Old Settlers Reunion














The Old Settlers of Adams and Brown county met at Coan's Grove, just east of Clayton, at 10 a. m. A handsome stand had been erected on the grounds which was beautifully decorated with evergreens, flags, pictures, etc., surmounted with the motto


On this stand were collected the officers of the Association, a number of the patriarchs, and a well selected choir of ladies and gentlemen, with Miss Thomas presiding at the organ.

Seats were placed around the stand, but they were entirely inadequate to the great crowd of spectators present, and groups of young people and old were scattered throughout the entire grove. Two or three side shows, refreshment booths, swings, etc., were scattered on the out skirts, and were liberally patronized throughout the day.

Col. T. G. Black, President of the Association called the meeting to order. After prayer by Rev. R. Chapman, and the singing of appropriate songs, the delivering of written or oral/memoirs of members of the Association who had died during the year, followed.


Mr. W. emigrated to Clayton, Ill., in 1835; soon after commenced the mercantile business in Clayton and continued in that business many years. He died on the 4th day of March last, - in the 64th year of his age. Those who were privileged to enjoy his society most bear testimony to his excellence of character. As a neighbor he was obliging ? "the Golden Rule" ? the law of Christ's kingdom ? being his guide. As a friend, he was kind, constant and sincere; as a husband he was affectionate and dutiful; as a father he was tender and sympathetic; in his business relations his honesty and integrity were never suspected; as a christian and a ruler in the church, he was a model, exemplary, possessed of a spirit of meekness and love ? a temper sweetened by the grace of the Master.

Rev. Mr. Edie gave the sketch of Jason Wallace


Eulogy given by Rev. Mr. McGee

Mr. Clarkson was an early settler in this state; don't remember the exact year he came here or the exact date of his death, but he had been in Illinois about 69 years and was among its oldest citizens; had been rather familiar with him for a number of years, and often associated with him at his house and my own; always found him a very pleasant, kind man, and at the same time very enthusiastic; would have high hopes of things around him; was sometimes dejected and desponding. I regarded him as a truly christian man, one who tried to serve God faithfully. When I heard of his death I felt that one of my oldest friends had been called away. I never knew a pleasanter man or kinder friend than Clarkson, when not in his desponding moods.

Elder Ross responded to a call for a sketch of the life of


Mr. Seaton was born, January 10, 1790, near Louisville, Ky., 14 years after the declaration of Independence; migrated to the country in 1835, and settled east of where Camp Point now is on a farm where his son Richard now lives, and where he ended his long and faithful career. He died April 21, 1873, at the age of 83. The respect in which he was held by his neighbors was manifested in the large concourse who attended his funeral. He was a member of the Christian Church nearly half a century, being Elder 40 years. Not withstanding he had become physically and intellectually enfeebled, he was always looked up to by his brethren. By industry and frugality he became wealthy and settled all his children comfortably and still had abundance for his declining years.

The choir sang the chant, "Gone Home."

Rev. W. W. Whipple spoke to the memory of


Mrs. Caroline Sharp, wife of Edward Sharp, died April 18th, 1873, aged 54 years. Mrs. Sharp was one of the earliest pioneers of Adams County. She was born in New York City in 1819, emigrated to this State and settled in Concord Township in 1838, she then being 19 years of age. Young and full of energetic bloom of healthfulness, she hesitated not to join her determination with that of her husband to secure for themselves a home and a competency, in the then almost unbroken wilderness of the "Far West." She shared with a willing cheerfulness, the trials appertaining to pioneer life. A faithful and devoted wife; a king and affectionate mother; respected by all; loved by those who knew her best, she died, mourned by a loving family and community of friends.

Rev. Mr. Edie responded to the call of the President with a sketch of


Mr. L. was a native of Ireland, but resided in the county of Adams 24 years, dying on the 3rd of last February at the age of 64, lamented by all her relatives, fellow members of the church and society. For the promotion of the cause of her Redeemer and the welfare of Society, "She hath done what she could."

Rev. Mr. Bond, of Mt. Sterling, answered to the call for a memoir of


The speaker had been acquainted with the subject of his sketch many years. He was a good physician and an honorable man, long a resident of Mt. Sterling. Dr. Allen furnishes me with this data: Dr. W. died last May, aged 51. He was born in Pennsylvania, and was a self-made man; was taken from the poor house in childhood, studied medicine and gained a high standing in his profession. He was a member of the Presbyterian church and stood high in his profession and in the community.

