Christian County, Illinois History
Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 1901
Transcribed by Kim Torp
CHRISTIAN COUNTY - a rich agricultural county, lying in the "central belt" and organized in 1839 from parts of Macon, Montgomery, Sangamon and Shelby Counties. The name first given to it was Dane, in honor of Nathan Dane, one of the framers of the Ordinance of 1787, but a political prejudice led to a change. A preponderance of early settlers having come from Christian County, KY., this name was finally adopted. The surface is level and the soil fertile, the northern half of the county being best adapted to corn and the southern to wheat. Its area is about 710 square miles, and its population (1900) was 32,790. The life of the early settlers was exceedingly primitive. Game was abundant; wild honey was used as a substitute for sugar; wolves were troublesome; prairie fires were frequent; the first mill (on Bear Creek) could not grind more than 10 bushels of grain per day, by horse-power. The people hauled their corn to St. Louis to exchange for groceries. The first store was opened at Robertson's Point, but the county-seat was established at Taylorville. A great change was wrought in local conditions by the advent of the Illinois Central Railway, which passes through the eastern part of the county. Two other railroads now pass centrally through the county - the "Wabash" and the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern. The principal towns are Taylorville (a railroad center and thriving town of 2,829 inhabitants), Pana, Morrisonville, Edinburg and Assumption.
EDINBURG - A village of Christian County, on the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railway, 18 miles southeast of Springfield; has two banks though some coal is mined here.
MORRISONVILLE - a town in Christian County, situated on the Wabash Railway, 40 miles southwest of Decatur and 20 miles north-northeast of Litchfield. Grain is extensively raised in the surrounding region, and Morrisonville, with its elevators and mill, is an important shipping-point. It has brick and tile works, electric lights, two banks, five churches, graded and high schools, and a weekly paper.
1903 (est.): 1,200
PANA - An important railway center and principal city of Christian County, situated in the southeastern part of the County, and at the intersecting point of the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern, the Illinois Central and the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroads, 35 miles south by west from Decatur, and 42 miles southeast of Springfield. It is an important shipping-point for grain and has two elevators. Its mechanical establishments include two flouring mills, a foundry, two machine shops and two planing mills. The surrounding region is rich in coal, which is extensively mined. Pana has banks, several churches, graded schools and three papers issuing daily and weekly editions.
Population: 1890: 5,077 -- 1900: 5,530
Pana - The City of Roses
In 1918, C. R. Nielson erected one large greenhouse; to this house, he added six more greenhouses in 1919 and 1920, consisting of approximately 120,000 square feet of glass. In 1921, the Amling Brothers, Walter, Herbert and Martin, came to Pana from Maywood, Illinois; they erected four large greenhouses and a power plant; additional houses were added in 1922, 1923, ane 1924, until there were twenty-eight in all, growing only roses. The twenty-eight houses consisted of approximately 490,000 square feet of glass. In 1927 the Amling Brothers sold their interests to the Maton Brothers. In 1928 the Amling Brothers erected a new series of thirty-two greenhouses with a modern heating plant; these were located west of town. The concrete smoker stack connected with the heating plant is 180 feet tall, the tallest structure in Pana. This series of green houses consisted of 780,000 square feet of glass. In 1945 the Amling Brothers sold their interests to a group of men who organized "The Illinois Roses, Ltd." The Asa Brothers, Edward, Clarence, and John, erected a range of seven green houses in 1923. In 1929 a range of seven more was added.
In 1925 and 1925, Spanbauer and Webb erected a range of houses with a heating plant; it consisted of approximately 80,000 square feet of glass. The Maton Brothers, Arthur and Walter purchased this range and a few years later, they purchased the Asa Brothers plant, which is now called the Webb Greenhouses. It consisted of approximately 295,000 square feet of glass. There are at this time, four major floral wholesalers operating in the City of Pana, which are, The Illinois Roses, Ltd.; Roses Ltd.; Amling Flowers, and the Webb Greenhouses. There are about 210 employees at the four plants, and about 24,000 tons of coal are consumed yearly. The yearly payroll for the four plants is between $950,000 and $975,000. This is the reason the City of Pana is called "The City of Roses."
