White Oak Township
The following data is extracted from White Oak Township, McLean County, 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 settlers arrived, and is still visible on the bluffs of the Mackinaw, a little below Forneyville. This trail came from the Wabash, touched the north side of Cheney's Grove; from there to Money Creek, not far from Towanda; from there to Indian Point; thence to the Mackinaw, below Forneyville, and so on to Fort Clark, now Peoria. There were other trails, but this one was very distinct and often traveled by the Indians.
The history of the township of White Oak is almost inseparable from that of the whole Grove, and we shall once in awhile find ourselves on the Woodford County- side of the line without being aware of what we are doing. The northern part of the Congressional township, of six miles square, forms the township of Kansas, in Woodford County. while the southern portion is White Oak, in McLean County; and the county line between the two townships is such a jagged "struck-by-lightning" sort of an affair, that we shall certainly be pardoned if we are on the wrong side occasionally.
The early settlers regarded White Oak Grove as one settlement, the later divisions having been brought about in 1841 and subsequently, rather violently, or, perhaps we should say, without the actual consent of those most interested.
Source: White Oak Township, McLean County, Illinois