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Gold Township History

 

 Gold Township
History of Bureau County Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor, Chicago Publishing Company 1885, Page 429-430

Except the southeast portion of this township it is also mostly swamp land. Green River runs through the north part of it, in a nearly east and west direction, and nearly 4,000 acres along this stream once would be covered by the high waters of the river. A ditch now starts in Section 14, passes south to the center of Section 22 and thence northwest to the river in Section 6. There was a large supply of timber in this part of the county. In addition to that along the streams Long Island Grove and Trading House Grove were fine bodies of timber. The latter received its name from a trading house being kept there in a very early day, occupied by Indian traders. After it was abandoned as a trading house the place was a camp for years for hunters and trappers. Eagle Grove was another good body of timber, though not very large.

Among the Indian traders as early as 1829 that occupied this trading house was Thomas Hartzell. He was a Pennsylvanian, and in a letter to some of his home friends, published in 1829, and which received wide attention as a curious description of a wild, unknown country, among other things he said: Northeast of the trading house there is a lake, some miles in length, in which there are many islands, covered with a heavy growth of timber. Indians pass from one island to another in their canoes in search of game. In low water sage grass grows about its surface. Here muskrats build their houses and wild geese make their nests on them. Many years ago where there are now rich farms it was a common sight in winter to see vast sheets of ice, covering miles of the country in all directions, and Green River could be only detected as a blue streak winding its turgid way through the center of it. An account in a previous chapter of the county's swamp land tells what has become of these great swamps.

Gold was not an organized township until 1852, and is therefore two years younger than the original twenty-three townships of the county. It was originally included in Fairfield Township, and there was nothing here to organize a township from in 1850. In 1850 Samuel Mathis settled on Section 12, and a few months afterward Milton Cain on Section 5, Jacob Walters on 26, James Limerick on 28, and James Neff on Section 20; in 1851 David Marple and George Detro on Section 27 and in 1852 Joseph Johnson on Section 26. Dr. Boyden was the first physician. The Farrensworth family, D. Alexander, David Watkins and Andrew Marple were the early settlers.



Gold township was not organized until 1852.  Up to that time it was a part of Fairfield tonwship.  The first settler that we have any record of was Samuel Mathis, who built on section 12, in 1850, about the same time that Milton Cain moved onto section 5 and Jacob Walters on 26, James Limerick on 28 and James Neff on section 20.  In 1851 David Marple and George Detro settled on section 27.  In 1852 Joseph Johnson from Kentucky came.  He wa a unique character and for many years had a blacksmith shop near the center of section 26.

This township originally had a large amount of low land that was overflowed much of the time and was considered almost worthless.  Green river runs through the entire township from east to west, being a sluggish stream with a poor outlet. In tiems of high water large tracts of land were submerged, but in 1874 the river was straightened and deepened and much of the land has been reclaimed and become productive. Previous to the 1894 ditch some frainage had been perfected.  A ditch was started on section 15 and ran southwest to the center of the west line of section 22, then northwest to section six, where it united with the river.

Gold originally had some fine timber land.  Long Island Grove, Trading House Grove were especially fine bodies of woodland.  The latter received its name from a trading post which was located there at a very early date and for years after it was abandoned by the traders the cabin was used by hunters as a camp house. One Thomas Harzell was one of the Indian traders as early as 1829 and was stationed at this place.  He was from Pennsylvania and his description of this then wild and unsettled country was published throughout the east and attracted much attention.

Hennepin canal passes through this township, it enters on section one and has a general direction of a little west of south and passes out on section 34.  The population of Gold township in 1900 was 766.  The following men have served as supervisors:

Joseph Johnson, 1853-54
Eben Boyden, 1855
Jasper Wood, 1856-57
A. W. Boyden, 1858
Andrew Marple, 1859
A. Morrasy, 1860-1861
Jasper Wood, 1862
A. S. Lathrop, 1863
A. Morrasy, 1864
Andrew Marple
A. Morrasy, 1866-1873
Robert Ready, 1874
S. W. Jackson, 1875
Robert Ready, 1876-79
Nehemiah Spratt, 1880-81
A. Morrasy, 1882-84
J. D. Ellis, 1885
R. A. Lathrop, 1886
W. Thomas, 1887-88
M. H. Blanding, 1889-1890
F. W. Morrasy, 1891-94
S. W. Misth, 1895-1898
F. W. Morrasy, 1899-03
Wm McCabe, 1904-06

-- Taken From the Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois. Chicago: Pioneer Publishing, 1906, Page 115-116 - Gold Township

 

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