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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy

John Maxwell Family

Source: Clinton, DeWitt County 1839-1985 Illinois History
Transcribed and Submitted by Arthur Maxwell

State of Illinois Land Purchase, Record Number 219218, John Maxwell, dated 10 October 1829. John purchased 80 acres of land at $1.25 per acre from the Federal Government in McLean County, Section 5, Township 23N, Meridian 3, Section Part W2SE, Range 02E, Purchaser Residence, Tazewell County.
[Archive Volume Number 145, Volume Page Number 008.]

State of Illinois Land Purchase, Record Number 219217, John Maxwell, dated 30 October 1829. John purchased 80 acres of land at $1.25 per acre from the Federal government in McLean County, Section 8, Township 23N, Meridian 3, Section Part W2NE, range 02E, Purchaser Residence, Tazewell County.
[Archive Volume Number 145, Volume Page Number 009.]

The first petit jury called together in this county, in the spring of 1832, was composed as follows: Andrew Brock, Gabriel Watt, Thomas Cuppy, John Moore, Esq., David Noble, Silas Waters, Amos Conaway, Henry Ball, Eli Frankerberger, Benjamin Hains, John Kimler, John H. S. Rhodes, JOHN MAXWEL L, SR., James Canada, Henry Hains, John Durley, Lewis Soward, Patrick Hopkins, Jacob Spawr, Absalom Funk, John Dixon, David Wheeler, JAMES TOLIVE R, Mathew Robb.
[Source: Page 197 THE HISTORY OF MCLEAN COUNTY, ILLINOIS, printed 1879]

At the January term, 1832, a petition was presented to the court signed by DAVID MAXWELL, and others, praying for a road to be established, commencing at the west end of Front Street, in the town of Bloomington, thence to JAMES TOLIVER'S, JOHN MAXWELL'S, Samuel Rhodes, Timothy M. Gates, Nathan Low's, John Hougham's, and thence to Funks Grove. The petition was granted, and Isaac Baker, James Allen and James Latta were appointed to view and the same and report.
[Page 216, "THE HISTORY OF MCLEAN COUNTY, ILLINOIS", printed 1879]

At the December term, 1832, and at the February term, 1833, the County Commissioners' Court granted deeds to the following named gentlemen, who had bought town lots in Bloomington at the public sale of said lots on the 4th of July, 1831. The record of the sale appears not to be obtainable; but the following are believed to be substantially the names of the purchasers; James Latta, MARTIN SCOTT, A. Gridley, Nathan Low, William R. Ro berson, JOHN MAXWELL, Ebenezer Rhodes, Cheney Thomas, Solomon Dodge, Caleb Kimler, Jesse Frankerberger, Jesse Havens, Frederick Trimmer, M. L. Covell, John W. Dawson, David Wheeler, Alvin Barnett, JONATHAN CHENEY, Joseph B. Harbert, Eli Frankerberger, Hezekiah M. Harbert, Richard Gross, William Harbert, Samuel Durley, Orman Roberson, Baily Kimler, Baily H. Coffey, Lewis Soward, John W. Harbert, Isaac Baker and Absolom Funk.
[Page 219, "THE HISTORY OF MCLEAN COUNTY, ILLINOIS", printed 1879]

The following heads of families were living within what are now the city limits of Bloomington before the town was laid out, in 1830, while it is probable a few others among them Dr. Baker and Rev. Mr. Latta- should also be included in this list; but we have placed them in the list of those living in the Grove. In the whole settlement, there were fifty families: Henry Miller, JAMES TOLLIVER, James Allin, John Greenman, WILLIAM EVAN S, JOHN MAXWELL, John Kimler and James Mason lived in what is now the city of Bloomington.

JOHN MAXWELL and JAMES TOLLIVER lived in the southwest part of the city, where their land is in part now known as the Tolliver Addition to the city of Bloomington. Upon the death of his son William Maxwell in 1839 the executors of his estate required verification of all out standing unpaid bills. His father John Maxwell was owed $1.75 as per the below statement.

William Maxwell Estate 1838
To John Maxwell
Nov 20
To part of side upper leather $1.75
John Maxwell being duly sworn doth depose and say that the above amount is just and unpaid.
Signed John Maxwell
Sworn and Subscribed before me this 17th day of February. 1840.
Wells Colton Probate Justice

The first known Maxwell ancestor in America, John A. Maxwell, born July 25, 1765 and lived in Kent County, Maryland. He died in Bloomington, August 19, 1857. He married Jane Brazelton who was born in 1774 and died in 1833. Both are buried in Rhodes Cemetery, Bloomington, Illinois.