(source: Illinois sesquicentennial edition of Christian County history: Jacksonville, Ill.,: Production Press, 1968. - submitted by Ida Maack Recu)
TAYLORVILLE - A city and county-seat of Christian County, on the South Fork of the Sangamon River and on the Wabash Railway at its point of intersection with the Springfield Division of the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern. It is about 27 miles southeast of Springfield, and 28 miles southwest of Decatur. IT has several banks, flour mills, paper mill, electric light and gas plants, water-works, two coal mines, carriage and wagon shops, a manufactory of farming implements, two daily and weekly papers, nine churches and five graded and township high schools. Much coal is mined in this vicinity.
GHOST TOWNS IN CHRISTIAN COUNTY,
[source: "Illinois Sesquicentennial Edition of Christian County history"]
EDINBURG the largest and most important town between Vandalia and Springfield, and between Shelbyville and Springfield was located about two miles northwest of the original town of Taylorville on what was later the G. W. Vollentine farm; the town was located on the northeast quarter of Section 21 in Township 13 north, Range 2 west, known today as Taylorville Township. This town was located where part of City Park addition to Taylorville is built, across the road from the County Highway Building. In 1839, there were several hundred inhabitants living there, and it was an important stop on the Great Eastern Stage Route from Springfield to Terre Haute. There were probably more businesses than we have been able to authenticate, but we know there was a store, post office, blacksmith shop, doctor's office, and a stage stop which was probably a hotel or an inn. The stage passed daily, each way. When Taylorville was selected as the seat of justice, many houses and store buildings were moved to the new town, and Edinburgh ceased to exist.
ALLENTON another of the more important towns on the Great Eastern Stage Line, was located about two miles northeast of the original town of Taylorville on a knoll on what was later the Bart Hall Farm. Today, one may find brick foundations of some of the buildings which existed at that time. This town was located on the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 13 north, Range 2 west, which is known now as Taylorville Township. This was an important stage stop as Daniel C. Goode owned the stage stand; there was at least one store, blacksmith shop, post office, a hotel, and many houses. Daniel C. Goode entered this land January 30, 1830. Judge Frink was the last post-master, 1838-1840; he was the proprietor of the Half Way House, which was often frequented by Abraham Lincoln and General Baker. Many of the buildings were moved to the new seat of justice, and then it ceased to exist.
BETHANY-ROBINSON'S POINT- In the late 1820's, the first store in Christian County was established. Bethany was located on the southwest corner of the northeast quarter of Section 29, Township 14 north, Range 2 west, which is now known as Buckhart Township. No record has been found as to the original proprietor of the Bethany store, but later, in 1835, David Robinson opened a store and established a post office, and the name of Bethany was changed to Robinson's Point. Mr. Robinson operated this store during 1835, '36, and '37. The Great Eastern Stage Line passed daily each way. There was a blacksmith shop besides the store and post office. The store was near the residence of John Langdon, which was later owned by J. M. Redfern.
BOND'S POINT- Bond's Point was the first settlement in Bear Creek Township. Col. Thomas B. Bond settled at the timber point in Section 23, Township 12 north, Range 3 west, which is now known as Bear Creek Township, on December 9, 1835; at that time there were other settlers in the township; but since this was a settlement, Mr. Bond opened a store and was the post-master; there were a few houses and a few other businesses at that time. Bond's Point was located on the county road from Taylorville to Hillsboro, which passed through Harper's Ferry and also the land of William Ricks in Ricks Township.
HARPER'S FERRY - This settlement was located on the east side of Lick Spring Creek on the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 28, Township 12 north, Range 3 west, known today as Bear Creek Township. Today a cemetery locates the settlement. There was a store, post office, black-smith shop, and a saloon; C. M. Leberman of Morrisonville was the leading merchant. Harper's Ferry was located downstream a short distance from Jernigan's Bridge, which was in Section 33 of the same township. Harper's Ferry was located on the county road, Taylorville to Hillsboro, to Edwardsville.
BLACKBURN Blackburn was a small village located on the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 17, Township 13 north, Range 3 west, which is now South Fork Township. It was founded by Dr. J. H. Dickerson, who was the first postmaster and merchant. There was a blacksmith shop, stores, post office, and a large hall used by the Woodman's Lodge and for dances and general meetings. John White had the store, later owned by a Mr. Peck. Mike Drea and his wife finally operated the store, which was later owned by Roy Curvey, but not the Roy Curvey who lived south of Bulpitt. Several families received their mail from the Blackburn Post Office as shown in the list in the 1891 Christian County Plat Book. (This was submitted by Mr. and Mrs. Dennis O'Hara and Mrs. Joseph O'Hara.)
