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City of Griggsville
Griggsville Depot
Early Settlement of Griggsville
Contributed to Genealogy Trails by Gene Clark
The following article was taken from The Independent Press,
Devoted to the Interest of Griggsville and Pike County, Vol. XXII, Griggsville, Illinois,
Wednesday, February 20, 1901, No. 16.
E. N. Phillips, who gave the interview, was a great grandson of Edward Boone, younger brother of Daniel Boone.
The article appeared in a section of Griggsville History, subtitled
"King Phillips Talks for Readers of the Press, Has a Vivid Memory for Dates and Early Incidents in the Old Town."
Mr. E. N. Phillips (photo)
For the benefit of the press readers, a reporter for this paper had an interview with Mr. E. N. Phillips concerning the early history of this city and vicinity. Mr. Phillips came here long years ago, and is in fact one of the old land marks of this section. He has a wonderful memory, especially for dates and any event of great or little importance within the last 70 years is readily recalled by him, and the date of its occurrence given almost instantly. And 80 with the early history of Griggsville, the dates of the arrival of the first corners, their acts and doings, have all been carried in his mind, a veritable storehouse of knowledge, all through these many years.

Mr. Phillips (Edward N.), who is known far and near as King Phillips, was born in Winchester, Scott county, Kentucky, Dec. 23, 1820. He came to this county Oct. 22, 1828, with his father, Dr. Nathan Phillips, in a wagon drawn by four horses. They settled on the present N. H. DAVIS farm, southeast of Griggsville.

The first individual to live in the present Pike County was a French trapper named TEBO. He located at Burns Spring in 1817-1819, the favorite resort of hunters and trappers. He was killed in Milton in 1844. He tilled no land nor had a family.

The first actual settler was a man by the name of Garrett VANDUSEN, who, established the present Phillips Ferry. When Mr. Phillips came, there were but two persons living in the present city of Griggeville: Andrew PHILLIPS in a house where Mrs. WISE'S house now stands, and Henry BATEMAN in the Street west of Jessie ALCORN. The following families were living in the vicinity: Samuel WINEGAR at the Winegar Spring, Benry CRISTMAN at the Anderson Spring, McWHITTY and George BRIGHT at the Gardner Spring; Jerry LATHAM close to the present home of John E. NEWMAN; David JOHNSON on the old SHINN place now owned by E. S. PARKER; Charles HAZELRIG on the David PYLE farm; Marshal KEY on the WELLS place now owned by Richard WADE; Matland AYRES on the THRASHER place; William SHULL on the Perry Road at the present home of James FLINN; Samuel CHENOWETH on the Perry HARSHMAN farm; John MATTHEWS on the Sam BARRINGTON farm. There were several families living at Detroit at that time called the lower settlement. They were Joseph NEELY, George HALL, Col. PETTIS and a family named NYSE. Dr. Joseph BENNETT lived at Valley. There were no other settlers west until you get beyond the present village of Kingston, and only one south on the Louisiana Road and that two miles north of Pittsfield.

Abel SMELLY settled at the SMELLY Spring in 1829; Abraham GOLDMAN one half mile south of town where Dr. SKINNER now has his berry farm. Benjamin DUNNIWAY settled the present William SHIILL farm. In the fall of the year 1829, Judge HINHAN came and bought out Henry BATEMAN.

In 1830 Josiah WADE settled on the farm now owned by H. N. GRAY and Henry FOUTEY the James SHINN place, at present the home of Walter LIGHTLE. Thomas PERRICK settled at the McHose Spring. In the fall of this year there was a large emigration from England to Scott County who bought out the following parties, who then moved over to Pike County: William ELLEDGE, Uriah ELLEDGE, Jesse ELLEDGE, Red BELL, Peter SHULL, and William ALCORN.

There was a large emigration in 1831 from the east; among those coming were Benjamin BECKFORD, Robert SEABORN, Nathan TRUMBULL and Judge DICKINSON.

In 1832 John CADWELL came and built the house now standing north of the post office, and started a store. In the spring of 1833 he sold to James BEATTY, who sold in the fall to G. W. JOHNSON, who the next spring built the first store on the south side of Quincy Avenue, near the present location of Fergusons Drug Store. He sold it in the spring of 1835 to AYERS & LOMBARD.

