Peoria County, Illinois Genealogy Trails
Est. Nov. 6, 1849
Hollis Township History [from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880. Transcribed by Karen Seeman]
Hollis Township History [From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Edited by David McCulloch, Vol. II; Chicago and Peoria: Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1902.]
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This township is situated in the extreme southeastern portion of the county and is bounded north by Limestone Township, west by Timber Township, east and south by the Illinois River. It is much broken by the river bluffs and La Marsh Creek and its tributaries. It was formerly nearly all timber land, but is now mostly cleared, the northwesterly portion affording good farming land, that on the east and south being low bottom land interspersed with numerous small lakes. Opposite the city of Pekin, with which it is in communication by a substantial wagon road bridge, an extensive tract is protected from overflow by artificial means. The river bluffs are filled with coal, and extensive mining operations are carried on, at several points.
Andrew Tharp was the first white person to settle in this township. He came in 1826 and died in the winter of 1844-45 of a contagious disease known as the "black tongue," which carried off nine persons in the neighborhood in that year. In 1827 William L. Scott, with his family, came in a one-horse wagon from Terre Haute, Indiana, and settled about one-fourth of a mile east of the present site of Mapleton. In 1831, Aholiab Buck, with his wife, Annis (Drake) Buck, came from New York State and settled on Section 6. Soon afterward we find Peter Muchler, Moses Perdue and Captain Francis Johnson among the early settlers and, a little later, William Tapping. James Clark, William and Abraham Maple, William and John Martin, Moses Dusenbury, Franks, Robert Buchanan and his wife, Rebecca, William Maple and Mary, his wife, Hugh Jones and Sidney Ann, his wife, John Rahn, John Jenkins, John Hornbaker, William S. Powell, Jesse Jones, William Johnson, Samuel Watrous, Ansel Haines, Samuel Hootman, Isaac Maple and Thomas J. McGrew.
In 1834 Captain Francis Johnson built the first steam grist and saw-mill, with a machine for sawing shingles attached. It was situated on La Marsh Creek. It was a two-story frame building, the first and largest of its kind ever erected in the township. There was also a brick yard near it, also owned by Mr. Johnson. He died in the winter of 1844-45 of the epidemic already mentioned, and, in 1847, the mill came into the hands of Thomas J. McGrew, by whom it was owned until May 16, 1858, when it was destroyed by the great storm of that day and never rebuilt.
In 1836 Moses Dusenbury brought the first hand grist mill to the township, the burrs of which were sixteen inches in diameter. They are yet in the hands of Mrs. Edward Campen. In 1838 Mr. Dusenbury was killed by falling with his blind horse over the high bank on the west branch of the La Marsh Creek.
In 1839 Thomas Stevens erected a two-story building, for a saw-mill, on the west fork of La Marsh Creek on the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 8. In June, 1872, the mill and mill-dam were washed away by the highest water ever known here, all bridges in the township being destroyed.
The changes which have taken place since those early days are indicated by the facts that, in 1832, Moses Perdue set out the first vineyard; in 1837 Mr. Franks had the first brick yard; and, in 1839, John Rahn had the first tanyard, which continued in operation until about 1871. In 1838, John Martin brought from near where St. Paul, Minnesota, now is, the first pine tree, which was set out by William Tapping and it is still standing. In l838 the Maple Brothers set out the first chestnut trees. By 1855 apples had become somewhat plentiful and the Maple Brothers had the first hand cider-mill. But this industry has never proved a success. In 1853 Mr. William T. Stackpole, of Pekin, set out 1,000 apple trees on Section 15. The next year he started a brick yard, built a two-story brick house land brick barn, which are still standing. But in two years there were only two of his apple trees left. Mr. Jacob Riplet replanted forty acres of the same land with apple trees, which was the largest orchard in the township, but at present there are only a few trees left. This farm gave the name to Orchard Mines.
In 1846 Moses Perdue brought the first cook stove into the northeastern part of the township. In 1839 John McFarland erected, of logs, the first blacksmith shop, near the northeast corner of Section 5 and William Van Norman was the first blacksmith. In 1840 James dark erected a blacksmith shop, which is still standing. In 1858 the Maple Brothers erected a three story steam saw and grist mill at Mapleton, at a cost of $5,800. It was the largest building in the township at that time.
