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 Jefferson County Illinois
Township Histories

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R.1E

R.2E

R.3E

R.4E

T.1S

Grand Prairie

Rome

Field

Farrington

T.2S

Casner

Shiloh

Mt. Vernon

Webber

T.3S

Blissville

McClellan

Dodds

Pendleton

T.4S

Bald Hill

Elk Prairie

Spring Garden

Moores Prairie


Grand Prairie Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
This township has Marion county on the north and Washington county on the west, Rome and Casner townships east and south. Most of its lands are prairie, with surface sufficiently rolling to afford drainage without artificial means, the principal streams being tributaries to Big Muddy, Ray's creek and other small streams. It is a splendid farming and stock raising region and can boast of some of the finest farms and some of the most prosperous farmers in the county.
Among the first settlers were Abraham Casey, James Ray, the Baldridges, the Breezes, William Fulton, Stephen Cameron, French, Roberts, Taylor, Depriest, Bangamon, Woods, Reilly, Poston, Clark Casey and others.The first named was a brother to Governor Casey. These original settlers gave Grand Prairie a good name for intelligence, sobriety and indusrty, and these characteristics have been prominent with the citizens of the township all these years. It was the first township in the county to cut loose from the bourbons and assert itself along new political lines. Its first marriage was that of Clark Casey and Polly Bangamon, the ceremony being performed by Governor Casey. The first death was that of Joseph Baldridge. At first the people voted at Mount Vernon, but later Grand Prairie precinct was formed, with the voting place at Poston's Mill. Religious services were held from house to house till Pisgah and Gilead churches were built. The first supervisor after the adoption of township organization, was Joseph Breeze. There is no villiage in Grand Prairie, but it is near Centralia in Marion and Richview and Irvington are close by, in Washington county.



Rome Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
Rome township adjoins Grand Prairie on the east and Marion county on the north. Its surface is partly prairie and partly timber and its soil is quite productive. It is traversed by a branch of the Big Muddy and its principal prairie is Jordan's Prairie and the town of Rome (since the railroad came, it is called Dix) is in the north edge of it. The township was supposed to be settled by the Maxwells, Goins, Whitesides, Taylors, M.D. Bruce and Arba Andrews. The last named built the first mill. Orginally this township was included in Grand Prairie precinct, but on the adoption of township organization G. L. Cummings was elected its first supervisor and since then, it has been represented by such men as the Boggs, the Whites, the Telfords, the Caseys the Gastons, the Hawkins, the Maxfields, the Milburns, the Rileys, the Clayborns, the Carpenters, the Wards, and many others we might name.
The villiage of Rome was laid out in 1849 by Arba Andrews, and lots sold quite readily at small prices and the first business was a grocery by John Bostwick, but other business followed and the town was put on the map to stay. Rome has a history same as Rome of old, but we cannot go into detail.
A school-house and two new churches were soon built and Rome went into housekeeping at home. It is the voting place and headquarters politically and socially for the township, has villiage incorporation, has several benevolent orders, besides its churches. The township now has its full quota of school-houses and its regulation number of politicians so many in fact that recently another voting place had to be established in the township to give them all a chance to vote. Politically, however, the parties are about equally divided in the township, but most generally Democratic. The southern (or Air Line) Railroad traverses the township from north to south and it has plenty of roads and bridges. Newton Frost and Henry Posten are old residents here.
Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Field Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909

Field township is bordered on the north by Marion county, west by Rome township, both timber and prairie, good soil and a fair class of farmers. Casey's Fork and East creek are the principal streams, with others amply sufficient for drainage. It has no railroads nor public works, is simply agricultural.
Among its first settlers were the Fields, for whom the township was named. There were Nathan, James, and Henry. Thomas Jordan came early and kept tavern on the old Goshen road which ran through the township. James Foster, Maxwell and Dave Garrison were soon here and Alfred Finn, John and Ben Hawkins, D. Easley, were of the first settlers. John McConnell, a Mexican soldier, was a great stock raiser and noted farmer of this township. The township is well supplied with school-houses and churches and the citizenship of the township is a good average of any other part of the county. John McConnell was its first Supervisor.
Its present prominent people are the Garrisons, the Rollisons, the Hawkins, the Simmons, the Browns, the Howards, the Wimberlys, the Raynors, the Padgets, the Fraziers and others to numerous to mention. Oak Grove, Baptists, Mount Zion, Methodist, Panther Fork churches and another new building show that the people of Field are keeping up with the procession, religiously, with school-houses plentiful. Texico, a nice little business place, is the capital, located on the Chicago & Eastern Railroad, near the county line.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford



Farrington Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
The first settlers of Farrington township were more disposed to hunt than farm, for there was sure to be captured by hunting more than by farming; but while they had all the fresh meat they could eat and then some, they had to hunt for bread-stuff to go with it. Farrington is in the northeast corner of the county, bordering on Marion county north and Wayne county east mostly woodland, but some of the richest earth in the whole county. Adam's Fork and Horse creek are its principal watercourses.
Its people are farmers and stock raisers. Among its first settlers were the Wells, the Gregorys, Haynes, W. B. Johnson, Joseph Norman, and others. Some of these families accumulated large bodies of land and the Gregorys owned at one time nearly two thousand acres of as good land as could be found. Doctor Gregory was a typical pioneer character and we have heard him tell of collecting the taxes in Farrington when the coon skins and deer hides were a legal tender and how the people paid these in for taxes. The first citizens were of the home spun, rugged, out spoken order, and there has no very great change in this respect in the township even to this day..
Of course, they were favorable to school and churches, but they didn't stop their other avocations at their expense. The first roads through the township were the Mount Vernon and Maysville and Xenia roads. The first Supervisor was M. A. Morrison. The villiage of Farrington was laid out in 1856, on Jehu J. Maxey's land and Lear, Abe Casey, Drs. Johnson and Bradford, Munsell, Ingalls, some more of the Maxeys, W. L. Young and others helped boost it along, but notwithstanding the good men and the beautiful location, the town finally went down. Loganville was laid out, but never materialized.
The Johnsons, Morrisons, Greens, Wilsons, Youngs, Burks, Brookmans, Donahoos, and a class of substantial citizens are now holding up the interests of Farrington township. It is about evenly divided politically. It is certainly a good township.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Casner Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
This township lies south of Grand Prairie, along the Washington county line and contains fine farming lands. Orginally it was mostly timber, but of the best varieties, oak, walnut, hickory, ash, cherry with hazel, sumach, etc. It has the same streams as Grand Prairie.
Among the first settlers was George Casner, for whom the township was named. He raised a large family and died only a few years ago, leaving his widow on the old farm.Contemporary with him, came Howell, Clark, Burris, Patterson, Creel, Daniels, the Laceys, John Holt, Walter Bean, the Champs and others whose names are linked with the history of Casner township.
At first the people beat their meal with pestle in little mortars, but the Caseys put up a little mill and worked by hand that would grind a bushel or two a day, which was a vast improvement. Mr. Carroll ran a mill near the west side of the township. One of the first roads through the township was the Shawneetown and St. Louis road coming through Mount Vernon. The first school - houses and churches were rude affairs, but back of these, religious services were held at private houses, until Reynold's chapel was erected. Reynolds professed religion as he died and the chapel was named for him. The voting place is at Roachville on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, and the result is always a rock-ribbed Democratic majority in fact, it has been said that it would be easy for Andrew Jackson and Stephen A. Douglas to be elected to any office in Casner township, from President to constable.
Roachville, the capital of Casner, is in the south part of the township, but it proved to be too far from Mount Vernon and too close to Ashley ever to amount to much. The first supervisor was E. V. Harvey. Among the prominent citizens have been the Champs, Laceys, Schmidts, Clarks, Bledsoes, Severs, Carrolls, Morgans, Watkins, Moores, and others whom we do not now recall. Casner is a splendid farming region; is well adapted to fruit, grain and stock raising, with a little less bourbonism and a few grains more enterprise, energy and snap a good seasoning of ginger Casner would surprise the other parts of the county with her wonderful developement. The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad taps Casner.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Shiloh Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
This township lies next west of Mount Vernon and south of Rome and it was settled about the same time. It was mostly timber at the start, but a good productive soil, somewhat broken in places, but nearly all susceptible of cultivation. It is watered and drained by the west fork of Big Muddy or Casey's Fork. All kinds of grains, vegetables and fruits are produced from Shiloh soil.
The very first settler is said to have been Zadok Casey, soon joined by other Caseys, the Maxeys, the Johnsons, Depriests, Tylers, the Mosses, the Frosts, the Paynes, the Pierceys, the Galbraiths, the McMeens, Greers, Webbs, etc. The township has paid considerable attention to stock raising, and the Moss family were the first to import improved stock, followed by many others.
In matters of educational and religious, Shiloh has always been considered the leader and example, whist others have followed. It had the first and best schools and churches and from the very start, Shiloh seemed well supplied with teachers and preachers.
Woodlawn, a lively villiage on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, lies principally in Shiloh township ( it laps over a little into Casner) and is a town of good business interests and two railroads, for it now has a line of the great Chicago, Burlington & Quincy running through the north and south. It formerly had a line from Louisville & Nashville northwardly through its territory, but it was taken up and the "Q" built instead. Woodlawn is not slow in anything she undertakes, and among other things has furnished us two state Senators Watson and Payne, and now she has just furnished us a Representative in the person of her postmaster, Hon. George B. Welborn. Woodlawn is an incorporated villiage and has her local institutions just like other towns. It is the capital of Shiloh township (a capital township) and both are in the capital county of Jefferson. Capt. John R. Moss was the first supervisor of Shiloh.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Mount Vernon Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
Mount Vernon township contains the county seat of the same name. Mount Vernon lies in the southwest corner of the township with a disposition to "slop over" into both Shiloh and Dodds townships, having reached the line of both by new additions.Mount Vernon township has three Assistant Supervisors, Will Reid is Supervisor.
( much information about this township and its first settlers are covered in The early history of Jefferson County)

