Source: "History of Carroll County" by Ketts Pge 298
NOTE: There are numerous typos in this transcription, so while we did our best to catch and correct them, you are advised to consult the original source, especially when it comes to the names and dates.
Photo contributed by Alice Horner
It is not strange that among the pioneer settlers of any new country a deep-seated and since friendship should spring up. that would grow and strengthen with their years. The incidents peculiar to life in a new country —the trials and hardships, privations and destitutions — are well calculated to test not only the physical powers of endurance, but the moral, kindly, generous attributes of manhood and womanhood. They are times that try men's souls. and bring to the surface all that there may be in them of either good or bad. As a rule, there is an equality of conditions that recognizes no distinctions. All occupy a common level, and, as a natural consequence, a brotherly and sisterly feeling grows up that is as lasting as time, for "a fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind." With such a community there is a hospitality, a kindness, a benevolence and a charity unknown and unpracticed among the older, richer and more densely populated commonwealths. The very nature of their surroundings teaches them "to feel each other's woe, to share each other's joy. An injury or a wrong may be ignored, bnt a kindly, generous, charitable act is never forgotten. The memory of old associations and kindly deeds is always fresh. Raven locks may bleach and whiten; fall, round cheeks sink and hollow; the fire of intelligence vanish from tke organs of vision; the brow become wrinkled with care and age, and the erect form bowed with accumulating years, but the true friends of the "long ago *' will be remembered as long as life and reason endure.
The surroundings of pioneer life are well calculated to test the true inwardness" of the human heart. As a rule, the men and women who first occupy a new country—who go in advance to spy out the land and prepare it for the coming of a future people—are bold, fearless, self-reliant and industrious. In these respects, no matter from what remote section or country they may come, there is a similarity of character. In birth, education, religion and language there may be a vast difference, but. imbued with a common purpose—the founding and building of homes—these differences are soon lost by association, and thus they become one people, united by a common interest, and no matter what changes may come in after years, the associations thus formed are never buried out of memory.
In pioneer life there are always incidents of peculiar interest, not only to the pioneers themselves, but which, if properly preserved, would be of interest to posterity, and it is a matter to be regretted that the formation of "Old Settlers' Associations " has been neglected in so many parts of the country. The presence of such associations in all the counties of our common country, with well kept records of the more important events, such as dates of arrivals, births, marriages, deaths, removals, nativity, etc., as any one can readily see, would be the direct means of preserving to the literature of the country the history of every community, that, to future generations, would be invaluable as a record of references and a ready method of settling important questions of controversy. As important as these associations are admitted to be, their formation has not yet become general, and there are many counties in the Western country whose early history is entirely lost because of such neglect and indifference. Such organizations would possess facts and figures that could not be had from any other source. Aside from their historic importance, they would serve as a means*of keeping alive and further cementing old friendships and renewing among the members associations that were necessarily interrupted by the innovations of increasing population, cultivating social intercourse, creating a charitable fund for the benefit of such of their members as might became victims of misfortune or adversity.
Actuated by such motives as those above outlined, and in pursuance of a call published in the Carroll County newspapers in June, 1S74, a large number of the old settlers met under the tent on the Carroll County Agricultural Fair Grounds, on the 2d day of September following, for the purpose of organizing an Old Settlers' Association. D. W. Dame stated the object of the meeting. Luther H. Bowen was made temporary chairman, and John Irvine was chosen temporary secretary. The secretary read the names of over two hundred old settlers then living in the county, which he had collected from the best sources of information. The meeting then proceeded to the election of permanent officers, resulting as follows:
President—Luther H. Bowen, of Savanna, by acclamation.
Secretary—Samuel Preston, of Mount Carroll, also by acclamation.
On motion of Dr. E. Woodruff, of Savanna, it was agreed that all persons who were residents of the county previous to 1S50, should be recognized as old settlers and entitled to membership of the association. [This proposition was subsequently amended, and in the adoption of the constitution and by-laws, section two declared any one entitled to membership who had been a resident of the county twenty-one years.]
On motion of Mr. Monroe Bailey, it was Resolved, That in order to make the association a progressive institution, that a residence of twenty-five years shall be held to constitute an Old Settler, and a member of this association.
The following gentlemen - one from each township - were then elected vice presidents of the association.
Washington - S. S. Hodges.
Hock Creek - C. Hegennan.
Wysox - Byron Fletcher.