In 1832 the first coal bank was opened at Little La Marsh Creek. The coal was hauled by oxen to Egman (now Kingston) Lake, and there loaded on boats for St. Louis. This township (formerly known as Lafayette Precinct) is named after Denzil Hollis, one of the early settlers who came from England, and at the annual town meeting, in 1807, it was resolved to put an iron fence around his grave. Township organization took place on April 2, 1850, on which date, in pursuance of notice, the first Town Meeting was held at the house of William Martin. Esq., near the southeast corner of Section 5. John Magee was chosen Moderator and John F. Buck, Clerk, pro tem. The following Town Officers were then elected: Supervisor, Stephen C. Wheeler; Town Clerk, George Jenkins; Assessor, Albert G. Powell; Collector, David Goodwin; Overseer of the Poor, Denzil Hollis; Commissioners of Highways, John Houghtaling, James Clark and John Dufield; Justices of the Peace, William Martin, Sr., and
Miles M. Crandall; Constables, S. D. Buck and David Goodwin.
The present town officers are W. E. Foley, Supervisor; George Kuntz, Town Clerk; W. H. Foley, Assessor; John F. Kuntz, Collector; John L. Petrie, August H. Erxleben and A. T. Polson, Commissioners of Highways; Joseph Watrous and Mat Nesselhaus, Justices of the Peace; John Richiger and James Morton, Constables; William Stantz, George Haller and Charles Hornbaker, Trustees of Schools, and George Kuntz, School Treasurer.
Hollis village is situated at a point in Section 11, where the old Illinois, River Railroad, afterward the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville, formed a junction with the Peoria & Hannibal Railroad, the former crossing the river on a bridge which, a few years ago, was burned and has never been rebuilt. The Toledo, Peoria & Western now occupies and uses the track of the former roads from Peoria to this point, but it is owned by the Peoria & Pekin Union. The Peoria & Pekin Terminal Railway also runs through the northern portion of this township, crossing the river to Pekin on its own bridge, lately constructed. It is an electric road for passenger service, but is also adapted to the use of steam power for freight. The village was laid out on September 8, 1868, by E. J. and M. A. Jones, on the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 11. It consists of one tier of lots fronting on the railroad. It is occupied principally by a mining population.
The village of Mapleton was laid out May 18, 1868, by John T. Lindsay, of Peoria, and Samuel Gilfov and William J. Maple, of Hollis Township. It is located on the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 20. Extensive coal mines exist in its vicinity. At this point a spur track of the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway branches off to Kingston, in the adjoining township. The village has a population of about 150. The coal mines, originally operated at Mapleton, have been mostly worked out, but there are two a short distance west of the village, one operated by W. E. Foley and the other by James Walker, of Mapleton.
The Methodist Church was organized in the autumn of 1886 by Robert Burden, a local preacher, with the following members: Mrs. William Harris, Mrs. Emma Newsam, Mrs. Mary Galloway, Mr. and Mrs. James Bradshaw, Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo Walker, Mrs. Maria Thrush, Mrs. J. T. Newsam, Mrs. Ann Galloway, Mr. and Mrs. John Scheidel, Miss Kate Jones, They have a church building 45 by 26 feet, erected in 1890 and dedicated by Rev. J. G. Evans, President of Hedding College, in November of that year. Rev. George B. Slack is the present pastor. There is a school house of one room. capable of seating about eighty pupils, built in the year 1873.
Reed city.About the year 1883 some enterprising speculators came from Ohio, and, under the name of the Buckeye Coal and Coke Company, started in on an extensive scale to get possession of all the coal lands in this vicinity. They obtained mining leases upon a large quantity of lands in Hollis and Timber Townships, and, for a time, it seemed as if it would become a flourishing enterprise. After one or two changes of name, it became known as the Reed City Coal and Mining Company: a village going by the name of Reed City having been started on the northwest quarter of Section 19 by Dwight R. Chapman. The plat of this village has never been recorded, but it appears upon the most recent maps. The mines of the company are still operated on a somewhat extensive scale, by the Newsam Brothers, who also own a store for general merchandise. The village has a population of about 250.
In 1889 Mr. Reed, the principal stockholder in the company, erected a school building and hall combined, at a cost of about $40,000, and endowed it with sufficient funds for its maintenance. It is called the Reed Institute, and is for the free use of the residents of the village. It contains three school rooms, a library and a hall, illuminated with electric lights, all maintained by the provision made by Mr. Reed in his life time. He had become the sole owner of the property, which consists of over one thousand acres, and died leaving it to his, widow, who still resides in Boston, Massachusetts.
