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Town of Montezuma
History of Pike County by Jess M. Thompson

Montezuma was a wild area, inhabited only by the Indians, when the Boones settled here in 1822. They were the first comers, the first permanent white settlers in that region. The Boones blazed the way for the white settlement of this wild and beautiful section of the vast early-day county of Pike, out of which have since been erected 32 counties and six parts of counties. The nearest mill of any consequence was at Edwardsville, in Madison county, 80 miles distant. It was seven years before the first horse-mill was built by Freeman Tucker on the site of present Milton, on a lot later occupied by Ebenezer Franklin.

In the early years of the settlement, the nearest stores were at Atlas and Bridgeport, the latter opposite present Bedford, on the Scott county side of the Illinois river. The only doctor in this part of the county was Henry J. Ross at Ross's Settlement. The nearest post towns were at Ross's Settlement and Carrollton, the latter in Greene county. There were no roads - just trails. The first road ran from Meacham's Ferry to Atlas. The famous Fort Clark road (from Ferguson's Ferry near the mouth of the Illinois, to Fort Clark, site of Peoria), was another early trail through the Montezuma region. The "land of the Montezumas" or "Montezuma land" it was called, a name perhaps attributable to the Boone legend of buried treasure in that region. The region was the traditional site of one of Daniel Boone's early camps. John Shaw once related that "a number of relatives of Daniel Boone later settled on and near the site of one of his camps in what is now Pike county, Illinois."

Montezuma was formerly a part of Franklin township, largest of the three original Pike county sub-divisions, embracing, when erected in 1824, all of present Pike county east of the range line dividing Sections 4 and 5 west of the Fourth Principal meridian (excepting the southernmost tier of sections in Pearl, Spring Creek and Pleasant Hill townships); also, all the territory north of present Pike and between the above range line and the Illinois river to the base line (intersecting the Illinois river near Beardstown); and all of Illinois north of the base line and west of the Fourth Principal Meridian to the Wisconsin line. In 1876, F. M. Grimes, the editor of the Milton Beacon had this to say of the changes that had then taken place in this once wild land of the Montezumas:

"One hundred years ago, the sound of the white man's axe had not been heard in our forests. The ringing of the anvil, the rattle of the reaper, the hum of the thresher, and whistle of the engine would have been strange music to the ear of the wild Indian, whose song and war-whoop were the only sounds indicative of human existence. The soul-stirring music of the band, the melodious tones of the organ and the still sweeter voices of the choir, would have been in strange contrast with the howl of the wolf or the scream of the panther as they roamed fearlessly over the spot where we now stand. (A Boone descendant, Enoch W. Garrison, as we shall see, hunted these wild creatures on this very spot.) The bark canoe and the majestic steamer; the rude wigwam and the stately mansion; the Indian pony and the iron horse; the slow footman and the lightning telegraph but faintly illustrate the vast difference between the savage of then and the civilized of today." To the wild land thus so ably depicted by the Milton historian of 1876 had come the pioneering Boones-Zachariah and Dinah Boone Allen and his daughter Polly; Lewis Allen and Jonathan Boone Allen and their families (a letter from Jonathan Boone Allen's 73-year-old grandson in the state of Texas establishes the identity of Jonathan B. Allen of the early days as the eldest son of Dinah Boone Allen and a grandson of Jonathan Boone, the brother of Daniel); and Joseph Jackson and his family, the latter continuing on west to the Mississippi side of the county and settling in what is now Pleasant Vale township, near modern New Canton, whither we shall follow them in a later chapter. These Boone family embraced direct descendants of Jonathan and Edward Boone, the former an older and the latter a younger brother of Daniel Boone. Both of these brother of Daniel had their names implanted in Pike county history by their grandsons, namely, Jonathan Boone Allen, grandson of Jonathan Boone, and Edward Boone Scholl, grandson of Edward (Neddie) Boone, whose colorful part in early Pike county history will be related in a chapter devoted to the romantic Scholl family.