Freedom - David Teeter.
Elkhorn - Harry Smith.
Cherry Grove - J. G. Garner.
Salem - Duncan McKay.
York - N. D. French.
Fair Haven - C. McMullen.
Lima - A. Cheeseman.
Nelson Fletcher, Monroe Bailey and Elias Woodruff were elected as an Executive Committee, and John Irvine. Fletcher and D. W. Dame were chosen to draft a constitution and by-laws for the government of the association.
The meeting then adjourned to meet again on the Fair Grounds on Thursday, October 8, 1874.
The meeting of Thursday, October 8, 1874, was a very large and pleasant one - the Old Settlers and their friends to the number of five hundred being present. The exercises of the day were commenced by a quartette of the Mount Carroll Glee Club singing a song composed for the occasion by Dr. George R. Moore, and set to music by Mr. James Irvine.
When the log heap grew To a cabin new; And that cabin all our own. While the dimpling smile of a bright-eyed wife. Smoothed down all the cares and sorrows of life. And we made it a happy home— With its rough puncheon floor.
And its low less door. And the mud chimneys roar; In the homes we had built. In a land where all was new.
Oh, the puncheon floor, and the welcome door, and the chimney's roar. In the homes we had built. And with happiness filled. In a land where all was new.
Sadly sing of the days when all was new. When He bid us pass under the rod; When our loved and lost lay dead to view Their souls on the bosom of God.
When the angel of death, With his parching breath. Strode in silence round our homes; Took the father's pride with his sunlit hair; Bewedded the bride to her own despair; Filled our ears with a mother's moans,
As we whispered low, Of the pale-faced foe. And the terrible blow, To the homes we had built. In a land where all was new.
Let us whisper low, of the dreaded foe, and the fearful blow, To the homes we had built, That a shadow had chilled. In a land where all was new.
Proudly sing of the days when all was new. When our trials and troubles had flown; When the shadowy angel fled from view, And the blessings of God rained down;
When the seeded mould Brought a thousand fold, Of the richest golden grain. And the harvest song in a gushing thrill. Was a Pean to God—to man good will; Rolling on over hill and plain.
Then our eyes caught sight, By a Heavenly light, of a future so bright, For the homes we had built, In a land where all was new.
Oh! the happy sight, by prophetic light of a future bright. For the homes we had built, That the future would gild, In a land where all was new.
The acting president, Norman D. French, followed in some very appropriate remarks, although he said he was no speaker, from the fact of his opportunities for obtaining an education being very limited, and that he would rather undertake to make a new farm than to make a speech. None of the people had come there, he continued, to make long speeches, but to brighten up old memories. In the early days of Carroll County, settlers who lived within twenty miles of each other were called neighbors. In 1832, when he came to the northern part of the state from Vermont, he crossed Rock River at Dixon's Ferry, kept by Mr. Dixon. Proceeding northwardly, he found a few settlers at Elkhorn Grove, and two or three at Cherry Grove. In 1833, he hired out as a farm hand. In the Fall of that year, and in 1834, he helped to survey the county into townships. At one time in 1S33 he became lost in a fog, and after two days' wanderings he found himself in Savanna. He made the claim on which he then lived in 1835; broke up a part of the land in 1836; built a cabin in 1837, but raised no crop until 1838, and had raised a crop every year since. Mr. French gave this as the origin of the term "Suckers" as applied to Illinoisans.*
" In those days it was customary for people living in the south part of the state to take their teams and some milch cows, in the Spring of the year, and go up to the lead mines near Galena, work at mining during the Summer, sell out their stock and trapping in the Fall, and return home by following down the rivers. The sucker fish of the Mississippi and its tributaries go up stream in the Spring to deposit their spawn, but always return down stream on the approach of the Fall and Winter months. Hence the name of 'Sucker' State."
Mr. Preston being called upon said, he would not attempt to make a speech, but would read a poem he had prepared for the occasion, entitled :
AN OLD SETTLER'S HOMILY
The second of September
In this proud "Sucker" State;
Let all of us remember,
That we convened to make
A gath'ring of "Old Settlers,"
From city, towns, and plains;
From hills, and valleys fertile,
That Carroll County claims.
To form a social festive.
As each successive year.
Shall draw from those can best give
Bounteous stores to cheer.
And now at this first meeting,
(We'll not detain you long;)
We offer you this greeting,
A new and simple song.