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Webber Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
This township lies south of Farrington. The surface is somewhat broken mostly timber. Puncheon creek, Four Mile, Bear creek and Five Mile creek traverse the township and these nearly all empty into the Skillet Fork and Wabash rivers on the east.
Among the pioneers were Norton, Isaac Casey, Daniel Scott, Ward Webber, H. Wade, William Dale, Peter Bruce, Alex Moore, James Archie, William Green, the Hunts, Browns, Davises. Webber settled on the Fairfield road, but then located at Lynchburg. The first roads were the Mount Vernon and Fairfield, and Black Oak Ridge roads and then the East Long Prairie road. The first Supervisor was S. V. Bruce, followed by the Harlows, Marlows, Esmans, Moores, Newtons, etc.
Schools and churches came along as fast as demanded and now the people are well supplied with these. The Southern Railroad (Air Line) passes through Webber township from east to west.
There are two towns on the road Bluford and Marlow. Bluford has the lead and is becoming a town of importance, with much and increasing business. It is eight miles from Mount Vernon. Marlow being located between these points can never be much of a trading point; still considerable business is transacted there in the way of shipping fruit, stock, etc. This was the home of the Marlows, most of whom have passed, and Dr. Newton, the principal man of the town has retired and lives in Mount Vernon. Charles Stephenson, a young man, is now the postmaster and chief bugler of the town. Much of Webber township history is unwritten. Its oldest inhabitants died early in 1909.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford



Blissville Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
Blissville, lying south of Casner on the Washington county line. Blissville township dates back to 1822-3, when Sherman Ross and Jesse Greene "squatted" there, another township of excellent land, part prairie and part timber, much the same as the foregoing townships. Knob Prairie lies in the south part and was so named from the high knob just north od Waltonville. The streams named at first, still follow us.
Jesse A. Dees, an unique character, was among the first settlers. He could neither read nor write, but he could count, and became quite wealthy in his day. His life could only be told in a biography and we must pass it. The Hirons, the Gilberts, the Fairchilds, the Places, the Seiberts, the Johnsons, the Robinsons, the Mannens, the Norrises, the McConneheys, the Laurs, the Hicks, and many others came soon after and have helped make the township a desirable a place to live as any other township in the county. The township was named for Augustus Bliss, who died with cholera at an early day. Religious and school matters had an even start with the township, but as elsewhere, services were held in private homes, until Grand Ann church was built and the log school-houses raised.
The first school-house was near Eli Gilbert's. Zion church is in the northern part and there is a Methodist church at old Williamsburg of the Chester and Wabash road, promised to become a booming town, then the business moved to the new town, Waltonville, and Williamsburg went into decline. For the most of the time, Wilson Robinson kept the post office and moved it to Waltonville at the opening of the road. While at Williamsburg it was called Laur in honor of Capt. Joe Laur of the forty-ninth Regiment. The early history of these townships were so similar that it is unneccessary for us to specialize. Suffice it to say that Blissville is one of our very best townships, with a grand future before it.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


