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Early Settlements of Allin Illinois
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The first log cabin in Brooks’ Grove, was put up by Miles Brooks. He moved into it on the 14th day of March, 1830. He was a native of Virginia, but, early, moved to Kentucky. From Kentucky, he came to Indiana, and from there to Illinois, in 1829. He first stopped at Cleary’s Grove, in Menard County. When he settled at the grove which has ever since borne his name, he found very few people in that part of McLean County. There was a cluster of families north, at Stout’s Grove, and others northeast, at Twin and Dry Groves, but his neighbors were not inconveniently near nor extremely numerous. Miles Brooks opened up a farm there, and continued to reside at the grove. His son, Presley T. Brooks, still owns the farm, and has resided upon it until recently. He has been a noted man in the township from its earliest history. His children reside in the township, two sons doing business at Stanford. Mr. Brooks married a Larison. The Larisons are well known in the early history of McLean County.
The first settlement made at Brown’s Grove, was by William Brown. He was from Tennessee. He came to the grove at an early date-some say, about the time that Ephraim Stout came to Stout’s Grove, in Danvers Township. If this be true, he was the first inhabitant of what is now Allin Township. William Brown did not remain at the grove which bears his name, but sold out and moved to Mackinaw Creek, where he lived until his death. He had several children, who lived in Allin with their father. They all went with him to the Mackinaw, up above Lexington, where some of them still remain. A son-in-law of Mr. Brown, by the name of Poor, is particularly remembered. He, too, followed the sire ti other parts. There were a number of the Stouts, who moved to Brown’s Grove at an early date. They were some of the same company that first inhabited Danvers Township. These were given to hunting and sporting. They spent most of their time in that way. They did very little at farming, and when the country began to fill up with .he tides of emigration from Eastern States, they found a more congenial element in other lands.
Robert Meann came early to this same grove. He afterward died of the bilious fever. Mr. Warlow says that he had a young brother, twelve years old, who died about the same time, of the same disease. When a person now has simply bilious fever, he is not considered dangerously ill. But then it was otherwise. He thinks that the doctors killed them. Bleeding was the process for all diseases. The doctors came out from Bloomington and found their patients suffering from an extremely high fever. They then performed the bleeding operation. When the patient’s blood was nearly all gone, the fever would abate. When the physician again made his appearance, if the patient was a little better, he would bleed him again. It is true that some survived the treatment; but others died, when, it is thought, the better knowledge of to-day would have relieved the suffering and preserved the life.
Benjamin Harlow entered land on the north side of Brown’s Grove in the fall of 1836. Here he built a cabin and reared his family. The Warlows were from -New York. They moved to Ohio, and then to Illinois. They spent the first two years at Dry Grove. Richard A. Warlow still resides near the site of the old log cabin, first built on the north of the grove. He is the oldest inhabitant of this part of the township. He has been a prominent person in the history of the township, having held about all the offices within the gift of the people.
The settlement at Brooks’ Grove grew slowly, the Brooks family being the only settlers of note for some time.
Mosquito Grove was settled by the Reddens. This grove, as remarked previously, was a small patch of woods on the branch of Sugar Creek that flows through Stout’s Grove. The grove is in the prairie, some miles from any other timber. It, very ,naturally, was selected by a number of brigands and desperadoes as the seat of their depredations. As early as 1836, these men began to collect at Mosquito Grove. They were led by Grant Reddon, who was assisted by his two sons, Jack and Harrison. Although these men were not quite as notorious as the terrible Benders, of Cherry Vale, Kan., whose notorious infamy aroused the whole State, yet their deeds were carried on much after the same fashion. The grove became the rendezvous for thieves. counterfeiters and criminals generally. This gang infested the grove for nearly ten years, and yet the people were aware of the den’s location all the time. They were afraid of the Reddons, who were known to be desperate characters. Jack Reddon is said to have assisted in the murder of Col. Davenport, at Rock Island. Crimes of various kinds were committed, horses were stolen, and even murder was supposed to have been perpetrated. A peddler, who came from Peoria, was traced as far as Mosquito Grove, but was never heard of afterward. The Reddons were seen with clothes that the peddler was known to have ; so that the evidence of abduction seemed almost conclusive. The brother of the peddler traced the matter so far, but none of the murderers were ever brought to trial. At last, the situation became desperate. The people began to realize that it was a great detriment to the country, as well as a dangerous thing to permit in their midst. An armed band was formed, and the Reddons compelled to leave the country. This put an end to their work in this country. Where they started again in their nefarious business is not known ; but it seems unfortunate that the leaders were not brought to trial. But, perhaps, the evidence was not sufficient to convict, although suspicion amounted to a conviction and almost to a certainty.
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