Ho! pioneers of freedom.
Who broke the prairie sod;
With who! haw Bright! gee Tom!
Strange sounds, to those who trod
In stealth, their pathway seeking
For game; or warriors blood
From some poor scalp a reeking;
The former was their food.
But pardon this digression;
We thought it would not harm,
To mingle savage custom,
With how we made a farm,
But all those days are ended,
The whoop! and words profane;
With crack of whip, both blended.
The sluggish ox to pain.
* Another version is given thus: In very early times, when emigrants from Virginia and Kentucky, to Missouri, were crossing the lower end of the state - going through "Egypt" - water was sometimes scarce, and the only means of obtaining it in certain localities was by sucking it up from crawfish holes through hollow weeds or reeds. Whether this be true, the writer sayeth not
With some it was a query
(Had they the spurious leaven)
To drive an ox, and carry
Their souls up into heaven.
Now to " Old Settlers " cabin,
We give a passing word
For since we've got to blabbing;
The truth it must be heard.
The style wasn't counted much on;
Just so there was a door
To get upon the puncheon,
Which oft composed the floor.
A fire-place was important.
And put at the end;
The chimney oft reluctant,
To hold the fiery fiend.
To guard against combustion,
Of all our meagre stores;
We followed Southern custom,
And built them out of doors.
Those crackling fires were cheerful;
Me-thinks I hear them yet;
Though oft the flames looked fearful,
But comfortable;" You bet!"
And mother Garner's hoe cake,
To eat we did not tire;
"Twas on a board so well baked.
Set up before the tire)
When finished off with pastry,—
The pies, when made of mince,
T'make " tillers," apply tasty, The cost of children's schooling,
Was burdened on the sire;
For such was then the ruling
Of legislation; dire!
The school house was some hovel,
Forsaken by its lord;
teacher ruled with ferrule,
And went around to board.
Boast not, ye modern critics,
That you've a better dawn;
Without you learned cosmetics,
Our Presidents have grown.
And now, my song is ending.
Let all this gathered throng,
In turn, their voices blending;
To roll this ball along
In the afternoon, Mr. Fletcher, chairman of the committee on constitution and by-laws, presented the committee's report, which, after an amendment to section two, making the annual fee twenty-five cents, instead of fifty cents, was adopted.
Constitution.—We, the undersigned citizens of Carroll County and State of Illinois, feeling and knowing that many of our early settlers have passed away, and with them much valuable information has been lost ; and now wishing to preserve as much as possible the early incidents attending the first settlement of Carroll County, by gathering together her pioneer fathers, forming them into an association, cemeuting and renewing old friendships, bringing to light and recording old, and in many cases almost forgotten, reminiscences, thereby perpetuating and giving to our children and the world a true and leliable history of the first settlement of Carroll County, in the great State of Illinois, therefore, resolved: Section 1. That we, the old settlers of Carroll County, do. this day, form ourselves into a permanent organization, under the name and style of the Old Settlers' Association of Carroll County, to exist as long as any of its members shall be permitted to exist.
Sec. 2 provides that any one who has been a resident of the county twenty-one years prior to October 8, 1874, can become a member upon the payment of twenty-five cents.Sec. 3 provides that the association shall meet annually.
Sec. 4 and 5 relates to the elections of officers.
Sec. 6 defines the duties of the president and vice president, and
Section 7 of the secretary; section S of the treasurer, and section 9 of the executive committee.
After the adoption of the constitution and by-laws, the following old settlers appended their names, and the year of their settlement in the county.
1829—Mason C. Taylor. [Mr. Taylor, at this writing, Dec. 28, 1877, is the oldest surviving pioneer settler.]
1833—Norman D. French.
1835— William Carroll, L. H. Bowen. D. L. Bowen.
1836— George Holmes, Harry G. Smith, Samuel Preston, John Orr.
1837— William Dysen. David Musters. Elias Woodruff, John Painter, John A. Robinson, Peter Bashaw, Lydia E. Bashaw.
1838— C. W. Tomlinson, Monroe Bailey, Sumner Downing, J. C. Christian, M. Z. Landon, William Bashaw, Uriah Green.
1839 —Nelson Fletcher, J. H. Deeds, C. C. Shoemaker, L. F. Easter- brooks, Byron Fletcher, Elijah Bailey, Mrs. P. French, Ansel Bailey, B. S. Dav, A. T. Esterbrooks, John O'Neal, Felix O'Neal, A. Spencer, O. D. O'Neal, John Kinney, A. G. Easterbrooks, J. B. Johnson, Henry Hunter, John Fish.
