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Genealogy Trails - Calhoun County, Illinois

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Local Resources & Some History

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Earliest Recorded Records in Calhoun County Courthouse -
Marriage - 1825, Birth - 1878, Death - 1878, Probate - 1883, Deeds - 1825, Court - 1825, County Board - 1825

Calhoun County Established January 10, 1825, County Seat - Hardin

County Clerk and Recorder
106 N. County Rd., Hardin, IL 62047

Circuit Clerk
Calhoun County Courthouse
101 N. County Rd., Hardin, IL 62047

IRAD Depository
University Library
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390

Illinois State Archives
Margaret Cross Norton BuildingReference Unit
Springfield, IL 62756
Telephone: 217-782-3556
Fax: 217-524-3930

Illinois State Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 10195
Springfield, IL 62791-0195
Telephone: (217) 789-1968

History of county governing board:
1825-1849 - County Commissioners Court
1849-1873- County Court
1873-present - Board of County Commissioners

County Seats:
1825-1847 - Gilead
1847 - Hamburg (Temporary)
1847- present - Hardin

Present Calhoun County area, or parts of it, were formerly included in:
Pike County - 1821-1825
Madison - 1812-1821
St. Clair - 1795-1812

Township Government:
Calhoun County has never adopted township form of government.
The county has been divided into precincts.

Precinct Names:
Belleview, Carlin, Crater, Gilead, Hamburg, Hardin, Point, Richwood

Unincorporated Areas
Beechville, Belleview, Deer Plain, Gilead, Golden Eagle, Meppen, Michael, Mozier

Batchtown, Brussels, Hamburg, Hardin, Kampsville

Adjacent Counties
Pike County, Greene County, Jersey County, Scott County

Adjacent States
Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin

John C. Calhoun

Calhoun County, IL, Established January 10, 1825 and named for John C. Calhoun, a lawyer and statesman, Representive in Congress and United States Senator from South Carolina, Secretary of War under Monroe, Vice-President of the United States, and Secretary of State under Tyler, and was recognized as the "Father of Nullification" Calhoun County, is located on a peninsula between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The county seat is Hardin. Ferries are the major mode of transportation, and the county features many historic sites and nature areas, including the Center for American Archaeology, the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, and the Mississippi River State Fish and Wildlife Area

Calhoun County Court House, Built 1848,
Located in Hardin - County Seat
Arch/Contr- William D. Hamilton

[Source: "History of Calhoun County and its people up to the year 1910", by: Carpenter, George Wilbur]
Point Precinct:
There are a number of towns that are shown on maps that were made before the Civil War that are not listed on the recent maps. One of those. towns was Milan. In 1837 it was described as "a post office and town site in south Calhoun, fractional section 28, township 13S., one west. The first post-office in Point Precinct was located at Milan and the Postmaster was John Bolter, who was one of the prominent men in the southern part of the county in the early days. The post-office remained at Milan until 1849, when it was transferred to Deer Plain. Milan was located several miles below the present site of the Golden Eagle. The land in and about the od town of Milan is now owned by John Schmieder, one of the County Commissioners of Calhoun County. Another village that was even more important than Milan, was Monterey. In 1854 a post office was located there with J. S. Rutland serving as the postmaster. General Stores were conducted by J. S. Rutland and William Lee, C. W. Twichell ran a blacksmith shop, Stephen Effington operated a flour mill, Jefferson Crull was a furniture dealer, and a Mr. McCall was the Methodist Minister residing there. Before the post-office was established at Batchtown, the mail for the Batchtown people was taken over the dividing ridge by someone from the Montery office. After a post-office was established at Batchtown, the town began to decline and at the present time there is nothing left but the red-brick school. Cap au Gris, the small French settlement on the Mississippi River near the present site of the West Point Ferry, in Richwoods Precinct, served as a voting place for many years. The entire southern part of the county was known as Cap au Gris Precinct until 1848, when the name was changed to Point. By 1900 the little town had disappeared and at the present time the name is applied to a point in Missouri, opposite to where Cap au Gris once stood. Another village that probably hoped to become the leading town of the county was Gilford. It was located near the Illinois River, in fractional township is, two west, about six miles south of the present site of Hardin. In 1837, an account concerning the town said: "It has been laid off and is said to be well situated for business purposes." The same writer also called Guilford "the new county seat" as explained elsewhere it never served as such. Shortly before 1836 a canal was planned across the county, from Guilford to Gilead. This plan was probably abandoned because of the Panic of 1837. After the county seat was moved to Hardin, Guilford began to decline, and to- day there is nothing to show where this little village once stood.

A study of the lists of the early arrivals in the county will show that most of them were of English descent, and came to Calhoun from some other state or territory. A large number settled first in Mis- souri, especially in Lincoln County, and then came to Calhoun at a later date. Before 1840 we find no settlement of any certain nation- alities. The Germans and the Irish who came before that date were scattered about the county among the English and the few French.