Elder Ross was again called upon to speak of the memory of


My material for a sketch of Mr. Wilkes is meagre. He was born in Jefferson county, _____, migrated to this State with his family in 1932 and settled one mile of where Camp Point now is. Where he remained till his death, June 22, 1873. He was one of the first settlers in the northeast part of Adams county and lived on the same place over 42 years. He was remarkable for his hospitality and benevolence. He was not a church member but a moral man, and performed many acts of generous benevolence.


Mr. Bond responded in a few words to the memory of Joshua Keller and then introduced his friend Dr. Richmond, saying, "he is one of his neighbors who was more intimate with him and can tell you more than I can about him."

Dr. Richmond said: "In regard to Mr. Keller, I am in possession of very little data in addition to what you have heard form Mr. Bond. My acquaintance with him has been long and tolerably intimate. I can remember very well the enjoyment of his hospitality thirty-seven years ago. In regard to his nativity I know nothing positive, but from many conversations I have had with him, I am under the impression that he was a native of North Carolina. He was of German extraction and was possessed in an eminent degree of the characteristics that belong to the Teutonic people. He was a man of very strong convictions, very inflexible in his purposes, very warm in his attachments and his friendships, and very embittered in his hostility. There was no compromise whatever in his character when principle was involved. True to his purpose, honest and straight forward in his course of life, he did not swerve to the right or to the left, in pursuing what he believed to be right and he would go as far as any man to evince his friendship. Indeed, his personal attachments never wavered unless for what he deemed sufficient cause, and when once moved, he just moved in the opposite direction. I have known him long, and what I do know of him is altogether is in his favor. "An honest man is the noblest work of God" ? this and nothing else can be said of him.

Mr. Bond here responded to the memory of


Mr. Redmond was an old settler. He addressed you here last year, and told you then he should never address you again. He lived in Chicago at the time of his death. He came here at a very early day. He was a member of the Methodist church, and was a man whose piety was never censured, except that sometimes it was thought he be rather over much. He was very enthusiastic, and wished rather to be too good than not good enough. His whole theme seemed to be religion. At one time when he lived in Columbus, his mind got cracked pretty considerably, and all the time his whole theme was the religion of the Bible, the religion of his blessed master, and he thought the people ought always to be seen singing and praying and telling religious experience, and what the blessed Saviour had done for them. This was the character of Andrew Redmond. I have no doubt that he is today in Heaven.

The choir sang "The Old Hickory Cane." when an adjournment took place till after dinner. Many of the audience scattered through the beautiful grove, where they enjoyed pic-nic dinners, while others adjourned to the hotels or to the residences of friends, where they were introduced to hospital boards.


At two o'clock p.m., Col. Black, the President, called the assembly to order

The exercises opened with a pic-nic song by L. W. Camp -

"Oh, hasten from the busy town. Leave all its toil and care."

This was well received, that while the audience were being seated, the President announced another song "Forest Echoes," by the choir. President Black then announced the impossibility of hearing from Gov. Yates, and expressed his disappointment. He said : "We know it was his intention to come, but we have received a telegram that he is sick, that he is sick and cannot be here. No doubt all of you are disappointed, for one, I am. We did expect, from his letters, that he would be with us, but if a man is sick, he cannot help it, of course. You will now be addressed by some of the Old Settlers and others, and first in order, I will introduce to you the Hon. Ira Moore, who will deliver the opening address."


Fellow Citizens: I did not expect to say a single word, when I came upon this ground. I came to listen to the words of wisdom from the older men, from the men whose heads are covered with the frost that will not melt. I came to listen to the early history of your county, of its material progress and of the Old Settlers who have made it what it is. Little did I expect that you would call upon me as an Old Settler to say a single word.