CAMPBELLSBURG This settlement was located in the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter and in the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 10, Township 14 north, Range 3 west, Buckhart Township. It was located on the new railroad built in 1860-70. There were a number of houses, a post office, stores, blacksmith shop, a school, a freight house, and a depot. It was laid off into lots May 27, 1870, for John Rodham, Iverson Stokes, and Joseph Throwls. Campbellsburg ceased to exist when the railroad razed the freight house and moved the depot. Blueville and Blue Point were located a short distance away, and these towns became the center of activity.
HALF ACRE Edward Bradley purchased one-half acre in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 8 in Township 12 north, Range 3 west on the north side of the stream in 1855 and named it "Half Acre." He opened a store and a saloon; there were several cabins, a saw mill, a blacksmith shop, and possibly a post office. It was a flourishing settlement until a criminal element gained control; and because of the roughness of the place thereafter, it became known as "Hell's Half Acre." The settlement was destroyed by the storm of 1880, which swept through the county at that time. This story of the storm was given wide publicity at the time in the Morrisonville Times.
BLUEVILLE This was a settlement located near the center of Township 14 north, Range 3 west, Section 14, Buckhart Township. Blue Point was quite a prosperous town, having two stores, a drug store, a plow manufactory, and a blacksmith shop. A Methodist church and a school were built in 1866. The first store was opened by W. T. Houston, in April 1868. The church was removed to Edinburg, when the two settlements were combined and named "Edinburg." A coal shaft was started here, the second attempt in the county; but after an expenditure of some $16,000, it was abandoned because no profitable vein was discovered.
BLUE POINT The land upon which Blue Point was located was entered by Archibald and Robert Sattley, January 7, 1832. They transferred to others and in the chain of transfers, it belonged to Robert Allen of Springfield, who owned the Great Eastern Stage Line. Some years later, Mr. Allen and his wife had some financial difficulties, and Judge H. M. Vandeveer appointed Abraham Lincoln as an administrator to settle the estate of 200 acres. Blue Point was one of the towns through which the Great Eastern Stage passed daily, each way; this was the first stage stand out of Springfield. Mr. Allen built a two-story hotel, with porches upstairs and downstairs; this was later occupied by Daniel DeCamp, as a residence. There was a general store, a post office, a blacksmith shop, a stage stand, and several residences. Dr. S. J. Jerald was the first post-master. Mr. DeCamp settled here in 1843 and purchased the 200 acre farm in 1851. In 1870, the residents of Blue Point and Blueville voted to merge the two settlements into one and gave it the name, "Edinburg."
BULPIT J. C. Bulpit had a store about one mile southwest of Ralston's Bridge in Township 13 north, Range 3 west, in what is now known as South Fork Township. The store was located in Section 4. Mr. Bulpit lived near by, and on June 15, 1864, robbers came to the store, whereupon Mr. Bulpit fled to his home. His son later lived on the homeplace and later established the town of Bulpitt (another "T" being added). The store that J. C. Bulpit had was all there was here. Mr. Bulpit entered into partnership with Nathaniel Gordon and operated a saw mill. Mr. Gordon was one of the brothers who opened a store at South Fork.
DOLLVILLE This small settlement was located in the southeast corner of Section 2, Township 12 north, Range 2 west, better known as Johnson Township. The Great Western Stage passed through three times each week from Taylorville to Pana and Vandalia. As the stage came out of Taylorville, it traveled south and came into Dollville from the west to avoid the quick sands in the bottom lands; leaving Dollville, the stage crossed Section 12 to the south-east and crossed the stream at a ford and on the Owaneco. There was a store, probably a blacksmith shop, a post office, and a school. A brick building stood for a long time after the town ceased to exist; it was used as a schoolhouse until it was condemned, and then a frame building was built for the school.
FINLEYVILLEOnly one store was located here which was on the south-east corner of Section 28, Township 14 north, Range 3 west, known as South Fork Township. The store was operated until the town of Bulpitt was founded, and then the building was moved to Bulpitt. Finleyville was located near the Greenwood School about one fourth mile east.
