Location: McLean County IL

Early Settlers of Yates, Illinois

Previous to the year 1856, there were few settlements in the township. There being no timber, it was not subject to early settlement. About this date, there came the general rush into the prairie country, but there being no station in this township. general settlement was delayed a few years. The first settlement seems to have been made on the ” Harris place,” so-called, on Section 10, just south of where Weston now stands. The land was entered by Mr. T. C. Buntin, of Terre Haute, Ind. The land was rented to Boyd and others, when, in 1S67, it was sold to Harris, who, a few years later, traded it to W. H. Levers, for Chenoa property. David Vance, who, through a long official connection with the school interest. and the general interest he has taken in the affairs of the township, church and every good work, is rightly regarded a most worthy and useful citizen, came onto Section 15, in 1866. He bad previously lived in Lawndale and Lexington. coming there from Ohio, in 1853. He proved a man of excellent judgment and enlarged public spirit. A friend of education, he was early elected School Treasurer, and has done much to conserve the financial affairs of the schools. He was one of the most efficient in building the first house of worship, the Methodist, and has exercised a...

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History of Yates, Illinois

Yates Township, known officially as Town 3.5, Range 5, was, until 1862 a part of Chenoa; at that date it was separately organized, and by resolution of its citizens, took the then popular name of ” Union,” at their first town meeting in 1863. This is easily accounted for, for at that time fully two-thirds of her fighting population were ” at the front ” doing their full duty in carrying the tattered flag ” on to Vicksburg and the “sacred soil” generally; while fully three-fourths of those who remained at home were praying and paying to help on the glorious cause. No stronger friends of the Union could be found on any six miles square of contiguous and compact prairie anywhere, than here. The name was objected to on account of its having been frequently adopted of late by other townships nearby ; and on the following year was changed to Yates. after the then Governor of Illinois. Nothing could better show the tendency of public sentiment in the young township than the successive selection of these ” radical ” names. Yates is the northeastern township in the county, and forms, with Chenoa and Gridley on the west, the northern tier of townships which “cap” the county of McLean on the map, not unlike the mansard roof of a house. Like the other townships in this vicinity, some...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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A Murder in Money Creek, Illinois

Two and a half miles northeast of the village of Towanda„but within the limits of Money Creek Township, there was found, one morning in October, 1876, the body of a man, in the field of James Donohue, about forty rods from the railroad. The body was first discovered by Mrs. Strode. She thought it was a ” tramp” asleep, and so reported the matter at home. The boys went out and found the man dead, lying on his face. They reported, and immediately sent for Coroner Hendricks. Dr. Smith, of Bloomington, held the post-mortem examination, and found that one ball had entered behind the jaw, and passed back of the trachea, down below the heart. Another ball bad passed through the body just below the ribs and toward the left side. An examination of the skull showed a fracture on the back, as though he had been struck with the breech of a pistol. There was also a mark on the skull at one side, and a piece gone from the ear, which went to prove that the man had been struck. From papers on the body, it was found to be that of Albert Anglen. He was from Grafton, W. Va. He had letters in his pocket from a young lady in Flora, Colo. It was ascertained that he had been an exemplary young man, and had been...

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Money Creek, Illinois Roads

In the early history of this settlement, Indian trails were the only roads. There was a very prominent trail passing through the settlement, which connected the Wabash with the Illinois. Indian paths, of course, followed the most direct and convenient course. The first road made by white men did the same. Many of these became regularly-established highways, and, as a result, we find the township crossed in all directions by roads that follow section or half-section lines but little. In townships that are composed of prairie-lands almost wholly, we naturally look for roads on every section line, but, where there has been a considerable amount of timber, it is not so. Accordingly, we find a number of section lines that are not authorized highways. The principal road through the township is the Lexington and Bloomington road. It enters the township from the southwest, with the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad. Afterward, it passes a short distance north, and then one mile cast; thence one mile north and one-fourth mile west; thence one-half mile north ; after that, one and one-half miles east; one and one-fourth miles north again, and from this point, in a northeasterly direction, through the remainder of the township. Another much-traveled road, is the one leading north from Towanda village. It follows the section-line between Sections 31 and 32 and 35 and 29 ; here...