In the spring of 1833, N. W. JONES came and bought out Judge HINMAN who bought the land now known as the VANDAMENT place. HINMAN sold this place to James A. COLLINS, and with his son-in-law, George YATES, entered land which is known as the HINMAN Prairie. These farms are still owned by their heirs. Amos BLOOD came in this year of 1833 and settled on the prairie west of town.

The city of Griggsville was laid out in 1834. Lots were sold at auction by Captain DAVIS from Pittsfield. Mr. Phillips father, Dr. Nathan PHILLIPS, bought the first lot, sold for $75, the corner just east of the post office, now owned by B.. N. DIX. In laying out the town, lots were reserved for the Baptist and Congregational Societies, also for a male and female academy. These lots are at the present time being used for the purposes for which they were originally intended.

This same year, 1834, William LIPPINCOTT built the first hotel, known afterwards as the Weagley House, on the corner where the Independent Press building is located. LIPPINCOTT sold it to Capt. COLLINS, COLLINS to Charles PERKINS, he to Benjamin LOMBARD, and he to Charles KENNEY. It was then rented to a man by the name of SWAN who ran it until it was sold to J. P. WEAGLEY in about 1850. It was destroyed by fire in 1881.

In the year 1834 John SHAW bought out Benjamin DUNNIWAY, and he made the first brick in this section, James McWILLIAMS came this year and settled on the present John CRAVER farm. C. G. BERRY bought the Phillips Ferry the same year and John WARTON settled on the WARTON farm south of town, Judge DICKINSON built a blacksmith shop on the ground now occupied by Miss A. I,. WALDER's millinery store and James HUTCHINSON one across the street.

In 1835 Harvey POWELL also started a blacksmith shop in the east part of town. The building now occupied by the post office was built by MOORE in 1835 whose children carried on a store for about six months, when they sold it to Squire PHILLIPS, and he to HATCH & HOYT. The firm changed to HATCH & McNEAL. They were followed by Col. PHILBRICK, and then came William CHRYSUP in 1844. Uriah BROWN came out from the east, bought the corner lot east of AYERS & LOMBARD on the south side of Quincy Avenue, built a store and started in business.

The first grocery was started in 1836 by VANDUSEN, on the corner now owned by William REYNOLDS. All stores at that time sold liquor.

In 1836 AYERS & LOMBARD packed pork at the landing, and the next year built a packing house in town.

In 1837 STARNE & ALEXANDER started a general store, also a drug store in the lower part of the Crow's Nest. The buildings are still being occupied. LYNDE & WOODWARD started in a store in the dwelling now occupied by Mrs. BATTLES.

In 1838 the store buildings on the south owned by BROWN and AYERS & LOMBARD burned. AYERS 6 LOMBARD built the store now occupied by JOHNSTON & Co. At this time there were three buildings on the north side; the present post office, AYERS & LOMBARD, and one owned and occupied by S. M. STEAD.

The legal profession was represented by Squire PHILLIPS and Squire MCALLISTER and Lawyers Soloman PARSONS and John P. JORDAN. The doctors were Nathan PHILLIPS, 1828; Reuben HATCH, 1835; J. N. HIGGENS, 1834; James PETRIE, 1836. The years 1836, 1837, 1838 were known as the great boom years, and everybody was rich...

In the spring of 1839 James McWILLIAMS moved into a house where J. E. PERRY now lives. The following year he built the house in which John CRAVEN now lives. His first wife died and he then married Miss L. PRESCOTT, a teacher in the Female Academy. Mr. McWILLIAMS took an active and prominent part in the management of the affairs of this vicinity. Of this family there are now living Elizabeth, now Mrs. FARRAND; Mary, now Mrs. REYNOLDS; John; and David. Capt. John McWILLIAMS, now of Odell, Illinois, raised a company under President Lincoln's call for 75,000 men, and went with Col. Oglesby in the 8th Illinois. In 1862 he was appointed Brigade Quartermaster, and went with Gen. Sherman in his march to the sea. John in 1849 crossed the plains with an ox team to California with Wtlliam SHINN, Sent FRYE and his cousin, Abner McWILLIAMS of Pana, Illinois. The oldest son David removed to Dwight in 1855 and married a daughter of J. P. WEAGLEY, proprietor of the Weagley Hotel, who a few weeks since suggested to Mr. PHILLIPS the idea of writing this history, and who always, when here, kindly remembers old King in a most substantial manner, which helps to brighten and shorten the long, weary days which surround him. These boy friends of his are today commonly reported as the most successful business men raised in old Pike.