SOUTH FORK The town of South Fork was located in the northwest corner of Township 1 3 north, Range 4 west. South Fork Township, in Section 3. No more information can be found except that George and Nathaniel Gordon moved a shanty in and started a store at the town of South Fork in the 1850's. It was located close or upon the farm later owned and known as the Nathan Plummer farm. The store was not successful and one night, it burned mvsteriously; it was heavily insured and this was a new venture in those days, but George left and was not heard from again. Nathaniel entered into partnership with J.C. Bulpit and they operated a saw mill.
OWANECO A small settlement with a store and a saloon was located in the northwest quarter of Section 27, Township 12 north, Range 1 west, Locust Township. In 1857 a post office was established there, and Judge H. M. Vandeveer gave it the name "Owaneco." There were only a few houses in the area; it was located on the Great Western Stage Line that passed three times weekly from Taylorville to Pana and came into Owaneco from Taylorville by way of Dollville.
WALLACEVILLEThis was a settlement that had stores, a blacksmith shop, a church, and several houses. It was located in the northeast corner of Section 13, Township 12 north. Range 3 west. Bear Creek Township. This location was a short distance off the railroad and at this time, Clarksdale sprang up, and Wallaceville became only a few houses and the church. The church stood until the 1940's when it was razed.
MORGANVILLE Before the Wabash Railroad was built, there was a settlement in Township 15 north, Range 1 west, Mosquito Township, known as Morganville. It was located on the west side of Section 13 and was about one-fourth mile long on each side of the half-section line; there was a blacksmith shop, a store, post office, and several houses. The residence of William Morgan was located here, and the town was on his farm. Other Morgans lived on land across the road in Section 14. As the county became established and the rail-road was built and county roads were authorized, Morganville lost the post office, and the town ceased to exist.
BOLIVAR This town was laid out by Joseph Boudurant on June 5, 1833, on the southeast quarter of Section 18, Township 15 north, Range 2 west, Mt. Auburn Township and consisted of 8 blocks and 123 lots. It had a post office, stores, a blacksmith shop, and several houses. It was probably on the Decatur to Springfield stage line. When the railroad was built, it missed Bolivar; houses were built on the railroad with stores and the post office, and the name changed to Bolivia.
RANDALLVILLE This settlement was located in the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Township 15 north, Range 1 west, Mosquito Township. There were several houses, a number of which belonged to Randall families; a post office, stores, a blacksmith shop, a church, and a schoolhouse. Some of the Randall families were I.N. Randall, Lewis Randall, Walter Randall, M. G. Randall, and J. K. Randall. Because of the closeness to the new railroad, a new town sprang up called "Blue Mound," and Randallville became only a settlement with a church and a schoolhouse.
STONE COAL Stone Coal was so named because of a vein of stone coal discovered in the banks of the stream upon which it was located. The site of this town was in the center of Section 34, Township 11 north, Range 1 east, Pana Township, on a stream cutting through the section. There was a store in a shanty on wheels, a post office, a blacksmith shop, and a few houses. The Great Western Stage line passed three times weekly from Taylorville to Vandalia. Mr. M. S. Beckwith was the postmaster and storekeeper. When the railroad was built, Mr. Beckwith moved his shanty to what was called "Pana." He was probably the first storekeeper in the new town and was the first postmaster. He opened his store near where the Penwell Coal Mine was later located, for history tells us that the town started at the foot of the knoll near the railroad. He moved to Pana in 1855.
GINGERVILLE Gingerville was only a settlement of families, who built their homes close to each other. This location was about two miles west of Mowcaqua. There was no store, post office, or any business whatsoever, except that R. E. Wetzel operated a grist mill on the stream, and later rebuilt it into a saw mill. Mr. Wetzel lived to be 101 years of age and was living with his daughter in Stonington at the time of his death. His daughter, Mrs. Elwood Pearson, furnished this information.
BLUE MOUNDWest of Rosamond, about two miles there is a great mound, called "Badger's Mound" and this is the highest point in Christian County. At the foot of this mound, there was a settlement called Blue Mound, because of the color of the mound as viewed at a distance. There was no store or post office that can be found any proof and when the railroad was built, the settlers scattered and no trace of the settlement can be found now. No evidence has been found that the settlement was on a Stage Line, or a state or county road. It seemed that they were settlers who wanted to band themselves closely together for protection and as the county became more settled, they moved away.
