Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy Trails

Black Hawk Township


Black Hawk Township

Derives its name from the noted chief of the Sac and Fox Indians, who for many years had his home within the present limits of South Rock Island Township.

This township originally was full six miles square, with the exception of a few hundred acres cut off from the northwest corner by the Mississippi River, and with Rock River flowing from the east nearly through its center. Afterwards the township was divided and Rock River became the northerly line of Black Hawk township, and that part of the original township north of the river was named South Rock Island Township.

The first marriage license in the township was issued on August 22, 1833, to Benjamin Goble and Barbara Vandruff, both now asleep in the beautiful Chippiannock Cemetery. They lived for many years on Big Island.

Joshua Vandruff was an early pioneer and lived on what was then called Lowell Island. His sons Joshua Jr., John, Henry, Jacob and James, all had farms on Big Island, where they lived for many years . Other early settlers in the township were William Dickson and Col. John Dickson, the latter for many years justice of the peace; James Johnston, G. W. Heflin, James Dickson, Ira Whitehead, N.D. Bradley, Wm. Young, Daniel Pinkley, David Brownlee, Garret Davis, John Bulley, Morgan Ferguson, A.L. Buck and N. Bruner.

The township has an abundant supply of coal and wood and is traversed by two railroads - the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific to Peoria, and the Cable and Mercer County Branch. The Peoria line was built in 1854. It also has an electric car line, connecting Milan, Black Hawk’s Watch Tower, Rock Island, Moline and Davenport . The celebrated Hennepin Canal, connecting the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, is completed through this township.

It also has one of the finest water powers in the state and some time it will, no doubt, be more largely utilized.

At one time there three paper mills on Rock River and two large flouring mills, one owned by James Johnston and one by the Sears company. All were consumed by fire.

There are now two churches in this township and eight school houses. No other township has better educational facilities.

Martin Whistler was the first merchant to open a general store in the township.

The stars and stripes were first hoisted here in the summer of 1805, by Lieutenant Pike.

The first land entered was on October 19, 1829, by William T. Brasher, covering the location now occupied by the cemetery.

Black Hawk Township comprises a section noted not only for the beauty of its landscape, but also for being an exceedingly prosperous farming community. The bottom land is very rich and produces immense crops of corn, hay, potatoes and small grain, while the finest apples, peaches, grapes and berries are raised in large abundance, and all find ready market close at hand. It is not surpassed -- perhaps not equalled - by any other section of the state, or the great west. Farmers, as a rule, are well-to-do, prosperous and happy, and a happy home amidst such surroundings means an extension of life. The south side of the township has a line of beautiful bluffs and are made practical from being underlaid with a vein of most excellent coal, from four to six feet thick.
With rich soil, beautiful scenery, cheap fuel, clear running streams, extensive water power, transportation by rail, both steam and electric, by river and canal; nearby markets and a healthful climate; what more can be desired, and what is there lacking to make it an ideal farming community?

With farms paid for, and carrying an unquestioned value of $100 to $120 an acre, and with good health, why should not our farmers be contented and consequently happy.

"Historic Rock Island County : history of the settlement of Rock Island County from the earliest known period to the present time : embracing references of importance, and including a biography
of Rock Island County's well-known citizens." Rock Island, Ill.: Kramer & Co., 1908-   ©Transcribed by K. Torp, 2006


Rock Island County, Illinois
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