the year 1857, built the present brick house. In the late 60's, William Colley sold the farm to Alvin G. Bacon, who in turn sold it a few years later to Samuel Pickens, whose daughter, Mrs. Ed Gordon, lives there with her husband at the present time (1921). It is though that the original Oliver cabin (the first building erected in Pulaski or perhaps within from five to ten miles of it) used to stand a short distance north of the site of the Gordon brick house. (ascertain exact location if possible).

The Oliver family was pious and hospitable, and their home was the nucleus and center of this community during its earliest and most trying years. The first record we have of the Pulaski Methodist Church organization is that of a meeting held at the Oliver home on August 29, 1835; this was three or four years prior to the erection of the original frame church building, which stood on the same site as the present brick church, built in 1857 or 1858.
I have no knowledge as to the whereabouts of the descendants of Alexander and Elizabeth Oliver, save the fact that in the year 1898, a granddaughter, Miss Josephine Oliver, then living a Macon, Missouri, visited Augusta and Pulaski in company with her mother. They came to renew old ties of friendship and to visit the site of the pioneer ancestral home. At her request I made a photograph of the maple tree which she said her father planted 65 years before.
The Andrea Lyter history, speaking further of Northeast Township, Adams County, says: "Hanson and Alf Marlow, Mr. Bates, Mrs. Smith and family from Indiana, Hi Elliston, J. Hiler, L. Conover and Ell Candes were next (after Alexander Oliver) to settle here; the last three families came from Kentucky and settled here in 1831. The first white child born was a son of H. Marlow and wife, in 1831. The first death was that of Mrs. Smith, in 1832.
"Benjamin Gould and Miss Jones were the first couple married; the ceremony was performed by Christopher C. Yates, Justice of the Peace, in 1833. The first schoolhouse was a small log cabin built on Section 4, in 1833. Miss Jones taught the first school. The first church was built by Presbyterians on Section 36. Rev. William Crain was their first minister; he still continues to preach here." (This work was published in 1872. My grandfather, who died in 1884, was a Methodist minister, but evidently he filled an occasional appointment at this church (which is known)--R.W.C.)

Insert here foto of original site of the Gould cabin that is the Wilbur Byland place to identify location.

In a "History of Adams County", published in 1879 by Murray, Williamson & Phelps, Chicago, is a biographical sketch of Benjamin Gould, which says in part; "Benjamin Gould was born in Windham County, Connecticut, June 2, 1808; he came to Jacksonville and lived a short time, and came to Adams County January 4, 1833. Mr. Gould built the first farm house in Northeast Township (now occupied by Wilbur Byland-R.W.C.) and also built the first house in Augusta. He married Rebecca J. Jones, who was born in Pittsburg, Pa, May 6, 1812, and died May 3, 1874; they were the parents of ten children. Mr. Gould has 153 acres of land in Section 2, valued at $6000. He lives on the farm where the first land was broken in this township (Northeast) by a man named Oliver."
*Investigate the correctness of this statement. If I am wrong erase the penciled words or fill in the right name. Pete Dutton, or Henry, or anyone from over in Burke neighborhood would know-possible Ben Crain.

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In the Register of Deeds office in the Quincy Court House the records show that Benjamin Gould, on June 1, 1835, acquired a title by original land patent to the West 1/2 of the northeast 1/4 Section 2, Northeast Twp, and that at the same time he and Robert B. Lord acquired the NW 1/4 from the Government.
In writing this sketch, one of the most difficult things to ascertain has been that of the exact location of the original log cabin home of Benjamin Gould; I have been given several versions, all somewhat at variance with each other, but shall accept that of his daughter, Mrs. Mary Ellen Bacon, now living in Augusta. She says that her father first settled in a log cabin on or near the site of the present Wilbur Byland home, which is located on the west side of the road which curves southwestward from the Pulaski School house and then runs straight south, and at a distance of ______ (see note below) of a mile from the schoolhouse, and ___distance____ from the Pulaski church. The Gould family evidently lived in this log cabin but a short time since the history just quoted states that the frame house he built was the first of its kind in the township. This frame house mentioned still stands, forming the present rear portion of the residence of George Baley (or Bailey), which stands just ______ of a mile north of the Wilbur Byland home, site of the original Gould log cabin. (Editor--Joe Hoyt's version disagrees--from what he says on page 11 of my MS sent Mrs. Catlin, he seems to be under the impression that Byland lives where Baley does--get this location straightened out before printing this--see Harry--I am also in favor of publishing photo of Byland place as identifying the site of the original Gould log cabin, as names of owners will change & 25 years from now nobody will know what we are talking about when we say "Byland" or "Baley" place, likely as not). Also, unless in your Augusta part you have not described exactly the location of the first log cabin built in it, now is a good chance to do so, while we are speaking of Benj. Gould; I am in favor of the DAR setting up a bronze tablet or stone market to show the exact site of the first log cabin in Augusta, & will contribute toward it RWC)
The Gould farm was later purchased by Jocob Bowers, and upon his death the north half of it (the present Baley place) was left to his son Jacob, while the south half was left to his daughter, Mrs. Lou Bowers Vernon, and is now owned by Wilbur Byland.

The children of Benjamin and Rebecca Gould were:
Olive C., born 1836, married to Francis Malden McGinnis in 1852, died in 1913
Eliza A,. born 1837, married to William Stevenson in 1865, died in 1884
John H,., born 1839, married Sarah Hoyt in 1866, died in 1918
Mary Ellen, born 1841, married William Bacon in 1863; she now lives in Augusta (1921)
Cynthia Elizabeth, born 1843, died in 1856
Benjamin, born 1846, died in infancy
Benjamin, born 1848, married Mary Lafler
Harriet, born 1850, married William Edwards.
Jane, born in 1853, died in 1856.

[Transcription to be continued]


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