VAUGHN There was a store located in the southwest corner of the south-west quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 18, Township 13 north, Range 1 east. Assumption Township and across the road in Section 13, Township 13 north, Range 1 west, May Township, there was a blacksmith shop. This settlement was called "Vaughn." There was a general store and a post office. The store was located on the J. R. Vaughn farm. There was an incident told by a local resident, as he remembered his grandfather telling that a traveling show came that way and pitched tent and produced "Uncle Tom's Cabin"; they pitched tent in the open field.
SANDERSVILLE Nicholas Sanders came to the county in 1837 and settled on the border of the Flat Branch in Section 1, Township 13 north, Range 1 west, May Township. In 1852, he built and opened a store across the section line in Township 14 north, Range 1 west, Stonington Township, in Section 35. This was near his residence and close to Stonington City. He had a post office besides his store and it was located on the Stage line from Taylorville to Moweaqua. His store was near the church, which today is known as "Old Stonington Baptist Church."
STONINGTON CITYA New England Colony purchased 10,000 acres in and adjacent to Township 14 north, Range 1 west, Stonington Township, and set aside 160 acres to found a town. This was located on the west half of the southeast quarter and the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 25 in the said township. It was surveyed and platted May 11, 1837, and was to contain a public square, 42 blocks and 504 lots. The streets were to be 72 feet wide. A school was founded, called "Brush College"; the town had a store, post office and a hotel. A Baptist church was organized in 1838. The town existed until the railroad was built, and then it had only the church, the schoolhouse, and a cemetery. The new town of Covington changed its name to "Stonington" and the post office was moved there.
TACUSA This settlement began when the Illinois Central Railroad was built to this point and a freight house and a depot were built. A few houses were built and a few businesses were established. The first house was built by ______ who boarded the workers from the railroad; he also operated a saloon. The first business building was by Col. E. E. Malhiot, a state senator from Louisiana who purchased 30 sections of land from the railroad and other owners and brought about 150 persons from Canada to settle. He added to Tacusa; and when the townships were organized in 1866, the township was called Assumption. Soon after the name of the town was also changed to Assumption. The town is located in parts of 4 sections, part of Section 1 and part of Section 2 in Township 12 north. Range 1 east and part of Section 35 and part of Section 36 in Township 13 north, Range 1 east.
COVINGTON - When the Wabash Railroad was built, about 1870, a freight house and a depot were situated at the present site of Stonington. The town was named Covington in honor of Mr. Covington, who owned the land upon which the town was established. Later the post office was moved from Sandersville and Stonington City and the name of the post office became Stonington, so the town was also named Stonington.
VANDERVILLE This town was so named because the Vandeveer family had extensive holdings in the area. The town started with the building of a large two-story frame building about 50 feet long, east and west, and about 30 feet wide, north and south. There were hitch racks on the west and south sides. This town was located on the northwest corner of the southeast quarter of Section 3, Township 11 north, 2 west, Greenwood Township; the road is on the quarter section line. The lumber to build the building was hauled by John Pittenger and "Granddaddy" Page. The first floor was used as the store and post office. At first, the mail was brought out from Taylorville; afterwards it was brought from Morrisonville; Charles Albert Pittenger carried the mail to the Buckeye Prairie district, on horseback. The second floor was divided and housed a doctor's office, barber shop, a boxing ring, the Anti-Horse Thief Lodge, and a general meeting place. Dr. Frazier lived about one-fourth mile west of the store; Mr. Fines, the barber, lived immediately north of the store. East of the store, Frank Webrick had a blacksmith shop and across the road south Charles Shaffer had a blacksmith shop, next to his house. East of Webrick's shop was Ed Hebel's harness shop. The store burned in 1923. Before that, Charles Albert Pittenger had built a store building north of Mr. Fine's house, on a 24-acre piece of land that he owned; Mr. Pittenger operated this store until 1948 when he sold his interests after 33 years. The store and post office were owned by a Mr. Boyd, then a Mr. Clark, and others followed.