In the year 1889, the Pekin and La Marsh Drainage and Levee District was organized, to improve a large tract of bottom land in this township lying opposite the city of Pekin. The petition for its organization was presented to the County Court on August 13th and was granted on September 16th of that year, at which time Leander King, Michael McMorrow and John D. McIntire were appointed Drainage Commissioners, who were to report their plats, profiles and plans of operation at the next succeeding term. At the October term their report was presented and approved, the boundaries being established as follows: Beginning at the bluff above high water mark on Section 15, 7 N., R. 7 E., thence southwesterly to the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad; thence, with the railroad embankment, to near the east bank of the La Marsh Creek; thence, near the east bank of La Marsh Creek to the bank of the Illinois River; thence up the Illinois River, on or near the top of the bank of the Illinois River to the north side of the Peoria & Pekin Union Railroad embankment; thence northwesterly with the north side of the said Peoria & Pekin Railroad embankment, to the town of Hollis; thence, along the Peoria & Canton Road, at the foot of the bluff, from Hollis to the place of beginning. The cost was estimated at $20,000, the height of the embankment to be fifteen feet above low water mark at the Pekin Bridge. The times fixed for the payment of the cost were: January 1, 1900; January 1, 1901; January 1, 1002, and January 1, 1903, in sums of $5,00 each, for which bonds were to be issued. Other lands have since been added, the levee has been constructed and in operation for many years, pumping works have been erected and drains dug. This is one of the most important enterprises in the township. It embraces between four and five thousand acres of land.
La Marsh Baptist Church, at Maple Ridge, is one of the oldest churches in the county. It was organized October 27, 1838, with fourteen original members from Guernsey County, Ohio. Among them were Isaac and Sarah Maple, Robert and Rebecca Buchanan. Abram Maple, William and Mary Maple, Hugh and Sidney Ann Jones, Mrs. Harker and Eliza Jones. The nearest Baptist Church at that time was at Peoria, over which Rev. A. M. Gardner was pastor; but he became the first pastor at La Marsh and continued to serve it in that capacity until August, 1848. By that time it had increased to thirty members. In January, 1849, Elder William T. Ely became pastor, residing at Washington, Tazewell County, and preaching at La Marsh one-half his time. The Baptist Association met here in 1849, holding its sessions in a barn for want of a house of worship. Some of the ministers remaining after the close of the session, among whom were Rev. Henry G. Weston, of Peoria, and Rev. L. G. Minor, a series of meetings was held, resulting in a revival which continued through the following year, during which time there were fifty-two baptisms and the church reported one hundred and two members. Eight more were added the following year. In June, 1851, Elder Ely closed his pastorate and was succeeded, in July of the same year, by Elder Joel Sweet, who preached at Trivoli one-half his time. Another revival followed in 1852, when twenty more were added. He was succeeded in 1855 by Elder John Edminster, who continued for some years.
Soon after the meetings of the Association in 1849, a house of worship, 30 by 35 feet, was erected at a cost of $1.000. The first deacons were William Manie and John McGee.
Schools.The people of Hollis Township were, at an early date, fully alive to the importance of having a system of public schools. An act having passed the Legislature of 1836-37 authorizing the people of any township to organize for school purposes, and having done that, to proceed to elect five Trustees, who should have charge of all school affairs of the township, examine and employ teachers, and make reports to the County School Commissioner, the voters of the township, pursuant to notice, held an election at Johnson's Mill on April 14, 1838, for the purpose of determining whether or not the township should organize under that law. Twelve votes were cast for and only one against the measure. On the same day poll-books were opened for the election of five Trustees, whereupon Aholiab Buck, John Dufield, Nathaniel Clifton, Andrew Tharp and Richard Hays were elected. On. the 12th day of May of the same year the Trustees met and appointed Nelson Buck the first Township School Treasurer, and laid off the township into three school districts. This was the beginning of the public school system in Hollis Township.
Before this time, however, there were private schools in the township. Upon the authority of John Rahn it is learned that in 1836 a school was kept in a log house on the bluff on the east half of the northeast quarter of Section n, the name of the teacher not being remembered, perhaps Israel I. Hurd. In 1837 Mr. Hurd taught a school in a new log house belonging to Moses Perdue, which was located on the northwest quarter of Section 11. This was the second house built by him and is still standing. It had two rooms, each one having a fire-place built of brick from the yards of Mr. Frank. Mr. Perdue gave the use of the larger room of the two for the school. In 1837 or 1838 Miss Mary McFarland taught school in a log house built for private use on the northwest corner of Section 4. There were others of which the particulars cannot now be given.