McClellan Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
McClellan township lies south of Shiloh. It is both prairie and woodland, soil much the same as the others, watered by branch of the Big Muddy.
A son of Thomas Hicks was born here in 1817 supposed to be the first white child born in what is now Jefferson county. John Lee, Isreal Lanier, John Stillwell, James Dickens, Jonathan Wells, and the Bodines, the Osborns, the Hayes, the Quinns came in and completed the settlement. Among the first improvements were roads and mills. Jonathan Wells put up the first mill capacity, two bushels per day.
Education and religious matters were next to recieve attention. The first teacher was Judge D. Baugh, who taught in a log house on John Lee's farm. This log house was used for a church also. Later the Christians built a nice church at Wolf Prairie and there the Methodists, Baptists and Universalist all worshiped along with the Christians a very good way to show that they are Christians.
McClellan township now has two railroads the Mount Vernon & Chester and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy running through it, with good stopping places on both lines but no town of any importance. It is thourally agricultural and Democratic to the core. Its first Supervisor was W. A. Davis, Agriculturally speaking, McClellan is hard to beat. It is the home of the Davises, Lords, McLaughlins, Grays, Howes, Laceys, and other prominent families.
[Submitted By: Cindy Ford]

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WOLF PRAIRIE
Wolf Prairie starts in sections 14 and 15 in McClellan Township south of McClellan School and extends northward, widening at the north end and reaching into Shiloh Township to the L & N Railroad. Taking in most of the southwest part of Mt. Vernon and extending west ward to within a quarter mile of the Big Muddy River. It covers an area of about 7,000 acres. In the vicinity of Mt. Vernon it was called Town Prairie and near Big Muddy river on the west it was sometimes called Bullock's Prairie. Few remnants can be seen of this huge prairie today. Some tall prairie grasses may be seen in September growing just north of the Drive In Theater on route 148, if they have not been mowed down. These are Big Blue Stem or Turkey Foot and Indian Grass. A careful search may disclose a few other prairie plants growing in fence rows where the original sod has not been completely destroyed. Wolf Prairie was settled very early. Perrin says Isaac and William Hicks settled in the northeast part of it in the fall of 1817. Isaac had a son, Thomas, soon after they moved there. He is said to be the first white child born in Jefferson County. A man named James Dickerson settled in section 12 of McClellan Township, near the southern end of Wolf Prairie in 1821 and started a coopers shop, (barrell maker). His death came about in a very peculiar manner. According to Perrin's History he was at some kind of a public gathering at the home of a man named Harlow. He was eating a piece of pie and when something amusing happened he threw back his head to laugh. The pie went down his wind pipe and choked him to death. William and Jonathan Wells settled in Wolf Prairie in 1823 says Perrin. Jonathan was a blacksmith and he also had the first grist mill in McClellan Township. It was a little horse mill with a capacity of about 2 or 3 bushels per day. The old trail to the salt works at Brownsville, near the present city of Murphysboro, which later came to be called The Brownsville Road, traversed Wolf Prairie and no doubt a great many people built their cabins along that well traveled early thoroughfare. Some old historians say Wolf Prairie got its name from the great number of wolves found there. The late Paul Wells, a descendent of one of the early pioneers told the following story about how Wolf Prairie got its name and also about the beginning of The Wolf Prairie Cemetery. Here as it was reported in The Continental History of Jefferson County is that story.

"This is the story of how Wolf Prairie Cemetery, located in McClellan Township, got started and also how it got its name. The story was related by the older people which included my father, W. P. Wells, who was born in 1860, and his brothers and sisters: The oldest sister Dicey E., was born in 1845. The earliest of the Wells family in Jefferson County was named William Wells, and he handed down the story through the generations. I think he came here about 1839, but have found nothing to prove or disprove this. Here is the story:"