Montezuma was still a wilderness when Sally Garrison, daughter of Dinah Boone and granddaughter of Jonathan Boone, settled there, with her husband and children in October, 1826. This was two years before William Kenney erected the first log cabin and nine years before the village of Milton was platted by Freeman Tucker. Elijah Garrison married Sally Allen in Kentucky, and was a Christian minister. His first sermon in the new land was preached at the log house of David Mize, in what is now Detroit township, in 1826. Preaching and prayer meetings were held at private houses until better accommodations could be had." Under the leadership of the Garrisons, ministers of the Christian (prevailing) church, and of Sally Garrison's brother, Lewis Allen, the Baptist, a church organization was effected prior to 1828.

Zachariah A. and Enoch W. Garrison, sons of Sally (Allen) Garrison, were typical Boones. The lure of far horizons was in their blood; for them, the untrammeled life of camp and woods had an irresistible appeal. They were grandsons of Dinah Boone, great grandsons of Jonathan Boone, great great grandsons of Squire and Sarah Boone, the parents of Daniel. Zachariah A. Garrison was born in Posey county, Indiana, on the banks of the Wabash, March 29, 1815, Posey county being the southwestern county of Indiana, in the loop made by the junction of the Wabash with the Ohio, and just across the rivers from Kentucky and Illinois. Zachariah and Dinah Boone Allen had dwelt nearby, on the Illinois side of the Wabash, prior to their removal to Pike county, Illinois. Here, on the Illinois side of the river, Jonathan Boone, Dinah's father, had built a mill, and here, according to Enoch Boone, son of the younger Squire, Jonathan Boone about 1808. Elijah and Sally Garrison had, therefore, prior to their removal to Pike county, dwelt in the neighborhood of her grandfather Jonathan Boone's last settlement. Following the Boones to Pike county came others of their Posey county neighbors, and descendants thereof, among them Absalom and Catherine (Anderson) Boren, founders of the Boren family in Montezuma, and later, J. G. Johnson, early proprietor of the Johnson House in Milton, whose parents, Joseph and Esther (Jolly) Johnson, had been Posey county neighbors of the Boones, Allens and Garrisons. He was married in Pike county on January 28, 1834, to Louisiana Davis a daughter of Thomas Davis, died in 1839, and he married on April 22, 1841, his second wife to Miss Cyntha Watters; Cyntha Garrison died January 16, 1853. She had one child Hannah J., who married Orsen Gilbert. His third wife was Lydia Wilson, a native of Ohio.

As early as 1835, Zachariah A. Garrison was engaged in running log rafts down the Illinois river. He afterwards followed the river as a pilot until 1852, when he became proprietor of a hotel at the southwest corner of the square in Milton, which he conducted for eleven years. In 1861 he enlisted as captain of Company E, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and two months afterward was appointed recruiting officer. In this capacity he served until 1864, when he headed westward over the Oregon Trail, living then for some years in the state of Oregon. Returning here, he settled at the big spring on the river road, in Montezuma township. He died on May 4, 1891, at the age of 76. Enoch W. Garrison was a famous hunter. He was also into farming in the summer. On one occasion a panther chased his dogs from the site of modern Milton. He was a crack shot and stories were told in the pioneer settlement of his hunting prowess, even as they were told of his famous kinsman, Daniel Boone.