And here I would like to know what an Old Settler is. I see around me men whose heads are whiter than mine. I had supposed that they were the Old Settlers; that they were the ones to interest you; that they had some amusing anecdotes, some interesting stories, some touching incidents of their youth and of the early settlement of this country, that would be interesting and instructive to me and to all of us. In meeting you here, however, I cannot help reverting back to the days of my childhood and to the country where I was an early settler ? or as early as I could be considering the age to which I have lived, I remember those good old times. I remember the many pleasant scenes, the many pleasant interviews, the many pleasant occasions. Oh, I remember the friends I had then, and could I but meet them and shake them by the hand and say, "God bless you," I should be happy. But what is denied to me is not denied to you. You can meet your old friends and acquaintance, shake them by the hand, renew your old friendships, and swear by the Eternal that you will stand by and love each other while life shall last. But this privilege is not accorded to me.

Among the old men who are here I see young men who are just about to put on the armor to do battle for themselves and for the country, and, I hope, for the right. Let me say to you, young men, be honest, be honest. You may not be Presidents; you may not all shine as officials of the Government; you may not succeed in rising to the highest summit of fame, but one thing you can do ? you can all be honest men, all be worthy and all be respected. You can all be successful men, and the word "success" means, first of all, that you be honest ? honest and upright; Learn that; stamp it upon your memories; write it upon your hearts, adopt it among your principles, and then you are ready to start in the great battle of life as men.

There is another thing, young men. I notice that there are a great many young men who would like to get off from their father's farms. They wish to acquire some learned profession. Let me warn you, for God's sake and for the benefit of the country, learn the farmer's trade. Be men in that great department. There you can be successful; There you can learn for yourselves and become useful members of society.

I notice before me young ladies. I remember the good old times when we had young ladies who were not only ornamental but, were useful. Learn those arts which qualify women to be women, qualify ladies to be wives; and learn another thing ? don't make a mistake when you see a young professional man, a young mechanic, a young city man. Turn the heel of contempt upon him, for he is not the man for you. But when you find a good honest farmer, a good hard working young man, though he may blush, though he may not know how to come into the parlor and how to act fashionably, yet if he be a man of integrity ? sterling integrity, honest and industrious ? that is the man that is the prize for you.

I see here the old men. Let me thank you, and thank you kindly, for what you have done for this country. You have come here, endured the privations and toils and struggled on in a new country, and have brought it up to the position of wealth and power and intelligence which it now holds. Allow me as a representative of the younger men to thank you for what you have done for us. The time will come when the Great Reaper will bring you and then come and bring us to the Great "Harvest Home." Like shocks of corn fully ripe for the harvest, we will be gathered home. We shall all meet you in that brighter, better, and happier world, there never to part and there to mingle in each other's society as happy men and women.

Mr. Marsh here sang the "Fidgetty Wife."

President Black here said, we will now commence with the speeches of the "Old Settlers." Rev. Granville Bond will now give us his experience in the early settlement of this country.


Gentlemen and ladies, I am not the oldest man on this ground, but I expect I am about the oldest settler there is in this part of the country. I shall be sixty-nine years of age on the 14th day of next January, and there are older men than that here. I was married 47 years ago, in ___ county, Ky, and moved to Illinois 47 years ago this fall, and settled on Lick Creek. I stayed there two years, and then built a little cabin on the place I owned ? that was 44 years ago in November coming, and that is where my farm is now. When I came into Sangamon county, they had no mills, saw mills now any other kind of mills, and I helped to saw by my own hand the first plank that was ever made in Sangamon county, unless it was made in the same way. I helped to saw it by hand to build the first tavern that was ever built in Springfield.

Now I need to tell you that I have seen sights and wonders ? that I have seen Indians, bears, snakes, and wolves. They are paying money here to see a bear and hear him growl. Why, we could hear'em growling around us for nothing. Now what happened on this side of the river? I crossed it on the first day of March on a little ferry boat. The next day I got to where my present farm is, about six or eight miles east of here. Now you would wonder how I found my way to it. Well, some bee hunters came here from about Jacksonville. They cut out the way and we followed the wagon tracks. A bee hunter came here by the name of Green. He settled where Camp Point now is, three miles northeast of where I settled. He was the man that showed me the place and said that it was Government land. There was a great deal of trouble about getting the right kind of claim and when we could find Government land ? Congress land, as it was then called ? we got it in our own name and were sure of the title. I had the greatest difficulty in getting a piece of land, but I did succeed, thank the Lord!

Transcribed by Debbie Gibson

The Quincy Daily Whig

September 05, 1873

Debbie Lee, Copyright © 2008.
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Updated November 21, 2008