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Organization of White Oak Township, Illinois

White Oak Township was organized in the spring of 1858, the first election having been held April 6, 1858. The name of the town was a fortunate selection, as thereby this fraction of a township, the smallest in the county, has obtained a name that entitles it to the historical record of the whole grove. White Oak has always possessed a large share of influence in the councils of the county at large-much more than some of the newer and larger townships have been able to secure. The town has had no debt, or, if it ever bad any, it was only of a very temporary nature. In 1878 was built a town hall, at the village of Oak Grove, White Oak being one of the few towns in this county that can boast of this useful public building. At the township election, April 1, 1879, Albert Wright was chosen Supervisor; Samuel Lantz, Town Clerk; W. H. Wright, Assessor; James E. Harrison, Collector, and Jesse Chism, Road Commissioner. White Oak started its free schools in 1837. Reuben Carlock was the first Town School Treasurer, and continued in office fourteen years. The first School Trustees in the same year, were Isaac Allen, Josiah Brown, Ormon Robinson and Elisha Dixon. At first, there was but one school, which was attended by an average of fifty scholars. It was seven years before the nest school was started. At that time, the school matters were managed in the school district of what is now the two towns of Kansas and White Oak acting as one township ; at present, in White Oak alone....

Early Settlers of White Oak, Illinois

It appears that settlements were not made along the Mackinaw at as early a day as they were made in the southern part of McLean County. We find Blooming, Randolph’s and Funk’s Groves had each several families as early as 1833, while it was five or six years before any are reported as being in White Oak. Doubtless this was owing to the fact that the settlement of this State was then proceeding from the south toward the north, and the early pioneers felt that the Mackinaw Timber was rather a frontier settlement. The pioneers of the other groves in McLean County preferred to live together, being anxious to build schoolhouses and have the social and religious advantages of well-settled communities, rather than be scattered too far apart. Probably the presence during these years-from 1823 to 1829 – of large numbers of Indians along the Mack inaw had something to do with this state of affairs. These Indians were regarded as friendly, but no one knew just how far to trust them. In fact, in 18’37, troops were called out to protect settlers living north of the Illinois River, and it required considerable courage to locate many miles in advance of a strong settlement. The southern portion of White Oak Grove – that which forms the north part of the present town of White Oak – must have presented an interesting appearance to the early prospectors. Here was a magnificent body of timber, fronting upon a beautiful tract of the finest prairie to be found in the State. A few miles in the rear was a stream well stocked...

History of White Oak, Illinois

The township of White Oak is one of the most interesting in McLean County; it is the smallest in area-containing a little over seventeen sections of land-being a trifle less than half a Congressional township. Its population, in 1870, was 532, 9 less than shown by the census of 1860. At the present time, its population is probably about the same as in 1870; but as most of the other towns in this county have gained largely, it is doubtless true that White Oak now contains fewer inhabitants than any other town in McLean County. It has remained about stationary ever since its land was all taken up, about the year 1860. White Oak Grove, from which the town derives its name, is a very large tract of timber lying on both sides of the Mackinaw River, nearly twelve miles in length from east to west and from four to eight from north to south. Very little of the Grove lies in this township-barely a few hundred acres-the balance being in the towns of Kansas and Montgomery, Woodford County. White Oak Grove contains quite a number of romantic spots. There are several picturesque views, more striking, perhaps, than any others in this part of the State a little north of the township line, in Kansas, may be found very high ridges, giving fine scenery, while even from the high prairie rolls in White Oak, beautiful views are visible. Indian Point, a little west. of the Carlock farm, is an historical spot, the favorite camping place of the Indians. The Indian trail was plainly to be seen when the first...

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