Enoch W. Garrison, could imitate the various calls of the wild. He was able to point out many places where he had shot a young deer and slung it across his shoulders, sometimes toting the carcass for miles to his home to replenish the family larder with venison steak. He recalled having often seen as many as a half dozen deer feeding in a group, and knowing their favorite haunts and their accustomed watering places, he often lay in wait until he was able to bag a deer to his liking. He remembered having seen in the early days of his settlement here as many as a half dozen coons in a single tree; the wild bee he followed to its lair in some hollow tree trunk, thereby securing sweetening for the family table. <>P>Fifty-six years ago, this grandson of the Boones, relating his pioneer experiences in Pike county, told of his lack of educational advantages, almost as meager as those of his illustrious kinsman, Daniel Boone. There were no schools, he said, when his family settled in the county. In a few years, however, came the days of subscription schools and teachers with ox gads in their hands; he remembered attending school for a short time in a log cabin where Milton now stands. Enoch W. Garrison resided for many years on the SW sub-division of the NW fractional quarter of Section 2, Pearl township. Like his brother, Zachariah A., he was three times married. On December 14, 1839, he married Harriet Watters, a sister of Cyntha A. Watters, to whom his brother, Zachariah, was later married. This first wife died September 29, 1860, aged 39 years. Her son, Joseph R., died February 14, 1847, aged four days; another son, Silias (Silas) W., died August 19, 1845, aged one year and eleven months. August 19, 1845, aged one year and eleven months. Markers stand in Green Pond cemetery to these two great grandsons of the Boones, and also to the mother Harriet, wife of Enoch W. Garrison. On October 29, 1860, Enoch W. Garrison was again married, his second wife being Sarah Bowen. On April 24, 1871, he married Mrs. Nancy Coats who survived him at his death. He became the father of eight children, the latest surviving being William Zachariah, who married Edna J. Butler, April 12, 1873; Lewis A. (Second of the name in Pike county), who married Martha E. Marshall, July 29, 1883; Hannah L., who married Levi Davis, December 26, 1870; and Enoch W., Jr., who first married Laura Butler of Montezuma, August 26, 1877. She died on Buckhorn, March 26, 1884, of spinal meningitis and typhoid, and is buried at Green Pond. Enoch's second marriage was with Fannie L. Long, August 7, 1884. She was a daughter of Thomas S. Long of Pearl Prairie, who was a native of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, where Squire and Sarah (Morgan) Boone resided prior to their removal to North Carolina in 1750. Fannie M. Long's mother was Mary Peacock, daughter of Henry Peacock, an early settler in Calhoun. Enoch W. Garrison, the elder, was born in Posey county, Indiana, December 22, 1818, nineteen days after Illinois became a state; he died in Pearl township May 8, 1895, aged 76. He was eight years old when he came to Pike county with his parents. He, with numerous other Garrisons, is buried in Green Pond cemetery, in the southern part of Montezuma township, a short distance east of Illinois State Route 100, between Milton and Pearl. Here, on discolored and weather-beaten stones, may be traced the names of many of Boone lineage.

History of Pike County Chapman Brothers 1880

This township borders on the Illinois river and lies between Detroit on the north and Pearl on the south. It was one of the first townships in this early settled county to receive the pioneer. A very complete and interesting historical sketch of this township was prepared by Mr. F. M. Grimes, editor of the Milton Beacon, in 1876, and we make no apology for quoting much of this sketch. The people of Monteznma and neighboring townships had a grand centennial celebration at Milton, July 4,1876, and Mr. Grimes was appointed to the pleasant yet arduous and difficult task ofpreparing an historical sketch of this township as a Centennial History. After his introductory, he begins the sketch of the settlement as follows:


One hundred years ago the sound of the white man's ax had not been heard in our forests. The ringing of the anvil, the rattle of the reaper, the hum of the thresher, and whistle of the engine would have been strange music to the ear of the wild Indian, whose song and warhoop were the only sounds indicative of human exis­tence. The soul-stirring music of the band, the melodious tones of the organ and the still sweeter voices of the choir, would have been in strange contrast with the howl of the wolf or the scream of the panther as they roamed fearlessly o'er the spot where we now stand. The bark canoe and the majestic steamer; the rude wig­wam and the stately mansion; the Indian^pony and the iron horse; the slow footman and the lightning telegrapn,—but faintly illustrate the vast difference between the savage of then and the civilized of to-day.

