LONG PRAIRIE DESCRIPTION
According to an 1876 Atlas Long Prairie starts at the south end of section 17 in McClellan township and runs northeastward, taking in parts of 12 sections - 5-6-7-8-17 and 18 in McClellan, plus part of section 1 in Blissville, 25 and 26 in Casner and 29-30-31-32 in Shiloh. Ending up in the middle of Woodlawn. When the first settlers came it was a sea of grass ranging from a half mile in width at the narrowest to nearly three miles wide at the greatest breadth and extending for almost 6 miles in length.
Only a few scattered traces of this huge prairie still remain. Some tall prairie grasses, one called Turkey Foot or Big Bluestem (Androp-ogon gerardi), still grow along each side of the road north of Opal Elliston's house, near the middle of section 18. Long purple spires of Gay Feather or Blazing Star (Liatris) grows just east of the oil tanks there in August. Occasionally a sprig or two of the original prairie plants may be seen in a few other places, usually along a fence row where they are fighting a hopeless battle for survival against encroaching Fox-tail, brush, honey suckle and herbicides. Drive along the road between the siderows of tall prairie grass growing there in late September and you may be able to envision a huge expanse of waving prairie grasses as the pioneers saw it, if you have a strong imagination.
LONG PRAIRIE SETTLERS
For information about the early settlers we must rely upon the stories of Adam Clark Johnson who wrote a series of articles about Jefferson County in the late 1800's, a collection of which has been maintained in the Mt. Vernon Public Library. The following by Adam Clark Johnson:
"At a very early day, John and George Jackson came up from Pope County, fifteen miles above Golconda, and settled at the north end of West Long Prairie. They soon became dissatisfield and went back, but not before John's brother-in-law, Alfred Woods, and Alfred's father, William Woods, had come up, about 1821. William Woods,or "Roaring Billy" was originally from Georgia, but had settled on the Ohio River near Elizabethtown. His wife had been a widow Hawkins, and had two Hawkins children; a son, Henry or Harvey, I think, and a daughter Mrs. Bobo, on Red River not far from the Tennessee and Kentucky line. Woods left two children on the Ohio, Hal who had married an O'Melveny, and Judy who had married Lorril or Laurel Harrison.
"Roaring Billy" got his name from his pecular manner of hallowing when intoxicated. He died in 1825 and his remains rest at Old Union. He was a man of a good deal of natural diginity, and a share of what is now known as gas. Besides the children already mentioned he left two sons, Alfred and Anderson. Alfred married a Jackson. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Jane Jackson, after her first husband's death, married the then somewhat noted D. Chipps. Alfred Woods met a melancholy fate. He and Uncle Lewis Johnson were out in the woods in 1828, making sugar; not far from camp they found a bee tree, and on felling it a limb hung, broke off, and fell upon Woods, killing him instantly. He was brought to Union for burial, although the creek was so high, there being no bridge, that Jesse A. Dees, and some other stout young men had to construct a raft for the little procession to cross on.
Alfred Wood's children were four sons and three daughters: William, James, Leonard, Dick, Nancy(Mrs. Wm. Dodds), Elizabeth (Mrs. Jake Troutt), and Jane (Mrs. James Runnels). William Woods Jr., married Elizabeth Bedford in 1841, and died several year ago at his home near Woodlawn. James married a Dial in 1833, and lilved and died a mile or so west of William. Leonard first married J. McKinney's daughter, then Pamela Green, and went to Henderson County, Texas. Dick, the last of Heard of him, lived two miles above Sandoval. Mrs. Woods was bitterly opposed to Nancy's choice; and when she found that Nancy and Bill Dodds had gone over to John Dodds to be married, she seized a large butcher knive and set out on foot at full speed to have her way, or have blood. On reaching John's she was nearly exhausted, was told she was too late, was pretty easily overpowered, and said mildly, "I believe I'll go back home if some of you'll go with me;" so the war ended.
Anderson Woods married Martha, daughter of Jacob Norton. Jacob vetoed, but they were unanious and passed the bill over his veto, as usual. Martha was at the gate, milking the cows; Anderson rode up, Martha jumped up behind him, and away they went. When Norton moved away, not a great while after, Woods went with him, but in a few years returned, and in 1836 was a candidate for the legislature. He died the same year at Ab Estes', south of the square - taken sick suddenly while in town, and dying in less than 24 hours. Norton came and took the W's family to the "Hatchie" in southwest Tennessee. Some old settlers told me that the Greens, & c., were in Long Prairie as early as 1819.