A son, John A. Maxwell, Jr., born in North Carolina 1808, died January 5, 1891 in Waynesville, Illinois, married Elizabeth Scott who was born January 20, 1815 in Harrison County, Indiana, a daughter of Andrew Scott and his wife, Anna Longest. Elizabeth was a granddaughter of John and Nancy (Keith) Scott. John Scott was a Revolutionary War Soldier. These grandparents are buried in the Rock Creek Cemetery, Waynesville, Illinois.

A grandson. John A. Maxwell, born March 28, 1838 at Wapella, died there in July 1920. He married Julia Troxel. A daughter of Samuel and Mary Troxel. Both are buried in the Rock Creek Cemetery.

A great grandson, Amos Dick Maxwell, born March 3. 1875, at Wapella, died in Normal, Illinois, September 30, 1958. He married Mollie Border, born in Ewing, Illinois, February 11, 1880. Amos Dick and Mollie were married December 15, 1901 and farmed their adult lives. Both are buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Clinton.

A great-great-grandson, Carl Maxwell, born December 21, 1908 at Wapella died in Clinton, June 24, 1972. He married Nellie Stone November 17, 1928. Nellie was born March 28, 1907, a daughter of William and Phymetta Alwood Stone, died October 4, 1972. She is buried with her husband in Memorial Park Cemetery.

A great-great-great granddaughter, Margaret, was born November 1, 1940 in Clinton and married J. B. Trowbridge March 13. 1958 in Clinton. Margaret is bookkeeper at Gottlieb's. Her son, John Steven, born August 20, 1959 in Clinton, received his schooling in Clinton, graduating from Illinois Wesleyan with a Bachelor's Degree and has received a Master's Degree from Drake University of Iowa in 1982. He is now employed with the United States Postal Department, Bloomington, Illinois. Submitted by Margaret Burger

John moved with his parents from North Carolina to Indiana. He moved in to southern McLean County, Illinois in the early 1830's. DeWitt County, Illinois was created on March 1, 1839. The first election was held in the newly organized county on May 6, 1839.

The offices voted on and the individuals competing were:

County Commissioners:
John Maxwell 256 Votes Winner
James Vandeventer 226 Votes Winner
John Hughs 221 Votes Winner
Russell Post 199 Votes
Nehemiah Clifton 195 Votes
Andrew Wallace 188 Votes
Richard Webb 83 Votes

He was one of the first county commissioners, serving from May to September, 1839 and again 1845 to 1849. He served as associate justice of the County Court, and was a farmer throughout his life.

John Maxwell an old citizen of this county, died on Monday night at the residence of his son, at the age of eight five. At the age of 15 he moved with his parents to Indiana. In 1832 he moved near Bloomington on a tract of land he entered from the government. This he afterward sold and in 1838 moved with his family to Rock Creek. He gave each of his children at different times forty acres of land for them to start with. He was justice of the peace in Waynesville Township for a great many years. His remains were laid to rest in the Rock Creek Cemetery on Tuesday.

01/09/1891 -- Mr. John MAXWELL, an old citizen of this county, died at his son's residence on Tuesday and was buried at Rock Creek on Wednesday. Mr. Maxwell was near his eighty-fifth year. He as J. P. for a good many years in Waynesville township and was known and respected by all who knew him. In September 1838, he settled near Rock Creek, when DeWitt and McLean were one county.

01/16/1891 -- One of the Early Pioneers, It is proper that the death of John MAXWELL should have more mention than the short notices in our papers about him. Next to Garrison WRIGHT he could tell more, and helped to make more, of the early history of McLean, Tazewell and DeWitt counties than any man now living within the three counties. Our acquaintance with him commenced in September 1841, but we think he lived in McLean County at the time of the deep snow. Before DeWitt County was formed, in 1838, Macon County extended to the north line of township number twenty north, and McLean County extended south to the south line of township number twenty-one. The dividing line ran about a mile south of Waynesville through the village of Wapella, and on east, leaving Farmer City, then Mt. Pleasant, in McLean County. Waynesville, as we remember, is an older town than Bloomington, and there were many persons who had lived in three counties-Tazewell, McLean and DeWitt-and yet had not changed their residence. Chicago was once in Tazewell county, and history says that there were a few men in an early day who rode on horseback from Chicago to Mackinaw town, the county seat of Tazewell county, to procure their marriage license-a six days' trip with the best of traveling, but if the streams were high it would occasionally take two, and even three, weeks. In fact, there is extent a few copies of Gazetteer that describes Chicago as "a small village on Lake Michigan in Pike County."