But little is known of the history of Montezuma township prior to the year 1819, at which time Ebenezer Franklin settled upon the lands now owned by his son Frederick Franklin, our townsman. Other settlements were afterwards made by Charles Adams, James Daniels, David Daniels, David Hoover, Daniel Hoover, Joel Meach-am, Thomas Davis (1826), Elijah Garrison (1826), Solomon Far-rington(1827), John F. Long (1828), Fielden Hanks'?1829), William Morton, Frederic Franklin (came with his father), E. C. Clemmons, James Cheatham (1834), Josiah Hoover (came with his father in 1826), George Hoover (came with his father), Daniel Hoover (182).6 The last eight are still residents. Z. A. Garrison, John Battershell (1832), now a resident of Spring Greek township, Ezekiel Clemmons, Boone Allen, John Morton, George Morton, Peter Dillon, John Garrison, Joseph Garrison, John Loop, Nicholas Jones, John Jones, Wm. McBride, Smith Aimes, Joshua Davis, Josiah ????, William Kenncy (1826), Solomon Seevers, Koark, James Grimes (1836), John Bacus, Job Wilkinson, B. Greathoose, John Greathouse, Louis Allen, Elijah Garrison.

Like all settlers of new countries they suffered many hardships and inconveniences. The nearest mill for the first few years was Ed wards ville, 80 miles distant. Mr. Frankliu informs us that there were then about 200 Indians in the neighborhood. * * * *

In the year 1829 a horse-mill was built by Freeman Tucker on the lot now occupied by Mr. Franklin. The nearest trading points were at Atlas ana Bridgeport, opposite Bedford. The first regularly laid out road ran from Montezuma to Atlas, and was among, if not the first, in the county. Houston was the physician. Polly Davis taught the first school in a small cabin on the land now owned by Josiah Hoover. In addition to her labors as teacher she had the care of eight children.

The inhabitants were pre-eminently religious. Shouting was very common and the " jerks " had not ceased to afflict the religions fanatic, Preaching and prayer meetings were held at private houses until better accommodations could be had. The Christian Church prevailed at that time, and an organization was effected prior to 1828. There were five resident ministers; fonr of the Christian and one of the Baptist faith. The" present Christian Church has been perpetuated since the year 1833.

The call for volunteers for the Black Hawk war created no little consternation among the people. A meeting was called at Flor­ence and John Battershell, Joseph Gale, William Kenney, Joshna Davis, Smith Aimes, Josiah Simms and Edward Irons enlisted. The first two are still living. There were others from the adjoin­ing towns or counties who afterwards became residents, as Jesse Lester, then a resident of Detroit, now residing here, James Grimes, resident of Greene county, and others whose names we cannot give.

About the year 1830, by virtue of a law allowing slaveholders the privilege of passing through this State with slaves, slavery ex­isted in the township for a period limited by the law to 30 days. Jacob Rosel brought a negro woman here, and not wishing to remove for the time, kept her until the expiration of the 30 days and took her to Missouri for a few days, and brought her back again, and so continued to do, thus evading the law for nearly a year.

The first marriage so far as we can learn was that of Joseph Gale and Elizabeth Garrison, about the year 1830. John F. Long is now the oldest resident voter in the township, having been a legal voter 47 years, and has not missed to exceed three general elections. The oldest native-born resident is Daniel G. Hoover, son of Daniel and Rebecca Hoover. Calvin Greathonse, son of John and Cathrine Greathouse, was the first native-born. He is now a resident of Texas.


Even in the earlier days the settlers regarded the education of their children as their first duty. In many instances the tuition was paid by the father's labor with the maul and wedge^or the mother's work at the wheel and loom. The first board of school trustees now on record was composed of the following names: Nathan Tucker, R C. Robertson, Jacob Wagner, John F. Long and Solomon Farrington, who met at Milton July 15, 1840, and appor­tioned the funds then on hand, $83.06, upon the schedules of W. M. Porter and Charles Daniels.

A subsequent meeting is recorded as follows:

June 5th, 1841.
Trustees of schools met at Milton and ordered:

1st That the debtors to the school fund be required punctually to pay the interest when due, and annually to pay ten per cent of the principal.

2d. That 65 days be considered one quarter of a year, and that each school teacher teach 8 hours in each day.

3d. That the trustees receive for their services 50 cts. per day, and the treasurer receive $1.00 per day.