Jessee was the patriarch of them all and came from Robertson County, Tennessee, but originally from Georgia. He was called Jesse Button, to distinquish him from his son, who was called Jesse Purpose. Jesse Button's wife was a widow Barsheba Bone who had three sons; William Bone, who remained south, John, who went to Missouri; and Barney, who went to Shelby County. Jesse's own two sons were Jesse and Reuben. The sons of Jessee Jr., where John, James, Reuben, and Calvin. This Reuben went to Gallatin County, thence to Mexico during the Mexican War and died. The most of Jesse Purpose's family went to Shelby County. Jesse Button died half a mile north of Burt Lacey lives, about 60 years ago. His son Reuben settled where he, and his widow after him, lived so long, in Grand Arm. Reuben's wife was Drusilla Dees, and they raised eight or ten children, of whom Edwin and Barnette are perhaps best known. It was Jesse Button that used to get funny on public days and amuse the folks by dancing on the grass in his moccasins with so much agility.
And it was Jesse Purpose who fell into the creek one day when pretty drunk, caught a small limb just in time to save himself and hung there a long time soaking in a way that the most inveterate soaker could hardly fancy. Just before him grip entirely failed help came, but it is said that he then and there took the cold water pledge and drank no more. Jesse, I may add, the father of Dick Minson's wife; Dick went to Alton. Prominent among later comers than those already mentioned were John Troutt come along from 1826 to 1829. Troutt's family was large; his sons, Sam, Jake, Addison, John, Alfred and his daughters, Mrs.James Smith, Mrs. Ferguson, Mrs. William Runnels, and Mrs. Mike Troutt, who married her cousin. I think Runnels also married his cousin, his mother being a Troutt. At any rate they were Virginians, and had lived a while in Gallatin County. Smith was a native of Clark County, Virginia, but perhaps when Norton left Alfred Woods bought his place, and now Smith took the Norton place and Troutt the Woods place half a mile north. Runnels was a half mile farther north, though he came two years or so later than Smith. Ferguson was from Hickman, Tennessee. He was father of Andy and other sons, and of Mrs. Henry Champ (Nancy) and Mrs. William Singleton. Near the same time as these Stephen Kennedy came over from Dry Arm in Washington County, with his wife's brothers, James and Arch Johnson, and put up a mill where Burt Lacey lives. They went back to Washington County. Ben Cox, too, settled on the west side of the Prairie. George Rightnowar settled in the south end of the Prairie, where his sons, Russ, Henry, John, Adam, and his son-in-laws, Sam Black, John Vaughn and John Hicks have since lived. George R. was a native of Pennsylvania, but had lived some time in Hardin County, Illinois. His wife's name was Jerusha Rose.
Earlier than these, perhaps as early as 1821, William Finch settled between Long Prairie and the creek. He was a good man, and I reckin a kinder man to his family never lived. He had twelve children, but none retained the name of Finch. Some of them were; Mrs. Isaac Hicks twice, (Isaac's first and second wife were sisters) Mrs. Haynie Hicks, Mrs. David Hicks, Mrs. Ben McKinney, Mrs. Andy Livesy. Mrs. Andrew Farley, and Mrs. W. H. Sullivan.
Uncle Billy, as we called him, came from Breckrinridge County, Kentucky. Rueben Green's, in the Grand Arm, was a stopping place for travelers, especially the lawyers stopped for dinner, and one day, after disposing of the meat and vegetables, one said, "Mrs. Green, have you some milk? I see several cows about the place." "Yes, she said, a little confused," but the fact is Judge, we've nothing to drink it out of." "What do your children drink it out of," persisted the Judge. "Why we have some goards, but ---." "Well bring me some in a goard, if you please." And she brought out a supply of goards that had been neatly trimmed, boiled, and scraped till they looked somewhat like cups, and her guests not only enjoyed the milk, but admired the vehicles. At that time travelers from the west came around by Minson's and Reub Green's. Jesse A. Dees originated the present Nashville Road when a boy. He and some of his friends were camped out on the west fork for some purpose, perhaps hunting or fishing, when a man came along and wished one of them to pilot him across country in the direction of Beaucoup settlement. Jesse undertook the job, and the trail they made was soon afterwards followed by someone else passing through. It soon became a path, and when the road was at last located this path was to the county line. Then the other county took it up and followed it to Beaucoup."
The 1879 History of Washington County, says, " A peculiar characteristic of the early settlers of southern Illinois was to settle in or near the timber. Timber was essential to the building of houses, barns, fences and firewood, while the danger of being burnt out by a prairie fire was lessened." In 1838 two Washington County farmers were caught in a prairie fire while returning from mill with an all wood wagon drawn by oxen. It doesn't say what happened to the oxen, but Robert Kelso turned the wagon over and hid under it. He escaped without injury. George McNair dashed for a nearby creek but was overtaken by the fire. He survived the ordeal, but was so badly burned that he was a cripple for life. The breaking of the prairie sod eliminated the fire hazard and allowed trees to grow up. When the timber market was opened up by the railroads much of the prairie was covered by a forest of huge trees.
