Genealogy Trails
Bureau County Illinois  
Mineral Township History

 Mineral Township
[Source: History of Bureau County Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor, Chicago Publishing Company 1885, Page 431-432]

Hickory and Coal Creeks run parallel through parts of this town. They were so fraternal that when one was high the other would receive its overflow and vice versa. Barren Grove was a large body of fine timber in the southwest. It originally contained about 4,000 acres. Much of it has been put in cultivation.

Matson says that J. G. Reed built the first house in this town in 1836, on Section 24. From the old settlers now living we learn that G. S. Reed came here in 1834. Curtiss Williams, the ubiquitous "Uncle Curt," made a claim here and entered land in Section 35 at Barren Grove; the farm afterward occupied by William P. Buswell. Thomas Grattige came in 1838. He was a native of England, a large farmer. He died in Neponset, leaving only a daughter. The Halls - George, John and Dr. Langley were English. They came in 1840. John Hall was the first Post master.

John Clark made a farm near Grattige's in 1839 James Carroll and Gardner Mills and George Squires settled here; about the same time E. D. Kemp settled on Section 25. Kemp was a Pennsylvanian and died on the place he improved. His descendants are still in this county. Enos Campbell came in 1843 and died on his farm. His descendants are in the township. David Beever, from Ohio, lived her, a renter for some years and went to California, 1850. Nelson Wilkinson lived and died in this township. He left no descendants. William Mortherel came in 1843. He left and went to Kansas where he died. Albert Bush came in 1849. He finally removed to near Aurora. After several years' residence, Jacob Abbott went to Iowa. A. H. Martin, widely known as "Yankee Martin," was from New York. His eccentricities were many, amusing and harmless. He went to Iowa. Martin Tompkins, of this town, is an old settler - came to the county in 1833 from Champaign County, to which point he came in 1829 from Carter County, Tenn. He first settled in the southeast part of the county, near the river; lived there two years and moved to Tiskilwa (this name, he says, means "Many Waters." In another place we give another rendering, "Gem of the Valley." The reader can choose for himself). Mr. Tompkins came to Mineral in 1864.

Garner C. Mills, an old settler here, now lives in Sheffield. William Riley was the first Postmaster in Mineral and as related elsewhere, the present Postmaster is Mrs. Elma F. Squires. The first child born in the township was Riley Squires, and the second G. T. Squires; though Matson states that W. S. Reed, son of J. G. Reed, was the first child born here, March 17, 1837. The record above shows that George Squires came here in 1839 - two years after W. S. Reed was born.

There are seven working coal shafts in this town. The following are the owners: W. H. Forrest, John Vanvelizer, Peter Duncan, James Sprague, Hauxwell & Loyd, Victor & Fleming, and the Sheffield Mining & Transportation Company. Having given an extended account in a previous chapter of the coal-bearing lands and mines in the county, it is not necessary to here mention them any further.


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