The first public school house in District No. l was built in 1839 on the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 10, owned by Andrew Tharp, one of the first Board of Trustees. At a meeting of that Board held July 8, 1839, it was "ordered that the school house already commenced on the north part of the east half of the northeast quarter of the 10th Section be and is hereby declared the school house for District No. l, and that in District No. 2 the school house shall be placed on the west one-half of Section 8, and that in District No. 3 the school house shall be located on the northeast quarter of Section 20, provided in all the above cases the necessary land can be obtained of the owners." The school house in District No. l was burned in 1856, that in District No. 2, located on land owned by Aholiab Buck was burned about 1856; that in District No. 3 was built in 1841 by Cornelius Palmer on land owned by John Dufield, all as above described.
Besides the Reed Institute, there are now four district schools in, the township; also one in union with Timber and one in union with Limestone, Logan and Timber, each provided with good school houses.
From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Edited by David McCulloch, Vol. II; Chicago and Peoria: Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1902.
Hollis Township History
[from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880. Transcribed by Karen Seeman]
Hollis township is bounded on the north by Limestone, west by Timber, and the south and east by the Illinois river, directly opposite the city of Pekin, and about six miles southwest from the city of Peoria. The lands on the Illinois river are unimproved bottom lands, but along the bluff, on the line of the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw R. R., are some of the most valuable coal mines in the State. In the northwestern portion of the township, and along the crest of the bluffs, are some extensive and very fertile farms. Among the early settlers that came to the township was Wm. Martin, a native of Washington county, New York, where he married Margaret Scott, and came in 1837. Mr. Martin was the first justice of the peace in the township. S. D. Buck, a native of Cayuga, New York, came in 1837. E. W. Homan came from Kentucky in 1835. In 1832, Peter Muchler, a native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, came to the township. S. C. Wheeler came from Hamilton county, Ohio, in 1844. The township was organized in 1850, and derived its name from a man by the name of Denzel Hollis, who came among the early settlers, and was a native of England.
Lamarsh Baptist Church, Maple Ridge--This church was organized October 27, 1838, with fourteen original members, who had come from Guernsey county, Ohio. The original members were Isaac and Sarah Maples, Robert and Rebecca Buchanan, Abram Maples, William and Mary Maples, Hugh and Sidney Ann Jones, Mrs. Harker and Eliza Jones. The settlement in which this church was formed contained a population of one hundred, which has increased to over eight hundred. The nearest Baptist church was at Peoria, twelve miles distant. This little church was at first surrounded by Methodist influence, but now occupies almost the entire religious field in the community. Elder A. M. Gardner served as pastor of this church from its organization until August, 1848, a period of nearly ten years.
The church continued quite small for several years, never reporting more than twenty-two members. In 1847 it had increased to thirty members. In January, 1849, Elder Wm. T. Bly became pastor of the church, residing at Washington, Tazewell county, and preaching at Lamarsh half of the time. The association held its session with this church in June, 1849. The meetings were held in a barn for the want of a house of worship. After the assocition adjourned, some of the ministers, among whom were Elders H. G. Weston and S. G. Miner, remained and continued a series of meetings for some days. A glorious revival commenced, which continued through the year, and in 1850 the church reported fifty-eight baptisms and 102 members. The following year eight more members were added.
Elder Bly closed his labors as pastor in June, 1851. In July, 1851, Elder Joel Sweet, who was also preaching at Trivoli part of the time, became pastor of this church. There was another revival in 1851, when twenty-one were received into the church. Elder Sweet closed his labors as pastor in July, 1855.
Immediately after the meeting of the association in 1849, the church commenced the erection of a house of worship 30 by 45 feet, which cost about one thousand dollars. Elder John Edminister began his pastoral labors in 1855, and continued for some years. The first deacons were William Maples and John McGee. The present trustees are Abram Maples, Joseph Hornbucker and Samuel Walters. Deacons are Elijah Starks, Samuel Walters and Benjamin Hart. Of the original members two are still living -- Abram and Isaac Maples.
Schools -- Hollis township contains six school districts, each of which is furnished with a comfortble, substantial frame house. Careful attention is paid by the local school officers to the selection of competent teachers, for which fair salaries are paid, and the schools are all creditable and prosperous.
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