The Prairie Historian
December 1972 Volume 2 Number 4
Submitted By: Abby Newell
SOME FAMILY HISTORY OF LONG PRAIRIE RESIDENTS OF LONG AGO.
submitted by Inez Davis
This information was gathered from a great many people and published in "The Prairie Historian", December 1972, Volume 2, Number 4
c1-children of lst wife
c2= children of 2nd wife
c3=children of 3rd wife.
William M. Masters w1 Sarah Lennington w2 Ann Madison c1 Eb, Jake, Bill, c2 Paul.
Ellis Wells w Sis Wilfong
Samiel Black w1 Nancy Jane Rightnowar w2 Mary Emily Thompson c1 Henry, Rose, Amanda,
c2 Bob, Wade, Martha.
John Robert Black w Martha Ann McRight f Samuel Black m Mary E. Thompson, c Samuel, James, Emma, Charley, Renee.
Joseph Pinckney Davis w1 Martha Black, w2 Ann Bean Masters, f Clinton Smith Davis,
m Susan (Suda) Wells, c1 Robert, Nelson, Finley, Richard, Laura, Rose, c2 Lutisha.
George Duff Wells, b 1854, w Lovina Rightnowar, b 1856, c James, Harve, Omer, Lewis, David, Adam, Eliza, Anna, Luela, Minnie, Meda, Veta.
Jim Roberts w1 ? hart, w2 ? Melton, w3 Laura Bravard King, c3 Martha, Albert, Letha, Opal, Alva, Gale, Sherman, Ned, Clude, Lena.
Manville Modert w Louisa Ryder, c Alison W., Orley, Violet.
Frank Ryder w Mattie Brown, c Ferne, Harl.
Jake Masters w Luna Ford, c Eunice, Monroe, Ralph, Etta, Hobart, Shelby, Theodore, Inez, Charles Arthur.
Alfred Dees w Mary Farris c Sarah, George, Dan, Perry, Wade, Joe and Lee.
Wes Mandrell w Sarah ? c Jim, Jerry.
Jerry Mandrell w Ellen Vinson, Wes m Sarah.
Carl Reed w Mary Mora c Elwin, Gersham, Carl Jr.
George Rightnowar w Jerusha Rose c Adam, Henry, Reasons, George, John, Elizabeth, Jerusha, Nancy, Jemima (Goss), Luna.
Adam Rightnowar b. 1824 w Ann Eliza Eleanor Howe f George Rightnowar m Jerusha Rose
cFrancis M., Elizabeth, Jerusha Ann, George V., Lovina, Eliza, Eleanor, Mary D., Adam D.
George W. Rightnowar b. 1856 w Sarah Mayberry f Adam m Ann Eliza Eleanor Howe,
c one adopted Dona Lee (Sugg).
Adam Rightnowar (Little Ad) w Mary Susan Thompson c Nellie, Martha (matt), Amanda.
Henry Rightnowar b 1816, w Jane Hicks, b 1826 f George Rightnowar m Jerusha Rose,
c Elizabeth, Samuel,George, Malissa, Thomas, Tobiatha, Elvira, Matthew, Mary Ann, James,
James Rightnowar, w Mahalia Troutt f Henry m. Jane Hicks, c Benjamin, Otis, America,
Luna, Nancy, Anna.
Francis Rightnowar b 1950 w Harriet Giles, f Adam R, m Anna E. E. Howe, c Ira Nelson, Ora Stella, Samuel, Homer, Inez Mary, Adam F.
Russ Woods w Carrie Peterson, c Drusie, Susie, Nelson.
(Little Bill) Robinson w Lizzie Dial, c Acel, Otis, Ora, Ruth, Jennie.
Frank Danner w Eva Wheelhouse c Helen.
William Hamilton w Belle Smith, c Orpha, Myrtle.
George Bean w Amanda Rightnowar f Pete Bean m ? Laney, c Gerald, Alex, Mabel, Sadie, Daisy.
Pete Bean w 1 Jane Thompson, w2 ? Laney, w3 Susie Vaughn,c1 Lee, Sally, Adam, w2 George.
Ad Bean w Sarah Dees f Pete Bean, m Jane Thompson, c Frank Stanton, Ethel, Ferne, Maida, Lily, Myrtle.
Will Bean w Clamenzie Thompson, c King, Zada, Connie, Cynthia, Martha, Kath, Ann and Granddaughter Mary Lennington.
John Rutherford b. 1856 w Elizabeth Rightnowar, c Adam, Houston, Francis, Florence.
Francis Rightnowar w Emma Hamilton, f John, m Elizabeth Rightnowar, c Ralph, Alma, Thelma.
Wm. B. Rutherford, b 1861 w Mary Rightnowar, c Charles, Edith, Orlie, George, Willie.
Adam Rutherford w, Gertie Reed, C Harold, Claud, Norine.