Mathew Baker, "Walter W. Tucker, James Grimes, Fielden Hanks, John S. Bacus,


At a meeting held at Thomas Davis' house in November of the same year, the township was laid off in districts, Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Lots No. 4, 14 and 15 of the 16th section were ordered to be sold on the 24th of December on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years' time. From 1840 to 1850 we find the name of B. Greathouse as Treasurer most of the time. The names of a portion of the teachers are as follows: T. M. Johnson, Louisa Greene, W. W« Tucker, A. Meacham, A. D. Robertson, W. Porter, G. Lester, Joseph M. Jones (now resident of Oregon), N. W. Saxton, J. J. Meacham, A. Jones, H. D. Bennett, C. L. Easley, T. P. Hoit, Noble Shaw, Martha Greathouse, B. F. Turpin, Matthew Morton, Sidney Coffey, James Brook, Nancy L. Reed, John Porter, Sherman Goss, Edwin Woolley, Joseph Colvin (now living in Time), W. F. Anderson, Addison S. Smith, John W. Allen (now residing near Milton), R. R. Clark. James M. Grimes, Adam Acott, Mary A. Clemmons, CarolineE. Davis, Harmon J.Kim-ball, Wm. B. Grimes, Edwin P. Simmons, John S. Woolley. Emeline Spencer, Robert Owen and Samuel Heaton, From 1850 to the present we can only mention a few of the names: Hampton, Eagin, Hurley, Roberts, Walden. Underwood, Eakins, Harris, Ewing, N. C. Boren, P. A. Long, J. H. Long, W. M. Landess, N. J. Colvin, Fannie Allen, Jane Allen, A. F. White, W. N. Barney, Sarah B. Stuart, N. D. Mc. Evers, G. W. Manley, J. L. Harris, Lncinda K. Smith, G. B. Garrison, W. Z. Garrison, Amanda Boren and J. M. Faris. The teachers during the last year were John King, Miss Cromwell, Mrs. A. Binns, L. D. Riggs, Geo. A. Holcomb, C. E. Thnrman, J. G. Webster, J. L. Craven, W. F. Colvin, and the writer. Several of the above named persons have devoted the greater portion of their lives to the profession. During the past 20 years Mr. F. M. Grimes taught 19 successive terms in this town­ship. Monteznma has always been proud of her schools, and according to her population she stands second to none in the eounty, perhaps in the State. Liberal wages have been paid, and there seems to oe a determination on the part of the patrons to spare no pains in giving to their children the greatest of blessings, a liberal educa­tion. As evidence that our schools have been all that we claim for them, we point to the business and professional men who received their education in our schools, viz: J. F. Greathonse, who now ranks among the best lawyers of the county, F. M. Greathonse, his brother, now present State's Attorney of Calhoun, and stands at the head of the Bar in that county; W. B. Grimes, ex-County Clerk, and V. A. Grimes, present Deputy; W. H. Thomas, attorney, now in California; J. H. Nicolay, who held a position in the U. S. Treasury at Washington; JohnG. Nicolay, present Marshal of the Supreme Court of the U. S., held his residence here for several years prior to entering upon his apprenticeship as a printer in Irittsfield, and what education he received in the common schools, was obtained in the schools in this township.


For many years the tillers of the soil were, of necessity, compelled to use such implements as came within their reach. The plow with wooden mold-board is within the recollection of many who were raised in our midst. The sickle and the scythe were suf­ficient for the amount of small grain raised, but as the acreage increased, the demand for something more expeditious was supplied by the introduction of the reaper. Mr. R. H. Robertson was the first to lead in this progressive movement, and in about the year 1845, bought and cut his grain with a McCormick reaper. Next year Mr. E. C. Clemmons followed the example. A. Boren and ohn F. Long soon after introduced one in the south part of the township. Flailing and tramping with horses soon gave way to the " beater," which was run by Wm. Stults. This was quite a relief to the boys who rode the horses from day to day, and bare­back at that, on a tramping floor not more than 30 feet in diameter. Our recollections on this point are very vivid indeed. The " beater " soon gave way to the improved thresher and cleaner; the wooden fork was not adequate to the task of taking care of the straw; the wooden plows were laid in the shade and the Stebbins and Modie plows took their places; the wooden harrow was not in keeping with the times, and the material from which it was made served for other purposes. That the soil from which our crops is prodnced is of the best and most endurable quality, is demonstrated beyond a doubt by the manner in which it has from year to year been tilled. Until late' years the clover crop was as rare as the flax crop is at the present. Year after year have our lands yielded bountiful crops, without rest or nourishment in return, and why should we wonder that it should show some signs of diminished productive­ness? The improved methods of culture, deep plowing, clovering and pasturing, nave made much of our land better than it was when it was first turned by the plow-share.

