History of Groveland Township, LaSalle County, Illinois

Groveland Township

Township 29, Range 2, constitutes the town of Groveland. It is the southernmost town in the county, and the last settled. With the town of Osage, it lies between the counties of Marshall and Livingston, and when those counties were organized from territory taken partly from La Salle, both of them refused to take the territory included in those towns. So La Salle from necessity had to keep it. With the present population and wealth they constitute no insignificant portion of the county. The west side of the town is the most elevated. Prairie creek rises near New Rutland and runs to and along the north line. Long Point creek rises near Minonk, and crosses the town from southwest to northeast, while the southeast portion is drained by Diamond creek. All these run northeastwardly to the Vermillion, and make effectual drainage. In 1855 the town was an unbroken prairie, without an inhabitant. The first house in the town was moved on to the present site of New Rutland, and made a section-house on the Illinois Central Railroad. It was made a liquor saloon, and destroyed by a mob in 1865. The railroad was built through the town before it was settled, and doubtless was the agency that developed its resources. Abner Shinn built the first house and Oscar Jacobson occupied it in March, 1855, being the first resident in the town. He left in 1862. The second resident was Elias Frink, and wife, Emily Whitman, from Onondaga County, N. Y.; he settled on S. 22. His only child, W. E., married Orvilla Kenyon, and has seven children. He was a good soldier, and is Police Magistrate in the village of Dana. The third was Lewis W. Martin,' from Indiana ; he made an improvement on Sec. 10 ; sold to Alva Winans and went to Nebraska. Geo. W. Gray located and lives on S. 11 in 1855, and raised a large family. The fifth settler was William Martin ; he pre-empted the northeast quarter Section 25th. An Englishman by birth, he enlisted in the 33d Regiment, and died on his way home from the army; a bachelor, he left no relatives but a sister, Mrs. Anna Swift of Bloomington. Nelson Cooper, from Maryland, a carpenter by trade, settled on S. 17. He enlisted in the 104th Regiment. His wife was Sarah M. Jacobson, daughter of John Jacobson. He is the present Supervisor of the town. John Jacobson, from Germany to Ohio, was a magistrate there; was Supervisor here for several years, and moved to Nebraska in 1869.

An emigration association was formed in January, 1855, of about two hundred members, residing in the vicinity of Rutland, Vermont. Bach member paid ten dollars, and was to have a lot in an embryo city to be located somewhere in the far West. Dr. Allen and W. B. Burns were the locating committee. The present site of New Rutland was selected, being the northwest 40 acres on S. 18, and southwest 40 on S. 7. The railroad gave the members a preference in the selection of their lands at 20 per cent. discount. W. B. Burns came on the ground in August, 1855 ; built a house and occupied it in 1856 ; he was the master spirit of the enterprise and insured its success ; bad health induced him to remove to California, where he died in 1875. Willard "Proctor and Ruf us Weston were the first to select lands under the arrangement with the railroad. John Wadleigh came to the town in the fall of 1855: settled in the village in 1856; was Capt. Co. I, 104th Regiment, and had the care of the regiment for awhile ; now Postmaster at New Rutland. Daniel Wadleigh came about the same time as his brother John.

Daniel Arnold came in the spring of 1856. Has been Justice of the Peace and Supervisor, and held other town offices.

S. L. Bangs came in 1856 ; he was agent for Mark Bangs, a younger brother, in building five dwellings, and purchasing about $100,000 worth of railroad lands, and breaking 800 acres of prairie. The speculation failed of success in the revulsion of 1857.

John T. Gove came in 1856 ; was called the village blacksmith ; was afterwards a merchant. His son, E. Gove, was a successful teacher ; a Lieutenant in the Thirty-third Regiment, and breveted a Major. .

Charles Lamb, Andrew Moffatt and Reuben Taylor came in the spring of 1856.

John Grove and son, J. M. Grove, came and settled on the west half of Section 15, in the spring of 1856. John Grove was the oldest man in the town. J. M. taught school from his eighteenth year; studied law, and was admitted to the bar in Ohio. He held the offices of Assessor and Justice of the Peace and Supervisor.

John H. Martin, born in Wayne County, Illinois, was raised in Marshall County, having lived there since 1829; removed on to Section 25 in March, 1856.

Alexander Clegg, from West Virginia, settled on Sec. 25. His daughter, Florence, was the first child born in the town.

Marshall Smiley, on Sec. 36 ; Thomas Reeder and Joseph H. Brown settled near the south line of the town ; A. Mullen and R. Ballinger settled on S. 6- all in the spring of 1836.

