Peoria County, Illinois Genealogy Trails

Rosefield Township


Est. Nov. 6, 1849
First Settler: 
Amos Stevens at Kickapoo Forks in 1833.
Towns and Villages:
 LaGrange P.O., Kramm and Oak Hill
Rail Roads: Burlington, C. B. & Q. R. R. 
Other: Johnson's Run Sec.36, Langdon's Station, Combs Meeting Place




Rosefield Township History  [from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880.  Transcribed by Karen Seeman]
Rosefield 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 centrally located as to the geography of Peoria County, its position on the map being Nine North. Range Six East, there being two townships north, two south, two east and one west of it. Its surface is considerably broken by the Kickapoo Creek, the two main branches of which become united on Section 3. Notwithstanding this there is much good farming land, both prairie and timber—the latter producing well when cleared and placed under cultivation. Although having within its borders only one village, it is within easy reach of Kickapoo Town and Edwards on the east, and Hanna City, Eden and Trivoli on the south.

The township was very early settled by a colony of sturdy farmers. About the year 1831 or 1833 Casper Yinger, Minnie Rynearson, John and David Combs, Levi Coolidge and William Nixon settled here. In 1833, Amos Stevens, whose name is prominent in the history of the county, located at the Forks of the Kickapoo, built a log cabin and broke prairie. This point was a geographical landmark by which the directions of the public roads were fixed. One of the State Roads to Knoxville, leading up the Kickapoo, touched this point and then ran westward through the hamlets of Southport and Newburgh.

Benjamin Miller and Joseph Borer came about the year 1833, after which the township filled up quite rapidly.

The Kickapoo Creek in those days was considered a valuable mill stream, furnishing a sufficiency of water at all times to carry one run ot stone, and, for nine months of the year, it was sufficient for two runs at any place below the Forks, between which point and its mouth there were three grist-mills and two saw-mills in operation. At that time there were four bridges on that stream where roads leading northward and westward crossed it. It can,
therefore, be readily understood why the proprietors occasionally got into contentions about their water rights. There was a law that permitted such proprietors to petition the County Commissioners' Court for a writ to assess the damages that would be sustained by other owners by reason of the flooding of their lands by the erection of mill-dams. The Commissioners might permit such dams to be erected, provided the health of the neighborhood would not be injuriously affected, by them, and might also assess the damages sustained by other owners.

At the June term, 1838, such a writ was issued in favor of John F. Kinney for the erection of a mill and mill-dam on the northeast quarter of Section 23.

At the July term, 1838, David Combs applied for such a writ for the erection of a mill-dam on. the southwest quarter of Section 11.

Thereupon these two worthy neighbors whose mill-dam's were to be a mile apart, to say nothing of the serpentine course of the stream, got into a wrangle. The Sheriff, whose province it was to select the jurors, submitted both cases to the same jury, which consisted of John Coyle, Andrew Race, Stephen Carl, John H. Oliver, I. S. Van Arsdale, Jacob Bush, William Stackhouse, Asa Beal, W. F. Mulvaney, Samuel Veacock, Adam Barfut and Benjamin Kibb, who fixed the height of Kinney's dam at six feet six inches from low water mark, found that neither Thomas Slane, William Nixon, David Combs, nor Tom Scott would sustain any damage by its erection, but that John Combs would sustain damage to the amount of $32.50, and that the health of the neighborhood would not be injuriously affected. On the petition of David Combs the jury returned that no person would sustain any damage nor would the health of the neighborhood be injuriously affected.

David Combs appeared by Charles Ballance, Esq., his attorney, and opposed the granting of the petition of Kinney; first, because he had no title to the land; second, for informality in the Sheriff's return; third, because the legal notices had not been given. Elihu N. Powell, Esq., appealled as counsel for Kinney, and upon his motion the Sheriff was allowed to amend his return, arguments were heard, the verdict was accepted and the petitions of both the litigants were granted.