DeWitt county as first made by the legislature in 1837-38, embraced all the territory enclosed by a line running as follows: Commencing on the range line between ranges one and two west, and on the line between Tazewell and McLean counties, four miles north of the south-west corner of McLean county, and running thence east on the section lines between twelve and thirteen for forty-two miles to the east line of township twenty-one north, range six east; thence south sixteen miles to the south-east corner of township number nineteen north, in range six east; (the county line crossed the Sangamon twice); thence west on the line between townships eighteen and nineteen thirty-six miles to the west line of township nineteen north, range one east of the 3d P. M.; thence north twelve miles to the south line of township twenty-one; thence west six miles to the west line of township twenty-one, in range one west; thence north on the west line of said township four miles to the place of beginning. This was a fair county in size, and embraced besides the towns now in the county, what are now the villages of Atlanta, Mansfield, White Heath, Centerville, Lodge and DeLand. It included almost half of Piatt County. The south line ran within less than two miles of Monticello, with Marion as the county seat, and it was not far from the geographical center of the county.

At the first election John HUGHES, John MAXWELL and James VANDEVENTER were elected county commissioners. Hughes lived south of the Sangamon river; Maxwell on the farm on which he died; and Vandeventer on his farm in the town of Rutledge. All the settlements were then in or near the timber. No one then expected to live to see the big prairies of Illinois settled and improved. In fact, not more than thirty years before that time travelers, supposed to be learned men, were seriously debating the subject whether anything could be raised on the Illinois prairies, and the weight of authority was in the negative. John Maxwell was one of the county commissioners for several years, serving in all, I think, three or four terms, and the old county records will show that he entered his protest against the building of our present court house in 1847. He was an upright and painstaking officer. As a neighbor and friend always kind and obliging. He was one of the kind of men that were plenty fifty years ago, who had made enough for himself and family and did not want to make anymore. He wanted to give somebody else a chance, and had no dislike for them if they were successful. He loved his rifle, and shot deer as long as there was any in the county. But what changes he has seen, even in his own county. It polled in 1840 only 290 votes for Harrison and 316 for Van Buren. Its population was 3247, and the following counties comprised our congressional district: Christian, Clay, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Montgomery, Piatt, Richland and Shelby-eighteen counties. At the election for congressman HARLAN got 212 and FICKLIN 250-not up to the presidential vote in 1840, and in 1843 it only polled 217 for Clay and 861 for Polk. Only 83,040 acres of the 252,429 in the county was entered before 1839.

If space and time would permit it would be a pleasant task to trace up the county from that time to this, showing its loss of territory, why it was lost, and its great gain in wealth and population up to 1880, when it had a population of over 17,000, and gave Harrison, in 1888, 2041 votes, and Cleveland 1976. All this John Maxwell had seen, and took a part in everything appertaining to the county. He had seen his guns change from the old flintlock to the double-barreled breech-loader and the sixteen-shooter. Had seen the lights in Clinton change from the old iron lard lamp, with its hook to hang it on a nail, and its iron point to stick it in a crevice, to the brilliant electric lights without smoke, smell or matches. He had seen the time when it took fourteen days to go to Chicago with a load of wheat and bring back salt that was sold at $4 per bushel. He lived to see the railroad take wheat to Chicago for five cents a bushel and bring back salt that was sold for $1 per barrel. He had seen land that was bought at sixty cents an acre with a Mexican land warrant sell for $60 per acre. Probably no one person that will ever come after him will see so many and beneficial changes as he has seen. In his last conversation with the writer it turned upon death. He said he was willing to go, only waiting the call, trusting the power whose works and ways he saw all around him.

[From the book entitled "The History of De Witt County", written in 1880. Men who voted in DeWitt County, Illinois. - 1844 John Maxwell, Long Point, Precinct]

DeWitt County Genealogical Quarterly: Spring 1980 Vol IV No 1

Maxwell, John 527
Maxwell, John 13235

John Maxwell, born August 18, 1807 in Ashe County, North Carolina, died January 05, 1891 in Waynesville, DeWitt County, Illinois, buried January 07, 1891 in Rock Creek Cemetery, Waynesville, DeWitt County, Illinois.


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