1840.—John H. ?awes, Charles Pulford, Amos Shoemaker, Fisher Allison, J. F. Allison, Stephen Kneale, T. Johnson, Duncan McKay, A. H. Healy, Heman Edgerly.
1841— G. W. Dwinnell, W. A. J. Pierce, J. S. O'Neal, Jesse Van Buskirk. EInathan Jacobs.
1842— M. R. Davis.
1843— George Cole, David Becker, William Finlayson, Joseph Graham, John A. Mellendy, E. H. Phillip, D. F. Holmes, William Petty, E. T. E. Becker, L. E. Galnsha, P. R. Kenyon, James Petty, Mrs. M. Kenyon, Jos. Welty, Thomas Lambert, Alexis Bristol, Thomas C. Pyle.
1844.—John Irvine, H. L. Atherton, Ithiel Goodell, W. C. Jacobs, Lucius Douglass, M. Patterson, E. C. Lamb, H. L. Downing, W. F. Atherton, Justus Bailey, Marcus Atherton. Morgan Price, Alonzo Taylor.
1845—.John L. Hostetter, Samuel Mitchell, Henry Teachut, Philander Seymour, Daniel Teeter, Seymour Downs, Samuel Puffenbarger, T. T. Jacobs, Charles Atherton, John Grove, Peter Shrader.
1846— William H. Hawk, Thomas Moffett, R. M. A. Hawk, William B. Rav, J. Sheldon, Frank Trail, Nicholas Hart, Hugh Howell, Nancy Howell, W. A. Shoemaker.
1947— Cornelius Hegeman, John Hegeman, James Hallett, R. J. Tomkins, John A. Smith.
1848—James H. Iden, J. A. Smith, Peter Shrader, H. M. Ferrin, J. A. Garr.
1849— W. O. Phillips, John Cole, M. F. Mellendy, Michael Markley, James Beatie, George Hays, Robert Graham, Emmanuel Hepler, W. O. Phillips.
1880— X. S. French, A. M. French, John Lambert, Willard Wicks, I. J. Pettit, John N. Keech, John Campbell.
1881— A. H. Lichty, Henry Routh, G. P. Sutton. Samuel Stake- miller, Andrew Hershey, John C. Rinedollar, Daniel R. Frazer.
1852— Nicholas Stabler, Josenh Deitrich.
1853— Volney Armour. Charles Atherton, R. G. Bailey, William H. Long, Henry Ashway, Joseph Oushman, B. Cushman, B. L. Patch, Francis Craig, Emanuel Stover, Henry H. Gordon.
1854— J. C. Durham, D. W. Dame, Mrs. D. W. Dame, Luther DeWolf, William F. Loup, Thomas McGee, Charles W. Dame.
1855—Miles L. Smith, George W. Howland, Allen McClure, William Sprecker.
1856— E. C. Sinclair, L. L. Stewart.
1857— E. O. Eymer, Richard Dame, G. M. Eacker.
The second annual meeting of the association was held on the fair grounds. Thursday, September 23, 1875, and was very largely attended. The meeting was called to order by Mr. L. H. Bowen, the president, in a few very appropriate remarks, among which he referred to the arrival of himself and wife at Savanna, in an ox-wagon, his horses having "gave out" about two miles before he reached the site of his future home and business operations. The forenoon of the day was mostly passed in greeting, handshakings, renewing old acquaintances, and reviving old memories.
The leading feature of the afternoon's exercises was the reading of a poem entitled "The Pioneers," by Andrew Downing, Esq., editor of the Boone County (Iowa) Republican, who was the first male child born in Mount Carroll Township, and the son of Heman Downing and wife, who were among the early settlers of the county, locating here in 1S37. This poem is so descriptive of the scenes and incidents of pioneer life, that we transmit it to these pages for preservation to the people who will come in the by-and-by to occupy the homes that pioneer hanas fashioned out of forests and prairie plains:
BY ANDREW DOWNING.
Westward, over the emerald plains
In early Autumn, before the rains
Of the Equinox had swollen the rills
Till they feiss'd the feet of the neighboring hills.
Onward they journeyed, side by side—
Sturdy husband, and loving bride.