"A convoy of covered wagons was on its way to a place to settle in Elk Prairie Township, Jefferson County, Illinois. While en route to their new home, night caught them where Wolf Prairie Cemetery is now located; it was woods then. While they were camped there, a sick child became worse and died. The problem for them was what were they going to do with the child's body? They had to move on, and they could not take it with them. While they were still pondering the issue, two of the women were sitting on the ground talking about it, noticed a small bird acting very queer. It would flutter close to them, then it would flutter away, then back again. It kept repeating these strange actions until the women decided to follow and see if it were trying to tell them something. They started after the little bird and it led them down "what looked like a dim path" a short distance; and there they found two little graves with crosses on them. If anybody ever found out who was buried in these little graves I haven't heard of it. They buried this child by these little graves, and that is how Wolf Prairie Cemetery got started. I have heard my father W. P. Wells, and my aunt Dicey E, Aunt Sis Wells Pasley, tell this story many times. It is my understanding that this happened about 120 years ago, though I have found nothing recorded as to date. Some years after this people began to settle the country area around the cemetery. Now some of the surrounding country was treeless, and prairie land. Late one evening a man was attacked by a gang of wolves, of which there were many at that time; and the only way he could get away from them was to find and climb a tree, which he did after considerable running. He stayed up the tree all night, and the wolves stayed there gnawing at the trunk of the tree; by morning they had the tree almost gnawed down. However, before they got the job done, a passerby scared the wolves away, letting the man come down. From that time to the present, that part of the country has been called Wolf Prairie, and Wolf Prairie Cemetery took its name from the name of the prairie."

When Joseph Franklin Ford, a Civil War Veteran, and a progenator of several descendents in Wolf and Long Prairies, died, during the winter of 1912 or 1913, it was a very sickly and rainy time. The roads were knee deep in mud and all but impassable. He was to be buried in Wolf Prairie Cemetery and the W. C. and W. R. R. crossing was but a short distance down the road. Albert Roberts, Ralph and Monroe and Hobart Masters and Hall Phelps were to dig the grave the morning before the funeral. Uncle Tom Ford, Joseph Franklin's brother, arranged for the passenger train to stop at the crossing west of the cemetery. The casket was loaded into the baggage car in Mt. Vernon, as Uncle Frank had died while staying with his daughter Sarah and her husband Jim Bullock, on south 12th street. When the train stopped at the crossing the grave diggers walked down the muddy road and carried Uncle Frank's body to the Wolf Prairie Church House, where it remained until time for the funeral that afternoon.
[Source: "The Prairie Historian", September 1973, Volume 2, Number 3 - Submitted By: Abby Newell]



Dodds Township
[Source: History of Jefferson County, By: John A. Wall ©1909]