The first religious meetings were held in the hotel stable ; and afterwards in the hotel. Esquire Barney O'Neal on the Vermillion, twenty miles away, was the nearest Justice of the Peace ; there was no law, yet all was orderly. At the Presidential election in 1856, the political excitement reached the infant settlement, and all went twenty miles to the house of Alif Goff, near the Vermilion, to vote-all but one voting for Fremont. Groveland was made a town in the fall of 1856. First election was held in April, 1857; W. B. Burns, Supervisor; John Wadleigh, Clerk ; and J.M. Grove, Assessor.

Groveland has two villages and railroad stations within its limits : New Rutland on the Illinois Central Railroad, and Dana on the Chicago, Pekin & Southwestern-both of which roads pass through the town. New Rutland has five churches, a graded school, ten stores, a grain elevator, mill, and 800 population. Dana, in the southeastern part of the town, has two grain elevators, one church, six stores, a mill, and 250 population. Like all settlers in a prairie town, the people know the importance of timber-planting, and belts and groves of timber are scattered over its surface on nearly every farm.

[Source: History of LaSalle County, Illinois by Elmer Baldwin, Chicago, Rand, McNally & Co., Printers, 1877, SKETCH OF THE PIONEER SETTLERS OF EACH TOWN IN THE COUNTY, Groveland, Page 468-472 - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Groveland Township

CHAPTER XV.

Groveland Township embraces township 29 and range 2 east. It is the southernmost township in the county and was last to be settled. With Osage it lies between Livingston and Marshall counties and when those two counties were organized from La Salle both refused to take the territory included in those townships, so La Salle of necessity had to keep them. No one can predict with certainty what a new country will grow to be in the future. Railroads have penetrated that portion of the county included in those townships so that at present they are thickly populated and contain a great deal of wealth. Livingston or Marshall would be now only too anxious to obtain them.

The west side of Groveland is the most elevated. Prairie Creek rises near the village of Rutland and runs to and along the northern line. Long Point Creek rises near Minonk, and crosses the township from the southwest to the north-east, while the southeast portion is drained by the North and South Diamond creeks. All these flow to the northeast into Vermillion River, making an effectual drainage. In 1855 the township was an unbroken prairie without an inhabitant. The first house was moved to the present site of Rutland and made a section house on the Illinois Central Railroad. It was then made a liquor saloon and was destroyed by a mob in 1865. The railroad was built through the township in 1853 and doubtless aided greatly in encouraging' early settlements.

FIRST SETTLERS

Abner Shinn built the first house and Oscar Jacobsen occupied it in March, 1855, being the first resident in the township. He left in 1862. The second resident was Elias Frink and wife, Emily (Whitman), from Onondaga County, N. Y.; he settled on section 22. In] 879 he removed to Kansas and from there he and his wife, when both were very old, went to Washington Territory, where he died. His wife survives him. The third settler was Lewis W. Martin, a native of Indiana, who located on section 10, but subsequently moved to Nebraska. George W. Gray, of Wenona, came in 1855 and settled on section 11. William Martin, a native of England, settled on section 25. He enlisted in the Thirty-third Illinois Infantry in the civil war, and was discharged on account of ill-health, but died before reaching home. He was unmarried, his only relation being a sister, Mrs. Anna Swift, of Bloomington. Nelson Cooper, a carpenter from Maryland, settled on section 17, but after his return from the war moved to Missouri. John Jacobson, a German, was also an early settler, and was for several years Supervisor of the township. In 1869 he moved to Nebraska.

In January 1855, an emigration association was formed in Rutland, Vt. Each member was to pay $10 and was to have a lot in a city to be located in the West. Two hundred members joined this association and Dr. Allen and W. B. Burns were the locating committee. Forty acres on the northwest quarter of section 18 and forty acres on the southwest quarter of section 7, Groveland Township, were selected, and the town of Rutland was platted. W. B. Burns, the leading spirit in the enterprise, came to the township in August, 1855, built a house in the new town and moved into it in 1856. Through his energy and public spiritedness the project was a success, but ill-health finally necessitated his removal to California, where he died in 1875.

Willard Proctor, Rufus Weston, John and Daniel Wadleigh, Daniel Arnold, S. L. Bangs, John F. Gove, Charles Lamb, Andrew Moffat, John Grove and his son John M. were all prominent members of the Vermont colony. John Wadleigh was Captain of Company I, One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Infantry, and for a time had charge of the regiment. He is the present Postmaster at Rutland. Daniel Wadleigh is now living in Missouri. Daniel Arnold was Justice of the Peace from the organization of the township till 1882. He now lives at Stillman Valley. John F. Gove was the village blacksmith, and afterward a merchant. His son, E. Aaron Gove, was Lieutenant of Company B, Thirty-third Infantry, and was brevetted Major, He is now Superintendent of the Denver, Col. city schools. John Grove was the oldest man in the township. His son was a school teacher and subsequently an attorney in Ohio. He held the offices of Assessor, Justice of the Peace and Supervisor.