From 1840 to 1844 were the years of the panic. Wheat sold for 37 1/2 cents a bushel, pork for $1.75 to $2., common labor 37 1/2 cents per day, in harvest at about 75 cents, a good horse sold for $30, cows $10. In 1843 were names of William LIKELY, Emory PLACE, John STEVENS, James TWIMBLE. From this time on until 1847 the country moved along in a fairly prosperous condition.

1851 was known as the year of the great revival in all the churches, at which time it was claimed over 800 people became converted. The Congregational minister was KADY; Baptist, ESTAY; Methodist, Hardin WALLACE. This was known as the Hardin WALLACE revival.

When Mr. PHILLIPS came, there had been but one steam boat up the river. He saw the second in April of 1829, called the "Black Warrior." Several horse and mule boats were built at the landing, the first was a horse boat called Olee Tippee, the second Tymoliam. In 1847 the steamboat Prairie State was built by AYERS & LOMBARD and Capt. RIDER.

The first mill was built on the farm now owned by William REYNOLDS on Blue Creek by Garrett VANDUSEN in 1824, who sold the site to Joseph FARLEY, who built a new combined grist and saw mill. In 1835 Jonathan FRYE bought FARLEY out, and the next year he formed a partnership with J. R. STANFORD, and this firm in 1840 built a new steam merchant mill. They did a large business shipping flour by the boat load via New Orleans to Boston. This mill was destroyed by fire in 1846.

The first school was kept in a log school house one-half mile northeast of town in 1830 by Robert RANKIN, who was followed by Jesse ELLEDGE. The school was then moved to town and kept over the store where S. N. STEADS store now stands and was taught by Benjamin BATES in 1835, followed by Thomas PHILLIPS, Edward PICRETT, Peter T. LEEDS. The female academy was built by subscription in 1836, and the first school was taught by Mrs. NORTON, Miss FOOT, Miss PRESCOTT, and Miss HOLLISTER. The male academy was built in 1837; the first teacher he can remember in this school was Charles WOODARD.

In 1830 the Methodist Conference sent a preacher by the name of Spencer HUNTER, who held services in the homes of the settlers. At that time this was called the Atlas Mission. Peter CARTRIGHT was the Presiding Elder. In 1834 the Methodists built a church at the crossroads one mile east of town. This was known as the Shinn meeting house. Services were held here until 1836, when a class was organized in Griggsville and a church built in the west part of town. The class that occupied the Shinn Meeting House moved south and formed the present gethel Society. About 1832 the Baptists had a preacher by the name of Jacob BOWERS. In 1834 a preacher came from Quincy and organized a Presbyterian church. In 1836 a reorganization took place, and the present Congregational Society was organized and the church dedicated in 1837.

Reference: Archives Papers - -Nathan PHILLIPS and Nancy ELLEDGE were married in Bath Co., Kentucky, Dec. 12, 1818, by John Harper, Clergyman. Four attending the wedding were living in Griggsville area in 1861: Jane PHILLIPS; Jesse ELLEDGE, Winchester; Mary NESBITT; Malinda JACKSON, New Canton. Nathan PHILLIPS served in the War of 1812, Fayette, Co., Kentucky; be died Oct. 17, 1852 at Griggsville. Children: William Riley, "Bud", Edward M. "King", Thomas C. "Coke", Francis A.., Niinrod Hiram, Sophia PHILLIPS KINKAID.

Mrs. Brehm learned of this interview following the death of her father in 1963. She wrote to a cousin, Lena DENNIS SIGLEER, who was born at Griggsville and was reared by her grandmother Nancy PHILIPS DENNIS, born in Griggsville, October, 1850. The Illinois State Historical Library supplied her with a copy of the Press interview.

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