VELMA This was a small village located on the railroad in the southwest quarter of Section 5, Township 12 north. Range 1 west, Locust Township, on land owned by Hiram Shumway. Mr. Shumway built the store building and had the post office; later the store changed hands several times. There was also a machine shop, an elevator, and a railroad station. Mr. Shumway called the place "Velma" in honor of his daughter Velma. This town was established in the late 1890's. When the new highway was built to follow the railroad into Taylorville in 1965-66, the state purchased most of the property for a right-of-way, and the buildings were razed. Only the concrete foundation of the elevator remains.
MILLERSVILLEAlthough Millersville is still on the map and a church and an elevator and a few houses remain, it is a small part of what Millersville once was. The town is located in the southeast corner of Section 26, Township 12 north. Range 1 west. Locust Township, and was so located as a shipping point halfway between Pana and Owaneco. The town was laid out September 20, 1873, by M.G. Okey at the suggestion of Thomas Miller, who owned the land upon which the town was laid out. It was surveyed by Elijah Gimlin, a resident of the township, for its proprietor, who acknowledged the same before W. M. Provine, a notary public, January 20, 1874. The town contained 4 blocks, and the principal streets were Bismark and Center; the town was named in honor of Mr. Miller. Ballard and Miller operated an elevator; there were two elevators. L. Kirkpatrick operated a general store; there were two other stores. Price and Wilkerson were the grain dealers. There was also a school, a church, blacksmith shop, paint shop, stock yards, hay barns, scales and a coal yard, a depot, an engine house, a post office. They had a rural delivery of mail. The Pike Anti-Horse Thief Lodge is there.
DUNKLE This town was established in 1876 by J. N. Dunkle, who opened a store and became the postmaster. The new railroad built a depot and freight house. Later an elevator was erected. Dunkle is located in the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 23, Township 12 north. Range 1 east. Assumption Township. Today all that remains is the elevator and one house.
RADFORDThis town was located in the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 13, Township 13 north, Range 1 east, Prairieton Township. Front street ran along the railroad. There were three blocks, and 60 lots; the other streets were Radford Street, McGraft, Shobe, Mercer, and Syford streets. It contained stores, a post office, and probably a blacksmith shop. A few houses were built, but the town never developed to any extent and today, except for a short street facing the railroad and a few houses, it is farm land.
ARCHIE'S MILL Archer Moses came to the area and entered the first parcel of land in the county. On November 27, 1827, he entered the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 13 in Township 15 north, Range 3 west, in Mt. Auburn Township. He established a water mill on the river, and settlers from the southeast part of the county had a choice of going to Shelbyville or Archie's Mill to have their grain ground. This was the only grist mill in the area for a few years until others began to be built along the streams. In the late 1890's and early 1900's, the area was known as "Smith's Mill," and it was a recreation area, with boating, fishing, swimming, and picnic grounds; families came from great distances to enjoy the pleasures that were afforded. When the river was dredged for a new channel to take out the bends, the area was abandoned and today, the remains of the old Archie's Mill is there for all to see, the stone pillars that supported the mill floor, the remains of the old dam, and even the position of the old water wheel that furnished the power. Nearby, the remains of an old ice house dug into the side of the bank of the ridge is visible. At the top of the hill or ridge, there is a mound of lime stone, where men carried or carted the stone from the river bank, and then crushed it and made it ready for hauling away. Today, a Mr. Bradley owns the site, and his is the oldest abstract in Christian County.
ROBY Jake Bird, who lived at Mechanicsburg, owned the land north of the railroad and had it platted and surveyed into lots. The railroad was built in 1901. Jim Mitchem and Art Belt operated the first store. There was more than one store and a post office, a blacksmith shop, a church, and a school were nearby. In 1905, J. F. Akin opened a store and today his son, J. E. Akin, a former school teacher operates the store on the south side of the Lincoln Trail, which follows the railroad at this point. This is nearly the same route followed by the stage route from Decatur to Springfield and also the state road established by the state legislature in 1837.
GROVE CITY This inland town was built in the 1850's and the first store was built by F. H. Henshie and the first house was built by E. N. Hoagland; there was a blacksmith shop here at the same time, in 1858; in 1862 a post office was established, with F. H. Henshie as the first postmaster. In 1864, Dr. H.J. Grismer was the first physician; in 1876, a school house was erected, with Sylvester Patterson as the first teacher. In 1880, the business houses consisted of a drug store, a grocery store, a dry goods store, a boot and shoe store, a harness shop, a wagon maker, an undertaker, a house and sign painter, a bank. Two physicians were Dr. W. H. Vermillion and Dr. J. G. Harvey. There were the Masonic Lodge, Order of Eastern Star, Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. At a later date there was a jewelry store, located in Section 34, Township 15 north. Range 2 west, Mt. Auburn Township. Housley and Drake had a large store and warehouse; they opened a branch store in Stonington in 1893 and also a bank. Today, there remains a church and a well-kept cemetery that marks the site of a very important town in the late nineteenth century.