In anticipation of a speedy completion of the Peoria and Oquawka Railroad, Joseph Bohrer, of Rosefield. and William M. Dodge, of Peoria, on April 19, 1856, laid out the village of Oak Hill on the south half of the southwest quarter of Section 6. Mr. Bohrer, as also were many of his neighbors, was a Virginian, born in Frederick County, in that State, May 9, 1805, married February, 1829, to Harriet Dawson, emigrated to Illinois in the year 1836, and settled in Rosefield Township. About the time of the completion of the railroad to this point, this being the terminus for some time, Messrs. Tyng and Brotherson, grain-dealers of Peoria, erected a warehouse here and commenced buying grain. They commanded the trade of the northwestern portion of the county, and, to a considerable distance to the south and west, even into Knox County. Their shipments were consequently very large, there being no other railroad west of the river, and no available market nearer than Peoria.

In consequence of the building at a later period of the Buda Branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and the Peoria and Farmington—now the Iowa Central—this trade has been greatly reduced.

Coal is mined extensively in the township, there being two companies operating on the line of the railroad. The principal shipping points for coal mined in this township are at Edwards, Kramm and Langdon.

Township organization.—Prior to the township organization, Rosefield lay partly in the middle and partly in La Grange Precinct, the former being composed of Logan and parts of Limestone and Rosefield; the latter, of parts of Kickapoo, Jubilee and Rosefield. The county having been divided and Rosefield set off by itself, the voters, in pursuance of notice given, assembled at the house of Benjamin Miller on the second day of April, 1850, and proceeded to organize the township. On motion, Benjamin Brown was chosen Moderator and James M. Rogers was elected Clerk by ballot. After the officers of this first town meeting had been duly sworn, the voters proceeded to elect Town Officers by ballot, and, upon a canvass of the votes—there being about thirty— the following were declared elected as the first Town Officers of Rosefield Township: John Combs, Supervisor; James M. Rogers, Town Clerk; David Slane, Assessor; Nelson Shephard, Collector; Edward D. Edwards, Isaac Clayton and Edward Coolidge, Commissioners of Highways; Daniel McVicker and James Sherwood, Constables, and William W. Miller and Ephraim Rynearson, Justices of the Peace.

The population has increased year by year, the census of 1900 showing a total of 1,150. The town started with 30 voters; at the present time there is a voting population of about 300. The present Town Officers are H. W. Harding, Supervisor; C. H. Spangler, Town Clerk; James H. Wrigley, Assessor; Wesley Vickery, Collector; Thomas McCoy, Marion Maple and R. H. Wood, Commissioners of Highways; John Brown, James Hale and R. W. Morris. Trustees of Schools; James Rayfield, School Treasurer; J. H. Wrigley and R. F. Haynes, Justices of the Peace, and Nicholas Schaab, Constable.

Churches.—The first church organized in the township was a Methodist, organized in 1837, located on Section 14, and known as the "Combs Meeting House." It has long since gone to decay and has been abandoned. The church of the same denomination, at Oak Hill, was organized in 1845. The congregation held their meetings in a school house until 1858, when they erected a church edifice, the congregation then numbering about sixty. The first official Board consisted of Culten Dawson. Daniel Brown, Austin Nixon, Jacob Gunth, Isaac Wetherell, W. W. Miller and A. Dawson. The cost of the building was about $1,200.

The Methodist Episcopal Church in the Texas neighborhood, known as the Wrigley Church, was organized in 1854 with a membership numbering ten. Joseph Dunn was class-leader, Robert Wrigley and Henry Robins the first trustees and Rev. J. M. Snyder the first pastor. They also worshiped in a school house until about 1860, when they built a frame house of worship accommodating about 250, at a cost of about $1,600.

Another Methodist Church is the Rosefield Church, organized as a class about the year 1844, with twelve members. The first house of worship was erected in 1844, but in 1874 it was abandoned and a new church erected across the road at a cost of $1,650.

In 1865 a Camp Ground, for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the Peoria District, was purchased near the village of Oak Hill, where a camp meeting has been held annually ever since. Thousands of people congregate there yearly to spend a season of quiet devotion. It is located in a beautiful grove a short distance northeast of the village, and is supplied with a good spring of water.