Ever Before the__ the narrow road
Only its dark, and outlines showed.
There in the tall, rank grass it lay,
Wending ever its tortuous way.
Over the prairie lands, level and wide,
Down by the shimmering lakelet's side,
Up the long hillside, rocky and steep,
Down through the valleys, broad and deep.
Under the forest-trees shady arch—
This is the track of their toilsome march;
This is the path their footsteps press'd.
Out of the Eastland into the West,
Journeying onward, day by day,
To a land that was hundreds of miles away.
He was a genuine son of the soil.
Horny-handed and used to toil;
Strength, and vigor, and manly grace
Marked his movements; his drew was rough,
And made of the strongest homespun spun,
Woven from threads that his mother spun.
From the carded fleece, for her favorite son;
Fashioned from doth that his sister wove,
In the far-off home of his youth and love.
This was the very suit he wore
Only a few short weeks before.
When the woman who walks by his side,
Took his hand and became his bride,
She was a farmer's girl, buxom and fair,
Willing his home and his fortune to share;
Wise, and modest, and patient, and good.
Strong in the strength of her womanhood:
Heady to follow him anywhere.
And help him the burden Of life to bear.
Thus they travel together in quest
Of a happy home in the distant West.
All their dower and earthly hoard
Safe in a big, red wagon was stored,
Under a canvas, broad and while—
This their shelter by day and night.
Drawing a wagon, perchance, was a yoke
Of sleepy oxen—a team well broke
To "Gee!" or " Haw: when the master spoke,
To "Hack!" or "G'long!" and always know
Enough to halt at the sound of " Whoa!"
And this is the way the settlers went
Through hamlet, and town, and settlement.
One bright morning at last they came
Full in sight of their little "claim "—
Fertile acres as ever lay
Out of doors, in the light of day;
And the bright spot seemed to the woman's eyes
A very vision of paradise.
There, by the edge of the dense, dark wood,
Was the little cabin, homely and rude,
Built by the husband's ready hands,
And overlooking the pleasant lands.
Safe in the welcome haven at lastThe "prairie schooner" her anchor cast—
Lay at her moorings just before
The log cabin's open door;
While, freed from the yoke, the cattle pass
To their ev'ning feast in the tender grass;
And the household goods, a meagre store,
He scattered about on the puncheon floor;
Water, anon, from the spring is brought.
And an armful of seasoned fuel sought
Wherewith to kindle a blazing tire.
And the yellow flames rise high, and higher
In the chimney's throat, and the black pot swigs
On the long, dark crane, and the tea-kettle sings
Its cheery song. And the bright young wife
Begins the work of her frontier life;
Spreads the board for her plain repast.
And when the darkness shuts in at last,
Weary and drowsy, repairs to her rest—
The queen of a home in the glorious West!
Brightly the morn of the morrow broke
In the rosy east, and the twain awoke.
And gazed without on the new strange land—
Bright and beautiful, broad and grand!
And the wide expanse of the flow'r gem'd sod
Seemed fair as the garden where Adam trod.
When he and Eve, the primal pair,
Went into the apple-business there.
Clear, in the forest near by they heard
Song of sparrow and brown mocking bird;
Chirp of robin, and winter of wren,
And a boisterous bobo-link now and then.
Caroling, chorusing, going it strong.
And flooding the air with a torrent of song.
They breathed the sweet odors waffed up
From many a blossom's honey cup;
Saw that the sky was cloudless and blue.
Saw that the silver, scintillant dew
Had strung its rosary, bead by bead.
On grass-blade, floweret, bush and weed,
Brighter than diamonds, but, listen! these
Were only something to cheer and please—
Were only the blessings, goodly and fair.
That came Just ahead of trouble and care.
Winter was hurrying on apace;
Work was needed all over the place—
Work was needed to make their home
Snug and warm, ere the storms should come.
Stables and sheds to shelter the stock-
Though little their wealth in herd or flock.
And so the settler labored away,
Made long ricks of the prairie hay.
Hauled huge logs for the winter tire.
Toiled with an energy naught could lire;
And his good wife, though often alone.
Never was heard to murmur or moan,
Or sigh for a brighter, happier lot.
Or a fairer home than the log built cot.
Their nearest neighbor was miles away.
And seldom a stranger chanced to stray
To the cabin door, who might require
Host, and shelter, and food, and fire;
But if he came—Ah! who can doubt —
He found the latch-string always out,
And a welcome within from the youthful pair,
And old-time hospitality there.