Lloyd Rutherford w Amanda Black raised nephew Charley Reynolds.
Jerry Mandrell b 1873 w Daisy Pierce, f James m. Jerusha Ann Rightnowar c Lela Maud, Harry Aldo, Nina Lorena.
Albert Schmidt, w Drusie Smith, c Wilbur, Louie, Anna.
Kie Earls, w Martha ?, c John, Belle.
Bill Lee, w ?, c John, Emma.
Louis Elliston, w Priscilla Cheek, c Myrtle, Bert, Kate, Elmer, Francis, Ida, Melvin, Hattie Tom, Alva,Elza.
Bennett Elliston w1 Emily Jane Green, w2 Samantha Pierce, c1 Oliver c 2 Lora, Minnie, Rose.
E. R. (Raz) Elliston w1 Anna How, w2 Emma Tinkler, c1 Joe, Sam.
Jim Merriman, w Josie Cantrell c Ezra, Stella, Clara, Ed, Herman.
George Hicks, w Helen ?, f John, m Jerusha Rightnowar, c Simon, George, Nen, Mary, Eliza.
Jim Dennis, w Kath Bean, c Anna.
Bryce Gilbert, w Mary Ann Rightnowar, f Eli Gilbert, m. Lucy Fairchild, c David,
Henry, Eli, Bill, Robert, Hiram, Bertha, Martha, Ella, Lucy, Ida, Jane.
John Vaughn, w Rose Mary Rightnowar, c Henry, Susan.
Henry Dennis, w Rand Gibbs, c John, George, Jim, Oliver, Eva, Blanche.
James Mandrell w Jerusha Ann Rightnowar, c Douglas (Newby), Frank, Charles, Edgar,
Bill, Jerry, Laurada.
Dan King w Goss (Jemima) Rightnowar c Ellen, Oliver.
John Braden w Ellen King c?
Lee Dees w Sally Bean, f Alfred Dees, m. Marry Farris, c Herman, Bearon, Sadie, Vesta, Vetra, Tracy, Holly.
Philip Newell w Linda Henry, f Asa Blake Newell, m Peggy Osborne, c Maud, Claude, John D., Maggie.
Charley Hirons, w _____ Hicks.
_______ Plowman, w ________, c Willard.
Robert Gilbert, w Mary Lennington, f Bryce, m Mary Ann Rightnowar, c Harvey, Bryan, Beulah, Ruth, Gern, Sammy, Neal, Leonard, Alice, Gene.
Zed Reynolds, w Harriet Rutherford, f John Reynolds, m Mary Woods, c Jack, Charley,Laduski, Emma, Lovina.
John Lennington, w1 ? Bean, w2 ? Bushong, c1 Mary, cw Goss, Taylor, Lottie, Perry.
John Earls, w Emma Lee f Kie Earls, m Marth ?, c Earl, Emma, Richard, Maud Pearl, Susie, Flora, Johnnie, Verner.
Dan Troiutt, w, Minnie Elliston, c May, Maud.
Lorenzo Lacey, w Mary Rosenberger, f Benton, Lacey, m. Eliza McCulley, c Mildre, Benton, Quentin, Maxine, Katherine, John.
Sylvester Schafer w Caroline Robinson.
Thompson Lacey, w Nancy Reed, c America, Lou, Nellie, Emma, Bob, Fred, Charley, Logan.
George Muckelroy, w ? , c Renzo 1 daughter.
? Piercy, w ? Vincenz, c Kate.
Ed Schmidt, w Minnie Winesburg, c Eli.
Benton Lacey, w Eliza McCulley, c Renzo, Oliver, Gus, Hughey, Thomas, Laura, Myrtle, Isabella, Lily.
John Eater, w ___ McGill, c Homer, Jim, Minnie.
Ed Lacey, w Ella Hubbard, c Paul, Erwin, Irma, Majel.
Victor Rosenberger, w Mary Robinson, c Eliza, Laura, Mary Kate, Selma, Eugene, John.
Elias Ord, w ____, c Opal.
Sam Howe, w Rettie Bennett, c Mark, Jake, Arthur, Jewel, Paul, Wilbur, Jim, Albert, Cecil, Lily.
Jim Reed, w ___Lacey, c Frank, Carl, Ralph, Gertie, Mamie.
Preacher Davis, w ____Lacey.
Bill ( W. A. ) Robinson, w Hettie Troutt, c Bill, Gaylord.
Jim Perry w, ___ c Inez, Hollis.
John White w Louise ___, c Simon, Anna, Wilton, Russell.
I. N. Woods, w Lucy ___, c Margie (Howe)
Cal Jones, w __________, c Jim, Annie.
Sam Ferguson w Bertha.
Jim Hart w Effie McRight, c Al, Art, Alonzo, Lute, Sam, Orley, Dora.
[Transcribed By: Abby Newell. ]
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