The Germans started to come into Point Precinct soon after 1840 and formed two distinct settlements. One group was composed of Germans from Hanover who were members of the Catholic Church. They settled in Brussels and the region to the south and east of the village. The other group of Germans were of the Lutheran faith and settled to the west of Brussels. The German language was used to a considerable extent in the homes, churches, and parochial schools until the entry of The United States into World Wax. In Batchtown and neighborhood territory there were Germans of both religions, but they were mixed among English and Irish and had more diffieullty in keeping the German language. Because of the pres- ence of a large number of English speaking people it was not possible to use the language in the churches or school to any extent. Meppen was settled by Germans, most of whom came from the Province of Hanover. They named their village after one of the towns of Hanover. Since the community was almost one hundred percent German, the German language was used to a considerable extent in the homes, church, and parochial school up to 1918.

About Hardin and Gilead most of the people were of English extraction. Several miles north of Hardin a large number of French settled, their settlement being known as "French Hollow". Many of these people were not from France, but from the French Cantons of Switzerland. They made little attempt to use the French language in their hordes, and the presence of a large number of English and Irish made the use in the church impossible. A number of Irish settled in the region of Hamburg, especially to the east of the town, their settlement being known as "Irish Hollow". Most of them were Catholic and attended the church at Michael.

The first census that was taken after Calhoun became a county was in 1830. The population at that time was listed as 1,092 of which number 1,090 were free white people. This same census mentions that there were no colored people in th county, so the other two people included in the first figures were probably indentured servants. The county records of the 3G's mention the presence of several in the county.

In the next census report, that of 1840, the presence of colored people is mentioned. The following table will show the number in each census report, together with their place of residence: 1840 - 15 colored people (13 males and 2 females). 1850 - 1 colored person (lived in Gilead Precinct). 1860 - 2 colored persons (1 in Belleview, 1 in Gilead). 1870 - 3 colored persons (1 in Belleview, 2 in Gilead). 1880 - 1 colored person (lived in Gilead). 1890 - and after, none found in county. After 1890 the people of the county were very much opposed to having colored people in the county and on several occasions they were driven from the county. A story is told about the county of several negroes being killed in a fight with a white man. This fight took place in the Civil War days at Hamburg. A third negro in the party was wounded but succeeded in reaching St. Louis where he told other members of his race about the reception that he had received in Calhoun. The colored people that lived in the county were free, and there is no evidence to show that any slaves were ever brought to the county before the Civil War.

The largest gain in population came between the years 1840 and 1860. This was due to the great number of Irish and Germans that were arriving. The population by years is as follows: 1830 - 1,092, 1840 - 1,741, 1850 - 3,231, 1860 - 5,144, 1870 - 6,562, 1880 - 7,467, 1890 - 7,652, 1900 - 8,917, 1910 - 8,610.

5,347 total population of the county, 3,524 born in the state of Illinois , 204 born in Ohio, 60 born in New York, 108 born in Pennsylvania, 144 born in Indiana, 171 born in Kentucky, 37 born in British America, 96 born in England and Wales, 110 born in Ireland, 5 born in Scotland, 875 born in Germany, 36 born in France, 86 born in Switzerland, 19 born in Holland, 1 born in Norway, Sweden. Each year, the percent of foreign born inhabitants decreases, and it is probable that there are less than 1% of the population of the county that do not use the English language at the present time. There are few persons living in the couinty that are of southern European extraction.
[Source: "Reports Made to the General Assembly of Illinois" - 1881]

Calhoun County is not under township organization. The almshouse is kept by a new contractor, who pays three dollars and seventy-five cents per acre for the use of one hundred and seven acres, and receives two dollars a week for each pauper committed to his charge. The county furnishes nothing except medical care. The county physician is paid one hundred and eighty dollars a year, and he visits the almshouse, the jail, and the paupers in Hardin, precinct, and furnishes medicine at his own cost. There were only five inmates, of whom one was a child attending school, and none were insane. The total pauper expense in this county is about two thousand dollars, of which a very small amount, estimated not to exceed two hundred dollars, is paid for outdoor relief. No almshouse register is kept, and the overseers, of whom seven have been appointed by the county court, do not keep the accounts nor make the reports required by law.

Visit Genealogy Trails Illinois State Site to view more county reports

CALHOUN - Report given by Mr. John W. Whipp who visited June 13, 1892
This county was not visited by Mr. Whipp, when he was in that vicinity, on account of the high water. The county clerk visited the almshouse, and made the following report: The condition of the building on the outside was good and the rooms were in fair condition. The dining-room is furnished with chairs, stools and benches. The sleeping-rooms had no furniture except the beds. The bedding was clean and in good condition. It is changed weekly. The rooms are heated by stoves and the water supply is from a well and cistern. There were eleven inmates present. These were fairly well clothed, in good health, and well satisfied with the food provided for them. The crops of 1891 were good, and the prospect for the present year is good.
[Source: 12th Biennial Report of the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities, Springfield, IL, 1893]

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