Dodds township next township south of Mount Vernon. Dodds is principally down in timber, as there is very little prairie but lots of creek bottom in her territory, but no better or more productive land in the whole county. It is tradition that the township was named for James Dodds, who came to these native wilds in 1818, and perhaps built the first cabin in the township.
Joseph Jordan settled the Isaac Garrison place at the parting of the Benton and McLeansboro roads. This place was transferred to the Frizzles and many will remember the sad event of nearly the whole family dying with cholera in 1847, and of their being buried at Old Union. And then the farm went into the hands of Isaac Garrison, then came Doctor Adams, who afterwards figured in county matters; then Frank Hicks; he was the father of J. R. P. Hicks, who was chosen school Commissioner of Jefferson county. Then came Stephen Arnold, then Absolom Estes, from whence all the Esteses spring; then Joseph Pace, twin-brother of the County Clerk, Joel; then came the Rogerses, William Davis, David Shaffer; the latter put up a horse mill; also Frank Hicks did the same.Isaac Watson was one of the pioneers, of what was then Jackson precinct, now Dodds township. W. T. Sanders taught school in a log house built on government land. Rev. Rhodam and George Allen (the latter father of John R. and Thomas Allen), held meeting in the cabins of Jackson precinct.
A Methodist church was organized at an early day. Joel Pace, John Rogers, Will Edington and James Bradford were members. The first voting place was the old Dodds house. John Baugh and H. Gorham were the first justices of the peace. R. D. Roane was the first Supervisor. Capt. Samuel Gibson, now retired, of Mount Vernon, was for many years as a valued citizen of Dodds township and improved his surroundings by importing and selling good stock. Politically, Dodds is almost a "stand off," but generally gives a Republican majority.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Pendleton Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
Pendleton township next south of Webber, is one of the best townships in Jefferson county. It largely lies in Moores Prairie, which has always been considered the cream land of the county; besides this was the very first settled part of the county.
School and churches came early and have been in business all of these years with increasing zeal and usefulness, and if every family is not benefited by them, it is their own fault.
The first town laid out was Lynchburg and it had much business until the Louisville & Nashville Railroad came along and the towns od Opdyke and Belle Rive were started. Colonel Hicks, Dick Lyon, Doctor Gray and other old citizens did business in Lynchburg. Jonathan Beliew was one of the first citizens, but he stole a horse, sold it in Fairfield, was captured and put in the old log jail east of the court-house; escaped; recaptured; escaped again and remained escaped. When the railroad came, the business men of Lynchburg went to Belle Rive and Opdyke.
Belle Rive was laid out in 1871 and had for its first citizens, Jesse Laird, the owner of the land, Hughey Eaton, Howard Bondinot Chaney, Grimes, Guthrie, Seeley, Hunter, Davenport, Yeakley, Miller, Buchanan, Ross, Waters and a host of others. But Belle Rive allowed Dahlgren, across the line in Hamilton county, to get ahead of it in business still Belle Rive is a desirable place to live. It has churches, schools, lodges and good society.
Opdyke was also laid off in 1871 and has not been idle in the way of building up and improving. Its first people were Doctors Stonemetz and Montgomery, the Jones, Estes, Phillips, Keller, Alexander, Adams, Allen, etc. Among the first things came school-houses and churches and no party of the county is better equipped with these than is Opdyke and Pendleton township. Opdyke has all the modern improvements and is considered a pleasant suburb to Mount Vernon the King City of Southern Illinois.
The interests and population of Pendleton township have grown so fast that there are two voting places now one at Opdyke and one at Belle Rive. The township generally gives a Republican majority. W. A. Jones was Pendleton's first Supervisor.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Bald Hill Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
Next south of Blissville and bordering on Washington, Franklin and Perry counties, is also a desirable agricultural region, with surface somewhat more broken than the others, but with equally good land, with a large growth of timber of the kind to prove it. Being remote from trails and towns, this township was slow in settling up.
Among the first settlers were A. McGinnis, John Turman, James Bellows, Willis Hardwick, the Smiths, the Scroggins, Irvins, Morgans, Goddards, etc. This region was so wild that the game was a menace to the pioneers, instead of a help as in some other parts. When corn or other things were planted, they were subject to be attacked by crows, blackbirds, and squirrels, and when further advanced wild geese and turkeys tried to finish up the job. Deer and wolves and even panthers were a little to common for the comfort and ease of women and children.
The first comers had even harder times than others securing bread stuffs, and material. These people had to depend upon their own resources for the necessaries of life. Buckskin breeches and shirts were as common as over-alls are now, and the women wore the same linsey dress year round.
Originally this was part of Elk Prairie, but when township organization came it became Bald Hill township. John B. Ward was its first supervisor. It used to be another Democratic stronghold, but of late years it has generally been Repuplican by a small majority, and is taking on all the modern improvements of the day. Since the building of the Mount Vernon & Chester Railroad, two good towns have come into existence Waltonville, which is now a bright business town of several hundred inhabitants, with up to date business (right on the Blissville line) and Scheller, another bright little town, a mile or so from the resort known as Scheller Lake. Both of these towns are doing big business in all lines, including the buying and shipping of stock, Sheller has a large Catholic church (Polanders), besides others, and Waltonville has a Universalist, a Methodist and a Baptist church and the township has a full quota of school-houses.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


BALD HILL TOWNSHIP
Unlike most of the surrounding area, which contained numerous large prairies, Bald Hill township was mostly timbered and speckled with only a few small prairies. A very prominent hill stood in the north part of the township with the crest of the hill being completely varren of timber when the first settlers arrived. This prominent feature, from which the township gets its name, was located south of the Bald Hill Church and Cemetery and was along the home of the Woodrome family.