The introduction of improved and blooded stock was left to a few of our most enterprising farmers, who, in the past 25 years have made rapid strides in this particular, so much so that this for the past two or three years may be called the banner township, so far as the show of fine cattle is concerned. Isaac Brown & Sons, John O. Bolin, E. N. French, Geo. Hoover, R. 0. Allen and others, have done a commendable work in the improvement of cattle, hogs and sheep.

The majority of our farmers now have more or less of the improved breeds upon their farms. The original scrub hog is as scarce now as the imported was 20 years ago. In order that the progress of the next century may be readily estimated by the readers who at that time may chance to see this record, we give some of the statistics furnished by Eli Grimes, present Assessor:

Merchandise, value, $27,460; moneys and credits, $66,485; improved lands, 12,257 acres, $327,925; unimproved lands, 8,261 acres, $43,660; wheat, 3,019 acres; corn, 4,148 acres; oats, 509 acres; meadows and pasture, 3,085 acres; town lots, improved, 155; unimproved, 391; total value of town lots, $58,919; total value of personal property, $173,175; total value of real estate, $371,585. Grand total, $607,539.


There are three villages in this township, the largest and most important of which is Milton, situated on section 5. At the close of the Black Hawk war in 1832, and when the people of the South and East were assured that the settlers through this section of the State had no more to fear from the Indians, there was a most wonder­ful influx of settlers here. There has never been a period in the history of the settlement of the Mississippi valley or the Great West, when emigration was greater than it was to Central Illinois during the few years subsequent to the close of the war, say from 1833 to 1837. The people poured in by thousands, and the beauti­ful groves and " points " of Pike county received their portion. During this period we find unprecedented prosperity on every hand. Then, to add to the almost wild excitement incident to the prosperity and speculation then rife, the State inaugurated the most stupendous system ot internal improvements ever attempted by a government. The wildest imagination can scarcely conceive the magnitude of this vast system. Suffice it to say that it proved an incentive to the settlers here to embark in speculations, especially in land. Towns were laid out on every hand, and a majority of the villages of Pike county were platted, christened and started upon their career during this eventful period. In this township the villages of Milton, Montezuma and Bedford were ushered into existence at this time.

The beautiful little village of Milton was platted by Freeman Tucker, March 2, 1835. As early as 1828 Wm. Kenney erected a log cabin here. Some little improvement was made in the neigh­borhood from that time until they laid off the town. There are several good store buildings, filled with a fine assortment of goods in their various lines, situated around a beautiful little square, which is set with trees, etc., and forms a pleasant summer park. The first store was kept by Tucker & Wethere, and the first school was taught by George Lester. The first church structure was situ­ated on the Public Square. Milton is situated upon a beautiful prairie, and enjoys a fine local trade.

The village of Montezuma, which is located on the Illinois river, on section 12, and four miles from Milton, was laid out by an Alton Company for a river landing. In 1836 Joel Meacham, who ran a ferry across the river at this point for many years, laid out an addition, which comprises about one-half of the town. Monte­zuma had great promise of making a town of some importance, being an excellent landing for boats at all stages of water, but the introduction of railroads and the springing up of inland towns, have so crippled river transportation that at present it affords profit to scarcely any one. The village contains at present about 100 in-habitants.

Bedford, which is situated on sections 13 and 24, and about one mile and a half below Montezuma on the river, was laid out by David Hoge, April 16, 1836. It has an excellent river landing, and for years a vast amount of grain, pork and various kinds or pro­duce, were annually shipped from here. It no longer, however, claims any great prominence among the towns of the county. Its present population numbers about 100.

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