John H. Martin, a native of Wayne County, Ill., settled on section 25 in March, 1856. Alexander Clegg, of West Virginia, also settled on section 25. His daughter Florence was the first white child born in the township, Mr. Southwell's child being the first born in the village. In the spring of 1856 Marshall Smiley settled on section 36, Thomas Reeder and Joseph Brown near the south line of the township, and A. Mullen and R. Ballinger on section 6.

The first religious meetings were held in the stable belonging to the hotel and then in the hotel. The nearest Justice of the Peace was Esquire Barney O'Neal, twenty miles away on the Vermillion. At the Presidential election of 1856 the voting part of the settlement went twenty miles to the polls, all but one, Mr. Scott, voting for Fremont. He was so ridiculed by his companions that he left them and walked home.

NAME

Common belief and even writers have it that Groveland Township took its name from Mr. Grove, a settler of 1856, and from the fact that he and others were planters of trees at that time, The facts are these: W. H. Burns selected the name Rutland, which was rejected, as a town of that name was already organized; his next selection, Deerfield, sounded too nearly like Deer Park, and shared the same fate. John Wadleigh then proposed Groveland, which was adopted. Groveland is the name of a pretty Massachusetts village near his birthplace. The sylvan name has proven very appropriate in view of the numerous groves of maples, cottonwood and willows now so prominent a feature of the Groveland landscape.

OFFICIAL

On the 7th day of April, 1857, the voters of Groveland met at the house of John M. Grove for the purpose of organizing Groveland Township and electing the necessary officers. John Arnold was chosen Moderator and John Wadleigh, Clerk. Following is a list of the principal township officers that have been elected from that time to the present:

1857- Supervisor, W. B. Burns; Clerk, John Wadleigh; Assessor, George W. Gray; Collector, S. M. Scott; Commissioners of Highways, S. M. Scott, Abraham Mullin and John M. Grove; Justices, Daniel Arnold and A. Moffatt; Constables, T. A. West and L. W. Cooley..

1858- Supervisor, W. B. Burns; Clerk, John Wadleigh; Assessor, J. M. Grove; Collector, J. B. Martin; Commissioners of Highways, J. H. Brown, G. W. Gray and Abraham Mullen; Constable, to fill vacancy, William Stanton.

1859- Supervisor, J. H. Brown; Clerk, C. W. Blandin; Assessor, John Jacobson; Collector, D. Arnold; Commissioners of Highways, 1. o. Moore, W. Mastin and J. R. Shaw; Constable, J. L. Shaw.

1860- Supervisor, J. H. Brown; Clerk, O. W. Blandin; Assessor, John Jacobson ; Collector, D. Arnold; Commissioners of Highways, Ira O. Moore, A. Moffatt and J. M.Grove; Constable, C. Lamp.

1861- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, O. W. Blandin; Assessor, T. B. Reeder; Collector, W. T. Baker; Commissioners of Highways, J. :NL Grove, Levi Webber and Osgood Hutchinson; Justices, D. Arnold and Andrew Moffatt; Constables, Charles Lamp and J. F. Grove.

1862- Supervisor, J. :M. Grove; Clerk, O. W. Blandin; Assessor, W. B. Burns; Collector, R. L. Hamilton; Commissioner of Highways, Alexander Clegg; Constables, J. F. Grove and Charles Lamp; Justices, D. Arnold and John Boyd.

1863- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, W. T. Baker; Assessor, J. H. Martin; Collector, Charles Cross, resigned Nov. 20, and R. L. Hamilton was appointed Dec. 11; Commissioner of Highways, P. R. Cooper; Constable (appointed), C. W. Blandin.

1864- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, J. Boutelle; Assessor, W. B. Burns; Collector, R. L. Hamilton; Commissioner of Highways, L. P. ",Vebber.

1865- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, J. Boutelle; Assessor, O. W. Blandin; Collector, R. L. Hamilton; Commissioners of Highways, J. Martin and A. Mullin.

1866- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, W. Frink; Assessor, E. B. Marsh; Collector, L. G. Stout; Commissioner of Highways, J. Martin ; Justices, Daniel Arnold and James Pritchett; Constables, L. G. Stout and J. G. Healey.