William Henry Perrin's History of Jefferson County Illinois has this to say about Bald Hill Township.
"The first settlement of this township is somewhat obscure. nor can the exact date of the advent of the first pioneer be given.
Among the first settlers were Abraham McGinnis, John G. Turmon, James Bellows, Willis Hardwick, Isaac Smith, William Steerman, Samuel Irvin, the Scroggins', Soloman Goddard, Nathaniel Morgan, etc., etc. McGinnis afterward went to Texas, but left two sons here- James and Richard. Turmon went north, where he later died, leaving a son named Grant. It may be that all the settlers mentioned above did not settle in what is now Bald Hill township at first, but they settled in the immediate vicinity. It is a difficult matter, after so many years, to locate every early settler upon the proper section, and they were coming in now so rapidly that it is impossible to keep track of them.
The abundance of game was a somewhat mixed evil. When the crops of the early settlers were first planted, they were subject to the attack of crowsm blackbirds and squirrels, and when further advanced the thousands of wild geese and turkeys threatened to take all that was left." (The Indians planted corn by the hand full in mounds or hills, singing a little song as they worked. Can't you imagine them saying "Two for the blackbird. Two for the crow. Two for the gray squirrel, and two to grow.")
"Deer were numerous, so were wolves, while the timber swarmed with the chattering game that found shelter there. "Painters" were numerous - too much so for a very great feeling of security, though as a general thing they were easily frightened away. A story is told of a person, on a certain occasion, riding along a trail on horseback through the woods, when he was very much frightened and his horse considerably scratched by a panther springing upon him from a tree, but it lost its hold and was soon lost in the distance. Woman out picking wild berries were often startled by seeing these treacherous animals crouched in treesm meditating the chances of an attack, but no serious results are known to have occured in this immediate section. The people of this settlement, like those surrounding it, and which were somewhat remote from other settlements, learned to depend early upon their own resources for the comforts of life. This was especially marked in the clothing of the people and the adornment of the home. Deer skins were largley utilized by the men, and even the women sometimes made their own garments of them."
"Buckskin breeches and buckskin hunting shirts were more common then than the farmers "overalls" are now. A buckskin suit was not a very inviting thing to jump into on a cold morning, or to wear after getting wet, but these were minor discomforts, and were not allowed to stand in the way of daily duties. This was the way the people lived in the early days of the country - -days we know nothing of except as we gather it from the "traditions of the fathers." The early settlers of Bald Hill township had the same hard times in procuring bread as in other portions of the county. The mortar and pestle, the hand mill, and later the horse mill served them. Originally Bald Hill was a part of the Elk Prairie Election Precinct, but after township organization, it became Bald Hill Township. Bald Hill township is diversified between Woodland and Prairie. Horse Prairie lies mostly in Bald Hill while the four townships of Bald Hill, Blissville, Elk Prairie and McClellan corner in Knob Prairie."
Some of the settlers who lived in the Horse Prairie area, such as the Lloyd Ward family, some of the Hartleys, and some of the other early settlers in the Winfield area may have lived in Bald Hill township. The Ward Cemetery on land given by Lloyd Ward is in Bald Hill township. A story of the beginning of the Ward Cemetery is elsewhere in this issue of The Prairie Historian.
Scheller is the only community lying wholly within Bald Hill township. The original survey of the town of Waltonville was limited to Bald Hill also, but later additions have since extended it into McClellan, Blissville, and Elk Prarie townships.
At one time there were five Post Offices within the township, Waltonville, Scheller, Dryden, Meso, and Reform. The history of the smaller Post Offices is listed below: Dryden..established August 20, 1886. Discontinued Sept. 15, 1893
Postmasters were John F. Allen : August 20, 1886
Susan C. Allen : April 21, 1890
Meso..established March 9, 1900. Discontinued July 30, 1904
Postmasters were Oliver M. Strickland : March 9, 1900
Daniel Ulery : June 7, 1902
Reform..established July 14, 1886. Discontinued Feb. 18, 1893
Postmasters were W. A. Woodrome : July 14, 1886
James Lemmon : Nov. 18, 1886
DRYDEN Post Office was located in the home of R. J. D. W. Allen where the maple trees still stand on the east side of the road about a quarter mile north of the land that leads to Dryden (Black Jack) Cemetery.
REFORM was in the home of Uncle Jimmie Lemmon on the corner west of the Lawtence Pitman place.
MESO was south and west of Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church in the southwest part of the township, and received mail from Star Route # 35168 plying between Tamaroa and Spring Garden. It was carried for many years by Henry Martin, father of Harl Martin.
Just how Dryden and Reform got their mail is not known. Probably the Postmaster or a messenger met the Star Route carrier at Laur, receiving a pouch and dispatching one at a time. Records of Star Route or Mail Messenger service to the obscure little Post Offices have not been retained by the Postal Service. With the establishing of rural free delivery from Waltonville, Scheller, and Tamaroa Post Offices ( shortly after the turn of the century) the little Post Offices were closed forever. ( without some drastic action by the rural populace the Post Offices in small rural communities today stand to suffer the same fate in the near future.)