MT. AUBURN This town is today an important town located on the railroad that connects Springfield and Decatur; Mt. Auburn is located in Section 12, Township 15 north. Range 2 west, Mt. Auburn Township on the Lincoln Trail. It was an important stop for the stages and also on the State Road, Decatur to Springfield. It was mentioned as a possible site for the state capitol when it was to be moved from Vandalia. Mt. Auburn is the oldest town in the county that retains its original name, "Mt. Auburn." In 1837, it is mentioned in the records of the state legislature in laying out state roads. Mt. Auburn has erected a bronze plaque informing the public that Abraham Lincoln traveled this route many times.
GENERAL SAMUEL WHITESIDE - About two miles northeast of Mt. Auburn, on the Lincoln Trail, there is an old cemetery in which is buried the only general known to be buried in Christian County. General Samuel Whiteside, who fought in the Indian War of 1832, was born in 1783 and died in 1860. John Whiteside, a brother of General Samuel Whiteside, served as state treasurer. The cemetery is located in the northeast quarter of Section 5, Township 15 north. Range 1 west. Mosquito Township.
CAMPBELL'S POINT This point is located at a point of the timber that extends out into the prairie. John and Joseph Brown entered the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 3 in Township 14 north, Range 3 west, Buckhart Township, on October 30, 1825, and sold their interests to Shadrack J. Campbell on March 3, 1833, for $275. The tract contained 80 acres. From this point other landmarks were located. This point was only a short distance west of the town of Campbellsburg.
FIRST SETTLEMENT - Martin Hanon came to the county the first of November, 1818, with his brothers, sisters and his mother and became the first settler in the county. He settled on land in Section 29, Township 14 north, 3 west in South Fork Township; the place was later occupied by Aquille Council. In 1826 Mr. Hanon moved to a place south of Taylorville and built a cabin near a great spring. Later, this site was where V. T. Prist built a three-story brick flouring mill in the 1860's; in 1872, it burned, never to be rebuilt. In later years, a brick building was built from the debris of the old mill, and it was later used as a slaughter house. This building is located on the Taylorville to Nokomis road, just south of the Col. Seaman estate. Mr. Hanon bought an interest in a grist mill, owned by Wallace and Knuckles in 1834, and moved his family from the site south of Taylorville. Mr. Hanon sold his interest in the mill to Jesse Elgan in 1838 and retired to his farm nearby. This farm was later owned by Josiah A. Hill who served as sheriff and also as circuit clerk. After Mr. Hanon lost his wife, he went to live with a daughter near Sharpsburg, Mrs. Sharp.
CLARKSDALE - Clarksdale was laid out and plotted by Richard Powell for Y. B. Clark, for whom it was named, in 1871. A flouring mill was built in 1872 by Mr. Clark; it burned in 1876. The post office was established in 1870, and L. Park was the first postmaster. P. H. Ward operated a general merchandise store; Twist Brothers owned a grain buying business; there were also two blacksmith shops. In 1880 there was an elevator, a general store, a wagon repair shop, a hotel, and a school. Dr. George Walton and Dr. E. K. Fletcher were the physicians, and there was a drug store and a barber shop. After the advent of the automobile and the hard roads, Clarksdale became another ghost town.
CLAWSONS POINT There was a settlement at the head waters of Spring Branch that ran northward through the eastern tier of Sections in Township 13 north, Range 1 west, May Township; the settlement was located in Section 25. This settlement was located on the Taylorville to Assumption stage and hack route. Many travellers from Shelbyville to Springfield found a nights lodging there, and it became a resting point in the travels across the prairie. There were only a few houses and probably one was a kind of inn for travellers. So far as is known, there was no post office, store, or blacksmith shop there.