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School History of Money Creek, Illinois

The first school was taught in a house erected for school purposes, about forty-five or forty-six years ago. This house was built of logs. For windows, it bad openings-where a log had been cut away. These were covered with greased paper. During the long winter-days, these semi-transparent, slits furnished all the light from without. Whenever the huge log-fire could be made to burn with sufficient brilliancy, it may be supposed that the youth suffered nothing from want of light. But, unfortunately, this was seldom the case. The chimney was built of mud and sticks, and it failed to “draw.” Mrs. Henry Moats, who was then a young girl of thirteen, tells us that the memory of that old house is terrible. The first winter in it was one of absolute suffering. The fire-place would ” smoke ” so badly that the schoolroom was continually filled with it. Their eyes grew red, they caught had colds, and their heads would ache continually. They suffered from cold, too. Slabs, hewed from logs, served as seats. The first teacher was Lindsey Scott. He came from Tazewell County, near Pekin. What he received, we were unable to learn ; but one thing is certain-he got his hoard, for he “boarded round.” As near as can be remembered, he had twelve to fifteen scholars. These, at 84 per scholar, for three months; would give...

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Church History of Money Creek, Illinois

The first preaching on Money Creek was by Isaac Messer, a local preacher, belonging to the church of the United Brethren in Christ. The meetings were held at the residence of Mr. Valentine Spawr, who was noted as coming to Money Creek in 1827. Peter Spawr – a son of Valentine Spawr – had married one of Mr. Messer’s daughters, and in that way Mr. Messer became acquainted on Money Creek. For a long time, he made semi-monthly visits to these parts, and gathered the people together to hear the preaching of the Gospel. A society of about a half dozen United Brethren was formed in 1832. Prominent among these were Jacob Moats and wife, and Jesse Havens and wife. The Rev. John Dunham organized the class. After the organization was effected, meeting was held at the residence of Jacob Moats, until the building of the church in 1856. The first regular circuit preacher was James P. Eckles. In 1856. the United Brethren built a neat, substantial church. It is located about one-third of a mile north of the south east corner of Section 30, and still serves as their place of worship. The Moatses are among the strongest members. It is largely due to their influence, that the church was built where it is; and their means have been the principal source of support. The Methodists had an...

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Early Settlers of Money Creek, Illinois

“Old Louis Soward,” as he is universally known among the few who remember him, came to this country from Ohio. He was one of those jolly old frontiersmen who enjoy themselves best away from the haunts of civilization. One to whom the trials and vicissitudes of pioneer life were preferable to the restraints of more advanced society. He was a great hunter. In those days deer were plenty; they might be seen in droves at almost any time. Turkeys abounded in the woods of the Mackinaw and Money Creek. Wolves nightly indulged in their melancholy lamentations over the scarcity of prey. Bees, too, were plenty in the woods. “Uncle Louis” was a great hand at scenting bee-trees, and often brought home vast quantities of sweets for family use. He was a great story-teller. Many of his stories are repeated around the firesides on Money Creek, and many a hearty laugh is had at the ready wit of this early- pioneer. Mr. Soward had a family of four boys and three girls; but with all the family, he left the township at quite an early day, for the wilds of Wisconsin. The exact date of Mr. Soward’s arrival is not now known. It was prior to the settlement; farther up, by the Trimmer family, and as they came in 18’36, the towards must have come as early as 1825. It...

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History of Money Creek, Illinois

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...

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Township Officers of Martin, Illinois