Elk Prairie Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
Elk Prairie township lies next south of McClellan, borders on Franklin county, and has good farming lands. Big Muddy creek and other streams make part of it quite broken. A great many elk horns were found in this territory and hence the name Elk Prairie.
Among the first settlers were the Stephensons, the Whitmans, the Laniers, Kings, the Teeters, the Martins, Cochranes, the Holders, the Wilbanks, the Pickets, and the Andersons, Robinsons, Bodines, Petersons, and Masons. Like others, Elk Prairie suffered for mill facilities and roads. Religious and educational interests were allowed to sleep for awhile but when they did come to the front, they both made good headway and today they make favorable showing with other parts of the county.We notice a neat Methodist and good Christian church near Dareville.
The town of Winfield was in Horse Prairie which extended into this township, laid out by Dr. Gee and a Mr. Graham. Isaac Boswell, Isaac Clampet and John Knowles did business there. Dr. Gee married J. J. Fitzgerrell's daughter and began practice there, but soon moved to his farm. A good church and school-house was built and Elk Prairie began to "show up." Col. G. W. Evans, of the Sixtieth Regiment, was its first Supervisor. It is another splendid township, both in land and people. Mr. Robinson still lives on the farm he settled sixty years ago.

[Submitted By: Cindy Ford]



Spring Garden Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909

Spring Garden township joins Dodds on the north and Franklin county in the south. It is another good township and many good farms are seen in all directions. Some fruit is raised and much more might be raised to good advantage, as the soil down there will produce almost anything. The settlement of Spring Garden dates back ninety years.
Among the early settlers we mention the Smiths, the Hoppers, who came in 1816, Atchisons, James Burchell, Wiley Prigmore, Uriah Compton, John Hull, Nat Wyatt, Thomas Spftly, Matthew Kirk, James McCann, William Harmon, the Sweetens, Parretts, etc. Many descendants of these pioneers are still in the vicinity with descendants of their own, doing well.
Schools and religious meetings were held around the neighborhood, as at first in other townships, but school-houses and churches soon sprang up and now the territory is lined with them. The fact is, Spring Garden has all kinds of religion, including the brand known as "none whatever."
W. S. Bumpus was the first Supervisor. The villiage of Spring Garden was laid out in 1848 and was getting to be quite a town, when a few years ago the Chicago, Eastern & Illinois Railroad was built through the township, and missed the old town and the new town of Ina sprung up and captured most of the trade and took the lead. So now Spring Garden has two well equipped towns and a railroad and is forging to the front in enterprise as well as in education and religious matters. It still sticks to its Democracy. The town of Bonnie is located near the Dodds and Spring Garden line and it is the seat of the popular camp meetings grounds. Bonnie has churches, school-houses and a good business.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Moore's Prairie Township
Source: History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall ©1909
In the early history of Moore's Prairie, the history of the whole was so interwoven that it is difficult to distinguish between what is now Pendleton and Moore's Prairie townships, but for the geographical lines dividing them.
Moore's Prairie was settled first of all, but Mount Vernon soon drew many of her settlers to that place and the real occupancy came later. A man by the name of Moore was the first settler. He went to the nearest mill, thirty miles off for meal and was never heard of afterwards, and there seemed to be no doubt that he was murdered by the Indians who then infested the country around there. Among the first settlers of the prairie were the well known people: Wilkeys, Atchisons, Crenshaws, Irvins, Cooks, Q. A. Wilbanks, C. H. Judd, the Kniffens, Smiths, Birkheads, Cofields, McPhersons, Hicks, Allens, Zahns, Karns, and so on down. Q. A. Wilbanks was the first Supervisor. He was also Moore's Prairies' leading merchant. Everybody remembers the old Wilbanks stand, where all the political meetings used to be held. After the railroad came, he moved his store to Belle Rive.
Schools and churches have flourished in Moore's Prairie ever since the civilization reached it. Moore's Prairie also had the first good roads in the county and it has always been noted for its good farms and intelligent farmers. Like the other townships, it was at first Democratic, but of late years, goes Republican. Moore's Prairie will hold its own against all comers.

Submitted By: Cindy Ford


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