1867- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, George Merchant; Assessor, O. E. Damon; Collector, George Hakes; Commissioner of Highways, John J. Roe; Constable, Alfred White.

1868- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, G. E. Merchant; Assessor, O. E. Damon; Collector, C. E. Hibbard; Commissioner of Highways, W. B. Cotton.

1869- Supervisor, John Jacobson; Clerk, G. E. Merchant; Assessor, John M. Martin; Collector, C. H. Hibbard; Commissioner of Highways, A. Moffatt.

1870- Supervisor, Royal D. McDonald; Clerk, V. G. Way; Assessor, C. E. Damon; Collector, C. H. Hibbard; Commissioner of Highways, J. Martin; Justices, Daniel Arnold and James Pritchett; Constables, C. H. Hibbard and Robert Clegg.

1871- Supervisor, William Holliday; Clerk, S. N. Chapman; Assessor, G. A. Boyd; Collector, S. S. Chapman; Commissioner of Highways, Nelson Cooper; Constable, Alfred White.

1872-Supervisor, Jesse Standiford; Clerk, D. F. Trask; Assessor, E. S. Dresser; Collector, E. B. Marsh; Commissioner of Highways, T. Smart.

1873- Supervisor, James Pritchett; Clerk, D. M. Snyder; Assessor, E. B. Marsh; Collector, Andrew Winans; Commissioner of Highways, J. Martin; Justices, James Pritchett and John Halstead; Constable, Emerson Hakes.

1874- Supervisor, James Pritchett; Clerk, D. F. Trask; Assessor, A. Mullin; Collector, A. H. Winans; Commissioner of Highways, Nelson H. Cooper; Constable, Isaac Moats. 1875- Supervisor, James Pritchett ; Clerk, John Wadleigh; Assessor, John Halstead; Collector, A. H. Winans; Commissioner of Highways, A. Bane.

1876- Supervisor, James Pritchett; Clerk, W. E Frink; Assessor, J. H. Martin; Collector, Andrew Winans; Commissioner of Highways, J. Martin.

1877- Supervisor, Nelson H. Cooper; Clerk, E. S. Dresser; Assessor, J. H. Martin; Collector, R. M. Clegg; Commissioner of Highways, T. Patton; Justices; John Halstead and J. Martin; Constables, John Thorp and J. Bane. Messrs. Martin and Thorp did not qualify and on Aug. 28 James Pritchett was elected Justice and I. Moats, Constable.

1878- Supervisor, Nelson H. Cooper; Clerk, E. S. Dresser; Assessor, J. H. Martin; Collector, R. M. Clegg; Commissioner of Highways, Aaron Baker; Constable, Jacob Crosmer.

1879--Supervisor, Nelson H. Cooper ~ Clerk, John A. Bane; Assessor, C. P. Thompson ; Collector, E. S. Dresser; Commissioner of Highways, W. S. Wayman.

1880- Supervisor, E. S. Dresser; Clerk, Albert Proctor; Assessor, N. H. Cooper; Collector, John A. Bane; Commissioner of High ways, T. Patton; Constable, Hiram Grable. .

1881-Supervisor, E. S. Dresser, Clerk, Albert Proctor; Assessor, N. H. Cooper; Collector, John A. Bane; Commissioner of Highways, J. Y. Bane; Justices, John Halstead and R. M. Pritchett; Constables, S. S. Riggs and W. T. Dorsey.

1882-Supervisor, E. S. Dresser; Clerk, A. Proctor; Assessor, N. H. Cooper; Collector, J A Bane; Commissioner of Highways, W. S. Wayman.

1883-Supervisor, E. S. Dresser; Clerk, M. F. Cox; Assessor, W. S. Wayman; Collector, J. A. Bane; Commissioner of Highways, Thomas Patton; Justice, John Wadleigh; Constable, Alfred Maten.

1884-Supervisor, E. S. Dresser; Clerk, M. F. Cox; Assessor; W. S. Wayman ; Collector, J. A. Bane; Commissioner of Highways, J. M. Bane.

1885-. Supervisor, E. S. Dresser; Clerk, M. F. Cox; Assessor, G.H. Wood; Collector, J. K. Grable; Commissioner of Highways, E. Showman; Justices, J. Wadleigh and R. M. Pritchett; Constables, Alfred Mateere and S. S. Riggs.


Outside the villages of Rutland and Dana, Groveland Township has seven school-houses and one church. The latter belongs to the Presbyterian society and is situated on the township line in the southern part of section 35.

[Source: Original data: History of La Salle County, Illinois : together with sketches of its cities, villages and towns, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history, portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens :.. Chicago: Inter-State Pub. Co., 1886. Page 294-324- Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

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