History of Money Creek, Illinois
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Although Money Creek Township was settled very early, before there had been any considerable settlement in what is now McLean County, and almost as soon as the advent of John Hendrix to Blooming Grove, no villages now dot its prairies or hover along its streams. There is not even a post office within the present limits of the township, and very little remains of Clarksville, the only place that has ever assumed the dignity of even a hamlet.
Money Creek Township is located in the northern part of the county, being in the second tier from the north. It is directly north of the center. It is bounded as fol lows: On the north by Gridley, on the east by Lexington, on the south by Towanda, and on the west by Hudson Townships. It comprises one Congressional town, and is designated, Town 25 north, Range 3 east o£ the Third Principal Meridian. The soil is rich and productive throughout the greater portion of the township. The surface is covered by a considerable belt of timber. In the southwestern corner, and from the center, extending southeasterly, there are some fine prairies. There is, also, a small portion of prairie-land in the northeastern corner. Money Creek enters the township from Towanda at Section 32; after passing in a north, and slightly northwestern direction, it leaves in Section 15, but curves back east into the township again; finally leaving between Sections 6 and 7. Mackinaw Creek crosses the northeastern corner of the township, flowing northwest. It enters at the southeast corner of Section 12, and leaves near the middle of Section 5. Along Money Creek and Mackinaw, there was, before it was cleared away somewhat, very fine timber for this country. The old sawmill on Money Creek did a vast amount of sawing in an early day, and there is consid erable timber yet. This accounts for the early settlements made here. This township is also crossed by the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad, which enters at the southwest corner of Section 33. and leaves at the middle of the east side of Section 1′.i. The principal products are corn and oats. Wheat is cultivated to a limited degree. Hogs and cattle are raised to a considerable extent.
The people on Money Creek manifested the true spirit of progress. They built schoolhouses and churches. They erected mills and secured a post office; and if they built no towns, it was not for the want of an attempt. Mr. Pennell and Mr. Baylor Tan the saw-mill, just across in Towanda Township, and George Wallace built a flouring-mill on the Mackinaw. When this mill was built, they had an old-fashioned “raising.” Those were the days when the jug went around, and everybody indulged. They had a fine time, but no one became intoxicated. This mill was like its neighbors, it depended upon the force of the running stream for its power. It was near the site of Clarksville, and was built about 1836. But when dry weather came, the neighborhood was compelled to go off long distances to mill. Sometimes they went down to the Murphy mill, on Kickapoo, and sometimes they were compelled to go all the way to Ottawa. Wallace gave up the mill to a Mr. Denson. Denson died with the Asiatic cholera in 1855, and after this, the mill went down, and nothing has been heard of it since. Jacob Spawr was made Justice of the Peace. Justices had but little to do in those days. Lawsuits were seldom carried on, and marriages were necessarily few.
We found no soldiers that were in the Black Hawk or Mexican wars. In the early days, the settlers were often badly seared by rumors of danger, but farther than this, they were not disturbed. In the late war, Money Creek furnished her quota of men.
They offered a number of brave men on their country’s altar. Among those who were killed on the field of battle, were the following: Arthur Busick, John Kriger, James Arbuckle, Davidson Dodson, and two persons of the name o£ William Trimmer. Quesnell Rayburn and Joseph Stretch died of disease contracted while in the service of their country.
In the first settlement of this country, the two parties were Democrat and Federalist; then came the Whigs, and later the Republicans. In early times, the township was Democratic. Latterly, it has been pretty evenly balanced between the Democrats and Republicans. Within the last few years, quite a number have joined the National Greenbackers.