The following is the roll of officers who have been elected to the various township offices since its organization: Martin Illinois Town Officers DateVotes CastSupervisorClerkAssessorCollector 1859 27 J.S.W. Johnson M. Brooke E.W. Anderson S.W. Bray 1860 35 J.S.W. Johnson M. Brooke E.W. Anderson H.C. Langstaff 1861 33 H.C. Langstaff M. Brooke E.W. Anderson P. Horney 1862 30 H.C. Langstaff M. Brooke R.D. Anderson W.G. Anderson 1863 38 J.S.W. Johnson M. Brooke W.G. Anderson J.W. Ritter 1864 33 R.R. Williams J.E. Wood W.L. Anderson H.C. Langstaff 1865 31 W.G. Anderson J. Pool J.S.W. Johnson B.W. Smith 1866 63 W.G. Anderson B.J. Wiley B.W. Smith A. Hudson 1867 80 S.W. Wiley B.J. Wiley J. Mundell W.L. Foster 1868 100 S.W. Wiley J.S. Wiley J.W. Ritter W.L. Foster 1869 94 J. Kennedy W.P. Brooke George Little J.E. Walden 1870 108 W.P. Brooke W.R. Smith Isaac Bunn W.L. Foster 1871 115 James Gillan M.S. Morris J.O. Mundell J.H. Richie 1872 76 James Gillan M.S. Morris J.O. Mundell J.H. Richie 1873 90 Jacob Richie M.S. Morris Isaac Bunn M. Brooke 1874 93 James Kennedy M.S. Morris J.O. Mundell William Penell 1875 85 J. Kennedy M.S. Morris G.W. Keller J.M. Wilson 1876 97 James Gillan M.S. Morris G.W. Keller William Gillan 1877 84 James Gillan M.S. Morris G.W. Keller William Gillan 1878 77 James Gillan M.S. Morris G.W. Keller William Gillan Those who have served...

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Early Settlers of Martin, Illinois

The first settlements were, of course, along the river, and most of those who broke the land here and put up their little cabins along the Mackinaw, still live here, enjoying the well-earned fruits of their early privations, trials and hopes. John Wiley and his sons, William, Lytle R. and Silas W., came here from Indiana in the fall of 1835, the year that the land came into market, and entered land on both sides of the Mackinaw, near the head of the timber belt. The elder Wiley made his little home, with the help of his sons, then young men, on the south bank of the stream, where Silas has lived until this year, near the bridge. Here the old gentleman lived and died, and Silas remained on the homestead. As soon as the older sons got their father’s farm into good working order, they took up land on the north side of the stream, and commenced making homes for their future families. They were induced to come into this part of the country by the Pattens, who were relatives of theirs, and had preceded them. William built a house, and married in 1841. Eight children were born to them, most of whom are living. He owns and works a farm lying in this and the adjoining township. Lytle R. Wiley remembers well the early days here. The...

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History of Martin, Illinois

Town 24, Range 5 east of the Third Principal Meridian, is Martin. It is six miles square; is the second from the east line of the county, and the third from the north and south lines. The center of it is twenty-two miles north of east of Bloomington. The Mackinaw runs entirely across its northern tier of sections, and threefourths of this tier were covered originally with timber. The remainder of the township is prairie-land of the finest kind, both in the richness of its soil and its adaptability to thorough culture at all times. There is practically no waste land in the town. Bray’s Run and other small streams running across it from its southern to its northern border, water and drain its rolling surface, making it unsurpassed in beauty and value. Added to this, the general thrift and care of its farmers, the attention to buildings, orchards and hedges, the general freedom from foul growth which the farms show, all tend to make one remember a visit to Martin pleasantly. The town was named from Dr. Eleazer Martin, who, at the time of his death, owned a large tract of land, which still belongs to his two daughters, Mrs. Ewing and Mrs. Dr. Elder. There are three churches in Martin, each being on the edge of the town, so that it accommodates others than the inhabitants of...

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Early Industry of Dry Grove, Illinois

The first settlers at Dry Grove had to endure the usual hardships for lack of mills, shops, and such other enterprises of a public character that are always necessary for the happiness and enjoyment of any community. The lack of milling facilities was felt more keenly, perhaps, than the want of any other single thin,_. The great distances which it was necessary- to traverse in order to reach even a water-mill were enough to discourage the most determined. During the deep snow of 1830 and 1831, all were compelled to provide for themselves. The particulars of this ever-to-be remembered winter have been so often rehearsed that it is needless to dwell upon them here. It seems that this taught all to be prepared to make their own meal. The usual sight of the front yard included a mortar and sweep for the pounding of corn. As nearly all families lived in the woods, a mortar was generally made by chopping down a tree, cutting the stump off so as to make it level, and then burning a basin from the top. In this the corn was put, and pounded by a heavy pole with an iron wedge in the end, and swung from the upper end of a sweep similar to the kind often seen used in drawing water from a well. These were common all over this country,...

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