Even the red-skins prowling around
Only kindness and friendship found.
Swiftly the Autumn with woods aflame
With red leaves went, and the Winter came.
Seldom the wife and her husband heard
From friends in the far-off East a word.
Thus the long, cold Winter was passed.
And the cheerful Spring returned at last;
The song-birds caroled on bush and bough.
And the man went forth with team and plow;
Traced dark lines in the prairie mould.
For the Summer to print in letters of gold;
And, up with the sun in the glorious morn,
He scattered the wheat, and pirated the corn.
And the harvest came, though the yield was small,
And the bearded wheat was garnered all.
And the corn grew ripe and was gathered in,
And safely sheltered in crib and bin.
The settler thrives, and his cattle increase,
His wealth grows larger in flock and fleece.
In spite of the lost cow gone astray,
And the hungry wolves that sometimes prey
Upon the sheep. And other men come
And build their cabins, and make their homes.
High from their chimneys the smoke wreaths rise.
Blue, to blend with the blue of the skies,
In sight of the little log-cabin; but Mill,
It was miles and miles to the nearest mill;
And the doctor lives so far away
That the patient got well, the old folks say.
Before he could come, with his powder and pill?,
And his saddle-bags—from over the hills.
Other years in their coming brought
Growth and wealth as the Settlers wrought—
Blessings and comforts, and babies came.
Each year adding another name
Of daughter or son, to the family roll.
The boys were rugged in body and soul.
Honest and true; and the fair young girls
Were precious and pure as a cluster of pearls.
Fingers taper and white as wax,
Eyes as blue as the bloom of the flax,
Or brown, or hazel, or black as Jet
Bright as the brightest you ever have met.
School-houses rose, and the settlers saw
The reign of social order and law;
Churches were built, and sermon, and psalm.
And organ peal, broke the Sabbath calm;
Lawyers came also, and politics.
And demagogues, with their dirty tricks.
Worming and twisting, and turning their coats,
To gull the people and catch their votes.
By-and-by comes that all-conquering force.
Steam, and the neigh of the iron horse.
Waking the echoes wherever he goes.
And making the wilderness bloom like the rose.
Some of the men of that olden time
Listen to-day to my idle rhyme;
Some of the women who found their "sphere "
In life as the wife of the Pioneer,
Have met with their old-time neighbors here.
Blessings be showered on them ever and aye,
As swiftly the days and the years hurry by;
Honor and fortune their footsteps attend.
And comfort and peace, till their pilgrimage end.
These are the toilers who moulded a state!
These are the heroes who triumphed o'er fate!
These are the soldiers who laughed at defeat!
This is the army that would not retreat!
These are the crusaders, sturdy and strong,
Worthy of places in story and song!
These the " Old Settlers " who came to the West!
Your fathers and mothers: Oh give them the best
Of all the good gifts it's yours to bestow,
In the fair garden state where the broad rivers flow,
And cherish and honor, in all coming years,
Every name on the roll of the brave Pioneers
After the reading of this poem, T. T. Jacobs, a settler of 1855, and a gentlemen of worth and merit, was called out for a speech, but, more poet than orator, he preferred to read a poem. This poem covered the growth and prosperity of Mount Carroll, as well as nearly all its business allocations, and was considered so applicable that a copy of it was requested to be spread upon the journals of the association.
After the reading of this poem, Mr. Monroe Bailey was called out, and, instead of making a speech. gave a description of the farming implements in use when he came here, in 1838, as compared with the farm machinery of 1875; soon after which the meeting adjourned until the first Thursday in September, 1870.
Third Annual Meeting.
The third annual meeting of the Old Settlers of Carroll County was held on Thursday, September 7, 1876. Like those which had preceded it, this meeting was held on the fair grounds, which had been put in order for the occasion by Mr. Wm. J. Pierce, the superintendent of the fair grounds. At two o'clock in the afternoon, Samuel Preston, secretary of the association, called the meeting to order, and said: Fellow Citizens and Old Settlers— Since our last meeting, death has entered our ranks and taken away our chief head, our president, Luther H. Bowen. Although he needed but a few more months to fill up the measure of years allotted to man on earth, yet when he met with us one year ago, moving about with his usual classic steps, little did we think—little did he think—it would be the last time he would meet with us. I have here a biographical sketch of his life, prepared by some of his immediate friends in Savanna, and when we are duly organized, and at the proper time, if desired, the secretary will read it to you.