WADDELL SETTLEMENT - Because of the number of families of that name who settled in the vicinity, the settlement was called the Waddell Settlement. In 1886, they built a United Presbyterian Church on the northwest corner of the southwest quarter and it stood there until during the 1920's, when it was moved or razed. At this time, Elmer Waddell and his son William still farm extensively in Sections 22 and 27 in Township 13 north, Range 1 west. May Township.
JERNIGAWS BRIDGE This bridge was located, crossing the stream in Section 33, Township 12 north, Range 3 west. Bear Creek Township. Gabriel R. Jernigan settled on the Bear Creek in 1835 and entered the east half of the northeast quarter on Section 4 in Township 11 north. Range 3 west. Ricks Township. The bridge was built north of his land and was named in his honor. Mrs. Jernigan was elected treasurer ot the county and served during its infancy.
RALSTONS BRIDGE - Gavin Ralston, Sr., arrived and settled in Township 13 north. Range 3 west. South Fork Township, in 1834. He settled in Section 3. A bridge was built across the stream, a short distance from his farm, and the bridge named in his honor. The site was important in the early days because many locations were described in relation to the bridge. Gavin Ralston was one of the three County Court Commissioners elected in April 1839, which was the governing body of the county as the Board of Supervisors is today.
RALSTON'S QUARRY A short distance downstream, was located a quarry known as Ralston's Quarry; from this quarry, the stone for the first court house was taken and the lime was burned here to furnish plaster. Today, there still remain signs of the old quarry and many boulders of limestone are in the vicinity.
ELSTON'S MILL - This mill was built by Wallace and Knuckles in 1833; they sold the mill to Martin Hanon and Eli Matthews, who operated it until 1838 and then sold to Jesse Elgan; this was a water mill and much grain was ground here; later a saw mill was built. Jesse Elgan was one of the contractors who built the first court house. When the County Court Commissioners met in 1839, they authorized the first county road to be laid out from Taylorville to Elgan's Mill.
WHITECRAFT SETTLEMENT - John C. Whitecraft came to the area November 17, 1835, and settled on Section 25, Township 14 north, Range 4 west, South Fork Township. He purchased 150 acres from a Mr. Rathburn, who had started to build a water mill; Mr. Whitecraft finished the mill. When the legislature met at Vandalia, in 1837, the marking of a state road from Vandalia to Springfield was authorized, and Mr. Whitecraft was one of the three commissioners named. The road was to leave Vandalia, pass between Ramsay and Hurricane Creeks, through Audubon, Montgomery County and on to Edinburgh and thence by way of Rathburn's Mill and then to Rochester and Springfield. At a later session of the legislature, the road was changed to pass from Edinburgh to Rochester and then Springfield, by passing Rathburn's Mill.
TIMBER FIELD-HORSESHOE PRAIRIE - Horseshoe Prairie was that area on the east side of the river which extended as far east as Sharpsburg and almost to Taylorville; in the early days it was a vast swamp. A short distance downstream from Ralston's Bridge and beyond Ralston's Quarry, was what was known in the early days as Timber Field; it was a space bare of trees in the bottom land where John Waddell settled in 1824, built a cabin and cultivated his crops. Some time later he sold his holdings to John Baker, who came with his father. His father, Mr. D. Baker was quite elderly, and it was said that he was a Revolutionary soldier. Soon after their arrival, Mr. D. Baker died and was buried in the open field without a marker. As time passed, the land was flooded several times and then the underbrush took over, and Timber Fields could no longer be located accurately.
BELL'S GROVE John Bell arrived in the Pana-Rosamond area in 1836 and entered a tract of land, consisting of 521 acres in Section 24, Township 11 north, Range 1 west, Rosamond Township. Along the ridge, there was considerable timber and until that time, there was a band of Indians who had an encampment. They were close to the many springs that was the start of Oppossum Creek, and the timber furnished good hunting and protection from the elements. In 1863 the Rosamond Cemetery Association purchased 40 acres of Bells' Grove for their cemeterv. It is in this cemetery, that a statue of Abraham Lincoln stands which is said to be the only one of Mr. Lincoln with his right hand upraised. Beside the statue, there stands a cannon, ordered bv the citizens of Rosamond and taken to Springfield, where Mr. Lincoln was asked to name it. He called it the "Mary Todd."
Written by George Rogers
Illinois sesquicentennial edition of Christian County history
Jacksonville, Ill.,: Printed by Production Press, 1968
Transcribed by K. Torp
Return to the Main Index Page