Schools.—The first school-house was built in 1838, on Section 8, in which Roswell Smith was the first teacher. A year previous to this, however, the first school was taught in a private house by Martha, daughter of Benjamin Miller.

The township is well supplied with public schools, it having twelve districts and parts of districts, in all of which schools are regularly kept.

From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Edited by David McCulloch, Vol. II; Chicago and Peoria: Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1902.




Rosefield Township History

This township first was settled about the year 1833, by Amos Stevens, who located at the Kickapoo Forks, and built the first log cabin and broke the first prairie. Winney Rynearson and a brother of A. Stevens came in shortly after. John and David Combs, Lewis Cooledge, and Wm. Mixon came in 1835; Benjamin Miller and Joseph Bohrer a year later. The first church was a Methodist, organized in 1837. The first school-house was built on section 8, in 1838. Roswell Smith was the first teacher in the school-house; but the first school was held in a private house, taught by Martha Miller, daughter of Benjamin Miller, in the year 1837. The township is generally broken except in the southwest corner, where some beautiful farms and good substantial farmers are to be found. 


Oak Hill Church -- In 1837 or '38, the first M. E. Church was organized on section 14, and known as the Combs meeting-house. Since that time the church has gone to decay. The church at Oak Hill was organized in 1845, and held their meetings in a school-house until 1858, when they erected a church edifice under the supervision of Rev. G. R. Palmer, and at that time had a membership of about sixty. The board of officers were Cutten Dawson, Daniel Brown, Austin Nixon, Jacob Gunth, Isaac Wethrell, W. W. Miller, A. Dawson; and building committee, Austin Nixon, W. W. Miller, J. Dawson; class leader was A. Nixon, after the new church was built. The cost of building was $1,200. Rev. C. W. Green has charge of the church, and is doing a good work. Has a school building 28x36, 16 feet C., and the attendance is forty. School is conducted by Miss Ida Burt.

The Methodist Church at Texas -- This church was organized in Rosefield township, in 1854, and is known as the Wrigley Church. The original members were ten in number. The first class leader was Joseph Dunn. Trustees were Robert Wrigley and Henry Robins. The first pastor was J. M. Snyder. For the first few years the society worshiped in a brick school-house. Their present church was built some time about 1860, a frame building, 26x84 feet, and will accommodate between 200 and 250. It cost $1,600.

Rosefield M. E. Church -- The first Methodist class within the vicinity of the present church edifice was formed in 1844, or perhaps a year or two earlier with twelve original members. The first church edifice was built in 1854; and in 1874 was abandoned and a new church erected across the road, costing $1,650, and was dedicated by Rev. R. N. Morse. Although the building is not large, it is however, neat and attractive, and the church is free from debt. The house is supplied with a good organ. At the present time the membership is twenty-four. Nelson Shepherd is class leader and Sunday school superintendent; John Yinger, steward; and these with John VanAnsdall, trustees. The pastors have been the same as at Pleasant Grove with few exceptions, prior to 1850.

Rosefield Farmer's Mutual Fire and Lightning Insurance Company -- This corporation is composed of the resident farmers of the towns of Rosefield, Elmwood, Trivoli and Logan, who organized themselves together under the State laws enacted March 24, 1874, for the purpose of mutual protection against loss or damage by fire or lightning. The first election occurred on the 6th of March, 1875, when the following Board of Directors was chosen: J. H. Hart, James Richardson, S. S. Glasgow, N. Huffman, Thomas Lapsley, A. J. McFarland, John Yinger, J. J. Harding and Thomas Clinch. On March 13, following, the directors elected J. H. Hart, president, Thomas Clinch, treasurer, and O. B. Green, secretary. At the date of organization the schedule of property upon which policies were issued aggregated sixty-three thousand dollars. The business office of the company is located at the school-house of District No. 3 in Logan township, Peoria county.    [from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880.  Transcribed by Karen Seeman]


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