Genealogy Trails - Pike County, Illinois
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This township lies in the extreme northeastern part of the county. It is bounded upon the north by Versailles tp., Brown Co., on the west by Perry tp., on the south by Flint, and on the east by the Illinois river. Along the river is much bottom land, whole sections of which are entirely useless for agricultural purposes. Both the north and south forks of McGee's creek traverse this township: they join on section 2T, and empty into the Illinois river about a mile above Naples, which is on the opposite shore, in Scott county.
The first pioneers who came to this township were James Wells, Samuel Atchison, a Mr. Brewster and a Mr. Van Woy. They came in 1822.
The first named located on section 20, and Mr. Atchison erected his cabin on section 17.
The first sermon preached in the township was at the house of Rachel Brown, in 1827, by Rev. John Medford, a Methodist preacher.
The first church edifice was erected on section 31.
The first school was taught in 1830 in an old log house which stood near where Joseph Brown lives, by John Lyster.
The first Sunday school in the township was organized by the Methodists in the town of Chambersburg.
The first wedding in the township was in 1826, the contracting parties being James Medford and Eliza Brown. The wedding occurred at the residence of the bride's mother, and the ceremony was performed by Esquire Wells.
The first person overtaken by death in the township was Michael Brown, who died in 1826. He came to the township in the fall of the same year.
Joseph Brown is the oldest pioneer living in the township.
James Pool is the next oldest. Harvey Dunn was an early settler here. He was a member of the convention which framed the Constitution of 1847. He was an unassuming, intelligent and honest man, and died many years ago.
The privations of the pioneer families in this township were in some respects very great, cut off as they were from almost all social, religious, educational and commercial advantages. Of course they enjoyed these in a limited degree. The first settlers were people who valued greatly such privileges, and though they were for many years without school-houses and churches, easily found the facilities for enjoying themselves, both socially and religiously. The greatest privations arose from the want of the means of communication with the outside world. The absence of railroads, or even good wagon roads, rendered the locality almost inaccessible to postal and commercial facilities, and traveling for other than business purposes was out of the question. Most of the original pioneers are represented here by descendants, but they, with few exceptions, have passed to a country that is always new, where, however, the trials of pioneer life are unknown.
The first settlers were all farmers, after a fashion now unknown. They raised a little corn and a few vegetables, and, like their red neighbors, depended largely upon their rifle for subsistence. Their houses were but little superior to those of the Indians, being merely little cabins erected only with the help of the ax and perhaps an auger. No locks, nails or any other article of iron entered into their construction, but such devices as could be wrought out on the ground by the use of the tools named and of such materials as the locality afforded. The only boards used for any purpose were such as could be hewed out of logs.
The town of Chambersburg is located on the north fork of McGee's creek, on section 8. It was surveyed and laid out May 7, 1833, by Seahourn Gilmnore and B. B. Metz. McIntosh and Givens were the first settlers of the town. They owned a distillery and store here before the town was laid out. There are several good stores, churches, a school house, shops, etc., in the town and for an inland village it transacts a very good trade.
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