By a provision of the constitution, the association, In the absence of the president, must select from among the vice presidents one to serve as president. Please nominate some one to fill the position made vacant by death.
Mr. Monroe Bailey nominated D. McKay, who was duly chosen to the position. On taking the chair, Mr. McKay paid a handsome tribute of respect to the virtue, worth, intelligence and enterprise of the association's deceased president, when the regular order of business was taken up. Mr. Monroe Bailey called for the reading of the names of the Old Settlers to see who else had died during the year. This reading elicited the fact that Henry L. Atherton, of the male members, and Mrs. John Kinney and Mrs. John O'Neal, of the female members of the association had passed away since the last meeting. The reading of the biographical sketch of the life of Luther H. Bowen was then called for and ordered to be spread upon the minutes, after which the reports of seven of the vice presidents of the early incidents in their several townships were presented and ordered to be recorded.
Treasurers Report. - Nelson Fletcher, treasurer of the association, presented an itemized statement of money received and paid out, as follows:
Cash on hand at last meeting.....................$5.85
Cash received..................................17.75 -$23.60
Amount paid out.......................................... 20.75
Amount on hand........................................... $2.00
The association then proceeded to the election of officers for the ensuing rear, after which the meeting adjourned until the first Thursday in Septemer, 1977.
Fourth Annual Meeting September 13, 1877, the association met in the Fine Art Hall on the fair grounds, and was called to order by the president, D. McKay, Esq.,at whose request Rev. George S. Young engaged the assembly in prayer.
At this meeting the treasurer's report was submitted, showing the following statement:
Amount expended.................................................. 16.55
Balance on hand $3.70
A reading of the names of the Old Settlers elicited the fact that Dr. John L. Hostetter had died since the last meeting, and death's mark was affixed opposite his name.
Upon the announcement of this fact, D. W. Dame was called upon and paid a very complimentary eulogy to the many good qualities of the deceased.
The afternoon exercises opened with a song by the glee club, entitled the " Prairie Land," which was happily rendered.
A paper on the trials of pioneer settlers, based upon the experiences of Mrs. Nancy Bennett, of York Township, and written by that lady herself, and covering her residence at Grand de Teur, Ogle County, in 1S34 and 1835, was read and ordered to be recorded.
Speeches were made by Hon. D. W. Dame, of Rock Creek; Joseph Cushman, Esq., of York, and Rev. Mr. Young, the latter of whom said that " he had attended old settlers' meetings in other counties in the Northwest, but had come to the conclusion, after a three years' residence in Carroll County, that it was the very centre of the Northwest, and that the Northwest was the centre of civilization.'" He paid a graceful tribute to labor and capital, saying there should be no war between them—that the same door was open for the laborer to become a capitalist to-day as when tho pioneers who sat before him commenced converting these prairies and forests into capital, and where they had become rich, respected and happy. Secretary Preston stated (by request) that in February, 1836, his father and himself made a claim in Mount Carroll Township, and that on the 20th of December following, while moving the family up from near Princeton, Bureau County, with ox teams, they encountered the most sudden and severe change from warm rain to exceeding cold that ever swept over the State of Illinois. The historian of Sangamon County had chronicled it as the "Great Storm." He gave a very vivid description of the families' sufferings from the sudden change in the temperature of the atmosphere, as well as of tho sufferings of the first settlers hereabouts in early times from fever, ague, etc.
The election of officers followed in order, after which Samuel Preston, Monroe Bailey, Joseph Bushman, D. W. Dame and Simon Greenleaf were appointed a committee to revise the constitution, with instructions to report at the next meeting. The meeting then adjourned subject to the call of the executive committee.
When the fifth annual meeting of the Old Settlers' Association of Carroll County shall have met and organized, it will be the duty of its presiding officer to announce the sudden and sad death of another one of their members—Captain David Becker, who died on the evening of the 26th of December, 1877, the particulars of which arc gathered from the Carroll County Herald of the 28th December:
Yesterday morning our city was startled by the Intelligence that the lifeless body of Captain David Becker bad been found in the street, in the eastern suburb of the city, at a late hour Wednesday night.
The circumstances of his death are somewhat clouded in uncertainty, but so far as known, they are detailed below:
Wednesday afternoon the deceased went to his home from the city about four o'clock, and shod after ate quite a hearty supper. When he arose from the table he told his wife that he was going to hunt his cow, and that he would return soon. This was about five o'clock. He did not return, and his absence at dark alarmed his family, who went to Mr. Joseph Forties, late business partner of the deceased, and told him of their fears, and he at once commenced to search for him, but being unable to find him, he came to the home of Capt. E. T. E. Becker, on Clay Street, and Informed him of the fears entertained concerning his father. The son, accompanied by several others, joined in the search, but it was not until half-past ten o'clock, after a large number of men and boys had continued looking for him for some hours, that the lifeless body of the old gentleman was found lying near the residence of Adam Nelson, at the comer of Broad and Halderman Streets, only two or three blocks away from his own home. The body was discovered by some boys. Dr. G. R. Moore and Sheriff Sutton were the first men upon the spot. Dr. Moore tells us that the body was prostrate upon the ground, face downwards, the forehead and upper part of the face slightly imbedded in the mud and the limbs drawn up under the body as though deceased bad settled down while reaching to the fence for support. From appearances it is judged that he had expired instantly without a struggle. The body was cold and still, and had probably laid from four to five hours. The remains were taken up and removed to the late home of the deceased and tenderly prepared for burial. For some time back, deceased had complained of dizzy spells, and had been gradually failing in health, but as he kept about his usual duties his condition excited no alarm in die minds of his friends. Medical men are of the opinion that the cause of his sudden death was rupture of the heart, which was brought about by fatly degeneration of that organ.
Captain David Becker was the first white settler in Rock Creek Township, where he settled about 1844, and made a claim of the laud now owned by Daniel Belding, and was the first postmaster in that township. He lived there until 1850, when he removed to Salem Township, and remained there until 1866, when he sold out his farm interests and moved to Mount Carroll. His funeral obsequies took place Friday, December 28,1877, from the Mount Carroll M. E. Church, where an appropriate sermon was preached by Rev. D. M. Reed, of Rockford.
One by one the "Old Settlers" are going home, but their lives here have been such as to warrant the belief that they go to a haven of rest and everlasting happiness beyond the skies—the sure reward of well-spent, honest, useful lives.
Many others yet remain, nearly all of whom are surrounded with homes of comfort and contentment, the accumulations of their own industries and economy. The prairie and forest wilds long since gave way before their well-directed energies and industries. Many of them saw the last of the native red men as they disappeared silently and sadly towards the setting sun. On their favorite camping places they have seen villages, towns and cities, schools, colleges and churches spring up as if by the touch of magic. In the midst of these accumulating accomplishments, these patriarchal pioneers have grown in the respect and confidence of increasing population until they have come to be regarded as very fathers and mothers. Soon, however, in the very nature of things, they, too, will be called to join the immortal throng on the happy shores of the eternal beyond for which they are ready and waiting.
List of the names of the old settlers who died in Carroll County during the year, beginning Sept. 1, 1897, and ending Aug. 25, 1898,
as taken from the official records at Mt. Carroll. The list was read by Capt. E. T. E. Becker, at the old settlers picnic in Lanark, Thursday, Aug. 25, 1898.
Contributed by Karen Fyock - (Undated Scrapbook Clipping)
Chester E. Olmsted - Age 70 - In Illinois 46 years
Mrs. Emeline Olmsted - Age 76 - In Illinois 46 years
John Q. Russell - Age 69 - In Illinois 42 years
Mrs. Eliza Millard - Age 93
Mrs. Janett Williams - Age 62 - In Illinois 60 years
Thomas H. Walters - Age 75 - In Illinois 34 years
Wm. Bean_ - Age 61 - In Illinois 34 years
Henry A. Plock - Age 71 - In Illinois 29 years
John J. Wood - Age 79 - In Illinois 42 years
Mathias Tallman - Age 64 - In Illinois 32 years
Nancy Henkell - Age 64 - In Illinois 32 years
Reuben Waters - Age 79 - In Illinois 54 years
Orrinda Steffens - Age 78 - In Illinois 58 years
Egbert Pulver - Age 76 - In Illinois 40 years
Peter Keckler - Age 82 - In Illinois 30 years
Rosina R. Miller - Age 76
Mrs. Rosanna Hunt - Age 76 - In Illinois 47 years
Elmer Chaffee - Age 41 - In Illinois 41 years
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